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Separate organisations

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lem
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Jun 23 2006 20:52
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Anyway, in a self managed society what problem would the abolition of individual private property solve?

Ownership? And all that follows.

Besides, its scientific FFS.

lem
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Jun 23 2006 21:38

Well, I can't say I've read all of the pamphlets you suggested but IMO, compared to Castoriadis's plan or whatever (I haven't read Pannekoek or the GIC yet):

The clearest thing about the semi-state, almost to a point where it appears artificial (something that I think a couple of people have mentioned on this site), is the clear split between proletariat and semi-state. It seems like with the "government" idea, non proletarian strata are more clearly integrated.

I guess that the idea here, is that this aspect of the sem-state would prevent over ideantification with semi-state. But, on the flipside, perhaps in doing so you leave less room for conflict between proletarians and e.g. peasents. As such, is it more explosive?

You seem to want to emphasise that 1. the working class not be absorbed, and 2. that they not stagnate. But, what about the possibilty of a counterrevolution not from over identification with the state, but a synthesis (I'm cluelss when it comes to Marxist philosophy, so...) that is not communistic?

I guess I don't know which idea would prevent the working class being quietly absorbed - you could say that under "goverment" the proletariat would be solely grouped around work, and hence stronger in this respect.

I've been a bit abstract and not very insightful, but, hey, I can't do much better. It looks like you are most worried by capoitalist ideology (I suppose you've smahed the rest). More infomation would be appreciated.

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 23 2006 22:05
lem wrote:
Quote:
Anyway, in a self managed society what problem would the abolition of individual private property solve?

Ownership? And all that follows.

Besides, its scientific FFS.

Could you just clarify - what's "scientific"?

lem
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Jun 23 2006 22:09

Abolishing property!

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 23 2006 22:12

Hi

Quote:
Pannekoek

For the record, I'm a huge Pannekoek fan. But the extrapolation of Pannekoek into the modern age, via Castoriadis and Brinton, is not communism but working class autonomy.

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 23 2006 22:16

Hi

Quote:
Abolishing property!

The food on my plate looks, smells and tastes like my private property, and if I choose to exchange it for a poem, then communism won't stop me.

Love

LR

lem
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Jun 23 2006 22:30

I dunno if lack of owership would help you to enjoy your stuff more, personally I'd at least like other people's more, probably my own too. But its fairly clear, to me, that social relationships would be more enjoyable, if there wasn't stuff getting in the way, i.e. commodities. You don't think that there would be something better about relationships, i.e. that they are inherently good?

Anyway, I'm not going to take your stuff away from you, regardless. I am not a thief, or something red n black star

I can't see that workers want markets above all else?

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 23 2006 22:52
lem wrote:
Abolishing property!

Sorry, but how is the abolition of property "scientific"? It just seems like a meaningless statement to my mind.

Is this a Marxist thing per chance?

lem
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Jun 23 2006 23:00

Edit: Probably

ernie
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Jun 23 2006 23:44

Hi

Lazy riser why should we worry about hearing your ideas, after all this is a discussion forum. You want to try and exchange your poems for something under communism, that is up to you! A rather pointless activity given there would be abundance, but as Trotsky said, if a minority want to go off and try out their experiement that will be up to them.

Lem, we do not think that the separation of the workers' councils is a guarantee that the proletariat will not be undermined in some other way. Rather it is a lesson that has been learnt from the experience in Russia. A lesson that will help the proletariat to maintain their autonomy (and no we don't mean communism by this lazy riser), but not prove an inpenetrable rampart. The only way that the proletariat will be able to led the struggle to build communism will be through the constant development of its class consciousness; which means a constant struggle to understand how the weight of the past is weighing on it.

As for the structure lessening the conflict with the peasantry: the central aim will not be conflict with them but to do everything possible to demonstate to them the benefits of integrating into collective production. There will could be conflict but the proletariat would do all it could to avoid violent conflict. Also the peasantry is not a unified whole there are poor, landless and also rich peasants, so the proletariat will seek to influence the landless and the poor clearly.

Lazy riser this probably sounds like a collectivist nightmare to you and I apolopise for any apoplexy caused, but the leaving behind of private property relations has to be part of any progress that mankind makes. Though if you wish to remain in a mutualist commune, whilst the rest of humanity progresses, I am sure space and the means of production will be found for you: in the hope that you will see the benifits of classless, private propertyless and exchangless world human community. Trotsky clearly was not such a bad guy after all.

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 24 2006 00:37
ernie wrote:
as Trotsky said, if a minority want to go off and try out their experiement that will be up to them.

Of course, when a few people had the temerity to try and do anything of the sort, Trotsky was one of the first to advocate their violent suppression. So maybe we should take his comments with a few piches of salt, eh.

lem
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Jun 24 2006 01:11
ernie wrote:
Lem, we do not think that the separation of the workers' councils is a guarantee that the proletariat will not be undermined in some other way. Rather it is a lesson that has been learnt from the experience in Russia. A lesson that will help the proletariat to maintain their autonomy (and no we don't mean communism by this lazy riser), but not prove an inpenetrable rampart. The only way that the proletariat will be able to led the struggle to build communism will be through the constant development of its class consciousness; which means a constant struggle to understand how the weight of the past is weighing on it.

So you do think that a semi-state separates the prole/peasentry more than other transitional ideas then? But you don't think much of my criticism, that a semi-state is artificial and less stable (for the better or worse)?

Quote:
so the proletariat will seek to influence the landless and the poor clearly

how? by propaganda?

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Devrim
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Jun 24 2006 11:16
Blackn'red Ned wrote:
Devrim wrote:
I would tell you what I think of your hippy petty-bourgeois individualistic ideology, but flaming isn't allowed on this board."

Well, nah nah nah to you to Dev. What do you do in your spare time sit on a park bench and shake your walking stick at young people?

I know hippy when I see it Dev, and I am no hippy. As for this "petty-bourgeois" nonsense, it is a fine example of exactly the kind of hollow jargon pushed out by a certain element of the fossilised left; I think it's a good deal more petty-bourgeois, if you must use the phrase, to stick to the arcane idiom of a long gone age. It's not my fault your watch stopped in 1890.

Just because I believe that we need a revolutionary practice that suits the age that we live in and the people around us now does not make me an individualist. I am an ardent believer in organisation, just not the kind of organisation that seems to be propounded by political parties. There are lots of other models of human organisation which IMHO offer better prospects with less risk. In any event all of this theoretical chatter is quite academic because I see no reason to believe that any party will be of any use, or could ever be of any use in bringing social change. Anarchists (and maybe other socialists and communists) could well play a major part in influencing events, in education and constructive preparation (leading by example) but not as a party or anything resembling a party.

Well at least the individualists have a sense of humour. That quite made me chuckle, mostly because I spend a lot of my time :

Quote:
sit[ting] on a park bench and shak[ing my] walking stick at young people

wink

Blacknred Ned
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Jun 24 2006 11:40

I knew we'd eventually find something we had in common Dev! wink

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 24 2006 13:00

Hi

Quote:
I can't see that workers want markets above all else?

Neither can I, I am no more pro-market than I am pro-cloud.

Quote:
Lazy riser why should we worry about hearing your ideas

I do not advocate worry.

Quote:
You want to try and exchange your poems for something under communism

You’ve misread. Go and check it again.

Quote:
A rather pointless activity given there would be abundance, but as Trotsky said, if a minority want to go off and try out their experiement that will be up to them.

Explain the economic model you’re using to arrive at “abundance” there. My own personal needs already outstrip the projections made for communist economic output. Indeed, Monsieur Dupont, much better communists than even the ICC, calculate a medieval subsistence existence awaits us in the communist eon.

Quote:
I apolopise for any apoplexy caused

Ho ho. You too.

Quote:
the leaving behind of private property relations has to be part of any progress that mankind makes

Only if you have faith in the baseless axiom that commodity production, rather than capitulating to the middle class agenda, is the thing that’s holding us back.

Quote:
Trotsky clearly was not such a bad guy after all.

I like Trotsky actually. I’ve been to his house in Mexico and everything. I’ve never been a Trotskyite though.

The question of “separate organisation” arises from the understanding that the working class don’t want communism, in either it’s statist or libertarian forms. And the reason they don’t want it isn’t because they’re stupid or misguided, it’s because it offers them nothing. Communism is about as relevant as Zen Buddhism, and for good reason.

Love

LR

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Devrim
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Jun 24 2006 13:11
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Only if you have faith in the baseless axiom that commodity production, rather than capitulating to the middle class agenda, is the thing that’s holding us back.

What is the middle classes' aganda? I have never thought they really had one.,

Dev

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 24 2006 13:17

Hi

To maintain their social status.

Love

LR

Blacknred Ned
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Jun 24 2006 13:53

Actually LR it makes a hell of a lot more sense to be pro-cloud than it makes to be pro-market!

Could you just find the time to be a little bit more specific about whta you positively want rather than what you reject/despise/find risible?

I understand that it must be dull having to spell things out for an idiot like me, but could you just spend a few minutes getting away from the (incredibly annoying) socratic technique? Please. smile

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 24 2006 14:35

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Actually LR it makes a hell of a lot more sense to be pro-cloud than it makes to be pro-market!

The point is that bring “pro” or "anti" either of them is ridiculous. It doesn’t effect their existence, neither do they express any contentious ethical issues.

Quote:
Could you just find the time to be a little bit more specific about whta you positively want rather than what you reject/despise/find risible?

Oi! Cheeky. It’s not me whining on about the “abolition of property”, “the abolition of markets and money” and all that boring rejectionist twaddle. What I positively want changes depending on my plans, at the moment I want 3 types of Pot Noodle and a team dedicated to the production of a 4th. Or are you asking me to propose an economic policy? I can if you like, but it’ll have to be on a different thread.

Quote:
I understand that it must be dull having to spell things out for an idiot like me, but could you just spend a few minutes getting away from the (incredibly annoying) socratic technique? Please.

Now there is really is no need for that. You do tend to spend much more of your posts making personal remarks rather than following through the underlying motivations and complexities of “separate organisation” and the religious and philosophical currents which hang their hopes on being the dominant one.

Love

LR

Blacknred Ned
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Jun 24 2006 14:59

Sorry LR, I didn't mean anything. I am genuinely interested in what you are hoping for - economic policy-wise rather than pot noodle-wise. If it takes another thread then so be it. In my own defence I have had a fair amount of crap directed at me since I came along, but maybe I should eschew dealing in the same currency.

What about the question of organisation? What do you advocate?

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 24 2006 15:22

Personally I'm very much pro-cloud as I enjoy both shade during a hot day and the water comes in very handy.

As for markets - what exactly is being discussed here?

I'm not a fan of the current arrangements by any means, but in principle I see nothing particularly objectionable to the exchange of one thing for another. In fact, I don't really see how we could possibly have a working economy without some sort of mechanism for the circulation of goods/commodities.

As for organisation, I'd agree with Lazy's point (if I've understood it correctly) that a separate organisation dedicated to revolution is only necessary if the working class don't want that revolution - in which case I don't think its justifiable to force it on them. Plus we've seen where that leads and its nowhere good.

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 24 2006 15:47

Hi

Quote:
What about the question of organisation? What do you advocate?

1.

I think any organisation can adopt whatever structure and programme that best meets its objectives. After all, no-one’s forced to join them.

2.

In a bottom-up democracy any emergent policies will act in our best interests at least as effectively as those suggested by this or that ideology. Moreover ideological positions such as “the abolition of exchange” are inherently top-down propositions, which is why the communists are so keen to not fetishise democracy and insistent on centralised policy making.

3.

I advocate Working Class Autonomy in the tradition of Castoriadis; a Universal income, self managed enterprises and a federation of neighbourhood assemblies.

Love

LR

Blacknred Ned
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Jun 25 2006 09:11

Thanks LR, astonishingly enough I am pretty much entirely in sympathy with what you have to say here. I think it is very likely that a huge variety of experiments would flourish in a healthy bottom up democracy and that that would be a highly desireable situation for all concerned.

I am sure that you are right about abolition of this or that, and for me the logical conclusion of this line has to be a confederation of communities with assemblies developing their own diverse models to suit their peculiar positions.

Of course I remain completely in agreement with DtMW on the subjects of separate organisations and clouds. It does make a difference if you are pro-cloud or anti-cloud in fact LR and I am not talking about weather magic: if you deforest you are anti-cloud; if you pump water from ancient aquifers to water your golf courses you are anti-cloud; it might be argued that if you generate lots of carbon dioxide thus creating carbonic acid you are anti-cloud. What we clearly need are lots of pro-cloud neighbourhoods! Shade and water do indeed come in very handy.

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 25 2006 13:18

Hi

Is total democracy ideologically neutral? Is making social policy more representative of public opinion necessarily in the interests of communism and other “progressive” political currents?

Here, for instance, is a Tory cultlet dedicated to “direct democracy”…

http://www.direct-democracy.co.uk/

Their proposals for local taxation are a shambles, and they serve only bourgeois interests in their endeavours. Are their plans a con-trick they know they could never implement? Could the direct democracy vote for the beheading of all Tories? I expect not.

Love

LR

ernie
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Jun 25 2006 19:05

Hi

Lem I apologise if I did not fully understand what you were trying to say or miss read it, but I thought you wanted us to explain more about our position on the way that the semi-state would be organised. I am rather confused though about what you are saying though. When you say

Quote:
a semi-state is artificial and less stable

are you arguing for no form of state in the period of transition? On the transitional state separating the proletariat and peasantry, well, it will draw the landless and poor peasantry closure to the proletariat whilst the other strata of the peasanty will indeed certainly feel more antagonistic towards the proletariat than under the capitalist state

Quote:
Quote:

so the proletariat will seek to influence the landless and the poor clearly

how? by propaganda?

Yes propaganda will play a role, but so will the putting into practice of an agricultural production free of capitalist relations, and the increasing availability of the needs of life. There will also be the culural pull of the increasing establishment of a whole new way of life.

ernie
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Jun 25 2006 19:09

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LR good to know that there is agreement on Trotsky.

On the other points, there is a need for time to think about them, though you post synthesing your thoughts is very useful. It certainly makes clear that the vision of a future society that you have, is not the same as the communist goal of the workers' movement, particularly as outlined by Marx.

You have clearly studied this question, what do you think of what Marx's says about the development of the individual under communism? One would think that there is probably some areas of agreement.

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Lazy Riser
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Jun 25 2006 20:38

Hi

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what do you think of what Marx's says about the development of the individual under communism?

I take a similar view of it as I do of what Rowan Williams says about the development of the individual under Christianity. I’m equally underwhelmed by their personal philosophies on the human condition. I suppose I wouldn’t contend with Marx that “human nature” is a function of material conditions, but the working class already sits on a higher evolutionary plane than Marx’s total-human, so he and all his toffee nosed do-gooder followers can take a run and jump for all I care.

Love

LR

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 26 2006 00:37
ernie wrote:
Hi

Lem I apologise if I did not fully understand what you were trying to say or miss read it, but I thought you wanted us to explain more about our position on the way that the semi-state would be organised. I am rather confused though about what you are saying though. When you say

Quote:
a semi-state is artificial and less stable

are you arguing for no form of state in the period of transition? On the transitional state separating the proletariat and peasantry, well, it will draw the landless and poor peasantry closure to the proletariat whilst the other strata of the peasanty will indeed certainly feel more antagonistic towards the proletariat than under the capitalist state

I can't speak for lem, but the idea of a 'semi-state' or a 'transitional' state strikes me as simply unworkable. The parallel existence of workers councils and of a state would be a dual power situation - historically such situations are incredibly unstable, and tend to be resolved in favour of one or other power. The parisian sections, the Russian Soviets, the Hungarian councils, etc all were short lived precisely because they couldn't co-exist with a state apparatus and hence were repressed. Yet, you seem to be proposing that the two could exist side by side (btw - how long do you see them co-existing for? Are we talking days? months? years? decades? Perhaps it will take a few centuries to complete the glorious task of the coinstruction of communism?).

Two powers, both claiming authority/sovereignty (or however one chooses to phrase it, but the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' amounts to the same kind of claim as that made by states for centuries) will surely come into conflict.

Perhaps the workers should attack the bureaucrats and state functionaries in the streets, while simultaneously insisting that their functions are vital to the functiuoning of society and sending them apace back to their desks and their paperwork, on a daily basis to be sure that they stay in their place. Something akin to the Cultural Revolution would seem the most likely result of your ideas if I understand them correctly.

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Alf
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Jun 26 2006 08:20

Leave aside all reference to the term 'state'. The basic problem is this the working class is the only revolutionary class, but it's not the majority of the world's population. Its aim is to make all workers so that none will be workers. In the meantime - the transition period - it has to organise as a class, preserve its class autonomy, while also encouraging the rest of the population to be organised and to play their part in the development of new social relations. The relationship between the workers' councils and the forms of organisation for the population as a whole is at the heart of what we term the problem of the transitional state. But use a different word and the problem will still be there.

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 26 2006 09:16
Alf wrote:
Leave aside all reference to the term 'state'. The basic problem is this: the working class is the only revolutionary class, but it's not the majority of the world's population. Its aim is to make all workers so that none will be workers. In the meantime - the transition period - it has to organise as a class, preserve its class autonomy, while also encouraging the rest of the population to be organised and to play their part in the development of new social relations. The relationship between the workers' councils and the forms of organisation for the population as a whole is at the heart of what we term the problem of the transitional state. But use a different word and the problem will still be there.

Well, if I understand you correctly you want a form of organisation that will consist of the working class exercising control over the rest of society, whether or not they are a majority or a minority (I'm inclined to use a broad definition and say they are the majority, but thats an entirely separate thread), I'd still call that a state.

I think there's enough historical precedent to show that people can be revolutionary without being working class. Peasants and students for example are often revolutionary during revolutionary periods of time. As far as I'm concerned, the problem arises from a preconceived notion of what a revolution is and an insistence that it follow the path laid down by ideology in a fundamentally unrealistic view of the way history works.

Furthermore, I don't accept the Marxist reading of dialectics and history that proclaims that the goal is to make everyone workers as a precursor to the revolution. I very much doubt the working class will ever accept your definition of what its aims are either. I'd like to think its an academic point, but self-proclaimed revolutionaries trying to impose their own ideas about what should happen has caused enough problems for me to regard you guys as potentially dangerous. Fortunately there aren't very many of you.

To use the ever popular Russian example, if I recall coreectly the factory committees were in the process of organising a conference to co-ordinate their activities and hopefully get the economy working again. It was the Bolsheviks erection of a state apparatus that got in the way of that and was the root cause of the degeneration of the revolution as far as I'm concerned.

Likewise, in any future revolution I think it likely that a mixture of workplace and community assemblies, along with whatever else people decide they feel the need for, will be the result. It is of course only natural that they seek to co-ordinate their activities, and given modern communications should have far less difficulty doing so than have previous revolutionaries. Its possible that any co-ordinating bodies that arise from this could develop into a new state, but I personally hope not. And I think that a combination of part-time recallable delegates and the balance of power being weighted towards the assemblies/councils themselves should avoid that - and people have had enough experience of professional politicians for that to be the most likely system to be created.

I still fail to see the need for any separate organisation in all of this, whether its a state, a semi-state, a transitional state, a party or whatever else one chooses to call it. And I also don't see how what you propose is anything other than precisely such a separate organisation.