Saturday, August 18, 2007

Argentina: Hotel Bauen's Workers Without Bosses Face Eviction

Written by Marie Trigona
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
ImageArgentina’s worker occupied factory movement is rallying across the country for a national expropriation law in the face of eviction orders and legal uncertainty. At the forefront of the worker recuperated enterprise movement is the BAUEN Hotel, just one of the 180 worker-run businesses up and running in Argentina.

After four years of successful worker management, a federal court issued a 30 day eviction notice to the workers of the hotel on July 20. If the workers do not successfully block the eviction order legally or through political actions the hotel could be lost and 154 workers out of a job.

A network of worker run factories and worker organizations are mobilizing not only against the possible eviction of the cooperative from the BAUEN Hotel, but also for a long-term legal solution for the 10,000 workers currently employed at Argentina’s recovered factories and businesses. At worker assemblies and rallies, hundreds of workers without bosses are using the slogan: si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos! (if they touch one of us, they touch all of us!)

Working without bosses

Image
Recent Bauen Press Conference
After the hotel’s 2001 closure, on March 21, 2003 the workers decided to take over the hotel to safeguard their livelihood and defend their jobs. Since 2003, workers have operated the BAUEN cooperative hotel, a 20 story building in the very heart of Buenos Aires. The BAUEN cooperative, like many of the recuperated enterprises was forced to start up production without any legal backing whatsoever.

Just a week before the eviction notice was delivered workers could be heard in the comedor (cafeteria) talking about how to improve services for hotel guests. Over a lunch of roast beef and potatoes, reception workers discussed strategies for checking hotel guests in quickly to avoid back ups at the front desk during their busiest time of year, winter vacation in Buenos Aires.. These aren’t hotel managers strategizing how to make employees improve services in order to get a promotion. They are simply rank and file workers taking pride in their jobs and working to improve services for the benefit of the entire cooperative. Such conversations are common in the break room, an informal space where the workers can discuss administrative and personal issues that need to be resolved. Since the eviction notice, there was a dramatic shift in what is being discussed in the break room. Workers are now talking about how to defend their jobs and hotel by keeping services up and running, while focusing energy on the political fight to prevent the cooperative from being evicted from the hotel.

ImageAt a time when Argentina is just recovering from its 2001 economic crisis, during which thousands of factories closed down and millions of jobs were lost, the recuperated enterprises have created jobs. Gabriel Quevedo, president of the BAUEN cooperative says that the workers created jobs when investors and industrialists were fleeing the country. “The workers took on responsibility when the country was in full crisis and unemployment over 20 percent, where workers couldn’t find work. The workers formed a cooperative and created jobs, when no one believed that it was possible.”

Along with the other worker-run recuperated enterprises throughout Argentina, the BAUEN Hotel has redefined the basis of production and management: without workers, bosses are unable to run a business; without bosses, workers can do it better. This is the message of Pino Solanas, world renowned filmmaker. “BAUEN is a symbol of resistance and an example of creativity in society. At the BAUEN they have invented a way of managing a business successfully. This proves that a non-capitalist form of management is viable, in a society that has been in crisis.”


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90 comments:

troutsky said...

This is definately where the revolutionary rubber meets the road. Private property rights vs social production and the commons. The state backed legal system vs the Multitude and it's own legitimate authority.

From my own research into "horizontalism" there is a vague and tenuous aspect to this form of social development, an "anti- ideology" that is almost fetishized. I will be curious to see how this process plays out.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

I guess they could make a reality show about anarcho-syndicalism. Maybe call it Survivor: Picket Line

Larry Gambone said...

Am reading Andre Gortz, “Reclaiming Work” and thought these quotes were applicable;
“ once demands for autonomy and power have been won in the workplace, there will be no way to limit them generally.”
Autonomy in work is of little significance when it is not carried into the cultural, moral and political spheres, and cultural, moral and political autonomy does not arise from productive co-operation itself, but from activism and from the culture of resistance, rebellion, fraternity, free debate, radical questioning and dissidence that activism produces.”

Renegade Eye said...

I wonder if mainstream unions in Argentina, support the Bauen workers?

It would be hard to imagine for someone outside the US, how tilted towards management US labor law has become. Since the Taft-Hartely law, mass picketing is for the most part illegal. If something happened like a worker takeover of a major hotel, president Hillary would use the army.

A dual power situation has to break. You can't have an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism.

Larry Gambone said...

Agreed, but it depends upon the situation of the contending classes. And if the state fears an uprising through acting to break the dual power situation, they will wait and the dual powr situation will last longer. One possibility is that the Kirschner govt is intending to tame the movement by having it become the coop sector within the greater corporate economy. Sort of the way Berlin tamed the squats by making them into housing coops.

Crow said...

Good Luck to the workers. And if that is a real Cuban restaurant you have opened(last post) then good lcuk to you too!

sonia said...

Ren,

You can't have an island of socialism in a sea of capitalism.

Not true. There are plenty of communes in the United States and other capitalist country.

It's the opposite that's true. You can't have an island of capitalism in a sea of socialism. Sooner of later, that socialist sea will evaporate, leaving only a few puddles...

The Pagan Temple said...

I prefer the analogy of rivers of capitalism filling lakes of socialism, as well as other kinds of lakes for banking and investment. Give everybody the opportunity to swim, fish, or ski.

At the same time, you can only dam the river up so much, and you have to allow for so much of a flow to allow for fertilization (growth) of the surrounding land (economy).

Okay, I'll shut up now.

Larry Gambone said...

"It's the opposite that's true. You can't have an island of capitalism in a sea of socialism. Sooner of later, that socialist sea will evaporate, leaving only a few puddles..."

What proof do you have for that statement? Other than cooperative experiments and a few brief moments of worker self management in Russia and Spain there has never been a socialist society to evaporate. Socialism remains largely untried.

Sontín said...

The problem is that property has been enshrined in law as belong to those how have the papers (and of course the money to buy those papers) rather than those who productivily use it. I wish them the best, but I imagine that the represive side of the state will fall on them if the owners of the papers want it back.

Mr. Beamish, I think you have hit upon a winner. You could make a whole series of shows:

Survivor 1: Picket line.
Survivor 2: Land occupation.
Survivor 3: Factory apropriation.
Survivor 4: Street movilization.
Survivor 5: Mass mobilization.
Revolution 1: ...

sonia said...

Larry,

Socialism remains largely untried.

It has been tried in most African countries (including Zimbabwe), in many Arab countries (those ruled by Baath parties), several Asian countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). It has led to economic disasters every time.

By contrast, countries that tried free-market capitalism - like Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chile, Ireland and Singapore - became rich and prosperous very fast.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Sontin,

Survivor: Picket Line would be something like this:

"Javier! Where are you going?"

"I'm crossing the picket line."

"But your father..."

"Father has been in that picket line for how long? We need to eat, so I'm taking his job."

"But what about solidarity?"

"What about destruction of the family? Do what you like. I'm eating!"

"Screw you, scab!"

Later...

"Did you bring home dinner, Javier?"

"Yes, mother."

"Well, your father is hungry. You know he's a worker, right? Javier?"

Larry Gambone said...

Not true Sonia, not one of the countries you list have had worker self-management or cooperative production, the essential aspects of socialism. What they have is state ownership which most of us refer to as state capitalism, and even those orthodox Trotskyists who disagree with that term do not regard them as socialist but a deformation. Or as Engels put it, "If state ownership was socialism , then Bismarck was the reddist of socialists!"

Farmer John said...

Gee,

All the Bauen Hotel employee's have to do is buy the building and there'd be no controversy at all. I wonder why they don't do that? I mean, the original owners had a mortgage to pay...

Ohhhhhhhh! The business wouldn't be profitable if they had to pay a mortgage...

You commies kill me. If it weren't for your "sophistcated accumulation" od capital (to be read - "primitive accumulation by lawyers vice pirates), your "competitive advantage" of stealing vice borrowing your original capital would put you all out of business.

Can't any of you start a business WITHOUT stealing the facility, first?

I think "anarcho-syndicatilism" is simply "corporate-syndicatilism" that starts with a bigger theft than any capitalist pig from history ever started with. Especially now that easy credit is so readily available

Graeme said...

By contrast, countries that tried free-market capitalism - like Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chile, Ireland and Singapore - became rich and prosperous very fast.

Those countries were quite protectionist in their "free market capitalism." That is at odds with Washington, the World Bank and the IMF.

Marie Trigona said...

This recent piece from John Pilger is a wonderful illustration of what happens to societies that do experiment with socialism. Market capitalism has punished numerous experiences in Latin America (Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the list goes on). http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-08/19pilger.cfm

D.E.N.S.A. Selection Committee said...

Cuba, free market capitalism? LOL!

I think we ALL know what punished them economically. It's absence.

Larry Gambone said...

Sorry, Farmer but capitalism's origins lie in theft and crimes against humanity that rival or surpass Stalin or Pol Pot. See
http://www.mutualist.org/id71.html
http://www.mutualist.org/id72.html

Larry Gambone said...

Furthermore, For tens of thousands of years we lived in partnership societies then about 6000 years ago one group took power over the peasants and began the process of expropriation and exploitation of which corporatist capitalism is merely the latest model.Farmer, let us have you tell us how class society originated. How is it that the mass of the population is separated from ownership and control of the means of production when once it was not that way? Do you really think that peasants would freely give up their lands to a parasite or that artisans would freely allow themselves to be converted into wage slaves for another form of parasite?

Renegade Eye said...

Farmer: Why is theft in your vocabulary? You pick and choose\when to support social-Darwinist ideas. During discussions about nation/states, you have stated whoever occupies a land, owns it.

Farmer John said...

Facts not in evidence, Larry. Capitalism replaced primitive accumulation as a means of generating wealth. It is NOT a synonym for it.

So please, continue to advocate for an economic system to "replace" capitalism based upon a reversion to the methods of primitive accumulation... outright theft of capital. Only wave a magic wand that "legalizes" this theft. And then lets just watch how quickly the goose that laid laid the golden egg chokes (as it has done in every communist utopia created to date).

And if a group of monkeys and apes constitutes a "partnership society", then I must be a monkey's uncle. No, monkey's don't have any property... they share everything. But personally, I don't want to live in a tree.

Again, what are your facts in evidence of this primitive pre-historic idyllic utopia? And will it support 6 billion people... or merely the couple hundred thousand (possibly a million) people that originally inhabitted North America before the indigenous tribes wiped each other out (ie- the Huron and Iroqouis)?

What are you going to do with all those excess people?

And there has always been a class society. Hell, even monkeys live in a class society. The alpha male isn't called alpha for nothing. Only in the case of humans, he civilized the rest of the monkeys.

Just call me Nietzsche's blond beast... but let's not pretend that he never existed in your idyllic "partnership society".

Farmer John said...

Ren,

The past is in the past. Capitalism is finally beginning to move BEYOND theft and primitive accumulation, and all your firends want to bring it back? Why? You can make a bundle today without ever stealing a penny... just do it!

Farmer John said...

ps - You've got a better method of determining who owns the land?

Personally I prefer the model of Magnesia as a basis for land ownership, but I doubt many of your r eaders are familiar with Plato's "Laws" or with the concept as it is linked to strict population control that avoids the "Maltheusian" population dilemna we find ourselves living with today (Thomas Malthus, "Essay on the Principle of Population")

Farmer John said...

I admired the efforts of Fourrier and the early communists to create coops and a new and better society. THEY didn't steal ANYTHING!

sonia said...

Larry,

Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia (...) not one of the countries you list have had worker self-management or cooperative production (...) What they have is state ownership... state capitalism

Then why were all the leftists marching in support of Vietnam in the 1960's ? Why were the leftists denouncing Rhodesia in 1970's ? Why was Noam Chomsky defending Pol Pot in the 1980's ?

Are you saying all those leftists were stupid idiots and fools wasting their time defending state capitalism ?

capitalism's origins lie in theft and crimes against humanity that rival or surpass Stalin or Pol Pot.

A completely redundant statement. If Stalin and Pol Pot really were 'state capitalists' (as you claimed earlier), your statement simply reads: 'capitalism's origins lie in theft and crimes against humanity that rival or surpass state capitalism'....

Graeme,

Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chile, Ireland and Singapore... Those countries were quite protectionist in their "free market capitalism."

Good for them. I don't care. The point is that those countries should be emulated, and not those that claim to be socialist, but are in reality just as bad (and often worse) than the worst capitalist countries...

Slave Revolt said...

Farmer John, really, don't speak of 'theft' when you have become a chicken-hawk apologist for the massive theft that the US is trying to engage in Iraq.

Thankfully, the US is failing big-time--and this failure will weaken the empire.

As far as social classes are concerned: they should be transcended. This might entail reappropriating some of the socially-generated wealth that some people--believing themselves superior--have appropriated for themselves.

Imperialism and classism are a fetter on human freedom. And if humans have shown any thing as consistent in their nature, it is the desire to cast off the fetters that constrain, hobble, enslave, and work to injure the human spirit.

Please, Farmer John--don't read Nietzsche, you know it makes your blood pressure increase. LOL

Blond Beast?--oohhhh, were so scared. If you are so fearsome, then go help your homies in Iraq. They are failing--while you sit in the air conditioning, or posing in front of the mirror, trying to suck in your gut, that symbol of your soft lifestyle.

Farmer John said...

blah, blah, blah... slave revolt. What has been stolen in Iraq? You've NO facts in evidence. Not ONE! Just a general and ill-defined "suspicion" of ill-intent. Nothing more. And to the contrary, America has sunk a trillion dollars and thousands of lives in HELPING the Iraqi's transition out of dictatorship.

Resentment has got to be the essence of Marxism! You socialist and anarchists just can't stand to see other people MAKE money legally, instead of stealing it, can you? It refutes your WHOLE line of BS, doesn't it! You run around and accuse anyone who HAS any money of having stolen it... vice "created" it out of the surplus values of the market and division of labor. And then the moment anyone tries to do a little good in the world, you fall on them like a wet blanket and level false accusations at them.

Its' just sad. All you can think of is how to "appropriate" some capital for yourselves, without having to do a lick of work to "earn" it.

Not everyone in the world is like you people. America isn't in Iraq to steal their oil. We may want to "buy" it eventually, but we certainly are NOT going to "steal" it. That is something "socialists" and "communists" do... NOT constitutional republics like the USA.

Not everyone bases their whole philosophy on this kind of inter-class resentment and pseudo-justification of theft... "As far as social classes are concerned: they should be transcended. This might entail reappropriating some of the socially-generated wealth that some people--believing themselves superior--have appropriated for themselves."

None of the wealthy people investing money in the capital markets of the Western World stole ANYTHING. They don't deserve to be robbed or have their properties confiscated just because YOU have some 200 year old grievance up your *ss that compels you to overturn the existing social order. Just who did Bill Gates steal his billions from? And what gives YOU the right to confiscate them? Just who appointed YOU judge and jury?

Larry Gambone said...

Farmer John,
The logic of your position is this. You steal a million dollars, set up a company that over time is worth 10X as much. When someone points out that your wealth lies in crime you slither out of it by saying “that was then – primitive accumulation – now I am a capitalist so everything is alright.” Sorry, that won't do. Just try that one in a court of law!
Capitalism's origins lie in theft and continue in theft. Expropriation is the return of stolen wealth. I am not going to do your homework for you. Read the materials provided. Do a little research yourself.
Partnership society as communal perfection is a straw man. It wasn't, but the grotesque differences in wealth and power of class society did not exist.
Monkeys do not have classes, they have alpha males and bonobos don't even have that. Classes are a human invention and at the earliest date from 6000 years ago.

Larry Gambone said...

"Not everyone in the world is like you people. America isn't in Iraq to steal their oil. We may want to "buy" it eventually, but we certainly are NOT going to "steal" it."

How naive!

Larry Gambone said...

"Are you saying all those leftists were stupid idiots and fools wasting their time defending state capitalism"

Some were defending state capitalism, which like you in ignorance they thought was socialism. I do not think them idiots any more than I think you an idiot - merely people who are misguided and willing to accept "received wisdom" without going to the trouble of checking the facts for themselves. Many however, esp Chomsky, did so out of anti-imperialism, not for any love of the regimes involved. Chomsky, for one, is a supporter of the state capitalist thesis, so I am in good company.

Larry Gambone said...

A completely redundant statement. If Stalin and Pol Pot really were 'state capitalists' (as you claimed earlier), your statement simply reads: 'capitalism's origins lie in theft and crimes against humanity that rival or surpass state capitalism'....

Not at all. Stalin and Pol Pot are thrown at us as examples of "socialism". Furthermore what does it say about capitalism if both its origins and one of its evolutionary offshoots are equally murderous?

Huge-O Chavez said...

larry,

NOBOBY stole the 1 million. Your argument begins with a completely false premise. It is a TOTAL strawman!

Did Bill Gates steal his seed money? Your whole argument for confiscating Gate's fortune is baseless. Gates did NOTHING to warrant the confiscation of his fortune. Nothing.

Huge-O Chavez said...

...and so the ENTIRE Marxist argument is a fraud based in PURE resentment.

Huge-O Chavez said...

Capitalism is NOT primitive accumulation. Confiscatory Socialism IS!

Huge-O Chavez said...

Expropriation is the return of stolen wealth.

Return to who? Certainly NOT the victims of the theft. It's a confiscation FROM random people and redistribution TO random people.

You're trying to correct an "injustice" by arbitrarily acting. And that is hardly "justice".

Larry Gambone said...

Something I don't understand about the reactionaries who haunt progressive blogs and groups. Why are we supposed to provide them with the ABC's of socialism and anarchism? Before the Internet, an inability to find information was a valid excuse for asking simple questions or making obvious mistakes. But not anymore, if for example, you want to know the origins of capitalism or the nature of socialism etc there are thousands of pages available within seconds on something called Google. (Ever hear of it?) There is no excuse for not having some level of awareness, which does not necessarily imply agreement, of course. Furthermore, if they did do their homework, instead of making us do it for them, the level of debate would be much more intelligent than it is. But this would imply people who want to learn and share, which I don't think is really the case. I think our resident reactionaries merely like to waste our time and delight in annoying us.

Larry Gambone said...

Huge-o-Chavez, go ahead, live in your dream world. You are not willing to look at the evidence, so I am not willing to bother with you either.

Renegade Eye said...

Larry: I think fighting your political opposition on a blog toughens you, and your positions. There are very few blogs of either the right or left, that have diverse opinions.

If I was a US conservative, I would resurrect the straw man Pol Pot argument, rather than deal with American conservatism is in crisis, the Republican Party plan for rule for decades is ending quickly, and the GOP will probably not exist in a few years.

Primitive accumulation has nothing to do with a society like Argentina, one way or another.

After four years of workers rule, the old owners want the hotel back. I didn't say four hours or four days, that was four years. The building was abandoned, and the workes left out in the cold. What gives management a right to abandon a 20 story building, without compensation for those who lost jobs?

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Look at the "anarchist" trying to set the rules for discussion.

Nobody refutes Larry Gambone harder than Larry Gambone...

How disappointing.

frolix22 said...

The experiments in Argentina with worker-run organisations are interesting and inspiring and I hope they will be able to resist establishment efforts to kill them off.

With regards to "socialist" nations, I would question whether there has ever even been one. I mean, we naturally encounter people such as Sonia all the time who simply accept the received wisdom that, for example, the Soviet Union was socialist. It is hard to think of anything more anti-socialist than a totalitarian state which prevents worker participation in decision-making in the workplace.

It is an elementary fact but there you are, it goes up against decades of propaganda and a hell of a lot of ignorance so is quite impossible for some people to recognise.

Farmer John said...

Wow. I wish I didn't have to pay rent. I could run one hell of a profitable hotel business if I got the hotel for "free".

Even "abandoned" property has value. But please, continue to pretend that the owners of that property are NOT entitled to compensation. And while you're at it, skip the next couple of your mortgage payments. I'd love to buy your house for the price of some "back taxes".

and btw - Who was paying the Argentinian government taxes on this property all this time? If the answer was "no-one", expropriate away. If the answer was "the original owners"... then the workers had better cough up that hotel... for it would appear that "nothing" was "abandoned".

Farmer John said...

btw - Great arguments Hugo! I see that larry can't answer again, and so pretends that his arguments are too complicated for country bumpkins like us. I guess when the going get tough, it's time to declare victory and leave... right lar?

Larry Gambone said...

There are rules of logic and evidence in argumentation. Obfuscation, straw man arguments, (such as socialism = statism) ridicule and insults do not constitute legitimate tactics. (Hence Farmer, Huge O Chavez has not put me in my place, since his arguments, such as they are, consist of a mix of ridicule and obfuscation.) Reactionaries use these dishonest tactics because the evidence is against them. As but one example, few things in history are as well documented as the crimes associated with the rise and spread of capitalism.
Most scholars date capitalism to the 16th or 17th Centuries – exactly at the time of Primitive Accumulation. Furthermore, many of the the crimes associated with primitive accumulation continued in the 19th and 20th Centuries, ie, in the era of the unqualified domination of capital. Later capitalism became more sophisticated using the state rather than slavery or raw plunder as the source of its wealth and power. Once again, read the evidence I presented earlier with the two URL's.
Even if capitalism could be separated from Primitive Accumulation and it were to commit no other crimes at a later date, this does not make it innocent. Once again, if you stole a million dollars and made 10X with it, it is still not legitimate.

Larry Gambone said...

"Look at the "anarchist" trying to set the rules for discussion."

Look how Kalikak knows nothing about anarchism, when it is all there in the Anarchist FAQ. For shame, Kalikak! There is nothing worse than deliberate ignorance. (Anarchists believe in order, rules and authority - they just wish these to be arrived at with a minimum of coercion)

Farmer John said...

Gee larry. Then why did all the "sins" of capitalism pre-exist capitalism? Could it be that you confuse capitalism with monopolistic mercantilism? And could it be that even Marx confused them?

I'm a classical liberal in the mold of Schumpeter. Marx's exploitation theory of capital is just so much "hogwash". Admit it.

Farmer John said...

So I ask again. Your $1 million in stolen capital (false premise) did NOT help Bill Gates found Microsoft. So what gives you the right to divest him of all his capital?

Stop reaching back into history for some "original sin" and tell me why Bill Gates doesn't deserve every penny he has made to date.

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Larry Gambone,

(Anarchists believe in order, rules and authority - they just wish these to be arrived at with a minimum of coercion)

Then why do you call it anarchism? Who establishes order? Who makes the rules? Who holds authority? None of these, by definition, are "anarchists."

Statements such as the one you made above are quite efficiently covered by the English words "blithering idiocy." What does anarchy have to do with it? The minimum of coercion would involve a stricter grasp of vocabulary than Humpty Dumpty , after all.

Farmer John said...

Actually, even Marx exhonerates the capitalist from the sin of primitive accumulation (Marx attributes the practice to the Middle Ages). You're argument is more Mandelian in that you claim the West has conspired to keep the practice of primitive accumulation alive, and that it continues to this date (vulgar Marxism, that). Marx thought the process of primitive accumulation was "necessary". Sure it short-changed late comers to the economic process, but at least he could accept the fact that the early bird would catch the worm. Mandel was so pissed at the "unfairness of it all", that he deemed the necessity of a workers revolution...

Wikipedia is great, isn't it? All one has to do is "Google" to learn all sorts of neat stuff! LOL!

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

"When I use a word", Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

BTW, you mispelled "Kallikak," dumbass.

frolix22 said...

"Then why do you call it anarchism?"

I am afraid that this response rests on the assumption that words such as "anarchy" and "anarchism" mean something akin to chaos or disorder, which is the very point at issue.

"'When I use a word", Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

An amusing quote but your point rests on the assumption that is a determinate set meaning of the word and that you are the authority on what it is, exactly the stance you are attempting to mock your opponent for.

There is no doubt that words such as "anarchy" and "anarchism" do have overtones of chaos and disorder in the public consciousness. The level to which this has been encouraged by sectors of authority to discredit the complex social and political theories which also make use of the terms is of some interest but I do not have the time or space to address that here.

Broadly, anarchism is a term which picks out a cluster of social and political theories which question or deny the authority of a central state and which seek to reduce control and coercion to a minimum. Anarchists typically believe in highly organised societies, but societies where actual, rather than just formal, authority resides with the members.

If one honestly wishes to avoid linguistic confusion one can use the term "anomie" for social unrest and disorder and "anarchy" for the social and political thought.

Whether anarchy necessarily leads to anomie, and some people, you among them I am sure, undoubtedly do, is a substantive question, not one that can be settled simply by definition.

Farmer John said...

The problem with your dualism of anarchy (as thought) and anomie (as action resulting in disorder) is that in order to re-weave the new "anarchist" social order, the old "capitalist" one must first be carded-using anomie (to break down the old structure) before the social threads can be respun/rewoven-into your so-called new "anarchy ideal" (which is NOT anarchy...it sounds more like federalism or perhaps even a form of popularism).

And this is why the "anarchists" at the G-8 are always throwing rocks. The existing order must become "chaotic" before a "new order" can be established. For the old guard will never embrace a new order and new leaders unless it is the only alternative (they've no longer anything to lose).

So yes, the thought of the new ideal inspires anarchists to tear down the existing order and implement their new ideal... and THAT is the problem. For unfortunately, their ideal is seldom as realistic or sustainable as the old order they sought to replace. And the result of their mistake must be born, not by themselves, but billions of people who were perfectly happy under the old regime. And no, saying "Ooops" will not earn them forgiveness.

Farmer John said...

erratum - populism (vice popularism)

Farmer John said...

...in the old days, a revolutionary had to have the skill and precision of a William Tell to shoot the apple off the head of his son. The modern anarchist throws hand-grenades at other people's kids.

Oh well. Maybe Salvadore Dali was right. All it takes is big balls... but I'd still rather have an old-school William Tell. Why? Because I always like to know what the anarchists have behind the curtain BEFORE I'm required to pick.

frolix22 said...

"The problem with your dualism of anarchy (as thought) and anomie (as action resulting in disorder) is that in order to re-weave the new "anarchist" social order, the old "capitalist" one must first be carded-using anomie (to break down the old structure) before the social threads can be respun/rewoven-into your so-called new "anarchy ideal" (which is NOT anarchy...it sounds more like federalism or perhaps even a form of popularism). And this is why the "anarchists" at the G-8 are always throwing rocks. The existing order must become "chaotic" before a "new order" can be established. For the old guard will never embrace a new order and new leaders unless it is the only alternative (they've no longer anything to lose).

Firstly, you slightly misunderstand how I was trying to differentiate the terminology. The difference is not between anarchy as thought and anomie as action. Anarchism is a social and political theory which has as its aim that system's actual instantiation. I was merely trying to clarify that "anarchy" and "anarchism" can be used in in such a way and do not necessarily have to connote disorder, offering "anomie" as an available term for disorder itself. It is not "my dualism", it is simply a linguistic clarification to aid clear debate.

Secondly, it is not at all clear to me that disorder is a necessary condition for change from a state capitalist system to an anarchist system. Certainly major social changes in the past have resulted in violence, often due to resistance by power centres within the entrenched system. However, given enough popular organisation or the construction of alternative systems by grass roots organisation this may be avoided. It is important to realise that if a society reached the point where an anarchist revolution was possible then the anarchist movement would have already have reached a critical mass to the point where violence would be far more likely to emanate from the top down, as you gesture towards in your response, with the state or established power centres using violence to try to prevent the coming social change. Talk of "anarchists" throwing bottles and stones is something of a red herring in this context. At the point where an anarchist revolution became a realistic proposition we would not be talking about some kind of putsch but rather a staunchly democratic reorganisation of society.

Thirdly, I am not sure where you get the idea that the phenomenon I am pointing to is not anarchy. I am assuming because you are still preoccupied with the notion that anarchy is somehow related to a lack of social order. I really do not have the time and space to go into the many many details of serious anarchist political theory but there are numerous sources around that you can read if you are legitimately interested.

"So yes, the thought of the new ideal inspires anarchists to tear down the existing order and implement their new ideal... and THAT is the problem. For unfortunately, their ideal is seldom as realistic or sustainable as the old order they sought to replace. And the result of their mistake must be born, not by themselves, but billions of people who were perfectly happy under the old regime. And no, saying "Ooops" will not earn them forgiveness.

I am not quite sure where the empirical or theoretical support comes from for this.

At least in formal terms, social progress in the western "liberal democracies", has been dramatic over the last few centuries. Our means of social organisation and governance have altered to a great extent, becoming significantly more democratic. At each stage in this process I would suspect that change has been viewed with suspicion and derided as inviable, especially by those with a strong vested interest in the established system. It is something of a stretch to hold that any further change would not be as "realistic or sustainable" as the current order. The argument has to be judged on its merits, not by wheeling in dubious suspicion towards any change.

The idea that the tragic results of a dramatic change would be borne by billions of people is very far off the mark.

We are not talking about some kind of revolution driven by a tiny intellectual elite such as in Russia. As I have said, for an anarchist society to come into being it would already require mass popular support. That is just pretty much built into the whole idea, in my view. The idea of imposing anarchism on people from above is self-contradictory, as I am sure is quite plain.

I certainly hope that helps to clarify a few of the points you have raised.

Farmer John said...

frolix22.

Then who always has the rocks and bottles in their hands while they don masks and wave their red&black flags at G-8 summits? Those aren't anarchists? They're all wearing their 'V' for Vendetta T-Shirts!

And please, feel free to do all the popular organisation or the construction of alternative systems by grass roots organisations you want. In the meantime, get your buddies to drop their rocks and bottles and go grab a sign and march around, instead. In fact, why don't you get them to share their ideas with the rest of us... because the ones I've see so far (like theCruz Negra in Venezuela) are pretty "radical" and not in any way, shape or form "popular".

As for the whether my "support" is empirical or theoretical, I regret to inform you it is theory confirmed with empirical evidence. But please note, I'm always collecting empirical data... so show me a 'success' and then perhaps we can talk.

The idea that the tragic results of a dramatic change would be borne by billions of people is very far off the mark

The destruction of capitalism would affect "how many" people? The statement is RIGHT ON the mark.

You want "mass support" for some highly intellectual ideas that are NOT to be "directed" or "implemented" by intellectuals, but rather, thought of and carried out by the 50% of population that comes from a group with "below average" intelligence and just about ZERO time to think or personal motivation or ability to think? May I ask, just how realistic is that goal?

My experience with the Left and Anarchists in general is that they do not create mass popular support FOR their ideas. Instead, they stir up resentment AGAINST the status quo.

In other words, they no longer do as the Fourrierists once did and build "New Harmonies" or "Phallanxes" (see Emerson's letter). They no longer DO as you recommend they do, develop popular organisations or the construct alternative systems by grass roots organisations. No.

They go to G-8 meetings and throw rocks.

Larry Gambone said...

Farmer, I thought you were a rightie that knew something, - finally a well-read opponent. Hence, I am rather disappointed that you play games with me and spout a lot of mass media cliches about anarchism. (Black bloc rock-throwers, indeed!) I am not going to educate you about anarchism – as I mentioned before, there is something called the Anarchist FAQ and as well, Google.
It should be obvious that when I use the metaphor of the stolen million dollars, I am not referring to any individual capitalist, but the system as a whole – a general statement.
As for Gates, he is as wealthy as he is not because of anything he has done, but because of patent law. Take away patent law and he still might be wealthy, but not one-tenth as much. Patents are one of the statist rackets that helps generate the capitalist system. You may now go to Mutualism.Org or Google “Benjamin Tucker”.
Marx certainly felt primitive accumulation was “necessary” for the development of capitalism, but this did not mean he thought it moral or just, on the contrary he found it horrifying.
Nor do I deal with primitive accumulation alone – as I previously stated, please note. Long past the period of primitive accumulation capitalism engaged in genocide and theft.
I find it a strange contradiction that a quasi-Nietzchean, social darwinist as yourself should be trying to whitewash capitalism. It would be much less contradictory to glorify its cruelty, after all the people it has robbed and oppressed are “inferior.”, inferior by the very fact of losing. By his very force of will the capitalist has conquered and won, too bad for the losers, for Might Makes Right!

As much as I hate such a world view, at least it would be honest, rather than all the sort of bourgeois hypocritical twaddle that sweeps oppression, genocide and theft under the rug.

frolix22 said...

Sorry Farmer John, I invested my time in writing here because I believed at first that you were interested in legitimate debate.

Farmer John said...

frolix, In a debate with an anarchist , I would think that the "legitimacy" of your opposition's position would be the last thing on your mind.

Feel free to point out flaws in my argument. But to simply dismiss them as insincere, therefore not worthy? Perhaps you should see my recent post on Venezuelan anarchists from the Cruz Negra.

...and larry, unless your "general principles" can be applied to specific cases, then they are hardly representative of the truth. Yes, there will always be exceptions to rules. But your rules have to be shown to apply to "the majority" of all cases, before they can be considered true. You have failed to do that... at least in the cases of capitalism applied to persons no longer long dead.

Farmer John said...

Oh, and frolix. Tell me again how it is that the cops are usually responsible for their reactions to the actions of peace loving anarchists, such as yourself.

I know, the trouble makers were all police infiltrators...

Farmer John said...

Believe me when I say, I'm "politically" with the anarchists AGAINST the NAU. But that doesn't mean that I agree with their "approach" towards "more than voicing" their dissent.

frolix22 said...

"frolix, In a debate with an anarchist , I would think that the "legitimacy" of your opposition's position would be the last thing on your mind."

I am not sure why you think anarchism and legitimate debate are not terms which sit well together. Surely we are all subject to the requirements of rationality. That is the kind of legitimacy I was referring to.

The point is it is very difficult to extract anything resembling an "argument" from your last post.

Reading your post very carefully and with some generosity of spirit, I am of a mind that the first part of your argument goes something like this:

"Some people who throw rocks at demonstrations call themselves anarchists, therefore being an anarchist necessitates or brings about such behaviour."

This is not really worth spending much time on. There was a demonstration a year or two back in London where people who supported fox hunting were protesting a government ban on the bloodsport. There was some violence and fighting with police. By your argument being in favour of fox hunting necessitate or brings about fighting with the police. Reductio ad absurdem. I mean it is hard to see how someone could propose such an argument seriously, especially someone who knows little about anarchist political theory.

You then say: "As for the whether my "support" is empirical or theoretical, I regret to inform you it is theory confirmed with empirical evidence. But please note, I'm always collecting empirical data... so show me a 'success' and then perhaps we can talk."

Which was in response to my questioning your previous comment: "the thought of the new ideal inspires anarchists to tear down the existing order and implement their new ideal... and THAT is the problem. For unfortunately, their ideal is seldom as realistic or sustainable as the old order they sought to replace."

As I pointed out in my response, it is not a question of "tearing down" the existing order in some kind of violent revolution but rather building up and offering alternatives which people could decide to adopt.

There is no evidence that an anarchist social system is not as "realistic or sustainable" as, for example, the current liberal democracy/state capitalism paradigm. Alternatively there is no evidence that it is. But then this is the same for most social shifts. By your reasoning society would, for example, not have moved from feudalism to democracy because there was no evidence that a liberal democratic system was as "realistic and sustainable". Once again your argument was so weak it was hard to take seriously.

You further said: "The destruction of capitalism would affect "how many" people? The statement is RIGHT ON the mark."

But this is simply a misguided response because the point was not whether there would be any effect at all, there obviously would be, but whether the effect would be a positive or a negative one. And that is the substantive issue which you cannot engage with. I happen to think that an anarchist social and economic paradigm would be superior to the current state capitalist one but you are not addressing that issue at all.

Your further point was: "You want "mass support" for some highly intellectual ideas that are NOT to be "directed" or "implemented" by intellectuals, but rather, thought of and carried out by the 50% of population that comes from a group with "below average" intelligence and just about ZERO time to think or personal motivation or ability to think? May I ask, just how realistic is that goal?"

The ideas are not really "highly intellectual" as such. Most political ideas from anywhere on the spectrum are comprehensible to anyone with basic intelligence and reasonable education.

Your mocking tone suggests you seem to have some kind of objection to working towards building up mass support for reasoned principles. I really cannot understand this. Surely this is the very essence of democracy. People debate, reach conclusions and then decide how to proceed and what reforms to introduce. Those who believe they have valid points to make offer them and subject them to scrutiny.

How realistic is it as a goal? Right now, not realistic at all. Major social changes, in fact any social progress at all, does not materialise out of thin air. It has to built up with considerable effort over time.

"My experience with the Left and Anarchists in general is that they do not create mass popular support FOR their ideas. Instead, they stir up resentment AGAINST the status quo."

Well, I could make generalisations about the people I disagree with too. Your comment contributes nothing to this discussion, unless you mean to imply that I am guilty of that charge but seeing as I am arguing in the exact opposite direction it would be rather fruitless.

"They go to G-8 meetings and throw rocks."

Seeing as these are the only people you want to focus on then your argument becomes a tautology.

I have never thrown a rock at anyone, nor have the countless people who share similar views to me that I discuss and debate with. Neither, probably, do the people you debate with in forums such as this.

The reason I suggested you were being insincere is that you simply ignore the substantive points presented and retreat to familiar invective about people "throwing rocks". It is very easy to keep coming back with such feeble responses. Actually engaging with issues takes some critical thinking and effort.

frolix22 said...

"Oh, and frolix. Tell me again how it is that the cops are usually responsible for their reactions to the actions of peace loving anarchists, such as yourself."

An extraordinarily feeble and rather exasperating "debating tactic". I have never thrown a rock at anyone, nor would I under most conceivable circumstances.

You seem to want to debate with your personal conception of an anarchist, not actually with me.

Farmer John said...

Do anarchists favor direct action or not? And if they do, is violent direct action an acceptable tactic?

frolix22 said...

Anarchism is a cluster of social and political theories which question the status quo and set out a broad vision of a better society and a better economy.

How that is achieved is a matter for practical decision making, as it has been for any person or organisation seeking social change throughout the entire history of the human race, whether left or right, black or white.

I obviously cannot speak for any person who has ever called themselves an anarchist.

On a general level I would be surprised to find any person, from any political background, who is opposed to direct action under any circumstance, including you.

I would also point out the obvious and indisputable fact that over the course of human history the overwhelming majority of such violence is that unleashed by states themselves against those attempting to effect social change, rather than the other way around.

None of this is very controversial so I am rather surprised at your question.

Farmer John said...

The let's talk circumstances and limits.

Because by your previous definition, a lynch mob going after a black rapist of a white woman would merely be a bunch of anarchists defying authority in the name of social justice and democracy.

Anarchists have a reputation, deserved or not, for fomenting violence and actively seeking a repressive reaction to it. And since they show up at many popular public protests masked and equipped for violence (gas masks, etc.) and the reaction, I don't think my describing an anarchist as a protestor with a rock in his hand is an exaggeration. It's more a "trademark".

And my real problem with anarchists, is that each and every individual thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice. He doesn't need a "positive cause". His actions, too, may simply be a "reaction" to circumstances and perhaps "inadequate intelligence" (ie - an inflammatory news report).

So while many of your general characterizations of anarchists may have a "grain of truth" to them, they also contain a "grain of falsehood".

And until we can describe the circumstances and limits to anarchy in general terms, we will get nowhere. Because it contains BOTH good and bad aspects. You're focused on the "good" you see, and I on the "bad". And without that discussion, never the twain shall we meet.

Farmer John said...

My other problem with anarchism is that it feeds on its' own violence and the reaction to it. It is a hundred-handed "beast" without a mind. A hecatonchiere
that acts and reacts in a state of hypnosis, sometimes controlled by a leader, more often not. But regardless, it has no "conscience"... it is a mob.

Abstract of Freud's "Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego":

Human groups exhibit the picture of an individual of superior strength among a troop of equal companions, a picture which is also contained in the idea of the primal horde. The psychology of such a group, the dwindling of the conscious individual personality, the focusing of thoughts and feelings into a common direction, the predominance of the affective side of the mind and of unconscious psychical life, the tendency to the immediate carrying out of intentions as they emerge, corresponds to a state of regression to a primitive mental activity, of just such a sort as is ascribed to the primal horde....

The leader of the group is still the dreaded primal father; the group still wishes to be governed by unrestricted force; it has an extreme passion for authority.

Each individual is a component part of numerous groups; he is bound by ties of identification in many directions, and he has built up his ego ideal upon the most various models. Each individual therefore has a share in numerous group minds and he can also raise himself above them to the extent of having a scrap of independence and originality. In many individuals, the separation between the ego and the ego ideal is not very far advanced; the 2 still coincide readily; the ego has often preserved its earlier narcissistic self-complacency. There are people, the general color of whose mood oscillates periodically from an excessive depression through some kind of intermediate state to an exalted sense of well-being. The foundation of these spontaneous oscillations of mood is unknown. In cases of mania, the ego and the ego ideal have fused together, so that the person, in a mood of triumph and self-satisfaction, disturbed by no self-criticism, can enjoy the abolition of his inhibitions, his feelings of consideration for others, and his self-reproaches.


Once unleashed, this beast very easily gets completely out of control.

Farmer John said...

I see the nature of our argument thusly.

We are two generals about to fight a battle (on the same side). You say, "I favour fighting the battle with skirmishers. Skirmishing is the optimum way to organize and fight the battle. It breaks down the enemy ranks and causes disorder. And even though we are outnumbered, if we CONVINCE a 'critical mass' of observers on the sidelines to join our ranks against the enemy, this will cause sufficient disorder amongst the enemy's ranks to cause them to break their organized lines, and we will achieve our victory."

Now, at the outset of this battle, I would say, "I favour NO one particular organization or formation for fighting the battle, because we will need to organize and form in many different ways if we are to achieve victory. Skirmishing is very useful in creating the initial disorder needed amongst our enemy's ranks. But we also need a very disciplined and orderly mass of soldiery formed in rank to back up our skirmishers or the enemy will simply deploy his cavalry and wipe us out. If your strategy is to succeed, we would need to be able to instantly form this critical mass out of the untrained observers we are trying to convince to join our effort. This is impossible, given the fact that we cannot train or discipline them to meet the time constraints associated with this battle. We also need a highly maneuverable formation of cavalry to pursue the enemy once his ranks break and thereby easily dispose of any future resistors. We also need some skilled artillery men placed on the "heights" of this battlefield to rain destruction upon our enemy from a safe distance. Yet while you claim that the skirmishers can spontaneously form and direct this battle, I say, that is NOT possible UNLESS our aim is to create total disorder amongst the enemy AND the observers, AND STAMPEDE them into the ranks of our enemies. Only then, can our cadres of specialized cavalry and artillerymen be successfully employed and victory achieved."

Am I wrong?

Farmer John said...

A Roman legion had many components. Your anarchists are merely the equivalent of their velites who skirmish against front ranks. And their purpose is to generate disorder and confusion, NOT fight the battle.

Farmer John said...

So please, don't tell us that the purpose of the velites is not to create disorder, chaos, and confusion. Because we all know, you've got no organized 'legions' behind you, and that the only chance you have of victory, is to create a stampede.

Farmer John said...

...OR create a sufficient REACTION to the brutality of your opponents legions so as to swell your ranks. But at THAT point, the organizational tactics of 'skirmishers' must give way to the command of a 'GENERAL', a super-authoritative general.

But when the battle is over, will your 'general' be a Washington or a Napoleon? And based upon what I've seen of historical examples, the chances of YOUR side electing a Washington from amongst the masses is about ZERO. Washington was selected from amongst the 'elites'. Nice guys make BAD generals.

Farmer John said...

The American Revolution was the result of nearly forty years of planning by Ben Franklin. There was nothing spontaneous in its' organization. The 'public' Albany Plan got wide circulation in 1754. But before then, many "Indian Treaties" were distributed amongst the conspirators as 'trial balloons'.

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, the new Constitution was the Albany Plan... almost word for word. What the French did not take into account, was the need for the adoption of a 'new' organizational formation under the 1786 American Constitution. One which would significantly strengthen centralized control of a loose Confederation.

The Federalists under John Adams & Alexander Hamilton with their central bank, alien & sedition acts, etc. It was 'time' to put the "revolution" behind them. A Darwinist, such as myself, calls this "evolution" to suit a "new political and economic environment".

Static forms, however desirable, are impossible. Entropy will occur. Pantha Rhei (Heraclitus).

Anarchists are merely an "accelerant", gasoline for the fire. Ixion's wheel starting another 'revolution'. And me, call me Orpheus.

Farmer John said...

The French inability to 'evolve' beyond the Terror of the Jacobins lead to Napoleon. They should have listened to the Girondists. People like Tom Paine. They didn't.

frolix22 said...

"by your previous definition, a lynch mob going after a black rapist of a white woman would merely be a bunch of anarchists defying authority in the name of social justice and democracy"

It was very hard to continue reading your posts after such humorously ridiculous comment but I tried to soldier on. I am tempted to conclude that this nonsense was some feeble attempt to goad me but I shall try to believe otherwise.

And my real problem with anarchists, is that each and every individual thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice.

I don't. Thus you are refuted.

We have been over this before. You do not seem to be able to engage with me and my arguments.

"So while many of your general characterizations of anarchists may have a "grain of truth" to them, they also contain a "grain of falsehood"."

I have not sought to characterise anarchists, really. You are the one making sweeping generalisatons about people you have never met or spoken with. I am talking about the social and political theory of anarchism.

"My other problem with anarchism is that it feeds on its' own violence and the reaction to it. It is a hundred-handed "beast" without a mind. A hecatonchiere
that acts and reacts in a state of hypnosis, sometimes controlled by a leader, more often not. But regardless, it has no "conscience"... it is a mob."


Unfortunately you know almost nothing about the social and political theory of anarchism. So I have about as much reason to take notice of this nonsense as I have your views on 14th century Hinduism.

"Am I wrong?"

It is hard to tell; as none of that rambling description has much relevance to the debate it is hard to make out your "point".

"don't tell us that the purpose of the velites is not to create disorder, chaos, and confusion. Because we all know, you've got no organized 'legions' behind you, and that the only chance you have of victory, is to create a stampede."

Now here it seems you are getting close to actually making a claim. I am assuming that modern anarchists are the 'velites' seeking to create disorder, chaos and confusion and the lack of 'legions' is supposed to equate to a lack of popular support.

The second point is entirely valid. Those working towards an anarchist society certainly do not enjoy popular support at present. That is something which needs to be earned, as I have said before, with substantial effort over time. The point about disorder and chaos is not actually a new argument; you are simply repeating previous claims that I have already refuted. I have no desire for widespread disorder or chaos. I just think there are other and more justified forms of social order and different ways of organising society to you.

"But when the battle is over, will your 'general' be a Washington or a Napoleon? And based upon what I've seen of historical examples, the chances of YOUR side electing a Washington from amongst the masses is about ZERO. Washington was selected from amongst the 'elites'. Nice guys make BAD generals."

Untangling all these military analogies is rather tiresome and pointless but I shall try.

The simple answer to this is that if anarchism is a viable means of social organisation then we won't have generals, either of the Washington or Napoleon kind.

"The American Revolution was the result of nearly forty years of planning by Ben Franklin. There was nothing spontaneous in its' organization."

I am not sure the American Revolution is a particularly good example but even so...

I have already said, more than once I believe, that nobody is arguing for any kind of "spontaneous organisation". If you are simply going to ignore straightforward points that I make I do not see how a discussion can proceed.

I am going to ignore the French Revolution stuff. The fact that you bring it up simply illustrates that you are not reading what I am saying.

A basic diagnosis of this discussion is that you simply cannot tear your mind away from the notion that anarchism equates to or necessarily leads to violent disorder. You refuse to respond to the points I raise but simply repeat the same accusation using different words and analogies.

Tiresome stuff, really.

Farmer John said...

If you won't have generals, you'd better plan on fighting with robots then. Good luck.

btw - Refuted? Hardly.

Farmer John said...

Your description of 'anarchism' reminds me of the biblical tale of immaculate conception. The only chance of its' actual instatiation... divine intervention.

frolix22 said...

Well I was kind of joking with the "refuted" comment. That was specifically in response to the comment: "each and every [anarchist] thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice".

Stripping it down and putting into a syllogism:

Premise 1: Every anarchist thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice.

Premise 2: Frolix22 is an anarchist.

Conclusion: Frolix22 thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice.

This argument is logically valid. However, the conclusion is false. As the second premise is true the first premise must be false. That is what I was pointing out in a kind of shorthand with my "I don't. Thus you are refuted" comment, which, as I said, was kind of a joke.

Still, this has all got rather trivial and uninteresting now.

Farmer John said...

Indeed, it has grown fruitless.

ps - the conclusion is not false. I agree with it when I substitute "farmer john" for "frolix22".

The questions remain, "What are the circumstances that would impel me to commit said acts of violence," and "What are the limits all parties need observe that prevent prevent them from experiencing said violence?"

frolix22 said...

The conclusion related to my own thought on a matter. I tell you that it is false. You respond:

"the conclusion is not false."

Well... once you descend to the level of telling me what I think, then all hope of rational debate ends.

Farmer John said...

You see no contradiction between you refutation of your "conclusion" and your previous statements on the subject...

"On a general level I would be surprised to find any person, from any political background, who is opposed to direct action under any circumstance, including you."

You're right, if you can't maintain a certain consistency of opinion, then rationale discussion is NOT possible.

Farmer John said...

erratum - repudiation vice refutation.

frolix22 said...

Your point is erroneous for it relies on an equivalence between:

a. thinking oneself "a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that [one's] opponent has committed an injustice".

b. refusing to rule out "direct action" completely.

As I have pointed out, I would never commit myself to (a), which is a ridiculously strong notion you introduced into the conversation; but I am committed to (b), as I am sure you are; surely only someone who agrees to subsume his entire will to the omniscience and benevolence of the state would rule out direct action completely under all circumstances.

So you can see, if you introspect in your own case, that commitment to (b) certainly does not necessitate commitment to (a).

Or perhaps my assumption about your view of the two notions is incorrect. I certainly would not presume to tell you what you think over your own objection so feel free to clarify which of the two notions you disagree with me on.

So much of this conversation has deteriorated into my being forced to point out your erroneous language and misrepresentation of my opinions.

Farmer John said...

Hardly. A=B whether you chose to recognize it or not.

frolix22 said...

Perhaps equivalence was too strong a word.

Nevertheless, I await further information on the "contradiction" you claim to detect, or an admission that there is, as I have argued, no contradiction at all.

Farmer John said...

My question: Do anarchists favor direct action or not? And if they do, is violent direct action an acceptable tactic?

Your response: How that is achieved is a matter for practical decision making, as it has been for any person or organisation seeking social change throughout the entire history of the human race, whether left or right, black or white.

I obviously cannot speak for any person who has ever called themselves an anarchist.

On a general level I would be surprised to find any person, from any political background, who is opposed to direct action under any circumstance, including you.


translation: Yes, but it would depend upon the circumstances.

----

Your summary:Premise 1: Every anarchist thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice.

Premise 2: Frolix22 is an anarchist.

Conclusion: Frolix22 thinks himself a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice.

This argument is logically valid. However, the conclusion is false.


You now claim that an injustice would not constitute sufficent justification for taking violent direct action.

Note the words. Justice-Justification.

You are now claimining that there is no injustice (or circumstances) that could be committed (or exist)that would cause use to initiate violence.

You see no contradiction in this? Amazing.

All I wanted to do was discuss what those circumstances might be. You now claim there are none.

Farmer John said...

I happen to agree with you... that there are circumstances under which direct action should be taken. Where we likely disagree is just what those circumstances are.

frolix22 said...

I have said that I do not believe myself to be "a general who can initiate violence simply by believing that his opponent has committed an injustice."

This implies that any injustice is grounds for violence, something I reject. There are thousands of petty injustices, and more serious ones, in everyday life which no reasonable person would conclude are grounds for violence, direct action, resistance or whatever term one may choose.

Again, I should point out that it is a ludicrously strong claim you introduced into the conversation, not I. You continue to try to ascribe it to me despite my rejection of it.

As I have rejected it and demonstrated simply that you are completely wrong to claim there is a contradiction you try to rewrite the notion as:

"You are now claimning (sic) that there is no injustice (or circumstances) that could be committed (or exist)that would cause use (sic) to initiate violence."

I made no such claim, for this is not the same as the claim above.

To just make it completely clear: the first sentence holds that it is not that case that any injustice constitutes a reason for violence; the second claims that no injustice or circumstance constitutes a reason for violence.

I am afraid that in your confused determination to claim a contradiction which does not exist you have made the elementary logical error of confusing: it is not the case that any with no.

Farmer John said...

I didn't say "any" injustice. In fact, all I was seeking was an extension to the argument to determine "which" injustices would rise to the level of justifying violent direct action.

And since each "anarchist" seems "free" to determine this level for himself (unless this is part of your greater unified theories), I was simply pointing out that there might = be a "flaw" in anarchism organizational theory, of "grass-rootism" and de-centralization.

John Médaille said...

A comment for Sonia, concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc. and the free market. The comment is not quite correct. Taiwan moved from a backward, feudal society to an industrial powerhouse in just one generation, it is true. But the engine for that change was the "land to the tiller" program right after World War II, which gave the peasants the land they had worked on, and worked nearly as slaves. The resulting increase in income at the bottom fueled Taiwan's rapid expansion.

Nor are any of the other places you mention pure "free market" states either. Land to the tiller was also used to jump-start the Japanese and Korean economies. In British Hong Kong, the private land ownership was forbidden; the government owned all the land and leased out the development rights. The same is true in Singapore were the government owns 76% of the land. (Both of these are "Georgist" economies.) It is ironic that the new land law in "Communist" China will establish land rights that never existed under the British.

John C. Médaille

"A dead thing can go with the stream...
but only a living thing can go against it."
-G. K. Chesterton
The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace (Tinyurl.com/2pxdug)
http://distributism.blogspot.com/

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