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Forum Post: Just some random thoughts on this whole thing

Posted 5 years ago on June 28, 2012, 11:16 p.m. EST by francismjenkins (3713)
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Kropotkin wrote a long dialogue, sort of related to offshoring (he believed, for the most part, people should produce what they consume). Is capitalism the right target? Ummm, maybe, but if every company was a worker cooperative, wouldn't there still be competition between cooperatives? Would some cooperatives still fail? Moreover, what about the little guy who has a new idea (and wants to open a small business)?

In my opinion, everything should be (for lack of a better word) managed within a participatory democracy framework. If a little guy has a great idea for a new television station, he should be able to go to a public hearing where he lives, and the people should be able to decide whether they like it or not (but of course the consensus idea is still very hypothetical & tentative, and whether or not it's workable in a "large group" format, is highly questionable). I mean, direct democracy does not necessarily mean consensus (it could mean majority, it could mean super-majority, etc.). Moreover, if you look back at the Greeks, they held public debates (in their Agora) between skilled orators, and at the end of the debate, they made decisions. It was functional for the same reasons why most people would choose a heart surgeon over a plumber to perform heart surgery.

A great place to build worker cooperatives, to begin with, is in poor areas (and the reasoning should be obvious, affluent suburbs already have a vibrant economy, if you don't believe me jump on a train & visit Long Island or Westchester, and so there's no incentive for them to experiment with new ideas, they need to tested for viability first). I think worker cooperatives are a great idea (and there's already "some" studies on their viability and effectiveness), but I think we need to be humble enough to acknowledge that we could be wrong about some things.

Communities ought to be able to decide everything. How they're policed, how apartment buildings are managed, how their healthcare is managed, absolutely everything (with maybe a few exceptions, having spent almost 10 years in the Army, hierarchical structure sort of works when you're getting shot at, you want the 30 year old guy with 8 or 10 years experience, telling the 18 year old kid to duck and cover) ... people do not come out of the womb knowing everything (at very minimum we need mentors, teachers, I mean, when I took physics, my physics teacher not only fed us the mathematical equations, but demonstrated what they physically represented, so we gained the intuition for physics).

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche described man as (I’m paraphrasing from memory, so bear with me) the bridge between ape and superman (I interpret “superman” as a metaphor for the entire human race). Most anarchist philosophers I’ve read (as well as Marx) would say that every man should have scientific acumen, know how to farm, fix the plumbing in his own house, etc. (all stuffed in the same brain). In other words, they opposed Smith’s specialization (i.e. division of labor). We might think this is sort of a prototype for a future superman (although I think it’s safe to say, Nietzsche had something much more profound in mind, I think he described the superman as someone with the will of Caesar and soul of Jesus, Goethe and Napoleon wrapped into one). I’m not sure if I completely agree with that … but Nietzsche was fond of parables (and couched his philosophy in very poetic metaphors). BTW, for anyone who doesn’t like or understand Nietzsche (but calls themselves an anarchist), research what Emma Goldman had to say about Nietzsche.



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