Are you a communist?

Yes
78% (62 votes)
No
18% (14 votes)
Don't Know
5% (4 votes)
Total votes: 80

Posted By

Lazy Riser
Mar 30 2006 15:07

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Lazy Riser
Apr 3 2006 15:15

Hi

There you go. Faced with the choice between socialism or barbarism: It's barbarism every time, baby.

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 16:18
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Of course communism would have personal property, which is always property based on use, and even if your not using somethign at the moment, who cares when its possible for "consumer" goods to be perfectly abundant anyway. You cannot put yourself in a position of hierarchical authority by owning a video recorder.

Say you use it to record movies and distribute them in exchange for labour notes, or potatoes. Is that not then the “private ownership of a means of production in a market”.

Its individual ownership of a means of production used by you alone. I wouldn't oppose it. Liberty is only threatened when use and ownership (i.e. control) do not coinclide. But in any case, why the fuck would you bother? You could just go and get the potatoes anyway, you would get no more by making videos.

Libertarian Communists don't wish to surpress the market. They oppose usury, rent, profit and any individual property not based on exclusive occupancy and use - these are terms used by benjamin tucker, mutualist and individualist, not communists, but we are in agreement there. Such property will not be surpressed, it will simply not be protected. Your boss could not control the workplace on his own - he does so because he has the police to kick people out when he says so (unless he's some sort of muscular bodybuilder smile )

In any case, "society" does limit consumption now, since you can only consume what others decide to produce, and this will be the same under communism, except that people will collaborate more intelligently in fulfilling their mutual needs.

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This idea of cornucopia and communism magically coinciding is pure science fiction.

I don't understand what's cornucopian about this. So we make losts of differenent sizes of TV, and you take the one you want. What's so fucking impossible about that? Consumers would have more choice, since they could positively influence what is produced through community assemblies, rather than having to choose between ready made choices. Harmony between needs as producers and needs of consumers would be ensured by the fact that everyone in a community assembly making decisions about what should be produced, is simultaneously a worker at the same time - its the same people negotiating in a different capacity.

gaf
Apr 3 2006 16:27

what is the difference/

between proclaiming you are,while not doing it?

no i'm not an ism,as i don't agree with a bourgeoi.

Lazy Riser
Apr 3 2006 17:52

Hi

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Libertarian Communists don't wish to surpress the market

Yes they do. I’ve seen them and they were loving it.

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So we make losts of differenent sizes of TV, and you take the one you want. What's so fucking impossible about that?

Nothing. You’ve got to admit it sounds pretty cornucopian though.

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Consumers would have more choice, since they could positively influence what is produced through community assemblies, rather than having to choose between ready made choices.

1.

It doesn’t follow. They could vote to reduce choice.

2.

I would imagine community assemblies would delegate most of the market research to professionals, like plumbing and surgery.

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 20:59
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Libertarian Communists don't wish to surpress the market

Yes they do. I’ve seen them and they were loving it.

Hows about Errico Malatesta: "free and voluntary communism is ironical if one has not the right and the possibility to live in a different regime, collectivist, mutualist, individualist -- as one wishes, always on condition that there is no oppression or exploitation of others."

Or Kropotkin

"when we see a peasant who is in possession of just the amount of land he can cultivate, we do not think it reasonable to turn him off his little farm. He exploits nobody, and nobody would have the right to interfere with his work. But if he possesses under the capitalist law more than be can cultivate himself, we consider that we must not give him the right of keeping that soil for himself, leaving it uncultivated when it might be cultivated by others, or of making other cultivate it for his benefit." [Act for Yourselves, p. 104]

or

"Communist organisations . . . must be the work of all, a natural growth, a product of the constructive genius of the great mass. Communism cannot be imposed from above; it could not live even for a few months if the constant and daily co-operation of all did not uphold it. It must be free." [Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 140]

If you don't believe me, will you believe them, as evidence that at thsi si a common libertarian communist view. I don't see why you need an authority though, when I'm telling you now.

I don't know what cornucopian actually means. The US has been able technically to produce a massive surpless of goods since 1912. But I actaully don't think it matters. I'm not saying we will have enough in the wonderful communist future, I'm saying enough is technically available right now.

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Consumers would have more choice, since they could positively influence what is produced through community assemblies, rather than having to choose between ready made choices.

1.

It doesn’t follow. They could vote to reduce choice.

2.

I would imagine community assemblies would delegate most of the market research to professionals, like plumbing and surgery.

OK, so the co-ops in a mutualist society could decide not to produce a great variety. What's your point. If people would vote to reduce variety, they probably wouldn't create much market demand for variety either. You fail to explain how a market would do things better. Variety is only relative anyway, there's plenty of stuff it would be difficult to get in a market economy, because one person's demand won't stimulate enough production. But workers in control of their workplace, without the pressures of competition, doing a job they like might be happy to customise stuff.

2. If they do, its their own fault if it goes wrong. You can't account for the decisions people will make, its their business and their responsibility. I have my opinions, but I'm only one person.

Market research could be done by various different groups, so if one got it wrong or falsified results the others would pick it up, or it could be rotated (cos its a pretty easy job making a few questionnaires, having studied sociological research).

But why is market research even the point? It stands to reason that if a worker in a communal store finds that some things are taken quickly, and others stay on the shelf, they will change their orders accordingly. Demand is easy to find, its really very similar to the way its found in a market, except markets find the "effective" demand, the demand of the people with money.

You seem to be criticising a lot (perhaps implicitly, rather than explicitly, through questions). What reason have you got to suppose that a mutulaist system (which is generally what you seem to advocate) would do things any better in these respects?

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 21:03

Also, you ask what would happen if people traded tings for potatos etc. Well they obviously don't want to take part in a communist anarchist association. They should join a a mutualist one. What's so difficult about that? There's no point in being part of a libertarian communist commune if you don't abide by the agreements made there (since you have as much say as anyone else). Free association means the right to dissociate from those who refuse to cooperate in a commonly agreed way, yet wish to have the benefits of cooperation as if they had.

sam sanchez
Apr 3 2006 21:05
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2.

I would imagine community assemblies would delegate most of the market research to professionals, like plumbing and surgery.

Wouldn't mutualist firms do this too? They wouldn't be any better at estimating demands, in fact they would be worse, because market competition makes it against the interests of firms to share info. They can only make educated guesses at future demand, and this often lead to problems.

madashell
Apr 3 2006 21:41
Lazy Riser wrote:
Ho ho. Perhaps the anarcho-communists are the “very specific branch of communism” and the vanguardist approach represents authentic mainstream communism untainted by fluffy libertarianism.

Firstly, there isn't just one "vanguardist approach." And I didn't mean to imply that one particular tradition in communism is more "authentic" than another, though I can see how it may have read that way.

Not that I have the slightest doubt that I am always right about everthing, of course wink

Lazy Riser
Apr 3 2006 22:25

Hi

Quote:
when we see a peasant who is in possession of just the amount of land he can cultivate, we do not think it reasonable to turn him off his little farm. He exploits nobody, and nobody would have the right to interfere with his work. But if he possesses under the capitalist law more than be can cultivate himself, we consider that we must not give him the right of keeping that soil for himself, leaving it uncultivated when it might be cultivated by others, or of making other cultivate it for his benefit

There are some serious downstream problems awaiting this economic model, but as a short term rule, I’m sure it’s very admirable.

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I don't see why you need an authority though, when I'm telling you now.

Alright then, some libertarian communists are for markets. I’m delighted to hear it.

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What's your point

I dunno. I just don’t think it’s fair that you get to be a communist and advocate a mixed economy that allows for authentic markets, self employment and land as privately owned means of production. Are you George Melly?

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market competition makes it against the interests of firms to share info

Not necessarily, especially as I’d need to be untying the bulk of income from work to make revolution worth my while.

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They can only make educated guesses at future demand, and this often lead to problems.

Opportunities to learn. Ho ho. Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

Right, so maybe I should vote “Yes” after all? Won’t one of the orthodox Marxists challenge sam_frances’ claim for membership of the communist family? Won’t the Species Being be irrevocably sullied by tolerating all the dirty commodity relations occurring under its nose? I think so.

Love

LR

Dave Antagonism
Apr 4 2006 00:36

Hi I think it is important to remeber some of Marx's early writtings on communism and the use of communism by the french ultra-left like Jean Barrot ( aka Gilles Dauve). Here communism is not just some goal in the future, but the very movement of proletarian self-abolition. It is not a state of affairs to dream about, but a task ,a project a way of relating to each other that the antagonism of capital produces. By the same token it is the producer and sum total of the antagonism in capitalist society. It is the future in the present

cheers

Dave red star

Joseph Kay
Apr 4 2006 07:33
Lazy Riser wrote:
I just don’t think it’s fair that you get to be a communist and advocate a mixed economy that allows for authentic markets, self employment and land as privately owned means of production

Thats not what sam, malatesta or kropotkin said though is it (look who you're in the same breath as sam wink )? They're not advocating a mixed economy, they are advocating communism, but refusing to impose it on anyone against their will (clue, thats the 'libertarian' bit wink ). Thus, a likely outcome of anarchism is a network of communes/associations each at a different point on a continuum between communism and individualism via mutualism, all directly democratic/federal and without a State, and thus no enforceable (bourgeois) private property.

Libertarian communists would obvioulsy want to live in a libertarian communist commune (or agitate for libcomism where they are), but everyone gets to choose. Refusing to 'force people to be free' (in the words of the great liberal Rousseau) is not the same as 'advocating a mixed economy'.

cantdocartwheels
Apr 4 2006 08:05

I voted don't know, since while a future society without private property is generally a good idea, i don't see it as inevitable or even 100% neccessary, since i do suspect that you could have a classless socialist society. The idea that all forms of value would somehow to borrow a phrase ''wither away'' slowly is a little far fetched also, so how would a liberatarian socialist society become a communist one?

Plus the complications of what constitutes communal and individual property are more complex than often considered. I mean i'm not doing the laughably barmy ''all our underwear would be communaly owned so communism is wrong'' arguement fairly obviously a rational human being would be able to distinguish between individual property and communal property on a basic functionary level, but when it comes to housing and certain other forms of property i think theres a blurry line as to how the indivual and society relate just as their a blurry line as to how a collective and a wider society relate.

sam sanchez
Apr 4 2006 10:51

There is a blurry line, but it is based upon common standards.

1) Is the person claiming ownership the exclusive user.

2) Does their ownership allow them to extract rent, usury or profit from others.

3) Does their ownership create a social relationship of hierarchical authority?

This generally (for individualist, mutualist and communist anarchism) means that continued and exclusive occupancy and use is the only title. In a market anarchism, this would mean that you could sell your house, but no one would protect your claim to own two houses, one of which you rented. Workplaces would be self employed or cooperatives. In communism this would be a lot easier - you would not have to sell your house, you could just find another vacant one and move into it, because money is not used (i.e. there is no need to pay the builders, because they have a right as a member of the commune to take goods from the communal store, so they don't need direct payment from the person who will use the house).

But yes, there are blurry lines which will have to be negotiated by communities, with everyone having an equal say. What can I say? Life is complicated sometimes!

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 12:45

Hi

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What can I say? Life is complicated sometimes!

True enough. From this perspective there's no difference between self-management and communism, but I'd have thought that the majority of communists would see that as self-management of one's own exploitation.

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 4 2006 14:07

Self management is essential to libertarian communism, but there is a difference in the form of management and exchange. If you join a communist commune, you will agree to give the products you make in your workplace away for free, in return for which you have free access to the products of other workplaces in the commune. Rather than production being coordinated by the market, it is coordinated by federations of workplaces, with community assemblies making major investment decisions and decisions over what should be produced - this doesn't mean they would dictate everything each workplace did, so much as agreeing on the overall priorities of production. Its a system based on cooperation in a more widescale sense than mutualism, and the removal of competition between workplaces allows them to cooperate to meet the common need of the members of the commune and federation of communes. Its a moneyless economy motivated by need.

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 14:27

Hi

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If you join a communist commune, you will agree to give the products you make in your workplace away for free, in return for which you have free access to the products of other workplaces in the commune.

That sounds a bit dodgy. It’s forced labour and I can’t see how I’d be able to work half-hours for less “pay” if I wanted.

Won’t there be a market in labour (or indeed communes) as the plushest communes head-hunt the sexiest workers?

You may be able to hide the implicit exchange within the commune there, but when it comes to inter-commune transactions, I’m not sure if this model operates in everyone’s best interests.

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 4 2006 15:59

It is in no way forced labour. No one forces you to join a commune, and you have equal power within it, rather than being subordinated like in capitalism, so who is forcing you? If that is coercion, then so is every form of cooperation, since it always entails that you agree to do something (i.e. to a certain amount and type of labour), in return for which others carry out the same or a complimentary activity. If you want to work with other human beings, you have to make agreements with them, and if that is, in the absence of unequal bargaining power, a form of coercion, then you cannot even agree to meet your friend to go for a walk without giving up your freedom, which is patent bullshit.

In a market, you are forced to labour, otherwise others will not supply you with what you need. Or if you wish not to buy from others, you must try to supply all of your needs yourself, which is even more work. How is it any more coercive to meet in an assembly and each agree to do a certain amount of work? Wouldn't this be what you did in a worker managed firm anyway! Overall, the need to survive forces us to work, the only question is whether we work under the authoritarian control of another, or under the control of ourselves and our equal associates.

But what reason have you got to show that mutualism wouldn't lead us back into the industrial feudalism of capitalism, through the accumulation of capital and competition between firms. Communism prevents this, because it compensates for diffences in ability, accidents (i.e. being put out of business because of an earthquake and being put out of work), the random luck of "fortune", and guarantees everyone the equal opportunity to satisfy their many differing needs.

On being able to work less for less pay, it depends. Some argue communes should have no labour requirement, just allowing people to work at that which they enjoyed or not, as they wished. If some jobs didn't get done, the members of the commune could assemble and decide to rota this job, or decide not to do it at all. This is a nice ideal, but perhaps unrealistic, I don't know. Others argue that people could decide not to work and get a basic level of access to goods, but if they worked they would have full opportunity to satisfy their needs. Some argue that the assembly would agree on a certain amount of labour that each would do, perhaps reducing this for jobs nobody wanted, in order to ecourage them to get done. Perhaps you could join a federation of communes that went for free time over weallth? Its possible to produce everything we need in less hours than we use up now, if everybody was working and pointless jobs like stockbrokers and bankers were made unneccessary. In any case, there could be a large amount of flexibility over the amount of work each does, it depends very much on the circumstances.

On large scale organisation, it has been argued that a federation of commune would make goods freely available between communes as well, eliminating the need to "head hunt" - although i would point out that this sort of "brain drain" from more to less developed areas is common now, not because of capitalism so much as the action of market competition, so would not mutualism have the same problem between workplaces and localities?

If you want ideas about how a large scale gift economy could work, I can't be bothered to go into detail: look at the "What would an anarchist society look like" section of www.anarchistfaq.org.uk website for a start, perhaps.

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 17:45

Hi

Ho ho. Now I like a gift economy as much as the next man. Are people who advocate gift economies automatically communists? I expect David Cameron fancies a gift economy himself, but I doubt he’ll be crossing the house for the ICC any time soon. That is if you can imagine the ICC in the house, which I’m sure you can.

Are there any communists who see sam_frances’ economic model as unworthy of the working class?

Love

LR

Joseph Kay
Apr 4 2006 17:57
Lazy Riser wrote:
I expect David Cameron fancies a gift economy himself, but I doubt he’ll be crossing the house for the ICC any time soon. That is if you can imagine the ICC in the house, which I’m sure you can.

what are you on about Lazy? confused

revolutionrugger
Apr 4 2006 18:32
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi
Quote:
Communism to me is the supersession of commodity production and the era of the material human community

Now we're talking. So communism is a specialist Marxist approach to commodity exchange as a degenerate social relation. Very catchy I must say. I like a bit of human community, but I find commodities so handy, I wonder if it’s worth it.

Is a communist economy necessarily non-monetary?

Love

LR

YES! i'm horrified you could even ask that question.

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 18:50

Hi

Quote:
what are you on about Lazy?

I’m sort of asking if the Internationalists interpret sam_frances’ economic options as communist. Perhaps having such a clear position is too much of a recipe for tomorrow’s cooks or even reactionary in itself.

Love

LR

Joseph Kay
Apr 4 2006 18:54
Lazy Riser wrote:
I’m sort of asking if the Internationalists interpret sam_frances’ economic options as communist

that wasn't too difficult now was it? wink

Lazy Riser wrote:
Perhaps having such a clear position is too much of a recipe for tomorrow’s cooks or even reactionary in itself.

you heard the man sam, stop being so clear in your ideas, you anarcho-reactionary you angry

wink

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 19:04

Hi

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Refusing to 'force people to be free' (in the words of the great liberal Rousseau) is not the same as 'advocating a mixed economy'.

A statement that is philosophically true, and yet practically false.

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Is a communist economy necessarily non-monetary?
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YES! i'm horrified you could even ask that question.

Oh, you’d be surprised. What will you gamble with at the races? Buttons? That’ll be exciting.

Love

LR

revolutionrugger
Apr 4 2006 19:29

well since gambling on a race has at its core the alienated relationship of spectator and participant, and a cash nexus. Similar to customer/worker. I'd say that there would be no gambling in a post-revolutionary society. You'd race. not gamble on a race. And if you're talking about horses or dogs you're complicit in horrific abuse and slavery.

angry

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 20:15

Hi

Quote:
well since gambling on a race has at its core the alienated relationship of spectator and participant, and a cash nexus. Similar to customer/worker. I'd say that there would be no gambling in a post-revolutionary society.

That’s more like it. I’d watch out though, I’ve seen people take stranger stuff seriously.

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You'd race. not gamble on a race.

Every race is a gamble, even if you’re only betting energy on the self-fulfilment of winning.

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And if you're talking about horses or dogs you're complicit in horrific abuse and slavery.

Such crude sarcasm. Animals unsophisticated enough to understand commodity exchange as a social relation are unlikely to care about their slave status as long as they’re enjoying themselves.

Love

LR

revolutionrugger
Apr 4 2006 20:22
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi
Quote:
well since gambling on a race has at its core the alienated relationship of spectator and participant, and a cash nexus. Similar to customer/worker. I'd say that there would be no gambling in a post-revolutionary society.

That’s more like it. I’d watch out though, I’ve seen people take stranger stuff seriously.

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You'd race. not gamble on a race.

Every race is a gamble, even if you’re only betting energy on the self-fulfilment of winning.

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And if you're talking about horses or dogs you're complicit in horrific abuse and slavery.

Such crude sarcasm. Animals unsophisticated enough to understand commodity exchange as a social relation are unlikely to care about their slave status as long as they’re enjoying themselves.

Love

LR

yes because only those that can understand their oppression as abstract categories are actually oppressed, which is why its okay to beat and rape small children.

Lazy Riser
Apr 4 2006 20:47

Hi

Quote:
yes because only those that can understand their oppression as abstract categories are actually oppressed, which is why its okay to beat and rape small children

Interesting logic. Is it indicative of the level of analysis you’ve applied to considering the potential role of value tokens in a communist economy?

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the assembly would agree on a certain amount of labour that each would do, perhaps reducing this for jobs nobody wanted, in order to ecourage them to get done. Perhaps you could join a federation of communes that went for free time over weallth?

Now you’re talking. I’m really looking for some orthodox communists to poor scorn on your Proudhonism. Is it fair to call it that?

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In a market, you are forced to labour, otherwise others will not supply you with what you need

Consider a universal income, high enough to ensure autonomy, regardless of whether work finds you or not.

Now it’s my turn for a bit of sci-fi…

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

Is a market that sits alongside such a “Purple wage” still a market in the sense you mean it? Is such an economy compatible with communist principles?

Love

LR

sam sanchez
Apr 4 2006 20:56

I want a fornixator! Actualy, no I don't, I'd probably end up killing myself. They did an experiment with rats, where they hooked an electrode to their brain, and gave the rats a button to press which gave them an instant orgasm. the rats just kept on doing it until they died of exaustion.

(P.S. If anyone thinks this is an odd comment to make, look at Lazy's article).

Cardinal Tourettes
Apr 4 2006 22:16
Lazy Riser wrote:

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

Is a market that sits alongside such a “Purple wage” still a market in the sense you mean it? Is such an economy compatible with communist principles?

Love

LR

Somebody should really knock out a screenplay to that and send it to Charlton Heston. It sounds shit.

I think it potentially is compatible, but it seems a tad unambitious.

Who's making the decisions?

E.g. you've got the "wages" (although its not wage-labour), but how are the prices set? Is anybody making a profit on the exchange? And so forth.

The only point of it I can think of would be to make sure greedy fuckers couldn't just help themselves to excessive amounts of stuff, but if you were in that situation (ie some degree of scarcity/greedy fuckers) you'd probably want to give out the money (for so it be!) on the basis of doing a certain amount of work as well.

Or you wouldn't be thinking that such a notion - "a citizen's wage"?, how vulgar - is realistic within capitalism? I wouldn't insult you by saying - is that all you would want?

Actually, didn't the LibDems propose this?

Your not Charles Kennedy after a couple of bottles of Old Speckled Hen are you?

sam sanchez
Apr 5 2006 09:05

It was the greens I think.