So when I say as a republican socialist that we should promote a REAL ALTERNATIVE I would argue that a real alternative lies in workers' co-operatives --businesses actually owned and democratically controlled by their workers.
Now workers' co-operatives vary in their origins.
Type One...there are the older, traditional ones like the Scott Bader Commonwealth.
Scott Bader was a chemical company founded in 1921. It was conventionally managed for 30 years.
But the founder and owner Ernest Bader was a Quaker. He'd help set up CND. He was a member of the Committee of 100,
He was never happy with what was called the "capitalist governance structure." So in 1951 the Scott Bader Commonwealth was created. Ownership of the company was transferred to the Commonwealth and the workers became owners.
A full account of what happened can be found in a biography of Ernest Bader -The Man Who Gave His Company Away.
Scott Bader has prospered and still exists today as a cutting edge company producing synthetic resins with 700 employees across six manufacturing sites.
Type Two...Secondly there have also been new start-up co-ops often associated with radical/alternative lifestyles which have boomed in publishing, printing and wholefoods since the 1960's.
One example; There is Highlands Wholefoods Worker's Co-operative for instance supplying local communities with organic, vegetarian, vegan, GM free and fair trade products.
Type Three..Thirdly, there have been "rescue co-ops" set up in response to threatened closures.
In this respect the so-called Benn co-operatives have cast something of a dark shadow. There were three co-ops that Tony Benn, then Industry Minister, backed in the mid 70's.
*There was Kirby Manufacturing and Engineering which produced night storage and central heating radiators and fruit juice!
*There was Meriden -a motorcycle company...remnants of Norton Villers Triumph. Battling against Japanese competition.
*And here in Glasgow there was the Scottish Daily News -a paper started when Lord Beaverbrook closed the Daily Express on Albion Street.
The tribulations of all three have been used by those who want to besmirch the whole idea of worker co-ops.
Yet the reality is that even co-ops set up in such adverse circumstances -where the previous capitalist owner wants out- can with the right approach and backing both survive and prosper.