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Forum Post: PART II: Workers’ Self-Management & Workplace Democracy – A Step Towards HUMAN LIBERATION

Posted 1 year ago on Jan. 29, 2013, 2:11 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

As I pointed out here, there have been many examples of libertarian socialist, or libertarian socialist-like communities working just fine. In other words, it’s not a question of whether we can achieve a free and just society based on workers’ self-management & workplace democracy, but how we most effectively can get there (I mentioned some of the things I think we should focus on in the struggle for such a society here).

The reason why a society should be based on workplace democracy and other libertarian socialist values, is that it liberates humans. By creating a participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives, work and community, people will be free from authority and domination, and no longer treated like cogs in a machine. The more workers and communities organize to democratize the workplaces, creating cooperatives, and implementing a more co-operative economic system, the closer we’ll come to human liberation.

As we move in this direction, and have as a goal to create a society with democracy on all levels, controlled from below thru democratically controlled workplaces, neighborhoods, communities and so on, we’ll be able to implement more rights and freedoms for the population. The right to control and manage your own workplace together with your colleagues, and the right to participate in your community and have a say in how the economy is run would obviously be essential, but also, as we move towards this participatory democracy, other rights like free health care, free education, free public transportation, decent social security and so on, could be implemented as well. This is perfectly doable; our society has such enormous technology, wealth and resources. A lot of this wealth is as we know now concentrated on the wealthy and the 1%, so a redistribution of wealth should certainly be included in this struggle for freedom.

If we move in this direction; if we work to implement a sustainable society based on workplace democracy and other libertarian socialist ideas and values, we’ll be moving towards a society where people get more and more control over their own lives; we’ll be moving towards human liberation!

Links:

PART I: "Workplace Democracy & Workers’ Self-Management"

"Let’s Make More Services and Goods FREE!"

Noam Chomsky on Workplace Democracy

Richard Wolff on Workplace Democracy

Libertarian Socialism explained

Libertarian Socialism explained II

161 Comments

161 Comments


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[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22225) 1 year ago

Excellent post. While supposed "developing" countries are instituting these progressive measures, we are falling far behind as our reactionary policies continue to strangle human liberty.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Thanks.

Cooperatives are growning in number. A co-operative economic organization of society is perfectly feasible. I think that if we focus on, and convince more people to focus on these things: http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-do-we-fight-capitalism-the-1/ ,we'll get there at some point.

[-] 1 points by beautifulworld (22225) 1 year ago

I think so too. It is the only way for people to have true economic freedom.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Correct!

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

if you haven't already, please check out all the links in both part I and II.

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Nurturing Just Alternatives.

http://www.otherworldsarepossible.org/worker-ownership

This post needs to be bumped often. Thx

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4135) 1 year ago

Agreed!! Great link! I'll have to spend some time there later tonight. Thanks!

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

We gotta spread these ideas around. to create more. and to increase consumers purchasing from co ops as well.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Purchasing more from co-ops is a great idea.

I mentioned some things that I think are important to focus on in the struggle for a more free and democratic society here:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-do-we-fight-capitalism-the-1/

Please check it out and share your thoughts.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4135) 1 year ago

There's a wealth of information on Co-ops & Employee Owned Corporations on Shadz's recent thread starting here...

http://occupywallst.org/forum/if-you-think-were-done-with-neoliberalism-think-ag/#comment-915569

It really is the foundation of a strong and dignified humanity. Its surprising just how many there are already...but not so surprising how few know about these brilliant 'workers for humanity', given our current MSM.

[-] 5 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Shadz always has the best, most thorough info

MSM conglomerates must be broken up like the big banks. independent, citizen journalists on the Internet are our best chance of getting accurate info.

Worker owned businesses is our best opportunity to prevent outsourcing and eliminating the 400% difference between execs pay and avg workers.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4135) 1 year ago

Yep! 400% is obscene. There is absolutely no good reason for that kind of disparity between workers and execs.

It is a wish of mine to have a portion of the MSM to be owned by the people...or at least for ownership of MSM to be legally capped so that no one corporation or person could own more than a small percentage of it, thereby creating diversity and more chance of real reporting...sans propoganda.

Lol!! "Shadz always has the best, most thorough info". You're not kidding there. I think Shadz has given us enough good reading material to keep us busy for a year to come! Most of what I've learned this past year has come from his recommendations.

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

It's true. Shadz has educated me as well. The ideas regarding media ownership are excellent. the laws on that have only been loosened to benefit the nig corps. In fact they are looking at more relaxation ofthe rules. It never ends.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (4135) 1 year ago

The oligarchs have only dollar signs in their eyes. {$,$}

[-] 3 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

We must force them to see clearly, Give them a better view. Otherwise we will have to blind them.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

I agree, I have a list of related links here (including yours): http://www.occupywallst.org/forum/conglomerate-and-democracy-at-work/#comment-907647

[-] 1 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

Bumped up. Thx

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

any time, thank you too

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing! Good article.

[-] 2 points by inclusionman (7064) 1 year ago

no prob. My pleasure adding to the great post

[-] 3 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Keep up the good work Andy

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Thanks, you too. You have brought attention to many good articles here. Keep it up. I know you like Wolff. If you haven’t already, check out this excellent lecture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifad2pMZDgg

[-] 2 points by arturo (3169) from Shanghai, Shanghai 1 year ago

Certain Japanese corporations are known to have had in place "worker self management teams", in which the workers would essentially manage themselves. There was also an emphasis on workers contributing ideas to improve the process of production. Is this similar to what you have in mind?

[-] 1 points by AlwaysIntoSomething (42) 11 months ago

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_lamS0kHdQ

Worker coopts and a new model for workers

[-] 4 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 10 months ago

I visit Richard's channel quite often, but thanks anyway:)

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

(sff/JPB debate continued)

“How can you compensate for the funds you wish to take from people?”

Why should people be compensated for not any longer having the right to control and dominate others? They should be given the same rights and freedoms as everyone else. Is that very unreasonable?

“I see the motivation for personal gain as a driving force in any economy.”

If you’re concerned about people’s motivation, wouldn’t the incentive to work be strengthened if people were in control of their own workplace, had better working conditions and so on?

Besides, the willingness to create, work, and contribute to our communities is part of us as humans.

“When too much is given, people cease to work as hard.”

But then you obviously don’t mind rich people not working hard…

So what you’re saying is that wealth and resources should be kept concentrated in the hands of the owners and the corporations, because if the resources were to be given to the people, they wouldn’t work as hard as they do now?

What exactly do you mean by “working hard” anyway, and why is it a necessity in a modern, wealthy society?

Many citizens are, because of technology, knowledge and so on, getting more and more wealthy. Is this a trend that should be stopped or reduced? I mean, that would strongly reduce the motivation to “work hard”, right?

“If you ever managed to convince enough people to change the laws however I'd have to live with it”

But you’d be against it personally? You’d not like it if the people created a more equal and democratic society?

“The upper 50% of earners would be against the proposal”

Listen, the 400 richest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 000 000 combined. The overwhelming majority would benefit from a libertarian socialist society. Workers, students, children, seniors, and so on, would all be better off.

And again, attitudes can change – which includes attitudes about the importance of money and income etc. In other words, even many of the rich could come to realize that a sustainable, democratic and just society would be the best one.

“I don't see libertarian socialism as liberating, more as an vain attempt to create Utopia.”

As I showed in part I, there are examples of libertarian socialist or libertarian socialist-like societies working perfectly fine, and being very efficient. The question is not whether it works or not, but how we most effectively can get there.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Taxing is what we do to provide for the services a society wants. It is not and should not be a tool to make society fit your vision of “democratic”. If a government does not tax enough to cover its expenses then it needs to tax more or offer less. If a government is running a deficit then taxing only to hurt the wealthy but not to enough to solve your deficit problem is foolish.

At this point I don’t expect my thoughts to make sense to you. We see the world very differently. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Makes an optimistic assumption about human nature, in my opinion though it’s not a workable model.

People go to businesses on their own, to gain employment. Employers owe them nothing more then the wage promised. It doesn’t matter to me what that wage is $0.25 or $25 an hour. The workers have no claim, morally or otherwise on the means of production.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“It is not and should not be a tool to make society fit your vision of “democratic”.”

Why not?

“If a government does not tax enough to cover its expenses then it needs to tax more or offer less.”

Sure. And the ones who should be taxed more are the rich and the huge, tyrannical corporations. By making the society more equal, and by democratizing the workplaces, people will get more control of their own lives.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need Makes an optimistic assumption about human nature, in my opinion though it’s not a workable model.”

What do you mean?

“Employers owe them nothing more then the wage promised.”

Yes, that’s how it is today.

Capitalism must be abolished so that humans can be free – free to control their own lives, instead of being controlled and dominated by private tyrannies.

We don’t tolerate tyranny in state and government; we shouldn’t tolerate it in business either.

“The workers have no claim, morally or otherwise on the means of production.”

Yes they do! People should be free to control their own lives.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

It isn't any more than a personal position, taxes are raised for the express purpose of paying for services. Not making things come out financially equal without regard for how hard someone has worked.

I have no problem with a reasonably progressive tax structure, as long as everyone pays something. I would oppose anything that was used as a social tool.

Marx saying depends on people being willing to work their hardest for the good of society, that is a wonderful theory that does not happen in practice.

"Private tyrannies" as you call them, is what a sizable majority want, if they didn't then there would be more cooperatives and more union action making an attempt to change things. I see no reason to change them, I see sufficient choice for workers now.

I say again people do have control of their own lives, 15% of all workers in the US have used that control to start their own business. The other 85% work as employees and are free to change jobs if they so desire.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

The more egalitarian the society is, the better. Taxation is one of the things that can contribute to achieving a more just society. By introducing a more progressive tax system, the gap between the rich and poor will decrease.

Our ultimate goal should be a free, democratic and classless society; a society where humans are free to control their own lives.

Again, why are you so opposed to wealth redistribution?

You’re already advocating confiscating people’s resources in order to pay for defense etc; why not also advocate confiscating more of the rich people’s resources – which they have gotten their hands on thru bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts, buying politicians etc– to make life better for the workers and the have-nots? Why not advocate changing the laws, so that the enormous wealth and resources that gradually have been built up, can be enjoyed by everyone?

Why do people have to work “their hardest”? People should work and contribute based on their own creativity, abilities and knowledge.

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need can work perfectly well in a wealthy, technological society.

Corporations are private tyrannies.

Propaganda, subsidies, bailouts, tax cuts and so on are the reasons why Corporations have the power they have. They’ve achieved this mostly by buying politicians who support their agenda. These politicians have shuffled more cash into their hands, making them even more wealthy and powerful. It’s a vicious circle – and the people are suffering.

I want people to have even more freedom and control in their lives than they do now. By democratizing the economy people will be freer than they are now.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Unfortunately your goal is not attainable. Your theoretical society depends on people to act in a way that is not natural for them. I think the reason there are so few willing to work for it, is that most realize this.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Why is it not attainable?

There’s nothing “unnatural” about it. It would be a society in which individuals are free; free to control their own lives, work and community, with democracy and participation, rather than tyranny and oppression. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need is the only reasonable goal for and modern, wealthy society.

And again, why are you so opposed to redistributing the wealth?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I've given you my reasons why I believe libertarian socialism wouldn't work, you've give me you reason why you think it would. I'm unconvinced it could work.

I'm opposed to simply handing out other people's money to someone simply because they don't have as much. I'd rather see the effort placed on assuring people have equal opportunity. Success or failure then is up to the individual.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Libertarian Socialism is about workers and communities controlling the institutions in society democratically. That’s not unachievable and unworkable, that’s the only right way to organize society.

Considering the way today’s wealthy have gotten their hands on all the cash (bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts, buying politicians, exploitation etc), why are you so opposed to handing out their money to the people?

Those of us who are fond of real democracy would rather have the people controlling the institutions in society democratically, rather then allow private tyrannies to control and dominate our lives.

Again, what’s “unnatural” and unattainable about From each according to his ability, to each according to his need

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

It's obviously not the "only" way to organize society, just the only way that you happen to want.

Your focus on bailouts and subsidies is an over simplification, it hasn't been the path to wealth for everyone, not even for a majority.

People don't seem to have an interest in controlling their government, if they did the mechanism is already there, they fail to use it. They don't keep informed. That won't change even if you could put socialism in place.

Your dream of turning Marx's statement into reality is unattainable because it is unnatural for people to place the long term benefit of the group above their own short term benefit.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“It's obviously not the "only" way to organize society”

No one’s claiming that either.

“just the only way that you happen to want.”

Correct. I want a real free and democratic society.

“Your focus on bailouts and subsidies is an over simplification”

Bailouts and subsidies have been substantial in order to keep the state-capitalist economy running. There are businesses that have received little or no subsidies of course, but it is a fact that these things play a huge role in the economy in general. It is a fact that a lot of the cash that the wealthy now are in possession of is because of the things I mentioned above.

So I ask you again:

Considering the way today’s wealthy have gotten their hands on all the cash (bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts, buying politicians, exploitation etc), why are you so opposed to handing out their money to the people?

“People don't seem to have an interest in controlling their government”

I think most people would be very interested in controlling their own lives and workplace if the option was there. Apathy is not a law of nature; it’s caused by the capitalist system and corporate propaganda.

“Your dream of turning Marx's statement into reality is unattainable because it is unnatural for people to place the long term benefit of the group above their own short term benefit.”

This does not make sense. In this society there’d be collective, as well as individual freedom. It’s about the individual’s freedom to create, work and contribute based on its own abilities (From each according to his ability), as well as controlling the things that affect us all together, and control and distribute our common resources in a way so that everyone can have decent lives (to each according to his need)

There’s nothing unnatural about a free, participatory democracy in which people aren’t treated like machines.

[-] -1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Gifts from the government through any government program, from food stamps to bank bail outs may have their detractors, but if nothing illegal was done then there is no reason to take back money from those that got it. Identify who did something illegal, if you wish to confiscate their funds.

You've more or less identified why I'm opposed to the type of redistribution you seek. You referred to the money as "their money". There is no legal reason to confiscate it. I'm opposed to creating one if the purpose is simply to make all economic outcomes equal.

I disagree, most people are not interested in controlling their own workplace, as evidenced by the low level of support for libertarian socialism. Even in the unions there isn't any support for the idea.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“but if nothing illegal was done then there is no reason to take back money from those that got it.”

Why not? Why not change the laws so that society’s resources and wealth can be used to make lives better for the people.

Slave-owners in the US owned their slaves legally. Should slavery not have been abolished?

“You referred to the money as "their money".”

Yes, it’s their money now – just as it was their slaves back in the 18th century.

Just because someone legally owns something, doesn’t necessarily mean that current laws should be maintained.

“I disagree, most people are not interested in controlling their own workplace, as evidenced by the low level of support for libertarian socialism.”

I don’t agree, I think most people would love to have more control over their own lives if the option was there. But if it were true, then those attitudes can change; they’re no laws of nature.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Change whatever laws you can get the support to change. I'm simply giving you my opinion. I don't support taking money from those that obtained it legally and giving it to others just to attain your idea of economic equality.

Slavery isn't a good comparison here, a majority favored changing the law and, in the case of slaves held where the federal government had jurisdiction, compensation was paid for the freed slaves.

There is a difference between what people see as having control over their life and accepting libertarian socialism. I believe most people know we do have enough choices now. Again the evidence is in the near total lack of growth for the idea of socialism over many decades.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“Slavery isn't a good comparison here, a majority favored changing the law and, in the case of slaves held where the federal government had jurisdiction, compensation was paid for the freed slaves.”

It's a good comparison. You said that since nothing illegal was done, then there is no reason to take back money from those that got it. Well, slaves were owned legally...

I’m only for changing the system when the people want it. And I’m for compensating the owners by giving them rights and freedoms – the same rights and freedoms as everyone else.

So if there was majority support, and owners were justly compensated, then you’d support confiscating their wealth?

“I don't support taking money from those that obtained it legally and giving it to others just to attain your idea of economic equality.”

Why not? Just because someone legally owns something, doesn’t necessarily mean that current laws should be maintained. So again, considering the way today’s wealthy have gotten their hands on all the cash (bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts, buying politicians, exploitation etc), why are you so opposed to handing out their money to the people?

“There is a difference between what people see as having control over their life and accepting libertarian socialism.”

In a libertarian socialist society people would be in control of their own lives. Like I said in the forum post, LS is about human liberation.

“I believe most people know we do have enough choices now.”

I think most people, if you asked them, would say that they’d like more control in their lives. I think most people don’t want to be controlled and dominated by huge corporations.

“Again the evidence is in the near total lack of growth for the idea of socialism over many decades.”

That’s to a large extent caused by corporate and right-wing propaganda. Socialism, real socialism that is, with workers’ control, not state control, is a society in which people are in control of their own lives. If everyone were properly introduced to the ideas of libertarian socialism, there’d be an overwhelming support.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

There are examples of compensation paid for freed slaves. How can you compensate for the funds you wish to take from people? Either way I wouldn't support confiscation for the purpose you propose.

Personally i wouldn't favor a law that somehow assures everyone economic equality. I see the motivation for personal gain as a driving force in any economy. When too much is given, people cease to work as hard. If you ever managed to convince enough people to change the laws however I'd have to live with it, but fortunately I don't see that as having much of a chance for the foreseeable future.

As I said earlier the numbers are against you on redistribution. The upper 50% of earners would be against the proposal and so would younger workers just starting out at the lower end of the wage scale with prospects for a higher income as they age. You're unlikely to ever get 50%.

I don't see libertarian socialism as liberating, more as an vain attempt to create Utopia. I don't believe it is at all workable as a form of government. Even in the workplace it's effectiveness is limited.

This will be my last reply for a while, I'm going to be unable to access the internet for the next week. If you wish to continue this on, simply let me know.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

(sff/JPB debate continued)

In an economy like ours, with an endless number of transactions, networks, contributions etc, all taking place in a modern, wealthy society gradually built up thru hundreds of years, I don’t see much point in spending lots of time trying to figure out who rightfully earns what. These things aren't measurable in a complex society like ours. We know one thing though: the value of the benefits we receive from society is much bigger than the value of our contributions.

In a society like this, I think the only reasonable thing to do is to democratize the economy and share the resources. That way people can have a say in the economy which affects us all, and we can make a society that’s good for all.

I assume you agree that the value of our contributions, no matter how hard we work, are extremely small compared to all the benefits we receive from society. Everyone participating in today’s economy, are born into a wealthy, modern society that has been built up by past generations thru hundreds of years. You also agree, of course, that the wealthy have gotten a lot of the money they now possess thru bailouts and subsidies, right?

So with these facts in mind, don’t you agree that it’s pretty reasonable that we change the laws so that the wealth can be redistributed. I mean, you’re already advocating confiscation; why not redistribute so that workers, students, seniors and so on, can be better off?

[-] -1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I disagree that democratizing the economy is desirable. I don’t believe libertarian socialism would be a successful alternative to capitalism. I also would not wish to take away the right of any individual to own a business.

If we say that no one person has made a significant contribution to society then those without wealth have no claim to the legally acquired wealth of others. I couldn’t agree to confiscate money from the descendants of those that earned their money any more then I would try to recover money from the successful descendants of past welfare recipients.

I have no idea how many people may have benefited from bailouts or subsidies. I don’t believe it is a large proportion. It doesn’t matter how many it may have been, these payments were made through laws passed. Repayment is only necessary if the original legislation called for it. Had these been offers of loans then those that took them would have had the option to turn them down. I oppose any retroactive change because that option couldn’t be offered now. You can’t undo the gift once it’s been made, accepted, and used.

I see no reason to take property or wealth from people that have not broken the law. You may feel redistribution is reasonable, I don’t agree. At best you might be able to claim no one deserves to be wealthy. Inheritance and property laws take precedence in that case.

I can’t agree to support a legal change to peoples’ right to keep their own wealth. I’m not advocating confiscation, just paying for the government services I feel are needed. It doesn’t matter what good you think you could do with it. Each individual has the responsibility to care for them self.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“I disagree that democratizing the economy is desirable.”

If you think people should have a say in the things that affect them, then democratizing the economy would be pretty obvious. The economy is all encompassing; it affects us all.

“I don’t believe libertarian socialism would be a successful alternative to capitalism.”

LS is the only reasonable alternative to the tyrannical system we have today. Like I said in the post: a more direct, participatory democracy liberates humans.

“I also would not wish to take away the right of any individual to own a business”

Everybody should have the right to control their own business. Workplaces must therefore be run democratically.

“If we say that no one person has made a significant contribution to society then those without wealth have no claim to the legally acquired wealth of others.”

That didn't make much sense. Again, what I’m saying is that it doesn’t make much sense to spend lots of time trying to figure out who rightfully earns what, because this isn’t measurable in a complex society like ours. The wealth should be controlled democratically, and shared.

“I have no idea how many people may have benefited from bailouts or subsidies. I don’t believe it is a large proportion.”

Subsidies and bailouts are enormous. Just go back to the one single year of 2008 and see how much the taxpayer contributed in bailouts.

Most of the welfare goes to private enterprise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7JXfwUtz0w

“It doesn’t matter how many it may have been, these payments were made through laws passed. Repayment is only necessary if the original legislation called for it.”

So because current laws allow the wealthy to keep the resources, then that means they should keep it? Ridiculous. Property rights – many of them extremely cruel and inhumane – have been changed many times throughout history; it can and should happen again.

Suppose we were living in a slave society; should the slave-owners currently owning slaves get to keep owning them, or should they be stripped from their privileges?

“I’m not advocating confiscation, just paying for the government services I feel are needed.”

Don’t try to pretend that you don’t advocate confiscation. Taxation is confiscation.

[-] -1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

People may have any say they want within the laws we have. I favor democracy but I’m also in favor of private ownership and workers have no right to control a business they don’t own a share in.

I don’t see LS as being a viable or reasonable economic system. I see no reason to confiscate property or wealth from its owners and give it to others just to spread wealth out evenly. I disagree with your arguments, I do not see redistribution to the level you want it as desirable or reasonable.

You’re free to continue to advocate for your ideas, but any corporate welfare in the past is over and done with. I am in favor of decreasing and ending subsidies. I would not vote to retroactively punish anyone for legally accepting some form of corporate welfare. You may try to get laws changed. Until you do the people that hold wealth, property, stock, the means of production get to keep it and decide what to do with it, because it is theirs.

We’re not living in a slave society. If we were then the options are to change the laws or allow owners to keep their slaves. The laws were changed and in the US. Where there was Federal jurisdiction and a state was not in rebellion, compensation was paid to the former slave owners. When the UK abolished slavery it also paid compensation to slave owners.

Being in favor of taxation for some things and not for others is not all that unusual. Taxation=Confiscation, for you, but not for me. I see a clear distinction between paying for what I want and simply taking property for the purpose of redistribution. It’s a distinction that any worker close to or above the median household income will see and it's a distinction that will very likely keep libertarian socialism from ever having the support of the majority.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“People may have any say they want within the laws we have.”

And just like the laws once were changed into the ones we have today, new ones can again replace some of today’s laws. I want the laws to change so that people can (legally) have a say at the workplace.

“I favor democracy but I’m also in favor of private ownership”

Yeah, democracy is a good idea – just don’t implement it in the economy…

The economy is such an enormous part of today’s society, affecting all of our lives; if it’s not democratized, there will be an enormous democratic deficit.

“You may try to get laws changed. Until you do the people that hold wealth, property, stock, the means of production get to keep it and decide what to do with it, because it is theirs.”

Why do you keep telling me this?

“Taxation=Confiscation, for you, but not for me.”

I can’t believe you keep going on about this. Taxation is taking people’s money. How is that not confiscation?

“I see a clear distinction between paying for what I want and simply taking property for the purpose of redistribution.”

Please explain to me how taking people’s resources to pay for defense is not confiscation, while taking rich people’s resources to make workers, seniors and so on better off, is confiscation?

“I see no reason to confiscate property or wealth from its owners and give it to others just to spread wealth out evenly.”

Why not? Shouldn’t we try to create a society that’s good for all?

You’re already advocating confiscating people’s resources in order to pay for defense; why not also advocate confiscating more of the rich people’s resources – which to a large extent has been provided by the taxpayer – to make life better for the workers and the have-nots? Why not advocate changing the laws, so that the enormous wealth and resources that gradually have been built up, can be enjoyed by everyone?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

It doesn't matter if you feel there will be an enormous democratic deficit. The majority do not share your interpretation of things. I don't believe you'll ever convince more then a handful of people to change the laws regarding an individual's right to own the means of production. You may see a need, but few others see it.

It also doesn't matter if we use the word confiscation or not. The words don't matter as much as how people feel about your ideas. Taking money for some purposes is accepted as a necessary evil by the majority. The majority are never going to accept using taxation to produce equal economic outcomes for the entire society.

Half the population is at or above the median income level. They are not going to support the kind of confiscation you desire. They would fear redistribution for economic equality could eventually hurt them financially. In addition many young workers earning below the median income level see a time in their future when they will move into the upper half of earners. They are not going to favor a system of redistribution that could hurt them in the future. Self interest will always trump concern for a group. I don't believe you are ever going to get a majority to care about the possibility of giving everyone an equal amount of wealth when it could hurt them as an individual.

There is another sentiment we haven't brought up. Most of those in the middle class or higher and those that hope to work their way into the middle class have strong feeling against giving money to anyone for any reason. The common feeling is they have worked hard, no one should simply be given something.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

You don’t have to tell me that not enough people actively support Libertarian Socialism – I know! However, I think most people would embrace these ideas if they were properly introduced to them. Everyone would benefit enormously from a libertarian socialist society – except for the wealthy and powerful, of course. Having control over your own life, work and community, with decent rights and conditions for workers, free education, free health care, a sustainable environment and on and on; these things would benefit the entire society.

The ideas of a co-operative economic system is increasing in popularity all over the place, including in the U.S: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK9SjSpRCcQ

Organizing society based on libertarian socialist principles, with community and workplace democracy, solidarity, cooperation and so on, is the way to go. More direct, participatory democracy is what a future just society must be based on.

You’re right about many having a self-centered attitude now a days, but that can change. These types of attitudes don’t have much to do with normal human feelings; they’ve been imposed by power centers and can easily be weakened.

“The majority are never going to accept using taxation to produce equal economic outcomes for the entire society.”

How do you know that? There are many countries today that, compared to the United States, have good progressive tax systems and much more economic equality.

Attitudes and opinions can change – like so many times before.

A society without a democratized economy has less democracy than a society with a democratized economy. That has nothing to do with my “feelings”, that has to do with common sense.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I don’t think your way of introducing people to socialism is likely to win many supporters. You seem to feel it’s necessary to take from those that have and give to others. That idea requires a change to our laws that I believe most people find dangerous to put into place.

The idea of free services is attractive but not believable. The people that provide these services don’t do it for free. The idea of banning money was tried briefly by the anarchists in Catalonia. They had to go back to it because too many people were taking what was "free" and not working. There is no evidence that a libertarian socialist society would be environmentally sustainable. It won't necessarily make people feel any different about the environment.

Your video on the other hand shows a much better approach. The first 30 seconds of the video say it all for me. They bought into the business they are all owners, it wasn’t given to them. “We have skin in the game” one man said. If you simply give the means of production to workers then they have no real interest in it.

Mondragon workers also must buy into the company, nothing was taken from owners and just given to workers. Although it received a great deal of assistance from the government in the form of massive tax breaks and limits placed on competitors. Mondragon today however does have a hierarchy that is not directly responsible to the workers.

I see nothing wrong with building a society like this, but I’m totally opposed to stepping in and just giving away businesses as gifts to workers. No matter how much you think it’s just common sense, you’re attempting to skip steps in building a better society. People have to earn what they get. If you want a better society or workplace then buy it, built it, prove it works, don’t demand it as a gift. It lets capitalism and cooperatives exist side by side offering more free choice. There is no need to change property laws or anything else. Let a better system evolve based on what works best for people.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I want to take from those that have a lot, so that workers, students and so on, can be better off. It’s about creating economic equality, so that everyone can have a decent life. I’m for creating new cooperatives, and I’m for wealth distribution. 1% of the US population owns almost half of investment capital. Power and resources are very highly concentrated; wealth distribution is necessary as well. And this is not about “giving away gifts”, this is about implementing more democracy and freedom, so that people, to a larger extent, can be in control of their own lives and work.

The video you saw shows that workplace democracy and creating a more co-operative economic organization can work, and is growing in popularity. Again, most people would embrace these ideas and other libertarian socialist values if they were properly introduced to them. LS would benefit the entire population.

When things like greed and hunt for profits have been weakened and replaced by cooperation and a participatory democracy, I think most people would agree that protecting the environment and organizing a sustainable economy and society is preferable. Most people probably already think this is important; the problem is that the ones making the decisions – the financial elite and their puppets in government – don’t prioritize this.

“People have to earn what they get.”

What do you mean “earn”?

I’m talking about free services in the sense that they’re free when you need them. There are lots of countries today that have free, or close to free health care, education, decent social security and so on. It’s not utopia. Also, the more services that are made free, the less money is necessary. In a society where services are free, people wouldn’t be working for “free” per se: they’d have access to goods and services they otherwise would have had to pay for.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

The videos you linked to show how things can evolve. One workplace at a time, proving success, converting people to a new way of thinking. Helping people develop the right social attitudes. The course of action you propose however isn't acceptable to people.

I can understand your haste you'd like to see your vision for society come to pass. Unfortunately I don't believe people are ready and by insisting it happen your way you're turning more people away then you're attracting. I honestly believe if you could give all workers the means of production libertarian socialism would fail. When I say they are not ready I don't mean they are not ready to vote for it, although that is true also. I mean they are not ready for it in their heart. People are self centered in their thinking, handing them a workplace or society to run on libertarian socialist principles would lead to failure.

On sustainability you're being hopeful and guessing. Any group of workers could vote for the groups' short term economic gain at the expense of the environment.

The workers that buy a share of a cooperative own the business, they deserve what they have and what they build. Workers that are simply handed possession have not earned anything and do not deserve any say in a business they work for.

Those countries that offer the services you talk about pay for them with taxes. Noting is truly free. Many are facing massive deficits because of those so called free services.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I’ve said it many times before: changes can only happen when the people want them. Establishing a large scale libertarian socialist society can gradually come into place as more and more people realize that this kind of organization is the best one. So I agree with you that people have to be ready in their hearts. There has to be a kind of change of consciousness as Chomsky once said, where values like solidarity, cooperation, and so on come to prevail. Achieving this change will take time and hard work.

There shouldn’t be anything controversial about redistributing wealth. The richest 1% own almost half of inv. capital. Wealth has accumulated more and more into the pockets of the super wealthy. This has happened thru bailouts, subsidies, exploitation, and buying politicians. They should be stripped from their undemocratic power. We don’t tolerate tyranny in state and government; we shouldn’t tolerate it in business either.

All we can do when it comes to questions about the future, is to be hopeful and guess. Again, I don’t think you’ll find many people (except for some among the ruling elite) that object to establishing a society that is sustainable, with more renewable energy, environmental protection and so on. When the power is in the hands of the people, these things will be prioritized more.

Remember also that Libertarian Socialism is not about every worker, or every workplace for themselves. LS is about organizing the entire society with federal structures and so on, with democratic control at every level.

Deficits are not caused by free services. What’s casing the problems we now see in Europe and elsewhere is overwhelmingly the fact that private enterprise has been handed more and more power and control, thru tax cuts and privatization.

Again, what do mean by “earn”? And how do you measure that in a society like ours?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Whether you agree or not, I see redistribution of wealth as very controversial. Those that possess wealth and acquired it legally have a right to keep it. It may be true that laws get changed, but until you actually do change them violating them is very controversial.

There is also a world of difference between workers forming a cooperative with their own funds and appropriating the means of production. One approach could develop support over time, assuming cooperatives were successful. The other is not likely to gain much support at all.

I don't understand how workers would suddenly support environmental efforts that would hurt the business they operate and hurt them financially. Most people support environmental sacrifices made by others, not necessarily by themselves. The priorities are always going to be first to one's self.

Deficits are caused by spending too much and/or taxing too little. The point is no service is really free. If the legislative body decides to offer too much "free" stuff to the people and at the same time makes too many gifts to business then you're likely to have a deficit problem. Obviously government needs to tax more, give out less, or a combination of both.

I would define what we earn as an agreed to return for work or investment. It's what you deserve for your efforts, based on an agreement between two parties. The key element is that it's something mutually agreed to, not unilaterally determined by one side. The workers in a factory can't legally or morally earn the right to control the means of production as long as the owners don't agree to it.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

There are many different ways to take back power and wealth from the rich. Taking over the mop is one thing, another one is taxation. A reasonable short term goal is increasing taxes on the wealthy. All the different ways of making the society more free, just and equal must be done by the will of the people. It’s about creating more democracy and freedom, and that shouldn’t be controversial at all.

Again, just because someone are in possession of certain resources, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to let them keep it. We’ve been thru this before, JPB:

Recourses have throughout history been given and taken from all sorts of dictators, kings, as well as the ones fighting them; and wealth has gradually been built up by past generations. The resources must be controlled democratically by the participants. Like I said, we don’t tolerate tyranny in government and state, we shouldn’t tolerate it in business either.

As a libertarian socialist society develops, self-centered attitudes would fade and be replaced by a society in which we cooperate and take care of one another – and the environment. Environmental issues typically get prioritized more in cooperatives: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlO_2QhUQRI

And once again: Most people, even today, think it's important to focus on environmental issues.

Yes, the government should raise taxes more - on the wealthy. It’s called redistributing wealth.

“I would define what we earn as an agreed to return for work or investment. It's what you deserve for your efforts, based on an agreement between two parties.”

This is meaningless. I explained this before: When one party has the overwhelming power over the other, it’s meaningless to talk about voluntary agreements. And also, your paycheck isn't only overwhelmingly decided by the employer, it’s also decided by the conditions in general; which country you live in and so on. For example, do an Indonesian girl who “agreed” to work at a Nike-factory deserve $ 0.25 an hour, you think? Or More? Or less? And why?

“The workers in a factory can't legally or morally earn the right to control the means of production as long as the owners don't agree to it.”

It’s not about “earning”, it’s about the people changing the laws to make society more democratic, allowing the workers to have more control in their lives than they do now.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I don't believe there are enough wealthy people to pay for all the things people seem to want their government to do. Beyond that I don't believe people value things they don't work for and pay for themselves in some way. Everyone should be expected to pay something for government services.

You ask for me to say what I mean by earn, then tell me my concept is meaningless. I can only express what I believe is the sentiment of the majority, workers do not deserve to simply take property they do not own. If they wish to run a business they will have to buy their own. There are options for workers within the existing laws.

Your hypothetical Indonesian deserves what she is able to get her employer to agree to pay her. I assume she is free to leave the place where she works if she desires. Perhaps the people of Indonesia will be interested in changing their laws. Currently there isn't much interest here.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“I don't believe there are enough wealthy people to pay for all the things people seem to want their government to do.”

I didn’t say that either. We should tax the rich well, so that the society can become more democratic and just.

“Beyond that I don't believe people value things they don't work for and pay for themselves in some way.”

Could you elaborate?

“You ask for me to say what I mean by earn, then tell me my concept is meaningless.”

Jepp. I was a little curious what you meant by “earn”. You told me, and I discovered immediately that it did not make sense.

“I can only express what I believe is the sentiment of the majority, workers do not deserve to simply take property they do not own.”

For those of us who believe we should have a more free and democratic society, taking power and wealth away from private tyrannies ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYxGkFxb7f4 ) is just common sense. Today’s property rights are no laws of nature, they can be changed.

What about the enormous wealth redistribution that has happened the last 30 years, with more and more wealth being shuffled into the pockets of the rich? Have you ever complained about that?

“Your hypothetical Indonesian deserves what she is able to get her employer to agree to pay her.”

So according to you, $ 0,25 seems about right, then?

Don’t you see how meaningless this is. The sum on one’s paycheck depends on a lot of different things: how wealthy the society is, the political system, how much power the individual has, luck and so on. And again, the value of our personal contributions is extremely small compared to the value of everything society offers us. In a rich, modern society with owners and the financial elite having the overwhelming power in the economy, it’s meaningless to think the way you do on this topic.

The only reasonable thing to do in a society like ours is to work towards establishing a society based on the principle From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

"I see no reason to take property or wealth from people that have not broken the law."

Do you agree with confiscating property of the accused? Civil forfeiture laws? One aspect of this conversation that has not been explored is how laws are passed. Lobbyists writing legislation. Campaign contributions in exchange for specific tax breaks, subsidies, and favorable treatment. Legal? Yes. But nether representative nor fair; this is simply codification of inequality under color of law.

Remember taxation without representation? From 27-28% of all tax revenues in the 1950s, corporate taxes have dropped to 8-9% of total receipts. This is an effective increase in taxes for everyone else.

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2011/04/corporate-tax-rates-then-and-now/

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/Content/PDF/corporate_historical_bracket.pdf

"You may feel redistribution is reasonable, I don’t agree. At best you might be able to claim no one deserves to be wealthy. Inheritance and property laws take precedence in that case."

Personally I am not advocating redistribution per se. I am, however, interested in not only removing private money from the political system, but strictly defining the concept of "public trust" as regards corruption and bribery of elected and appointed officials. Just my opinion, but there should be overlapping jurisdictions to encourage both oversight and competition among enforcing agencies.

With regard to large concentrations of wealth, historically if the so called "super rich" did not use the power they derive from their wealth to tilt the economic, financial and political playing fields to their advantage, it would not be a problem. But it is. Thus, if these enormous private concentrations of financial wealth predispose us to political corruption, which leads to economic corruption via a systematic codification of inequality under the law, then those concentrations must be broken up because of the peril they create. Not necessarily confiscated, but certainly not left intact.

That said, there are classes of property which must needs be removed from private, for profit ownership -- specifically location based utilities and public services (power generation and transmission, water and sewer, hospitals, jails and prisons, etc.) because of their monopolistic nature as well as their public and environmental impact. The current mania for privatizing public assets is nothing more than an asset grab.

"I can’t agree to support a legal change to peoples’ right to keep their own wealth. I’m not advocating confiscation, just paying for the government services I feel are needed."

Wish I could pay taxes based on what I "feel" the government needs. But, that's not how taxes work, at least for me -- Duke Energy refuses to pay about one-half of its county property taxes now due and is suing the county. It's not legal to withhold taxes due and the county will fight the suit, but it will take a while and Duke has some deep pockets. In the meantime the county budget is in shambles (taxes will be going up for the rest of us). Moreover, Duke customers also get to pay, to the tune of several billion dollars, not only for a now defunct nuclear power plant (workers broke it, literally), but its planned replacement as well -- not the stockholders who stand to make the profit. This is called public risk, private profit.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/citrus-county-okays-funds-to-fight-duke-energy-refusal-to-pay-full-tax-bill/1265525

If government is about who gets what, when, then all tax monies are a redistribution either up or down the economic and financial ladder. The real issue is equality and fairness under the law, not equality of outcome.

"Each individual has the responsibility to care for them self." [sic]

We agree. But we also have a responsibility to our neighbors as well, else there is no civil society.

"Most ... have strong feeling against giving money to anyone for any reason. The common feeling is they have worked hard, no one should simply be given something."

This is a reflection of just how deeply the "greed is good" doctrine pushed by the financial elite has penetrated mainstream society, not to mention the pressure created by the decreasing standard of living it's causing.

So a child with cancer deserves only the pity they can muster from charity? Perhaps a sympathetic reporter will take an interest on a slow news day and put one on the One-Eyed-God. Hell, why not devote an entire channel for just that purpose -- look pitiful, but pretty kids!

Or perhaps we should just take them out and let the wolves have at them.

[-] 0 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

There is no argument that the entire tax code needs to be gone over and redone. Freezing assets of those accused of a crime is very different from simply confiscating assets from the innocent. To answer your question though, I agree in principle with forfeiture laws.

The ultra rich don't literally buy votes, they do however gain a louder voice with their money. Encouraging the educated participation of the electorate would reduce the power of lobbies and money. Ultimately the power of the super rich has been handed to them by an indifferent population that make their political decisions based on a 30 second attack ad. I agree with the idea of getting the money out of politics, but we're only treating a symptom, the disease is voter ignorance and indifference.

I understand how taxes and the system work. The ongoing discussion on it has lead to oversimplified statements. In general I believe the electorate show a preference for certain government services over others. Representatives focus on those things that get them the most votes or cost them the fewest. Tax dollars on defense or infrastructure has more support then corporate or individual welfare programs. Certainly more support then simply confiscating all the funds from anyone considered rich and giving them to anyone considered poor. The idea that took my other discussion into taxes is confiscation of the means of production, without compensation, and turning it over to the workers. There is, for all practical purposes, no support for a libertarian socialist agenda.

I didn't intend to make a "greed is good" statement, more an observation of what I see as reality. Interest for one's self comes first, then there are decreasing levels of caring as you move out to family, friends, neighbors, and so on to total strangers. I don't see it as originating with the "elites" more just human nature.

Using a child or a woman for the occasional individual hard luck story can personalize someone's plight and result in a flood of charitable contributions or feelings. That's an emotional manipulation not much more moral then what is done in political ads. It can be claimed the ends justify the means I suppose. In general however there is little support for a tax bill that could be characterized as giving money to those that don't work from those that do.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

"The ultra rich don't literally buy votes, they do however gain a louder voice with their money."

Really? How familiar are you with lobbyists and campaign contributors? Quid pro quo. In any case, simply gaining a "louder voice" politically is tilting the playing field to advantage.

And I did not say freezing assets, but rather confiscating assets of the accused, such as is now being done by police in the drug war -- specifically assets not directly traceable to nor associated with illegal acts.

I too show preferences for certain types of government spending. For example, I support spending on infrastructure and social programs but not war and world domination. In general, based on polling data I've seen over the years, I suspect if the question of spending preferences was placed on the ballot, war would lose.

The tax situation over the nuclear power plant is not an oversimplification nor abstraction -- it's the fiscal reality of a multi-billion dollar corporation, whose decision makers live beyond the jurisdiction of the county, refusing to obey the law. The resulting fiscal chaos the county faces will be borne by individual homeowners and small business. FWIW, Duke stands to receive an $850M payout from insurance over the plant. But none of those monies will be used to pay county taxes, nor reduce the amount Duke customers (both in county and out) must pay for the defunct plant and its replacement. Duke made $1.32B in profit during 2011, up 22.8% from 2010.

Public risk, private profit.

"I didn't intend to make a "greed is good" statement..."

But you did, and if you recall the specific statement "greed is good" originated in the financial industry back in the early 1990s to support the mergers and acquisition mania. It was used to justify greenmailing, hostile takeovers, looting pensions, and "off-shoring" jobs (among other things). Mitt is a poster child for greed is good. By looting defined benefit pensions, corporations not only stole money from workers (under color of law of course), but forced them to rely more heavily on social programs thus increasing government outlays. This is a concrete example of a negative economic externality. By offshoring jobs and firing workers, corporations not only created a larger, skilled, threat labor pool to drive down wages, but also forced many workers to use government programs to simply survive.

And while it may be human nature, should we not attempt to at least try to transcend our base instincts, rather than codify an "all against all" philosophy? If not, why do we need governance at all? All we've done at that point is recreate what Locke and Hobbs called the "state of nature" -- life will (again) become nasty, brutish and short for the vast majority. How does that provide for the general welfare? In fact the only reason to keep the state intact at that point is to support the fortunes of the wealthy (coin money and police power).

What happens when it is your child? Point is, if we are not willing to care for the least of us (especially our future), you will have given those who advocate financial and monopoly capitalism (oligarchy) exactly what they want -- they will have divided us on an even more basic level than mere political ideology by elevating sin to virtue... By all means, let's throw them to the wolves. Want to watch? Perhaps we could make it into a spectator sport. Bet we could make some money on that...

Right now "the end justifies the means" argument (utilitarianism) has official sway... Consider what Presidents Shrub and Drone advocate -- extra-judicial murder in the name of national security. I don't want to support that with my tax dollars.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Do you have any solutions in mind? I don't how to convince people to believe any differently. We're not so much at war with every other individual but certainly we eye any group we don't see as our own with suspicion.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

Well, yes, I do have something in mind. Nor do I think I can convince very many people to change their beliefs and opinions absent a rude awakening. But that awakening is coming, and sooner rather than later. At that point, god help us, what I have in mind might not only be useful, but one of a very few options available...

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I'm curious as to what your thoughts are. I personally don't see people changing significantly in the short term. Change may be forced on them by events, but I think it would take something catastrophic.

[-] 1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

After the tech bubble burst and before the real estate boom, Alan Greenspan gave a speech, in early 2001, in which he asserted that falling wages and historically high consumer debt would sink the U.S. economy unless consumers were allowed access to their last remaining storehouse of wealth, the equity in their homes. Prior to the real estate crash, in 2004-05, the financial industry lobbied hard (and successfully) to tighten bankruptcy laws. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now we have DHS white papers asserting that domestic terrorism is our gravest national security threat (and which singles out, among others, returning war veterans). Congress passing the NDAA. A President with legislative power (executive orders) and claims that he can murder, excuse me, execute, Americans extra-judicaily at will. Domestic agencies stockpiling enormous quantities of ammunition and purchasing automatic weapons, plans to use drones domestically...

Considering the housing crash sparked widespread protest and demonstrations (which were met by equally widespread police violence), and that our economy is shaky at best (what are the odds of yet another financial meltdown which results in significant economic chaos) -- what do you expect might happen? Something catastrophic?

The only logical conclusion I can draw from all this is that the U.S. government expects even greater civil unrest in the near future, has plans to "control" that unrest, and is developing the capabilities to implement those plans.

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

those successful under the current laws are not motivated to change

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

That’s a historical universal. Whoever they are, whether it’s Kim Jong-un or Lloyd Blankfein, wealthy and privileged people will not give up their power voluntarily, it must be taken from them.

[-] 0 points by whaddyathink (-89) from Millville, NJ 1 year ago

The U.S. Constitution...

The Fifth Amendment -

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; *nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.*"

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

And what is “just compensation”? That gives room for a lot of different interpretations and solutions.

The constitution is vague enough to be defended by both Paul and Kucinich. Constitutions can be amended as well, introducing new and better laws.

Besides, a document written by rich slave-owners 200 years ago should not get to dictate how today’s population organize their affairs.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

The original topic was the validity of “why don’t you just move”. You changed it somewhat. I’ve read everything; I just don’t think what you’re presenting is very interesting (as you know); much of it is kind of truisms. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think this is a little waste of time.


I respect an honest opinion. Perhaps, however, you allow what you consider to be the perfect, theoretical Libertarian-Socialism (rebranded anarcho-syndicalism?), to be an enemy of the good, citizens acting effectively within the current Constitutional paradigm.

Truism or not, I am attempting to provide a philosophical and political framework for effective democratic dissent. Consent of the governed may be old hat to you and I, but consider this, taken from a definition of terms handed out in a lower-level philosophy and ethics class at a nearby college:

"Duty. A duty is something that one must do to be morally right. Contractual duties are created by an agreement, such as a promise…

"…[A]s an American citizen I have relational duties to my country which I do not have to any other country. Unlike contractual duties, I do not exactly agree to these; I just have them given who I am. …"

-- from "Ethical Terms and Theories"

Thus, it might be a truism to you, but it seems that many Americans, including some philosophy instructors, might not be so well acquainted. Again, sorry for wasting your time.

[-] -1 points by whaddyathink (-89) from Millville, NJ 1 year ago

Hey pal, that's the law of the land. Don't like it, GTFO. The takings clause has been well defined through Supreme Court decisions.

It's amended by 2/3rd's of the house and senate and 3/4th's of the states. Go for it.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

First of all, I don’t live in the U.S. but telling people “if you don’t like the laws, why don’t you just move” is not good enough.

Laws and constitutions can all be changed and replaced by better ones; they’re not carved in stone. Dead slave-owners shouldn’t get to dictate how people organize their affairs. It must be the people living today that should get to decide which laws they have to live by. It’s called democracy.

But I actually do want to compensate the wealthy and powerful: A just compensation would be giving them the same rights as everyone else: the right to democratically control the institution in which you work and the community in which you live.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

"I didn't say that. It’s not interesting in the sense that it's totally predictable. It is suggesting that people should move if they don’t like the regime that I don't recognize."


Apparently you did not read all my comments. Shall I try again?

Fact of the matter is, I do not agree with this argument (moving as a form of consent) for a number of reasons. Rather, I argue we consent to be governed under the Constitution, implicitly, by voting for candidates in elections. Moreover, I further argue that we can withdraw our consent to be governed, explicitly, by voting to do so during a general election.

Considering the responses I get from party partisans and politicians when I discuss this subject, I'd say it scares the hell out of them. Since the legitimacy of government is derived from the electoral process, it does not much matter whether you or I individually recognize it or not. But then again, what would it matter if twenty or thirty million American voters thought the government no longer represented their best interests and acted on those thoughts at the ballot box. Yep, totally predictable.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

No, I read it all. I just responded to what you wrote in the last comment. It seems you're changing the subject more and more, and you're putting words in my mouth.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1429) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

He's giving you mumbo-jumbo.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Yeah, I've sensed that a little as well :)

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1429) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

I'd still like to get a clear explanation on what he's espousing. Just to know what's out there.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

How am I putting words in your mouth? By quoting you? Moreover, when was the subject changed?

If I have done either then I owe you a sincere apology. I'm here for open and honest debate on the merits.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

You kind of changed the subject a little with your first comment. I responded to it by saying that this is only accepted by the ruling elite and its supporters; and that this is totally predictable, and not very interesting. You responded to this by claiming that I don’t recognize the potential for lots of citizens to call the legitimacy of the government into question.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

I started off by observing that "if you don't like the laws, why don't you just move" is a recognized form of "consent of the governed." You responded that "why don't you just move" is meaningless and doesn't justify tyranny.

In my second post I agreed with your position, then argued a different form of consent of the governed that requires active participation and decisions, by individuals within the society, about the character of their governance -- and by which one could explicitly remove their consent by voting (without moving). And yes, you dismissed my argument with "this is only accepted by the elite", "is predictable", and "not very interesting". (And as strict philosophy, it has been around a while and may not be all that interesting to you intellectually, but it does have a direct bearing on what we discuss here.)

Thus, in my third post, I attempted to discover if you understood the political potential of an explicit withdrawal of consent in a general election by a significant fraction of voters. You responded with "I didn't say that." That "it's totally predictable." Again. Then implied that I was arguing for people to move (to withdraw their consent).

In the next post, I attempted to discover why you had misrepresented my position, then restated and amplified my previous arguments. To which you responded that I was changing the subject "more and more" and putting "words in your mouth."

Now you claim that I "kinda changed the subject a little with your first comment..." and so on and so forth.

Why not simply re-read the argument I've posted and respond to it substantively?

Simply put, I was trying to support your position that laws and constitutions can be changed democratically. If you and WSmith do not understand what I am proposing, why not ask relevant questions?

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

The original topic was the validity of “why don’t you just move”. You changed it somewhat. I’ve read everything; I just don’t think what you’re presenting is very interesting (as you know); much of it is kind of truisms. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think this is a little waste of time.

[-] -2 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

“[I]f you don’t like the laws, why don’t you just move”...

Actually, this argues a form of "overt" consent of the governed in a society. The idea is that we are each free to choose which society (that is to say, a particular nation) to live in and that by doing so we thereby consent to that society's governance.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consent_of_the_governed

[-] 4 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

"why don't you just move" is completely meaningless; it doesn’t address the regime. Being able to move from tyranny, does not justify the tyranny.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

I am not arguing that one should move rather than change the regime. Just that there is a recognized philosophical political argument constructed around self-goverance and consent of the governed that holds this is an "overt" form of public consent or its withdrawal...

Fact of the matter is, I do not agree with this argument for a number of reasons. Rather, I argue we consent to be governed under the Constitution, implicitly, by voting for candidates in elections. Moreover, I further argue that we can withdraw our consent to be governed, explicitly, by voting to do so during a general election.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/keep-searching-for-ways-to-screw-the-corrupt-syste/

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

This “consent” is only accepted by the rulers and their supporters. That’s totally predictable. Philosophically not very interesting.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

Then, clearly, you recognize nether the philosophical foundation of the Constitution, nor the potential for a large number of citizens to call the legitimacy of our current government into question...

Sorry to have wasted your time.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

I didn't say that. It’s not interesting in the sense that it's totally predictable. It is suggesting that people should move if they don’t like the regime that I don't recognize.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

"I disagree that democratizing the economy is desirable."

"I also would not wish to take away the right of any individual to own a business."

"I see no reason to take property or wealth from people that have not broken the law."

"Those countries that offer the services you talk about pay for them with taxes. Noting [sic] is truly free. Many are facing massive deficits because of those so called free services."

Just an odd thought. What would you say to democratizing money?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

That would depend on what you mean by it.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 1 year ago

To be frank, am not absolutely sure. More thinking aloud than anything else.

But the simple fact is that via the Fed, private interests -- banks -- maintain a privileged position insofar as monetary policy and bank regulation is concerned. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve has far more control over the economy that does the President or Congress. And there is certainly a structural conflict between public and private interests inherent in its design and operation...

From Wikipedia:

"The Federal Reserve System has both private and public components, and was designed to serve the interests of both the general public and private bankers. The result is a structure that is considered unique among central banks. It is also unusual in that an entity outside of the central bank, namely the United States Department of the Treasury, creates the currency used.

"According to the Board of Governors, the Federal Reserve System "is considered an independent central bank because its monetary policy decisions do not have to be approved by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branches of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by the Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms."

"Its authority is derived from statutes enacted by the U.S. Congress and the System is subject to congressional oversight. The members of the Board of Governors, including its chairman and vice-chairman, are chosen by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The government also exercises some control over the Federal Reserve by appointing and setting the salaries of the system's highest-level employees.

"Nationally chartered commercial banks are required to hold stock in the Federal Reserve Bank of their region; this entitles them to elect some of the members of the board of the regional Federal Reserve Bank. Thus the Federal Reserve system has both public and private aspects."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_System

[-] 1 points by alldone (32) 1 year ago

Democratic socialism can never work for one simple reason - power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is forever doomed to replay Orwell's Animal Farm.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Animal Farm was criticizing Leninism/Stalinism, not democratic socialism. In fact, Orwell himself was a democratic socialist and a great admirer of Libertarian Socialism – which is what I’m advocating.

Power corrupts, absolutely, and that’s why we should work to create a free, decentralized participatory democracy in which the workplaces are controlled collectively.

[-] 1 points by alldone (32) 1 year ago

While Orwell had Stalinism in mind, his allegory can be broadened to include the inevitability of hierarchies emerging whenever humans (and animals) live in societies.

Hierarchies are not necessarily bad. Some people are smarter, some stronger others visionary and imaginative others have the ability to lead. The ability to organize into hierarchies obviously has an evolutionary advantage.

The animals after they ousted the farmer quickly organized into a hierarchy based on ability. Hierarchy means that the coalescence of power at the top but we know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Make it simple for me. Let’s say the animals having learnt from their previous experience are given another chance. What would they do differently? How do they overcome the corrupting influence of power?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

The point Orwell was making in Animal Farm was that Stalinism and Leninism doesn’t work and are tyrannical systems (and I agree). He was not criticizing democratic socialism – he was a democratic socialist himself.

Some people are smarter than others, and that’s fine; it is undemocratic hierarchy that’s my main concern. Society should be controlled from below thru democratically run workplaces, communities and so on; a decentralized society in which the economy has been democratized.

We don’t live in the stone-age, we live in a highly organized, wealthy, modern society. The only reasonable thing to do in a society like this is democratize the resources, and share the wealth: from each according to his ability to each according to his need.

[-] 0 points by peacehurricane (293) 1 year ago

When absolute corruption is identified then the whole gets thrown out. There is not a place to identify in order to bring repair. All must be put behind to begin everywhere that has connection to this absolute corruption. This is an easy one because the common denominator is very apparent and not even in these United States, WDC must be closed, left behind replaced with a new Capitol or State by State operations. We America can make our own laws in this country and they shall stand for all the ideals that await our word and all that WE stand for in this free land. The only trouble we have is centered in that made up district that holds us hostage by pretending it is necessary and it just is not so. That place is f-ing every American life though not for long. I am WE...

[-] 1 points by alldone (32) 1 year ago

struggleforfreedom80, I hope you don't mind if I start a new thread because this question is equally applicable to the many solutions being proposed. It would be interesting to compare the different responses.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Do whatever you want, dude.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

We have run out of replies in both threads.

"[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (3972) 7 hours ago "When you say “no one deserves a say when it comes to a privately owned business”, you’re also in reality saying that people shouldn’t have a right to a say in all the things that affect them. I strongly disagree. I don’t want to deny anyone the right to control a business. The economic institutions should be run collectively, so that everyone is in control of their own workplace. It doesn’t matter how large the business is, private ownership on the economic institutions is undemocratic and creates concentrated power and control in the hands of the owners. Is it OK to tax the wealthy? Morality is not something that we vote into existence, exactly right – and that was kind of my point. So now you've changed your opinion? People are moral or immoral. The standards set by states, governments, power centers in general, or society in general, is not necessarily the morally right ones. Something’s taught, but we also have a kind of a moral nature as well. Killing civilians, assassinating people without trial, killing prisoners – all conducted by the country in which you live – is extremely immoral. That’s true no matter what the majority or power centers happen to believe."

We're both locked in our beliefs on libertarian socialism and the need or desire for democracy in the work place. People have a say in their own life, but not in how someone else runs a privately owned business.

On morality, I haven't changed my position, just tried to make it more clear. I do believe morality is what a society says it is, but it isn't a conscious vote and there are different moral values held by different societies. Our morality develops, evolves, and is passed on generation to generation. Changes in it are often slow.

I certainly agree with you on the immorality of atrocities committed under the guise of necessity in war. During such times people react out of fear and fall back on their tribal nature. They begin to see an enemy as somehow less worthy of rights or life. That isn't an excuse, simply the reason.

The actions of the US don't occur in a vacuum however. It's become clear the torture program known as rendition had the assistance of at least 54 nations, including all but 3 European countries. I wonder how many offer quiet support to the current, immoral, murder by drone? Again that doesn't at all excuse the US, the government is wrong. Unfortunately too many citizens and their representatives see the victims of these attacks as somehow being fair targets. Even accepting the deaths of innocent bystanders.

On taxing, governments reserve that right. There should be limits to it and everyone should pay something, not just the wealthy. The argument then shifts to what should government be allowed to do with it's power to tax? I don't feel the role of government should be to redistribute wealth.

Any group or committee I've seen has a poor record of wise spending when it comes to using other people's money. For that reason I'd like to see the spending of the national government limited to a few things of a national interest.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“People have a say in their own life, but not in how someone else runs a privately owned business.”

The workplace is where we spend a lot of our time and energy – our work is a big part of our lives. If you think people should have a say in the things that affect them, then workplace democracy would be pretty obvious.

“Our morality develops, evolves, and is passed on generation to generation.”

Again, some things are taught, but humans have a moral nature that is part of us as biological organisms as well.

What power centers and states happen to do or believe is not necessarily the right thing. Killing civilians, assassinating suspects; these things are wrong no matter what the government or the majority think at the time.

“On taxing, governments reserve that right. There should be limits to it and everyone should pay something, not just the wealthy.”

Taxation is confiscation. Why is taxation ok?

Let me ask you something. Should Kim Jong-un be stripped from his power and wealth? Why/Why not.

Also, please read this article:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/why-should-i-have-to-pay-for-your-welfare/

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

It doesn't matter to me where people spend most of their time and energy, workers do not have any right to tell to the legal owners of a business how to run things. I don't see it as significantly different then hiring someone to do repairs in my home, he doesn't get a say, just his wage. If you're going to be an employee then you do your job for the agreed to wage. If someone wants a different arrangement they must start their own business or organize enough workers to form a co-op. It's hard but not impossible.

I'm not sure what you think our moral nature is or what moral absolutes you may think exist. When it comes to the activities being carried out in the name of the war on terror, a good many feel it is a form of self defense. In their mind these killings are not immoral. I'm not sure about the self defense argument, my opposition comes from the government's disregard for due process.

Taxation isn't ok, it's necessary though. I also said there should be limits to it. Taxation shouldn't be used as a tool to attempt to provide social or economic equality. It should be used to provide the public services a society requires. That is why I believe that everyone should be required to contribute.

What happens to Kim Jong-un is up to the people of North Korea. As long as his influence doesn't extend beyond those borders I don't care what he or his people do. I also don't know what wealth, if any, he has a claim to or what may belong to the people of North Korea. If I had some power to do what I wanted I'd like to see any and all nations have free open elections. Beyond that people will have to make their own moral decisions.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“workers do not have any right to tell to the legal owners of a business how to run things.”

The system must be changed. People should have the right to a say in the things they’re a part of. It’s called democracy. An individual should not be allowed to have undemocratic control over others; the economic institutions must be democratized.

“When it comes to the activities being carried out in the name of the war on terror, a good many feel it is a form of self defense. In their mind these killings are not immoral.”

Sure. More or less all aggressive wars and terrorism were carried out by people who thought they were doing the right thing.

The thing is, saying (as you do) that what’s moral is whatever the state, government and majority says it is, is a little strange.

“Taxation shouldn't be used as a tool to attempt to provide social or economic equality.”

Why not? Isn’t it fair and reasonable that everyone should benefit from this modern, wealthy society built up by billions of people thru hundreds of years?

Isn’t it about time that we strip the rich from their wealth and power? They’ve gotten most of their wealth thru exploitation, subsidies, bailouts, buying politicians etc. Isn’t it about time we took their wealth away and used it to build a more equal and just society?

“If I had some power to do what I wanted I'd like to see any and all nations have free open elections.”

So in other words, you’d like Kim Jong-un to be overthrown, so that there can be free elections in North Korea?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

That is where we disagree. I place the rights of the individual to own and control their property, including the means of production, above the rights of any group to take it. Whatever power the wealthy possess isn't relevant to me. Workers are not literally slaves, I believe they have all the choices they are entitled to.

You misunderstand my figure of speech on morality. When I say it's what society says it is, I mean that morality tends to be the commonly held beliefs of a group. People in a society live in a similar manner and develop a common way of viewing the world over time. Take, as an example, our attitudes toward women and what is moral behavior for them in the West compared with how they are viewed in the Middle East. Change happens, but it is a slow evolution. People do tend to be tribal though and often wish to believe the rationalizations of their government.

The original purpose of taxes was to pay for government services. We all do benefit from these services, the protection offered by police and fire fighters, city water systems, roads, military, etc. We should all have to contribute. Taxes were not intended to allow bureaucrats to adjust individual wealth and offer a false equality. I see that as a dangerous way to go.

The bailouts, subsidies, and so on that you mention are wrong. Businesses, like individuals, should stand or fail on merit, not support from government. Expanding on a bad idea isn't the direction I think government should take. Unfortunately it's a problem with an uninformed public. They allow representatives to commit corrupt acts and then reelect them. I don't see anything that could fix voter indifference.

I don't know much about North Korea and honestly don't care. My statement was a generic one, any nation should have the right to determine it's form of government. Considering the cult of leader worship that's been built around their first president and the Kim family, I'm not sure the majority of people in North Korea even want elections. I wouldn't force elections on them or anyone to please myself or outsiders. If I did have some magical power i'd use it in an entirely different way. I'd eliminate all nuclear weapons in all nations and leave each to work out it's own method of government by it's own means.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

It is I who advocate individuals’ rights to control the means of production. You want a few individuals to control them, and others to rent themselves to them and take orders. If people should have a say in the things that affect them, then workplaces must be democratized.

How power is distributed and concentrated is very relevant. I don’t understand why you think that’s irrelevant.

Taxes can also be effective in decreasing the gap between rich and poor. Progressive taxation can effectively redistribute wealth and make the society more just and equal.

Again, taxation is confiscation, so you believe in confiscation as well.

You may not like bailouts and subsidies, but that’s reality. The rich have gotten most of their wealth thru exploitation, subsidies, bailouts, buying politicians etc. So again:

Isn’t it about time we took their wealth away and used it to build a more equal and just society, so that everyone can benefit from this modern, wealthy society built up by billions of people thru hundreds of years?

So no bailouts? So if many big corporations suddenly failed, you’d rather see huge parts of the economy tank, affecting and ruining millions of lives, rather than doing something to avoid disaster?

It’s not about whether you want to force your opinions on anyone, but what you think. Ok, so you now said “any nation should have the right to determine it's form of government.” But why? Why do you think people in North Korea, or America or wherever, should have the right to determine this, instead of being ruled by a dictator?

And if you think there should be free elections and democracy, you also support overthrowing dictators and tyrants, wherever they may be, right? So the second question is: in your opinion, what should be done with the wealth a dictator had before he was overthrown?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I believe those that pay for things get to determine how they are used. I'm in favor of private ownership of the means of production. Workers may unionize and negotiate wages and conditions of employment, but they may not simply take over. I that is illegal and, in my opinion, immoral.

How power is distributed doesn't alter the fact that private ownership of businesses is legal. You have a right to earn wealth, you have a right to pass that money on to your descendants. The number of people that want those laws changed is so small it makes the complaint about the power distribution itself irrelevant because almost no one cares. The distribution of power also doesn't make it impossible for someone to start a business, there were over 500,000 new businesses started in the US in 2011 alone. So I also see it as irrelevant when talking about the choices the workers have.

When it comes to taxes, what I believe in is paying for what we, as a society, want. I personally don't want to punish anyone that has been successful. Paying taxes for services or infrastructure is acceptable to me. Using taxes to impose what I see as some artificial equality, redistributing wealth is not acceptable.

The best I can do is oppose bailouts with my vote, I don't get to dictate. Withdrawing government's support from businesses could be done slowly so that the business world could adjust over time. I don't know what can be done, my original point about the bailouts is that government participation is not capitalism. Altering government's artificial support of business would be easier and less disruptive to do, in my opinion, then altering the entire economic system.

My opinion on any nation's right to choose its form of government is something I've probably unconsciously developed over my life. A large part of it is probably due to the society I've been raised in and my education, call it my morality. I can't offer any better explanation for it. It is a preference though not something I would be willing to fight over for some other nation. If Iran wants a theocracy or North Korea wants to keep its form of national socialism it doesn't concern me as long as my nation gets to keep what it has and seems to want.

You asked at first if I thought Kim Jong-un should be deposed. I offered a preference for the people of that nation deciding, not me, because I don't care what happens to him or North Korea. I might care if your hypothetical were to change, to say that he is a threat somehow to my nation then it's not overthrow we're talking about but the possibility of a war.

What should be done with any dictator's wealth if he is deposed? It's another hypothetical I have a difficult time caring about. The only thing I have to fall back on would be the precedent set by law in a criminal case. When we convict someone of a crime we often confiscate any money acquired from that crime, but only the money from the crime and whatever legal fine the law calls for. My preference would be to leave it up to a court in that nation to decide how much, if any, of the dictator's money was improperly acquired. Whatever amount that was would go to the state to be used as it's laws dictate. If no crime can be proven then nothing should be confiscated.

Mubarak comes to mind in this case, as an example of what should be done. He's been fined millions of dollars for damaging the economy of Egypt. His bank accounts are frozen, Egyptian courts will no doubt look into every aspect of his dealings and eventually decide what the fines will come to, how much of his billions they can account for, how much he gets to keep, and what his ultimate fate will be.

The short answer for what I would want to the question of dictators and their wealth ultimately comes down to follow whatever the laws are.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

But laws can be changed. Laws can be changed into better ones; laws that allows workers to control the means of production. It’s about democracy; it’s about workers and communities rising up, demanding changes, and democratizing the economic institutions. Again: LS can only come when the workers and communities want it.

It’s irrelevant how easy it may be to start a business. People should be able to control their own lives and work. Workplaces must therefore be run democratically by the participants.

If you want taxation, you automatically “punish” the “successful”. Funding infrastructure thru taxes means confiscating people’s money. You want confiscation as well. Isn't confiscation immoral by your standards?

Why is redistributing wealth unacceptable? The rich have gotten most of their wealth thru buying politicians, bailouts, subsidies, things you oppose; why shouldn’t we redistribute this wealth? The value of our personal contributions and hard work are microscopic compared to what we receive from society; isn’t it reasonable that we share this wealth?

You want to withdraw support from businesses, but what about all the subsidies that businesses have already received? Should the tax payer be compensated?

And what if huge corporations screw up and tank the economy? Should we just watch the economy collapse, destroying thousands of innocent lives?

“The best I can do is oppose bailouts with my vote, I don't get to dictate.”

That’s right, you don’t get to dictate. Everyone should have a say, right? Wouldn’t it be nice if this principle applied in the workplace as well?

Is the reason why you think “any nation should have the right to determine it's form of government” because you think people should have a say in the things that affect their lives? Could that be it?

So you don’t want a dictator running America? Why not? Why is a tyranny in state and government unacceptable, but tyranny in business is fine?

Do you agree that a dictator is a criminal simply by just being a dictator?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Laws can be changed, however at present there is no interest, even in the labor unions, for the kind of changes you wish. So for now, and the foreseeable future we will have private ownership of the means of production.

Taxes to some degree are acceptable, when collected for the purposes I've stated, but not for the purpose you wish to use them for. Anyone that acquired their wealth through legal means gets to keep it. It is their property to pass on to whomever they wish and there isn't any significant movement to change those laws.

We all receive benefits from centuries of progress. I don't understand why you think only the wealthy benefit from it or exactly how this permits society to ignore its laws and confiscate wealth.You would need to prove that specific individuals acquired their wealth by illegal means before you can confiscate it. Unfortunately bailouts and subsidies are legal and there is no compensation for taxpayers.

As for the possibility of a business failing, that is always a possibility. Businesses have to change, adapt or shut down. If a business is unable to compete it should be allowed to fail. Something else will take its place.

We all have a say now, within the limits set up by our laws. I have a preference for the system of government I'm used to. I'd need some proof that anything I was to change to would be better. In the workplace workers have no right to a say in a privately owned business, I believe they have other options.

I don't know if all dictators are criminals just because they are dictators. Many used intimidation outside the laws of their countries to get into power, meaning that often a criminal becomes a dictator. Those that have power handed to them from a dictator, like Kim in North Korea, or Mubarak in Egypt, might not be criminals in the technical sense when they assume power.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

So confiscation is fine, just as long as it’s used to pay for the things you want funded?

Private enterprise have gotten lots of their wealth and power thru things you oppose: bailouts, subsidies etc. You've also stated that you are for confiscating people’s money. So why are you so skeptical to redistributing wealth?

You don’t have to tell me that private ownership on the mop is legal – I know; what I want to do is change the laws.

I haven’t said that only the wealthy benefit from our society; I said we all benefit! And since an enormous amount of today’s society’s wealth was created by past generations, isn’t it reasonable that we share it?

“Unfortunately bailouts and subsidies are legal and there is no compensation for taxpayers.”

Would you prefer the laws to change so that the taxpayer could be compensated for the enormous sums of past bailouts and subsidies?

“If a business is unable to compete it should be allowed to fail”.

So let me see if I understand you correctly. Creating more economic equality is immoral, but allowing huge corporations to fail causing economic disaster, ruining millions of innocent lives, is ok?

“We all have a say now, within the limits set up by our laws.”

That’s been true in every society at any point in time.

Do you think that people should have a say in the things that affect their lives?

You didn’t answer my question:

Why is tyranny unacceptable in state and government, but acceptable in business?

[-] -1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Yes of course I approve of taxes going for what I believe is important and not for other purposes. I don’t understand why you would be surprised at that. Don’t you wish to see taxes used to achieve your goals for society over mine?

I’m not skeptical of redistribution, I believe it’s wrong. Bailouts and subsidies were approved through the legislative process. I disagree with the policy and would like to see it ended. Adding what I see as another wrong, by confiscating private funds, isn’t something I would want to do.

The possibility of changing the laws governing private ownership doesn’t concern me very much. There is a near total lack of public support. Even in the unions there isn’t much support for the idea of ending private ownership of business. Until the laws are changed the means of production remain private property.

We all benefit and we should all contribute to society. I don’t see the word “share” as proper when it’s forced by government. I’ve already indicated there are legitimate things we should be taxed for. Personally I oppose redistribution simply to make everything even. I consider wealth whether handed down or earned to be private property. Taxes are for government services not to establish some form of economic equality.

The past is gone, work to end subsidies and stop bailouts for the future. The only grievance the taxpayer has is with any past representatives that started the subsidy.

I wouldn’t speculate that huge corporations would fail or that it would effect millions of lives. If some do fail we don’t know what the consequences will be. It’s pointless to invent hypothetical situations for what could have happened and no one can predict the future. The economy is always changing, some opportunities end while others open up. Future bailouts can be stopped and subsidies can be ended over time to lessen any impact. I see it as far less disruptive and risky then turning to libertarian socialism.

Yes people should have a say in their lives, within the limits imposed on us by our laws. That means no confiscation of private property and turning it over to workers, without just compensation. I don’t see private ownership of business as tyranny. It is owners exercising their right to do what they wish with their property. The workers have choices under the law also, the right to start a business or work for someone else, they don’t have the right to take private property.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

You missed the point. You’ve been talking about confiscation being immoral and this and that, but when the things you want are funded, then confiscation is suddenly swell.

Why is confiscation to fund defense ok, but confiscation to give more to the poor and workers bad?

So no paying back previous subsidies and bailouts? So confiscating in order to make the society more just and democratic is wrong, even though lots of the wealth comes from funding you want to end?

Forget government. Do you think it’s reasonable that since most of the wealth has been created by past generations, the people living today should share it?

Taxes can also be used to create more economic equality. Progressive taxation can effectively redistribute wealth and make society more democratic and just.

The crash in 08 ruined lots of lives; that happened even with a bailout. Corporations can tank the economy and affect thousands of innocent lives. We’ve seen it happen in real life it can happen again.

So again: You think creating more economic equality is immoral, but allowing huge corporations to fail causing economic disaster, ruining millions of innocent lives, is ok?

“Yes people should have a say in their lives, within the limits imposed on us by our laws.”

So if communities and workers organized and changed the laws so that the mop were collectively owned and democratically controlled by the workers and communities, then you would agree with having democracy at the workplace?

Business is tyranny. The corporations have the same totalitarian model as a Stalinist state: A tyrannical hierarchy with the ones at the top controlling the entire institution, giving everyone else orders. Wealth in general is also highly concentrated, which means the ones at the top has enormous undemocratic power over the economy and society.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Taxes collected to pay for what the majority wants is not confiscation, any more then paying for an item I want to buy is confiscation. It’s not “swell” to pay taxes but if I want a service I would expect to pay for it. Intent plays a role here when you bring morality into this. Taxation becomes confiscation, in my mind, when it is misused.

Taxing should not be a means to ensure equal outcomes for all or used as a tool to rectify peoples’ poor life choices. We have a progressive income tax system now, with some regressive taxes as well. I would agree it should be overhauled. Where we will disagree is to what extent and to what purpose. What I think is fair is likely not going to be the same as what you believe.

Taxation is appropriate for those things judged important for society, by a majority. I’d be forced to accept the dictates of a libertarian socialist society if it was the will of the majority, but it isn’t. Currently society doesn’t wish to use government’s power to tax to play “Robin Hood” and I don’t believe it should.

If legislation for a subsidy or bail out was written giving money with no mention of paying it back then that is what should happen. If the legislation was written as a loan then it should get paid back. I expect government to follow the laws it makes. If a majority disagrees with those laws then they need to elect new representatives.

The people that have inherited wealth, that have acquired it legally, are under no obligation to share it, although many have. I’m not sure to what degree wealth was created exclusively by past generations.

Economic downturns happen then a recovery follows. Some believe these recessions might be less devastating if governments did nothing and allowed the economy to recover on its own. I don’t believe recessions can be avoided.

Corporations will occasionally fail in a changing world. Who is going to be making typewriters and record players 20 years from now? Some companies fail to compete and disappear others will grow. Unless you’re able to stop all progress, there will be change and along the way some people will be hurt and some people will prosper. Even if it were possible to make everything come out even, that isn’t what the majority of people want.

Working toward equal opportunity is a good goal, trying to achieve economic equality by taking from owners or the wealthy isn’t a path I’d want to see taken. The immorality isn’t your goal so much as the method you want to use.

If a sufficient number of people elected representatives to alter the constitution then I’d have no choice but to accept it. I’d vote against it, but I don’t see even a remotely possible of an amendment getting the support to be proposed, let alone passed. Then you still have even stronger property laws in all the states to deal with. You have for all practical purposes no support so democracy in the workplace isn’t likely to occur. Few see it as an imperative.

It doesn’t matter how you define a business. It’s tyrannical, power is concentrated, it’s undemocratic, so what? It is a privately owned entity operating within our laws. Workers go to one and apply to work there. I see the workers as having enough options and not entitled to make decisions on how the business is run.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Whether the majority wants to confiscate people’s money to pay for defense, or if the majority wants to confiscate rich people’s wealth, redistribute it and create a co-operative economic system, both is confiscation.

“Taxation becomes confiscation, in my mind, when it is misused.”

And who decides what is “misuse”? To me it’s not misuse at all to use taxation to redistribute wealth.

Taxes should absolutely be used to create more economic equality. We have inherited such enormous wealth, we should share it! The rich have gotten so much of their wealth thru exploitation, bailouts, subsidies, buying politicians; we should take it!

So letting rich people keep all the enormous sums of subsidies and bailouts – things you oppose – is ok, but making sure people get necessary care is bad?

Please answer this question: Based on the fact that we’ve inherited a wealthy, modern society built up by generations of people – meaning that our contributions and hard work, no matter what we do, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society; and based on the fact that the rich have gotten a lot of their wealth thru subsidies and bailouts, why are you so opposed to redistributing the wealth?

“Taxation is appropriate for those things judged important for society, by a majority.”

So if the majority wants to use taxes for redistributing wealth, then it’s ok?

“I’d be forced to accept the dictates of a libertarian socialist society if it was the will of the majority, but it isn’t.”

Not at the moment. But I’ve told you many times, LS can and should only be established when the workers and communities want it.

And if new laws (decided by the people) were passed allowing for redistributing the wealth, would it be ok then?

“I’m not sure to what degree wealth was created exclusively by past generations.”

Who much exactly is impossible to find out, but we know, obviously, that it’s an enormous factor.

So in other words, you think it’s ok to have a system which allows big corporations (if or when they fail and tank the economy) to affect and ruin thousands of innocent lives?

“it’s undemocratic, so what?”

It’s kind of important for the people who like the idea of democracy, don’t you think?

“I see the workers as having enough options and not entitled to make decisions on how the business is run.”

options available don't justify the tyranny – just as if people living in a Stalinist dictatorship were allowed to move to a free country, that wouldn't justify the dictatorship.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I understand you have a different view of what taxes should do. Each of us can decide for ourselves what is the best use or misuse of the taxes. We may advocate for our view but eventually we simply have to go along with the majority. I’ve given you my personal view, I wouldn’t vote to tax for the purpose of redistribution.

I will accept, for the sake of argument, your premise that no one person has contributed a significant amount to today’s society (I would still hold to a view that there are some that have earned their own fortune in their lifetime). We’ll say all contributions have been small and spread out over generations. I still can’t support redistribution out of a desire to make everything come out even.

In your mind none of the rich earned their wealth. I believe it is equally true that none of those with little wealth did anything to deserve it either. So in your hypothetical, no one deserves wealth. However it was accumulated legally by an ancestor or series of ancestors and was passed down legally as is our right to do with our property. The person with ownership has a claim to this wealth, others do not. Any sharing that is to be done must be done with the consent of those holding legal title to that wealth.

I wouldn’t say the ideals of socialism would ever be ok with me, but I’d follow the law if our positions were reversed. Libertarian Socialism may gain followers, anything is possible. I’m not likely to be one of them. Judging by its failure to grow at all in the past century, I don’t consider its growth likely though. I also see it as having too many flaws to support and I doubt it could succeed in the long run.

Businesses come and go lives will change in time no matter what. There is no reason to believe libertarian socialism could eliminate economic downturns you can only speculate. The lack of a hierarchy in businesses could promote bad decisions or lead to indecision and cause just as much disruption and ruin just as many lives as any business failure today.

I have no problem with democracy in government. I believe a representative republic to be slightly superior to a direct democracy for a few reasons however.

Democracy in the workplace is practiced, but only by the owners of the business. Your vote is determined by your level of ownership. If you don’t own part of it, you don’t get a say in running that business. None of your ideas about tyranny in the work place matter to me or the majority in society, only ownership does. Until there are changes made in the law workers have the right to change jobs, or start their own business. They don't have a legal right to take private property.

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 1 year ago

How do you feel about Social Security, Medicare, and the ACA.? How about Pell grants, investments in encourage private job creation, Defense?

Any thoughts on taxes used for these items?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

My personal feelings, I support the idea of spending on social security, medicare, education, and defense. However changes have to be made in these programs and in our priorities. It's also my opinion that government programs are not designed or run very well.

Social Security was set up at a time when average life expectancy was about 62, it's now nearly 80. More has to be collected, people need to retire later, or some combination of both.

Medicare is not funded properly. Health care in general should go to a single payer system. The ACA is, in my opinion a poor law.

We spend too much on defense, it's necessary, but we can't police the world.

We don't spend enough on education, but the way this program is set up it favors the private institutions and the runaway rise in college costs.

The investment in the private sector is one I would disagree with. Terms like "investment" are too vague, it becomes money too easily turned toward political supporters rather then toward good businesses. I oppose bailouts and propping up businesses.

People seem to want these things and more, as long as someone else pays for them. As a result they are often poorly funded and contribute to our economic problems. Before you expand any of them, people need to understand nothing is truly free.

There is another problem with government financing so many aspects of our life. It may unintentionally give the government more say in private lives. Personally, I resent the idea of paying health care costs for an obese, smoker, who also drinks heavily. At some point will society try to regulate more and more of an individual's private life because it's paying for it? If society is giving you an education, can it dictate what your major will be?

[-] 0 points by 99nproud (2697) 1 year ago

Like outlawing 17 oz sodas, taxing cigs up the ass? Seems to be a real overeach. I would not support govt dictating our majors, and I agree with much of your comments.

I wish we didn't have to ask the govt to do all these things, but because the individual states have been such bad actors for so long it appears to be the best option.

In addition we are able to provide for poorer states through taxes on wealthier states. It is a method to share the wealth. Not the best situation for us NYr's but great poor Mississippi,

So best thing is to watch closely and pressure for the agenda that will help most people.

[-] 1 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

some sort of libertarian socialist/technocratic hybrid system will be the way forward to establish a new republic.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Could you elaborate?

[-] 1 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

in all seriousness i have way too much studying and homework (dual civil/environmental engineering and mathematics major) to get into details now. hopefully in the next few weeks i will get the chance to lay out my entire vision for a new republic and a total restructuring and redefining of the 5 social institutions. i really plan on it. the main crux of it politically is to integrate a system with divided powers(technocratic/direct democratic/judicial/executive/representative) that can be reconciled instead of the obstructionist garbage we and most nations have. economically i think we are talking about some sort of green open source anarcho-syndical/anarcho-communist economic model once again tempered with a kind of sociocracy. obviously everything starts at the local level.

[-] 1 points by quantumystic (1710) from Memphis, TN 1 year ago

i could, but then i would have to kill you.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

(Sff/JPB debate)

JPB: "For me the principle is the individual’s right to own a business. If an individual invests in a store, or some small business and hires two or three people, they do not have any claim on the owner’s property. What I see as highly immoral to do to the individual owner of a small business remains an act of questionable morality at best, as you look at the larger businesses."


The thing is that when the individual has the right to privately own the means of production, this automatically creates hierarchy and domination. The ones who don’t own, have to sell their labor and take orders from the owners – in other words: x controls y. I don’t want this hierarchy. As I wrote in the post above, we should strive for human liberation; humans should be free to control their own lives, not having to submit themselves to other individuals that have more wealth and power than them. We should work to create a society and social organization where people control their own lives – in other words:
x controls x / y controls y.

Libertarian Socialism is about dismantling hierarchy and domination so that all individuals can be free; Libertarian Socialism is about human liberation.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I see your task as chasing an illusion. Hierarchies develop in every group, whether you want them to or not. It doesn't matter if the group is social, political or economic. Your egalitarian tribes had the the best hunter or warrior looked up to as a leader. I seriously doubt any group of anarchists doesn't have someone the majority look to as an inspiration, who's words carry more weight in a discussion. You don't have to actually call this person a leader, but it doesn't change the fact that they are one.

The development of a hierarchy in the small business scenario I mention, where the owner is beginning his business is the result of free choice, individuals elect to become employees. There is no coercion. You didn't mention if you thought the several workers for a new business in my example had a moral claim to it once they chose employment.

In larger businesses a hierarchy develops even in cooperatives where workers get a vote. In large complex organizations they would seem to be necessary. The fact that you don't want a hierarchy doesn't change the fact that do they develop.

We're back to talking about choice, I refuse to accept that workers are dragged into laboring for a business by force, they choose to be employees. They could easily join the majority of small business owners that work for themselves.

According to the US Census Bureau there are over 27 million businesses in the US. Over 21 million have no employees, about 3 and a half million have only 1 to 4 employees. There are fewer then 12000 with more then 1000 employees. Y doesn't need to be controlled by X, he may join the majority of businesses and work for himself.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“It's the morality of confiscating property to advance libertarian socialism that I question. Is it moral for a new business with 3 or 4 employees to be taken over by the employees, with no compensation for the owner?”

It is the private ownership of the means of production that’s the main issue here. Libertarian Socialism is about human liberation and creating a real participatory democracy. That can’t be done when the mop are owned privately.

Private ownership on the mop must be abolished; the wealthy and the owners must be stripped from their undemocratic power, and given the same rights as everyone else: the right to control their own lives, work, and community.

Just because someone owns something, doesn’t necessarily mean they should keep it.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I couldn't ever agree to that without some compensation for the owner of the business. I see it as immoral. In your desire to take property from the few that are wealthy you are also taking it from the majority of middle class business owners.

"Just because someone owns something, doesn’t necessarily mean they should keep it." Seems like the logic that criminals apply.

This brings up the question of who would ever start a business if there is no right to own the equipment you purchase when you start one?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“I couldn't ever agree to that without some compensation for the owner of the business.”

People who have power and control over others, shouldn’t be compensated when getting stripped from their undemocratic power. They should get the same rights as everybody else. Everyone should have the right to control their own lives.

Our wealthy, technological society is the results of billions of people’s hard work, much of it done before you and I were alive. In a society like ours, the only reasonable thing to do is to spread the wealth around and democratize the economy and the workplaces.

“In your desire to take property from the few that are wealthy you are also taking it from the majority of middle class business owners.”

No, it’s getting the majority of the people in the different communities to realize that a libertarian socialist society would benefit everyone. Changes can only come when the people want them.

“This brings up the question of who would ever start a business if there is no right to own the equipment you purchase when you start one?”

Production should be started, maintained and controlled by the workers and the communities. The economy must be run democratically by the participants. I thought that was pretty clear by now.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

On compensation we're at an impasse. You don't seem willing to acknowledge that there are many business owners that are not wealthy, have only a few employees, and haven't done anything other then try to run a successful business.

I don't agree that it is reasonable or moral to take all wealth and redistribute it. Nor do I agree that people lack choice in their lives now. Not that it matters, there doesn't seem to be any support for libertarian socialism. Even the unions have backed away from it in the last few decades.

Sharing production is easy once someone else has developed an idea and pulled together the resources to build a business. Libertarian socialism would seem to be good at moving in and taking over something that already exists. It doesn't seem like the type of society where innovation and experimentation are done. It doesn't seem a fit social order to actually start ad develop a business.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“You don't seem willing to acknowledge that there are many business owners that are not wealthy, have only a few employees, and haven't done anything other then try to run a successful business.”

I haven't argued against this. This is about principles. How wealthy, or how decent x is, is not very relevant; the point is that x shouldn’t be allowed to control y. Private ownership on the mop automatically creates authority and domination. People should be able to control their own lives, not take orders from owners.

“I don't agree that it is reasonable or moral to take all wealth and redistribute it.”

Why not? Just because someone owns wealth, doesn't necessarily mean they should keep it.

“Nor do I agree that people lack choice in their lives now.”

Do you agree that one’s choices are, to a large extent, dependent on access to recourses etc?

“It doesn't seem like the type of society where innovation and experimentation are done. It doesn't seem a fit social order to actually start ad develop a business.”

How so?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I don't accept the concept of the wage slave, people voluntarily work for others and they do have choices. Those choices may be limited by many factors, lack of initiative, talent, past mistakes, lack of funds. You can't make a modern world in which everyone can do anything. People that choose employment have other options, they can control their life, within our laws, as much as they wish.

I have a problem with this comment you made, "Just because someone owns wealth, doesn't necessarily mean they should keep it." To take anything outside the laws we have is criminal. It's likely to remain a criminal act for a long time, considering the current level of support socialism has and it's lack of growth.

One's choices are connected to many factors, talent, work ethic, education, where you were born, luck. Some businesses were started by people that had some access to family money, many were started with bank loans. I don't see it as a reason to deny anyone the right to start a business and own the means of production he purchased, no matter where the money came from. I also don't believe total equality of outcomes can ever be achieved.

Until now we've discussed only existing businesses. When I made the comment about innovation, I was thinking that a libertarian socialist society would likely be a stagnant one. If you could produce content workers living side by side in harmony, there would be no motivation for any technologic progress.

Where would new businesses come from in a libertarian socialist society? I can't see workers that are making a living bothering to make any advances, changes, or starting new innovative but risky business ventures.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“people voluntarily work for others and they do have choices.”

It’s not that simple. The choices we make are always within a certain framework. Power, wealth and access to resources play a big role in how people choose and what they can choose. When the overwhelming power and influence is in the hands of the owners and the wealthy – including when the contract’s signed – it’s meaningless to talk about “voluntary agreements”.

“Those choices may be limited by many factors, lack of initiative, talent, past mistakes, lack of funds.”

Sure, but the things I just mentioned play a huge role, so talking about people voluntary working for owners makes very little sense.

“You can't make a modern world in which everyone can do anything.”

I haven’t said that.

“I have a problem with this comment you made, "Just because someone owns wealth, doesn't necessarily mean they should keep it." To take anything outside the laws we have is criminal."

Just because something is legal, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right and morally legitimate (slavery being one example of that). Like I’ve said before, libertarian socialism can only come about when the communities want it, and rise up against the establishment.

“One's choices are connected to many factors, talent, work ethic, education, where you were born, luck.”

Of course. But in a discussion of economics and social issues, it’s important to look at the fact that access to resources and power has a big influence on the choices you have.

“I don't see it as a reason to deny anyone the right to start a business and own the means of production he purchased, no matter where the money came from.”

I think that people should be able to control their own lives, including at the workplace, so I disagree.

“I also don't believe total equality of outcomes can ever be achieved.”

What exactly are you referring to now?

“If you could produce content workers living side by side in harmony, there would be no motivation for any technologic progress.”

That does not make any sense. What do base this on?

“Where would new businesses come from in a libertarian socialist society?”

By the workers and the communities discussing, cooperating and democratically deciding over new production. It’s not exactly a new idea that communities or countries or whatever, start up and maintain businesses that are not privately owned.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I see it as being very simple, and I see it as the individual's choice to be an employee or not. Anyone has the right to set up their own business. There are ways to get financing, it's the individuals choice to put in the effort or not. I disagree that it's a matter of existing power and wealth preventing people from building their own business.

Something is moral when it conforms to the standard set by society. Currently it's immoral to confiscate private property. You mentioned slavery, there was a time when slavery was widely acceptable, it took centuries for it to be considered immoral. Right now property rights are considered moral worldwide. You're point of view may be acceptable in a few centuries, but not at present. Private ownership is considered a human right at this point.

When I mentioned equal outcomes, it goes to the idea that you feel workplace democracy is necessary and it's necessary to take away wealth from those that earned it and spread it around to all. It isn't going to make people equal.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“I see it as the individual's choice to be an employee or not.”

You said this already. Then I countered it, explaining that it’s not that easy. Don’t repeat what I countered.

“Anyone has the right to set up their own business.”

And how much do you think a poor single mom is going to enjoy this right?

Lots of people are unable to “start their own business” for all sorts of reasons. But it doesn't matter: people should have the right to control their own lives, including at the workplace, so the economic institutions must be democratized and controlled collectively by the participants.

“Something is moral when it conforms to the standard set by society.”

That’s false. There are certain moral principles that are part off our nature. Also, which moral standards power-centers and elites decide and convince a big part of the population to believe, is not necessarily right. If the minority have moral values that are radically different than what the majority believes, then that doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority’s right.

“Private ownership is considered a human right at this point.”

Not on the means of production.

“and it's necessary to take away wealth from those that earned it and spread it around to all.”

What do you mean “earn”?

Our wealth has been built up over a long period of time by generations of people; isn't it pretty reasonable to share this wealth?

“It isn't going to make people equal.”

I welcome diversity, but it must be in an egalitarian, classless society.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Your argument that it isn't that easy to start a business doesn't change the fact that the choice is there. Many things are hard, the individual decides if it's worth the effort. Just over 15% of all American workers run their own business, they are not employees, they made the effort, it's possible, the choice is real and it's there for all. The other 85% chose not to make the effort and are employees. I don't believe the 85% have the right to take property from the owners just because it's too much work to build a business on their own. Our laws concerning ownership of the means of production indicate that a large portion of that 85% agree with me.

A single mother has already made choices that effect her life and her child's. Have sex or not, stay with boyfriend/husband or not, abort or give up for adoption or raise the child alone. Many things may now be unavailable to her due to which of those choices she made. I don't see any reason for society to step in and punish a business owner who made better personal long-term economic decisions by confiscating the means of production. I don't see it as moral to punish individuals that had no part in that woman's decisions. She used her freedoms in life poorly and now has to live with the consequences of her decisions. One of the lesser consequences may be she has to be an employee rather then a business owner.

Currently society holds that individuals have a right to own the means of production. You may think that's immoral, right now the majority disagree with you. For me morality is what society says it is at the time. We may look back on past societies with horror, what they considered moral was just different.

It doesn't matter to me if someone became wealthy on their own as Sam Walton did, or if he inherited wealth as the Kennedy's or Rockefeller's did. Their wealth belongs to them, it isn't ours to take. I don't see it as reasonable or moral to force anyone to share.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

For many people, starting a business is more or less impossible, and for them there is no actual “choice”. But no matter how hard it is, people should have the right to have a democratic say in the things that affect them, and that should of course include the institution in which they work.

It’s not about punishing business owners. Dismantling private ownership on the means of production is a logical consequence when establishing a free participatory democracy.

Our wealth has been built up over a long period of time by generations of people; it should be shared. The single mom should be given the benefits that she and her child need – regardless of the mom’s poor choices.

Since our wealthy and modern society has been built up over a long period of time by generations of people, isn't it pretty reasonable to share all the wealth and goods? Why/ why not?

So morality for you is what society says it is at the time? Are there things about the society (decided by the majority) that you disagree with?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I disagree, no one deserves a say when it comes to a privately owned business. I wouldn't want to deny anyone the right to own a business.

The kind of wealth your talking about is in the hands of perhaps 0.1% of the population. In the US, 15% of the workforce own their own business. I don't see it as a reasonable approach to deny them their choice just to confiscate the property of that ultra rich 0.1%.

The fact that so many people do own their own business demonstrates to me that starting one is not as difficult as you seem to think it is.

Sharing is fine if the owner of the wealth agrees to it,confiscation is not acceptable to me. I don't see it as reasonable at all, I see it as immoral.

On morality, I'm not an expert. In my opinion our morality isn't something we vote into existence, it's more how be feel and what we believe in as a society. We're taught our morality, often indirectly through the actions of others, as we grow. That may be why it changes and evolves so slowly. After a war over slavery, it was banned, but the moral ideal of truly believing everyone is equal is still a work in progress, so are things like women's equality and an acceptance of homosexuality as natural for some.

I'm not sure what moral codes of my society I oppose. The view that war can be moral might be one, even there it might depend on the war we're talking about.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

When you say “no one deserves a say when it comes to a privately owned business”, you’re also in reality saying that people shouldn’t have a right to a say in all the things that affect them. I strongly disagree.

I don’t want to deny anyone the right to control a business. The economic institutions should be run collectively, so that everyone is in control of their own workplace.

It doesn’t matter how large the business is, private ownership on the economic institutions is undemocratic and creates concentrated power and control in the hands of the owners.

Is it OK to tax the wealthy?

Morality is not something that we vote into existence, exactly right – and that was kind of my point. So now you've changed your opinion?

People are moral or immoral. The standards set by states, governments, power centers in general, or society in general, is not necessarily the morally right ones. Something’s taught, but we also have a kind of a moral nature as well.

Killing civilians, assassinating people without trial, killing prisoners – all conducted by the country in which you live – is extremely immoral. That’s true no matter what the majority or power centers happen to believe.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

I have to side with your opponent on this.

I have to spend the best hours a day working for just a few thousand a month, which does not cover a modest living. I deserve more but this is the best I have been able to do so far. I feel horrible for people who have to work for way less and worse for the discriminated.

"...a libertarian socialist society would likely be a stagnant one." I totally disagree and am willing to debate this further if you want.

"Where would new businesses come from in a libertarian socialist society?" Where does it say that libertarian socialism cannot exist with capitalism? Just because some organizations work to benefit more than themselves, doesn't mean an entrepreneur can't thrive in a more responsible form of capitalism.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

The key points in my disagreement with struggleforfreedom80 is his insistence that all private ownership of business end and that the means of production be taken from owners without compensation. He doesn't allow for any capitalism. You gain the right to have a vote at work, but lose the right to start your own private business.

I have no problem with workers unionizing, forming cooperatives, buying a business and running it their way. If a more socialistic business world evolves from that then so be it. I disagree with him that that you can get to a more moral world by violating the laws we have concerning private ownership of businesses. I'd also like some proof that his system would work and he hasn't convinced me on that at all.

I don't know what has placed you in your personal situation. Age, education, a desire to stay in a certain location. I'm not certain that if you and your coworkers took ownership of the business you work for that things would be much better. Certainly if you worked for Walmart you could take a greater portion of the profits for yourself. If you are employed by the more typical small business there may or may not be enough profit to change the lives of the employees. Either way, I don't believe we have the right to simply take anything from someone else just because they have more.

The key to my belief about a socialist society being stagnant is his condition for socialism, that there can be absolutely no capitalistic endeavors at all. Why try to do anything new or innovative? You won't be allowed to keep any of it and there is no motivation for a society that is provided for to risk any resources developing some new idea. If you like, I would be pleased to go into my thoughts on this with you in greater detail.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

OK, good response, and sorry for jumping in without reading so much.

What if only a certain group of corporations were run as pure libertarian socialism, while another group (small businesses, and specific industries/sectors perhaps) were permitted freedoms of capitalism?

What if the transformation of these irresponsible entities did not cause a loss of property, like if shareholders were guaranteed fair market value to sell their property? If you were forced to sell your shares, would you complain? No, you would reinvest.

No, I agree that without the freedom and motivation to invent and innovate, you're no longer competitive. Every system is limited in its own ways. You have to get past money-based systems in order to get the best results - that is the one factor preventing evolution. There would be no need for capitalism to get the best output in any category.

Just one last jab though, a pure socialism might be able to make greater technological strides than capitalism. You've heard about the cancer cures, cars that run on water, and other technologies suppressed by the 1%. It's also unlikely capitalism is better for the planet and its people. ...but ya, people should have freedom to have no boss and live well doing what they like to do.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Economic systems all look good in theory. I would be in favor of allowing anyone to run their business any way they want. Cooperatives invested in by workers and run by workers could be used to prove how viable libertarian socialism actually is. It could eventually lead to an end of a money based system or teach us that human nature itself undermines socialism.

That isn't what he's proposed though. It's ban all private ownership and turn every means of production over to the workers with no compensation for the stockholders.

A group of workers in a plant may or may not care more about the environment then their boss does. With profits going to workers instead of stockholders, you could find that there is just as much pollution under socialism as there is under capitalism.

It would be nice if no one had a boss. We would still need to work to acquire what we need to live. Around 15% of the total workforce in the U.S. doesn't have a boss, they work for themselves. Around 21 million people, with no employees, run their own small business.

I can't find any merit to the conspiracy theories that great scientific and technologic discoveries are being kept hidden. Even if they did exist, they were discovered under capitalism, not socialism.

[-] 1 points by Kavatz (464) from Edmonton, AB 1 year ago

A group of workers in a plant live on that land, economy and community. Their boss/executives by law have to damage the ecosystem to some extent, or the shareholders could sue them for projected revenue loss. Workers are at the mercy of their employers and if it looks better for the shareholders to move jobs away, that's what will happen. Then suicide rates go up.

"Even if they did exist, they were discovered under capitalism, not socialism." -wild guess.

It sounds like you too could live happily in a variant of libertarian socialism like we just discussed, if all citizens have the right to enjoy full capitalism while a group of corporations/industries/sectors may not participate in capitalism.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“Hierarchies develop in every group whether you want them to or not”

This is not true. First of all, there are people who have organized their society with virtually no hierarchy at all. Also, just because there have been certain types of organization within many societies over a relatively long time, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re some kind of laws of nature, or that they can’t be dismantled in a highly advanced technological society. As I pointed out in part I, creating a libertarian socialist society is perfectly feasible.

“I seriously doubt any group of anarchists doesn't have someone the majority look to as an inspiration, who's words carry more weight in a discussion.”

But that has nothing to do with leadership and undemocratic hierarchy.

“You don't have to actually call this person a leader, but it doesn't change the fact that they are one.”

You’re not making sense. You don’t have to be a leader in order to do things that are admired by others.

"The development of a hierarchy in the small business scenario I mention, where the owner is beginning his business is the result of free choice, individuals elect to become employees. There is no coercion.”

You’re wrong. It's pretty obvious that not everyone who wants and tries to become an employer, can be one. There are many who are in some kind of situation in which they don’t have the resources and the energy to do so. Many live paycheck to paycheck and so on.

There is a balance of power here: the owner of the business has more power and influence than the employee – including when the contracts are signed. Like I said, when the individual has the right to privately own the means of production, this automatically creates hierarchy and domination.

“You didn't mention if you thought the several workers for a new business in my example had a moral claim to it once they chose employment.”

The only moral thing to do is to have a social organization in which the economic institutions are controlled collectively and democratically by the ones participating. I have no problem with workers throwing the owners out and turning the business into a worker and community managed institution. Undemocratic and authoritarian structures are immoral.

“In larger businesses a hierarchy develops even in cooperatives where workers get a vote. In large complex organizations they would seem to be necessary.”

This is not true. Cooperatives, as well as communities could be organized without hierarchy and undemocratic systems.

“I refuse to accept that workers are dragged into laboring for a business by force, they choose to be employees.”

Refuse it all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that many, because of their access to resourses etc, are left with very few actual choices.

“They could easily join the majority of small business owners that work for themselves.”

Again, there are many who live paycheck to paycheck, and don’t have the resources and the energy to do so. But it doesn’t matter; the hierarchy is still there. If people living in a dictatorship were allowed to move out of the country, the dictatorship would still be there.

[-] 2 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

In my opinion, you are wrong on many of your assumptions about society. Hierarchies will develop in any group because we are not and can never all be equal in all ways. Societies develop and evolve in response to human nature. Imposing a false equality on everyone can't last.

I don't know what societies you're thinking of that have no hierarchy at all. In any collection of people there will be some that assert their opinions and others that hold back and tend to go along. De Facto leaders emerge, it doesn't matter if it is acknowledged with an actual title of leader or not.

The difference in power that develops in a work environment is another inescapable hierarchy. You held Mandragon up as an example of a successful worker run cooperative. It developed a hierarchy as it grew, workers, supervisors, middle management, executive managers, and board of directors. That is unavoidable as organizations get large and complex.

Not everyone wants to be an employer, but those that do should have that freedom, to invest in a business, take the risk and succeed or fail. The freedom you allow under socialism seems to exist only if people chose to be identical worker bees. Where would any new business come from?

We can legislate an equal opportunity, but after that differences in ability, talent, and determination will cause some to succeed and some to fail. Even among the workers, some spend their wages irresponsibly others act wisely.

What you're saying makes me look at socialism as trying to assure equal outcomes. That effort, in my opinion, could only fail.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“Hierarchies will develop in any group because we are not and can never all be equal in all ways.”

I welcome diversity and variation. We are all different; individuals have different wants, needs, ideas, capacities and so on. It is the difference in power and influence – especially when it comes to the economy – that must be addressed and dealt with. It is undemocratic hierarchy and wealth and income inequality that’s the key here.

Libertarian Socialism is about diversity and individual creativity within a classless society.

“I don't know what societies you're thinking of that have no hierarchy at all”

I had in mind for example the communes and communities during the SR that were based on anarchist communist and anarcho-syndicalist principles. the San people and the !Kung people fex are also worth mentioning.

But let’s say there were no examples. That doesn’t mean that it would be impossible to organize a modern technological society like this.

“In any collection of people there will be some that assert their opinions and others that hold back and tend to go along. De Facto leaders emerge, it doesn't matter if it is acknowledged with an actual title of leader or not.”

This still does not make sense. There’s no contradiction between organizing a participatory democracy in which the participants come together and democratically decide over the things that affect them, and some people convincing more people with arguments than others.

“You held Mandragon up as an example of a successful worker run cooperative. It developed a hierarchy as it grew, workers, supervisors, middle management, executive managers, and board of directors.”

Just so we’re clear. I have never said Mondragon was perfect. Mondragon is not worker managed. That creates problems. I mentioned Mondragon because it shows that organizing society with networks of cooperatives, with workers having a democratic say in the institutions, is perfectly doable. Mondragon is not perfect, but we should pick the best features from that society and try to implement them in a future just society.

“That is unavoidable as organizations get large and complex.”

This is not correct. When things get complex and involving many people, there must be representation. That does not mean there must be hierarchy.

“Not everyone wants to be an employer”

..and not everyone can be an employer.

“but those that do should have that freedom, to invest in a business, take the risk and succeed or fail.”

No they shouldn’t. Private ownership on the mop creates authority and undemocratic control. This should be opposed.

[-] -1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

The family groups of bushmen do have leaders, they don't exercise a great deal of authority but there is a hierarchy within the family groups. It's also a poor model for a society with a large population. The bushmen are hunter gatherers. It was with agriculture and fixed location that private ownership and eventually capitalism developed.

The anarchist groups in Spain we've already touched on, they did not come to power through a democratic process, and there is nothing in their brief history that shows me they would have succeeded in the long term. Based on the stories of atrocities there would seem to have been some that considered themselves above the ideals of socialism.

Not everyone can be an employer, that doesn't mean you should end private ownership of business. You could say that about a good many things. Not everyone has the talent to play professional sports, or the skill to be a surgeon. Most fields of endeavor have a practical limit to how many people can enter that field. Shall we ban anything using the criteria that if we can't all do it then no one can?

I'm sorry your arguments are simply not very convincing. Capitalism may or may not collapse on it's own, but I don't see libertarian socialism as a viable alternative.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“The family groups of bushmen do have leaders, they don't exercise a great deal of authority but there is a hierarchy within the family groups.”

Notice that I said ”virtually no hierarchy”. Hierarchy exists in some settings, but it’s so little, it’s almost insignificant. Egalitarian organization and anti-authoritarian based decision-making are the core features of these societies.

“The anarchist groups in Spain we've already touched on, they did not come to power through a democratic process”

The anarchist organization was put in place by the people. The vast majority of the people supported and participated in this society.

But now you suddenly changed the subject. We we’re talking about hierarchy. It is a fact that there was lots of organization during the SR which had non-hierarchical structures. That was my point.

“there is nothing in their brief history that shows me they would have succeeded in the long term.”

It was crushed eventually, and obviously no one knows exactly what would happen if it had not been crushed.

“Not everyone can be an employer, that doesn't mean you should end private ownership of business.”

I agree, that’s not an argument. I didn’t say so either. The argument for dismantling private ownership of business is that it’s undemocratic and gives some control over others.

“Capitalism may or may not collapse on it's own, but I don't see libertarian socialism as a viable alternative.”

If capitalism collapsed, what would you prefer we’d replace it with?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

During the Spanish Revolution it was the people with the guns that instituted socialism, there wasn't a vote, we'll never know how many people simply stood back because they were intimidated. We do know there were some that spoke in opposition and were dealt with violently. There was also a rigid hierarchy developed, primarily for the military wing of the socialist movement. They found out almost too late that war required a hierarchy.

I believe economic and political systems are too complex to plan out in advance. They evolve in response to human nature and human needs. The basics of capitalism have been with us since the development of agriculture. It slowly replaced the egalitarian hunter/gatherer tribes. Capitalism developed in response to human nature on its own.

Capitalism itself has been changing as more regulation is imposed on it. I don't see the task as replacing an entire system. It's more to let natural developments alter society over time. You're not going to convince a majority of the population to change to socialism over a few decades and have it be successful. Human nature isn't ready for it. If it happens at all it's going to be slowly over centuries when people are ready for it.

If events caused a total world economic collapse we don't know what people would look for. The security of a strong, totalitarian, society is as good a possibility as anything else.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“During the Spanish Revolution it was the people with the guns that instituted socialism”

First of all, there were associations and organizations that were not done with guns as you say. Second, there was a civil war going on with armed fascists, Leninists, anarchists and others which were all in conflict with each other. We have to take into consideration the environment this took place in. Again, there were things done by anarchists during the 30s that I don’t necessarily agree with. But again, this is kind of on the side of what we were discussing.

“there wasn't a vote”

There were votes. There was a lot of participation, common decision-making and also representation. The anarchist organization came about by workers and communities organizing and creating this society.

“I believe economic and political systems are too complex to plan out in advance.”

Sketching out in detail a future just society is something we shouldn’t spend too much time on, but we should have some ideas, solutions and principles worked out.

“They evolve in response to human nature and human needs.”

The distribution of wealth and power also plays a huge role in how societies develop.

“The basics of capitalism have been with us since the development of agriculture.”

That's not entirely correct. Marx pointed this out: When people were self sufficient; when families grew their own food etc, there was no exploitation etc – people were in control of their own lives and work to a large extent. It was when the worker/capitalist relation developed (especially during the ind.revoution) that things changed radically, because now some people sold their labor, and others profited on this labor by just owning the means of production, creating accumulation of capital, power and control.

“Capitalism developed in response to human nature on its own.”

No it didn’t. It developed because of the socioeconomic and political conditions.

“Human nature isn't ready for it.”

That made no sense.

“If events caused a total world economic collapse we don't know what people would look for. The security of a strong, totalitarian, society is as good a possibility as anything else.”

That was not the question. If c collapsed, what would you prefer we’d replace it with?

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

We keep covering the same things, each believing the other is wrong. You see things from your perspective and interpret them to fit your beliefs, I do the same for mine from a different perspective. Fortunately for me I don't need to convert or convince you. The majority still favor capitalism and that doesn't seem likely to change for the foreseeable future.

I don't see it as necessary for workers to have any more rights in the workplace then they have now, unless they become investors. They have freedom to work or not. I find the idea of taking the means of production away from owners without compensation immoral. I also don't believe libertarian socialism could succeed.

I wouldn't replace capitalism, I might modify it. If capitalism does collapse I don't believe any group is large enough to replace it with anything through direct action. I would predict that if all faith in money were lost people would revert to a barter system and individual self interest would slowly rebuild an economy, probably around the idea of private ownership again.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

“I don't see it as necessary for workers to have any more rights in the workplace then they have now, unless they become investors.”

If you don’t want people to have a democratic say at the workplace, than that’s up to you. I strongly disagree; I want people to control their own lives, including at the workplace.

“They have freedom to work or not.”

Sell your labor or starve is not freedom.

“I find the idea of taking the means of production away from owners without compensation immoral.”

Should the kings that were stripped from their power have been compensated? Why/why not.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Sell your labor, starve, or start your own business and work for yourself. Work or starve is pretty much how it is for most business owners too.

Which kings are you thinking of? The people of Russia didn't compensate the Czar. Many other nations did compensate and continue the practice in the form of a generous allowance to monarchs.

I have very little say in what the people of other nations do, but I approve of compensating the legal owner of property when that property is taken from him or her. It doesn't matter if they own a small family store or have title to an entire country. There should be some fair level of compensation.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

And for many other business owners this is not true at all. They have such enormous wealth and power and make lots of cash simply by just owning.

It’s no law of nature that the ones who have undemocratic power and control – the financial elite, the business owners, the dictators – should continue to keep it. Wealth has been built up over a long period of time by generations of people, and has changed hands in all kinds of ways in the past.

Our wealth must be shared, so that everyone can enjoy the fruits of the labor and innovations made by past generations.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

I know there are a very few that have a great deal of money. That doesn't change the fact that I don't see confiscation of the means of production as a moral way to proceed.

The people with the kind of money you're talking about make up something like 0.1% of the population. Your solution harms owners and stockholders that make up half the population.

I also agree it isn't a law of nature that anyone should keep anything. It is the laws we have made that say people can keep the wealth they acquire. You can advocate to change them, but a majority of the population has either direct ownership of stock or an indirect interest in it.

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

There are many people who don’t have to choose between working or starving. This is true for a lot more than 0.1%. Lots of people make good money off of other people’s hard work. They make money – many of them a lot of money – simply by just owning. That’s wrong. Exploitation is something we should oppose.

Not enough people actively support a free, just and sustainable libertarian socialist society, but that can change. Today’s property rights are not graven in stone, they can be dismantled and replaced with better ones: Collective ownership and control.

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[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 1 year ago

Doesn't your house or my house belong to us, even if we didn't actually build it? Buyer and a seller agree to a price. The workers agree to work for their wage from the builder. I've read a small house would require about 10000 man hours of skilled labor to complete. That's about 5 years, if I knew what I was doing and if I could pass the various certification requirements to do all the work.

Walmart owns their stores under the same moral principles that makes my home mine. I paid for the labor.

I don't wish to get into trying to defend Walmart's business practices that's a different argument. It's one in which I would not wish to defend Walmart.

It's the morality of confiscating property to advance libertarian socialism that I question. Is it moral for a new business with 3 or 4 employees to be taken over by the employees, with no compensation for the owner?

[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 1 year ago

Exactly. And that goes not only for the Wallmart stores, but the entire society. Our modern, technological society has been built up by generations of people. Infrastructure, scientific development, technology and and so on, much of it created and established long before you and I were born, we’re now benefiting from. Our personal contributions, no matter how hard we work, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society.

The only right thing to do in a wealthy society like ours is therefore to spread the wealth: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Capitalists are exploiting and profiting on other people’s hard work. They pay workers less than the value workers add to the product, creating a profit for the owners. This is kind of a core feature of the capitalist system.

Capitalism and other forms of tyrannical, undemocratic, hierarchical systems should eventually be dismantled, so that people can be free.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

It is theirs. You don't agree to produce something at a price for another person and then decide afterwards that you want part ownership in the product. You sold your services/labor. If having part ownership in the product that couldn't be produced without you was your goal, the time to have made that clear would have been before agreeing to produce it. The other person can't get the product without you so you have the power from the start. You have no claim once you literally agree to sell yourself short for something less than partial ownership. If workers had been willing to walk away from the Waltons and all other entreprenuers without a share in their businesses, those businesses would either have become cooperatives or simply wouldn't have existed. The problem has been that while various individuals may have the will to do this, the masses have not and have therefore supplied the Waltons with all the labor they want. Even now, current workers could decide to no longer work without a share in their production but the greater masses of workers willing to work without a share in production would simply replace them.

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[-] 0 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

The willing compliance of the workers to sell themselves short justifies the owners' entitlement.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-535263

It's the workers who have to cease justifying the owners. Owners may want compensation but they are not in the position to demand it if the workers refuse it. The workers have the power. They need only realize it and retain it.

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[-] 0 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

Duress created by the willingness of the workers to sell themselves short. Without that willingness, the would-be owners would be the ones to experience that duress.

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[-] 0 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

Howard Zinn: Lincoln and Emancipation

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 15:55 By Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States | Book Excerpt

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14371-howard-zinn-lincoln-and-emancipation

Some slaves didn't wait for freedom. They were Maroons who started their own colonies of freedom. Had the majority of enslaved people become Maroons instead of consenting to remaining enslaved, slavery would not have continued.

"I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

Harriet Tubman

The people who were subjugated to enslavement are still subjected to involuntary servitude upon imprisonment.

Private Prisons Blur the Line Between Real People and Real Estate

Monday, 04 February 2013 00:00 By Christopher Petrella, Truthout | News Analysis

http://truth-out.org/news/item/14255-the-legacy-of-chattel-slavery-private-prisons-blur-the-line-between-real-people-and-real-estate-with-new-irs-property-gambit