Would a realised libertarian communist society assume moral consensus ?

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Bewildered. Desperate.'s picture
Bewildered. Des...
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Apr 23 2012 04:09
Would a realised libertarian communist society assume moral consensus ?

A theoretical question that I haven't been able to find information on. If anyone can help out please do.

1: The rejection/absence of authoritarian hierarchies is necessary for a functioning LibCom society. Cooperation between workers replaces control and domination by those with power.

2: With the overhaul of the capitalist society, its various institutions also disappear (education, law, military). In a LibCom society we have association between groups that recognise themselves as a class.

Stop me here if these premises are incorrect.

Where does consensus therefore come from ? How and why do people recognise themselves as belonging to the same class, having the same interests ? This would imply that there must be a dominant culture that instills those values into the population. They do not have this knowledge inherently.

My question:

Is the (replacing) ideology not also an ideology of coercion ?

jolasmo
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Apr 23 2012 07:52
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2: With the overhaul of the capitalist society, its various institutions also disappear (education, law, military). In a LibCom society we have association between groups that recognise themselves as a class.

Well, not as a class no, a libertarian communist society would be classless. Classes are defined in relation to other classes, so in abolishing the ruling capitalist class the working class ceases to exist as a class itself.

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Where does consensus therefore come from ? How and why do people recognise themselves as belonging to the same class, having the same interests ? This would imply that there must be a dominant culture that instills those values into the population. They do not have this knowledge inherently.

Well, the aim of libertarian communism is to create a revolutionary working class movement that will end in destroying the state and capitalism. One thing that distinguishes libertarian communism from many other revolutionary traditions, though, is the idea of 'prefiguration', that the very movement that destroys our existing society is at the same time 'building the new society in the shell of the old', that is, the movement itself is where the new social relations and the new 'values' and 'culture' are created and built up.

It's important to say in this respect that libertarian communists, on the whole, have a materialist analysis of society. That means we see things like culture and values as based on the real, material, social reality of peoples' lives - rather than being independent from the society they exist in. So in a society where everything is based on cooperation and free association, values and culture based on liberty, solidarity and mutual aid are the logical outcome.

Hope that clarifies things...?

~J.

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Apr 23 2012 08:46

Hi jolasmo,

Yes, clarifies things to an extent. However, my question comes from the theoretical end result of a revolutionary movement. Let's just pretend that this society already exists. People born into that society still need to be socialised into this new way of life.

If it is merely a case of people "leading by example", then that is a fine answer. But if people put abstract values such as liberty and solidarity as the hallmark of their society, this to me assumes that behaviour that is against those values, needs to somehow be negatively reinforced.

I'm approaching this question from the perspective of deviance. How does the Lib Com philosophy account for social facts such as crime, or behaviour that is taboo? A crime for example might be appropriating ownership on some material for myself. However the actual crime would be in thinking of appropriating something.

Cultural institutions, (or rituals, whatever), are responsible for instilling the ideals of a society. My question is... What does this look like in a LibCom society ? and would it not also produce an ideology of coercion ?

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Apr 25 2012 13:05

bump

yourmum
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Apr 25 2012 13:40

what cultural insititution instilled your ideals, may i ask? shouldnt you be a christian market lubber in that case?

dohball
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Apr 25 2012 19:50
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But if people put abstract values such as liberty and solidarity as the hallmark of their society, this to me assumes that behaviour that is against those values, needs to somehow be negatively reinforced.

could you clarify what you mean by negatively reinforced?

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However the actual crime would be in thinking of appropriating something.

in my understanding of a anarchist/lib com society you would be free to think what you wanted. people have many thoughts that they don't actually act on. it would be your actions that would be of some varying degree of importance to your society.

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How does the Lib Com philosophy account for social facts such as crime, or behaviour that is taboo?

my understanding is that there would be a variety of beliefs held about the many complex motives and pressures that impel people into the kind of antisocial and cruel behaviour that i imagine a libcom society would move to prevent. i imagine that such 'crimes' would be more likely to be ones of interpersonal violence,seeking to wield undue power etc. rather than hoarding materials tho.

Quote:
and would it not also produce an ideology of coercion ?

i would hope it would encourage an increased sense of personal and collective responsibility and power...but there is no denying that as a species our track record has been uh.. patchy
but that is no reason to give up now & accept authoritarian rule.

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Apr 25 2012 19:58

If I understand this correctly, you are trying to find some ideological/social/cultural unity out of the LibCom movement and the society it wishes to create, no? Because the LibCom movement doesn't necessarily strive for a very defined consensus in society, except for the Platformist ideology.

Dave B
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Apr 25 2012 21:15
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Cultural institutions, (or rituals, whatever), are responsible for instilling the ideals of a society. My question is... What does this look like in a LibCom society ? and would it not also produce an ideology of coercion ?

That is in fact the basis Stirner’s criticism of Marx’s Feuerbachian (pre 1845) idea of communism.

The Feuerbachian idea, and Karl’s, was that it was natural for human beings to want to, and enjoy, looking after each other; and anything else was a perversion of our human essence or nature etc.

Stirner said this was just an idea, ideal and ideology and in fact a more tyrannical one than even Christianity.

As it would damn and condemn anyone who didn’t believe in it as a pervert and even inhuman.

And that even capitalism and Christianity never went so far as to say ‘sinners’ against those ideologies were not humans.

Following on; Stirner said that there were two forms of coercion in society.

One is the more obvious and ‘benign’, and that was society physically forces people to abide by it rules.

The other form of coercion for him was more pernicious and powerful than that; ie it was ideological eg Orwells 1984 and Chomsky’s manufacturing consent etc.

For Stirner the ideology of Feuerbach’s and Karl’s 1844 ‘all you need is love’ (and Feuerbach and Karl used the ‘Love’ word) was a new form of ideological and cultural tyranny against the egotist.

And in such a new society egotists like Stirner would be labelled as wankers, or something even worse, for doing want they felt like.

Or in other words the contradiction between the social ideological/cultural imperative of altruism, and 'love' versus its theoretical ‘antithesis’ of egotism.

Not that Stirner supported the idea of different individuals exploiting or shitting on each other.

Although his alternative of a “union of egotists” wasn’t clear and he skipped over it I think.

However it was probably something like you scratch my back and I will scratch yours and lets use each other to our own mutual benefit.

Not that Stirner dodged the ‘love’ idea with his kissing troubled of (or was it creased brows) etc, much.

Thus for him if I get a egotistical kick or buzz out of being ‘nice’ to someone else then that is what I will decide for myself and not have it imposed on me by some new hippy, pseudo christian, Feuerbachian "communist" all you need is love ideology.

Despite Stirner’s intellectual rigorous and impressive book he never goes into, or avoids why, such a buzz, pleasure or kick exists in the first place.

Which he seems to confess is real, as a personal subjective experience.

Personally I don’t like self-serving pragmatic egotists and therefore wouldn’t go rock climbing with Stirner on that basis alone.

On a pragmatic self-serving level I wouldn’t either; on the thought of at what point ‘premature’ point he might decide to cut the rope and let me drop.

yourmum
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Apr 25 2012 21:34
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And in such a new society egotists like Stirner would be labelled as wankers, or something even worse, for doing want they felt like
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Personally I don’t like self-serving pragmatic egotists and therefore wouldn’t go rock climbing with Stirner on that basis alone.

i upped your post because the stirner recitation was flawless imho.

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Apr 25 2012 22:24

Thanks everyone for some really good replies. I will perhaps come back to each when I have more time. But @yourmum:

"what cultural insititution instilled your ideals, may i ask? shouldnt you be a christian market lubber in that case? "

The cultural institution there is called deviance. It is well documented in the social sciences. I can resist the current ideology even though it has coercive power over me. If we lived in Talcott Parsons' society then I would be a christian and a capitalist. But you sort of inadvertently made my point for me... I was asking about how a LibCom society might come to instill its values in people, if resistance still exists. The possibility of there not being consensus means that there still exists the chance that some will exploit circumstances to their own gain.

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 25 2012 22:52

i don't really understand what you are asking, people tend to take on the values of the society hey live in, there are exceptions , but this isn't necessarily a big problem

yourmum
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Apr 25 2012 23:12

well people who dont take on the "values" of libcom get banned. that is if you talk about law enforcement as in the posting guidelines. if you talk about things like freedom, equality, solidarity and stuff i didnt have to sign anything yet.

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Apr 26 2012 01:04
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i don't really understand what you are asking, people tend to take on the values of the society hey live in, there are exceptions , but this isn't necessarily a big problem

This is my point. But how do they take on those values. How would a LibCom society reproduce itself ? This is my first question. In 'primitive' societies they use rituals, etc. I don't think I need to describe the current state of things - education, etc.

But in order to reproduce a society requires having institutions to instil those values. Like I said in an earlier post, if the answer is just from familial upbringing, then that is the answer.

But I really cannot see how this is a difficult question to comprehend. It is only that an answer requires speculation.

@yourmum - Don't threaten me. You come off a right hypocrite. I'm raising a question of theory.

yourmum
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Apr 26 2012 08:00

hey B, chill out, im not an admin and it was no threat. but you were wondering how resistance to take on values is broken and i pointed you to the measures that are being taken here as a praxis to enforce values, i dont think that was such a useless contribution?

radicalgraffiti
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Apr 26 2012 12:23
Bewildered. Desperate. wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i don't really understand what you are asking, people tend to take on the values of the society hey live in, there are exceptions , but this isn't necessarily a big problem

This is my point. But how do they take on those values. How would a LibCom society reproduce itself ? This is my first question. In 'primitive' societies they use rituals, etc. I don't think I need to describe the current state of things - education, etc.

But in order to reproduce a society requires having institutions to instil those values. Like I said in an earlier post, if the answer is just from familial upbringing, then that is the answer.

But I really cannot see how this is a difficult question to comprehend. It is only that an answer requires speculation.

@yourmum - Don't threaten me. You come off a right hypocrite. I'm raising a question of theory.

People tend to natural imitate what they see around them, even the ones who resist the current society usually do this, so without some thing wrong with the society that makes people want to reject it they will mostly take on the values and norms of that society.

I assume education will include "we do things this way because" but even without something like that if people grow up in a world they take and active part of running they will understand how things are.