Individualist anarchism

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augustynww
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Aug 30 2014 06:58
greenjuice wrote:
What do you see clearly?

I see clearly liberal individualism which in time lead them to abandon anarchism and accept classical economic ideas as Kropotkin said in "Anarchism" entry in EB I quoted earlier.

greenjuice wrote:
Do you even know to what controversy (non-anarchist ideas) regarding Spooner I referred to?

If it's not liberal individualism I reffered to, than I have no idea.

greenjuice wrote:
augustynww wrote:
Stirner wasn't anarchist by any means

His opposition to the state, hierarchy and property could have fooled me. I suggest reading this: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secG6.html

I do not agree with this text. It looks like forcing Stirner's ideas into anarchism because of support for stirnerism in some anarchist circles. That his opposition to state have fooled you this is exactly what I think.
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edit: this is precisely the problem.
"The affinity between Stirner and the anarchist tradition lies in his endorsement of the claim that the state is an illegitimate institution.However, his elaboration of this claim is a distinctive and interesting one."
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/max-stirner/
It's not anarchist opposition to the state to be specific. Not only anarchists are opposed to the state and definition of anarchism is not "every anti-statism". Anarchism = anti-statist socialism. That's why Stirner wasn't anarchist and that's why you are wrong.

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Stirner wasn't opposed to property, heck the english translation of title is incorrect. Der Einzige und sein Eigentum means literally "The One and His Property" grin
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Eigentum
This is how it's translated into polish too (Jedyny i jego własność)
Własność = property
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/w%C5%82asno%C5%9B%C4%87

He was against property sanctioned by state because state make people formally equal in his opinion (for the same reason he was against liberalism - too much equality). It sanction the property of others which of course is a constraint to his own.

"Nevertheless, property is the expression for unlimited dominion over somewhat (thing, beast, man) which "I can judge and dispose of as seems good to me." According to Roman law, indeed, jus utendi et abutendi re sua, quatenus juris ratio patitur, an exclusive and unlimited right; but property is conditioned by might. What I have in my power, that is my own. So long as I assert myself as holder, I am the proprietor of the thing;"

"Only might decides about property, and, as the State (no matter whether State or well-to-do citizens or of ragamuffins or of men in the absolute) is the sole mighty one, it alone is proprietor; I, the unique,* have nothing, and am only enfeoffed, am vassal and as such, servitor. Under the dominion of the State there is no property of mine."

"If the Communists conduct themselves as ragamuffins, the egoist behaves as proprietor."

"Property, therefore, should not and cannot be abolished; it must rather be torn from ghostly hands and become my property;"

"In short, the property question cannot be solved so amicably as the Socialists, yes, even the Communists, dream. It is solved only by the war of all against all."

"What then is my property? Nothing but what is in my power! To what property am I entitled? To every property to which I -- empower myself.* I give myself the right of property in taking property to myself, or giving myself the proprietor's power, full power, empowerment.
Everything over which I have might that cannot be torn from me remains my property; well, then let might decide about property, and I will expect everything from my might!"

etc. the book is full of this.
Does it looks like opposition to property to you?

augustynww
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Aug 30 2014 07:27
cresspot wrote:
I haven't read him but Stirner gives me the impression of a man whose mind cabinet had both many poisons and antidotes. The problem is when people read great minds they get enveloped in their thought and can't differentiate between beneficial ideas and harmful ones.

The only merit I see in Stirner's book is development of individualism to it's absurd conclusions. He show how contradictory it is and how superficial and abstract it's assumptions are (isolated individual etc. ) His critique of liberalism which stopped half-way is very illuminating. Individualism as ideology is self-defeating. Perhaps it's the same merit Marx saw in it, or not I don't know.

freemind
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Aug 30 2014 10:10

So called Individualists of the historic Anarchist movement like Stirnerism and various American individualists indicate a certain atavism and anachronism of an immature and nascent kind.Any ideology in development will mature and fundamentally change as it matures.Its understandable for Individualism to take such poignance in the 1800's but as Anarchism progressed to Mutualism,Collectivism,Syndicalism and Communism it should be consigned to the dustbin.
Professing the impact of the State on ourselves from an individual standpoint is important but in the context of genuine and relovent Anarchist thought it must be synthesised with a collective class analysis otherwise it oscillates between liberalism or liaise faire reactionary/fascism.
It is an indictment of modern Anarchism that these matters have such precedence!
We have allowed our ideology to become hijacked by lifestylist fakirs,Psuedo Libertarians and anti organisational egotists.These parasites should have been jettisoned a long time ago and one of the reasons they haven't is because we have developed a fetish around the individual vis-a-vis the State.
Anarchism without a class conscious Communist base is not Anarchism but at best a poor imitation and at worst reactionary.
If we don't deal with this we may as well consign our once great cause to the dustbin of history!
Our greatest historical manifestation was Spain circa 1936.Even there we had anti organisational figures like Federica Montseney who didn't understand the difference between Class power and State/Bourgeois power,between Leaders with a class analysis and subject to sanction by their libertarian organisations and Leaders who seek to impose and oppress via a Statist agenda.
Her sad principle amounted to fighting and suffering for your cause and at the point of victory refusing to destroy the class enemy because it would infringe its rights no matter what the aim!
Such a fundamental failure had seismic consequences especially for an ideology that purports to understand the nature of the State more than any other political thought!The underlying leitmotif is that your oppressor has a conscience.Anarchists should know the State does not!

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 30 2014 11:06
Gepetto wrote:
Also who in their right senses would choose system with money and trade if they had full communism?

I wonder if in the middle ages, peasants sat around discussing the end of serfdom, and someone piped up 'but what about those who want to be the vassal of a lord eh? What if they like giving up half their crops to their social betters? If you get rid of lords, you are denying these peasants their freedom! So who is the real oppressor, eh? EH?'

boomerang
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Aug 30 2014 13:36
Joseph Kay wrote:
I wonder if in the middle ages, peasants sat around discussing the end of serfdom, and someone piped up 'but what about those who want to be the vassal of a lord eh? What if they like giving up half their crops to their social betters? If you get rid of lords, you are denying these peasants their freedom! So who is the real oppressor, eh? EH?'

I admit I haven't read every post in this thread, but I thought the discussion had shifted to mutualists, who want to keep private ownership of the means of production (in group form) but abolish class divisions and therefore exploitation. If that is indeed what's being discussed, the comparison doesn't hold here. If not, I'll put my foot in my mouth and back away.

augustynww
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Aug 30 2014 14:00

Not really, Stirner had nothing to do with mutualism (he criticized Proudhon for socialism) Also american individualists only started from mutualism but they accepted wage labour and exploitation eventually (on the ground of "free contracts"). Anarchism evolved from mutualism as freemind said but they devolved into liberalism with small proprietors instead and the story ends in "anarcho-capitalism" (only today some people are trying to revive their original mutualism I don't know what for, to repeat the same path again? Because they revived also their liberal individualism which was the cause of this shift from socialism to capitalism )

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 30 2014 14:05
boomerang wrote:
If that is indeed what's being discussed, the comparison doesn't hold here.

the comparison's more the way social institutions of the present order become a sort of comfort blanket, such that life without (e.g.) markets becomes unthinkable. in any case, i was being a bit flippant and haven't read the whole thread either, so sorry if it's derailing.

augustynww
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Aug 30 2014 14:41

as for peasants in the middle ages they have had their own comfort blanket

"However, there is satisfaction in examining what they get out of all this
torment, what advantage they derive from all the trouble of their wretched
existence. Actually the people never blame the tyrant for the evils they suffer, but they do place responsibility on those who influence him; peoples, nations, all compete with one another, even the peasants, even the tillers of the soil, in mentioning the names of the favorites, in analyzing
their vices, and heaping upon them a thousand insults, a thousand
obscenities, a thousand maledictions. All their prayers, all their vows are
directed against these persons; they hold them accountable for all their
misfortunes, their pestilences, their famines;"

de la Boetie "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude" 1548

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 31 2014 00:54
boomerang wrote:
I admit I haven't read every post in this thread, but I thought the discussion had shifted to mutualists, who want to keep private ownership of the means of production (in group form) but abolish class divisions and therefore exploitation.

they can want what ever they fucking want, it doesn't make it viable economic system that wont degenerate into capitalism

radicalgraffiti
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Aug 30 2014 16:32

....

boomerang
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Aug 30 2014 20:23
radicalgraffiti wrote:
they con want what ever they fucking want, it doesn't make it viable economic system that wont degenerate into capitalism

Yeah, I don't think mutualism is a good system, but the comparison JK made didn't hold up.

His point seemed to be that if you think that some workers might prefer mutualism, it's the same as thinking that some peasants might prefer being serfs under a lord... which would be a stupid thing to think, so therefore what an idiot someone must be to say that some workers might prefer mutualism.

But it's not stupid to think that there will be working class people who prefer mutualism, so therefore it's reasonable take seriously the question of how to deal with that, and to dismiss it as an irrelevant problem while kind of insulting the person who brought it up isn't the right way to respond.

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greenjuice
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Aug 30 2014 21:26
augustynww wrote:
If it's not liberal individualism I reffered to, than I have no idea.

I was referring to his advocacy of property, for which he was criticized by other (individualist) anarchists, but when he explained what he meant by property it was clear that is in effect no different then the anarchist notion of possession and that it excludes exploitatory economic relations.

Concerning "liberal individualism" I have explained what individualism is in it's political and philosophical meanings here: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/individualist-anarchism-21082014#comment...

augustynww wrote:
I do not agree with this text. It looks like forcing Stirner's ideas into anarchism because of support for stirnerism in some anarchist circles.

It looks like you didn't read the text. Stirner was opposed to the state, hierarchy and property, and that makes him an anarchist.

augustynww
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Aug 31 2014 06:39

As for individualism you didn't "explained" anything. Difference between liberal individualism and anarchist notion of individual is visible in Bakunin critique of individualism, as I quoted earlier:

"according to Bakunin society, ie. the collective, creates individuals and creates freedom of individuals. There is no individual without society and in society there are always some rules therefore "absolute individual liberty is absolute non-being". But the issue is if those rules are "natural" as Bakunin called it (social, bottom-up etc) or imposed on one part of this society, ruled classes, by ruling classes through the state (political, religious laws) - rules created to exploit the masses.
"Solidarity is not the product but the mother of individuality" - What is more fundamental in this fragment, collective or individuality?"

These are quotes from "Knout-Germanic Empire" after Maximoff book, chapter 18 "Individuals are strictly determined" (Bakunin was social determinist, similar to Marx but difference was contrary to Marx he wasn't economical determinist and social determination of individuals was more broad)

This is a sample of anarchist critique of liberal individualism.

***

As for Stirner you should read his book instead but I don't know if it will help. I mean Stirner says explicitly not only that he's not against property but also why he supports it. I could quote dozens of such fragments. Half of the book is about why he supports property and why he criticize some particular form of it, sanctioned by state. Author "G.6 What are the ideas of Max Stirner?" of AFAQ just ignored all of this.

I quoted this earlier but if you still don't understand I repeat once more - he thought (again contrary to anarchism) that the state give people equal rights to property, it intervene in property relations one could say, this is what is wrong with this form of property. Only proprietor should decide what to do with his property and "his property" means everything what he can seize by his "might", by force simply speaking.
Author "G.6 What are the ideas of Max Stirner?" of AFAQ ignored this too.

There is simply no way you could prove this, as Stirner explicitly says "Property, therefore, should not and cannot be abolished; it must rather be torn from ghostly hands[Pg 343] and become my property; then the erroneous consciousness, that I cannot entitle myself to as much as I require, will vanish. But what cannot man require! Well, whoever requires much, and understands how to get it, has at all times helped himself to it, as Napoleon did with the Continent and France with Algiers."

"Sacred property" he criticize is property of others sanctioned by state laws, social rules etc "ghostly hands" of state or society he called it.

***

He criticize competition too, but why? "What in the form of principle or theory was propounded as the equality of all has found here in competition its realization and practical carrying out; for égalité is—free competition. All are, before the State,—simple individuals; in society, or in relation to each other,—competitors."

For Stirner competition is bad because there's too much equality in it grin
The same goes for liberalism. What all of this has to do with anarchism? Nothing at all.

***

As for his critique of "hierarchy" it's very weird and vague. I'm not even sure what he criticized in this point, rational reason I think. He wasn't egalitarian as you suggest when you say he "was opposed to hierarchy", that's for sure: "Let us not seek the most comprehensive commune, "human society," but let us seek in others only means and organs which we may use as our property! As we do not see our equals in the tree, the beast, so the presupposition that others are our equals springs from a hypocrisy. No one is my equal, but I regard him, equally with all other beings, as my property."

"I do not want the liberty of men, nor their equality; I want only my power over them, I want to make them my property, i. e. material for enjoyment."

Very anarchist, unhierarchical, isn't it?
and I could go on and on but it's obvious to me you didn't read Stirner's book.

So, his critique of state in not anarchist, he wasn't opposed to property or hierarchy. In fact all of this is exactly opposite to anarchism.

all quotes from here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34580/34580-8.txt

bastarx
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Aug 31 2014 11:51

Greenjuice, capitalism anywhere would be a threat to communism everywhere and would have to be ruthlessly suppressed.

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Aug 31 2014 12:19
august wrote:
but not Bakunin's nor anarchists' in First International. They weren't interested in Strirner individualist ideas at all. They didn't even bother to criticize them like Marx did.
"Classical anarchism" was based on opposition society vs the state, not individual vs the state. Too bad some anarchists forgot about it.

This seems an odd all or nothing ideological stance. Anarchism evolved from various influences – and continued to after what you call its “classical” phase. (A phase when there were anarcho-individualists in the First International alongside other anarchists.) That some class struggle anarchists also took something from Stirner is indisputable from the evidence I cited earlier – why anyone would be bothered by this, think it “too bad” or some would want to deny it, hide it, revise it out of history etc seems pointless and a symptom of dogmatism and insecurity, a longing for some ‘pure’ bloodline back to the anarcho-Eden.

Quote:
As for Urales I know nothing about him ...
But even if he was influenced by Stirner it don't make Stirner anarchist any more than "Auguste Comte, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Büchner and Ernst Haeckel" influences make them anarchists.

No it doesn’t but those who read what I said earlier will see that wasn’t my point anyway. It doesn’t matter to me whether some consider him anarchist or not – though Black Flame’s definitions and labelling of who is and isn’t are laughable. But he did influence some anarchists to varying degrees and it’s not necessarily a completely bad thing that must be condemned as a deviation by “real” anarchists in defence of a mythical pure “classical anarchism”. Eg, the “classical anarchism” of the workers/artisans of the 1st Int. was originally predominantly Proudhonist and you won’t find many nowadays conforming to that “classical” anarchism or a lot of its mutualist goals. (Though for anyone wanting to disassociate today's anarchism from false 'anarcho'-solutions Proudhonist mutualist/banking reform/co-operativism etc might be a more relevant target.) As I said, Stirner had a critique of aspects of early bourgeois social relations that, like other non-socialists – Ricardo, Comte, Smith etc – had some influence on the development of Marxism and anarchism. For instance, his influence on Marx – who in turn has influenced many anarchists, for better or/and worse – was arguably beneficial. Acknowledging that doesn’t make one an individualist or anti-class struggle, it's not as if you have to swallow a theory whole to take something from it.

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You said that some anarchists in UK were influenced by Stirner. I could describe here what weird influences were in polish anarchist movement not so long ago when anarchism was reconstructed after being destroyed by WWII and stalinism.

Well, whatever the worth of their synthesis, I guess the Scottish Stirnerite–syndicalists were less dogmatic and more freethinking than those who feel obliged to rigidly conform to some supposed “classical” Proudhonist anarchism. But, like it or not, Stirner’s and/or @-individualism's influence has had a long association with working class anarchist movements, as I showed above – so it’s not “weird” or a late “reconstruction”, it’s been quite common in anarchism’s history since at least the First International. I’m far from a Stirnerite and Stirner’s influence is pretty irrelevant now afaik (apart from occasional academic works) but the fact that some still feel the need to condemn the historical association – in the name of ideological conformity, precious “classical” purity or whatever – is about the only problem I can see with it today. Considering the historical links between class struggle anarchism and @-individualists it doesn’t even seem to have had the distracting or ‘polluting’ deviating effect implied – so too bad that the sometimes inaccurate or dishonest revisionism it provokes in some now seems a bigger problem.

Spikymike
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Aug 31 2014 13:03

greenjuice,

Just going back to your post 57 in response to my earlier point (and doing my best to use your terminology) I can only say that 'free association' between separate collective 'possession' of parts of the social means of production and distribution can only work 'post-capitalism' and be considered ''same as anarchist-communism'' or any communism, as bounded by social obligation and commitment to the wider global human community an it's environement, as it will otherwise likely lead to the emergence of a system whereby some 'collectives' are richer and better off and in a position to exploit the widerr human community, likely in turn to lead to conflict, competition and return to capitalism. You might expect diferent degrees of collective management of different levels of the social means of production on a world scale but not seperate collectice 'possession' that is as I see it seperate or private ownership.

boomerang
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Aug 31 2014 13:20

So everyone, do you or don't you think that there could likely be a minority of the working class who prefers mutualism, and that there might be certain towns, cities, regions where the majority prefers it?

If so, and if there are some places in the world that set up a mutualist system, how do you think we should deal with that?

I agree mutualism is likely to creep back into capitalism, though with non-coercive persuasion and hearing about how good things are in communist areas, it could also transition into communism. And I think non-coercive persuasion is what we should limit ourselves to.

bastarx wrote:
Greenjuice, capitalism anywhere would be a threat to communism everywhere and would have to be ruthlessly suppressed.

Are you talking about capitalism (more or less as we have it today) or mutualism?

Again, I don't think mutualism is a good system, but since there's no exploitation, I don't think it should be "ruthlessly suppressed" either. If or when it creeps back into exploitative capitalism, then our approach can change.

boomerang
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Aug 31 2014 13:21

While we're at it, does anyone understand the difference between collectivism and mutualism? I know collectivism is somewhere between mutualism and communism but am not sure how.

augustynww
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Aug 31 2014 14:19

Red Marriot,
By classical anarchism in First International I meant collectivism (that's why I quoted Bakunin and his views on individuality) not proudhonism. That's true there were many proudhonists in First International at least initially but they weren't anarchists as Proudhon himself wasn't later in his life. He was kind of social-democrat then (I'm not saying that Proudhon wasn't anarchist at all as some people argue, this is another issue).
Proudhonism evolved (or devolved). And this is not coincidence that anarchists sided with marxists against proudhonists (during collectivism - proudhonist dispute)

I'm not saying that no anarchist in history ever took anything from outside sources like Stirner. This is strawman argument. What's more I gave you an example from Poland myself. If you would watch more closely this discussion you would see that I argue with the idea that "individualism" is the core of anarchism; that it's definition of anarchism as such - and this is simply not true (and later with the idea that Stirner was an anarchist - he wasn't).

Stirner influences are different issue and you overrate this in my opinion. According to my knowledge there were only occasional influences in secondary issues on individual anarchists. But I may be wrong here.

Red Marriott wrote:
As I said, Stirner had a critique of aspects of early bourgeois social relations that, like other non-socialists – Ricardo, Comte, Smith etc – had some influence on the development of Marxism and anarchism. For instance, his influence on Marx – who in turn has influenced many anarchists, for better or/and worse – was arguably beneficial.

Red Marriott wrote:
it’s been quite common in anarchism’s history since at least the First International.

I don't really know what influence Stirner had on Marx in his youth except negative one. This is still something you should explain. But I said he had no influence on Bakunin and other anarcho-collectivists ("classical anarchists") and this is true.

He was obscure figure in the times of "classical anarchism" I'm not sure if you realize it; totally forgotten. French and english translations were made some 30 years after his death, in 1880s and 1890s. No one knew him in this period we talk about (Bakunin mentioned him only once, his name only not his views - and this is in spite of the fact that he knew him from Germany like Marx).
Those influences started only later if ever.

As for your idea of indirect influence through marxism - well, it's hard to say anything in response as you didn't even explained what influences on Marx you have in mind and if those particular influences landed in anarchism eventually.

augustynww
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Aug 31 2014 14:13
boomerang wrote:
While we're at it, does anyone understand the difference between collectivism and mutualism? I know collectivism is somewhere between mutualism and communism but am not sure how.

Mutualism is market socialism, with cooperatives or sometimes individual producers competing on market (with money, banks & credits).
Collectivism is non-market socialism (actually in my opinion there are two forms - anarcho-collectivism and marxist collectivism in a form of "transitory period" before communism)

boomerang
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Aug 31 2014 18:53
augustynww wrote:
Collectivism is non-market socialism (actually in my opinion there are two forms - anarcho-collectivism and marxist collectivism in a form of "transitory period" before communism)

Thanks, Augustynww. The difference between 'communism' and 'socialism' is always unclear, as some use the terms as synonyms.So in collectivism, I take it people have to pay for consumer items rather than it all being free? Can this be done without creating a market?

Also, someone must really be holding a grudge against me to downvote my asking the difference between collectivism and mutualism! tongue

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Aug 31 2014 18:55
boomerang wrote:

Also, someone must really be holding a grudge against me to downvote my asking the difference between collectivism and mutualism! tongue

Ignore trolls, post freely

boomerang
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Aug 31 2014 19:29

Aw, thanks Soapy. smile

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Aug 31 2014 19:46

Think it worth saying that when someone uses words like collectivism or mutualism ask them to define their terms. Saves a lot of time arguing at cross purposes.

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Aug 31 2014 20:32
boomerang wrote:
augustynww wrote:
Collectivism is non-market socialism (actually in my opinion there are two forms - anarcho-collectivism and marxist collectivism in a form of "transitory period" before communism)

Thanks, Augustynww. The difference between 'communism' and 'socialism' is always unclear, as some use the terms as synonyms.So in collectivism, I take it people have to pay for consumer items rather than it all being free? Can this be done without creating a market?

Also, someone must really be holding a grudge against me to downvote my asking the difference between collectivism and mutualism! tongue

I think the general collectivist view was that products could be bought using labor credits (i.e. credits distributed to a person based on the amount of socially useful labor they've performed) that could only be used for purchasing goods for personal use and not used as capital. I'm not especially well-informed on mutualism, but I'm not sure how it can be described as socialism. As I understand, it's essentially capitalism but with all firms as co-ops and a bank that lends at 0% interest rates so that aspiring entrepreneurs can get their own businesses started. It seems to me more petit bourgeois utopianism than anything very relevant to modern society.

I'm not sure that there's really any solid answer to the difference between socialism and communism. I usually use them interchangeably, which I think was conventional during the latter decades of the 19th century until 1917. But even when considering non-synonymous uses of the term "socialism", there's still a big difference between its usage early in the 19th century to describe a wide variety of social ownership schemes and its more contemporary usage to describe state capitalism or to describe places (e.g. Scandinavia) with relatively decent welfare programs (or at least better than the US).

bastarx
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Aug 31 2014 23:15
boomerang wrote:
Are you talking about capitalism (more or less as we have it today) or mutualism?

The former, I don't concern myself too much with ancient petit-bourgeois fantasies.

If some corner of the post-revolutionary world still had capitalists (actual capitalists, not merely people with pro-capitalist ideas) these capitalists would inevitably try to expand by expropriating the new commons. Such an existential threat to communism would have to be crushed or the capitalists would eventually win. Shouldn't be too hard if they were caught early.

boomerang
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Sep 1 2014 00:55
Tyrion wrote:
I think the general collectivist view was that products could be bought using labor credits (i.e. credits distributed to a person based on the amount of socially useful labor they've performed) that could only be used for purchasing goods for personal use and not used as capital. I'm not especially well-informed on mutualism, but I'm not sure how it can be described as socialism. As I understand, it's essentially capitalism but with all firms as co-ops and a bank that lends at 0% interest rates so that aspiring entrepreneurs can get their own businesses started. It seems to me more petit bourgeois utopianism than anything very relevant to modern society.

Thanks for clarifying about collectivism. I also think mutualism is a lot closer to capitalism than to socialism. It's sometimes called market socialism, but the only thing it gets rid of is exploitation. It still has all of capitalism's other faults - ruthless competition, large inequalities, unemployment, externalities, etc.

It seems in every revolution, though, that mutualism is what we immediately fall into, after expropriating the means of production. This makes me suspect it's almost inevitable to repeat in future revolutions. We've never held things down long enough to see how to proceed after that, how to break past mutualism into communism. It makes me nervous about getting trapped in there.

augustynww
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Sep 1 2014 09:14
Tyrion wrote:
I think the general collectivist view was that products could be bought using labor credits (i.e. credits distributed to a person based on the amount of socially useful labor they've performed) that could only be used for purchasing goods for personal use and not used as capital.

But the problem with collectivism (in any form I mean as transitory period or not) is how to avoid using it as capital and further accumulation.

Tyrion wrote:
I'm not especially well-informed on mutualism, but I'm not sure how it can be described as socialism. As I understand, it's essentially capitalism but with all firms as co-ops and a bank that lends at 0% interest rates so that aspiring entrepreneurs can get their own businesses started. It seems to me more petit bourgeois utopianism than anything very relevant to modern society.

It depends how you define socialism and capitalism. If most essential thing in capitalism is market (as mainstream economics define it) then it is capitalism. But if most essential characteristics of capitalism is selling labour power to capitalists and exploitation, it's not capitalism as there's no such thing in mutualism (and it always was understood as such even by critics according to my knowledge).
But it is still market system and it's usefulness in long run or as a system is questionable. How it' s relevant it depends, for instance in Argentina after collapse in 2001 workers took their firms and made mutualism basically (with credits too etc). So it sometimes is relevant in workers' struggles (I'm not saying it's good system as such, as a goal, it just happens sometimes)

Tyrion wrote:
I'm not sure that there's really any solid answer to the difference between socialism and communism. I usually use them interchangeably, which I think was conventional during the latter decades of the 19th century until 1917. But even when considering non-synonymous uses of the term "socialism", there's still a big difference between its usage early in the 19th century to describe a wide variety of social ownership schemes and its more contemporary usage to describe state capitalism or to describe places (e.g. Scandinavia) with relatively decent welfare programs (or at least better than the US).

Well, if you take contemporary most common use of "communism" it will be probably leninism or stalinism, so it depends again if you want to define it more strictly yourself or just take how it's used in general society, which is not so good. And this is not true that it's only 19th century thing, for instance in Spanish Revolution it was practical issue if collectivism should be introduced or libertarian communism (and they introduced collectivism with some "islands" of libertarian communism, hoping in time it will be possible to go into full libertarian communism so it was kind of transitory period too, as in anarchist theory Guillaume predicted)

Socialism for me is a system without exploitation with means of production taken over by workers; communism is very specific kind of socialism based on the principle "From each according to his/her ability, to each according to his/her need."

boomerang wrote:
It seems in every revolution, though, that mutualism is what we immediately fall into, after expropriating the means of production. This makes me suspect it's almost inevitable to repeat in future revolutions.

In Spain it was collectivism (and some people as I see regard it as a form of communism, contrary to spanish anarchists at the time, I think) not mutualism.

boomerang wrote:
We've never held things down long enough to see how to proceed after that, how to break past mutualism into communism. It makes me nervous about getting trapped in there.

Not mutualism but collectivism in my opinion, but whatever It won't happen by itself, that's for sure. Transition from socialism to communism must be made consciously with this agenda in mind. And biggest weakness of marxist version of transitory period (in libertarian form of marxism; I'm not talking about statist transitory period) is that it says it will happen automatically, by itself - if I understand this marxist version correctly.

boomerang
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Sep 1 2014 13:33
augustynww wrote:
In Spain it was collectivism (and some people as I see regard it as a form of communism, contrary to spanish anarchists at the time, I think) not mutualism.

Damn, I thought I now understood the difference between mutualism and collectivism, but I guess not?

Here's why it seems to me the economy in the Spanish revolution was mutualist, not collectivist... keep in mind I'm talking about the urban areas, not villages:
1- There were markets, and collectivism is supposed to abolish the market
2- There was commodity production: products were made in order to sell them for profit
3- For the most part, profits were retained by the worker collective that made them. Although there was some sharing / transferring from the more profitable collectives to the ones that were struggling.
4- Different workers collectives were in competition with each other for market share, profits, etc. Yeah, there was also some sharing, so this doesn't cancel out the competition.
5- There were wage inequalities between industries (and rather big ones), even sometimes in the same collective

There's only one feature that makes it seem more like collectivism than mutualism, which is that
1. The means of production could not be privately owned by the workers who managed it (or anyone else) -- workers were stewards of their workplace rather than owners

But despite not formally owning the means of production, this didn't mean much in practice -- see #3 above.

augustynww
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Sep 1 2014 15:43

60% of people lived in rural areas so most of this economy was based on agrarian collectivizations and industrial collectivizations in rural areas anyway and it was collectivist.

You are right about cooperatives in cities according to my knowledge but this wasn't intended the situation made them. The state still existed and it was governmental decree which reduced it to cooperatives (decree was to undermine revolution - and so it was undermined). Collectives were paying taxes too (I think) not because they wanted to, but because of situation - it wasn't perfect for many reasons.
Wage inequalities are meant to be in collectivism (to everyone according to his/her work)

(What "it means in practice" when cooperatives are concerned - it means there is no exploitation. This is the difference between capitalism and socialism. Market still exists and inequalities still exists, only smaller.)

If you want to know my opinion here it is: if this mixed economy in cities (mutualism + collectivism + state capitalism) lasted longer it would degenerate in one way or another. The only way to stop degeneration was to complete the revolution of course. This is my opinion in this matter.

But there is another issue here. There is something in collectivism (anarcho-collectivism and marxist "lower stage of communism") which may looks like similar to commodity production, market, etc. I didn't figured this problem myself yet, so I didn't raised this here. I mean there is wage still, there is always an exchange of products in some form or another and if there is exchange, is it commodity production or not? I'm not sure. Usual answer is - no, because it's not sold for profit on market, but I have doubts about it.