Reading Recommendations for a Fellow Anarchist

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Tarwater's picture
Tarwater
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Aug 14 2012 21:52

If you don't understand the way people use vocabulary on here (property etc), maybe you should read a book or two and try and figure it out before you come on here and make six poor posters try and reinvent the wheel with you. You're telling us you don't understand and that we are wrong in the same breath, don't you think that's curious?

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Aug 14 2012 21:53
Choccy wrote:
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.

Calling me a "Compassionate Conservative" is not a challenge, it's name-calling. I don't see what I have in common with Conservatives. Conservatives are champions of all kinds of traditional authority,
I oppose both traditionalism and authority. I oppose the old order, I oppose corporatism, I oppose patriotism, I oppose nationalism, I oppose capitalism. So what do I have in common with Conservatives?

Me being called a Conservative is like me calling you a Stalinist - one has nothing to do with the other.

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Aug 14 2012 21:57
Tarwater wrote:
If you don't understand the way people use vocabulary on here (property etc), maybe you should read a book or two and try and figure it out before you come on here and make six poor posters try and reinvent the wheel with you. You're telling us you don't understand and that we are wrong in the same breath, don't you think that's curious?

So I'm asking you now then, where can I find a specific definition of 'property' and a specific definition of 'possession'? It's true, I may be confused because I don't understand the terminology. In that case why can't someone just tell me what the accepted terminology here is?

Also I tried to ask people why communists want to deprive labor of its just reward. No answer for that either, I just got called a conservative...

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Agent of the Pr...
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Aug 14 2012 22:02

I think PartyBucket is right. Your views can best be described as conservative, but a conservative with a small c. Probably a conservative of the David Korten variety. Someone who opposes capitalism, but believes in "local" markets. But fails to see that it is "local" markets that have given rise to capitalism.

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Aug 14 2012 22:10
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I don't see what I have in common with Conservatives.

'Individualism' and advocating property rights for a very obvious start.

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Choccy
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Aug 14 2012 22:11
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Conservatives are champions of all kinds of traditional authority,
I oppose both traditionalism and authority.

in particular, the authority conveyed in property rights

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 14 2012 22:14

you asked for a reading list, you where advised to read the anarchist faq, now go and read it, or where you joking when you asked?

as for property, property is basically the means of production, and possessions are things you use for yourself. that is obviously simplistic, but i don't see why i should bother when you wont.

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qbbmvrjsssdd
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Aug 14 2012 23:27
ComradeAppleton wrote:
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.

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.

Let's use a different example. Let's say you live in a commune in which everyone has entered into voluntary agreement to build a cake factory. So, everyone puts in an equal share of labor into building the factory, and all agreements have been met. Everyone is happy and everyone is enjoying their cake. But as the days go on, people start wanting a different type of cake. The cake factory, however, can only produce one type of cake. So a communal assembly is held to determine which type of cake should be produced in the collectively shared cake factory. Now, after fierce debate about which cake is best, the commune comes together in unison to decide that strawberry cake is just what they need. However, after a prolonged silence comrade Appleton objects that the best cake there is is blueberry cake. Should the commune adopt comrade Appleton's view that blueberry cake is the finest specimen of cake when everyone else believes in strawberry cake? But as you said, if you don't want strawberry cake then the only solution is to go look for another association where blueberry cake is produced, or just bear with the strawberry cake. What is this perfectly harmonious association of individuals that you have in your mind, comrade Appleton? To me it seems that contractual agreements have to be negotiated again and again in the continual flux of circumstances and will thus necessarily run into some sticky situations. The best method to deal with this is democracy in a nonvertical and equally accessible organization.

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Aug 14 2012 23:42
qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
Let's use a different example. Let's say you live in a commune in which everyone has entered into voluntary agreement to build a cake factory. So, everyone puts in an equal share of labor into building the factory, and all agreements have been met. Everyone is happy and everyone is enjoying their cake. But as the days go on, people start wanting a different type of cake.

This is a great example. First of all, I think we both agree that the commune has to be a voluntary thing. So it's perfectly possible to live outside the commune (in some different association or in isolation). So if I agree beforehand that when I join a commune all disputes therein will be resolved through negotiation and finally a democratic vote, then it is a perfectly valid community based on a contract which we all agreed to.
Individualists would not have anything against that.

What bothers me are the different ideas about people outside the commune - those who do not want to join it. Everyone so far has claimed that people can't own property and:

radicalgraffiti wrote:
property is basically the means of production

Which means that people outside the commune can't own the means of production - and how can they survive if they can't own their own means of production!? Must they starve? Clearly not. They should be allowed to own their personal means of production and engage in any peaceful commerce which they might need in order to acquire other goods which they can't produce themselves.
I don't think anyone would be opposed to that - correct?

wojtek
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Aug 15 2012 00:08
Quote:
Quote:
wojtek wrote:
Jeremy Kyle? 'The Real Housewives of New York City' is where it's at! ;)

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzaVd6zl2bA wink

Quote:
Appleton wrote:
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.

'rationally get a profession' 'work professionally' 'ensure normal levels of productivity' For someone who hates authority/ capitalism/ Stalinism you sure talk like a boss/ capitalist/ Stakhanovite!

Quote:
Bertrand Russell wrote in In Praise of Idleness (1932):
Modern technique has made it possible for leisure, within limits, to be not the prerogative of small privileged classes, but a right evenly distributed throughout the community. The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery...

I think I'm right in saying your desired society is one composed of small business owners trading goods together based on individual and contractual agreements. Given the following, which seems logical to me, how will it NOT be corrupted?

Quote:
...As small companies compete, you naturally get market leaders. As these companies get larger they become more efficient at producing goods and services. They invest in mass production techniques in order to produce goods more cheaply than their competitors. They buy raw materials at cheaper prices because they buy in bulk. They expand specialization amongst their workforce. They also copyright and patent their work, preventing rivals from using it. This is known as economies of scale. The bigger you get, the easier it is to make money. Smaller companies cannot compete. This is called a barrier-to-entry. If you wanted to compete with Ford motor cars, for example, just one car plant would set you back around $500 million.

When two market leaders merge they achieve massive economies of scale. This forces others to merge in order to compete, leading to ever greater concentration. Monopolies often buy their rivals. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the world's second largest media conglomerate (often referred to as the ‘Evil Empire’), has just bought out competitor Floorgraphics, a company that was actually suing the media giant for anti-competitive behaviour. That’s one way to win a court case! In the UK, throughout the second quarter of 2007, companies spent over £9.5 billion on mergers and acquisitions, and a further £51 billion on mergers abroad....

http://www.marxist.com/monopoly-capitalism.htm

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Aug 15 2012 00:09
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Which means that people outside the commune can't own the means of production - and how can they survive if they can't own their own means of production!? Must they starve? Clearly not. They should be allowed to own their personal means of production and engage in any peaceful commerce which they might need in order to acquire other goods which they can't produce themselves.
I don't think anyone would be opposed to that - correct?

When 'the commune' is global how can anyone be 'outside' it? We want all means of production, globally, to be held in common, not 'owned' by anyone, in a society that is linked and interdependent on a global level. Since we want to abolish the very idea of things having value as we understand it in capitalism, so we abolish the idea of any kind of 'commerce'.

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Aug 15 2012 00:27
PartyBucket wrote:
When 'the commune' is global how can anyone be 'outside' it? We want all means of production, globally, to be held in common, not 'owned' by anyone, in a society that is linked and interdependent on a global level. Since we want to abolish the very idea of things having value as we understand it in capitalism, so we abolish the idea of any kind of 'commerce'.

I understand that's what you want. But the commune has to be voluntary, so you have to be prepared for some people (like myself) who do not want to be part of it and will not join up. I am asking about a normal practical matter here. My question was not extreme or crazy. I was simply saying that people outside the commune will exist and they should also have the ability to survive in some way, wouldn't you say?
It's a matter of choice. If a person has no choice (join the commune or die!) then we can't speak about anarchist in that kind of environment which seems even worse than today's market - in today's market I can at least choose who to work for, whereas if only "the commune" exists, I will have a choice of that one commune or certain death.

So my question remains the same: People outside the commune who made a choice not to join should be permitted to own their personal means of production so that they can survive and they should be permitted to engage in any trade they think is necessary to obtain additional goods which they can't personally produce. Is this problematic for the communists?

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Aug 15 2012 01:34
ComradeAppleton wrote:
So my question remains the same: People outside the commune who made a choice not to join should be permitted to own their personal means of production so that they can survive and they should be permitted to engage in any trade they think is necessary to obtain additional goods which they can't personally produce. Is this problematic for the communists?

So you want to 'opt out' of society, but still rely on it for these 'additional goods' (which I imagine would translate as 'most things' - how much can one individual or small group produce)? What is it that you would or could produce as an individual that that society could not produce in abundance anyway, ergo how would you do this 'trading'?
Also what would be 'personal means of production'? How would you come to have them? Would you personally produce them?

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Aug 15 2012 04:18
PartyBucket wrote:
ComradeAppleton wrote:
So my question remains the same: People outside the commune who made a choice not to join should be permitted to own their personal means of production so that they can survive and they should be permitted to engage in any trade they think is necessary to obtain additional goods which they can't personally produce. Is this problematic for the communists?

So you want to 'opt out' of society, but still rely on it for these 'additional goods' (which I imagine would translate as 'most things' - how much can one individual or small group produce)? What is it that you would or could produce as an individual that that society could not produce in abundance anyway, ergo how would you do this 'trading'?
Also what would be 'personal means of production'? How would you come to have them? Would you personally produce them?

Well this is all quite simple really. I'd just have a plot of land, maybe start a farm or a garden. Hopefully there would be a community or little village of individualists of my sort there, so we could all chip in. One guy would run a store, another guy would make shoes, another guy would open a brewery, etc. We could have a market and trade things. That's what individualist anarchist communities would look like - kind of like the possible set-ups imagined by Warren and Proudhon. I think there would definitely be enough people who want to live this way so it would be fairly comfortable. I can imagine if bigger industries are needed plenty of people would be up for organizing that as well, on a cooperative basis. Some people could get together and open a mine, a refinery, or a factory.
There is no element of anarchist theory which forbids peaceful relations among independent individuals living separately and trading the fruit of their labor among each other. In fact, this is the very essence of anarchism, where all can decide for themselves what arrangements they want.

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Aug 15 2012 17:01

Seems to me you're a right libertarian. Have you tried doing the political compass test @ http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

I scored Economic Left/Right: -7.88 and Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.38 but as an anarcho-communist (this is a pleonasm in my opinion) some questions were v/ hard to answer.

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Aug 15 2012 17:56
Melancholy of Resistance wrote:
Seems to me you're a right libertarian. Have you tried doing the political compass test @ http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

I scored Economic Left/Right: -7.88 and Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.38 but as an anarcho-communist (this is a pleonasm in my opinion) some questions were v/ hard to answer.

That test is pretty much impossible to take for anyone who is against the state as an entity because many of the questions are very biased. When I take it, in about 50 percent of the questions there should be an option "I don't care" or "none of my concern" which individualists should highlight for any questions which concern other people's affairs. So yes when I take it I get right and libertarian (Economic Left/Right: 4.38, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.28). But I don't consider this to be reflective of my personal beliefs. Unless free markets (without the state) are to be considered right, in which case sure, I can be right.

I know right-libertarians and I agree with them on some things, but I'd much rather live in a community with small, local institutions and occupancy and use land property rules. This strategy would allow build-up of capital, but would prevent the capital (mainly land) from being monopolized. I think mutualist/voluntarist banking and currency solutions are not a problem because they're not monopolies and aren't exploitative.

Communism limits my personal freedom way too much. I also consider it unfair because it does not allow labor to claim its proper reward - instead it socializes all profits and losses (by supposedly "eliminating" them, which does not happen in reality) which makes all people reap the same rewards for different work. This is grossly unfair. If I produce more than others I deserve to be rewarded more.

Anarcho-communism is definitely not a pleonasm. Stirner was an anarchist, but he wasn't a communist. So were Proudhon, Warren, Tucker, Armand, and so on.

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Aug 15 2012 18:34
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Communism limits my personal freedom way too much.

In fact, the realm of freedom actually begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus in the very nature of things it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production. Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis.
- K. Marx, Capital Vol 3

For us communists, moving beyond the realm of necessity is the real freedom (aka minimizing the amount of work to be done while maximizing free time though this separation of the two are itself a product of the current mode of production), one that can only be achieved by abolishing the current production relations and class society with it. Aka markets and private property which artificially impose "scarcity" and thus the necessity of exchange.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I also consider it unfair because it does not allow labor to claim its proper reward - instead it socializes all profits and losses (by supposedly "eliminating" them, which does not happen in reality) which makes all people reap the same rewards for different work. This is grossly unfair. If I produce more than others I deserve to be rewarded more.

The point is exactly that "reward" is done away with. Actually wage labor is far from being a reward for anything, but eh.

"Each according to their abilities, each according to their needs" means exactly that there is NO measure of your contribution thus the notion of "same rewards" is a bit of a lifeless abstraction still firmly grounded in the capitalist notion of wage as reward, and which still implies a notion of material scarcity, something which capitalism itself has abolished - so there is not even a need for "reward". One might also talk of the current notion of labor, as a social category, as an alienated sphere of daily life but that might be a bit too hardcore now. By which we usually mean that exactly because this sphere is re-integrated into our life, the distinctions of work and play are blurred as they cease to be anything but a creative activity.

The point being that you apparently see the wage relation as something positive and not exploitative as we do.

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Aug 15 2012 18:56
Railyon wrote:
"Each according to their abilities, each according to their needs" means exactly that there is NO measure of your contribution thus the notion of "same rewards" is a bit of a lifeless abstraction

Well I'm sorry, but if I don't get any reward for labor, then I'm just not going to work. There's no point to it unless it happens that some kind of work is enjoyable to be (like writing or gardening). And I'm certainly not willing to let other people use the products my labor willy-nilly without offering anything in return. After all the whole point of critiquing capitalism was that it is a system which allows one group of people to profit from the work of others. So what's the difference between someone profiting off my work in a capitalist wage-job and someone profiting off my work by confiscating the produce of my labor in a commune? Mentally maybe you can think about this process differently, but functionally there is no difference. In both cases I produce and someone else consumes which constitutes exploitation.

Railyon wrote:
Actually wage labor is far from being a reward for anything, but eh.

I agree with that. Wage labor under current conditions is certainly exploitative, but that happens for the reason I wrote above - because the laborer is deprived of the full product of his/her labor. If the laborer has no right to the full product of labor then there is no possible critique which can be leveled against capitalism.

It is much more fair and natural to develop human relations (both social and economic) in a market setting where all participants have equal rights to exchange and sell their labor and its product (the product pretty much consists of labor anyway, so mentioning it is a redundancy). If I cannot claim reward for my labor, my labor becomes worthless to me because it does not entitle me to anything in particular.

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Aug 15 2012 18:58

Have a look here - http://ancaps.super-forum.net/forum
Door on your way out and all that since you've asked for reading recommendations and have neither read them or be willing to challenge the beliefs which you've brought with you.

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Aug 15 2012 19:14
Melancholy of Resistance wrote:
Have a look here - http://ancaps.super-forum.net/forum
Door on your way out and all that since you've asked for reading recommendations and have neither read them or be willing to challenge the beliefs which you've brought with you.

As I said before, I'm not a capitalist, so I don't know why you are pointing me toward AnCaps. Contrary to your statement I have actually read the stuff that has been linked on here (like all the Anarchist FAQ answers). I am perfectly willing to challenge any beliefs that I hold which is why I am here asking questions.
For example the question of possessing the means of production (I guess that one has been answered - I can possess my own means of production, they don't need to be collectivized).
I am just asking things. Like why is communism fair? It seems unfair for others to consume the fruits of my labor.

If you don't want to talk to me that's fine. But you don't need to insinuate that I am a capitalist or a conservative (as others have done before) of some sort.

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Aug 15 2012 19:38

Don't take it as an insult, some of my best friends are capitalists.

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Aug 15 2012 19:47
Melancholy of Resistance wrote:
Don't take it as an insult, some of my best friends are capitalists.

In my vocabulary capitalism is pretty much a pejorative. There is no way to defend capitalism without defending the state. But I know you are not a capitalist so I don't have to tell you that. Anyway, free trade is totally different that capitalism. Free trade is fully anarchistic. Au contraire, it is communism that seems to me to stifle anarchism.
As Benjamin Tucker wrote: "genuine Anarchism is consistent Manchesterism, and
Communistic or pseudo-Anarchism is inconsistent Manchesterism."

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 15 2012 19:49

i think thats completely wrong and free trade is completely opposed to freedom of humans

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Aug 15 2012 19:55
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i think thats completely wrong and free trade is completely opposed to freedom of humans

On what basis do you say that? How can voluntary free trade be "unfree"? That seems like some kind of paradox. Free trade is free by definition. You don't have to engage in it if you don't like it because it's free. Only people who want to trade establish trade relations. So how can it make you or anyone less free?

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Aug 15 2012 20:05

Have you tried snuggling with the Parecon crowd? I hear they're all into remunerations and stuff.

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Aug 15 2012 20:16
sabot wrote:
Have you tried snuggling with the Parecon crowd? I hear they're all into remunerations and stuff.

My problem has always been the fact I detest democracy. I'm extremely hostile toward any majoritarian methods of creating rules or making decisions. I'm even willing to sacrifice my standard of living for an opportunity to live in an independent community where no collective management is possible and everyone has ownership of capital (individually, not collectively).
But I'd definitely prefer any participatory or syndicalist methods to the disgusting exploitation that is happening right now. There are lesser evils of course. I fully support workers taking over corporate businesses and especially state-run enterprises.

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 15 2012 20:22
ComradeAppleton wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i think thats completely wrong and free trade is completely opposed to freedom of humans

On what basis do you say that? How can voluntary free trade be "unfree"? That seems like some kind of paradox. Free trade is free by definition. You don't have to engage in it if you don't like it because it's free. Only people who want to trade establish trade relations. So how can it make you or anyone less free?

trade doesn't happen in a vacuum, it requires and produces certain social relationships, free trade requires that if someone owns something, regardless of how much they may need it or how much another needs it, it is there's, and they are not required to take in to account the needs of others in deciding to dispose of it, it produces a separation between people who need to cooperate and puts them at odds with each other, it imposes competition where there needs to be none.

Also the free in free trade means, trade is not restricted, not that the people engaging in the trade are free, you can have free trade in housing, land, food, water etc, but have people who are homeless hungry and thirsty, they don't have the choice not to engage in trade, unless you consider starving a choice, but the trade is not restricted at all. if someone owns a warehouse full of food during a faming they can keep it locked up or burn it to increase the price, because its their's and they don't need to care if people starve. as soon as you support a restriction on how much someone can own or what kind of things you no longer support free trade

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 15 2012 20:25

if you're opposed to democracy then you support a minority making decisions for others, thats vary un anarchists of you wink

Havaan
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Aug 15 2012 20:44

Co-operating with people is kinda a necessary part of life.

Havaan
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Aug 15 2012 20:45

so are dumb double posts.