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 Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?

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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:37 am

chekov wrote:
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.

Ah, those...along with the ones the Creationists have set up so that they can "peer-review" each other. Yes, fair enough.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:50 am

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.

Now that statement in bold above is a divergence from Marxism in a fundamental way I think - does it contain the cornerstone of Anarchism I wonder? Decision making ... the opportunity and power to orchestrate your world as it is presented around you, in whatever way you see fit, regardless of the detail of those capital items that may be in that world... Are you referring to individuals of any stature making decisions - individuals from the man on the street through levels of organisations and in political establishments (some of them make decisions based on Whip politics - that's called Freedom for some people)

So yes, what levels and categories and grades of power are you referring to and how do you see decision-making capability or opportunity as impacting substantially on the world?


WorldbyStorm wrote:
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.
So you acknowledge that Marxism is incapable of being used as a tool for political change now? What are your own feelings on its limitations? What I'd guess contributed to this position of Marxism would be radical changes e.g. the issue of energy and the mounting importance of information among other structures which have emerged since Marx was alive - industrial changes, wars, the availability of education, feminism and other social movements, various technologies...

WorldbyStorm wrote:

.. 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...
I'd wonder if there has to be a will to this end at all? Can't it be allowed to emerge? It is emerging in my opinion and with a nod to your own point earlier with regard to anarchism being a beefed-up version of present structures (in Ireland anyway); I'd guess that within a generation there could be a sudden crystallisation of change precipitated by information technology among other technologies and above all, pushed forward as a result of the tastes for the world which will be given people through education. I don't see the State playing a huge role in it in future though I may be wrong - the trend is towards smaller components - locally elected mayors with more power, talk of Munster going solo are not just theoretical issues on p.ie but are a current in the minds of people who live here.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
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.
And so you are getting back somewhat to where Chekov began about decision-making and personal empowerment - this I see as an essential element in further change - empowerment of individuals in their places of work where at present it is largely dictatorial. On p.ie there was a thread on bullying at work and it quoted an article which suggested that way too many irish people were unhappy at their place of work and were leaving. I blamed the dominating manager types who don't give responsibility to their colleagues and who too often bully and harass people and get away with it. I suggested that employers give a copy of workplace rights and law to new employees and basically tell them that they are entitled to dignity at work. I was told I was a sissy or something by several of them but Leftfemme22 came to my rescue (there is power in numbers) by linking the relevant laws on workplace attitudes which protect the employee to a degree that is not in the interest of the employer and rightly so. It's up to us to use those laws by outlining them to over-dominant employers when needed. The power is there we just don't know how to use it yet.

On a more casual note, I have no idea how those chefs get away with such aggression on open television - it shouldn't be allowed in the army, in my opinion and probably isn't.

The role of the state, whatever that is or will be, could be interesting to discuss but I'd also like to address Aragon's points on science above too, eventually (good link to that journo site)
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:55 am

ibis wrote:
Ah, those...along with the ones the Creationists have set up so that they can "peer-review" each other. Yes, fair enough.

Scholars for 911 truth published one too. A year after reading it, I still have no words to describe it.

The grubby commercial ones are way more common though.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 1:58 am

I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 9:55 am

cactus flower wrote:
Is the 'how to get there' envisaged from a global or an Irish perspective?

Either cactus flower... whichever is easiest... Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 9:58 am

ibis wrote:
chekov wrote:
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.

Ah, those...along with the ones the Creationists have set up so that they can "peer-review" each other. Yes, fair enough.

It's difficult to know how widespread this sort of thing is. I think you're right that there are more than there used to be (although the cynic in me wonders if conferences in whatever field aren't often just for that purpose anyhow Smile ). I know of an 'internet' peer reviewed publication in my field which is peer-reviewed by the ... er... people who run it... It's a widely known fact and therefore no one takes them seriously, but... they get small sources of funding, hold international conferences, pat each others backs etc... There's little harm on one level, enormous on another to the broad credibility of the area.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 10:14 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
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.

Now that statement in bold above is a divergence from Marxism in a fundamental way I think - does it contain the cornerstone of Anarchism I wonder? Decision making ... the opportunity and power to orchestrate your world as it is presented around you, in whatever way you see fit, regardless of the detail of those capital items that may be in that world... Are you referring to individuals of any stature making decisions - individuals from the man on the street through levels of organisations and in political establishments (some of them make decisions based on Whip politics - that's called Freedom for some people)

So yes, what levels and categories and grades of power are you referring to and how do you see decision-making capability or opportunity as impacting substantially on the world?


WorldbyStorm wrote:
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.
So you acknowledge that Marxism is incapable of being used as a tool for political change now? What are your own feelings on its limitations? What I'd guess contributed to this position of Marxism would be radical changes e.g. the issue of energy and the mounting importance of information among other structures which have emerged since Marx was alive - industrial changes, wars, the availability of education, feminism and other social movements, various technologies...

WorldbyStorm wrote:

.. 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...
I'd wonder if there has to be a will to this end at all? Can't it be allowed to emerge? It is emerging in my opinion and with a nod to your own point earlier with regard to anarchism being a beefed-up version of present structures (in Ireland anyway); I'd guess that within a generation there could be a sudden crystallisation of change precipitated by information technology among other technologies and above all, pushed forward as a result of the tastes for the world which will be given people through education. I don't see the State playing a huge role in it in future though I may be wrong - the trend is towards smaller components - locally elected mayors with more power, talk of Munster going solo are not just theoretical issues on p.ie but are a current in the minds of people who live here.

WorldbyStorm wrote:
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.
And so you are getting back somewhat to where Chekov began about decision-making and personal empowerment - this I see as an essential element in further change - empowerment of individuals in their places of work where at present it is largely dictatorial. On p.ie there was a thread on bullying at work and it quoted an article which suggested that way too many irish people were unhappy at their place of work and were leaving. I blamed the dominating manager types who don't give responsibility to their colleagues and who too often bully and harass people and get away with it. I suggested that employers give a copy of workplace rights and law to new employees and basically tell them that they are entitled to dignity at work. I was told I was a sissy or something by several of them but Leftfemme22 came to my rescue (there is power in numbers) by linking the relevant laws on workplace attitudes which protect the employee to a degree that is not in the interest of the employer and rightly so. It's up to us to use those laws by outlining them to over-dominant employers when needed. The power is there we just don't know how to use it yet.

On a more casual note, I have no idea how those chefs get away with such aggression on open television - it shouldn't be allowed in the army, in my opinion and probably isn't.

The role of the state, whatever that is or will be, could be interesting to discuss but I'd also like to address Aragon's points on science above too, eventually (good link to that journo site)

Re your first para...I don't want to speak for Marxists, it's a while since I felt comfortable exclusively within that tradition (incidentally I'd think that most socialists and social democrats would broadly agree that class was a key determinant to varying degrees), but I suspect most would argue that decision making autonomy - as described by Chekov - comes as part of the mix. Hence Marxism uses/used many of the forms mentioned here, co-operatives, etc. Where Marxism in practice fell down was the paranoid fear of gifting actual autonomy as distinct from rhetorical autonomy, so trades unions, co-ops, etc became fronts or facades (not entirely, but to a huge degree). And the crushing nature of a single party state obviously aided this. I would have thought that an actual divergence would be the sense that the state/party is the primary enabler, whereas I presume Chekov (and me too, believe it or not) would not see that as the case.

re your second... I think Marxism has great explicatory power. Perhaps the most profound of any political philosophy of the the last half millennium. My sense of its limitations are that in practice (and theory as seen by the various tendencies and strains of Marxist thinking in the 20th C) the concentration on non-pluralistic forms - the vanguard party, the obsession with the proletariat to the exclusion of all else, Chekovs points about decisions making (or let's just call it freedom), a dubious economism that depends on concepts such as 'growth' and problematicals such as mass industrialisation, and so on make it untenable. Not to mention the hames that have ensued when put into practice. I'd also concur with your final sentence in that para. So many other issues have appeared (or more accurately come to the fore, because they've always been there in one form or another) that to try to apply it in the mechanistic fashion beloved of the 'marxists'. But it's difficult to leave it behind. I'm not a Marxist, but I might still have some allegiance to aspects of 'marxism' lower case as a methodological tool.

PAra three... I'd love that to be the case. Indeed I hope it is. But even if we move towards more localised decision making none of that necessitates left or socialist or left anarchist aspects to it. I could think that one could have a situation not dissimilar to the patchwork of states that comprised pre-modern Germany each sovereign and autonomous, each reactionary in the scenario you describe. Doesn't have to be left wing at all. Which is worrying.

Para four... Smile

This is an area Gorz was particularly interested in. He wanted to break up such structures, and I think you're right, if I read your implicit line correctly, workplaces are often simply mediated bullying. And I also agree, the power is there - to some extent. But we don't just have it, we have to take it.


I've worked in kitchens, it's a bit played up, but not much. Sad


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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 10:15 am

Sorry, I meant to say not Akrasia, but Hermes re industrial disarmament...
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 8:48 pm

Sorry also meant to say that when we use the term Marxism or Marxist, what precisely is meant? Early Marx, middle period Marx, late Marx? All were somewhat different. Or are we talking about those who came after? There's a mixed bag for you... and remember that Marx and Bakunin were in the First International together, although their ultimate positions seem oddly contradictory.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 9:19 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

oh fuck off
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 11:00 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

oh fuck off

You doubt such things happen? and [edit] even if you do, isn't there a better way to express your disbelief?


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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 30, 2008 11:03 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

oh fuck off

This doesn't suit you lostexpectation ?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 12:05 am

cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

All organised entities are filled with humans. So obviously the sort of outcome you mention above can - and often will - happen. That said, I think that there are ways to motivate people to operate in a more cohesive manner, a shared ideology, clear aims, a degree of participative sharing of responsibilities... etc, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 12:37 am

WorldbyStorm wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

All organised entities are filled with humans. So obviously the sort of outcome you mention above can - and often will - happen. That said, I think that there are ways to motivate people to operate in a more cohesive manner, a shared ideology, clear aims, a degree of participative sharing of responsibilities... etc, etc.

My experience, limited of course though it is, is that producer co-ops are a situation open to abuse by participants. I had a quick look on the internet and see that there is a literature (both friendly and unfriendly)that shows a lot of problems of the type of breakdown I described and of underinvestment. Denying that there have been problems is unhelpful if there is to be a serious appraisal of the prospects for co-operative organisational forms. What I can't say is how coops perform in terms of participant approval, compared with hierarchical, privately owned business.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 2:31 am

It seems that decision-making has emerged as the key determinant of discussion here on this thread, and that makes me wonder, surely some people have to make decisions in society in order to drive us forward? Surely we need to have some form of national bodypolitik in order to form a consensus on issues and concerns which affect us all, from crime to homelessness from alcoholism to environmental degradation.

Anarchism, as defined by the Free Online Dictionary is:

1. The theory or doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive and undesirable and should be abolished.
2. Active resistance and terrorism against the state, as used by some anarchists.
3. Rejection of all forms of coercive control and authority: "He was inclined to anarchism; he hated system and organization and uniformity" Bertrand Russell.

and the Collins Essential Dictionary defines it as:

a doctrine advocating the abolition of government and its replacement by a social system based on voluntary cooperation

But surely there is a contradiction in attempting to replace the existing norms of governance, decision-making and suchlike with a new system of voluntary co-operation?

The contradiction lies in the fact that there still exists the need to have a central authority in order to drive consensus and to bring the respective parties and stake-holders in an issue together.

I feel that anarchism is simply the replacement of one existing style of government with another and that the central aim, ie, the abolition of government, is an unrealisable goal. The anarchists will have to elect boards of executors in order to take decisions and to take responsibility. The anarchists will have to create leadership, otherwise there will be no focus in solving problems since the social mass will not cohere.

This would be true even in co-operative organisations. Meetings would have to be held in order for stake-holders in a decision to communicate and to arrive at an agreement on issues of common concern. Chairpeople would have to be elected to supervise meetings. Secretaries would have to be elected in order to record them. Treasurers would have to be voted in in order to pay for them. Eventually, through necessity, the old order would re-assert itself and government would be re-established.

I cannot see how the existing system of government can be replaced by the anarchist spirit.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 5:25 am

Quote :
Is this where the militia comes in?

when are work disputes dealt with by military.police

I can't treat shit with respect
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 11:58 am

lostexpectation wrote:
Quote :
Is this where the militia comes in?

when are work disputes dealt with by military.police

I can't treat shit with respect

It was a - I presume - jokey comment linked into a previous comment earlier in the thread.

And, the history of work and labour disputes being dealt with by the forces of the state in collusion with capital is long and dishonorable. Remember the Lockout? Or what about the Miners Strike? Or - if we take the state-capitalist view (which I don't, or not exactly) - what about the uprisings in East Berlin under Soviet Occupation? Hungary? Poland? The 'workers' army/police/militias taking on organised labour. Not pretty.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 12:43 pm

WorldbyStorm wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
I worked as part of a small cooperative structure a few years ago. It split quickly down the middle between a majority that took 2 and a half hour lunch breaks and never worried about the bottom line and a minority that did and worked 70 hour weeks to cover for them. Unsurprisingly, it ended acrimoniously. Is this where the militia comes in? and what if they have the same problem. Im not trying to be smart here: this really happened.

All organised entities are filled with humans. So obviously the sort of outcome you mention above can - and often will - happen. That said, I think that there are ways to motivate people to operate in a more cohesive manner, a shared ideology, clear aims, a degree of participative sharing of responsibilities... etc, etc.
Quote :
905 wrote
Quote :
Personal committment and input are seen as vital - making a full contribution to your community in whatever way you can is central. It's not about being lazy.
What does this mean. Do you have to contribute? What happens if you don't?

We took the process of co-op forming seriously and did a lot of work before setting up on what our shared aims were and on co-op structures and methods - there is a Co-operative Support Unit run by FAS and we got help from them. We also met up with a couple of small co-ops that were up and running to see how things were going for them. We were not able to find any producer co-ops that had been running long and the others we met were very small groups of people who had been working well together for a long time before they set up. We drew equal pay and had equal say.

My experience was that ultimately self-interest was what motivated people in the co-op structure. Producer co-ops are I think probably much more difficult that distributor co-ops like the dairies, where there were such clear and enormous benefits of the co-op over any other available system. In a producer co-op, what do you do if the majority of people decide they want to do the minimum work, but collect the same salary as people working twice the hours? Or award themselves 6 month paid sabbaticals to do training and then leave. A couple of us had to deal with the rest who proved uncommitted in turning up and doing work but very keen on coming to meetings and complaining.

These days hardly anyone commits for life to one work place as work. The idea that people will pull their weight in a co-op because its in the long-term interests of the co-op is not the case as a proportion in any case will be intending to move on at some stage.

On a personal level, the experience was exhausting and financially damaging, as it took me a full year's work at crazy hours to clear the debts left behind. My self-interest in doing that was that my future prospects and income depended on my reputation, as well as not wanting to leave people in a financial mess. I have worked in a few different types of conventionally structured workplaces before and since all of which were more productive, efficient and pleasant to work in.

In retrospect, simple majority decisions were a disaster and perhaps some form of veto system would have helped, as the views and interests of minorities then might have had a chance. Pay should be related to skills, investment and input, as otherwise why would people both to put in the hours and resources. Some people will buy into the cooperative ideal and other people will take it for a ride.

I would be interested to know how things work in the Po Valley co-ops.
A quick google showed up a fair bit of research both friendly and critical on worker producer co-ops and as well as the problems I described underinvestment seems to be an ongoing issue - again, when people don't intend to stay they have no interest in giving up pay to invest in the future well-being of the co-op.

Oh and I assure lostexpectation it is my feeling that it would have taken a militia to get at least one of my former colleagues out of bed to do a normal working day.

I'm reading this thread with great interest but I am not convinced at this stage that co-ops or anarchism offer a viable and sustainable replacement for capitalism, although given the state of the planet I am thoroughly convinced it does need to be replaced.


Last edited by cactus flower on Sat May 31, 2008 12:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 12:44 pm

Quote :
I cannot see how the existing system of government can be replaced by the anarchist spirit.

The critical difference would be in the degree of accountability of anyone delegated to assume responsibility on behalf of others - and the possibility of recalling people who don't do what they have been mandated to. Anarchism does not call for the dismantling of ordered society - it seeks to relocate decision-making authority over public administration to people rather than handing it up, virtually unquestioningly, to a small number of representatives pretending to act on their behalf.

Our elected 'representatives' are almost wholly unaccountable for how they do their jobs. They're not really representative at all because we have no opportunity to nominate people we think would make good representatives - we choose from among a tiny selection that itself is made for us by a few people at the head of each political party. Candidates are frequently foisted on constituencies that do not want them. Once elected TDs follow the party line - they do not refer to the views of the electorate in what they do - beyond rigged public consultation exercises. TDs do what they are told by the whips and woe betide anyone who votes according to his or her own principle. The parties are tied, in turn, to their sponsors - usually a very narrow group of corporate backers who dictate the terms on which their sponsorship will be made.

We have no truly independent watchdogs - every one of them is headed up by people appointed (not elected) to do as they are told. Government statistics in Ireland are an outrageous joke - there are virtually no true figures available for anything that is happening - unless they happen to support the, often undeclared, motives of those who control the political parties. All of the research and statistical bodies act as PR functions for the government - nobody is allowed anywhere near the truth on any issue - unless they seek it out for themselves. But even then, the media is completely tied in to the status quo - it refuses to print anything that consitutes a radical challenge - because it too is largely controlled by the same small group that control the political establishment.

At local level things are just as bad. In the town where I live, there are two Sinn Fein councilors who between them have a lot of the popular vote. The other parties devote much of their time to destroying every initiative taken by these two councillors - who are almost unfailingly behind every decent community initiative. We even had a situation where, out of sheer spite, FG councillors were doing their damndest to scupper SF attempts to have a free parking space rserved in the town centre for people with disability. These other councillors take decisions outside of the proper meetings. Conversely they renege on agreements taken in the proper fora without declaring what is happening - and are never held to account for it. One of the SF councillors was by rights supposed to be Mayor for a term - becuase he had secured the largest share of the vote. But that could not be allowed and it was scuppered outrageously. The whole situation here is outrageous.

There used to be a member of the public who attended town council meetings and write a newsletter about what was discussed. It was quite popular - people were getting information about what was really going on. The man who printed the newsletter was approached by some of his main customers and told that they would withdraw their business if he didn't stop printing the newsletter. So he stopped printing it. This is the sort of shite that is going down all over the country.

This is not a democracy we live in - and it never will be unless and until ordinary people stop behaving like children and start participating responsibly and carefully in the running of their communities and ensuring that each community interacts constructively with others. That is a radical shift in behaviour and it requires a big sea change in attitudes. The urgent necessity of doing this is sooner or later going to be brought home to people by any one - or a combination - of the entirely predictable catastrophes that capitalism is now causing. Marx predicted that capitalism would ultimately canabilise itself and he's been proved right. There is no such thing as infinite growth in a finite world.

Anarchism doesn't pretend to be perfect - people are not perfect. But it does offer a basis for optimising the best that we are capable of and minimising the worst. The opposite is true of what we have at the moment. Howard Zinn writes about how unnatural our capitalist democracies are - how they are denaturing us and encouraging is to act and think counterintuitively. Most of us no longer even feed our own young FFS - when they are at their most vulnerable we shove baby forumals down their throats though nature has given us the best possible means of ensuring their health - surely one of the most striking examples of just how crazy our world now is. The evidence for it is everywhere - from capitalist backed wars to economic and environmental catastrophe. The whole system is teetering on the point of total collpase and instead of recognising that it is the system itself that is wrong our governments are hell bent on giving us more of what got us into this mess in the first place - of protecting, literally at all costs, the interests of the people who are most responsible for it all. And they accuse the anarchists of wanting chaos and lawlessness! Just look at what they have done in Iraq!
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 12:54 pm

WorldbyStorm wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:
Quote :
Is this where the militia comes in?

when are work disputes dealt with by military.police

I can't treat shit with respect

It was a - I presume - jokey comment linked into a previous comment earlier in the thread.

And, the history of work and labour disputes being dealt with by the forces of the state in collusion with capital is long and dishonorable. Remember the Lockout? Or what about the Miners Strike? Or - if we take the state-capitalist view (which I don't, or not exactly) - what about the uprisings in East Berlin under Soviet Occupation? Hungary? Poland? The 'workers' army/police/militias taking on organised labour. Not pretty.

Jokey, but as you can see from my last post, a little jaundiced. We can take it as read that militias, police and army are used against organised workers world wide under capitalist and facist governments, but have also been used by the bolsheviks against the Kronstadt sailors and countless times by stalinist states.

The problem I was talking about though was entirely different - the issue of whether or not people are sufficiently motivated to do their share of work by personal ethics and commitment, or does it take a bit more?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 1:17 pm

cactus flower wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:
Quote :
Is this where the militia comes in?

when are work disputes dealt with by military.police

I can't treat shit with respect

It was a - I presume - jokey comment linked into a previous comment earlier in the thread.

And, the history of work and labour disputes being dealt with by the forces of the state in collusion with capital is long and dishonorable. Remember the Lockout? Or what about the Miners Strike? Or - if we take the state-capitalist view (which I don't, or not exactly) - what about the uprisings in East Berlin under Soviet Occupation? Hungary? Poland? The 'workers' army/police/militias taking on organised labour. Not pretty.

Jokey, but as you can see from my last post, a little jaundiced. We can take it as read that militias, police and army are used against organised workers world wide under capitalist and facist governments, but have also been used by the bolsheviks against the Kronstadt sailors and countless times by stalinist states.

The problem I was talking about though was entirely different - the issue of whether or not people are sufficiently motivated to do their share of work by personal ethics and commitment, or does it take a bit more?

I don't want to make light of what you're saying in any respect. I've seen precisely the same dynamic at work in various contexts from private enterprise, unions, teaching group projects in third and second level, campaigns, political parties, the public sector. And I guess I also see it as a very human thing. I tend to think that personality counts for more than some would like to suggest it does. There are more activist and less activist people. And it comes back in part to what I said originally when joining this discussion (which is one of the most interesting for my money on MN at the moment) that it is very difficult to map ideological schema of left (or right) onto peoples lives in the mechanistic way we sometimes see. Incidentally the Marxist view of these matters (local self-organisation, participation, cooperation, etc) is hardly distinguishable in the local context than the anarchist one.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 2:40 pm

cactus flower wrote:
We took the process of co-op forming seriously and did a lot of work before setting up on what our shared aims were and on co-op structures and methods - there is a Co-operative Support Unit run by FAS and we got help from them. We also met up with a couple of small co-ops that were up and running to see how things were going for them. We were not able to find any producer co-ops that had been running long and the others we met were very small groups of people who had been working well together for a long time before they set up. We drew equal pay and had equal say.

My experience was that ultimately self-interest was what motivated people in the co-op structure. Producer co-ops are I think probably much more difficult that distributor co-ops like the dairies, where there were such clear and enormous benefits of the co-op over any other available system. In a producer co-op, what do you do if the majority of people decide they want to do the minimum work, but collect the same salary as people working twice the hours? Or award themselves 6 month paid sabbaticals to do training and then leave. A couple of us had to deal with the rest who proved uncommitted in turning up and doing work but very keen on coming to meetings and complaining.

These days hardly anyone commits for life to one work place as work. The idea that people will pull their weight in a co-op because its in the long-term interests of the co-op is not the case as a proportion in any case will be intending to move on at some stage.

On a personal level, the experience was exhausting and financially damaging, as it took me a full year's work at crazy hours to clear the debts left behind. My self-interest in doing that was that my future prospects and income depended on my reputation, as well as not wanting to leave people in a financial mess. I have worked in a few different types of conventionally structured workplaces before and since all of which were more productive, efficient and pleasant to work in.

In retrospect, simple majority decisions were a disaster and perhaps some form of veto system would have helped, as the views and interests of minorities then might have had a chance. Pay should be related to skills, investment and input, as otherwise why would people both to put in the hours and resources. Some people will buy into the cooperative ideal and other people will take it for a ride.

I would be interested to know how things work in the Po Valley co-ops.
A quick google showed up a fair bit of research both friendly and critical on worker producer co-ops and as well as the problems I described underinvestment seems to be an ongoing issue - again, when people don't intend to stay they have no interest in giving up pay to invest in the future well-being of the co-op.

Oh and I assure lostexpectation it is my feeling that it would have taken a militia to get at least one of my former colleagues out of bed to do a normal working day.

I'm reading this thread with great interest but I am not convinced at this stage that co-ops or anarchism offer a viable and sustainable replacement for capitalism, although given the state of the planet I am thoroughly convinced it does need to be replaced.

I think such problems are fairly typical of alternative collective economic type of things. They stem, I think, from two basic problems. The first one is the fact that they are surrounded by a capitalist society and economy which creates all sorts of pressures. The second one is the fact that they are often imbued with a utopian idealism with regards to human nature.

The existence of such cooperatives in a sea of capitalism creates lots of powerful forces which act against the success of the endeavour. The fact that the collective is competing with the produce of capitalist enterprise on the market is the most basic force. Capitalist enterprises continually seek to cut costs by increasing worker productivity, which generally means less pleasant conditions for workers. Cooperatives can't really compete on this front - as that would really defeat the purpose. Although cooperatives have an advantage when it comes to the fact that surpluses can be re-invested rather than going directly into the bank accounts of shareholders, they are still affected by the drive to the bottom. They also generally have very limited access to investment capital in comparison to their capitalist competitors. This means, amongst other things, that they are especially vulnerable to below-cost selling from competitors trying to drive them out of business.

Another strong force created by capitalism is ideological and motivational. The more skilled and capable collective members often have the option of getting better pay and more status elsewhere. This can cause the coop to lose its most useful members and, short of that, can create reservoirs of resentment.

The second major problem that I refer to is the utopian view of human nature. Basically, it is common for those who are most collectively inclined to assume that, given the right conditions, the collective instincts of others will emerge. While I think this is right, to some extent, I think it's likely that, in the short term at least, you will always have a significant minority of irresponsible freeloaders. A human system that is incapable of dealing effectively and efficiently with freeloading is destined to collapse in acrimony. The thing is that people really resent others freeloading and if it is seen that people can freeload without any consequences, they will serve as a strong force on the collective - pulling people to a position of "why should I bother killing myself if s/he is just going to stuff him/her self off the produce?"

Given the strength of these forces, I think it is amazing that coops have managed to flourish and survive within our globalised capitalist society. It's a testament of the strength of the cooperative instinct.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 3:33 pm

cactus flower wrote:
In retrospect, simple majority decisions were a disaster and perhaps some form of veto system would have helped, as the views and interests of minorities then might have had a chance.
Can you give an example of this?

cactus flower wrote:
Pay should be related to skills, investment and input, as otherwise why would people both to put in the hours and resources. Some people will buy into the cooperative ideal and other people will take it for a ride.
I mightn't want to live in an Anarchist society if this point wasn't applied about pay. Are the Anarchists here telling me that this is the way it is in their world view?

I'll complicate it and say that work done in the past should get you credits for a term of 'dole' in the future but it would run out I'm afraid. And I think that's only just. The reason for the surplus initially is machines and the surplus of production they supply - dole or such credits are tokens to buy the surplus and in some economic theories, social welfare can be seen as beneficial to society as a whole. It's like giving the surplus away at a restaurant I suppose - better to dish it out than throw it out - dole is just a product of over-production - manufacturers can't determine exactly how many nissan micras will be bought next year so there is always an overshoot... dole is there to soak up this overshoot and has it's place in society.

The larger the society the better the dole - it doesn't cost anyone anything to put an extra chair in a university theatre if someone would prefer to do that than work. This surplus is thanks to machines and I think the stability of the whole thing rests on the fact that very few people actually don't want to do anything if you add the world of them up; someone always wants to be doing something and economic success is largely about activity (once the activity is not inflationary i.e. more people looking for less stuff). Obviously if everyone did want to slack forever then nothing would be produced. That might be a digression though, but my point is, if you agree with the above in any way then I believe this phenomenon of rich surplus benefit which arises out of cross-national co-operation will be less so in Anarchism but perhaps there will be a qualitative difference if you live in an Anarchist society or I am off the point altogether.

cactus flower wrote:
I'm reading this thread with great interest but I am not convinced at this stage that co-ops or anarchism offer a viable and sustainable replacement for capitalism, although given the state of the planet I am thoroughly convinced it does need to be replaced.
I think it's a mistake to think it will be replaced - it will either emerge or it won't be anarchism in my view. It will need nudges but they won't look significant. Technology is a crucial factor too and we might have to wait for it to itself emerge.

chekov wrote:
I think such problems are fairly typical of alternative collective economic type of things. They stem, I think, from two basic problems. The first one is the fact that they are surrounded by a capitalist society and economy which creates all sorts of pressures.
You go on to characterise capitalism as essentially unfriendly to human workers and from my experience I agree by and large it is. On a note of bile I would like to say that the HR departments and 'morale-boosting' sessions typical of American companies can often be insultingly tokenistic but I hope and believe that this is not always the case. Certain Business Measurements of employee satisfaction are emerging and should be taken seriously not to mention employee law and the relevant parts of trade unionism (?) which (I think) I would like to see dying out in favour of stronger employee law awareness and the promotion of employee law. But I think this will come with education and proper use of information.

chekov wrote:
The second one is the fact that they are often imbued with a utopian idealism with regards to human nature.
I regularly wonder if it is work and not workers that is the problem. People want stability but some want adventure and variety and the economy should be able to respond to these human needs. Some of us simply feel the need to travel. It might not be a basic human need but I think it is possible to lump it in sometimes with education which I regard as a basic societal need. It's basic because it mediates information feedback in a system - information assimilation and assessment is essential in an organism and I'd like to venture that it is the same with regard to an organisation or organised body if that entity is to survive and adapt. Because no matter what society we prefer, we cannot look at it as being static forever after we adopt it, can we?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 6:20 pm

cactus flower wrote:
WorldbyStorm wrote:
lostexpectation wrote:
Quote :
Is this where the militia comes in?

when are work disputes dealt with by military.police

I can't treat shit with respect

It was a - I presume - jokey comment linked into a previous comment earlier in the thread.

And, the history of work and labour disputes being dealt with by the forces of the state in collusion with capital is long and dishonorable. Remember the Lockout? Or what about the Miners Strike? Or - if we take the state-capitalist view (which I don't, or not exactly) - what about the uprisings in East Berlin under Soviet Occupation? Hungary? Poland? The 'workers' army/police/militias taking on organised labour. Not pretty.

Jokey, but as you can see from my last post, a little jaundiced. We can take it as read that militias, police and army are used against organised workers world wide under capitalist and facist governments, but have also been used by the bolsheviks against the Kronstadt sailors and countless times by stalinist states.

The problem I was talking about though was entirely different - the issue of whether or not people are sufficiently motivated to do their share of work by personal ethics and commitment, or does it take a bit more?

but not internal work disputes like you described, if you can't treat the issue with respect then...
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Sat May 31, 2008 6:37 pm

Firstly, apologies for what is about to be a long post.

I wouldn't want to put too much emphasis on a single experience, except in so far as it shows some problems that research has shown to be more general.

I had another look to find some research results on the pros and cons of co-operatives. I was surprised how little there seemed to be (apart from pay-per-view research) on non-agricultural production co-ops. The paper linked here I found very interesting indeed. It is about the Mondragon co-operatives in Basque Spain, that include the FAGOR group of producers and EROSKI consumer co-ops.

LINK -MONDRAGONS ANSWER TO UTOPIA's PROBLEMS

Mondragon was startlingly successful up to the end of the 1980s and included Spain's first IT companies.

Mondragon's motivation seems to have been a regional development and employment initiative as much as a movement to create an alternative to capitalist structures.

The significant issues identified in the paper are:
Quote :
1) capital formation, 2) charismatic leadership, 3) responses to economic cycles, 4) differences in the interests of workers and managers, 5) the role of automation and technology, 6) the encouragement of entrepreneurship, and, finally, 7) socialization to the cooperative ideal. Each of these has had fatal consequences for previous efforts at the establishment of utopian communities; and each has been the subject of careful attention at Mondragón.
The problem of workers who abuse their position and move on does not appear to have come up as Mondragon was geographically isolated and built up during a weak economic period. It therefore had a stable workforce due to a lack of alternatives. Skills and experience were rewarded on a sliding scale that over the years gave progressively more rewards for them -
Quote :
The 6:1 pay ratio, the term of appointment for managers, and the formal representation of workers through the Supervisory Board and the Social Council establish parameters for the reconciliation of interests.
The structures also appear to have been a fairly conventional and stable Board and Management/line management structure tempered by participation of workers.

Charismatic (and to be honest top down) leadership by a figure of authority ( a priest community leader ) is considered to have been an essential feature.

The problem of encirclement with capitalist structures was overcome by developing a raft of interrelated social and economic supports including a bank with hundreds of branches and a polytechnic. There was government legislation that was favourable to co-op banks. The issue of engagement and cohesion was not a problem in part because the Basque region under Franco was a region of common resistance to a political and cultural enemy and there was general support from the Co-op workers for Batasuna.

The author says
Quote :
Capital formation is a fundamental weakness of cooperatives historically. Modern requirements for technological modernization exacerbate the problem. Furthermore, the need for capital investment sets off a conflict between compensation for labor, on the one hand, and investment in machinery, on the other.
Quote :
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of the Mondragón cooperatives is the creation of a banking system, named the Caha Laboral Popular (CLP), that works diligently at providing capital, monitoring performance, and planning new cooperatives. Founded at the initiative of Fr. Arizmendiarrieta in 1960, it is now the 15th largest bank in Spain (Anon., 61). It has several hundred thousand depositors, over $2 billion in assets, and more than 200 branches (Lutz and Lux, 263).
The initial success of the bank had to do with a law that permitted cooperative banks to pay 1/2% higher interest than regular banks, an advantage that contributed to a dramatic rise in deposits.
Quote :
The necessity for laying down a firm educational base as the first condition of successful cooperative life is the key element that concerns activists in the Mondragón network. As Meeks and Woodworth have suggested in their work on the centrality of education to the Mondragón experience, both ideological and technical training are critical to the success of cooperatives (Meek and Woodworth). There are many cases where the former has been tried without the latter, and cooperatives have often failed for lack of participants who have the requisite technical skills.
The quantity of worker participation in management was high, but the levels of partipation was less high than in some capitalist firms -
Quote :
There are limits to the success of participation as a key to reducing worker-management differences in Mondragón however. The Whytes report that reactive participation is very high in Mondragón. Workers have many opportunities to respond efficaciously to management proposals for changes in working situations. However pro-active participation is not as great as in some of the most advanced capitalist firms where workers may be involved from the beginning in job design. Most of the job redesign in the Mondragón cooperatives has been management-initiated and has been slower to catch on than might otherwise have been the case (Whyte and Whyte, 210-211).
The paper suggests that the leadership issue may have been critical and the death of the priest-leader threatened the continued success of Mondragon:
Quote :

However, it must be said that the visitor senses that some of the cooperative zeal has dissipated with the passing of Fr. Arizmendi. Judging from interviews with participants, there is some concern that this has weakened the cooperative spirit.
What I find quite exciting about Mondragon was the extent to which it saw technology as an opportunity rather than enemy, and the way it was able to deal much better with down-turns than conventional firms.
Quote :
What really attracted international attention was the ability of the coops to survive a major depression in the Basque economy. Western nations in the late seventies and early eighties experienced huge dislocations in their industrial economies. The successful adaptation to these adversities at Mondragón contrasted sharply with the dislocation and despair found in other European and American industrial centers was startling indeed.
Quote :
Economists began to look systematically at the cyclical adaptation of Mondragón in comparison with Basque capitalist firms, and to relate that data to the comparative performance of cooperatives in other European countries. The comparative performance of Mondragón was amazing; that of other cooperatives was, at the very least, impressive. Both forms of analysis yielded generalizations that could be applied to cooperatives generally, while diminishing the significance of the cultural factor in particular. (Bradley and Gelb, 1982, 1987; Whyte and Whyte, 129-222)
CITATION: Hoover, Kenneth R. , "Mondragon's Answers to Utopia's Problems," Utopian Studies 3 (1992) 2, 1-19.

I looked for a second paper that could give an update on how Mondragon was doing from the 1990s, faced with EU trends and globalisation. This paper gives a positive picture. The Mondragon cluster has itself extensively globalised and is still a major employer in Spain.
LINK HERE Challenges and Opportunities for MCC Co-operative Companies from Globalization, Isabel Uribe and Ignazio Irizar.

There seem to have been a lot of factors that made Mondragon successful, and one of them, strong top down, but unselfish, leadership by an authority figure, does not hang well with Anarchist theory as far as I have understood it so far. It does accord with what I touched on in mentioning community development in Irish villages where a combination of community involvement and committed leadership by a minority seems to be able to bring big rewards. Pragmatism and constructive opportunism, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit all seems to have been part of the mix at Mondragón. Geographic isolation in the initial phases and political and cultural unity helped to weld people together so that there was a willingness to make sacrifices for the common good.

Worker investment and ownership of the co-op seem were essential, along with worker consultation. Education and training and support structures like the bank were also essential to Mondragon's success. Participation in developing the company maybe less so. Management structures seem to have been pretty standard and extra skills and inputs rewarded well.

All of which I found very interesting, although I'm not sure how relevant to Anarchism
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