Reading Recommendations for a Fellow Anarchist

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LBird
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Sep 18 2012 10:28
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Perhaps it is my fault - I am not the most eloquent of people.

It's not eloquence that you lack, mate, but the abilities to read, understand and reason!

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Khawaga
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Sep 18 2012 13:43

Comrade Appleton just want everyone to participate in the awakening of the sociopaths by passing around that masterpiece of theoretical work known as 'Dexter'.

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Agent of the Fi...
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Sep 18 2012 14:09

Again, where in the universe does he live?

It's truly amazing!

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jura
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Sep 18 2012 16:39

It's planet Debate Club, I guess.

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laborbund
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Sep 18 2012 17:22
Khawaga wrote:
Comrade Appleton just want everyone to participate in the awakening of the sociopaths by passing around that masterpiece of theoretical work known as 'Dexter'.

You, my friend, have warmed the cockles of my heart.

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ComradeAppleton
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Sep 18 2012 20:51
Khawaga wrote:
Comrade Appleton just want everyone to participate in the awakening of the sociopaths by passing around that masterpiece of theoretical work known as 'Dexter'.

As usual, you display a complete lack of understanding and reduce individualism to a crude stereotype. Individualism is to sociopathy as communism is to the Stalinist gulag concentration camps. Get a grip and read a little on a subject before totally slandering it and exposing yourself as a very mediocre intellect.

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Sep 18 2012 22:16
ComradeMellon wrote:
For the individualist communism has one fatal flaw - it requires organization.

[...]

The job of the individualist is to question and critique all customs, dogmas, and fixed ideas. With each criticism there is hope that some inner scepticism will be awakened within other people which might lead them to discard their silly abstractions. That is what happened to me, so it might also happen to others.

So through questioning and critique you hope to free people from their false consciousness and awaken them to the righteous truth of Comrade Appleton Thought?

Ok, you Stirno-Leninist, what next?

How do you propose that your individualist revolt against the abstraction of society will spread to the benighted sheeple masses? This project might be a bit tricky since you eschew all forms of organization..

Which is another reason why, and you'll probably hate this, the anarchist-communist critique of society and vision of the future is far more realistic than yours - in addition to being preferable. For all your protestations that we are spinning abstract fantasies, you are the one (as people have constantly tried to drill into your head) who has crafted a bizarre conception of the universe and how the world works.

You see, communists understand the overcoming of capital and the state as a real movement whose precepts are already in existence; one that is based on our common condition as workers impelled to destroy the very conditions that bind us to our exploiters. So, our understanding of how humankind might move past exploitation is informed by our critique.

Your bankrupt analysis of the human world leads to the complete incoherence of your project.

ComradeMellon wrote:
Do other people's actions have an effect on me? Sure. Does that mean I am now in some mystical union with them, from which I cannot escape? No.

I suggest you follow this line of thought to its logical conclusion. That is to say, fuck off and go live in an isolated, free-market utopian community somewhere. Escape may just be your best bet at realizing the core tenets of Comrade Appleton Thought.

Here is a friendly suggestion.

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Sep 18 2012 23:19

Language is a product of society. Hence the phrase "there is no such thing as society" - as a proposition is inconsistent with the very act of being able to form it. As a speech act, however, it does have a meaning - usually "I am a bourgeois idiot". See also the etymological origin of idiot.

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Sep 18 2012 23:41

ComradeSociopath. I am not reducing individualism to a crude stereotype, I am reducing your "theory" into one. If you want a "serious" answer, look at what Ocelot wrote. Your very use of language is evidence that society exists and that individuals can be so only in society.

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Sep 19 2012 09:22
Khawaga wrote:
ComradeSociopath. I am not reducing individualism to a crude stereotype, I am reducing your "theory" into one. If you want a "serious" answer, look at what Ocelot wrote. Your very use of language is evidence that society exists and that individuals can be so only in society.

Again, by name-calling you are simply reducing to stereotype. But I guess perhaps you simply do not possess the capacity to understand why the individual is an individual and why self-determination and sovereignty of each person is of paramount importance.
Your point about language is utterly misplaced. Language is indeed a social phenomenon, although where human beings (or other rational agents) are concerned the 'stuff' language conveys is not necessarily social. But look at all other phenomena that exist 'socially': the state, the church, the army, rape, theft, murder, genocide, exploitation, etc, etc. Proudhon did after all write that the state is just a mirror of society.
So what is the problem with communist 'society' theory? The problem is that communists give society existence (as all socialists do). Society becomes, in their mind, an entity. But society is not an entity. It is only a group of people. Therefore it is impossible to do anything to society qua society. It is only possible to act individually and have an effect on individuals. Society is an abstraction just as the state is an abstraction. These are conventions that only 'exist' and lead or frighten us as long as we believe in them (this used to be true for god). Many secularists needed to replace their god, so they began their talk of 'society' as an entity.

Either way, I doubt you can understand this because you don't seem to be able to grasp the distinction between an abstract concept and observable reality. Society belongs in the first category, the individual in the latter.

Also, since you are averse to logic, you will not accept the reasoning that society is identical to the state.
That is - you (I assume you want to abolish the state) would presumably say: "I was born being part of a nation or ethic group and into a state structure. But I do not recognize the state, the nation, or the ethnic group as anything but social constructs."
Similarly I would say "I was born in a particular society is a particular social structure. But I do not recognize this society or social structure as anything more than social constructs which people have been brainwashed into believing in by their overlords."
Logically, these propositions are identical. Just as you say I can't escape society because it had an effect on me (through me acquiring language, for example) I would say that you cannot escape the nation (through acquiring the language and customs of your nation). This is a fact which socialists and nationalists have in common - they both hold abstract collectives as higher goods, more powerful than the individuals that create them. I say if my mind created them, my mind can destroy them just as easily.

This is what it means to be a-social. It does not mean that you are sociopath or hate people. It does not mean that you don't want to associate with them. It does not mean that you don't want to help others in need or share work and enjoyment with them. All it means is that every individual has to freely determine to what extent he/she does these things. Many individualists, such as Albert Libertad and George Paraf-Javal, were communists. But every real individualist has to respect the choice of others not to be a communist or even to detest communists.

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Sep 19 2012 13:38

For you to be even able of thinking about the individual it has to be an abstract category of knowledge. It is sorta the case with anything. So there goes your entire argument.

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Sep 19 2012 15:50
ComradeAppleton wrote:
So what is the problem with communist 'society' theory? The problem is that communists give society existence (as all socialists do). Society becomes, in their mind, an entity. But society is not an entity. It is only a group of people.

Suggestive reading for a Chumrade (as this is, after all, the thread title).

Emile Durkheim The Rules of Sociological Method - especially the section on 'social facts'.

Wiki on structure and agency

Also, Emergent properties

While I think it is wrong to say the sum is greater than the parts (some borg-communist shit right there)

It remains the case, it seems to me, that the interaction between individuals and 'the social' (rather than 'society' that implies civil society and nation [which can then be used as a springboard for lazy comparisons between 'socialists' and 'nationalists']) is a mutually determining one which is far more complex than 'do as we say' (nasty stalin bogeyman) or 'I can just unplug from this society shit willy nilly' (crude individualism).

LBird
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Sep 19 2012 16:04
Arbeiten wrote:
Also, Emergent properties

While I think it is wrong to say the sum is greater than the parts (some borg-communist shit right there)

Unfortunately, Arbeiten, the notion of 'emergent properties' does imply 'the sum is greater than the parts'.

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Sep 19 2012 20:56
Khawaga wrote:
For you to be even able of thinking about the individual it has to be an abstract category of knowledge. It is sorta the case with anything. So there goes your entire argument.

Let's clear this up first - it is impossible to think in anything but abstractions. This may be so (although I would argue that many words are used to describe existing reality rather than abstractions). Why would you want to make your life much more difficult and create new abstractions which have no basis in fact, like society, the state, the nation, or god? All these words are, to an honest man, useless in real life activities. Their only purpose is confounding inferior intellects and devious manipulation. That is all your vision of society is - a lot of babble which I am supposed to believe for your benefit.

Arbeiten wrote:
'I can just unplug from this society shit willy nilly' (crude individualism).

If by 'unplug from society' you mean that starting tomorrow I will talk to no one, interact with no one, and refuse to accept anyone's services or help, then you are correct. But this is a misrepresentation of what I have been trying to say. I oppose abstract collectives like 'the nation', 'state', and 'society' because they are groups of people which claim me as their own. People say that these groups have a right to lay claim on my person and property because I am (despite all my will) part of them. Such is the nature of slavery. You are born into this system, and there is no escape says the society-man (socialist). But if you work for us you will get true freedom in cooperation say the anarchist communists. In other words, arbeit macht frei.

I can, through a simple and conscious act of will, oppose this imposition on my person. To be against society is not to be against association. Society claims to be a compulsory association, just another synonym for the state.
To quote one more eloquent than I:

Emile Armand wrote:
He [the individualist anarchist] does not believe that all the evils that men suffer come exclusively from capitalism or from private property. He believes that they are due especially to the defective mentality of men, taken as a bloc. There are not masters because there are slaves and the gods do not subsist because some faithful kneel. The individualist anarchist loses interest in a violent revolution having for aim a transformation of the mode of distribution of products in the collectivist or communist sense, which would hardly bring about a change in the general mentality and which would not provoke at all the emancipation of the individual being. In a communist regime that one would be as subordinated as presently to the good will of the environment: he would find himself as poor, as miserable as now; instead of being under the thumb of the small capitalist minority of the present, he would be dominated by the economic ensemble. Nothing would properly belong to him. He would be a producer, a consumer, put a little or take some from the heap, but he would never be autonomous.

In other words, communism is not a solution. Personal choice and the triumph of will is the solution (at least personally). I do not care that under communism the capitalist exploiter would be replaced by a large group, 'society'. Why would I care what my slave master is called as long as I have a slave master? His name does not matter to me.

The to the communist collective I oppose the voluntary association of free individuals, each working toward his/her own ends. In this sense, I can indeed 'unplug' from society.

LBird
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Sep 19 2012 21:21
ComradeAppleton wrote:
...the triumph of will is the solution...

This sounds uncomfortably too close to 'Triumph of the Will'.

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Sep 19 2012 21:30

Comrade Appleton has elevated solipsism to a doctrine. It's basically a rather shite version of 'cogito ergo sum'.

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Sep 19 2012 22:03
Khawaga wrote:
Comrade Appleton has elevated solipsism to a doctrine. It's basically a rather shite version of 'cogito ergo sum'.

And I assume your motto is IGNORANCE IS BLISS...

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Sep 20 2012 00:01

This is what happens when you reject history, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, humanities, etc.

You are perhaps one of the most dogmatic thinkers to have ever walked this planet. I mean, seriously! You read the texts of a few so-called "individualists", and quote them like a good Christian and his Bible. You opened yourself to only these guys (Stirner, Armand, etc.), and closed out everyone who has had some significant contribution to the broad scope of intellectual knowledge. You have trapped your mind in a bubble. The only thing that goes in is whatever makes you feel good; whatever reaffirms your predetermined righteousness. You have already made up your mind. You don't what to change it. You refuse to consider anything that may contradict your current thought. Anything that may do so, you dismiss instantly; because to do otherwise, you would have to change. You would have to change your whole outlook. You would have to think, most importantly. And you wouldn't want to do that. Why? Well, one can say your lazy. Like those damn "teabaggers".

But that's not the reason. The real reason is because your current outlook comes with some benefits. Your current outlook (or dogmatism), by placing itself on the basis of the supreme individual, tells you that all you have to do, is abolish everything and start over. Lets rewind the clock backwards and restart this system of oppressive exploitation. But this time, you plan to put yourself in front of the line, and grab the biggest share of whatever's there. And force under your rule a mass of wage laborers. And no one can object. It's your "property", right? It's your "work", right? No one has a "claim" on you, right? Plus, wage labor is voluntary! It seems to me, this outlook makes you feel good and right; it makes you feel as if you would not have done anything wrong in your so-called free society.

Well, let me tell you something! I can tell no one on this forum, including myself, would want to work for you Mr. Comrade Reagan Appleton!

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Sep 19 2012 23:59

And by the way, Emile Armand is total garbage! So stop quoting him. It's not going to get you far.

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Sep 20 2012 01:46

Appleton is to Anarchism what Dick Cheney is to Anarchism.

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Sep 20 2012 09:37

On the contrary, you people are to anarchy what Stalin is to anarchy. I can already tell that all you want to do is collectivise everything and punish anyone who shows any private initiative or tries to produce for himself/herself. You pave the road to the gulag.

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Sep 20 2012 10:06

Oh, come now. You sound like that one Randian acquaintance of mine who thinks if he fixes his neighbor's fence and gets some eggs for it, it's wage labor.

Guess pointing out that we are not the borg won't help since this 'discussion' if you want to call it that (more like two sides throwing shit at each other) has been moving in circles for 8 pages now. In a free access economy no one will give two flying fucks if you bake a cake and don't want to share. It's all about social practice and not isolated incidents - it's exactly this separation of private and social that is part of the problem (like one of the main contradictions of capitalism, social production and private appropriation), but that does not mean that suddenly we'll go FULL 1984 on you because you erect a fence around your lot!

The issue of private initiative opens a can of worms but this is in my opinion just another expression of the same contradiction between social and private and the resulting alienation of wage labor and the fragmentation of society into atomized cells.. If people go, oh what the fuck do I care about others and just kick back (or as another example, the 'tragedy of the commons' or graffiti on a wall), that's exactly the result of this divide stemming from "mine = I care" and "not mine = I don't give a fuck". That does not however mean it's always been like that or ever will. The thing is, even 'private initiative' is always a collective process (as Khawaga and others pointed out, by means of far-reaching social interconnections that are both visible and invisible). But we've been there before (with the example of fences and production of screws).

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Sep 20 2012 10:34

Railyon, I think you're making the mistake of taking at face value your interlocutors assertions that what attracts him to his position is "rationality". In fact, if you read the sub-text, the "Neitzschean" aesthetic is clear - the repression/eroticism of the übermensch reveals itself in recurring turns of phrases and irrepressible expressions of misanthropic contempt. The surface or form presents itself as rational, but the underlying libidinal drive is clearly the fascistic aesthetic of the self-love of the superior man pleasuring himself through liguistic frottage against the inferior slave-minded hordes. It's not discourse, it's masturbation. If I was you, I stop giving him what he wants, get some kleenex and clean yourself off, and go in search of more productive dialogue.

Just saying...

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Sep 20 2012 10:34

I think the overall message I got from the libcom community is "if you're not a communist, you're not welcome here". Any anarchists who are not communists aren't welcome. This is just about the same reception I get on ancap forums.

Also, comparing property in the sense that I have been writing about to state property is just plain ignorance. Would anyone here call Proudhon a "Randian"? I get the feeling this would happen...

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Sep 20 2012 10:42

proudhon wrote an entire book against property.

I don't see proudhon as an anarchist though, and i wouldn't consider him a comrade. he was was an incredible misogynist and racist, as well as being nationalistic and opposing communism.

you do know that libcom is short for libertarian communism right?

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Sep 20 2012 11:06
ComradeAppleton wrote:
Also, comparing property in the sense that I have been writing about to state property is just plain ignorance.

I'm quite positive the overwhelming majority of people here will say state property and private property are just two sides of the same coin.

The more I think about it the more I think there are two different 'languages' being spoken here. Which in my experience has nearly always been the case when I've talked to marketeers. And I mean that in the least judgmental way possible.

It's peculiar really. Maybe both camps are both so imprisoned in their own modes of thought that discussion becomes nearly impossible.

LBird
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Sep 20 2012 11:06
Railyon wrote:
I'm quite positive the overwhelming majority of people here will say state property and private property are just two sides of the same coin.

Surely the distinction is between productive property (whether state or private) and personal property?

Productive property is social property and will be under our democratic control, whereas personal property is for private usage (underpants, toothbrush, etc.).

The definition of what constitutes 'personal property' will also be a social decision, not a private one.

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Sep 20 2012 11:08
LBird wrote:
Surely the distinction is between productive property (whether state or private) and personal property?

Productive property is social property and will be under our democratic control, whereas personal property is for private usage (underpants, toothbrush, etc.).

The definition of what constitutes 'personal property' will also be a social decision, not a private one.

Yes, I think this distinction is where the cross is buried. Private property for the free marketeers seems to be anything you can have the right of possession of, a way of looking at it that is just all too common.

Cue my statement about different languages being spoken. There's witchcraft at work here.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 20 2012 11:16
LBird wrote:
Railyon wrote:
I'm quite positive the overwhelming majority of people here will say state property and private property are just two sides of the same coin.

Surely the distinction is between productive property (whether state or private) and personal property?

Productive property is social property and will be under our democratic control, whereas personal property is for private usage (underpants, toothbrush, etc.).

The definition of what constitutes 'personal property' will also be a social decision, not a private one.

i think most people here call personal property "possessions", and normally use "property" to mean exclusively the private ownership of the means of production, unless they explicitly say otherwise.

I've noticed market supporters like to conflate the two concepts, or can't understand the difference, and use defences of possessions to defend ownership of the means of production.

omen
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Sep 20 2012 11:46

This thread made me do this:

(Click for bigger version.)