Reading Recommendations for a Fellow Anarchist

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Melancholy of Resistance's picture
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Aug 18 2012 09:42
ComradeAppleton's picture
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Aug 18 2012 16:19
qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
I'm gonna merge with you, comrade... you can't escape The Commune, comrade... But it's that emotional interdependence which binds us to others and overcomes the duality of self and other.

This sounds as if you were on drugs. And if I can't escape the commune, then you admit it is tyrannical.

qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
I also have another example of the potential problem of individualism. Let's say you were involved in the Paris Commune, and, as you probably know, were facing an immediate attack by the French bourgeoisie. But you and some other individualists don't want to fight. Let's leave aside the fact that the Paris Commune was doomed. But because of the gravity of the situation the Commune needed as many fighters and barricade-builders as possible... now, would you stay firm to your principles of self autonomy and resist the communards, and face ejection from the Commune? Or would you fight for the good of all?

Are you trying to say that compulsory labor and drafting people into the army are good? What kind of perversion of anarchy is this? You cannot ever force anyone to do anything - that is tyranny and force, which are the opposite of anarchy. Only voluntary relations can ever be called anarchistic. This applies to expulsion as well - if you expel me from my house because I didn't join your army then you are clearly just another terrorist. At least your actions would meet the definition of that type of behavior. I don't think I have to remind you that drafting people into the army against their will is identical to slavery.

Also I have a feeling you remain willfully ignorant of what individualist anarchism is. I doubt you even take the time to read about it and read some individualist critiques of communism. You are a communist first and foremost, not an anarchist.

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Aug 18 2012 16:47

First of all, individualist anarchism is nothing but misguided anarchism. Second, I doubt you take any time to read anarcho-communist literature. Your overly obsessed with "individualist" anarchism; constantly quoting or referencing bourgeois individualists we don't care about.

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Aug 18 2012 16:52
ComradeAppleton wrote:
[...]
This sounds as if you were on drugs. And if I can't escape the commune, then you admit it is tyrannical.
[,,,]
Are you trying to say that compulsory labor and drafting people into the army are good? What kind of perversion of anarchy is this? You cannot ever force anyone to do anything - that is tyranny and force, which are the opposite of anarchy. Only voluntary relations can ever be called anarchistic. This applies to expulsion as well - if you expel me from my house because I didn't join your army then you are clearly just another terrorist. At least your actions would meet the definition of that type of behavior. I don't think I have to remind you that drafting people into the army against their will is identical to slavery.

Also I have a feeling you remain willfully ignorant of what individualist anarchism is. I doubt you even take the time to read about it and read some individualist critiques of communism. You are a communist first and foremost, not an anarchist.

Compulsory military service and mandatory labor are designed for morons whose fetishistic individualism (such as yours) prevent them from assisting their communities in times of need.
Barring that, you will be given the choice (a free one, mind you) of either facing a firing squad or permanent hospitalization.

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Aug 18 2012 17:06

Appleton, you seem to view anarchism, communism and other political positions not as movements of people in history but as abstract philosophical concepts. Why?

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Aug 18 2012 17:06
Book O'Dead wrote:
Compulsory military service and mandatory labor are designed for morons whose fetishistic individualism (such as yours) prevent them from assisting their communities in times of need.
Barring that, you will be given the choice (a free one, mind you) of either facing a firing squad or permanent hospitalization.

Wow, this really says a lot. Clearly you are not an anarchist, but just a STATIST communist of the Johann Most variety - the ones who want to kill anyone who is not a communist. It seems to me that if anyone has to be hospitalized for a violent fetish, it is yourself (though of course as a consistent individualist I can't hospitalize you against your will unless you begin aggressing against others).

As such, I am not speaking with you on this forum. I wanted to discuss matter with ANARCHIST communists to see where our common ground lies and what relationships the commune would have with the individual, etc. I don't want to talk to statists. From what I see on here most people who I talked to would disagree with you as much as I do.

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Aug 18 2012 17:07

Indeed ComradeA has a penchant for straw manning communism, and for semi-quoting anarchists (I joked a few pages ago with that quote, it wasn't Stalin, it were Bakunin. The socialism and liberty one).

Book O'Dead wrote:

Compulsory military service and mandatory labor are designed for morons whose fetishistic individualism (such as yours) prevent them from assisting their communities in times of need.
Barring that, you will be given the choice (a free one, mind you) of either facing a firing squad or permanent hospitalization.

With a temper like that I think I would prefer ComradeA's company under capitalism than yours in socialism. Jesus christ, you sound EXACTLY like a bolshevik 'socialism for everyone, apart from the people who disagree with us, then, mandatory labour'. Fuck that. This conversation is getting ridiculous, there is no point saying 'I would do X, I will do Y....when the revolution comes,' individuals relations to themselves and their 'communities' are always in process, revolutionary processes will produce different subjectivities. Hopefully most of us will be part of this process. There is not a pre-given 'community' there that ComradeA needs to serve, the community is produced through revolution, through education (the education of acting in common).

There will be some who won't, like bosses, but whatever, we remove power from their hands. If during this whole period ComradeA is still not affected by this process, fine, let s/he go to the woods or the hills or whatever. It is really not that offensive.

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Aug 18 2012 17:17
Uncreative wrote:
Appleton, you seem to view anarchism, communism and other political positions not as movements of people in history but as abstract philosophical concepts. Why?

Because I am an individualist. I do recognize the value of past anarchists and their contribution to my though - I am always proud to name the brave men and women who have influenced me (and proud to praise those who worked with them). But that's as far as it goes. I think we are inevitably heading toward anarchy anyway. Violence and compulsion are just not proper ways to solve problems and people will realize this soon enough.

If by "abstract philosophical concepts" you mean me thinking about things, then I confess I use my brain to think quite a lot. But no concepts are beyond application in the real world. In fact, I am much more proactive and participate in activism more than most people I know in the anarchist movement. The world is based on ideas (or as you say "abstract philosophical concepts") and people have to accept and agree with ideas before any of them can be implemented. You cannot simply assert yourself as an anarchist and unilaterally claim all your rights in modern society. You must first educate the public in whatever way possible. And this is done through presenting ideas.

This does not take away from individuals in history of course. When slavery was being abolished, it was not a matter of one man having one idea. It was a matter of a few men living on a mission of propagating those ideas until they reached more and more people. It was the work of generations, but eventually it succeeded. The same will happen with anarchy.

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Aug 18 2012 17:23
ComradeAppleton wrote:
...just a STATIST communist of the Johann Most variety - the ones who want to kill anyone who is not a communist.

I don't really know much about Johann Most. But from a quick research, I found the following links to texts written by himself. He is definitely not a "STATIST" communist.

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/most/pitproc.html

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/most/anarcom.html

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Aug 18 2012 17:36
Arbeiten wrote:
Indeed ComradeA has a penchant for straw manning communism, and for semi-quoting anarchists (I joked a few pages ago with that quote, it wasn't Stalin, it were Bakunin. The socialism and liberty one).
Book O'Dead wrote:

Compulsory military service and mandatory labor are designed for morons whose fetishistic individualism (such as yours) prevent them from assisting their communities in times of need.
Barring that, you will be given the choice (a free one, mind you) of either facing a firing squad or permanent hospitalization.

With a temper like that I think I would prefer ComradeA's company under capitalism than yours in socialism. Jesus christ, you sound EXACTLY like a bolshevik 'socialism for everyone, apart from the people who disagree with us, then, mandatory labour'. Fuck that. This conversation is getting ridiculous, there is no point saying 'I would do X, I will do Y....when the revolution comes,' individuals relations to themselves and their 'communities' are always in process, revolutionary processes will produce different subjectivities. Hopefully most of us will be part of this process. There is not a pre-given 'community' there that ComradeA needs to serve, the community is produced through revolution, through education (the education of acting in common).

There will be some who won't, like bosses, but whatever, we remove power from their hands. If during this whole period ComradeA is still not affected by this process, fine, let s/he go to the woods or the hills or whatever. It is really not that offensive.

Once you accept CA's premise (that anarchy=individualism) you're trapped in a false moral dilemma.

In times of war or crisis, when a community of individuals is called upon to come together and pull as one, anyone who refuses to help becomes part of the problem and can serve to undermine all of the work of the group. Such behavior cannot be tolerated if the community is to survive and triumph against adversity.

An army that is unable or unwilling to deal effectively with cowards and deserters is doomed.

In a time of peace or relative tranquility you may enjoy the luxury of CA's company more than mine (i salute you for that), but in a time of war and struggle you're best served by sticking with someone like me.

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Aug 18 2012 17:42
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
I don't really know much about Johann Most. But from a quick research, I found the following links to texts written by himself. He is definitely not a "STATIST" communist.

Johann Most was one of these people who pretended to use anarchist language, but in reality was just a violent maniac. In the 19th century American anarchist movement he was widely referred to as the leader of the "'State Communist" faction because he wrote that all individuals who possess or attempt to get hold of their own means of production have to be killed. Historically Most and his people were opposed to "State Socialists" (those who wanted to establish socialism through political means like voting and lobbying government) and the "Socialist Anarchists" (individualists who did not want communism at all, but wanted a stateless society).

By definition, anyone who claims communism must be compulsory is a statist. That was the real difference between Marxists and Kropotkinites. Marx wanted to use violent and political means to nationalize (collectivize) everything so that eventually somehow a magic stateless utopia could emerge, while Kropotkin wanted to keep communism voluntary. Marx was the biggest influence on the State Socialist and State Communist movements, while Kropotkin and Proudhon were popular with the Socialist Anarchists (despite their hostile attitude toward communism, they deeply admired Kropotkin).

This is kind of what the 19th century American Left looked like, with these three factions constantly arguing with one another.

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Aug 18 2012 20:55
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Are you trying to say that compulsory labor and drafting people into the army are good? What kind of perversion of anarchy is this? You cannot ever force anyone to do anything - that is tyranny and force, which are the opposite of anarchy. Only voluntary relations can ever be called anarchistic. This applies to expulsion as well - if you expel me from my house because I didn't join your army then you are clearly just another terrorist. At least your actions would meet the definition of that type of behavior. I don't think I have to remind you that drafting people into the army against their will is identical to slavery.

Also I have a feeling you remain willfully ignorant of what individualist anarchism is. I doubt you even take the time to read about it and read some individualist critiques of communism. You are a communist first and foremost, not an anarchist.

I'm trying to illustrate that by refusing to participate in the defense of the community, you'd quite possibly be assisting in its demise, and the demise of every individual a part of it. In such a case the freedom of the individual is bound up with the freedom of the community and transcending egoistic boundaries is imperative for the preservation of all. It's the same thing when barricading the entrance to a squat when the building owners are trying to get in. In order for every individual to remain autonomous the entire community needs to join in unison and barricade the door. If that involves getting you out of your bed and forcibly putting your body onto the barricade, who cares if that makes me a communist rather than an anarchist?

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Aug 18 2012 21:22
qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
I'm trying to illustrate that by refusing to participate in the defense of the community, you'd quite possibly be assisting in its demise, and the demise of every individual a part of it. In such a case the freedom of the individual is bound up with the freedom of the community and transcending egoistic boundaries is imperative for the preservation of all. It's the same thing when barricading the entrance to a squat when the building owners are trying to get in. In order for every individual to remain autonomous the entire community needs to join in unison and barricade the door. If that involves getting you out of your bed and forcibly putting your body onto the barricade, who cares if that makes me a communist rather than an anarchist?

I don't see much difference between what you described above and a state. In a state all kinds of things are compulsory because they are "for the good of the community". Therefore in a state I have to pay taxes "for the good of the community" so that other people are provided with food, shelter, or medical care. I also have to "for the good of the community" either defend it with my own body in times of war (i.e. there is a possible military draft) or I have to pay taxes "for the good of the community" to maintain collective defense. All these things are compulsory and therefore cannot be part of an anarchist framework - compulsion "for the good of the community" is a state function. The state is simply the executive organ of the community which has the right to force individuals into conforming with the rules of that community. I am an anarchist and therefore oppose all such modes of organization. I will tell you right now that you putting my body on a barricade to defend "the community" is a statist and anti-anarchistic act. If it causes my death, you are partly responsible for my death.

Also your argument is ridiculous: "by refusing to participate in the defense of the community, you'd quite possibly be assisting in its demise"
That's like saying that if I see someone being beaten up in the street and I don't defend that person, I am inevitably "assisting" the people who are beating him up. This is ridiculous beyond words. I am responsible only for those people who I want to be responsible for, not for everyone in my community. I am also only responsible for my own actions, not for the actions of others. Furthermore, does that mean that pacifists can't be anarchists? Pacifists will not participate in any defense, and yet there can be no doubt that pacifists are by definition anarchists (because they never invade others). You seem to be getting yourself into a problematic position there...

Again, I encourage you to read Emile Armand's great summary of the individualist anarchist position:
http://www.panarchy.org/armand/individualist.html

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Aug 19 2012 00:18
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That's like saying that if I see someone being beaten up in the street and I don't defend that person, I am inevitably "assisting" the people who are beating him up. This is ridiculous beyond words. I am responsible only for those people who I want to be responsible for, not for everyone in my community.

Spoken like someone with sociopathic tendencies or just your average Randroid.

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Aug 19 2012 00:59
ComradeAppleton wrote:
In the 19th century American anarchist movement he was widely referred to as the leader of the "'State Communist" faction because he wrote that all individuals who possess or attempt to get hold of their own means of production have to be killed.

I do not believe in violence, and so do not defend anyone who advocates using it towards some goal. But just because Johann Most or any anarchist for that matter does so does not mean he or she is a “state communist.” It’s as if you’re just throwing up political labels and associating it with whatever you think it is. The question of violence has always divided the anarchist movement, but most would say it’s only okay when it comes to self-defense. However, ones position on this matter doesn’t distinguish whether that person is a communist, anarchist, liberal, conservative, primitivist, moderate, or even a fascist.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Historically Most and his people were opposed to "State Socialists" (those who wanted to establish socialism through political means like voting and lobbying government) and the "Socialist Anarchists" (individualists who did not want communism at all, but wanted a stateless society).

This quote is just insulting. It is firm proof that you came into this discussion (actually you started it) with a somewhat inaccurate, insufficient and confused knowledge of the broad anarchist movement you believe you are a part of. Politically, I consider myself a representative of socialist anarchism. Most people here at Libcom.org are representatives of socialist anarchism, even those you most disagree with and even find troubling. To make this clear; I’ll explain. The tradition of anarchism historically divided itself into two broad categories; socialist anarchism and individualist anarchism. There may be some overlap, but they have mostly been separated from each other. To make this clearer, socialist anarchism was and still is the largest current within the overall anarchist movement historically and internationally. Individualist anarchism has mostly been a literary phenomenon in the United States; basically a minority. Why? That’s because the “individualists” don’t have the right approach in tackling contemporary issues. Socialist anarchism, as a broad category, includes many tendencies; the most important ones are anarcho-collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism, and anarcho-communism. The last one, anarcho-communism (or communist anarchism), I would add emphasis on. For some reason, you don’t consider it a type of socialist anarchism. That’s because for you, socialist anarchists are “individualists” (a horrible assertion) who did not want communism (an assertion that is double worse than the previous one), but wanted a stateless society (this is an assertion that “communists” as you see them don’t want a stateless society, also wrong). For your information, the term “communism” is just a more radical synonym for the term “socialism”. There has been a lot of things associated with the term, but you shouldn't let such things confuse you.

I don’t know how you arrived at the assumption that socialist anarchists are “individualists”, and that they are distinctly different from communist anarchists. But the following quote sheds some light on your misstep:

ComradeAppleton wrote:
By definition, anyone who claims communism must be compulsory is a statist.

To you, communists are compulsive, which means there statists, socialist anarchists are not, which somehow means there “individualists”. Communist anarchists are not compulsive, as there is nothing to suggest in their literature or from you that they are. And there’s nothing here in this thread by previous participants, who identified themselves as communists, to suggest so also. You are going to have to elaborate here.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Marx wanted to use violent and political means to nationalize (collectivize) everything so that eventually somehow a magic stateless utopia could emerge, while Kropotkin wanted to keep communism voluntary. Marx was the biggest influence on the State Socialist and State Communist movements, while Kropotkin and Proudhon were popular with the Socialist Anarchists (despite their hostile attitude toward communism, they deeply admired Kropotkin).

Marxism is another matter which I am not going to go into here. From my understanding of history, the socialist tradition itself divided into two separate categories much like anarchism: a libertarian strand (socialism from below) and an authoritarian strand (socialism from above). Identifying with the former is socialist anarchism, while Marxism is placed in the latter. Your right, Marx had the biggest influence on the latter. But you said something very contradictory, “…while Kropotkin and Proudhon were popular with the Socialist Anarchists (despite their hostile attitude toward communism, they deeply admired Kropotkin).” That explanation is totally confusing.

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Aug 19 2012 04:29
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
I do not believe in violence, and so do not defend anyone who advocates using it towards some goal. But just because Johann Most or any anarchist for that matter does so does not mean he or she is a “state communist.”

First of all I was simply repeating what was said of Most in the 19th century. Among the Socialist Anarchists he was called a State Communist. I can quote sources if you wish. Second, what else would you call someone who advocates violence against anyone who does not comply to his/her vision of society? That is exactly the definition of a state - a violent organization which forces people to conform. There is no other definition of the state that I know of.

Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
The tradition of anarchism historically divided itself into two broad categories; socialist anarchism and individualist anarchism.

I think you got mixed up when I used the words "social" and "socialist". They have a distinct meaning. The American individualist anarchists of the 19th century were socialist anarchists, but they were not what you would call "social" anarchists. They believed that the socialist critique of capitalism was correct, but they preferred an individualist solution to the problem. So they were socialist individualists, but they were not collectivists. Socialism does not imply collectivism, it only implies anti-capitalism. I did not mean to say anything negative about you or anyone else, I think you just did not understand my terminology. As an example - Benjamin Tucker, a leading 19th century individualist anarchist, was a socialist. But he was not a collectivist (so he was not a "social anarchist").
I never claimed that communists or any other anarchists are not socialists or are not social. You got me all wrong there because of the terminology. I am just saying that in America in the 19th century there were three main currents of socialism present. One was the State Socialists (who were most numerous and included people around literary magazines like the San Francisco Truth). There were also the Communists (especially around Johann Most and his Freiheit as well as the Chicago Alarm). The third were the Socialist Anarchists, also known as the Boston Anarchists (because their main publication, Liberty, was published in Boston).

Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
Individualist anarchism has mostly been a literary phenomenon in the United States

Now it is my turn to be insulted I guess. Individualist anarchists included many great and well known personalities in Europe as well as the United States. They were well enough known, in fact, to often engage in lengthy debates with representatives of the State Socialist and Communist movements. Some members included P.J. Proudhon, Henry Seymour, and John Henry Mackay in Europe, as well as Benjamin Tucker, Voltairine de Cleyre, Josiah Warren, and Lysander Spooner in the United States. These well known people were not just a "literary phenomenon in the United States".

Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
And there’s nothing here in this thread by previous participants, who identified themselves as communists

In you carefully read some of the posts above, people have claimed that I should be shot or put into a mental institution for not being a communist. If that's not compulsion I don't know what is.

My statement about individualists admiring Kropotkin is not confusing once you understand why he was admired. He was admired because he wanted to abolish the state and in its place establish voluntary institutions. That is exactly what individualist anarchists (myself included) also want, so their aims were identical. Where they differed was what kind of institutions they wanted to establish - individualists wanted individual ownership of the means of production, while Kropotkin wanted communism, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". But for the individualists this was not a problem since Kropotkin made clear his communism would be voluntary and individualists could live apart from the commune and own their own means of production. The hostility of the individualists was aimed at people who advocated compulsory communism and confiscation of all privately held means of production - people like Johann Most.

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Aug 19 2012 07:13
ComradeAppleton wrote:
I don't see much difference between what you described above and a state...Also your argument is ridiculous: "by refusing to participate in the defense of the community, you'd quite possibly be assisting in its demise"
That's like saying that if I see someone being beaten up in the street and I don't defend that person, I am inevitably "assisting" the people who are beating him up. This is ridiculous beyond words. I am responsible only for those people who I want to be responsible for, not for everyone in my community. I am also only responsible for my own actions, not for the actions of others. Furthermore, does that mean that pacifists can't be anarchists? Pacifists will not participate in any defense, and yet there can be no doubt that pacifists are by definition anarchists (because they never invade others). You seem to be getting yourself into a problematic position there...

Again, I encourage you to read Emile Armand's great summary of the individualist anarchist position:
http://www.panarchy.org/armand/individualist.html

You are right that it is hypocritical and wrong to compel a person to fight for freedom. However, isn't allowing violence to happen when it is quite possibly within your means to stop and minimize it not pacifism at all? And how can there be anarchy when even though you're enjoying personal freedom, others around you are being subjugated and oppressed? It's more than just an eyesore to see people being dominated and exploited, it's a duty to go and help them. I think you're completely right that that duty should never be dictated by an external authority... but one ought to be compelled by one's conscience. If you don't have a social conscience, you're not an anarchist. Anarchism is freedom among society, not apart from it.

Anyways, I hope we can still be friends comrade. I admire your principles and think you're a valuable asset to the cause of liberty, even if somewhat overzealous. I dare say though... The Commune will be watching you. I enjoyed that individualist bill of rights, though I find it somewhat abstract for my mind. Here's my recommendation for you: http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/michail-bakunin-revolutionary-catechism

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Aug 19 2012 09:10
qbbmvrjsssdd wrote:
You are right that it is hypocritical and wrong to compel a person to fight for freedom. However, isn't allowing violence to happen when it is quite possibly within your means to stop and minimize it not pacifism at all? And how can there be anarchy when even though you're enjoying personal freedom, others around you are being subjugated and oppressed? It's more than just an eyesore to see people being dominated and exploited, it's a duty to go and help them.

I completely agree with you and it would be my honor to call you my comrade. I think a person would have to be completely callous not to help someone when they can easily do so without much sacrifice on their part. I work for charity a lot myself and I am very active in campaigning and agitating for anarchy. I don't want to be oppressed, but I don't want to see others oppressed either.
I wouldn't go quite as far as calling this my "duty" though because I don't think I'm responsible for other people's well being or freedom. I help others out of a sense of compassion, not a sense of duty.

As for your reference to Bakunin's Revolutionary Catechism let me assure I have read it and find it a great document, although contradictory in quite a few places. Nonetheless these inconsistencies haven't bothered me enough to speak much ill of Bakunin. Currently I have five portraits of great thinkers hanging around my apartment - Bakunin's is in the hallway straight as you enter my place smile

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Aug 19 2012 14:40
ComradeAppleton wrote:
That's like saying that if I see someone being beaten up in the street and I don't defend that person, I am inevitably "assisting" the people who are beating him up. This is ridiculous beyond words. I am responsible only for those people who I want to be responsible for, not for everyone in my community.

Spoken like a true sociopath. Were you bullied as a child or something?

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Aug 19 2012 15:02

Oh god... I scare myself when I'm high. Please don't insult the individualist, he means well, he means well... he was just sticking a little firmly to his principles...

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Aug 19 2012 15:10

qbbmvrjsssdd why did you delte/edit your post. Even though you wrote it high, you made some really good points and you gave me quite the lulz as well (especially towards the end there).

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Aug 19 2012 15:39
ComradeAppleton wrote:
First of all I was simply repeating what was said of Most in the 19th century. Among the Socialist Anarchists he was called a State Communist. I can quote sources if you wish. Second, what else would you call someone who advocates violence against anyone who does not comply to his/her vision of society? That is exactly the definition of a state - a violent organization which forces people to conform. There is no other definition of the state that I know of.

Repeating what was said of Most throughout the 19th century is not going to do you justice. It seems to me he had accusations thrown at him, but it doesn’t mean that those accusations were correct or some historical laws to be repeated down generations. I have no idea in what situation Most was advocating violence; as I said, I hardly know the guy. But his means in this case, wouldn’t describe his ends. Your last sentence is just ridiculous. I think participants before have already explained to you as to what is a state. You seem to be equating the state with just organization (totally wrong). Hopefully you mean, at least, violent, hierarchical, organization.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
I think you got mixed up when I used the words "social" and "socialist". They have a distinct meaning. The American individualist anarchists of the 19th century were socialist anarchists, but they were not what you would call "social" anarchists.

This further proves just how much of a confused individualist you are. The term “social anarchism” is just short for socialist anarchism, and has been for at least one and a half centuries. So the words “social” and “socialist” do not have distinct meanings. You can use one or the other, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know why you would introduce “social” anarchism, when we have been only using “socialist” anarchism, as I recall, throughout the whole discussion. Apparently you think there’s some pre-defined meaning behind “social” anarchism that sets it apart from socialism. But the following quote from you provides us with some more clues into your mistakes.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
They believed that the socialist critique of capitalism was correct, but they preferred an individualist solution to the problem. So they were socialist individualists, but they were not collectivists. Socialism does not imply collectivism, it only implies anti-capitalism.

Belief in the socialist critique of capitalism isn’t enough to make you a socialist. Your just reducing what the word “socialism” implies, which is what many people have been doing in recent history. It has been associated with “reformism”, “social democracy”, or “welfare state capitalism”, and in your case, a merely “anti-capitalism”. As I understand it, socialism has developed over the past two centuries to the point that it comes with clearly defined vision(s) that goes along with its analysis. To be a socialist, one has to be consistent in his approach; analysis and vision. After all, one’s vision is a reflection of what he/she understands of the current order and all of its faults. By now, socialism implies complete social transformation (socialization, collectivization, democratization, etc.), not just mere disagreement with capitalism or a “tweaked” capitalism as social democrats have done. Your next quote reveals why you would make such a reduction.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
As an example - Benjamin Tucker, a leading 19th century individualist anarchist, was a socialist. But he was not a collectivist (so he was not a "social anarchist").

I am aware that Benjamin Tucker referred to himself as a socialist, but that was at a time when socialism was barely developed. Your quote demonstrates how you perceive political movements as “abstract philosophical concepts”, not as historical movements of people. You do not take into consideration; history and time. You accept concepts as they were at one particular time, without reflecting on how much they have changed in usage. That’s why there is so much confusion in this debate. You’re approaching this debate as if we are in 1880, not the year 2012. By now, it is widely accepted amongst scholars who are interested in the topic that Benjamin Tucker is not a socialist. Your approach is, by nature, a fixed ahistorical dogma that I hope you will one day overcome. Until then, we can have a decent debate or discussion.

ComradeAppleton wrote:
Individualist anarchists included many great and well known personalities in Europe as well as the United States. They were well enough known, in fact, to often engage in lengthy debates with representatives of the State Socialist and Communist movements. Some members included P.J. Proudhon, Henry Seymour, and John Henry Mackay in Europe, as well as Benjamin Tucker, Voltairine de Cleyre, Josiah Warren, and Lysander Spooner in the United States. These well known people were not just a "literary phenomenon in the United States".

First of all, a movement that is comprised of only intellectuals (“personalities”) is what I mean by literary movement. Socialist anarchism is comprised of many intellectuals as well, but what set it apart as not a mere literary movement is the fact that it developed within the mass workers movement all over the world. Many of its principals have guided such movements, such as the IWW (“the Wobblies”). That is why socialist anarchism is also referred to as “class-struggle” anarchism, because it engages in the class struggle, something the majority of individualist anarchists have rejected historically. It is not enough that a few intellectuals here and there engage in some lengthy debate. But the individualists won’t go any further because they totally reject organization- and all kinds of organization.

I have no problem with what individualists espouse. Their desire to own their own plot of land in some “small” market setting is fine with me. But it is a desire that only wishes to rewind the clock backwards so we can see capitalism start all over again; it’s essentially a reactionary position. We, socialist anarchists, consider it to be an ahistorical fantasy. We understand, through our historical and social analysis, that in order to move forward with genuine change, we have to consider what it is we are dealing with at present and what dynamic is pushing society past, present, and future. The current infrastructure we are dealing with can’t allow us to have your “small” market vision.

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Aug 19 2012 16:05
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
You seem to be equating the state with just organization (totally wrong). Hopefully you mean violent, hierarchical, organization.

I am not equating the state with organization. I am equating the state with compulsory organization (one which enforces its decisions with violence), and compulsory organization is hierarchical by definition. If we have 50 people, none of whom call themselves a leader and are therefore all functionally equals, and 49 of those people compel one man to do something against his will, then a government has already been established and class has already been created. You then have a ruling class (numbering 49) and a subservient slave class of 1 man. Thus any compulsion of one person by another inherently creates a hierarchy, whereas any cooperation of one person with another eliminates hierarchy. Any such organization (from which a person is not allowed to secede at any given time) is a state.

Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
But the individualists won’t go any further because they totally reject organization- and all kinds of organization.

I don't think you know your history well - individualists never rejected organization and many of them were very active in the labor movement (Lum, de Cleyre, Libertad, and so on). The problem is that individualists do not usually approve of the methods of action which labor has historically employed, and being a minority with no decision-making power many individualists were simply forced to leave the movement due to a conflict of moral values. There is nothing wrong with that, however. If one does not approve of the means of others, it would be shameful to remain in alliance with them in ignorance of this fact. There is no shame in being a minority and there is no shame in acting as individuals rather than as groups.
The point you keep making is that individualists reject organization. It is true that some individualists have gone as far as saying that cooperation can be inherently harmful to the individual (Godwin, Bellegarrigue), but most do not hold that position and in fact oppose it. Individualists only assert that all organization has to be voluntary and individuals have to have a means of withdrawing from an organization if they deem it necessary to do so. This is because organization is something that is established for the good of the individuals, where each person may profit by being part of the group. The point of organizing is not to benefit the "group" (the abstraction), but the individual (the concrete being).

Furthermore, individualists do not care that according to you "current infrastructure we are dealing with can’t allow us to have your “small” market vision" because your opinion is inconsequential to the individualist as he/she does not recognize your right to determine what is or is not "allowed". In fact that is the whole point of being an anarchist - rejection of other people's laws and dogma in favor of living your own life the way you always wanted to live it!

And just to finish on a cheerful note, a word of advice: I think maybe you should cast aside your grand historical vision, your movement in which you flow as only one particle in a million, and your master plan for establishing the machine of the future, where so much is "allowed" and so much "not allowed". Try it for a minute, if you can, and see how it feels. Who knows, maybe personal liberation can be as exciting as social liberation?

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Aug 19 2012 16:48
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Furthermore, individualists do not care that according to you "current infrastructure we are dealing with can’t allow us to have your “small” market vision" because your opinion is inconsequential to the individualist as he/she does not recognize your right to determine what is or is not "allowed".

I guess your the guy who gets hit by a parked car by accident.

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Aug 19 2012 17:08
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Furthermore, individualists do not care that according to you "current infrastructure we are dealing with can’t allow us to have your “small” market vision" because your opinion is inconsequential to the individualist as he/she does not recognize your right to determine what is or is not "allowed".

I guess your the guy who gets hit by a parked car by accident.

No, I'm the guy who doesn't get run over because I don't walk blindly onto a highway in the middle of the day and "let the social forces" apply themselves to me.

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Sep 14 2012 07:37
Comrade(sic)Appleton wrote:
If we have 50 people, none of whom call themselves a leader and are therefore all functionally equals, and 49 of those people compel one man to do something against his will, then a government has already been established and class has already been created. You then have a ruling class (numbering 49) and a subservient slave class of 1 man. Thus any compulsion of one person by another inherently creates a hierarchy, whereas any cooperation of one person with another eliminates hierarchy. Any such organization (from which a person is not allowed to secede at any given time) is a state.

This is bourgeois individualist nonsense (and sexist), totally ahistorical regarding 'governments', 'classes' and 'states', and denies the eternal reality for all humans of society.

As Communists, we wish to control society, and bend it as far as is possible to all of our individual needs, not secede from it and abdicate our duty to our comrades.

You're in for a shock, mate, because by your definition a 'commune' is a 'state'...

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Sep 15 2012 17:18
LBird wrote:
As Communists, we wish to control society, and bend it as far as is possible to all of our individual needs, not secede from it and abdicate our duty to our comrades.

You're in for a shock, mate, because by your definition a 'commune' is a 'state'...

I think you are living in lalaland if you think 'society' actually exists and can act as a unit to control 'itself'. Society is not some self-aware or self-sufficient organism. It's just shorthand for a group of individuals. Unless of course you just mean that you want to control these individuals (become a dictator) - as has been the strategy of all Soviet-style communists...

I cannot secede from society because it's impossible to secede from something that does not exist. All I want is for other people to leave me alone (unless I feel like interacting with them). Either free interaction or no interaction. Society is an abstraction in your mind which you keep thrusting upon people who do not believe in its existence. I do not accept any religion, whether it wants me to obey the rules of 'god', 'state', 'nation' or 'society', the name does not change the thing, they are all types of abstractions created by your mind.

A commune is a free association, not a state. If I find it advantageous to live in a commune with like-minded people, I do not care what you call it. Your sophisms mean nothing to me.

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Sep 15 2012 17:40
Comrade(sic)Appleton wrote:
Society is ... just shorthand for a group of individuals.

Margaret Thatcher wrote:
There is no such thing as "society," only individuals...

Thanks for your clarity of expression, CA. Usually, the 'individualists' on here try to convolutedly justify their claims of 'individualism' and try reconcile their unexamined bourgeois programming with Communism, an impossible task.

I don't think that there's any point to me explaining any further, is there? You seem to be happy with your understanding of Communism, and there are plenty of other threads, besides this one, which address the issues of reductionism and structures, which include the issue of 'society'. Cheers.

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Sep 15 2012 18:23

Yes, because everyone who is against the god 'society' is equal to Margaret Thatcher, right? I assume you also think everyone who opposes the god 'yahweh' is Pol Pot, or any other madman who just happens to be an atheist?
"God is dead, we killed him" said one famous indivdualist. And we will continue to kill gods as long as people keep shoving them in our faces...

You go ahead, keep trying to create these controlling demons and I will just laugh, like Stirner, Proudhon, Nietzsche, and others laughed before me. I understand your urge to control others through abstractions, but such strategies are not going to work on the true individualist.

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Sep 15 2012 18:58

Whereas "the individual" is not an abstraction at all grin