anarchism: communist or individualist?

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Sep 27 2004 03:58
anarchism: communist or individualist?

Let's talk about communism. It seems enrager=communists, so let's discuss communism and how it relates to anarchism. What have libertarian socialists told you?

  1. You will replace capitalism with federations, a euphemism for a bureaucracy of delegates who function no different than a state.
  2. Work will be no less optional than under capitalism.
  3. When no one wants to do a particular job, the federation will either have to make someone do it, which is authoritative, or pay someone extra to do it, which goes against the classless, egalitarian society that socialism promises.
  4. You give too much trust to your delegates whom you can't watch all the time. Power corrupts everyone.
  5. There has never been a successful socialist nation, so you can't say it's possible! All attempts have resulted in worse societies, so maybe you should consider infrastructure such as federations are innately authoritarian! Does the brief success of Catalonia prove socialism isn't sustainable?

Socialism is the same thing as capitalism: industrialism, an expansionist system that tries to employ all life on earth. Industry can't work as an island. It must reach out more and more to sustain progress.

Does individuality play into this? Certainly, individual autonomy is the only self-determination there is! The alternative to industrialism is quite simply a non-industrial society. There are lots of benefits that we, members of industrial nations, don't enjoy, but these aren't free from hierarchy. Whenever a family or community gets too overbearing, one can form another or live by him/herself! Their only flaw has been the inability to defend themselves from imperialists.

This post is heavily based on http://www.anarchosyndicalism.net/critics/against.htm Thanx

PS to put this in its proper light, this was in response to the badgering people gave me here [/]

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JDMF
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Sep 27 2004 09:34

dude, anarchism without socialism isn't worth much. I rather joint the trots than individualists (though i see anarchism as the best system for the individual freedom).

I'm not into theories, so i have to keep this short: your view of freedom is twisted, if you want to swap the theoretic possibilities of hierarchy of any kind to the tyranny of the environment, elements and natural diseases etc. hey i defend the indigenious peoples right to their way of life as much as any primitivist, but lets face it: the life is short and brute.

In anarchist (the syndicalist variation that you quoted) society there is more freedom than in your utopia, because you are free to leave the anarchist society of you so wish to live your primitivist life in the forrest - but the reverse is not true in your utopia.

WeTheYouth
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Sep 27 2004 10:56

In some aspects i can agree with what you are saying about individuality and the possibility of a federation becoming corrupt with beuracrats, but socialism can be achieved through anarchism, i think history has dealt us a bad hand, and especially anarchism has had some spectacular failures throughout history, probably the biggest was in spain or the dissent into terrorism in the the early 20th century, which destroyed alot of our credibility within the labour movement.

Personally an anarchist utopia can not and never will be achieved, and it is idiocy to think that it can, there will always be someone who will want more than another. What can happen is the destruction of goiving people the opportunity to gain power, and that is what will happen through the use of an anarchist federation, those individuals who seek to gain power will be stopped because the structure of a true socialist society will endemically stop those who try to gain power.

circle A red n black star

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Jacques Roux
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Sep 27 2004 13:22
Username wrote:
It seems enrager=communists

Hang on, enrager doesnt = communists. Enrager.net is a website not a group of people, it introduces various ideas from all kinds of anarchism and the forums let people discuss those kinds of ideas.

Maybe what you are trying to say is that the majority of people posting here are Anarchist Communists?

Please dont make all encompassing and incorrect statements.

To find out more about enrager.net please see:

http://www.enrager.net/notes/about.php

AnarchoAl
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Sep 27 2004 16:33

There doesn't have to be *that* many beaurocrats, and any such position should be rotated, mandated, recallable, and have to report back to the mass-meetings. If these jobs need to be done then they should be mandated and accountable, not left up to some vague notion of "autonomy"- you don't explain how your proposed society would work at all.

The point is that there's room for more than one permutation, federated together. So if there's a load of people who ideologically opposed to a street-cleaning rota as a breach of their "individual autonomy", they're free to go off and live in a community without one (assuming they're willing to live somewhere with messy streets )- if you're going to benefit from having a clean street, however, it seems no breach of your freedom to me for the community to agree that those who benefit share the work out as well.

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Sep 27 2004 17:14
Username wrote:
Let's talk about communism. It seems enrager=communists, so let's discuss communism and how it relates to anarchism.

In brief - communism = economic system based on equality and the principle of for each according to need, from each according to ability. This is the goal of anarchism (a social theory/praxis)

Quote:
have libertarian socialists told you?
  1. You will replace capitalism with federations, a euphemism for a bureaucracy of delegates who function no different than a state.

Wrong. Next?

Quote:
  • Work will be no less optional than under capitalism.
  • Wrong. Next?

    Quote:
  • When no one wants to do a particular job, the federation will either have to make someone do it, which is authoritative, or pay someone extra to do it, which goes against the classless, egalitarian society that socialism promises.
  • Wrong. Next?

    Quote:
  • You give too much trust to your delegates whom you can't watch all the time. Power corrupts everyone.
  • Ha ha Mr Clairvoyant are we? Mandated delegates do not have power, other than to carry out the orders councils have given them. You can also rotate positions regularly.

    Next?

    Quote:
  • There has never been a successful socialist nation, so you can't say it's possible! All attempts have resulted in worse societies, so maybe you should consider infrastructure such as federations are innately authoritarian! Does the brief success of Catalonia prove socialism isn't sustainable?
  • Man with logic like that... You're a bleedin genius!

    I can't believe i dignified that bollox with a semi-sensible response... [/]

    redyred
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    Sep 27 2004 17:56

    Could be worse. This is what I just found on a local music forum I'm registered to: http://www.the13th.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Forums&file=viewtopic&topic=2211&forum=1.

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 11 2004 00:43

    Well, as a communist/ Marxist, I have always believed that anarchism would be the 'end-point' so to speak when the state withers away.

    yozzee
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    Dec 12 2004 18:10
    Joe Hill wrote:
    Well, as a communist/ Marxist, I have always believed that anarchism would be the 'end-point' so to speak when the state withers away.

    The problem is Joe that the state won't wither away while socialists are prepared to use those institutions to realise their ambitions. Power corrupts whoever has it.

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 12 2004 23:35

    Hmmm, let me think about that one. I'll give a proper response later - no fixed idea in mind at the moment.

    WeTheYouth
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    Dec 13 2004 10:34
    Quote:
    You will replace capitalism with federations, a euphemism for a bureaucracy of delegates who function no different than a state.

    The state is an apparatus of control for a particular class, the federation is an aparatus of planning and resource management in socialist societies, those delegates will be utterly recallable and they would only serve the function as a messenger from the workers councils, they would effectively be a megaphone for the workers.

    Quote:
    Work will be no less optional than under capitalism.

    Work would be optional and there would be more choice and diversity for individual workers to choose from as work would not be controlled my the market place or the state and thus will be there to suite the needs of the population as a whole, if you choose to steal from your fellow workers by not working or adding something of value to society then you cannot expect the same treatment as those who work. Do not mistake this for the ridiculous tory argument againts unemployment benefits because in an anarchist society work would not be the same as it is in capitalist societies.

    Quote:
    When no one wants to do a particular job, the federation will either have to make someone do it, which is authoritative, or pay someone extra to do it, which goes against the classless, egalitarian society that socialism promises.

    Many people will do undesireable jobs out of choice, knowing that you are aiding society would be more than an economic incentive which are proposed by some, and even if peopel do not wish to do undesireable jobs, then it is up to the workers themselves to make these jobs not undesoireable, through measures such as shorter days for those who work in those jobs.

    Quote:
    You give too much trust to your delegates whom you can't watch all the time. Power corrupts everyone

    You can't watch anybody all the time it would be ridiculous and an infringement on there liberty. Delegates are totally recallable and they are not people with power they are simply the method of which the voice of the workers will be disseminated throughout the federation and teh world, and will help in the organisation and the order of a post authoritarian society.

    Quote:
    There has never been a successful socialist nation, so you can't say it's possible! All attempts have resulted in worse societies, so maybe you should consider infrastructure such as federations are innately authoritarian! Does the brief success of Catalonia prove socialism isn't sustainable?

    To judge anarchist theory on its historic defeats is pathetic, it is the strength of the argument which you must measure anarchism as a possibility.

    There have been brief momenst in history where socialism was in sight, you cannot question the theory after the actions of a few deluded cretins.

    Quote:
    Socialism is the same thing as capitalism: industrialism, an expansionist system that tries to employ all life on earth. Industry can't work as an island. It must reach out more and more to sustain progress.

    Does individuality play into this? Certainly, individual autonomy is the only self-determination there is! The alternative to industrialism is quite simply a non-industrial society. There are lots of benefits that we, members of industrial nations, don't enjoy, but these aren't free from hierarchy. Whenever a family or community gets too overbearing, one can form another or live by him/herself! Their only flaw has been the inability to defend themselves from imperialists.

    And that is a good thing. Human societies can coexist with nature and we dont need to leave our cities and live in igloos or tents to do so. Humans are inherently curious animals we will alwasy search for teh answers of what we dont know, and we will always search for the betterment of the species and our civilisation, you cannot hold back science with primitive adventurism, society has to be continually expanding and modernised, that way we will reach socialism and the betterment of humanity.

    yozzee
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    Dec 15 2004 00:23
    Joe Hill wrote:
    Hmmm, let me think about that one. I'll give a proper response later - no fixed idea in mind at the moment.

    Drums fingers and waits...

    grin

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 15 2004 21:58

    God, the pressure...and at such a busy time too.

    Hmm, difficult one. I always believed (and was trained) that history moved forward in quantitative jumps due to class struggle and contradictions in the relations of production until contradictions became so great that a qualitative jump happened (eg moving from feudalism to capitalism with the industrial revolution powering the latter through technical innovation).

    I am finding it hard, therefore, to conceive of a situation whereby we could jump from ultra-powerful military-industrial complex of monopoly capital (with attendant hegemony) straight to anarchism without any intervening steps, however theoretically unpopular. What are the tasks then unless we are all running around like headless chickens?

    I concede, however, that so far, socialist/bolshevik revolutions have been corrupted and I don't have the answer to that as yet (although I would have defended the USSR with all its faults and do defend Cuba etc in the face of imperialism). (And I never believed that Solidarnosc were a power for good and was proved right. I also heard Militant members argue for the US to arm the KLA during the Kosovo business, which only confirmed my view of their jaundiced lack of political analysis (ie they already had been arming them for the previous 2 years, fomenting disquiet for good capitalist reasons!).

    Due to the technological revolution, it has now become much easier to move capital around the globe, leading to 'globalisation', but this also has the effect of making workers' communications better as well (inherent contradiction etc)

    I would prefer a qualititative jump, believe me, but I see no evidence for it and we can't proceed on wishful thinking.

    Stuck...

    What do you lot think?

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 17 2004 00:35

    Well - deafening silence....

    I am sure you have loads of ideas. PM me if you prefer or direct me to information. A tricky one.

    Mike Harman
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    Dec 17 2004 01:23
    Quote:

    I am finding it hard, therefore, to conceive of a situation whereby we could jump from ultra-powerful military-industrial complex of monopoly capital (with attendant hegemony) straight to anarchism without any intervening steps, however theoretically unpopular.

    Most revolutions aren't immediate, they're long processes which may have certain big events within them. France had 1789 and 1793 (and 1848, and 1870/71). Russia had uprisings in 1905, well before 1917. So the revolution, or revolutionary victory is often only the culmination of years of unrest and shifts in power relations. The revolutionary situation would itself be an intervening step with all kinds of transitions being made, not an immediate jump.

    nastyned
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    Dec 17 2004 13:19

    Say it ain't so Joe (and to think only last night I dreamed I saw you wink )

    The stages theory of history is pure poison for revolutions - look at Russia, Germany, Spain...

    I don't see that setting up state capitalist (or whatever you want to call it) regimes brings us any closer to libertarian communism. What's wrong with pushing things for the maximum when the opportunity arises? Seems to achieve more to me.

    yozzee
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    Dec 17 2004 19:48
    Joe Hill wrote:
    God, the pressure...and at such a busy time too.

    Hmm, difficult one. I always believed (and was trained) that history moved forward in quantitative jumps due to class struggle and contradictions in the relations of production until contradictions became so great that a qualitative jump happened (eg moving from feudalism to capitalism with the industrial revolution powering the latter through technical innovation).

    I am finding it hard, therefore, to conceive of a situation whereby we could jump from ultra-powerful military-industrial complex of monopoly capital (with attendant hegemony) straight to anarchism without any intervening steps, however theoretically unpopular. What are the tasks then unless we are all running around like headless chickens?

    I concede, however, that so far, socialist/bolshevik revolutions have been corrupted and I don't have the answer to that as yet (although I would have defended the USSR with all its faults and do defend Cuba etc in the face of imperialism). (And I never believed that Solidarnosc were a power for good and was proved right. I also heard Militant members argue for the US to arm the KLA during the Kosovo business, which only confirmed my view of their jaundiced lack of political analysis (ie they already had been arming them for the previous 2 years, fomenting disquiet for good capitalist reasons!).

    Due to the technological revolution, it has now become much easier to move capital around the globe, leading to 'globalisation', but this also has the effect of making workers' communications better as well (inherent contradiction etc)

    I would prefer a qualititative jump, believe me, but I see no evidence for it and we can't proceed on wishful thinking.

    Stuck...

    What do you lot think?

    Whoops sorry I missed your reply.

    On moving from monopoly capitalism to anarchism I think most anarchists would agree that you can't just jump from one to the other. But the anarchists answer isn't to retain the state it's to begin the transformation now by creating alternative non-hierarchical structures and forms of organisation (including workplace organisation). Social forums and social centres, although in their infancy here, are examples of putting the ideas into practice. Probably the best way to think of it is 'creating a new world within the shell of the old one'.

    Creating the non-hierarchical structures which are fueled by direct participatory democracy is a way of ensuring that they can't be hijacked by Bolsheviks in the future. As it's still early days there will be skirmishes between authoritarians and anti-authoritarians as the authoritarians try to hijack them as in the recent ESF in London.

    I'm sure there's a lot more others can say on this, particularly on workplace organisation.

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 17 2004 23:29

    Interesting answers and food for thought from both of you, so thanks. More thought required from me obviously. I always thought of soviets as direct participatory democracy (spit at the d word). This is not an easy one. Ta peoples. need to read something really good ....any suggestions??

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    Steven.
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    Dec 18 2004 02:05
    Joe Hill wrote:
    Interesting answers and food for thought from both of you, so thanks. More thought required from me obviously. I always thought of soviets as direct participatory democracy (spit at the d word).

    Exactly.

    "All power to the soviets" was an anarchist slogan, adopted by lenin by breaking democratic centralism.

    What the bolsheviks distorted this to was power over the soviets by the Communist Party, whereas we argue there should be no higher power.

    Er as for reading... would Pannekoek's Workers' Councils be any good? confused

    nastyned
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    Dec 18 2004 15:17

    I prefer reading histories to theories so how about Sam Dolgoff's 'Anarchist Collectives'.

    Anarchoneilist
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    Dec 18 2004 16:22

    We should "push" for anarchism for two reasons:

    1.(which is why most anarchists are,right?)Its the only way to achieve socialism/communism: All property is theft includes government property.

    2.Any top-down change in a hierarchical system leads to a government that is more reactionary than the previous, so if we "pushed" for the least reactionary system (i.e anarcho-communism) at least if a hierarchical system replaced it, it would be better than what we've got at the moment.

    I would probably describe anarchism as half way between Marxism and Nihilism, and yet neither.

    An individualist system would be "libertarianism" or neo-liberalism and we may as well stick/put up with what we've got, with a few free thinkers challenging the establishment.

    Caiman del Barrio
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    Dec 18 2004 17:01

    A soviet is surely libertarian communism in practise. Bear in mind that the soviets in Moscow and St Petersburg were instrumental in dragging power away from the Tsar and into the workers for a while before 1917 and thus fomented grounds for a very easy and swift revolution.

    How did Lenin deal with the soviets exactly??

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 20 2004 01:02

    Ah yes, Russia, Germany, Spain. Exactly my point, in favour of big sprawling dialectical history.

    None of these countries are currently socialist/communist/anarchist or anything like it, but have made tentative moves in history toward it. This is gradualist theory writ large.

    Hope we make it in the end, but it will probably be beyond this generation, the laws of history will prevail (but absolutely no slackers in the meantime or we'll never do it!!)

    Seasons greetings

    (and has revol really been made an admin??? trying to keep your gas at a peep?)

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 21 2004 00:06

    Hello Jack, Surely the Bolsheviks could only take them over if they were elected by the people present (as an element of direct participatory democracy)? Having won the argument? Or another thing?

    Are we coming on to some kind of consensus (delegation?)? What about coordinating with other soviets etc - does everyone attend or a delegate (frequently changed)? What about build up of knowledge & contacts - is this perhaps where corruption & bureaucracy may take a grip?

    Also, that was theoretical. In the practical circumstances of being attacked by 22 white armies as well as your own internal ruling class (and with the revlution taking place against the backdrop of starvation, war and a semi-feudal country) - who are we to preach?

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 21 2004 00:31

    I do like this forum. Also, I refer to a previous post quoting Rosa Luxemburg about the perfect revolution - if only we were in that position, what would we do?

    Thanks again, you've given me a bit of hope.

    x

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 21 2004 23:15

    Dinnae worry, no need for such a sacrifice just yet...*I'd prefer my allies to be alive...

    nastyned
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    Dec 22 2004 18:04
    Joe Hill wrote:
    Ah yes, Russia, Germany, Spain. Exactly my point, in favour of big sprawling dialectical history.

    None of these countries are currently socialist/communist/anarchist or anything like it, but have made tentative moves in history toward it. This is gradualist theory writ large.

    Earlier you said history moves in quantitative jumps. Now you say it's gradualist. These look like different things to me or is this you being dialectical wink .

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    Refused
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    Dec 22 2004 18:17
    Joe Hill wrote:
    Dinnae worry, no need for such a sacrifice just yet...*I'd prefer my allies to be alive...

    You get strange after midnight, Joe Hill.

    Caiman del Barrio
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    Dec 22 2004 19:24
    Jack wrote:
    Nah, a Soviet is a specific form of workers council - I believe it has an elected political committee. Hence, the Bolsheviks could take over them, and undermine their power - hences the Leninist obsession with the Soviet council form.

    Weren't the councils in Catalonia all elected and recallable??

    Joe Hill
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    Dec 22 2004 22:11

    I was trying to find some of the books that have been mentioned so far in this thread today and found precisely none of them. Was looking forward to a bit of a challenging read over Xmas. Had to make do with John Saville and Helen Caldicott.

    Maybe I'll need to try second-hand bookshops?

    BTW, IMO, the quantitative change is the gradualist bit, leading to the qualitative 'jump' which is the revolutionary bit. The devious and diabolical dialectic - a riddle wrapped in an enigma (maybe).

    I'm definitely away after tonight for a while, see you when I get out (hee hee and it's not even midnight)

    Peace, bread and land.

    Love

    Caiman del Barrio
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    Dec 24 2004 20:29
    Jack wrote:
    There weren't Soviet's in Catalonia. Apart from any pedantry about Soviet just meaning council, the workers councils that existed there weren't on the Russian Soviet model.

    How were they different?? I'm not really 100% clued up as to the difference between workers councils and Soviets?? I'm also not entirely sure as to what role they perform that unions could not.