-criticism on letterbombs and propaganda of the deed-

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tastybrain
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Jan 24 2012 22:06
HorrorHiro wrote:
[
Alright 1st off I don't know if you are taking any offense to my responses (it doesn't seem like it thankfully) but if you are please don't, sometimes I forget that the internet doesn't have a sarcasm button and I may or may not come off as a complete asshole and or troll.

Now I'm curious why exactly did you call me a capitalist? I thought I had made it rather clear that I am anti-capitalist. And yes I am fully aware of capitalists/capitalisms ways of tolerating those which they can profit off of. And again yes I am fully aware that this is a communist forum. And just so we're on the same page I never asked anyone to tolerate me, feel free to feel however you wish about me and also feel free to voice those opinions if that is what you feel like doing. And the "Liberal communist" thing is a long ass story so I'll shorten it for you, I live in America nuff said. And that last part was suppose to go with Anarcho-Communist high road thing.

So do I, dog. That's no excuse to be sloppy with language (although I'm sure it would be entirely in line with our stultifying culture and what our UK comrades expect of us tongue ).

Why do I say you are a capitalist? One of your first posts on this forum was about starting an "anarchist organization" that would tolerate all kinds of anarchism, including so-called "free market anarchism". When some people criticized you for including them, you said:

Quote:
1st of all yes "free market anarchism" because regardless about how most of us feel about it it is still a legitimate school of thought in Anarchism.

How am I supposed to interpret this? You claim you are an "anti-capitalist" but "respect" AnCap ideas and regard them as part of the same political tendency as you. If you were actually an "anti capitalist" you would be a harsh critic and a staunch opponent of such oxymoronic ideologies as "anarcho capitalism". An anarcho capitalist society, granting their premises, would quickly harden into a society made up of a few competing capitalist cartels enforcing their rule ruthlessly through private armies. It essentially amounts to capitalism with the repressive functions of the state privatized and the recuperative functions of the state totally eliminated. Anarcho capitalism is capitalism plain and simple, and should fill anyone who is against the class system with disgust.

Anyway, you call yourself "anti-capitalist" but also deny being a communist... I'm not sure how you envision things working after the revolution, but if you are not a communist then I imagine your vision for a free, "anarchist" society includes one or more of the following elements:
-wage labor
-money
-commodity exchange
-strict division of labor
-private ownership MOP
-"public" ownership of MOP run like a employee owned corporation (of which there are several currently operating, so just from observing these you should come to the conclusion that self management of capitalism, no matter what it is called, is not liberatory in any way).

If you think any of these elements of capitalism should be preserved after the revolution, you are a capitalist (although perhaps a nice fuzzy variety of capitalist, like a Mutualist). If you think they should all be abolished, you are a communist.

radicalgraffiti
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Jan 24 2012 22:05
Cooked wrote:
Isn't there a serious overstatement that all anarchists have always been communists going on? All anarchists are socialists but there has always been non communists strands. To deny them as part of the history of anarchism seems absurd.

I agree, but i think history is the crucial word here, none communist anarchists are now near enough none existent, and really any one who claims to be an anarchist but not a communists hasn't really thought about things and most likely is not active in any way in real life (excluding those anarchists who are just getting started)

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HorrorHiro
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Jan 24 2012 22:51
tastybrain wrote:
HorrorHiro wrote:
[
Alright 1st off I don't know if you are taking any offense to my responses (it doesn't seem like it thankfully) but if you are please don't, sometimes I forget that the internet doesn't have a sarcasm button and I may or may not come off as a complete asshole and or troll.

Now I'm curious why exactly did you call me a capitalist? I thought I had made it rather clear that I am anti-capitalist. And yes I am fully aware of capitalists/capitalisms ways of tolerating those which they can profit off of. And again yes I am fully aware that this is a communist forum. And just so we're on the same page I never asked anyone to tolerate me, feel free to feel however you wish about me and also feel free to voice those opinions if that is what you feel like doing. And the "Liberal communist" thing is a long ass story so I'll shorten it for you, I live in America nuff said. And that last part was suppose to go with Anarcho-Communist high road thing.

So do I, dog. That's no excuse to be sloppy with language (although I'm sure it would be entirely in line with our stultifying culture and what our UK comrades expect of us tongue ).

Why do I say you are a capitalist? One of your first posts on this forum was about starting an "anarchist organization" that would tolerate all kinds of anarchism, including so-called "free market anarchism". When some people criticized you for including them, you said:

Quote:
1st of all yes "free market anarchism" because regardless about how most of us feel about it it is still a legitimate school of thought in Anarchism.

How am I supposed to interpret this? You claim you are an "anti-capitalist" but "respect" AnCap ideas and regard them as part of the same political tendency as you. If you were actually an "anti capitalist" you would be a harsh critic and a staunch opponent of such oxymoronic ideologies as "anarcho capitalism". An anarcho capitalist society, granting their premises, would quickly harden into a society made up of a few competing capitalist cartels enforcing their rule ruthlessly through private armies. It essentially amounts to capitalism with the repressive functions of the state privatized and the recuperative functions of the state totally eliminated. Anarcho capitalism is capitalism plain and simple, and should fill anyone who is against the class system with disgust.

Anyway, you call yourself "anti-capitalist" but also deny being a communist... I'm not sure how you envision things working after the revolution, but if you are not a communist then I imagine your vision for a free, "anarchist" society includes one or more of the following elements:
-wage labor
-money
-commodity exchange
-strict division of labor
-private ownership MOP
-"public" ownership of MOP run like a employee owned corporation (of which there are several currently operating, so just from observing these you should come to the conclusion that self management of capitalism, no matter what it is called, is not liberatory in any way).

If you think any of these elements of capitalism should be preserved after the revolution, you are a capitalist (although perhaps a nice fuzzy variety of capitalist, like a Mutualist). If you think they should all be abolished, you are a communist.

Just saying, I was talking about me included in the "most of us" part of that comment. I never claimed to be an advocate of free market anarchism. But yes I do respect it as it's own seprate...thing, only because I know that there self-claimed "Free Market Anarchists" who don't want don't want to be associated with the capitalists that have ideals of a free market (I didn't say I could make sense out of it.)

I know there was 1 other person who defended the concept/theory of free market anarchism, I think it was Birthday Pony? And in response to your take on critiquing capitalism, to avoid what we have already established I'll just say "been there, done that."

But I have not critiqued Free Market Anarchist theory (again separate from the ancaps.) Simply because when I 1st heard of it my attention was mostly on trying to figure out this so called "Nationalist Anarchism" or "Tribal Anarchism" or whatever the hell the right-wingers are trying to call it these days...

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Birthday Pony
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Jan 25 2012 09:28
LBird wrote:
The problem is that ‘individual behaviour’, while ‘free’ to some extent, is also both circumscribed and directed by social relationships. In other words, as ‘individuals’ we sometimes can do just what we want, we sometimes are prevented doing what we want and we sometimes do what society tells us to do (often unconscious of the fact). For us as Communists, surely the bit we are interested in is not our freedom to eat or shit when we like, but the parts of our lives where we are blocked or manipulated by the social relationships within which we find ourselves from birth. The sources of this are beyond ‘individual’ considerations.

This is all true, but you are failing to ask a crucial question: how do we develop unconscious social or psychological barriers to action?

I would say that it's possibly as simple as classical conditioning. Certain actions are rewarded, certain actions are punished. Then the question becomes who or what distributes punishment and reward, at which point you must either submit that there is some sort of power beyond human control, a capitalist god-figure, that distributes rewards and punishment independent of any human action, or that there's a very complex network of individual actions culminating into a collective notion of capitalist function. Someone at the top orders the troops to fire, and at the bottom the troops decide whether or not to fire, which it should be noted, they don't always do.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutiny#Famous_mutinies

At the most basic level, and call me a wide-eyed and naive ol' anarchist, I think people are capable of choice.

Birthday Pony wrote:
You seem to be suggesting that if we discuss ‘individuals’ and the extent of their lack of ‘freedom’ we are somehow being ‘deterministic’. Clearly, there is some ‘determination’ of individuals’ behaviour in all societies, and there will be in a Communist society, but the more we are aware of those ‘deterministic’ features of our existence, the better for us when we discuss our future social arrangements.

I disagree with that. Social norms are vastly different from a negation of any or all accountability. In the society I would like to live in people are fully responsible and fully accountable for their actions, rather than somehow semi-free to do as they like (I believe eat and shit were the two you mentioned, hardly my idea of freedom as even on house arrest you'd have as much choice) and then controlled by some metastructural relationship that is independent of their own thoughts and will in other cases.

And then the most aching question, that you still haven't answered, is what the hell we are supposed to do about this relationship that is apparently independent of individuals, no matter how much they are a product of their historic and cultural placement (which I would even agree they are).

Quote:
Well, I’d say that our awareness of this social fact can only make our ‘libertarian existence’ the stronger for recognising it! We need to ensure that our social structure is ‘libertarian’, not just pretend that ‘individuals are free’, in a bourgeois sense. Surely this is what class consciousness is all about, and how the human race ‘comes to consciousness’ of its social existence by democratically controlling the social structure within which, inevitably for a social animal, we will always find ourselves.

I'm not mixing ideas of social freedom and a type of metaphysical freedom. The social fact that for squatting I would most likely be arrested by a SWAT team does not negate my role in the decision to squat, for instance, nor does it negate the role of the police chief in calling in the SWAT team, nor does it negate the role of the SWAT team itself in forcefully evicting me.

Imagine two scenarios. All parties involved realize this "social fact" of yours, that all their actions are a product of their historic and cultural peculiarity.

Now imagine that the members of the SWAT team realize their own accountability in the action, that they are the ones to blame for me being homeless after my eviction, that they play just as much a part in this than anyone else, and they they are evicting someone that may very well be in the same class as their children, siblings, or parents.

Which is more likely to be used as a way to shed responsibility for reprehensible actions and which is more likely to rupture the dominant social structure?

Quote:
The ‘actions of individuals’ places the focus in the wrong area: the real focus of our interest, especially in dealing with the issue of ‘terrorism’, is the social structure of capitalism, which, yes, in some way, determines the actions of individuals. ‘Class’ is of far more importance than ‘individual’. Both are ideological constructs, and which we choose to use to help understand our society will betray our social conditioning: unexamined ‘bourgeois socialisation’ or consciously-chosen ‘Communism’.

Let's be explicitly clear that you are the only person talking about focus on the individual.

Quote:
It’s our ‘coming to consciousness’ of the elements of our social determination that in fact liberates us, and allows us to analyse, act upon and change that social structure.

Consciousness of? We would both undoubtedly say of the relationships at play that dictate our every day lives. I would also add a realization of how one fits into that relationship, their role in it, their ability to resist it, and their ability to form new social bonds on anarchist basis's. There is a negotiation between individual and society at play, and to subsume either within the other is pretty dumb.

Quote:
I’m a Libertarian Communist, not a Libertarian Individualist, and this is displayed by my social, not individual, concerns.

When someone who prioritizes individual concerns over social concerns comes along I'll let you know.

Quote:
To deny the role of society in the makeup of the individual is to deny them their social consciousness. ‘Conscience and will’ are at least partially social attributes, as is the power to indulge our ‘conscience and will’ freely in any sense. We have to make sure that social power works for us all. Focusing on ‘individuals’ does not do that: in fact, it conceals it.

When someone who denies the role of society in the makeup of the individual comes along, I'll be right there with you telling them they've got it all wrong. As for the points I've raised, it would be nice if you could address them rather than the points of a ninja individualist that seems to come in and edit my posts while I'm gone, and then edit them back before I sign back on. If there's no such thread ninja, I'd almost think you weren't giving my posts an honest read, but that would be rude of me to assume something like that.

LBird
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Jan 25 2012 10:11
Birthday Pony wrote:
I would say that it's possibly as simple as classical conditioning.

Fuckin' 'ell, BP! Now I'm beginning to realise just how far apart we are in our respective ideological positions! 'Classical conditioning'?

Birthday Pony wrote:
At the most basic level, and call me a wide-eyed and naive ol' anarchist, I think people are capable of choice.

You said it, mate!

Birthday Pony wrote:
In the society I would like to live in people are fully responsible and fully accountable for their actions...

But this is liberal thought, BP. 'Individuals' held accountable for their 'individual actions'.

Many societies don't work on this assumption, and I'm not sure our Communist society will, either.

For example,

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

As well as Anglo-Saxon England, I've come across similar systems of 'communal responsibility' for others' actions in Japan and China.

I'll leave it there, mate, as I don't want to get into a slanging match, during which I get called a 'troll', by the admins as much as anybody.

If you're happy with your knowledge and ideological position, that's fine with me. If you think I'm mistaken about your views and I'm attacking a strawman of my own making, also fine.

Perhaps others could elaborate on the difficulties of 'classical conditioning' and 'individual responsibility'.

Cheers, anyway, BP, for the discussion.

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Birthday Pony
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Jan 25 2012 22:08
LBird wrote:
Fuckin' 'ell, BP! Now I'm beginning to realise just how far apart we are in our respective ideological positions! 'Classical conditioning'?

That's great, but a discussion is what I came here for, not a lecture.

Quote:
But this is liberal thought, BP. 'Individuals' held accountable for their 'individual actions'.

I spent a fair amount of time on a post, and your response is to call me a liberal?

I'm starting to think that I'm not really having a discussion, but am instead engaged in a write off with someone who has a very vested interest in their ideological purity rather than any attempt at communication.

Quote:
Many societies don't work on this assumption, and I'm not sure our Communist society will, either.

For example,

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

*sigh*

LBird, if you could look past buzzwords that seem to offend you, then maybe we could actually start communicating something to each other.

Quote:
As well as Anglo-Saxon England, I've come across similar systems of 'communal responsibility' for others' actions in Japan and China.

Once again, when I dismiss any notion of sociality or community, you will have a point. I'm engaged in a number of discussions about communal obligations and indebtedness, and would actually quite like the discussion that would most likely ensue from engaging this point, but I have no reason to believe you have anything more to do than call me bourgeois or liberal for using the word individual.

Quote:
I'll leave it there, mate, as I don't want to get into a slanging match, during which I get called a 'troll', by the admins as much as anybody.

The best way to avoid this is engage with the points raised by the other poster rather than pigeon-hole or strawman them.

Quote:
If you're happy with your knowledge and ideological position, that's fine with me. If you think I'm mistaken about your views and I'm attacking a strawman of my own making, also fine.

Perhaps unlike you (I don't know your motivations though), I come on to discussion boards for discussion, for process, not to flex my intellectual muscles or prove my ideological superiority and purity. I would very much like to discuss things with you, rather than have a pointless back and forth or turn this thread into an echo chamber.

Quote:
Perhaps others could elaborate on the difficulties of 'classical conditioning' and 'individual responsibility'.

Cheers, anyway, BP, for the discussion.

I'm pretty willing to admit that classical conditioning was exactly the wrong word for me to use, as I was going for Foucault's ideas about institutions of power.

If you could show me where I prioritized the individual over the social, then I would not only cede all my arguments to you, but most likely agree. If you could show a post where you actually engaged with a position of mine rather than show some sort of ideological offense at words that you deem to be bourgeois, then maybe I would call this a discussion. However, ironically as it may be, you have only paid attention to the most atomistic parts of every one of my posts, decrying the individual as a bourgeois ideological construction, taking it out of the context in which it appeared! For someone so offended by any idea of atomistic analysis-- and rightfully so because it's pretty much the wrong way of doing things-- it would serve you well to look at the whole rather than the parts of the posts I've had here.

But anyway, if a discussion happened somewhere I would appreciate a link to it.

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Birthday Pony
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Jan 25 2012 22:25

*double post, shitty connection*

LBird
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Jan 26 2012 00:04

Right, BP, I’ll give it one more go, to try to explain why I think that you’re mistakenly stressing the individual over social structure, and misunderstanding the nature of structure. If you’re not happy with this attempt, I’ll admit defeat, and we can just agree to disagree.

BP wrote:
If you could show me where I prioritized the individual over the social, then I would not only cede all my arguments to you, but most likely agree.

I think these excerpts, just from your post #95, fall into this category:

BP wrote:
…that there's a very complex network of individual actions culminating into a collective notion of capitalist function.

In the society I would like to live in people are fully responsible and fully accountable for their actions…

…some metastructural relationship that is independent of their own thoughts and will…

…what the hell we are supposed to do about this relationship that is apparently independent of individuals

There is a negotiation between individual and society at play, and to subsume either within the other is pretty dumb.

A structure is not about ‘individual actions’, there is no society in which ‘people are fully responsible’, a structure often is ‘independent of their own thoughts and will’ (especially in class societies), you seem shocked that a structure can be ‘independent of individuals’, and the individual is always in some way ‘subsumed into society’.

Although I have supplied a link to my earlier post about ‘lego’ and ‘structure’, I think that either perhaps you haven’t read it or that you haven’t understood its intended significance. If it’s the latter, then that’s my fault for not bringing out explicitly what might have remained only implicit.

It’s my contention that all societies have social structures which are above the individuals which make up that society. This stance is what I consider to be the basis of the difference between ‘individualists’ (who deny a power/authority over the individual will always exist in any society, including Communist society) and ‘Communists’ (who realise the truth of this and intend to ensure that in the future we collectively control this ‘social power/authority’, which will also be present in a commune). Furthermore, Communists locate this current fetish for the ‘individual’ within the society in which we have all been raised, that is, in bourgeois ideology. In fact, no society has ever been just ‘individuals’ who are not subject to a social authority, and no society ever will consist of ‘individuals’ who are not subject to a social authority, including Communist society.

Perhaps a ‘stripped-down’ version of society, to explain further my meaning. I’ve kept this deliberately simple, but of course reality is far more complex. Please accept this weakness in the spirit in which it is intended – merely to illustrate a complex point.

If our society was just me and you, we’d want each other to have as much freedom as possible. So far, so good. But if we have a difference of opinion which we can’t resolve between us as individuals, how do we then do so?

We’d have a weekly formal meeting of the two of us. This is our communal authority. We’d take it in turns to act as the chair, and any issues that can’t be resolved between the individuals comprising the commune would be submitted to the commune for adjudication, which would be binding upon all members of the commune. If there is a balance in the vote, the chair casts a deciding vote.

So, in this admittedly childish scenario, the structure of our society isn’t just me and you as individuals; it also has a higher level authority which is above us: that is, the commune. The fact that we both fully participate in a democratic fashion in this social authority shows that it is a Communist social structure. The upper tier is controlled by its lower tier members. But no individual has complete freedom, and all individuals are subject to the directives of the commune.

It’s easy to imagine another society which consists of us two and a third person, but in this society only the third person is represented in the communal authority, and yet we are still subject to its dictates. This is the equivalent of a society above which there is a non-democratic authority, which we would call ‘the state’.

This explanation is intended to supplement my ‘lego’ examples. We are not just pieces of ‘lego’; we are that, but we are also part of a ‘tank’ or an ‘aeroplane’. Our roles within the structure cannot be altered freely be any constituent part of the structure, otherwise it wouldn’t be a structure. And both the ‘tank’ and the ‘aeroplane’ have emergent properties which are not properties of the ‘lego’ bricks in themselves, but are properties of the structure itself. Recognising this fact of ‘emergent properties’ doesn’t mean that we have to posit something ‘outside’ of the ‘lego’ bricks, but clearly these properties are more than the sum of its parts.

Sorry for the long-windedness of the example.

From this, I think that it is clear that the obsession with ‘individuals’ being outside of any authority is a pipe-dream. We have to accept that, to some extent, we will always be subject to an authority outside of our own individual wishes. The trick is to ensure that the ‘social authority’ is controlled by us all, not a ruling class. We need a ‘libertarian’ social structure, not 7 billion individuals doing as each pleases, as ‘Libertarian Individualism’ seems to envisage.

So, to summarise, taking into account your statement in the excerpts above, society is much more than ‘a very complex network of individual actions’, it is also ‘collective actions’ which are above and in addition to any ‘individual actions’; we can never be ‘fully accountable and responsible’ as just individuals, because we also have a collective existence which must be addressed, and are responsible for each other; the structure is, to some extent, a ‘metastructural relationship that is independent of [our] own thoughts and will’; and in our class society, ‘this relationship that is apparently independent of individuals’ is independent of us individuals, that’s why we want to introduce Communism, so that we control the social relationships within which we must always exist; and lastly, to claim that ‘to subsume either within the other is pretty dumb’ is itself mistaken, because our individual ‘subsumption’ to society is an inescapable fact to all but those individualistic dreamers who have been brainwashed by our present society.

All of our ideas are a product of our social structure, ‘ideologies’ are emergent properties, and an ideology of ‘individualism’ which is a product of bourgeois society will have no part to play in a Communist society.

Finally, to make my position crystal clear, Communist society will tell individuals what to do, to some extent. To think otherwise, is to be, as you said earlier, ‘naïve’.

PS. This is why terrorists killing people won’t work as a method for introducing Communism. That requires a revolution which changes the social structure to reflect our collective, democratic wishes, and not merely the physical removal of some individuals within the current structure. It is not a tactic; it is an error.

Hope this all helps you to understand, if not accept, my position.

I'm going to bed.

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Birthday Pony
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Jan 26 2012 00:59
LBird wrote:
Right, BP, I’ll give it one more go, to try to explain why I think that you’re mistakenly stressing the individual over social structure, and misunderstanding the nature of structure. If you’re not happy with this attempt, I’ll admit defeat, and we can just agree to disagree.

Lovely.

Quote:
BP wrote:
If you could show me where I prioritized the individual over the social, then I would not only cede all my arguments to you, but most likely agree.

I think these excerpts, just from your post #95, fall into this category:

BP wrote:
…that there's a very complex network of individual actions culminating into a collective notion of capitalist function.

As an excerpt, you may be correct. What I'm getting at is that the totality of human interaction creates a social structure bigger than the sum of its parts, not that the sum of something's part is that bigger structure.

Quote:
In the society I would like to live in people are fully responsible and fully accountable for their actions…

I'd need a bit of explanation as to how that involves subsuming society within the individual and how it negates notions of collective responsibility.

Quote:
…some metastructural relationship that is independent of their own thoughts and will…

I don't know what you're getting at with that one.

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…what the hell we are supposed to do about this relationship that is apparently independent of individuals

That was a question that you haven't answered. While you've said terrorism is a bad introduction to communism (which I'd agree with) you haven't suggested a way to actually rearrange the social relationships within capitalism. This isn't a rhetorical question, but an actual one. How do we change the social relationship without dealing with individuals?

Quote:
There is a negotiation between individual and society at play, and to subsume either within the other is pretty dumb.

If anything, that puts the individual and the communal on an equal footing.

Quote:
A structure is not about ‘individual actions’, there is no society in which ‘people are fully responsible’, a structure often is ‘independent of their own thoughts and will’ (especially in class societies), you seem shocked that a structure can be ‘independent of individuals’, and the individual is always in some way ‘subsumed into society’.

Looking at society in such a way doesn't do very good for examples of resistance. Either it categorizes resistance as a deterministic product of the instability of the dominant social structure, or as an example of social deviation, for which the dominant social structure cannot account by any other means than psychological discourse and otherness.

The former sounds less scary, but it does us no good if our goal is the actual overthrow of the dominant social structure. Such a view classifies resistance to the dominant social structure as part of the very structure, a product of it. Capitalism's inversion of itself is just a reinterpretation of it, and doesn't say much for anything that comes after it.

Quote:
Although I have supplied a link to my earlier post about ‘lego’ and ‘structure’, I think that either perhaps you haven’t read it or that you haven’t understood its intended significance. If it’s the latter, then that’s my fault for not bringing out explicitly what might have remained only implicit.

I read the provided link, and it rang very well with many historical accounts that justify class society and existent institutions of power, rather than radical accounts of resistance and rebellion against social structure. It read as a justification for a different social structure rather than a critique of dominance or control by a "sovereign," as anarchists have been critiquing for quite some time now. It read more like the vedic metaphor of the caste system as a body.

Understandably your point is that the social relationship should be reinterpreted so that it has a horizontal structure, but it still ran into the problem of having an institution speak for a relationship rather than having the relationship speak for itself, as your example below demonstrates.

Quote:
It’s my contention that all societies have social structures which are above the individuals which make up that society. This stance is what I consider to be the basis of the difference between ‘individualists’ (who deny a power/authority over the individual will always exist in any society, including Communist society) and ‘Communists’ (who realise the truth of this and intend to ensure that in the future we collectively control this ‘social power/authority’, which will also be present in a commune). Furthermore, Communists locate this current fetish for the ‘individual’ within the society in which we have all been raised, that is, in bourgeois ideology. In fact, no society has ever been just ‘individuals’ who are not subject to a social authority, and no society ever will consist of ‘individuals’ who are not subject to a social authority, including Communist society.

I'm on the same page aside from appealing to the universality of some ultimate, god-complex, truth that will guide us to revolution. Society is simply one end of the binary opposition with its individual, and flipping the opposition around does not really do away with the inherent hierarchy within it. I do not concern myself with cosmic battles between capitalist and communist gods, as I have never considered myself a religious person. I believe this is the difference between you and I.

Quote:
Perhaps a ‘stripped-down’ version of society, to explain further my meaning. I’ve kept this deliberately simple, but of course reality is far more complex. Please accept this weakness in the spirit in which it is intended – merely to illustrate a complex point.

Will do.

Quote:
If our society was just me and you, we’d want each other to have as much freedom as possible. So far, so good. But if we have a difference of opinion which we can’t resolve between us as individuals, how do we then do so?

We’d have a weekly formal meeting of the two of us. This is our communal authority. We’d take it in turns to act as the chair, and any issues that can’t be resolved between the individuals comprising the commune would be submitted to the commune for adjudication, which would be binding upon all members of the commune. If there is a balance in the vote, the chair casts a deciding vote.

So, in this admittedly childish scenario, the structure of our society isn’t just me and you as individuals; it also has a higher level authority which is above us: that is, the commune. The fact that we both fully participate in a democratic fashion in this social authority shows that it is a Communist social structure. The upper tier is controlled by its lower tier members. But no individual has complete freedom, and all individuals are subject to the directives of the commune.

It’s easy to imagine another society which consists of us two and a third person, but in this society only the third person is represented in the communal authority, and yet we are still subject to its dictates. This is the equivalent of a society above which there is a non-democratic authority, which we would call ‘the state’.

It is a failure of history to believe that such a set up would maintain legitimacy to the end of time. What we would have is an institution speaking on behalf of a relationship coupled with a way for the rotating chair to claim legitimacy from a higher authority for their own actions. This set up implicitly relies on the constant view of legitimacy from its participants. Call the person who decides to resist it one day all the things you'd like, bourgeois, liberal, ignorant, naive, unable to see some sort of ultimate truth, but all that does is put you in the same historical category as Mao, Stalin, and Pope Gregory VII.

The mistake I believe you have made is believing that any institution can be all encompassing for any given society.

And to boot, there lacks any evidence that this "higher authority" (which, I would hesistate to call higher if we're discussing hypothetical anarchism, though I would grant that it is bigger) is not a result of the individuals that agree to lend it legitimacy and participate within it. *

Quote:
This explanation is intended to supplement my ‘lego’ examples. We are not just pieces of ‘lego’; we are that, but we are also part of a ‘tank’ or an ‘aeroplane’. Our roles within the structure cannot be altered freely be any constituent part of the structure, otherwise it wouldn’t be a structure. And both the ‘tank’ and the ‘aeroplane’ have emergent properties which are not properties of the ‘lego’ bricks in themselves, but are properties of the structure itself. Recognising this fact of ‘emergent properties’ doesn’t mean that we have to posit something ‘outside’ of the ‘lego’ bricks, but clearly these properties are more than the sum of its parts.

The most striking thing about your constant reference to things of construction is that none of them can be self-assembled and require an assembler to even work, which is the root of my question: how can we alter this existing structure?**

Quote:
From this, I think that it is clear that the obsession with ‘individuals’ being outside of any authority is a pipe-dream. We have to accept that, to some extent, we will always be subject to an authority outside of our own individual wishes. The trick is to ensure that the ‘social authority’ is controlled by us all, not a ruling class. We need a ‘libertarian’ social structure, not 7 billion individuals doing as each pleases, as ‘Libertarian Individualism’ seems to envisage.

"Independent of" is not a term I've used to describe my own analysis, and have (at least implicitly if not explicitly by now) said plenty of times that any notion of individuality relies on social circumstances and vice versa.

Quote:
So, to summarise, taking into account your statement in the excerpts above, society is much more than ‘a very complex network of individual actions’, it is also ‘collective actions’...

Always the concentration on excerpts! Oh the irony! I did not say the former was all there is, nor did I deny the latter.

[quote...which are above and in addition to any ‘individual actions’; we can never be ‘fully accountable and responsible’ as just individuals,...

Seeing that you did not put "as just individuals" in quotes, I assume you realize those are your words and not mine.

Quote:
...because we also have a collective existence which must be addressed, and are responsible for each other; the structure is, to some extent, a ‘metastructural relationship that is independent of [our] own thoughts and will’; and in our class society, ‘this relationship that is apparently independent of individuals’ is independent of us individuals, that’s why we want to introduce Communism, so that we control the social relationships within which we must always exist; and lastly, to claim that ‘to subsume either within the other is pretty dumb’ is itself mistaken, because our individual ‘subsumption’ to society is an inescapable fact to all but those individualistic dreamers who have been brainwashed by our present society.

And you have done little more than assert as much. The questions within the starred paragraphs have yet to be answered.

Quote:
All of our ideas are a product of our social structure, ‘ideologies’ are emergent properties, and an ideology of ‘individualism’ which is a product of bourgeois society will have no part to play in a Communist society.

Did the ninja individualist come back?

Quote:
PS. This is why terrorists killing people won’t work as a method for introducing Communism. That requires a revolution which changes the social structure to reflect our collective, democratic wishes, and not merely the physical removal of some individuals within the current structure. It is not a tactic; it is an error.

For quite some time, I think everyone here has pretty much agreed on at least that much.

Quote:
Hope this all helps you to understand, if not accept, my position.

I believe I understand, and not being a theist, I respectfully disagree.

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Jan 26 2012 03:24
HorrorHiro wrote:
I know there was 1 other person who defended the concept/theory of free market anarchism, I think it was Birthday Pony? ...But I have not critiqued Free Market Anarchist theory (again separate from the ancaps.)

I did indeed defend mutualism. Understand that "market anarchism" is little more than a catch phrase used by people that claim to be anarchists as a result of their support for markets, rather than supporters or ambivalent to markets because of their anarchism. That could be a source of confusion. What you may be referring to, as far as a singular school, is mutualism, or you could just be saying you don't reject every idea ever given to us by the historical individualists (which would put you amongst a good number of anarcho-communists today). But anyway, stray away from the term "market anarchism," as it doesn't really have too much weight historically.

The line is actually drawn between classical liberals/neo-liberals and anarchists. Some neo-liberals, such as Rothbard, decided to call themselves anarchists and hastily tacked on a passionate anti-state rhetoric to their otherwise run of the mill neo-liberal thought. While Proudhon and his communist contemporaries may have disagreed, they considered one another anarchists. And Voltarine de Cleyre's anarchism without adjectives is actually quite eloquent, if you ask me. Unfortunately this notion of "panarchy" has been used as a term to stifle debate for the sake of a shaky consensus, and the entirety of de Cleyre's anti-capitalism (even when she was more of an individualist) is overlooked by most people calling themselves panarchists these days.

Long story short, you didn't know the jargon, and others like to downplay the role of Proudhonians and individualists in anarchist history, so folks thought you were an an-cap.

radicalgraffiti wrote:
I agree, but i think history is the crucial word here, none communist anarchists are now near enough none existent, and really any one who claims to be an anarchist but not a communists hasn't really thought about things and most likely is not active in any way in real life (excluding those anarchists who are just getting started)

The only non-communists are n00bs, huh? That's, what's the word?, arrogant of you to say. Look, I think I'm right too. And I really do think communism, as I understand it, is the way to go. But that doesn't mean I'm willing to marginalize anyone that doesn't agree with me.

I mean, say all you want about history being history, but I quite like this little passage:

Quote:
The proprietor, the robber, the hero, the sovereign — for all these titles are synonymous — imposes his will as law, and suffers neither contradiction nor control; that is, he pretends to be the legislative and the executive power at once . . . [and so] property engenders despotism . . . That is so clearly the essence of property that, to be convinced of it, one need but remember what it is, and observe what happens around him. Property is the right to use and abuse . . . if goods are property, why should not the proprietors be kings, and despotic kings — kings in proportion to their facultes bonitaires? And if each proprietor is sovereign lord within the sphere of his property, absolute king throughout his own domain, how could a government of proprietors be any thing but chaos and confusion?

-Proudhon

Harrison
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Jan 26 2012 03:28
Birthday Pony wrote:
The only non-communists are n00bs, huh?

That puts it quite well actually.

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Jan 26 2012 03:30
tastybrain wrote:
HorrorHiro wrote:
[
Alright 1st off I don't know if you are taking any offense to my responses (it doesn't seem like it thankfully) but if you are please don't, sometimes I forget that the internet doesn't have a sarcasm button and I may or may not come off as a complete asshole and or troll.

Now I'm curious why exactly did you call me a capitalist? I thought I had made it rather clear that I am anti-capitalist. And yes I am fully aware of capitalists/capitalisms ways of tolerating those which they can profit off of. And again yes I am fully aware that this is a communist forum. And just so we're on the same page I never asked anyone to tolerate me, feel free to feel however you wish about me and also feel free to voice those opinions if that is what you feel like doing. And the "Liberal communist" thing is a long ass story so I'll shorten it for you, I live in America nuff said. And that last part was suppose to go with Anarcho-Communist high road thing.

So do I, dog. That's no excuse to be sloppy with language (although I'm sure it would be entirely in line with our stultifying culture and what our UK comrades expect of us tongue ).

Why do I say you are a capitalist? One of your first posts on this forum was about starting an "anarchist organization" that would tolerate all kinds of anarchism, including so-called "free market anarchism". When some people criticized you for including them, you said:

Quote:
1st of all yes "free market anarchism" because regardless about how most of us feel about it it is still a legitimate school of thought in Anarchism.

How am I supposed to interpret this? You claim you are an "anti-capitalist" but "respect" AnCap ideas and regard them as part of the same political tendency as you. If you were actually an "anti capitalist" you would be a harsh critic and a staunch opponent of such oxymoronic ideologies as "anarcho capitalism". An anarcho capitalist society, granting their premises, would quickly harden into a society made up of a few competing capitalist cartels enforcing their rule ruthlessly through private armies. It essentially amounts to capitalism with the repressive functions of the state privatized and the recuperative functions of the state totally eliminated. Anarcho capitalism is capitalism plain and simple, and should fill anyone who is against the class system with disgust.

Anyway, you call yourself "anti-capitalist" but also deny being a communist... I'm not sure how you envision things working after the revolution, but if you are not a communist then I imagine your vision for a free, "anarchist" society includes one or more of the following elements:
-wage labor
-money
-commodity exchange
-strict division of labor
-private ownership MOP
-"public" ownership of MOP run like a employee owned corporation (of which there are several currently operating, so just from observing these you should come to the conclusion that self management of capitalism, no matter what it is called, is not liberatory in any way).

If you think any of these elements of capitalism should be preserved after the revolution, you are a capitalist (although perhaps a nice fuzzy variety of capitalist, like a Mutualist). If you think they should all be abolished, you are a communist.

Everybody has the freedom to believe as they wish to believe. What is wrong with tolerating those of differing beliefs? Besides this, I do not see how tolerating AnCaps has anything to do with the legitimacy of "propaganda by the deed".

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Jan 26 2012 03:54

Tolerating ancaps leads to some pretty irreconcilable conclusions.

LBird
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Jan 26 2012 12:47

The context of our particular discussion on this thread has to be remembered. It is a debate about the respective merits of ‘individual terrorist actions’ versus ‘changing exploitative social relationships’. In this context, we, as Communists, need to stress the ‘structural’ as opposed to the ‘individual’, to bolster our position by explaining something that many people brought up in our ‘bourgeois individualist’ society are very unfamiliar with: ie. ‘social structure’, rather than individual people and their acts.

BP, #39, wrote:
There are people to blame, and they have names and addresses.

.

BP, #51, wrote:
Yes and no… Even if capitalism is a social relationship, something cannot be social without people on either end

.

BP, #53, wrote:
I'm not sure how a social relationship can be dealt with without dealing with people

Within the context of this thread, your focus on ‘blame’, ‘people on either end’, ‘dealing with people’ highlights the ‘individuals’ themselves rather than the ‘structure’ of exploitative social relationships, such as ‘class’.

BP, #100, wrote:
…you haven't suggested a way to actually rearrange the social relationships within capitalism. This isn't a rhetorical question, but an actual one. How do we change the social relationship without dealing with individuals?

.
Following my own advice about the need for a particular focus, above, I’d say “Change the ‘class structure’, and the ‘individuals’ will follow”.

Of course, the nature of this change, who does it, how strategically and tactically it is effected, are up for debate. But that, I think, is at least another thread, if not the entire collective task of LibCom!

BP wrote:
Looking at society in such a way doesn't do very good for examples of resistance. Either it categorizes resistance as a deterministic product of the instability of the dominant social structure, or as an example of social deviation, for which the dominant social structure cannot account by any other means than psychological discourse and otherness.

I’m not sure what you mean by this, because our social structure contains opposed classes and thus opposed ideologies. In this sense, ‘resistance’ is a product of opposed class interests.

BP wrote:
The former sounds less scary, but it does us no good if our goal is the actual overthrow of the dominant social structure. Such a view classifies resistance to the dominant social structure as part of the very structure, a product of it.

Err, yeah? A fundamentally divided structure produces ‘resistance’. Outside of individuals’ wishes. Proletarians are driven to ‘resist’, whether they really ‘want to’ or not.

BP wrote:
I'm on the same page aside from appealing to the universality of some ultimate, god-complex, truth that will guide us to revolution.

Again, I don’t know what you mean by this. ‘Ultimate, god-complex, truth’? No, just a ‘coming to consciousness’ by the proletariat of its structural position and the necessity to change the structure, if the proletariat desires Libertarian Communism rather than the current destructive shambles. Nothing ‘ultimate truth’ or ‘god-like’: if the proletariat doesn’t ‘come to consciousness’, I’ll be seeing you in prison when the big war against Iran (or another patsy) begins, with the attempt to regenerate capitalism.

BP wrote:
I do not concern myself with cosmic battles between capitalist and communist gods, as I have never considered myself a religious person. I believe this is the difference between you and I.

Hmmm. That’s a first on LibCom. I’ve been called a few things, but never ‘religious’.

BP wrote:
It is a failure of history to believe that such a set up would maintain legitimacy to the end of time. What we would have is an institution speaking on behalf of a relationship coupled with a way for the rotating chair to claim legitimacy from a higher authority for their own actions. This set up implicitly relies on the constant view of legitimacy from its participants. Call the person who decides to resist it one day all the things you'd like, bourgeois, liberal, ignorant, naive, unable to see some sort of ultimate truth, but all that does is put you in the same historical category as Mao, Stalin, and Pope Gregory VII.

But this is what acceptance of ‘structure’ involves. An institutional higher authority above the individual: ie. The Commune. That’s why we need to ensure we collectively control the ‘institutional higher authority’.

Now, to me, you’ve undone all your earlier work which was starting to convince me that you were a ‘Communist’ rather than an ‘Individualist’, and our disagreement was just semantic and one of political emphasis.

It now seems to me I was correct in my categorisation of you. To be ‘free of all authority’ is a bourgeois ideal. And an unachievable ideal, never before seen in history and never to be seen in the future.

BP wrote:
The most striking thing about your constant reference to things of construction is that none of them can be self-assembled and require an assembler to even work, which is the root of my question: how can we alter this existing structure?

By self-conscious class action: ‘self-assembled’ by the ‘assembler’, the world proletariat.

BP wrote:
I believe I understand, and not being a theist, I respectfully disagree.

With my respects, too, Birthday Pony, I think you disagree with me because you are an Individualist Anarchist, whilst I’m a Libertarian Communist. Theism doesn’t come into it!

Well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree, mate! Thanks again for your contribution to a very enlightening debate.

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Jan 26 2012 21:29

LBird, you seem bright enough to have a cursory knowledge of sociology, and it should not come as a surprise to you that what you are supporting is called "structural functionalism." If you are not familiar with it, here's a very cursory introduction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_functionalism

The entirety of your argument relies on a "coming to consciousness" that is beyond a simple recognition of class, but abdication of individual will and submission to something you have called a "social truth." What you have claimed is that one must realize this 'ultimate truth' in order to bring about communism. You have, literally, recreated a gospel.

You have not, in any way, offered a critique of capitalism or hierarchy, you have just proffered that their destruction is imminent, and the realization of some great social truth will lead to libertarian communism, whether we like it or not. What you have done is created a structure with no regard to individual or collective will. You have set up a system and hidden behind the logic of "social truth."

In casting out any notion of individuality as bourgeois, you have, much to my flattery, put me in class with many of my admired theorists. Here's a short list of some:

Quote:
Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.
-Bakunin
Quote:
The majority cannot reason; it has no judgement. It has always placed its destiny in the hands of others; it has followed its leaders even into destruction. The mass has always opposed, condemned, and hounded the innovator, the pioneer of a new truth.
-Emma Goldman

That one is quite harsh!

Quote:
...such a society would represent nothing immutable.
-Kropotkin

Nothing immutable seems to be at odds with the commune being "bound to all its members," but maybe Kropotkin was just a bourgeois liberal poser too.

Still, you make the mistake of thinking an institution can speak for a community. Such has never been the case. Communities have organized institutions as quickly as they have reformed or abolished them.

Quote:
I’m not sure what you mean by this, because our social structure contains opposed classes and thus opposed ideologies. In this sense, ‘resistance’ is a product of opposed class interests.

Of course it is, but it's that people get pissed off when you piss on them that resistance comes about. Or, it could be a metaphysical product of recognizing "revealed truth" by religious communists.

Quote:
Err, yeah? A fundamentally divided structure produces ‘resistance’. Outside of individuals’ wishes. Proletarians are driven to ‘resist’, whether they really ‘want to’ or not.

Given the massive non-resistance that happens every day, I have a hard time thinking that's true.

Quote:
Again, I don’t know what you mean by this. ‘Ultimate, god-complex, truth’? No, just a ‘coming to consciousness’ by the proletariat of its structural position and the necessity to change the structure, if the proletariat desires Libertarian Communism rather than the current destructive shambles. Nothing ‘ultimate truth’ or ‘god-like’: if the proletariat doesn’t ‘come to consciousness’, I’ll be seeing you in prison when the big war against Iran (or another patsy) begins, with the attempt to regenerate capitalism.

Now proletarians have will? If they desire LibCom it can happen? Now who's the bourgeois individualist! I've already explained how when you say "coming to consciousness" you mean a religious experience that requires submission to "truth" that is actually just an institution put in place of a community or relationship.

Quote:
But this is what acceptance of ‘structure’ involves. An institutional higher authority above the individual: ie. The Commune. That’s why we need to ensure we collectively control the ‘institutional higher authority’.

Now, to me, you’ve undone all your earlier work which was starting to convince me that you were a ‘Communist’ rather than an ‘Individualist’, and our disagreement was just semantic and one of political emphasis.

It now seems to me I was correct in my categorisation of you. To be ‘free of all authority’ is a bourgeois ideal. And an unachievable ideal, never before seen in history and never to be seen in the future.

Not putting my faith, as you do--which is why I believe you are relgious-- in an institution is not the same as desiring 100% positive and negative freedom.

You have confused institutions with relationships. You have taken a blueprint for anarchist institutions and instead decided that it is the basis of human interaction. You have alienated people from their relationships, claiming that a higher authority is always independent of the individuals within it, and you have replaced real social structures with fetishization of an institution. Capitalism is not the only system of authority that can lead to fetishization and reification. Any society based on submission, domination, or hierarchy can have much the same effects, especially religious societies.

Quote:
By self-conscious class action: ‘self-assembled’ by the ‘assembler’, the world proletariat.

How does an airplane disassemble itself?

Quote:
With my respects, too, Birthday Pony, I think you disagree with me because you are an Individualist Anarchist, whilst I’m a Libertarian Communist. Theism doesn’t come into it!

If that's true, then the pieces of the plane might have a part in rearranging themselves, in which case it might be useful to pay a little attention to their interaction. Otherwise, I'll leave you to pray to a communist god.

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Jan 26 2012 21:55
Harrison wrote:
Birthday Pony wrote:
The only non-communists are n00bs, huh?

That puts it quite well actually.

So anyone who isn't a communist to you is anti-human?

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Jan 26 2012 23:09
HorrorHiro wrote:
Harrison wrote:
Birthday Pony wrote:
The only non-communists are n00bs, huh?

That puts it quite well actually.

So anyone who isn't a communist to you is anti-human?

Only if n00bs are anti-human.

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Birthday Pony
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Jan 26 2012 23:39

smh, kids these days.

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
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Jan 27 2012 02:29
HorrorHiro wrote:
Harrison wrote:
Birthday Pony wrote:
The only non-communists are n00bs, huh?

That puts it quite well actually.

So anyone who isn't a communist to you is anti-human?

laugh out loud LOL! What are you chattin about!

I think the wikipedia page on n00b covers it pretty well. nothing to do with ones acceptance as a human.

Was this another cheap attempt at smearing all communists with the stalinoid brush?

LBird
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Jan 27 2012 09:00
BP wrote:
LBird, you seem bright enough to have a cursory knowledge of sociology, and it should not come as a surprise to you that what you are supporting is called "structural functionalism."

Birthday Pony, you seem bright enough to have a cursory knowledge of sociology, and it should not come as a surprise to you that what you are alleging ,erroneously, is that any attempt to analyse social structures is ‘conservative’ by definition (I’m presuming you know what "functionalism” is, and its philosophical basis).

BP wrote:
You have not, in any way, offered a critique of capitalism or hierarchy, you have just proffered that their destruction is imminent, and the realization of some great social truth will lead to libertarian communism, whether we like it or not.

Isn’t the Communist demand for ‘democratic’ socio-economic and political social structures in itself ‘offering a critique of capitalism and hierarchy’?

Nowhere have I said ‘that their destruction is imminent’: in fact, if the proletariat allows it, I think that it’s quite possible that capitalism will regenerate itself.

‘Libertarian Communism’ will only come about because of conscious proletarian action, not through ‘the realization of some great social truth’.

And certainly not ‘whether we like it or not’: it requires self-conscious action on the part of the proletariat.

Furthermore, as I predicted, your tendency to place ever greater stress on ‘individuality’ and to hardly mention ‘class’ (a social structure) is growing with every post.

BP wrote:
… abdication of individual will and submission to something… a structure with no regard to individual or collective will… any notion of individuality as bourgeois… Any society based on submission, domination, or hierarchy…

Since I keep emphasising ‘democratic structures’ (like Communes, and I could have mentioned Workers’ Councils and Assemblies), which demand the participation of all individuals who are to come under their aegis, these statements show that you don’t understand ‘democracy’. I’m not sure how 7 billion ‘individual wills’ can work, and you won’t explain (unlike me, with my explanation of ‘democratically-controlled structures’, like a Commune), and I’ve given an account of the origin of both our ideologies in the social structure in which we all live, and which contains contending classes and therefore contending ideologies, like Communism and Individualism (unlike you, who has just mysteriously damned me with an unhistoric and unexplained ‘religiosity’).

BP wrote:
You have, literally, recreated a gospel… a metaphysical product of recognizing "revealed truth" by religious communists… you mean a religious experience that requires submission to "truth"… faith, as you do--which is why I believe you are religious-- in an institution… especially religious societies… I'll leave you to pray to a communist god.

Ironically, if there’s been a ‘revealed truth’ on this thread, by exposing your individualism, Birthday Pony, you’ve provided it! The bourgeois worship of the ‘individual will’.

BP wrote:
… claiming that a higher authority is always independent of the individuals within it…

In fact, I’ve said that this is true of capitalist (and, by implication, all class) society (which is why workers have no control, and why the bourgeois encourage the myth of ‘individualism’, to weaken us), and constantly said that we have to be conscious of this social danger and combat it with our collectively organised democratic structures, to ensure that the inescapable (for the human social animal) ‘social authority’ is under our class’s control, so that it is not ‘always independent of the individuals within it’.

You’re an individualist, and will never recognise even democratic limits to your ‘will’. I’m a Communist, and I shall recognise a limit to my ‘will’: the opposing votes of my comrades within my Commune/Workers’ Council.

I would argue that your quotes from Bakunin and Goldman are actually anti-Communist: they both praise the isolated individual, who is outside of society: for it is ‘the majority’ who dictate ‘freedom’ and ‘morality’, not the individual will. More ahistoric and anti-social nonsense from those thinkers – you’ll be approvingly quoting Nietzsche next, mate! ‘Man and Superman’?

BP wrote:
Still, you make the mistake of thinking an institution can speak for a community. Such has never been the case. Communities have organized institutions as quickly as they have reformed or abolished them.

In fact, such has always ‘been the case’ in class societies for thousands of years. It’s the class ‘institution’ speaking for the wider ‘community’ that we want to end. We want to re-unite the ‘community’ with its ‘institutions’, much as we want to re-unite politics with economics. Democracy is the means.

BP wrote:
… I'll leave you to pray to a communist god.

Thanks, mate. I’ll, in turn, leave you to pray to yourself. The bourgeois superman.

By the way, Birthday Pony, I think you should consider changing your name to one more apt for the obvious result of your challenging the social power of the bourgeoisie: perhaps ‘Lame Donkey’ or even, given your lack of class analysis, ‘Christmas Turkey’.

Become a democratic Communist, mate – you know it makes sense! Cheers.

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Jan 27 2012 21:14
Arbeiten wrote:
HorrorHiro wrote:
Harrison wrote:
Birthday Pony wrote:
The only non-communists are n00bs, huh?

That puts it quite well actually.

So anyone who isn't a communist to you is anti-human?

<span class='tooltiptrolol'><img src='https://s3.amazonaws.com/TrollEmoticons/lol.png' /><span>lol</span></span> LOL! What are you chattin about!

I think the wikipedia page on n00b covers it pretty well. nothing to do with ones acceptance as a human.

Was this another cheap attempt at smearing all communists with the stalinoid brush?

Not in the slightest.

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Jan 28 2012 00:43

We're all against the state and hierarchy, that's enough common ground to get along.

And an important principle of Anarchism is to tolerate people whatever their beliefs, that includes Ancaps. I've gotten in plenty of arguments with these guys and to put it simply they aren't going to change unless solid physical evidence proves them right or wrong, and that won't happen until the state is gone. Picking out each others differences will not help get us there.

We should embrace a difference of perspective, it adds diversity and allows healthy discussion.

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Jan 28 2012 01:04

'Tolerating' someone's contemptible beliefs is fine, I have no say in what someone may or not believe, but when they start to act upon them, it's an entirely different story.

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Jan 28 2012 03:09
Ambrose wrote:
We're all against the state and hierarchy, that's enough common ground to get along.

And an important principle of Anarchism is to tolerate people whatever their beliefs, that includes Ancaps. I've gotten in plenty of arguments with these guys and to put it simply they aren't going to change unless solid physical evidence proves them right or wrong, and that won't happen until the state is gone. Picking out each others differences will not help get us there.

We should embrace a difference of perspective, it adds diversity and allows healthy discussion.

I couldn't have said it better Ambrose, thank you.

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Jan 28 2012 06:14
LBird wrote:
Birthday Pony, you seem bright enough to have a cursory knowledge of sociology, and it should not come as a surprise to you that what you are alleging ,erroneously, is that any attempt to analyse social structures is ‘conservative’ by definition (I’m presuming you know what "functionalism” is, and its philosophical basis).

And what do you have to say about confusing a relationship with an institution? That the function of the institution dictates the relationship is what I'm critiquing you on.

Quote:
Isn’t the Communist demand for ‘democratic’ socio-economic and political social structures in itself ‘offering a critique of capitalism and hierarchy’?

Nowhere have I said ‘that their destruction is imminent’: in fact, if the proletariat allows it, I think that it’s quite possible that capitalism will regenerate itself.

‘Libertarian Communism’ will only come about because of conscious proletarian action, not through ‘the realization of some great social truth’.

And certainly not ‘whether we like it or not’: it requires self-conscious action on the part of the proletariat.

Oh how the goal posts have shifted! Now all of the sudden, not only is consciousness a matter of self (rather than class) but people have will, rather than resistance being a product of society "whether they like it or not" (which are your words, btw).

Quote:
Furthermore, as I predicted, your tendency to place ever greater stress on ‘individuality’ and to hardly mention ‘class’ (a social structure) is growing with every post.

Oh come on. We both know that's a lamesauce argument. I'm talking about the individual because you're insisting there's no such thing, not because it's the focus of my theories. And anyway, you seem incapable of discussing collective actions without a the lexicon of individualism, what with all this self-consciousness and will that people all of the sudden have. It's incredible how you can go from any and all actions being a product of one's social peculiarity to will and self-consciousness without batting an eye, maybe thinking about everything I've been saying, and continuing to insist that I'm an individualist (which I don't consider a slur, which I also expect you to use as further proof that I am one)!

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Since I keep emphasising ‘democratic structures’ (like Communes, and I could have mentioned Workers’ Councils and Assemblies), which demand the participation of all individuals who are to come under their aegis, these statements show that you don’t understand ‘democracy’. I’m not sure how 7 billion ‘individual wills’ can work, and you won’t explain (unlike me, with my explanation of ‘democratically-controlled structures’, like a Commune), and I’ve given an account of the origin of both our ideologies in the social structure in which we all live, and which contains contending classes and therefore contending ideologies, like Communism and Individualism (unlike you, who has just mysteriously damned me with an unhistoric and unexplained ‘religiosity’).

First of all, you have not given me the origin of my ideology, as you seem to be insisting I'm an individualist.

The argument that you have missed, and continue to miss, and will keep missing, is that institutions are not relationships. The most transparent, horizontal, and democratic of institutions can only be a representation of a relationship. They cannot assume the role of relationships themselves. Once there's an inside (of an institution, or anything) there is an outside. To make an institution so vast that it controls or encompasses the totality of possible human interaction is totalitarianism, to set the two at odds is hierarchy. If you're confused as to what I mean, ask, rather than assume that since you don't understand and don't like a few of the words I used that I'm an individualist.

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Ironically, if there’s been a ‘revealed truth’ on this thread, by exposing your individualism, Birthday Pony, you’ve provided it! The bourgeois worship of the ‘individual will’.

Say what you will, but I have yet to capitalize the individual as "The Individual," which cannot be said about you and "The Commune" rather than 'the commune' or 'a commune.'

Moreover, if you decided to read things as a whole, which is apparently your analytic approach to everything else, you'd realize that I haven't been prioritizing either the social or the individual for this entire fucking thread.

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Birthday Pony wrote:
… claiming that a higher authority is always independent of the individuals within it…

In fact, I’ve said that this is true of capitalist (and, by implication, all class) society (which is why workers have no control, and why the bourgeois encourage the myth of ‘individualism’, to weaken us), and constantly said that we have to be conscious of this social danger and combat it with our collectively organised democratic structures, to ensure that the inescapable (for the human social animal) ‘social authority’ is under our class’s control, so that it is not ‘always independent of the individuals within it’.

You seem to be implying that since I think institutions or relationships are not independent of the individuals within it, that I think the individuals within them are greater. Not only have I not said this, I have said that individuals exist concurrent with their relationships and institutions. If you could drop your Great Satan approach to the word individual you would maybe gain the ability to read.

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You’re an individualist, and will never recognise even democratic limits to your ‘will’. I’m a Communist, and I shall recognise a limit to my ‘will’: the opposing votes of my comrades within my Commune/Workers’ Council.

...you just haven't really tried to understand anything I've said, huh? Where have I argued for 1) limitless individual freedom as the ideal situation for an anarchist society, 2) individualism above communism, or 3) anti-democratic institutions?

For (1) you will find no such post of mine. And if you do, I will own up to it and admit miscommunication on my part. A failure to actually tell you what it is I've been saying.

For (2) you can pull out the words 'individual,' 'will,' and some statement about how you (but not communism as an idea) are religious and are confusing institutions with relationships. That's not going to cut it.

For (3) you will find me saying that institutions cannot encapsulate relationships, which is not a statement of disfavor for those institutions.

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I would argue that your quotes from Bakunin and Goldman are actually anti-Communist: they both praise the isolated individual, who is outside of society: for it is ‘the majority’ who dictate ‘freedom’ and ‘morality’, not the individual will. More ahistoric and anti-social nonsense from those thinkers – you’ll be approvingly quoting Nietzsche next, mate! ‘Man and Superman’?

From Goldman to Nietzsche! You fear everything you can't understand, huh?

Funny, as Nietzsche provided Foucault (who claimed to be a Nietzschean) with the framework for the idea that individuals are nothing but a product of their society, the line you've been harping on this whole time. This isn't an argument, just a statement of irony.

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Birthday Pony wrote:
Still, you make the mistake of thinking an institution can speak for a community. Such has never been the case. Communities have organized institutions as quickly as they have reformed or abolished them.

In fact, such has always ‘been the case’ in class societies for thousands of years. It’s the class ‘institution’ speaking for the wider ‘community’ that we want to end. We want to re-unite the ‘community’ with its ‘institutions’, much as we want to re-unite politics with economics. Democracy is the means.

So you are basing your ideas of a classless society on the function of class societies? Perhaps it was my mistake not to put "speak accurately" instead of just "speak." Regardless, I've already said why aiming for an all encompassing institution for every function of every day life is silly at best, and authoritarian at worst. Institutions can do good, and they can even be good. But that does not mean they encompass every aspect of any and all human action. I'm an IWW member, and quite happy with them, but do I dream of the day that the IWW can have a function in every aspect of my life? If for no other reason, that's just a bureaucratic mess.

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Thanks, mate. I’ll, in turn, leave you to pray to yourself. The bourgeois superman.

By the way, Birthday Pony, I think you should consider changing your name to one more apt for the obvious result of your challenging the social power of the bourgeoisie: perhaps ‘Lame Donkey’ or even, given your lack of class analysis, ‘Christmas Turkey’.

Become a democratic Communist, mate – you know it makes sense! Cheers.

LBird, please.

Find my anti-democratic, pro-individualist posts, or own up to the fact that you've been arguing with the voices in your head that keep distracting you from comprehending anything I've said. It's not surprising that you can take ambivalent to positive mention of some nebulous idea of "the individual" straight to ubermensch. You took Emma frikkin Goldman to Nietzsche. Who exactly is distracted by ideological purity seems pretty clear to me.

LBird
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Joined: 21-09-10
Jan 28 2012 11:22

Birthday Pony, just a quick post to let you know I'm not ignoring you.

I've read your post, and was about half-an-hour into constructing a reply, when it dawned on me that I didn't feel that there was any real point, given that I feel that I'm going around in circles, making the same points.

You win. I'm 'arguing with the voices in my head'.

Cheers.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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Joined: 14-01-04
Jan 28 2012 13:05

You get those voices too? Ace! God tells me to do it as well twisted