Submitted by sam sanchez on December 7, 2006

Hi.

This must have been discussed before, so point me to something in the archives if you know of it.

I'm supposed to at some point be writing something to do with the difference between anarcho-synbdicalism and anarcho-communism, but the only difference seems to me to be the tactical issue of whether unions can be used to usher in an anarcho-communist society. Is there any other difference, i.e. a difference in the actual vision of what an anarchist society would look like?

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I suppose a starting point would be to ask people to explain how they view a communist society. I really don't know what the differences are.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Is there any other difference, i.e. a difference in the actual vision of what an anarchist society would look like?

Syndicalists are more about self management, communists are more about the abolition of private property in order to realise the meaning of "fully human".

Love

LR

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As a communist, I look beyond the forms of liberation to the content. I'm not really interested in the abolition of private property as much as the abolition of wage labour, capital and commodity production. Self-management would provide a structure within which that can work. But self-management on it's own without the aforementioned would lead to a return to capitalism or some other form of class society. Equally, abolition of wage labour etc without self-managment is unthinkable.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

wage labour, capital and commodity production

Are they three distinct things, or one? Genuine question.

I understand the notion of "wage labour" and advocate transcending it. But I'm perplexed as to the precise meaning of "capital and commodity production". I'm inclined to think they're private property, only in different words.

Love

LR

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The three are sides of the same coin (funny coin, I guess). I just mentioned them all to avoid confusion.
Also during the soviet era there was a notional abolition of private property in favour of state property. Though in practice everything belonged to the state and the state to the communist party.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

I take capital to mean the power blocks that control the means of production. The end of wage labour would abolish capital automatically.

As for commodity production, I assume by this we mean the creation of things to be sold for profit. The primal war-of-all-against-all, the signature social relation of capitalism, the barbarism that self-management is doomed to become unless we are guided by communist anti-individualist and anti-materialist ethics.

The idea that trade is a degenerate behaviour, even when it’s self-managed trade, is crucial to communism. Communists are right to fear that trade, and hence profit and commodity relations (exploitation), will occur whenever private property is allowed.

What escapes communists though is that “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” is as a much a trade relation as the prevailing mode of production and power, just one mediated by Marxist philosophical values of need and ability, rather than public whim.

But self-management on it's own without the aforementioned would lead to a return to capitalism or some other form of class society

My disputation of this point is sadly irrelevant. If we can’t find any non-communist Syndicalists, then I’m going to have to concede that there’s no significant political difference between communism and syndicalism.

Love

LR

JDMF

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

all anarcho-syndicalists are anarcho-communists, but not other way around because A-S is much about the way in which we believe this can be achieved and built from below.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Don't some anarcho-syndicalists make ideological provision for "money" and individual private property?

Love

LR

Mike Harman

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Hi

Don't some anarcho-syndicalists make ideological provision for "money" and individual private property?

Love

LR

*resists urge to dig out that three-parter in anarcho-syndicalist review yet again*

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sam sanchez

I'm supposed to at some point be writing something to do with the difference between anarcho-synbdicalism and anarcho-communism, but the only difference seems to me to be the tactical issue of whether unions can be used to usher in an anarcho-communist society. Is there any other difference, i.e. a difference in the actual vision of what an anarchist society would look like?

I would say there are lots of differences, and its very problematic and theoretically sloppy to collapse anarcho-syndicalism into anarchist communism.

One key difference is that anarcho-syndicalists see the anarcho-syndicalist union as the embryo of the new society. While anarchist communists don't. It's a pretty major issue actually. Anarchist communists reject the centrality of the trade union as a means to bring about anarchism, while the anarcho-syndicalists see it as the key method of abolishing capitalism and the state. Classical anarchist communists viewed autonomous communist communes as the organisational form of the new society -- not narrow sectional syndicates of workers. (By communes i mean communes as in the Paris Commune, a self-governing community, not hippy things). After workers' councils appeared, many anarchist communists viewed them as the organisational form of the new society, and not anarcho-syndicalist unions eg. some french anarchist communists called themselves 'council anarchists'.

Another key difference in the future society is more content based rather than form based. Anarcho-syndicalists have traditionally been very vague on the distribution of stuff after the revolution. (indeed, they tend to be very vague on this whole issue of what a future society will look like, cos they generally consider it impractical utopian dreaming). And when they have come up with something concrete in terms of what a future society may look like, they have retained certain aspects of capitalism, for example Émile Pataud and Emile Pouget retained the wage system in their syndicalist utopia, How We Shall Bring About the Revolution (1909). Pouget and Pataud only proposed communism for all necessary objects, while labour notes would be issued for articles of luxury.

I reckon historically anarcho-syndicalists have believed in the distribution of the social product is up to each community to decide, even if they nominally say they are for "libertarian communism" (which always remains vague and undefined). This was the dominant ideology of the anarcho-syndicalist leadership in Spain. While anarchist communists are obviously for communist distro plain and simple.

Some say its useful to look at the 1907 debate between Malatesta and Monatte at an international anarcho congress in amsterdam. you'll find the traditional anarcho-syn criticisms of anarchist communism (that its purist, based in the ivory tower, utopian, impractical etc) and vice versa (that anark-syn is reformist, bureaucratic, economistic etc).

My gosh i'm gonna quote the dead old italian bastard Malatesta.
Malatesta

The error of having abandoned the Labour movement has done an immense injury to anarchism…[but] the error of confounding the anarchist movement with Trade Unionism would be still more grave. That will happen to us which happened to the Social Democrats as soon as they went into the Parliamentary struggle. They gained in numerical force, but by becoming each day less Socialistic. We also would become more numerous, but we should cease to be anarchist.

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Catch, what issue(s) of ASR is that in? I'd love to read it. I've been slowly buying up back issues. Thanks.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Formalism, that is an over reliance on the form of the new society, rather than the content, is not the preserve of one tendency or another. It dominated the old Solidarity group in the 60s and 70s. They fetishised the form of workers councils and self-management. The pamphlet "Workers Councils and the Economics of a Self-Managed Society" proposed a practical scheme for a council organisation of society, but did so within the context of equal wages rather than free access. As I recall, this obsession with self-management also led to some talking favourably about the Ulster Workers Council (insofar as it showed how powerful workers organisation could be, not in terms of supporting protestant loyalism). Other councillist groups also showed similar obsessions with form not content. There was a pamphlet published in, I think, the 1920s by remnants of the KAPD which assumed labour time vouchers.

Communists see the union form as unsuitable for the organisation of a new society. Ownership will be social. Organisation needs to be the same. There should be no remnant of any part of society being owned by any special group - for example, no railways being controlled by a railway syndicate.

We favour the council structure because it seems more inclusive than unions, and is also the form of organisation that has been created by the class in revolutionary struggle in many instances (sorry if I sound all ICC here :)). Unions on the other hand have been created as part of the struggle by workers acting as creations of capital - fighting over the crumbs, not for the bakery, as it were.

Finally, and I know my syndicalist comrades will disagree, I fail to see what function a-s unions would have in the post revolutionary society for most of the areas of capitalist life. The first objective of a communist working class would be to abolish most of the work we do today!

Alf

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's alright, Knightrose, you can sound "all ICC" if you want. I absolve you from all feelings of guilt. I also agree with your post.

Good quote from Malatesta, Skraeling. It would be interesting to look in more depth at Malatesta's criticisms of the unions. Any thoughts on the matter?

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well that's me done for then.

Steven.

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

Good quote from Malatesta, Skraeling. It would be interesting to look in more depth at Malatesta's criticisms of the unions. Any thoughts on the matter?

I know that not much Malatesta is available in English...

guadia

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

actually there are three texts by malatesta on internet on this question ([http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/inter/malatesta_synd.html], i have read them long time ago but i think it is critique of anarchosyndicalism not unions phenomen in general...

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just read them. You're right, it's a criticism of the syndicalist strategy. He was making the point that anarchist syndicalist unions either remain purely anarchist, and as such small, or they recruit workers on the basis of their militancy and thus lose their anarchism. He was in favour of anarchists being active within the existing unions.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose

We favour the council structure because it seems more inclusive than unions, and is also the form of organisation that has been created by the class in revolutionary struggle in many instances (sorry if I sound all ICC here :)). Unions on the other hand have been created as part of the struggle by workers acting as creations of capital - fighting over the crumbs, not for the bakery, as it were.

But this over concentration on the union (i.e. the workplace) is really not a criticism of modern day syndicalism. For example, Solfed has networks (i.e. unions in each industry), but also has locals uniting people in the same area from all industries, which form the basis of community control.

Furthermore, such a structure allows for the elimination (through mechanisation or whatever) of lots of work, without leaving lots of people out of decision making, since there is a decision making forum open to everyone yet outside of the workplace itself.

The same can be seen in the IWW with the General Membership Branches.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But Sam, that still posits a distinction between work and community, doesn't it?

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How can there not be a distinction between work and community? We can't all work in one big workplace, can we? Therefore even if the major decisions are made as a commune through community assemblies etc, the day to day running of industry will still have to be taken care of through workers' self-management, surely?

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I suppose that may be true. But communism does presuppose an ending between the distinction between work and leisure. It also presupposes a much reduced working week. It won't be a case of lots of the old industries still operating but under self-management, at least not once communism is properly established. A realistic working week might be only 6 or 8 hours, not 40+.
Even so, I don't see day to day running necessarily being taken care of by self-managed industry. Production is already socialised and thanks to globalisation most of us don't fully produce any final product. The impact of industry is so great on the environment that any decisions about production would need to be taken by comunities not workplaces. At best, decisions would be delegated down to those in the workplaces but under the scrutiny and control of the communities.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

communism does presuppose an ending between the distinction between work and leisure.

Agreed. Even Castoriadis and some right wingers and liberals do. I can only assume they haven't seen normal working class people at leisure. I doubt you'd get much work out of me is all I can say.

Love

LR

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's not the case that all libertarian communists have posited a community assembly or council as the only basic component, igonoring workplace organization. Berkman's "What is Communist Anarchism?" proposes workplace assemblies and committees. There is the example of the Solidarity group -- not a syndicalist group -- with its emphasis on workers' councils. The people who developed the participatory economics concept, with both workplace and community assemblies, came out of council communism.

The CNT in Spain in the '30s did NOT see each workplace or community as making its decisions in isolation. Their program called for social planning, and a dual structure of federations based in community assemblies and workplace assemblies, with the requests for public goods coming from the community assemblies. A key ocmponent of the CNT's program was the "free municipalities", the community assembly-based geographic structures, which were derived from the anarcho-communist influence. Nowadays there are syndicalists who advocate both community mass organization (you could call it "community syndicalism") as well as workplace mass organization. This is true of Workers Solidarity Alliance for example.

What is central to libertarian syndicalism is the idea that in developing mass organizations in the course of the class struggle, if these are organizations directly controlled by the workers, these prefigure a society of self-management. There are two ways to interpret this. You could hold that the union itself is the embryo of the future society and that in a revolution the union becomes the management organization for an industry. Or, alternatively, you could hold that the organization for self-management of industry is prefigured by the self-management of struggles thru the grassroots union, but the union has a different function, as an organ of worker struggle, and is thus not the same as the organization created to self-manage an industry. The latter seems more likely since breaking down the internal hierarchical division of labor in industry, and democratizing skill and expertise and so on, is likely to be a protracted process that involves a process of learning and education, so as to avoid concentration of expertise into the hands of a few, which, if not fought, would tend to bring about a re-emergence of a class division. A problem that the CNT ran into in the Spanish revolution is that conversion of the union shop committees into workplace councils left the workers without a shop organization to defend their interests in a situation where things were still in transition, and where there was a danger of concentration of power and expertise in the hands of the administrative and technical committees. I think this happened because traditional anarchism and marxism lacked a concept of the professional/managerial class (or whatever you want to call it), which is the class that becomes the ruling class in the USSR, etc.

t.

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hi Knightrose,

What do you mean by production being already socialized? I don't get it.

Also, your ability to say communism "presupposes a much reduced working week," implies a distinction between work and nonwork. The reduction of work will result in the increase of nonwork, otherwise "reduction of work" doesn't make any sense.

cheers,
Nate

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What I meant was that there is very little actual individual production any more. Most factories either produce components or assemble parts, ofetn produced many many miles away. Many of us not involved in the actual assembly are still involved in the production and distribution process, but it's almost impossible to state exactly what contribution we make to the production of surplus value.

Also, your ability to say communism "presupposes a much reduced working week," implies a distinction between work and nonwork. The reduction of work will result in the increase of nonwork, otherwise "reduction of work" doesn't make any sense.

Yeah, I realised that when I wrote it. Couldn't quite think of the right formulation.

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hey Knightrose,
Thanks for clarifying.

Two more questions - When was there much actual individual production before, under capitalism? When that went on, was it more possible to state exactly what contribution anyone made to the production of surplus value? I think there's a difference between particular capitals and total social capital, that you're leaving out. I'm not 100% clear on the second category so I can't put forward a clear argument on this just now.

take it easy,
Nate

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose

Just read them. You're right, it's a criticism of the syndicalist strategy. He was making the point that anarchist syndicalist unions either remain purely anarchist, and as such small, or they recruit workers on the basis of their militancy and thus lose their anarchism.

that's a good summary of his view, he also went on to say that anarcho-syndicalism tends to create a labour elite or bureaucracy because there is a big division between the rank and file and the leadership. The leadership are mostly convinced anarchist militants, but the rank and file aren't, they have mostly joined to gain immediate increases in wages and conditions.

Malatesta also said at the Amsterdam Congress “inside the labour movement the official poses a threat comparable only with parliamentarism”, meaning a labour bureaucracy was likely to sterilise revolutionary struggle and reduce it to a conservatism comparable with that of the social democrats.

Monatte, from the French CGT, replied that syndicalism had enuf democratic antidotes in it to stop a bureaucracy emerging. Certainly syndicalism put in a lot of effort to do this with recallable delegates, no paid officials etc. But the proof is in the pudding. Robert Michels in his book Political Parties studied the early French CGT (when it was revolutionary syndicalist) and said there was an elite within the CGT edited the press, acted as spokespeople and directed the rank and file. I think it's fair to say the same occurred in the classical CNT. But i do

(Michels was a conservative trying to prove there was an iron law of oligarchy, meaning even if they were anarchists communists or syndicalists or whatever a political elite would develop no matter what. for the record, I don't think there is an iron law of oligarchy. )

Malatesta's criticisms at the 1907 conference is in Woodcock's The Anarchist Reader, including a bit from Monatte. But they havent been published in full. I got that earlier quote from the anthology of articles from Colin Ward's Anarchy magazine, called a decade of Anarchy. The article was called anarchism and trade unionism and its by Gaston Gerard.

He [Malatesta] was in favour of anarchists being active within the existing unions.

Yup. I don't think the ICC would be too impressed with Malatesta's view on unions. He was no ultra-leftist. In my opinion, reading his views again, he was an moralist and idealist, he didn't seem to like syndicalism because it was too economistic and didn't pay enuf attention to making anarchists ie. believers in the anarchist ideal. Reminds me a little of the view of the SPGB that you have to make socialists before having a revolution. He seems to have viewed unions as a chance for anarchists to push anarchist propaganda (in the sense of aiming of converting people to the anarchist ideal).

An anarchist communist critique of anarcho-syndicalism which is definitely "ultra-leftist" (and gloriously sectarian!) came from Japan in the 1920s and 1930s. A bunch of people grouped around Hatta Shuzo criticised anark-syn for being a form of capitalism, as it left the market, the wage-system, monetary exchange and division of labour intact.

They argued an anarcho-syndicalist society would divide workers by their occupations – miners, farmers, steelworkers, printworkers and so on – and these divisions, together with the retention of the wage-system, would sow the seeds of new forms of social conflict. They argued that under anarcho-syndicalism classes would re-appear and some type of “superior co-ordinating machinery” would be established – meaning a new state to regualte the conflict. There is a book about them by John Crump called Hatta Shuzo and Pure Anarchism in Japan and he did a pamphlet on it as well http://libcom.org/library/anarchist-movement-japan-2

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

It's not the case that all libertarian communists have posited a community assembly or council as the only basic component, igonoring workplace organization.

I dont think anarchist communists have ignored workplace organisation. for someone like Kropotkin, he saw free communes as being composed of industrial and community based assemblies. The commune was a holistic term which combined workplace and community assemblies. To him, it did not ignore workplace organisation at all.

The CNT in Spain in the '30s did NOT see each workplace or community as making its decisions in isolation. Their program called for social planning, and a dual structure of federations based in community assemblies and workplace assemblies, with the requests for public goods coming from the community assemblies. A key ocmponent of the CNT's program was the "free municipalities", the community assembly-based geographic structures, which were derived from the anarcho-communist influence.

fair enuf, that's a good point, the CNT was not just workplace based, it organised hospitals, schools, community stuff. I've read that Kropotkin was the favourite author of CNT militants and you can certainly see his influence. Your point also a good rejoinder to those who view anarcho-syndicalism as economistic.

What is central to libertarian syndicalism is the idea that in developing mass organizations in the course of the class struggle, if these are organizations directly controlled by the workers, these prefigure a society of self-management. There are two ways to interpret this. You could hold that the union itself is the embryo of the future society and that in a revolution the union becomes the management organization for an industry. Or, alternatively, you could hold that the organization for self-management of industry is prefigured by the self-management of struggles thru the grassroots union, but the union has a different function, as an organ of worker struggle, and is thus not the same as the organization created to self-manage an industry.

some good nuanced stuff here. i would say anarcho-syndicalists have traditionally been into the first intepretation you offer. They see the union as a sort of school where workers learn to run things themselves to build the new society in the shell of the old.

the latter interpretation seems to me to be kinda more similar to council communism than anarcho-syndicalism as i understand it, in that workers create the organs they need to manage society during the heat of revolutionary struggle itself, rather than try to build up a union in reformist times which then takes over the running of society in revolutionary times, no? if the anarcho-syndicalist union itself is not the foreshadowing of the future society, then why be an anarcho-syndicalist and build up the union?

and was there a professional-managerial class in Spain in the 1930s? surely it would have been much smaller and less important that it is now?

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Let's assume the second interpretation. The second intepretation is what I favor. The point, then, to the developing of the mass organizations in the years leading up to a transformative situation is that it is how the working class acquires the necessary class consciousness, sense of power, self-confidence, understanding of the system, practices and habits of direct democracy. The mass organizations, to the extent they are self-managed and a means to self-management of the struggle, do prefigure the society of self-management. The workers themselves must create the new structures of self-managment. Through what organizational vehicle do they do this? Through what organizational means do they develop the movement with the strength to do this? Moreover, the transition to a society without class division does not happen over night, it can't happen over night. It requires process of building up not only new structures but new habits and new skills and knowledge, to run things, within the mass of the population. New skills are learned precisely because the working class as such is excluded from making the decisions within class society, and its potential to self-manage the society is not fully developed.

In some cases in the Spanish revolution industrial organizations for self-management of an industry were created apart from the union. Usuallly this happened where there was strong presence of the UGT and CNT both. As in the railway industry. The Revolutionary Railway Federation wasn't a union but was a new organization created jointly by the UGT and CNT unions. Workplace assemblies and committes included people from both unions.

The professional/managerial class in Russia in 1917 was even less developed than in Spain in 1936, but hierarchies of engineers and managers were already well established by 1920. The tendency of the CNT to elect former bosses or their sons as administrative heads of sections, or give a lot of authority to technical committees made up of former bosses and engineers was dangerous in terms of its long-term implications. The formal control of worker assemblies is not sufficient for worker power. Job hierarchies and concentrations of expertise need to be broken down as well, but that takes time. But there needs to be conscious awareness of the need to dissolve the class power of the managers and top professionals.

t.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just a quick thought on workers councils, which I favour as an organisational form. They are not a type of union. They combine workers in a particular workplace, they don't link workers by types of workplaces. Additionally, they have always historically have arisen during periods of intense class struggle. They have never been, as far as I know (and now someone will probably prove me wrong :)) ) created by union structures of any kind. In Russia they existed in a state of some friction with the union structures.

Regarding social production etc. Trad marxists often say so and so is a proletarian because he or she directly produces surplus value. My view is that most of society is now a vast factory and the working class as a whole produces surplus value. I'm not sure how important it is for this discussion.

The Japanese criticism would be correct, in my opinion, if anyone advocated such views. But fortunately, I don't know of any a-s in Britian today who hold such a view that they were criticising. So it probably goes down as a historical oddity. It's value is that it points out the error of assuming that communism simply means the abolition of private property and the introduction of self-management. That was the same formalist doctrine that bedevilled some council communists and was reflected in Castoriadis' text "Workers Councils and the Economics of a Free Society".

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The unions in Russia were beaurocratic and controlled by political parties long before the revolution.

In any case, syndicalism proposes to unite self-managed workplaces in various ways:

Confederations of those in the same industry
Confederations of all workplaces in all industries
Both of these at a local and a larger level.

Therefore they don't just divide into industry, but unite the whole of industry in precisely the way you claim workers councils do.

Personally I agree with Bookchin that concentrating on council structures misses the point. Councils are still representative rather than directly democratic bodies unless they are controlled from below by workplace and community assemblies that EVERYONE can participate equally in. Just a side point.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Actually, Sam, concentrating on ANY structures misses the point. Communism isn't about how we administer society, it's about creating a society without commodity production.

Syndicates and councils would be representative bodies - or more accurately mandated delegate bodies, but so what? We are talking about a world here, not just a village.

I actually suspect that the form of organisation a communist society took would be different from anything you or I can dream of. If we're very lucky we'll see :)

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the contrary, from an anarchist perspective structures of power and decision making are exactly the point.

What do you mean by "commodity production". Obviously we're gonna keep on making stuff, right?

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In any economy with central planning, the society is not market governed, and, to that extent, "commodity production" is suppressed. But any society with central planning will be a class society in which the working class is subjugated and exploited. Hence elimination of commodity production is not sufficient for elimination of the class system.

In regard to the Russian revolution, what do you mean by "workers' councils"? The soviets? Most of the soviets were top-down bodies formed in the February revolution by Mensheviks and SRs. They were set up with a concentration of decision-making power in the hands of the Executive Committee, so as to empower the party leaders from the professional class who took the initiative to set them up. The Petrograd soviet of 1917, unlike the soviet of 1905, was not set up by, or authentically controlled by, the workers. Neither the Mensheviks nor the Bolsheviks had any concept of participatory democracy. To them "proletarian power" meant electing leaders to run top-down structures. The unions had been set up by the Mensheviks with a concentration of decision-making power in the national executive committees for similar reasons. The conflict was between the factory committee movement and the unions, not between the soviets and the unions. The factory committee movement can be considered a form of shopfloor unionism, since it was the workers banding together in struggle against their employers, even tho they didn't call themselves "unions." There were some unions which were not as top-down, such as the bakers union or coal-miners union (which was organized on the IWW model). See Pete Rachlef's piece on the soviets:

http://www.geocities.com/~johngray/raclef.htm

t.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Actually, I was thinking of the factory committees.

Commodity production is the generalised production of things to sell in a market. By generalised, I mean that pretty much everything is treated as being for sale. Commodities and things are not the same.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, i know what commodity production is. A society based on commodity production is governed by the market. A society where social production is governed by a central plan is not a society governed by commodity production. If you say there was some commodity production in the USSR, that's right, but then you'd have to say that ancient slave and feudal systems were systems of commodity production, too, since there were markets then. But the point is that the market wasn't the kind of overall governing institution it becomes under capitalism. And in the USSR the market also wasn't that kind of overall governing insitution. Again, elimination of commodity production is woefully inadequate as an understanding of what is needed to end the class system.

t.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose

The Japanese criticism would be correct, in my opinion, if anyone advocated such views. But fortunately, I don't know of any a-s in Britian today who hold such a view that they were criticising. So it probably goes down as a historical oddity. It's value is that it points out the error of assuming that communism simply means the abolition of private property and the introduction of self-management. That was the same formalist doctrine that bedevilled some council communists and was reflected in Castoriadis' text "Workers Councils and the Economics of a Free Society".

Yes i largely agree. But i dont think anarcho-syndicalists tend to be vague on the content of a future society. Its just "libertarian communism" and if you ask many of them what they mean by it they can't really say (although there are some like syndicalistcat in this thread who has a pretty good idea of where he/she is going)

i dont think its a historical oddity so much. What the Japanese "pure anarchists" did was to take the ultra-left streak in anarchist communism to its logical conclusion. There is value in that in terms of consistency (but i has drawbacks in terms of sectarianism and being purist). Someone like Kropotkin was an inconsistent ultra-lefty. i thinks he saw anarchist communism first and foremost as a working class movement (rather than idea) and had considerably clarity in opposing the wage system in all its forms. But he adovcated anarchists to go into the unions and he was an anti-german nationalist.

The Japanese pure anarchists had a chance to develop anarchist communism theoretically (this was in the context of a big rivalry between anarchist commies and anark-syns; anarchist commies were dominant, and had their own unions steaming along doing stuff, and anark-syns were new on the scene, and had set up rival unions). What they came up with had some depth and clarity, in contrast to the fuzzy amalgam of anarchist communism and anarcho-syndicalism that you find in much anarchist communist literature since the 1920s (like Alexander Berkman). And i think developing things theoretically in terms of depth and clarity is just as important as developing things practicallly. tho the Japanese anarchist commies weren't too ultra left, they (i think) supported anarchist communist unions and rejected the class struggle (cos it was a foreign and elitist marxist concept, they preferred the term 'struggle of the oppressed' or somesuch, they thought the latter term was more inclusive).

The thing that makes the Japanese anarchist communists of the 1920s and 1930s out of date was that their social base was in the rural landless peasantry. The anarcho-syns had their social base in the factory town workers, who were then a tiny majority in Japanese population.

[/blah blah].

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

Let's assume the second interpretation. The second intepretation is what I favor. The point, then, to the developing of the mass organizations in the years leading up to a transformative situation is that it is how the working class acquires the necessary class consciousness, sense of power, self-confidence, understanding of the system, practices and habits of direct democracy. The mass organizations, to the extent they are self-managed and a means to self-management of the struggle, do prefigure the society of self-management. The workers themselves must create the new structures of self-managment. Through what organizational vehicle do they do this? Through what organizational means do they develop the movement with the strength to do this? Moreover, the transition to a society without class division does not happen over night, it can't happen over night. It requires process of building up not only new structures but new habits and new skills and knowledge, to run things, within the mass of the population. New skills are learned precisely because the working class as such is excluded from making the decisions within class society, and its potential to self-manage the society is not fully developed.

I cant see how this second interpretation is specifically anarcho-syndicalist, cos it doesnt see the anarcho-syndicalist union as being central to events. Your thoughts here seem to me closer to council communism still. You seem to be saying even if (say) you were in the CNT in the 1930s, you would find it fine if workers formed, outside the CNT, their own councils to run a workplace or community. I would agree with this personally, but i cant see how it is consistent with anarcho-syndicalism. and what if the CNT attempted to clamp down on such activity outside the CNT?

And as for the point that revolution doesnt happen out of the blue, for sure, but as i understand it, a lot of the more sophisticated council communists or anarchist communists would temper their spontaneism by saying that small struggles of workers (and not so much unions) leading up to revolution prefigure what the revolution will look like, are in a way the preparation ground for revolution, for new skills, for self-organisation and building confidence and so on. eg. in France in the mid 1960s there were a series of small strikes and occupations that used the assembly model (open to all workers and community members) that prefigured 1968.

Anyway, I've found your comments stimulating and thought provoking, and they are certainly challenging my preconceived notions of anarcho-syndicalism. After going thru an autonomist Marxist phase, I certainly see a lot of truth in the professional-managerial middle class thing, its interesting to see it applied to Spain and Russia (autonomists don't reckon there is a middle class, just divisions within the working class, but this is an aside)

Mike Harman

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nate

Catch, what issue(s) of ASR is that in? I'd love to read it. I've been slowly buying up back issues. Thanks.

You'll get me into trouble. Last time I linked to it I got told off by revol for mentioning it at all.

It starts here - the rest are linked in the archive index, I think it was actually the predecessory to ASR, LLR: http://www.syndicalist.org/archives/llr14-24/14f.shtml Three parter by an ex CNT-FAIer.

I think unless you simply dismiss him as not an anarcho-syndicalist then it shows some continuity with Bakunin's collectivism etc. and shows that the construction anarcho-syndicalist = libertarian communist isn't true all the time. edit: and having read the rest of the thread, what Knightrose says about the councilists is similarly true - if you fixate on one particular aspect of capital relations (the state, the market, employers) you can miss the rest.

Principles of Libertarian Economics

In this case we would attempt to strengthen the economy of the free self-managed municipality, not in the traditionally Roman [state-citizen] nor modern bureaucratic sense, but as the social and public enterprise of the citizens; as well as the industrial, agricultural, of research enterprise or certain global services which would constitute the task of the associated workers with their means of production, self-organized into Worker Councils of Self-Management and in Basic Units of Associated Labor, where the economic accounting should be automated by means of computers and take as their unit of calculation, the labor-hour (LH). It would have thus a monetary equivalence of the same value, if the money is intended to remain stable. The LH would circulate monetarily in the form of ticket which would give the right to consume reasonably, always leaving an important portion in order to invest more capital than wornout during a year, so that libertarian socialism would enlarge the social capital, with the goal of progressing more with self-management than under the dominance of capitalists or of bureaucrats.

The LH, as labor-money, wouldn't lead to monetary inflation like capitalist money or like the soviet ruble, which conceal by being the money of cass, the parasitical incomes of the western bourgeoisie, or of the eastern bureaucracy [...] Every project of investment would be calculated in hours of labor (LH), as well as in terms of personal and public consumption required. It would be monitored that neither would be excessive in the carrying on of a libertarian, self-managed society, of direct associative democracy, so that a part of the global economic surplus would be invested in achieving a greater automation of industrial production and of agricultural production.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

to answer Skraeling, i don't think small groups are sufficient to develop broadly a sense of collective power and habits and skills at self-management of struggles and so on. in regard to the relationship between the revolutionary unions and the structures of self-management, i would see the structures of self-management in industry set up by the unions, and in the community set up by the unions in alliance with mass organizations in the community. the organizations set up to manage the economy will be based on self-management if self-management has become broadly accepted as an aim and a practice in the period leading up to the transformation. the union's job in that situation would be to ensure that the interests of the workers are protected in the transition, and that no new elite class gains hegemony. in the Spanish revolution the unions initially expropriated the industries and ran them themselves, except in cases where there were multiple unions, but later created "collectives" apart from the unions to take over the self-management responsibility. There was a big conference in Catalonia in Sept. 1936 where they hashed out what they should do with the industries that had been expropriated. The "collectives" were intended to be a mere stop gap til complete socialization of the economy, and social planning, could be implemented. A number of CNT veterans interviewed by Ron Fraser for "Blood of Spain" said that it was a mistake for the CNT shop committee to simply become the workplace council, for self-management, without rebuilding the union committee, because the workers still needed to have an organization to protect their interests during the transition.

t.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

T/syndicalistcat, now you seem to bring the union back into the equation, when before you seemed to leave it out. I think you might be drifting back into the first interpretation you talked of.

syndicalistcat

the organizations set up to manage the economy will be based on self-management if self-management has become broadly accepted as an aim and a practice in the period leading up to the transformation. the union's job in that situation would be to ensure that the interests of the workers are protected in the transition, and that no new elite class gains hegemony.

but what if workers interests are not protected by the union? what if the union disciplines workers, asks them to speed up production? i think its a historical fact, as i have argued previously, that a bureaucratic elite has developed within pretty much all anarcho-syndicalist and syndicalist unions. The CNT in the 1930s being a prime example. If this is the case, i think workers need to fight against such bureaucracies, including developing their own organs outside the union.

A number of CNT veterans interviewed by Ron Fraser for "Blood of Spain" said that it was a mistake for the CNT shop committee to simply become the workplace council, for self-management, without rebuilding the union committee, because the workers still needed to have an organization to protect their interests during the transition.

but councils, independent committees, factory committees, site committees, strike committees and so on, can protect workers interests too. why assume only unions protect workers interests? indeed, because they are anti-bureaucratic & born out of immediate concrete needs and struggles, such committees are generally more flexible and responsive than unions to workers needs. tho i take the point that a nationwide coordination is needed, local organisation is not enuf in itself.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't "drifted back toward the first interpretation." From the fact that the unions set up the structures of self-management, it doesn't follow those structures will BE the union itself. I'm suggesting that the mass organization of worker struggle continue its autonomy of the structures running industry even tho these are structures they have set up themselves. That's because the dissolution of the power of the dominating classes is not something that happens overnight but is a protracted process, involving a lot of training of workers in needed expertise and skill to be able to make effective decisions themselves, and avoid consolidation of a managerial/professional hierarchy, as happened in the USSR.

Any mass organization of the workers in the workplace to advance its struggle against any dominating classes is a form of unionism. Of course, if there are hierarchical structures trying to impose some solution, then workers will need to create a different organization. But it will still be a form of grassroots unionism, as the factory committee movement in the Russian revolution was, or as the factory council movement in Turin in 1919-20 was. The Spanish anarcho-syndicalists lacked a critique of the class of managers and top professionals, created by the logic of capitalist development in mature capitalism; this is a fault of both anarchism and marxism. Thus they didn't see the danger in things like appointing former owners or their sons as administrative heads of sections of self-managed industry, or of concentrating authority in the committees of technicians, which included also many former owners and managers. Insofar as the CNT shop committees and labor council delegates got embroiled in workplace administrative councils, local government councils, and so on, there was the danger of becoming coopted by the Popular Front state. In July of 1936 a revolutionary syndicalist wing of the CNT in Catalonia wanted the unions to take governance power and overthrow the Generalitat. Failure to do that inevitably drove them into collaboration with the Popular Front parties, which were allied to the interests of the bureaucrats, managers, professional class, and small capitalists. It led to a rebuilding of the hierarchical state and army, which the Communists wormed their way into control of.

I discuss this in more detail in:
http://www.workersolidarity.org/spain.pdf

t.

Steve

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sam sanchez

Hi.

This must have been discussed before, so point me to something in the archives if you know of it.

I'm supposed to at some point be writing something to do with the difference between anarcho-synbdicalism and anarcho-communism, but the only difference seems to me to be the tactical issue of whether unions can be used to usher in an anarcho-communist society. Is there any other difference, i.e. a difference in the actual vision of what an anarchist society would look like?

No difference in the vision just that anarcho-syndicalists have an actual strategy to get from A to B. :P

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

No difference in the vision just that anarcho-syndicalists have an actual strategy to get from A to B

If only it were that simple...

Rudolf Rocker

http://www.spunk.org/library/writers/rocker/sp001495/rocker_as1.html
Common to all Anarchists is the desire to free society of all political and social coercive institutions which stand in the way of development of a free humanity. In this sense Mutualism, Collectivism and Communism are not to be regarded as closed systems permitting no further development, but merely as economic assumptions as to the means of safeguarding a free community. There will even probably be in society of the future different forms of economic co-operation operating side by side, since any social progress must be associated with that free experiment and practical testing out for which in a society of free communities there will be afforded every opportunity.

Looks like the non-communist anarcho-syndicalists died out. I wonder what killed them, too much protein perhaps.

Love

LR

petey

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Don't some anarcho-syndicalists make ideological provision for "money" and individual private property?

this one does.
but then, i'm a bad anarcho-syndicalist.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The existence of money as a form of social accounting doesn't presuppose market governance or private ownership of means of production. If "communism" means ownership of the means of production by the entire society and self-management, then communism doesn't presuppose "the abolition of money." I doubt that an effective economy could exist without a means of social accounting, a way of measuring how much people want things, of meaasuring social costs of producing various alternatives. If you take "communism" to require the principle of distribution "From each according to ability, to each according to need," then I'm not a "communist."

t.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry syndicalistcat, you're right, you're not.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it's a mistake to define a mode of production by a principle of distribution -- "From each according to ability, to each according to need." An alternative way of defining communism, as a mode of production, is proposed in "Class Theory and History": a social arrangement where those who produce the social surplus are the people who appropriate it. On that definition, I would be a "communist." But that's because an advocate of a classless society would be a communist by definition. If you insist on things like the abolition of money and "from each according to ability, to each according to need," then you have an obligation to show how a viable system of social production is possible on that basis.

t.

raw

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

who gives a fuck this is boring!

raw

afraser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Looks like the non-communist anarcho-syndicalists died out. I wonder what killed them, too much protein perhaps.

Too much looking over their shoulders worrying about what the ultra leftists would say? Look at Subversion/NEFAC when the CNT's Abraham Guillen includes markets http://www.nefac.net/node/178

They're not completely dead yet though, Tom Wetzel of the US syndicalist Workers Solidarity Alliance is one of the main proponents of Parecon, which is not a communist system in that it has personal money. Parecon borrows a lot from past syndicalists such as the CNT's de Santillan.

Britains SolFed are I think strictly communist, but maybe that's unusual, maybe other countries syndicalists are less so?

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

this ain't boring, its an interesting thread, esp. cos its bringing out a few non-commie anarcho-syndicalists out of the closet. they aren't extinct yet you know ;)

syndicalistcat

Any mass organization of the workers in the workplace to advance its struggle against any dominating classes is a form of unionism.

ah ha, i see, maybe this is just all semantics, we define the word union differently. To me, factory committees or workers councils are not examples of grassroots unionism. They are something different, creating in the heat of revolutionary struggle, while unions are not. I'll be a sectarian bastard and be up front and honest and i say it hink unions cannot be revolutionary, while councils/committees can (without making the mistake of fetishing the organisational form and overlookin the content).

finally, i disagree strongly with your second definition of communism. i think your talking about what i would call socialism, not communism. socialism is a broader, vaguer term, while to me, communism is a more specific term. I would say communism not only involves the socialising bit you mention (tho with the proviso that production will be geared towards satisfying everyone's needs, and production will be for use, and not for sale on the market) but also distribution according to need, and not by means of buying and selling. I can't see how communism involve some form of property or wages cos capital will most likely re-appear. That's why commies argue for the abolition of wages and property. It would be funny to see communism redefined to include some form of property or money!!

Plus methinks its a mistake to reduce communism to principles concerning production and distribution. Its much more than that. I think it's a common mistake to reduce communism to a rigid set of principles divorced from class struggle itself (a mistake i have made quite often); after all, it is supposed to be a movement, the self-abolition of the proletariat etc

as regards social planning under communism, that's a tricky one (but its not an insurmountable problem), how do you do it without resorting to some form of money accounting system. how do you measure needs if you have abandoned all forms of measure? (ha)

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think the word "communism" is totally useless for communicating with ordinary folks, at least here in the USA. In American English "communism" simply refers to the type of economic system that existed in the USSR, which, in my view, was NOT "state capitalism" but a system in which the managerial class were the dominant class. We could call it left managerialism.

So, I don't care if I'm not a "communist." I think that an effective economy requires a way of measuring how strongly people desire various possible outcomes from social production. I think this requires some sort of interactive social process of negotiation between people as workers and as consumers/users of the products. To encapsulate the value to us of our own time, and the resources used in production, we need the equivalent of a monetary unit, a measure. There's no way we can know whether what we're producing is effective to satisfy people's wants otherwise. The monetary unit can be used to capture the strength of desire for productive outcomes and the resources used to produce them.

This idea of a negotiated planning process presuppoes also an institutional articulation between geographic community bodies (assemblies and federations of these) and industrail self-management organizations (also rooted in assemblies, in the workplaces). I thus agree with the radical economists who advocate participatory planning. When confronted with the question of social planning, libertarian communists have a tendency to just engage in hand waving. That ain't good enough. The different kind of assemblies are needed because different decisions affect different groups of people differently. Looking at things as a community, as users of products, is not the same as looking at things as someone who works producing certain things. Consumption and production are distinct sides of social production. Consumption, as I see it, also includes our relationship to the ecosystem, whose "services" we also "consume".

Needless to say, I don't agree with you about the impossibility of revolutionary unionism. The working class cannot arrive at the consciousness and self-confidence and organizational strength it needs to challenge the capitalists accept thru a protracted process in which they gain experience of participatory democracy and a sense of collective power from actually building and running mass organizations this way.

t.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To clarify two points: (1) I think the entire set of non-human means of production need to be owned by the entire society in common (insofar as they can be said to be
"owned" by anyone), and (2) a monetary unit under a planned economy need not take the form of money-capital. That's because a monetary unit can only be money-capital if the capital relationship exists. If the capitalist social framework is missing, use of a monetary unit does not imply existence of money-capital. Private ownership of means of production sort of implies a market economy. And a market economy will inevitably be a class system, I believe.

t.

knightrose

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

quickly, cos I've got to start work :( Money is not an accounting system, it's a means of exchange. It's used to exchange commodities and in the process allows the extraction of surplus value and the accumulation of capital.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose:
"Money is not an accounting system, it's a means of exchange. It's used to exchange commodities and in the process allows the extraction of surplus value and the accumulation of capital."

Any possible economy will be, in some sense, a system of exchange. You can't create thru your own labor all the things you consume. So, you will inevitably be doing things for other people and they will be doing things for you. That's an exchange. Exchange, in this sense, doesn't require a market.

Secondly, money as a unit of measure of how much we value outputs or inputs to production does not necessarily presuppose market governance or private property. It doesn't presuppose necessarily a capitalist social framework. It could be used as a way of measuring costs and benefits. It could be so used in a system of central plannning as in the old USSR (and was so used), or it could be so used in a classless system of self-management. For it to presuppose capital accumulation, you'd have to have a property system so that people can monopolize control over assets. If you don't have a property system to privately monopolize control over assets, there can't be capital accumulation. There could be a class system, but it wouldn't be capitalism. capitalism exists when individuals or groups have the power to command labor and land and other resources thru market purchase and then sell commodities and reap more money in sales than what they put out to buy the labor power and other resources, and thus make a profit.

And a classless system can, and I think must, use monetary units to be a viable economy. That's because you have to have a way of telling if what you're producing is what people want. If your economy can't do that, it won't survive.

t.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Private ownership of means of production sort of implies a market economy. And a market economy will inevitably be a class system, I believe.

Worse, private ownership of anything sort of implies a market economy. I mean say I want to put my carpet up for auction.

Love

LR

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

LR: "private ownership of anything sort of implies a market economy. I mean say I want to put my carpet up for auction."

Suppose I offer to trade you my rug for you chest of drawers. This is a market-like exchange, even if there is no currency. Do you plan on banning this?

What is a "market economy"? No one even thought of the idea of a society governed by the market til the late 1700s. Markets had always previously existed as a minor element within a social framework that controlled market exchange. Ancient slave and feudal and communalist systems had minor amounts of market exchange, but the society wasn't governed by market exchange in the way that capitalism is.

As long as market-like exchange is limited to trading of things that already exist, you don't have society governed by market exchange. The big issue is allocation of labor and resources in social production -- production of new things. If this is non-market, controlled through some system of grassroots social planning, and the means of production here are all socially owned, then you don't have a market economy, even if there is some after the fact trading of personal possessions.

t.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

it doesnt see the anarcho-syndicalist union as being central to events. Your thoughts here seem to me closer to council communism still.

Proper communists see council communism (in Pannekoek’s tradition) as workers' self-management of a market economy. Syndicalist even.

Love

LR

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Money isn't neccessary to tell what people want. I should be obvious that any shop assistant will order more of the things that are always out of stock, and reduce the order for things that are always left on the shelf! This would be true whether people pay for goods or just come and take them free of charge.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Whatever sam. If I’m in town your shop will be permanently empty of Pot Noodles and your electricity supply will be compromised by my powerful hydroponic apparatus. Unless you’re issuing ration books or something, which are just money with a different name.

Love

LR

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sam:
"Money isn't neccessary to tell what people want. I should be obvious that any shop assistant will order more of the things that are always out of stock, and reduce the order for things that are always left on the shelf! This would be true whether people pay for goods or just come and take them free of charge."

This is mistaken. That's because you need to first answer the question: How do you know what to produce? You're already assuming an answer to that question above. in order to know what to produce, we have to know what people's priorities are, what they most prefer. That's because we can't produce everything that everyone might want. This is especially so if you are imagining that people do not have a limit on what they can request from the distribution centers, defined in terms of a numeric quantity that is their personal budget.

To see this, let's suppose that you propose that the way the distribution centers ("shops") get their goods is by simply sending in everyone's requests for what they would like produced. How do we know this will all add up to a do-able plan? In fact there is no way to know ahead of time. What if communities put in all sorts of requests for new construction, health clinics, schools, new houses...but when we total it, we see we don't have enough materials and/or people with construction skills? What if it turns out that to produce all the stuff that people have requested, we'd have to work 15 hour days, 7 days a week?

What's needed here is a way to send this information about social costs back to everyone and have people pare down their requests, based on their own sense of priorities. But this presupposes we have some way of comparing importance of outputs and resources across the whole economy. You tell me how we're going to do that without a measure of people's preferences? It also presupposes that each person and community has a finite limit on what they can request. How is that to be expressed?

t.

petey

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

You can't buy a fucking car with a ration coupon for a house.

and that blooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwws

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

oh my dim witted fool, ration books are not money, because money is a fucking universal commodity, whilst rations are rations of certain things. You can't buy a fucking car with a ration coupon for a house.

The joke's on you comrade. Any privately owned object, including coupons, can take the place of the “universal commodity” in the Marxist sense. Ration coupons are swapped, saved and used as currency like cigs on the inside.

Even Pannekoek's labour time book-keeping doesn’t escape the rule of value, albeit without its money form. Much to Bordiga’s delight no doubt.

Love

LR

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Using labor time as the social accounting index will lead to inefficiency. That's because it treats as equivalent value all kinds of work effort. But some kinds of work capacity are more expensive for the society to produce...take a lot more labor to create the ability in people. Think of teaching people to be surgeons. This means that a society using labor-time money will tend to over-consume expensive forms of labor, and will therefore not be able to allocate time to develop labor capacity efficiently.

t.

afraser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

sam sanchez

Money isn't neccessary to tell what people want. I should be obvious that any shop assistant will order more of the things that are always out of stock, and reduce the order for things that are always left on the shelf! This would be true whether people pay for goods or just come and take them free of charge.

Ah, but money is necessary for that: prices convey information to producers - what share of resources to devote to producing one article instead of another. Looking at empty shelves is not enough, accounting of relative demand against cost of production is required. In the absence of prices, you require an alternative information mechanism, such as the highly elaborate planning information flow that Parecon has.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

Except CNT members set up workplace and community assemblies across much of Spain in the days of the revolution, these weren't limited to CNT members.

It is a myth that anarcho syndicalism just means the union takes over the running of the workplace.

Huh? How do you explain this then? (I can only give examples of the early French CGT cos it's the only one i know heaps about):

Amédée Dunois: “The workers’ trade union is not simply an organisation of struggle, it is the living germ of future society, and future society will be what we have made of the trade union."

Ridley in his careful and excellent book 'Revolutionary Syndicalism in France': “The syndicalist utopia was, in fact, the CGT writ large."

And finally, the CGT’s 1906 charter, the Charter of Amiens, which has been called the “most definitive statement” of syndicalist methods, stated that the union held a dual dimension: the union was not only an instrument of day-to-day resistance against capitalism, but also the fundamental unit of a post-capitalist society.

one could say the French CGT were not proper anarcho-syndicalists, true, they were revolutionary syndicalists, but their leadership consisted mostly of anarchists, and i thinks its fair the CNT was largely modelled on the CGT.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The identification of the union as the future structure of a socialized economy is more typical of early syndicalism. The CNT in the '20s began to develop the idea that they needed to address a worker's whole life, not just the job, and began to advocate neighborhood organization and broader social struggle, as in the 1931 rent strike in Barcelona. The anarchist-communalist influence was clear in the CNT's 1936 Zaragoza program where the free municipality was seen as the main base component of the libetarian society, along with the industrial federations rooted in the workplace assemblies. The free municipalities were to be geographic bodies, based on village or neighborhood assemblies. In the actual revolution very few free municipalities were actually constructed, but the CNT didn't have the opportunity to fully implement its pre-war program.

t.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

I think the word "communism" is totally useless for communicating with ordinary folks, at least here in the USA.

to most (as least in New Zealand), communism does mean the USSR, and so does socialism for that matter, and anarchism means to most chaos & disorder & bombs, and feminism means being anti-male and PC, and so on. So then why not drop all these terms? I find it a bit rich when anarchists claim communists should not use the term communism given what anarchism means to most. And what about anarchist communists? Should they follow the lead of the AF and drop the communist bit from their organisation's name?

So, I don't care if I'm not a "communist." I think that an effective economy requires a way of measuring how strongly people desire various possible outcomes from social production. I think this requires some sort of interactive social process of negotiation between people as workers and as consumers/users of the products.

under communism, as i understand, there would be a continual process of negotiation and planning to meet people's needs. which would involve both the community and the workplace. and i think you can meet people's needs without resorting to money. after all, human being have done this for most of their history. some sort of statistical bureau(s) would need to be set up to keep statistics on production and distribution, and all this could easily be done without money or some form of wage system. communism is not impossible.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

in regard to terminology, i think the thing is to avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. this is why i think it is a mistake to lean on ideological buzzwords like "anarchism", "communism", "socialism", if avoidable. Better to explain what it is we're for in plain, concrete language. I use "syndicalism" for purposes of talking with leftists but even it is subject to multiple interpretations, as we've discussed here. I don't use it for purposes of communication with people who aren't already radicals because nobody has heard the term (at least not in the USA). Instead I talk about developing self-managing mass organizations in struggles as prefiguring, or setting the stage for, transition to a society based on economic and poliitical self-management.

In regard to this business about how "statistical bureaus" are the answer to the information problem (the problem of information about people's priorities), i think that is just hand-waving. see my arguments earlier in this thread.

t.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

The identification of the union as the future structure of a socialized economy is more typical of early syndicalism. The CNT in the '20s began to develop the idea that they needed to address a worker's whole life, not just the job, and began to advocate neighborhood organization and broader social struggle, as in the 1931 rent strike in Barcelona.

nope, the French CGT had a dual structure, it was composed of syndicates and bourses. Bourses were community based organisations, a kind of combination of ateneos and free municipalities in Spain, they were modelled by their founder Ferdinand Pelloutier on anarchist communist theories (and its anarchist communism, not anarcho-communalism or some such liberal dribble) and were explicity supposed to become centres of working class mutual aid in the community.

Even though the French CGT had a very strong communalist dimension, they still saw the union (which was both a workplace and community organisation) as the future germ of the future society. and i am sure this was a strong influence on the Spanish CNT. So what if the CNT thought in more holistic terms and begun to address all aspects of life? That's got no relation to whether they thought the union was in itself the future society. in fact, if they thought the union should encompass all aspects of life, including free municipalities, then it is all the more reason for the union taking over, er sorry, self managing, all aspects of life?

The anarchist-communalist influence was clear in the CNT's 1936 Zaragoza program where the free municipality was seen as the main base component of the libetarian society, along with the industrial federations rooted in the workplace assemblies. The free municipalities were to be geographic bodies, based on village or neighborhood assemblies. In the actual revolution very few free municipalities were actually constructed, but the CNT didn't have the opportunity to fully implement its pre-war program.

that's cos the CNT (leadership and militants) repressed the revolution, or put it on the back burner, after they had started it!!! to me, revolution is not about implementing a programme of some party or organisation or union anyway.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

Skraeling

revol68

Except CNT members set up workplace and community assemblies across much of Spain in the days of the revolution, these weren't limited to CNT members.

It is a myth that anarcho syndicalism just means the union takes over the running of the workplace.

Huh? How do you explain this then? (I can only give examples of the early French CGT cos it's the only one i know heaps about):

Amédée Dunois: “The workers’ trade union is not simply an organisation of struggle, it is the living germ of future society, and future society will be what we have made of the trade union."

Ridley in his careful and excellent book 'Revolutionary Syndicalism in France': “The syndicalist utopia was, in fact, the CGT writ large."

And finally, the CGT’s 1906 charter, the Charter of Amiens, which has been called the “most definitive statement” of syndicalist methods, stated that the union held a dual dimension: the union was not only an instrument of day-to-day resistance against capitalism, but also the fundamental unit of a post-capitalist society.

one could say the French CGT were not proper anarcho-syndicalists, true, they were revolutionary syndicalists, but their leadership consisted mostly of anarchists, and i thinks its fair the CNT was largely modelled on the CGT.

well a) none of those posit that the union is the only unit

true, but they are arguing that the CGT is the fundamental unit of the revolution, and that the future society will the CGT writ large. fairly conclusive evidence methinks.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

yeah, but the bourse grouped workers -- union members -- on a community basis. similar to the district assemblies of the Knights of Labor in the USA. that is NOT the same as the CNT concept of free municipalities because these were precisely to include non-workers as well as workers.
Thus in Aragon where a number of free municipalitiies were constructed, they were assemblies of the entire adult population of the village.

The CNT believed it was necessary to try to involve in struggle the mass of the people, including those not actually engaged in direct employment with an employer, especially given the large informally employed population in Spain. for example, large numbers of women were involved in the rent strike, as well as children, it went beyond union members. similarly at that time CNT had a campaign agaisnt a liberal law banning street vendors.

t.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

skraeling: "to me, revolution is not about implementing a programme of some party or organisation or union anyway."

The idea of an actually liberating social transformation happening completely spontaneously is a complete pipedream. it will never happen. a social transformation has to be done as a conscious effort of millions of people, which means that the direction of change has to first become prefigured in mass practice on a large scale, and will be reflected in visionary thinking about where we want to go, and in the strategic and programmqatic commitments of organizations.

t.

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

if you look at the actual history of anarcho syndicalism you would see that your claims are formalist bullshit based on some a and p's the CGT had. I mean loads of old TUC unions have quite revolutionary aims in their constitution and banners, it don't mean shit though.

My claims aren't formalist bullshit, two out of three points i made aren't based on the CGT constitution, and thus arent formalist. One was a quote from an anarcho-syndicalist militant called Dunios, the other was a summing up about the CGT from a very careful scholar of the CGT in Frederick Ridley.

the actual practice of the CGT before 1914 was reformist so never had a chance to test out their aims and principles. then a lot of the CGT leadership sided with the war.

looking at the actual practice of the CNT in 36-37, then it didnt really attempt to become the fundamental organisation of the revolutionary society, but that was because it decided to collaborate with the republican bourgeoisie, repress the revolution, and fight fascism instead. Then it forced workers to work harded and longer for that war effort, against the wishes of many Spanish workers (see Seidman's book). The CNT's practice during 36-37 was little to be proud of. It played an objectively counter-revolutionary role after its leaders joined the govt. (And yeah, this paragraph is a wind up)

I'm just a dumb idiot of a communist who knows nothing, aboslutely nothing (obviosuly) of the grand revolutionary proletarian movement of anarcho-syndicalism, but isn't it a pretty basic tenet of anarcho-syndicalism that the new society is to be built in the shell of the old, and one of the most important and essential vehicles for that building is the anarcho-syndicalist revolutionary union? Revol, do you (largely) agree with that or are u going to utterly, utterly dismiss it in your normal absolutist and arrogant fashion? I can't wait...

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Hi

it doesnt see the anarcho-syndicalist union as being central to events. Your thoughts here seem to me closer to council communism still.

Proper communists see council communism (in Pannekoek’s tradition) as workers' self-management of a market economy. Syndicalist even.

Love

LR

i missed this, ho ho quite funny and true. i'm either not a proper communist (quite probable) or else i'm putting my council communist hat on in this thread and having a bit of mirth! (also very probable). Or else i'm doing both (also quite probable).

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

skraeling: "to me, revolution is not about implementing a programme of some party or organisation or union anyway."

The idea of an actually liberating social transformation happening completely spontaneously is a complete pipedream. it will never happen. a social transformation has to be done as a conscious effort of millions of people, which means that the direction of change has to first become prefigured in mass practice on a large scale, and will be reflected in visionary thinking about where we want to go, and in the strategic and programmqatic commitments of organizations.

t.

I agree with you that revolution cannot occur completely spontaneously, but what i was getting at is that it is dangerous to see revolution as the rigorous point by point step by step implementation of a detailed programme, because that would most likely lead to authoritarianism and a top-down, reality must fit the programme, way of doing things.

I see revolution as a complex, on going, multi-faceted process and movement involving thousands if not millions of organisations being formed and reformed to meet people's needs. Revolution cannot be straightjacketed into a formal programme and especially the activity of one organisation eg. a union. What is important to me is to focus on the self-activity of people, and not on the schemes and programmes of small elite groups writing their irrelevant manifestos in the back rooms (ho boy, i am having me some fun in this thread)

anyways, thanks for the info on the free municipalities, i had heard of them before, but forgot the details, and assumed they were a union initiated and controlled thing, obviously they weren't.

makaira

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

sam:
"Money isn't neccessary to tell what people want. I should be obvious that any shop assistant will order more of the things that are always out of stock, and reduce the order for things that are always left on the shelf! This would be true whether people pay for goods or just come and take them free of charge."

This is mistaken. That's because you need to first answer the question: How do you know what to produce? You're already assuming an answer to that question above. in order to know what to produce, we have to know what people's priorities are, what they most prefer. That's because we can't produce everything that everyone might want. This is especially so if you are imagining that people do not have a limit on what they can request from the distribution centers, defined in terms of a numeric quantity that is their personal budget.

Money doesn't tell you what to produce in the first instance. You just make stuff and see if people buy or not. Then in future yo use information about what people bought in the past.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Hi

Whatever sam. If I’m in town your shop will be permanently empty of Pot Noodles and your electricity supply will be compromised by my powerful hydroponic apparatus. Unless you’re issuing ration books or something, which are just money with a different name.

Love

LR

It is perfectly possible to produce enough pot noodle for you to gorge yourself all you wish.

In any case this is a false problem. There may be few thing people ar capable of having an unlimited desire for, but in most cases this does not apply. Nobody is going to horde so much furniture that their house becomes unusable, for example, or takeso much food that they cannot possibly consume it. To suggest that people would consume in an unlimited manner is like saying that if buses had a fixed charge for all journeys, people would ride past their desired stop jut because they could. Furthermore, it ignores the possibility that the tedency towards consumption on a grand scale in our society may have a lot to do with individuals compensating for the alienating effects of capitalism, and hierarchy in general.

Battlescarred

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hmmmm......and what do you compensate for? (Only joking, of course)

Black Flag

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Howdy all.I would like to ask about the platform.Basically I consider myself to be an anarcho-communist.However I am not sure if the platform is good or not.I have read it(the 1926 version)and I have read the letters between malatesta and makhno and cannot yet make up my mind.I must say that both of them put forward good arguments but as I say I cannot decide ,probably coz they were writing decades and decades ago, not sure.Another thing, are all anarcho-syndicalists platformists?can you be a non syndicalist and yet still agree with the platform?

Battlescarred

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dunno, are you worried about that (only joking of course)

Black Flag

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

howdy.I'll be brief:the platform good or bad?

Battlescarred

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why don't you read it thoroughly, read other writings on the subject, and then make up your own mind, we can't do that for you.

makaira

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred

Why don't you read it thoroughly, read other writings on the subject, and then make up your own mind, we can't do that for you.

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being told what to do.

nastyned

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tim

howdy.I'll be brief:the platform good or bad?

It has it's moments, but I wouldn't take it as a blue print.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sam:
"Money doesn't tell you what to produce in the first instance. You just make stuff and see if people buy or not. Then in future yo use information about what people bought in the past."

If you have an interactive process of people being required to keep their requests for production within a finite budget, so that they will have to pare down their requests for production to what they most prefer, you can measure the strength of desire for particular things by a numeric value, expressed in an accounting unit -- social accounting money. So, in that sense money does provide information about what to produce. If you imagine allowing production groups to produce whatever they want, how do you ensure they produce what people most prefer? Sending things to shops to see what sells is the method of the market. That has a lot of problems like externalities, and it works to the degree it does because people have finite budgets and must make hard choices. If you say, let everyone take whatever they like, you'll have no information at all on what is important to people, and you'll have massive waste. You won't be able to ensure that the production system produces what people most prefer. If people can just request whatever they want without limit, you have no assurances that all the things people might ask for couuld be produced with existing resources, or without requiring 14 hour days, 7 days a week, to produce it.

t.

Mike Harman

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

makaira

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being told what to do.

Those same people often don't take sensible advice when offered though ;)

Tim you'd ve well off reading Arshinov's "The Makhnovist Movement" and Skirda's "Anarchy's Cossack" to put it n some context, and because both of those books are a lot more interesting than discussions on whether the platform is good or not.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

It is perfectly possible to produce enough pot noodle for you to gorge yourself all you wish.

No doubt. However, it is not economic to produce enough for us all to consume as we wish, because you can’t generate free energy and we would run out of world.

Individual consumption demands regulation for the sake of equality and sustainability. Unless one considers the current basis of human desire to be degenerate or evil, then the satisfaction of our myriad specialised requirements within the context of social reason requires individual private property, in all but name at least.

Nobody is going to horde so much furniture that their house becomes unusable, for example, or takeso much food that they cannot possibly consume it.To suggest that people would consume in an unlimited manner is like saying that if buses had a fixed charge for all journeys, people would ride past their desired stop jut because they could.

Even though this assertion doesn’t counter mine, it’s worthwhile pointing out that people would do these things. I would anyway. Besides, if my house is too small, I can just build another floor. If I’ve got too much food, I can throw a party.

Furthermore, it ignores the possibility that the tedency towards consumption on a grand scale in our society may have a lot to do with individuals compensating for the alienating effects of capitalism, and hierarchy in general.

People compete with each other for a variety of reasons. The need to be compensated for the alienating effect of hierarchy is a uniquely leftist requirement. Victims, welcome to your comfort zone.

One problem Sam, Lazy Risers hard on for commodities isn't to compensate for the alienating effects of capitalism and hieararchy, it's compensate for his micro penis, and so post revolution it won't change, post op however....

I was saying something along the same lines to one of my lovers the other day. So much petty personal drama, not to mention consumption, is caused by a slightly repressed sexual unhappiness or substitute for “strange pussy”. This is the wrong thread isn’t it. Sorry. Um, I tell you what though, there is a connection between being a communist and not getting enough sex.

Love

LR

petey

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

The need to be compensated for the alienating effect of hierarchy is a uniquely leftist requirement.

very true, but
1: my (not "the") issue with hierarchy is why i spend time with left libertarians, yet
2: the fact that i said "my (not "the")" is why i still spend time with right libertarians. they seem to have a keener sense that you shouldn't have to substitute for strange pussy if you don't want to.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

In a desperate attempt to put this back on track, communists seem to require a profound reconfiguration of people's individual philosophical outlook on life, whereas Syndicalists are more ready to accept that our greedy little self-interest is a positive force.

Love

LR

petey

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

communists seem to require a profound reconfiguration of people's individual philosophical outlook on life, whereas Syndicalists are more ready to accept that our greedy little self-interest is a positive force.

yup
not that things were off track, tho'

Skraeling

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

ah right your claims aren't formalist bullshit cos one of them is backed up by a statement from one CNT member, the other is based on a scholar of the French CGT (which was not anarcho syndicalist). Of course you seemed to have overlooked the role of the CNT in forming workers and community assemblies, of how it helped and co ordinated insurrections and strikes prior to 1936. No your perfectly correct it isn't formalist bullshit, it's ahistorical bullshit.

oh happy happy joy joy, my argument is rubbished by none other than revol68! a joy that's happened to most posters on these forums! my claims aren't ahistorical, more like i know lots about the historical French CGT and not enuf about the CNT, and needed to make a better case than the CNT was modelled on the CGT. I'll swot up on the CNT then and come loaded back with anti-anarcho-syndicalist ammo at a later date.

The CNT did join the popular front and it did end up collaborating to put the brakes on the social revolution, but lets also understand quite clearly that it was the CNT itself which was making the revolution, and it was from within the CNT that opposition to the popular front and anti fascist collaboration came. Which should be enough to tell us that you can't talk about the CNT as a homogenous entity in regards to the revolution. As for Seidmans books, well it's a farce, oh dear, i'm so disillusioned, some workers weren't best pleased at having to work harder, the CNT are clearly no better than capitalists. Oh wait there was a fucking war on, the CNT not just faced the stalinists and republicans but there was the small matter of Franco's military backed up by italian and german fascism, and who had been slaugthering CNT members throughout nationalist held territory. Nah your right, they should have left the araments factories and had a party on the beach.

ho de ho, a great caricature of the ultra-left view of Spain, 10 out of 10 for that one. Yes, all ultra-leftists want is to abolish work, abandon the munitions factories, and have parties on the beach while the fascists roll into town in tanks.

i could say lots here, but i'll give it a miss, too busy at the mo. except to say the CNT found itself in a revolutionary situation, and blew it.

yes anarcho syndicalism sees the new world as being built in the shell of the new but that itself is pretty vague, it in no way means that the organisation of the new world will be the same as it was in the old one, afterall we don't mistake scaffolding for the building itself.

i think lots of anarcho-syndicalists do. it would be naive to think a mass based anarcho syndicalist union would magically disappear overnight when revolution broke out, and would dissolve itself into workers councils and neighbourhood assemblies or whatever.

anyways, i will bow out of this discussion, got too much work on, except to say my attempt to ruffle the creeping anarcho-syndicalist and syndicalist orthodoxy on libcom has been interesting.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bollox. The reason I want free consumption is exactly so people can consume all they want!

But communism would encourage the less consumeristic mentality. Its like people don't horde water when you can just get it out of the tap when you want it.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

But communism would encourage the less consumeristic mentality.

That's not a good thing.

Its like people don't horde water when you can just get it out of the tap when you want it.

I'd use less if I was on a meter. A bit like taking longer journeys if travel had a flat fee.

Love

LR

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is a good thing, at least as I mean it. To feel a compulsion to consume is not a pleasant state of affairs, at least not in my experience. Aquiring more stuff seems to me to be a bit of a lame compensation for shit human relationships. But others may feel differently. I am only speaking from my own experience in saying that those times in my life when I have had the most of a need to aquire possessions have been the least happy.

In any case, I am not arguing that communism requires such a psychological change, just that it would naturally and non coercively tend in that direction.

And as for the meter, I think you are unusual in that sense.

What I don't understand is that communism is attacked as puritanical for wanting free consumption, whilst you claim to be in favour of high personal consumption, whilst arhuing that "individual consumption demands regulation".

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Says Sam: "But communism would encourage the less consumeristic mentality." Depends on what you mean by "communism." if there is no money or social accounting, and people can just take whatever they want, there's likely to be far more consumerism, if people aren't limited in their consumption by a budget. And people cannot be spontaneously socially responsible, even if they want to be, if they don't know what the social costs are of the things they are consuming.

Sam: "Its like people don't horde water when you can just get it out of the tap when you want it." People are more likely to waste water if they don't have to pay anything for doing so. Like in Aragon in the 1936 revolution, bread was wasted by being fed to animals, because it was free.
Same thing happened in the USSR when bread was subsidized at a very low price.

in regard to water, I think it would be reasonable to figure out what an average residential household consumes, and use that to set a baseline "subsistence water budget" and guarantee that amount to every household without requiring payment. This means that the cost of doing this is carried at social expense as part of the community's overall social budget. But for any household or entity consuming more than the baseline amount, charge them. Water is scarce, and is likely to become even scarcer as time goes on. Using it for certain things is more important than using it for other things. Like using it to grow grass for golfing or just as an ornament in the front of your house is less important than other uses. If it has a price, it is less likely to be used for things that are not important, and is likely to be wasted.

t.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

knightrose: No way to evaluate what you say about "workers councils" til you tell us how you define this term, and maybe give us some concrete examples.

t.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

To feel a compulsion to consume is not a pleasant state of affairs, at least not in my experience.

Or Marx's or for Buddhists. I love it though. The chase is as good as the kill I say.

Love

LR

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

people cannot be spontaneously socially responsible, even if they want to be, if they don't know what the social costs are of the things they are consuming.

Then goods should be labelled with information! It could say the amount of labour hours it took to make and have perhaps a star system for other things i.e. (5 being the best)

Working conditions: *****
Environmental friendliness: ***

and so on. Or something else. In any case, a price does not tell you the social cost. There are many cheap things that are made in terrible conditions and are environmentally unsound. Prices would have to be socially decided if they are top serve the function you wish them to. But then since the price of every single good cannot be decided democratically, it sounds like that would end up being a source of creeping centralisation. Better just make it free, or have a proper market, rather than some sort of central planning. We've been there before, and it was not pretty.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lazy Riser

Hi

To feel a compulsion to consume is not a pleasant state of affairs, at least not in my experience.

Or Marx's or for Buddhists. I love it though. The chase is as good as the kill I say.

Love

LR

Not much I can say to that. I wonder how many people would agree with you. Its an attitude which hasn't stood up to my own introspection, but then I can only talk for myself in that respect.

All I can say is that to crave something would seem to logically be a painful experience. If craving was pleasurable, it would not spur you on to aquire that which you crave, since you would just sit back and enjoy the experience of the desire itself. The only reason desire spurs us on to aquire the object of our desire is to get rid of the unpleasant feeling of the desire itself - to relieve the tension, as it were. At least thats my experience of it, and it at least seem logically sound.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

At least thats my experience of it, and it at least seem logically sound.

It's everyday life Jim, but not as we know it.

Love

LR

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Same writes:
"Then goods should be labelled with information! It could say the amount of labour hours it took to make and have perhaps a star system for other things i.e. (5 being the best)

Working conditions: *****
Environmental friendliness: ***

and so on. Or something else. In any case, a price does not tell you the social cost. There are many cheap things that are made in terrible conditions and are environmentally unsound."

Here you are talking about prices as generated by a market system. I'm not talking about a market system. Prices don't have to be generated by a market system.

Sam:
"Prices would have to be socially decided if they are top serve the function you wish them to. But then since the price of every single good cannot be decided democratically, it sounds like that would end up being a source of creeping centralisation. Better just make it free, or have a proper market, rather than some sort of central planning. We've been there before, and it was not pretty."

This is a fallacious argument. You're assuming that a market or central planning are the only alternatives. They're not. There is also participatory planning. In participatory planning, people make requests, including communities making requests for public goods, and production organizations make proposals for what they are prepared to produce. We add up the total of requests and offers and it is likely there will be a mismatch. This information is then provided to the people making requests.
People then change their proposals in light of their own priorities. Among the info we provide to them are the environmental and working conditions. People can request environmental conditions also, such as such-and-such reduction in pollutant X. That is also an item that is "consumed." If people and communities are limited to a finite budget, they must reveal their priorities by changing their requests to fit in their budgets. This is how this process reveals strength of desire for different things. This can be measured by having rules that alter prices up or down from previous prices based on increase or decrease in demand. This measures importance to people in general of this resource or good or service or environmental condition, whatever. Prices are not "decided" by some central group, but fall out of the interactions between worker groups and the communities they are supplying. I'm not talking a monetary qantity that is "paid" to the production collective. This is not a proposal for a market economy, but a planning system.

Moreover, you seem to believe, falsely, that you can evade the alternative "market or central planning" by not having money or prices. That is a mirage. You still must have a way to plan what is to be produced, how, and how much etc.
And you must do this in a way that respects both the self-management of those who consume as well as the self-management of those who produce.

t.

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not arguing against all planning, just against unneccessary planning. Of course, there would still be communally decided investment and production priorities, but I don't see why everything should be planned down to the last pin. This would leave no room for the creative autonomy of individual workers and enterprises - a force we should encourage, not fetter.

mikefitz

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The fundamental difference is that communists want to oppress people and syndicalists want to liberate them!

sam sanchez

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Strange that many syndicalists consider themselves communists!

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Makaira wrote:

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being told what to do.

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being condescending jerks and get off on being insulting and dismissive.

makaira

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nate

Makaira wrote:

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being told what to do.

and now we've run into a problem that plagues the left. some people like being condescending jerks and get off on being insulting and dismissive.

I seem to have hit a nerve. I didn't mean to be either insulting or dismissive, just pointing out something I see in everyday life. I'm no psychologist, so I don't know what causes it, but I know quite a few people (all women, coincidentally) that either like being told what to do, or think they like being told what to do. But, as I said, I'm no psychologist.

syndicalistcat

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sam:
"I'm not arguing against all planning, just against unneccessary planning. Of course, there would still be communally decided investment and production priorities, but I don't see why everything should be planned down to the last pin. This would leave no room for the creative autonomy of individual workers and enterprises - a force we should encourage, not fetter."

The issue isn't about degree of specificity but the nature of social planning. It's not clear what you mean by "communally decided investment and production priorities." Do you mean the whole community is brought into one big meeting to create the whole plan? If so, that would violate self-management in a number of ways: 1. a community assembly or community body is only appropriate for making decisions about priorities for public goods for that community. what about the private consumption of individuals? only they should plan that. 2. does this mean the community makes all the decisions about your workplace? where is the scope for self-management of work then? 3. What about people in other communities? What if your community makes things used elsewhere. don't they need to have some say in that character of the product they are receiving?

t.

Caiman del Barrio

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

in a revolutionary situation i'd like to think if i started slacking a comrade would give me a kick in the fucking arse.

That's the best reason for a revolution I've heard yet.

makaira

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

revol68

I'm no psychologist, so I don't know what causes it, but I know quite a few people (all women, coincidentally) that either like being told what to do, or think they like being told what to do. But, as I said, I'm no psychologist.

so are you saying you need a psychologist to tell you what to think or atleast confirm it?

Do I? No.

All I was implying is that I have heard it is possible, from psych literature, for people to lie to themselves so much that they start believing it and can no longer construe truth in relation to their lying. By saying "I'm no psychologist," not only was I implying that I'm no psychologist but also that I don't know why/how people do things like this.

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Makaira, I was bit rude, but your post struck me as a bit rude as well. I apologize for responding in kind but it did sort of hit a nerve yeah. Tim was like "what do y'all think about the platform?" presumably because he doesn't have his mind made up. Battlescarred said basically "what do you think about the platform?" and your response implied that Tim asked because he wants someone to tell him what to do. That may well be the case. If it's not the case, though, then it's a bit of an insulting implication, don't you think? Tim may just be honestly interested in the views of other comrades on here and hoping to kick off a discussion on the platform. Maybe you didn't mean it this way, but the exchange seemed to me like something I've seen in lots of lefty meetings and punk rocker hangouts - someone asks a question which implies some level of ignorance or uncertainty about topic and someone else makes some remark that doesn't answer the question but instead puts the person down.

makaira

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That wasn't the case. This is the bone I have to pick with the internet. I can't exactly use tone when I type, therefore something that is meant to be funny comes across entirely different.

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

This biz with the Platform seemed like a derail to start with. But then again, the Platform marks an ideological saddle point twixt syndicalism and communism. I wonder if it cherry picks the best or worst of both.

revol68, I think, made a good point when he said that the notion of “communism and syndicalism” is a bit flawed in itself. Syndicalism is a given state of affairs whereas communism is a historical current. They operate at a right-angle.

Love

LR

Lazy Riser

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi

Sorry to post again so quick. But it’s an oversimplification to say that syndicalism supplies the strategy towards communism.

Syndicalism as a strategy doesn’t automatically develop communism. Unless the question of property is continually addressed, with precedence over issues of democracy, then the communist position will not be advanced and the Syndicalist federations will degenerate into a barbaric war of all against all.

Love

LR

Nate

15 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

hi Makaira,

That wasn't the case. This is the bone I have to pick with the internet. I can't exactly use tone when I type, therefore something that is meant to be funny comes across entirely different.

If your comment was a joke that I failed to take as a joke then I retract my reply and apologize for it.

take it easy,
Nate

Sheep

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You are all sheep. You are following a false shepard and Idol, turn to not syndicalism and feel the warm beams of prosperity and also not communism