Daily life in the libertarian communist society - Anarchists seldom write on

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Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
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May 1 2007 23:59

I'm thinking more along the lines of Tampa Bay. Florida's, if not America's, bukkake capital.

afraser
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Jun 8 2007 00:53

Ilan - Thanks for that article. Mapping out the future direction of society is in my opinion essential to the socialist project, and any way of making it more accessible is worthwhile. It is especially important to hear this from someone who has first hand experience of Kibbutzim.

Yours is very close to the system of Libertarian Municipalism proposed by Murray Bookchin. In fact I think there is just one point of difference – in your Glimpses, there is money: but it is only for luxuries; and everyone is given the same quota of that money (like a citizens wage); and it is only used for the retail purchases of individuals, not for settling accounts between workplaces and communities. So I think (or hope) that that would be seen as an acceptable modification to Libertarian Municpalism and communism in general - but other libcom readers might want to confirm or deny that for themselves.

Where you develop further than the vision of Murray Bookchin is to start to explain how the inter-community system of production, exchange, and supply is operated. I think that is essential to understand. And I like it that you do not under-estimate the scale and complexity of that task, which others have sometimes done.

But I have some concerns over the proposed ‘Regional Coordinators of the general supply system’. Working out difficult issues over detail is one of the reasons for publishing plans for future society, so I hope you are open to probing on this.

This excerpt is where my issue lies:

Quote:
Glimpse 17 - Ti recruiting as coordinator to the central distribution system

Set told Ti she was a member of the Regional Mandating committee, and as the world economy is passing a significant shift after the energy supply became abundant, there is need for more coordinators in the general supply system. The shift in the world economy will need a lot of intervention to adjust supply to demand, including the production of materials and parts of wide spectrum of products. Set told her that the members of the regional mandating committee are busy with search for appropriate candidates for training to become regional coordinators. They search people who have already the basic knowledge needed, and willing to commit themselves for a long training, and willing to accept a long mandate in various levels of the supply system.

The task of the coordinator of each level was nearly the same - depending on which products one was responsible to coordinate. Most of the products were of mass production with many who needed them. There supply was relatively simple. Each level of distribution center had its long time suppliers and reserves. The fluctuation in supply and demand did not need more than request for a bit increase or decrease in production from producers or transfer of products from the reserve of a neighbouring region/city/district.

Some products - like fruits and vegetables which had natural fluctuations in them and long periods of production. They were coordinated by both cold storage and flexibility in the allocation of products to industrial processing. It was also accepted norm that some times, when demand exceed supply, the distribution will be according to quotas.

The more complicated tasks were to adjust supply to demand wherever there was a change in technology - like with the medical equipment produced by Ti grass root community. In such cases, the relevant level production committee was invited to involve itself.

As Set told Ti, the wide spread change in demand due to the lifting of restriction in energy consumption, was expected to bring about lot of changes in demand. This will put pressure on the production factories and even on raw materials. At time like that there is a special need for coordinators with involvement in advanced technology like Ti.

1) Now it seems obvious that the ‘regional coordinators of the general supply system’ will be influential people, just note the selected phrases I marked in bold from the above: 'appropriate candidates …. long training …. long mandate …. quotas …. complicated tasks …. adjust supply to demand …. involvement in advanced technology'. That sounds a lot like a potential party vanguard, an expert elite, handing their orders down to the proletarian masses below.

So the question is, what will prevent them (the 'regional coordinators of the general supply system') becoming a new ruling elite, a 'coordinator class' (to use Parecon language), a duplicate of the apparatchiks of the Soviet bureaucracy? They would appear to have the opportunity to wield enormous power, which, given the complexity of the coordination tasks, no amount of direct democracy supervision could ever hope to control in detail.

We don't want to re-invent the USSR economy: how do your Glimpses stop that happening?

2)
A second question arises from this: Will direct exchange relationships between different grassroots communities and workplaces be prevented? And if so, how?

I'm assuming the 'regional coordinators of the general supply system' won't be happy people if grassroots communities and workplaces simply ignore their instructions and start exchanging goods with one another on an un-coordinated basis. Especially if such exchanges are done on a barter basis, or otherwise where supply is not matched to need.

You could simply turn a blind eye to such infractions of the regional coordinations, and permit the formation of a grey market, believing perhaps that it would be of such minor extent as not to threaten the general direction of society. Or that, in any event, it's suppression by police means would be counterproductive or unacceptable or both.

Or you could have strict prevention of black markets - as Parecon calls for - regardless of the implications for policing and civil liberties.

Some further explanation on those areas would be helpful. Although I appreciate you can't work everything out from your Glimpses immediately and that more collaboration and debate may be needed first.

Andrew.

Ilan
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Jun 10 2007 05:15

Detailed responce to afraser a detailed comment...
"Yours is very close to the system of Libertarian Municipalism proposed by Murray Bookchin."

Bookchin already declared he is not anarchist any more.
His position when I last read it was in support of partricipation in election to municipality "government" - not a multi tier direct democracy with the power decision in the hands of grass root communities.

" In fact I think there is just one point of difference – in your Glimpses, there is money: but it is only for luxuries; and everyone is given the same quota of that money (like a citizens wage); and it is only used for the retail purchases of individuals, not for settling accounts between workplaces and communities. So I think (or hope) that that would be seen as an acceptable modification to Libertarian Municpalism and communism in general - but other libcom readers might want to confirm or deny that for themselves."

The allocation of luxuries according to cuota does not resemble money in any way. The opinion of distribution of "luxuries" according to quota was already suggested by Poentas - the famous Spanish anarchist already in 1934...

"Where you develop further than the vision of Murray Bookchin is to start to explain how the inter-community system of production, exchange, and supply is operated. I think that is essential to understand. And I like it that you do not under-estimate the scale and complexity of that task, which others have sometimes done."

The bloody Parcon of Michael Albert of Z magazin suggested that too but not by a multi tier direct democracy

"But I have some concerns over the proposed ‘Regional Coordinators of the general supply system’. Working out difficult issues over detail is one of the reasons for publishing plans for future society, so I hope you are open to probing on this."

It is not just ‘Regional Coordinators of the general supply system’.
It is part of the multi tier system - you will have both district level, city level, regional level, continental level, and world level.
In each level the coordination system will be under the strict supervision of that level assembly of delegates production comity.

"This excerpt is where my issue lies:

1) Now it seems obvious that the ‘regional coordinators of the general supply system’ will be influential people, just note the selected phrases I marked in bold from the above: 'appropriate candidates …. long training …. long mandate …. quotas …. complicated tasks …. adjust supply to demand …. involvement in advanced technology'. That sounds a lot like a potential party vanguard, an expert elite, handing their orders down to the proletarian masses below."

It seems you read in my text ideas that were not there.
The coordinators just have to regulate the fluctuation of demand and supply. They do not have the power to decide on changes in the system - just to suggest the day to day and longer period changes.

The decision power is still in the hands of the relevant grass roots communities.

For sure, the case of the new factory of medical equipment in the community of Ri and Ti described in the glimpses was decided on by the relevant grass roots communities - the appropriate coordination level - probably that of the world level just pointed on the need of such change in production because of changes in technology and demand.

"So the question is, what will prevent them (the 'regional coordinators of the general supply system') becoming a new ruling elite, a 'coordinator class' (to use Parecon language), a duplicate of the apparatchiks of the Soviet bureaucracy? They would appear to have the opportunity to wield enormous power, which, given the complexity of the coordination tasks, no amount of direct democracy supervision could ever hope to control in detail."

That is where you are so wrong. In a way, the coordinators are more supervisers of the communication system flow of demand and supply. Any substantial suggestion for decision other than 'today A production unit send 10% more products to distribution center B" is not done by coordinator system. As I said above, the coordinators do not decide on changes in production - they just inform the relevant people and comities about the need of change. For sure they have huge responsibility - the higher the level the higher responsibility, but much less responsibility than the medical workers in a hospital....

"We don't want to re-invent the USSR economy: how do your Glimpses stop that happening?"

To begin with: no production manager decide on changes in production. No one have the power to order people but the assembly of grass roots community. No one get more products or services because one is doing coordination or any other expertaize task... (When there is no money one can accomulate or used to pay people, and no power to order other people what to do - no elite can develop.)...

"2) A second question arises from this: Will direct exchange relationships between different grassroots communities and workplaces be prevented? And if so, how?"

For sure there will be long time connection between workplaces.
Especially when one work place supply raw materials or parts to another work place. But there is no such thing as exchange.
There is possibility that one grass roots community will be sending some of the products to another, or a work place send products in procession to another workplace that will returne them after a treatment... but all the transactions are via the coordination system (and registring of work contributed) - not A give B in exchange to what B give to A....

"I'm assuming the 'regional coordinators of the general supply system' won't be happy people if grassroots communities and workplaces simply ignore their instructions and start exchanging goods with one another on an un-coordinated basis."

It is not the regional coordinators problem to enforce the production and services units to follow the directives.
There are the direct democracy system to deal with refusing to follow decisions of the relevant grass roots communities....

"Especially if such exchanges are done on a barter basis, or otherwise where supply is not matched to need."

The accounting of values - work time invested and distribution of what is needed is through the general accounting system.

One production or service unit cannot give to any one out of the system. Of sure there may be criminal acts but they will be trated by the relevan comities and assemblies of grass root communities.....

"You could simply turn a blind eye to such infractions of the regional coordinations, and permit the formation of a grey market,"

How come there will be grey market when there is no way to pay? How come there will be a gray market when persons can get values only according to needs or through the supply system according to equal personal quota of luxuries?

"believing perhaps that it would be of such minor extent as not to threaten the general direction of society. Or that, in any event, it's suppression by police means would be counterproductive or unacceptable or both."

It seems you have not read all of the glimpses.... There is no such thing as "police" in my model. For sure there will be interpersonal comities of all levels. The real daily supervision of all people will be the people they live with - the grass roots community and work place mates....

"Or you could have strict prevention of black markets - as Parecon calls for - regardless of the implications for policing and civil liberties."

There cannot be any kinds of real market is the only means of payment can be products one can get from ones luxuries quota.

"Some further explanation on those areas would be helpful. Although I appreciate you can't work everything out from your Glimpses immediately and that more collaboration and debate may be needed first."

I have a cleare picture of the future system - as there are not real alternative to multi tiere direct democracy of world commune of grass roots communities, if a libertarian communist society will exist. However, the description of details is complicated. I wrote about 20 glimpses to cover the main aspects of the future society.

I have not discribed in details not even one workplace, not even one service. If I will get a detailed feedback or requests to elaborate, I will get into details. I may also do that when I will have the urge to write another glimpse...

Thanks Andrew.

afraser
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Jun 17 2007 01:05

Thanks Ilan.

Bookchin was an anarchist when he first started to write his Libertarian Municipalist ideas. And his support of participation in election to municipality government was as an operational tactic rather than acceptance of electoralism as valid. So his writings should not be discarded altogether for those two reasons.

On whether or not the luxury quotas you advocate are 'money', I just found you had already got into an argument over on anarkismo. You settled that with:

Quote:
The concept of "money" in class society, developed from the exchange of commodities can be stretched to lot of directions. When a person is allocated a sum of work invested products and services, the process is so different from the function of money in the modern capitalist system that is better not to use it in this context.

Well, ok, fine, but I do worry about the anarchist tendency to euphemise, to doublespeak. Maybe I'll open up another thread on that sometime. At any rate, by whatever name, this does appear to be a difference between you and Bookchin's Libertarian Municipalism, albeit I think a minor one.
'Poentas' though I can't find from google searches - if his writings are online, a link would be helpful.

On the two issues I had:

1) [the Regional Co-ordinators of the General Supply System] Right, I see now that the co-ordinators will be functionaries only and that executive power will be in the hands of their committee bosses. That maybe should be spelled out a little more in your Glimpses, but I appreciate the amount of time and effort elaborating like that consumes.

2) [Will direct exchange relationships between different grassroots communities and workplaces be prevented? And if so, how?] I have read all your Glimpses, both the edited and the unedited, maybe not as closely as I should, but still the issues I find will occur to other readers. You say:

Quote:
How come there will be grey market when there is no way to pay? How come there will be a gray market when persons can get values only according to needs or through the supply system according to equal personal quota of luxuries? There cannot be any kinds of real market is the only means of payment can be products one can get from ones luxuries quota.

But money is not necessary for a market to form. Barter will do just as well. The old Soviet Union suffered from widespread inter-firm direct exchange. Managers in workplaces would build up relationships with suppliers, bypassing any central plans. Different managers/workplaces would do each other favours - supplying goods and services to each other directly, bypassing the agreed central plan. Soviet roubles (unreliable, easily monitored) were not used in these transactions - hard material goods and services were bartered instead. Some workplaces could grow rich from such activities, and with food, housing, childcare, all subsidised or even provided by the workplace, that had the effect of making some workers richer than others.

Now I'm going to suggest that some of your grassroots neighbourhoods and workplaces will start barter trading with each other ("we give you six new automobiles if you give us manufacturing equipment ahead of schedule"). And that social constraints won't be enough to prevent that happening, because whole grassroots neighbourhoods or workplaces will benefit together, will be doing it together, so neighbour disapproval won't surface.

Maybe it's ok to allow such barter relationships, but they do allow that some grassroots/workplaces could become richer than others.

Andrew.

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OliverTwister
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Jun 17 2007 01:53

Fuck Celebration, this is what life will be like "ATR".

wikipedia wrote:
Nalcrest, Florida, is a retirement community in Polk County. The community's ZIP code is 33856.

The unusual name comes from the large postal carrier union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, as the community was developed by the union as a retirement community for its members (NALC-rest).

Syndicalism. Yeah.

Ilan
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Jun 27 2007 15:18

Hi Andrew

Thanks Ilan.
> welcome

Bookchin was an anarchist when he first started to write his Libertarian Municipalist ideas. And his support of participation in election to municipality government was as an operational tactic rather than acceptance of electoralism as valid. So his writings should not be discarded altogether for those two reasons.
> His writings include lot of gems...

Well, ok, fine, but I do worry about the anarchist tendency to euphemise, to doublespeak. Maybe I'll open up another thread on that sometime. At any rate, by whatever name, this does appear to be a difference between you and Bookchin's Libertarian Municipalism, albeit I think a minor one.

> I have not seen a detailed description of the distribution
> of services and products in libertarian communist society.
> Even those who support "from each according to ability -
> to each according to needs", no serious taking the chalenge of
> distribution of non free consumption when needs cannot be
> measured. ("luxuries").
'Poentas' though I can't find from google searches - if his writings are online, a link would be helpful.

On the two issues I had:

1) [the Regional Co-ordinators of the General Supply System] Right, I see now that the co-ordinators will be functionaries only and that executive power will be in the hands of their committee bosses. That maybe should be spelled out a little more in your Glimpses, but I appreciate the amount of time and effort elaborating like that consumes.

> I will write few glimpses about the daily work of people
> mandated to administrative tasks. One of them will be on
> the work of Ti in the coordination system.

2) [Will direct exchange relationships between different grassroots communities and workplaces be prevented? And if so, how?]

> There will not have to be any problem with supply of
> services and materials between work units in the same
> grass root communities or between neighboring ones.
> For sure the system of coordination will approve shorter
> lines of transportation....
> Probably many times and instances the relations will only
> need a notification to the statistics and acconting section.
> I can immagine that in emergancy - like when an essential
> tool/machine/instrument crash, informal communication will
> bring faster and more optimal results. (Like help with a
> tractor in the middle of the day from a neighboring
> community.)
>
I have read all your Glimpses, both the edited and the unedited, maybe not as closely as I should, but still the issues I find will occur to other readers. You say:
Quote:

How come there will be grey market when there is no way to pay? How come there will be a gray market when persons can get values only according to needs or through the supply system according to equal personal quota of luxuries? There cannot be any kinds of real market is the only means of payment can be products one can get from ones luxuries quota.

But money is not necessary for a market to form. Barter will do just as well. The old Soviet Union suffered from widespread inter-firm direct exchange. Managers in workplaces would build up relationships with suppliers, bypassing any central plans. Different managers/workplaces would do each other favours - supplying goods and services to each other directly, bypassing the agreed central plan. Soviet roubles (unreliable, easily monitored) were not used in these transactions - hard material goods and services were bartered instead. Some workplaces could grow rich from such activities, and with food, housing, childcare, all subsidised or even provided by the workplace, that had the effect of making some workers richer than others.

Now I'm going to suggest that some of your grassroots neighbourhoods and workplaces will start barter trading with each other ("we give you six new automobiles if you give us manufacturing equipment ahead of schedule").

> For people to do so there must be some thing to gain.
> What can a production unit gain from such activity?
> The people involved will not have any increase of their
> consumption because of such activity - nor any loss
> if they wait.

> In addition, any transfer of material or service with out
> involvement of the coordination system would not be possible
> to keep in secret.

And that social constraints won't be enough to prevent that happening, because whole grassroots neighbourhoods or workplaces will benefit together, will be doing it together, so neighbour disapproval won't surface.

> I do not think you grasped the system. How can a grass root
> community or work place team gain from such activity?

Maybe it's ok to allow such barter relationships, but they do allow that some grassroots/workplaces could become richer than others.

> No grass root community can become richer than others.
> The relation between grass root communities and the
> system will be in need for balancing of work time and work
> time invested in materials and services given and received.
>
> One grass root community can become "richer" than others
> only if its member will decide to work more hours than the
> norm.

Thanks
Andrew.

> As for the reference to the Spanish comrade about
> distribution of "luxuries" according to quotas I miss spelled
> his name. It is Isaac Puente Amestoy
> He is best known for his famous and influential pamphlet
> (1931) El comunismo libertario ("Libertarian Communism")

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altemark
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Jan 24 2008 14:00

Ilan; seems like an interesting read. Thanks for taking your time trying to visualize principles like this.