Smash Capitalism - buy Amazon

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Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 5 2006 23:58

Are you actually serious

Why on Earth would christmas be a problem???

(edit - Jack)

coffeemachine
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Dec 6 2006 00:36

i don't quite understand some peoples logic concerning this issue.

There seems 3 distinct, if often muddled, modes of thinking here.

Libcom is a personal website and we are invited, as guests, to participate. There is nothing politically corrosive about this set up. If the website owners wish to use the resources of amazon then what on earth has it to do with any of us? That fact that some have a problem with this seems to reflect a moral concern rather than a political one.

Secondly, that libcom should practically reflect their political ideas. Again this is just a website. It doesn't have aims and principles or any outward political expression to live up to or justify. It is not a political group nor does it seek to practically express libertarian communist ideas in their method of working. It doesn't aim for transparency, inclusiveness, openness and direct democracy in its decision making process therefore we shouldn't complain when those things don't happen.

Thirdly, how the decisions get made concerning website things. This may be the most contentious issue. I don't think anyone is arguing there isn't a formal hierarchy in place. We acknowledge as much when we accept the terms and conditions of the site.

Just as if i went to an swp conference i wouldn't expect socialism in action in the way they organise things, so when i come here i don't expect libertarian communism in action in the way the site is managed.

Ironically i think the amazon thing isn't one of finances but one of legitimacy. We know most of libcom parents could fund the website for the next x amount of years, amazon gives the website a sense of validity and presense beyond its means that elevates them beyond the political and internet sub cultures they obviously hold in contempt.

I for one think the amazon/libcom partnership could be a fruitful one.

john
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Dec 6 2006 00:47
coffeemachine wrote:
Just as if i went to an swp conference i wouldn't expect socialism in action in the way they organise things, so when i come here i don't expect libertarian communism in action in the way the site is managed.

surely this is exactly the point - the SWP are democratic centralists who believe that Alex Callinicos and his friends are going to lead us into a communist utopia.

Most people on these boards believe (as far as I can tell) that we need a non-hierarchical movement in order to realize desirable social change.

If you start citing SWP practice to defend your argument, aren't you engaged in what Jack would call auto-critique?

coffeemachine wrote:
amazon gives the website a sense of validity and presense beyond its means

really? I don't see how. in what way do you think it does this?

coffeemachine
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Dec 6 2006 01:12
john wrote:
coffeemachine wrote:
Just as if i went to an swp conference i wouldn't expect socialism in action in the way they organise things, so when i come here i don't expect libertarian communism in action in the way the site is managed.

surely this is exactly the point - the SWP are democratic centralists who believe that Alex Callinicos and his friends are going to lead us into a communist utopia.

Most people on these boards believe (as far as I can tell) that we need a non-hierarchical movement in order to realize desirable social change.

If you start citing SWP practice to defend your argument, aren't you engaged in what Jack would call auto-critique?

sorry john i was half joking. Only half mind.

john wrote:
coffeemachine wrote:
amazon gives the website a sense of validity and presense beyond its means

really? I don't see how. in what way do you think it does this?

in the same way they got excited that the bbc linked to here during the anti-cpe uprising. A process of normalization as it were, 'We're not a weird fringe voice'; of validity by association.

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madashell
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Dec 6 2006 01:19
coffeemachine wrote:
in the same way they got excited that the bbc linked to here during the anti-cpe uprising. A process of normalization as it were, 'We're not a weird fringe voice'; of validity by association.

Not quite the same thing though, is it?

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Tacks
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Dec 6 2006 01:29
coffeemachine wrote:

EDIT: shit i just got completely owned!! I posted pic of a troll from some site, but it was a nasty trick. I genuinely did not mean to post that other pick, apologies. I hate the use of 'gay' as an insult, ironic or not. Found another pic of a troll now.

Thats was fucking odd

coffeemachine
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Dec 6 2006 01:41


coffeemachine
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Dec 6 2006 01:43

wink

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 6 2006 06:56
coffeemachine wrote:
Thirdly, how the decisions get made concerning website things. This may be the most contentious issue. I don't think anyone is arguing there isn't a formal hierarchy in place. We acknowledge as much when we accept the terms and conditions of the site.

so presumably when i swing by your social centre for a quick zapatista coffee, i get full voting rights? and if i bring my mates we get a controlling stake ... we've been over this

Thora
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Dec 6 2006 07:16
Tacks wrote:
coffeemachine wrote:

Er...?

Thora
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Dec 6 2006 07:20
Joseph K. wrote:
coffeemachine wrote:
Thirdly, how the decisions get made concerning website things. This may be the most contentious issue. I don't think anyone is arguing there isn't a formal hierarchy in place. We acknowledge as much when we accept the terms and conditions of the site.

so presumably when i swing by your social centre for a quick zapatista coffee, i get full voting rights? and if i bring my mates we get a controlling stake ... we've been over this

Does CM have a social centre?

Anyway, at the social centre meetings I've been to we didn't do voting, we talked each other into submission.

Mike Harman
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Dec 6 2006 08:16

what you mean consensus? So our coffee drinker get's full rights of veto then?

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 6 2006 08:33
Thora wrote:
Does CM have a social centre?

i don't know him and don't care if he has, it was rhetorical wink. "we didn't do voting, we talked each other into submission"; now you're making me nostalgic. but seriously, this kind of fetishism for 'equal democratic rights for all' smacks of liberalism, i mean in a lib com society i wouldn't expect to wander into somewhere and demand an equal say in the running of it by right, because this would be pretty alienating for the people who actually have to implement my whims, and ain't far off 'the customer is king', should i turn up en masse with a load of mates.

coffemachine wrote:
I don't think anyone is arguing there isn't a formal hierarchy in place.

"Hierarchy - A body organized into successive ranks or grades with each level subordinate to the one above" - sorry who's subordinate to who here? is anyone giving orders and anyone taking them? Is libcom in anyway analogous to boss-worker? An informal approach would certainly be more hierarchic, meaning those with the most time/obsession would run the show as 'equals'. Yes, there's a formal structure, but i'd suggest describing it as a hierarchy is stretching the definition, given as it implies people with power over each other rather than a group with varying powers (and often mundane responsibilities) over the running/maintenance of the site.

john
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Dec 6 2006 09:23

These coffee shop, social centre, hypothetical situations aren't really that convincing.

1) JK - presumably there would be no need for a social centre in an anarchist society - the world would be one big social centre!! (so there could be no walking in with a big gang of mates - unless, of course, we get invaded by 3-eyed aliens)

2) the coffee shop example seems particularly strange - I mean, clearly a coffee shop is a profit-making excercise, in which property rights are upheld in order to ensure the owner gets her full cut. Why would you want to cite that as an example of the kind of commonsense that should be applied to this website?

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 6 2006 09:38
john wrote:
1) JK - presumably there would be no need for a social centre in an anarchist society - the world would be one big social centre!! (so there could be no walking in with a big gang of mates - unless, of course, we get invaded by 3-eyed aliens)

so, in a libertarian communist society everyone will run everything equally? :? (think about it, thats a lot sillier than it is egalitarian sounding). the only way i can see your point holding is if no-one produces anything for anyone else.

john wrote:
2) the coffee shop example seems particularly strange - I mean, clearly a coffee shop is a profit-making excercise, in which property rights are upheld in order to ensure the owner gets her full cut. Why would you want to cite that as an example of the kind of commonsense that should be applied to this website?

well a social centre selling coffee isn't, which is where the whole coffee thing came from.

john wrote:
These coffee shop, social centre, hypothetical situations aren't really that convincing.

social centres exist now, in capitalism. libcom exists now, in capitalism. this is why an analogy is being drawn, and i would contend simply posting on the forum is comparable to buying a coffee - is that what you don't find convincing?

I mean, in concrete terms you've already said you don't really see a problem, except perhaps with bannings, i'm not sure what you're getting at?

ticking_fool
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Dec 6 2006 09:41
john wrote:
These coffee shop, social centre, hypothetical situations aren't really that convincing.

They're not hypothetical - it's a real situation that would occur in any social centre running in the UK at the moment. Raw defends social centres as of prime political importance and as examples of libertarian organisation. We're just pointing out that they're not organised any differently to LibCom.

Quote:
1) JK - presumably there would be no need for a social centre in an anarchist society

This is just irrelevant. There'd be no need for a site like LibCom either. I don't see what you're getting at here. If prefigurative politics meant that we did things exactly as we would after the revolution we wouldn't need one.

Quote:
2) the coffee shop example seems particularly strange

The example is of a radical social centre, projects held up by LibCom's detractors as prime examples of radical, libertarian organisation.

john
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Dec 6 2006 09:45
ticking_fool wrote:
john wrote:
2) the coffee shop example seems particularly strange

The example is of a radical social centre, projects held up by LibCom's detractors as prime examples of radical, libertarian organisation.

I was talking about Saii's example of a coffee shop, a couple of pages back - i don't think this was a socila centre coffee shop

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Joseph Kay
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Dec 6 2006 09:47

oh ok. but you were refuting me, and i was talking about social centres, for the reasons i and ticking_fool have outlined ... :?

john
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Dec 6 2006 09:54
Joseph K. wrote:
so, in a libertarian communist society everyone will run everything equally? :? .

not sure, but I think there would need be a much less clear distinction between those who 'own' particular websites, factories, etc., and those that just take part in them on an occasional basis.

JosephK wrote:

the only way i can see your point holding is if no-one produces anything for anyone else.

that's right - we should produce for ourselves, not for others (of course, the important point is who we define as 'ourselves')

josephk wrote:
I mean, in concrete terms you've already said you don't really see a problem, except perhaps with bannings, i'm not sure what you're getting at?

just think we should extend democratic practice whenever possible.

Mike Harman
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Dec 6 2006 09:55
john wrote:
These coffee shop, social centre, hypothetical situations aren't really that convincing.

1) JK - presumably there would be no need for a social centre in an anarchist society - the world would be one big social centre!! (so there could be no walking in with a big gang of mates - unless, of course, we get invaded by 3-eyed aliens)

john, presumably there'd be no need for specifically class struggle/libertarian communist websites in an anarchist society. Presumably you'd still have social/communal spaces and still have websites but neither in the same form as they are now.

Quote:
2) the coffee shop example seems particularly strange - I mean, clearly a coffee shop is a profit-making excercise, in which property rights are upheld in order to ensure the owner gets her full cut. Why would you want to cite that as an example of the kind of commonsense that should be applied to this website?

I don't think the example was a coffee shop, it was a social centre which provides coffee.

john
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Dec 6 2006 09:57
Mike Harman wrote:
john, presumably there'd be no need for specifically class struggle/libertarian communist websites in an anarchist society. Presumably you'd still have social/communal spaces and still have websites but neither in the same form as they are now.

I agree.

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Steven.
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Dec 6 2006 10:07
Mike Harman wrote:
I don't think the example was a coffee shop, it was a social centre which provides coffee.

That's correct that's what he was talking about.

And john, please bear in mind here that coffeemachine and raw aren't offering honest, constructive criticism here. Raw's tagline is "smash libcom!" and he has stated on here twice recently that his favourite political slogan is "the struggle against cuntism begins with the struggle against libcom", the Bin here is also littered with threads he started just to slag us off.

raw wrote:
And yeah, sure we all might buy a gift at xmas or even shop on amazon for books but I would never mixed that up with radical politics!! Because its not.

But if people are going to do that anyway - as most of us are - then I don't see anything wrong with 5% going to us instead of amazon.

Quote:
This leads me a question regarding the running of this website - a so-called community -- run by a few.

It's not called a community, it's called "a resource for all people who wish to fight to improve their lives, their communities and their working conditions". It is a website that contrary to what coffeemachine claims we, the libcom group, run in a non-hierarchical, directly-democratic, anarchist way.

It is our website and so we have ultimate control over it, though we incorporate our users into decision-making and try to adopt users' suggestions wherever possible. Organisations you have been involved with, raw + CM, have all functioned in exactly the same way. Except of course some were run by an informal hierarchy, like the Wombles website for example. Groups run websites for the purposes the groups set them up, that's why they run them. Hence infoshop is run by the infoshop group, the wombles site is run by the (ex-?) wombles, the AF site is run by the AF, etc.

If you are trying to make a serious point instead of just attacking us because you don't like us, have you made similar posts on all other anarchist websites which are not run entirely by their readers (i.e. every anarchist site in the world, particularly infoshop because it's the most similar to ours)? And why are the sites you are/have been involved with not also "replicating the structure of a capitalist society"?

As for CM's sad attempt to imply that we and our parents (and what have anyone's parents got to do with anything here?) are all rich, it's not worthy of a serious response. Instead of posting lies and insults I'd recommend he go to the AIDS myth thread and answer the questions aimed at him and raw he's dodging for them not believing in HIV.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 6 2006 12:09

Hi

Quote:
and what have anyone's parents got to do with anything here?

Christmas is a time for family after all. I wonder if the genetic configuration of middle class people predisposes them to an affinity with capitalism.

Love

LR

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pingtiao
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Dec 6 2006 13:02

I tend to think peoples' material interests have a larger effect.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 6 2006 14:14

Hi

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In all my experiances within the socialist left there was an insistance that publications did not carry commercial adverts or in anyway promote a commercial interest, it's just not done.

Perhaps by emulating their example we might enjoy a similar level of success.

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 6 2006 14:23

Hi

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I'm afraid libertarian communism isn't some hyped up bluechip company nor has it anything to do with stuntism and other get free quick schemes.

Or indeed anything useful at all...

Quote:
Anyway as I said libcom probably get more cash from you

It would only make matters worse, my ethics make Amazon’s look like Mother Theresa’s.

Love

LR

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Rob Ray
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Dec 6 2006 15:05

Revol I would agree with you, I think, if Libcom was endorsing amazon, but they aren’t and the idea that they can’t exploit capital relations to their advantage where they find them is retardant to their effectiveness as a group. The fact is, if any revolutionary group can gain any advantage without a) undermining their independence b) hurting the working class, there is no reason in the world they shouldn’t use it. Any other consideration is meaningless.

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Steven.
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Dec 6 2006 15:13
Saii wrote:
The fact is, if any revolutionary group can gain any advantage without a) undermining their independence

Here, as revol points out, we are. But the amounts of money aren't enough to make us dependant on it. If anything we're probably more dependant on lazy riser! But we think the potential benefits outweigh the potential harm here. It's also interesting revol seems to care so much about our reputation now, since normally the main reason we get shit from people is his forum posts! (Though admittedly they've all been completely fine for a couple of months at least)

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Steven.
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Dec 6 2006 15:22
revol68 wrote:
As much as I admire the collective for all the work they put in, the fact is that 1000 quid hosting isn't that much money between 10 peoples subs, add to that donations, maybe a few socials and flogging some nice T shirts or something and there should easily be enough there to maintain a web presence and it'd be much better than having links to amazon.

We've already told you we don't have time to put on any gigs or socials, or at the moment do anything like t shirts. We also said the big link to amazon will be gone in a couple of days. Also the hosting is not all our costs, we intend to fund advertising, some publishing, some equipment (scanner, etc) and so could do with as much as possible.

If you're concerned about the big link revol, why don't you start us a thread like oisleep did last year soliciting for christmas donations for us? Then we'll take the link down early, how about that?

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Rob Ray
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Dec 6 2006 15:33
Quote:
well it does come at a disadvantage in that having links pimping xmas shopping at amazon makes me cringe and i'm sure makes libcom seem a laughing stock to plenty of people (many of whom were just waiting for something like this). As I said if Libcom has to take money from Amazon sales in order to get by it doesn't deserve to exist and if it doesn't need the money it should put it's reputation and principle ahead of a few extra quid.
As much as I admire the collective for all the work they put in, the fact is that 1000 quid hosting isn't that much money between 10 peoples subs, add to that donations, maybe a few socials and flogging some nice T shirts or something and there should easily be enough there to maintain a web presence and it'd be much better than having links to amazon.

Why? Anyone with any sense is entirely clear as to why any media group ever takes advertising, and that’s to pay for its continued survival. Maybe as a revolutionary you have a problem with a revolutionary group doing this, but do you know what the major reason for the radical media dying at the turn of the century was? Advertising. Not because our radical forebears didn’t want it, but because they couldn’t get it. The right wing media simply outmuscled the left through a combination of better startup capital and preferential treatment from the advertisers. There is no historical background for advertising somehow being unacceptable in a left-wing newspaper, website or whatever else, and the idea of it being laughable here is a hangup foisted on the left not by our own commentators, but by the same people who insist that us wearing Nike is somehow hypocritical.

The only thing that would make Libcom’s reputation suffer is if they bowed to the pressure of others now and said actually, advertising and commercial tie-ups are unacceptable on a libertarian website, as opposed to outright rejecting the concept that relying entirely on begging from the movement or sinking your own money into a bottomless pit is the way to go, because then if they did end up having to change tactics later on, it would be a U-turn in policy.