Reading Recommendations for a Fellow Anarchist

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A Wotsit's picture
A Wotsit
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Aug 14 2012 11:59

"In conclusion, communists want a regime of collective rule, and individualists want no regime of any rules - just a contractual society"

Sorry but if there is no 'rules' how the heck can you create and enforce a never-ending stream of contracts to enforce your model of social organisation? What if others do not recognise the rule of your contracts- you gonna use violence to get your way? Maybe hire an army to do it for you (they can each be contracted to die for your individual rights- fantastic!) Or are you gonna sit down and talk it out and reach a collective agreement, like a good communist?

You need to be a part of some sort of collective social organisation or life is shit and short. If the rest of the world population just evaporated I think you'd soon realise you have never in your life been as individual as you think you are. If society did evaporate and leave you and a few other 'individualists' behind in your individualist erm... utopia?... what would you do?

"I declare as an autonomous individual, subject to no collective rule, that I own all of the seas and everythign in them- I'll give you a contract to let you fish it but you have to give me 95% of the catch"

to which another individual replies

"well I own all of the land- so go jump in the sea and stop tresspassing"

Individualism and private property being the basis for social organisation is complete and utter nonsense. The only reason you exist and survive in the first place is by the labour of others and by sharing the commons- capitalism is a shit way of sharing our labour and the commons- a society organised on contracts between selfish individuals would be shit as well. I have a contract with my boss, I have a contract with my bank, I have a contract with my landlord- hooray for contracts eh?

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Aug 14 2012 15:43
stateless_crow wrote:
Sorry but if there is no 'rules' how the heck can you create and enforce a never-ending stream of contracts to enforce your model of social organisation? What if others do not recognise the rule of your contracts- you gonna use violence to get your way? Maybe hire an army to do it for you (they can each be contracted to die for your individual rights- fantastic!) Or are you gonna sit down and talk it out and reach a collective agreement, like a good communist?

Well this really isn't that complicated - the enforcement will be the same as in the communist commonwealth. I could ask all the same questions about communism. What if others don't recognize your communist collective agreement - will you use violence to get your way? Maybe you will hire an army to to die for your collective rights - fantastic!

Also, what is the difference between the communism you describe and the state? It seems pretty much identical. After all the state purports to be a collective agreement. It looks like once I would join the communist commonwealth I'm screwed - I would not have any rights anymore. The majority could just keep deciding everything, just like it is doing now, and the minority would just have to take orders. This is exactly what we have right now. And this is exactly the individualist critique of communist. Individualists want to cooperate and have collective agreements too, but we always want to have veto power over all decisions and a right of secession (removing ourselves and our property from the community) if that becomes necessary. What's so bad about that?

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Aug 14 2012 16:02

bin

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Aug 14 2012 16:37
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Well this really isn't that complicated - the enforcement will be the same as in the communist commonwealth. I could ask all the same questions about communism. What if others don't recognize your communist collective agreement - will you use violence to get your way? Maybe you will hire an army to to die for your collective rights - fantastic!

confused I don't understand. Earlier, when discussing the way said "communist commonwealth" (whatever that even means) would go about collectivisation, you said

Quote:
You're not an anarchist at all, but just a simple state communist. Only state communists use murder as a means of attaining their goals and force collectivism on bystanders. Johann Most would be proud of a statement like the one you just made

Or is it somehow acceptable for you to use murder to attain your goals and forcibly exclude people from access to resources, but not acceptable for others to use murder to attain their goals and allow people access to those same resources?

I mean, if so then your objection isn't really to do with the methods being used so much as with the ends they're being used for. Which is fair enough in itself but does kind of invalidate your initial outrage at the idea of the use of force for political goals.

Quote:
Also, what is the difference between the communism you describe and the state? It seems pretty much identical.After all the state purports to be a collective agreement. It looks like once I would join the communist commonwealth I'm screwed - I would not have any rights anymore. The majority could just keep deciding everything, just like it is doing now, and the minority would just have to take orders. This is exactly what we have right now. And this is exactly the individualist critique of communist. Individualists want to cooperate and have collective agreements too, but we always want to have veto power over all decisions and a right of secession (removing ourselves and our property from the community) if that becomes necessary. What's so bad about that?

FWIW this is the sort of argument I'm used to hearing from Trotskyists - basically that any sort of social organisation constitutes a state, therefore anarchists either want no organisation at all, or they're hypocrites and secretly want a state but call it something else.

It's been referenced before but I would recommend checking out An Anarchist FAQ, in particular the following:

What about people who do not want to join a syndicate?
What if I don't want to join a commune?
Doesn't any form of communal ownership involve restricting individual liberty?

(Note: it's a while since I read it and kind of in a rush so not had time to re-read, sorry if it's not entirely relevant.)

My own view, fwiw, is that I'd hope any anarcho-communist society would include the right to withdraw (though why you'd want to is beyond me) and to go and do your own thing as you saw fit, so long as this did not impinge on the rights of others. In a situation where people were starving, I'd see nothing either politically or morally wrong in taking food from your farm to feed people who needed it; similarly, if you used your property to harm others, for example by contaminating the water supply, I'd similarly see it as not only justifiable but in fact necessary to stop you doing so, property rights be damned.

But in a stable, balanced society, if someone wanted to live differently and withdraw I doubt anyone would object or compel you not to - unless doing so would directly harm others.

As an aside, as far as this:

Quote:
The majority could just keep deciding everything, just like it is doing now, and the minority would just have to take orders.

The majority is the working class (in a broad sense), and while we do have some decision making power, to suggest the majority decide everything is quite clearly nonsense. I don't remember getting a vote in the editorial policy of the Daily Mail, for starters, despite the fact it has a quite clear impact on the world around me...

Question: if you did decide to "remove yourself and your property from the community" (assuming for the sake of argument that you could do so without harm to others within that community), do you think you would still be entitled to the benefits of being part of that community - healthcare, education, food, culture and the rest of it? Or do you think you could just provide these things yourself?

And if the former - if you're still reliant on the wider community for these things - don't you think you owe that community something in return?

Oh, wait. No such thing as society. Never mind. tongue

Edit: I'm still curious. How can you call yourself an anarchist when you explicitly want to set yourself up as sole authority, implemented by force, over a particular area (i.e. your "property")?

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Aug 14 2012 16:40

Thanks jonthom for the links! I guess I'm going to have to find some very clear definition of the possession/property distinction. Very many writers use these terms interchangeably. I mean if I'm allowed to have my own land, my own business, and my own resources, it wouldn't matter if I called it possession or property as long as I could freely exchange it and people would recognize it as mine.

On the other hand:

jonthom wrote:
Or is it somehow acceptable for you to use murder to attain your goals and forcibly exclude people from access to resources, but not acceptable for others to use murder to attain their goals and allow people access to those same resources?

I think you would agree that there is a great deal of difference between using violence to stop someone from using something which you set up (a mine, a field, a house, or your own body) and trying to access that vary thing which someone else has made. The first is called defense, and the second is called invasion.

jonthom wrote:
I don't remember getting a vote in the editorial policy of the Daily Mail

I hope you don't mean that you have the right to regulate the free press in any way... That goes against every precept of anarchism. Benjamin Tucker is famous for his position that violent attacks against the ruling elite are impractical and wrong unless freedom of the press is abridged, at which point violence is the only way to get the message out. The Daily Mail (as devious and stupid as it is) is a private newspaper and you shouldn't have any say in its editorial policy.

As for your question, I don't think I'm entitled to anything from anyone. But I think if people are rational they will allow me to trade with them in order to obtain the goods I want.

And as for:

sabot wrote:
bin

I think this is exactly what Benjamin Tucker meant when he wrote that communists are absolutist: either you agree with them on everything or you are to be excommunicated and treated as an enemy.

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Aug 14 2012 16:49
jonthom wrote:
I'm still curious. How can you call yourself an anarchist when you explicitly want to set yourself up as sole authority, implemented by force, over a particular area (i.e. your "property")?

Originally property (as I understand it) was an anarchist position, it was the cartelization of capital that anarchists opposed. Proudhon's famous "la propriete, c'est le vol" slogan was aimed at exactly that. He is also famous for stating that "property is liberty". If you look at Josiah Warren's writings, or William Godwin's, you will see that it was seen as perfectly legitimate for people to own property as an exclusive rights - that was the highest protection of their individual freedom. In fact Warren explicitly said all property should be private - no public property can exist because it will lead to endless strife and conflict over it.

The whole assault on any property began wholesale when Marxism became rampant.

Would you say Proudhon and Warren weren't anarchists?

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Aug 14 2012 17:01
Quote:
Jonthom
I don't remember getting a vote in the editorial policy of the Daily Mail

ComradeAppleton
I hope you don't mean that you have the right to regulate the free press in any way... That goes against every precept of anarchism. Benjamin Tucker is famous for his position that violent attacks against the ruling elite are impractical and wrong unless freedom of the press is abridged, at which point violence is the only way to get the message out. The Daily Mail (as devious and stupid as it is) is a private newspaper and you shouldn't have any say in its editorial policy.

CA, Do you see what you missed here?

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Aug 14 2012 17:21
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Thanks jonthom for the links! I guess I'm going to have to find some very clear definition of the possession/property distinction. Very many writers use these terms interchangeably. I mean if I'm allowed to have my own land, my own business, and my own resources, it wouldn't matter if I called it possession or property as long as I could freely exchange it and people would recognize it as mine.

IMO the distinction is more about the nature of the "property" involved, the social relations that go along with it, the impact on others, potential for exploitation and the like. Put another way, communism doesn't mean everyone gets to take your toothbrush, but it does mean everyone should have access to a toothbrush. And if you start hogging all the toothbrushes then chances are someone's going to take them from you and give them out to the cavity-stricken masses. Like a Robin Hood of dentistry or somesuch.

Er, anyway.

Quote:
jonthom wrote:
Or is it somehow acceptable for you to use murder to attain your goals and forcibly exclude people from access to resources, but not acceptable for others to use murder to attain their goals and allow people access to those same resources?

I think you would agree that there is a great deal of difference between using violence to stop someone from using something which you set up (a mine, a field, a house, or your own body) and trying to access that vary thing which someone else has made. The first is called defense, and the second is called invasion.

Depends. That makes sense if you use property rights as your starting point, obviously. But not everyone does.

I think you'd agree there's a difference between using violence against someone trying to burn down your home with your family inside, versus using violence to shoot starving children trying to pluck an apple from a tree in your orchard. The first is common sense, the second is frankly despicable. But if you're basing your idea of morality and appropriate behaviour on property rights then the two are presumably equal.

Quote:
jonthom wrote:
I don't remember getting a vote in the editorial policy of the Daily Mail

I hope you don't mean that you have the right to regulate the free press in any way... That goes against every precept of anarchism. Benjamin Tucker is famous for his position that violent attacks against the ruling elite are impractical and wrong unless freedom of the press is abridged, at which point violence is the only way to get the message out. The Daily Mail (as devious and stupid as it is) is a private newspaper and you shouldn't have any say in its editorial policy.

My point was more that your claim - that the majority gets to decide everything - is quite demonstrably false. I used the Daily Mail as an example but could have used anything really.

Like the way the government of this country is invariably drawn from a tiny minority of the population.

Or the way we have no real say in the activities of the businesses that we rely on for food, culture, housing, transport, care and pretty much everything else.

Or the way we have no real input into how the banks operate despite their clear impact on everyone's lives.

Or the way most of us working for bosses have little to no say in the work we do, aside from occasional employee consultations or, at most, "self-managed" capitalism (i.e. co-ops) dictated by the market.

Or...well, you get the idea I'm sure. The majority don't get to decide everything. At most, we get a say in who makes decisions supposedly on our behalf.

As far as freedom of the press: to be honest the idea of a "free press" is a bit meaningless under capitalism, since while in theory anyone can print what they like (unless the government has decided we can't), in practice the press is limited to and dominated by a small number of business interests. If the dominance of the Murdoch empire somehow represents a free press then, well, it's not so free IMO...

Quote:
As for your question, I don't think I'm entitled to anything from anyone. But I think if people are rational they will allow me to trade with them in order to obtain the goods I want.

But what if they don't practice trade? Or you don't have anything they want to trade with you?

Quote:
Originally property (as I understand it) was an anarchist position, it was the cartelization of capital that anarchists opposed. Proudhon's famous "la propriete, c'est le vol" slogan was aimed at exactly that. He is also famous for stating that "property is liberty". If you look at Josiah Warren's writings, or William Godwin's, you will see that it was seen as perfectly legitimate for people to own property as an exclusive rights - that was the highest protection of their individual freedom. In fact Warren explicitly said all property should be private - no public property can exist because it will lead to endless strife and conflict over it.

The whole assault on any property began wholesale when Marxism became rampant.

Would you say Proudhon and Warren weren't anarchists?

I'm not familiar enough with the folks you mentioned to be able to say one way or the other whether or not they were anarchists. What I would say though is that your idea of property rights, enforced by contracts backed up by force, seems as close to at least one definition of a state as makes no odds. More generally, making yourself sole authority figure over a given area (your "property") seems more than a little incompatible with anarchism IMO. And certainly puts you at odds with many anarchists, though not - taking your post at face value, since again, I'm not familiar enough to judge - with all.

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Aug 14 2012 17:44
jonthom wrote:
IMO the distinction is more about the nature of the "property" involved, the social relations that go along with it, the impact on others, potential for exploitation and the like.

I don't think this is specific enough. If you don't have any specific definition of property, then you can't really speak about it. Any serious discussion has to start with exact definitions, otherwise people are just talking past one another. I wouldn't accept your definition of property as "something which has the potential to impact or exploit others". That it much too broad. I mean my body has the potential to impact others. So does a commune. Is my body property, and is a commune property? I can use a shovel to hit you over the head, is the shovel property just because it can be used a certain way? I mean anything can be used to impact or exploit others, I can do that just by lying to people. So is language that I use property?
What is your definition of property?

jonthom wrote:
Or the way we have no real say in the activities of the businesses that we rely on for food, culture, housing, transport, care and pretty much everything else.

I agree we have little say in these things, but let's not assume we should or must have a say in them. You should indeed have a say in regard to your food, culture, housing, transport, etc. But why should you have a say in mine? I know you don't believe in property, but at some point you have to make a distinction between myself and yourself. We are separate. You freely admit you shouldn't have a say in how I act, as long as I don't hurt you in any way. So how am I hurting you, or anyone else for that matter, by setting up a private business and opening it for commerce. Why should you have a say in how I run my business? The answer is: you shouldn't have a say because it's my business. If you did have a say it wouldn't be mine, it would be ours. This is what the individualist rebels against - collective control over his life.

jonthom wrote:
But what if they don't practice trade? Or you don't have anything they want to trade with you?

Well this is a silly question. If no one wants to trade, then no trade is possible. That would be a return to stone-age living standards, before the division of labor and commerce began. But there are some people (like hermits, isolationists, etc) who don't want to engage in trade and they have a right not to. I can't force them to trade or cooperate with me.

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Aug 14 2012 18:16
ComradeAppleton wrote:
stateless_crow wrote:
Sorry but if there is no 'rules' how the heck can you create and enforce a never-ending stream of contracts to enforce your model of social organisation? What if others do not recognise the rule of your contracts- you gonna use violence to get your way? Maybe hire an army to do it for you (they can each be contracted to die for your individual rights- fantastic!) Or are you gonna sit down and talk it out and reach a collective agreement, like a good communist?

Well this really isn't that complicated - the enforcement will be the same as in the communist commonwealth. I could ask all the same questions about communism. What if others don't recognize your communist collective agreement - will you use violence to get your way? Maybe you will hire an army to to die for your collective rights - fantastic!

Also, what is the difference between the communism you describe and the state? It seems pretty much identical. After all the state purports to be a collective agreement. It looks like once I would join the communist commonwealth I'm screwed - I would not have any rights anymore. The majority could just keep deciding everything, just like it is doing now, and the minority would just have to take orders. This is exactly what we have right now. And this is exactly the individualist critique of communist. Individualists want to cooperate and have collective agreements too, but we always want to have veto power over all decisions and a right of secession (removing ourselves and our property from the community) if that becomes necessary. What's so bad about that?

I don't know what you mean by commonwealth... a communist society would be organised at a local level, with everyone having an equal say and the right to act as they best see fit, but if they act in an anti-social manner those they harm are free to respond appropriately.

Communists cooperate to manage the community dynamics and the productive infrastructure they make use of. (note 'productive infrastructure' like factories, forests, grain stores, land etc, which no individual can claim to have created or have the right to own and exclude others from using. These are not the same as possessions- like a pair of jeans or a laptop- which are easily reproduced by working together to manage our collective labour and how we put it to use at the means of production- possessions are never ever produced solely by an individual but since they are easily socially produced we can share and allocate them in a way which can be said to involve ownership- it would be better for everyone to own their own underwear and share the cotton fields, irrigation system, farming machinery, cotton mill and sewing factory to make the underwear! If one individual claims they own the cotton fields we'd all either run out of pants or go and tell that individual to piss off- probably the latter. What we would not do is agree to exploit the labour of the commune to sell stuff to, or buy stuff from the selfish git who nicked the cotton field... we would not negotiate a contract because their property ownership claim is illegitimate and anti-social).

If some people do not respect the collective agreement about how we collectively manage the coommons (collective property) we would respect their equal right to have a say and we would convene meetings and try and resolve any differences of opinion collectively. If one person, or a minority of people started selfishly claiming ownership rights and were prepared to use violence to enforce them- yes, violence might occur, but whose fault is that? Those that want to share and cooperate or the ones who want to hoard (stuff which they hold no legitimate claim to) and exploit others by denying them a share or forcing them to enter into an exploitative contractual agreement?

In communism each community/ commune/ workplace would make decisions collectively- this is inescapable because we all share the same planet and the same system of social production. We would have decisions we needed to influence beyond our commune and so we would elect delegates with a strict mandate to attend meetings and work with other communes at a regional or global scale with a view to sharing our surpluses and helping each other meet our collective and individual needs- agreements would be worked out and voted on and amended to best suit everyone's needs. I might go on behalf of the commune to the coast, taking our surplus underpants and seeking a share of their surplus fish- maybe we'll have some sort of agreement in place about sharing our respective surpluses, or maybe it's just based on building informal mutual aid (why bother with a contract anyway- we all have the right to amend our social relation at any time as circumstances change- if the cotton crop fails or the fish swim away- we have nothing to gain from trying to enforce a contract or a business deal). This is not the same as a state or a commonwealth of states where power is organised hierarchically- in communism we are free to choose how we live, and we are free to have an equal say on how we link with others in managing social reproduction- we are free to try and be an anti-social individualist trying to nick property ownership- but the rest of society is free to respond in the appropriate fashion and put a stop to any anti-social behaviour and talk (or beat) some sense into those who seek to misappropriate the commons for their own selfish (or deluded) reasons. I'm not saying violence is necessary or desireable, but that trying to capture the commons for your own sole control is a selfish and violent act and will be responded to as such in a communist society.

Everything we do, everything we consume, everything we help to create happens within the context of a complicated web of social relations. There is no fair way of defining property rights, you can only do this through force and oppression. You can define communal living arrangements through talking, voting and just getting on with it.

I am not advocating dictatorial majority rule- I am advocating an inclusive, free and anarchistic system of social decision making, which at all time respects individual freedom (except the freedom to exploit and be an anti-social prick- I mean you're free to try, and we're free to respond accordingly)

For you to say that majority rule 'is what we have now' is utterly absurd. Private property is what we have now (or rather what the ruling class have now- we have alienation and exploitation as a result) and along with private property inevitably we have violent and oppressive hierarchies of power aiming to protect the interests of the property-owning classes, capture and misuse more social wealth and enforce our continued subservience to them (we, the working class, do not own property- we have possessions- we would have more and better possessions, or access to things we need if the properties classes did not oppress and exploit us and use property for their own selfish ends instead of allowing us the freedom to share and cooperate as equals)

In communism where we choose to live and work is up to us, what we do with our labour is up to us, what we do with the product of our collective labour is up to us- but we have to work together to make the decisions that affect social (re)production and resource allocation because we all inescapably rely on social production and commons resources and each others labour to survive and thrive. To have some individuals claiming they own land and factories and we must sell our labour to them or trade with them does not promote individual freedom- it promotes the freedom of the few to oppress and exploit the many- of course we are free not to tolerate this.

How would you remove property from the community- the property (which is actually a commons resource) would be the land and the buildings and the factories and the water supply and the natural materials etc. Do you mean you would take the clothes you wear and the basic everyday (commonly available) tools you use and stuff? That's not property, that's just stuff- take it with you and go live somewhere isolated where no commune already exists..can't see why you'd want to.... but you can't take anything from the commons and claim you own it because that is oppressive to all the rest of us who have a stake in the management of the commons. People would not be slaves to the commune- and maybe you would find one where everyone constantly tries to trap each other in contracts and capture more property for themselves- sounds stressful to me, doubt the other communes would share much with you guys tbh.

Also, my example of giving away pants and hoping to get some fish in return and talking about 'what might utopia look like' is a futile line of argument. Anarchist communists would rather organise for material improvements here and now- organising ourselves non-hierarchically against the propertied classes and their exploitation. How do individualists go about building a better world? Surely your ideology means you feel constantly isolated and like the whole world is against you- I'd encourage you to rethink your ideology 1. because it's nonsense and 2. because it sounds really sad and lonely

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit narked. I am a bit tbh but I do believe you are posting in good faith.

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Aug 14 2012 18:40

Given your FULL INDIVIDUALISM it seems a bit odd to use the word 'comrade' in your username. Surely you have no comrades, only people with whom you make contractual agreements.

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Aug 14 2012 18:52

Dear Comrade stateless_crow,

I really do appreciate you putting the time into this conversation. This is exactly what I need - finally for someone to explain how all this stuff potentially works, especially in relation to the 'ownership' and 'property' questions.

My main gripe with all this is the blatant unfairness of the system (which you might not recognize as unfairness at all). There seems to be no connection between work and reward in this system. The whole reason I oppose the current system is because it is exploitative - the elites basically sit and twiddle their thumbs while we work our asses off and pay for their luxuries. I don't think I need to tell you how that works smile
But in the communist system, it looks like the exact same thing would be possible! If I could just get all these consumer goods for free from the commune, I would likely either not work, or work at some light job that I enjoy doing (writing short stories, gardening, or painting houses, for example). And I would still get the same compensation for no labor or a low amount of labor that others get for intensive labor. This is unfair.
I don't want my labor to go into the commons and then my reward to come from the commons. I want labor to be rewarded fairly. If I produce five pairs of shoes a day, I should get the equivalent in value for them from whoever gets them. I don't want to get the same reward as someone who just does less work than I do. If I am unable to buy and sell my labor (and other people's labor) on the market then my own labor becomes worthless - I can't use it to obtain anything anymore. How is it advantageous for me to participate in an arrangement which works this way?

stateless_crow wrote:
People would not be slaves to the commune- and maybe you would find one where everyone constantly tries to trap each other in contracts and capture more property for themselves- sounds stressful to me, doubt the other communes would share much with you guys tbh.

I don't know why you demonize people who want to hold and control what is their own. An individualist shouts Stirner's motto: "Nothing is more to me than myself!" But this does not mean that an individualist is a selfish and emotionless creature who acts like an animal and has no sympathy for others. The individualist simply identifies himself/herself as the focal point from which all value and enjoyment spring. This does not mean I want to lie and rip-off other people, au contraire I respect them for who they are.

I also think you are being extremely naive when you speak of the commune as making "collective decisions". I assure you, there is no such thing as a collective decision. Each person makes a decision and then the majority overrides the individuals. You can't have freedom where majority rule is employed in the decision making process. Either the individual has the right to decide or the collective has the right; they cannot share it.

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Aug 14 2012 18:57

Work hard, get ahead eh? You must be loving the benefit cuts (if you are real and not a joke account?).

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Aug 14 2012 19:00
PartyBucket wrote:
Given your FULL INDIVIDUALISM it seems a bit odd to use the word 'comrade' in your username. Surely you have no comrades, only people with whom you make contractual agreements.

You must have individualism confused with antagonism towards other people. As an individualist I can assure you that I value few things in life above friendship and comraderie with fellow anarchists.

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Aug 14 2012 19:05
PartyBucket wrote:
Work hard, get ahead eh? You must be loving the benefit cuts (if you are real and not a joke account?).

I am against every government program and every form of legal privilege. Of course I am aware that the main reason 'benefits' of any kind are 'necessary' in the current situation is because the corporate class is sucking out wealth from society faster than any can be created. I would wish for any legal privilege system abolished, however. This is clearly an anarchist position. It is impossible to be an anarchist and at the same time support government programs! What kind of blatant hypocrisy would that entail?

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Aug 14 2012 19:34
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I also think you are being extremely naive when you speak of the commune as making "collective decisions". I assure you, there is no such thing as a collective decision. Each person makes a decision and then the majority overrides the individuals. You can't have freedom where majority rule is employed in the decision making process. Either the individual has the right to decide or the collective has the right; they cannot share it.

You mean the individuals in the majority override the individuals in the minority and those individuals, because they're in the majority, are domineering? Isn't it authoritarian to want to halt the entire democratic process because you want to assert your enlightened individualism? I think it is a good lesson in both community and patience to bear with a majority when you know they're in the wrong; if they're wrong in their thinking then protesting about individual rights is not going to persuade them, because they're obviously deluded or motivated by their own interests. It's important to understand that humanity has a lot of shortcomings, and we have a long tradition of authoritarianism and selfishness which we're drawing from, and we need to each work with this in order to ultimately reach a collective harmony. Anyways, anarchy is a living process which isn't subdued merely because a majority has overruled against someone. It's in the fight against oppression and injustice, so if you continue that fight then you're giving life to anarchy and overcoming the tyranny of others. Also collective decision-making consists in the practice of every individual member of the collective having input, even if in the inevitable disagreement over interests some individuals interests become subordinated to the majority. The point is is that the decision-making process is open to the entire community in an organization that maximizes egalitarianism.

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Aug 14 2012 20:06

OK, ComradeAppleton I'll keep going then. Last post for this eve. Will be back again tomorrow too but I'll give up debating along these lines after that I reckon.

Being a socially cooperative person, or merely a person who wants to extract maximum quality of life from their surroundings, surely the logical course of action is being socially productive, and meeting your own social and material needs by working alongside other people freely and pitching in with useful tasks which can only be performed collectively, is not necessarily and should never be, a contractual obligation or a task enforced from above or dictated by differentials of property rights and access- but plain common sense- and a much more exciting prospect than worrying about whether some people aren't quite as good at being productive than you and therefore shouldn't partake as freely in the social bounty. I put it to you that in a communist/anarchist society, freeloaders would have a hard time of it, they might be able to get away with it up to a point- but I doubt they'd be popular or well-loved in their community. Those social goods which are shared the most freely- such as friendship and love- would be in short supply to those who spent all their time on idle individual hobbies and didn't contribute to the commons The idle would be in short supply in communism- I'd love to get pitched in with all sorts- learn how to treat the sick, learn how to fix cars, learn how to build bikes... whatevs... even if I just learned a bit and helped out now and then but my main job stayed fairly similar to how it is now (but no boss)- I wouldn't sit there procrastinating or wasting my time on management nonsense so I'd be much more productive and still have way more free time.

Sharing our labour and trying to get along as equals to manage the collective world we live in (as individuals interacting with the natural world and social context we inescapably share) is a natural human tendency and an utterly beneficial one to all.

The tendency for communism exists, but it is suppressed by the counter human tendency for trying to get a bit more than the next person- and use your wits and strength to make sure they get less than you- and cooperating with other such individually-minded people to build up networks of power, enforcement and violence to ensure you get the reward of these (in my view anti-social) efforts. The desire to strive as an individual to ensure you can enforce your right to claim individual ownership and have more stuff than your peers is the foundation of the oppression anarchists must oppose, these sorts of individualist ideas lead to those few who hold them banding together to aquire and protect property through violence and put others to work for their own profit- these social conditions that allegedly aim to reward individual effort, or recognise differential rights of ownership, allow a minority to dominate and through dominance shift the burden of work and become the freeloaders you worry about (but its property that caused freeloading not passive sneaky coasters within the commons), individualism- anti-social thinking can become oppression. The majority of the working class continue to fall for the falacy that it is often 'human nature' to be selfish in a social context and that this is the best way to organise the economy, with property and exchange and soforth, but still those that benefit from this current social reality (the ruling class) still have to rely on armies and police to suppress the natural tendency for the majority to rebel against the powerful, deferentially rewarded, propertied, minority. The truth is where we are free from authority and free from fear of authority we will act far pro-socially- I don't cook dinner for my mates and then try and enforce (or even think it would be more fair for) each of them to cook a meal of equivalent value and effort for me, I take whatever they want to freely give and are able to freely give, even if that's just gratitude and help with the dishes, or a lift to work on monday, if one of them brought a large dessert, and then ate all of it I'd think the group, or some individuals within the group, would do something appropriate, and proportionate to encourage them to share next time. I wish society was more like that, so I do not respect anyone's right to own (productive) property or claim a greater share of social wealth than anyone else. Nor do I respect or spend much time and effort on selfish people, except of course the ruling class, but I have to strive on their behalf because they own all the property and force me to sign a contract to get meager wages in exchange for securing their privileged and property rights.

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Aug 14 2012 20:14

Just think of those scrounging bastards making only ONE pair of shoes and then watching Jeremy Kyle while Comrade Appleton makes FIVE and then contractually trades them for a bag of dead mice or 20 B&H or whatever, and living it up on his or her STOLEN TAXES to boot.

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Aug 14 2012 20:20
stateless_crow wrote:
Being a socially cooperative person, or merely a person who wants to extract maximum quality of life benefit from their surroundings, surely the logical course of action is being socially productive, and meeting your own social and material needs by working alongside other people freely and pitching in with useful tasks which can only be performed collectively, is not necessarily and should never be, a contractual obligation or a task enforced from above or dictated by differentials of property rights and access- but plain common sense- and a much more exciting prospect than worrying about whether some people aren't quite as good at being productive than you and therefore shouldn't partake as freely in the social bounty.

I don't disagree with any of that. Cooperation can be useful for some tasks and is necessary for other tasks. But how does that imply communism in any way? That just implies people working together with a common goal in mind. It does not mean that they all deserve to have equal access to capital, sustenance, or that they need to be rewarded equally. They should be rewarded proportionally to their labor. As Emile Armand wrote: "He (the individualist) does not wish to receive more than he gives, nor give more than he receives." Since I value myself, I would not perform labor for someone without fair reward and I would never ask anyone to do that for me. That's what contracts are for, they are codified pledges people make to one another. If I work with someone I agree to the the conditions of my labor beforehand. So what's wrong with that? Nothing at all in my opinion.
Individualism also does not exclude working for free or helping people out. But being nice and helping people out cannot be the basis of social order because I can't depend on the kindness of others for my sustenance. I need to be able to work and collect on the full product of my labor. At least that is something I can be sure of and always count on, whereas I can't be sure of the productivity and good will of others.

Also, your claim that you would work in different jobs and perform tasks just for the common good has to be qualified. We have the division of labor, for example, without which we could not have mass production of goods of any kind. So it would be useless for you to dabble in different tasks. You should rationally still get a profession and work professionally in order to ensure normal levels of productivity. But that's just a little economic side-note, not really anything to do with social organization.

Also, I am not trying to make this into a debate. I am simply trying to understand the underpinnings of the communist mindset as opposed to my own. This is meant to be an inquiry and conversation, not an argument.

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Aug 14 2012 20:22

Jeremy Kyle? 'The Real Housewives of New York City' is where it's at! wink

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Aug 14 2012 20:27
wojtek wrote:
Jeremy Kyle? 'The Real Housewives of New York City' is where it's at! ;)

Oh is that what you watch while you sniff glue and drink cider paid for with Comrade Appletons RIGHTFUL CAPITAL?

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Aug 14 2012 20:33
ComradeAppleton wrote:
PartyBucket wrote:
Given your FULL INDIVIDUALISM it seems a bit odd to use the word 'comrade' in your username. Surely you have no comrades, only people with whom you make contractual agreements.

You must have individualism confused with antagonism towards other people. As an individualist I can assure you that I value few things in life above friendship and comraderie with fellow anarchists.

Unless they want to share your stuff, obviously.

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Aug 14 2012 20:35
qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
You mean the individuals in the majority override the individuals in the minority and those individuals, because they're in the majority, are domineering? Isn't it authoritarian to want to halt the entire democratic process because you want to assert your enlightened individualism?

I think you got it all backwards. It's definitely not authoritarian to assert one's individuality and independence, but it is authoritarian to deny individual choice.
For example: Let's say I'm living in a small neighborhood with twenty other adults and they all want to have a big orgy. I then stand up and say I'm not into that idea and I'd much rather go watch TV while they get together and have their orgy.
But they could say that I am halting their entire democratic process by authoritarian means and excluding myself from their enjoyment of me participating in the orgy! After all the entire neighborhood voted for the orgy and I'm the only one who is protesting.
So does that mean I have to go to the orgy?
If so, this would be the stupidest system I ever heard of and certainly the most tyrannical. I admit this example is extreme, but it is analogous to any other situation. If the neighborhood wants to build a well instead of getting water from a river, for example - do I have to do that too? And what if they want to have communal meals, do I have to join them? What about if they want to open a newspaper where stuff I don't like is printed? Do I have to go along with all these ideas, even though I strongly oppose them?

There have to be some contractual limits which cannot be broken. That's what individualists want - small local associations where everyone knows their rights and can live together in peace or, if they consider it necessary, withdraw from the agreement and enter into a different one.

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Aug 14 2012 20:43
PartyBucket wrote:
ComradeAppleton wrote:
PartyBucket wrote:
Given your FULL INDIVIDUALISM it seems a bit odd to use the word 'comrade' in your username. Surely you have no comrades, only people with whom you make contractual agreements.

You must have individualism confused with antagonism towards other people. As an individualist I can assure you that I value few things in life above friendship and comraderie with fellow anarchists.

Unless they want to share your stuff, obviously.

I have actually always been a very caring person and am willing to share. But sharing implies voluntary relations with regard to property, whereas you deny property even to those who rightfully earned it... I will gladly share, but I will not be stolen from. I won't allow theft by the government, by the corporation, by a commune, or by individual persons.

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Aug 14 2012 21:11

Compasionate Conservatism, eh?
You still dont understand the distinction between Possessions and Property do you? (unless of course you are a joke account).

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Aug 14 2012 21:22
PartyBucket wrote:
Compasionate Conservatism, eh?
You still dont understand the distinction between Possessions and Property do you? (unless of course you are a joke account).

I understand it must impress some people if you call others names or question their motives during discussion. Typical ad hominem. In case you haven't noticed I'm not here to call people names, but to learn these things.
So instead of throwing a fit and insulting me, can you please maybe write down a definition of 'possession' and another definition of 'property' so I can see the difference? As I said before, these words are often used as separate categories, but I've seen them used interchangeably by different people.

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Aug 14 2012 21:26

At least three people have explained it already.
Im not doing an Ad Hominem. Your political positions, to me, are Consevative ones.

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Aug 14 2012 21:34
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I won't allow theft by the government, by the corporation, by a commune, or by individual persons.

ComradeAppleton locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

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Aug 14 2012 21:39
PartyBucket wrote:
At least three people have explained it already.
Im not doing an Ad Hominem. Your political positions, to me, are Consevative ones.

If calling someone conservative isn't an ad hominem, then I don't know what is. Conservatives are disgusting statists and servants of the corporate elite, not to mention their complete disregard for life and imperial/nationalist propaganda they keep dishing out. I do not associate with them in any way.

And as I said, nobody has really defined possession and property except for some very vague statements like "possessions are things that are made" (and what, mind you, is not made?) or "possessions are never made by an individual" (which is just blatantly false because individuals can easily make things). Others have told me examples of possessions, such as laptop, toothbrush, or bike. Those are not definitions. The general sentiment is, from what I gather, that if I have one toothbrush that's a possession, but if I have twenty then they are property and I can't have them anymore. That's a completely arbitrary distinction, not a definition. So as I said, I haven't seen any definitions yet.

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Aug 14 2012 21:47

Whatever he was doing it was no an ad-hominem attack - he challenged the views you have expressed, and he challenged them in a way consistent communist critiques of individualist proprietary ideas you espouse.