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Democracy and decentralisation are their watchwords: For Corbyn and McDonnell, it’s municipal socialism reinvented

Our Research Director Thomas Hanna and our Next System Project Director Joe Guinan delineate the long history of decentralized public ownership espoused by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell:

Institutionally and rhetorically, public ownership was a lynchpin of the municipal socialist approach and a key component of its popularity. “American socialism,” historian Bruce Stave wrote, “was most successful in winning power when it was most progressive; as ‘gas and water socialism,’ it espoused democracy rather than revolution.” [9] Under socialist control or influence, many municipalities took direct control of public transport (including subways, trolleys, and buses), power systems (including power plants), telephone systems, sanitation systems, railways, ice plants, transport facilities (bus and train stations, as well as freight shipping facilities), grocery shops, coal distribution companies, and even lodging houses.

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Publication date: 2016-03-24
Parent publication: Open Democracy UK
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