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Forum Post: Workplace Democracy and Workers’ Self-Management

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

It seems to me that an increasing number of people are becoming attracted to the ideas of Libertarian Socialism – the Occupy Movement being one indication of this. And it’s exactly these kinds of ideas we should work to implement. A future just society should be based on libertarian socialist values and ideas such as equality, cooperation, solidarity, and of course workplace democracy and workers’ self-management.

This is perfectly feasible. In fact, we’ve seen many examples of societies and communities based on libertarian socialist, or at least libertarian socialist-like principles that have worked very well. Some of them have even been pretty large scale. The Spanish Revolution is obviously worth mentioning here, as well as the Mondragon cooperatives, but there have also been interesting developments in other countries as well, like Argentina, for example. So in other words, things like workers’ self-management and a more direct, participatory democracy can work just fine.

Here are some links to videos and documentaries about this subject of workplace democracy and workers’ self-management. Please check’em out:

”The Take” by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis

”The Mondragon Experiment”

”Living Utopia” The Anarchists and the Spanish Revolution

Small clip on The Spanish Revolution

Noam Chomsky on Workplace Democracy

Richard Wolff on Workplace Democracy

Gar Alperovitz: America Beyond Capitalism


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

188 Comments

188 Comments


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

UPD: new interview with Prof Wolff

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/04/16/cooperatives-and-workers-self-directed-enterprises/

FYI, in compliment, anda well deserved bump

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

Thanks for the link. Also check this one out.:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/cooperatives-info-articles-documentaries-etc/

Please contribute if you got info. Thanks.

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

Yes I have & will again. I like the central repository concept rather than hundreds of related new posts for each new bit of info.

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

Greek workers show the way

http://interoccupy.net/blog/bio-me-they-cannot-we-can-greek-workers-describe-factory-takeover/

FYI, In compliment, and a deserved bump for the post.

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

Yeah, there seems to be a growing interest for workers' takeover in Greece.

Thanks. Link bookmarked!

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

Thanks. Bookmarked.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

Ownership, Full Employment and Community Economic Stability

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:50 By Gar Alperovitz, Back to Full Employment | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/14091-ownership-full-employment-and-community-economic-stability

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

Thanks for the link!

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

Support farmworkers rights

http://nysaflcio.org/justice4farmworkers/

[-] 2 points by cell81 (29) 1 year ago

I have to agree on this. I think this could be a revolutionary way of operating a society. I just wonder if moving right into libertarian socialism would really work that well. I have been reading in the News about Spain's jobless rate. If we were able to do something like this we would have to do it smart. We would have to see growth in domestic happiness and people really doing things innovative and important.

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

Yes, working to create a co-operative economic system should definitely be a high priority. In my view Anarcho-Syndicalism is the way to go. Capitalism must be abolished and replaced by a participatory democracy in which people control their own lives and work.

Anarcho-Syndicalism is about a free and just society, as well as the struggle to achieve it. A really large scale libertarian socialist society will not be established over night; it’s going to take time and hard work. A participatory democracy will come gradually as more and more people embrace the ideas and start working for it.

Make sure you watch all the links. Good stuff!

[-] 2 points by cell81 (29) 1 year ago

Thanks, you too.

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

Different forms of this concept have existed. There is precedence, examples to analyze, and something to build on.

Some links in support of worker owned business.

http://www.nceo.org/articles/employee-ownership-100

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6361

http://www.newvillage.net/Journal/Issue2/2rescoop.html

http://businessmatters.net/2010/01/worker-owned-cooperatives/

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

Thanks for the links. A co-operative economic system is what our future just society should be based on.

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

I suppose we don't hear much about these efforts on the MSM because as big corps they are in direct competition to these concepts. This will have to grow through alternative media. And finding people not brainwashed by capitalist goals to create/work in a business that provides a living not a luxury lifestyle of the rich and famous.

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

Have you seen "Manufacturing Consent"? If not, check it out. A must-see for all occupiers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AnB8MuQ6DU

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

Of course. That goes back about 25 years and we should all read the book Chomsky refers to as his influence "Public Relations" by Lippman (1922). Also here is a site that covers Chomsky & Hermans thoughts on the media issues more recently (2007)

http://web4.uwindsor.ca/propaganda

[-] -1 points by oldJim (-96) 1 year ago

Reading the book is better.

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

(sff/JPB950 debate continued)

"He simply gives a genetic explanation for what we see in society. He doesn’t state there are vast reserves of unseen, untapped human altruism.”

I haven’t claimed that he thinks there is an untapped human altruism. I have only referred to Dawkins as explaining altruism (including towards strangers) with his (well accepted) selfish gene theory, very well. He has (along with others) shown very well that evolution has created altruism. That’s it. The “untapped human altruism” is my opinion, and I honestly don’t see any controversy about this. Don’t you think that if capitalism had been replaced by a society based on solidarity and mutual aid it would make more people more solidaric and caring?

“We do though, also possess a host of negative qualities.”

But shouldn’t we then try to create a society which encourages the good things about us?

“It's actually to any individual's advantage to join a socialist society and cheat, letting everyone else work hard while they give it a minimal effort.”

This has no root in reality. Most people want to participate, work and contribute with their talents and knowledge. I put together a NCvideo on this in which this claim of yours is being refuted pretty well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNhd4j4mzzc

Also, by watching the links in my original post, you’ll see that you are not correct.

“If I want greater control of my workplace I can go out and start my own business.”

You’re missing the point. Having the right to a democratic say in the things you’re a part of and affected by – including of course the place where you work – should apply to all, not just the ones who are able to start up a cooperative enterprise.

“Workers have no right to vote ownership away from those that legally have it, that's something I see as immoral.”

So what you’re saying is that owners should be able to keep their property because the law allows it? That’s ridiculous. What if slavery was still around, should people not have the right to vote that away? Private ownership on the means of production is immoral, because it allows individuals to exploit and control others. Private ownership on the means of production is not graven in stone, it should be abolished.

“Stockholders outnumber workers and should have every right to vote on their right to continue to hold their own property.”

Again, the stock market is undemocratic; stockholders should be stripped from their power and given the same rights as everyone else. Any community and society contains more working people than owners.

“I don't see capitalism in the same way you do. It's simply private control of trade for profit. I am in favor of private ownership.”

A system like this is highly undemocratic, tyrannical, and exploitative. It allows individuals to have undemocratic control over others and profit on other people’s hard work. If you want to support such a system, that’s up to you, but I hope you’ll change your mind.

“The individual takes the risk and gets the reward. With time successful businesses become larger, they shouldn't be punished for success.”

If we want people to have control over their own lives, the economic institutions should be collectivized and controlled democratically by the workers and the communities.

“workplace democracy doesn't necessarily translate into a better world.”

I have never said that we should stop at workplace democracy. Libertarian Socialism is about organizing the entire society. Democracy in the workplace, though, is a good start, and should be implemented more and more into society – along with many other things.

“In the case of workers they are trading their labor for a wage. Fair or not that is the agreement they freely enter into.”

When the power and control overwhelmingly is concentrated on the owners, it’s meaningless to talk about voluntary agreements. Only in a classless society can we have really voluntary agreements.

“I don't define it as exploitive”

That one you’re going to have to explain. Capitalism is based on exploitation. How can you say it’s not exploitative?

“I see capitalism as the individual's opportunity to succeed or fail based on his or her individual efforts”

This is an imagined society on your behalf. In today’s reality corporations receive MASSIVE subsidies and bailouts all the time so that these private tyrannies don’t ruin the economy.

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

We agree then on Dawkins, but disagree on our level of altruism as being enough to make a socialist workplace successful.

You may try to encourage positive qualities all you want, but I believe the negative ones we posses will cause a socialist society to fail. I see no value to altering society in such a fundamental way on the hope people will rise to the occasion.

On cheating the system, Chomsky simply offers an opinion, he also states that many fellow academics disagree with him. He responds with anecdote and extends his love of work to the general population. The fact is, the entire population will never all have their dream job no matter what system we are under. He admits also that there will be jobs that will have to be forced on people.

Having a democratic say in things you jointly own with others is one thing. Agreeing to work for a wage then deciding you now want to make decisions without contributing like all the other stockholders is, in my view, wrong. If I hire a company to cut my lawn, they don't get to vote on whether or not a tree gets cut down on my property. The tree may make the lawn job more difficult, but the only "vote" they get is with their feet, they don't have to work for me. Workers make a pact with management to do a specific job for a certain wage, they enter that arrangement freely, that is all they are entitled to. If they want a say in running a business they have to go start their own. You may find that unfair, I don't

Yes owners may keep their property because the law allows it. Slavery is the perfect example of what you have to do to change things. Alter the constitution. If you manage to convince two thirds of congress and three quarters of the states, to take away the right to own stock or land then you may be able to institute a libertarian socialist state. Until then, stock holders get the rights everyone has, to own private property and control it, that includes the means of production. Again I think this is just.

Of course the stock market is undemocratic. The various stock and commodity markets around the world are all companies run by their owners. The owners have the right to set the rules. All have been set up within the law. If you want to change it you're back to ending property rights again. That means amending the constitution.

It isn't meaningless to talk about workers agreeing to trade work for a wage. Most people are employed by small businesses. Any worker or group of workers with the drive and desire can start a small business and decide how to run things themselves. Power must be with the owners, they put up the resources and take the initial risk. The workers may opt for the security of a simple trade, work for wage or they may choose to start their own business. Borrowing money and taking the same risks every start-up faces.

Capitalism isn't defined as exploitive, that is your interpretation of it. It's defined as an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production. That is where we differ, I'm in favor of private ownership and disagree that workers lack choices.

Yes there are massive corporations, and they have massive influence and require regulation. This brings up the responsibility of the electorate again to stay informed and pressure their representatives to properly monitor the activities of the bigger corporations. Deny subsidies and bail outs, let businesses that can't compete fail. Subsidies and bail outs are not a part of capitalism that kind of interference is more socialistic.

Yes I've dwelt more on worker ownership of business and largely ignored the idea of making our government libertarian socialist. I see that as less likely to succeed then a simple cooperative business. I don't believe you can efficiently run a nation of over 300 million giving everyone a say. I know there would be representatives and the ability to recall, but I still see it as more likely to be chaos then actual governing.

There are only a few ways that could happen. Violent revolution, a total world wide collapse of society and the economy, or altering the constitution. There isn't the support to make two of those options possible. Chomsky has been at this for around 50 years and there is still virtually no support for it in the United States. Collapse may happen and the extreme right could easily come to power not the left, You could hope for it to go your way, but no matter who wins it won't be pretty.

You may, someday, convince enough people to agree with you and stay politically active to the point where they will move to amend the constitution. I know it would require well over 50% of the population to change, I see that as a good thing. I don't believe direct democracy could function very well if close to half the population were opposed or even mildly indifferent.

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

“but I believe the negative ones we posses will cause a socialist society to fail.”

Then how do you explain that libertarian socialist/libertarian socialist-like societies have worked very well? There are no long lasting perfect examples, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make our communities more democratic. There were no really good examples of democratic societies under feudalism, does that mean people back then shouldn’t have tried to implement it?

“The fact is, the entire population will never all have their dream job no matter what system we are under. He admits also that there will be jobs that will have to be forced on people.”

No. Things that are necessary that no one wants to do, must be shared by the ones willing and capable of doing it. No one should be forced to do things they don’t want to do. If problems like this arise, the communities must work out some kind of solution; those solution could vary from rotation to remuneration etc.

“Agreeing to work for a wage then deciding you now want to make decisions without contributing like all the other stockholders is, in my view, wrong”

You’re not paying attention. It’s irrelevant what shareholders do or contribute – their role is illegitimate and undemocratic.

People should be in control of their own lives. That is done by creating a democracy that’s controlled from below, with workers’ self-management, as well as democratic organization of neighborhoods, communities and so on. This kind of organization makes people in control of their own lives, work and communities, and that must be the goal.

“Workers make a pact with management to do a specific job for a certain wage, they enter that arrangement freely, that is all they are entitled to.”

When people have the option between selling their labor and starving, then that has nothing to do with entering it freely. The wealthy, the owners, the employers, have much more power and influence in society, in the workplace and when the contracts are signed, than the worker. You’re also again missing the core issue: If people should have a say in the things that affect them, then that should logically apply in the workplace. Private ownership of the economic institutions is illegitimate.

“Yes owners may keep their property because the law allows it.”

But laws can, and in the case of property rights, should be changed.

“Until then, stock holders get the rights everyone has, to own private property and control it, that includes the means of production.”

It going to take lots of effort to dismantle private ownership on the means of production, but it should be done. Stockholders, CEOs and the rest of them, should be – with the will of the people – stripped from their power.

“Of course the stock market is undemocratic.”

Exactly. So if you like the idea of democracy, they must be stripped from their power, right?

“The owners have the right to set the rules.”

Correct. And that should be changed – just like the rights slave-owners had were changed.

“That means amending the constitution.”

Changes must come with the people in the different communities rising up. I mentioned some ofg the things I think is important to focus on in the struggle for freedom here: http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-do-we-fight-capitalism-the-1/

“Capitalism isn't defined as exploitive, that is your interpretation of it.”

One of the hallmarks of capitalism is that the means of production are privately owned by some individuals, while others do not have this ownership. In other words, some own the means of production others are using. So it’s a system in which the ones using the means of production must sell their labor to these owners in order to have a relatively decent life. The owners can then make a profit from other people’s work by just owning. This happens when the value of the worker’s pay is less than the value that was added thru his/her work in the paid hours. That creates a profit for the owner of the means of production who did not create the value, but still gets paid in the form of profit. This profit is hence capital for future investments and more profits. So, the capitalist is making money simply by just owning, not adding or creating value. Since a capitalist economy is based on the need for growth and profits for the investors and owners, this method of exploitation – profiting on other people’s hard work – is of course used by more or less all of them. This exploitation is in other words just a logical result caused by the capitalist system. And we see this all over the place, from poor Indonesian girls working in Nike factories for 50 cents an hour, to people in America working for minimum wage for companies whose profits are skyrocketing. Exploitation!

“It's defined as an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production.”

Yes..in which people make money off of other people’s work. That's kind of the point.

“I don't believe you can efficiently run a nation of over 300 million giving everyone a say.”

So, in other words, you don’t think people should be able to control their own lives?

“Violent revolution”

There have been peaceful, as well as violent revolutions throughout history. It doesn’t have to become violent.


What it sort of boils down to is:

Do we want people to be in control of their own lives and have a democratic say in the things they’re a part of and affect them? If the answer is yes, then it logically follows that things like workers’ self-management and workplace democracy should be a part of the organization of society.

Whether you agree or disagree that people should have a say in the things they’re a part of, is up to you, but I think the answer to this is pretty obvious.

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

I don’t know of any modern libertarian socialist societies, other then the one in Spain in the 30s. I don’t see that as an example of a democratically instituted government. It was put in place by force. Fear and intimidation were used at times to maintain it.

There were many primitive tribal societies that may have run along anarchistic lines, but running a tribe of dozens and a nation in the hundreds of millions are not exactly the same thing.

Feudalism faded as conditions changed. For all we know capitalism may fade as conditions change in today’s world. If cooperatives prove to be successful people may shift to a worker run, worker financed system. I doubt there will ever be support for confiscating private property. Internationally private property rights have gained human right status in both the UN charter and that of the EU.

Things evolve when the time is right. Personally I don’t see any problem with a representative government, it better fits our habit of not getting involved in every detail of governing. On the other hand I see a direct democracy for 300+ million people as an invitation to chaos.

I don’t see the role of stockholders as illegitimate at all. Until you manage to change the laws regarding ownership the stockholder’s role in any vote is far more legitimate then that of the workers.

It’s not that either of us isn’t listening, it’s simply a difference of opinion. I maintain people do have control, I see the people that you claim to have no control as largely cornered by their own prior bad choices in life. I don’t see it as a goal of society, government, or the workplace to somehow repair their mistakes for them.

Work or starve has been the choice for all animals since life began. It’s never been much different for humans. If any of those hunters in an early egalitarian socialistic tribal society would have refused to hunt with the tribe then they very well may have starved or caused the tribe to suffer hunger. They actually had fewer choices.

People today may choose a different job, go back to school, move to a new location, there are options. Life itself isn’t fair, and I don’t see libertarian socialism as having the ability to make it fair. It unfairly and illegally would take property away from owners, punishing their success, and give it to workers who never earned it.

Private ownership isn’t illegitimate as long as our laws permit it. That’s another evaluation you make that I disagree with. You seem to feel that all owners have vast wealth. Most businesses are small, the owners risking most of their resources in the business and putting in more hours then their employees.

The workers don’t take any risk, they don’t deserve anything more then their wages. The fact that a successful business can eventually allow the owner to live off the profit is, in my opinion a fair reward for his risk and effort. That same opportunity to risk and succeed is open to everyone. That isn’t exploitation, the workers are simply going to have to live with the choice they made not to start their own business.

I would never vote to change the property laws. I don’t think they should be changed. I see a role for the stock market and wouldn’t vote to end people’s right to risk their money by investing in businesses either. These people have a right to make choices too.

Most of this is really a moot point. There is, for all practical purposes, no support for altering the constitution, abandoning a capitalistic economy, or changing our representative form of government. Anything may be possible and things do change, but judging from the lack of both support and growth in libertarian socialism since the idea was introduced, change is not likely in our lifetime. You are certainly free to try to convince people of an alternative, but right now the choice of the people is to keep what we have.

When it gets to your final comment, I’d say the majority already believe they have choices and have control of their lives. They seem to reject your assertions about exploitation and reject the idea of organizing their workplace or government along libertarian socialist lines. It’s not a matter of saying I want democracy, therefore we must have libertarian socialism. You may feel democracy must equal libertarian socialism but few agree with that view.

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

“It was put in place by force.”

It was supported by the vast majority, and it was put in place by the workers and communities – the people.

“but running a tribe of dozens and a nation in the hundreds of millions are not exactly the same thing.”

Libertarian Socialism could be international in scope. It’s is about building democratic societies at the local level. Communities could then cooperate in federated networks.

“Internationally private property rights have gained human right status in both the UN charter and that of the EU.”

The rules established in the EU (which apply to the citizens of EU) can be changed by the population in the countries that are members. The articles in the UDHR can also be changed, but there’s nothing in the UDHR that conflicts with workers and communities taking over economic institutions.

“I don’t see the role of stockholders as illegitimate at all.”

So you’re not too concerned about democracy, then? Stockholders have undemocratic power. Do you support people in society having undemocratic power?

“I maintain people do have control, I see the people that you claim to have no control as largely cornered by their own prior bad choices in life.”

I’m not saying that people have zero control. The point is that I think people should have the right to have even more control over their lives than they have now: they should have the right to control their own workplace.

“Work or starve has been the choice for all animals since life began.”

I don’t know why you bring this up. Last time I checked animals weren’t working for wages in a state-capitalist economy.

“It’s never been much different for humans.”

There’s a difference between natural phenomena and socioeconomic and political issues.

“It unfairly and illegally would take property away from owners”

It’s not unfair to dismantle a system that is undemocratic, tyrannical, and exploitative.

“punishing their success”

Are the bailouts, exploitation and subsidies included in this “success”?

“and give it to workers who never earned it.”

Capitalists are profiting on the workers. Capitalists are making money by just owning.

“Private ownership isn’t illegitimate as long as our laws permit it.”

I’m talking about morality.

“Most businesses are small, the owners risking most of their resources in the business and putting in more hours then their employees.”

Irrelevant for those of us who by principle want a society in which people control their own lives and work.

“That isn’t exploitation”

Capitalism is based on exploitation (x profiting on y)

“You may feel democracy must equal libertarian socialism but few agree with that view.”

Ok, let’s go thru this again. Do you think people should have the right to a democratic say in the things they’re a part of and affect them? I assume your answer is ”yes”, right? So shouldn’t that automatically include having a democratic say at your workplace? Why/why not?

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

The people that put socialism in place in Catalonia were the one's with the guns. We don't honestly know how much fear and intimidation were involved nor how a vote would have gone, because there wasn't one. There were quite a few atrocities committed on both sides to suggest to me intimidation could have been a major factor.

I don't really care what libertarian socialism claims to be in theory, I don't believe it's workable in practice. That's the source of my opposition to it.

I know rules and laws can be changed. What I was pointing out to you is that over the past few years, internationally, laws have moved toward making property rights stronger, the trend is moving away from what you want and what socialism needs.

You keep asking about or bringing up democracy. I like the idea of democracy. That doesn't make democracy synonymous with libertarian socialism. We democratically elect our representatives. We also have laws we live by, arrived at through our constitutional process.

Those laws support the right for anyone to invest in owning a piece of a company, this includes the workers. Under our laws today what you want could be considered theft. Until the laws are changed through the legal process we're bound to follow them. Right now a majority agrees with that.

With animals I am simply saying that everything must struggle to survive. Hunt or starve, migrate or starve. Animals have to do something to get food. Work or starve isn't a choice that only man faces. We've simply made it more complex. Few of us hunt or farm any longer, we began to trade other efforts for the surplus food obtained by those that did hunt, raise stock, or farm.

I like the idea of choice, work for one business or another, start your own business, go hunt and gather on your own, or there is the option you mentioned, starve. There are many options, but when we invented law we ruled out taking things from others without just compensation as one of them.

What you see as giving rights to workers I see as taking rights from owners. Owners, stockholders, outnumber workers nation wide, so I believe i've got the added moral benefit of being on the side of the majority.

I disagree with bailouts and subsidies, that isn't part of capitalistic theory. Business that make bad decisions should fail. Propping up a business for the perceived benefit of a larger group is more a characteristic of socialism. The bailouts were done, the burden now falls on the people to vote those representatives out of office or to democratically tell them they agree with the bailouts by reelecting them. As an individual I don't get to dictate.

I interpret maintaining private ownership and the rights that go with it as the more moral path. The workers didn't build the business. The original owners and original investors did. I would consider it immoral to punish their success.

It's only the well established, very large corporations in which the owners get to live on the profits. They are a minority of all businesses, but that isn't relevant, I see no reason to punish any by taking away ownership. I don't see this success as immoral and it doesn't give the workers that voluntarily apply to work there any right to seize control.

Capitalism is a system based on private ownership. People may feel exploited if they allow themselves to get trapped in a job through their own lack of initiative, education, insecurity, or any number of other factors. You can only be exploited when you allow it. I disagree completely with the notion of the "wage slave".

I am in favor of democracy, for running a nation. I'm not sure a direct democracy is better then a representative form however. In a business only the owners should have a say. No one would consider for an instant giving say a baby sitter the right to vote on how the home is run or how the children are raised. The worker's only right is to the promised wage.

The workers go to the business and ask to work there, they are also free to leave. Circumstances of their own making may make it difficult to leave, but it's not impossible or illegal to leave. You might have a case for giving them more say if they were legally tied to the business. As long as they are legally free to come or go and have no shares in the company they do not deserve the right to vote.

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

There was a civil war going on, so naturally not everything went smoothly, but when it comes to anarchists organizing society during the Spanish Revolution, it was very successful, with lots of participation and cooperation. Libertarian Socialism is perfectly feasible. We’ve seen many examples of anarchist/anarchist-like organizations working well.

Unlike animals in the wild, we live in a modern, wealthy, technological society, much of it built and established long before you and I were born. To talk about who deserves what based on how much they work, or how much they contributed to building the institution, does not make much sense. The only reasonable thing to do in a wealthy, modern society is to spread the wealth and democratize the economy. No one should have to starve in a society like ours; we should spread the wealth: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. If we were living in the stone-age, I could maybe see some validity with this “work/hunt or starve” thing, but that’s not the case.

You don’t have to point out that private enterprise has become increasingly powerful thru the years. I know. It’s however not a law of nature that this has to continue.

I did not say that democracy is synonymous with libertarian socialism. What I’m saying is that in a libertarian socialist society we’d have more democracy – including something very important: economic democracy.

Oh, I absolutely want to take away rights from owners. If people should have the right to have a say in the things they’re a part of, they should have a say at the workplace as well. In other words, private ownership on the means of production must be abolished, in favor of workplace democracy.

You disagree with bailouts and subsidies? But the current system is dependent on it. What kind of capitalist system do you want exactly?

There’s nothing moral about capitalism and private ownership on the mop. Capitalism is undemocratic, and exploitative – it’s immoral.

“As long as they are legally free to come or go and have no shares in the company they do not deserve the right to vote.”

If people living in a dictatorship were free to leave at any time, does that justify the dictatorship? Why/Why not

You say “In a business only the owners should have a say.” So, you believe in democracy and think that people should have a right to a democratic say in the things they’re a part of, except at the workplace. There it’s ok with dictatorship.

People should have the right to a democratic say in the things they’re a part of and affect them. That of course has to include having a democratic say at your workplace.

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

We're going in circles on this and not likely to change each other's mind or our interpretation of what constitutes a moral democratic society. I don't see any successful libertarian socialist governments. Maybe native tribes centuries ago, but as you pointed out the world is more complex now. Spain we disagree on.

For me, "To talk about who deserves what based on how much they work, or how much they contributed to building the institution" does make sense and is precisely the point. If you didn't contribute to something you don't deserve getting it, workers get their wage, that's all they are entitled to.

Beyond taxing the rich at a fair level, I'd be opposed to punishing them for doing well. What you propose is a type of tyranny by the majority and it's immoral in my view. Unless it can be demonstrated in a court of law that someone got wealth illegally, no one has a right to take private property. You'll have to change the constitution first.

I see a libertarian socialist government as unworkable for several reasons. I also don't see it as making people any more free then a representative form of government. If you take away our constitution and rule strictly by majority that could, in my mind, easily become tyranny making us less free. Fortunately I don't see it as an idea that will ever be attractive to the majority. It's an idea that has made no progress in the past century and I see no prospect for that to change.

Libertarian socialism in the workplace is only possible if the workers buy their ownership rights. They can do that with cooperatives, but it may require them to actually work for what they want. What you are asking for I interpret as wanting it the easy way, workers taking rather then earning something. This insistence on taking property from it's owners makes it idea totally unacceptable to a vast majority of people. The majority of people in this country own stock or have funds invested in stock for them. They are not going to ever vote against their own interests.

Bailouts and subsidies are largely due to the work of special interests. The fact that government makes these poor decisions to prop up a failing venture is not part of capitalism. Government support is a characteristic of socialism. If the majority are against bailouts then they have to vote for better representatives. If they can't do that then they obviously couldn't handle staying informed in a direct democracy either.

You asked a question about dictatorships. Under the conditions you stated, all people have the freedom to go or stay. I see nothing wrong with an absolute ruler. I see nothing inherently immoral in it if people choose to live under a monarch or dictator. As long as there are no human rights violations, like murder or unjust imprisonment. If people have the right to leave that essentially gives them a vote. If every citizen leaves the government will have no one to dictate to. Workers have that power with the strike and have used it to negotiate with the owners.

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

“Spain we disagree on.”

Which part are you talking about?

“For me, To talk about who deserves what based on how much they work, or how much they contributed to building the institution does make sense and is precisely the point.”

I don’t see much point in focusing too much on this. We live in a wealthy society built up by generations of people. We should share the wealth.

“If you didn't contribute to something you don't deserve getting it”

By those standards we should all pay back to society. Our contributions, no matter how much we work or what we do, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society.

Again, in a wealthy, modern society, the only reasonable thing to do is to democratize the economy and share the wealth.

“workers get their wage, that's all they are entitled to.“

They should, like everyone else, have the right to control the things they’re a part of and affected by. No one should have the right to control and dominate others. The economic institutions must be collectivized and run democratically by the participants.

“What you propose is a type of tyranny by the majority and it's immoral in my view.”

No, I propose democracy controlled from below. You on the other hand support tyranny – private tyranny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYxGkFxb7f4

“Unless it can be demonstrated in a court of law that someone got wealth illegally”

I want the laws changed, so that no one will have the right to exploit and control others.

“no one has a right to take private property. You'll have to change the constitution first.”

Maybe so. The important thing is that abolishing capitalism is our goal.

“I also don't see it as making people any more free then a representative form of government.”

They will be freer. They’d have the freedom to control their own work and communities. Libertarian Socialism is about humans liberating themselves from all sorts of tyranny and oppression, so that they can be free.

“If you take away our constitution and rule strictly by majority that could, in my mind, easily become tyranny making us less free.”

LS would be a highly organized, decentralized society controlled from below. This kind of organization would avoid any dictator and power-hungry people getting control of others. For more info, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxYth0ktPsY

“They are not going to ever vote against their own interests.”

We should take all the wealth from the financial elite and give it to the majority – the people. I want a society where individuals are in control of their own lives, and work. Everyone would benefit enormously from this type of organization – except, of course, for the elites. I think most people would embrace the ideas of LS if they were properly introduced to them.

“You asked a question about dictatorships. Under the conditions you stated, all people have the freedom to go or stay. I see nothing wrong with an absolute ruler.”

That’s Abhorrent! You can’t be serious. So if America was run by a dictator, then that would be fine with you, just as long as Americans could escape by leaving their communities and travel to another country?

“As long as there are no human rights violations, like murder or unjust imprisonment.”

You're making no sense. A dictator is violating human rights by being a dictator.

Tyranny and oppression should be opposed and fought no matter where it exists, whether it’s in the state or at the workplace.

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

I see Catalonia as socialism instituted by force and maintained through force and intimidation. No one changed any laws in a legal way and there was no vote. The only opposition voice came from the church and that was met with arson.

There is no moral imperative to share wealth or property. You seem to assume incorrectly that everyone in an ownership position got there through birth. In the case of those that did inherit wealth, it's the owner's right to pass his property on to whomever he chooses. It's not moral for you or some majority to decide who should be given things they don't own and never worked for.

There is a system of taxation for having everyone contribute to society. It can be overhauled without socialism. All that would require is an electorate willing to work for the change. We should also do something to insure that any adult receiving benefits from the state does some work for those benefits.

Abolishing capitalism and changing the laws with regard to private property are your goal, not mine. I see libertarian socialism as flawed. Change whatever laws you can under the methods set forth by our constitution. I'd vote against your changes and I don't believe you'll have the votes to change for generations, if ever.

I don't see socialism as making us any more free. I see your idea of freedom as an illusion. We are free now, with rights that a socialist government would take away. Presently a majority would not amend the constitution to take away those rights. I doubt they ever will. Under libertarian socialism I have no idea what specific rights would be constitutionally guaranteed and what would be subject to the emotional whim of a 51% majority and no modern successful libertarian socialist state to look at.

Taking wealth or property, that was legally acquired, away from it's owners is immoral and under our current laws illegal. I favor those laws, so do well over 99% of the population. You're free to advocate for change, fortunately attitudes don't change all that fast. The same handful of academics have been advocating libertarian socialism for decades and support has remained, for all practical purposes, nonexistent.

The thing about the dictator was a false hypothetical to begin with. However I accepted it, the freedom to leave gives the people a choice to accept or reject their government. Any government is justified when the people have choice. That choice can show up in different ways leaving is certainly one of them.

A dictator is simply a sole ruler, nothing in the definition that indicates they must be malevolent. Your hypothesis adds choice and gives the people the freedom to accept the ruler or leave. Dictators do have one negative, they often (but not always) come to power through the use of force. Although if that force is backed by the majority the single ruler model would appear to be legitimate and justifiable at least in its formation (I'm thinking of Castro).

If we're using this as an analogy for the business world, then I would add to the hypothesis. People in this imaginary dictatorship would have the freedom to leave and set up their own nation any way they want. Just like workers can go into business for themselves.

You're adding the impossible to an already false hypothetical by asking me to imagine America run by an absolute ruler. Even so, I'll answer this way but adding a condition to your impossible idea. I'll leave America and claim the right to make my own independent nation, just as workers have the very real right to go out and start their own business. Then I wouldn't care if those that remained behind chose to be ruled by a benevolent dictator or some incarnation of Satan himself. We have our choice, that gives us freedom.

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

Just because someone has power and owns a lot of resources legally according to current laws, doesn’t mean that they deserve it or should keep it. There have been numerous tyrants, kings, dictators, who I’m sure thought they deserved every penny they owned, and who thought they worked very hard for it. They were wrong. Tyrants don’t deserve to control others.

The same goes for today’s wealthy and powerful. The owners and the wealthy have, just like dictators and kings and so on, undemocratic control and power; and for those of us who want a more democratic society where people can be in control of their own lives and work, this kind of hierarchy and control is unacceptable.

You may not like subsidies and bailouts, but that’s reality! That’s where today’s capitalists have gotten a lot of their wealth and power. They have been handed more power and control thru bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts, exploitation, buying politicians etc. To say that these people deserve all this increasing wealth and power, is ridiculous.

The only reasonable thing to do in a modern and wealthy society – in which my, yours or any capitalist’s contributions and efforts are extremely small compared to what we receive – is to democratize the economy and spread the wealth – from each according to his ability, to each according to his need

About Spain: First of all, there’s force in any kind of society – you’re forced to follow the laws. Second, there were people, anarchists included, who did things during the civil war that I reject and denounce; but the organization of the economy, the democratizing of workplaces, the networks created, the participation by working people and so on, showed that this kind of organization was achievable and workable.

Dictatorship and absolute rule is of course awful whether people are free to escape it or not. People shouldn’t have to leave their communities because some tyrant or business magnate has the overwhelming power in society. People should be in control of their own communities, and control them together with the other people living there.

Libertarian Socialism is about human liberation. It’s about stripping tyrants, dictators, tycoons, wealthy – everyone with undemocratic power and control – from their privileges and giving it back to the people, so that they can control their own lives, work and communities, instead of being controlled by others.

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

For tyrants, capitalists, the wealthy, all those you consider to have some unfair advantage, none of it matters as long as they have not violated any law. Our laws were made by representatives of the majority. You as an individual don't get to dictate who does or does not deserve to keep what they have. You may try to convince, but it sounds more like you're trying to impose your morality on the rest of us.

Until you manage to change the laws you have no right to redistribute wealth, just because you believe some workers are unable or unwilling to work for it themselves.

Your problem is especially difficult in the United States where most people hope to become successful and even wealthy themselves. They value individual accomplishment and individual rights over the group.

Catalonia didn't last long enough for us to judge success or failure. I see the abuses and believe they indicate a trend in suppressing opposition that would only get worse. I don't think any small successes were worth the price and don't believe success could have been sustained.

The only cooperative society I know of that is somewhat socialistic, non hierarchical, and successful is the Amish. They have been growing in the United States since the 1700’s. Their socialism comes at a price though. The group cohesion is due to their religion and a lifestyle that purposely suppresses individuality.

Members must believe as all others in the community do. They must allow the community to dictate their lifestyle, dress, use of technology, everything. It’s a society where the members appear to be happy though, only about 10% of Amish children choose to leave the society when they mature. Their happiness comes at the price of lost individuality, no religious liberty, wasted talent, and a stagnant society. That's where I see libertarian socialism as leading any group foolish enough to accept it.

The problem with letting the majority rule is that eventually the majority decides what does or doesn’t concern the community. Without some constitutional guarantees of individual rights, it's my belief, socialism will produce a loss of individual freedoms every bit as bad as any dictatorship.

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

The fact that something is legal according to current laws doesn’t necessarily mean that it's right. When tyranny – whether it’s state tyranny or private tyranny – is legal, the population must try to find ways to abolish these laws. Which tactics and strategies to use will vary from area to area.

I don’t want to dictate anything. Unlike you, I’m against individuals having the right to dictate others. Dismantling undemocratic control and power is in fact the main objective of Libertarian Socialism. What I’m advocating can only come into existence when the people rise up and demand changes. I’m not trying to impose anything; I’m using a right that is well protected and valued in both the U.S. as well as my home country, Norway: freedom of speech. I express my opinions like anyone else here.

Redistributing wealth can only be done when the people organize and start demanding it. The faster we can do it, though, the better it is. Redistributing the wealth would benefit the population enormously. Instead of wealth being highly concentrated in a few hands, it could instead be used to make life better for the people, for example by making health care and education free, creating better conditions for workers etc etc. Redistributing the wealth is the only right thing to do in a modern and wealthy society like ours.

This dream of wealth and luxury has been caused to a large extent by corporate propaganda. This kind of mentality is very convenient for the wealthy: if people think this way, they’ll leave the wealthy alone. I think most people eventually will figure out that this is a scam.

The Spanish Revolution lasted long enough for us to see that this kind of economic organization is possible.

Bringing up the Amish culture here does not make much sense. Libertarian Socialism is about creating a non-hierarchical and solidaric organization within a highly advanced, industrialized, modern society which is concerned about protecting the individual as well as the collective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8J_UKKa-c . Again, as you can see in the links I presented in the post, there are examples of anarchist/anarchist-like organization working just fine.

Democracy must be controlled from below, so that your say in things is proportional to how much you’re affected. That minimizes authority and domination. We as individuals can’t get our will all the time; in some cases we agree with the majority, in other cases with the minority, but that’s a logical consequence of living in a society with other people.

Democracy, real democracy that is, in which people have a say in the things they’re a part of and affected by, including at the workplace, should be the ideal for a future just society.

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

Out of replies on your last comment. Any time in our discussion I do mean the anti-state socialism, libertarian socialism, or anarcho-syndicalism when I use the word socialism.

The US Constitution, or any other document a State lives by isn’t something to worship, I’m only interested in the rights it protects. Representative forms of government do allow people to have their say. You believe a direct democracy would be better, I doubt it would be different. People are the main flaw in any system.

It’s impossible for me to anticipate what rights a socialist majority may wish to take. You create a certain level of apprehension and suspicion when you suggest that private ownership of the means of production should be banned.

The burden should be yours because you are the one that wants change. What sort of human rights do you see included as part of a constitution in a socialist government that a simple majority could not take away? Different nations have different documents, I’m used to one that itemizes what government can not do. So what limits would you impose on the majority, what constitution does socialism offer?

Our differences over the stock market are not going to be reconciled. I’m in favor of a capitalistic system. When you tie direct democracy for government to changing the right to own the means of production, you make it an unacceptable idea for me.

When I said “finished product” I was using the words figuratively to refer to the business itself, built up by the owner and made successful. I didn’t mean the literal product, produced by the company. It’s my impression that the people advocating for the workers would like to hand them a successful, built up business which allows them to avoid any of the risk and hard work the actual owner put in building it.

Society has built much. A good deal of it through a capitalistic system. Some of it through government funded projects, using private companies. Part of the social contract that led to our present complex society included the right to private ownership. That’s something I wouldn’t be willing to change.

I’m telling you how I view socialism. What you see as being wrong I feel is correct, we're just going to have to live with the difference of opinion. I see it as greed and envy, not fairness and a desire to give everyone a say. A desire to somehow make all people equal when in fact they made choices in life that led them to their unequal state. I know some of the wealthy were born rich, but they are still a very small minority of business owners the majority worked to get what they have. I don't see it as fair to take property away from all business owners because some of them were born rich.

My impression is the anarchist wants to wipe away every past bad decision a person ever made and guarantee we all start over on an equal footing. That’s nice if you only look at it from the point of view of those that made poor life choices. My feeling is it rewards them and punishes those that achieved success. The irony is, in my opinion, it’s likely that even if you did equalize things it would likely be temporary. Some people will always make poor decisions.

I see what socialism wants, but I believe it is a false equality. A socialist state would have to actively suppress the industrious individuals continuously or the equality wouldn’t last long.

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

“Representative forms of government do allow people to have their say.”

Yes, to a certain extent. I just want people to have more say – including at the place they spend a lot of time and energy: the workplace. I want more freedom!

“You create a certain level of apprehension and suspicion when you suggest that private ownership of the means of production should be banned.”

That’s mostly because of right wing propaganda. Capitalism has been glorified and everything that challenges it has been labeled as dangerous and evil. There’s nothing scary or strange about collective ownership. It’s about implementing more democracy – making people in control of their own lives.

“The burden should be yours because you are the one that wants change.”

No, the burden is on individuals that want to have control and power over others.

“What sort of human rights do you see included as part of a constitution in a socialist government that a simple majority could not take away?”

Again, remember that LS is about creating a strong local democracy with communities having a good amount of self determination. This decentralized way of organizing would move the decisions over laws etc closer to the people who have to live by them. In a democracy you get an equal say as any other individual. That’s the way it has to be, even though in some cases the majority might turn out to not make the best decision. It must be the people living today that should get to decide which rules they have to live by, not a minority or a document written by slave-owners - which would be the alternative.

“When I said “finished product” I was using the words figuratively to refer to the business itself, built up by the owner and made successful. I didn’t mean the literal product, produced by the company.”

I knew that.

“hand them a successful, built up business which allows them to avoid any of the risk and hard work the actual owner put in building it.”

It’s irrelevant how hard the capitalist worked. He shouldn’t be allowed to have this control in the first place. People should control their own lives and communities – workplace included.

“Society has built much. A good deal of it through a capitalistic system.”

Sure, but Capitalism isn’t the reason for the modern society we have today. X profiting on Y does not create wealth, human hands and brains do.

“we're just going to have to live with the difference of opinion.”

That’s ok. I’m just presenting arguments to show that you’re wrong, and that a Libertarian Socialism is the only reasonable and logical organization for a highly advanced modern society: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y8_2BBlar4

“I see it as greed and envy not fairness and a desire to give everyone a say.”

It’s not about greed or envy; and it is about fairness and democracy. I explained this earlier.

“A desire to somehow make all people equal when in fact they made choices in life that led them to their unequal state.”

I’m talking about economic equality and people having equal rights. Of course we are all different; we make different choices, and live different lives. All this diversity and variation of creativity, art, work and so on should be welcomed, but within a classless society where no one has authority and control over others.

“I don't see it as fair to take property away from all business owners because some of them were born rich.”

Was it fair to take the property away from kings when they were overthrown? Why/why not?

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

In government I see little difference to the individual citizen between being dictated to by an absolute ruler, congress, parliament, or a faceless majority. In one way, shape, or form laws get made and the rest of us must live by them. It's just a matter of what each specific law happens to be.

For me, it isn't the form of government as much as it is the rights spelled out in whatever constitution you have that is important. Rights which limit the power of the government are important. The US Constitution favors the individual over the group and protects the rights of the minority.

A socialist government would have to demonstrate with a constitution that it wouldn't take away my individual rights before I could begin to consider it. Even then, giving the power of instant recall and the right of 51% to change things combined with the tendency of the public to be uninformed, makes me believe a libertarian socialist government would not be successful and could be worse then what we have now. It sounds nice if you oversimplify it to, "it gives everyone a say". The reality is we have a say now and you can't demonstrate that you offer anything better.

Your version of workplace democracy isn't very democratic to begin with. You don't wish to give the stockholders a vote in what concerns their property. Socialism would simply give the workers the finished product rather then have them take any risk at all in building their own business. I see it as an immoral "get something for nothing" philosophy. If it's a matter of "give people a say", then the stockholders should be included in any voting.

Socialists tend to ignore the efforts that went into building a business by a dedicated owner. They wish to take the finished successful product after a generation or two of work. The workers have the right to start their own business. They face the the same all encompassing economy and problems that any start up would face. I see this desire to take the successful company as an example of greed and envy, not a love for democracy. The choice is work for yourself or work for someone else, not go out and find something successful and steal it under the pretense of democracy.

In business I'm opposed to giving workers the power to run a company they did not put any money into. Libertarian socialism would destroy small businesses. Workers have the right to live as they choose, when they choose to walk on to private property and do work for a wage they should be held to that agreement. When that is not to their liking then they may move on to another job.

The Amish are the only group that I know of that lives and works for their society and have been successful. The link you gave outlines a dream, it doesn't give any examples of a working, successful socialistic society. If you're referring to the links at the very top, I don't know what the status is in that Argentine company and Mondragon's success can be considered more the result of government support. Either way the path to work place democracy should be through cooperatives not denying rights to owners.

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

“In government I see little difference to the individual citizen between being dictated to by an absolute ruler, congress, parliament, or a faceless majority.”

There’s a lot of difference. If the government has been elected democratically, then the population at least has some say in how things are organized. I don’t want concentrated power anywhere, so your criticism about states and governments doing bad things to the minority you might want to take somewhere else.

“In one way, shape, or form laws get made and the rest of us must live by them. It's just a matter of what each specific law happens to be.”

And the ones making these laws must be those who have to live by them.

“Rights which limit the power of the government are important.”

Agreed. And rights which limit concentrated private power is also very important.

“The US Constitution favors the individual over the group and protects the rights of the minority.”

The US constitution says a lot of different things and is vague enough for both Kucinich and Ron Paul to speak warmly about it. The US constitution isn’t something to worship and regard as holy. It was written by rich, white slave-owners, and has been amended many times. I’m not saying everything in it is crap, but it shouldn’t be a piece of paper written by dead slave-owners that should get to decide how people today organize their communities. There should be laws that protect individual liberty (and I don’t regard having the right to exploit and have undemocratic power as liberty btw) but they should, along with all other laws be made by the people.

“A socialist government would have to demonstrate with a constitution that it wouldn't take away my individual rights before I could begin to consider it.”

First, just so that there are no misunderstandings: when you say “socialist government” it’s often associated with powerful states and governments controlling much of the economy. Remember that I don’t advocate that; I’m an anarchist. Libertarian Socialism is anarchism.

Now, which rights do you fear you’d lose in a LS society?

“Your version of workplace democracy isn't very democratic to begin with. You don't wish to give the stockholders a vote in what concerns their property.”

How many times do I have to explain this? The stock-market is undemocratic. Stockholders have a undemocratic say in things. They must be stripped from their undemocratic power, and given an equal vote like everyone else.

“Socialism would simply give the workers the finished product rather then have them take any risk at all in building their own business.”

We all get “finished products” all the time. We’re living in a modern, wealthy society. The economy should be controlled by the participants – the workers and the communities. People should be able to control their own lives (much more than in today’s society).

“I see it as an immoral "get something for nothing philosophy". If it's a matter of "give people a say", then the stockholders should be included in any voting.”

I already explained this. We all get something for nothing all the time. We live in a modern, wealthy society built up by generations of people, much of it long before we were ever born. Our contributions, no matter how hard we work, what we contribute, are microscopic compared to what we receive from society.

“Socialists tend to ignore the efforts that went into building a business by a dedicated owner.”

You tend to ignore the efforts that went into building the society we now benefit from.

some individuals shouldn't have undemocratic power and control over others. Production and organization of work should therefore be done democratically by the participants.

“I see this desire to take the successful company as an example of greed and envy, not a love for democracy.”

You’re wrong. This has nothing to do with envy, it’s about justice and people being in control of their own lives. Nor is it about greed; quite the opposite: it’s about sharing the wealth and removing the factors that makes people greedy.

“The choice is work for yourself or work for someone else, not go out and find something successful and steal it under the pretense of democracy.”

Again, just because someone owns something, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right. If the people in a country overthrew a dictator, sent him to jail and redistributed the wealth he had, would you call that stealing, and would you support it?

“Workers have the right to live as they choose, when they choose to walk on to private property and do work for a wage they should be held to that agreement.”

This is a very superficial way of looking at it. The balance of power, influence and control makes agreements pretty far from voluntary. Your statement is also irrelevant for those of us how believe in real democracy where people have a say in the things they’re a part of and are affected by.

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

As a side note. Most of the changes you desire require amending the constitution and state laws. I think you have an opportunity to see what your chances of success at that would be, by seeing how successful the move to overturn Citizen's United is.

If the people can't get an amendment passed to take away human rights from a corporation, then you are not going to get rights taken away from people. Not in this generation at any rate.

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

Lots of things need to be done in the struggle for a free and just society, including changing laws and constitutions etc. Achieving a sustainable and free society will take time, but it must be done at some point. Along the way, not all initiatives will succeed right away, but in the long run radical changes can, and must happen eventually. Capitalism is undemocratic, tyrannical, exploitative, immoral and unsustainable; it must be abolished and replaced by a real participatory democracy in which individuals can be free.

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

Reply to [-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (3909) 3 hours ago About large corporations vs. small businesses. Weakening the power and influence of the big corporations should of course be a high priority. But it’s a principle thing. People should have the right to control their own lives and work regardless of how big the economic institutions are. In other words, all workplaces should eventually, in the long term perspective, be democratized. Also, please check out part II: http://occupywallst.org/forum/part-ii-workers-self-management-workplace-democrac/ _ _ _ _ _

For me the principle is the individual’s right to own a business. If an individual invests in a store, or some small business and hires two or three people, they do not have any claim on the owner’s property.

What I see as highly immoral to do to the individual owner of a small business remains an act of questionable morality at best, as you look at the larger businesses.

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

Now we’re at the core of what this is about.

It’s a little cluttered here, I posted my response here:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/part-ii-workers-self-management-workplace-democrac/#comment-921324

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

Maybe, someday you'll convince the majority. I'd prefer to move somewhere else then. I don't believe that a libertarian socialist society could be what you claim it will be. I don't see it as making anyone more free.

Capitalism's flaws are simply a reflection of flaws in human nature. That's why I believe if a libertarian socialist system were instituted it would fail. Human nature would still be human nature and libertarian socialism in practice would not be anything like what you claim it is in theory.

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

Libertarian Socialism is about humans liberating themselves from tyranny and oppression, so that they can be in control of their own lives. I don’t understand how you can disagree with the fact that people getting more control over their own lives and communities will make them freer.

Capitalism as a system is inherently undemocratic and destructive. It encourages ways of thinking and acting that’s been more or less non-existent throughout most of human evolution and history: mindless consumption, extreme greed and exploitation. Capitalism dehumanizes us; it must be replaced by a real participatory democracy which allows people to be free and encourages the good things in us.

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

I can't help it that you don't see my point of view. Maybe part of it is that capitalism is the way in which we run our economy and a representative republic is how we run our government. You want libertarian socialism for both. They are two very different things.

Capitalism is based on the right of private ownership. I accept the formal definition, not your interpretation involving exploitation.

For the economy I would oppose any move to take property from those that own it and give it to those that don't under the guise of fairness or democracy. You're simply letting the original owner do all the initial work, take all the financial risk, shape the direction of the business and now that it's a success you want to give it to workers whose only contribution was to agree to trade labor for a wage. I don't see that as democracy or fairness, I see it as theft, it allows the lazy, greedy and envious to take the rewards and punishes the successful. If a worker wants to run a business, he must go start his own.

In government it's different. We have a representative form of government now, people do have a say. Some of the problems with it are that people don't vote and of those that do they often fail to inform themselves on the issues.

A libertarian socialist form of government can't guarantee that people will make any additional effort to either stay informed or vote. The size and complexity of the United States would make representatives necessary and open the door for all the same corruption we see in any of the representative governments.

I see the main flaw in government as being people. On this basis I would oppose changing the form of government unless you were able to show me a functioning, successful libertarian socialist government. There isn't one, so I see no reason to risk change.

In addition I see socialism as carrying the risk of tyranny by the majority. You'd have to come up with a constitution that gave guarantees of individual rights that a simple 51% couldn't take away. You insist on libertarian socialism for the workplace as well as government. The forfeiture of property that goes with that gives me the impression that under a socialist government no rights would be safe.

It comes down to this. I see libertarian socialism as offering a potential for greater tyranny and oppression and less control for the individual. It will not make me any more free.

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

“I can't help it that you don't see my point of view.”

How can you disagree with the fact that people getting more control over their own lives and communities will make them freer?

“Capitalism is based on the right of private ownership.”

..including on the mop. That’s wrong, because it allows some to have undemocratic control and power in society and at the workplace.

“I accept the formal definition, not your interpretation involving exploitation.”

In capitalism workers are paid less than the value they add to the product. This creates a profit which is the capital that capitalists use to reinvest. I explained this earlier.

“For the economy I would oppose any move to take property from those that own it and give it to those that don't under the guise of fairness or democracy.”

I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. Wealth and power havebeen taken from people with undemocratic power many times before; it can and should be done in today’s society as well. Just because someone owns property, doesn’t necessarily mean they should keep it.

“simply letting the original owner do all the initial work, take all the financial risk, shape the direction of the business and now that it's a success you want to give it to workers whose only contribution was to agree to trade labor for a wage.”

People should be able to control their own lives and have a democratic say in the things that affect them. Democracy must be implemented at the workplace. The institutions in society must be controlled democratically by the workers and the communities.

“I don't see that as democracy or fairness, I see it as theft”

No, the real theft is the privatization of our recourses and the handing of more and more wealth and power to private tyrannies. Bailouts, subsidies, buying politicians, exploiting workers all over the world, privatization, tax cuts – that’s where today’s capitalists have gotten much of their wealth and power.

“We have a representative form of government now, people do have a say.”

I want them to have more say than just voting for a guy in a suit once every 2nd year.

“In addition I see socialism as carrying the risk of tyranny by the majority.”

Democracy would be controlled from below, making your say in things proportional to how much your affected. That way people are in control of their own lives.

“You'd have to come up with a constitution that gave guarantees of individual rights that a simple 51% couldn't take away.”

In a libertarian socialist society individual rights would be protected.

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

Workers do not have the right to a say on what someone does with private property. The contract is to work in return for a wage it’s freely entered into and that’s all the workers are entitled to. Workers have no legitimate right to make demands on how private property gets used.

Owners have control over the job workers do, not the individual worker’s life. Owners have this control only as long as workers agree to remain employed. Workers do have other options. You may not like them and wish for more choices, but the additional choices you want are unreasonable.

I can’t help that the number of business owners is smaller then the number of workers. The lack of authority employees have at work is a result of their choice. Everyone has the freedom venture out and begin a private business. Employees have decided not to join the one million or so people that started a private business in the US over the last three years. I don’t see anything democratic about the worker taking property because he is unwilling to start a business and go to work for himself.

I see capitalism as nothing more then the right to private ownership. I disagree with the idea that people lack control of their life now. Your idea of more control is to take ownership and transfer it to those that did nothing to earn it.

Based on the shrinking union membership over the past few decades and the present strength of the socialist movement. I’d say the public rejects the idea also. Socialism as a form of government is probably even less likely to happen in the US. Those that wish to have a say do get to vote now at several different levels of government.

It’s difficult to believe that individual rights would be protected by a system that supports confiscation of an individual's private property. A majority that decided workers needed more say at work could easily determine it needed more say controlling what it saw as an offensive lifestyle, offensive speech, or offensive religion.

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

“Workers do not have the right to a say on what someone does with private property”

Belongings which have no affect on others, like your DVD player, your book collection and so on, is yours to keep, but when it comes to the means of production and the economy than that’s very different. This affects the entire community. The economy must therefore be run democratically by the participants. People should have a say in the things they’re affected by – it’s called democracy – and therefore the workplaces and the means of production must be controlled by the workers and the communities.

“The contract is to work in return for a wage it’s freely entered into and that’s all the workers are entitled to.”

Again, given the balance of power, control and influence, it’s meaningless to talk about “voluntary agreements”

“Owners have control over the job workers do, not the individual worker’s life.”

The work an individual does, and the time he/she spends on it is certainly a part of his/her life. Our work and our workplace is a huge part of our lives.

“Workers do have other options.”

Irrelevant. If some Stalinist dictator told the population that they were allowed to move out of the country, his power and control would still be illegitimate.

“Everyone has the freedom venture out and begin a private business.”

That’s not true. But it’s also irrelevant for those of us who want a real participatory democracy where people are free.

“Your idea of more control is to take ownership and transfer it to those that did nothing to earn it.”

I don’t see much point in focusing too much on who “earns” what based on effort etc. In a modern and wealthy society the wealth and recourses must be shared – from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

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

As an economic system I find libertarian socialism unacceptable. My opinions may be wrong in your mind, but when I've looked at your ideas and views as to what you think is tyranny in the workplace I remain unconvinced. I simply don't agree with your assessment or accept things by your definitions.

I disagree with your characterizations of capitalism. I also disagree with your interpretation of workers' right to workplace democracy. I see your position on democracy in the workplace as oversimplified. I don't believe the workers deserve a say in a private business and personally I would vote to maintain private ownership.

Bailouts and subsidies we do agree on, I don't see them as legitimate parts of capitalism in the first place. They are often sought by politicians with the support and approval of the local community, so that would likely still be a serious problem for your bottom-up local socialist governments as well.

Direct democracy as a form of government I'm less resistant to. I don't see a need to change however. I believe you would have to convince a majority that it would definitely be better then a representative republic. Just saying we'd have more say isn't anywhere good enough. My preference would be to see some other country adopt it and see how successful it is over several decades.

I'd be reluctant to change from one democratic system to another without something more to prove direct democracy would be better. All we have now are the beliefs of its proponents, who are not unbiased observers.

There would still likely be corruption and the need for representatives is still there. The issue of lack of educated involvement on the part of the voters is still a big concern also. In larger cities forming groups small enough to allow for everyone to have a say while still running a city of millions would be a very difficult challenge.

Voter apathy could easily result in small committees running things unchecked in some communities with no one truly accountable if the public doesn't stay actively involved. A direct democracy could easily become worse then a representative republic.

I find the statement that "in a libertarian socialist society individual rights would be protected" too vague to be reassuring, considering your position on private ownership of businesses. I'd have to see whatever constitution was being proposed and see the process by which the nation would be able to alter it's laws.

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

If democracy is valuable; if we believe people should have a right to a say in the things they’re a part of and affected by, then democracy at the workplace should be pretty obvious. This is pretty straight forward, I think.

Private ownership on the means of production leads to some individuals having power and control over others. This is unacceptable. People should be free to control their own lives.

If a tiny group of people have the overwhelming power and control over everyone else, whether it’s at a factory or in the state, then it’s tyranny. Authority and undemocratic control should be opposed in any case.

What have I said about capitalism that you disagree with?

Like I’ve said before, changes can only come when the workers and the communities rise up and demand it.

The fact that we’d have more say in things in a libertarian socialist society is more than good enough. That’s what it’s all about: people getting more control over their own lives and communities is what freedom is all about. Libertarian Socialism is about human liberation.

As you can see from the links I provided, there are, and have been examples of communities and workplaces organizing a more direct participatory democracy which has worked just fine. It’s not a question of whether a libertarian socialist society can be organized, it’s a question of how me most effectively get there.

Libertarian Socialism does not reject representation. The point is that everything must be controlled from below. When representation is needed, it should be recallable delegates elected from the organization to which they belong.

LS is about strong local democracy with democratically controlled neighborhoods, communities, workplaces etc. In cases where a lot of people are involved, representation is needed. LS is about organizing the entire community and communities in federated networks.

A libertarian socialist organization will encourage more people to get engaged and involved in the decision-making. Will the interest in involvement and participation vary from individual to individual? Sure, but no one should be forced to participate in anything. I think however, that most people do want to be in control of their own lives and take part in creating a better community for themselves and their families.

Individual rights such as the right to an education, the right to a home, the right to control your own life and community, freedom of speech, freedom of belief and so on, would be valued and protected in a libertarian socialist society.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Hey sff80 - long time no chat - I really admire your mental toughness to present good thinking about ourselves and our fellows - proper possible good treatment individual to individual. There is so much social brainwashing to overcome - kudos on your dedication to uplift/free individual thinking.


[-] 1 points by struggleforfreedom80 (3903) 0 minutes ago

“Workers do not have the right to a say on what someone does with private property”

Belongings which have no affect on others, like your DVD player, your book collection and so on, is yours to keep, but when it comes to the means of production and the economy than that’s very different. This affects the entire community. The economy must therefore be run democratically by the participants. People should have a say in the things they’re affected by – it’s called democracy – and therefore the workplaces and the means of production must be controlled by the workers and the communities.

“The contract is to work in return for a wage it’s freely entered into and that’s all the workers are entitled to.”

Again, given the balance of power, control and influence, it’s meaningless to talk about “voluntary agreements”

“Owners have control over the job workers do, not the individual worker’s life.”

The work an individual does, and the time he/she spends on it is certainly a part of his/her life. Our work and our workplace is a huge part of our lives.

“Workers do have other options.”

Irrelevant. If some Stalinist dictator told the population that they were allowed to move out of the country, his power and control would still be illegitimate.

“Everyone has the freedom venture out and begin a private business.”

That’s not true. But it’s also irrelevant for those of us who want a real participatory democracy where people are free.

“Your idea of more control is to take ownership and transfer it to those that did nothing to earn it.”

I don’t see much point in focusing too much on who “earns” what based on effort etc. In a modern and wealthy society the wealth and recourses must be shared – from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

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

Thanks for the kind words. Always good to talk to you DKA :)

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

You talk as though the only businesses in existence were corporations employing thousands of employees and forcing them to remain in their jobs. You completely ignore the small business owner.

Your position on libertarian socialism in the workplace is clear. I disagree with your belief that the workers deserve these rights. I also disagree that the typical worker lacks the freedom or choice in his life.

Fortunately the efforts to move toward libertarian socialism have gone nowhere in the last hundred years and they are likely not to be acceptable to more then a handful of people.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

What "I" am concerned with - are those business's that are destroying our environment - so I start at the top ( trickle down in actuality/reality ) - and those below the top must follow regulation as their suppliers for pollution tech support/fuel have been taken out of that market. So green tech is left for implementation.


[-] 0 points by JPB950 (1809) 6 minutes ago

You talk as though the only businesses in existence were corporations employing thousands of employees and forcing them to remain in their jobs. You completely ignore the small business owner.

Your position on libertarian socialism in the workplace is clear. I disagree with your belief that the workers deserve these rights. I also disagree that the typical worker lacks the freedom or choice in his life.

Fortunately the efforts to move toward libertarian socialism have gone nowhere in the last hundred years and they are likely not to be acceptable to more then a handful of people. ↥twinkle ↧stinkle permalink

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

I don't see any problem with regulating corporations heavily, especially the large ones. The idea that it's moral for workers to simply take a business under the guise of democracy bothers me. Especially if it's going to be applied to a small business.

He might have some justification with corporations with a history of abuse and thousands of employees. I don't see any justification for the small owner with 5 or 10 employees that's borrowed and put his life in business.

[-] 3 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

Take a look at this video, which addresses the issue of short-sighted greed, as opposed to long-term planning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb6dDYVDdmg&feature=player_embedded#!

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

About large corporations vs. small businesses. Weakening the power and influence of the big corporations should of course be a high priority. But it’s a principle thing. People should have the right to control their own lives and work regardless of how big the economic institutions are. In other words, all workplaces should eventually, in the long term perspective, be democratized.

Also, please check out part II:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/part-ii-workers-self-management-workplace-democrac/

[-] -1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

You're being dishonest with him in your comments about subsidies and exploitation. If you're hinting that worker run businesses don't get one or do the other.

Mondragon got 10 years of no taxes and were only taxed at half the rate after that. You also told me above that you knew Mondragon exploited workers.

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

Deal with what I’m actually writing, and stop imagining things.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

I am dealing with what you're writing but in your zeal to attack capitalism you fail to see that worker run businesses do the same things. The problem is with people not with capitalism.

You say capitalism exploits workers, but so does the worker run Mondragon you offered up as an example of what we should be moving toward. You say under capitalism companies take subsidies, but so does Mondragon. It needed government help from the beginning.

Worker run companies have the same potential for abuse as owner run ones. The only difference would seem to be there are more owner run businesses so it's easier to find abuses.

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

We were discussing capitalism, and I was pointing out that capitalism is based on exploitation and that the current state-capitalist system is dependent on subsidies. By saying that I’m not rejecting claims that there are cooperatives that receive subsidies or exploit. Again, stop imagining things. I don’t support exploitation in any case. That’s why we must abolish the system that is based on exploitation – capitalism – and replace it by a free, sustainable participatory democracy.

[-] 2 points by Shayneh (-482) 1 year ago

Well, if you want a "worker self management" company - get people to start a business that will do that. What's so hard about that.

If people don't like working for a company then let them start their own company. If people don't like working for a business let them start their own business.

These people who have businesses and companies started them themselves. If you don't like working for them do what you need to do yourself.

Stop complaining about what other people who own businesses are doing and do what you want yourself.

[-] 6 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

what's so hard about starting a business?

Have you ever tried?

As someone who has been in an independent start up, it is not that easy. We only got our startup because my friend's best friend is a millionaire who loaned him 150,000 dollars to rent a building and buy equipment. No 150,000 dollar loan, which was denied by banks, and no company.

He always told me "it's not always what you know, it's who you know." And that is a very true statement.

Why do you think the corporate takeover works so hard to make sure the masses of people don't have a lot of money? Because if they had money they could start their own business with ease. The corporate takeover does not want competition and they work very hard to shut out independents.

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Keep em poor ( the masses ) less competition that way.

[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Exactly!

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

And so the rise in power/profit ( business ) and the decline in wages/power ( worker ).

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

Bullshit. I started my own tech startup last year quitting a investment banking job and I did not put much of my own money into it (gotta save some for my kids education etc). I got VC funding and yes a lot of it was because of my contacts. And contacts matter, because my competence (or lack thereof) is not written on face or on a certificate; so people (usually former clients and grad school and bschool friends in my case) choose to base their judgement on personal assessment. The rationale here is, if no one knows who you are and there is no one credible to vouch for your competence then you very likely are not competent enough. Its very much like the referral system that many organizations use to hire people. No one is going to give you thousands (or millions) of dollars to start a company unless you have proven your mettle or proven the potential of your product/idea. Every tom, dick and harry can come up with ideas, some of them even good ones. But its execution that matter most and thats why VCs choose people whom they trust.

[-] 5 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Bullshit is exactly what you typed here.

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

Yeah losers like yourself would find it hard to swallow

[-] 5 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

How am I a loser exactly? Because I don't drive a fancy car?

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

Nah. Rather your lack of personal, professional and/or academic success. Money is not a good measure for success.

[-] 5 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

But you know nothing about me. You don't know my educational background, you don't know where I work, you don't know if I own part of a different business today either.

Since you know nothing about me, this makes your entire comment absolute BULLSHIT.

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

i have seen quite a few occupiers and i know the avg occupier is an under achiever (community college grad or college/highschool dropout) who blames the system for his lack of success. I was simply making a guess, albeit an educated one. You cud b an exception, but what are the odds of that?

[-] 4 points by Ache4Change (3316) 1 year ago

'At a time when the Federal Reserve continues to purchase $40 billion each month of Wall Street’s toxic assets and provide the ever more concentrated financial conglomerates with interest free funds, the president dares brag that “We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again.” No, he hasn’t, and with Lew holding down the fort at Treasury, he won’t.'

http://www.nationofchange.org/inconvenient-truth-about-jack-lew-1358006473

http://www.nationofchange.org/two-new-fraud-deals-show-wall-street-s-washington-insiders-work-1358093834

http://www.nationofchange.org/matt-taibbi-william-black-bailout-secrets-how-new-foreclosure-deal-spares-banks-justice-1358094229

http://www.nationofchange.org/five-step-process-cheat-middle-class-worker-1358173777

What an stereotype confirming comment from you 'ExGS'! It speaks loudly of your inner nature and arrogance. Read some of the above if you are at all confused what OWS is about! Go Occupy A Clue! Never Give Up Trying To Stop Your Head From Occupying Your Ass!

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Nice

[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Assumptions and bullshit responses.

You know nothing about me.

Go read a book. May I suggest The World As It Is, Days of Destruction Days of Revolt or Griftopia.

Or maybe just watch a 20 minute interview with Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, or Matt Taibbi.

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

Thats the prob. The kind of books you read. If only you had read better books you cud hv made it to a good university

[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

More bullshit.

Why don't you acknowledge the corporate corruption of the government? Why don't you acknowledge that unregulated capitalism leads to horrid labor standards, low wages, and in some cases even slavery?

[+] -4 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

Why dont u acknowledge that you guys are losers and slackers who blame everyone else for your failures? :)

[-] 4 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 1 year ago

Successful people don't waste their time harassing people on internet forums. It seems like that is the only reason you are here. The fact that you pawn yourself off as a success is obviously false.

Maybe you have money maybe you don't. But you obviously have no success on a social basis.

I will not respond to you any further because there is no point.

[Removed]

[-] -2 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

You "may" be - ExGoldmanSux - "BUTT" - your Thinking is still - STINKING

[-] -3 points by ExGoldmanSachs (-52) 1 year ago

awww.... my feelings are hurt

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

U have those??? and they let U work at GoldmanSux??? U must have been very low level - Hey?

[Removed]

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

Getting into a business can be easy. Staying in business is always the challenge. People will never just decide to do things for themselves as a lack of knowledge and no real commitment will always stifle their confidence. That's why I propose FreeDA/CES http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/ which would be run by people with the know-how and commitment on behalf of the unemployed who are serious about moving in that direction.

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

Cooperatives are growing in number, and that’s great. However, it’s not enough to just start a couple of co-ops here and there. The wealth is still highly concentrated on the financial elite and the powerful owners. The economy is all-encompassing; all institutions must be collectivized. Private ownership on the means of production is unacceptable no matter what. Capitalism must be abolished and replaced by democracy, so that people can be in control of their own lives.

Do I really have to explain why ”if you don’t like it here, why don’t you just quit/move” is totally unreasonable?

[-] 3 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

The changes you want will only happen when people are actually willing to work for them. If they want worker run businesses then they have to start them themselves. It's not easy to get funding, but it isn't impossible either.

Nothing just comes fully into existence overnight. If, as you say, "it’s not enough to just start a couple of co-ops here and there", then keep starting up new coops. No one is going to step in and ban capitalism for you, you have to have something successful to grow and crowd capitalism out of existence over time.

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

These changes can of course only happen if the workers and the communities want it.

Starting co-ops is great, but that's not the only thing that can and should be done. Workers could also take over existing institutions f.ex. In the struggle for a more democratic and just society many different things should be done. I mentioned some of the things I think are important here:

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

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

Same basic problem, if people want change they have to be willing to work for it. Get informed about issues, stay informed, locate good people that believe like you do and get them into office, demonstrate. Right now only a tiny minority are willing to work toward your goal.

The things you mention in your link need people to support it, right now you don't have that. It also seems to lack any effort at change through the system.

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

I just told you that yes, these changes can only come if the communities and workers organize to try to achieve these things.

Not enough people have embraced libertarian socialist ideas yet, but attitudes, opinions and policies can all change.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

I see the problem as more then just changing people's attitude, that's actually quite easy. Think for a second of obesity as an analogy. The public attitude is nearly unanimous, being overweight is bad. What people lack is the willingness actually work to put that positive attitude into effort for a lifetime. I can't stress that idea of lifetime commitment enough, if you don't work at it all the time, your weight goes back up.

It my opinion, it's the same with direct democracy, libertarian socialism, or even the system we have. You may get people to agree and share your beliefs, but until you get them willing to actually work for it, all you have is a dream, that will fail the moment people slip back into their old habits.

A few demonstrations or strikes is like a fad diet, useless in the long run. People need to make a lifelong commitment to work hard at whatever system they ultimately agree to. If they don't maintain a constant effort corruption will seep in in another form. People may love the idea of democracy, but have not shown the desire to work at it. True freedom requires a life time effort.

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

It's important to get people to embrace the ideas of Libertarian Socialism, and it's important to try to implement these values and ideas more and more into society and maintain them. There are and will be challenges with doing all these things, but as more people become familiar with these ideas, the less harder it becomes.

Eventually there should be a kind of change of consciousness (as Chomsky put it) as in people realizing that a sustainable, participatory democracy which produces things people need rather than for profits, is the best society for all.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

People need to be willing to work to make their dream come true and more importantly to continue working to maintain it. Embracing the ideas of libertarian socialism is pointless if a majority of people are not willing to commit to constantly working at it. When groups work to get something instead of demanding that they simply be given it, then you’ll know you’re getting closer.

I don’t believe you can blame the system for our troubles. The system, on paper, is fine. It’s human nature that has corrupted it. This is where I think Chomsky is optimistic, even naïve, about human nature. Changing the system to something that depends more on people without changing people is a waste of time. People instinctively know it isn’t in your best interest to work as part of a cooperative government or business. It’s in your best interest to let everyone else work hard and for you to coast on their efforts.

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

No it's actually the other way around. Capitalism is corrupting humans. I wrote about it here, and I explained why capitalism must be abolished here.

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

You really believe that? I think people are the corrupting influence in government and economics. I see people being like almost every other form of life on the planet, they have evolved to get the most out of life with the least amount of effort.

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

“I think you've overstated and to some extent misrepresented scientific theory, particularly Dawkins, on human altruism to advance your beliefs. So I find your reliance on the selfish gene a weakness.”

What exactly are you talking about? Here Dawkins explains the selfish gene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8C-ntwUpzM. Where do my writings conflict with Dawkins?

“I believe I am in control of my own life, at least within the boundaries set by our laws.”

Wouldn’t you like to also be in control of your workplace? Isn’t it pretty reasonable that people should be able to have a say at the place where they work?

“In a direct democracy 50% + 1 could control any action it wished as easily as any dictatorship.”

No, because a direct democratic libertarian socialist society would be controlled form below. It would be a decentralized system. And again, democracy doesn’t mean that everybody can have their will all the time; that’s not possible in any system.

“It's no comfort to a large minority that you're being oppressed by a majority vote instead of a tyrant's whim.”

In a civilized democratic society that’s controlled from below, oppression and discrimination of minorities would be down to the minimum.

“I prefer to stay with the current constitution and a representative form of government.”

Representative democracy is obviously better than other non-democratic systems, but it's not the best system. The best system is a decentralized direct democracy, because this enables humans, in a much bigger way, to be in control of their own lives, work and community.

“Anything can change, that isn't an argument for advancing libertarian socialism.”

I didn’t say that. But it’s an argument against the ones claiming that the status quo is the only way.

“When it comes to your all encompassing economy, so what? The libertarian socialists want to change, not the vast majority. If you want to change things you'll have to work around the difficulties.”

The whole economy must eventually be dealt with. The more people that are being convinced, the more can be changed.

“I can't see ending a system a majority are working with to experiment with something that has no long term record of actual success. you wish to change do so one cooperative at a time.”

It’s going to take time to change things around, yes. There are some examples (cf my post), but the fact that there are no large scale long existing perfect examples, does not mean that we shouldn't try to make the world better.

“Capitalism in theory simply allows people to succeed or fail on their own.”

No, capitalism allows people to make money off of other people’s hard work simply by just owning. It allows wealthy owners and capitalists to have tyrannical control of the institutions and the economy. This is intolerable.

“The dehumanizing is done to people by people.”

..but within the framework of a system that encourages this. Capitalism encourages greed and mindless consumption. That creates more greedy and selfish individuals.

“You farm it, build it, defend it, that property is yours.”

This has nothing to do with capitalism and today’s society. Exploitation and huge subsidies and bailouts; that’s today’s reality.

“there is no need to take the property of the individual owner.”

Absolutely. Private ownership of the means of production is illegitimate. Property rights allowing this must be abolished and replaced with better ones that give workers and communities the control of production.

“In the case of the large corporation, you seem to violate the idea of democracy, suggesting we ignore the rights of all the stockholders.”

The stock marked is highly undemocratic in itself. Democracy is about one person, one vote, so the stockholders must be stripped from their power.

“First I deny that people don't have a say now under our system, they are often simply too lazy or indifferent to exercise their rights. second, I also deny the basic premiss implied by the question, that libertarian socialism offers what our current system doesn't.”

Libertarian Socialism is, like I said about building democracy 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.

Do you disagree with any of this, if so why?

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

Second part: Control of my workplace and property rights would seem to go together here. We have choice now in the workplace, just not always perfect choices. If I want greater control of my workplace I can go out and start my own business. That option is open to anyone with enough desire and enterprise.

If someone believes it's too difficult then they have the option to choose to work for a wage. People can unionize, unions can negotiate pay, benefits, profit sharing. Sometimes the majority don't want a union, then you choose to work somewhere else or not. Workers have no right to vote ownership away from those that legally have it, that's something I see as immoral.

That idea of redistribution of private property makes libertarian socialism unpalatable to most people. Stockholders outnumber workers and should have every right to vote on their right to continue to hold their own property. Workers can buy shares of the company or work for someone else if they choose.

The large corporations and stock markets didn't pop into existence fully formed, they evolved slowly over time. We can and should monitor and regulate them. If you want change you're going to have to find some way for your preferred system to evolve and eventually prove it can do better then capitalism.

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

Final part: I don't see capitalism in the same way you do. It's simply private control of trade for profit. I am in favor of private ownership. The individual takes the risk and gets the reward. With time successful businesses become larger, they shouldn't be punished for success.

Negatives like corruption, bailouts, subsidies are byproducts of human nature. You're Mondragon corporation couldn't have succeeded without government help (10 years of no taxes, taxes at half rate after that, plus the government heavily regulated foreign goods), and it has also been accused of corporate greed and the exploitation of workers. So workplace democracy doesn't necessarily translate into a better world.

Capitalism certainly allows people to be greedy, but that is part of our nature not the fault of the system. I see any and all of capitalism's failures as due to human failings, not the fault of the system.

In the case of workers they are trading their labor for a wage. Fair or not that is the agreement they freely enter into. I don't define it as exploitive or evil in itself, and when we see inequities we try to regulate and mitigate them.

I see capitalism as the individual's opportunity to succeed or fail based on his or her individual efforts, not the source of our problems. I believe if you could institute an anarchistic system, people would still have all their negative character flaws. You'd find those negative qualities exploiting and abusing various parts of the socialist system causing it to fail.

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

I'm going to break my reply up into pieces and focus on one or two points in each reply.

First: About Dawkins and the selfish gene. I’ve seen the video and read of him and his theory a little. He simply gives a genetic explanation for what we see in society. He doesn’t state there are vast reserves of unseen, untapped human altruism. Man is certainly altruistic toward family and maybe close friends. We are also willing to give strangers the benefit of the doubt quite often.

We do though, also possess a host of negative qualities. Every form of life competes for resources and is genetically programmed to get the most reward for the least effort. It's actually to any individual's advantage to join a socialist society and cheat, letting everyone else work hard while they give it a minimal effort. This natural attitude spreading through a socialist society would lead to it's failure.

I don’t see us as altruistic enough to make a socialist system work. You hope that if we just got rid of capitalism man would rise to the occasion. I see human nature as the problem not capitalism.

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

“Well again what you see as examples that weaken my position I see as things you've interpreted, or misinterpreted, in the most favorable light to artificially strengthen your beliefs.”

How so?

“Fortunately for me, national support for libertarian socialism hovers close to 0.”

Why is that fortunate for you? Don’t you want to be in control of your own life?

“I'm not in favor of a direct democracy for anything larger then say a small village of a few hundred people.”

A participatory democracy must be controlled from below thru workplaces, neighborhoods, communities etc, but there should be broader federated networks as well.

“Direct democracy would also require constitutional rights spelled out to avoid the majority stepping on the rights of the minority.”

When democracy is controlled from below, these problems would be down to the minimum. But people should be able to have a democratic say in the things they’re a part of and affected by, and that means that every individual won't get their will all the time. In a civilized, free, direct democracy I think most people would understand that ethnic minorities etc, should have decent rights like anyone else.

“In addition, part of my opposition also stems from the fact that people don't stay informed and don't work at democracy now.”

But this can change. Yes, there’s too much apathy and indifference many places when it comes to participation, but don’t you think that has very much to do with the fact that the current system diverts the attention away from these ideas? This is not a law of nature. Attitudes can change.

“If they did stay informed and were altruistic, the current form of government would work fine.”

But the current system encourages greed, mindless consumption and passivity. Capitalism is dehumanizing.

“if people wish to join together and risk their own capital, they have every right to give workplace democracy a try.”

But the economy is all-encompassing. Starting a co-op is great, but the concentration of wealth is still there; the private tyrannies controlling the overwhelming part of the economy are still there; the buying of elections is still there and so on.

“What workers don't have a right to do is simply walk in and take over private property from stockholders and owners.”

I strongly disagree. Current property rights aren’t laws of nature, they can be changed into better ones in which the communities and the workers are in control of production. This is not a very controversial opinion if one agrees that people should have a right to a say in the things they’re a part of and affect them. You kind of dodged that question btw. Again, do you agree with this?

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

I think you've overstated and to some extent misrepresented scientific theory, particularly Dawkins, on human altruism to advance your beliefs. So I find your reliance on the selfish gene a weakness.

I believe I am in control of my own life, at least within the boundaries set by our laws. That may change with any system as the laws themselves change. In a direct democracy 50% + 1 could control any action it wished as easily as any dictatorship. It's no comfort to a large minority that you're being oppressed by a majority vote instead of a tyrant's whim. I prefer to stay with the current constitution and a representative form of government.

Anything can change, that isn't an argument for advancing libertarian socialism. I wouldn't consider a change in the entire political and economic structure until people actually demonstrated they have changed and are able to take on the responsibility. That however brings me back to my belief that if people worked at it, the current system would work well.

When it comes to your all encompassing economy, so what? The libertarian socialists want to change, not the vast majority. If you want to change things you'll have to work around the difficulties.

I can't see ending a system a majority are working with to experiment with something that has no long term record of actual success. If you wish to change do so one cooperative at a time. Long slow process? Yes! If you want change go out and work at it, don't ask the rest of us to give up what works for us.

It isn't impossible to start a business, just difficult. That's why most people exercise free choice and take the easy way out and work for a paycheck rather then build a business. It may be hard but if the workers want to run the show, they have to buy in, not sit back and demand it to be handed over by the majority.

Capitalism in theory simply allows people to succeed or fail on their own. The dehumanizing is done to people by people. You may disagree but I see it as human nature corrupted capitalism, not the other way around.

The idea of private property started with the birth of agriculture. You farm it, build it, defend it, that property is yours. The concept may not be carved in stone, but it certainly is deeply etched in our nature by now. I wouldn't give up any piece of that right to the whim of a slim majority. It's a distraction too. Workers wanting to start a small business can get the capital and do it, there is no need to take the property of the individual owner. Other then the worker's greed and an unwillingness to risk their own capital on an idea.

In the case of the large corporation, you seem to violate the idea of democracy, suggesting we ignore the rights of all the stockholders. There are, in many cases, more of them with an interest in the company then there are workers. Are you proposing a society where only workers get to vote and no other interested party? The people that financed an idea shouldn't be less equal then those that came in and agreed to work for a wage at no risk.

I didn't directly answer your question about having a say for two reasons. First I deny that people don't have a say now under our system, they are often simply too lazy or indifferent to exercise their rights. second, I also deny the basic premiss implied by the question, that libertarian socialism offers what our current system doesn't. I see us as having choices and rights already, it's simply that they may be hard choices. I'll respond that of course i'm in favor of having a say, but by that I mean we already have it.

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

"In my opinion humanity has not developed to the point where libertarian socialism would be successful."

But in the forum post I presented examples that strongly weakens your claim. I don't understand why you would draw such a conclusion.

Also, let me ask you something: Do you think that people should have a right to a democratic say in the things they're a part of and affect them?

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

Well again what you see as examples that weaken my position I see as things you've interpreted, or misinterpreted, in the most favorable light to artificially strengthen your beliefs. Fortunately for me, national support for libertarian socialism hovers close to 0.

Under the constitution we do have a say in government. I'm not in favor of a direct democracy for anything larger then say a small village of a few hundred people. Even there it often reflects the will of the most vocal. Direct democracy would also require constitutional rights spelled out to avoid the majority stepping on the rights of the minority.

In addition, part of my opposition also stems from the fact that people don't stay informed and don't work at democracy now. If they did stay informed and were altruistic, the current form of government would work fine. Giving people more opportunity to make ignorant decisions is foolish, a representative republic is better.

Democracy in he workplace has the same problem to overcome. However, if people wish to join together and risk their own capital, they have every right to give workplace democracy a try.

What workers don't have a right to do is simply walk in and take over private property from stockholders and owners. Hiding the misappropriation of private property behind the term democracy.

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

If you read the articles you'll see that you're wrong.

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

Chomsky himself states when he talks about human nature and altruism that "if it is correct, as I believe it is". He's talking about having faith in man's altruism. He doesn't offer proof because there is only theory at best. He needs it to be there or anarcho-syndicalism could not be successful, so his bias leads him to accept it and interpret history in a way favorable to his ideals. I don't have a problem with that, I just see him as wrong, man's not altruistic. We're tribal at best with today's tribe shrunk down to family.

Your articles offer little more then opinion, you need it to be true, but it might not be. Capitalism has many ills, but I believe they are self inflicted by man's selfish nature. Capitalism succeeded because it tapped into man's desire to work for self and family. We were selfish before there was capitalism and selfishness and greed will damage any large communal effort.

The early egalitarian societies were small hunter gather societies, and their altruism only extended as far as the extended family, the tribe. Essentially we see the tribe as good, anyone different as bad. Those early societies went to war over territory and killed rival tribes instead of sharing and cooperating. The few peaceful primitive egalitarian societies had few or no neighbors to compete with. That isn't possible in today's crowded world.

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

Human nature allows different kinds of feelings and opinions, but what we should do is work to create a society where the good things in us – solidarity, altruism, decency, creativity etc – are encouraged. A libertarian socialist society would do just that, so it would be the kind of organization of society we should work towards creating. This kind of society would not be completely flawless, but it would be a society where the negative factors in human nature and society are minimized.

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

You can and should work toward whatever goal you see as right and moral. It's only my opinion, but I find your arguments unconvincing. In my opinion humanity has not developed to the point where libertarian socialism would be successful. I see no benefit to replacing one failed system with one that is less effective for large masses of people and would become just as corrupt with time..

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

"Dawkins offers a genetic explanation for the altruism we all see. Those most alike, family in other words, get the greatest benefit from the selfish gene."

Sure, but remember that humans are very much alike. Humans are - because of a common ancestor not very far back - more genetically alike than most other species on this planet. Also, thruout or evolution we've been living in relatively small groups, where being nice to most people around you became and important feature. This is still hardwired in us. If you watch the video, you'll see Dawkins explaining this altruism towards strangers as well.

"I question though whether there are enough people that would truly work for the collective better then they would for themselves."

It's a combination. We all want to have decent lives, but we also want to live in a good community with good relations etc. It's about the individual as well as the collective - just like Libertarian Socialism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8J_UKKa-c

"I simply don't believe it extends far enough toward strangers to make any form of socialism work for large populations."

Why do you say that. Also, Libertarian Socialism is about building and controlling democracy from below, with strong local democracy.

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

It goes back to my original statement, I believe people have corrupted government and the economic system, not the other way around. Yes we show altruistic feelings, also greed, jealousy, anger. There could be as many positive as there are negative characteristics in people. Those characteristics were in us before capitalism, or monarchy, or even villages were here. Man's nature shapes the development of society.

It doesn't matter what libertarian socialism is about in theory, just as it doesn't matter what capitalism or communism are about. Man's nature shapes those "isms". You believe it would be a better world, if we just changed how we organize society. As long as you have people I believe any system will change to reflect the inner nature of those people.

Capitalism may collapse. In my opinion, it's going to have to do just that, totally. Before any sizable portion of the population considers a new form of social organization. Even then, if human nature is the same as it is now, I believe corruption will slip into it over time.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

We are not there yet. And people are to blame for corrupting all forms of govts.

I am optimistic that in the end the progress with outstrip the negatives.

And in regards to the forum I saw a lot of people wanting to keep conservatives out of power, against closet republicans just bashing dems.

And yeah it does continue to some extent but it isn't that bothersome. They always flame out anyway.

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

Everything takes time. I hope we last long enough as a species to make enough progress.

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

More and more science shows that human nature is in accordance with left/libertarian left values. Science has advanced since 1971, and it seems that Chomsky was correct. When it comes to things like human nature and the human brain, things are complex, but it’s pretty obvious that feelings of solidarity and altruism is a part of our nature. In this video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8C-ntwUpzM ) Dawkins talks about his well accepted Selfish gene theory. The more genetically alike biological organisms are, the more altruistic the organisms are towards one another. Evolution creates altruism and solidarity. It’s a scientific fact. Capitalism has been around for a very short period of time, it’s no law of nature; it can and it must be abolished. Where capitalism is absent or more or less absent, there is almost no greed.

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

Dawkins offers a genetic explanation for the altruism we all see. Those most alike, family in other words, get the greatest benefit from the selfish gene. Strangers get our empathy, even charity sometimes. I question though whether there are enough people that would truly work for the collective better then they would for themselves.

Prejudice, hatred, jealousy, greed also exist and there are scientific papers offering a genetic reason for those emotions too. Altruism exists, I don't deny it. I simply don't believe it extends far enough toward strangers to make any form of socialism work for large populations. The negative emotions outweigh the positive.

Greed or self interest may also depend on the severity of local conditions. The harder it is to survive the less altruistic a tribe is going to be with their resources.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

I also am discouraged by the seemingly limited progress we've made. But 500 years ago we were far more seperated. We have made progress. I think the altruism you conceded we exhibit to our fam/tribe has grown to city states then nations, now continental size groups.

America itself is the great experiment that took a large step away from the religious line that our ancestors warred over in europe. We haven't totally ended that drawn line, but we have made progress.

That lines we draw to war over still exist, religion, national borders, resources. But we are making progress.

The discussions regarding these lines is even evidence of progress. We have only moved in one direction, more consolidation. As that continues the lines will be eliminated.

And I assure you most of the debate on this forum is because of people who come here to disrupt, not by people who came together for common cause.

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

We have kept the feeling of "be nice to everyone and they will be nice to you" as we moved from tribe to town. I know we've made progress, I just don't believe it's enough for us all to work together in a collective way. There is still a good deal of negative human behaviors.

The comment that got me to respond was that capitalism is responsible for our greed. The altruism humans do posses was in us before capitalism. We were here first, we managed to corrupt capitalism.

Human nature managed to corrupt state run socialism also. I see no reason to believe our nature wouldn't, with time, corrupt a system run along anarchistic principles too. The problem is us, people. It's getting better but we're a long way from all working together in a prejudice free, greed free world.

In my reference to forum activity, I wasn't thinking of the obvious troll activity. Things became very nasty when one group advocated reelecting Democrats and those of an anarchistic mind objected. I still believe I see that hard feeling in some of the comments and replies.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

As we have evolved we extended the definition of "tribe" that we are altruistic towards.

Obviously the whole human race is one tribe, and one world. As we grow intelligent enough to realize that fact, and stop drawing lines our altruism grows.

The US is an example of that growth, Unified europe, OAS, African union. NATO, UN and others are all evidence that the tribal definition continues to grow.

The progress/evolution will only continue. It began as individual tribes and grew to city states,nations, etc.

Unstoppable. We can hasten that good progress by embracing that reality, Submit, resistance is futile, We will be assimilated.

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

I agree, we are making progress, but most of it is on the surface, and it isn't really all that much in my opinion. We still have to make a conscious effort to put aside our biases and I personally don't see it as natural to us.

You don't have to go any further then a forum like this to see people,who originally came together in a common cause, dividing up more or less into tribes that take issue with and attack each other for having a different approach to the same problem.

It would be good if I were wrong. If human beings are naturally more tolerant, altruistic, and benevolent then we can fix the world easily. If, on the other hand, the majority are more self serving, it's going to take a lot longer.

I see man's nature as having shaped society, not the other way around. I also don't believe we've improved enough to work together as a large collective. To paraphrase an old punchline, we've taken ourselves out of the jungle or but haven't quite yet taken the jungle out of us.

[-] -1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

You said it. As a species. 'cause I don't think you or I are gonna see it.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

It's seems to be something we disagree on, we each think the other has it backwards. Chomsky, in my opinion, makes arguments that are biased by his beliefs in anarcho-syndicalism. He's simply offering a theory, a hope that humans are altruistic. He believes it, but that doesn't make it true. Most people have a lifetime of experience that tells them people are not altruistic once you go beyond family and a small circle of close friends.

I do offer this as evidence that people will drift away from the responsibility required to make a worker run business successful. Look at how Mondragon is changing. In 1992 it began to be restructured. The workers, who all have contributed money to the company, elect the board. The board names top executives, the workers have no direct say in this. Top executives hire or fire middle management. Neither the board nor the workers have a direct say in this either. Decisions are drifting further and further from the workers themselves. Pay differentials are also increasing, leading some workers to paraphrase Orwell, that some workers are becoming more equal then others.

It simply looks like as Mondragon grew it eventually got to a size where the workers were unable or unwilling to stay active and have slowly been making it more like any other for profit company. Although it never was simply a worker run business, it's received state support from the start, without that Mondragon could have failed decades ago.

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

We all have our subjective perceptions when we argue. In my view anarcho-syndicalism is just common sense, because it's about establishing a society in which people are in control of their own lives and work.

Humans are solidaric and altruistic. It's a fact. Our nature allows variation in behavior, but in our core these characteristics are a part of us.

Mondragon is not perfect. M is not worker managed, and that causes some problems. But I think it was worth mentioning, because it shows that organizing communities and institutions democratically, can work well.

[-] 0 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

We can debate if Mondragon is a success or failure. There may be more significance to whatever success it's had being due to it receiving massive state support since it's inception. After learning more about it, I doubt that on their own the workers could not have made it successful. Holding it up as an positive example of a worker run business is somewhat of a lie, it's closer to a form of state supported work-fare.

My other point is that even if I somehow accept accepted Mondragon as a success. It's still evolving away from being worker run. One of my points is that these libertarian socialist changes can't succeed in the long run unless people are willing to work at it as a way of life. In the case of Mondragon the people are not. They are moving slowly back to the standard business model of workers and bosses.

Mondragon started out with the workers controlling everything, over the past 40+ years they have moved back to having managers the workers can not hire or fire directly. Even pay inequity is beginning to slowly return.

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

Thanks. Yeah I know about the exploitation. Like I said, it's not perfect. M is only worker owned and operates within a state-capitalist framework. This has some negative effects.

We should take the best features from Mondragon and try to implement them in our future just society.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

They started out as a good model, but have becoming more and more capitalism-lite.

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

"One of my points is that these libertarian socialist changes can't succeed in the long run unless people are willing to work at it as a way of life."

Sure.

Please provide links (esp. on subsidies). I want to see sources and numbers.

[-] 1 points by JenLynn (692) 1 year ago

This first link is report is on Mondragon, it's one of a series of reports that are largely positive with regard to cooperatives. They look to avoid failure by analyzing where cooperatives have erred.

http://www.solhaam.org/articles/mondra.html

It was written in 1996, but shows what I interpret to be a slow shift to a more typical corporate approach. The overview section mentions the help from the government. No tax for 10 years, taxed at half the normal rate after that. It also states the government protected Mondragon form competition.

This second link is about the use of sweatshop labor by Mondragon.

http://trustcurrency.blogspot.com/2011/01/mondragon-cooperative-built-on.html

It's not by Mondragon (in this case Fagor its manufacturing division) directly but through a Polish company (FagorMastercook) it cooperates with. There is nothing illegal being done, it's just a typical corporate practice that Mondragon is engaging in. They are reputedly exploiting their Polish workers, squeezing extra profit out for themselves.

It shows Mondragon is concerned with themselves first, their profits. That is my point, human nature makes us concerned with ourself first. Mondragon's behavior toward their members is still admirable, but they are becoming more and more like any other corporation.

You can change the system but you haven't changed people, in my opinion Mondragon is slowly becoming just another corporation concerned with its profit. It's why libertarian socialism won't work, it's a great system with one flawed part, that part is people.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 1 year ago

I totally agree which is why I've proposed FreeDA/CES http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/ . But like you say, "if people want change they have to be willing to work for it." and like George Bernard Shaw said "Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-520061 . Even Thomas Jefferson wrote "all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/#comment-522673 . Right now, people, including protestors, are fairly content with the way things are which is why they continue to work for corporations and vote for corporate bought politicians. The alternative is there, but not the sufficient will to pursue it.

[+] -6 points by WSmith (1429) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

PIG

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

I strongly disagree with him as well, but the way to respond is by presenting arguments, not insults and namecalling.

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

Go ahead and waste your time, I'm done.

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

More people must be convinced to embrace libertarian left values. The way we best convince them is by presenting reasonable argumnets.

[-] 1 points by PerfectCast4 (-6) 1 year ago

Never work, never. workers wont save enough money (capital) to buy the means of production. Any union can buy the company they work for today but they dont? Why? The UAW could have easily bought GM but did not. Why? The Bakers Union could have bought hostess. They didnt.

Labor is short sighted, thats why they are labor and not owners.

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

Did you watch the documentaries? What do you think about them? Successful cooperatives are growing in number all over the place.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/cooperatives-info-articles-documentaries-etc/

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

Support worker owned business.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14603-obama-learned-only-half-lesson-of-ohios-worker-owned-business-revolution

Just an extraneous story to bump up the great post.

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

Check this one out:

http://occupywallst.org/forum/cooperatives-info-articles-documentaries-etc/

Share all your contributions here – and check out everyone else’s :)

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

An excellent clearinghouse/concentration of pertinent data. I will try to use it when I have related data.

I rather add than create a new thread. Hopefully people peruse and read all the many valuable informative links.

Thanks

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

Glad you liked it :)

Thanks for contributing.

[-] 2 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 1 year ago

Least I can do.

[-] 1 points by ProblemSolver (79) 1 year ago

Keep up the Great work SFF.

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

we need a libertarian socialist/technocratic hybrid.

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

Elaborate.

[-] 1 points by penguento (362) 1 year ago

The entire discussion below ignores the fact that most people aren't interested in the work or risk that is involved in running your own company. They'd rather work their 40 hours for the man, collect a check and go home and forget about work for the weekend.

A good many of the ones that think they want to be involved in such a thing you absolutely wouldn't want owning part of business that you depended on for your livelihood. I've learned this the hard way. I started a business a couple of years ago. It's even a workers' cooperative of the sort you seem to like. It's not the first one I've started either. I had to ditch the last one because there were too many freeloaders who wanted their share of the profit but didn't want to work 80 hours a week like the rest of us.

So now we've got a team of people that we can trust -- everybody has to be carefully vetted before you get into bed with them, believe me -- and we all work 80-90 hours a week, and maybe we make some money, maybe we don't. As I write this, I'm sitting in an airport going out to work with a customer -- I've been in airports since 5:00 am, after working till midnight last night, which is pretty normal.

All you guys that think that starting a successful business would be a snap if only the Man wasn't stopping you obviously don't have much experience at these things. That's not what prevents businesses from starting up, it's not what prevents them from being successful. What counts is the people involved and the ideas and commitment to working hard that they bring. And frankly, a great many workers don't bring a whole lot of either to the table. Let them run your company and they'll run it into the ground. Don't believe me? Go try it. See for yourself.

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

There's too much apathy and passivity many places when it comes to these things, but that's not a law of nature. People can be more active and engaged and things can be organized differently - and that was kind of the point I was making with the post.

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

Thanks. Anyone who dislikes workplace democracy is fuctup.

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

I wouldn't put it that way, but yeah, opposing workplace democracy does not make much sense to me. People should be able to have a say in the things they're apart of - and that should of course include one's workplace.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

It would seem that if you are talking about a small business the workers can and should go out and start their own operation. A bigger corporation can't be easily taken over democratically. You often have more stockholders then workers.

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

Property rights can be changed. If enough people in the communities support workers' takeover, then lots of things can happen.

[-] 0 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

Changing property rights would require amending the constitution. I doubt you'd ever be able to get support for that. It's not likely to be done over guns, which only a minority possess. Pretty much everyone owns or hopes to own property.

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

Changing property rights is going to take time and lots of hard work from many people, but it should and must in some way or another be done eventually. People should be able to control their own lives; that's never achived as long as there's private ownership on the means of production. The owners, the CEOs, the 1%, must be stripped from their power and the workplaces must be democratized.

[-] 0 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

It's not likely ever to happen. It has no significant support now and a socialized workplace isn't a new idea. Even the unions that were the backbone of that movement a century ago don't work for it now.

It does get talked about more when there is a serious recession, but you need more support then the 15 or 20% unemployed or underemployed. The reality is that means you have 80% or so of the population that believe capitalism is providing them an adequate life. If the economy improves any move toward socializing the workplace fades.

Even with a serious depression greater then that in the 1930s I don't think you're going to convince even a large minority, let alone the majority you need for an amendment to pass, that taking away private property rights is a good idea.

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

Abolishing capitalism will not be done over night. Like I said, it's going to take time and hard work. But it has to be dismantled at some point. This system is undemocratic, tyrannical, exploitative, and unsustainable, it has to go at some point.

I mentioned some of the things I think are important to focus on in order to fight capitalism successfully here:

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

[-] 0 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

It's going to take centuries, if it happens at all. You have a major problem, you don't have enough followers to change any laws or make any impact on society with the actions you describe. You'll never change laws on property rights when a majority want the right to own property.

Employed or content people generally won't demonstrate or rebel. Add to that the nation as a whole has solid belief in the theory behind capitalism and their constitution. That isn't going to change unless the majority loose their jobs, and maybe not even then.

You need to convert the young, who have not yet formed an opinion, and keep them unemployed and unhappy. Once they've joined the main stream you've lost for another generation.

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

“It's going to take centuries, if it happens at all.”

No, it’s not going to take that long. No one knows exactly how long it’s going to take to totally abolish capitalism; the thing is that we must never give up the struggle, and along the way try to improve society step by step.

“You have a major problem, you don't have enough followers to change any laws or make any impact on society with the actions you describe.”

Attitudes aren’t static and unchangeable. Neither are the current economic systems. History is full of well established regimes and systems being dismantled – some of them within a very short period of time. It can, and must happen again. A sustainable and democratic system must be established at some point.

“You'll never change laws on property rights when a majority want the right to own property.”

It is the private ownership on the means of production that I want dismantled. I’m not talking about your sofa or DVD-player. The economic institutions in society must be collectivized and controlled democratically.

“Employed or content people generally won't demonstrate or rebel.”

Content people will get more and more discontent as they see the destruction of the environment become more and more severe, and the wealth being increasingly concentrated on the powerful owners and the financial elite. That’s how the future looks like as long as the current system is kept in place.

[-] 0 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

It's your struggle. I haven't addressed my own reservations on the idea, just my belief that change is unlikely. You have little to no support today and that support has shrunk in the last century, not grown. I see that as indicating a majority of people see something wrong with either your basic message or how it's being delivered.

Owning the means of production is possible if workers go and get the financing. Not easy, but much easier then what you propose. When you talk about giving them the facilities, you're talking about altering the constitution and most state constitutions too.

To say constitutional change is unlikely is a gross understatement. It has little to do with owning household items. There are over 21 million people that own a business with no employees. Under your system any growth , hiring employees, could cost them their business. Those owners wouldn't be the only opposition.

Around 54% of the population own stock in companies. I have no idea how many pension plans are tied to the stock market, but it is significantly large. You're talking about taking from the majority and giving it to the minority. You're not going to get that kind of law passed.

Fixing environmental problems may happen when things become worse. It doesn't necessarily follow that that will lead to socialism. It may come down to more regulation of polluters. There may even be different capitalistic solutions to the problem.

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

I am aware that libertarian left ideas don’t have enough support and impact in society, but it’s not graven in stone that this trend has to continue. I think most people would embrace the ideas I advocate if they were properly introduced to them. I think most people would like to be in control of their own lives, work and communities.

Constitutions have been, and are being altered all the time. Regimes and laws have been radically changed in the past; it can happen again.

No, I want to take all the wealth from the minority – the financial elite, the 1% – and give it to the majority – the people: the workers, the students, the seniors etc etc. I want a society where individuals are in control of their own lives, and work. Everyone would benefit enormously from this type of organization – except, of course, for the elites.

Environmental problems could be solved in different ways, but preferably they should get solved by an increasingly more democratic, sustainable and just society.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

Things do change all the time. Based on what has been happening though there isn't going to be any massive move toward socialism. We could suffer some unforeseen event, but without one things will continue as they are.

Even if something happens, there is no telling what kind of change it will result in. Some chaos producing event could just as easily push people to demand the security of a police state.

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

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (29) 1 day ago

I base a prediction about libertarian socialism's chance of acceptance on the trends shown in the past century. It's shown negative growth since the 1930s. The academics, like Noam Chomsky, that promote it have been speaking and writing for decades and have no growth in the United States to show for it either. From that it's easy to conclude socialism is unlikely to grow unless there is some major unforeseen event.

If change does occur gradually, the libertarian socialist is likely to be looking with envy at the green party's 3% membership for the next century or so. I base that on the growth we've seen in the last century.

I'm not talking about existing powers doing anything. What I meant was if society suffers a total collapse and no governing bodies retain any control. If that happens there is no telling what kind of governments will emerge from the chaos. You may see people choosing the apparent safety of armed dictatorships choosing a level of security and stability over freedom. You could also see libertarian socialism rise up, or any other form of social organization. I just think it's likely in that case the well armed will determine what kind of economy and government we have.

I don't think it's enough for libertarian socialism to promise a better way, more freedom, or more equity. People need to be very discontent with what they have to overcome a natural inertia against change. Right now there isn't enough misery for people to turn away from the economic system and government they have. Any slight recovery increases their faith in capitalism. You say you offer something better, but even if you're right people won't change unless they really hate what they have. Right now the vast majority don't hate capitalism and they don't hate their form of government.


Things have been crushed and fought back by existing power systems, but there have also been victories and positive developments. Workers in many countries have gained many rights thru the years, so has women and gays; environmental, anti-war and Solidarity groups and movements have become more visible. Private power has gotten more powerful thru the years, but that can be fought and defeated, just like many other forms of discrimination and tyrannical systems have been in the past. The population has the capacity to dismantle any kind of oppressive system.

If we keep the current system, an increasing number of people will become discontent. Capitalism is unsustainable and immoral; it must be abolished at some point.

There’s way too much misery. Corporate propaganda is one of the main reasons that left and libertarian left values aren't more popular. Most people would embrace the ideas of Libertarian Socialism if they were properly introduced to them.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

I don't know where you've seen worker run businesses crushed. Many businesses fail, but it isn't necessarily part of any effort by some power structure to crush them.

I don't see capitalism as immoral and I don't believe the majority does either. It allows any individual or group to start a private business or cooperative. Socialism has it's own morality problem when it brings up workers taking over a business without any kind of compensation for the owner.

I fail to see how businesses run by workers are somehow more sustainable then those run by owners. Both models face the same problems with resources.

There may be too much misery for you. That doesn't appear to be the case for Americans in general. Not close to enough for them to consider turning away from capitalism.

Gallup and Pew surveys show very little change in attitude. Capitalism evokes a positive reaction, socialism still overwhelmingly negative. The employed are content and the unemployed are not blaming capitalism in any kind of numbers to cause any change.

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

“Based on what has been happening though there isn't going to be any massive move toward socialism.”

Why would you say that?

“We could suffer some unforeseen event, but without one things will continue as they are.”

Changes will probably come gradually. Organizing to change things around is not done over night.

“Even if something happens, there is no telling what kind of change it will result in. Some chaos producing event could just as easily push people to demand the security of a police state.”

Attempts to increase democracy and freedom have been fought back and sometimes crushed by existing power systems. There have also been coups that have overthrown democratically elected governments that challenged capitalism and imperialism. No one knows what the future brings, and there are no guarantees. We just have to continue fighting for democracy and freedom, no matter what happens.

[-] 1 points by Sandy0621 (175) 1 year ago

I base a prediction about libertarian socialism's chance of acceptance on the trends shown in the past century. It's shown negative growth since the 1930s. The academics, like Noam Chomsky, that promote it have been speaking and writing for decades and have no growth in the United States to show for it either. From that it's easy to conclude socialism is unlikely to grow unless there is some major unforeseen event.

If change does occur gradually, the libertarian socialist is likely to be looking with envy at the green party's 3% membership for the next century or so. I base that on the growth we've seen in the last century.

I'm not talking about existing powers doing anything. What I meant was if society suffers a total collapse and no governing bodies retain any control. If that happens there is no telling what kind of governments will emerge from the chaos. You may see people choosing the apparent safety of armed dictatorships choosing a level of security and stability over freedom. You could also see libertarian socialism rise up, or any other form of social organization. I just think it's likely in that case the well armed will determine what kind of economy and government we have.

I don't think it's enough for libertarian socialism to promise a better way, more freedom, or more equity. People need to be very discontent with what they have to overcome a natural inertia against change. Right now there isn't enough misery for people to turn away from the economic system and government they have. Any slight recovery increases their faith in capitalism. You say you offer something better, but even if you're right people won't change unless they really hate what they have. Right now the vast majority don't hate capitalism and they don't hate their form of government.

[Removed]

[-] -2 points by beautifulworld (22236) 1 year ago

This is definitely the direction we should be heading in. Great post and links. Thanks, sff !

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

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"The Foundation of a New Democratic Economy Is Worker Self-Directed Enterprises", by Kevin Zeese and Dr.Margaret Flowers :

Good post Andy. Solidaritet Kamerat :-)

per aspera ad astra ...

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

As so many times before, you provide great links for us!

Here are two excellent lectures for you:

Solidarity.

[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Is There an Alternative for Capitalist Economics and Politics? Richard Wolff Says - Yes" :

Thanx for your excellent and highly commendable video links. Solidarity @ The 99%, to you, Andy and all those striving for positive change and real democracy, all across the world.

fiat lux ...

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

Lots of good stuff on truthout. Great interview. Thanks for sharing :)

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Excellent post and thread & also fyi :

Together We Are Stronger - Wherever We Are !!! Onwards & Upwards !! Solidarity !

respice, adspice, prospice ...

[-] -3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

LOL

Self management.

Do these people realize that that is what corporations have been striving for in production situations for some time now?

They love it. It utilizes more of the time of the production worker to do the things supervisors used to do.

But guess what?

They don't reduce production quotas.

I still have to ask.

Who's zoomin' who?

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

Implementing things like workers' self-management and workplace democracy is important, because this allows people to be more in control of their own lives. It's as simple as that.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

As long as you are aware that it's been the aim of management for a very long time.

If the corporations still exist, it'll be another fiasco.

Guaranteed.

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

The institutions in society should be controlled democratically by the participants: the workers, the communities, the ones affected. It's not only about implementing workers' self management, but it's an important factor.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Noble goal, there's no denying, but I'm just saying how it is today.

Steps will have to taken and realities of today accepted, in order to take the proper steps to reach that goal.

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

We should try to find the most effective strategies and tactics in order to achieve a free participatory democracy. I mentioned some of the things I think are important here: http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-do-we-fight-capitalism-the-1/

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

There is nothing in that thread I can find to argue with.

I agree.

I would say though that we need to give full support for unions and unionization, as one of the first steps forward.

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

Absolutely. Workers organizing is essential.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Must be a good idea. I received a racist PM over it.........:)

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

That kind of behavior should just motivate people even more. And that should be the case for the more important things as well. The more hysterical and irrational etc the elites and the ones supporting the system become, the more you know that you’re doing the right thing. Police violence, ridicule, threats, whatever it is, the more we see of it, the more we know we’re on the right path.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

Unions actually scare them.

They express irrational glee over lower wages, benefits, and even representation.

It's incredible.

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

Unions have been essential in fighting powerful owners around the world. In many countries they have been fought back. An important priority is to help them rebuild, so that they'll become a powerful force in fighting the 1%.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

They are as important here, in the start of the 21st century as they were in the former half of the 20th.

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

Absolutely.

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

Union YES!!!!

I probably just pissed off some folks, but they aren't here in support of anything good anyway.

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

Me too. From Popcorn.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 1 year ago

That makes 3 of us, so far.

Anybody else?

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Huh - slime ball hasn't made any comments that I have seen - just private BS?

[-] 0 points by VQkag2 (16478) 1 year ago

It's a badge of honor. I know I'm on the right side whenever I am attacked by racists & other extremists.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (22318) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Yep - start at A and move on through Z