Where do I fit in?

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Steddyeddy
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Dec 5 2010 09:07
Where do I fit in?

So I would call myself an anarchist but dont know a great deal about it. I know Im anti big government. Im in favor of street level politics, man governing man, towns run buy the communities of people who live there. Cities split into smaller boroughs.

I have no idea what sort of mechanism would need to occur in order to bring about these changes?

Am I in the right place here on this site?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 5 2010 09:59

Hi there Eddy, welcome to the forums.

Well, I'll tell you that anarchism is first and foremost and anti-capitalist movement. The anti-government bit comes in because we don't believe socialism can be achieved through the state (i.e. the "state capitalism" of the Soviet Union or Cuba).

Anarchism also rejects all hierarchies (economic, political and social), so we wouldn't be against "big government" as much as we'd be against all government as inherently oppressive and the main instrument for the protection of class society. (Although anarchists are against the cuts--not because we want to strengthen the state, but because we want protect the living standards of workers and build the sort of class power needed to to bring about an anarchist revolution).

So that's kind of the starting point for anarchism.

There's some articles you might want to consider reading:

Good intro: http://libcom.org/library/what-anarcho-syndicalism

Anarchist FAQ that has nice sections you can easily jump to: http://anarchism.ws/faq/

I'm sure other folks will have suggestions as well.

Happy reading.

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Stranger Than P...
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Dec 7 2010 18:54
ncwob wrote:
Anarchism also rejects all hierarchies (economic, political and social), so we wouldn't be against "big government" as much as we'd be against all government as inherently oppressive and the main instrument for the protection of class society. (Although anarchists are against the cuts--not because we want to strengthen the state, but because we want protect the living standards of workers and build the sort of class power needed to to bring about an anarchist revolution).

I think we shouldn't confuse government with the central state. Ultimately we still want government, just on a mass, self managed level. It still is government of society just organised and co-ordinated in a non-hierarchial manner by workers.

radicalgraffiti
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Dec 7 2010 20:03
Stranger Than Paradise wrote:
ncwob wrote:
Anarchism also rejects all hierarchies (economic, political and social), so we wouldn't be against "big government" as much as we'd be against all government as inherently oppressive and the main instrument for the protection of class society. (Although anarchists are against the cuts--not because we want to strengthen the state, but because we want protect the living standards of workers and build the sort of class power needed to to bring about an anarchist revolution).

I think we shouldn't confuse government with the central state. Ultimately we still want government, just on a mass, self managed level. It still is government of society just organised and co-ordinated in a non-hierarchial manner by workers.

I think using government to mean any form of organisation at all is to broard. For me a government is something that rules over people.

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Khawaga
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Dec 7 2010 20:32

Yeah, I think that governance rather than government is a more applicable term.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 7 2010 21:50

I usually just go for self-management as a blanket terms that covers direct democratic control of industry and communities.

But to clarify for Eddy, if he's still around: all anarchists oppose the state in it's totality--regardless of a debates of government v. governance.

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Goti123
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Dec 7 2010 22:16

Advocating grassroots democracy, as you seem to do, doesn't necessarily make you an anarchist, because more socialist ideologies propose such a system.

What kind of anarchist you are, if you are, really depends on what economic system you propose.

Anarchist Communism (very broadly: abolition of markets and money, common ownership over the means of production). If you're new to Anarchism this may seem utopic or unrealistic (Abolition of money), at least I did when I was first introduced to Anarchism, but as you progress in your 'self-education' of Anarchist theory you will learn that it is indeed feasibly (at this point it is a matter of personal preference, labour notes, labour money or no money at all).

Anarchist Collectivism (does not advocate abolition of money, although it does propose labour notes -- money that does not circulate (so not money at all depending on one's definition that is) -- also advocates common ownership and hence the abolition of markets)

Mutualism (proposes 'labour money' -- all the 3-5 characteristics of money, rewarding according to contribution -- and workers ownership over the means of production instead of common ownership).

slothjabber
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Dec 8 2010 08:47

Anarchism, as lest as proposed by the people who tend to frequent LibCom, is a form of socialism. 'LibCom' is after all the 'forum of Libertarian Communism'. I doubt there are many LibCommers who advocate mutualism, I would think the main trends are Anarchist-Communism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. Both are rooted in the late 19th socialist movement.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 8 2010 13:20
slothjabber wrote:
Anarchism, as lest as proposed by the people who tend to frequent LibCom, is a form of socialism. 'LibCom' is after all the 'forum of Libertarian Communism'. I doubt there are many LibCommers who advocate mutualism, I would think the main trends are Anarchist-Communism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. Both are rooted in the late 19th socialist movement.

Yeah, that. At least in terms of organized class-struggle anarchists, the main groups are overwhelming anarcho-communist or anarcho-syndicalist. I personally believe anarcho-syndicalism to be the organizational means to anarcho-communism. There's some "platformist" groups around, but even they ultimately identify as anarcho-communist.

In my opinion, while promoted by ostensible anarchists, labour notes and mutualism have been pretty widely (and correctly) abandoned by the anarchist movement for well over the last century.

Quote:
Mutualism (proposes 'labour money' -- all the 3-5 characteristics of money, rewarding according to contribution -- and workers ownership over the means of production instead of common ownership).

I guess it could be argued that Parecon is a form (or at least an outgrowth) of mutualism, but it doesn't have a very large following and has, once again correctly, been discredited on this very site:
http://libcom.org/library/participatory-society-or-libertarian-communism

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Goti123
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Dec 11 2010 20:11
ncwob wrote:
Quote:
Mutualism (proposes 'labour money' -- all the 3-5 characteristics of money, rewarding according to contribution -- and workers ownership over the means of production instead of common ownership).

I guess it could be argued that Parecon is a form (or at least an outgrowth) of mutualism, but it doesn't have a very large following and has, once again correctly, been discredited on this very site:
http://libcom.org/library/participatory-society-or-libertarian-communism

I don't think that's true, at least from my understanding of Mutualism and Parecon: after all, one of the characteristics of money is that it is a "medium of exchange and circulation", 'money' in Parecon does not circulate, credits disappear after a purchase, in Mutualism labour money does circulate.

Also, in Parecon there is no competition, does that not make it more similar to Anarcho-Collectivism. In that case, Parecon is basically a highly bureaucratic form Anarcho-Collectivism.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 12 2010 16:40

Well, I'm not partial to Parecon because, amongst other reasons, I think it has internal contradictions. It endorses co-ops and money (even just as a medium of exchange). These things would lead to competition, markets, bureaucracy, and won't really break out of the relationship that is capital (even tho it undoubtedly wants to--no dispute there).

nr2b
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Dec 12 2010 19:59

Why would they necessarily lead to those things? It sounds like a slippery slope argument: If we can identify a difference between "the existence of some competition" and "an institution of political violence that dictates all behavior and establishes a class of elite owners," then shouldn't we be able to have one without the other? And, what would it say about a society if it *couldn't* separate those two? How could a society incapable of such consciousness achieve revolution in the first place, and why should we wish to bring about revolution with such an intellectually impotent society?

Perhaps the argument could go differently: Like, "If a post-revolutionary society could even see a use for money, that indicates that people do not truly understand a gift economy." That may well be true, but it seems different from the slippery slope argument.

I dunno, I don't know much about Parecon other than having heard M. Albert speak for a bit. But generally, my uneducated opinion is that while these attempts to describe differences in positions are valuable, they are only as valuable as semantics. And, I suspect people of all different "genres" (even outside the radical milieu) can be made to see points from all other different "genres." I guess I'd be more concerned with just pointing out what's true and false, and letting definitions emerge from clarifications.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 12 2010 20:49

I just think Parecon just isn't very well thought through. The idea of worker and consumer co-ops have been tried many times over the past 150 years and have been routinely discredited. They get integrated into capitalism and I also don't think they form a very good basis for a post-capitalist society.

To be honest, I can't make the arguments any better than they've already been made here:

http://libcom.org/library/participatory-society-or-libertarian-communism