Chapter 3. Public Service Industries

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 21, 2010

I. Building

The socialization of building by means of syndicalization will arise from the socialization of other branches of production.

Over the entire territory of a communistic country the building industry will be managed by an association of construction workers with the co-operation of interested societies, such as house committees, rural construction unions, etc.

All building carried on outside the limits of the communistic economic system will be organized by means of commercial bookkeeping through the Bank of cash-and-goods credit.

II. The Housing Problem.

The shortage of housing, which is the result of speculation in the building industry, will require the immediate socialization of all dwellings that have been built for profit.

Systematic distribution of living space, through house committees and without payment of rent. The institution of hotels for newcomers and the transfer of housing management into the hands of the house committees.

Intensive home building on the principle of the dispersion of cities and the co-ordination of industry and agriculture.

III. Transport.

Transport in all its forms, and especially railroads and waterways, presents a vitally important element in the modern economic system, and it will have even greater importance in the communistic economy. Production without transport is unthinkable. As a result, transport must be socialized at once, by the process of syndicalization.

The management of transport will be on syndicalist principles, i.e. all means of transportation -- surface, underground, air and water -- will be in the hands of the Union of Transport Workers, consisting of individual sections, and including the workers of all industries which service transport.

Transport will be incorporated into the general system of the communistic economy, and fares and freight charges will therefore be eliminated. But, in the case of individuals and of individualistic economic units which operate outside the communistic system of the country, the transport management will enter into corresponding computation agreements. These agreements will be made not with individuals or individualist units, but with their co-operative associations, whose transport receipts will be honored by the Bank of Cash-and-Goods Credit.

IV. Mails, Telegraph, Telephone and Radio.

Mail and telegraph systems, like the railroads, perform most vital services in the national economy and in many countries are already State-owned. But since the interests of even the most ideal State do not coincide with the interests of society as a whole, the postal and telegraph networks will have to be taken away, not only from individuals and corporations, but also from the State. The same procedure must be applied to telephone and radio services.

All public communication services will be syndicalized, i.e. their management will be transferred to the Communications Service Workers' Trade Union, which in turn will be incorporated into the general system of the communistic economy. Like other branches of the latter and in proportion to the strengthening of the new economic structure and the enrichment of the country, it will also be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. the workers in Public Communications will vary their labor, partaking both in industrial and agricultural work.

Since, in the Transition Period, for which the present program is designed, there will still be economic units in agriculture and in some sections of the crafts and home industries which will not be part of the communistic economy, the latter will enter into suitable contractual relations concerning the use of the public communications services with the individual units through the offices of their co-operative associations.

V. Public Services.

Public services include: sewerage, water, gas and heating, electricity, public welfare and other functions which serve the urban and rural populations.

These services will be incorporated into the communistic economy and will be syndicalized, i.e. the management and organization of these services will be transferred to the Union of Public Service workers. Here, as in all other branches of the economy, the principle of industrialization and ruralization will be introduced gradually, resulting finally in the integration of labor.

The provision of public services for the individualistic agricultural units is closely linked with the fundamental changes in village living standards. These improvements will be encouraged by the communistic economy as a whole, and hence the use of public services by villages which are not part of the communistic structure of the country will be determined by suitable agreements with the peasant co-operative associations.

VI. Medicine and Sanitation.

Medicine and sanitation are public services which, together with the dispensaries and pharmaceutical industries, will be constituted on a syndicalict basis into the Public Health Service. This will be incorporated into the communistic economic system.

The Union of Medical and Sanitary Workers will conduct the activities and manage the organization of the health services for the entire country. These services, like all branches and functions of communistic society, will be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. gradually, and wherever possible, the medical and sanitary workers will combine their tasks with industrial and agricultural labor.

The Public Health service will cover the entire country with a close net of medical and sanitary centers, hospitals and sanatoria. Since this service will be supported by the communistic economy, the individualistic units will have to cover part of its expenses through their unions of co-operative associations.

VII. General Education and Science.

Every State adapts the processes of general education to further its own interests. As a result, whenever instruction is in the hands of the State, it becomes a means to the enslavement of the masses. Owing to State interests, and to a science which serves these interests, schools of all levels are turned into factories which attempt the mass production of robots capable of thinking in one direction only. As the experience of Russia demonstrates, even a Communist state, though it might set up the most liberal system of education, eventually perverts it by introducing a centralized basis and by moulding the teaching in its own interests.

The task of education and instruction consists in the comprehensive development of the child's personality and his technical preparation for useful communal activity. Education must therefore be libertarian, gradually supplanting the idea of authority by the idea of liberty. It must also be rational, founded on reason, not on faith, and on the facts of exact science rather than metaphysics; co-educational, i.e. giving common instruction to both sexes, and integrated, providing opportunities for harmonious development of the entire personality in the fields of science, art and trades.

The schools must provide, as Kropotkin has stated, "such an education to boys and girls that, when leaving school at the age of about eighteen, they may have a thorough concept of science which will enable them to continue scientific studies, as well as acquiring a notion of the fundamentals of a technical education. At the same time, they should gain sufficient experience in some branch of industry to give them the opportunity of taking part in the production of social resources". Accordingly, education and instruction must not be conducted on the basis of a single centralized program.

As for science, it must, like the church and the school, be separated from the State even before the Anarchist revolution. Normal conditions for the development of science will be created only in a condition of economic equality, in a free, stateless society.

The socialization of science, which is an inevitable and essential result of the social Revolution, does not mean equality of mind which is, of course, an impossibility; it does not mean that everyone will be a scientist. The socialization of science means only that science, as it remains pure science, will become one of many public services and will be, as Bakunin said, entirely available "to all those who have the calling and the desire to engage in it without harming the general productive effort in which everyone must participate!"

"Everyone must work and everyone must have an education." Only after the social revolution will general scientific and technical education be available to all. Science must be industrialized and ruralized, i.e. people engaged in scientific effort must combine their work with productive physical labor, within the limits, of course, of reasonable and gradual development. And science will certainly benefit from this development. "It is possible, and even very likely," said Bakunin, "that in the more or less lengthy Transition Period, which will naturally appear after the great social crisis, the high level of some sciences may fall considerably. But what science loses in its upward trend, it will gain in the scope of its diffusion. There will be no demi-gods, but there will also be no slaves. Demi-gods and slaves will both become men; the former will have to step down somewhat from their exclusive heights, the latter will rise considerably."

The socialization of instruction, education and science can be achieved only through their syndicalization, i.e. the organization and conduct of these public services must be transferred to the Union of Educational Workers, combining their activities with those of interested public societies, of parents, economists and others. The organization of schools, universities, academies, libraries, museums and their management will be the public function of the Union of Educational Workers.

The functions of general education as a public service will be incorporated into the communistic economic system and supported by it. Therefore, the co-operatively united individualistic units in the country will, for the sake of equality, contribute to the treasury of the communistic economy a certain percentage of their income in die form of products, to cover the expenses and maintain the services of general education.

Art and the Theatre are also public services. They will be combined with the service of general education and will be subject to all the basic principles which govern the latter.

Religion is not a public service. The social revolution is, by nature, anti-religious. Nevertheless, the Anarcho-Syndicalists do not intend to fight religious faiths with repressive measures. In this question, the program of the Anarcho-Syndicalists is in full solidarity with the statement of the Geneva Section to the Brussels Congress of the International Workingmen's Association. It said: "Religious thought, as a product of the individual mind, is untouchable as long as it does not become a public activity."

VIII. Accountancy -- Banks and Finances.

Accountancy and statistics are very important functions in the proper regulation of relations between production and consumption. Only with the help of statistical data is it possible to determine their necessary equilibrium, and to institute a suitable distribution and exchange organization. Indeed, without statistical data an economic order is impossible. Statistics, therefore, form a vital public service, whose technical discharge will be entrusted to the Central Statistical Bureau at the Bank for Cash-arid-Goods Credit, consisting of the directly concerned public services and particularly the services for distribution and exchange.

All existing banks will be socialized and will merge with the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit. This, in addition to its statistical functions, will perform all the usual banking operations which, of course, will change in accordance with the new economic structure of the country. The Bank will be the organic liaison between the communistic economy and the individualistic units, particularly the agricultural units, as well as with the individualist world abroad. In the latter case, it will act as the bank for foreign trade.

In the sphere of internal exchange, the bank will be one of the most powerful weapons of communism, influencing individualistic units in the desired direction by means of material and financial credit without interest for the improvement of each unit and the mechanization of farming, which will result in the socialization of rural labor -- the necessary prerequisite for the socialization of agriculture.

The socialization of banks and accountancy must be achieved by their syndicalization, i.e. these public services will be transferred to the management of the workers who operate them, and will be incorporated into the general communistic economic system. With the strengthening of communism, labor will be industrialized and ruralized as in other public services, i.e. it will gradually be organized on the principle of integration.

Money, as a concrete symbol of expended labor, the greatest part of which is now concentrated by means of exploitation in the hands of a few capitalists and States, must be socialized. The socialization of money, i.e. the return to society of the fruits of expended labor, will be possible only in the form of its abolition, without any compensation. The abolition of the monetary token of the old regime is one of the first tasks of the social revolution.

It will be impossible, however, to abolish money entirely in the Transition Period, since some functions, which are dependent on money now, will still continue to operate, even though their dangerous aspects will be removed. Money will vanish of itself during the gradual approach to a system of fully matured Communism which will replace exchange by distribution. But in the Transition Period, owing to the co-existence of communism with individualism, the exchange of goods cannot be eliminated entirely. And since the main function of money is that of a medium of exchange -- the most convenient medium of exchange -- it will not be possible to do without it during this phase.

In the beginning, because of the practical impossibility of introducing labor money (whose value is based on the working day) the communistic economy will have to recognize gold coins, and will have to be guided in their exchange by the values inherited from capitalism. This will apply particularly to foreign trade. In internal exchange, owing to the socialization of a large part of industry, which will provide the opportunity of determining the scale of production, it will be possible to set prices and to assure their stability in a scientific manner.

During the Transition Period, money cannot become a threat of the establishment of inequality and exploitation because -- in view of the socialization of all means of production and transportation and the socialization of labor and its products in all branches of industry except agriculture -- it will lose the power it had in capitalist society, namely, the power to become capital. Cash could not be lent on interest, hence there will be no room for financial capital. All tools and means of production, being socialized, will not be subject either to sale or purchase; hence there will be no room for industrial capital. The discontinuance of hired labor will remove the possibility of hoarding capital by the appropriation of surplus values; the replacement of the private tradesman by the co-operatives and the establishment of direct exchange on the mixed material-financial principle between the communistic and the individualistic economy will remove the possibility of money turning into trading capital. Thus during the Transition Period, in which everything will be socialized, but all will not be communized, money will exist only as a standard of value and a means of simplifying the process of natural exchange between the different systems of economic equality.

Depending on the stabilization of society after the social upheaval, greater preference will be given to natural exchange in the principle of barter values, and thus the usefulness of money as a standard will decline. The gradual transition of agriculture to communism will further decrease the role of money, and the supercession of exchange by distribution will finally eliminate it in a perfectly natural manner.

IX. Exchange and Distribution.

In capitalist society the products of the manufacturing industries are distributed by means of trade. Such distribution is chaotic and inequitable. In capitalist society those who work receive much fewer and qualitatively inferior products than those who do not work. The products return to the producer, as a consumer, only after they have gone through a number of intermediary hands. After making this circle, they are loaded with parasitic price increases and the worker as a consumer acquires the product of his own labor at a far higher price than he received for its production.

Naturally, with the destruction of capitalist methods of production, the capitalist method of distribution -- trade ■ -- will be abolished too, and it will be replaced by a system of accurate, planned and equitable distribution in full harmony with the new, anarchist and non-capitalist organization of society.

Society, in organizing communistic production, will organize consumption in a similar manner. The producers' commune must be supplemented by a consumers' commune. In the sphere of consumption the task will consist of the immediate organization of a distributive-accounting agency which will at once begin a planned and systematic replacement of trade by distributive communes in the cities, and distributive associations in the villages. At the base of the distributive apparatus will be the consumers' co-operative. The new distributive agency will only be able to carry out its functions most quickly and with the least expenditure of effort when the entire population in the cities is organized in consumers' communes, and on the land into consumers' associations, and when the federation of these communes and associations has covered the entire country with a close network, co-ordinated with the Exchange Bank.

Learning from the experience of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent development of its latent tendencies, the Anarcho-Syndicalists will utilize consumers' co-operatives as the distributive agency, constructed in such a way that the house committees will become the basic organizational cells. The consumers' communes will combine in themselves both the producers and the consumers. As a result, there will be no chance for the emergence of a dictatorship of either the producer or the consumer.

The organization of consumption, which here is understood in its widest possible sense, will consist of two fundamental elements, Accounting and Distribution. Accounting will be handled by the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit, which will become a section of the distributive agency.

Within the orbit of the communistic system of national economy all producers' communes (free factories, plants and workshops) will deliver the whole of the product of their industry to the public warehouses; the same will apply to the industrialized agricultural units and the rural communes, with the difference however, that the latter will deliver to the public warehouses not the entire product of their labor but only that part which forms the excess over what is required for the satisfaction of the needs of the rural commune itself or of the composite agro-industrial community.

As for the individual agricultural units, they will voluntarily deliver all their excess to their village associations whose function is purchase and sale. These, in turn, will deliver the products of the land to the Bank for Cash-and-Goods Credit and receive monetary tokens from it as well as any goods they require on the basis of cash-and-goods bookkeeping.

During the Transition Period communism will not be complete in the sphere of consumption. The task of society will be to help its gradual unfolding in accordance with the accumulation of material goods. The rapidity with which the principle "to each according to his needs" is realized will depend on the growth of productivity in the communized economy and on the pace of the transition to Communism of individualistic agricultural units. Hence, in the Transition Period, because of the impossibility of satisfying all "according to their needs." it will be necessary to introduce into distribution a limiting principle, i.e. the principle of proportionality between distribution and production.

Fundamental to distribution, within the communistic economy of the Transition Period, will be the principle, not of expediency, but of equality, dividing the population into different Consumer categories. Firstly, society must take care of the children, the nursing mothers, the old, the invalids and the sick -- independent of their former social positions.

Consumption norms, calculated in terms of money and distributed in both cash and goods, must be equal -- equal shares for all. Since society will have the obligation to provide work for everybody, it will also be expected to maintain all the unemployed at the same level as the workers. As to the adherents of the old regime and the members of former privileged classes, these, as equal members of the new society, will not be subject to any restrictions. But those among them who might refuse to live the working life required of everybody would place themselves outside the pale of society and they would retain the right either to die of starvation or to emigrate, or else to depend on the charity of their commune, if the latter choose to practice it.