Lawrence Jarach's Take On Primitivism.

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dinosavros
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Apr 2 2011 14:01

I also want to say I agree with Black Badger's points and think that 888 and Paul are attributing opinions to him that he hasn't said.

You can't talk about modern medicine and illnesses without factoring in that industrial lifestyles are responsible for a lot of illness. Modern medicine is to a large extent dependent on the pharmaceutical industry and is very far from being an objective science - if such a thing is possible. Look at the way that doctors and scientists approve of things like genetically modified food without even testing them properly simply because of money poured in from interest groups for research and development where the result is basically decided before the actual tests.

This kind of intelligent criticism of technology and modern medicine does in no way equate with saying that "Native American herbal teas and such can cure cancer" etc that people are projecting onto Black Badger.

888 wrote:
Of course the body is "some kind" of machine

I guess it depends on how you define machine but I can't think of any machine that can heal itself or reproduce or evolve, machines are by definition artificial while the body is a product of natural evolution. Are ecosystems also machines do you think?

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Apr 2 2011 14:05

POST 6 888 WROTE:

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""Herbal healing" what a twat. How is slow blind progress through trial and error better than understanding how the body works?"

Could you please explain what science is, since it is apparently not "slow blind progress through trial and error"? I am finding it hard to think what it might be, if it is not slow blind progress. Revelation about how the body works, passed down to us by God?

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Apr 2 2011 16:51
jonglier wrote:
POST 6 888 WROTE:
Quote:
""Herbal healing" what a twat. How is slow blind progress through trial and error better than understanding how the body works?"

Could you please explain what science is, since it is apparently not "slow blind progress through trial and error"? I am finding it hard to think what it might be, if it is not slow blind progress. Revelation about how the body works, passed down to us by God?

Science is a dialectic between theory and fact. It involved a body of knowledge and a body of people formulating theories, testing those theories, documenting their results, striving for objectivity, criticizing the living shit out of each other's work when they disagree, trying to reproduce results that seem interesting and useful, etc. It started out with a body of knowledge that is not unlike what herbalists or traditional Chinese medicine had, but through this relentless mutual and self-criticism, through the pursuit of experimental rather than theological or traditional evidence, through the pursuit of objectivity and the development of methods to try and minimize human bias, have gotten us where it is possible to cure cancer, to understand how many diseases that wreaked havoc on humanity long before modern industry spread and function, to fly over oceans, to improve vision - in some cases restoring it, and many more consequences.

Note that I have twice mentioned objectivity, but not as a state. Because while it is impossible to be objective, it is possible to fight sources of subjectivity, say by developing double-blind testing, or by having other scientists constantly ready to reproduce your results or criticize your methods. I have also not mentioned how ideas for science appear - that is unimportant, whether divine revelation (like Ramanujan has claimed for his mathematical insight), drug-induced hallucination (such as with the positing of the structure of Benzene molecules) or philosophical development (such as with Einstein's Theory of Relativity). It is also true that science has fads (such as String Theory or Vitamin C as a cure-all), that it suffers from many of the faults of any human endeavor. Ultimately, those are inputs to the process of science, and the results are more trustworthy than what you started out with.

Nevertheless it is important to realize that one cannot understand science without understanding how it is funded, and with time, and with capitalist expansion seemingly at a stand-still, the sensible portions of science will slowly have decreasing returns and more nonsense will spread (as, again, in String Theory, or useless variations on psychiatric drugs rebranded to increase profits). It is a symptom of the irrationality of late capitalism. I do hope that the useful core of science can be salvaged, and that useful core is leaps and bounds above what some herbalist learned from their great-grand-teacher.

I hope that answers your question.

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Paulappaul
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Apr 2 2011 19:40
Quote:
What about people who steal from others who have less than themselves, not in order to feed a starving family but to accumulate consumer goods. Capitalism is essentially based on this sort of exploiting behavior but it is not just limited to the ruling classes, a lot of poor people rip each other off very often. You can't brush this reality off with platitudes like "People want to [do] the right thing", you are unlikely to convince anyone with this line of argument, with all due respect to Kropotkin.

For some who claims to be high and mighty with understanding posts, you failed really hard on this one. Especially how you tore up your own argument. It is Capitalism's fault furthermore, for the Lower Class to ripe on even Lower Class people for the purpose of their own self satisfaction, because apart of the relations of production have engineered an ideology of "more more more" when it comes to consumer goods. Consumerism is a product of Capitalism, not of Industrialization.

These "realities" are only apart of the Capitalist "reality". So once again, as to respond to this:

Quote:
Many people are greedy. People very often put their own needs over the needs of those outside their family & tribal/social network.

Only true in certain material conditions, wherein we perceive it natural to be greedy. Oh and this is where the argument started btw.

Quote:
You can't talk about modern medicine and illnesses without factoring in that industrial lifestyles are responsible for a lot of illness. Modern medicine is to a large extent dependent on the pharmaceutical industry and is very far from being an objective science - if such a thing is possible. Look at the way that doctors and scientists approve of things like genetically modified food without even testing them properly simply because of money poured in from interest groups for research and development where the result is basically decided before the actual tests.

This the great problem of Primitivism (or wait before you get a butthurt for me attributing you and Black Badger as being one, how about Jarachivist) is that as Anarchists and Marxists always say they mix up Industrialization with Capitalism. We don't have to have Genetically Modified food cheaply made to satisfy poor customers and kill them in 50's from heartattacks in a Post - Capitalist society. The people who willingly eat shit like Taco Bell and Mcdonalds do it because they got a fucking family to feed and they can't afford expensive vegetables and fruits or don't have the time/knowledge to cook at home. After all they are caring like 4 jobs between two people and have 6 kids. Alot of "Industrial Lifestyle" isn't a product of the Industry themselves, if you think it is, you're talking about Mysticism because it isn't the industry itself, but the Capitalists themselves acting on it and making it this horrific thing we know today. And to tackle this stupid thing about scientists being bought by private interests, you think in a Post - Capitalist society this is even possible?

Quote:
This kind of intelligent criticism of technology and modern medicine does in no way equate with saying that "Native American herbal teas and such can cure cancer" etc that people are projecting onto Black Badger.

I said that in response to the article not Black Badger you twat. Talk about uh.. "attributing opinions to him that he hasn't said"

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Apr 2 2011 21:42
jonglier wrote:
POST 6 888 WROTE:
Quote:
""Herbal healing" what a twat. How is slow blind progress through trial and error better than understanding how the body works?"

Could you please explain what science is, since it is apparently not "slow blind progress through trial and error"? I am finding it hard to think what it might be, if it is not slow blind progress. Revelation about how the body works, passed down to us by God?

Revelation about how the body works, through careful study and experiment, drawing up theories to explain it, then testing those theories and rejecting them if they fail, or keeping them if they predict the experimental results. So you have a model that explains stuff, and from which you can take much more fruitful steps forward. Not blind since we have theories and models to help us.

dinosavros
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Apr 3 2011 01:36
Paulappaul wrote:
Quote:
What about people who steal from others who have less than themselves, not in order to feed a starving family but to accumulate consumer goods. Capitalism is essentially based on this sort of exploiting behavior but it is not just limited to the ruling classes, a lot of poor people rip each other off very often. You can't brush this reality off with platitudes like "People want to [do] the right thing", you are unlikely to convince anyone with this line of argument, with all due respect to Kropotkin.

For some who claims to be high and mighty with understanding posts, you failed really hard on this one. Especially how you tore up your own argument. It is Capitalism's fault furthermore, for the Lower Class to ripe on even Lower Class people for the purpose of their own self satisfaction, because apart of the relations of production have engineered an ideology of "more more more" when it comes to consumer goods. Consumerism is a product of Capitalism, not of Industrialization.

These "realities" are only apart of the Capitalist "reality".

I didn't 'claim to be high and mighty with understanding posts'

I am not convinced that all greed and selfishness is caused by capitalism, reality is a lot more complicated than that. Capitalism does play a big role in forming people's character and motivations, but these are traits with precapitalist historical precedents, even animals are sometimes greedy and selfish.

Consumerism is a product of both industrialization/mass-production and the capitalist mode of production, both of which arose together historically.

Quote:
So once again, as to respond to this:
Quote:
Many people are greedy. People very often put their own needs over the needs of those outside their family & tribal/social network.

Only true in certain material conditions, wherein we perceive it natural to be greedy. Oh and this is where the argument started btw.

The argument is to question to what extent people in the 'developed' world would be willing to give up their material privileges (artificial needs, things like cell phones, fossil fuels and cars, plane travel, high energy consumption, high meat production) for a greater good, for example international solidarity with those in the 'underdeveloped' parts of the planet, or for the good of the environment (and in the long term future generations).

Quote:
Quote:
You can't talk about modern medicine and illnesses without factoring in that industrial lifestyles are responsible for a lot of illness. Modern medicine is to a large extent dependent on the pharmaceutical industry and is very far from being an objective science - if such a thing is possible. Look at the way that doctors and scientists approve of things like genetically modified food without even testing them properly simply because of money poured in from interest groups for research and development where the result is basically decided before the actual tests.

This the great problem of Primitivism (or wait before you get a butthurt for me attributing you and Black Badger as being one, how about Jarachivist) is that as Anarchists and Marxists always say they mix up Industrialization with Capitalism. We don't have to have Genetically Modified food cheaply made to satisfy poor customers and kill them in 50's from heartattacks in a Post - Capitalist society. The people who willingly eat shit like Taco Bell and Mcdonalds do it because they got a fucking family to feed and they can't afford expensive vegetables and fruits or don't have the time/knowledge to cook at home. After all they are caring like 4 jobs between two people and have 6 kids. Alot of "Industrial Lifestyle" isn't a product of the Industry themselves, if you think it is, you're talking about Mysticism because it isn't the industry itself, but the Capitalists themselves acting on it and making it this horrific thing we know today. And to tackle this stupid thing about scientists being bought by private interests, you think in a Post - Capitalist society this is even possible?

This is the first and only text by Jarach I have read, and no I am not a primitivist, I am not against all technology but think it's important to question it. If you need a label for me I am a skeptic wondering how much anarchists/communists have thought about some of the points thinkers like Jarach bring up and seeing if they have better counter-arguments.

My point in that paragraph you are quoting was just to demonstrate that modern science and medicine are far from objective or neutral as was being argued against Black Badger. How you or me imagines a post-capitalist society is besides the point.

Quote:
Quote:
This kind of intelligent criticism of technology and modern medicine does in no way equate with saying that "Native American herbal teas and such can cure cancer" etc that people are projecting onto Black Badger.

I said that in response to the article not Black Badger you twat. Talk about uh.. "attributing opinions to him that he hasn't said"

The article doesn't say that herbal teas can cure cancer either, so who is the twat?

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cantdocartwheels
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Apr 3 2011 10:42
dinosavros wrote:
Paulappaul wrote:
Quote:
Many people are greedy. People very often put their own needs over the needs of those outside their family & tribal/social network.

Faced with Material Conditions we are greedy. Let's take theft for instance. When somebody robs a store to feed themselves because the economy is poor, it's "greed" and "arrogance" because the rest of the consumers have to compensate for him. He was compelled, not by some internal desire to fuck over everybody else, but by certain material conditions which necessitated that he do it to survive. Consider those welfare users who are called "Greedy" because they are taking everyone else money for themselves, is it by need or by desire to fuck everyone over? People want to right thing. A good look over Kropotkin "Anarchist Morality" and other Anarchist books may do good for you.

Yes OK let's take theft for instance since you want to use it as an example. Most people, even very reactionary people, would find it understandable and even laudable if you stole food from someone who has more than enough in order to feed your starving family. What about people who steal from others who have less than themselves, not in order to feed a starving family but to accumulate consumer goods. Capitalism is essentially based on this sort of exploiting behavior but it is not just limited to the ruling classes, a lot of poor people rip each other off very often. You can't brush this reality off with platitudes like "People want to [do] the right thing", you are unlikely to convince anyone with this line of argument, with all due respect to Kropotkin.

But the argument didn't begin with theft as such but questions like the following in Jarach's essay.

Quote:
Agricultural work would probably require more than the fabled three to five hours a week if peasants and farmers are expected to feed the entirety of the world’s population. If there are to be large urban centers ATR, then there will need to be large nearby areas devoted to farming in order to feed those in the cities. And that’s leaving aside the entire question of a remedy to landlessness: how many newly liberated peasants and farmers would return to the areas from which they’d been exiled and dispossessed and continue producing large-scale monoculture crops for export to the cities? Shouldn’t we expect — as has been the case throughout modern history — that they would reclaim and self-organize their fields with local/regional subsistence as a priority? What is the anarcho-syndicalist program regarding the redistribution of land, and how do they plan to feed six billion people while respecting, supporting, and protecting the autonomy of those who wish to grow food? During any transition to a revolutionary urbanism, would there be sufficient reserves to feed six billion people? It is doubtful that even the most perfect anarcho-syndicalist scenario can make the feeding of six billion any easier.

The challenge for those anarchists wedded to the idea of maintaining and/or extending an urbanized society is to provide a few hints (certainly not blueprints) about how roads, sewers, (inter)continental transport, fiber optics, and other accoutrements of modern industrialism can be sustained without threats, coercion, guilt-mongering, and the more banal pressure to conform.[22] At some point a balance needs to be found between the general well-being of any human(e) culture and the specific demands of urban existence. A friend once remarked to me in the course of such a speculative discussion that if it came down to a choice between freedom and telephones, he knows which he’d pick.

I haven't seen anyone answer this convincingly yet.

As I posted before on a thread a few weeks back

''in an anarcho-communist society we would all have a roughly equal quota of hours to meet per 6 months or per year as agreed by syndicates and/or delegate councils.
So say we have to work 20 or 25 hours a week on average. It would then by up to individual workplaces to collectively decide how the hours should be distributed. Maybe this would just be a 4-5 hour day, or maybe you'd work two weeks on two weeks off depending on your choice and the needs of the collective.
Maybe some people would choose to work more, since some people actually quite like work or find purpose and/or a social life in it and get bored sitting at home or whatever but that would be their choice to do so. We wouldn;t advocate giving them loads of money/material incentives to overwork or some sort of stakhanovite like culture..

One would assume a functioning anarcho-communist society would require us to work far less hours, especially when we consider how much manpower (especially in the UK or US for instance) goes into simply making money (finance, advertising, sales, property, recruitment, HR, packaging etc etc) , repairing social ills caused by capitalism (charities, local govt aid agencies, job centres etc) or keeping one class in power over another (the military, a massively oversized police force etc) not to mention the 5 odd percent unemployment rate that capitalism generally needs as a base line and labour wasted in criminal activities.
And i'd say thats a pretty crude analysis that does;t even take count of the potentially transformative nature a change to a moneyless society could have on technology and work practices.''

In short I'm not really sure why people would need to be co-erced to work shorter working weeks. Or why you assume that if given the choice everyone would sit on their arse all day living in poverty and squalor. I assume you do the washing up at some point or do your flatmates/family have to co-erce you? All labur requires a rational analysis to see if its worth the effort, eg is it worth me changing my sheets every week or two...yes because otherwise id get scabes or some manky shit. Is it worth it for me to polish my windows every day.. no that'd be a waste of time and so on. Obviously this would often be decided upon collectively in workplaces, If that qualifies as co-ercion to you then its a wonder you get out of bed in te morning.

Primitivisms nonsensical cult like notions only function in the whimiscal abstract, in the vaccum created by the lack of ideas in poorly thought out individualist or hippy communal anarchism. When confronted by a population of six billiion, mass starvation, aids or infant mortality rates everyone except the hardened anti-humanists (eg green anarchist) run for the hills and retreat to theirs romanticised notions of paleolithic people frolicking in the meadows, rather than the grimmer reality where they spent all day running all day through dank forests trying to scrape together enough calories to survive.

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Apr 3 2011 12:10

wham!

Black Badger
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Apr 3 2011 13:05
Quote:
they spent all day running all day through dank forests trying to scrape together enough calories to survive.

This stupid idea has been thoroughly debunked by the relevant ethnographic literature since at least 1966. Your willful ignorance is astounding.

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Apr 3 2011 14:46

So you're not going to engage with the actual substantive part of cantdo's post? Just latch on to the (admittedly) unnecessary snipe towards the very end? Easy way to ignore an argument I guess... Typical of primmo proponents.

sort it out frosty
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Apr 3 2011 18:38

e.g.

Do not question the consensus of NORMALITY, shut up and go back to work. The milieu has spoken. Self managing capitalism is one thing, a rupture with the existent is another!

sort it out frosty
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Apr 3 2011 18:48

p.s.

(don't ask how the Workers Utopia is going to get all its energy for its industry! thats just inconvenient. everybody knows that if we keep doing what we're doing, everythings going to be OK. repeat, everythings going to be OK. technology will figure it all out. cold fusion or some shit... or the anarchist professionals on the Federal Council of the Economy will have workers cover the Sahara in solar panels. or will have them cover the land in wind farms. or both. all with metals recycled in a factory powered by hot air and lubed up with wishful thinking! we just need to get rid of the "irrationality" of the top hatted toffs "in control" of the economy right now, and the new management of coordinators, scientists + technicians will figure everything out. thank fuck)

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Apr 3 2011 19:43

siof: so rather than engaging you're also gonna throw a tantrum? typical of your behaviour on libcom. you're a troll. nothing else.

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Apr 3 2011 20:21

"A rupture with the existent" sounds like a really loud fart.

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Apr 4 2011 18:42
sort it out frosty wrote:
e.g.

Do not question the consensus of NORMALITY, !

yes yes, we're all ''sheeple'' or some shit, whatever roll eyes

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Apr 4 2011 16:33
Black Badger wrote:
Quote:
they spent all day running all day through dank forests trying to scrape together enough calories to survive.

This stupid idea has been thoroughly debunked by the relevant ethnographic literature since at least 1966. Your willful ignorance is astounding.

You've refused to deal with the rest of my post i notice. Amusingly of course this kinda proves my point. In short as usual primmos are awash with anthropological theoies and speculation, but when asked to describe how their half baked fantasies pan out in reality, they offer little of substance. Now personally i think the hgh levels of infant mortality in the paleolithic era, and a life expectancy of 39, tend to suggest that life was overall pretty shite. However, the fact remains that this is pretty much irrelevant, since even if your rather whimsical notions of stone age life are correct, it hardy provides a model for supporting 6 billion people.

So yeah i think primtivisms ideal is a depressing, malthusian and fantasist one that i would have no interest in sharing and has hardly ever had any real appeal to anyone. But that aside, if for some bizarre reason anyone outside some confused earth first hippies decided it was a worthwhile goal, with said 6 billion people, how would primitivism deal with the resulting mass starvation, aids/other epidemics and soaring infant mortality rates that abandoning modern technology would certainly bring about? Are you one of these lunatics who looks forward to a die off, or do you have a way we could feed 60 million people with the UK's wildlife.

sort it out frosty
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Apr 4 2011 16:30

a troll? nothing else? i weep.

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Apr 4 2011 16:47

you just proved it.

dinosavros
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Apr 5 2011 23:59
cantdocartwheels wrote:
dinosavros wrote:
But the argument didn't begin with theft as such but questions like the following in Jarach's essay.
Quote:
Agricultural work would probably require more than the fabled three to five hours a week if peasants and farmers are expected to feed the entirety of the world’s population. If there are to be large urban centers ATR, then there will need to be large nearby areas devoted to farming in order to feed those in the cities. And that’s leaving aside the entire question of a remedy to landlessness: how many newly liberated peasants and farmers would return to the areas from which they’d been exiled and dispossessed and continue producing large-scale monoculture crops for export to the cities? Shouldn’t we expect — as has been the case throughout modern history — that they would reclaim and self-organize their fields with local/regional subsistence as a priority? What is the anarcho-syndicalist program regarding the redistribution of land, and how do they plan to feed six billion people while respecting, supporting, and protecting the autonomy of those who wish to grow food? During any transition to a revolutionary urbanism, would there be sufficient reserves to feed six billion people? It is doubtful that even the most perfect anarcho-syndicalist scenario can make the feeding of six billion any easier.

The challenge for those anarchists wedded to the idea of maintaining and/or extending an urbanized society is to provide a few hints (certainly not blueprints) about how roads, sewers, (inter)continental transport, fiber optics, and other accoutrements of modern industrialism can be sustained without threats, coercion, guilt-mongering, and the more banal pressure to conform.[22] At some point a balance needs to be found between the general well-being of any human(e) culture and the specific demands of urban existence. A friend once remarked to me in the course of such a speculative discussion that if it came down to a choice between freedom and telephones, he knows which he’d pick.

I haven't seen anyone answer this convincingly yet.

As I posted before on a thread a few weeks back

''in an anarcho-communist society we would all have a roughly equal quota of hours to meet per 6 months or per year as agreed by syndicates and/or delegate councils.
So say we have to work 20 or 25 hours a week on average. It would then by up to individual workplaces to collectively decide how the hours should be distributed. Maybe this would just be a 4-5 hour day, or maybe you'd work two weeks on two weeks off depending on your choice and the needs of the collective.
Maybe some people would choose to work more, since some people actually quite like work or find purpose and/or a social life in it and get bored sitting at home or whatever but that would be their choice to do so. We wouldn;t advocate giving them loads of money/material incentives to overwork or some sort of stakhanovite like culture..

One would assume a functioning anarcho-communist society would require us to work far less hours, especially when we consider how much manpower (especially in the UK or US for instance) goes into simply making money (finance, advertising, sales, property, recruitment, HR, packaging etc etc) , repairing social ills caused by capitalism (charities, local govt aid agencies, job centres etc) or keeping one class in power over another (the military, a massively oversized police force etc) not to mention the 5 odd percent unemployment rate that capitalism generally needs as a base line and labour wasted in criminal activities.
And i'd say thats a pretty crude analysis that does;t even take count of the potentially transformative nature a change to a moneyless society could have on technology and work practices.''

OK this is all fair enough, standard classical anarchist argument and there is nothing I disagree with in this part of your post. but I don't understand why you posted it, it's not replying to the question at all.

Quote:

In short I'm not really sure why people would need to be co-erced to work shorter working weeks. Or why you assume that if given the choice everyone would sit on their arse all day living in poverty and squalor. I assume you do the washing up at some point or do your flatmates/family have to co-erce you? All labur requires a rational analysis to see if its worth the effort, eg is it worth me changing my sheets every week or two...yes because otherwise id get scabes or some manky shit. Is it worth it for me to polish my windows every day.. no that'd be a waste of time and so on. Obviously this would often be decided upon collectively in workplaces, If that qualifies as co-ercion to you then its a wonder you get out of bed in te morning.

I assume you are talking to me, since you are using second person and replying to my post. I don't see where I "assumed that if given the choice everyone would sit on their arse all day living in poverty and squalor". If you want to discuss or debate it would help if you actually read what you are replying to cantdocartwheels.

You mentioned washing up. Washing-up, cleaning, cooking in a small flat or a squat or something, that is quite easy to co-ordinate and organize non-hierarchically and with negligible coercion. Although obviously a lot of households are not organized nonhierarchically. And everyone who's been in a squat knows that there is always a problem of dealing with freeloaders and so on. But sure if a future anarchist economy was on the scale of a small household, or on the scale of a small self-sufficient social network of a few hundred people, I would feel much more confident about it.

Once you get to the logistics of a few billion people though things get much more complicated, even a city the size of Barcelona in the 30s seems like a village in comparison. If I share a house with 3 others and we see each other every day it is easy to understand my motivation for doing the dishes. But if I am a worker, far from my friends and family, on an oil rig in the middle of nowhere, or a coltan mine in Africa, or in the middle of the ocean upgrading or fixing fiber optic cables, my motivations are very different. Right now people do these kinds of jobs because of wage labour, in a moneyless society why would people want to?

The same applies to modern farming. Jarach asks this

Quote:
If there are to be large urban centers ATR, then there will need to be large nearby areas devoted to farming in order to feed those in the cities. And that’s leaving aside the entire question of a remedy to landlessness: how many newly liberated peasants and farmers would return to the areas from which they’d been exiled and dispossessed and continue producing large-scale monoculture crops for export to the cities? Shouldn’t we expect — as has been the case throughout modern history — that they would reclaim and self-organize their fields with local/regional subsistence as a priority? What is the anarcho-syndicalist program regarding the redistribution of land, and how do they plan to feed six billion people while respecting, supporting, and protecting the autonomy of those who wish to grow food?

Which is a question that needs an answer, whatever else you might think of Jarach or the rest of his text.

Quote:

Primitivisms nonsensical cult like notions only function in the whimiscal abstract, in the vaccum created by the lack of ideas in poorly thought out individualist or hippy communal anarchism. When confronted by a population of six billiion, mass starvation, aids or infant mortality rates everyone except the hardened anti-humanists (eg green anarchist) run for the hills and retreat to theirs romanticised notions of paleolithic people frolicking in the meadows, rather than the grimmer reality where they spent all day running all day through dank forests trying to scrape together enough calories to survive.

Again I don't see why you added this paragraph in here just to take cheat shots at primitivists since I have already pointed out that I disagree with primitivism. I am not arguing backwards from a reference point of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle as a future ideal, I am asking with my point of reference right now how would it be possible to run and co-ordinate an international network of self organized communities at current technology levels.

I am becoming convinced that it would either require hierarchy and coercion, or else we would have to lessen our technological needs quite drastically, something a lot of people would be very reluctant to do.

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Apr 6 2011 02:17

Ah primmos... Alright primmos, let's get some real life into this debate.

Half of my close friends are wheel chair users. They are mobility impaired due to shit that happened either genetically, in the womb or during birth. In your utopia, whose going to make the wheel chairs, the hard flat surfaces for them to go along, the power assisted wheels for them to use if they don't have the strength to self propel everywhere? Or maybe they'll just sit on some straw all day, every day. Your "other modalities of medical knowledge" are not (I hope) going to make people like my friends disappear, so what do you propose happens? Leave them on the hillside to die?

And me, I need thyroxine to keep my thyroid hormone levels on track. I'll die early if I don't keep getting it. Are you primmos going to keep the thyroxine factories running, or do we not count? Likewise for the wheelchair factories, pavement maintainence, etc.

Frankly, *insert expletive here* your revolution. I don't want to be a bronze age peasant. And dead. And most of my friends dead. I like wheelchairs and pavements, and medicine and stuff. And until you can show me why me and my friends should slit our own throats then I remain unconvinced by your arguments.

Sure this sounds bitter, but that's because it is. I can't abide people telling me that progress means me and my friends dying. Call me a tedious materialist, but if your revolution means removing the means of existence of a whole bunch of the population (many people with impairments, many older people) good fucking luck persuading the majority to go along with it.

riot_dude
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Joined: 27-07-09
Apr 6 2011 09:31
RedEd wrote:
Ah primmos... Alright primmos, let's get some real life into this debate.

Half of my close friends are wheel chair users. They are mobility impaired due to shit that happened either genetically, in the womb or during birth. In your utopia, whose going to make the wheel chairs, the hard flat surfaces for them to go along, the power assisted wheels for them to use if they don't have the strength to self propel everywhere? Or maybe they'll just sit on some straw all day, every day. Your "other modalities of medical knowledge" are not (I hope) going to make people like my friends disappear, so what do you propose happens? Leave them on the hillside to die?

And me, I need thyroxine to keep my thyroid hormone levels on track. I'll die early if I don't keep getting it. Are you primmos going to keep the thyroxine factories running, or do we not count? Likewise for the wheelchair factories, pavement maintainence, etc.

Frankly, *insert expletive here* your revolution. I don't want to be a bronze age peasant. And dead. And most of my friends dead. I like wheelchairs and pavements, and medicine and stuff. And until you can show me why me and my friends should slit our own throats then I remain unconvinced by your arguments.

Sure this sounds bitter, but that's because it is. I can't abide people telling me that progress means me and my friends dying. Call me a tedious materialist, but if your revolution means removing the means of existence of a whole bunch of the population (many people with impairments, many older people) good fucking luck persuading the majority to go along with it.

But wheelchairs and hormones are authoritarian and infantilizing!

Quote:
Allopaths tend to be authoritarian, basing their ameliorative treatments on perhaps the strictest division of labor of modern civilization, that between healer and patient. Allopathy is expansionist; its practitioners and protectors continually strive to supplant and/or suppress all other healing modalities. And it is infantilizing; patients are removed from the knowledge and ability to decide upon the course of their own treatments.

roll eyes

dinosavros
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Joined: 5-05-10
Apr 6 2011 23:00

This primmo strawman game looks like fun can I try also?

Hey you stupid primmos. I live on the 12th floor and will get so tired from walking up and down the stairs every day if you stupid primmos ever managed to pull off a succesful revolution and shut down all the power plants. You primmos want to kill us all. Nobody likes you anyway you stupid primmos. Primmo primmo primmo. I am much smarter than all of you primmos. Furthermore my bank was robbed by Jacques Mesrine and without a high tech maximum security prison to keep him locked away he is sure to rob it again because he is a master at escaping from prisons. You stupid primmos are against high tech maximum security prisons and I hate you. Primmos have AIDS. I say we get rid of all the primmos before it's too late.

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Khawaga
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Apr 6 2011 23:26
Quote:
Primmos have AIDS. I say we get rid of all the primmos before it's too late.

Hear, hear.

cantdocartwheels's picture
cantdocartwheels
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Apr 10 2011 01:16
Quote:
Agricultural work would probably require more than the fabled three to five hours a week if peasants and farmers are expected to feed the entirety of the world’s population. If there are to be large urban centers

No-one mentioned 3-5 hours a week. I mean we can't sit here and say exactly how long people would work for but an avergae of 20-25 a week seems a reasonable amount to me.

Quote:
ATR, then there will need to be large nearby areas devoted to farming in order to feed those in the cities.And that’s leaving aside the entire question of a remedy to landlessness: how many newly liberated peasants and farmers would return to the areas from which they’d been exiled and dispossessed and continue producing large-scale monoculture crops for export to the cities? Shouldn’t we expect — as has been the case throughout modern history — that they would reclaim and self-organize their fields with local/regional subsistence as a priority?

Basically this arguement rests on the idea that ''the workers are selfish and stupid''. Well sure if you beleive that then don't be an anarchist, anarchism rests on the idea of everyone recognising that there own self interest is tied with society’s and thus works for the common good. If that attitude isn’t prevalent then you can’t have an anarchist society. Also jarach crudely assumes a continuance of the urban rural divide, despite the fact that the capitalisms centralising of profit will no longer be the driving motorr of the economy. In the UK for example, the size and population of London is obviously massively ove inflated, driven as it is by a property bubble and the finance sector. A communist society would produce a very different relationship between cities, towns and the countryside.

To me overall jarachs point its the equivalent of saying that under anarchism doctors wouldn;t have any interest in treating their patients and would attempt to be ‘’self sufficient self healing collectives that only heal themselves’’, its a pretty pointless ''human nature'' type argument.

Quote:
What is the anarcho-syndicalist program regarding the redistribution of land, and how do they plan to feed six billion people while respecting, supporting, and protecting the autonomy of those who wish to grow food? During any transition to a revolutionary urbanism, would there be sufficient reserves to feed six billion people? It is doubtful that even the most perfect anarcho-syndicalist scenario can make the feeding of six billion any easier.

I don;t have a precisely worked out plan to feed six billion people no. I do think anarchism would ofer a means to avoid the vast waste of food inherent within capitalism and a means to remove profit driven landlords and utilise some more efficient farming techniques. I also think a series of agricultural collecties are capable of producing food and sending it to supply depots. Again it comes down to the central issue, do you think the workers in said industries could conceivably rganise themselves to run supply and distribution chains, or do you think they need a ruling class to do it for them?

Quote:
The challenge for those anarchists wedded to the idea of maintaining and/or extending an urbanized society is to provide a few hints (certainly not blueprints) about how roads, sewers, (inter)continental transport, fiber optics, and other accoutrements of modern industrialism can be sustained without threats, coercion, guilt-mongering, and the more banal pressure to conform.[22] At some point a balance needs to be found between the general well-being of any human(e) culture and the specific demands of urban existence. A friend once remarked to me in the course of such a speculative discussion that if it came down to a choice between freedom and telephones, he knows which he’d pick.

Again why do we need co-ercion to launch communications sattelites? Let alone repair roads?? These are hardly hateful jobs that no-oe would ever want to do, indeed the only reason you have mentioned the latter is because its likely that you have a latent prejudice against non-academic labour. I’ve worked on the bins, stacking shelves and doing care work, i wouldn’t need to be co-erced into doing any of those tasks in an anarchist society, since they’d obviously all be necessary. Liekwise if someone trained me to use a pneuamatic drill i'd do that.
Of course there are some jobs which co-ercion keeps afloat. For example, I would guess the number of mobile phones and personal computers etc might drop if china’s workforce stops working ridiculous hours until perhaps in the not so distant future new technology gives us a more environmentally friendly and less labour intensive way of making said products. But whilst that might have an affect on the way people socialise its hardly the end of industrial civilisation is it.

Quote:
Once you get to the logistics of a few billion people though things get much more complicated, even a city the size of Barcelona in the 30s seems like a village in comparison. If I share a house with 3 others and we see each other every day it is easy to understand my motivation for doing the dishes. But if I am a worker, far from my friends and family, on an oil rig in the middle of nowhere, or a coltan mine in Africa, or in the middle of the ocean upgrading or fixing fiber optic cables, my motivations are very different. Right now people do these kinds of jobs because of wage labour, in a moneyless society why would people want to?

Why would they not want to? Again, we’re talking a 25 hour a wek average. I fyou work a job that puts you at sea for 2-3 months then you wouldn’t have to work for the rest of the year. A pretty good incentive, especially when we consider that said jobs probably attract people who want to go travelling and see the world etc. Not something that appeals to me i might add, but the whole travelling malarkey is pretty popular these days.
As an aside note, ironically there’s a fair chance that both the jobs you mention would be technologically redundant in over 50 years time but anyways.

Overall i’d say a lot of your concerns are rooted in a fear of technology. You see the way capitalist society has developed technology, and assume that it would be developed just the same within an anarchist society. A capitalist society develops technology for profit, the fact that it sometimes reduces labour is purely a by product of this, in an anarchist society most if ot all technological research would be aimed at reducing the amount of human labour needed or eliminating the need for it altogether. In the current climate such utopan dreams are laughed, where marx once da dreamed of full automation we are told that the machines will take over and nuke us for osme inexplicable reason. Its dissapointing that people seem to swallow this crap so easily, when realitsically the only thin that could potentially destroy human civilisation in a nuclear fire is the last gasp of a capitalist society dedicated to maintaining fossil fuel based monopolies on power..

dinosavros
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Joined: 5-05-10
Apr 17 2011 21:44

Thanks for taking the time to reply and sorry for taking so long to reply. First a couple of things you said about me personally

cantdocartwheels wrote:
Again why do we need co-ercion to launch communications sattelites? Let alone repair roads?? These are hardly hateful jobs that no-oe would ever want to do, indeed the only reason you have mentioned the latter is because its likely that you have a latent prejudice against non-academic labour.

I have never worked as an academic and generally don't think much of them. I don't think I have demonstrated any prejudice against manual labor, I never mentioned repairing roads that is from Jarach's article.

Quote:
Overall i’d say a lot of your concerns are rooted in a fear of technology. You see the way capitalist society has developed technology, and assume that it would be developed just the same within an anarchist society. A capitalist society develops technology for profit, the fact that it sometimes reduces labour is purely a by product of this, in an anarchist society most if ot all technological research would be aimed at reducing the amount of human labour needed or eliminating the need for it altogether. In the current climate such utopan dreams are laughed, where marx once da dreamed of full automation we are told that the machines will take over and nuke us for osme inexplicable reason. Its dissapointing that people seem to swallow this crap so easily, when realitsically the only thin that could potentially destroy human civilisation in a nuclear fire is the last gasp of a capitalist society dedicated to maintaining fossil fuel based monopolies on power..

This is strawman stuff. I live with daily contact with technology and my only fears of it are whatever any politically sensitive person has of it these days, i.e an awareness that modern capitalist use of industry and technology is causing a tremendous amount of damage to both people and the environment. I haven't assumed that anarchist development of technology would be identical with capitalist development of it, but rather have pointed to questions regarding how this transition would take place.

I think you are confusing things about the popular fear of nuclear war (like Dr Strangelove), which is based on a completely different fear than the fear of the 'machines taking over' (like the Matrix or Terminator); the first is worrying about the psychotic generals who have vast arsenals of nuclear weapons and the capability to use them, the second is worrying about robots taking over after they have developed artifical intelligence, something I know very little about but a lot of specialists in the field seem convinced that at some point artificial intelligence will take place. In any case of course there are a lot of jobs that I would rather a machine did than me and I am not against automation as a matter of principle. But Marx is not a good guide to thinking about technology because there was practically no understanding of the relationship between industry and ecology at the time. Today ecological catastrophe is one of the most important criticisms of capitalism.

Quote:
Quote:
Agricultural work would probably require more than the fabled three to five hours a week if peasants and farmers are expected to feed the entirety of the world’s population. If there are to be large urban centers

No-one mentioned 3-5 hours a week. I mean we can't sit here and say exactly how long people would work for but an avergae of 20-25 a week seems a reasonable amount to me.

Yes you are right about that, maybe he meant 3-5 hours a day, anyway I agree with you here that your guess seems more reasonable.

Quote:
Quote:
ATR, then there will need to be large nearby areas devoted to farming in order to feed those in the cities.And that’s leaving aside the entire question of a remedy to landlessness: how many newly liberated peasants and farmers would return to the areas from which they’d been exiled and dispossessed and continue producing large-scale monoculture crops for export to the cities? Shouldn’t we expect — as has been the case throughout modern history — that they would reclaim and self-organize their fields with local/regional subsistence as a priority?

Basically this arguement rests on the idea that ''the workers are selfish and stupid''. Well sure if you beleive that then don't be an anarchist, anarchism rests on the idea of everyone recognising that there own self interest is tied with society’s and thus works for the common good. If that attitude isn’t prevalent then you can’t have an anarchist society. Also jarach crudely assumes a continuance of the urban rural divide, despite the fact that the capitalisms centralising of profit will no longer be the driving motorr of the economy. In the UK for example, the size and population of London is obviously massively ove inflated, driven as it is by a property bubble and the finance sector. A communist society would produce a very different relationship between cities, towns and the countryside.

To me overall jarachs point its the equivalent of saying that under anarchism doctors wouldn;t have any interest in treating their patients and would attempt to be ‘’self sufficient self healing collectives that only heal themselves’’, its a pretty pointless ''human nature'' type argument.

I don't think the human nature type argument is pointless at all. Anarchists are a tiny tiny minority; many workers do not even believe that anarchism is desirable, and from those that do the vast majority thinks that it is not possible, and a lot of their counter arguments against it being realistic and feasible are based on 'human nature'. If you want to be able to argue persuasively against these arguments you can't brush them off by saying "oh you are just saying all the workers are selfish and stupid" and "if you don't believe it then don't be an anarchist".

Jarach's argument as I understand it is not that "people are just selfish" or that "doctors wouldn't have any interest in treating their patients", but that communities would prioritize their own sustinence rather than make sacrifices for the greater good of people they don't know who live far away from them. This makes sense from my understanding of human nature.

Also your point about the urban-rural divide is true but the question here concerns the immediate organization of production and distribution following a revolution, and not how things will be a few generations later.

From what I have seen very few anarchists consider these things seriously.

Quote:
Quote:
What is the anarcho-syndicalist program regarding the redistribution of land, and how do they plan to feed six billion people while respecting, supporting, and protecting the autonomy of those who wish to grow food? During any transition to a revolutionary urbanism, would there be sufficient reserves to feed six billion people? It is doubtful that even the most perfect anarcho-syndicalist scenario can make the feeding of six billion any easier.

I don;t have a precisely worked out plan to feed six billion people no. I do think anarchism would ofer a means to avoid the vast waste of food inherent within capitalism and a means to remove profit driven landlords and utilise some more efficient farming techniques. I also think a series of agricultural collecties are capable of producing food and sending it to supply depots. Again it comes down to the central issue, do you think the workers in said industries could conceivably rganise themselves to run supply and distribution chains, or do you think they need a ruling class to do it for them?

I think
a. The larger that a society gets, and the less autonomous each part of it is, the harder it is for people to organize it anti-hierarchically.
b. The more technologically advanced a society is, the sharper the division of labor becomes
c. The more technologically advanced a society is, the more it must depend on specialists to organize it.
d. The larger and more technologically advanced a society is, the more it needs some sort of centralized co-ordination.

I agree with you that as long as capitalist profit-motives are what dictate food production and distribution a lot of food will be wasted that could be saved. I am not sure about more efficient farming techniques. Certainly for the short term capitalism is very efficient. But not for the long term as it uses a lot of techniques that cause a lot of harm to the environment which will boomerang back.

In any case even to just talk accurately about possible scenarios about how food would be produced and distributed on an international level immediately following a revolution, a lot of specialized expertise is required.

Quote:
Quote:
The challenge for those anarchists wedded to the idea of maintaining and/or extending an urbanized society is to provide a few hints (certainly not blueprints) about how roads, sewers, (inter)continental transport, fiber optics, and other accoutrements of modern industrialism can be sustained without threats, coercion, guilt-mongering, and the more banal pressure to conform.[22] At some point a balance needs to be found between the general well-being of any human(e) culture and the specific demands of urban existence. A friend once remarked to me in the course of such a speculative discussion that if it came down to a choice between freedom and telephones, he knows which he’d pick.

Again why do we need co-ercion to launch communications sattelites? Let alone repair roads?? These are hardly hateful jobs that no-oe would ever want to do, indeed the only reason you have mentioned the latter is because its likely that you have a latent prejudice against non-academic labour. I’ve worked on the bins, stacking shelves and doing care work, i wouldn’t need to be co-erced into doing any of those tasks in an anarchist society, since they’d obviously all be necessary. Liekwise if someone trained me to use a pneuamatic drill i'd do that.
Of course there are some jobs which co-ercion keeps afloat. For example, I would guess the number of mobile phones and personal computers etc might drop if china’s workforce stops working ridiculous hours until perhaps in the not so distant future new technology gives us a more environmentally friendly and less labour intensive way of making said products. But whilst that might have an affect on the way people socialise its hardly the end of industrial civilisation is it.

I think it's pretty clear that some work is objectively more unpleasant than others and would need higher incentives to do it, e.g. anything involving possible risk to one's health, anything that requires you working somewhere far away and boring like an oil rig or a fiber optic cable in Alaska etc, anything that is very repetitive and unstimulating, anything that causes a lot of stress, etc.

If you expanded on the thinking in the second paragraph above I think you would see what the argument is getting at.

Quote:
Quote:
Once you get to the logistics of a few billion people though things get much more complicated, even a city the size of Barcelona in the 30s seems like a village in comparison. If I share a house with 3 others and we see each other every day it is easy to understand my motivation for doing the dishes. But if I am a worker, far from my friends and family, on an oil rig in the middle of nowhere, or a coltan mine in Africa, or in the middle of the ocean upgrading or fixing fiber optic cables, my motivations are very different. Right now people do these kinds of jobs because of wage labour, in a moneyless society why would people want to?

Why would they not want to? Again, we’re talking a 25 hour a wek average. I fyou work a job that puts you at sea for 2-3 months then you wouldn’t have to work for the rest of the year. A pretty good incentive, especially when we consider that said jobs probably attract people who want to go travelling and see the world etc. Not something that appeals to me i might add, but the whole travelling malarkey is pretty popular these days.
As an aside note, ironically there’s a fair chance that both the jobs you mention would be technologically redundant in over 50 years time but anyways.

Working on an oil rig is not the same as travelling. I guess it could be bearable if you had good company. I think you are kidding yourself if you think that a lot of jobs necessary for maintaining current technological infrastructure are the least bit desirable and wouldn't require a higher incentive than running a self-sufficient farm with your friends and family would. Or is the assumption that post-revolution 6 billion people will become blessed with anarchist enthusiasm and work selflessly for the greater good?

In any case notice that your argument implies some sort of centralized authority assigning jobs and making sure you work your quota, and that at current technology levels this would have to co-ordinate hundreds of millions of people.

sort it out frosty
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Apr 18 2011 09:24

well put "dinosavros". you only need to look as far as left-'anarchists' 'practical' proposals to see that such is the case. for instance Spanish anarcho-syndicalist DA Santillan's 'After the Revolution' which calls for a massive bureaucracy of specialists, economic centralisation, and identifies autonomous small groups + individuals as a potential hindrance to the sacred god of productivity. or check out GP Maximoffs 'Program of Anarcho-Syndicalism' which is very similar. e.g. its 'anarchists' making plans on how to manage the economic/technological infrastructure 'rationally' + 'productively'. in practice in Spain '36-38 this took the form of syndicalist politicos disciplining workers into a regime of 'federalist self-management', where workplace activists I think generally felt more responsible to the federal structures (eg centres) rather than their workmates.
so-called primitivism comes out of the insurgent strain of theory + practice that in its critique of work and the ideological nature of productivity and 'use value' throws the leftist psychology of revolt/revolution as sacrifice to The Cause into a very negative light. (e.g. the Situationists for example).

sort it out frosty
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Apr 18 2011 09:33

as I understand it, this web forum is dominated by councilists + anarcho-syndicalists, believers in workers self-management of the economy. although reassuringly 'common sense' these twin ideologies have shown what a dead end they are over the last hundred years. and in 21st century britain, these ideologies of self-management seem more far fetched than ever. no wonder no ones very interested except perhaps some amongst the minority of workers still in old style industries like transport, the post office, etc. and a few teachers.

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Rob Ray
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Apr 18 2011 11:02

Yes because levels of mass interest is definitely a good basis for analysing the strengths and weaknesses of a political view and it's not at all lacking in any sense of reality to try this line when the primitivist viewpoint is so pathetically irrelevant it's regarded as a standing joke even within the anarchist movement.

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Chilli Sauce
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Apr 18 2011 20:22
Quote:
old style industries like transport, the post office, etc. and a few teachers.

I'm sure that in your incredibly shallow analysis that has nothing to do with the the fact that what you've listed above are traditionally militant industries. However, if you look at where the IWW (not A/S, but where the American A/Sers focus most of their energy), there most recent successes have been in, ya know, service and retail.

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Maphisto86
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Apr 19 2011 04:42
dinosavros wrote:
Quote:
Agricultural work would probably require more than the fabled three to five hours a week if peasants and farmers are expected to feed the entirety of the world’s population. If there are to be large urban centers

No-one mentioned 3-5 hours a week. I mean we can't sit here and say exactly how long people would work for but an avergae of 20-25 a week seems a reasonable amount to me.

Quote:
Yes you are right about that, maybe he meant 3-5 hours a day, anyway I agree with you here that your guess seems more reasonable.

Yeah sorry mea culpa. I initially said "3 to 5 hours a week" but meant daily (give or take if you include weekends, holidays, etc). I was just unsure how this can be accomplished across the board without a large amount of full time farmers and other food processing workers (health inspectors, etc). And this is all voluntary mind you. With an ever growning human population and growing urbanity, modern agriculture is becoming less and less sustainable in my opinion.

dinosavros wrote:
I think
a. The larger that a society gets, and the less autonomous each part of it is, the harder it is for people to organize it anti-hierarchically.
b. The more technologically advanced a society is, the sharper the division of labor becomes
c. The more technologically advanced a society is, the more it must depend on specialists to organize it.
d. The larger and more technologically advanced a society is, the more it needs some sort of centralized co-ordination.

I agree with you that as long as capitalist profit-motives are what dictate food production and distribution a lot of food will be wasted that could be saved. I am not sure about more efficient farming techniques. Certainly for the short term capitalism is very efficient. But not for the long term as it uses a lot of techniques that cause a lot of harm to the environment which will boomerang back.

In any case even to just talk accurately about possible scenarios about how food would be produced and distributed on an international level immediately following a revolution, a lot of specialized expertise is required.

Quote:
In any case notice that your argument implies some sort of centralized authority assigning jobs and making sure you work your quota, and that at current technology levels this would have to co-ordinate hundreds of millions of people.

Exactly what I was initially trying to get at. Such a world wide effort to sustain (let alone grow) industrial civilization will require federative organizations. It would be tough to try and sustain such a complex web without falling back on some sort of heirarchical relationship. Indeed this is a huge primitivst point that needs to be addressed by the anarchist movement and the left in general if it is to be taken seriously. While I can understand why "blueprints" are often viewed with distrust by anti-authoritarians, a defense of basic principals and a general idea of post-revolutionary civilization is needed. So far I have not seen a compelling answer to the criticisms brought up by people like Lawrence Jarach or the "Green Anarchy Collective". At least not without resorting to some straw man or another anyway : ( .