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Exports and imports in a social anarchist society

Submitted by anarchist_network in Anarchism (edited )

I am an anarcho syndicalist/collectivist but I struggle alot with the idea of exports and imports.

The idea is that money is abolished or replaced with labor vouchers.

But how would any "nation" get enough resources or even different kinds of food for them? They would have no money to import anything except when they export more than they import which is hard for a smaller nation.

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5

ziq wrote

If you can't be completely self sufficient I think it'll result in failure. Once the people depend on exports and external forces, everything falls apart.

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anarchist_network wrote

But as I said in the comment above you what about regions that don't have iron or stuff like that. They would get stuck and could not produce anything what might be important

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captaindread1 wrote (edited )

What is important? Big TVs? Or perhaps fast electric cars? No doubt that the concept of "important" must be deeply reevaluated.

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anarchist_network wrote

Roads, houses, factories or workplaces. These are important and without certain resources you can't build nor operate them

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ziq wrote

https://i.imgur.com/9XwOuhRr.jpg

This is my idea of social anarchism. Notice there are no paved roads.

Paved roads are incredibly bad for the environment because they heat the planet. They're also so expensive to maintain that governments worldwide are pulling them up and replacing them with gravel.

They're an outmoded concept and should be abandoned.

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Copenhagen_Bram wrote

I like that image! Can I post it on /f/meta, /f/green, and various subreddits?

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captaindread1 wrote (edited )

Factories and workplaces perhaps are expired concepts. With respect to roads and house, for sure that the global intellect will be able to solve quite a lot of those problems.

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ziq wrote (edited )

This is what destroyed the environment. We can make do without iron just fine, like plenty of cultures did for centuries. We don't have to compete with other cultures to be the most technologically advanced, it only leads to disaster. Our local resources are all we need to prosper.

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kestrel77 wrote

are you kidding me? so, no coffee, tea, or chocolate under communism in much of the world?

no cultural exchange of books, records, art/sculpture, etc? can't buy a t-shirt from yr favorite band on another continent?

how are we supposed to even communicate with people on the other side of the planet if we don't send at least phones around the globe sometimes?

OP said "in a social anarchist society" not "in an anprim society"

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ziq wrote (edited )

I don't consume any of those things so I can safely say humans don't need them.

Besides, there are thousands of different 'teas' for each climate. If you can't grow a particular plant locally, big whoop. Anarchism isn't "Exploit Asia/Africa, ship everything to white people, everything stays the same but we call it anarchism now".

People will have to make sacrifices to live in a world without heirarchy. There's simply no way that maintaining our exploitative habits will ever lead to anarchism. People on the other side of the world don't want to labor all day growing chocolate for you. If you get chocolate in a society of equals, everyone gets chocolate, so billions of people - and slavery is the only way to achieve that. Often child slavery.

The fact that you think living within our means is 'primitivism' makes me sad for our future.

Think beyond your capitalistic imperialist impulses. If you think cocoa is so important (it isn't), figure out how to engineer it to grow in your climate. I can already think of several ways to do it in my climate.

And please don't reply to this saying something like "No... Africans will love continuing to grow/mine our luxury items for us because it'll be communism..." Capitalism has spoiled you. Make do with carob instead of chocolate like I do.

EDIT: There's no reason we can't continue to trade culture. That's what the Internet is for. There are now trillions of internet devices in the world, so even if the slave factories in Asia are shuttered, there's more than enough devices already made for everyone. We don't need a new phone / tablet / laptop / pc every year. We need to overcome deliberately wasteful capitalistic tendencies like that and reuse and retrofit our shit.

Freely sharing art between cultures isn't exploitative in any way so long as we can do it without tearing down the forests to make paper or pumping out carbon to distribute the art to 7 billion people.

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kestrel77 wrote

okay so. there is no way we are going to continue a functioning internet without having some kind of physical global trade system, i.e. ships going from one place to another. not everywhere produces the minerals needed for computers. every one of us doesn't need a new device every year but we can't just keep using capitalist devices built under planned obsolescence. all that shit is going to fall apart within ten years. so, if we're going to have to figure out some kind of non-exploitative global resource exchange system anyway why not have a cup of coffee every now and then?

i am well aware of the issues with the industries i mentioned, chocolate, coffee, etc. there are issues with almost every industry being racist and exploitative, especially those which take advantage of the fictions of borders and racism against the global south, because like we live under capitalism? i am very clearly an anarchist on an anarchist forum not talking about continuing capitalist policies in any way, so i'm not sure why you're implying that i'm racist for asking fucking questions. i'm going to be honest it feels like you're trying to passive-aggressively shut me down for asking questions that disagree with you slightly. this is not how i think that comrades should talk to each other.

in reality, you don't know anything about me, and i imagine we would agree on quite a bit of things and have a lot to discuss about (like, while we're on the subject, i barely consume chocolate, i don't drink coffee, and i have been known to grow my own tea in my own climate in the past, so i definitely get where you're coming from there!). i'm not going to tell you what to do. but perhaps consider being less thorny to people who disagree with you in the future.

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Blackbeard wrote

I feel like this is just right. A new way of living requires a new mindset- we don't get to indulge in all the same luxuries we had under capitalism in our anarchist utopia. Or, if we do, it's because we found some way to make it work in our locality. Otherwise, if you don't have steel for buildings, use earth, or rocks, or wood. Can't manufacture iPhones and computers with materials where you live? The world is probably better off for having fewer of those dumped into landfills, leaching toxins into our water. I love chocolate and coffee as much as anybody, but I can live without them just fine if it meant a more egalitarian world for us all.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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kestrel77 wrote (edited )

many of the goods discussed are cultural items, not luxury items

i'm talking about fucking. signals here. like physical infrastructure to communicate in case there's a hurricane or wildfire or other natural disaster.

do you think that long distance communication and trade are inherently racist?

i'm not interested in forcing anyone to do anything. there are things made in some regions that can only be made in that region and are desired in other regions. resolving that issue is the purpose of this thread. you can divorce that from historically imperialist products if you wish, which was only a small part of what i mentioned. i am obviously not interested in continuing racist, capitalist policies or i would not be on this forum.

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anarchist_network wrote

How is it rascist? If these countries would also go anarcho communist for example it would be great to import and export in exchange of other workers or programs who would help them get better developing other technology, methods for agriculture, education and so on.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

May I ask what ideology you are?

Why wouldn't they work. Of course it would not be the same slavery in this capitalist system.

If you would get support for your region and could develop I think it would be a great opertunity.

Also for clean energy you would need special metals to build solar or wind power plants. In 80% of the world you wouldn't get these and the idea falls apart

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

In the sense of worker solidarity it would make sense to work and get help and develope your region. I don't see a problem here. It would not be the working conditions like under capitalism.

Saying that this problem should be solved is a kind of lazy answer in my opinion. It's fact that for solar energy or wind energy or stuff with rubber you would need to import.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

Why would people work less in a ancol or ansyn society? That's a thing that capitalists say as a argument against libertarian socialism or social anarchism

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anarchist_network wrote

I am not saying that these people there should work for the regions but for solidarity and mutual help between these countries and regions. Of course it would be there decision and of course we would not make them export it just so we can have it like "polpotisevil" said

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anarchist_network wrote

Yes that's of course great but you can't deny that even for your perfect social anarchist society (on your picture) we would need special metals which don't exist on much of the world!

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ziq wrote (edited )

If you can't do it without exploiting others, don't do it. There are no utopias.

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anarchist_network wrote

This! I thought about it the same way and it bothered me. Social anarchism and communism are such great ideas but this is a big problem in my opinion

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

Social anarchism is in my book the forms ancom, ancol, ansyn and mutualism which relie on solidarity and work in a socialist way

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

Hey. Going to say some things, they're not meant in an attacking way, more just me being low energy but wanting to engage with you.

I have no idea how your anarchy would actually work.

Labour vouchers seem like money to me.

And you put 'nation' in quotes but not 'import' and 'export', which confuses me also.

You seem to be assuming that there will be a capitalist imperative for growth and competition when you say things like

Ecological collapse is of course a bigger problem but not producing anything would make you fall behind everyone else and inequality would still exist

I'm guessing this is because you have a different sense of what equality would look like in anarchy.

I'd recommend you read bolo'bolo. It's not far from your politics in some senses but also deals quite specifically in how things would work with regards to self-sufficiency and exchange between bolos.

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anarchist_network wrote

Hey!

Collectivist anarchism and the idea of labor vouchers goes as follows:

The needs such as housing, food and water are free but now there are the things you WANT to have.

You work and then get paid for your work according to the time you worked and the importance of work in society. The importance would of course be decided before actually implementing labor vouchers. With these labor vouchers you can buy luxury items on a non capitalist market in the sense that you give a certain amount of vouchers in exchange for example a watch. After your purchase the vouchers will be destroyed for the purpose of not getting anyone rich.

It's a bit like a fusion of mutualism and collectivism.

The reason I put nation in quotes is because of my language barrier and I didn't knew how else to put it.

I don't think and also don't want competition in my anarchist economy but I think if regions are more developed then others that is still inequality and without certain things you need you would get less developed.

Also thanks for the recommendation :)

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My3rdAccout wrote

sailboats run for free, and boats are the most efficient way of transportation. I expect if anarchy ever arrives we'll be some kind of solarpunk utopia. With today's technology, some race boats can go from france to brazil in 1 week. IMO bigger, stronger boats could do quite a bit of import-export, without relying on fossil fuels at all.

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anarchist_network wrote

Thats a great idea but my question was about money in the sense that you can't have everything in one small commune/region/collective. The problem is getting money for importing important stuff without the actual use if money in the communes/regions

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captaindread1 wrote

It's quite evident that importations and exportation based in fossil fuels or other type of contaminating energy should be an exception. Federated regions should persist with mostly local resources in my opinion.

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anarchist_network wrote

Yeah of course that would be great but what about areas that don't have iron or steel for example. People couldn't produce anything or couldn't build houses for example

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captaindread1 wrote

Well, those are limited resources. People should learn to occupy those material resources which have been previously manufactured, a recycling economy.

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anarchist_network wrote

Hmm okay good idea. Then we should also concentrate in finding other materials or resources that are not limited and can be used in the same way. Anyways it leads to some big starting problems in my opinion

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captaindread1 wrote (edited )

Well, ecological collapse is a quite bigger problem I think.

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anarchist_network wrote

Yes of course but you have to acknowledge that most if our products we use on a daily basis happen to be created with some kind of natural resource. Ecological collapse is of course a bigger problem but not producing anything would make you fall behind everyone else and inequality would still exist

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captaindread1 wrote

Inequality with respect what? Do not forget that our collapse will be global.

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anarchist_network wrote (edited )

Inequality in the sense that regions with those resources will have more technology, goods or products than those in regions without them. Even with mutual help between regions it would have to be a big area for all kind of resources to be shares between them

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captaindread1 wrote (edited )

Well, perhaps if you make the problem more concrete, perhaps localizing the region, we could offer some recommendations. Abstract questions can just release abstract solutions.

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anarchist_network wrote

For example the northern part of Germany is very very flat and much of the agriculture such as wheat grows there. But they would have no way in getting things like metals. They could sustain themselves with enough food and water of course but in terms of technology they would be worse than west Germany or other regions

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

Yeah well in anarchism there could be many federated, decentral and liberal communes which could govern themself but still be connected in the great scale

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

First of no need to get vulgar I am trying to get a simple discussion going.

I don't understand either of your points could you explain please why they don't make sense or aren't anarchism?

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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anarchist_network wrote

Well I just realised that I wanted to say CONfederation. That would make more sense my mistake.

You still haven't answered about "liberal communes doesn't make any fucking sense"

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jlwob wrote

I am also a syndicalist and I have a lot of feelings on this. I think it is a mistake to dismiss economic concerns by saying that we need to reevaluate what is important or that we need to become self-sustaining. Both of those statements imply that our average well being will need to decrease in order to see greater equality.

The solution I’ve been kicking around is more detailed than what i’m About to lay out.

First, i am operating with the assumption that we are talking about a syndicalist community existing within a capitalist world - to me the most likely outcome of a revolution in our lifetime. Second, i’m Assuming that this community doesn’t have enough natural resources to make everything at home or does not have the industrial capacity.

With those assumptions in mind I think you would need some form of an abstraction layer that stands between the syndicalist community and the rest of the world. This would probably look like a bank.

To see how this could function, let’s look at an example. Jane has a widget factory. Her widgets are loved all over the world. However, this widget requires a special metal that only can be found in Europe. The community wants Jane to make her widgets and sell them at home and abroad because they love the widgets and selling them abroad increases the wealth of the community. So the “bank” lends Jane the money she needs to import the metal and she pays the loan back with her foreign profits.

The key to a bank like this would be communal and equal ownership. That way, who gets these loans, and how much is loaned out is subject to community approval.

This is a much simplified version of something bigger I am working on but if it interests you, let me know and we can chat more about it.

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anarchist_network wrote

Thats a great idea and much better than the idea of "just live with what you got".

In mutualism there is also this kind of bank. I don't know the specifics but it workes in quite a good way.