What Does Harmony Stand For?

2nd December 2020
by John Urquhart, Party general secretary

This is the third part of a series on Harmony’s structures and processes. You can find the first part here. and you can find the second part here.

The Harmony Party logo (a white swallow soaring above a red/black diagonally bisected circular flag with a rim of buff yellow) is central, with a large black question mark next to it. The background is rose white with a red border.

In the next couple of weeks, we are doing work on our Policy Framework. The Framework will be a clear set of statements that will make our priorities obvious to you, members of the public.

But in the interim, what is Harmony for?

We have five basic positions already.

Firstly, we are a party that supports something called “suffering-focused ethics”. Suffering-focused ethics is pretty much what it says: you give “moral priority” to the reduction of suffering. To get specific: Harmony supports negative prioritarianism. Yeah, that doesn’t mean much on the face of it, does it?

Negative prioritiarianism is so-named because suffering-focused ethics has a history of being named “negative”; this is because they (the ethics) consider that the reduction of what is negative to be of greater priority than the promotion of that which has positive value.

And prioritarianism says that the benefits to those worst-off matter more than benefits to the better-off.

So what does that mean?

It means Harmony, first and foremost, stands for the marginalised, for the least-well-off, for “the underdog”. Not because that is popular, but because that is the right thing to do.

So, too, are we democrats.

We believe that groups of people, working together, make good decisions, so long as they have high quality of information. We believe this fervently enough to design our entire party on that basis: there are no leaders, there is no enforced hierarchy. Nobody is in charge – or more accurately: everybody is in charge. We operate by consensus democracy.

And we believe in “gift economics”. That is, we believe that when you “pay it forward”, you are doing net good. Trust is essential in society and gifts both reinforce trust – and can come about because of trust. This belief in gifting mingles with our belief in mutual aid: the belief that we should never need to ask for permission to do good in our community.

Finally, because we believe in democracy, we believe in socialism. We believe that moving towards a socialist society is imperative to democracy, in fact. There can be no democracy when certain classes exercise control over the others via exploitation of wealth and privilege. In the socialist society we will strive for, we will all have a say in our lives, in the shape of them, in the content of them, in the direction of them… every day – not just once every five years.

So to summarise: what does Harmony believe in?

Harmony believes in democracy, not just for the State, but also the rest of the time.

Harmony believes in mutual aid – because we don’t need permission to love our community.

Harmony believes in socialism – because we think “to each according to need, from each according to ability” is not just the fairest way to operate a society, but the most likely to prevent voices from being silenced unfairly.

And Harmony believes in ensuring those with the greatest need are attended to first – not those with the greatest influence.

Sound like we’re your thing?

Come join us.