Material conditions most amenable to anarchy. - Page 3 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The 'no government' movement.
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#14431986
If you don't want to own anything then how is that a problem for anyone else?


That's somewhat of the social circumstances of capitalist society: it consists of a large pool of labor that owns nothing except their own labor power, and so they must sell themselves. This becomes primarily a problem for workers and the poor and breeds class antagonism.
#14432036
anticlimacus wrote:That's somewhat of the social circumstances of capitalist society: it consists of a large pool of labor that owns nothing except their own labor power, and so they must sell themselves. This becomes primarily a problem for workers and the poor and breeds class antagonism.

You know why don't give up all this lefty nonsense? Nothing will come of it. You won't get to be a commissar or generalissimo of the revolutionary gaurds or whatever it is you think all this drivel will get you. You are wasting your life. Get real.
#14432226
I mean that the basic ideological core of the an-cap social organization is guided by the NAP.

Think of NAP as the functional equivalent of "democracy". Just as there can be many divergent, even contradictory "implementations" of democracy, so there can be many divergent, even contradictory implementations of the NAP.

Very few people would characterise their ideology as "democracy". Typically, people pour more content into their ideology, advocating "liberal democracy" or "conservative democracy". Similarly, you could have highly-individualistic, capitalist, consumerist implementation of NAP, but equally a communal, religious, primitive or socialist implementations of the NAP.

Thus US support of American agribusiness in Mexico, through NAFTA, ended up putting millions of indigenous producers out of work, who where not then left with more opportunities, but few options but to immigrate.
http://economyincrisis.org/content/ille ... -and-nafta

Thank you - I wasn't aware of this issue. Naturally, a drop of 70% in the price of corn is a huge boon for Mexico's poorest, a positive development that is oddly not expressed as such in the article.

I would reject the whole idea of the NAP. It is entirely negative, and reduces aggression to the question of property rights. If we are seeking a society that promotes self-determination and self-managment, then anything that reduces our capacity to be free to how much property we own ought to be rejected outright as purely authoritarian. I mean, is not the sheer fact that an anarchist society would not be based on property rights fundamentally a transgression of the NAP?

No, not at all. For a transgression of the NAP to take place, some people would need to initiate force against the peaceful project of another person. You can easily envisage a society without any private property and yet within which the the NAP is strictly adhered to.

Can you think of circumstances under which, within your society, you would advocate initiation of force against a peaceful project undertaken by one or more people? If so, what is it? If not, your society, contrary to your perception, is actually respecting the NAP.
#14433600
No, not at all. For a transgression of the NAP to take place, some people would need to initiate force against the peaceful project of another person. You can easily envisage a society without any private property and yet within which the the NAP is strictly adhered to.

Can you think of circumstances under which, within your society, you would advocate initiation of force against a peaceful project undertaken by one or more people? If so, what is it? If not, your society, contrary to your perception, is actually respecting the NAP.


Capital would be socially controlled. In other words, absolute property rights would be abolished, just like the state. This would be the result of social transformation and revolution organized by working people themselves. I see no reason why working people, if they actually want to have a social transformation, would begin with the idea that absolute property rights are on par with holding property in common--or that workplace democracy is just as welcomed as workplace totalitarianism, controlled by private owners of capital. A libertarian socialist revolution thus abolishes both the state and private property.

Under your model, you may envision either/or occuring, and in the abstract you may be correct. But in the abstract you are also correct that we are all "free" in a capitalist society, which is a quite contentious point. What I keep coming back to is the substantive reality of what you are talking about. I still fail to see how your society becomes less totalitarian than contemporary society, particularly when your basic principle of revolution--the NAP--does not, in and of itself, address the fundamental inequality in power and authority of those who have private control of capital. So, just as, theoretically , we could have socialist society under the NAP, also theoretically major corporations (or capitalists in general) could collude and control prices and production, while funding their own private military, and thus forming their own quasi-private state. What is to prevent the latter from occurring, particularly when it is the private corporations which currently hold much of the power?
#14434017
Because corporations or governments never hold the real power. The people have the power. If people feel the need to have large nanny state governments to tell them how to think then that is what will happen. If the people eventually wake up to the fact that wealth and opportunity lies in the exact opposite of that then large powerful entities will either never materialise or be squashed. It is always about what the people really want and of course be willing to act to get/maintain it
#14435283
anticlimacus wrote:So, just as, theoretically , we could have socialist society under the NAP, also theoretically major corporations (or capitalists in general) could collude and control prices and production, while funding their own private military, and thus forming their own quasi-private state. What is to prevent the latter from occurring, particularly when it is the private corporations which currently hold much of the power?

What is to prevent your desired society into an effective Soviet-like super-state? What is to prevent the US from deteriorating to a military dictatorship in the same way that many democracies, most recently Thailand, had?

In a word - culture.

The US today is a stable democracy because democratic values are deeply engrained in the national psyche. The idea of a President using the military forces under his control to over-turn democracy is virtually unthinkable.

In a stable NAP-based anarchy, the NAP would similarly be deeply engrained in the societal psyche. The idea of major corporations using their wealth to fund private military and thus forming their own quasi-state would be just as unthinkable.

Democracy (in the sense of majority rule) isn't the only political idea shared amongst the vast majority of Americans. Support for the protections of the Constitution, in particular freedom of Religion and Speech, is also deeply engrained. To a lower degree, so are ideas about privacy and gun ownership.

In an NAP-based anarchy, the NAP will not be the only political idea shared within society. Other ideas such as the duty to help the weak and the desirability or undesirability of working for wages will also be there. Your anarchy can flourish within an NAP-based society if and to the extent that the undesirability of working for wages is widely established. Individuals considering their career choices and opportunities are highly unlikely to accept employment from a capitalist employer, preferring instead to form or join syndicates. They will insist on democratically-controlled working places. With enough people thus insisting, democratically-controlled workplaces will become the norm, as would other aspects of your vision.

Alternatively, or side-by-side, you could also have sub-societies for which this isn't a major issue, for which working for wages is a perfectly acceptable alternative (as it is for most people today). Even so, the mere existence of a flourishing syndicate system will greatly limit the range of options open to capitalist employers. They would, in practice, have to pay their workers as well (or better) than would syndicates, and, probably, include measures of workplace participation and other incentives to attract and retain valuable workers.
#14435347
Eran wrote:What is to prevent your desired society into an effective Soviet-like super-state? What is to prevent the US from deteriorating to a military dictatorship in the same way that many democracies, most recently Thailand, had?

In a word - culture.


Culture and solidarity are both important, but is ill-effective with out institutional measures that help to structure a future society. Hence the means of production are communally shared, so there is no risk of any single person or group gaining control over them to employ for private purposes. Communities are federated, so there is no centralized state which can usurp power. Within communities are also federated syndicates, which employs the model of workplace democracy as none own the means of production. All delegates from syndicates and communal boards are subject to the mandate given them by those they represent, and if they fail to abide by this, they can be recalled at any time. So this is much closer to a model of direct democracy. Institutionally, both in the work place and in the federated system there exists not only a wide dispersal of power, but power that is very much dependent on the mandate of voting participants who send out delegates to represent their interests. But also, much of the success of this depends on a certain amount of equality, equality in sharing in social wealth, of the people. The situation in Thailand, as far as I understand, not only had a centralized state within which power could be seized, but a rich businessman who bought himself political power, and a very poor class of people that could be easily pushed one way or another. There are more threats to democracy than just the political landscape: one also has to consider the material (and cultural, as you mention) condition of the people.
The US today is a stable democracy because democratic values are deeply engrained in the national psyche. The idea of a President using the military forces under his control to over-turn democracy is virtually unthinkable.

The US is run by a bunch of rich autocrats who are bought and sold, largely by private corporate interests. There is an illusion of democracy in the US, but the reality is people little to no say in what goes on in the political landscape.

In a stable NAP-based anarchy, the NAP would similarly be deeply engrained in the societal psyche. The idea of major corporations using their wealth to fund private military and thus forming their own quasi-state would be just as unthinkable.

Democracy (in the sense of majority rule) isn't the only political idea shared amongst the vast majority of Americans. Support for the protections of the Constitution, in particular freedom of Religion and Speech, is also deeply engrained. To a lower degree, so are ideas about privacy and gun ownership.

In an NAP-based anarchy, the NAP will not be the only political idea shared within society. Other ideas such as the duty to help the weak and the desirability or undesirability of working for wages will also be there. Your anarchy can flourish within an NAP-based society if and to the extent that the undesirability of working for wages is widely established. Individuals considering their career choices and opportunities are highly unlikely to accept employment from a capitalist employer, preferring instead to form or join syndicates. They will insist on democratically-controlled working places. With enough people thus insisting, democratically-controlled workplaces will become the norm, as would other aspects of your vision.

Alternatively, or side-by-side, you could also have sub-societies for which this isn't a major issue, for which working for wages is a perfectly acceptable alternative (as it is for most people today). Even so, the mere existence of a flourishing syndicate system will greatly limit the range of options open to capitalist employers. They would, in practice, have to pay their workers as well (or better) than would syndicates, and, probably, include measures of workplace participation and other incentives to attract and retain valuable workers.

The idea of major corporations using their wealth to fund private military and thus forming their own quasi-state may be unthinkable to some, but very realistic for others. You mention the US--yes people do take the constitution seriously. However, that has not stopped the US from becoming a major global war state, on behalf of both political interests and business interests. This has not prevented the US from becoming a major surveillance state, and a state the takes great means to ensure that the population stays in line: this involves mass incarceration of the poor and marginalized, huge propaganda campaigns, and structural securities for the wealthy: such as supplying rich politicians within parties that largely support both big government and big business and therefore pose no real threat to the status quo, and then allowing the citizenry to vote on one of these two and then calling this "democracy."

The major problem I see with what you suggest is that the NAP does not preclude, in its very principle, a small few from gaining control of the vast majority of capital and then employing all means, such as propaganda, incarceration, war, to ensure their secured and continued power. Violence could be justified, just like war, in this system provided those private organizations that supply military force and those private organizations that buy it agree that violent ventures are justified: so, for instance, we have workers who are performing a sit down strike, then all means necessary can be employed to destroy the strike. Are there poor people begging on privately owned roads? They can be imprisoned indefinitely, where all rights are entirely lost. The reality of such a system is that your freedom hinges very much on how much property you actually own. The NAP does nothing to prevent this, it in fact basically incorporates it into its very definition.

The major difference between what you are proposing and what I am proposing, is that your future society is just as convenient and enticing to the super powerful as it would be to anybody else. In fact, probably more so. The only reason it would be opposed is because modern government is only too convenient for the powerful now. But as soon as the people actually realize that a right-wing libertarian society does not actually change the socio-economic power structure of society, I don't really see any reason for the masses of people to unite in order to overturn the existing order, where at least there is a government supplying at least some semblance of representation.

In essence, for you to push your agenda forward, your job would be to not only convince people that the state is altogether a bad thing, but also that capitalism and a world where all things are up for private ownership and private control is ultimately a good thing without state or public representation. I think the latter would be a tough sell, particularly in a society with vast inequality.
#14435956
The major problem I see with what you suggest is that the NAP does not preclude, in its very principle, a small few from gaining control of the vast majority of capital and then employing all means, such as propaganda, incarceration, war, to ensure their secured and continued power.

As a matter of theory, it doesn't. As a matter of practice, it is extremely unlikely.

While I know you don't think highly of American democracy, consider the likelihood that Americans will pass a Constitutional Amendment nominating a single person to be dictator-for-life with unlimited powers. In theory, this is a possibility. In practice, we can all agree, highly unlikely.

Even in the Golden Era of the 19th century America, while a few individuals rose to a position of great wealth, none individually or even collectively owned a significant fraction of the nation's wealth.

Violence could be justified, just like war, in this system provided those private organizations that supply military force and those private organizations that buy it agree that violent ventures are justified: so, for instance, we have workers who are performing a sit down strike, then all means necessary can be employed to destroy the strike. Are there poor people begging on privately owned roads? They can be imprisoned indefinitely, where all rights are entirely lost. The reality of such a system is that your freedom hinges very much on how much property you actually own. The NAP does nothing to prevent this, it in fact basically incorporates it into its very definition.

It is impossible to justify an aggressive war by the NAP, as such war, invariably, results in harm to innocents. Yes, you can justify removing trespassers from private property. But in practice, only a tiny fraction of the land area of the continent is likely to be exclusively owned. You could certainly not imprison people indefinitely for trespass, as the sanction, under the NAP, has to be proportionate to the damage caused by the offender.

They way I would urge you to think of the NAP is not in the context of a worst-case capitalist society, but rather in the context of the culture, values, priorities and sentiments that are essential for your society to emerge. For your society to function, people have to be dedicated to certain principles such as mutual aid and a healthy suspicion of large accumulation of capital.

So while large concentrations of wealth under a general NAP-based society are unlikely, such concentrations of wealth under an NAP-based society which also values mutual aid, worker solidarity, etc. is completely impossible.

The major difference between what you are proposing and what I am proposing, is that your future society is just as convenient and enticing to the super powerful as it would be to anybody else. In fact, probably more so. The only reason it would be opposed is because modern government is only too convenient for the powerful now. But as soon as the people actually realize that a right-wing libertarian society does not actually change the socio-economic power structure of society, I don't really see any reason for the masses of people to unite in order to overturn the existing order, where at least there is a government supplying at least some semblance of representation.

I disagree with the bold statement. Today's power structure is deeply influenced by government involvement. The most powerful people in society aren't the super-rich, they are senior politicians. Their power is bought by crony capitalists ("crapitalists") who use their wealth to buy political power. Without government, wealthy people's power is extremely limited.

Sure - wealthy people control capital and assets. But realistically, no one person or small group of cooperating people can control substantial fraction of society's resources. A rich man can order you off his land, but as I have shown elsewhere, no single person controls more than a tiny fraction of the country's land. Further, rich people, in a free society, become and stay rich by using their capital wisely, by serving consumers, not by catering to their individualistic whims. IF a wealthy person tried to use his capital in ways that are frowned-upon by the rest of society, his power will evaporate even quicker than his wealth.

In essence, for you to push your agenda forward, your job would be to not only convince people that the state is altogether a bad thing, but also that capitalism and a world where all things are up for private ownership and private control is ultimately a good thing without state or public representation. I think the latter would be a tough sell, particularly in a society with vast inequality.

Here I agree. Economics, rightly understood, is highly counter-intuitive. This is the reason politicians find it easy to convince the public that central planning is a good idea.

Have you had a chance to look at Bleeding Heart Libertarians? These are people who share your (and my) priority for helping poorer members of society. Like me (and unlike you) they believe that the best way of doing that is by allowing freed markets to reign.
#14436703
Eran wrote:While I know you don't think highly of American democracy, consider the likelihood that Americans will pass a Constitutional Amendment nominating a single person to be dictator-for-life with unlimited powers. In theory, this is a possibility. In practice, we can all agree, highly unlikely.


Sure. But that was not what I was suggesting. What I mentioned--"a small few from gaining control of the vast majority of capital and then employing all means, such as propaganda, incarceration, war, to ensure their secured and continued power"--actually occurs in the current US. No constitutional amendments for dictatorial powers were needed for the government to be controlled largely by private corporations, for the amount of wealth inequality, perpetual war state, high incarceration rates, and for massive propaganda campaigns to keep people in line to occur. Under current conditions of power distribution, I don't see any reason why a gradual transformation to an an-cap society would not be guided by the super rich to ensure their continued wellbeing. I think much of what we see today would still occur, only it would be organized by private corporations colluding together.

Even in the Golden Era of the 19th century America, while a few individuals rose to a position of great wealth, none individually or even collectively owned a significant fraction of the nation's wealth.


I wouldn't call 19th century America as the "Golden Era"--that is typically defined as the period between 1945 and 1970. Still, neither period is something we would want to emulate. 19th century America was characterized by slave populations, expansionism, large amounts of inequality, gender inequality, lack of labor laws, burgeoning corporatization, and several economic crises. While the period between '45 and '70 saw more inequality and steady growth, there was still a large underclass population, and economic power was conserved by both the destruction of other economies after WWII and military might abroad. But this may be a digression...
It is impossible to justify an aggressive war by the NAP, as such war, invariably, results in harm to innocents. Yes, you can justify removing trespassers from private property. But in practice, only a tiny fraction of the land area of the continent is likely to be exclusively owned. You could certainly not imprison people indefinitely for trespass, as the sanction, under the NAP, has to be proportionate to the damage caused by the offender.

They way I would urge you to think of the NAP is not in the context of a worst-case capitalist society, but rather in the context of the culture, values, priorities and sentiments that are essential for your society to emerge. For your society to function, people have to be dedicated to certain principles such as mutual aid and a healthy suspicion of large accumulation of capital.

So while large concentrations of wealth under a general NAP-based society are unlikely, such concentrations of wealth under an NAP-based society which also values mutual aid, worker solidarity, etc. is completely impossible.

One of the reasons I referenced the US is because, even though it is in perpetual warfare, it boasts of being "non-aggressive", and often "justifies" its warfare as either national defense or humanitarianism. The issue is not how likely the NAP will or will not allow for this. The issue is that an an-cap society does not preclude such centralization of power--at least as far as I can tell--and therefore, these kinds of injustices, the very things an anarchist society is supposed to overcome, become likely, even with the NAP.

I do understand that you are calling for cultural transformation. However, I still don't see how right-wing libertarian values becomes appealing for the least advantaged in today's society, and largely because of what I posted in my first paragraph. I think it is worth noting that the marginalized and poor rarely ever group together for social transformation in order to create a more privatized society. Perhaps it is because they recognize, like I do, that such principles by themselves are just as much to the advantage of the most powerful, in fact more so to their advantage, and therefore does little to address their plight. For a socialist society to emerge, as I mentioned before, there would indeed need to be, what has traditionally been called the emergence of "class consciousness". This is similar to your "cultural transformation", except it understands the context of modern capitalism by linking working class, the poor and the marginalized within mutual interests against the dominant capital owning class. In this context, more than just cultural transformation occurs. Real material transformations begin to emerge, through conflict (e.g. general strikes and sit down, protests, democratic organization and mutual aid). Thus in both culture and practice, capitalism and the state are made superfluous. The ideological solidarity is coeval with the actual mutual ownership and participation that goes into social transformation, which develops out of class and social conflict. Mutual ownership and ending wage labor are not options among others in some sort of future contract, but the thrust and engine of social transformation.

I disagree with the bold statement. Today's power structure is deeply influenced by government involvement. The most powerful people in society aren't the super-rich, they are senior politicians. Their power is bought by crony capitalists ("crapitalists") who use their wealth to buy political power. Without government, wealthy people's power is extremely limited.

Sure - wealthy people control capital and assets. But realistically, no one person or small group of cooperating people can control substantial fraction of society's resources. A rich man can order you off his land, but as I have shown elsewhere, no single person controls more than a tiny fraction of the country's land. Further, rich people, in a free society, become and stay rich by using their capital wisely, by serving consumers, not by catering to their individualistic whims. IF a wealthy person tried to use his capital in ways that are frowned-upon by the rest of society, his power will evaporate even quicker than his wealth.

I don't think that most individual politicians are necessarily more powerful than super wealthy capitalists, who can often end political careers. Politicians still have to work within government and its checks and balances. I also don't agree that the rich stay rich simply by their "good service". They stay rich by controlling markets, by colluding with other major corporations, by buying and controlling politicians, and by massive propaganda campaigns (both political and commercial). Certainly, without government, wealthy people's power is limited--likewise, without wealthy business people, government is extremely limited--however, this has rarely been the case in modern capitalism. What I am arguing is that the an-cap world simply becomes a quasi-state, controlled by those with the most economic power. However, instead of it being publicly accountable, it is entirely private.
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