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Another stupid question about another Lefty group

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redtwister
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Oct 6 2005 18:59
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi
Quote:
I am not the one who started the personal insults

Was it me then? I'm really sorry about that. Are you, like, really upset or something?

All the best

Chris

I was upset, maybe mostly because it was not expected (Revol is just like that, so while I find it counterproductive and bad form for a site, its not really an escalation, its just... Revol.)

I do not mind sharp characterizations of a political position, but as we are communicating over a medium where I do not know you personally, what you do, how you act towards other people, beyond what is present in your communications, I have tried to avoid any kind of nasty personal characterizations or insults. If you took them as personal, I'm sorry, but I think if you go through, up until the last exchange, I did not cast any aspersions on you personally, though I most certainly did cast aspersions on certain political positions you took and statements you made. I don't see personal abuse as terribly comradely, nor do I assume that everyone I disagree with is therefore personally reprehensible.

Cheers,

Chris

redtwister
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Oct 6 2005 19:08
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

On a different note...

Quote:
I've got no problem with competition

Are you not against economic competition? What do you make of the school of thought that proposes that all competition is essentially economic.

Love

Chris

Why would I think that all competition is economic competition? Why would sports competition be economic competition? Or competition for a lover? Or competition in chess or checkers? It seems terribly narrow and obviously narrow, no?

Besides, competition as economic competition is positive in what sense? Its only relevant where people are not producing directly for consumption, and then only for a specific reward, for money. But even then, the term economic compeition assumes that the economy is separated off from the rest of social activity, something which, as I stated with money, was true only on the fringes of most human societies for most of human history. Prior to capitalism, most "economic" activity was part of the daily activity of the home (even if the home of the slave master) or commons, with little activity separated off. Hence, the Oekonmie in Greek in Aristotle referred to the home, not to some extrnal world of exchange and production.

Why you insist that the last 300 years of generalized market and money relations and commodity production, predominant on a world scale only for the last 50-100 years, are more valid than any other continues to escape me.

Cheers,

chris

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 6 2005 20:11

Hi

I suppose I owe redtwister a few words about ParEcon. I have a few problems with ParEcon, but if a load of people want to give it a go, I will not be standing in their way. I predict some difficulties with it that will eventually require ParEcon to develop into something a bit more spicy.

My primary problems with ParEcon are as follows…

1.

Because it rewards sacrifice (or effort) over performance everyone will eventually starve to death.

2.

What people say they want in yearly consumption forecasts (stationary, organic food and a new reed for their oboe) are different from what they really need (sensible shoes, TV-Dinners and a new dildo). I just want some money to go shopping with, I don’t want to fill in a requisition form. I can do that at work. Also I want creative people to present me with new and exciting trinkets to fetishise.

I have big problems with Market Socialism too, and I suppose everyone will think I’m one of those unless I state my beef, so…

1.

Dividing business between a tax funded public sector and a “profit motive” private sector is counter productive and will require significant effort to prevent state capitalist class relations developing between those that work for the government and those scraping a living in the market.

2.

Taxation as distinct from normal spending. This is a recipe for gangster state capitalism. I accept that it may sound like I’m splitting hairs over a euphemism, but I’m suspicious of the need for differentiation.

3.

Division of income from “benefits” and “work” depending on demand for your labour. Again, a lot of effort will be required to prevent state capitalist class relations developing between the unemployed and those who court the favour of commissars and entrepreneurs in return for “a job”.

4.

Falsely distinguishing between “the means of production” and resources in general. How will that be policed? Who will decide the set of productive devices, or is it just land? It’s a legislative nightmare. The bureaucrats required to police private production in a market economy will be the new bourgeoisie. Economic insecurity will quickly re-enter the armoury of devices deployed to keep us all grafting for the state rather than the proletarian commonwealth.

Market Socialism is a horrible mess, it’s main objective is to prevent Satan from finding work for our idle hands. Not the problem I was really hoping to solve.

Love

LR

knightrose
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Oct 6 2005 20:12

On the subject of insults, I wasn't too taken by your reference to water sports on the other thread either.

I may be tactless at times, but I don't think I warrant accusations of sexual perversion, do I?

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 6 2005 20:14

Hi

What makes you think watersports are perverse? I know some real hotties who swear by them.

You should count yourself lucky, oisleep’s come off much worse.

Love

LR

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Steven.
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Oct 6 2005 20:17
knightrose wrote:
On the subject of insults, I wasn't too taken by your reference to water sports on the other thread either.

I may be tactless at times, but I don't think I warrant accusations of sexual perversion, do I?

Are you serious?

Jeez they make them thin-skinned up north don't they!

knightrose
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Oct 6 2005 20:32
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Jeez they make them thin-skinned up north don't they!

Possibly, but I just thought we were have a serious debate, that's all.

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 6 2005 20:42

Hi

I'm off to "+ insults". This thread is weird, you introduced watersports to it knightrose, not me. You’re pure evil. I thought what you said about washing machines was really offensive, by the way.

Love

Chris

knightrose
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Oct 6 2005 20:59

eek

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 6 2005 21:07

Hi

Yes comrade, I think you'll find my watersports bombshell was dropped on "anyone into sports?". You've crossed threads for the sake of a Golden Shower.

Love

Chris

redtwister
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Oct 7 2005 14:37
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

I suppose I owe redtwister a few words about ParEcon. I have a few problems with ParEcon, but if a load of people want to give it a go, I will not be standing in their way. I predict some difficulties with it that will eventually require ParEcon to develop into something a bit more spicy.

My primary problems with ParEcon are as follows…

1.

Because it rewards sacrifice (or effort) over performance everyone will eventually starve to death.

2.

What people say they want in yearly consumption forecasts (stationary, organic food and a new reed for their oboe) are different from what they really need (sensible shoes, TV-Dinners and a new dildo). I just want some money to go shopping with, I don’t want to fill in a requisition form. I can do that at work. Also I want creative people to present me with new and exciting trinkets to fetishise.

I don't understand the first one. Capital and markets do not reward performance either. They reward whoever best squeezes the most production for the least money from workers.

I'm still a bit unclear how you propose to do things. You mentioned banks and hospitals, as if those were just 'given' institutions. How do banks function? Who runs them? Who insures that their 'money' is not just worthless scrip? How can you have a monetary system without states to enforce regularity and uniformity of money? These things just pop up as if they were obvious, and they simply are not.

Also, nothing you mention so far explains to me how you will maintain large production and distribution chains (not just running a local hospital, but the production of highly complex technical equipment, requiring global resources, and pharmaceuticals requiring equally global resources and distribution.) You need a hospital or some kind of medical facilities in every community, but in larger communities, like cities, it makes no sense for every neighborhood to have an MRI, but maybe more than we have now. Collecting them into fewer spaces so that the cost (cost here as labor, resources and time) is distributed outward, etc.

So far, all I see is you looking at the problem from the point of view of what you personally want to consume. I don't even need to make an insulting insinuation to show the limitedness of that.

As for what people want vs. what they need, I still find it completely arrogant to assume that people do not know what they need, but I also see no reason to assume that the lack of a market involves the lack of innovation. People innovate to make their own lives easier, for example.

Two Examples

The auto companies for years depended on the workers, who were motivated by working less or by making a better car, as they ended up driving what they made because of the discounts, to come up with innovations in production, if not design. But it wasn't for money or for 'the market', since 'the market' was a long way away and few people ever saw so much as a bonus check for their innovations, 'team based' as they were.

Linux is a product of novel innovations driven by one man's need for a workable personal ooperating system. Linux is driven by a commuity of user-developers and the technical contributions of the companies has been pretty small in comparison to that of the community. While he is a free-market anarchist, IMO, the book The Cathedral and the Bazaar is very interesting. If you haven't read it, you might like it. I prefer the stuff from Richard Stallman personally. In either case, it is an example of non-market, non-profit sustained development and innovation driven by non-economic competition (rather, recognition, need, and convenience.) The marketing of Linux has done far more harm than good and thankfully people like the Ubuntu Linux project and Knoppix and such are keeping Red Hat from taking control (that and the GNU Open License that keeps people from 'owning' the code.)

As for a good to fetishize, you have it the wrong way round. Commodities turn you into a fetishist (not in the good way, in the religious idolatry way.) Why should the things we need and use stand over and against us as more important than our needs and wants, as existing independently of us? Why should our relations as people be obscured by markets and money, rather than by directly social and consciously controlled relations?

Which makes me wonder about number 2. It is one of the things in PARECON I find a bit dull. I think some planning is necessary for large scale production and distribution chains, but for a lot of things, it is not only unnecessary, but limiting and invasive. But why would we stop people from making crafts, community gardens, etc. If there are things people want to do locally, do them. I see a lot that can be done locally (but unless you want to weave your own thread, yarn, etc., some kind of large-scale production will be necessary to evendo some of these things.) I personally do not intend to go back to handicraft production and otherwise, you have wage-labor, and once you have wage-labor and a market in wage-labor, you have capital, and once you have capital, you have all the same shit.

Chris

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 7 2005 18:49

Hi redtwister

Quote:
Irrelevant in practice, man, not in principle.

I’m not stirring the shit for no reason, man, but I’m still a bit suspicious about this. In what way is a worker’s political position irrelevant in practice? Workers visualising their post-capitalist life is the essence of revolution. Feel free to post “horseshit” to that if you like.

Quote:
Why would I think that all competition is economic competition? Why would sports competition be economic competition? Or competition for a lover? Or competition in chess or checkers?

Am I mistaken when I say the notion isn’t too controversial? Don’t all these things have an economic imperative? Sport and sex, status amongst your peers and maximising opportunities with suitable mates. I’m a bit of a fan of Game Theory, mathematical models of rational choice and evolutionary psychology. I’m of the view that all choice is essentially a question of cost versus benefit.

Quote:
Why you insist that the last 300 years of generalized market and money relations and commodity production, predominant on a world scale only for the last 50-100 years, are more valid than any other continues to escape me.

I don’t. I’m against capitalism and for workers’ power.

Quote:
Capital and markets do not reward performance either

Indeed. ParEcon and Capital share the same problem there. I think it’s fair to say markets reward popularity, if consumers make rational choices, performance.

Quote:
How do banks function? Who runs them?

Self managed enterprises accountable to neighbourhood councils.

Quote:
Who insures that their 'money' is not just worthless scrip?

No-one, money is worthless scrip. That’s what makes it so useful.

Quote:
How can you have a monetary system without states to enforce regularity and uniformity of money?

Excellent question. I think the banks can do that, they could use computers. Apart from the Woodcraft Bank, which will keep manual ledgers.

Quote:
Also, nothing you mention so far explains to me how you will maintain large production and distribution chains

You’re right, but I don’t see a big problem with doing that. Could I just point you to Schweickart’s “After Capitalism” for some of that stuff? Why wouldn’t consumers operating in an open market insist their suppliers behave with integrity towards the whole proletariat?

Quote:
So far, all I see is you looking at the problem from the point of view of what you personally want to consume. I don't even need to make an insulting insinuation to show the limitedness of that.

Enlightened self-interest. I find acting on other’s behalf more limiting than developing politics that are relevant to my everyday life. Also your tone is unnecessarily hostile and somewhat intimidating. I am very upset. Not really.

Quote:
The auto companies for years depended on the workers, who were motivated by working less or by making a better car, as they ended up driving what they made because of the discounts, to come up with innovations in production, if not design. But it wasn't for money or for 'the market', since 'the market' was a long way away and few people ever saw so much as a bonus check for their innovations, 'team based' as they were

I can agree that you get innovation without markets in some sense. If I’m especially kind to myself, I could say that every choice is made in a market of available scenarios which would mean that markets are the only source of innovation, but I value your continuing input, so I won’t antagonise you for it’s own sake. I’m not convinced about your point about “the market was a long way away”, but I’m not challenging your premise.

Quote:
Linux is a product of novel innovations driven

I’m a Chartered Software Engineer as it happens, and familiar with “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” etc. It’s interesting you should bring the Open Source movement up, because in this country the Green Party holds it up as the way forward for the market. It inherits it’s economic line from that of the European Greens, as espoused by Daniel Cohn Bendit. There’s a line of thought here going back to SoB and Castoriadis, I’m convinced of it. Nurse! My tablets please!

Quote:
Commodities turn you into a fetishist… …not in the good way

I am a materialist. Well they’re handy, aren’t they.

I’m going to disrespect both you and knightrose on “+ insults” because you’ve been horrid to me. Just let me think of some decent slurs and I’ll be right with you.

Lots of love

LR

wld_rvn
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Oct 7 2005 19:33

Sorry to bring this topic back on thread...

The Groupe Communiste Internationaliste was formed in 1979 following a split with the ICC. It originated in a tendency which began to defend different positions on the party, the state in the period of transition, and class violence. Initially it claimed that it was trying to go back to the positions of the Italian left in the period of the Italian Fraction of the communist left (which published Bilan in the 1930s). It argued in favour of the ‘proletarian’ nature of the state in the transition period and of the party exerting the proletarian dictatorship. Whereas for the ICC these had been contradictory positions of the Italian Fraction which were clarified by later discussion, for the tendency that went on to form the GCI they were seen as expressions of an ‘inavariant’ programme, a position it shared with post-second world war Bordigism rather than with Bilan. In particular, like the Bordigists, the tendency declared itself in favour of a ‘Red Terror’ under the proletarian power; and it also began to theorise the existence of a ‘workers, terrorism’ embodied in acts of minority violence against the bourgeoisie.

The tendency was not, as some have claimed, expelled from the ICC but left before the discussion on these issues could really develop. However, the group’s declared commitment to carrying on the tradition of the Italian left did not last long; a short-lived split, the Fraction Communiste Internationaliste, attempted to keep to its original premises but did not last very long. Later on there was a second split, giving rise to the group Movement Communiste, although the reasons behind this second split remain unclear.

Very quickly the group evolved towards what we termed in two articles in our International Review a kind of ‘punk anarcho Bordigism’, abandoning the theoretical cornerstone of the Italian Fraction, in particular by attacking the notion of the decadence of capitalism and rejecting almost the entire continuity of the workers’ movement: the trade unions and social democracy, for example, were not seen as expression of the working class in a period when communist revolution was not on the agenda, but as fundamentally bourgeois from the beginning, since communism had been possible at all times. The term ‘party’ also ceased to refer to a specific political organisation of the revolutionary minority, and became synonymous with ‘the real movement towards communism’. They were returning to their anarchist roots, which we characterised as ‘embarassed anarchism’.

More dangerous however was the GCI’s increasing fascination with violence, which led it to see expressions of the proletariat in movements that were completely dominated by nationalism. Despite its verbal denunciations of patriotism, it began to identify the Peruvian Shining Path and certain factions of the El Salvadorean guerrilla movement as vehicles of a proletarian violence. Today the GCI even sees the proletariat in the bombings, machine-gunnings and other terrorist attacks going on in Iraq.

The GCI’s flirtation with terrorism also impregnates its attitude to the proletarian camp and its organisational practices. In 1995 the GCI issued scarcely-veiled death threats against the ICC in Mexico; more recently some of its sympathisers in the UHP-ARDE group in Spain did the same thing, although other elements in the group distanced themselves from this approach (see the article ‘Solidarity with our threatened militants’). In general, its attitude to the proletarian milieu is entirely and explicitly destructive, as can be seen from its behaviour at the third international conference of the communist left in 1980 (see article ‘The International Conferences of the Communist Left (1976-80)’). At the same time, the GCI’s obsession with secrecy means that it has no public presence and it offers no possibility of open debate.

The GCI’s publications are not primarily dedicated to attacking the ICC or other proletarian groups, unlike the so-called ‘Internal Fraction of the ICC’ whose existence as a parasite on the ICC is more obvious, we think that the term parasitic- which we by no means use indiscriminately – applies to this group. Parasitism is a form of political activity that is fundamentally destructive of proletarian organisations. Not only does the GCI openly call for the destruction and even physical liquidation of revolutionary militants, but its position on terrorism constitutes a real threat to the security and probity of the proletarian milieu. For more on our analysis of political parisitism see our Theses on Parasitism.

The GCI has gained a particular reputation for its claims about its intervention in the 1991 uprisings in Iraq, which it has widely described as a proletarian insurrection. Certainly there needs to be research and discussion about these events and the political and organisational forces present within them, above all in relation to the situation in Iraq today. But given its history, it is necessary to be extremely careful about the information the GCI has spread about these events. And the GCI is certainly not available for a real discussion about them, unlike the ICC!

World Revolution.

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 7 2005 19:39

Hi

Good post comrade.

Quote:
the trade unions and social democracy, for example, were not seen as expression of the working class in a period when communist revolution was not on the agenda, but as fundamentally bourgeois from the beginning, since communism had been possible at all times.

I agree with that.

Love

LR

redtwister
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Oct 12 2005 16:16
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi redtwister
Quote:
Irrelevant in practice, man, not in principle.

I’m not stirring the shit for no reason, man, but I’m still a bit suspicious about this. In what way is a worker’s political position irrelevant in practice? Workers visualising their post-capitalist life is the essence of revolution. Feel free to post “horseshit” to that if you like.

I say irrelevant because at least at first, most people go into a specific struggle with all kids of ideas and with a general lack of clarity. In the process of struggle, people's ideas may change, they may learna dn realize things in days that would have taken years before. Now, it may mean that a struggle reaches some limits because of what people think (racism, sexism, etc. have hamstrung more than a few struggles, no?), but depending on the scale fo the fight and the participation of other people, itheir ideas may change.

I am not trying to short-change the necessity of becoming conscious, of developing political ideasthat accord with the actions one takes, but that having those ideas in advance is simply not necessary.

So no, no'horseshit.'

cheers,

chris

redtwister
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Oct 12 2005 16:53
Lazy Riser wrote:
Quote:
Why would I think that all competition is economic competition? Why would sports competition be economic competition? Or competition for a lover? Or competition in chess or checkers?

Am I mistaken when I say the notion isn’t too controversial? Don’t all these things have an economic imperative? Sport and sex, status amongst your peers and maximising opportunities with suitable mates. I’m a bit of a fan of Game Theory, mathematical models of rational choice and evolutionary psychology. I’m of the view that all choice is essentially a question of cost versus benefit.

Only if you take this society as the norm of human behaviour, and only then if you take paid sports and paid sex (and all sexual relations as purely monetary and cynical) as all there is. Mathematical models are exactly the reduction of reality to mere quantity, and the making of math the god of al empirical reality is correlative to a society that turns everything into something with a price, that can be bought or sold and ir reduced ultimately to a quantity. Your very presuppositions are unquestioned by you and that is, to me, exactly how ideology operates, to naturalize exactly what should be called into question.

Quote:
Quote:
Capital and markets do not reward performance either

Indeed. ParEcon and Capital share the same problem there. I think it’s fair to say markets reward popularity, if consumers make rational choices, performance.

Markets offer one reward, money. They also reward those who have the ability to dominate markets. Free compeition in markets leads to monopoly/oligopoly because, using money, producers always seek to increase their market share and drive out competitors. they don't necessarily guarantee the best product nor do they guarantee that consumers have any say because he consumer-producer bifurcation means that consumers primarily respond to the outpouring of products determined, after a very basic level, by producers.

There is no reason that people cannot be rewarded in all kinds of ways that do not involve money and that breaking the bifurcation of producer-consumer could not produce as many novel things with less waste.

Quote:
Quote:
Who insures that their 'money' is not just worthless scrip?

No-one, money is worthless scrip. That’s what makes it so useful.

Well, then as I have insisted, it isn't money. Your 'money' is no different from Marx's idea of labor notes (mentioned in Capital and in the Critique of the Gotha Program), which he clearly differentiates from money because they cannot purchase labor or be used to purchase the means of production which would employ other people's labor (your own is nother matter because that is merely personal property.)

Quote:
Quote:
How can you have a monetary system without states to enforce regularity and uniformity of money?

Excellent question. I think the banks can do that, they could use computers.

Computers answer the technical question, not the social one. That's why states developed federal reserves and central banks and established exchange rate mechanisms, but they use computers. The computers do not have anything to do with exchange rates, the guarantee that the money is 'worth' what it is worth, etc.

Quote:
Quote:
Also, nothing you mention so far explains to me how you will maintain large production and distribution chains

You’re right, but I don’t see a big problem with doing that. Could I just point you to Schweickart’s “After Capitalism” for some of that stuff? Why wouldn’t consumers operating in an open market insist their suppliers behave with integrity towards the whole proletariat?

Eeep, market socialism pokes out its head. Why, having overthrown capital, would anyone want to put 'collectives' of capitalists back in place? An open market is no better than a closed market (in the U.S., the last time we had affordable, near universal phone service was under the AT&T monopoly.)

Quote:
Quote:
So far, all I see is you looking at the problem from the point of view of what you personally want to consume. I don't even need to make an insulting insinuation to show the limitedness of that.

Enlightened self-interest. I find acting on other’s behalf more limiting than developing politics that are relevant to my everyday life. Also your tone is unnecessarily hostile and somewhat intimidating. I am very upset. Not really.

Its not a question of acting on other's behalf, but of getting out of one's navel and thinking about other people, a bit like what one is supposed to do with a family or friends, where I hope you don't act merely out of enlightened self-interest or expect them to o the same, but out of a host of entirely non-monetary, non-cynical motives.

Quote:
Quote:
Linux is a product of novel innovations driven

I’m a Chartered Software Engineer as it happens, and familiar with “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” etc. It’s interesting you should bring the Open Source movement up, because in this country the Green Party holds it up as the way forward for the market. It inherits it’s economic line from that of the European Greens, as espoused by Daniel Cohn Bendit. There’s a line of thought here going back to SoB and Castoriadis, I’m convinced of it. Nurse! My tablets please!

Good, I am also familiar with the Linux material and what I find most interesting is that the merket aspect is what will end up with a few cmpanies monpolizing the whole thing. And of course, I might mention that the predicate of the Linux model in this society is a legal standing of the property rights upheld by states. Therein are some of the limits of Linux. My point being that most people who contribute do it in spite of the lack of money or marketability. They do it because it meets a need or fixes a problem or makes them happy or lets them get their geek on.

I also agree with Richard Stallman that "Open Source" is just a shameless corporate logo-ing of the movement to make it into a for-profit venture. Free Software is more correct.

I am fond of some of Richard Barbrook's views on this.

cheers,

chris

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 12 2005 18:42

Hi

It’s delightful to discuss this with someone as encyclopaedic as you comrade, thank you for courageously bringing up Marxist labor notes. Would you be happy with an economy that utilised that technology?

Love

LR

alibadani
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Oct 12 2005 18:49
Quote:
Hi

Good post comrade.

Quote:
the trade unions and social democracy, for example, were not seen as expression of the working class in a period when communist revolution was not on the agenda, but as fundamentally bourgeois from the beginning, since communism had been possible at all times.

I agree with that.

Isn't that the crux of the difference between anarchism and Marxism-- the idea that communism has always been possible? If communism has always been possible then there must have always been communists. Therefore there must have been a Bakunin in Babylon, and a Marx in Sparta. I'd like the anarchists to produce some books by these ancient communists.

Marxism claims that the very concept of communism itself is historically conditioned. So not only has communism not always been possible, but thinking about it in a profound way hasn't always been possible. So perhaps some poor peasant in 13th century France might have imagined a world where all men were equal, but would he have been an atheist, non-sexist, anti-statist internationalist? I may be wrong, but I'd like to see some books written before the capitalist era by a communist.

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 12 2005 18:55

Hi

Newton was a physicist. Same thing.

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 12 2005 18:59

Hi

Sorry about that. Books are published by a wealthy elite and the Victorian age reeked of enlightenment and philanthropy, hence writers with working class politics were able to be published.

Historical materialism, comrade.

Love

LR

redtwister
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Oct 12 2005 19:20
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

It’s delightful to discuss this with someone as encyclopaedic as you comrade, thank you for courageously bringing up Marxist labor notes. Would you be happy with an economy that utilised that technology?

Love

LR

Well, I have ambiguous feelings about the work that relates to, but Marx quite clearly posed two phases of communism (neither of which involves a state, btw, contrary to popular mythology), in the first phase he posed that bourgeois norms of distribution would likely still exist and that some form of accounting of human productive activity would be necessary until a level of productive and human transformation had been achieved that would allow "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs".

I am not certain that corresponds per se technically anymore, but I do suspect that the human element will require a genuine period of acculturation and transition, and that intermediary forms between the market as it relates to capitalist production and the market in labor versus a 'market' in items of personal consumption may nonethless exist.

Of course, Marx predicates his idea on a simple accounting of laboring activity in time, an even more severe reduction of labor to time, sans qualities, such that one hour of a doctor's work would equal one hour of anyone else's work in terms of labor script, thereby really blowing away any attempt to equalize incommensurate concrete labors in the market. Otherwise, one can imagine quite a bureacratic apparatus simply trying to do what the market does behind people's backs. Since the labor would be directly accounted, it is quite the opposite of money and markets with no indirect exchange masking the value of labor. This would go a long way to destroying reckoning in money rather than in the amount of human time used to achieve a certain goal, such that we might reckon a project is simply worth or not worth so many hours of human labor.

It certainly does not take into account different levels of skill involved, but in that way it refuses to valorize the labor of a medical practitioner differently than a garbage collector. I am mulling over the implications of this, but I think they are quite radical in a good way.

Its funny, most anarchists I know are expecting the great leap forward all at once, whereas you are expecting, IMO, less of a leap than Marx...

None of that necessarily addresses the allocation of resources for production, of course. In the abscence of a certain kind of compulsion and competition for the 'juicier', more lucrative jobs, intra-labor competition loses a lot of force. But you still need mechanisms to manage large-scale production units as social property, not as little group or local property, and as such I can imagine people having administrative bodies operating at various levels of direct and representative control (and getting the same scrip per hour of labor for their participation), with no one having a single 'job', but doing different kinds of work different days or for spans of time (I also suspect that necessary labor will have to be reduced to a couple hours a day, something I think we can do immediately once a lot of the crap is no longer produced, like tanks, battleships, mansions, Trump Tower, the Queen's ass rubs, etc.)

cheers,

chris

redtwister
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Oct 12 2005 19:58

Hmmm....

There is some merit to the comments of the ICC, though relying on comments about a group from 1986 or 1992 may not be quite relevant in 2005. However, I plan on looking at their stuff on Iraq.

Some of their stuff does smack of the worst charicatures of ultra-leftism. For example, I find it hard to imagine handing one of their leaflets out at a demo or to people where I work. It is all jargon that would put someone off immediately, or at least I hope it would, as it is clearly written with complete indifference to audience. Such an indifference to audience generally indicates a rigidity of theory and politics, and isolation from actual people with whom one has to have a conversation and relationship.

I have been reading their Programme draft document, however, and it is quite decent in some ways. I suppose I do not read their notion of invariance in quite the same way the ICC does, though I tend to think that there is a basic correctly critique in the ICC's comments on unions, parties, etc. It smacks of the same approach the current ultra-left takes towards Lenin, a kind of demonization whcih seems to run from the fact that Lenin occupied a fraternal space in the Social Democratic Left alongside Luxemburg and Pannekoek and Gorter, though not with the exact same politics (as Luxemburg was not a clone of Pannekoek or vice versa). Hagiography and demonization seem common to the whole left and need to be left behind if one wants to see how the Left related to the class as a whole.

I also understand their notion of communism, party and state and frankly it is very much of interest to me. Much more interesting than the ICC, so far.

I certainly do not ascribe to a notion of decadence, which I consider rather mistaken as to how capital works and to what makes for a revolution. It smacks of the old Orthodox Marxist objectivism that I think should be treated with great distrust. Of course, some comrades from Internationalist Perspective to Loren Goldner would undoubtedly be more in agreement with the ICC than I.

As for playing fast and loose, I noted on several occaissions that the ICC ascribed to the GCI things they clearly did not say, like lumping Pannekoek with Varga. In the quote they cited, Pannekoek was never mentioned, nor could he be as he was very critical of Luxemburg and Grossman's notions of decadence. And as someone familiar with the works of the German-Dutch and Italian Left Communists by a former member and their 'political editing' of those two books (available in their current, author-edited versions in the Libcom Library), I cannot help but be suspiscious of the ICC's 'non-sectarian' credentials and that it relates to their politics, but being only passingly familiar with the ICC's politics and theory beyond these few articles, I;m not impressed nor inclined to take them at face value.

However, one aspect of the ICC's critique is correct. it is one thing to have a wild disjuncture in a single comrade between theory and action, but groups tend to either have a bad theory that expresses their bad activity or a bad activity that flows from their bad theory. so when I see a radical disjuncture between a super-revolutionism in public leaflets, certain theoretical positions and actual behaviour.

I do not mean to be crass on the issue of physical threats, but I also have seen some cases where frankly groups like the Spartatcist League or ISO or various Maoists brought an ass-kicking on themselves or the SI confrontation with that old anarchist in France after the 68 events, where he openly tried to associate the activity of the SI with the Stalinists, which was slander. I'd break his freakin soup toureen too. If however, they are genuine and unprovoked by equivalent actions, it is shameful indeed.

chris

afraser
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Oct 12 2005 20:39
Redtwister wrote:
Your [Lazyrisers] 'money' is no different from Marx's idea of labor notes (mentioned in Capital and in the Critique of the Gotha Program), which he clearly differentiates from money because they cannot purchase labor or be used to purchase the means of production which would employ other people's labor (your own is nother matter because that is merely personal property.)

On that we have agreement since I would forbid wage-labor or private investment in means of production - 'money' in my ideal society would be a means of exchange only.

Did Marx really advocate labor notes, as opposed to criticising Proudhon for doing that? It doesn't seem to feature anywhere in Marxist literature I've read. I can't see it in 'Capital'.

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 12 2005 20:59

Hi

Quote:
I would forbid wage-labor or private investment in means of production

How would you do that then?

Say I want to swap a few of my afraser labour notes for a blow job. Is that not wage labour? Maybe I’d like to sponsor a milker in a Cow sanctuary, and in return I get a special card on my birthday from “Daisy”, is that not private investment in means of production?

God forbid you want to put a little home-grown under your own set of lights, talk about private investment in the means of production.

So you’ve got the afraser temperance police going around making sure all us anti-social profiteers aren’t misusing our funds buying favours or setting up restaurants using our own ovens. What’s the difference between that and authoritarian State-Capitalism? You’ll have a Black Market in no time. You’ll need tax to pay those commissars of prohibition comrade, not to mention an army of advisors to navigate the fiddly statute book you’ll have to introduce to ensure people aren’t “sharing” in public and “swapping” in private.

Love

LR

redtwister
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Oct 12 2005 21:10
afraser wrote:
Redtwister wrote:
Your [Lazyrisers] 'money' is no different from Marx's idea of labor notes (mentioned in Capital and in the Critique of the Gotha Program), which he clearly differentiates from money because they cannot purchase labor or be used to purchase the means of production which would employ other people's labor (your own is nother matter because that is merely personal property.)

On that we have agreement since I would forbid wage-labor or private investment in means of production - 'money' in my ideal society would be a means of exchange only.

Did Marx really advocate labor notes, as opposed to criticising Proudhon for doing that? It doesn't seem to feature anywhere in Marxist literature I've read. I can't see it in 'Capital'.

Check the critique of the Gotha Program, and also the mention of it in a footnote in Chapter 3, number 1

"The question — Why does not money directly represent labour-time, so that a piece of paper may represent, for instance, x hours’ labour, is at bottom the same as the question why, given the production of commodities, must products take the form of commodities? This is evident, since their taking the form of commodities implies their differentiation into commodities and money. Or, why cannot private labour — labour for the account of private individuals — be treated as its opposite, immediate social labour? I have elsewhere examined thoroughly the Utopian idea of "labour-money” in a society founded on the production of commodities (l. c., p. 61, seq.). On this point I will only say further, that Owen’s “labour-money,” for instance, is no more “money” than a ticket for the theatre. Owen pre-supposes directly associated labour, a form of production that is entirely in consistent with the production of commodities. The certificate of labour is merely evidence of the part taken by the individual in the common labour, and of his right to a certain portion of the common produce destined for consumption. But it never enters into Owen’s head to pre-suppose the production of commodities, and at the same time, by juggling with money, to try to evade the necessary conditions of that production."

I have no idea what that reference inthe footnote is to, sadly.

Engels had some comments on 'labout money' which are more or less ok, though Engels IMO never quite grasped what Marx was doing in Capital, which left its mark on the versions of Volume 2 and 3 put out after Marx's death (the correct, unedited versions of those manuscripts have been made available in German now in the MEGA II project for any intrepid readers.) http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/pre-1885.htm

Chris

afraser
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Oct 13 2005 15:51
Lazy Riser wrote:
How would you do that then?

How would I forbid wage labour?

Well, as Lazy Riser suggests, I could send the afraser temperance police out to go around poking their noses into everything everybody is doing. But lets say I don't like that idea, think it is too authoritarian. What alternatives are there?

Imagine a society which insists that firms be owned by their workers, only by their workers, and by all their workers. They allow incorporation by workers co-operatives only. When such a firm wants to recruit more workers, it must recruit them as full worker-owner members of the co-operative: with full voting rights and an equal share of the profits; either that, or not at all - it must not hire people as wage labourers like capitalist firms do. It will obviously be in the interest of the existing worker-owner members to evade that restriction and recruit low paid wage slaves. Sometimes worker-owner members will be enlightened enough to treat new recruits fairly, but, sadly, other times they will give in to the capitalist temptation - especially, it seems in practice, where different ethnic groups are involved: Ashkenazi Kibbutzim hire Mizrahim, Palestinians, and East Asians, as lowly wage labourers and never as full members of the Kibbutz; while Mondragon has expanded into supermarkets in Southern France, and factories in East Asia, the English Midlands, and in the US, in all cases refusing membership of Mondragon to its non-Basque workers, treating them as ordinary wage labourers.

Now capitalist societies allow this behaviour, but the society I am imagining would not, and the workers denied their rights to be an owner-member of a firm would be able to petition a court to be granted those rights. I would have worker-ownership be a requirement of incorporation, so that their existence as legal entities would depend on them adhering to that. It would very much be in the interest of the discriminated against workers to apply for those rights, they would do so on their own without any policing or invasive law enforcement – none of this would even be matters of criminal law at all, instead of company law and employment law, civil dispute resolution.

Illegal immigrants – workers sans papiers – would be afraid to appeal to a tribunal, so would be at risk of old style capitalist treatment by unscrupulous workers co-operatives. So might some workers in the grey economy, such as prostitutes. But for the huge majority of workers, any policing of such a system, let alone authoritarian policing, would be unnecessary.

How would I forbid private ownership of the means of production?

Actually, strictly, I wouldn’t – I am in favour of worker owned businesses, workers co-operatives, some of which would be single worker-owner sole traders. In that sense, those means of production would be privately owned.

What I would forbid is absentee ownership of means of production: the owning of someone else’s means of production. That comes in three forms:

1) (profit) - owning (a share of) a firm which you are not a worker of. This is prevented by the requirement that all firms be worker owned, discussed above.

2) (interest) - lending money at interest. This would prevented by simply removing any requirement on the part of debtors to repay loans they have received. Greedy individuals might like to loan some of their money to others at interest, but courts will refuse to enforce repayment, either of the interest or the principal. Under those circumstances, loans will not be extended.

3) (rent) – renting out land by absentee landlords. Private alienable ownership of land would be forbidden, again by simply refusing legal recognition of that concept. Land would all be communally owned, with rights of possession (secure tenancy) of land would be given to individuals (and to individual worker owned firms) but they would require that the possessor reside on that land, and would not include rights of alienation or sub-letting. Community Land Trusts in the US are an example http://www.iceclt.org/clt/

There are issues over determining the cut off point for acceptability with arrangements such as renting, leasing, delayed payment due date, arrangements – so renting a hostel room for a night may be ok, but privately renting a house for ten years may not; or renting a van for one weekend ok, leasing one for three years may not, and so on. But I think it ought to be possible to work out reasonable judgements so that society might, for example, accept that a short term vehicle rental firm had the right to repossess any of its vans that had not been returned, while a decade long house occupier could not be evicted or charged rent by the pretend absentee ‘owner’.

But again, the afraser temperance police stay in their barracks.

redtwister
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Oct 13 2005 17:15
revol68 wrote:
the ICC are interesting in the same way scientologists are.

seriously, they manage to mix the worst parts of ultra leftism with leninism and a very reductionist decadence theory which even the 2nd international would have choked on.

Quote:
I also understand their notion of communism, party and state and frankly it is very much of interest to me. Much more interesting than the ICC, so far

Sorry but they represent nothing more than a muddled reworking of leninism, something that has flowed through Bordiga and onto much of the italian autonomists in the 70's.

As for Lenin I see little to merit even looking at his bourgeois writings, one would get as much out of Mussolini's shit. Only Leninism managed what fascism promised to do, merge the state and economy into a whole.

Leninism is of more use if you want to develop a theory of hyper development with you and your middle class mates at the driving seat, hence it's popularity with national liberation thugs the world over.

I know the ICC only peripherally, but I was not referring to the ICC when I was talking about finding 'their' notions interesting. The 'their' was the ICG/GCI.

As for Lenin, one can take that approach and feel comfy, but one still has to grapple with how Lenin could be a part of the Social Democratic Left for 20 years, opposing Bernstein, defending the 1905 uprising, opposing the slide into an opportunist position on war in the international, opposing the national-chauvinist tendencies in the 2nd International, etc.

If we want to make sense of the Social Democratic Left and their various trajectories and where they had differences and similarities, we have to go beyond demonization of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. If we want to understand how the Bolsheviks ended up playing the role they played, it is insufficient to know their minds, but to understand how it was that they were able to override the working class. Betrayal is simply an insufficient answer.

chris

petey
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Oct 13 2005 17:35

good stuff all. this information is what i came here to read.

now, can someone explain to me the ICC vs. IBRP hoo-hah? confused

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Lazy Riser
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Oct 13 2005 18:09

Hi

Revol68, please desist from doing posts I agree with. Are you sure a career in IT is quite for you? It would be a terrible waste, not mention dangerous. If you had to join a political organisation which one would you choose?

Love

LR CEng

knightrose
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Oct 13 2005 18:51

I don't think Lenin ever ceased to be a social democrat. As I read it, the policies of the Bolsheviks were what you get when social democracy has to operate in a semi-illegal, undemocratic situation. As such, there is little, if anything, to learn from them.

As to the ICC v IBRP thing, frankly i don't understand it. It's a bit like two drunks arguing in a pub.

However, a good quote from an IBRP member in Manchester some years ago, when discussing Lenin and the Bolsheviks, "It's not what they did that matters, it's what they said." I doubt the ICC would have come out with anything that crass!