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The world commune of grassroots communities

category international | anarchist movement | opinion / analysis author Monday January 25, 2010 19:10author by Ilan Shalif - AATW; ainfos; Matzpen;author address Tel Aviv Report this post to the editors

The anarchist communism - the only alternative to capitalism

In rejecting all representative democracy in which individuals and parties are elected to rule society or part of it, extreme decentralized modes were adopted by anarchists.

However, the understanding that we live in one world that cannot be managed by independent units is gaining momentum. For instance, People are more and more aware that we face serious ecological problems and that the solving of these can not be left to negotiations between independent entities (local communities, regions, etc.) to solve them. They are more and more aware that to achieve appropriate remedies, decision making procedure and measures of the scale of the whole world will be needed.


In rejecting all representative democracy in which individuals and parties are elected to rule society or part of it, extreme decentralized modes were adopted by anarchists.

However, the understanding that we live in one world that cannot be managed by independent units is gaining momentum. For instance, People are more and more aware that we face serious ecological problems and that the solving of these can not be left to negotiations between independent entities (local communities, regions, etc.) to solve them. They are more and more aware that to achieve appropriate remedies, decision making procedure and measures of the scale of the whole world will be needed.

No serious person would suggest that an urban unit with modern infrastructure be managed by an independent neighborhoods, that would endlessly negotiate over electricity, roads, water, sewage, drainage and supply.

The only non capitalist alternative to "representative democracy" is direct democracy. However, you cannot hold a meeting of the people of the whole world, nor one of one city, nor even of a neighborhood or a small region with a few thousand inhabitants. The obvious direct democracy solution is a multi-tier system of recallable, accountable, rotating delegates and assemblies of these delegates, who would coordinate the discussion and collect the opinions of members of the grassroots communities.

The tiers could be of delegate assemblies of various levels - from the small neighborhood of a few grassroots communities, to a town, city or a large region, up to global level.

The multi-tier system is not only for coordinating decision making (by the assemblies of members of the relevant grass root communities). It is also for the execution of decisions arrived at, and the management of various systems in the modern world - the ecology, production, distribution, transportation, research, culture, health, social order, etc. (All within the limited mandates given to them by the decisions of the grass root communities).

Just as a preliminary summary: you cannot manage the world's ecology and practice the principles of Freedom & Equality & Solidarity on a global scale without a unified global system. You cannot prevent the revert of such global system back to authoritarian class society unless it is part of multi level direct democracy with grass root assemblies at the base - keeping the power in their hands.

Such a global system would include many subsystems: these would be autonomous within the mandate given them by the relevant level in the direct democracy. Even within each grassroots community, not every trivial act or decision would be brought for discussion by the periodic assembly of its members (though the final decision/ratifying will be always in the hands of the assemblies of members of grass root communities).

Workplace and production

The assigning of people to workplaces so that they can contribute according to their abilities would be done by the grassroots communities. These will do their best to enable people to follow their preferred occupation, taking social needs into consideration (sharing the tasks no-one volunteers for between people, and evaluating people's ability to perform the tasks they choose).

The workplace - within the grassroots communities, and on a larger scale - would be managed by the direct democracy of the workers involved, within the mandate given them and subject to accountability and supervision by the mandating assembly.

For instance, there would be the organization of various regional services in infrastructure, health facilities (hospitals), education and research (universities and other institutions) and production (factories and extraction of raw materials, etc.).

Generally, production and services would be adjusted to the people's wishes regarding them. Various levels of coordination will strive for optimization in allocation of resources and work tasks to the work places. Ecological and other limitations on supply would result in the rationing of equal quotas after the basic needs of all are covered.

As most consumption involves the investment of labor, consumption above the level of need would be allocated to people in the form of quotas, enabling them to choose alternatives (sweets, fancy clothes, gadgets, hobbies, furniture, traveling, etc.).

Society would decide on the norm of a minimal number of work-hours people would contribute in order to cover the needs of the system (for instance, 4 hours a day, 5 days a week).
Communities and individuals would have the option to contribute the work in flexible way and even to contribute more work-hours for extra "luxuries", as long as it does not put a damaging load on the local and world system.

In this system, supply in the world commune and the grassroots communities of the needs for individuals and communities would be monitored by an accounting system according to units of load on the ecology and units of work. There will not be used in this system money or equivalents (which can enable transaction between groups or individuals outside the system).

(A pseudo science fiction description of the main aspects of such a society is available at: http://ilan.shalif.com/anarchy/glimpses/glimpses.html )

Related Link: http://ilan.shalif.com/anarchy/
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