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Forum Post: Anarcho-Syndicalism: The future just society we should strive for

Posted 2 years ago on Feb. 25, 2012, 9:40 a.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6190)
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67 Comments


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[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

Anarcho-Syndacalism would lead to stagnation in a society or industry. Groups would never invest in a new, risky, or untried idea. The whole concept of someone innovating and leading the group to a new process is foreign to this. The only societies like this that are successful are pastoral, like the Amish.

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

I agree. Economic growth is achieved through innovation. This is the tide that lifts all boats. Innovation is best encouraged through capitalism. Not anarcho-syndicalism or socialism. Which, despite any feel goody principles, and even if it were workable from theory to practice, it would lead to stagnation. There would be no innovation.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

You´re wrong. Innovation and the desire to create and contribute are parts of us as humans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXevpVXzePc

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

Oh struggle. What can I tell ya? This is just oh so not convincing.

Yes, the desire to contribute is part of human nature. But capitalism gives that desire an extra boost. And provides incentives to help society advance and maintain balance (supply/demand).

Your friend Noam gives the example of researchers that have autonomy over their work. Exactly! There are lots and lots of people in a (modified) capitalist economy who have autonomy like this. His example proves it!

There are millions of people like this. In almost every profession I can think of - talent, skills, and ability leads to more responsibility, which leads to greater autonomy and increased levels of decision making.

I'm sorry, but not every ignoramus has the capabilities and talent for these responsibilities. We are not all of equal talent, skills, and abilities. There are dumb people and smarter people. They are not equal.

A dumb bunny does not deserve more responsibilities for decision making and more autonomy. I'm sorry. It wouldn't work. The dumb bunny should absolutely be treated with respect and have the opportunity to earn a living and contribute to society to the best of his abilites.

We are not all so oppressed by capitalism as you continually suggest. Most everyone I know enjoys their jobs/work.

Now, are there people that have jobs that suck? Of course. I'm sure people that work in a coal mine think their job really sucks. I don't think too many people would choose that job if they had better options. So tell me. In your type of anarcho-socialism, who's going to work in the coal mine? Volunteers for this? Draw straws? Or do we just turn all the lights off and use candles?

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

There would be no innovation."

How can you say this for sure ?

look at the man on the moon, was that a socialist adventure , or private ?

And capitalism has also stagnated evolution .. capitalism limits people potential to what ever makes profit.. where the growth of the human spirit is not about profit , but freedom .. where socialism would provide growth of freedom ..

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

NASA was the result of government leadership. Which then lead to lots of innovation. In an anarchist type society, there would be no leadership. Such a decision, lacking leadership, would require endless consensus process which would lead to undecision.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Thanks April, I agree decision making is a very important part of any society, and necessary for success and development.

The style of decision making is at question.. should it be through consensus .. through elected representation... direct democracy .. dictatorship [ had to throw that in ] ..or perhaps a new and emerging method .. ?

personally , I like the analytical approach at least for some decisions , but there are many other decisions where right and wrong are truly undefined.

Democracy seems to be the most peaceful.. unfortunately there is no perfect way of doing this , as mankind is forever evolving so will our ideals.. what we may think of as right or wrong today may/will change in time as we consider and grow .. this is one of the nice things about freedom as we can grow and find ourselves uninhibited by restraints..

But without leadership ..to have have total anarchy , I think OWS is against "authoritative leadership" and they use the anarchy label because it is anti-authority.

When we look at democratic government representation , it is very close to non authoriative leadership .. at least without absolute power ..our leaders have been elected to represent us and make final decisions .. how can we improve on this ?

One of the problems I see with Democracy , " majority rules " .. majority takes all control .. I think the pie should be devided according to vote proportion .. each group receiving their share of the budget. this would give the power of individual vote to the representatives that vote was given to .. at least in terms of budget spending.. it's a bit complicated .. but look at it like this .. if each party had to budget their share of the pie according to vote , they would also be accountable for any debt /deficit they may incur.

well just a few thoughts ..thanks

[-] 2 points by April (3196) 2 years ago

No system is perfect. The best system devised is capitalism and a representative republic form of government. We need to fix the corruption.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

If one likes the idea of real democracy - people having a democratic say in the things that affect them and are a part of, then that would certainly include democracy in the workplace and community. There´s a name for this society building democracy from below, it´s called Libertarian Socialism. Anyone who likes the idea of real participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives and work should work for Libertarian Socialism

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1317735903_chomsky_explains_libe.html

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

huh

humans left to ruminate often pick up projects

without the motivation of profit

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

For some things yes I agree, for others it's strictly profit. I doubt the Wright brothers built a plane for profit. As you say government money often helps and there were obvious military applications for flight. Eventually someone did see a commercial use for flight. My point is in getting funding for that endeavor, profit becomes the motive. Mail was already being delivered and passenger transportation was a dream still more then a decade away. What worker group would invest in a peacetime use of something like an airplane back then? The hope for profit gets capitol for development of new technology. Current industry doesn't do much more then tweak existing technology, new leaps wouldn't happen if we left it up to a group of voters.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

This is an important area to discuss. The governement spends plenty of money on research ie. medical, nasa, ..they even spend a lot on education ..where we share and learn what we already know .. the future is really just one step away .. But to say that without investors we would not take leaps without possible profit.. ? You have a strong arguable point. If we did have a pure socialist system .. without any private enterprise .. we would need a department that allows for invention and ideas to grow and develop .. something sponsored by the mass of people .. and of course the benefits to be shared .. I would think people would step forward with their ideas to be funded by government .. individualy each idea would have to be considered .. and appropriately decided upon .. priorities must be listed .. in the case of flight .. I am sure government would have supported the dream/idea.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

Rereading some of these I see new things. You're advocating creation of bureaucrats and placing them in charge of invention and innovation? Bureaucrats tend to support the status quo. I go back to my airplane example I don't see it getting developed when trains already do what the inventor wants the new technology to do.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Not necessarily do I advocate bureaucrat having the final say. That is still open to development. Because as we agree that would not be optimum.

Such as the plane vs train theory of yours , I disagree. As long as there is some interest everything should be allowed. Safely to research.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

I agree and it could happen, I just don't think it's likely. Would a direct democracy have voted in favor of developing Fulton's Folly in the 19th century? The popular name from the time pretty much answers that.

Up above April made a point about leadership making the decision to go to the moon, would the public have done that in an anarcho/syndicalist society? The history of the automobile starts in the late 1700's after that failure would society vote to try again in the 1800's?

I just see it as more likely that people will look at their own life and say things are fine as they are why vote in favor of developing this thing called a cell phone, ipod, lap top, whatever, we can do something else with the resources.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Yes but, the idea would be utilized by the amount of support , and not neccesarily a majority of support .. so if any idea comes up with huge support , it will receive huge funding .. and one with low support will receive low funding .. all ideas will have a chance to see through to fruition .. depending on support ..

There are plenty of positive people in the world .. and positive ideas will develop

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

You are certainly right, they may develop, but I know they develop under the present system and see more flaws in anarcho-syndicalism then benefits. There are certainly flaws in capitalism and in our republic, but realistically what can be done? Talk about things (either an anarcho-syndicalist utopia or better regulated capitalism), try to amend the constitution to bring about direct democracy, or put the effort into fixing the republic.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Well. The first we need to do is take an honest look at what works and what doesn't. And avoid the labels. Anarch, capitalism, socialism, communism. We need to free ourselves from any preconceived brainwashed ideas of what we've been told. Truly all previous systems had good points and bad points.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

People profit in many ways and ca$h money is not always one of them. That is a dim view of your fellow humans. Take a look around and you will find many groups of people voluntarily working together to achieve all sorts of useful stuff for their fellow humans. No financial profit required, many other profits gained.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

I take a more general view of the word profit and see it as reward for effort. There's also something I learned in biology, it's a characteristic of life that every living thing does the least amount of work to get the most reward. It's not a flaw in our character it's what helped us survive, it's a part of our nature.

We can be altruistic at times and voluntarily share our good fortune, but reward is still a big motivator to achieve success. I do agree the reward isn't always money, but money certainly is responsible for adapting technologies for everyone to use.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

I do not agree that money is responsible for adapting technologies. There are loads of opensource software and hardware groups doing all manner of amazing things,. web search.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

That may be true, but there are many more people trying to find a way to make a successful life for themselves and their families (not necessarily becoming rich, just secure with a career) then there are altruists adapting free software for charity or personal satisfaction.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

The desire to work and contribute is just a part of us as humans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXevpVXzePc

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

We have a more wealthy technological modern society than ever ( http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320872575_the_free_ride_society.html ), we´d have no problem creating a free democratic sustianable society: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

There were no examples of parlamentary democracy under feudalism..and look what happened.

[-] 4 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

Yes we do have a wealthy technological society, but it did not and could not have evolved under a system of popular or group control. Most major technologic ideas were not instantly successful or even seen as necessary at the time of their development. Had there been group control of resources you never could have gotten consensus approval for inventions that today seem essential.

The development of representative government came out of an increased sense of individual rights. Anarcho-Syndacalism places the rights of the group over the rights of the individual. It requires us to move backwards through history. That isn't likely to happen.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"Yes we do have a wealthy technological society, but it did not and could not have evolved under a system of popular or group control"

That´s not true. Today´s society is the result of many things, including massive public funding to private business- subsidies, bailouts etc, - regulations avoiding finacial collapse etc etc.

Democracy is not unachievable, it´s the society we should strive for.

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

If consensus cant be made, then democratic prosess should be used. It´s really not that complicated.

"Anarcho-Syndacalism places the rights of the group over the rights of the individual"

No, it focuses very on the individual (read and watch the video in the link above)

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

The government didn't enter into the original development of the car, plane, steam engine. In more modern times the prototypes of home video recorders, home computers, mobile phones. These things weren't used or seen as necessary by the population in general, in a society where workers make all the decisions, these things wouldn't be developed. It was an individual not a group of workers that came up with Amazon. If anything retail workers would have voted against its creation.

If you focus on the rights of the individual, then how are you going to take private property away from individuals and give it to the workers? You're going to have to convince the group it's rights are superior to those of the individual. That is what dooms any form of socialism, people would never knowingly vote away individual rights.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

you do not lose individual rights in socialism ! If anything the individual gains rights .. rights to be a part of the big picture . In capitalism the individual is stepped on by the capitalist .. so should it be a right to step on your fellow individual that you are concerned about losing ?

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

You're free to believe that and attempt the amendment process to change our republic to a direct democracy. Capitalism needs monitoring, but I don't see the answer as tossing out the rights of owners and handing businesses over to employees. Even if you could obtain a majority vote to do so, it's more a tyranny by the majority.

anarchy proposed by the post would lead to chaos and stagnation even if you could get the population to make an informed decision.

[-] 1 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

tossing out owners and handing out rights to employees .. is just a smaller scale of implementing freedom and democracy as was done by the American revolution when they ousted the king.

Unless you are in favor of a dictator ruling the nation as does a business owner rule his business ..

[-] 4 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

I don't know what legal technicalities existed at the time of the revolution. Who, if anyone, lost property. I imagine any Tory was given a hard time at the very least or kicked out and made bankrupt at worst. However, saying wrongs were done over 200 years ago isn't a justification for doing the same wrong again. We stole land from the Native Americans too, a democratic exercise that should still shame us.

I don't see it as democracy when you use the majority to take private property. You can't do that constitutionally without some just compensation. Again if you want to open the door to a majority giving in to every whim at the expense of the individual or sizable minority then you have to use the amendment process. It sounds so simple at first, vote and let the majority decide, but the mob can be greedy, spiteful, and just plain wrong.

[-] 0 points by FriendlyObserverB (1871) 2 years ago

Yes. We need to also look closely at improving democracy. The majority rules is actually oppressive to the minority. So let's give everyone freedom Large or small.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"Unless you are in favor of a dictator ruling the nation as does a business owner rule his business "

Exactly. Corporations are private tyrannies and command economies.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"If you focus on the rights of the individual, then how are you going to take private property away from individuals and give it to the workers?"

Well, first of all, workers are invdiviudals also, right?; and secondly, because I want real democracy: people - individuals - having a democratic say in the things they´re a part of and affect them. That would of course include workplace and community.

You must read my article and watch the video. You´ll get all your answers there.

[-] 2 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

You don't want democracy, you want an excuse to take what you haven't earned and redistribute it. If one individual invests in a business he alone has a right to it. If you're talking about a bigger corporation then anyone that holds stock is an owner and has bought the right to decide how production goes. You earn that right to vote on business decisions through your stock, not by theft.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

Stop with the strawman. Like I said, and like I ve expalained in the article The Society We Should Strive For I want real democracy: people - individuals - having a democratic say in the things they´re a part of and affect them. That would of course include workplace and community. Investing, stocks, etc is irrelevant if one likes the idea of real democracy. I want democracy not people "voting" with their cash or stocks

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

Well begin the amendment process, pray for a total collapse of everything with anarchists rising up out of the ashes, or take up arms against the current constitution.

A leaderless anarchistic government is, IMHO, inefficient, indecisive, slow to react to problems, and considering the state of voter involvement today unprepared to make important decisions rationally or fairly. I guess that means you can't count on my vote.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

Hope you´ll change your mind and one day start to embrace the idea of real democracy - people having a democratic say in the things that affect them and are a part of (logically including democracy in the workplace and community) Anyone who likes the idea of real participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives and work, should work for Libertarian Socialism

http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

yours s

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

No chance, your ideas with regard to ownership make me uneasy. Too many people have an investment in companies to start talking about voting away their rights. You're talking about denying people their rights and calling it democracy. It's actually an idea I'd work against.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

Its about giving people equal say. Again, its a principle-thing. I want individuals to be able to have a democratic say in the things theyre a part of and affect them. Is that really so unresonable?

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

They already have an equal say in electing representatives if they'd bother to inform themselves and use that right constructively. That's where you have to start anyhow to change laws to take away the rights of owners and appropriate their property. In a work situation you don't necessarily deserve a say in how something is run.

That just points out another flaw in anarcho-syndicalism. Hotly contested national elections you get just over 60% voting, off year elections it's generally under 50%, local elections it's even worse. You may want everyone to vote but the people don't share your enthusiasm for the process.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"What's that got to do with how many people do or don't vote?"

There were no more "reply" buttons, it was an answer to one of your other comments here.

So this is the debate :

Brian Mid: "The selfish gene idea can be used to explain altruism when it comes to close relationships. The more alike two individuals are genetically the more likely one is to be self-less toward the other. You would like to expand being genetically close to the entire human race(...)"

sff: "The genes of the entire human race are pretty much the same."

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

Still no comment on voting?

I think you got that gene theory backwards, the existence of the gene is guessed at, it hasn't been actually found or proven to exist. There's a biologist that gave that name to explain why family members give up things for each other, he doesn't claim it extends out to everyone.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

The genes of the entire human race are pretty much the same.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

What's that got to do with how many people do or don't vote?

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

We have a lot of convincing-work to do. Anarcho-Syndicalism can only come when the people really want it.

The urge to be creative, work and contribute is part of us as humans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXevpVXzePc

I don´t think you fully understand the selfish gene issue. Even though there are different human tribes, all humans still share the same genes.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

The selfish gene idea can be used to explain altruism when it comes to close relationships. The more alike two individuals are genetically the more likely one is to be self-less toward the other. You would like to expand being genetically close to the entire human race. I think that's a mistreatment and oversimplification of Dawkins position.

The inverse of that is it explains bad behavior as partly due to our genes being very different. That is the "them vs us" or tribal feeling many people have about different nationalities or races. I could just as easily use it to explain why people with different genetic profiles wouldn't give a job their best effort for the sake of the stranger working on the other side of the plant. The less closely related people are the less they care about each other.

This second interpretation has support in the observation that people are often devastated by the death of a family member but relatively unaffected by the death of a stranger.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"We live in a republic, everyone has the right to vote for representatives and can petition those representatives to change the laws, that's where you have to start."

Or we can organize growing movements eventually having majority support and hence becoming a major democratic force in society.

You want more, but society may not, be prepared to loose the vote on this.

A lot of convincing must be done, yes.

"To advance it you need to convince people they are more altruistic then they really are (I know Chomsky thinks man is basically good, but that's only a belief)"

We don´t know everything about human nature. We do, however, know that there are some fundamental human characteristics. Human nature allows for different kinds of behavior and it can be shaped to a certain extent, but there are certain things - such as solidarity for example - that make up some of the core features. Take a look at the history of our evolution. For millions of years things like cooperation, sharing, caring, sticking together and so on, basing social organization on a relatively egalitarian principle, have been central parts of our evolution. Even as far back as Homo Habilis working together for the common good, cooperating on finding and getting food etc. were essential and crucial for the survival and further evolvement of the species. Now, there were also things like rivalry and violence that took place at that time, and these things have to a certain extent also been passed on, but as our ancestors evolved further, all the way up to Homo Heidelbergensis and later on Homo Sapiens, these things decreased and elements like solidarity and egalitarianism - in addition to cooperation - became more integrated in the social organization. Working together for the common good turned out to be a crucial and highly successful factor in our evolution. And with cooperation and working together, things like solidarity, altruism etc - a more collective mentality - also became a natural part of our ancestors´ way of thinking and acting. When our ancestors finally evolved into Homo Sapiens this had become a big part of our way of life: Some of the first human societies consisted of hunter-gatherers basing society on solidarity, cooperation and egalitarian principles. Marx and Engels studied and wrote about these types of egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies; they called them "primitive communism" - a kind of preindustrial version of the modern classless stateless communist society they envisioned might come into place in the future.

In other words, evolution has allowed us to develop a free will, a mentality that allows for variation in behavior, making room for adaptation and molding of the mind; but our ancestors have also passed on certain elements - mostly good ones - that are determined and part of humans today. Things that were the main reason for our evolutionary success, like solidarity and cooperation, are parts of our nature.

In fact many of these things can also be seen among most species, simply because sticking together and helping each other increase the chances of species survival. Peter Kropotkin, a zoologist, philosopher and Libertarian Socialist - contributing especially to the philosophy of Anarcho-Communism - wrote about this issue in his book "Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution", looking at mutual aid and cooperation in nature, arguing that evolution naturally would develop things like commitment to helping others, and that these were important factors in the survival of the species.

Another important contribution to this topic is of course "The Selfish Gene" from 1976 by professor and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. In this book he pointed out that altruism, and cooperation naturally would evolve among species thruout evolution because organisms act as if their genes - not the organisms themselves - are selfish. It is the gene that is being passed on endlessly thru organisms, and things like altruism would therefore accrue in order to increase the chances for the gene to survive. And it makes perfect sense; individuals sharing the same genes would naturally evolve cooperation, altruism and solidarity, because it increases the chances of the gene being replicated. Most scientists on this field regard Dawkins´ contributions to be correct.

Read more here: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1323868733_human_nature_and_libe.html

"Anarcho-syndicalism isn't suited for large complex societies, once a group gets over 150 or 200, things would all break down."

Libertarian Socialism, especially AS has exactly a complex highly advanced technological society in mind. AS is based on building democracy from below, starting with these "150 or 200", a workplace or small town, coopertating with other towns, workplaces and the larger community and neighboring communities. That way a system where right to democratic influence is proportional to how much it affects you is created.

"What happens in a plant with 1000 workers? Even with a small number only a few A type personalities get heard anyhow and you're back to de facto leaders and representatives."

Libertarian Socialism does not reject representative democracy (read more here: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html ) What LS wants is as much direct democracy as possible.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

A lot to try address from your response. You may win over some but I personally see too many flaws in anarcho-syndicalism. You could try to do it legally through the system or through force, in today's society neither is likely to succeed. Attempts to advance it have been going on for a century, it's an idea that society as a whole keeps rejecting.

I disagree with your assessment (and Chomsky's he has no proof, just belief) on man's nature, you can go through history and cherry pick as many examples for self interest or greed damaging the interests of the group as you can for altruism helping it. There are also many examples of people willing to work less or not at all when society provides for them.

Any system that guarantees you a living no matter how much effort you apply, and in fact offers everyone the same rewards will motivate to many people to do the least amount of work possible. That is certainly a natural behavior sen through the entire animal kingdom. Believing in the opposite won't make it so. Any altruism that does exist won't last long when the guy next to you on the assembly line is always slacking off and getting the same reward. People won't suddenly love their jobs just because they control the means of production.

The existence of a selfish gene certainly explains why we are tribal in nature and distrust anyone outside our own small group. It also explains the violence of one tribe or group toward another throughout history.

What I've read on both terms, anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism indicates they both favor a stateless society. This extends to any institutional power structure. I don't see how that is consistent with representation but it's a minor detain in an ocean of other objections. Representation, debate, reporting back and voting just make the whole thing more unworkable.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"I'm not sure you actually want a democratic decision on this anyhow, you'd likely loose any vote."

I want growing movements eventually becoming a major democratic force in society.

"Also, how could you build a just society that simply ignores existing law?"

By changing the laws thru democratic process, making better laws, hence making society more just:)

"How good can your new society be if it's first acts are immoral or illegal ones?"

What´s legal/illegal must be decided by the people democratically, and that´s what I want. Libertarian Socialism is the most moral society.

"Besides if you don't have the support to change the constitution then you haven't got enough popular support to make an anarcho-syndicalist system work in the first place."

We have a lot of convincing to do, yes.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

We live in a republic, everyone has the right to vote for representatives and can petition those representatives to change the laws, that's where you have to start. You want more, but society may not, be prepared to loose the vote on this.

The society you describe is best suited to those that have little and stand to gain much by redistributing the property of others. To advance it you need to convince people they are more altruistic then they really are (I know Chomsky thinks man is basically good, but that's only a belief) or you need the present society to collapse completely.

Anarcho-syndicalism isn't suited for large complex societies, once a group gets over 150 or 200, things would all break down. What happens in a plant with 1000 workers? Even with a small number only a few A type personalities get heard anyhow and you're back to de facto leaders and representatives.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"They already have an equal say in electing representatives if they'd bother to inform themselves and use that right constructively."

Democracy should be much more than just electing representatives once every 2nd year. People should have a say all the time, not just for a copuple of seconds when putting a piece of paper in a box.

"That's where you have to start anyhow to change laws to take away the rights of owners and appropriate their property. In a work situation you don't necessarily deserve a say in how something is run."

I don´t think that´s true. Organizing and building large popular movements can be another way to work for a better, more just society.

[-] 3 points by BrianMid (132) 2 years ago

We don't have democracy and judging by the level of voter participation I believe more and more the founders were right to go with a republic. I'm not sure you actually want a democratic decision on this anyhow, you'd likely loose any vote.

Also, how could you build a just society that simply ignores existing law? It's a social contract we're all part of. How good can your new society be if it's first acts are immoral or illegal ones? Besides if you don't have the support to change the constitution then you haven't got enough popular support to make an anarcho-syndicalist system work in the first place.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Real anarchism, based on something like the Catalonia model, actually "spurred" innovation (it didn't chill innovation, even though this may seem counter-intuitive to some people). The real question is whether this would be sustainable long term (e.g. after the initial energy of the movement died down). Because of this potential problem, I've been critical of the idea, but I think I may have been too quick to critique anarchism on this point. The Spain experiment shows that education can be much more pervasive under an anarchist model (versus a conventional mixed/free market based system), and so there's really no intrinsic reason to think anarchism would result in some sort of stagnation in human innovation (indeed, the exact opposite may be true, which seems more likely given its characteristics).

So this is a good virtue to strive for. It merely requires a recognition that more freedom, more participation, less disenfranchisement, etc., are good things. Whether anarcho syndicalism is, by itself, the best possible system, is unknown. Whether some of its underlying assumptions regarding human nature are true, is also unknown. But only taking action based on the elusive notion of "certainty" ... is a much surer way to paralysis in innovation than anarchism could ever be.

While I understand the sentiment of many Americans, and the unwillingness to take such a big risk, striving for more freedom should not be something we fear. I mean, logically speaking, this would be tantamount to saying we should be afraid of ourselves.

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

I hold to the more intuitive position until I see something with a better track record then Catalonia. I can see where in factory processes might have been changed and advanced by workers, but it's my belief that entirely new unrelated advances would be impeded. As an example, I doubt a horse and buggy anarcho-syndicalist society vote to invest resources in a new and untried mode of transportation like the automobile.

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

There is evidence supporting the employee owned business model, but of course these models never existed in isolation from conventional (hierarchical structure based) capitalism, so I'd agree with you at least insofar as we would want evidence before adopting such a system wholesale.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

Im very glad to see you leaning more towards the ideas of libertarian socialism:)

Yes, the urge to work, contribute and create is part of us as human beings, and LS would be a society in which individuals could contribute based on their own potential, desires and wants. Heres another one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXevpVXzePc

There´s no reason to believe that real participatory democracy (libertarian socialism) wouldn´t last. In fact, it is this type of society of democracy built from below, and solidarity that is the sustainable one.

But it´s also a matter of principle. If one likes the idea of real democracy - people having a democratic say in the things that affect them and are a part of, then that would certainly include democracy in the workplace and community. There´s a name for this society building democracy from below, it´s called Libertarian Socialism. Anyone who likes the idea of real participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives and work, should work for Libertarian Socialism

yours s. sff

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

I would just say, maybe we should rename the idea. "Participatory democracy" seems like an excellent name (that doesn't have the offensive connotations of words like socialism, speaking of how the word is viewed in our culture). I mean, I'd hate to see a potentially awesome idea, get automatically dismissed by most people, based on the semantics of terminology (versus the substance of the idea, which I have warmed up to).

Don't get me wrong, terminology is not something that concerns "me" (but I have a considerable amount of education, and a thirst for learning new things, and unfortunately everyone doesn't share this trait, or at least they don't think they do at the moment, although maybe there is an underlying human thirst for knowledge, which is suppressed by our culture ... at least I really hope that's true). Nevertheless, it would be a shame if our choice of words became a barrier to progress.

Anarcho syndicalism is a great idea, but it's also a very strong term (and it sounds like a very Euro, socialistic, French Revolution, sort of idea). Even though it's not really any of these things, we have to disseminate information through a cloud of preexisting dispositions based on misinformation and cultural indoctrination (and so it may be wise for us to choose our language more strategically).

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

"Participatory democracy" would be good term representing the ideas of anarchoS/ LS, sure ("Left libertarianism" is also another good name for these ideas). You are an american, yes? If so I can understand you wanting to avoid the "S-Word". I know how misused it is in the states, and maybe what you suggest would be a good idea, at least in the US . But whetherwe call it PD or LS or AS, in any case we still have a lot of work to do convincing people to embrace the ideas and principles, and that should be the main focus

[-] 1 points by francismjenkins (3713) 2 years ago

Yes, I do live in the states (New York), and while I understand that socialism is a very broad term, most Americans don't share my views and don't have my educational background (and they've formed an opinion based mostly on cultural indoctrination). And yes, I agree that we have much work to do in terms of promoting these ideas (which is why I think we would be well advised to avoid getting caught up in terminology that may be counterproductive to our goal of teaching people about these ideas). It's very hard to punch through the cloud of indoctrination. We'd want people to listen to these ideas without the added complication of their preexisting cultural baggage and biases. So I think benign terminology that uses terms most people identify with in a positive way, will make people more open to considering the merit of our underlying ideas. Really, we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Words that are descriptive of our ideas, like more democracy, more freedom, more participation, etc., will do the job just fine.

Let our adversaries be the ones who appeal to this terminology when they try to depict us in a negative way (and to be sure, they will look for any opportunity to call us anarchists or trouble makers or whatever). In the minds of most people, anarchism isn't something with a long intellectual tradition, it's a word that means a bad thing (chaos). If we use words like participatory democracy, then we can leave up to those who oppose us, to explain why more freedom would result in chaos. Why society must be run on a master/slave basis if we're to have a peaceful existence. In other words, they can try to explain to people why they can't manage their own lives ... and we will win that argument all day every day.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

Hear, hear.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 2 years ago

Since far more than 99% of the American public are by far not anarcho-syndicalists, how do you propose to market this idea which is at best extremely unpopular and in fact completely unheard of by the vast majority?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

My contribution: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1321101669_the_transition_phase_.html

It´s only my personal thoughts. We must work together finding the best way of reaching that goal thru organizing, convincing, discussing, (among many other things). And remember AS is the end goal.

[-] -1 points by Chugwunka (89) from Willows, CA 2 years ago

This is a waste of time. Not possible. Ain't gonna work.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 2 years ago

Eeyor, is that you?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6190) 2 years ago

That´s just what feudal lords said to people advocating parlamentary democracy. Look what happened....

[-] 1 points by Chugwunka (89) from Willows, CA 2 years ago

You guys keep thinking that. Keep devoting your lives to incoherent nonsense. The rest of us will try to work on real solutions.