Question for ICC members

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proletarian.
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Mar 9 2015 00:03

What is the commune?

jojo
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Mar 9 2015 09:21

I've got a question for the ICC, which is after all this threads title.

Question. Why are Leo and the Turkish group leaving the ICC?

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Tyrion
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Mar 9 2015 17:37

boomerang, you might be interested in communization texts (Troploin, Theorie Communiste), which emphasize communist revolution as the abolition of the working class rather than its affirmation.

boomerang
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Mar 10 2015 01:53

@Tyrion: Thanks for the tip. Which communisation texts talk about revolution in this way?

Leo wrote:
Yes, I'd say they'd have to collectivize their land to give up their class position

You want to explain why you think this is the case? (Remember, they are giving their produce away for free.)

Leo wrote:
Does doing that mean they own the land? Yes, it kind of does.

Leo wrote:
respect their individual property right

What do you mean "kind of"? Why isn't this just use rights?

Leo wrote:
Yet, and I think this is where the crucial point is, we can't expect them to distribute their products for free and they definately won't want to do so.

Well, whether or not they will want to is a separate argument. In my question, I said to assume that they were giving away their produce for free. Is this the reason you said that a peasant can't give up their class position without collectivizing? Is it just because you're assuming they would never give their produce for free? Or would you still feel that way even if they were giving it for free?

Isn't giving things away for free the crucial issue here, not whether they're working alone or as a collective? I can easily imagine a collective of peasants insisting on exchange (whether money or barter). I can easily imagine a collective of workers doing this, too, especially if they produce something scarce.

Spassmaschine
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Mar 10 2015 06:18
boomerang wrote:
@Tyrion: Thanks for the tip. Which communisation texts talk about revolution in this way?

To be facetious: they all do, revolution as the abolition of the working class is the axiom of communisation theories. But to be more helpful, Tyrion may have other texts in mind, but I suggest these as good introductions to this conception of revolution:
http://endnotes.org.uk/en/endnotes-bring-out-your-dead
http://www.troploin.fr/node/24
http://endnotes.org.uk/en/endnotes-communisation-and-value-form-theory

The theory of communisation emerged as a critique of various conceptions of the revolution inherited from both the 2nd and 3rd International Marxism of the workers’ movement, as well as its dissident tendencies and oppositions. The experiences of revolutionary failure in the first half of the 20th century seemed to present as the essential question, whether workers can or should exercise their power through the party and state (Leninism, the Italian Communist Left), or through organisation at the point of production (anarcho-syndicalism, the Dutch-German Communist Left). On the one hand some would claim that it was the absence of the party — or of the right kind of party — that had led to revolutionary chances being missed in Germany, Italy or Spain, while on the other hand others could say that it was precisely the party, and the “statist,” “political” conception of the revolution, that had failed in Russia and played a negative role elsewhere.

Those who developed the theory of communisation rejected this posing of revolution in terms of forms of organisation, and instead aimed to grasp the revolution in terms of its content. Communisation implied a rejection of the view of revolution as an event where workers take power followed by a period of transition: instead it was to be seen as a movement characterised by immediate communist measures (such as the free distribution of goods) both for their own merit, and as a way of destroying the material basis of the counter-revolution. If, after a revolution, the bourgeoisie is expropriated but workers remain workers, producing in separate enterprises, dependent on their relation to that workplace for their subsistence, and exchanging with other enterprises, then whether that exchange is self-organised by the workers or given central direction by a “workers’ state” means very little: the capitalist content remains, and sooner or later the distinct role or function of the capitalist will reassert itself. By contrast, the revolution as a communising movement would destroy — by ceasing to constitute and reproduce them — all capitalist categories: exchange, money, commodities, the existence of separate enterprises, the state and — most fundamentally — wage labour and the working class itself.

C.Hélène
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Mar 10 2015 07:10

http://libcom.org/library/interview-roland-simon

http://libcom.org/library/intervention-communising-current

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Red Marriott
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Mar 10 2015 10:29
Quote:
There are great differences between Troploin and TC – largely over historical periodisation and determinism – and despite both having been around and writing for several decades it is only since the emergence in recent years of what has become known as ‘communisation theory’ in the English speaking world that they have been bracketed in this shared category. As Endnotes acknowledged;

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the Anglophone reception of ‘communization’ in general. It has thus become necessary to make the distinction: the ‘communization theory’ now spoken of in the Anglosphere is largely an imaginary entity, an artefact of the Anglophone reception of various unrelated works. http://libcom.org/library/what-are-we-do-endnotes

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/request-communisation-theory-dummies-100...

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Tyrion
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Mar 10 2015 14:18

boomerang, in addition to what's already been recommended, I'd suggest this piece which expands on the critique of programmatism, the conception of communism as a program to be implemented by a triumphant working class following "the revolution" that TC views as a defining characteristic of the socialist movement from around the turn of the 19th century until around the late 60s.

Leo
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Mar 10 2015 16:37
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What is the commune?

The self-organized life of the associated proletarians.

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Yes, I'd say they'd have to collectivize their land to give up their class position

You want to explain why you think this is the case? (Remember, they are giving their produce away for free.)

Because as I said, I don't think they can or will want to give their products for free, that is in exchange for nothing, nor can it be expected from them to do so.

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Does doing that mean they own the land? Yes, it kind of does.

What do you mean "kind of"?

No inheritence rights etc. I've already gone into the details.

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Why isn't this just use rights?

Because an exclusive, individual use right for life which can't be taken away by force under normal conditions is a property right.

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Well, whether or not they will want to is a separate argument.

I think whether they can is the heart of the issue, and whether they will want to is related to the fact that they can't.

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In my question, I said to assume that they were giving away their produce for free. Is this the reason you said that a peasant can't give up their class position without collectivizing? Is it just because you're assuming they would never give their produce for free?

No, it's because they can't give their products for free. The peasantry isn't a charity. They will use the products they need and trade the products they won't with the commune for their needs. So long as there is a seperation of the cities and the countryside, exchange between the cities and the countryside has to be organized. The organization of exchange can be prevented from taking the form of trade in the communal areas in the countryside within the general framework of the whole world commune; because the commune will be actively self-organizing every aspect of its public life. Yet individual land-owners, because they are individual land-owners and thus not a part of this communal life, naturally can't be a part of its self-organization. So they'll be trading with the commune.

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Isn't giving things away for free the crucial issue here

No, it isn't. Charities give things away for free.

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not whether they're working alone or as a collective?

Which isn't the crucial issue here either. The crucial issue is their relation to the means of production.

boomerang
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Mar 10 2015 17:17

Thanks everyone for the links and recommendations of articles.

On to responding to Leo's post...

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Because an exclusive, individual use right for life which can't be taken away by force under normal conditions is a property right.

I don't think this is the proper distinction between use rights and property rights. In a communist society, my clothes are not to be taken away by force, either. This is still defined as use rights not property rights. It's only property if we can use it for profit.

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No, it's because they can't give their products for free. The peasantry isn't a charity. They will use the products they need and trade the products they won't with the commune for their needs.

When I said "giving away their products for free", of course I didn't mean like a charity. I meant in the sense of mutual aid. So they give away for free, and they receive things for free. Not as a direct exchange, but because they are giving according to their abilities and receiving according to their needs.

This can be done whether or not someone is growing food on an individual plot of land or as part of a collective. This can also be refused or resisted by people in either circumstance.

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So long as there is a seperation of the cities and the countryside, exchange between the cities and the countryside has to be organized. The organization of exchange can be prevented from taking the form of trade in the communal areas in the countryside within the general framework of the whole world commune; because the commune will be actively self-organizing every aspect of its public life. Yet individual land-owners, because they are individual land-owners and thus not a part of this communal life, naturally can't be a part of its self-organization. So they'll be trading with the commune.

A family can work an individual sized plot of land and still take part in communal decision making. Even if they chose to abstain from that, they could voluntarily send their produce to towns/cities, rather than trading. Why not?

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The crucial issue is their relation to the means of production.

Just like people working in a farm collective, they would have use-rights to the means of production, not ownership.

Leo
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Mar 10 2015 18:57
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I don't think this is the proper distinction between use rights and property rights. In a communist society, my clothes are not to be taken away by force, either. This is still defined as use rights not property rights.

Actually no, that's a posession, not property. I don't think there is a problem even with you even leaving a possession to a loved one after you pass away if you wish to do so.

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It's only property if we can use it for profit.

So only people who rent rooms own flats and houses?

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When I said "giving away their products for free", of course I didn't mean like a charity. I meant in the sense of mutual aid. So they give away for free, and they receive things for free. Not as a direct exchange, but because they are giving according to their abilities and receiving according to their needs.

This can be done whether or not someone is growing food on an individual plot of land or as part of a collective.

Growing food on an individual pot of land often necessitates living there so this means that the individual land owners will not be living in communal territory. Hence they won't be able to receive things directly on a daily basis and will need an accumulated amount of products.

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A family can work an individual sized plot of land and still take part in communal decision making.

Actually, I am very strongly against family property, which will mean nothing but a continuation of the patriarchal culture dominant in the countryside. Couples can live together, but should have their individual plots of land. I don't think any sort of domestic child labor is acceptable either.

And no, I don't think individuals who chose not to be a part of the commune can take part in communal decision meeting, otherwise it won't be the self-organization of the commune but will amount to a democratic organization of the whole society by the proletariat and other classes who choose not to be a part of it. This, I don't think, will amount to anything other than Marx's criticisms in the Poverty of Philosophy against those who saw socialism as a universalization of bourgeois ideals, on democracy in this case. This, I think, is in contradiction to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Choosing to own individual property means accepting being outside the decision making of the commune, since it means choosing to be outside the commune. They can, of course, give up their land and become a part of the commune whenever they choose to.

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Just like people working in a farm collective, they would have use-rights to the means of production, not ownership.

I'm sorry, but I think ownership is the most clear, open and honest definition of the situation we're defining.

boomerang
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Mar 10 2015 23:32
boomerang wrote:
It's only property if we can use it for profit.

Leo wrote:
So only people who rent rooms own flats and houses?

People who own their homes can sell them for money. That's what makes it different from use-rights.

Leo wrote:
Growing food on an individual pot of land often necessitates living there so this means that the individual land owners will not be living in communal territory. Hence they won't be able to receive things directly on a daily basis and will need an accumulated amount of products.

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And no, I don't think individuals who chose not to be a part of the commune can take part in communal decision meeting, otherwise it won't be the self-organization of the commune but will amount to a democratic organization of the whole society by the proletariat and other classes who choose not to be a part of it.

I was imagining them living nearby a collective farm. This was how it was in the Spanish revolution. The individual farmers lived near the collective farms. Often they did take part in the village assemblies, too. They were neighbors so it made sense. Of course they didn't take part in decisions related to the farming collective, but to village concerns.

boomerang
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Mar 11 2015 14:04
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I don't think any sort of domestic child labor is acceptable either.

Just to clarify, by family plot of land I wasn't suggesting the use of child labor, but of a plot of land big enough to support a family. And when I said a family could work it together, I didn't mean children, either. Could be adult-children or extended family.

Edit: On the other hand, I don't see a problem with kids taking part in small ways. I imagine in an anarchist /socialist / communist society (whatever you want to call it), part of a child's education would be to take part in productive activities ("work"), not just book learning in school. This can actually be fun for the kids as long as there isn't pressure on them to be little work horses. But we don't want that kind of pressure on adults, either.

Leo
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Mar 11 2015 14:54
Quote:
People who own their homes can sell them for money. That's what makes it different from use-rights.

And by this logic, property will be abolished automatically when the money form is abolished. Yet private property certainly emerged before the emergence of money.

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I was imagining them living nearby a collective farm. This was how it was in the Spanish revolution. The individual farmers lived near the collective farms. Often they did take part in the village assemblies, too. They were neighbors so it made sense. Of course they didn't take part in decisions related to the farming collective, but to village concerns.

In Spain, all the social experiments, and they were quite limited (only 18,5% of the land was collectivized in Republican Span) due, in my opinion, to the fact that there never was a revolution as the bourgeois state remained intact, in any case happened within the course of a civil war. The small land-owners and tenant farmers were more often than not reluctant to join the collectivization of land (and many of those who did, didn't do so willingly). So collective farms basically were islands among individually owned lands. My source for all this info is this text, which I'd recommend for anyone interested in the agrarian collectives during the Spanish Civil War.

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On the other hand, I don't see a problem with kids taking part in small ways. I imagine in an anarchist /socialist / communist society (whatever you want to call it), part of a child's education would be to take part in productive activities ("work"), not just book learning in school. This can actually be fun for the kids as long as there isn't pressure on them to be little work horses.

I'm personally against all forms of education. Children should be free to play as much as they like and learn what they choose to. Of course, adults can guide them and should be ready to teach them whenever they show interest in learning something, but I hope the education system will be abolished rather soon in the period of transition.