Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Reply to Thomas Leonard's Future of the World 2.

*Work in progress*


The Revolution would be both destructive and creative. Abolition of systems of oppression and creation of alternative institutions controlled democratically.
Abolition of nations,borders and states.


Some general thoughts on post-revolutionary society:-


Decision making.

Decision making would probably be directly democratic with delegates to larger regions.
There would be decision making from the most local area possible to the largest area possible.

Safer spaces policies in the decision making bodies.

Social System.

Possibly there could be a variety of models tried-Mutualism,collectivism, communism,Par-econ- or even mixes of them.

One possible model is  say areas of a city for example Edinburgh are communes(so Leith, North Edinburgh etc) which then collectively form a council of communes of Edinburgh which get together with communes from cities,towns and villages and collectively form the federation of communes of scotland or maybe a federation of for example central belt communes which then form a federation of communes of Britain which could then  form a federation of communes of Europe Which would form a section of the international federation of communes.

Within each commune there could be collectives which deal with housing, roads, communication, transport etc. This happened in revolutionary spain.

Collectives would coordinate between communes on issues that would require it e.g. transport, communication.

In An anarcho-Communist society production and consumption would be on need. Things which were not needed would not be produced. There would be no production for its own sake.


Work.

Work places would be managed and decided upon by those who worked in them but going beyond syndicalism could possibly be held accountable to the community

Only activities necessary to the maintenance of society would be done.

these tasks would be rotated but also would not be assigned to those who were not trustworthy or unable to do them.




Schools.

Schools could be run and lessons planned by teachers,pupils, parents and the local communities. 
Compassion and critical thinking would be encouraged.



Culture.

Parochialness would be discouraged. Selfishness, competition and greed would be discouraged. Creativity would be encouraged and unhindered by financial restrains.

Ambition in terms of fame or fortune would be pointless. Ambition would be turned towards individual and collective betterment and flourishing.


Environment.


It couldn't use fossil fuels. Would have to move towards renewable energy. Wind farms or geo-thermal is a couple of good possibilities.

Possibly less use of the internet.

Attempts to build eco-friendly housing especially in previously unused land.


Newly discovered or invented technology could be debated and possible negative consequences of them considered. If found on balance to have negative implications might not be introduced.

 Little to no use of cars. Or possibly car use discouraged and public transport like buses or high speed rail enouraged.

There might be a move towards a vegan diet.

Growing and harvesting of locally grown organic crops could be possible.

Local Self sufficiency could be encouraged

Healthy lifestyles, exercise, good food would be encouraged.

Planned obsolescence would be opposed. Re-using and repairing would be strongly encouraged.





A Reply to Thomas Leonard's Future of the World 1.


The section I wish to respond to is ,

               "Some attempts will doubtlessly be made within the next few years to patch up our heavily flawed Capitalism system. However, an increasing number of people talk about revolution, either social or violent, maybe with some sort of grass roots or direct democracy in mind, Some of these people think that the precise structure and format or our new social, financial, and political system will evolve from group discussions during and after the forthcoming revolution. However, unless we have a good a priori idea of what our new society is going to be like, I foresee a post-revolutionary world where we decline into infighting, violence, scant social structure, and a return to a Mad Max-style prehistoric age with pockets of civilisation surviving in relatively few places.

I have been trying to think about future world orders in extremely simple ways, Suppose that it was possible to compartmentize our population of seven billion people into 1400 peacefully interacting confederations each with a population of 5 million people. Each confederation could then be divided into 10 peacefully interacting administrative regions, each with half-a million people, and each administrative region into 50 interacting and self-nurturing communes, each with 1000 people, Can we then fill in all the details, and construct a social, economic, and political system, with no monetary system and some sort of grass roots or direct democracy which maintains the food supply, medical care and quality housing, and quality education for everybody, and the freedom to express novel and creative ideas?

I believe that we need to perform a feasibility study to see if there is some sort of potential world system which would be likely to accommodate all these requirements. If a social revolution were then  to occur, there would doubtlessly be lots of discussion as to what we should do next, However, at least we would know that these discussions would not be likely to be fruitless,"
Maybe the replacement of our world-wide culture of group and institutional bullying and aggression by a non-corrupt culture, which is adamant about nurturing others, developing their talents, and accommodating their weaknesses, would itself lead to a natural evolution to a new world order without the need for possibly violent revolution, If necessary, the confirmed psychopaths and paedophiles could be confined to their own rocky islands, and left to screw each other, Such a change in mind-set would however require a re-education of all members of our Society from pre-school to the grave. All of our institutions would need to reformulated, and our oligarths would need to be persuaded to agree. In such a Society, nationalistic, ethnic, and religious rivalries would be replaced by a fusion of all that is best in our historical cultures. "








My Reply:


General principles of Anarchism:  Revolution,  Freedom  Equality & Solidarity, Direct Democracy, Individual and collective flourishing.

Anarchism stands for total uncompromising opposition to all forms of hierarchy, domination, oppression and exploitation which includes capitalism,   the state,   Patriarchy and white supremacy among others.






Mr Leonard's remarks in blue.


" However, an increasing number of people talk about revolution, either social or violent,"
I reject the idea of an opposition between social and violent. I believe a revolution is unlikely to be non-violent but I favour a social revolution i.e. a revolution which changes the very institutions, the very structures of society instead of a political revolution which replaces one set of rulers with another e.g. The Russian Revolution.

I believe a good starting point is the example of the Spanish Revolution of 1936 though I do not believe we could or indeed should have a revolution like that again. We must go beyond it and be even bolder and much more inclusive and more widespread. We must tackle white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity etc as well

My favoured post-revolutionary society is anarcho-communism also known as Libertarian Communism.


" Some of these people think that the precise structure and format or our new social, financial, and political system will evolve from group discussions during and after the forthcoming revolution."

That suggests something purely idealist. That there will be conversations and then a new society will emerge.But  A new society will emerge from the ways we act in the present and the struggles we fight in the present- the way these struggles are fought and what we are able to accomplish.

Anarchists are against sketching precisely how a future society would look because we are opposed to utopian blueprints which have often been imposed by authoritarian regimes. We do not believe it is our right to decide for future people and it would be wildly utopian to talk in specific terms in an abstract way which is removed from the concrete material circumstances struggles would be facing. We also do not believe we can predict the future so we don't think we can know ahead of time how far the struggle will be able to go or alternatively, what limits it may face.

A future society can only emerge from struggle, from action as well as discussion but the specifics of that future society will be determined by the nature of those struggles on the way to that future society. Means determine ends.

"I am an Anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal"- Rudolf Rocker.

"To neglect all the problems of reconstruction or to pre-arrange complete and uniform plans are both errors, excesses which, by different routes, would led to our defeat as anarchists and to the victory of new or old authoritarian regime. The truth lies in the middle." - Errico Malatesta.


" However, unless we have a good a priori idea of what our new society is going to be like, I foresee a post-revolutionary world where we decline into infighting, violence, scant social structure, and a return to a Mad Max-style prehistoric age with pockets of civilisation surviving in relatively few places."

This is a distinctly Hobbesian view of the world. History shows in periods of social upheaval especially recent blackouts ,famines or economic collapse(e.g. Greece) rather than a war of all against all , the majority of people work together and cooperate.

No one is suggesting leaving everything until after the revolution but we all state loudly and unequivocally that we are not in the business of sketching out specific blueprints of how future societies will look. We cannot know and we have no right to make an attempt to dictate. At very most we could lay out possibilities.

"This is because what we think now will influence the future just as real experience will influence and change how we think. Moreover, given the ways in which our own unfree society has shaped our ways of thinking, it is probably impossible for us to imagine what new forms will arise once humanity's ingenuity and creativity is unleashed by the removal of its present authoritarian fetters. Thus any attempts to paint a detailed picture of the future will be doomed to failure -Anarchist FAQ

" Can we then fill in all the details, and construct a social, economic, and political system, with no monetary system and some sort of grass roots or direct democracy which maintains the food supply, medical care and quality housing, and quality education for everybody, and the freedom to express novel and creative ideas?"

While I believe the answer to be yes, my friend appears to believe the answer is no.

"Fill in" suggests a lackadaisical approach that straw mans my argument.

Furthermore the Spanish revolution of 1936 and the on-going  Zapatista experiment in Chiapas suggests this is possible though not without difficulties (of course- we are not utopians!)

"Nevertheless, anarchists have been willing to specify some broad principles indicating the general framework within which they expect the institutions of the new society to grow. It is important to emphasise that these principles are not the arbitrary creations of intellectuals in ivory towers. Rather, they are based on the actual political, social and economic structures that have arisen spontaneously whenever working class people have attempted to throw off its chains during eras of heightened revolutionary activity, such as the Paris Commune, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Revolution, and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, to name just a few. Thus, for example, it is clear that self-managed, democratic workers' councils are basic libertarian-socialist forms, since they have appeared during all revolutionary periods -- a fact that is not surprising considering that they are rooted in traditions of communal labour, shared resources, and participatory decision making that stretch back tens of thousands of years, from the clans and tribes of prehistoric times through the "barbarian" agrarian village of the post-Roman world to the free medieval city, as Kropotkin documents in his classic study Mutual Aid. Ultimately, such organisations are the only alternatives to government. Unless we make our own decisions ourselves, someone else will. - Anarchist FAQ.

"I believe that we need to perform a feasibility study to see if there is some sort of potential world system which would be likely to accommodate all these requirements."

And if the feasibility study suggested against revolution? Would we condemn the world's oppressed to remain so?

Revolutions cannot be calculated in such ways.  We can of course judge possible models and weight up pros and cons.

The Spanish Revolution of 1936 is instructive in showing to a good extent that  the syndicalistaspect of an anarchist revolution is possible. Other experiments in direct democracy past and present( Chiapas, Occupy, Argentinian Worker occupied factories, Hungary 1956)  show that form of decision making works.

It is communism which is the great unknown but we have some scattered ideas to build on.

Anarchists and revolutionaries have been discussing post-revolutionary societies and what they might look like for 200 years or more. We have a number of different ideas e.g. Par-econ, mutualism, collectivism, communism etc.

"Maybe the replacement of our world-wide culture of group and institutional bullying and aggression by a non-corrupt culture, which is adamant about nurturing others, developing their talents, and accommodating their weaknesses, would itself lead to a natural evolution to a new world order without the need for possibly violent revolution, If necessary, the confirmed psychopaths and paedophiles could be confined to their own rocky islands, and left to screw each other, Such a change in mind-set would however require a re-education of all members of our Society from pre-school to the grave. All of our institutions would need to reformulated, and our oligarths would need to be persuaded to agree. In such a Society, nationalistic, ethnic, and religious rivalries would be replaced by a fusion of all that is best in our historical cultures. "

This statement is so vague as to sound quite nice and comforting though I worry about the authoritarianism hidden in it.

This means of getting to a better society suggests an individualistic liberal gradualist viewpoint. As if individually teaching people to be moral would actually on its own affect a major change in social structures. The problem is that mindsets can only change so far within the limits and restrictions of material circumstances.

It is practically irrelevant what you think if a small majority hold the majority of the worlds wealth and make decisions for large numbers of people on the planet.  Without freedom and equality, its irrelevant what your mindset is because you will be prevent from carrying it out by the police and military and by government propaganda and the ruling ideologies.








Possibilities for a post revolutionary society:







Part 2.

Carry on to here to  see my thoughts on possibilities for an anarchist society.


Club card Communism?

In a conversation someone made a joke but its an interesting idea.  What if tesco purchase data was stolen and appropriated for use in the computer systems of a communist society for allocating goods and understanding consumption. Club card communism maybe?

Saturday, 1 August 2015

the referendum is a ghost haunting scottish politics and Scottish Independence is a parasite!

The Referendum is a ghost that haunts scottish politics and independence has been and is still being parasitic on broader politics reducing all struggles down to its own narrow terms of debate. Viewing politics through the lens of nations is not a good idea no matter how 'benevolent' you might claim your view of nations is.That whole way of thought is only of benefit to those who would seek to continue exploiting and oppressing us and the rest of the people of the world.

Concepts of nation and nationality only exist to conceal past and present divisions between oppressed and oppressors e.g. between the capitalist class and the working class. Instead of understanding society as a conflict between the rich and the poor the difference in concealed and smudged by appeals to the illusionary identity 'Scottishness'.

The source of social problem is not the tories westminster or even the rarely named, Neo-Liberalism. The problem is capitalism and we are in a very specific phase of capitalism whereby we cannot go back to the Keynesianism of 1945.


As the latest example(Syriza- though there are others e.g. Irish Green Party, German Green Party, Italian Communist Party etc etc ) shows no political party however pure their intentions may can once elected avoid corruption. That is not an individual or party failing but because once elected they become the protector and facilitator of capitalism because that is the very reason why government, all governments (past,present and future) exist.


Against Scottish Exceptionalism.

There's no shred of evidence that proves scotland is inherently left wing or socialist and plenty counter evidence against that idea. Furthermore the scottish left tends to dreamily rely on the fictitious idea that an independent scotland would be more democratic or environmental or could be socialist disregarding the international nature of capitalism and the international influence of organisations like the WTO, IMF, World Bank, EU etc which would prevent that- as seen in Greece with Syriza and as would happen in Scotland with SNP, the Greens, the Scottish Left Project or whoever it happens to be.

Is independence a solution?

Independence would do little more than change the location of the oppressors.
There's no salvation or 'cure' to be found in the SNP, the Greens, Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn. Only a mass movement of people taking acting themselves and deciding collectively themselves can change things.