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subrosa wrote

Had some doubts about the usefullness of 'possible historians', but that's all cleared up now. Looking forward to meeting more of them.

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plasticspoon wrote

If you ever want to explain how you imagine trade to work in your idea of mutualist society instead of just saying that you don't want to preclude the possibility of trade, that would be very interesting

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humanispherian OP wrote (edited )

Seems like I do that about once a week on The Site That Shall Not Be Named.

We say "does not preclude" in order to emphasize that it is others who have narrowed the anarchistic options, while mutualism is anarchism with the (anarchistic) options left open and we'll address specific situations with specifically appropriate practices.

"The Character and Scope of the Mutualist Market" covers some basic issues and "Collective force: notes on contribution and disposition" is sort of a deep dive into principles.

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plasticspoon wrote

Thanks, I look forward to reading these later when I have some time. I am curious about what you consider most anarchists to believe in - gift economies? - in contrast to markets? But based on what I've understood you say about authority elsewhere, it's hard for me to think you would be very comfortable with either.

In the meanwhile before I read your linked pieces, I want to suggest that the 'does not preclude' expression at least in my case fails completely to do what you hope. I read it as weasely language - with the implication that trade would be kept to a minimum and exist in certain very ad hoc specific contexts where gift economies make a bit less sense - when in fact you presumably don't mean this at all and instead have whole ranges of markets you expect to be part of regular life under anarchy. I'm not sure if I've made the feeling of deception seem clear.

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humanispherian OP wrote

"Does not preclude" only makes sense in a context like our own in the anarchist milieus, where the question of "markets" is so divisive—and also perhaps so badly understood. Is it "weaselly" to refuse to "pick a side" in a fight that I think misses the point pretty badly? Others can decide.

I'm uncertain whether "gift economy" is a useful description of what anarchist communists intend. Anthropological accounts of gift economies include a lot of elements of individual property, competition, etc. that I'm not sure really apply to the common property that seems generally proposed. I've used the notion in some writing about property, in ways that I hope makes giving a really central element. But the an-com position I encounter most often just sidesteps the questions of property and value as much as possible: the complexities of things make precise divisions and valuations possible and less precise judgments are (for various reasons) undesirable. Sometimes it seems to come down to "nice people don't put numbers on things."

I think we have to be prepared for circumstances that do not involve plenty, let alone "post-scarcity," and that it will be some time before we can say that the possibility of exploitation is no longer one we need to guard against. That means confronting questions of valuation and property—hopefully with a deep understanding of the difficulties, which is why I tend to bring things back to the application of the theory of collective force—and establishing norms and forms that help us to protect one another. Some of those will be unmistakably "market" forms, but one of the fine things that past "market anarchist" experiments have given us is some examples of norms and institutions that have tendencies very different from the elements of capitalist markets.

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plasticspoon wrote

Is it "weaselly" to refuse to "pick a side" in a fight that I think misses the point pretty badly? Others can decide.

I don't think it is, after you explain it. I was trying to express that in the meanwhile it seemed that way to me and it made the sayer of those words seem disingenous.

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plasticspoon wrote

I struggled with reading both of these, they seemed quite alien. I will have to give it another try later.

It might be worthwhile to ask, what does prefiguration look like to mutualists (as distinct from non-market left-critique anarchists.

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humanispherian OP wrote

The real difficulty with the Proudhonian material is that there is a whole toolkit to master and anarchists haven't done much of that work over the years. The theory of collective force is the rationale behind "property is theft," a notion that presumably nearly all anarchists agree with, but even those of us who are pretty committed to this kind of anarchist analysis may still feel like beginners when it comes to translating its terms into, say, the terms used by anarchist communists.

I'm honestly still wrestling with what prefiguration can really mean for anarchists, given the rather fluid nature of what we might hope to prefigure. It's a question I've been wrestling with in my notebooks lately, but I can't claim to have come to any very firm conclusions.

(And apologies for the delay in responding. It's been a heck of a week.)

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Kinshavo wrote

About the prefiguration bit, I think this means for me being able to apply some of the anarchic conclusions in my daily life, more concrete in my relationships and it's dynamics. You are by far more theory conscious than me so probably you are in a more deeply quest for prefigurative anarchy.

I could be using this concept all wrong, but the first time I came with this was the foulcaltian biopolitics. For me relationships, friendships, parenting and pedagogy are the experimental ground for what I understand for prefiguration.

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humanispherian OP wrote

I think you're right in your understanding of prefiguration. I'm just at a funny place in my understanding of anarchism. "Constructing Anarchisms" is, for me, all about putting what I think I know to the test, so that I can perhaps talk a bit more confidently on the other side about some of these practical issues. A number of these questions suddenly have, for me, all sorts of new wrinkles to smooth out.

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