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Communism and Syndicalism

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Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
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Dec 13 2006 22:05

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
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Dec 13 2006 22:17
Lazy Riser wrote:
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
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Dec 13 2006 22:47
revol68 wrote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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's picture
sam sanchez
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Dec 13 2006 22:52

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's picture
Lazy Riser
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Dec 13 2006 23:03

Hi

Quote:
But communism would encourage the less consumeristic mentality.

That's not a good thing.

Quote:
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

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sam sanchez
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Dec 13 2006 23:19

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".

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Dec 13 2006 23:26

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.

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Dec 13 2006 23:27

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's picture
Lazy Riser
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Dec 13 2006 23:29

Hi

Quote:
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

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Dec 13 2006 23:32
syndicalistcat wrote:
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.

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sam sanchez
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Dec 13 2006 23:38
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

Quote:
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.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 13 2006 23:39

Hi

Quote:
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

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Dec 13 2006 23:51

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.

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sam sanchez
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Dec 13 2006 23:56

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.

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mikefitz
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Dec 14 2006 00:21

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

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sam sanchez
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Dec 14 2006 00:34

Strange that many syndicalists consider themselves communists!

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Nate
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Dec 14 2006 01:40

Makaira wrote:

Quote:
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
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Dec 14 2006 03:50
Nate wrote:
Makaira wrote:

Quote:
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.

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Dec 14 2006 04:05

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
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Dec 14 2006 04:23
revol68 wrote:
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
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Dec 14 2006 07:59
revol68 wrote:
Quote:
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.

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Dec 14 2006 16:33

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
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Dec 14 2006 20:45

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.

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 14 2006 20:57

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

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Lazy Riser
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Dec 14 2006 21:18

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

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Dec 15 2006 16:28

hi Makaira,

Quote:
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
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Apr 4 2020 15:02

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