"If capitalism is so bad, why don’t people vote it out?

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 13 2006 15:09
Lazy Riser wrote:
It’s not even as if they think communism is naive, idealistic or unworkable, they just think it sounds really grim. Work rotas for socially necessary but unpleasant jobs? Abolition of private ownership of housing? An end to shopping as we know it?

well i'm sure if you pitched capitalism on the joys of sweated labour and industrial ecocide you'd get a great reaction roll eyes Most people i know would quite like to live without a boss etc. And how many w/c people actually own their houses at the moment? (a mortgage means the bank owns it). People are politicised but anti-politician/parliament (e.g. see the power inquiry'), but this seems to translate into cynicism rather than anarchism.

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Lazy Riser
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Apr 13 2006 15:26

Hi

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well i'm sure if you pitched capitalism on the joys of sweated labour and industrial ecocide you'd get a great reaction

People hardly need reminding of them, they’re sick to death of lefties whining on about it as if they’ve got a better idea.

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Most people i know would quite like to live without a boss

It’s funny how being self employed doesn’t solve their problems. Economic security is what people want, they don’t mind their boss as long as they’re not dishing out orders backed by the threat of destitution.

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And how many w/c people actually own their houses at the moment?

Same old line from the communist manifesto! “You don’t own anything now, so why should you care about private property? All you have to lose is your chains”. Didn’t wash then, doesn’t wash now. Look at the TV adverts that promise freedom when you pay the mortgage off. I’ve got some stories about paying off the mortgage, but I’ll save them for another day.

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but this seems to translate into cynicism rather than anarchism.

Cynicism is a better platform for a viable political theory than either pastoral anarchism or Presbyterian communism.

Love

LR

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 13 2006 15:33
Lazy Riser wrote:
they don’t mind they’re boss as long as they’re not dishing out orders backed by the threat of destitution

so, they don't mind their boss so long as they aren't acting like a boss? tongue

i doubt this abstract discussion of what 'people' think helps much, but you started it.

I'm happy to advocate usufruct anyhow, which for all intents and purposes is the good bits of 'private property' people like, i.e. the liberty associated with possession. Another line from the communist manifesto (about 2 lines later iir), is 'we do not wish to abolish property in general, but a specific form, bourgeois property'. Quite where quoting early Marx gets us i don't know, but once again, you started it wink

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sam sanchez
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Apr 13 2006 17:54

I don't think that communism's ideas of usufruct are incompatable with owning your won house. OK, so if you left it it wouldn't be yours any more, but why's that a problem if you can get a free house in the place you are moving to. Just because its not yours unconditionally doesn't mean anyone would intefere with you whilst you live in it - i don't really see the need for housing association type organisations neccessarily.

I don't think owning stuff is the point. If you have use of it for as long as you want, and a guarantee of somewhere else to go, and you have no one telling you off for changing the wallpaper, then why do you care if you can say you own the damn thing, or if you can sell it, since in a communist society you would not have strictly speaking bought it anyway? I'd agree that usufruct combines the freedom that private property beings to those who have it, without the despotism it can create when a home or any other thing neccessary for life is owned by one person, yet used by another.

Economic security is exactly what libertarian communism provides best in my view, by the way, certainly better than any market co-operative economy, where your buggered if your co-op goes bust, or burns down, or whatever, and you won't get help with making it a success, because everyone else is trying to outdo you.

I don't see why you connect communism with puritanism. Why should it mean the end of shopping? I'll admit I abore shopping, but that's just my personal preference - I'd be all up for mail order catalogues! I'd hope that libertarian communism would be as good for us as consumers as it would be for us as workers. If its not, then in a directly democratic economy, who else can we blame but ourselves?

By the way, Lazy, I never said people weren't competant to understand libertarian communism, cos its pretty simple in the basics, just that the ideas weren't very widespread, especially ideas of self management, direct democracy and possession (rather than property).

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Apr 13 2006 18:03

I think there is a misconception -shown in the thing about housing - that every decision would be made collectively in libertarian communism. But I don't see why an individual couldn't get the local builders to build a house for them on some unused land without much bother. It might be a good idea to advertise it in case anyone lese had the land earmaked for something, but if no-one objected it could go right ahead. I actually think we could do without a lot of the shite we have now, like planning permission and regulations - just stick a notice in the agenda of the next town meeting, and if no one objects, get th builders to build it - if it falls down because you haven't had it bult right, its you own fault.

Communism would give more independence in housing, because the builders could (if they had time) do it for free, because they would be able to get their consumer goods for free, so you wouldn't have to pay them directly (although you would do the agreed amount of work, and so pay indirectly).

And lazy, what's the alternative to sharing the shit jobs? Better to spend one sunday a month clearing up rubbish than condemn somebody to a lifetime of it! I suppose you could pay people more for such work, but there's no reason to suppose that a market system would - this one doesn't. Markets don't generally care that much for human needs, as workers or consumers. In any case, communism could do a similar thing, by saying that less hours of work would be required from dustbin men.

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Cynicism is a better platform for a viable political theory than either pastoral anarchism or Presbyterian communism.

Don't get what your on about here either. How is anarchism pastoral? How is communism presbytarian? (not really sure what that means anyway - isn't it some scottish church or something?)

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Apr 13 2006 19:17

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what's the alternative to sharing the shit jobs?

I would suggest we make middle class people do them, but I appreciate that it’s not a sustainable solution.

1.

Incentives. I’d happily clean public toilets twice a year if the “community” get off my back for the remaining 363 days and let me get loaded and have a good time.

2.

Students. I’ve always thought engineering students would be excellent fodder for such occupations. Maybe they could spend 25% of their time sweeping up sick and the rest of the day can be spent developing machines to automate it.

3.

Downshifters. I know a few highly stressed, very well off, project management and marketing types who would happily take a menial job as a permanent busman’s holiday. Funnily enough, the opportunities don’t seem to be there for such people. The attitude amongst employers seems to be to reserve such jobs for those who really need them. This is a real world, every day, example of capitalism’s flaws as an economic model.

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Markets don't generally care that much for human needs, as workers or consumers.

The same can be said for any non-sentient construct whether it satisfies human needs or not. I know for a fact that people who take stuff to markets care greatly about human needs, more so than the leftists who presume our needs stretch no further than those prescribed by their ideological thesis developed upon quasi-religious altruism.

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How is anarchism pastoral? How is communism presbytarian? (not really sure what that means anyway - isn't it some scottish church or something?)

I’ll take this up on “Are you a communist?”

Is it not feasible that the specific ideological content of the traditional revolutionary milieu, from national socialism leftwards, is responsible for its unpopularity? Will anyone venture that it offers nothing of value to individual working class people, and that is the reason it remains ineffective?

It’s a circular argument of course, because the public’s acceptance of its ideological position is precisely how a “revolutionary organisation” measures its success. To those with a particular interest in this or that principle, capitalism’s continuity may be preferable to an autonomous insurrection that pours as much scorn on their agenda as it does on the incumbent bourgeoisie’s.

Love

LR

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Apr 13 2006 19:52

I think your solutions are pretty good alternatives to sharing those jobs, if they would work (appart from the student thing). I don't really hold up much hope of automation, nor do I see the need. You'd just end up with roadsweeper robots bumping into walls and swallowing people's dogs.

I don't think communism is based on quasi religious alturism. I think its pure self interest, when self interest includes material needs, security, social needs and our need for enjoyable work under our own control, rather than just numbers in a bank account.

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Apr 13 2006 20:20

Hi

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I don't think communism is based on quasi religious alturism. I think its pure self interest, when self interest includes material needs, security, social needs and our need for enjoyable work under our own control, rather than just numbers in a bank account.

Very post modern, I’m sure.

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If you asked people what libertarian communism is most of them probably wouldn't know, so its unfair to talk of public sceptiscism.

The idea that the undoubted unpopularity of traditional ideological platforms can be solved by awareness raising or even “struggle” is a myth.

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But its all very well to state enigmatically that scepticism may be justified, but its quite another thing to actually justify it.

And the compelling revolutionary proposal capable of commanding the outspoken allegiance of the great mass of people is…

Love

LR

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Apr 13 2006 20:24

How's about everything you've ever read on anarchist communism?

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sam sanchez
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Apr 13 2006 20:28

But for that matter does any political theory have such a definitive statement? Isn't it a bit twisted to ask for a single definitive statement from an ideology (anarchism) that, whilst always stciking to the aim of a non-heriarchical society, thrives primarily on debate on what specific from such a society should take? There shouldn't be a definitive proposal. There are plenty of practical proposals, ideas, mechanisms - lots of stuff to try out, but we have defer to experience when we create the opportunity to put these ideas into practise.