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Work in a post-revolutionary society

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Jun 10 2007 01:38
thugarchist wrote:
oisleep wrote:

especially whilst maintaining libertarian communist principles throughout

There's only one principle in a revolutionary situation. Do what it takes to win.

"Now is the time for all good men to rise above principle." Huey Long.

My idol.

afraser
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Jun 10 2007 01:56
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Most people prefer to just dogmatically say things will work without even trying to scratch the surface of what would actually be involved

Yes, but there has been discussion of post revolutionary sociary here on libcom, most recently
Ilan (with genuine Kibbutznik experience of the whole thing) writing a mini novel on it
. Also my own market socialism, and Martiin Staudenmeir's development of Libertarian Municipalism, and Tom Wetzel's expansion on Parecon. And so on.

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thugarchist
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Jun 10 2007 03:45
afraser wrote:
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Most people prefer to just dogmatically say things will work without even trying to scratch the surface of what would actually be involved

Yes, but there has been discussion of post revolutionary sociary here on libcom, most recently
Ilan (with genuine Kibbutznik experience of the whole thing) writing a mini novel on it
. Also my own market socialism, and Martiin Staudenmeir's development of Libertarian Municipalism, and Tom Wetzel's expansion on Parecon. And so on.

None of those conversations deal much with reactionary forces (or reality much at all) and thus don't really seem to speak to a significant portion of what is being asked.

What the hell is Parecon gonna do about huge sections of the working class that don't want it and have guns? Nevermind the governement ...

Mike Harman
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Jun 10 2007 07:23
oisleep wrote:
i'm not quite saying that! i'm saying that outside forces would no doubt have an impressive array of capabilities to disable communicatons & power networks to snuff out any nascent movement before it got going, and a block on food coming into the country wouldn't necassilry lead to the wiping out of the entire workforce, but more likely an uprising from within against the revolution itself by a huge mass of the population in desperation of the situation they would find themselves in

I think if, say, the EU cut off imports of food to the UK, you'd actually see a nationalist reaction against the EU and certain groups trying to make allegiances with the US to get airlifts in etc., I don't think people would start something then simply stop again because they want the EU to be nice again, that's not usually how things work.

Mike Harman
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Jun 10 2007 08:11
oisleep wrote:
my point on that one though is if we're focussing on the period of time immediately after some rupture of society, then a blockade of food importation by hostile states would be the single overriding factor in fucking things up (food wise), yes switching more to local production and an element of self sufficiency (if that's even remotely possible) may be grand in the medium term, but unlikely to counter out the effects of an enforced blockade of food imports at the crucial early stage of things

and bear in mind this is during a time where the workers lot is meant to be improving and leisure time increasing!

(and no i'm not mixing up the 'during' and 'after' again)

No a major improvement in conditions would depend to a large extent on most of the world being under workers' control, although we're talking about an international revolution, so I think some countries would see an almost immediate improvement if they overthrew particularly nasty regimes and had some level of self-organisation replacing it, even with loads of crap going on. Having said that, a great deal of work that happens in the UK is completely pointless, so if you think about c. 15 million people being diverted into agriculture, upgrading accommodation, maintaining communications networks, installing small scale power, that's a lot of people. It'd be more manual labour, but I doubt everyone would be doing 8 hour days with 1.5 hour commutes each way given the numbers involved,and loads of people do worse than that now.

Either way, the UK is 60-70% self-sufficient in food: http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/datasets/selfsuff.xls (Excel file), and one third of food is thrown away: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4443111.stm - a lot of food wastage being down to the catering industry, and reliance on takeaways (down to lack of time due to working patterns). So actually a food blockade, if combined with a much more efficient use of the food available (which you'd expect if there was a shortage), it could still mean 80-100% self sufficiency, although obviously with a restriction of variety.

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Jun 10 2007 09:26
thugarchist wrote:
oisleep wrote:

especially whilst maintaining libertarian communist principles throughout

There's only one principle in a revolutionary situation. Do what it takes to win.

do most others here agree with this?

it doesn't sound very preconfigurative, as ben franks is often want to say

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Jun 10 2007 09:33
lem wrote:
oisleep: how are you not mixing them up? because you use the word 'state' rather than 'freedom fighters'. Communism would necessarily involve that most powerful states had already been overthrown, no?

well i for one am not buying the view that somehow there will be a global revolution all at the same time which will someone magic away the almost inevitable action taken by other states/countries, so my usage of the word state refers to states who were still capitalist and would be keen to revert back any revolution seen anywhere else, i.e. a full scale onslaught by the US for example in the instance of a revolution happening in the UK

catch made some valid points earlier, however one that i didn't pick up on with him was when he said that capital would not want to shut doen whole entire communication & power networks as that wouldn't help the financial markets etc.. but the situation that i'm speaking about is when the financial markets and such like in a country have already been shut down by said revolution, so i can't really see any qualms about a foreign hostile state doing these kind of things to render impotent the whole network across the revolutionised country

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Joseph Kay
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Jun 10 2007 09:50

any country under "full scale onslaught by the US" is fucked, look at iraq ffs and the US is 'losing' that one; over half a million dead, 4.5 million refugees. if there wasn't sufficient support amongst the US working class to at least create a massive wave of anti-war unrest and mutinees/disobedience in the forces, socialism in one country would die. however given the level of anger at the invasion of iraq - a brutal dictatorship miles away with little cultural linkage to the west, i don't think such a level of unrest is pie in the sky stuff, especially since a land invasion of the UK, assuming simultaneous US deployment elsewhere as their strategic planners do would likely require conscription.

incidentally i don't think 'the workers trident' would be much deterrent either, i don't think the threat of workers' councils endorsing Mutually Assured Destruction would be plausible (we're hardly going to incinerate millions of workers and irradiate the planet for 'the revolution' - even durruti would fear such ruins), and nuclear strikes on say a us naval task force would lead to nuclear retaliation/annihilation (also trident is so dependent on us parts it isn't really an independent nuclear option in all but the short term as i understand it anyway).

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Jun 10 2007 10:07
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Having said that, a great deal of work that happens in the UK is completely pointless, so if you think about c. 15 million people being diverted into agriculture, upgrading accommodation, maintaining communications networks, installing small scale power, that's a lot of people. It'd be more manual labour, but I doubt everyone would be doing 8 hour days with 1.5 hour commutes each way given the numbers involved,and loads of people do worse than that now.

yes, you know there's no argument here about pointless work not being needed etc... (although most people would want at least the same amount of creature comforts and gadgets and stuff as they had pre-revolution so not really sure how all that would be provided, like anarchists most people aren't primitives so wouldn't be that happy not having smaller ipods every year erc..)

agree again with your theory there, however not sure how it would work, so say we have 15 million people previously employed in call centres and other non-socially necessary jobs, now at a guess i'd imagine most of these would be based in cities or built up areas, now putting aside the fact that these 15milllion may not even wish to go and work in agriculture or the other areas, how are they not going to be faced with a commute at least the same if not more than they do at present, as all of the activities you note would be hard to be carried out in the centralised locations that they previously worked in, as there's also no way that anywhere else other than cities and built up areas would be capable of housing such large amounts of people

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Jun 10 2007 10:24
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Either way, the UK is 60-70% self-sufficient in food: http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/datasets/selfsuff.xls (Excel file), and one third of food is thrown away: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4443111.stm - a lot of food wastage being down to the catering industry, and reliance on takeaways (down to lack of time due to working patterns). So actually a food blockade, if combined with a much more efficient use of the food available (which you'd expect if there was a shortage), it could still mean 80-100% self sufficiency, although obviously with a restriction of variety.

i didn't know that it was this high, that's interesting (although i see a change in methodology of measuring the figures seemed to bring about a massive leap in perceived self sufficiency, and even without that its' dropping quite rapidly over the last 20 years or so)

does that figure actually represent full self sufficiency, i.e. in all the things needed in the whole process, i.e. machinery, fertilisiers, labour, and all the other associated things required i presume not, and i know you'll rebut this by saying that we're talking about a worldwide revolution, but i'm not, but even if we were there would still be a massive reliance on importation of all the peripheral things required, machinery etc..., this entails a massive ongoing reliance on available oil etc.. which will non doubt run out at some point, so even with a worldwide revolution with all areas of the globe happy to supplly others with what they need, how would it all be transported when oil runs out?

and would the mass of the public be happy with the restriction in variety that came about if one country did somehow manage to be self sufficient? i'd imagine the restriction in variety and choice that would be entailed by such a thing would be pretty big, i'm not sure how the bulk of people would respond to such a decline in what they would see as their living standards, especially against the backdrop of them being promised that a libertarian communist society would bring about a massive increase in the quality of their lives and of the leisure time available for them to do things that they wanted to do

i don't actually know much about this area so apologies if any of my assumptions are incorrect

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Jun 10 2007 10:29
Joseph K. wrote:
any country under "full scale onslaught by the US" is fucked, look at iraq ffs and the US is 'losing' that one; over half a million dead, 4.5 million refugees. if there wasn't sufficient support amongst the US working class to at least create a massive wave of anti-war unrest and mutinees/disobedience in the forces, socialism in one country would die. however given the level of anger at the invasion of iraq - a brutal dictatorship miles away with little cultural linkage to the west, i don't think such a level of unrest is pie in the sky stuff, especially since a land invasion of the UK, assuming simultaneous US deployment elsewhere as their strategic planners do would likely require conscription..

does this then imply a hierarchy of states in which revolution should be carried out in for success to even have a small chance of surviving, so basically in the modern world, unless the biggest superpower goes first then the rest has got fuck all chance?

Dan
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Jun 10 2007 11:46

does this then imply a hierarchy of states in which revolution should be carried out in for success to even have a small chance of surviving, so basically in the modern world, unless the biggest superpower goes first then the rest has got fuck all chance?

I think in this case it would be helpful if revolution were to happen in say at least a few countries, the americans are having real problems in iraq at the moment and that is just one country, imagine what it would be like for them if they were experiacning these problems in a few more countries. I have read peoples comments about if the revolution happened in just the UK. I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about this and if this was to happen then assumeing that other countries dont pounce on us which will proberbly be very unlikely people will have to do what it takes to surstaine themselves untill other countries do the same. But I have not thought to much into that because imo if any one country was to have the revolution that we all want I oftern feel that it will very unlikely be the UK.

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Jun 10 2007 12:51

yeah but regardless if it's the UK or not, the same question begs, how would that country withstand the onslaught that would ensue to try and reverse the changes made?

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people will have to do what it takes to surstaine themselves untill other countries do the sam

not a particularly attractive state of affairs is it, especially against the backdrop of what is supposedly offered by the move from capitalism to a libertarian communist society

sounds more to me like a hobbesian state of nature

lem
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Jun 10 2007 12:52
oisleep wrote:
lem wrote:
oisleep: how are you not mixing them up? because you use the word 'state' rather than 'freedom fighters'. Communism would necessarily involve that most powerful states had already been overthrown, no?

well i for one am not buying the view that somehow there will be a global revolution all at the same time which will someone magic away the almost inevitable action taken by other states/countries, so my usage of the word state refers to states who were still capitalist and would be keen to revert back any revolution seen anywhere else, i.e. a full scale onslaught by the US for example in the instance of a revolution happening in the UK

that's another straw man tho!

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Jun 10 2007 13:00

so doubting that a coordinated global revolution in the world's most powerful states will happen is a straw man confused

lem
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Jun 10 2007 13:28

no sorry i misunderstood my own "view". it was probably the use of the term magic.

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Jun 10 2007 14:13
oisleep wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
any country under "full scale onslaught by the US" is fucked, look at iraq ffs and the US is 'losing' that one; over half a million dead, 4.5 million refugees. if there wasn't sufficient support amongst the US working class to at least create a massive wave of anti-war unrest and mutinees/disobedience in the forces, socialism in one country would die. however given the level of anger at the invasion of iraq - a brutal dictatorship miles away with little cultural linkage to the west, i don't think such a level of unrest is pie in the sky stuff, especially since a land invasion of the UK, assuming simultaneous US deployment elsewhere as their strategic planners do would likely require conscription..

does this then imply a hierarchy of states in which revolution should be carried out in for success to even have a small chance of surviving, so basically in the modern world, unless the biggest superpower goes first then the rest has got fuck all chance?

did you read beyond the first sentence? given the level of unease about invading iraq - a country full of poor expendable brown people in the eyes of war supporters - i don't think sufficient unrest in US society and/or the armed forces to prevent a serious overt intervention is particularly far fetched. wouldn't mean we wouldn't have to deal with covert action and/or economic sanctions/naval blockade though, a la cuba. i mean to an extent there is a hierarchy - a revolution in tibet is pretty threatened by china, a revolution in china is pretty unworried about tibetan intervention, that's just geopolitics. some territories are pretty capable of self-sufficiency, others less so. i mean capitalism in one country in the UK would mean no more ipods. revolt has to spread to at least a reasonable territory/population or it will die. same problem is faced at a smaller scale, if unrest in one city doesn't spread it will be contained or crushed.

however, given the level of global integration i think the chances of struggles circulating internationally are higher than perhaps ever before - and as catch said the waves of 1917- and '68 weren't one country affairs. if revolt is proximally triggered by some major recession or depression then that is very unlikely to be contained in one country - bourgeois economists are haunted by the thought of 'contagion.' and if we more actively brought about a revolutionary situation by say building a powerful movement, then the onus is on us to not be parochial and to build an international movement. if your scenario is 'socialism i one country' then it's going to be shit, as would 'capitalism in one country' because living standards (in the west at least) are premised on a global division of labour. however it's not a case of failure or simultaneous global revolution as you seem to suggest, sufficient sub-revolutionary support in militarily powerful capitalist states may well suffice, and as i've said i don't think relatively simultaneous international revolts are complete pie in the sky - even the banilieu riots inspired small scale ripples in neighbouring countries, a revolution against a backdrop of shared conditions would surely be a much bigger spark.

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Jun 10 2007 16:22

the levels of global integration isn't just a benefit to those who propgate class struggle is it(and just becauuse the chances of struggles circulating are higher than before, that doesn't mean anything in itself does it, it's just a relative thing, in absolute terms it's nothing at the present time), yes it may offer more chances of struggles but it also offers more ways of combatting those struggles, so the whole thing has just moved up a level, without necessary changing the relative strengths & weaknesses of both sides

and anyway it matters little what i think about the possibilities of a successful global revolution ensuring the survivial of individual ones, in order to kick anything like that off in the first place and to make it follow a progressive path you need to convince others outwith your ghetto that these things are possible, and i'd say in the process of trying to convince a sufficient bulk of people you'll be met with a much larger degree of skepticism than you've had from me (and calling them cunts, tosssers and accusing them of picking fights won't exactly have them won over either btw) over the last day or so, i mean i'm in a position to at least accept a number of things that we agree on but i still think your hope is pie in the sky stuff, with most other people you'd be starting that argument at much earlier starting point, and to be fair other than the contributions made by catch on this thread it doesn't strike me that your in a good position to take that argument to anyone outside your ghetto at the moment

and don't get me wrong, i don't doubt that at some point in the future when the oil crisis kicks in there will be a monumnetal rupture in societys across the globe, but any such upheaval which is caused by a shortage of resources doesn't exactly seem to me to form the best backdrop to a move towards a libertarian communist society, i'd always thought the idea was that the abundance of resources and things provided by capitalism contained within it the seeds that would make communism possible, but a world crisis precipitated on a shortage of some key resources doesn't seem to be the best starting point

lem
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Jun 10 2007 19:19

don't there criticisms apply to yourself as well: or have you given up on progressive politics? what other choice is there than progressive politics.

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Jun 10 2007 19:58

yes of course they do, and they do to everyone, which is why imo you are seeing the emergence of strategies like the IWCA's approach, who don't promise a utopian niravna to those they are trying to connect with but a pragmatic, ground in reality based approach to real day to day issues, the solutions to which are undoubtedly not as sexy as professing worldwide revolution, but they are ones which at least have more than a chance of chiming with real people and go some way towards addressing the increased drift towards people seeing a solution in the nationalist/racist solutions of the BNP (ok i realise over than in about one place they have never went head to head, but the issues are there)

now i presume the more cynical on here would see such an approach as short sighted and only focussed on being in charge of our own ghettos, but i don't really see what other approach can be considered if in the long term you really hold out hopes of some kind of real rupture and revolution in society, without building it from the ground and building confidence within communities to manage themselves and come up with realistic, practical solutions to day to day issues, i really don't see how youd expect to suddenly make the leap to a global coordinated revolution

lem
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Jun 10 2007 20:28

it's difficult to distangle the points you are making. a) that the iwca approach is the only way of improving lives? b) or that the iwca approach is the only way to start to bring about world revolution? a) can only be answered practically, in conjunction with answering b). wrt b) it seems possible to me that there are other processes at work that could bring about changes. besides which, won't tht iwca face the same problems in meeting b) as put foward by you on this thread.

not sure i follow at all tbh.

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Jun 10 2007 20:39
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it seems possible to me that there are other processes at work that could bring about changes

other processes that don't depend upon, or have at their root, the building of confident self organised militant communities?

what kind of thing do you have in mind?

Mike Harman
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Jun 10 2007 21:17
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who don't promise a utopian niravna to those they are trying to connect with

oisleep, could you find ten places on this site where a utopian nirvana is promised?

Thanks.

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Jun 10 2007 21:27

well on the thread alone where this started there were multiple people posting on it telling me how there would be hardly any work/effort required in life once capitalism is dispensed with, they were then all very notable by their absence when i brought up the types of questions that you have engaged with me on over the last two pages of this thread

now we can quibble over the semantics of it, but someone comes up to me and promises me there will be no work in a libertarian communist society but fails to even enage on the monumental effort that would be required in the 'during' and 'defending' stages of it does come across, at least to me, to be taking a very utopian like approach to things, i.e. just catapulting discussion way way into the future and conveniently sidestepping or abstracting away difficult questions about the very non-utopian nature of getting there

and to be fair catch your own faith in some kind of global coordinated revolution amongst the most powerful states on earth to avoid having to face the likely propsects of counter revolutionary push by hostile states towards any individual territory that did manage a revolution, does seem to me to be investing a little too much hope in a utopian solution to a very non-utopian problem

lem
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Jun 10 2007 22:04
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other processes that don't depend upon, or have at their root, the building of confident self organised militant communities?

maybe. tho that was not what i was saying: you seemed to be saying that only the iwca had the right approach.

Mike Harman
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Jun 10 2007 22:14

So that's a no then.

Both Joseph K. and I have made several posts about the relative chances of a sufficiently international revolution, and you've pretty much ignored all our points about it, going on and on about 'faith' and 'optimism' but ignoring what we're actually saying almost entirely.

lem
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Jun 10 2007 22:27

won't the iwca facethesame problems in making a revolution confused

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Jun 10 2007 22:35

i havn't ignored your points about it, i've merely commented on, what to me, seems a very unlikely situation arising, which leads me to believe that your faith and optimism in it happening (in the current & foreseable future) is far stronger than mine

lem
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Jun 10 2007 22:37

fwiw: i really don't see what the title of the thread has got to do with all this.

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Jun 10 2007 22:42
lem wrote:
won't the iwca facethesame problems in making a revolution confused

perhaps you should have a read of the iwca website to get an idea of priorities