tpedes

tpedes wrote

There is academia, and there is academia. What this article describes is far different from the experience at my own undergraduate-serving, poorly funded public institution that primarily turns out teachers, nurses, and students with near-useless "business" degrees. The fundamental problems are the same, however: emphasis on competition rather than cooperation; asserting authority rather than supporting the creation of knowledge; funding sports (which draws community money) instead of academics (which no one gives a shit about); and, making the lone standard for everything "you can get a good job with good pay" while refusing to acknowledge that entry into a failing and oppressive economic system is failure. So, academia is built on exploitation--just like everything else under capitalism.

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tpedes wrote

And people do not to have to be perfect to construct and maintain an anarchist society. Some things are absolutes: there can't be a free society that engages in racism, sexism, capitalism (or slavery--I agree with David Graeber that the capitalist mode of production is really nothing more than a refinement of slavery), and authoritarianism. Fixed hierarchies of status, coercive power, and authority have to be eliminated.

As far as what to do after that, the best really is the enemy of the good. I'm no utopian because utopias are fixed and lifeless mental constructs. I'm also no real dystopian, if for no other reason than that, even this late in the day, people still act from feelings of hope and community. As I've indicated before, I just finished the audio book of No Wall They Can Build, and among the many things I've gotten from that is how firmly both solidarity movements like No More Deaths and political movements like the EZLN are grounded in a sense of hope, even in the face of disaster. No, neither group is perfect (and neither is what they probably will be even two years from now), but no one here is demanding perfection and stasis. Claiming otherwise is basically fallacious.

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tpedes wrote (edited )

There's are further assumptions here as well:

  • The baker doesn't talk to anyone about needing wood
  • The witness never goes to the community to talk about what's happening in the forest
  • No ones suggests coppicing as a way of managing a woodlot for the baker's and other's needs

The OP's example is only valid if you accept their basic assumption that everyone is alienated from social processes, no one communicates, and no one wants to find solutions that benefit everyone. When you look at the world and how it has operated outside of the control of oppressive systems, that's not how human beings do things. However, if you're only able to project your own alienation on the world, then the problem is insurmountable.

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tpedes wrote (edited )

Essentially, it's a bad-faith head game, and, to be transparent, I think it's primarily a head game of the privileged.

What better way to engage in bad faith headgames than to accuse me of being privileged for not seeing the world in black and white as you do? For seeing suffering in the world and wanting to understand it, instead of just handwaving it away by yearning for wishful utopian ideologies designed to energize European factory workers from the 1800s?

You're making assumptions about my thinking (and interpreting what I said) in ways that aren't accurate. That's understandable. We don't really know and have barely interacted with each other, and I started this out by rejecting your stated fundamental assumption (that communal decision-making under a social anarchist system "will mean certain favored groups / individuals will be rewarded and less desirable groups / individuals will be neglected, or even punished"). So, I'm going to describe a little more clearly where I'm coming from, then I'll restate why I find your position objectionable.

I'd never heard of anarcho-communism until I took one of those political compass tests and landed squarely on that spot. I'm definitely a materialist and vaguely marxian in my academic analysis of social structures, but I'm a completely failed Marxist because I'm convinced that, while economics is fundamental, the "superstructure" built on it is tied to it in a reciprocal relationship. People express racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and the like even when those things harm rather than prop up capitalism.

I'm not an anarcho-collectivist because, as I understand it, collectivism retains some sort of monetary/token economy. I think that's unnecessary and risks manipulation and abuse much more than collective decision-making about production and distribution does. Tokens can be exchanged in the dark; collective decisions have to be made in public and in the light. Again, I think that the only way to avoid power-tripping and inequities is to ensure that power is public, limited, shared, and of brief duration, and I also think it's necessary to make sure that those who have or have had less voice in processes of power have more of a say in what goes on.

My thinking is not black-or-white; in fact, I'd say your own assumption that collective decision-making must necessary lead to inequity is far more dichotomous. I'm accusing you of privilege because, in all honesty, I think that individualist anarchism---which is the place from which I assume you approach this, given that you use "social anarchism" to encompass a number of tendencies that include anarcho-communism--can only be conceived of from a place of privilege. I feel O.K. with assuming that we're both educated, reasonably well-housed and well-fed, and have the means and the leisure to engage in disagree with each other on internet-connected devices. That's being privileged.

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tpedes wrote

If you assume that people are inherently selfish, then there's no answer that will satisfy you. You'll be able to poke rhetorical holes in any example given and any proposal suggested. Essentially, it's a bad-faith head game, and, to be transparent, I think it's primarily a head game of the privileged.

That said, I think that "spending your life toiling" and permanent bodies deciding distribution of resources are false assumptions. It's easy to imagine systems for rotating both onerous and unpleasant jobs and rotating periods of fixed, limited, and transparent authority. I agree that industries usually have to have people with technical knowledge in "authority" more or less permanently; for safety's sake, you want the person who oversees the steel mill to be experienced. What it comes down to is that task leadership does not threaten personal autonomy.

Again, though, it's a question of assumptions. I think that the first step of allocating resources would be something like this: "According to the reserves we decided on last month and given what we have on hand and what we have been able to produce right now, we have at most 3000 calories of food per person for the next three months. Remember that everyone has different needs; any one of the nutritionists can help you work out what that means for groceries and meal planning." I anticipate that, at least in the case of food, collective bodies probably might favor group meals over individual ones in order to better manage limited resources. Again, though, needing to eat with other people to ensure that everyone can eat is not an attack on personal autonomy. If I wanted to valorize selfishness, I read Ayn Fucking Rand.

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tpedes wrote

I think that's likely as well. I've been listening to No Wall They Can Build for a while now, and the point that was made in the episode I heard part of today is that those in power are almost always much better positioned to take advantage of chaos than are those without it. However, I think the best response to that is to consciously prepare--not in some sort of apocalypse-fetishization way, but in a clear-headed way. (And remember, egalitarian communities can be armed, too.)

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tpedes wrote

Many of these critiques use "civilization" to mean state-level civilization, and I agree that won't survive climate change (and good riddance). I'm leery of anit-civilization or anarcho-primitivist ideas, however, because some of their proponents have earned a reputation for being abelist.

It's a fine line to walk. For example, I believe that the collapse of state-level society will give the opportunity to create non-hierarchical, non-capitalist anarchist societies. However, I also know that I likely would not survive the sort of breakdown described because I manage chronic disease that requires drug treatments. Other people with more serious conditions have less of a chance to survive. I'm certainly not going to advocate ending society without answering the question of how to support those people--a question that some anarcho-primitivists would consider to be at best inconsequential and at worst reactionary.

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Reply to comment by tpedes in by !deleted18811

tpedes wrote

"Nihilists! I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos."---the same movie

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tpedes wrote

I'm diabetic, so I never eat honey by itself and haven't used it as an ingredient for a long time. Given that, I only come across honey as an ingredient in other things, which makes it easiest for me to just not eat those things and not eat it.

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Reply to comment by tpedes in by !deleted18811

tpedes wrote

While I agree that there are no technological solutions to the global disaster we have created, as long as people live there will be choices we can make about how we relate to each other and to the world. If anything, the inevitable breakdown of society and the likelihood of more isolated human populations would argue in favor of the development of non-authoritarian, collectivist groups. For that to happen, there must be those within those groups who advocate social and political organization that is revolutionary (anarchist) rather than reactionary (the failed system that got us here in the first place). I'm absolutely not advocating vanguardism, but I still would guess that pushing for that revolution and ensuring that anarchism is in the public consciousness might, in some cases, cushion the collapse and prepare the way for revolutionary change.

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tpedes wrote (edited )

Just because the OP is being a rather unsuccessful troll doesn't mean the question is invalid. "How does the community respond?" gets into issues of how decisions are made, something about which Peter Gelderloos has interesting things to say in Anarchy Works. There's a PDF of that at http://www.infoshop.org/pdfs/AnarchyWorks.pdf.

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