Potemkin

3

Potemkin wrote

Greetings! Not sure if anyone is here much anymore. I've been getting back into political reading and trying to move forward and organize locally and things. It would be nice to find some social ecologist-types to discuss things with. Social Ecology and Communalism can indeed be an exciting read!

I remember how excited I was to read Post-Scarcity Anarchism. Its discussion of "preconditions" and how to identify them as a basis for moving concretely toward the world we wish to see was compelling, along with the critique of authoritarian Marxism. Its advocation for "study" or "affinity" groups seemed to provide a pipeline from the theoretical directly to social action.

Currently, I'm reading Biehl's biography of Bookchin, Ecology or Catastrophe, and re-reading works such as Damian White's Bookchin: A Critical Appraisal. If anyone is reading this, maybe we can get this Communalism forum a little more active again?

3

Potemkin wrote

Greetings all! I'm new here and still familiarizing myself. I'm looking forward to comradely discussion.

The statement above is a good one, and contains some unstated premises that I also agree with.

Understanding that we live in contradiction, while helpful to those who analyse through a dialectical frame, helps us realize that the world we wish to see can only be fully attained through (social) revolution and the removal of the capitalist economic system. It also implies that while we should have discipline and attempt to prefigure and embody our values and society to the greatest extent possible under capitalism, we should not kick ourselves for being imperfect in theory or action, as the system we are fighting necessarily brings everyone into economic, social, and ethical contradiction.

However, this does not mean we should give up entirely. Nuance is important, and coming as close to our ideal as is possible under the given system weakens capitalism, giving a view of the new society in the shell of the old. Our work can provide for the needs of our communities in less commodified and alienated ways, helping working people to the greatest extent possible now and developing the consciousness and solidarity to sustain large opposition movements.

4

Potemkin wrote

A good article! Obviously, the state of labor in the US is pretty deplorable relative to similar economies. The bourgeois coverage of economic news here, has for the last several years made me feel crazy. We see Wall Street being as profitable as ever, unemployment at record lows, the housing market (at least in my area) recovering and exceeding the highs prior to the last crash. Yet, my wages have been flat for about three years, while the cost of living increases. It's very disheartening how rosy the economic propaganda is at the moment, when none of it reflects the realities of myself, my friends, or other working people.

I think it's as difficult as ever for working people in the US, with the gutting and corruption of organized labor and the subsequent massive wealth accumulation of the top one percent. The rosy propaganda (where wage stagnation and other indicators that more directly apply to regular working people are ignored) hides an alarming deterioration in work and working conditions here.

I believe in the power of organized labor (indeed, the only force historically that has improved the conditions of labor), and the economic squeezing of the working class creates the material conditions for struggle and resistance. However, especially in the Trump era but existing for decades, the main barrier to collective action is a lack of class consciousness. In the most advanced capitalist economy, workers now are disillusioned and apathetic, even cynical. There is a pronounced lack of imagination and historical context. Paradoxically, we find ourselves in a situation where, not only is capitalism seen as the "end of history" (or that this economic system and these social relations, are seen as all that ever was, is, and will be) but is so hegemonic that, as Zizek has pointed out, its easier to envision the end of the world than the collapse or even moderate reform of capitalism. An unfortunate situation, indeed!

5

Potemkin wrote

For those interested in contemporary reworkings of anarchist-communist, social ecology, or similar ideas, I highly recommend the work of John P. Clark. Most of his essays are available online.

I recommend his Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: Selected Writings of Elisee Reclus. About half of the book contains translated essays by Reclus, and half are essays from Clark that contextualize and advance Reclus' ideas.

I also highly recommend Clark's, The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism. Both of these works were published in 2013, so fairly recent. I'd love to discuss any of this with anyone.