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 Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?

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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Mon May 26, 2008 2:11 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
The example of the Po Valley is a good image of a real society of co-operatives and i'm wondering if you know of more of such extended areas populated by co-ops?
There is a strong cooperative movement in spain, in the Catalan and Basque regions, but one of the primary factors in whether cooperatives succeed or fail is the attitude governments have towards them. In Spain, Franco's fascist dictatorship was very hostile to the cooperative movement, but the regional authorities in Catalonia and the Basque region tend to foster and support them, Similarly in Italy, they have semi autonomous regions and in the more left wing areas cooperatives thrive, while in the right wing regions they are under developed.


Quote :

What happened to us here with the moving away from mutual aid towards competition? Was joining the European Union anything to do with our shifts in attitude or do you or anyone else know if the EU has support for co-ops built into it?
In 1958 the Irish State launched "the first program for economic expansion" which was all about attracting foreign investment into Ireland. Ever since then, the state focus has been about trying to improve attractiveness and international competitiveness instead of supporting indigenous industry. Capitalist corporations receive huge tax incentives and subsidies to locate here, it is difficult for small irish enterprises to compete against multinational corporations.

That said, Ireland still has over a thousand credit unions and loads of agricultural cooperatives, but they receive very little assistance from the state.

The E.U. has a bit of rhetoric about supporting localism and the cooperative sector, but their free market ideology is the antithesis of small scale cooperatives. The nature of coops is that they are biased towards localism and keeping resources in a local economy, while the E.U. is all about creating one big single E.U. market.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Mon May 26, 2008 2:25 pm

Thousands of Irish workers occupied mills, creameries, Cork harbour and factories between 1919 and 1922. These were Soviets on the socialist/communist model though rather than anarchist.

http://www.wsm.ie/story/2898

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/84885

http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?f=115&t=17231[url][/url]
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Mon May 26, 2008 6:59 pm

chekov wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
Social liberals, even those on the economic right aren't averse to regulation (often in the interests of capital but not exclusively), not least because despite the nonsense about the market being efficient, it isn't and it requires the lubrication of regulatory oversight.A fine example of same is the remarkable level of intervention by the Fed in the US into the financial markets.

I don't see how a state intervention which provided a massive dose of cheap capital to the banks, at the behest of the demands of the world's assembled capitalists, bolsters your case rather than mine.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Secondly governments make decisions which piss off capitalists on a daily basis, not least because capital isn't a seamless whole but is a patchwork of many - often competing - interests. That they are swayed by capital - sure. And far far too much. But not - I'd suggest - to the Manichean extent you propose. Farmers get it in the neck one day, small businesses the next. And so on.

I said "decisions that piss off capitalists in general". The "in general" bit is important. Decisions that reduce the power of those with wealth in general are not very common at all and where they are made, it is invariably in the face of huge popular pressure or in order to counteract systemic defects in the interests of the maintenance of the overall system.

To flesh out what I mean, consider the fact that legislation diminishing property rights, capping inheritance, transferring wealth from the rich, increasing the relative contributions of capitalists to state funds or limiting the freedom of capitalists to move their wealth around and use it howsoever they please is not very common at all.

In fact, not one single party with any conceivable chance of having any say at all in government decisions is currently advocating anything even vaguely resembling any of these policies. This is not because such policies would be unpopular with the public - the available evidence suggests that they would be popular in themselves - but because they would be electoral suicide. This seeming paradox is down to several factors. Firstly, such policies would arouse the absolute and outright opposition of the media and the various capitalist bodies such as IBEC and CIF upon which political parties rely for funding, not to mention those of the wealthy private donors which would also come be overwhelmingly directed towards the opposition. Secondly, the public understands that such policies would, if there was any danger of them being enacted, lead to capital flight, trade boycotts and a whole host of such measures from beyond the country's borders which would lead to economic ruination. The media is not slow to point out such dangers to the public either. A great example was Sinn Fein's proposal to increase corporation tax by a few percent at the last election. After a bout of media coverage predicting economic ruination if the shinners got anywhere near power, they dropped the policy. Despite the fact that there was no real chance of such a policy actually being enacted, enough of a 'red-scare' was mounted to persuade them to ditch the policy.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
To see governments simply as instrumentalities of one aspect of the societal mix - capital, or rather a very narrow definition of capital - doesn't seem to me to be plausible or anything other than reductionist.

Again, you appear to have missed the bit where I said: "this is not to say that the state acts purely as the executive board of the capitalist class. It has its own perogatives and its own logic independent of this role". I also don't think it helps clarity to restate my point using formulations such as "instrumentalities of one aspect of the societal mix." I try to be precise in my language and I think such formulations are much less clear than the ones that I use. I'm specifically talking about decision making which is a much more well-understood and clear thing than whether something is an instrumentality or not. Moreover, if I understand what it means correctly, I don't think I even agree with it.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
As for decision making power, civil society, indeed society is made up of many competing groups... unions, lobby groups, NGOs, cultural groups, etc, etc. To posit that collectively capital is able to dominate them all seems to me yet again to be a simplification.

It is only a simplification if, in your formulation, you take 'dominate' to mean 'obliterate'. If, instead you take it to mean "has a much stronger influence on" then it becomes similar to what I've said. Moreover, as such it can't be a simplification. It is either wrong or right. If you can think of any metric at all which would suggest it was wrong, I would be amazed. NGOs and trade unions don't have daily national newspapers, television stations, huge PR departments, cash to sponsor multiple think tanks, lobbyists and so on. By any measure the wealthy can devote vastly greater resources to influencing government decision making and there is a huge volume of evidence which shows that the imbalance of resources is reflected in the actual decisions made - from studies into the provenance of legislation to the large number of well known cases where governments have changed policies in response to the direct and open demands of the bodies representing the interests of the rich.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Sure, capital relations underpin societal relations, but that's not quite the same thing as suggesting that those who own capital dictate all that occurs within the social/economic sphere which is your underlying argument, unless I massively misrepresent it.

You do, for the fifth or sixth time. I don't think it's possible for anybody to "dictate all that occurs" in any complex dynamic system. Societies and economies are dynamic systems of such mind-boggling complexity that any notion of 'dictating' an outcome is meaningless. My use of the word 'dictate' was in the context of claiming that you understimate "the degree to which state decisions are dictated by the needs of capitalists" and I think my point is entirely accurate. You haven't actually argued against it though. I most certainly don't think that government decisions dictate all that happens in society or the economy, I don't even think anything remotely similar to that.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Moreover it ignores the reality that capital is constrained in ways which were unthinkable a hundred or even fifty years ago.

Once again, you seem to have completely missed the bit where I said: "Civil society, for its part, certainly can't be ignored. It places certain boundaries on the actions of the state and the corporations". I am fully aware - and entirely supportive - of the myriad of ways in which civil society has been able to constrain the decisions of capitalists over the last hundred or even fifty years ago. I even spend a significant amount of time and energy trying to increase the ability of civil society to constrain the freedom of the powerful and wealthy to do whatever the hell they like.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Neo-liberalism? Bad. Clearly. But look at the economic structures this state laboured under, essentially close to a moderated laissez-faire from 1922 to the first FF administration. Then a sort of protectionism with some degree of state intervention which faded as they atrophied in power, then a burst of interventionism in the first Inter-Party coalition. From then on, and even during the 1980s when a faux Thatcherite economics was supposedly dominant, particularly under FG and to a degree under FF's 1987 administration one can see a continual extension of state power to this day through differing instruments, bords, quangos, executives, etc. Sure, we've seen privatisation and the establishment of hand's off 'executives' and such like. But in pure economic terms this remains a strongly mixed economy with considerable state intervention and regulation and I suspect and hope the pendulum will shift further towards the public over the next decade. The point being that the relationships between state and capital are hugely significant and have, broadly speaking, led to a renegotiation where capital is powerful, but far from the only determining course, and that across a century. There is plenty of scope to shift the lever leftwards (or indeed rightwards).

The last sentence is an assertion that is unsupported by any of the preceding points. The fact that the state has had different policies in different historical situations does not imply anything at all about the possibility of "shifting the lever leftwards". Your argument lacks a plausible mechanism by which such a shift could be carried out in the current situation.

I also think think that you are, once again, missing my point entirely. I don't think that the state is a static thing at all, nor do I think that the relationship between the state and capital isn't under continual renegotiation, nor do I think capital is the only determining course. I have argued that 'capital' (although I prefer not to use such uber-abstractions) exercises a very strong influence on state decision making. If you accept this, which is I think hard to disagree with, then your argument doesn't impact upon my point at all.

I also think that you are wrong to equate the multiplication of "bords, quangos, executives" and so on with an "extension of state power". The state has less power to control the economy or the society than it ever had before in the past. Economic globalisation and the electronic-communications revolution have both created great constraints on the actions of the state.

But, more to the point, if you look at who sits on the various "bords, quangos, executives" and so on that the state has created, it is hard to see how this trend diminishes the influence that capitalists have over state decision making. Typically such bodies are formed primarily from those who represent the views of those who own the industries in the relevant area. In many cases they represent the state transferring its regulatory role away from civil servants in favour of a group representing "concerned capitalists" of the industry in question.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
Finally, way to go as regards positing my naive approach to such matters. I hold one view, you another.

I genuinely hope you get over that hangover soon.

Touché Twisted Evil

But, seriously, I think the idea that you expressed is naive and springs from wishful thinking, not your good self. There are many people much smarter than me who hold the same view. It's the opinion that I consider to be flawed, not the person holding it. I hope you don't take offence.

I had a response which I did up over lunch, which agrees with some of what you said, disagrees with other bits, but overall is beautifully crafted Wink but left the flash drive plugged into the computer. Sad It'll keep until tomorrow...
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Tue May 27, 2008 10:49 pm

chekov wrote:
I don't see how a state intervention which provided a massive dose of cheap capital to the banks, at the behest of the demands of the world's assembled capitalists, bolsters your case rather than mine.

I am thinking much more of the regulatory powers of the FDIC and how they distort the supposedly 'free' market, not the cheap capital recently disbursed, although that too is interventionist in its own way.

chekov wrote:
I said "decisions that piss off capitalists in general". The "in general" bit is important. Decisions that reduce the power of those with wealth in general are not very common at all and where they are made, it is invariably in the face of huge popular pressure or in order to counteract systemic defects in the interests of the maintenance of the overall system.

To flesh out what I mean, consider the fact that legislation diminishing property rights, capping inheritance, transferring wealth from the rich, increasing the relative contributions of capitalists to state funds or limiting the freedom of capitalists to move their wealth around and use it howsoever they please is not very common at all.

The picture is simply much more mixed than you suggest. Take shareholding and directors. The last five years have seen a radical tightening of the laws as regards reporting/compliance with tax authorities for executive and non-executive directors. Penalties have been increased significantly and enforced. That too is on foot of legislation. Sign of impending social revolution? No, of course not, a drop in the ocean, but indicative that where there is a will progress can be made.

chekov wrote:
In fact, not one single party with any conceivable chance of having any say at all in government decisions is currently advocating anything even vaguely resembling any of these policies. This is not because such policies would be unpopular with the public - the available evidence suggests that they would be popular in themselves - but because they would be electoral suicide. This seeming paradox is down to several factors. Firstly, such policies would arouse the absolute and outright opposition of the media and the various capitalist bodies such as IBEC and CIF upon which political parties rely for funding, not to mention those of the wealthy private donors which would also come be overwhelmingly directed towards the opposition. Secondly, the public understands that such policies would, if there was any danger of them being enacted, lead to capital flight, trade boycotts and a whole host of such measures from beyond the country's borders which would lead to economic ruination. The media is not slow to point out such dangers to the public either. A great example was Sinn Fein's proposal to increase corporation tax by a few percent at the last election. After a bout of media coverage predicting economic ruination if the shinners got anywhere near power, they dropped the policy. Despite the fact that there was no real chance of such a policy actually being enacted, enough of a 'red-scare' was mounted to persuade them to ditch the policy.

I broadly agree with you in the sense that yes, political parties which argue the line you propose above that have no opportunity for success electorally. But, that doesn't mean firstly that the line is fully correct, consider the example I give above and that doesn't mean that the system isn't amenable to change by less extravagant means. There are more problematic aspects. Capital flight might well occur in the circumstances you propose, although not necessarily if the sanctions were directed at those within the polity (i.e. transfers of wealth, inheritance, limitations of property rights). A lot would depend on how gradualist the programme was. As and aside regarding SF, well, much as I admire people within it, I'm not entirely hopeful that it presages a great socialist dawn, for various reasons which we probably share. Nor do I believe that they offered a serious alternative in terms of government formation at that election. Not least because no other party would deal with them. And the 'red-scare' (which I suspect was aimed at preventing government formation with SF by spooking FF rather than the specific issues) was fairly muted. I'd have liked them to stick to their guns. It said far too much about them that they didn't. That said, seeing as whole chunks of the left did similar volte faces, that may say something very interesting about the left more broadly.

chekov wrote:
Again, you appear to have missed the bit where I said: "this is not to say that the state acts purely as the executive board of the capitalist class. It has its own perogatives and its own logic independent of this role". I also don't think it helps clarity to restate my point using formulations such as "instrumentalities of one aspect of the societal mix." I try to be precise in my language and I think such formulations are much less clear than the ones that I use. I'm specifically talking about decision making which is a much more well-understood and clear thing than whether something is an instrumentality or not. Moreover, if I understand what it means correctly, I don't think I even agree with it.

But your qualification as regards the state entered the picture long after the original statement you made... We live in a world where decision making power is allocated more or less directly on the basis of how much capital one owns. Most of the big, important decisions are made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist will make. Attempts to make one's opinions count against such decisions are just totally ignored unless they are made persistently enough where they have to beat you off the streets.

chekov wrote:
Equating the completely powerless meetings of trade unions or campaign groups with meetings which have executive decision making powers is just absurd.

... and my point was merely that on your original reading you didn't mention and consequently implicitly diminished the capacity and motivation of the state (or indeed any other actors than capital) to act as a player - indeed you seem to see it as broadly subservient to capital, I tend to the view that it runs on parallel lines and that given the opportunity it can actually modify the situation and capital. I don't think we share that view, not least because your ideological position eschews the state - for some good reasons it has to be said.

chekov wrote:
It is only a simplification if, in your formulation, you take 'dominate' to mean 'obliterate'. If, instead you take it to mean "has a much stronger influence on" then it becomes similar to what I've said. Moreover, as such it can't be a simplification. It is either wrong or right. If you can think of any metric at all which would suggest it was wrong, I would be amazed. NGOs and trade unions don't have daily national newspapers, television stations, huge PR departments, cash to sponsor multiple think tanks, lobbyists and so on. By any measure the wealthy can devote vastly greater resources to influencing government decision making and there is a huge volume of evidence which shows that the imbalance of resources is reflected in the actual decisions made - from studies into the provenance of legislation to the large number of well known cases where governments have changed policies in response to the direct and open demands of the bodies representing the interests of the rich.

But the obvious response to that is that while capital can amass these armies of influence seekers and makers they simply don't speak with one voice and they are also competing with each other... see how a single sector, that of construction, has arguably distorted policy to the detriment not merely of societal good, but other sectors of the economy. Moreover capital while it can lock into the media structures you mention can't simply dominate them in quite the mechanistic fashion you suggest. The naked boosterism of a certain newspaper and a certain radio station are atypical. The more subtle push as regards bolstering capitalism as the dominant system is certainly evident, but that's not quite the argument you're making, is it? Moreover, representation works for others. We also know that legislation and policies have been altered due to representation from other groups within the society.

There are also structural reasons why our media is the way it is, not least being the historical lack of a strong urbanised working class which might have allowed left-leaning newspapers to develop a readership in the way they did on the continent or the UK. That the supposed alternative is a centre right/liberal paper held in trust is very telling. But, as an aside having been directly involved during the 1980s and 1990s on projects to start up non-party union supported newspapers/periodicals one major problem was simply a lack of an audience for them.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Tue May 27, 2008 10:50 pm

chekov wrote:
You do, for the fifth or sixth time. I don't think it's possible for anybody to "dictate all that occurs" in any complex dynamic system. Societies and economies are dynamic systems of such mind-boggling complexity that any notion of 'dictating' an outcome is meaningless. My use of the word 'dictate' was in the context of claiming that you understimate "the degree to which state decisions are dictated by the needs of capitalists" and I think my point is entirely accurate. You haven't actually argued against it though. I most certainly don't think that government decisions dictate all that happens in society or the economy, I don't even think anything remotely similar to that.

But isn't this quite different from your original contention that capital (not government) is respionsible for the following dynamic: 'Most of the big, important decisions are made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist will make.' And that most certainly wasn't in the context of the government which you mention there but not in the original.

chekov wrote:
Once again, you seem to have completely missed the bit where I said: "Civil society, for its part, certainly can't be ignored. It places certain boundaries on the actions of the state and the corporations". I am fully aware - and entirely supportive - of the myriad of ways in which civil society has been able to constrain the decisions of capitalists over the last hundred or even fifty years ago. I even spend a significant amount of time and energy trying to increase the ability of civil society to constrain the freedom of the powerful and wealthy to do whatever the hell they like.

Which again, came well after your initial foray into this discussion in response to my point. Again where you didn't mention state/civil society.

chekov wrote:
The last sentence is an assertion that is unsupported by any of the preceding points. The fact that the state has had different policies in different historical situations does not imply anything at all about the possibility of "shifting the lever leftwards". Your argument lacks a plausible mechanism by which such a shift could be carried out in the current situation.

Er... no it's not. It directly flows from the preceding potted history because those weren't just policies, but were structural shifts in the relationship between the state and capital and the economy, and ultimately were implemented interventions by the state. And each represented (even privatisations) a distinct approach as regards that intervention demonstrating the ability of the state to act within the economic sphere. As for a plausible mechanism? A party/parties which combined to place the public interest ahead of private interest at least in some clearly defined areas, be that renationalisations, support of non-state cooperative enterprises, etc, etc. And that would be just a start. And then the political will to ensure that such policies were implemented once in power. And a small counter example. Had the Green Party held out for stopping co-location that would have been a significant achievement in and of itself.

chekov wrote:
I also think think that you are, once again, missing my point entirely. I don't think that the state is a static thing at all, nor do I think that the relationship between the state and capital isn't under continual renegotiation, nor do I think capital is the only determining course. I have argued that 'capital' (although I prefer not to use such uber-abstractions) exercises a very strong influence on state decision making. If you accept this, which is I think hard to disagree with, then your argument doesn't impact upon my point at all.

But, again, you ignored the state as an actor in your original comments entirely. And civil society. And any other factors. I have simply reintroduced them to the mix to demonstrate that your original contention was arguably skewed to a very specific reading and that while capital is a very significant factor it is not quite hegemonic, nor is it impervious to other factors. And while you may say that all these other factors were implicit in your original point that's not the reading I make.

chekov wrote:

I also think that you are wrong to equate the multiplication of "bords, quangos, executives" and so on with an "extension of state power". The state has less power to control the economy or the society than it ever had before in the past. Economic globalisation and the electronic-communications revolution have both created great constraints on the actions of the state.

If they intervene in economic activity to regulate, oversee or order it, and they're established at the behest of the state then it's fair to say they represent some extension of state power. While it is true that the state has divested itself of some economic instruments (aspects of monetary policy being the most obvious area) the idea that the state has less power to control economic or societal activity is simply incorrect. That it chooses not to do so is is a different thing, and is in no small part the responsibility of the left and its lack of influence.

chekov wrote:
But, more to the point, if you look at who sits on the various "bords, quangos, executives" and so on that the state has created, it is hard to see how this trend diminishes the influence that capitalists have over state decision making. Typically such bodies are formed primarily from those who represent the views of those who own the industries in the relevant area. In many cases they represent the state transferring its regulatory role away from civil servants in favour of a group representing "concerned capitalists" of the industry in question.

But a countervailing trend has been to see people appointed from civil society and the unions. It's an unusual enough body which doesn't have that sort of representation on it. Now that's not to argue that all is fine and dandy, but it is to suggest that this isn't the onward march of capitalism, but instead a much much more mixed situation that can be taken advantage of if people try to do so.

I guess I'm trying to put across the idea that it is impossible to understand the web of relationships within an advanced capitalist/liberal democratic state if one simply proceeds from the idea that the platonic absolute of 'capitalist relations' determine all that occurs, or that they are the only factor within the society. In other words that the explicatory power of your original statement that ' We live in a world where decision making power is allocated more or less directly on the basis of how much capital one owns. Most of the big, important decisions are made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist will make. Attempts to make one's opinions count against such decisions are just totally ignored unless they are made persistently enough where they have to beat you off the streets. ' or indeed your more recent 'the freedom of the powerful and wealthy to do whatever the hell they like.' while valid to a certain extent are simply insufficient to describe the society and how it functions. Outside of feudal societies the powerful and wealthy simply haven't had the freedom to do whatever the hell they like, indeed as societies have become more complicated, or if one likes more capitalist, there has been additional layers of constraint added (and any right-libertarian site will whinge incessantly about this). Is that a factor of capitalism or complexity? I think it's both, which isn't an argument for capitalism, or at least not entirely. And it's patently obvious that we don't live in a situation where other opinions don't count or are just totally ignored except through street action.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 1:12 am

wbs, the reason that I spent a fair amount of time demonstrating the influence of capitalists on state decision making is that decision making power is transitive.

If I want x to happen and I then use my influence on a second party to make x happen, it's still my decision being carried out. Therefore, when I say that "most of the big, important decisions are made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist will make," this incoporates both those large number of big, important decisions which the private sector takes on its own and those taken on its behalf by the state or other entity.

To explain to you what I mean by 'most of the big, important decision' consider the following examples:

* Almost all private sector investment decisions are clearly made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist thinks he or she will make. The fact that such decisions are made within constraints is irrelevant, the maximisation of shareholder value is still the goal driving the decision.

* The policy of encouraging economic growth in the private sector is rigid economic orthodoxy in all liberal democracies. Therefore macro-economic decisions are based on trying to make money for capitalists. Once again, the various constraints on these decisions does not affect whose interests they are ultimately serving.

Incidentally, I took care to say most, and I did not say all, so your continued reduction of my argument to a ridiculous platonic straw-man is a bit trying. It is also bad practice to quote the second half of a sentence about constraining the freedom of something, leaving out the bit about constraining and presenting it as a declaration of an absolute.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 1:28 am

Is the difference of opinion here more than one of the degree to which the interests of capitalism determine what happens?

I am understanding from this discussion that anarchism is essentially a movement for overthrow of private ownership and the current structures of government and replacement of it with probably small scale bottom up structures with no leaders, run in a co-operative way - is that an acceptable definition?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 2:26 am

cactus flower wrote:
Is the difference of opinion here more than one of the degree to which the interests of capitalism determine what happens?

Not what happens, what decisions are made. The distinction is important. Decisions do not determine what happens, they just push things in a certain direction. What happens depends on the interaction between the decision and the complex mix of society. Decisions can have many unintended consequences.

cactus flower wrote:
I am understanding from this discussion that anarchism is essentially a movement for overthrow of private ownership and the current structures of government and replacement of it with probably small scale bottom up structures with no leaders, run in a co-operative way - is that an acceptable definition?

It is would be correct if it were not for the "small scale" bit. Some decisions, such as the volume of greenhouse gases to produce, affect everybody on the planet. Such decisions should be made, to as great a degree as possible, on the basis of the aggregate opinion of the world's population. To do that you need structures to support such large-scale decision making.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 3:23 am

Interesting. So is there another meta method for organising the organisers or how does that work? I'd imagine there are lots of such 'large-scales'; global warming might be one but what about research of a scientific nature? That often needs resources arising from international co-operation. Also technology and engineering - it can't be denied that people want to build and invent stuff - bridges from Denmark to Sweden, tunnels and subways and undergrounds and metros; And more - materials science, sport technology, space exploration, entertainment, communications - these are all very rich phenomena that can neither be cast aside as being ecologically self-destructive nor as being the frivolous side-effects of rampant capitalism; the realisation and existence of such products and phenomena can be credited to an inherent need in human nature I'd argue. We must satisfy curiosity needs and we do it through inventions, exploration, science.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 10:14 am

chekov wrote:
wbs, the reason that I spent a fair amount of time demonstrating the influence of capitalists on state decision making is that decision making power is transitive.

If I want x to happen and I then use my influence on a second party to make x happen, it's still my decision being carried out. Therefore, when I say that "most of the big, important decisions are made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist will make," this incoporates both those large number of big, important decisions which the private sector takes on its own and those taken on its behalf by the state or other entity.

To explain to you what I mean by 'most of the big, important decision' consider the following examples:

* Almost all private sector investment decisions are clearly made on the basis of how much money the concerned capitalist thinks he or she will make. The fact that such decisions are made within constraints is irrelevant, the maximisation of shareholder value is still the goal driving the decision.

* The policy of encouraging economic growth in the private sector is rigid economic orthodoxy in all liberal democracies. Therefore macro-economic decisions are based on trying to make money for capitalists. Once again, the various constraints on these decisions does not affect whose interests they are ultimately serving.

Incidentally, I took care to say most, and I did not say all, so your continued reduction of my argument to a ridiculous platonic straw-man is a bit trying. It is also bad practice to quote the second half of a sentence about constraining the freedom of something, leaving out the bit about constraining and presenting it as a declaration of an absolute.

Chekov, the problem is that you made a statement of almost no explicatory power whatsoever about our society unvarnished and with no qualifications as if that was the final word on the matter. That it may be for you in a discussion because it supports your political analysis is a different matter. It's not that I'm ignoring the qualifiers you added in later in addition to my criticism, but the fact they were added as an afterthought and in the face of a critique merely points up the near ex cathedra nature of the original statement you made. Of course, in reality and as you say yourself, you believe in civil society/unions/whatever having an influence, but to simplify your argument down you made a case ignoring all those facts in order to make it appear as if capital was paramount and dominant using the unsatisfying reductionism of your original statement which suggests that countering capital simply results in being beaten off the streets. That's fine - perhaps - on a rhetorical level, but not so fine if we're trying to have a serious discussion about these matters away from 'gotcha' style faux 'shock' over one statement or another. Then when it is pointed out at - admittedly tedious length on my part - that the situation is more complex than you originally presented in the original statement and in such a way that undermines considerably (but not entirely - because it is very true that capital has considerable influence in our society) somehow I'm being a bit trying.

Okay.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 10:32 am

chekov wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
Is the difference of opinion here more than one of the degree to which the interests of capitalism determine what happens?

Not what happens, what decisions are made. The distinction is important. Decisions do not determine what happens, they just push things in a certain direction. What happens depends on the interaction between the decision and the complex mix of society. Decisions can have many unintended consequences.

cactus flower wrote:
I am understanding from this discussion that anarchism is essentially a movement for overthrow of private ownership and the current structures of government and replacement of it with probably small scale bottom up structures with no leaders, run in a co-operative way - is that an acceptable definition?

It is would be correct if it were not for the "small scale" bit. Some decisions, such as the volume of greenhouse gases to produce, affect everybody on the planet. Such decisions should be made, to as great a degree as possible, on the basis of the aggregate opinion of the world's population. To do that you need structures to support such large-scale decision making.

Thanks for the reply, Chekov, this is a useful learning thread for me and I'm sure others. What I would add in in relation to "what is decided" versus "what happens" is that in my view whilst decisions whether by capitalists or people opposing capitalism are both important and complex in their outcome, capitalism, i.e. the economic substructure of society, is a primary layer, and has many outcomes that are not the result of anyone's individual concious decision. The recent subprime and lending crisis for example was not the result of a decision as such, but is having and will continue to have a massive impact on lives.
The influence on even family relations out of capitalism is deep going: the nuclear family is both a unit of consumption and a grouping that raises and puts through education children trained to participate in a capitalist economy. That's not to say that change can't happen: capitalism itself replaced and earlier systems of economic and social relations, feudalism or tribalism, in different parts of the world and no system could last for ever.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 12:18 pm

You turn your back on this particular thread for a second and you get left behind lol. I've been up to me neck in stuff for the last few days and haven't had the time to keep up. I'll rectify that over the next day or so. I particularly want to address WBS, I think the differences between our viewpoints are now clearly visible and I think we may reach an agreement on certain topics. In other words, I think we both see certain outcomes as desirable and that it is the methodologies that each of us envision as going towards achieving these objectives where our disagreement lies. That's a gross oversimplification, I know, but for the time being, it's where I'm at. I'll go into a detailed spiel shortly.

In the meantime I want to address what Auditor #9 has said. He's brought up a topic that I've a great interest in. Whilst this might not provide a conclusive answer, it will at least, I hope, establish that we're at least reading from the same page on the topic.

Auditor #9 wrote:
Interesting. So is there another meta method for organising the organisers or how does that work? I'd imagine there are lots of such 'large-scales'; global warming might be one but what about research of a scientific nature? That often needs resources arising from international co-operation. Also technology and engineering - it can't be denied that people want to build and invent stuff - bridges from Denmark to Sweden, tunnels and subways and undergrounds and metros; And more - materials science, sport technology, space exploration, entertainment, communications - these are all very rich phenomena that can neither be cast aside as being ecologically self-destructive nor as being the frivolous side-effects of rampant capitalism; the realisation and existence of such products and phenomena can be credited to an inherent need in human nature I'd argue. We must satisfy curiosity needs and we do it through inventions, exploration, science.

We are absolutely curious and that'll never change. Even if us anarchists took over tomorrow and unleashed the 'militia' on all the scientists and all the artists, we'd not stem the flow of progress. If we were to become the majority, would things change? Yes.

I've a habit of stringing scientists and artists together - some would say it's a bad habit. Bad habit or not, I see science and art as entities who point out the possible and drag us (sometimes kicking and screaming) into the future. Anyway, I digress...

Currently science plods on as it will, with the odd awe-inspiring breakthrough that facilitates a boot strapping mechanism, which in turn accelerates our ability to progress. Currently, of all the processes that might constrain and or guide science, capitalism is by far the greatest. There are both pros and cons in this. The biggest pro is that capitalism can focus resources for the scientific community in a way that no other could, and this allows for both finely directed research and in an accelerating environment too. Of course this has its drawbacks too. Because, capitalism sees (and I admit with some genuine reason considering the investment it makes) knowledge as property that can be owned exclusively. This 'ownership' prevents or at least slows to a trickle, the globalisation of both the knowledge itself and indeed the technology it inspires. This 'ownership' acts as a massive braking mechanism on scientific progress itself and by far outweighs any of the efficiency facilitated by capitalism, in my opinion. Another drawback, though it does wander into the conspiracy theorist's realm, is that capitalism will prevent breakthroughs that would diminish its monopolies and power from appearing or proceeding. Take for example the conspiracy theory: if science developed a cure for the common cold it would be buried as half the pharmaceutical industry would go under if the common cold became a thing of the past. Conspiracy theory - yes. Logical nonetheless.

Anarchism would not try to bury science. As has been said already, education is our best friend. What would change would be that directed research would be re-directed towards bettering humanity as a whole without any focus on certain people's pockets and increasing the weight contained therein. The braking mechanism I described above would completely be removed thanks to the removal of patenting. Whilst science under anarchism might not be as powerful as science under capitalism (at the start), due to the focussing that drives science under capitalism, under anarchism, scientific development would accelerate well beyond the limitations imposed by capitalism in a very short time period.

Organisation. Yup we'd need to do it too, we couldn't organise it as well as capitalists do it currently, it must be remembered that the world was not created seconds ago and the ability to organise scientific research has not always been as it is now. However, imagine having the freedom to research anything you wished, with the possibility of using any other research you wished to aid you and to be able to discuss any product or idea that was formerly patented with any other party. Slower at first - a given - it's the acceleration that's different.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 7:12 pm

Hermes, is a form of Anarchism not inevitable in our society, just to acknowledge WBS's earlier comment about Anarchism being a beefed-up form of the status quo? Because (this is an assumption) there is no over-arching theory or design in Europe and how nation-states will progress will be largely left up to them as it is up to the people of the Dingle peninsula to decide their own future in certain ways (within a larger framework) if they want.

Ireland is very suited to Anarchism I'd say given that we could be self-sufficient in food and we have an abundant water supply so we can spend a lot less time growing food than Mediterraneans and concentrate on other things higher up on the Maslow hierarchy because it's that that we are trying to address in society and we organise into larger groups than family or locality in order to have a steady supply of whatever it is we have to procure in order to meet those Maslow needs. In Ireland we can be self sufficient in food with such a low population, why everyone doesn't have a boat is a mystery and a shame and with wind and wave resources there is no doubt in my mind that we could be self sufficient in energy. In fact we're watching how much gets generated here on the portal outside.

And that leads to technology. Some technology referred to as intermediate in the Small is Beautiful can be used to meet certain aims without recourse to external trade on a continual basis, which is where Anarchism could naturally come in down in Dingle, up in Inishowen or in Beara. At some point the price of energy might lead people to think that they can have cheaper electricity generated locally than otherwise and they could well form into Wind co-ops who would intend to supply themselves and sell the excess to the state. This is happening in Denmark already so it's not unthinkable here.

Or is it? We have a lot of lots of stuff but we can't ever seem to be able to get it together between us all. If we did we'd have the bottom level of Maslow's hierarchy dealt with by ourselves, perhaps but there seems to be something almost tribal in us preventing us from doing this.

Finally this intermediate technology can liberate us on one level but I'd hate to see the end of cheap air travel for example; I'd love to see a concerted effort to have such a product available to us without costing the earth in all senses. And this would be an example of a type of business we could never do on our own, where international co-ordination would be necessary to get such an industry off the ground.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 7:37 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Is the difference of opinion here more than one of the degree to which the interests of capitalism determine what happens?

I am understanding from this discussion that anarchism is essentially a movement for overthrow of private ownership and the current structures of government and replacement of it with probably small scale bottom up structures with no leaders, run in a co-operative way - is that an acceptable definition?

i would prefer to undermine capitalism rather then overthrow it.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:32 pm

A very nice post Audi and it's like a breath of fresh air. That's not meant to be some sop that proclaims that you have become my zombie slave. It means that you're looking at the big picture and are coming to your own conclusions, despite the amount of interference that normally conspires to obscure this.

A form of anarchism is absolutely unavoidable, particularly in Irish society. Our history more than anything else has ingrained it into us and prepared us for it. As I said in my first post on this thread, I'm not as clued in on the recent developments within anarchist politics as I should be and that thus far I'm quite content to leave such matters in the hands of those who are quite obviously better disposed and qualified to sort out such matters. For me, it's simply a way of life and approaching how I deal with it. I'd prefer to focus on end goals and not worry too much as to how they are realised (within reason of course). I feel that if I can find common ground with others, with regard to these end goals, that we're on the same path and it matters not a jot to me whether these others ever refer to themselves as anarchists.

I think this post will somewhat clarify my position with WBS, though I do intend to deal with specifics in a later post. I have no problem with anarchism being described as a beefed up version of the status quo. I see this point in a different light than Chekov sees it. Though I do agree with most of why he disagrees with this description. It's got to do with definition. I don't see the status quo as being purely a physical operation. I see it as the general mood and outlook, the zeitgeist if you will. I look all around and I see want in every direction. A lot of this want is surplus materialism, which neither impresses nor moves me. A lot of the want is to do with bettering one's self and one's position, one's community and country too. Anarchy is the will to power and thus a beefed up version of what I see as being the status quo is the will to power.

I absolutely (or as close to it as we can get) believe that self sufficiency extends far beyond merely feeding ourselves and that instances of the cooperation you described are a model that is slowly becoming the norm. I see democracy as being an entity whose purpose is to do away with the need of itself as each human or family (or whatever) becomes totally self-sufficient. When that happens each person or group will become their own government. That's an end state, that's anarchy and it's inevitable. The process that'll get us there is another matter and anarchists have backward engineered the end state into a very workable model, that's the politics of anarchy and that's why I'm content to let others worry about it. The anarchist political model is the most efficient model to get us there but I believe that all roads lead there eventually (so long as we don't destroy ourselves first).

I don't see a problem with global cooperation arising from the anarchist model. I mean currently we cooperate with republics, democracies, monarchies, socialists and dictators. Of all of them, anarchists would be the most willing (and imo the most able) to sit down at a negotiating table.

With regard to the point made about us, the Irish, always being at each others throats and being our own worst enemies with regard to self-sufficiency and progress - I couldn't disagree, it's obvious. We as a nation are learning a very valuable lesson about the need for mutuality and we're way ahead of the pack in the learning of it. When the going gets tough, and it will, our bonding will be very strong and we will be a model for others. We can call ourselves anarchists, or whatever - what's in a name?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:38 pm

cactus flower wrote:

Thanks for the reply, Chekov, this is a useful learning thread for me and I'm sure others. What I would add in in relation to "what is decided" versus "what happens" is that in my view whilst decisions whether by capitalists or people opposing capitalism are both important and complex in their outcome, capitalism, i.e. the economic substructure of society, is a primary layer, and has many outcomes that are not the result of anyone's individual concious decision. The recent subprime and lending crisis for example was not the result of a decision as such, but is having and will continue to have a massive impact on lives.
The influence on even family relations out of capitalism is deep going: the nuclear family is both a unit of consumption and a grouping that raises and puts through education children trained to participate in a capitalist economy. That's not to say that change can't happen: capitalism itself replaced and earlier systems of economic and social relations, feudalism or tribalism, in different parts of the world and no system could last for ever.

ya gotta stop thinking of our democratic capitalism as normal and unfortunately inevitable...

of course the recent subprime market was the product of definite decisions, they decided to give lots of dodgy loans and then when things went bad the market collapsed.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Wed May 28, 2008 8:54 pm

Boom and bust in my view is inherent to capitalism and not an option. What is normal in my mind about any economic system is that it has it day but it won't last forever. It is inevitable that it will be replaced, by something better or worse. But I do think the decisions people take are critical to how it works out.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Thu May 29, 2008 1:36 am

The exchange with WBS has prompted me to start writing a proper essay about what I mean. I think the misunderstanding / disagreements springs from the fact that I use decision making power as the fundamental unit of social analysis, rather than ownership of capital, as the marxists do, or socio-cultural stuff, as the liberals do, or job-title, as the crudest socialists do.

Ownership, job title and so on are, in this view, just indicators of a particular set of decisions that are available to one. There are lots of other imbalances in decision making power in our society (gender, age, location, etc) all of which have their effects. Wealth is just one of them, but the problem with wealth is that it can be accumulated over centuries and, all else being equal, decision making power increases at least linearly with wealth. That means that capitalism creates vast concentrations of decision making power in a small number of hands.

Anyway, I don't want to get into it the theoretical back and forth again, so I'll stick to talking about stuff that's a bit more grounded.

On the science thing - the big problem with current science begins and ends with the profit motive. It pollutes the pool in all and every way.

Commercial magazines and conferences that will publish anything that they are paid to publish and are peer-reviewed but have a zero percent rejection rate.

The virtual impossibility of attracting funding for large projects in most fields without having major industrial partners.

The consistent massaging of results and hiding of negative results by company scientists.

The fact that 'commercialisation plans' is one of the basic metrics by which most scientific research proposals is evaluated.

And you could go on and on. When you strip away that stuff, science isn't too bad. You've got all sorts of international, national and local voluntary societies and associations which operate more or less democratically and have evolved a wonderfully imaginative set of tools which allows them to minimise the effects of hierarchies of position. Anybody can get published in the best journals, it doesn't matter who you are because they have rigorous double-blind review processes. It matters what you write, that's what gets evaluated.

So, in terms of an anarchist concept of how science should work, I'd say that there are already many aspects of scientific organisation which are based upon fairly good models and that scientists have always been pretty good at voluntary international cooperation, despite the various hurdles that are put in their way by the profit motive. The big problem is that the profit motive is an overwhelmingly strong force driving both the allocation of resources to research and the choice of problems to be researched. As a good example of what this means, witness the almost total absence of research into the deadly diseases of Africa such as sleeping sickness versus the mind-blowingly large investments into research targetted at the lifestyle ailments of the West, real or imagined.

In terms of how an anarchist would approach solving that problem, I'd have to go off into another thought experiment for that, and I've already written enough in this post...
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Thu May 29, 2008 11:58 am

Quote :
The big problem is that the profit motive is an overwhelmingly strong force driving both the allocation of resources to research and the choice of problems to be researched.

Nowhere is this more evident than in medical science / research. For all the so-called safety of the randomised double-blind trials the outcomes frequently founder on the point you make: that the 'problem' which this wonderful science and its associated methodologies was supposed to address was either ill-defined at the outset and/or specificially required NOT to take factors into consideration which might secure an outcome that was not wanted. Having thus delimited the field of enquiry, the excellent science (and it would be if were allowed) is then used almost to defeat its own meaning and method. For example to this very day, and because of the vicious roar of capital that has accompanied this issue, funding is flatly refused for proper clinical trials of people thought to have been adversely affected by vaccination. Massive studies have been done of general populations which look at trends - the most quoted of which have serious flaws in their design but nevertheless have been 'peer reviewed' and hailed as 'proof' that there is no problem.

It's a great shame - science is one of the purer and more objective forms of enquiry at its best. At a time when the government is cutting back on essential frontline medical services, it has just announced a massive injection of cash for academic research. It's a safe bet that a fair whack of this subsidy is tied to business interests - i.e. research that will be done to advance business interests rather than the sum of human knowledge.

Here's a pretty telling quote from 'Science Business' which gives a flavour of what is going on:

Quote :
Science|Business is the first independent news service that brings together buyers and sellers of emerging technologies - through its online news coverage, its subscriber-posting service, and its exclusive networking events.

It does so with a top-quality news team, and a unique network of Europe's leading scientific institutions. They include the University of Cambridge, ETH-Zurich, Karolinska Institutet, and Imperial College London. Our editorial team is drawn from the world's top science and business publications. It is led by Richard L. Hudson and Peter Wrobel, former managing editors at the Wall Street Journal Europe and the leading science journal Nature. A global network of leading business and science journalists joins them to provide the smartest, and most international, perspectives on the commercialisation of science. They are advised by some of Europe's leading academic and business figures. And they are determined to break the mould in science journalism - to bring business intelligence and multi-disciplinary insight to the very earliest stages of R&D.

http://www.sciencebusiness.net/info/about_us.php
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Thu May 29, 2008 7:25 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Boom and bust in my view is inherent to capitalism and not an option. What is normal in my mind about any economic system is that it has it day but it won't last forever. It is inevitable that it will be replaced, by something better or worse. But I do think the decisions people take are critical to how it works out.

so you reckon its fine for now?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Thu May 29, 2008 7:26 pm

I reckon it was well past its sell-by date by 1939.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Thu May 29, 2008 11:53 pm

chekov wrote:
The exchange with WBS has prompted me to start writing a proper essay about what I mean. I think the misunderstanding / disagreements springs from the fact that I use decision making power as the fundamental unit of social analysis, rather than ownership of capital, as the marxists do, or socio-cultural stuff, as the liberals do, or job-title, as the crudest socialists do.

Ownership, job title and so on are, in this view, just indicators of a particular set of decisions that are available to one. There are lots of other imbalances in decision making power in our society (gender, age, location, etc) all of which have their effects. Wealth is just one of them, but the problem with wealth is that it can be accumulated over centuries and, all else being equal, decision making power increases at least linearly with wealth. That means that capitalism creates vast concentrations of decision making power in a small number of hands.

Anyway, I don't want to get into it the theoretical back and forth again, so I'll stick to talking about stuff that's a bit more grounded.

On the science thing - the big problem with current science begins and ends with the profit motive. It pollutes the pool in all and every way.

Commercial magazines and conferences that will publish anything that they are paid to publish and are peer-reviewed but have a zero percent rejection rate.

The virtual impossibility of attracting funding for large projects in most fields without having major industrial partners.

The consistent massaging of results and hiding of negative results by company scientists.

The fact that 'commercialisation plans' is one of the basic metrics by which most scientific research proposals is evaluated.

And you could go on and on. When you strip away that stuff, science isn't too bad. You've got all sorts of international, national and local voluntary societies and associations which operate more or less democratically and have evolved a wonderfully imaginative set of tools which allows them to minimise the effects of hierarchies of position. Anybody can get published in the best journals, it doesn't matter who you are because they have rigorous double-blind review processes. It matters what you write, that's what gets evaluated.

So, in terms of an anarchist concept of how science should work, I'd say that there are already many aspects of scientific organisation which are based upon fairly good models and that scientists have always been pretty good at voluntary international cooperation, despite the various hurdles that are put in their way by the profit motive. The big problem is that the profit motive is an overwhelmingly strong force driving both the allocation of resources to research and the choice of problems to be researched. As a good example of what this means, witness the almost total absence of research into the deadly diseases of Africa such as sleeping sickness versus the mind-blowingly large investments into research targetted at the lifestyle ailments of the West, real or imagined.

In terms of how an anarchist would approach solving that problem, I'd have to go off into another thought experiment for that, and I've already written enough in this post...

Very interesting analysis and very little that I'd disagree with for one.

For example, I would entirely agree that crude approaches that suggest that 'ownership of capital' or 'title' are simply insufficient. Capital is more widely distributed at its fringes than at any time before, while the majority of it is retained in the same old pools of privilege as before - or newly developed ones. Title is often a bone thrown to people to keep them pacified, it's certainly one means of maintaining order in companies. So the crude Marxist analysis is clearly incoherent in the face of this.

I'm not entirely dubious about the importance of socio-cultural elements in predicating certain means of control and command, and in the cultural sense that Gramsci suggested I'm more than half-convinced. And in any case, I'm not a Marxist, if anything a (horrible term) post-Marxist, but I do believe class structure and position is a significant (but not necessarily over-riding) determinant of much else.

And if I have one difference on that score with Chekov, and I may be misreading his analysis so my apologies if so, it is that I believe that class underpins the processes that feed into the structures which generate decision making. To me it comes first, not second. Secondly, and this would be divergence number two, I'd see the state as a significant tool for changing the situation, an enabler as it were.

So, how does this impinge on my view of anarchism? Problem is that to engage on this topic may seem, coming from my political stance merely carping which I don't want to do, so perhaps better to set out points of agreement and areas that others might consider giving further information about in order to clarify their positions.

Firstly that it - in the broad approach the insights it has, and which Chekov articulates, about decision making capability being a central aspect (although once more, not an over-riding one, as he himself says) of societal power - are very important in establishing a way forward beyond barren statism or a continuation of the status quo.

Secondly that there are clear problems in applying these, in that we live in strongly embedded societal structures so in my view the best we can do is hope to overturn them gradually from within by establishing parallel structures. To my mind there is no 'false consciousness' which means people will suddenly wake up and decide socialist/anarchist structures are the way forward, they have to be demonstrated as effective alternatives (and perhaps embedded themselves in those parallel structures in the sociopolitical/economic mix). I'm particularly interested in how this thread will give concrete examples of such structures where they currently exist...

Thirdly, that there is hope on that score in that as time progresses we see more democratic forms being adopted across a range of societal areas. One point that Chekov made that I very strongly agree with is the lack of democracy in workplaces and I'd argue that this influences a range of societal entities (Andre Gorz - who I discuss later - termed them 'prison factories' and suggested that rather than traditional workers 'control' a more useful approach would be to both democratise the workplace and reduce the time that workers spent engaged in work). The Fordist structures of the early 20th century merely bolted on 'efficiency' to profoundly anti-democratic structures. There has been some very limited progress in reworking that, mainly in small scale enterprises consisting of two or three people, but occasionally in larger scale enterprises. The examples from the continent are encouraging, and with our own tradition of co-operatives could move the situation forward. That said, in Ireland the co-operative form was often subsumed into more traditional structures as time went on... consider the example of Pat the Cope and his family connections to co-ops...

And what I genuinely believe is that in order to generate the sort of outcomes that Chekov again refers to above it is vital to have a state which puts the public good at the heart of its endeavours. So that, there is large scale funding for large projects as mentioned above and that the state rather than being the tool beloved of statists instead is a sort element within a broad network of entities and activities forwarding a left agenda.

Finally, my major political influences are André Gorz, a French green socialist who decisively broke with Marxism and moved towards less-statist forms (while acknowledging the utility of the state to enable change), Rudolf Bahro, a former East German Communist who became a dissident and then moved towards the Green movement (and Akrasia will like this, he was an advocate and coined the phrase 'industrial disarmament' about moving away from industrialisation towards Green societies - he wound up deep Green), and finally a guy called Donald Horne who was a strongly libertarian leftist profoundly suspicious of state, capitalist and other power. To me a libertarian socialist approach where power is devolved downwards is essential, but... in such a way as to ensure a genuine participation as distinct from the facade of same (which is what we saw in the statist approaches of the Eastern Bloc).

Now, how to get there? There's the rub. Any possibilities?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 12:17 am

Is the 'how to get there' envisaged from a global or an Irish perspective?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:18 am

Quote :
On the science thing - the big problem with current science begins and
ends with the profit motive. It pollutes the pool in all and every way.


Commercial magazines and conferences that will publish anything
that they are paid to publish and are peer-reviewed but have a zero
percent rejection rate.

Hmm. I know quite a few scientists who would find the latter statement rather amazing. Unless "commercial magazines" has some limited definition that excludes most of the major peer-reviewed journals?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:33 am

ibis wrote:
Hmm. I know quite a few scientists who would find the latter statement rather amazing. Unless "commercial magazines" has some limited definition that excludes most of the major peer-reviewed journals?

In fairness, I refered positively to the best journals. In recent years there has been a proliferation of fake "peer reviewed" journals and conferences in many fields. They exist purely as CV-fillers, you pay to publish, they have no reputation.

For example, in 2005, a paper generated by this "computer science paper generator:" http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/ was published by these guys: http://www.sciiis.org/wmsci2008/website/default.asp?vc=1 They are far from being the worst. Dodgy conferences and journals are a huge growth field in many disciplines. You should see my inbox.
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