What would an anarchist society look like?

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cantdocartwheels
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Sep 23 2008 09:19
Ariege wrote:
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When it comes to say making hyperdermic needles, or cartons of orange juice or shoes or computers or railway track what methods of production do you imagine we should use other than factories and assembly line based workshops?
If you don't like pot noode then don;t eat it, products will only ever be produced if their is a demand for them whaever society we live in,

That was a really poorly thought out, not to say knee-jerk response, so don't roll your condescending eyes at me! As it happens hyperdermic needles, like a lot of surgical equipment, are not made in huge dark satanic mills and lend themselves very nicely to small workshop based production.

Nope, as jenni has pointed out this is untrue

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The best shoes are known to be hand-made - better for your feet, better for the environment and better for the folks that make them.

Quite clearly this is balls firstly we're not talking about luxury shoes, we're talking about the 15 odd billion pairs of shoes that would need to be produced to shoe the worlds population. Secondly looking at the textile industry in general do you honestly think going back to workshop based hand sewn equipment across the board is at all feasible when you consider demand. l
Let alone the fact that a lot of the worst abuses in textile industries take place when the garments leave the factory supply chain (which is at least monitored to some degree and has some form of health and safety standards) and get shifted off to small sweat shops where hand stithcing is done often employing child labour and the like.

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None of this is my imagination, what seems to be the product of your fevered imagination is that people would want to go on working in factories and being de-skilled by the production line in order to put juice on your table wherever in the world you live.... here's an idea for you: why not drink the juice of a fruit local to your home?

See personally i wouldn;t care if i had to work on a production line, or sweep the streets or do a bit of cleaning, thats life, i've done some of those jobs in the past and tbh someof them are probably more fulfilling than the shit I do now. The point is that in an anarchist society you;d be working a lot less hours a year, and you'd get to do a wide range of jobs. Maintaining factory production means that you can use the minimum amount of labour to get the maximum amount of production, thats generally a good thing unless you really want to work longer hours. I mean all your talk of small workshops and so on just means i'd have to work a 7 hour day instead of a four hour one, hardly a fantastic solution to the worlds problems.

I mean basically your ''alternative'' amounts to working longer hours, hand sewing all your clothes and living in some hippy eco camp in some backwards ass rural pat of the world and only consuming local produce,...your not really selling this to me here.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 23 2008 08:40
Ariege wrote:
workplaces small enough that everyone felt an important part of the team and employed fulfilling skills everyday

scale is a distraction to the point at hand. i've done data entry in a small pharmacy, which was the most boring, repetitive, fordist job i've had. And i've worked in a large factory on a line as part of a small largely autonomous team with tasks rotated among us etc which was considerably less dull. So it's possible to have lots of teams co-operating under one roof or separate ones; we're dealing with a qualitative distinction not a quantitative one.

when people say factories will still exist, they are not saying a capitalist division of labour will. if production is democratically controlled and we no longer have to compete with each other in the market, production is no longer ruled by value (i.e. the drive to minimise labour time expended). of course we may still want to minimise labour time, but we will weigh this against the enjoyment of the work, safety considerations, ecological impact on our communities etc. there is no single answer to whether people would rather put in 2 hours on a fairly fordist production line or 8 hours in a craft workshop (perhaps enjoying their labour more).

You could also argue that craft production traps people in one line of work forever, with longer days too, whereas deskilled/highly automated production maybe more boring, but you need to do much less of it and can much more easily change jobs/workplaces. again, the answers to these kind of trade-offs are by no means singular or knowable in advance. if this is what you mean by diversity, i don't disagree, although with cantdo i'd tend to say it's too utopian to think all necessary work can be rendered enjoyable so minimising the time spent doing it would seem like a good idea.

ftony
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Sep 23 2008 08:58

best libcom thread i've seen for a while. 4 out of 5 stars red n black star red n black star red n black star red n black star

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Sep 23 2008 09:52

another thing i'd like to mention is the idea that "communism means the destruction of the firm" (gilles dauvé). to a certain extent, capitalist production does point beyond itself in this respect. consider a capitalist firm using 'pull production' (as advocated by cantdo on this thread, building in response to demand rather than speculatively stockpiling stuff), internally each stage of production feeds the next in reponse to demand, i.e. 'need' without recourse to commodity/money relations (it tends to be accounted in terms of units first and foremost).

the fact the first stage of production has to buy in inputs reflects not some essential fact of production, but the (for these purposes) arbitrary division of capital amongst different capitalists. if ownership of the means of production is socialised, there's no reason for these arbitrary divisions to exist, and different parts of the production process can co-operate as necessary, abolishing the firm as such (therefore i would see fetishising small craft workshops as backwards-looking, even if communist human-scale production teams might incorporate elements of craft production with regard to making work less boring).

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 23 2008 09:56

lol, i said "communist human-scale production teams." humour me.

fort-da game
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Sep 23 2008 13:44
Ariege wrote:
Just to reiterate, I do believe in diversity, in a different society I'd make the arguments for a different, craft-based if you like, production across the board, I wouldn't make bombs to sabotage big workplaces full of contented workers who just thought that my ideas wouldn't work. As Dave says, one advantage of trying different techniques in a free society would be that over time we could see which worked best and probably reach the most sensible of compromises...Nevertheless, in the end I'd want the factory gone.... turn it into a dance hall and make better tents using better materials and ten thousand locally developed solutions to suit local people and local conditions.

Against all my instincts, this is an incongrous support for the utopian solutionism expressed by Ariege.

cantdocartwheels wrote:
I never understand these sort of weird 'direct democracy'' ideas that seem to srping forth from anarchism whenever the subject of production isbrought up. Production isn't ''decided'' upon, its planned out as a response to market demand. Thus a chain of burger bars would be run by their staff who would have detailed lists of all the profucts they used in a day, a week a month and so on, would relay this information to a central depot whose staff would dispatch deliveries and make orders to factories accordingly. The factory and depot between them would look at data for previous months and produce goods accordingly to meet the demand previusly shown with some surplus. I don;t see why we need a ''neighbourhood meeting'' or any meeting outside the workplaces involved to decide how many thousands of curly and non-curly fries you might be making.
Joseph K. wrote:
i mean i spend a large part of my non-working life involved in "mind-numbing" consumer activities (drink/drugs/clubs/clothes...), and i don't think they make me less likely to struggle over material conditions etc. I don't really see what's wrong with them per se either, but that's probably another discussion.

I’m guessing here but the reasoning, I think, behind Libcom’s line on this is to disassociate itself from the anarchists’ critique of commodity fetishism because it wants to avoid if at all possible criticising the proletariat’s perceived consumerism, which is taken as a given, and its possessions as an objective index of need. It seems from these statements that Libcom does not accept that the social relation is expressed through its products but that things have an objectively given use-value. It is here that a lifestylist residue reappears in the fetishised appreciation of the thing which is severed from and eclipses the conditions of its manufacture.

From this it is a small step to imagine communism as the continuing production of the same objects via the same processes, where everything is the same but branded differently. Because of its critique of anarchism, Libcom’s version of communism is stripped of anything that might indicate a break with capital. Instead it proposes that we will reproduce the same set of conditions but less capitalistically – as if the social relation existed independently of the conditions. If this is not political reformism, it still has a pragmatic-reformist sheen; social reformism perhaps.

The thinking goes something like: ‘we need to sell our idea of a communist society, we cannot attack capital at the level of alienation or commodification because the proletariat has passed into the stage of total subsumption and identifies wholly with its role and with its possessions (oh get me another shirt, get me another tie, get me another wollen). Therefore, the only option is to attack the critique of commodity fetishism as ‘lifestylist’ and propose to the workers a governmental solution on the level of ‘everything is going to be the same but you will be in charge’. In this form of self-management populism the capitalist relation is represented as an external constraint rather than as integral to our existence at the level of activity, values, roles. The communist critique implies the proposed abolition of Value, Labour and Class as they are embodied in real existence and not in some abstract realm – this would necessarily involve an attempt at the total transformation of our lives, where we cannot overcome our addictions/adhesions we must at least subject them to critique.

One thing is certain, the proposals put forward by Libcom within this discussion are not communism nor will they abolish either class or capital as both of these are reproduced in turn from the activity and relations which produce and pursue them as an end in themselves. The class struggle will continue upon the territories that Joseph K refuses to engage: where dead labour guarantees existence and where activity is expressed in terms of alienated labour. There can be no communist factories as there can be no communist state or communist prison or communist police force, army etc. There can be no communist capitalism.

The arguments Joseph K puts forward exist somewhere within the spectrum of capitalist politics where liberal investments in the liberating potentials of dead labour, sprinkled with utilitarian/malthusian calculations concerning the optimum shoeing of 7 billion workhorses (as if human existence is captured at the magnitude of ‘billions’), crunch up against simple workerist sentimentality, ‘See personally i wouldn;t care if i had to work on a production line, or sweep the streets or do a bit of cleaning, thats life, i've done some of those jobs in the past and tbh someof them are probably more fulfilling than the shit I do now.’ This sort of VSO all-hands-to-the-deck-and-help-those-poor-people-out is really only capitalist productivism with a human face.

jonnylocks
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Sep 23 2008 13:55
Zazaban wrote:
Simply, how would an anarchist society look?

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 23 2008 15:24
fort-da game wrote:
I’m guessing here but the reasoning, I think, behind Libcom’s line on this is to disassociate itself from the anarchists’ critique of commodity fetishism because it wants to avoid if at all possible criticising the proletariat’s perceived consumerism...

i've split my response to fort-da game here as it' doesn't seem to address what an anarchist society would look like, but rather how 'Libcom's hivemind is apparently capitalist.

Ariege
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Sep 23 2008 18:06

Cantdo: you finally show your true colours:

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I mean basically your ''alternative'' amounts to working longer hours, hand sewing all your clothes and living in some hippy eco camp in some backwards ass rural pat of the world and only consuming local produce,...your not really selling this to me here.

This is not about what I have been saying at all, it's about what you have wanted to see in it. I don't believe that it's about working longer hours, I never mentioned hand sewing, I am no hippy and backwards is all in the eye of the beholder. As for local produce, I don't see what's so negative about that but then you're the guy who doesn't care what work he does, I guess you don't care what shit you eat either...... maybe if you could live on an anarchist space station and breath air out of a tin you'd be really happy.
Well, in any event, you're not engaging with me you're engaging with big fat straw men. Your assertions about what can and cannot be done in relatively small workplaces are just that and in any event fortunately you are unlikely to be some commissar for industry so people will do what free people do, which is experiment, find their own solutions and defy the predictions of authoritarians and technocrats.

Joseph K:

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scale is a distraction to the point at hand

Well I don't quite agree with this. It is plain that scale can perfectly well be beside the point; tyranny, boredom and exploitation are all very possible on a small scale, I never suggested otherwise. However, that is not to say that a human scale, or to be more exact, an appropriate scale for the people, the environment and the activity in each case, would not be highly advantageous in the construction and day-to-day functioning of an anarchist society. I will once again add the reminder that I am not saying that all the world should adopt one solution, that diversity is what I want, but for me,. seeking a scale on which we will preserve and enhance skill and fulfillment, and which will facilitate face-to-face relations both within workplaces and between workplaces and communities seems an obvious and desirable aim.
So I'll try to make myself clearer: I would like to live in a community, perfectly at home with appropriate high technology, in which no-one is reduced to the level of a machine operative by the scale of their workplace, in which wherever possible jobs maintain and promote skills, I would say in which there exists a craft ethos. Now none of this excludes automation to a high degree, or the use of the most sophisticated technologies, what it implies I hope, is that workers will master their machines, know them, build them, understand them, manage them rather than the contrary. Workers will work at the pace they have built into their workshops, not at the speed the production lines force on them. I would also like to note that I would indeed like to live in a community more concerned with quality than quantity, more interested in the possibilities of producing a linen shirt that could last a lifetime than making sure that everyone could have a wardrobe full of new shirts that will last them a year or two..... now if that makes me an ascetic, so be it, I happen to like good boots and linen shirts.

Quote:
of course we may still want to minimise labour time, but we will weigh this against the enjoyment of the work, safety considerations, ecological impact on our communities etc. there is no single answer to whether people would rather put in 2 hours on a fairly fordist production line or 8 hours in a craft workshop (perhaps enjoying their labour more).

Perhaps we'd like to optimise labour time. The crucial thing is that perhaps what we'd really like is a world full of possibilties in which not only each industry found a scale conducive to good work, but in which each region and finally each community found a scale for each activity best suited to its unique capacities and needs. Now in that kind of world Cantdo could probably find somewhere to lean on his broom for two hours a day and I might be able to split my time between a nice little walled veggie garden producing local food and a furniture workshop making wooden chairs and tables to last generations.

I do believe that in time pretty much all necessary work can be rendered enjoyable or rewarding (sitting by the bed of someone who's dying probably shouldn't be too much fun - but maybe it shouldn't be thought of as work) and I've done a fair range of work in my life to date. Now whether this position is utopian or not only the future - or one possible, probably fairly unlikely future - will tell. I believe in the capacities of free people to surmount technical challenges, to make the necessary rewarding and fulfilling. It would be interesting to discuss this on a job by job basis, perhaps a little frivolous but interesting.

I gave the criticism that my posts have come in for some thought this afternoon and I think that in fact it does have to do with this fear of asceticism, or worries about criticising consumerism and mass production. Now frankly I don't really have the savvy to join the other thread - I don't speak marxian - but it does seem to me that there is a risk of throwing at least one baby out with the bathwater if any suggestion like the ones I have made (incidental to my desire for diversity) is treated as if it is the ranting of some primitivist or one of the hair shirt brigade. I'm neither of those things. I do recognise the probable need - ecological if nothing else - for limits to consumption and I don't believe that that makes me a misanthropic green. These things are nuanced you know, and if I'm dismissed as a hippy or a primo then some valid arguments might be lost..... I'm a communist anarchist and if any of us live long enough to see the world turn in our direction I will not lay down my arms to see another homogenizing tidal wave engulf the world just because the alternative seems a little utopian.

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Sep 23 2008 19:43
Ariege wrote:
Well I don't quite agree with this. It is plain that scale can perfectly well be beside the point; tyranny, boredom and exploitation are all very possible on a small scale, I never suggested otherwise. However, that is not to say that a human scale, or to be more exact, an appropriate scale for the people, the environment and the activity in each case, would not be highly advantageous in the construction and day-to-day functioning of an anarchist society.

But what is a "human scale"? Are you describing some kind of modular architecture, the physical size of spaces? Whats an "appropriate size"? I don't see how this constitutes an argument in favor of small workplaces. I mean, it would make sense to group facilities in one place to economise and reduce work, share energy and waste disposal functions, recycling, conserve heat, manage noise etc. For instance, if you have toolworking and engineering expertise in one place, and machinery, it would make sense to to build a facility to produce all the tools needed by the area there, rather than reproducing the effort in every place. Or in a more complex operation, like building train engines, we'd have to have as many of the functions in one place as possible in one large facility to avoid transporting the parts around that have been made elsewhere. Otherwise you'd have to have small shops all over the place specialising in different parts of the process. I don't see what would be alienating about working i such a place when you'd get access to all parts of the design and building process and would learn about it in depth. I think it'd be pretty awesome actually. You could call it a large workshop if you want, but its clearly a factory.

As for face-to-face communication, while this might be desirable, real time communications do save time and are very useful in the workplace. For decision making in the workers councils then face to face communication is necessary, but i don't see why you'd have to be face to face with everyone you're working with all the time.

Ariege wrote:
I gave the criticism that my posts have come in for some thought this afternoon and I think that in fact it does have to do with this fear of asceticism, or worries about criticising consumerism and mass production. Now frankly I don't really have the savvy to join the other thread - I don't speak marxian - but it does seem to me that there is a risk of throwing at least one baby out with the bathwater if any suggestion like the ones I have made (incidental to my desire for diversity) is treated as if it is the ranting of some primitivist or one of the hair shirt brigade. I'm neither of those things. I do recognise the probable need - ecological if nothing else - for limits to consumption and I don't believe that that makes me a misanthropic green.

I certainly have no worries about criticizing the way in which capitalism alienates us from the production of our social environment, which we have to buy back. But I think the only way to fix that is revolution, and moralising about "consumerism" usually leads to rubbish politics, all the way from Adbusters to Crimethinc. As for mass production, I simply see no reason why this is incompatable with communism, and i haven't seen any arguments to lead me to believe otherwise. Producing the things society needs using labour saving technology to mean that theres less work to be done makes perfect sense. As for asceticism, there's nothing revolutionary about that. If there aren't drug-fuelled orgies in communism then we've failed.

I think lots of the criticisms of your posts have been down to people objecting to suggestion that them thinking large industry is possible in an anarchist society is the same as uncritically taking over the capitalist economy.

Quote:
I guess you don't care what shit you eat either...... maybe if you could live on an anarchist space station and breath air out of a tin you'd be really happy.

I think an anarchist space exploration program would be balls-to-wall awesome wink

Ariege
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Sep 23 2008 21:08

The problem is Django that you and I come from very different backgrounds, have clearly read very different stuff, know very different people and want very different things. It's marvelous in a way that we have both come to the conclusion that what's needed is a revolution and afterward a free society. It only matters to me when you start assuming that everyone everywhere is going to want to produce things in the way that you think is most sensible and presumably make decisions in the way that you think is most sensible. Although I can perhaps be accused of being utopian in some ways, the idea, the assumption running throughout this thread, not just in your stuff, that we might have one "anarchist society" is not only completely barmy, it's got "made in cloud cuckoo land" printed all over it. Whether you or any of your comrades like it or not, free people will shape the future economy and it will work in myriad different ways that none of us expect.
I don't really see why you think it's so great to have all the expertise in one place under one roof. What? Are you planning to do away with telephones? The internet? Universities? Books? You use the example of train engines but when the UK finally got around to putting light railway systems in some of its cities much of the gear was made in Italy, a country renowned for its relatively small workplaces - workshops even. But once again I remind you that I'm not telling you how you'll work after the revolution, or how your hometown will be organised; I am not promulgating some universal law of production - which if you ask me in this thread seems to amount to the bastard offspring of Karl Marx and an economics A level. All I have been doing all along is saying that in a diverse world we'll be able to do stuff in lots of different ways - I'd prefer small craft-based industry and believe that responsible use of technology will allow us to do pretty much everything in small production units. Evidently your vision differs from mine.
It is certainly not a question of moralising about consumerism. I apologise if it came across like that. My observation is that consumerism fucks people up and contributes in many ways to fucking other things up as well. Now I don't see how that is moralising, I'm not condemning people for living in the shit we're all mired in. What I am saying is that in a different world perhaps people would consume less stuff, use stuff more wisely, make stuff that will last and make stuff that they really care about. You think a space program would be a nice adjunct to an anarchist society, I think that's completely fucking insane - oh and definitely something worth sabotaging however small a minority I'm in; I think that a shirt good enough to last for decades and maybe even my lifetime would be very cool indeed, you think that makes me what? A subscriber to rubbish politics?
Listen, have your drug-fueled orgies, work in your factories, work not at all if that's what you think will make you happy. But if I were to end up amongst the kind of people and in the kind of community I would hope to, I imagine you're not going to do any of it near me.... okay, so that's the great thing about diversity.... you can go on forever about how other people don't know how to produce things efficiently and we'll have our train engines just the same.

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Sep 23 2008 23:09

You really know nothing about me Ariege, please don't make assumptions.

Quote:
It only matters to me when you start assuming that everyone everywhere is going to want to produce things in the way that you think is most sensible and presumably make decisions in the way that you think is most sensible. Although I can perhaps be accused of being utopian in some ways, the idea, the assumption running throughout this thread, not just in your stuff, that we might have one "anarchist society" is not only completely barmy, it's got "made in cloud cuckoo land" printed all over it.

This is ridiculous. No one has said this. In fact, people have said repeatedly that your worries about diversity are ill founded, and that no-one is advocating doing away with it and instituting some world government. If you think the idea of a society is "barmy" then I'm puzzled about why you bothered contributing in the first place.

Quote:
Whether you or any of your comrades like it or not, free people will shape the future economy and it will work in myriad different ways that none of us expect.I don't really see why you think it's so great to have all the expertise in one place under one roof. What? Are you planning to do away with telephones? The internet? Universities? Books? You use the example of train engines but when the UK finally got around to putting light railway systems in some of its cities much of the gear was made in Italy, a country renowned for its relatively small workplaces - workshops even.

Again, no-one has said anything about free people not shaping their economy. In fact, its your attitude that "factories" are inherently bad, alienating etc which sets a prescription on any future form of organising society. All anyone else has said is that they could be useful in allowing us to do certain things, but would look very different to anything in existence today. No, I'm not "planning" to get rid of anything, as I said before, I think such attitudes and fetishising face to face contact with people is silly, which is why I'm critical of your idea of promoting workplaces where we can only have a face to face relation with each other. But I'm sure you've found in every job that you've done, whenever you've wanted to learn something complex, its been far more useful to have someone who knows what they're doing show you than to pore through manuals. That is elementary. But why build two facilities doing much the same thing in one town than one larger one which combines functions. I think its bizarre that you think people won't make their own lives easier by grouping functions together in one facility - thats far more prescriptive and anti-pragmatic than anything anyone else has said. Also, its interesting that you of all people are arguing against me by using an anachronistic model of early capitalist production! Importing gears from Italy? I take it you're not volunteering to build the cargo ships in a small workshop.

Quote:
But once again I remind you that I'm not telling you how you'll work after the revolution, or how your hometown will be organised; I am not promulgating some universal law of production - which if you ask me in this thread seems to amount to the bastard offspring of Karl Marx and an economics A level. All I have been doing all along is saying that in a diverse world we'll be able to do stuff in lots of different ways - I'd prefer small craft-based industry and believe that responsible use of technology will allow us to do pretty much everything in small production units. Evidently your vision differs from mine.

You can continue "reminding" people to do something they're not when you stop doing it yourself. You've yet to give a reason why people would want to prescribe the size of their workplaces when it might mean more hours, more duplication, more transport and distribution work etc. In lots of cases smaller workplaces would make sense, in lots of cases bigger ones would. But no-one in disagreeing with you has advocated a universal law of production, and what Marx has to do with any of this is beyond me.

Quote:
Listen, have your drug-fueled orgies, work in your factories, work not at all if that's what you think will make you happy. But if I were to end up amongst the kind of people and in the kind of community I would hope to, I imagine you're not going to do any of it near me.... okay, so that's the great thing about diversity.... you can go on forever about how other people don't know how to produce things efficiently and we'll have our train engines just the same.

What are you on about? All thats been happening is that examples have been given to say that people might decide in a number of cases to use different arrangements than religiously limiting the size of their workplaces. If you read the post, which you obviously haven't, you'd see I didn't say that "we'll have our train engines the same", but described a radically different process of producing large machines than which exists today. If you think that train engines today are produced in factories where workers access "all parts of the design and building process" and run them democratically then you are on a completely different planet. Or, you might have a political objection to trains.

Ariege
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Sep 24 2008 05:35
Quote:
You really know nothing about me Ariege, please don't make assumptions

You don't know that I don't know anything about you Django..... I might be your next door neighbour. I was only meaning to point out that we seem to be coming from very different perspectives. I'm sorry if I offended you, although I didn't see you jumping to my defence when Cantdo said I was a hippy who wanted us all to live in an eco-camp.

The question was "What would an Anarchist society look like?" I answered that for me diversity was essential. I of course have ideas about what kind of community I'd like to live in and how I believe things might be best produced.
Still, thank you all for setting me straight., especially thanks to you Django for helping me understand the world and for all of you for bringing me closer to a grasp of the way things work and the things people really need. I shall go away now and see if I can't apply all of this Libcom-harvested wisdom to escape the web of delusion I have spun around my life.

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Sep 24 2008 08:23

I'd be perfectly happy to have a discussion with you about these things if my views weren't misrepresented. I can understand why you'd be irritated about being called a primitivist by others for the same reasons. You said you wanted a diverse society, but that you'd like it to have no factories. Others said they advocated a diverse society too, but that large facilities would likely be useful and desirable, and that there is no essential "factory" to reject. Thats nothing to get upset about.

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Sep 24 2008 11:42

I dunno about this 'small is better' thing tbh, economies of scale are a reality in most cases, technology is at the point - or rapidly reaching it - where unless it is a highly skilled occupation there is no absolute necessity for anything but minimal human intervention in most productive processes. It's arguable that western capitalism has partly shifted over into otherwise pointless service jobs and public sector roles for precisely this reason (alongside the outsourcing thing) - it finds it difficult, with labour-intensive industry no longer required, to justify the continuation of a logically obsolete economic structure, so looks for 'brain' roles.

Really though, the fact that capitalism has a tendency to overwork and alienate human labour in factories/offices where it is cheaper than machine-production does not really have a bearing on the organisation of post-revolutionary society.

While you might get a slightly better shoe if it's hand-made (and I'd dispute this as an ongoing inevitability), the production of said shoe in a factory, being less labour intensive, frees up more people to pursue their own priorities - which should be the ultimate aim of any societal change. You'd probably still get cobblers - as a hobby, working at their own speed and to standards that are usually impossible to achieve in a set work environment.

Pepe
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Sep 24 2008 13:44

Can people stop saying that individuals would be allowed to choose not to work and yet live off the fruits of other' labour? That sounds shit. Actually it sounds a bit like class society. From each according to ability, comrades.

Daniel B
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Sep 24 2008 13:48
Jess wrote:
Can people stop saying that individuals would be allowed to choose not to work and yet live off the fruits of other' labour? That sounds shit. Actually it sounds a bit like class society. From each according to ability, comrades.

Why are you averse to this idea?

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Sep 25 2008 00:12
Daniel Brennan wrote:
Jess wrote:
Can people stop saying that individuals would be allowed to choose not to work and yet live off the fruits of other' labour? That sounds shit. Actually it sounds a bit like class society. From each according to ability, comrades.

Why are you averse to this idea?

because as jess says it's effectively a class society. we already have a class of people who fit this description, they're called capitalists. surely we don't want a parasitical class in communism either. 'from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs' means just that! obviously if people have an actual reason why they can't work they wouldn't lose out, but for people who just can't be bothered to have access to everything society produces isn't fair. especially since there will be so much less work to do in communism; there'd really be no excuse not to do your bit.

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cantdocartwheels
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Sep 25 2008 07:38
Ariege wrote:
Cantdo: you finally show your true colours:
Quote:
I mean basically your ''alternative'' amounts to working longer hours, hand sewing all your clothes and living in some hippy eco camp in some backwards ass rural pat of the world and only consuming local produce,...your not really selling this to me here.

This is not about what I have been saying at all, it's about what you have wanted to see in it. I don't believe that it's about working longer hours, I never mentioned hand sewing,

You just went on one about the best shoes being ''hand made'' how exactly do you imagine they were going to be doing the stitching, i mean do you seriously think we could clothe the worlds population using craft production?
And again, a factory is a process that minimises labour and maximises product, if you reject that then it goes without saying that you are wanting people to work longer hours.

One of the most recent scandals regarding abuses in the textile industry was this one http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/jun/23/primark.children in which the clothes were taken out of the factories, and large chunks of the production were done in workshops by hand using child labour and with workers working far longer hours than they should have been doing acccording to health and safety standards in the factories. I hardly see how those kids would have appreciated that the goods they were making were hand made, and in the real world of mass produced goods for a market of billions, thats what ''hand making'' all those goods is going to involve; basically long hours and poor conditions.

Quote:
Perhaps we'd like to optimise labour time. The crucial thing is that perhaps what we'd really like is a world full of possibilties in which not only each industry found a scale conducive to good work, but in which each region and finally each community found a scale for each activity best suited to its unique capacities and needs. Now in that kind of world Cantdo could probably find somewhere to lean on his broom for two hours a day and I might be able to split my time between a nice little walled veggie garden producing local food and a furniture workshop making wooden chairs and tables to last generations.

So basically you don;t want to work anywhere outside your garden and your shed and we're supposed to respect that because its 'diverse'. Do you not see a slight problem with this sort of relativism.
Seriously like say you do spend all your time in your hippie garden and then it turns out that theres a bit of a labour shortage in one sector and they need people to help with the harvest on a larger industrial farm or say they need rubbish collectors, warehouse workers, industrial cleaners or hospital porters, and they put out adverts in the local area detailing the work that needs doing, (maybe your details come up on a databse as having some free time so you get a letter delivered who knows) would you do some shifts or refuse because those all involve working in ''factories'' and ''industry''.

yoshomon
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Sep 25 2008 13:28
Quote:
And again, a factory is a process that minimises labour and maximises product, if you reject that then it goes without saying that you are wanting people to work longer hours.

Did the imposition of the factory system result in people working less?

Quote:
Seriously like say you do spend all your time in your hippie garden and then it turns out that theres a bit of a labour shortage in one sector and they need people to help with the harvest on a larger industrial farm or say they need rubbish collectors, warehouse workers, industrial cleaners or hospital porters, and they put out adverts in the local area detailing the work that needs doing, (maybe your details come up on a databse as having some free time so you get a letter delivered who knows) would you do some shifts or refuse because those all involve working in ''factories'' and ''industry''.

Comrade, perhaps we could build camps to send people who refused to work in factories. We could call them work camps, and the people in them could be kept there and compelled to work until their attitude changed and they went to the factory on their own.

yoshomon
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Sep 25 2008 13:30

And thankfully y'all have made clear that there will also be communist prisons, so we could send particularly unproductive people to those.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 25 2008 13:33
yoshomon wrote:
Did the imposition of the factory system result in people working less?

this has little to do with a division of labour per se, and everything to do with the social relations of production. see my comments on production no longer ruled by value above.

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Joseph Kay
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Sep 25 2008 13:35
yoshomon wrote:
Comrade, perhaps we could build camps to send people who refused to work in factories. We could call them work camps, and the people in them could be kept there and compelled to work until their attitude changed and they went to the factory on their own.
yoshomon wrote:
And thankfully y'all have made clear that there will also be communist prisons, so we could send particularly unproductive people to those.

gulag straw man and amalgam argument, how intellectually honest roll eyes

let's try and keep this constructive yeah?

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PartyBucket
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Sep 25 2008 13:44
yoshomon wrote:
Quote:
And again, a factory is a process that minimises labour and maximises product, if you reject that then it goes without saying that you are wanting people to work longer hours.

Did the imposition of the factory system result in people working less?

Thats a complete and deliberate misrepresentation of cantdos' point, its obvious that there would be a difference between production in an anarchist society and under capitalism; in a factory system under capitalism work is obviously not fairly shared; a certain number of people are worked to the bone while huge numbers of unemployed are kept on the outside to remind them that if they dont want to work 60-70 hours a week there are plenty of desperate people out there who will. This situation would clearly not be the case in the type of society we're envisioning.

Interestingly to me, train production came up earlier in this thread... Im kind of reluctant to enter into debate with anyone who seriously thinks trains or any major part thereof can be built in some type of cottage industry, after the revolution I will be refusing to drive any trains that have not been built in a proper engineering works.

Dave B
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Sep 25 2008 18:28

How small would these cottage industries have to be before they became satisfactorily ‘small’?

I work in a factory that employs less than 200 people, split over three almost cottage sized shifts. Everybody knows everyone else, perhaps too well.

However we do turn out 20 tonnes of product per person per week, when reasonably busy.

Although to be fair, it is highly automated with plenty of robots doing the boring jobs.

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Sep 26 2008 09:07
Quote:
Did the imposition of the factory system result in people working less?

Oh for fucks sake do you think standards of living are higher now or in 1800? The current population could not be supported with a high standard of living for 6 billion people on the basis of the craft prodction and agricultural methods that existed in 1800.

Quote:
Comrade, perhaps we could build camps to send people who refused to work in factories. We could call them work camps, and the people in them could be kept there and compelled to work until their attitude changed and they went to the factory on their own.

Not really, one would hope society would have checks and balances to deal with people who refused to contribute and who had no good reason for not doing so, ranging from socially stigmatising the culprits to administering some form ot rationing that limited what someone who chose to refuse to work could receive and what they could participate in. Probably the anarchist equivalemt of the dole i'd assume. Obviously you probably wouldn;t have to work in a factory generally because most factories are increasingly highly automated and so the number of people working in them is relatively small, but unless you had health reasons, or care responsibilities or another good reason then i'd assume you would be expected to do some of the ''dirty work'' in society. And like I said in my post that oculd be anything from being a hospital porter to working in a warehouse.
Stigmatising people who don;t work in a capitalist society is wrong because work is not done for the common good, you do not benefit from it, hours are long and conditions dehumanising. In an anarchist society where those inequalities and stigma are removed, what excuse do you have to not work and expect to receive the benefits of other peoples labour?

Pepe
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Sep 26 2008 12:23
yoshomon wrote:
And thankfully y'all have made clear that there will also be communist prisons, so we could send particularly unproductive people to those.

Well this is another point. What do you propose we do wth rapists and the like in a communist society? Dangerous people obviously need to be detained, and I think it would be disengenuous and newspeak-ish to call that place of detainment anything other than a prison.

As for unproductive people, consider this scenario: we have a revolution, and all the previously ruling class people decide they don't want to work.

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Bob Savage
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Sep 26 2008 12:37

who decides the holiday pay under anarchism.

yoshomon
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Sep 27 2008 17:21

Marx in Chapter 13 of the Grundrisse:

Quote:
As long as the means of labour remains a means of labour in the proper sense of the term, such as it is directly, historically, adopted by capital and included in its realization process, it undergoes a merely formal modification, by appearing now as a means of labour not only in regard to its material side, but also at the same time as a particular mode of the presence of capital, determined by its total process -- as fixed capital. But, once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages. In the machine, and even more in machinery as an automatic system, the use value, i.e. the material quality of the means of labour, is transformed into an existence adequate to fixed capital and to capital as such; and the form in which it was adopted into the production process of capital, the direct means of labour, is superseded by a form posited by capital itself and corresponding to it. In no way does the machine appear as the individual worker's means of labour. Its distinguishing characteristic is not in the least, as with the means of labour, to transmit the worker's activity to the object; this activity, rather, is posited in such a way that it merely transmits the machine's work, the machine's action, on to the raw material -- supervises it and guards against interruptions. Not as with the instrument, which the worker animates and makes into his organ with his skill and strength, and whose handling therefore depends on his virtuosity. Rather, it is the machine which possesses skill and strength in place of the worker, is itself the virtuoso, with a soul of its own in the mechanical laws acting through it; and it consumes coal, oil etc. (matières instrumentales), just as the worker consumes food, to keep up its perpetual motion. The worker's activity, reduced to a mere abstraction of activity, is determined and regulated on all sides by the movement of the machinery, and not the opposite. The science which compels the inanimate limbs of the machinery, by their construction, to act purposefully, as an automaton, does not exist in the worker's consciousness, but rather acts upon him through the machine as an alien power, as the power of the machine itself. The appropriation of living labour by objectified labour -- of the power or activity which creates value by value existing for-itself -- which lies in the concept of capital, is posited, in production resting on machinery, as the character of the production process itself, including its material elements and its material motion. The production process has ceased to be a labour process in the sense of a process dominated by labour as its governing unity. Labour appears, rather, merely as a conscious organ, scattered among the individual living workers at numerous points of the mechanical system; subsumed under the total process of the machinery itself, as itself only a link of the system, whose unity exists not in the living workers, but rather in the living (active) machinery, which confronts his individual, insignificant doings as a mighty organism. In machinery, objectified labour confronts living labour within the labour process itself as the power which rules it; a power which, as the appropriation of living labour, is the form of capital. The transformation of the means of labour into machinery, and of living labour into a mere living accessory of this machinery, as the means of its action, also posits the absorption of the labour process in its material character as a mere moment of the realization process of capital.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1857/grundrisse/ch13.htm#p690

Dave B
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Sep 27 2008 17:41

Capital Vol. III

Part VII. Revenues and their Sources
Chapter 48. The Trinity Formula

Quote:
In fact, the realm of freedom actually begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus in the very nature of things it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production. Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilised man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase.

Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis. The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch48.htm