Can I be an anarchist and desire wealth as well?

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Boris Badenov
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Jun 10 2009 23:53
Angelus Novus wrote:

No? So when your bank uses your money to make a loan to a profit-making enterprise employing wage laborers, no labor is being exploited?

Sure there is, and when I go to work, labour is being exploited also; but who is actively doing the exploitation? am I exploiting myself?

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What "choice" does the capitalist have? Selling his ownership to somebody else to become a wage worker?

how about relinquishing control to the workers in the case of full ownership? that may seem like a fantasist scenario but only because it is fantasist to expect a capitalist to act against his own material interest for the sake of anarchism, which is some people were arguing above in response to the ridiculous claim that capitalists can be anarchists.

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Alternately, he could be convinced that such personal moralism, like green consumerism or "socially responsible investing", is total bullshit, and decide the only real option is to get rid of the whole fuckin' system.

what does that mean? how does an individual decide to get rid of the whole fuckin system? What childish terribilisme.
The point is, he (the capitalist) will ultimately decide to do whatever is in his material interest, which means directly opposing the interests of the workers. What room is there for anarchism (that is not vacuous individualist philosophical bullshit)?

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But according to you, he's not allowed to come to the last conclusion, since that would violate some anarchist moral code.

Oh yeah, sure he would. Flocks of capitalists have recently decided to "do away with the whole fuckin system," isn't that right? I'm just being an obtuse moralistic bastard. Come the fuck on.

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And in capitalism, exploitation is mediated by commodity-exchange. We aren't discussing a system of personal domination like antique slavery or feudalism.

No we're not, but exploitation is not me contributing to some bank loaning money to some war lord. Exploitation is when a class lives of the labour of another class. It is dishonest to deride the whole argument that you "can't be for exploitation and against it at the same time" (which is pretty much common sense) as moralistic because "you too mr. disgruntled prole are sponsoring imperialist wars and taking part in exploitation." The fuck I am my friend; whatever capitalists do with the money I have in my account (which is probably 20 bucks right now) does not benefit me or anyone else like me.

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Jeff stated, literally, that one cannot participate in exploitation and be an anarchist. But we all participate in exploitation. So logically,
the only option is to go shit in the woods.

I don't want to speak for him, but he did say that "You can't believe that exploitation is wrong and then actively carry it out. " I for one am pretty certain that he did not mean any sort of half-baked primmo shit about retreating from capitalism and singing kumbaya in the woods. What it means, imo, is that if you own capital and make a living off the labour of others it is technically impossible for you to adopt an ideological position that dictates you fight against capital and for the rights of workers (that you are exploiting).

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So are we talking about the likelihood of capitalists being anarchists, or whether they can be?

This question needs to be clarified before it can be answered. A capitalist is not a biological organism, it is a socioeconomic position in the current society. As an individual human being, anyone can pretty much do anything they set their mind on (within the limits of physical laws and their own abilities); of course you can renounce your social position and the benefits it brings you and "pull a Kropotkin" as it were. That's fine. But once you do so, you are obviously no longer a capitalist. So the likelihood of someone who is part of the ruling class becoming an anarchist is I don't know X % or whatever, the likelihood of a capitalist being simultaneously an anarchist is 0% by definition. If you don't agree, you'll have to explain why, and what you mean by capitalist and anarchist respectively.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 00:44
notch8 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
There is no way to "live out" your anarchist beliefs in a capitalist society

You can at least refrain from purposefully engaging in activity that runs counter to those beliefs?

Is it part of anarchist beliefs to work for a wage in service of profit? I'm assuming most people on this board do that!

notch8 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
You are thus compelled to either sell your labor-power to someone who plans to use it for profit-making, or you are the someone buying labor-power. Neither of these things make one more or less of an anarchist, just more or less likely to become one.

But one might continue in the former condition, and still call oneself an anarchist, with a straight face, not in the latter.

I am opposed to exploitation and wage-work. So does that mean I can't be a communist and also work for a living in this society? I am also opposed to money and commodities. Does that mean that I can't be a communist and deposit my paycheck in a bank, and buy the things I need to survive in this society? I am opposed to the state. Does that mean I can't have a driver's license and a social security card? You see where I'm going with this. If one wants to be a moralist, and say that one can't participate in activities which they ultimately oppose, one may as well be a coherent moralist.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 00:53
Vlad336 wrote:
This question needs to be clarified before it can be answered. A capitalist is not a biological organism, it is a socioeconomic position in the current society. As an individual human being, anyone can pretty much do anything they set their mind on (within the limits of physical laws and their own abilities); of course you can renounce your social position and the benefits it brings you and "pull a Kropotkin" as it were. That's fine. But once you do so, you are obviously no longer a capitalist. So the likelihood of someone who is part of the ruling class becoming an anarchist is I don't know X % or whatever, the likelihood of a capitalist being simultaneously an anarchist is 0% by definition. If you don't agree, you'll have to explain why, and what you mean by capitalist and anarchist respectively.

You are right, a capitalist is a socioeconomic position in the current society. But an anarchist is not. Therefore, they do not necessarily contradict each other. The likelihood is not "0% by definition." Again, a capitalist is defined by a position in the current society, an anarchist is not -- an anarchist is defined only by what he thinks. So how can it be "0% by definition"?!?!

You hit the nail on the head: an individual human being can think whatever they want, and capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists. As I said before, it is highly unlikely (they don't have much reason to so far as they are successful), but it's still within the realm of possibility because after all, there is nothing stopping them. Not even their socioeconomic position.

Why is this so difficult to agree with? I am genuinely curious.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 11 2009 01:30
BillJ wrote:
a capitalist is a socioeconomic position in the current society. But an anarchist is not. Therefore, they do not necessarily contradict each other. The likelihood is not "0% by definition." Again, a capitalist is defined by a position in the current society, an anarchist is not -- an anarchist is defined only by what he thinks. So how can it be "0% by definition"?!?!

yes, but to be an anarchist means to fight for the interests of the working class (which is a "socioeconomic position"), interests that are directly opposed to those of the capitalists. Although the ultimate goal of anarchism is a classless society, in the short run, its practical purpose is to fight for the interests of the workers against the bosses. So yes, anarchist is not in the same category as capitalist, but there is a profound and irreconcilable contradiction involved nonetheless.

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nd capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists.

as human beings, not as capitalists. As capitalists they can at most subscribe to some sort of philosophical lifestylist anarchism that in no way challenges their social and economic power, but that is irrelevant to what anarchism actually stands for.

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As I said before, it is highly unlikely (they don't have much reason to so far as they are successful), but it's still within the realm of possibility because after all, there is nothing stopping them. Not even their socioeconomic position.

I'm not saying that their SE position is stopping them, just that if they want to go against their class interest and fight for the workers, they cannot retain that SE position (because generally you can't have your cake and eat it too). My argument is not that capitalists are all such rotten people that it's impossible for them to understand anarchism or fight for the working class. But their role as capitalists, as long as it is maintained, prevents them to take action that favors the working class and not their own.
So when someone says that a capitalist can also be an anarchist, it's a contradiction in terms because those two things represent diametrically opposed interests, not because individual capitalists are less intelligent/human/whathaveyou than individual workers.

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frenzy
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Jun 11 2009 01:12

What if I'm desiring wealth while reading Bakunin?

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PartyBucket
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Jun 11 2009 01:20
BillJ wrote:
I am opposed to exploitation and wage-work. So does that mean I can't be a communist and also work for a living in this society? I am also opposed to money and commodities. Does that mean that I can't be a communist and deposit my paycheck in a bank, and buy the things I need to survive in this society? I am opposed to the state. Does that mean I can't have a driver's license and a social security card?

Um for this parallel to work you have to wilfully exploit people by being a wage worker, or having a drivers license or a bank account, which is hardly the case. I fail to see how this answers the question as to how you can be an active exploiter of workers and still claim to be an anarchist?

BillJ wrote:
You see where I'm going with this. If one wants to be a moralist, and say that one can't participate in activities which they ultimately oppose, one may as well be a coherent moralist.

Working for a wage makes life shitter for me, if I became an exploiter of wage work I would be making life shitter for other people, for my own benefit. The former is a situation I find myself in, having no real alternative; the latter would be a conscious choice.I fail to see the incoherence.

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PartyBucket
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Jun 11 2009 01:23
BillJ wrote:
You hit the nail on the head: an individual human being can think whatever they want, and capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists.

Gory, shock photo removed. -Juan C

Boris Badenov
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Jun 11 2009 01:43
BillJ wrote:
and capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists.

and of course every human being can be a Christian for example, but ultimately religion only benefits the material interests of the ruling class.
So if William Fitzroy-Hume III, CEO of Useless Shit Inc. wants to be an anarchist and calls himself that, fine, I don't give a shit. When push comes to shove, he's not gonna side with the striking workers, unless he finds himself on the other side of the fence. Call that moralism, if you want. I know it's a fact.
Ah, but that is a stereotype; what about the petty shareholder a certain someone might ask. What about him? He knows where the money's coming from; he too knows who to side with.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 01:58
notch8 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
I am opposed to exploitation and wage-work. So does that mean I can't be a communist and also work for a living in this society? I am also opposed to money and commodities. Does that mean that I can't be a communist and deposit my paycheck in a bank, and buy the things I need to survive in this society? I am opposed to the state. Does that mean I can't have a driver's license and a social security card?

Um for this parallel to work you have to wilfully exploit people by being a wage worker, or having a drivers license or a bank account, which is hardly the case. I fail to see how this answers the question as to how you can be an active exploiter of workers and still claim to be an anarchist?

I never claimed that by being a wage-worker one exploits people, obviously. I assume you are opposed to the exploitation of the worker class and so therefore do not want to participate in it. This is why I named off other things we are generally opposed to but in which we all participate. So maybe I assumed wrong, and we can get closer to the answer: if it is not your opposition to exploitation, what is the reason you think that an anarchist can't be a capitalist? Because it is "wrong"?

notch8 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
You see where I'm going with this. If one wants to be a moralist, and say that one can't participate in activities which they ultimately oppose, one may as well be a coherent moralist.

Working for a wage makes life shitter for me, if I became an exploiter of wage work I would be making life shitter for other people, for my own benefit. The former is a situation I find myself in, having no real alternative; the latter would be a conscious choice.I fail to see the incoherence.

I was pointing out the incoherence in naming opposition to something as a reason not to participate in it -- we participate in things we are opposed to every day. Instead of explaining why society is divided between capitalists and workers, winners and losers, rich and poor, one utilizes a moral measurement to decide whether one should do something or not, and whether or not it makes one an anarchist. This is a pointless exercise.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 02:09
Vlad336 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
a capitalist is a socioeconomic position in the current society. But an anarchist is not. Therefore, they do not necessarily contradict each other. The likelihood is not "0% by definition." Again, a capitalist is defined by a position in the current society, an anarchist is not -- an anarchist is defined only by what he thinks. So how can it be "0% by definition"?!?!

yes, but to be an anarchist means to fight for the interests of the working class (which is a "socioeconomic position"), interests that are directly opposed to those of the capitalists. Although the ultimate goal of anarchism is a classless society, in the short run, its practical purpose is to fight for the interests of the workers against the bosses. So yes, anarchist is not in the same category as capitalist, but there is a profound and irreconcilable contradiction involved nonetheless.

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nd capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists.

as human beings, not as capitalists. As capitalists they can at most subscribe to some sort of philosophical lifestylist anarchism that in no way challenges their social and economic power, but that is irrelevant to what anarchism actually stands for.

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As I said before, it is highly unlikely (they don't have much reason to so far as they are successful), but it's still within the realm of possibility because after all, there is nothing stopping them. Not even their socioeconomic position.

I'm not saying that their SE position is stopping them, just that if they want to go against their class interest and fight for the workers, they cannot retain that SE position (because generally you can't have your cake and eat it too). My argument is not that capitalists are all such rotten people that it's impossible for them to understand anarchism or fight for the working class. But their role as capitalists, as long as it is maintained, prevents them to take action that favors the working class and not their own.
So when someone says that a capitalist can also be an anarchist, it's a contradiction in terms because those two things represent diametrically opposed interests, not because individual capitalists are less intelligent/human/whathaveyou than individual workers.

So people cannot act against there own interest? Someone should tell the working class!

I think you may be talking about capitalist as character masks, i.e. pure personifications of economic categories. So as these character masks they cannot logically be anarchists, etc. Sure, maybe not. But this character mask is an abstraction, it doesn't actually exist in reality because every capitalist is at the same time a human being with free will and a brain for thinking. Thus, he can be an anarchist. How are you going to stop him?

I have also never heard a definition of anarchist that says "someone who fights for the interest of the working class." I thought it meant someone who is opposed to capitalism and the state, whether this implies any practical activity is another story. I know a few anarchists and their only activities are propaganda, etc. Most of them are temps, have never been in any workers organization or a strike, etc. So are these people not anarchists? If they are, and their only activity is propaganda, etc., why couldn't a capitalist do this same activity, perhaps waiting for the time when revolution is imminent to hand over his factory or whatever? Far-fetched, I know. But still the definitions would not preclude each other.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 02:13
Vlad336 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
and capitalists are individual human beings. Therefore, they can be anarchists.

and of course every human being can be a Christian for example, but ultimately religion only benefits the material interests of the ruling class.
So if William Fitzroy-Hume III, CEO of Useless Shit Inc. wants to be an anarchist and calls himself that, fine, I don't give a shit. When push comes to shove, he's not gonna side with the striking workers, unless he finds himself on the other side of the fence. Call that moralism, if you want. I know it's a fact.
Ah, but that is a stereotype; what about the petty shareholder a certain someone might ask. What about him? He knows where the money's coming from; he too knows who to side with.

While it is possible that an anarchist who is also a capitalist wouldn't side with the workers, to claim that it literally could not happen denies free will. Individuals are not determined by their economic role, otherwise our fight is hopeless. So, if you "know" it's fact, you must have a way to prove it, no?

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:00
revol68 wrote:
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But this character mask is an abstraction, it doesn't actually exist in reality because every capitalist is at the same time a human being with free will and a brain for thinking. Thus, he can be an anarchist. How are you going to stop him?

This is priceless, capitalists don't actually exist, they are just humans with free willwho wear imaginary masks that don't really mean anything.

Where is the quoted passage does it say that capitalists don't exist?

I said that the character mask of "capitalist," i.e. a person whose will and consciousness are a pure personification of an economic category or class interest (this is the way in which Marx deals with them in Capital), doesn't exist. It's an abstraction.

You are clearly not paying attention to the thread.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:04
revol68 wrote:
I love how capital as autonomous from humans quickly gives way to the worst kind of humanism.

God how mystical. Capital is not "autonomous" from humans -- it is humans who produce and reproduce it every day. If capital is "autonomous" from humans that means that humans have no power to end it.

What the hell does this have to do with humanism?

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:10
revol68 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
But this character mask is an abstraction, it doesn't actually exist in reality because every capitalist is at the same time a human being with free will and a brain for thinking. Thus, he can be an anarchist. How are you going to stop him?

This is priceless, capitalists don't actually exist, they are just humans with free willwho wear imaginary masks that don't really mean anything.

Where is the quoted passage does it say that capitalists don't exist?

I said that the character mask of "capitalist," i.e. a person whose will and consciousness are a pure personification of an economic category or class interest (this is the way in which Marx deals with them in Capital), doesn't exist. It's an abstraction.

You are clearly not paying attention to the thread.

I ask you where this maks comes form and why it is necessary?

Why would we need to make individual capitalists a pure personification of an economic category?

You pulled this character mask shit out of your arse, not any of us.

I'm quite capable of seeing a managing director as a three dimensional person whilst also laughing in the face of him if he said he was an anarchist.

Revol, if you go back and read the post where I first mention character mask, you can see I was asking somebody a question, i.e. is this what you mean by "capitalist"? I think if you read it it will clarify your question.

I'd probably laugh, too. After all, it would be funny. It wouldn't mean he wasn't an anarchist. This whole thing started by someone saying that it is impossible to be an anarchist and exploit workers at the same time. I've merely been pointing out that one can do anything while advocating the exact opposite. It's just not impossible, and to say it is, is ridiculous.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:14
revol68 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
I love how capital as autonomous from humans quickly gives way to the worst kind of humanism.

God how mystical. Capital is not "autonomous" from humans -- it is humans who produce and reproduce it every day. If capital is "autonomous" from humans that means that humans have no power to end it.

What the hell does this have to do with humanism?

Your talk of character mask and abstractions implied that capitalists weren't real.

No, it didn't. I said the character mask didn't exist in reality, that it was an abstraction. Obviously I never said that capitalists don't exist. If you go back and actually read the posts this will be plain.

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:22
revol68 wrote:
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I'd probably laugh, too. After all, it would be funny. It wouldn't mean he wasn't an anarchist. This whole thing started by someone saying that it is impossible to be an anarchist and exploit workers at the same time. I've merely been pointing out that one can do anything while advocating the exact opposite. It's just not impossible, and to say it is, is ridiculous.

So you think that if someone says they are something then are it?

No, if I say "I am the moon," then that does not make me the moon. If I say "I am an anarchist" and I advocate capitalism and state power, then I am not an anarchist. If I say "I am an anarchist" and advocate the abolition of capitalism and state power, while making my living under capitalism owning a factory, then I still think I am. Sure it is unlikely to occur, it probably never will. But so what?

In any case, this also goes back to an earlier post which you didn't read. We have to define anarchist. Does it just mean that you are an adherent of a particular theory about capitalist society, or does it imply other things as well? If we can get our definitions straight, I'm guessing a lot of these disagreements would go away.

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I think you've missed out the fact that social roles, labels and such are socially determined.

I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. Can you elaborate?

BillJ
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Jun 11 2009 03:25
revol68 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
BillJ wrote:
revol68 wrote:
I love how capital as autonomous from humans quickly gives way to the worst kind of humanism.

God how mystical. Capital is not "autonomous" from humans -- it is humans who produce and reproduce it every day. If capital is "autonomous" from humans that means that humans have no power to end it.

What the hell does this have to do with humanism?

Your talk of character mask and abstractions implied that capitalists weren't real.

No, it didn't. I said the character mask didn't exist in reality, that it was an abstraction. Obviously I never said that capitalists don't exist. If you go back and actually read the posts this will be plain.

So what use are these character masks in relation to individuals, they are bollox.

Marx never talks about individual capitalists having character masks, he instead talks about the interests of classes independent of the whims of this or that worker or boss.

What are you talking about?! I never said that capitalists "have" character masks! Please just go back and read the posts. It is pretty clear that you haven't. Otherwise show me where I claimed that capitalists "have" character masks...

Angelus Novus
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Jun 11 2009 05:56
jef costello wrote:
So it's ok to be a capitalist exploiter because 'that's the way it is'?

So it's ok to be a wage-laborer because 'that's the way it is'?

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Workers' and bosses' interests are opposed, which means bosses can be in our organisations.

Workers' and bosses' interest may be opposed, but neither have interests that are in opposition to capitalism.

The only interest workers have as workers is to secure their material interests within the framework of commodity-production and exchange.

Vlad336 wrote:
Sure there is, and when I go to work, labour is being exploited also; but who is actively doing the exploitation? am I exploiting myself?

If you have a pension fund or a savings account, you are exploiting others. What makes you distinct from a capitalist is that you aren't able to live exclusively by means of such exploitation.

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what does that mean? how does an individual decide to get rid of the whole fuckin system?

An individual can't get rid of the whole system, which is precisely why all this idiotic moralist posturing about whether capitalists "can" be anarchists is so ludicrous.

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how about relinquishing control to the workers in the case of full ownership?

Wow, so they can exploit themselves on the market by engaging in a self-managed capitlaism? I had no idea this is what you advocate.

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Flocks of capitalists have recently decided to "do away with the whole fuckin system," isn't that right?

How many wage-laborers have recently decided to "do away with the whole fuckin' system"?

We're back to my favorite discussion on Libcom: why do class-struggle fanboys always assume workers have an interest as workers in opposing capitalism?

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Rob Ray
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Jun 11 2009 06:45
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If you have a pension fund or a savings account, you are exploiting others.

Workers are forced to pay into such institutions for a reasonable standard of future survival just as they are forced into paying the state to provide services such as roads or refuse collection.

The difference is merely that your 'fine' if you don't buy a second pension is the removal of all but the bare minimum of living allowance. In effect, you are punished for not exploiting your own labour power as a young person to pay for your existence as an old person. You don' have control over that money, you simply pay it back to the capitalist to use on your behalf.

There is simply no logic in calling a situation where you are pressured into giving money to an institution and then have little/no say in where it goes 'exploiting others'. Primarily, you are exploiting yourself, just like with every other aspect of working life under capital.

Edit: incidentally, have a look into the pensions crisis to see exactly how powerful and influential most pensions contributors have found themselves to be in the face of real capital interests.

Angelus Novus
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Jun 11 2009 07:47
Rob Ray wrote:
Workers are forced to pay into such institutions

And capitalists are also "forced", by the iron laws of competition, to pump surplus labor time out of workers. If they don't, they face economic ruin.

You can of course argue that capitalists also have the "choice" of liquidating their holdings and becoming wage workers, but if you make such an argument, you're basically saying that you have some sort of moral appraisal of wage-labor being superior. I just think that's stupid. Capitalism is an inherently risky venture for all involved, but anyone born into the capitalist class is still better cushioned against the vagaries of the market than people who have to sell their labor-power to survive. Voluntarily relinquishing that security and subjecting oneself to a far more precarious situation in order to satisfy some moral precept strikes me as a near-suicidal disregard for one's own material well-being.

I happen to think both exploitation and wage-labor suck; that's why I'm a communist.

P.S. I always honor strikes, and I never cross picket lines (the only hypothetical exception being hate strikes against immigrants or racial minorities), so the issue here is not whether to support system-immanent class struggle. My point is merely that system-immanent class struggle has no inherent anti-capitalist dynamic. Workers are not, as workers, any more predisposed to opposing the system than capitalists.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 11 2009 09:27
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Voluntarily relinquishing that security and subjecting oneself to a far more precarious situation in order to satisfy some moral precept strikes me as a near-suicidal disregard for one's own material well-being.

Ding ding, we have a winner!

Yes Angelus, that is the point everyone is trying to make. It is as you point out understandable, because it's not in their material interest do to become working class, but they make the voluntary decision to stay in their position.

The capitalist has a choice to earn their way in life like anyone else, or to live off their capital as a parasite ruling the working class. In their choice to do the latter, they are acting in a way which is directly in opposition to anarchist theory and practice, making any protestations to the contrary meaningless.

To compare this to paying into a pension from your earned wage, deferring living standards now to (supposedly) ensure lesser, but slightly improved living standards later, is just ridiculous.

Non-capitalists don't have the sort of money which allows them to significantly control or alter the lives or businesses of others. Capitalists do. Non-capitalists cannot simply give up working if they wish unless they want to live on pathetically small state handouts. Capitalists can.

The difference is choice.

Angelus Novus
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Jun 11 2009 10:18
Rob Ray wrote:
. Non-capitalists cannot simply give up working if they wish unless they want to live on pathetically small state handouts.

In other words, wage-laborers cannot abandon their social position without having to submit to a worsening of their living conditions.

Funny, that's exactly what I said about capitalists.

And your sincere paeans to good, honest wage-labor are almost touching. I thought Libcom was full of people who had at least partially digested the critique of labor formulated in the communist milieu in the last 35 years. Good to know there are still some holdouts.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 11 2009 10:57

My but you're a disingenuous fucker aren't you. Ever tried supporting a family on benefits? It's not remotely like supporting a family on the proceeds of your multi-million pound fortune.

In the first case the supposed 'choice' is selling your labour or prostrating yourself and any family to the charity of the state (which is no picnic, having seen a lot of my friends try and live on JSA I'm glad I don't). In the second the choice is to sell your labour or... live a perfectly lovely life with more than enough money to be comfortable. By the logic of capitalism both choices equate to freedom. In reality, that's a sick joke.

NB// I didn't say earning a wage was good, I said it was better than being a capitalist, straw man building will get you nowhere.

Angelus Novus
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Jun 11 2009 11:31
Rob Ray wrote:
My but you're a disingenuous fucker aren't you.

Nope, just extrapolating conclusions that derive from the statements you make. If you don't like the conclusions, maybe you should re-think the premises.

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Ever tried supporting a family on benefits? It's not remotely like supporting a family on the proceeds of your multi-million pound fortune.

I don't recall saying otherwise. What strawman are you arguing with?

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In the first case the supposed 'choice' is selling your labour or prostrating yourself and any family to the charity of the state (which is no picnic, having seen a lot of my friends try and live on JSA I'm glad I don't). In the second the choice is to sell your labour or... live a perfectly lovely life with more than enough money to be comfortable.

You've got the sequence of the analogy exactly backwards. Starting with the second sentence it should read "In the second the choice is to live a perfectly lovely life with more than enough money to be comfortable...or condemn yourself voluntarily to the mentally and physically debilitating world of wage-labor and its accompanying precarity."

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By the logic of capitalism both choices equate to freedom.

Yep.

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I didn't say earning a wage was good, I said it was better than being a capitalist, straw man building will get you nowhere.

"Better" in what sense? Have you ever read Capital? The chapter on Machinery and Large Industry offers some pretty horrifying examples of how the noble, morally superior proletariat treats its own children.

Yorkie Bar
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Jun 11 2009 12:03

Communists seek to abolish value. What produces value? Work produces value. What has to be abolished in order to abolish value? Work has to be abolished in order to abolish value. Who can abolish work? The people who work can abolish work by not working any more.

Can capital survive without the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie? Yes. Can it survive without peasants? Yes. Can it survive without bureaucratic state-capitalism? Yes. Can it survive without work? No. The workers are the only class who can abolish work, and thus capital. This should be self-evident to anyone who actually understands the critique of work - that work is the lifeblood of capitalism.

The proletariat is the only revolutionary class in today's society for two reasons. Firstly, it is the class that is dispossessed, and thus has an interest in destroying capitalism. Secondly it is the class that works, and thus has the capacity to destroy capitalism.

~J.

B_Reasonable
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Jun 11 2009 12:33
Quote:
buena_exposiva wrote:
I was wondering would it go against anarchist ideals for one to want to desire greater wealth
Quote:
Rob Ray wrote:
The whole point of being an anarchist is to want more - otherwise why on earth would you take the side of the smallest movement around against the entire might of capitalism? As long as you're on the right side when it counts, earn away dude.
Quote:
Rob Ray wrote:I didn't say earning a wage was good, I said it was better than being a capitalist

buena_exposiva:
Conclusion: if you end up earning enough to not need to work anymore (e.g. become a successful football player) you can remain within "anarchist theory & practice" if you simply say that you have retired. If anyone accuses you of being too young to retire then counter it by saying they are (i) ageist, (ii) siding with the bosses to make you waste more of your life in wage slavery, (iii) attacking the rights of all ex-worker pensioners who live off the profits of capitalist speculation.

Zeronowhere
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Jun 11 2009 13:00
Quote:
What produces value? Work produces value.

Abstract labour produces exchange-value, therefore...

Quote:
What has to be abolished in order to abolish value? Work has to be abolished in order to abolish value.

...production of a use-value necessarily creates exchange-value, and thus all useful labour must be ceased in order to abolish exchange-value.

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The workers are the only class who can abolish work, and thus capital.

Also, nuclear weapons are incapable of causing the cessation of work, and/or under the control of the working class.

Quote:
Conclusion: if you end up earning enough to not need to work anymore (e.g. become a successful football player) you can remain within "anarchist theory & practice" if you simply say that you have retired. If anyone accuses you of being too young to retire then counter it by saying they are (i) ageist, (ii) siding with the bosses to make you waste more of your life in wage slavery, (iii) attacking the rights of all ex-worker pensioners who live off the profits of capitalist speculation.

In all likelihood it's a desperate scheme initiated by the decadence of bourgeois ideology.

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Rob Ray
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Jun 11 2009 13:23
Quote:
in what sense?

In the sense that you aren't exploiting the wage labour of others to support your own existence (yes, yes, pensioners, very good). I made no comment whatsoever on the moral superiority or inferiority of workers as people.

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I don't recall saying otherwise.
Angelus Novus wrote:
In other words, wage-laborers cannot abandon their social position without having to submit to a worsening of their living conditions.

Funny, that's exactly what I said about capitalists.

Implies that in some way the two are parallel instances, rather then being the difference between say, jumping off a cliff to a ledge two foot below and just jumping off a cliff. Yes, well done, they're both jumping, hardly the same thing though is it.

Quote:
Yep.

Ah okay you're on the windup. Carry on.

Yorkie Bar
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Jun 11 2009 13:23
Quote:
labour produces exchange-value

No, work produces value which is expressed as exchange value. Work is not labour, labour is just effort employed with the aim of pleasure. Work is alienated labour.

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production of a use-value necessarily creates exchange-value,

No, the exchange of use value causes exchange values to be expressed. Duh. That's why it's called "exchange" value.

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and thus all useful labour must be ceased in order to abolish exchange-value.

And thus the alienation of labour through its exchange, or work for short, must cease in order to abolish value, as I originally said.

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Also, nuclear weapons are incapable of causing the cessation of work, and/or under the control of the working class.

OK, I concede your point. You can start the "communists for nuclear Armageddon to abolish work" movement, and see how far you get. On balance, I think I'll stick with "proletarians against work".

~J.

Angelus Novus
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Jun 11 2009 13:25
B_Reasonable wrote:
buena_exposiva:
Conclusion: if you end up earning enough to not need to work anymore (e.g. become a successful football player) you can remain within "anarchist theory & practice" if you simply say that you have retired. If anyone accuses you of being too young to retire then counter it by saying they are (i) ageist, (ii) siding with the bosses to make you waste more of your life in wage slavery, (iii) attacking the rights of all ex-worker pensioners who live off the profits of capitalist speculation.

Best. Post. Ever.