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Forum Post: Property Rights

Posted 2 years ago on March 24, 2012, 12:04 p.m. EST by struggleforfreedom80 (6584)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

(Today’s Society And How To Improve It - part VI)

Property rights can take various forms, ranging from private ownership of more or less everything, including on means of production others use, to different forms of collective ownership. Most societies, including the western ones, operate as we all know with a combination of some private ownership and some collective ownership.

What we’ve seen in the recent decades however, is that many countries have been moving more and more towards privatization and tax cuts for the wealthy, making private ownership more dominant. Such a society in which more and more of the resources and economic institutions are being handed over to private enterprise will, as mentioned earlier, become a very cynic and undemocratic society. This is intolerable. We need to change the system we have today, including today’s property rights.

There’s nothing controversial about that. Current property rights are not graven in stone; they’re not some unchangeable laws of nature. They can be changed just like they were, a certain time ago, changed into the ones we have today. Just like the wealthy business owners have been given the right to own more and more of the economic institutions, including the means of productions others are using, other forms of rights can instead be implemented like f.ex giving the workers the right to control their own workplace democratically.

And that is exactly what we should work for. What we need to do is to make the society more democratic. We must create a society in which people are in control of the things they’re a part of and which affect them. That would certainly include the economic institutions – the workplaces. We must deprive private enterprise and the financial elite from the right to own and control things in society that others are a part of, and instead build democracy from below with institutions and communities run democratically by the participants.

Today’s laws and rights - property rights included - are not unchangeable. They can, and should be replaced by better ones. They should be replaced by rights that give people control over their own lives, workplace and community, and make society better for all living and participating in it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jRy5ZIYZok

Further readings:

Part I - “Our Democratic Deficit”

Part II - “Human Nature”

Part III - “Dehumanization”

Part IV - "The Free Ride Society"

Part V - "Capitalism, Exploitation and Involuntary Agreements"

Part VII - "The Transition Phase: The Road To Freedom" (stage I)

Part VIII - "The Transition Phase: The Road To Freedom" (stage II)

Part IX - "The Transition Phase: The Road To Freedom" (stage III)

Part X - "The Transition Phase: The Road To Freedom" (stage IV)

171 Comments

171 Comments


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[-] 4 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

Can't see this ending well. If you could manage to entice the population to role back property rights in order to legally appropriate what is not currently theirs. You are in effect staring out using greed and envy as the foundation for your society. Not exactly the sprit needed to give socialism a chance of working.

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

"If you could manage to entice the population to role back property rights in order to legally appropriate what is not currently theirs"

Ordinary people's rights would not be negatively affected by the new rights I'd like to see come into place. In fact, ordinary people would be much better off, having the right to control thir own lives, work and communities.

"You are in effect staring out using greed and envy as the foundation for your society. "

Absolutley not. It's about justice and creating a soceity where everyone can have a decent life.

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

There is a reason that forms of socialism gain a few supporters only during difficult times. When economies are running well most people see a potential to improve their situation. They actually cherish those property rights you would have them change. What you're calling justice, most will see as an attempt to legalize theft and an attempt to prevent them from ever becoming well off themselves.

Besides your talking about changing the fifth amendment. I don't think you have any understanding at all of how people feel about the Bill of Rights, if you think that is remotely possible. You couldn't get a noticeable minority to agree with you, let alone two thirds of congress and three quarters of the states.

[-] -2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

We have a lot of convincing to do getting the general population to understand that freedom and democracy is what we should work for. My wishes can only be realized when the general population wants it. The rise and growth of the Occupy movement is hopefully the beginning of serious changes.

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

You're living for an outdated dream. The idea of workers controlling the means of production no longer applies very well to America anyhow. Our economy is 76% in the service industry. By some estimates nearly 1 worker in 5 is paid through some form of public funds.

One of the complaints against public employee unions is that they vote in their own bosses. While you work to drum up support for elements of socialism events are showing the public, that doesn't want to pay higher taxes for wages, a negative side to socialism.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

it's about people being in control of their workplace and lives, building democracy from below. That's not an outdated dream, that is a dream very much alive, and with the rise of this movement it might be the beginning of radical changes.

I want to rise taxes, yes, but only for the wealthy. The workers and working poor would be much better of in a libertarian socialist society.

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

Libertarian socialism is a dream shared by a very small minority, it's been losing supporters since the 1920's. It has no real successes to speak of and only seems to attract any attention at all during economic downturns, when attacking the rich seems to gain a little traction with people. When economies pick up a vast majority see a somewhat regulated capitalism as a better system for them personally. Socialism looks good on paper but you have a credibility problem, few believe they actually would be better off under it. It's not a new idea, people obviously don't want it.

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

There was no success with parlamentary democracies under feudalism either...look what happened..

Libertarian socialism - a society in which people are in control of their own lives, work and communities - is not just morally right, it's absolutley necessary. Today's state capitalism is not sustainable, it must be dismantled. Freedom and democracy is what we should strive for: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

I see it differently. There are many things that were not foreseen during feudal times. Had the surfs actually voted repeatedly to keep feudalism but parliaments developed anyway, I would agree you had a point. As it is society then simply evolved into a more democratic one. Today's society has rejected libertarian socialism for the past century. It's evolved past pure socialism.

We don't have a truly capitalistic society, it's regulated and contains elements of socialism and will likely remain so or have the regulation increased. Simply handing workers the means of production doesn't make anything more sustainable. To do that you'd have to manage standard of living. On a world wide scale that means to lower it for the developed nations, something no one will vote for.

A representative republic or parliamentary system is much better suited to managing a large nation then direct democracy could ever hope to be. With any form of government that involves an electorate keeping them educated and engaged in the process is key. If republics fail it's because the voters don't fully participate. Just having a direct democracy doesn't change that.

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

Attitudes can change no matter what has happened in the past; that, you can't get around. "Just handing the workers the mop" is not enough, no - I agree. It's an important factor in Anarcho-Syndicalism/Libertarian Socialism, but there's more to it than that. Again, libertarian Socialism is about building democracy from below. Large scale would involve a federated society with cooperating communites thru recallable delegates etc based on democratic process.

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

As a political system, the way you describe it, it isn't much different from what we have. Anything with representation requires an informed engaged electorate. Your focus is all wrong, you are worried about the process when it's the people that are at fault.

As an economic system it is seriously flawed, requiring a level of altruism that does not exist.

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

There's a huge difference. It would be a society that focus on as much direct participatory democracy as possible; it would be a society where the representatives are recallable and elected directly from the organization to whom they belong.

Altruism and solidarity is a big part of human nature: http://occupywallst.org/forum/human-nature/

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

We're bringing up characteristics of humans that give your system problems. All life has developed to get the most reward for the least effort. This quality plays a role in how we interact in government and the work place. People don't participate in their government in an informed way, they don't put the time in to learn about all the issues. A change in government won't change people. A republic is far superior to a direct democracy in actual practice.

Altruism is and always will be secondary to self interest. Unions and cooperatives are successful because people see it as helping them as an individual, not because it helps the group. They only join cooperative efforts for the benefits to self. Your hypothesis about altruism and all that sharing and caring is only true for the small family groups we evolved in. Looking at all of history with its racism, intolerance, prejudice, war, slavery show there are severe limits to human altruism.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"All life has developed to get the most reward for the least effort"

All life has developed based on individuals acting as if their genes are selfish (Dawkins 1976); that includes solidarity and cooperation. What you suggest has nothing to do with human beings:

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y8_2BBlar4

"People don't participate in their government in an informed way, they don't put the time in to learn about all the issues."

In a libertarian socialist society, people would participate actively in society - on all levels.

"Your hypothesis about altruism and all that sharing and caring is only true for the small family groups we evolved in."

Thruout or evolution we have been organizing in relatively small groups (compared to today's society) yes, but the point is: our nature is the same as the first humans, so caring and having solidarity for the people we meet is still part of us.

"They only join cooperative efforts for the benefits to self."

It depends on the society A sociey that encourages greed and cynicism will of course have more cynical and greedy individuals; a society enocouraging solidarity and cooperation will of course produce less.

Human nature is plastic, it allows different behavior, including evil acts, but the core is not at all evil.. War, slavery, oppression etc. have all been done in societies with (often very undemocratic) hierarchical social organization. LS wants to dismantle hierarchies and oppression.

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

Your videos simply give an opinion, not any fact. Observation of people often shows the opposite to be true. Chomsky's good fortune to be able to do what he wants to do gives him a biased view of work. It helps him spin a pleasing picture, but there is nothing to prove that picture isn't just an illusion.

Dawkins hypothesis regarding altruism has more to do with small tribes and family groups then it does with workers that are likely to be unrelated. In any event Dawkins has almost as many detractors as he has supporters. His work gives you an argument but not proof, you believe it because you have to, not necessarily because it has scientific merit. Besides no one says we don't have the capacity for altruism, it's just secondary to self interest, especially when unrelated individuals are involved.

I certainly agree humans possess the ability to be molded by their situation. That is the biggest argument against a socialist workplace. A very few people doing their work in a half hearted manner will have a negative impact on all. You need to actually demonstrate this would work in the long term before any significant number of people will consider it.

[-] -1 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

No, you have a lot of learning to do to see your own stupidity. Seriously, earn what you have; it's a better more satisfying life.

[-] 3 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Democracy and freedom is not stupid, it's what we should strive for.

[-] -3 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

But that democracy and freedom is used too often to get things for "free". Hence, the birth of the welfare state.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

We get free rides and free lunches all the time. We should create a free society where we share all this wealth we have.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-free-ride-societypt4/

[-] -3 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

I'd like to start with sharing yours. LOL. "Struggle for freedom"? More like the struggle to leach of off others.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

the right-wingers (you included apperently) often tend to look at taxes as a way of stealing the fruits of other people’s labor, that people are being taxed so that others can enjoy a free ride. Well they’re way off. First of all, the ones who are really stealing the fruits of our labor are the financial elite who have been making billions by pushing a few buttons on a computer at the stock exchange and exploiting people in the US and all over the world. And secondly, the "fruits" of one’s labor can’t be measured in an advanced modern society.

We now live in a complex, highly advanced technological society built up by generations of people thru hundreds of years. People have been building infrastructure, contributed to science, developed technology, developed efficient ways of manufacturing etc etc. Because of all this effort we now enjoy a more wealthy, advanced and efficient society than ever. All of this, lots of it built and created long before we were even born, we’re now enjoying despite having little or nothing to do with contributing to it ourselves. In other words, our contributions, no matter what we do, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society. We’re enjoying the results of generations of people’s work gradually building a modern society - an enormous free ride.

A wealthy modern society like ours should be organized with the principles of Anarcho-Syndicalism - building democracy from below, starting with democratic institutions and workplaces. That way people have control over their own lives and work, unlike in capitalism where you have to live in a society with private tyrannies and command economies.

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

I'd still like to share yours. I'll take your response as a "yes". I'll take in a way that's complicated if that makes it easier for you.

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

That was your entire response?? So you're all out of arguments then..?

No, you see, I want people to have the right to a democratic say in the things they're a part of and which affect them, not a pro-tyranny ultra right winger ("Reasonistheway") getting to hand out other people's assets any way he wants

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Here's an example of the real leeches.

The ones that really do suck us dry.

http://wendellpotter.com/2012/03/the-end-of-health-insurance-as-we-know-it/

[-] -1 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

Yeah, government's don't do that because government is efficient, caring, fair, never says "no" and adapts really well to change. LOL.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Still refuse to read it?

Please stop commenting on health care. You bring nothing to the table.

The (R)epelican'ts have created the largest most inefficient government in our history. Conse(R)vatives have a habit of doing that, and then lying about it..

You likely don't believe that either.

If reason is the way? You are lost.

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

Liberals will make it better, but to get more efficient, it first has to get dramatically bigger. LOL. Then it'll be efficient, they promise, just like the Post Office. LOL.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Still refuse to read it??

Broken records are not reasonable.

You are a broken record.

[-] -3 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 2 years ago

You refuse to acknowledge that property has value. workers are absolutely free to own any public traded company they want. Prpoerty has value and our Consitution is designed to protect property rights. You forget, at one time in England there were no property rights, kings owned everything.

If you want this democratic ownership of property, please move out of the USA.

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

The economy is all-encompassing. A couple of co-ops and communes here and there is a good start, but it doesnt change the fact that the wealth and resourses are very highly concentrated. This must be addressed.

I want different rights to resourses, like f.ex. workers having the right to control their own lives and work: Anarcho-Syndicalism.

I don't live in the United States, but even if I were, "why don't you just move" is of course a terrible argument.

[-] 0 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 2 years ago

Destroy the Constitution is also a terrible argument.

Workers now can own their own companies, but you dont want to honor that.

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

Not everything in the US constitution is bad. But I think it's a principle thing: I think people living today shuld get to decide what kind of society they should live in, not be dictated by a piece of paper written by dead slave owners.

People creating co-ops is wonderful, but it can't stop with that. Again, The economy is all-encompassing

[-] 0 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"People creating co-ops is wonderful, but it can't stop with that. Again, The economy is all-encompassing"

Wait a minute. If the people want to live in a society full of democratically run workplaces, then they will expand the existing cooperatives, by making donations, doing voluntary work, by finding solutions for how to expand the co-ops. The more the people want democratically run workplaces, the more they will expand them, until eventually the cooperatives will own most of the economy.

But if the people don't want to have democratically run workplaces and to build them on their own, then you want to dictate them to take over the economy? Even if that would happen, they won't be capable to manage the society. Because "democratically run" means both power AND responsibilities. Since they refuse to have democratic responsibilities, it's clear they won't be capable to "run things democratically"

You are talking to a group of people who refuse the responsibilities of democracy (participating into running the workplaces democratically) and you are telling them what they want to hear: that "it's never their fault", that "it's the system's fault", that "we need a new system/ideology" and that "the new system will fix everything for you" and that "you don't have to do more than electing me/us in power"

The people repeated this error since thousands of years ago. And that's exactly why politics never worked.

Why you don't try something different? Really !

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

"The more the people want democratically run workplaces, the more they will expand them, until eventually the cooperatives will own most of the economy"

Sure, but again: the economy is all-encompassing. We should not just ignore private tyrannies and command economies having undemocratic power in society. They should be dealt with, while at the same time building things from scratch.

"then you want to dictate them to take over the economy?"

Who's talking about dictating?

"You are talking to a group of people who refuse the responsibilities of democracy (...) Why you don't try something different? Really !"

Now you're making no sense.

We live in a society where we're all affected by all sorts of things. The society and the economy is very intertwined; we have to adress the society as a whole, including the politics.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"They should be dealt with, while at the same time building things from scratch."

And when exactly is the time to build things from scratch (and to deal with the other things)?

Since at least 100 years ago the people could not find the time to do it. And then, when are we going to start to do it?

About property: I think the USA constitution protects the property very well. Now, it protects both private and shared property equally. Nobody stops the people to associate, work together, create goods and properties, and to share them. Those properties will be protected with the same force an individual's properties are protected.

So the change doesn't have to be in the constitution or in the system's ideology. The change have to come from the (average) people's will to share their properties.

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

As soon as possible.

I think people should, in principle, be very sceptical to constitutions. It should be the people who are alive today who get to decide which laws and rights they should have, not a piece of paper written by long since dead slave owners.

People should have the right to participate in the things they're a part of which affects them. That would certainly include workplace and community.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"As soon as possible."

Then let's start doing it, I would say. Let's try to find the easiest ways to start cooperatives, let's talk about what kind products are most important to produce in those cooperatives, let's talk about how to engage the existing cooperatives into supporting OWS, and so on.

If you think we should start as soon as possible, then please call the people to participate into the process. I already did that on my on, but alone I can't do all the job.

I did it here:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-to-create-democratically-run-workplaces-and-co/

"I think people should, in principle, be very sceptical to constitutions."

I very much believe people should have critical thinking and be skeptical about anything: constitution, ideologies, systems, politicians, etc. But in the same time, it doesn't mean we should not appreciate the good things in the constitution.

"People should have the right to participate in the things they're a part of which affects them. That would certainly include workplace and community."

They already have that right. The most fundamental aspect of democracy is the freedom of association - and we have that plenty, thanks heavens! It's not like in Syria, where you have no right to make an association.

Since more than 100 years ago, the socialists and communists always talked about talking over other's people property, but they could never find the time to call the people to create cooperatives that build democratically shared properties. Really, don't you think that's strange?

So the sad truth is that the people have the right to do what you dream about. They couldn't bother to do it until now. Only heaven knows why.

"It should be the people who are alive today who get to decide which laws and rights they should have"

Another very sad reality is that, most of the time, the people want just the benefits of the democracy, without assuming the responsibility of engaging into decision making and building democracy.

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

"They already have that right"

No, they don't. Corporations are private tyrannies.

"Really, don't you think that's strange?"

Lots of "socialists" have done this; libertarian socialists.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"No, they don't. Corporations are private tyrannies."

You didn't understood what I said, even after repeating it over and over. I meant they can start cooperatives on their own.

"Lots of "socialists" have done this; libertarian socialists."

Any proof? Can you give examples of libertarian socialist who called the people to create cooperatives and to expand them?

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

I am aware, but like I've said: The existing ones are private tryannies.

They're part of the economy, they must be addressed and dealt with also.

[-] 0 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

You didn't answer to my question, which was most important part of my message.

"They're part of the economy, they must be addressed and dealt with also."

The more the cooperatives will grow, the more those private tyrannies will lose market share and workers. The people who want a better system will simply migrate from buying/working from/to private tyrannies to buying/working from/to cooperatives. That's the best way to deal with those private tyrannies. Taking over them overnight will lead to unprepared people handling them, and that means inefficiency, incompetence, and, in the end, disaster - like every other communist experiment in the history. Never in the history the people bothered to BUILD communism, they just took over existing facilities and dismantled them with their incompetence.

[-] -2 points by aflockofdoofi2 (-66) 2 years ago

Again with the lies. Corporations are publicly traded, they arent private tyrannies. Teachers unions and retirees own orporations in their pension funds.

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

"I thought so. You give no examples. You just SAY it."

I don't get it. After reading what I just wrote, why is specific examples regarding a specific corporation so important to you? I just explained how it would work in all cases.

Do you have any counter arguments against what I just said? Do you now agree that private istitutions are run like tyrannies?

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

what's an insider ?

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

"They are? Then how is the following possible? ExxonMobil insiders own .2% of its stock. How can that possibly be a tyranny?"

Internally corporations are private tyrannies. The CEOs - the ones at the top - give orders to the ones below which hands it down further and so on. The leaders are not democratically elected by the ones participating in the institution, so the model if you will, for the corporation is a non-democratic hierarchy: tyranny

Like I mentioned wealth - including stock - is very highly concentrated, so also here we see a real democratic deficit The non-elected finacial elite have the overwhelming power in the economy in general: tyranny

Whether all decitions regarding the corporation are made mostly by CEOs/managers working in the instituions or by superwealthy ousiders, the institution is either way not run democratically, hence it's private tyranny http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqlTyAMVDUk

[-] 0 points by aflockofdoofi2 (-66) 2 years ago

I thought so. You give no examples. You just SAY it.

Seems to me you just illustrated managing decisions.

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

Internally corporations are tyrannies: All control from the top.

The wealth, including stocks etc are very highly concentrated - also very undemocratic. It is the finanicial elite who have the overwhelming control of the economy, not teachers.

[-] 0 points by aflockofdoofi2 (-66) 2 years ago

They are? Then how is the following possible? ExxonMobil insiders own .2% of its stock. How can that possibly be a tyranny?

Please give exact concrete examples. I just did.

[-] 0 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

" I think people living today shuld get to decide what kind of society they should live in"

I think if you were to poll Americans, an overwhelmingly majority would elect to keep our private property system in place.

What country are you from if you don't mind me asking?

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

Attitudes among the general population can be changed. And besides, I don't think most americans would find suggestions such as raising taxes for the rich and letting people be in control of their own lives and workplace very controvercial.

I live in Norway.

[-] 1 points by Mooks (1985) 2 years ago

Raising taxes on the rich is vague but in general a good idea and one that most Americans would agree with. What would define rich though?

"Letting people be in control of their own lives and workplace" is extremely vague. From a literal standpoint, Americans are already in control of their own lives and workplace.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Where we draw the line between rich and not rich is not important. What should be implemented as soon as possible in america (nad anywhere else for that matter) is an effective progressive tax system, meaning that the more yo earn/own, the more percentages you pay in taxes.

No I'm taliking about a society where we build democracy from below with democratic workplaces, communities, and so on. Maybe this makes it less vague for you: http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

[-] -1 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 2 years ago

I read your blog. You can live that sort of life right here, right now. That you choose not speaks volumes.

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

What exactly is it you don't understand by "all-encompassing" ?

[-] -2 points by aflockofdoofi (-18) 2 years ago

No reason to debate this anymore. Private property and wealth accumulation are good things and should be encouraged. The slothfulness of anarchy should be crushed like the slime in a fetid pond.

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

Private property on the means of production others are using and wealth concentrated on the finacial elite and private tyrannies is not good at all. We should work for democracy.

Your last sentence ends the discussion for me as well.

[-] 3 points by flip (6892) 2 years ago

very nice job here - keep it going! have you read graeber - he has a section on property rights going back to roman times - apparently our laws are based on roman law and their property laws are based on slavery as he interprets them - really good book i think - debt the first 5000 yrs

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

Thanks, flip.

I am familiar with the man. I think I read some of his work back when I studied Anthropology, but I've not read what you're referring to.

[-] 2 points by flip (6892) 2 years ago

here is some of his interview on znet - hope you like it and again nice job!Let’s look at the historical development of our conceptions of “liberty”, then.

That was something I had been vaguely aware of, but I hadn’t realised, until I began researching, just how flagrant it was. In most human languages, the word for ‘freedom’ means ‘the opposite of slavery’. Moses Finley pointed out a long time ago that it’s not a coincidence that doctrines of political liberty tend to emerge from places where they have the most extreme forms of chattel slavery, whether it’s ancient Athens or colonial Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson came from. But this is true on a much more profound level than I had ever imagined. In most societies a slave is essentially like the living dead: as a social person they’ve been killed. The idea is that they are someone who was captured in battle, their captive decided not to kill them (which he would have had every right to do), so essentially their previous life is gone and all they have left is a relation of total subordination to the person who was within his rights to kill them.

And they’re ripped from their social context.

Yes. So if you’re a Roman taken prisoner of war and held as a slave elsewhere, and then you come home again, you have to remarry your wife, you have to enter into all contractual relations over again, because you were effectively dead.

This helps to explain something really strange about our property law, which is derived from Roman law and has created terrible problems for jurists starting in the eleventh century. Our definition of property is that property is a relation between a person and a thing, whereby that person has absolute power over that thing. This definition doesn’t make sense. For example, if you’re on a desert island, you might have a deeply personal relationship with a tree on that island. You might well be talking to it every day. But do you ‘own’ it? Well, it’s kind of an irrelevant question unless someone else is there. In fact, property rights are relations, or arrangements, between people, about things.

Our notion of freedom is similarly problematic. ‘Freedom’ is the natural power, according to Roman law, to do absolutely anything you like – except for those things you can’t do, either because of the law or because somebody’s going to stop you. This is like saying that ‘the sun is square except insofar as it is round’. And people immediately pointed this out: by this definition, everyone is ‘free’. Slaves are ‘free’ – after all, they can do anything they want except for those things they can’t do. So why did they develop this absurd definition?

The reason is that what Roman magistrates were imagining was in fact a relationship between two people of total power, which therefore renders one of them a ‘thing’. That’s what slavery is all about. So you had this subtle shift in the meaning of freedom. Originally freedom meant ‘not being a slave’, and so referred to people who had social relations. In fact the word ‘free’ in English traces back to the same root as ‘friend’ – free people are, as noted before, people who can make commitments and promises to others, which of course slaves cannot do. But then the definition shifts, so that it now refers to the power of the slave-owner. A ‘free’ person becomes a person who has people they can do anything they want to, or who approaches the world as a set of properties in the same way – someone who has a personal private domain, within which they can do whatever they like. This definition has the advantage of not suggesting that freedom is unlimited except insofar as it is circumscribed. But it brings all these deeply perverse and contradictory notions into it: that freedom is not a product of social relations, but is in fact the negation of social relations. That has had a deeply insidious effect on how we look at the world.

I was interested in the passage in the book where you discuss “dualism” as an attempt to cobble together a philosophical account that could make sense of this odd Roman conception of property rights.

Yes, indeed. Because another one of the paradoxes becomes conceptual: in natural rights theory, as in Roman property law, freedom is your ability to do anything you like within your domain of private ownership. Well, if ‘freedom’ is essentially property rights, and if the entire world is seen in terms of property rights, then your first and most elementary property is your own body, your own person. C. B. MacPherson pointed this out long ago: all notions of natural rights and liberties begin with your own private property rights over yourself, your right to forbid others (even governments) to “trespass” upon your person, your house, your possessions. But if human rights are founded on your property rights over yourself, and property rights are modelled on slavery, that means you are both master and slave at the same time. Well, how does that work? It obviously doesn’t make any sense. That, it seems to me, is why we are so determined to create a division between the mind and the body, because it offers a way of imagining our mind as the ‘master’ and our body as the ‘slave’. This idea is a response to the way we chose to define ‘freedom’ in law.

The other paradox of course is that freedom itself is seen as something one ‘has’ – as a form of property. So freedom both is the ability to own things, and is also something you own. How does that work, and why would anyone want to formulate freedom as the right to own your freedom? It sounds like an infinite regression. Medieval law, for example, and any commonsense approach, would assume that my right is somebody else’s obligation, and vice versa. So if I have the right to trial by jury, that means you have the obligation to do jury duty. This makes sense in practice. Why do we instead imagine our rights as property? And especially our freedom as property?

If you trace it back, the people who really push that line consistently are not those who wanted to increase human liberty, but those who wanted to limit it – the people who believed in the absolutist state, for example. (Hobbes is the classic example.) Because if freedom is the ability to own your freedom, well, something you own, you can sell, you can rent, you can give away. It’s alienable. Similarly people who wanted to defend slavery were very much into natural rights theory.

The Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, a great libertarian slave-owner, begins by apparently subverting the very idea that something like slavery could be possible, declaring – and he got in trouble for this – that ‘we are endowed with certain inalienable rights’. This means that we own these things, but we can’t sell them. Nonetheless, it keeps the language and the logic of natural rights theory entirely intact. As a result, any attempt to actually apply it consistently creates endless paradoxes. I am convinced that if you took the average American and asked them to defend the argument that slavery should be illegal, they would find it very difficult to do. They would all assert that, yes, of course it’s wrong to own people, but if you pressed them on why, and used an example – well, we have prisoners sentenced to life without parole, and often prisons rent prisoners’ labour to local farms or companies. Why not sell them? – they probably couldn’t come up with a reason. Because the logic of our commonsense about law and freedom and liberty makes it difficult to object to the institution.

So this language of rights and self-ownership has been appealed to mainly by people wanting to limit freedom?

Yes, to come up with excuses for the slave trade. That was the argument. It’s interesting to point out, because ancient slavery was not, for the most part, based on any idea of ‘race’ or ethnic superiority. Anyone could become a slave – it was just bad luck. If you were captured in war, you became a slave. One claim you often hear is that in the ancient world nobody condemned slavery as an institution. I don’t think that’s true. I think everybody thought it was wrong. If you look at Roman law, one of the first things you learn in the first year, if you’re a Roman law student, is the definition of slavery, which is: ‘slavery is an institution according to the law of nations whereby one person falls under the property rights of another, contrary to nature’. It’s assumed to be unnatural and wrong. I think people thought of slavery in exactly the same way we think of war. Slavery was seen as a natural result of war: of course, people will go to fight in wars, some of them will surrender and become captives, and that’s just how it is. The question of whether it is right or wrong – well, yes, of course, it would be great if we could get rid of war. War is bad, so is slavery. But get real. That’s pretty much how people feel about war now, and that’s pretty much how people felt about slavery in antiquity.

The reason I bring this up is that one finds exactly the same thing in the very early period of the modern slave trade, before the elaboration of modern racial theories. They didn’t say ‘Africans are inferior, therefore they don’t really have civilisation, therefore it’s OK to drag them off’. Actually they made the opposite argument. They said that African institutions are as legitimate as ours, and so most of these people might well have been legally enslaved. Since all nations recognise that we have certain liberties and hence the right to sell those liberties, they might have sold themselves, or someone who had the legitimate right to sell them might have sold them—their parents, someone who captured them in war, a judge who convicted them of a crime. Sure, some of them might have been illegally enslaved, but abuses happen in every system, and the point is that slavery itself is a legitimate institution in Africa that rests on universal legal principles. It was this kind of mock universalism that originally justified slavery.

And historically has opposition to slavery rejected the language of rights, or has it tried to, as in the Declaration of Independence, appropriate it?

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

Thanks. Very interesting.

[-] 1 points by OWmita (4) 2 years ago

Alana Hartzog's work on Democracy, Earth Rights and Next Economy is very relevant here. Summary: Presented to an audience of 600 at Amherst College as an E.F. Schumacher Lecture and now available as a 38-page publication, this gives a dramatic historical perspective of Western land tenure systems, clarifies a deep ethical foundation for land and natural resource ownership, and suggests several practical policy approaches which can secure common heritage resources for the benefit of all. The lecture explores the following topics: Human Rights to the Earth; The Enclosures; Early Christian Teachings; John Locke and the Crack in the Liberty Bell; Thaddeus Stevens and the Civil War; U.S. Imperialism; Earth Rights Policy and New Institutions; Envisioning the Next Economy. http://www.earthrights.net/about/hartzok.html

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

You say, "...Current property rights are not graven in stone; they’re not some unchangeable laws of nature. .... "

Think. Act accordingly. Keep the outcome. How more humanly natural can it be? No matter how primitive or advanced, thinking is distinctly human as is taking action from it. What is critical to how far apart you and I are in the debate, is the third fundamental- keeping the outcome. You argue that that is not in our nature and as such can be changed; I argue that keeping the result of our thought and action is immutably part of what it means to be human. It is the root to the idea of legitimate property. In order to think and act, an innocent individual has to be left free from the aggression of others whether actual or threatened. He then has to be left free to enjoy the outcome.

Because this is true of human nature, it is true for all individuals. An individual thinks, acts based on his thoughts and possesses the outcome of his actions so that he can live. True for everyone. But the crony capitalists forcibly deny this fact about property; and, like them, you do too. Many, many attempts were made but all of human history has never escaped this primary law of human nature. Why do you insist on it?

As I implied in early replies, a humane society accepts these tenets and its members create (and maintain) a social system that refuses those who would coercively reject them. Don't ignore those basic facts especially property because, in doing that, you are leaving your humanity behind. What lies ahead are more injustices with the only difference being that they'll be made by the masses and not the cronies. That is why I had said, "Instead of putting your energies into the birth of LS as the antidote to the madness we all live with, I am suggesting that you put it into the rebirth of the individual and to the type of government that protects him. There is no doubt, that that is a monumental task. But what this struggle has over Libertarian Socialism and what it has over crony capitalism is the fact that it is right in the deepest sense of being right ...."

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

"Think. Act accordingly."

This is not an argument against the fact that property rights are changable and not graven in stone.

"Keep the outcome"

What's that supposed to mean? Exploitation, profits, power relations etc - all these things are important factors in worker/owner realitons in a capitalist society; and these conditions are no natural laws. And like I said, capitalism is not about free trade, nor is it about voluntary agreements.

"How more humanly natural can it be?"

Property rights don't exist in nature; they're not laws of nature.

"I argue that keeping the result of our thought and action is immutably part of what it means to be human."

By those standards you should be paying back to society:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-free-ride-societypt4/

"In order to think and act, an innocent individual has to be left free from the aggression of others whether actual or threatened. He then has to be left free to enjoy the outcome."

Let me guess: You've been reading a lot of Ayn Rand, right? Don't let her fool you. She advocated a corporate-run society - total private tyranny.

"An individual thinks, acts based on his thoughts and possesses the outcome of his actions so that he can live."

Well we have to do certain things by ourselves in order to survive, but that doesn't excuse tyrannical institutions having the overwhelming control in the economy and our lives. People should be able to control their own lives.

We should create a classless society from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

"Don't ignore those basic facts especially property because, in doing that, you are leaving your humanity behind."

Ultra right-wing libertarian and "objectivist"/Randist ideas are about as inhumane as it gets.

The humane and moral thing to do is to create a society that is good for all.

[-] 0 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

You say, "we have to do certain things by ourselves in order to survive, but that doesn't excuse tyrannical institutions having the overwhelming control in the economy and our lives. People should be able to control their own lives." Your statement is apparently as close to truth about human nature and how a society ought to be justly organized as you are willing to go.

I argue this. Before you determine what is just behavior among people, you necessarily have to have a true standard by which to judge behaviors. Whether an individual's actions are expressed in a society or outside it doesn't alter that fact. I'm arguing that that standard is the nature of humanity. For this part of the discussion, take an individual outside of a society. I say apart from society because the truth about an individual's fundamental nature becomes no less true when entering into a society.

A person does have to do certain things in order to live, "survive" as you put it. At the most basic level, what are they? For our species, I've described the three primary tenets as thinking, acting accordingly and keeping the outcome. An individual may think correctly or not. But whatever the degree of correctness, doesn't alter the fact that for a human, his primary means of living is thinking. Whatever the degree of successfully acting on one's thoughts, doesn't alter the fact that one must act in order to live. And whatever the quantity (and quality) that comes about from one's actions, doesn't alter the fact that one must keep and use those results in order to live.

Just behavior is predicated on those three primary facts regardless of whether one acts in a society or outside it. These facts of human life are inescapable. This inescapability is exactly what I mean when I say governed by the laws of nature, specifically human nature. As such, these are the standards of an individual to judge whether his own actions are just or unjust.

The organizing moral principle of a just society is rooted not in crony laws of an elite group nor a 'democratic' will of the people. It is simply rooted in the inescapable fact that by his nature, no one needs anyone's permission to think, act, or keep the results in order to live his life. To implement this principle politically, each member in a society chooses to observe and uphold these truths to the best of their abilities. Such action is the meaning of innocent and such action is the meaning of freedom. From that, each individual must distinguish those who are innocent from those who would forcibly deny them the inescapable laws of acting human. That action is the meaning of justice. Apply that standard of justice when judging the political laws and policies of a society and you'll soon recognize the meaning of limited government and further, you'll have the moral justification when outlawing the laws of special interests regardless of whether the laws were made by the elite or a majority.

What is true of human nature is true for the individual. A society based on this truth is a society that is good for all.

That is why I am saying, "Instead of putting your energies into the birth of LS as the antidote to the madness we all live with, I am suggesting that you put it into the rebirth of the individual and to the type of government that protects him. There is no doubt, that that is a monumental task. But what this struggle has over Libertarian Socialism and what it has over crony capitalism is the fact that it is right in the deepest sense of being right for each one of us."

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

"And whatever the quantity (and quality) that comes about from one's actions, doesn't alter the fact that one must keep and use those results in order to live."

This is just abstract nonsense. What actions and what results? Put it in a context.

"These facts of human life are inescapable."

There are some things we have to do by ourselves in order to survive, but there's no contradiction between that and creating a classless society without capitalism and other forms of tyranny. You present a lot of abstract ideas and generalization here; it might help if you examplify them and put them in the context of something.

"This inescapability is exactly what I mean when I say governed by the laws of nature, specifically human nature. As such, these are the standards of an individual to judge whether his own actions are just or unjust."

Our nature allows a lot of variation in behavior and thinking, but at our core there is what we can call a moral nature, but this nature is based on solidarity and coopertation. Human nature is pretty remote from what you seem to advocate.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/human-nature/

"The organizing moral principle of a just society is rooted not in crony laws of an elite group nor a 'democratic' will of the people."

It's pretty obvious that people should have a right to take part in and participate in their affairs - be in control of their own lives. You're advocating capitalist private tyranny; a system where the wealthy have the owerwhelming control in society; a system not compatible with our innate moral principles.

"or keep the results in order to live his life."

Results? What results? in what context? You're just talking abstract nonsense.

"and you'll soon recognize the meaning of limited government"

Limited government is fine if we're entering a classless society, but limiting government and handing power over to other forms of concentrated power and domination - private power - is a terrible idea. That's tyranny.

"and further, you'll have the moral justification when outlawing the laws of special interests regardless of whether the laws were made by the elite or a majority."

It must be the people, with all their different suggestions and opinions that should get to decide what kind of society they should live in.

True freedom is one that does not infringe the freedom of others.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/freedom-/

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

back to you later with context for thought, action and keeping the outcome of one's actions... (To anticipate, these are distinctly the characteristics of an individual (not a group). Whether living on a deserted island or in most sophisticated culture, these characteristics don't change. A society is nothing more nor less than individuals living together. The decision to be a member of a society is the prerogative of the individual. The decisions about how to organize a society based on the "ways things have always been done", or God's will, or the will of the majority or the "might makes right" of a few are the alternatives to a just society. History of civilizations provide ample evidence to their outcomes. What I am looking forward to discussing with you are the decisions about how to organize a just society. As you know about my view, these decisions are properly based on "the way it is", specifically the immutable facts of human nature. That is the moral bedrock upon which to build a just society. And that is why I am looking forward to first discussing with you the morality of the individual- thought, action and keeping the outcome because without these human life is either less than human or impossible.)

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

"To anticipate, these are distinctly the characteristics of an individual (not a group)."

I am aware that that's what you mean.

"Whether living on a deserted island or in most sophisticated culture, these characteristics don't change."

These claims and "characteristics" you have presented are so vague and abstract that they almost become meaningless.

"specifically the immutable facts of human nature."

The immutable facts of human nature are pretty far from the things you advocate, but no matter what science finds out about human nature and behavior in the future, we should always work for a society in which individuals have a say in, and are in control of their own lives and affairs.

"And that is why I am looking forward to first discussing with you the morality of the individual- thought, action and keeping the outcome"

And then you'll hopefully tell me what you're talking about, because you're making no sense.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

Here's an example of what I am talking about. A friend of mine’s Father started a business in the mid 60’s. He believed that he had several marketable ideas. He was thirty-two at the time. He knew that he’d need capital. To him, capital was a simple idea- it was his savings and the savings of others. He acted on his ideas. He had been saving all his working life. He also persuaded others to buy into the idea. Some of them did. With his savings and the investments from two others, he started the company out of his garage. Today, his Company is earning ~$100M a year and is profitable. He employs about 350 people. He'll be seventy-seven next month and plans to retire in December.

In the first year, he was interviewing a highly talented design engineer. The engineer made him a proposition by offering to work only if the designs he created would garner him part of the profit that came from them. The two negotiated a contract and based on that the engineer started working there in the family room off the garage. My friend’s Father, wore many hats- engineer (he was an engineer by trade), marketer, hiring manager, line manager, salesman and bookkeeper. He knew that his price for his products was ultimately set by the customer. For him, the economics of his business started there. He based the price of his first bid on similar products in the market. His prospective customer rejected his proposal because of the newness of his company. He adjusted the price and got his first project.

Several deals that year and into the second year were priced like the first deal. He won many of them but he couldn’t pay himself. He paid the three people he had hired and bought raw materials and machinery out of the capital he had raised. He remortgaged his house to secure more capital for the business. Three months into starting the company, he found a job at night as a mechanical engineer maintaining a production line for a company in an unrelated industry. He and his family lived off those earnings. The young company almost failed several times but they managed to overcome their hurdles. During the second year, they moved into a small warehouse. By the end of the third year, he had hired six people. He was still not drawing compensation from the revenue they earned and the costs he paid, so he kept his night job.

By March of the fourth year, he priced a bid at 10% more than his standard pricing. He won it. That same month, he increased his next bid by 2% over that. He won it. To meet his commitment to deliver what he sold, he hired three people to work the line. He quit his second job so that he could work the line himself at night. He persuaded another investor to buy into the young company and he used that money to design and build an improvement into their manufacturing process. The improvement he innovated for the line sparked an idea in the design engineer. Together, the two of them made changes to the product and they applied for a patent for a new product. He marketed it to their existing customers and several of them bought it. By September of the fourth year, he drew a modest salary from the business. In the Summer of the fifth year, he took his first vacation, a forced vacation in an ER and for three days afterwards laid in a hospital bed. He was diagnosed with exhaustion and a weak heart. He was back to work a week later.

In November of that year, a community newspaper interviewed him. A freelance reporter asked him when he first got the idea to start the company. He answered, “When I was 12.” He said that he always loved learning how things worked and loved building things. He said, “That’s why I started the company. I wanted to make my ideas come alive and make a living doing it.” By the end of the seventh year, he paid his mortgage off, bought out one of the three partners and took his family on a two week vacation along the New Jersey shore.

This is a simple example of my early points on thought, purposeful action and keeping the results. There have been thousands of examples like this and hopefully many to come well into the future.

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

You've only presented a trivial example of someone starting a business. This is nothing. You presented no evidence of your claims that ultra right-wing ideology is some kind of law of nature or that this is the correct way to organize society.

You're still making no sense. The entrepreneurs live (with the rest of us) in a highly complex modern society where their personal contributions are microscopic compared to what they recieve from society, so talking about "keeping the results" is therefore meaningless.

What we should do is organize a sustainable, classless, egalitarian, direct democratic society in which people are in control of their own lives; a society where people have a say in the things they're a part of, and where the wealth is shared.

In a complex wealthy modern society the only right thing to do is to create a soceity where everyone has a decent life.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

You can only do that by force because (regardless of whether you acknowledge it) it is human nature that one has to think, purposefully act, and keep the results. You want to counter what it means to be human by forcing people to do otherwise.

That puts you in the same camp as the 1%. They force people for their own gain; you'll force people for the gain of the 99%. Might makes right.

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

"You can only do that by force because (regardless of whether you acknowledge it)"

I want force and coercion to be down to the minimum. That's not how it works in Capitalism, however. In capitalism there's lots of coercion and force by the tyrannical economic institutions and the state by which they get their protection.

"it is human nature that one has to (...) keep the results."

You keep saying this, but you provide no evidence. You're not the first ultra right-winger I've seen do this, however. I've seen this over and over again. There’s a trick that Ayn Rand and her followers use: First they make up premises and claims which they regard as self evident and objectively true, without presenting any scientific evidence; then they mix this with some obvious truths (A=A f.ex) and some vague, abstract, generalizing claims (“man must not be coerced” or something like that). And then Voilà: an undemocratic, tyrannical corporate-run society with greed at its core is presented as the objectively correct way to organize society. Ridiculous...

Human nature has nothing at all to do with the bizarre teachings of Rand; human nature is at the core based on solidarity and cooperation: http://occupywallst.org/forum/human-nature/

And again, it's meaningless to talk about "keeping the results".

"you'll force people for the gain of the 99%. Might makes right."

What I want is all individuals having a say in their own lives and affairs. It must be the people that should get to decide what kind of laws they have to follow.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

I am saying that apart from the teachings of anyone, human nature is what it is. My illustration of someone starting (and running a business for 45-years) underscores that nature. It is an example of a person who thought, acted and kept the results (including the loses). He was motivated by these three core facts. He also recognized the crucial importance to him of cooperation in building the business and clearly he did cooperate with others but cooperation with others is not core to human nature. One could sustain himself and promote his life on a deserted island. But where would his life be if he chose to throw away the fish he just caught or the berries he just gathered? Such is another example of having to keep the results of ones actions in order to live.

Thought, purposeful action and keeping the outcomes are core to human nature. On the other hand, you argue that it is not but say that what is core is the "millions of years of things like cooperation, sharing, caring, sticking together and so on, basing social organization on a relatively egalitarian principle, have been central parts of our evolution." In response, I say that an individual (no matter how primitive or advanced) chooses to cooperate because it improves his life. The key political issue today is whether the choice to cooperate stays as it is, which is anything but voluntary, or truly is voluntary cooperation. History is full of examples of the outcomes of individuals being forced to act in ways that they wouldn't have voluntarily chosen. Today is no different. But that is why we are talking about the topic in the first place.

I understand what you want- "all individuals having a say in their own lives and affairs." I want that too but I stress that I want it because it is part of what it means to live morally. A person, by his nature, needs the space to think, purposefully act and use the results to promote his life. A person can do so much better in a society of like minded individuals. However today, we have people ignoring those core principles. I've argued that each individual has to live his own life. Anything else is less than human. From that, society's organizing political idea is that individuals will have to ban coercion in their dealings with each other and shackle those who violate that ban. With that, the most critical area in all our lives is money. We have allowed a few to dictate behind the force of law what they allow us to use as money. If any place exists where you should have a say in your own life and affairs, this is the most fundamental in a society. Money proper is a particular form of a person's property. We have anything but that today. We have been forced to ignore that fact and use something else in its place. I say, "Bullshit on that."; and, I will band together with anyone of like mind in order to restore sound money. My life in society depends on it. So does yours and everyone else's. By getting that right, first and foremost, the elite will be relegated to staring at the world through the peep-hole of their padded cells but we will live as civilized human beings.

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

"I am saying that apart from the teachings of anyone, human nature is what it is."

Yes, human nature (which we don't know everything about now) is what it is, and has nothing to do with ultra right wing ideology (cf my link)

"My illustration of someone starting (and running a business for 45-years) underscores that nature."

No, it doesn't. One example of a couple of individuals starting a business in a state-capitalist society doesn't prove anything. Like I said, your example means nothing.

"It is an example of a person who thought, acted"

Yeah, people think and act. How is that evidence of ultra right wing ideology having the right answers?

"and kept the results (including the loses)."

Once again: Talking about "Keeping the results" is meaningless in a modern society.

"He was motivated by these three core facts"

So what? And some individuals reject the materialistic lifestyle and devote their entire lives to helping the poor. Your example means nothing.

"but cooperation with others is not core to human nature."

Yes it is. This has been a crusial and important factor thruout our evolution.

"Such is another example of having to keep the results of ones actions in order to live."

But you see, we don't live alone on an island. We live in a highly complex, technological, wealthy society where our personal contributions are microscpoic compared to what we recieve.

"Thought, purposeful action and keeping the outcomes are core to human nature."

Again, "keeping the outcome" is meaningless. And "keeping the outcome" has also nothing to do with capitalism (cf profit/surplus value)

"In response, I say that an individual (no matter how primitive or advanced) chooses to cooperate because it improves his life."

That's a factor, but that has nothing to do with ultra right wing ideology. Of course we want to have decent lives. But our genes are constructed in the way that we care for others as well.

"I understand what you want- "all individuals having a say in their own lives and affairs." I want that too"

No you don't. You don't want people to have a say in their communities, and how their workplace is being run. Your society is one where corporations and the wealthy are in charge.

"I stress that I want it because it is part of what it means to live morally."

Ultra right wing ideology is probably as far away from decent moral principles as one could get. People who want to give tax cuts to billionaires, and cut welfare to disabled and poor people have no credibility when talking about morality.

"I've argued that each individual has to live his own life. Anything else is less than human."

Absolutely.

"From that, society's organizing political idea is that individuals will have to ban coercion in their dealings with each other"

Coercion (including coercion from concentrated private power)must be kept at the minimum.

"With that, the most critical area in all our lives is money."

It shouldn't be that way. Services and goods (at least the necessities) should be free or at very least cheap/affordable.

"I will band together with anyone of like mind in order to restore sound money."

What should be restored is workers' rights and democracy, which have been severely crippled. We must create a real participatory democracy so that people can have a say in their lives and work.

[-] 0 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

"People can have a say in their lives and work" is a statement you have repeated many times. Would you care to craft an example (or examples) of what that means for the members of LS?

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

"Would you consider directing me to one of your colleagues who has ideas more particular than the ones that you have presented, so far on the topic?"

What do you mean?

"I am respectfully asking only in that I am hearing from you that "We live in a highly complex society" and yet what I am also hearing from you is that "It's not really that complicated."

What? Just because of the fact that we live in a modern, advanced and wealthy society, doesn't mean that all examples must be described down to every single minor detail. Describing a future just society in detail is silly because that must be decided by the participants when that time comes. I gave a more general example as to how things could be worked out. What more do you want?

"For example, I am interested in innovations in a LS Society and the path that they'd take take from idea to feasibility to production to market, given that the means of production would either have to be created, existing means of production diverted (to whatever degree) or both, in order to actualize the new idea. With all due respect, I am asking a how-to question that can best be answered with specifics."

And with all due respect, I just answered this. Production and decitions over production would be decided by the participants. If you're in some way asking me to sketch out the utopia in every single minor detail, then you'll have to find someone else. That's not something that I want to do.

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

I understand that this is not something that you want to do and I am wonder whether you have (sources of information) or people to contact who have gotten into the details. I am not looking for every minor detail but simply further specificity than you have provided.

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

"Already watched these two"

Good. Then things are a little clearer, yes?

"I am asking for your thoughts. Would you care to craft an example? I am not asking about an example of the struggle, but for an example- post struggle."

I just did. What I just described is mainly post-struggle.

"Given that, how would your week unfold as you carry on in a truly LS society?"

Doesn't the videos and what I just wrote give you some idea? If what you've been presented with so far is not satisfactory, I'll try to explain more, but I'm not sure what exactly is unclear to you..

[-] -1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Say for example that you are one of one-hundred people working in a manufacturing concern. By way of illustration, how would you carry on your week, if you had an idea for a new product?

Say as another example that you are one of 250 people living in a community. You have an idea for an entirely new business. By way of illustration, how would you carry on your week?

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

"going from the idea to its particular manifestations in real life is not a bad way of thinking, no?"

That's fine, but again, I've shared thoughts thruout this debate, that in my view should give you a fairly reasonable understanding as to how a libertarian socialist society would look like. If you want even more detailed info, then that's fine, but then don't just rely on a guy in a thread, check out things for yourself.

"But, I am finding very little information about what LS Society would look like (in detail, without minutiae) after the deconstruction."

You haven't looked hard enough.

"I provided less vague or abstract ideas with particular examples, one of my Friend's Father's business and the other of the snippet on living alone on a deserted island."

That's not how it works. When dealing with such a complex matter like the nature of humans, you have to present a little more than vague almost meaningless claims, and a story about your friend's father's business.

There are examples of people dedicating their entire lives to helping the poor; one of these specific examples is just as valid as yours.

"Thanks again."

No problem, dude. Hopefully you'll come to find the ideas of libertarian socialism pretty reasonable as you go thru the different material. Become an anarchist..and be proud of it:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/become-an-anarchistand-be-proud-of-it/ :)

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

"I understand that this is not something that you want to do and I am wonder whether you have (sources of information) or people to contact who have gotten into the details. I am not looking for every minor detail but simply further specificity than you have provided."

I find it a little interesting that the person who have presented really vague, abstract comments, now wants specifics, concrete examples and details from me.

There are lots of writings that can provide much more information than what I have presented. If you're really interested in this stuff you should do some research yourself, don't you think?

Many great minds have presented suggestions as to how a libertarian socialist or libertaran socialist-like society could be created and organized: Rudolf Rocker, Noam Chomsky, Michael Albert, Gar Alperovitz, Peter Kropotkin etc etc. There's http://libcom.org/ , there's fex plenty of Chomsky articles and political lectures online for everyone to read/listen to like here http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/19760725.htm and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kPlEJlmWuc for example.

You're welcome!

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

I thank you for bearing with me throughout our debate. You said, "I find it a little interesting that the person who have presented really vague, abstract comments, now wants specifics, concrete examples and details from me." Well simply put, this is my way to evaluate the veracity of an idea. IOW, going from the idea to its particular manifestations in real life is not a bad way of thinking, no?

You also said, "There are lots of writings that can provide much more information than what I have presented. If you're really interested in this stuff you should do some research yourself, don't you think?" Here's where I am on the spectrum. I am interested; but now, I am at a point where I'd like to further evaluate the ideas presented with particulars about how they'd be practiced. I am finding a boat load of information about what is wrong with current society and how to deconstruct it. But, I am finding very little information about what LS Society would look like (in detail, without minutiae) after the deconstruction.

I argued the nature of being human. You asked for examples. I provided less vague or abstract ideas with particular examples, one of my Friend's Father's business and the other of the snippet on living alone on a deserted island. You countered both saying that the first was meaningless because it was particular to a capitalist-state society and the second was irrelevant because it had nothing to do with living in a society. But when I asked you for particular examples of what it means to you to have a say in your life and affairs in a LS Society, you didn't want to give examples more particular than the high level ideas that you have been putting forth already. I respect that and to your point, I will be searching for them myself.

Thanks again.

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

First of all, LS is based on strong local democracy and decitionmaking so all the details in how to organize things can vary. But to answer your question:

If you had a brilliant idea which you think will make society better, you should of course present it to the people who can help you make it reality. If it's related to your everyday work, as it most likely is, then present it to your colleagues in one of the meetings you have together concerning production issues f.ex. If it's in fact a brilliant idea you, your colleagues and the community will work out ways of starting new projects. It's not really that complicated really.

A Libertarian Socialist society is as you know a highly organized society with lots of councils, assemblies etc, so individuals can really participate in the decitionmaking, including in decitions over production.

[-] -1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Would you consider directing me to one of your colleagues who has ideas more particular than the ones that you have presented, so far on the topic? I am respectfully asking only in that I am hearing from you that "We live in a highly complex society" and yet what I am also hearing from you is that "It's not really that complicated." Councils, assemblies and the like are presumably motivated by the good of all. What does that mean in practice?

For example, I am interested in innovations in a LS Society and the path that they'd take take from idea to feasibility to production to market, given that the means of production would either have to be created, existing means of production diverted (to whatever degree) or both, in order to actualize the new idea. With all due respect, I am asking a how-to question that can best be answered with specifics.

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

Sure.

There's an important principle in Libertarian Socialism:

Democracy must be controlled and built from below.

That means a society where people have a right to a democratic say in the things they’re a part of and affected by, and that this democratic say is proportional to how much one is affected and part of things. And since the workplace and the community in which we live in is what we’re most involved in, and spend most of our time and energy, it logically follows that democracy should be organized from below thru democratically run workplaces and communities, cooperating in networks with other communities and so on.

So with this kind of organization all individuals will be in control of their lives and work. Things that individuals do that don't affect other people, that's their business and nobody else's. When people do things together however, like in a workplace, then there are more individuals involved, and logically they should have a say. The workplace is also a part of and affects the community in which it exists, so naturally they should be involved as well.

This principle of things being controlled by the participants makes all individuals in control of their own lives and work.

And because of the fact that we thru generations of people's work have created a wealthy, highly advanced, technological society, we'd be able, thru the organization of a free society, to share all this wealth so that everyone can have a decent life.

Watch these two for more info:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8J_UKKa-c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY&feature=plcp

[-] 1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 1 year ago

Already watched these two. I am asking for your thoughts. Would you care to craft an example? I am not asking about an example of the struggle, but for an example- post struggle. Given that, how would your week unfold as you carry on in a truly LS society?

[-] 0 points by werone (-37) 1 year ago

Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican Monday, 10 October 2011 16:23 Print PDF

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

REPUBLISHED: Originally published by TvNewsLIES.org July, 2004. Written by John Gray Cincinnati, Ohio - jgray7@cinci.rr.com - Published July - 2004

[-] 0 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

You say, "Property rights don't exist in nature; they're not laws of nature." I replied, "I argue that keeping the result of our thought and action is immutably part of what it means to be human."

And you say, "By those standards you should be paying back to society: (with a reference to a link, http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-free-ride-societypt4/ which refers ot you post, (Today’s Society And How To Improve It - part IV)"

My question is simple. What is it that I should be paying back to society?

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

"My question is simple. What is it that I should be paying back to society?"

Like I explained in the article "The Free Ride Society" our contributions to society are microscopic compared to what we receive, so by your standards you'd have to pay back quite a bit to society. Read the article I linked to; we live in a free ride society with huge wealth.

In a capitalist economy there are (like I told you) involuntary agreements taking place in a tyrannical society causing exploitation etc. This has nothing to do with natural laws, nor has it anything to do with "keeping the results of thought and action".

"You say, "Property rights don't exist in nature; they're not laws of nature." I ask. "Why do you exclude me from nature?"

You're making no sense, dude...

[-] -1 points by TheRoot (94) from New York, NY 2 years ago

"You say, "Property rights don't exist in nature; they're not laws of nature." I ask. "Why do you exclude me from nature?"

[-] 1 points by sallyju27 (1) 2 years ago

Totally agree. When the economy was mixed, i.e. 1950's the wealth gap was much closer and that is what makes a great society, things changed when the market moved extreme right. Not my words, just read ebook, "Toll Booth" by J.C. Pettabone on Amazon. It puts it all together, simply, also the Executive Leader is coming or is already here.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

Ok, so why we don't start to talk about how to create democratically run workplaces (cooperatives) and communities?

People can always find excuses for not creating cooperatives. They can always find excuses for not creating activities which are conducted democratically.

You said it's important to have those cooperatives. Then let's start creating them! Let's also try to engage the already existing cooperatives into cooperating with us. We can try to help them to grow and to give jobs to more people.

We can start talking and doing brainstorming about how to create new cooperatives and about how to engage the existing cooperatives into the solution.

I really can't understand how the OWS supporters want a better life without building it. We need to '''build''' those democratically run workplaces, not just to dream about having them!

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-to-create-democratically-run-workplaces-and-co/

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

We've been thru this before, my friend. Things should be built from scratch, but we also need to deal with existing conditions. Again, the economy is all encompassing.

But creating co-ops and solidaric communes and communities is important, yes.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

But that's the best way to build a long term, reliable solution! It should have been started from 1900, not from 2012. Your parents and your grandparents refused to start those cooperatives, because they also "had to deal with existing conditions". And then, how many thousand of years we have to wait until we start making them?

Can't you see that there is always an excuse for not starting the real work?

Please let me know: what exactly stops you from creating the things you promote? What other, more important things we have to do, before creating democratically run workplaces?

Err... we have to elect the leaders of OWS to come in power? Then how different are they than the current politicians? All the politicians are charlatans become they promise they give solutions ONLY if you give them power. They never start solutions before coming into power.

I am sorry I have to repeat that but I can see that it's something that it's not understood at all.

We've been thru this before, and we will have to go again and again thru this until you answer the questions. Our ancestors refused to do their jobs and to create those cooperatives. It was a great error. And those who don't learn from the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them. How exactly you learn from the lessons of the past?

And what exactly you mean with "the economy is all encompassing"? You mean we can't start to create the democratically run workplaces because of the current conditions in the economy? Because that would be completely false. If Open Source Ecology (and many others like them) could start a project with donations and voluntary work, that means we can do it too.

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

I've told you many times now: the economy is all-encompassing. We should not just ignore private tyrannies and command economies having undemocratic power in society. They should be dealt with, while at the same time building things from scratch.

We live in a society where we're all affected by all sorts of things. The society and the economy is very intertwined; we have to adress the society as a whole, including the politics.

ive also told you many timens that I wnat as much direct participatory democracy as possible and as little representative democracy as possible. That's pretty essential in libertarian socialism.

There have been many attemts to create libertarian socialist/libertarian socialist like societies, but they've all been crushed by existing power structures. We must dismantle power centers and create solidaric communies at the same time.

With "The economy being all encompassing" I mean of course that the economy (and the ones who participate in it) affects the society as a whole, hence the whole population. The financial elite owning huge parts of the resourses in society inpacts us all. The ones affected by these factors (we) should therefor fight these undemocratic power centers. Tyranny should not be ignored, it should be dismantled.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"Tyranny should not be ignored, it should be dismantled."

The most efficient way to dismantle it is to build alternative structures (cooperatives) through which the people will defend each other. When the cooperatives will grow enough, they will simply render any tyranny and rich/powerful people inoffensive and redundant.

But I don't see you calling the people to build new cooperatives and to grow the existing ones. Exactly like all the communist/socialist leaders before you.

The communism fails because the people never tried to BUILD it. Because the communist/socialist leaders always called the people to STEAL private property, without making sure the people can handle to manage shared property.

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

We must build new ones and we need to take over existing ones. There's no stealing. Takeover must be done thru democratic process -community support etc. Again, like I mentioned in the article: today's property rights are not graven in stone, they can and should be changed.

I'm a libertarian socialist, I don't want any leaders.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"We must build new ones and we need to take over existing ones."

Yet, the communist and socialist leaders and speakers never found the time for calling the people to build new cooperatives. Really, you think that's ok? And what better training for the people to handle cooperatives can you imagine, than building new ones and participating to existing cooperatives?

Taking over existing production facilities without the training to manage them will lead to disaster, or at best at absolute government control and tyranny (like China). Do you understand that? Check the history if you don't believe me.

"I'm a libertarian socialist, I don't want any leaders."

Leaders must be replaced by citizens who assume their responsibilities for participating into decision making. If they don't participate, someone has to. And then, some of the people will become the few who take decisions, therefore they become leaders. The sad truth is that the people can't be bothered to participate (they had plenty of time to build cooperatives), so that's why we have leaders in the first place. And when you talk to the people like "it's not your fault", it means you are talking your way to become a new leader.

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

No, I strongly favor building co-ops.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any preperation for takoverse

What are you talking about "talking your way to become a new leader"? You're making no sense. Please study libertarian socialism so you'll know where I stand.

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

It's simple. You find all the time to talk about taking over existing workplaces, but you can't find time to call the people to build new ones. That's what I meant when I said "talking your way to become a new leader". Only politicians talk to the people like that, suggesting that the system will fix everything for them. They never call the people to build solutions together. And I don't see you calling the people to build new cooperatives and to expand the existing ones.

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

"but you can't find time to call the people to build new ones."

This is actually a lie, because you know very vell that this is not true.

"That's what I meant when I said "talking your way to become a new leader"."

This makes no sense. How so? I would that have anything to do with "becoming a new leader"?

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"This is actually a lie, because you know very vell that this is not true."

Most of your messages are focused on calling the people to strike and to take over existing workplaces. If you would really want to see new cooperatives build, then you would do some work for it: calling the people to debate about how to create new ones, and about how to enlarge the existing ones - there are many things to discuss about it. There are lots of things to do: contacting the existing cooperatives, trying to unite them under a single banner (and a web forum for all), trying to engage them into activities, to convince them to give more work to the people (even voluntary work), and so on.

"How so? I would that have anything to do with "becoming a new leader"?"

It's easy. When the people will take over existing production facilities, they won't be able to manage them, because they are not prepared for that. And you are not calling the people to build new cooperatives in order to make sure they will become capable to manage them. So if that takeover will happen, the new socialist/communist government will have to manage the workplaces, because the people are not capable to do it. That will create new leaders and state controlled tyranny. The politicians are not calling the people to build solutions together.

You couldn't even mention one cooperative that supports OWS. That's how "concerned" you are to engage the existing cooperatives into building solution. I couldn't see you seriously calling the people to build new cooperatives in any of your message.

On the other hand, I did that (there is nothing to brag about it, by the way). It's not my fault (nor yours) that the people are not interested to debate the subject. But I haven't seen you seriously calling the people too.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-to-create-democratically-run-workplaces-and-co/

By saying all the above things, I do not assume you have bad faith. I assume that you don't give enough importance to the most important things.

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

Yes I call for people to strike and taking over existing workplaces. But Id also like to see people, if they can, create co-ops.

I don't want people to be unprepared. If the workers feel unprepared, then they should do whatever they have to in order to become prepared. I do, however think that the workers are much smarter than you seem to give them credit for. I think they'd be able to take over and run it themselves pretty quickly. I don't want people to get involved in party politics (other than pushing for demands) so you're way off here as well. Did you not read "The Transition Phase"? Please study what Libertarian Socialism is. Tell me, Gonzo, what do you know about Anarcho Syndicalism? How would you describe it?

[-] 1 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"But Id also like to see people, if they can, create co-ops."

The first documented consumer cooperative was founded in 1769, in a barely furnished cottage in Fenwick, East Ayrshir (Wikipedia). Since then, the people had more than 240 years time to build cooperatives. And that's quite a long time, to be honest. Yes, the people CAN build cooperatives, and they can start even with non-lucrative activities and with voluntary work.

"Tell me, Gonzo, what do you know about Anarcho Syndicalism? How would you describe it?"

Anarcho Syndicalism is a system based on cooperatives. The problem is that the people can't be bothered to create cooperatives. And the problem is that the communist/socialist/anarchist leaders or speakers can't find the time to call the people to build cooperatives. You didn't even bothered to check if there is any cooperative supporting OWS for example. Speakers like you (or like Michael Moore for example) can never find the time to call the people to BUILD cooperatives and to expand them. Just declaring "I support creating cooperatives" is an extremely pathetic way to promote communism/socialism/anarchism.

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

I guess I'd say, the idea that hierarchy is not an emergent property, is probably wrong.

Colony hierarchy

In a mature leafcutter colony, ants are divided into castes, based mostly on size, that perform different functions. Acromyrmex and Atta exhibit a high degree of biological polymorphism, four castes being present in established colonies - minims, minors, mediae and majors. Majors are also known as soldiers or dinergates. Atta ants are more polymorphic than Acromyrmex, meaning there is comparatively less difference in size from the smallest to largest types of Acromymex.

Minims are the smallest workers, and tend to the growing brood or care for the fungus gardens. Head width is less than 1 mm.

Minors are slightly larger than minima workers, and are present in large numbers in and around foraging columns. These ants are the first line of defense and continuously patrol the surrounding terrain and vigorously attack any enemies that threaten the foraging lines. Head width is around 1.8-2.2 mm.

Mediae are the generalized foragers, which cut leaves and bring the leaf fragments back to the nest.

Majors, the largest worker ants, act as soldiers, defending the nest from intruders, although recent evidence indicates majors participate in other activities, such as clearing the main foraging trails of large debris and carrying bulky items back to the nest. The largest soldiers (Atta laevigata) may have total body lengths up to 16 mm and head widths of 7 mm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leafcutter_ant#Colony_hierarchy

Territoriality is also a very natural trait:

Territoriality is a type of intraspecific or interspecific competition that results from the behavioral exclusion of others from a specific space that is defended as territory. This well-defined behavior is exhibited through songs and calls, intimidation behavior, attack and chase, and marking with scents. This form of defense proves to be very costly for animals. So one is forced to ask, Why do animals take part in such interspecific competition?

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Animal_Behavior/Territoriality

Competition is also a natural trait:

Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment.

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

Indeed, all the focus on egalitarianism expressed by indigenous tribes, tends to ignore various factors:

The examination of the 10-volume compendium The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, which describes all human cultures known to anthropology (more than 1,500) in great detail, as well as extensive primary ethnographies of traditional societies, reveals that liberalism as defined above is absent in these traditional cultures. While sharing of resources, especially food, is quite common and often mandatory among hunter-gatherer tribes, and while trade with neighboring tribes often takes place, there is no evidence that people in contemporary hunter-gatherer bands freely share resources with members of other tribes.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-scientific-fundamentalist/201003/why-liberals-are-more-intelligent-conservatives

So I think we should begin by understanding nature for what it is, not what we wish it was. I'm not endorsing a cynical world view, I believe we can and must strive to do better, I'm simply suggesting that "doing better" may not translate into striving to move closer to our natural instincts, but rather it may require moving in the other direction (or something entirely different).

We have an advantage compared to the rest of nature, intelligence, and we shouldn't undervalue its potential. So I think the whole idea that becoming more enlightened means we must move closer to our nature (whatever that may be) may be completely flawed (and we should consider this possibility), or at minimum, the issue is extremely complex, and society needs to think about these issues in a sophisticated way.

It is true that notions of "fairness" may also be a natural instinct (game theory research seems to support this theory quite well). So in reality we have all sorts of different instincts. There seems to be just as much romantic appeal associated with individualism as there is with collectivism. People do like the idea of property ownership, or at least control over a certain domain (be it their apartment, or home, or whatever). So I think many of the old ideas out there are largely inadequate.

I mean, I think we make a mistake by thinking that our current system didn't evolve naturally, but rather is the result of some long range deliberate effort by the elite. To whatever extent there may be deliberation; that deliberation may also by an emergent property or even an evolutionary process (speaking of sociological evolution). Yes, our current structure is less than ideal, if we assume ideal means the maximal well being of all human beings, and that's the starting place, there needs to be some level of agreement on what "ideal" means.

[-] 2 points by gonzo1 (48) 2 years ago

"So I think we should begin by understanding nature for what it is, not what we wish it was. I'm not endorsing a cynical world view, I believe we can and must strive to do better, I'm simply suggesting that "doing better" may not translate into striving to move closer to our natural instincts, but rather it may require moving in the other direction"

Exactly. That's why people have to start to BUILD democratically run workplaces (like cooperatives) instead of dreaming to STEAL other's production facilities (workplaces).

That's why the people have to start working to build long term, reliable solutions together, instead of waiting for new politicians to tell them the same lies: "it's never your fault", that "it's the system's fault", that "we need a new system/ideology" and that "the new system will fix everything for you" and that "you don't have to do more than electing me/us in power".

The people have to start building solutions together.

[Deleted]

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

Remember that there are specific property rights that I first and foremost want to do away with, like private ownership on the means of production others are using, and owning huge parts of the resourses in an all-encompassing economy etc. Ordinary people would be much better off with an Anarcho-Syndicalist Society getting much better rights than now.

$7 500 in property tax? well it depends. I think the rich should get much higher taxes, and workers and working poor should get tax cutsin many cases.

[-] -1 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

Almost half the country already gets the federal government for free.

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

What did you mean by that?

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[-] 3 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

well as an employee who falls into the lower fifty percent, I'd say that as a job creator you should probably pay more for the labor you use. It seems only fitting that you get taxed exorbitantly, considering the job creators, the upper fifty, don't create the jobs that are needed to employ people adequately, so they don't need gov't benefits to survive. From my point of view, It is quite serendipitous that you should live as a tax slave, for I feel as though I am living like a wage slave. What goes around, comes around, don't you think?! :)

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[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 2 years ago

When people in your tax bracket quit doing what i said they are doing, maybe then you will not feel like a tax slave. I could be a prick, and say I guess you should of researched the tax schedule for someone who is paid the way you are paid, kinda like the rich do when they snub their nose at the working class.

But I'll just end it with, i feel your pain down here on the lower fifty. I guess i should get comfortable as a slave wage because the tax slave don't feel my pain. He believes he should get paid the big bucks and snub his noise at those who make the little bucks. If only he would smarten up and rally to change the minimum wage so the man making the small bucks could help pay the taxes that the man with the big bucks can't seem to manage. Also if the working class are not needing gov't subsidies to make ends meat, then maybe we, oops, I mean you, would not be levied such high taxes. :) But at last that sounds like socialism, and the man with the big bucks is too simple to see he is paying regardless of the system it is being expropriated in.

I know my reply is general and does not address you grievance, but i believe my response illustrates the conundrum we are in as a nation.

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[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Perhaps because it's completely one sided and ignores a whole lot of reality.

Like a lot of these issues they were discussed here months ago, and all you've done is attempt to restart the argument all over from the beginning.

Many of us have grown weary of going over the same thing again and again.

But since you're new here, I'll toss you a point......bon appetit.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Are you talking about all the tax dollars from what used to be highly unionized states that went to support other states like Mississippi, that never made enough in revenue to support itself?

What part of the fact that we are union do have a problem with?

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[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Mississippi is the poster child for (R)epelican't mismanagement, on this I agree.

Indeed, it calls for the need of worker unionization, to build higher wages and benefits, as well as a stable tax base.

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

At least at the federal level, taxes are already at zero for nearlyhalf the country. I guess we need to outright send dividend checks jst for living here. And don't start with the social security medicare bullshit; that just funds their own future entitlements.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

FLAKESnews???

That was spoken like a die hard watcher thereof.

As lacking in accuracy too.

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

It's just a fact. Look, if liberalism is so worth having, it can't remain free for so many. A democracy where this many people are disconnected from the cost or efficiency of government is in trouble. When it's experienced as "free"' there's always one answer: give me more.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Still no accuracy?

Why not deal with what you said, instead of going off an yet another tangent?

Very FLAKESnews of you.

Turn that shit off!!!

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

Sorry, government's own data. Nearly half pay nothing in federal taxes. We're supposed to be citizens, not just recepients.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

But you don't like, nor trust government. Why would you suddenly trust what they tell you?

At any rate, it's still just one facet of taxation being quoted, while ignoring all the rest.

It's just a one note wonder. An off key note at that.

[-] -3 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

I didn't say i don't trust government, that's more the occutard game.

If the social contract you're sellingis worth having, it at some point has to be worth paying for otherwise it's just redistribution. And sure, if you're receiver, you want more.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Why the insult?

You're the one posting only a tenth of the taxation story.

Have you considered finding more accurate sources?

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

I did. The rest, like social security and medicare, is spin and distortion.

We're citizems. Too many of us now are just recepients.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Is this your first recession?

People always want to bitch about those that are hurt most by such things, yet at this point they do need the support.

It's not like they are getting that support from the corporations that crashed things.

[-] -2 points by Reasonistheway (-13) 2 years ago

The upward trend started way before that, slugger.

Yeah, and all those people that borrowed themselves senseless.... blameless, naturally. Default is just evidence of how bad the bank was. LOL.

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

moving towards tax cuts and privatization has been a political platform and gained many politicians their seat in the whitehouse.. it's a slippery slope , and something even worse than campaign donation and lobby reform.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

What I believe to be the easiest way to end this gross amount of corruption in Capitalism would be to give a greater proportion of the population a direct means to the only things by which they need: that is food and water.

The more farms there are, the less corporate control of the agricultural industry, the less power the corporations have over the individual, and the greater the power of the individual. Since a wage system is largely based off of individuals being unable to otherwise provide food for themselves and their families (i.e. a bartering system based on the desperation of the worker), if people had a greater supply of food, then there would be less reason for wage labor (and less abuse of the wage laborer).

Additionally, if we all agree that water is a public commodity, why not food? Both are things we NEED as organic individuals. I don't think it's too farfetched, then, to argue we need a public means of providing food. Unfortunately, because of the disproportionate and unnatural divvying of the land to a largely private and elite group of people or the government, the ability to create independent agriculture is difficult or simply nonexistent. For example, what is the likelihood I can go to an unused field in Western Massachusetts and not infringe on someone's private property and not be taxed on using that land?

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Somehow these socialist dreams never go as planned. Water may be a public commodity, but in many states it's illegal to trap and save rainwater. The government sees it as their water (public) and you as an individual don't have the right to store and use what falls you your roof.

Once you start taking away rights of individuals you inadvertently give them to some bureaucrat, and no one has rights any more.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

It's not really a socialist dream. It's actually the way American society looked before the "white man" came along. It's the way American Natives lived, and it's the way the ancestors of ours lived, and it's the way that various tribes live around the world right now.

The question is how can we make civilization more human? Business has subverted the rights of individuals in greater ways than any European monarchy ever did.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I'm not sure civilization can go back to how things used to be. It's one thing for tribes living scattered across millions of unoccupied acres to follow the game. They could use up an area and then move on to someplace fresh giving the used space a chance to recover. Set up their own laws and customs. Very different in a nation of 310 million. We're no longer independent of each other.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Perhaps we should reduce the size of the nation, then. I don't see why we can't have a nation of New England, a nation of Texas, the United Carolinas, the Country of Alaska. I'm not sure why we have to be the country of "The United States," so vast and populous. I'm not sure society and humanity has benefited from this.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I'm looking at it in terms of both overall size and density of population. Speculating on what kind of government would work best is probably pointless. There is a huge inertia built up in society and without absolute proof that there is a better way I don't see a population as diverse as ours changing to any significant degree. Slow change through the system is possible, but short of a total collapse there isn't much real chance for a complete overhaul. Even with total collapse we could end up worse with armed groups fighting to rebuild things in their own way.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Believe it or not, I think one of the greatest mistakes in our American history is fighting the South's secession. Emancipation was the moral thing to do, but a group of people should never be forced violently to maintain a national "unity."

I think you're absolutely correct in saying we have a diverse population. However, I think that's why the system can't work as it stands. New Yorkers can't know what's good for a Mississippian totally, just like how an Oklahoman can't know precisely the social climate in Maine. These are different peoples, and should be respected as such.

This is why the European Union is suffering. The Germans, Italians, Greeks, English, et al are completely different peoples, so how can we expect their economies to act similarly? History suggests that the North has a tendency to basically enslave the South, and I think our modern corporate history suggests such.

The United States almost split up before. I don't see why it's such a farcry to strive for it to happen again.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Libertarian Socialism strongly favor individual rights http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html basing society on direct participatory democracy, instead of bureaucrats and politicians in suits running things

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I'm sure you can relate all sorts of wonderful things about libertarian socialism. Unfortunately very few people believe them. Just for a start, it's difficult to convince people libertarian socialism is all about individual rights when you start out telling them we have to amend the constitution to get rid of their property rights first.

A workers party that had libertarian socialist goals at one time got 900,000 votes in a presidential election (I think it was in 1912), that was just barely 1% of the population then. Since that time the party lost membership and faded to nothing, it hasn't run candidates in decades.

The bottom line is that you're proposing something that doesn't have the support of even 1% of the population and to get it you need to amend the US constitution, which requires 2/3 of the House and Senate and 3/4 of the States. I don't now how you would accomplish that in the face of over 99% opposition. If you have a respect for democracy, then you should respect what the people have indicated for the last century, they don't want libertarian socialism.

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Attitudes and opinions can change, but yes, it's going to be one hell of a job convincing people that a free, democratic LS society is the best one.

In a libertarian socialist society we'd have sopme different rights than today, rights that makes ordianry people and workers much better off.

A large scale Libertarian socialist society can only come into existence when the general population wants it, but we can build it step by step. The Occupy Movement could contribute to this and has started something that will lead to serious changes, hopefully in the direction I advocate.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Funny you should mention Occupy. They have so much potential to change things, but I've thought from the start that if they fail at all it will be because of the anarchistic socialism. Each Occupy seems to guard it's autonomy jealously. This makes me think that on a national scale libertarian socialism would be a disaster.

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

Libertarian Socialism is about building democracy from below. Large scale would involve a federated society with cooperating communites thru recallable delegates etc based on democratic process.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

It just seems they are unable to get anything done on a national scale and that's where the problems seem to be. The current representative form of government works very well in smaller towns. There just doesn't seem to be any reason to try something untested.

[-] 2 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

With a system of as much direct participatory democracy as possible, and where representatives are recallable and elected directly from the organization to whom they belong, central tasks necessary would be done better. We need to fight for something new, just as we under feudalistr tyranny needed to fight for something new.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Every public office I know of has some mechanism for dealing with illegal activity on the part of the elected official. If you're going to allow for recall at any time for any reason then you'll get more pandering to the majority then you get now.

Something new is only worth fighting for if you can prove it's better and that it would actually work in practice. You have no proof, and it hasn't been tried successfully for any length of time anywhere. You've presented arguments, but I don't see them as being very convincing.

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

You're wrong. Recallable delegates are elected democratically from their own group. This is how it should be done because it's building democracy from below making the ones electing the representatives the ones in control.

We should try something new (Anarcho-Syndicalism) because this will become a society where people are in control of their own lives.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

If one likes the idea of people having a democratic influence in the things they´re a part of and which affect them - real democracy in other words - then that would certainly include democracy in the workplace and community. There´s a name for this society building democracy from below, it´s called Libertarian Socialism. Anyone who likes the idea of real participatory democracy in which people are in control of their own lives and work, should work for Libertarian Socialism. http://struggleforfreedom.blogg.no/1320873951_the_society_we_should.html

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

Libertarian SOcialism is just logical.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I can't be right or wrong, there is no government based on Anarcho-Syndicalism or Libertarian Socialism for us to look at and see its strengths or weaknesses. The potential for recalling delegates at the whim of the mob sounds like it would be chaos whenever the government tried to deal with an emotional political issue. Any matter where the electorate was divided close to 50-50 delegates could be pulled and replaced at any time.

When you say delegates are elected from their own groups, who sets these groups up? How big are they? How many delegates are we talking about in a nation of 310 million people? You need to set up a constitution and lay out all the details. We can't have hundreds of different groups each setting up their own rules. That too would be chaos.

All you've given me is is information about the qualities you claim this new society will have. Saying everyone votes to make all the decisions is too vague. Under what specific rules does this new government operate under? If you don't have anything solid to offer, in the form of details, you'll never get more than the small minority support you have now.

Perhaps your original post should be pushing for a constitutional convention instead of talking about tossing out property rights. All the little details need to be laid out clearly on a document, until you do all you've got is an idea based on a belief that your untried, untested utopia will be better. It sounds too much like the other definition of anarchy, a state of disorder.

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

I think it would be overambitious to think any movement, no matter how powerful, could achieve the implementation of such a robust form of direct democracy in one fell swoop. However, there are tangible things we can endorse now. Something like 20 states allow for recall elections and referendum voting. Not exactly the direct democracy of ancient Athens, but these are features of direct democracy nonetheless (so this is something that we can push for at the "state" level). There are thousands of employee owned companies in the United States, and studies have shown that they're more productive, survive longer, and enhance employee satisfaction better than their conventional counterparts. So maybe endorsing something like a government loan program to enable the formation of more of these types of entities is something we can consider. We already know these things work, and so expanding their reach would not only help people, but it would give people a taste of direct democracy (and lay the groundwork for the gradual implementation of more ambitious changes later).

While we're doing this, we should also promote political reforms that minimize the corrosive influence of money in politics, rational regulation to promote a stable financial system, and grassroots efforts (like partnering with existing employee owned firms, co-ops, nonprofits, unions, charities, etc., and building an organizational infrastructure).

I think OWS is still a young movement, who's accomplishments in the short time its existed are impressive, and I think there's a real opportunity to expand on those accomplishments, so they translate into tangible, positive change.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

Some change is possible as a natural evolution in the workplace, more and more coops developing. Alterations to our existing government being implemented over time through the constitutional process is also possible. Something that is successful can over time grow. His idea to jump into Anarcho-Syndicalism without any proof it works is childishly naive, in my opinion.

People don't participate in the system now in an informed way. If they did we wouldn't have the problems we have. Direct democracy, Libertarian Socialism, or Anarcho-Syndicalism isn't some magic wand that gets waved and suddenly everyone starts becoming an informed voter. The general assemblies don't always run that smoothly and they are composed of dedicated informed people that want it to work.

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

I guess it depends on how it's formatted. I don't think anarchism requires a society structured exactly according to the ancient Athenian model. Anarchism, the way it evolved, basically just requires identifying power structures, and challenging them. It's a continual evolution. Thinkers like Proudhin advocated peaceful means to "gradually" move towards an anarchist model. Nevertheless, the system won't change unless it's pushed. I do agree with your contention that participatory democracy requires informed people, but of course if we want people to become informed, we have to create awareness.

I see nothing wrong with most aspects of what's commonly associated with direct democracy e.g. recall elections, referendum voting (with the exception of civil rights of course), and there's nothing wrong with voluntary associations of people participating in the decision making process (we already have countless voluntary associations in this country that work to influence public policy). Indeed, many of our states already allow recall elections and referendum voting, so it's not as far a reach as many people think. We have thousands of employee owned companies in this country, and studies have shown the employee owned model is more productive, enhances worker satisfaction, and survives longer compared to its conventional counterparts.

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

Disagreements are handled thru discussion-agreement/consensus or democratic process and majority rule - on all levels.

All the detailsin how all of this is done, size, exact organization etc, must be decided by the participants in the specific area. Libertarian Socialism is about decentralizing decitionmaking as much as possible making lots of decitions regarding community policies up to the local areas themselves

There is no government in libertarian socialism(but that's of course long term)

I don't like constitutions. I think people living today should get to decide what kind pof society they should live in, not a piece of paper written by long since dead slaveowners.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

So all it would take to deprive you of your right to speak out, or publish a dissenting view, or to worship in the way you choose is a simple majority that disagree with you! You don't see a problem with this? Suppose the majority wants to enslave a small minority, can we vote in slavery?

That's why you can't make any real gains then and probably never will. I like it that my rights are spelled out and that the process to change them requires two thirds of the Congress and three quarters of the states. There is no security in anarchy, no guarantee you'll have or keep any human rights. What you offer is chaos not freedom. Unless you can set up your own society someplace, operate for a few decades and prove it works. No one is going to risk the rights they have on the hope that everyone else will always do the right thing.

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

We should start with people having access to necessities in order to have a decent life, like food/ water, health care, right to a home etc, and then we can build on that making more and more services affordable or free of charge.

But we must now also focus on the financial elite and their enormous power in society. This must be addressed and dealt with.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

Would the best way to deal with be to "opt out" of the system? I.e. live in communes, or don't purchase big corporate products, start local communal farms, stop paying taxes to a government that supports big wars or corrupt police forces?

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

I think lots of different things can and should be done. creating solidaric communes and communities is important. Boycott can aslo be effective. But we also need to address the power of the wealthy, so pushing for much higher taxes on the rich is crusial. Striking and workers' takeover of industry in communities with big community support is also important and so on and so on. It's a matter of organizing and discussing, learning from and educating each other,coming up with the best solutions in that specific case or area.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

I suppose my own specific concern with taxing the rich is that the money goes to the government. I don't think the rich should be so rich, I don't think corporations and conglomerations should be so vast; yet I also don't think the government should be so wealthy as to be able to overstep it's bounds on the individual.

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

We must have some sort of self defense against the private tyrannies and command economies. Governments can , if they're democratic do good things short term like taxing the rich. We must dismantle all power centers in the long temr, but we should start with the undemocratic ones, including of course private tyrannies.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

What about the public tyrannies?

[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

You mean tyrannical, undemocratic states and governments? Sure, they should be higly prioritized too (but not very relevant in the US society though). I have to say I really admire the guts of the people in Egypt, Libya, Syria etc rising up against the tyrrants ruling their government.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

I mean unjust governments, democratic or otherwise. Democracy doesn't mean good. Democracy can be just as oppressive or worse than a dictatorship.

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

Yes, there's a lot of injustice going on in parlamentary democracies as well (Read "Our Democratic Deficit") That's why we should work to build a more direct participatory demoocracy built from below. Injustice in any case should be addressed and dealt with, but what must be the main focus is dismantling undemocratic power centers and hierarchies, including private power centers.

[-] 1 points by brochomsky (208) from Brooklyn, NY 2 years ago

I think the only way for undemocratic powers to be dismantled is by dismantling a system so large as this one. Corporations and governments shouldn't be allowed to get so big, because then the individual has a diminished power by comparison. Whereas the individual can have a powerful and definite voice in the local community, he is a mouse in the larger social sphere. Maybe we should seek to cap the size of corporations and governments--that way individuals can act as the checks and balances to business and government. We shouldn't rely on representatives, as they have a tendency toward corruption.

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[-] 0 points by SparkyJP (1646) from Westminster, MD 1 year ago

As per the title of this thread - "Property Rights" - I strongly recommend that people concerned about property rights, research the terms " Agenda 21", "Sustainable Development", "Smart Growth", Growth Management" and "Comprehensive Planning". Do you know what it is and what it means?

Here's a good start: AGENDA 21 ALERT: PUBLIC- PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsLD7W-l_FM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=dwrktoImvvY&NR=1

This is an article mentioning how the county I live in (Carroll County, Maryland) is rejecting UN Agenda 21:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/10/un_agenda_21_coming_to_a_neigh.html

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[-] 0 points by darrenlobo (204) 2 years ago

You have it all backwards. Property rights for everyone are the answer. What better "democracy" is there than everyone being in control of themselves? Regardless, any time property rights have been destroyed the people have suffered. Take the Pilgrims. They were starving until they decided to stop sharing & started farming private plots. Look at North Korea. Their collectivized agriculture isn't doing so well. Neither is Zimbabwe's or Venezuela's:

Mission Agro Venezuela fails amidst lack of funds and inputs Crop area decreased by 7.8 percent in 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture reported http://www.eluniversal.com/economia/120320/mission-agro-venezuela-fails-amidst-lack-of-funds-and-inputs

[-] 2 points by ChemLady (576) 2 years ago

Altering property rights is a necessary step for him, in order to advance an agenda of a worker controlled libertarian/socialist/anarchistic society. Once property rights are no longer protected he feels the workers will vote to confiscate all businesses and we'll have a workers utopia.

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

I want evryone to have control over their own lives work and communities. I want new rights in which people have a right to participate in the things they're part of, including of course workplace and community.

We should work for an anarcho-syndicalist society in which people conrol their own lives.

North Korea? I strongly oppose any form of stalinistleninist or leninist-like models. That's state tyranny. I'm talking about people being in control of their lives and work.

[-] 1 points by darrenlobo (204) 2 years ago

Under anarcho-syndicalism aren't you just replacing the tyranny of the govt with the tyranny of the syndicate?

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

No, you are replacing the tyranny with a highly organized solidaric, free, non-hierarchical society building democracy from below:

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiTyON5iID8

[-] 0 points by occutard (2) 2 years ago

"Such a society in which more and more of the resources and economic institutions are being handed over to private enterprise will, as mentioned earlier, become a very cynic and undemocratic society." - Do you have any data to support your argument or should I just accept it on good faith basis? I mean, in god we trust, but everyone else needs to bring data to the table. If anything, societies where everything is owned by the state are more autocratic, even dictatorial. Examples are obviously the communist countries, present and past.

What makes you want more 'democracy' in organizations? An private enterprise is by definition private. You agree to certain rules when you join the company. If you don't like those rules, written or otherwise, feel free to not sign the contract. If you sign the contract you have to abide by the rules. That is not to say that companies do not listen to their employees, they do. But a private enterprise is not the same as a state, and therefore degrees of freedom would be different. The freedom of speech that the constitution gives us cannot be enforced in a company where there are business secrets to protect. The freedom of expression too needs to be taken in the light of a workplace.

But most importantly, American companies are by far the most democratic. French and German companies are hierarchic and show great deference to seniority, something an American would find out of place. Chinese firms are even more bureaucratic and in many cases an appendage of the government. And our firms are doing better and have always performed better than those in any other countries. So what's your problem? Don't fix something that ain't broken.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

The libertarian/socialists often point to Catalonia, an area in Spain that formed libertarian/socialist state in the 1930's. It was formed through force during the Spanish Civil War and maintained for several years through force of arms. Not exactly a shining example of democracy when you do it at the point of a gun.

Their success is debatable, it only lasted a couple of years and all socialist states do well at first. They banned the use of money under penalty of death, but had to backtrack and give out vouchers for food. To get the voucher you had to work. It seems like under their utopia people didn't work well under the honor system.

[-] -1 points by occutard (2) 2 years ago

the 100% socialist state has never worked. The bigger a country, the less likely socialism would work.

[-] -1 points by JenLynn (692) 2 years ago

I agree, but he's a believer. His isn't a state run socialism, it's more along the lines of how the GAs in Occupy are run. He needs the property rights done away with in order to take from the rich and give to the worker.

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[-] 0 points by struggleforfreedom80 (6584) 2 years ago

Read "Dehumanization" and "Our Democratic Deficit.

I am an anarchist. I want to abolish the state (in long term perspective) and I strongly oppose any form of leninist model.

Private instiutions are private tyrannies. People should have a right to be in control of their own lives and work. So what we should do is build democracy from below.

About "signing contracts", read "Capitalism, Exploitation and Involuntary Agreements"

I want us to abolish capitalism and replace it with democracy bulit from below: Libertarian Socialism. People should be in control of their own lives and work.

Please read the other parts. You'll get lots of answers there.

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[-] -2 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Wow. On the one hand you deride others for privatization; on the other you want all property placed in your private hands.

We could actually roll it all the way back to Africa, right? Where the only property of any value at all was other human beings.

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

That made no sense at all. How did you come to that conclusion?