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Anarcho-Ecosocialist Principles and Praxis

category international | anarchist movement | other libertarian press author Wednesday August 24, 2005 03:46author by anonymousauthor email jasone at resist dot ca Report this post to the editors

Equality, liberty, direct democracy, communality, and universal mutual aid;
as long as life exists, there is hope!

Equality; social justice, rational tolerance, free association, voluntary cooperation, egalitarian relationships, mutual respect and solidarity amongst men and women of all ethnicities, origins, hereditary roots and sexual orientations.

Liberty; freedom from all forms of domination, hierarchy, economic classes, social exploitation, oppression and tyranny, by means of free education, self-organization, direct action, civil disobedience and creative resistance, building dual power structures and alternative institutions committed to universal social justice and ecological harmony involved in local community struggles using tactical coordination for synchronized action; primarily, general strike (worker, student and rental) followed by occupations of workplaces, institutions, needed land and unused residential buildings.

Direct democracy; organised collective self-determination, cooperation and shared responsibility through participation in workplace councils/committees and local residential or land-sharing cooperative collectives, with each person having inclusive, proportionate influence in horizontal policy-making and equal say in all decision-making affecting them. Local collectives could buy (for the time being) as directly as possible from producers, exchange services or barter with other collectives or cooperatives, sharing and consuming things together. They could also function as work councils if all members share a workplace. These collectives would probably consist of 3 to 20 people, small enough to facilitate friendly discussion, debate, and consensus, while avoiding the formation of competing elites that tend to dominate larger groups. They could split up (peacefully) if the group gets too big, remaining more or less open to newcomers. Local collectives could organize neighbourhood or village assemblies that would need to function horizontally and meet regularly for all types of community matters. Until political/economic power can be based at this level, people can form various social solidarity networks that could include the unemployed, as well as residential and worker cooperatives.

Communality; coordinated networks of local collectives and neighbourhood assemblies, workplace councils and syndical trade-union committees establishing autonomous municipal/township communes with collective (directly democratic) control of land, resources and means of production. This may necessitate (strictly voluntary) coordinated self-defence of the social revolution during a period of political upheaval, to bring about ‘communalism’ (as defined through 'social ecology'). Neighbourhood assemblies would then include every adult citizen in proposing policies and voting in decisions that affect them. Citizens would elect a congress of delegates (subject to recall) who would form various administration councils (with regular rotation of posts and complete transparency), responsible for making (tentative) decisions in matters that effect large numbers of people; municipal legislation (to be decided by three-quarter majority votes through referenda perhaps), establishing fair and ecological standards of local production, consumption and justice in general, outlined in a communal constitution, revisable when and if necessary, as well as adjudication and administration of restorative (non-punitive) justice, through rational non-authoritative enforcement of legislation and processes for truth and reconciliation. All bureaucratic aspects of communal government would be reduced to the barest minimum, eventually dissolving completely. Municipal or township communes would gradually become loosely connected, ecologically integrated village networks, in regionally shared wild spaces and parkland commons. Economic decentralization and self-sufficiency at the subsistence level would be achieved by developing a communal economy through collective provisioning, localised service exchange, barter and honor systems.

Universal mutual aid; regional to global confederation of free communes with open borders, subject only to environmental constraints. Fully transparent and inclusive democratic social institutions with recallable delegates, elected from the base, with limited mandates for administration in matters requiring regional to global levels of organisation, such as a health and disaster relief, monitoring and protection of ‘Universal Human Rights’ or an 'Earth Charter' (revised to abolish private property and state, encompass direct democracy and demand universal access to clean water, uncontaminated soil, adequate food, shelter, clothing, sanitation, medicine, health care, education, tools and machines, solar and wind generated electricity, clean fuel technology, communications networks, public transportation, means of mass production and means of recycling ultimately eliminating all hazardous wastes and most undesirable labour. The confederal economy would use directly democratic organizational structures for autogestion (workers’ self-management) and participatory planning at the horizontal level. Workplace councils and trade union syndical production committees would stipulate with consumer collectives through neighbourhood, municipal and regional administrative committees, establishing socially and ecologically indicative values for exchange while insuring universal access to all basic needs. Every worker would have balanced job complexes with equitable remuneration and all industries would have to abide by local regulations for social justice and ecological protection. This type of large-scale solidarity economy beyond borders could function dynamically in perpetual social revolution, adapting itself to differences amongst communes and regions without creating political tensions. The 'participatory economy' model does not ignore, oversimplify or underestimate the destructive resilience and complexities of global capitalism (corporate fascism). It is ideal for building a dual power economy while capitalism remains dominant. By promoting equality, diversity, solidarity and efficient autogestion, 'participatory economics' could help bring about a rational and ethical society, with life based on affirming, nurturing and preserving humanity, diversity, and community.


*This writing is intended to supplement the Peoples Global Action Manifesto and can be printed in one page format using ‘Arial 8 pt’ on ‘Microsoft Word’.

Related Link: http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/en/pgainfos/manifest.htm
author by jasone - ?publication date Wed Aug 31, 2005 00:36author email citizenjazon at yahoo dot caauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

no efficient allocational institution in communism
by Tom Wetzel Thursday, Aug 25 2005, 4:33am


Well, the Soviet Union also had no profits to drive
production and eliminated unemployment. But that didn't prevent long lines and a shortage of variety and quality of consumer products.

There are limits to increases in production due to resource constraints and needs to heal the ecosystem. We also don't want to work 14 hour days. We can eliminate poverty and severe deprivation but scarcity is part of the human condition. That is, there will always be aspirations for improvements, for more things than we have currently, for more living space or whatever.

Anarcho-communism suffers from the fact that no effective way of efficiently allocating scarce resources and our scarce time has ever been specified. What if lots of stuff is produced by it's not what you want? What's needed is a way to ensure that the economy will assign labor time and resources to produce those things that people most want produced. In a society of hundreds of millions of people with tens of thousands of products. And we have to do this without markets, since a market system inevitably breeds class division and exploitation. Mainstream and Marxist economists think the market and central planning are the only ways to allocate resources to social production. But both of those alternatives yield class divided systems. Anarcho-communists have never clearly delineated an alternative.

If everything is free, as you suggest, I can't see how this can be done because there will be no way to capture people's preferences for how they want their share of the social product to be divvied up among various possible things or services they might want. I think that, at least in regard to private consumer goods, it will be necessary to have some quantitative entitlement to consume which people can use up in requests for products. This doesn't necessarily presuppose a market economy or money in the form of money-capital.
That's what participatory economics was designed to show.

add your comments



Fragmentary thoughts on a future communist economy
by Kim Keyser - Anarkismo Friday, Aug 26 2005, 4:24pm


Tom argues:
"Well, the Soviet Union also had no profits to drive
production and eliminated unemployment. But that didn't prevent long lines and a shortage of variety and quality of consumer products."

Yeah, but I don´t see how this example has got any relevance for this discussion, really. Just because two phenomena shares a certain characteristic (eliminated unemployed for instance), doesn´t necesseraly imply that other things are similar (limited shortage of variety and quality for instance.) It´s like, even though a hot soup and lava is both hot, you can´t necessarily eat lava.

I would also contest that the Soviet Union made no profits, as profit is the surplus you got after deducting the expenses and investments from the revenue of the sale of products (i´m not a skilled economist, so I might be wrong on the technical term "profit"(?). But the fact that a surplus made by workers went to non-workers is no point of denying).

OK, but to the more important point you made, which I happen to agree with:
"Anarcho-communism suffers from the fact that no effective way of efficiently allocating scarce resources and our scarce time has ever been SPECIFIED." (my capitalization).

This you are quite right to claim. This is not only true with allocation of resources but quite many of the features of a future communist society -they have simply not been satisfyingly specified (that does mean that we´re completely lost, just that we´re not clear enough). This I think is true both when it comes to economy, larger direct-democratic processes, alterations of the specific branches of industry on a communist basis, defense of the revolution and more. And, of course, these shortcomings would probably have a tremendous negative impact when a revolutionary situation -with millions of people looking for answers- occurs. In the worst case scenario reactionary forces might convince them instead.

It´s true that these millions of workers might come up with magnificent solutions "out of the blue", but it´s still equally true that we won´t have anything to loose by trying to develop more specific thoughts on the revolutionary and immediately post-revolutionary period.

In fact, I´m doing some more profound writing on this topic and hope I´ll reach some helpful and clarifying conclusions. Though, it´s not exactly ready for publication yet(!).

Furthermore Tom argues:
"If everything is free, as you suggest, I can't see how this can be done because there will be no way to capture people's preferences for how they want their share of the social product to be divvied up among various possible things or services they might want."

Like I mentioned all the products where supply exceeds the demand will be free, I don´t see why anyone should contend this. And because of an immense increase in productivity, this will apply to most products (though no one knows exactly which and exactly how many products).

In some areas producers will get the same type of feedback as before -through the account of increases and decreases in what people take with them from the free "store", and through investigating what and how much people would like to have. So, for instance, when a new fruit drink is becoming popular, the production of fruit might have to be intensified. And as long as there´s enough fruit, this should probably not be much a challenge.

But there´ll also be novel ways of allocating resources: workers councils from a certain industrial branch will meet up with people who want to have their say on how and how many the products are beeing made (what might be called a consumer council). Also, people may decide on what they think some scarce resource might be invested in through their federated local councils.

Lets move on to those few -and non-vital- products (no doubt food, water, shelter etc. will be free) that are scarce. Whether this be because of ecological consideration, limited supply, lack of competence or whatever.

You say:
"I think that, at least in regard to private consumer goods, it will be necessary to have some quantitative entitlement to consume which people can use up in requests for products."
Yeah, I think so too. However ONLY WITH SOME OF THOSE PRODUCTS WHERE DEMAND EXCEEDS SUPPLY (there´s no italic button to push here =) ). I say SOME because most of the those products would be strictly allocated to needs (if a person might die if she don´t get just that organ, while another person might be able to wait several more years, the latter one should definetely not be able to buy this organ, etc.).

Some other products where demand exceeds supply might only be allocated through lottery. For instance a unique copy of the first edition of a revolutionary magazine. If this magazine should be used in research then maybe it should be allocated after need, but if not, it might be allocated through lottery. This should not be "bought" as it´s only one copy.

But with some very few products (diamonds or something, I don´t know) you might use the special capital that´s exclusively reserved for just that: choosing which luxurious product you want (the only type of capital there might be, in my opinion), instead of another.

However, focusing on how this last challenge is solved is not important, what matters is that it would be solved in time.

Also I must add: it should NOT be possible to make such "special capital" by working, inventing something new, winning in a contest or anything else -THAT would lead to inequality. If such a special capital should exist, everyone should receive the same amount, and it should only be possibly to use on SOME of the few products where demand exeeds supply.

Maybe this contradicts "Parecon", or maybe not, I haven´t read it YET. Though I´ll certaintly take the time to do so soon. I hope I made a contribution to our common understanding of a future communist economy, at least that was my intention.

I´d be interested in knowing what other people think of this as well.

add your comments



more on an effective postcapitalist economy
by Tom Wetzel Friday, Aug 26 2005, 8:15pm


KIm,

We should not want supply to exceed demand because that implies that we will have wasted our time in work. What we want is for the things that we produce to exactly equal what people most prefer. But to tally what people take from stores does NOT tell us what alternatives they would most prefer. That only tells us what they prefer among the options that are there in the store. Also, if everything is free, they never have to make hard choices between alternatives, which means we don't know which among the many possible alternatives they want produced. We can't produce everything everyone might want because there are only 24 hours in the day, there is limited total work time of everyone, and limited resources. Talking about rationing doesn't answer the question of how we can ensure that what is available effectively responds to what people want most.

I think we should think of the free sector as applying to public goods and to supports for people who aren't working, such as children and the disabled and retired for example. In regard to the USSR, to say that there were profits just because there was a surplus means you won't be able to differentiate capitalism from other forms of class society such as feudalism which also had a surplus controlled by an elite.

The sector that provides private consumption goods to able-bodied adults, that is, to the workforce is a substantial part of an economy. I can't see how it's feasible to run this on the basis of a moneyless economy based the principle "to each according to need." To be socially responsible and to have an effective economy, we need to be able to capture people's evaluations of how important the various costs are in production, including ecological constraints and their own time,and also evaluations about how important the various possible uses of these inputs are to them. It's hard to see how to do this without this being encapsulated in quantitative comparisons, that is, prices. This need not mean that money exists in the form of money-capital . Capital is a social relationship and in the absence of that relationship prices and quantitative entitlements to consume can't imply money in the form of money-capital. But it does imply something akin to money at least as a means of social accounting.
It's hard to see how people could be socially responsible in their consumption requests if they don't know what the social cost is of the things they consume. This is why I think there is a certain amount of hyperbole in the traditional talk about "abolition of wages" and a moneyless economy. Yes, we do away with wage-slavery, with subordination to bosses. But it doesn't follow that there aren't reasons for the workforce in general to agree to some system of paying ourselves for the work that we do for each other, as a material incentive to do such work, and as a way to then capture information about people's preferences by seeing how they choose to allot this quantitative entitlement in consumption requests.

http://more on effective self-managed economy

add your comments



A defence of a free and wageless economy
by Kim Keyser - Anarkismo Sunday, Aug 28 2005, 8:35pm


Tom said:
"What we want is for the things that we produce to exactly equal what people most prefer."

Of course we want supply to exceed demand with a reasonable -but not overwhelming- margin.

"to tally what people take from stores does NOT tell us what alternatives they would most prefer. That only tells us what they prefer among the options that are there in the store."

Yes, that´s true. If you read what I said, accounting what people take from the free "stores" is not the only way input from consumers is registered, though. Consumers input must certainly include accounting, but it must also include questionaries, meetings between the scientists, workers, communities and consumers, and other ways as well.

The accounting (of what people take from the stores) would to a huge degree regulate the production of most normal goods (though, like you pointed out, only those there are to choose from).

Like there´s usually some kind of list of ingredients on the packaging of commodities, in the future there will probably also be an estimate of how much work and resources which have been invested in the product. People have to carefully consider this list when they choose what product to consume.

There have to be regular meetings between producers and consumers. On these meetings people will have the opportunity to voice their concerns on deficiencies with those products that exists, as well as suggest totally new products.

So for instance, people who live in houses (consumers), will have the opportunity to collectively give feedback and suggestions on how they might be built differently at the regular meetings with construction workers (producers). The construction workers (consumers of building material and tools) will be able to have their say on how the tools and building materials function at the meetings with the producers of these, and so on, and so forth.

As an individual you will also be able to have your say through questionaries. On every product it must be clearly stated where you can get hold of and submit such a questionary, and in most stores there might even be a networked computer (a so called "kiosk"), where you can submit a standard questionary, whether it be complaints, questions, suggestions or whatever, as well as check up on the statistics of products, votes, etc. If a suggestion gets a certain amount of votes, it´ll be brought up at the next meeting between the pertinent producers and consumers. Sometimes suggestions might get so many votes that it´ll be executed immediately.

Also, we have to remember that a communist society is TOTALLY different from a capitalist one. So for instance, most people will most probably learn several/many different skills and work in different trades. This means that the boundary between producers and consumers will blur furthermore, and input will be made this way too.

"We can't produce everything everyone might want because there are only 24 hours in the day, there is limited total work time of everyone, and limited resources."

That´s true. But like I´ve said several times I think the productive capacity will rise dramatically, and thus people don´t have to work 24 hours a day, but maybe 4 hours, 4 days a week with 4 months vacation in a year (or something like that). Though this is impossible to give precise estimates on. However, I don´t think we need to worry about there beeing too much work -it won´t be.

Tom thinks a limited free sector and work based on some kind of wages would be feasible. This is something I think is very conservative and pessimistic, and which I STRONGLY disagree with as a libertarian(!).

Like I´ve argued two times already, the free sector must encompass all those products where supply exceeds demand (this is only logical), and this will certainly be most products as our productive capacity will rise manifold times. And like I´ve (also) already argued a significant part of those products where demand exceeds supply must be alloted according to need.

To my statement that "if a person might die if she don´t get just that organ, while another person might be able to wait several more years, the latter one should definetely not be able to buy this organ, etc.", Tom has essentially answered that this might be solved through the amount of money you´ve accumulated through your work. (It might be that I´ve misunderstood you Tom, but to me this might seem to be the corollary of you defence of wages and a limited free sphere (cause organs aren´t exactly "public", right?)).

Whether of not it was Toms intetion to argue for such an inhumane society, this is clearly a repulsive politic that must be strongly condemned, just like wages.

A less important digression to conclude my comment: Tom wrote:
"In regard to the USSR, to say that there were profits just because there was a surplus means you won't be able to differentiate capitalism from other forms of class society such as feudalism which also had a surplus controlled by an elite."

Because the defining criterion of capitalism is market economy? I have to contest this too. The bourgeois was without no doubt the class who created capitalism, by chrushing the obstacles to their trade. But a more defining criterion to what capitalism is (in relation to feudalism), is the level of productive forces. While the ruling class possessed simple means of production (primarily land and tools that would enhance the output of agricultural produce, as well as weapons of war and oppression), the modern ruling class (whether it be a state capitalist click or the oligarchs of market economies) possesses far superior means of production (industrial technologies, factories, etc.). This is the primary criterion to define whether it be feaudalism or capitalism.

Even though we clearly disagree on some vital points, I do appreciate the debate as it highlights some important issues that have not been too much discussed. Unfortunately I won´t be able to bring it much further right now, as I´ll temporarily loose my internet connection, but it should definetely be picked up again some time.

add your comments



100% communism isn't feasible
by Tom Wetzel Tuesday, Aug 30 2005, 4:00am


In regard to a need for an organ transplant,
health care is one of the areas where I think
"to each according to need" DOES make sense. That's
because the vulnterability to injury and disease
is something that affects us all. It's a matter
of basic human solidarity. But this is different
than private consumption goods because no one
wants an organ transplant unless they really do
need one. There is a broad area where the
principle "to each according to need" can
and should apply -- for taking care of the
needs of children, infirm, those for whom
we haven't provided jobs, retired, and many
public goods from ecological protection to
health care and all education throughout
life. But it doesn't follow that an entire
economy could be run effectively without
quantitative accounting & information about
preferences for private consumption goods.

Again, we should NOT want there to be any
production of supply beyond demand because any
thing that is produced beyond demand is pure
waste. It means that the labor time and the
resources that went into producing it was not
needed.

Questionaires are not adequate as a means of
capturing information about what people most
prefer because people are not forced to make
hard choices based on a finite amount that is
their share of the social product. Anything
one MIGHT want will be added to the questionaires.
But we can't produce just anything that anyone
might want. No feasible plan for social production
can be produced that way.

add your comments

author by j - anarchist internationalpublication date Thu Sep 01, 2005 09:23author email citizenjazon at yahoo dot caauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

‘‘Large scale organizations, anarchistically organized, are
not a deviation (from socially ecological anarchism). They are the very
essence of anarchism as a viable social order. There is no ‘’pure’’ anarchism.
There is only the application of anarchist principles to the realities of social
living. The aim of anarchism is to stimulate forces that propel society in a
libertarian direction. It is only from this standpoint that the relevance of
anarchism to modern life can be properly addressed.’’
(Sam Dolgoff)

There exists a definate need to continue clarifying and simplifying, as much as effectively possible, what kinds of economic and political system(s) are acceptable to (the majority of) anarchist-communists, especially those which are much too easily mis-interpreted. I have not read very extensively about economic theory, but that’s not to say that I am incapable of envisioning an anarcho-communist economy. While I advocate ‘Participatory Economics’ as presented by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, I have to admit that there maybe certain details that I’m not sure that I agree with, mainly ones that are obscured by some rather ambiguous terms. Primarily, I do not see any conflict arising for ‘Parecon’ to embrace small-scale and ethical communalist economies as defined in Murray Bookchin’s presentation of ‘Libertarian Municipalism’, social ecology and most specifically ‘communalism’. I think the conflict between the two theories arises because Michael Albert presents Parecon as a large-scale economy from a national perspective instead of a global one and does not adequately address the inevitability of completetly decentralised local economies that don’t make use of (syndicalist) councils or administration commities beyond the neighborhood or municipal levels. However…

"(A) ‘Commune’ is no longer a territorial agglomeration; but...a synonym for the
grouping of equals, knowing no borders, no walls. The social Commune...
will cease to be clearly defined. Each group of the Commune will necessarily
be attracted to similar groups of other Communes; they willgroup together,
federate with each other, by bonds at least as solid as those tying them to
their fellow townsmen; (they will) constitute a Commune of interests, of which
members will be disseminated through a thousand cities and villages. Each
individual will find satisfaction of his needs only in grouping together with other
individuals have the same tastes and living in a hundred other Communes."
(Peter Kropotkin)

‘’....Once and for all we must realize that we are… (not living) …in a little
utopian world..., we cannot realize our economic revolution in a local
sense; for economy on a localist basis can only cause collective priva-
tion..., economy is today a vast organism and all isolation must prove
detrimental...We must work with a social critierion, considering the
interests of the whole country and if possible the whole world..."
(Diego Abad de Santillan)


‘’Since free and voluntary communism (Malatesta's synonym for anarchism) cannot be
imposed, Malatesta stressed the necessity for the coexistence of various eco-
nomic forms, collectivist, mutualist, individualist -- on the condition that
there will be no exploitation of others. Malatesta was confident that the
convincing example of successful libertarian collective will «attract others into the orbit of the collectivity...for my part I do not
believe that there is "one" solution to the social problem, but a thousand
different and changing solutions, in the same way as social existence is
different in time and space…»’’(Sam Dolgoff interpreting Malatesta)

Concerning allocation, Michael Albert makes clear that in Parecon, the consumption dynamic is «From each according to one’s ability to each according to effort and sacrifice» rather than the essential communist ideal «From each according to one’s ability to each according to need». In earlier versions of Parecon, so I hear, there was no specific emphasis on remuneration according to effort and sacrifice. I believe that in a confederal (large-scale) solidarity economy there is a need to incorporate both principles in order to promote autogestion (direct democracy in the workplace), equity, diversity as well as technical efficiency and coordination. Beyond basically universal needs, there will always be additional wants. I think these must be satisfied (produced and exchanged) mostly at the local and even individual recreational level. Small-scale barter and service exchange economies evolve naturally in all human societies that are not coerced into (hierarchical) slave or capitalist economies that force people into destructive forms of competition. What is more complex but a vital neccessity in industrialized society is a confederal syndicalist
Economy based on direct democracy and autogestion, as well as equity, social-ecological diversity and solidarity.


‘’...production and exchange represented an undertaking so complicated
that no government (without establishing a cumbersome, inefficient, bur-
eaucratic dictatorship) would be able to organize production if the work-
ers themselves, through their unions, did not do it in each branch of
industry; for, in all production there arises daily thousands of diffi-
culties that...no government can hope to foresee.... Only the efforts of
thousands of intelligences working on problems can cooperate in the
developement of the new social system and find solutions for the
thousands of local needs.... (Peter Kropotkin)
I define universal human needs as access to clean water, uncontaminated soil, adequate food (by this I mean staple crops – about 75% of the world’s supply now controlled by five gigantic transnational corporations – as well as essential vitamins and nutrients), (basic) shelter, (basic) clothing, (appropriate) sanitation, (especially preventative) medicine, (basic) health care, (free) education, (shared)tools and machines (for individual and collective use), solar and wind generated electricity, clean fuel technology, communications networks, public transportation, means of mass production and means of recycling (ultimately eliminating all hazardous wastes and most undesirable labour). With modern science and technology, freed from the confines of ‘intellectual property’ constraints, one can easily imagine all of the above to be made freely available to all with minimal cooperative efforts, provided we are not faced with all-out war and ecological/biological calamities, both of which are unfortunately likely. High-tech electronics and automation do enable and facilitate institutional decentralization, participatory economic planning on a large scale as well as reduction and the elimination of most repetitive manual labor, so there can be some grounds for optimism in societies that respect freedom of speech (to balance the overwheliming pessimism amongst intelligent realists).

‘’…by electricty, we everywhere resume person-to-person relations on the
small village scale… it is a relation in depth, and without delegation of functions
and powers…in the whole field of the electronic revolution this pattern of
decentralisation appears in multiple guises…’’
(Marshall McLuhan)

However…

«(Ever–growing numbers of) frustrated first-rate technical and scientific em-
ployees, not permitted to exercise their knowledge creatively, find themselves
trapped in monotonous, useless and anti-social tasks. And nothing is more mad-
dening than to stand helplessly by, while ignoramuses who do not even under-
stand the language of science, dictate the direction of research and develop-
ment.» (Dolgoff)
Though it may seem otherwise in affluent societies, humanity has not escaped scarcity through scientific breakthroughs and technological inovation, though the potential may have been there for some time regarding food, clothing, shelter, fuel, natural medicine and education. Most anarchist and communist thinkers believe that once an anarcho-communist society replaces or grows out of shell of capitalism, the problem of scarcity will be forever solved. To some extent this may be true, however we must look carefully at what present conditions can tell us about the future and try to address specific problems that we can foresee.

…(Anarchist-Communism) is not a utopia. It is derived… from an analysis
of tendencies that are at work already, even though State Socialism may
find temporary favor with the reformers...the anarchists build their
previsions of the future upon those data which are supplied by the obser-
vations of life at the present time...the idea of independent communes
for the territorial organization, and of federations of trade unions for
the organizations of [people] in accordance with their different func-
tions, gave a concrete conception of a society regenerated by a social
revolution. There remained only to add to these two modes of organiza-
tion a third, which we saw rapidly developing during the last fifty
years.....the thousands upon thousands of free combines and societies
growing up everywhere for the satisfaction of all possible and imaginable
needs, economic, sanitary, and educational; for mutual protection, for
the propaganda of ideas, for art, for amusement, and so on...an inter-
woven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations
of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international...
(which) substitute themselves for the State and in all its functions...
…all of them covering each other, and all of them always ready to meet the
needs by new organizations and adjustments.’’
(Kropotkin)

«By closely intermeshing and greatly expanding the already existing networks
of consumer cooperative associations with the producer associations at every
level, the consumers will make their wants known and be supplied by the pro-
ducers. The innumerable variety of supermarkets, chain stores and service
centers of every description now blanketing the country, though owned by corp-
orations or privately, are so structured that they could be easily socialized
and converted into cooperative networks. In general, the same holds true for
production, exchange, and other beranches of the economy. The integration of
these economic organisms will undoubtedly be greatly facilitated because the
same people are both producers and consumers.» (Sam Dolgoff)

It is basically impossible to predict when the capitalist system will fall, what will trigger a social revolution to erupt at the global level whether humanity will survive the aftermath (reactionary fascist forces and environmental devastation) and cooperatively reorganize society (during a transition period) in radically dynamic and effective ways to prevent oppression and hierarchy from reemerging . Though impossible to know for sure (over-confidence would not be beneficial anyhow), we need to imagine what conditions could cause such a global upheavel and prepare ourselves for what new conditions can be anticipated.

«The availability of more and more consumer goods plus the sophisticated
techniques of mass indoctrination has corrupted the public mind. Bourgeoisifi-
cation has sapped the revolutionary vitality of the masses. It is precisely
this divorce from the inspiring values of socialism, which, to a large extent,
accounts for the venality and corruption in modern labor and socialist move-
ments.
To forge a revolutionary movement, which, inspired by anarchist ideas,
would be capable of reversing this reactionary trend, is a task of staggering
proportions. But therein lies the true relevance of anarchism.»
(Dolgoff)
Up until the second world war, industrial capitalism was perpetually creating the conditions for a social revolution on an international scale that would answer all imaginable forms of scarcity at the time. At the end of world war two, the United States assserted their global dominance as a capitalist superpower with the use of the atomic bomb. Modern warfare had since become ever more destructive to civilian populations and has had, for quite some time, the potential to bring about complete extinction of the human race. After world war two, in order to perpetually post-pone the return of economic depression- which had proven the unsustainability of capitalism, in order to prevent the spread of (authoritarian communism / totalitarian state capitalism), the united states kept their economic policy fixed on a war-economy model. By building up their military-industrial complexes, the worlds major powers were able to manipulate the political and economic policies of less powerful countries, forcing nations and individuals in every nation into extreme forms of economic competition leading to devastating environmental destruction and horrendous wars with previously unimaginable levels of cruelty and destruction.
«The well-nigh insuperable material obstacle to the introduction of anarchism –
scarcity of goods and services and excessive industrial-mangerial centralization –
have or can be removed by the cybernetic-technical revolution. Yet, the movement
for empancipation is threatened by the far more formidable political, social
and brain-washing techniques of "The Establishment". In their polemics with
the Marxists, the anarchists insisted that the political state subjects the economy
to its own ends. A high sophisticated economic system, once viewed as the
prerequisite for the realization of socialism, now serves to reinforce the domination
of the ruling classes with the technology of physical and mental repression and
the ensuing obliteration of human values. The very abundance which can liberate
man from want and drudgery … (enabled) the state to establish what is, in
effect, a nationalized poorhouse, where the millions of technologically unemployed
forgotten, faceless outcasts on public "welfare," will be given only enough to
keep them quiet. The very technology that has opened new roads to freedom, has
also armed states with unimaginably frightful weapons for the annihilation of humanity. ‘’
(Sam Dolgoff)
That was back in the 1970’s. Things have gotten considerably worse. As the world’s most powerful hedgemonic state breaks treaties and agreements on arms control and deconstruction, pushing the world into a new arms-race and perpetual war for control of and access to diminishing essential resources, while making more and more severe cuts to social spending and cutting taxes (especially for the rich), we are faced with many different ecological crises, varying in intensity from region to region, constantly growing in magnitude. We are also collectively faced with widespread climate change, predictions of which are becoming more and more pessimistic and worrisome, worse than most scientists believed when the Kyoto accord was put forward in 1991 (before it was reformed to enable countries to trade carbon credits, which will allows rich countries to pollute more). Conditions for health epidemics that could dramatically reduce the human population are at an all-time high. Even the military strategy center of the United States, the pentagon, has released statements that as a result of climate change and environmental destruction, future wars will be fought over a control over and access to vital resources such as clean water and uncontaminated soil. The empire’s war machine is fully prepared for both urban and rural guerilla warfare and has developed sinister weapons and strategies that were unheard of not so long ago. The current governing administration of the empire seems to have absolutely no respect for international law, conventions on torture and weapons use (which kill, cripple and impact the lives of civilian non-combatants more and more, as ever-developing new weapons systems are controlled through computers monitored on video screens far away from their targets). Neo-conservatives and their drones do not even acknowledge the basic human rights of non-affluent people, regardless of nationality (but especially non-americans) or the responsibilty of ensuring future survival and quality of life of humanity, not to mention other species and the natural diversity of ecological systems.
As corporate fascism becomes more and more blatant and obviously oppressive to more and more people (despite mass media mind manipulation) repression is bound to increase in order to counter the growing resistance. The need for non-coercive, non-hierarchical, directly democratic and confederal organisation has never been greater, a matter of survival for the human race I think. Anarchists and libertarian communists and socialists cannot afford to waste energy in sectarian squabbling or sacrifice solidarity because of disagreements about abstract ideas not yet tried or tested. We definitely need lucid comprehension, clear communication and open, transperant debate in order to establish theoretical coherence and a unified praxis in the anarchist movement. Decentralisation of political and economic control (that makes individual and collective liberty and autonomy possible) are the most essential principles of anarchism for the very reason that there will be a vast array of solutions for all sorts of problems, simple or complex, that differ from place to place and of which resolutions will depend upon the desires of many different associations of peoples with diverse cultural interests. At the same time, industries and various people’s associations need to organize federally to coordinate their efforts and harmonize both socially and ecologically.

I think it is necessary to add that we (anarchist-communists and libertarian-socialists) must not encourage animosity towards thinkers who may or may not have at some time identified themselves as anarchists but have since disassociated with the anarchist tradition, if their reasons are logical. Anarchism is not a matter of individual identity and is a very ambiguous concept to most. Traditional anarcho-communism has been and still is very eurocentric. Much more can be said on this subject but, in general, ideas must be recognised for what they are, through logic and reason. They are best expressed through creative use of language and most importantly, through action.

author by Jasone - ?publication date Fri Sep 09, 2005 05:57author email citizenjazon at yahoo dot caauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anarcho-Eco-Socialist Principles, Vision and Strategy

Equality; rational tolerance, integral education, natural justice, free association, voluntary cooperation, egalitarian relationships, mutual respect and solidarity amongst men and women of all ethnicities, origins, hereditary roots and sexual orientations.

Liberty; freedom from all forms of domination, hierarchy, economic classes, social exploitation, oppression and tyranny, by means of integral education, self-organization, direct action, civil disobedience and creative resistance, building dual power structures and alternative institutions committed to universal justice and ecological harmony involved in local community struggles using tactical coordination for effective synchronized action. We can organize ourselves and help motivate others for general strike (worker, student and rental) along with occupations of industrial workplaces and (un)democratic institutions, unused land and vacant residential buildings.

Direct Democracy; collective self-determination and participative group organization, responsibility and cooperation in workplace councils / committees and local residential or land-sharing cooperatives / collectives, with each person having proportionate influence in policy-making and equal power in all decision-making affecting them. Collectives can make efforts to exchange services or barter with other collectives or cooperatives, consume equitably and as directly as possible from local or unionized producers (or through certified ‘Fair Trade’). Residential or local collectives could also function as work councils if all members share a workplace. Collectives could consist of 3 to 20 people but should probably stay between 5 and 15; small enough to facilitate friendly discussion, debate and consensus, while avoiding the formation of competing elites that tend to dominate larger groups. They could form independent collectives if the group gets too big, remaining more or less open to newcomers. Until political and economic power can be based at this level, people can form various social networks, worker solidarity organizations that should include the unemployed, as well as residential and worker cooperatives (within certain capitalist parliamentarian systems). Local collectives can try to organize inclusive neighbourhood block or village assemblies, of up to maybe 200 people, that would need to function horizontally and meet regularly for various community matters.

Communality; coordinated networks of local collectives and inclusive neighbourhood assemblies, workplace councils and (syndicalist) trade-union committees establishing autonomous municipal/township communes with collective (directly democratic) control of land, resources and means of production. This may necessitate strictly voluntary and democratically coordinated defence of the social revolution, during a period of political upheaval, to bring about ‘communalism’ achieved through ‘social ecology’. Neighbourhood assemblies must include every adult citizen, who would have to be a resident for maybe a complete year, in proposing policies and voting in decisions that affect them. Citizens can elect a congress of delegates (subject to recall) to form various administration councils (with regular rotation of posts and complete transparency), responsible for certain types of decision-making and tentative policy-making in matters that effect large numbers of people. This would probably consist of working out municipal legislation (perhaps to be decided by three-quarter majority votes through acceptable forms of referenda), establishing fair and ecological methods and standards of local production, consumption and juridical policy, clearly defined in a communal constitution with all details voted on and revised when and if necessary, as well as administrating adjudication processes and restorative (non-punitive) justice, through rational (non-authoritarian) enforcement of legislation and processes for truth and reconciliation. All bureaucratic aspects of communal self-government should be reduced to the barest minimum, hopefully (eventually) dissolving completely. Municipal or township communes (of up to 100 000 most likely) could gradually become loosely connected, ecologically integrated village networks, in regionally shared wild spaces and parkland commons. Economic decentralization and self-sufficiency at the basic sustainable subsistence level can be achieved by developing a communal economy through communitary provisioning, localised service exchange, barter and honor systems. Most material wants can also be produced locally, sustainably and with local natural resources.

Universal Mutual Aid; regional to global confederation of (‘libertarian’ or ‘free’) communes with open borders, hopefully only subject to ecological constraints. Fully transparent and inclusive democratic social institutions with recallable delegates, elected from the base, with limited mandates for administration in matters requiring regional to global levels of organisation, such as a health and disaster relief, monitoring and protection of an 'Earth Charter' that negates private property (distinguished from personal, family and collective possessions) and nation-state (distinguished from region / place of birth and citizenship), encompasses direct democracy, communality and universal access to clean water, uncontaminated soil, sufficient food, adequate shelter, clothing and sanitation, basic medicine, health care, integral education, job training, tools and machines, solar and wind generated electricity, communications networks, and public transportation, as well as collective access to clean fuel technology, means of mass production and recycling (ultimately eliminating all hazardous wastes and undesirable labour). This is theoretically possible if all people, willing and able, were to participate, voluntarily, in a coordinated cooperative effort, for probably about 1000 hours per year - including work council meetings and delegated and/or mandated organizational work. The confederal (solidarity) economy would use directly democratic organizational structures for autogestion (workers’ self-management) and participatory planning based at the horizontal level (using communication technology to network digital information). Workplace councils and syndical trade union production committees would stipulate with consumer collectives through neighbourhood, municipal and regional administrative committees, estimating and proposing socially and ecologically indicative exchange values insuring universal access to all basic needs. Every worker would be able to choose balanced job complexes with equitable remuneration and all industries would have to abide by local, regional and global regulations for social justice and ecological protection of the environment. This type of large-scale solidarity economy could function dynamically in perpetual social revolution, adapting itself to differences amongst communes and regions without creating political tensions. The 'participatory economy' model does not ignore, oversimplify or underestimate the destructive resilience and complexities of global capitalism (corporate fascism). It is ideal for building a dual power economy while capitalism remains dominant. By promoting equality, diversity, solidarity and efficient autogestion, 'participatory economics' could help bring about a rational and ethical society, with life based on affirming, nurturing and preserving humanity, diversity, and community.

author by Jay - a.ipublication date Sun Sep 11, 2005 05:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i was thinking that maybe it would be excellent to have a place on this site that could allow editing by the author, however complicated that may be, with an archive of the 'rough' perhaps. Of course, maybe there is already and i haven't found it?


j

 
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