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.


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.


humanispherian OP wrote

The people who have hung in haven't been the ones who expressed the most interest initially (as often happens), so I've adjusted the way I'm approaching this second phase. There's a pdf of the whole first phase, but I'm also treating the historical survey as if there will be newcomers.

I think that the format for the survey will be fairly clear in the next couple of posts. And I check in regularly various places, including here, to see if there are questions.


humanispherian OP wrote

Anarchists often find ourselves surrounded by "anti-government" critique, though we are clearly not surrounded by anarchists. Some of that is probably a sort of throwback to the "natural government" arguments of earlier eras—and perhaps the same could be said of some of the "good governance" arguments made within anarchist circles by proponents of "pure democracy." The early history we're tracing gives us an opportunity to try to decide at what point something emerges that really feels like "anarchism" to us and a chance to address the conflicting tendencies in the stories we tell ourselves about anarchist development, where, on the one hand, we search history for examples of anarchism as a kind of perennial philosophy, but, on the other, also often try to exclude explicitly anarchist approaches as not anarchist enough.


humanispherian wrote

Sources for some of that would certainly be nice, since it all sounds a bit cut-and-dried for a guy who claimed that he wasn't elaborating a system—and some of it just plain sounds wrong. But maybe the useful thing is to remember that anarchism wasn't really a thing until at least a decade after Proudhon died, so we shouldn't expect his work to conform to ways of being an anarchist that we take for granted, but hadn't yet been invented.

To me, it makes more sense to say that Proudhon might have been "the Marx" of some other ideology, but both he and we were spared that ignominy. Anarchism went a different direction, with both good and bad consequences.


humanispherian wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by ziq in by ziq

Sorry you feel that way about the 101 sub. We do the best we can to be even-handed. And apologies for the perceived slight. But if the goal is the vanquishing of chomskyarchy and other tepid recuperations of anarchist thought, I can't help but think we do more damage by emphasizing what a real departure from Bakunin's anti-authoritarianism the "aside" represents. YMMV, obviously.

As for idols and idolatry, one of the funny things about engaging closely with the details of the "classical" writings is that you can make a lot more, and more serious, criticisms of them than most people who just hate that stuff—and still get called out for uncritical hero worship.