The species being of anarchist economics

From Stalking the Earth

Capitalist Crisis and Anarchist Economics, a talk by Wayne Price on August 20th, 2013 in Rochester, New York at the Flying Squirrel Community Space

 

Last Tuesday I attended a talk by Wayne Price on the Capitalist Crisis and Anarchist Economics which also served as a entry point for his newly published book The Value of Radical Theory: An Anarchist Introduction to Marx's Critique of Political Economy hosted by “your friendly neighborhood” anarchist organization, Rochester Red and Black. I must say, they were friendly and the Flying Squirrel is a pretty nice place for Rochester to have. I also picked up a copy of the his new book, but haven't read past the first fifty pages yet, although the introduction has so far, has been the most interesting. What follows is more of a look into his talk and some questions I had before and afterwards.

 

As anarchists, we are against state and capital, yet we are also not immune to the society we live in. We have to work for a living in order to survive and pay for food and shelter; some of us may even want some luxuries like books, bikes, the occasional keyboard to play, and maybe even more. The point being is that just because we are in opposition to civilization, we still live under it and more often than not have to play by their rules, while attempting not to comprise our ideas. Anarchists and economics are often like oil and water, they don't mix well and as Price wrote - outside of perhaps Proudhon there is barely any sense of “anarchist economics.” This is were the ideas, formulations, and systems of Marx and Engels come into play with their importance in Price's opinion. And onwards: Just as the Russian revolutionaries in 1917 asked, how is it to be done, this anarchist economics?

 

Price began his talk by stating that he is retired (from what he didn't say) and that his family is in the same boat as all of us, experiencing the economic crisis with layoffs and difficulty finding meaningful jobs. He stated that he was an anarchist, of which kind or type he also didn't say, although I have always thought of him in the class-struggle anarchist vain. He also went on to say that he is not a Marxist, yet he is open to some of their ideas as being valid. His basic speech was that society is historical and built upon commodities that are often useless, cycles are necessary for the health of the capitalist system, and that the panic has turned into the crisis. Profit is the goal of the capitalists, rather than use, as he described the analogy of the hammer - the capitalists make them, but will never use them. Price also talked of how capitalism fails to plan ahead, which brought to mind the old story of the grasshopper and ant. Although is this not planning ahead necessarily true?

 

According to Price, capitalism has been in decline since after World War II. This can be seen in the creation of the Bretton Woods system, which lead to the International Monetary Fund and what was called the World Bank, both of which aim to stabilize business as usual. Overall, I was more than a bit disappointed in his talk because I felt like everything he mentioned could have also been discussed in a Political Science college somewhere. It was almost as if he completely left out the anarchist economics half, and instead choose to talk to the large group in a general history leading up to the crisis. And on to the question and answer we went...

 

Why would anyone want a new society? For the most part, the answer is that they don't. So what should we do as anarchists? Organize! But, around what? Price mentioned strikes and supporting them, supporting workers, taking over factories, and having worker run co-ops “from the bottom up, run by the workers.” He also mentioned that many of these alternative ideas are still within the system, like for example co-ops still being under the capitalist market.

 

One of the more heated questioning and answering of topics came when Price used the term “terrorism” to describe anarchist sabotage. It almost started to look like the Crimethinc. / Chris Hedges debate up in there. Perhaps instead, Price should have used the often anarchist term of propaganda of the deed (POD) to describe his distaste for it instead of the catch all often government term of terrorism. It turns out, Price is not in favour of small group POD, and instead believes that we need to win the “battle of ideas” (again this sounds like a military term from Iraq and Afghanistan). In the end, Price's answer was that you can't stop capitalism without a “mass movement” to end it.

 

And what about anarchist economics? Well, someone asked if he could define anarchist economics and talk about it in the context of his book, however he stated that there were “major issues” but - he wasn't going to touch upon them. In Price's defense, the question and answer had already gone on for quite sometime (with no one else asking this!) and it was a super hot night outside in the city. Although, he did offer some keywords as the next question also touched upon the title of his talk. He stated that the basic principal is that “no one exploits anyone else” and that exactly how no one really knows because we're anarchists, and have many different ideas. He went on to mention that certainly PARECON was possible, but it has “issues” and that we need to experiment to see what works.

 

On a last note, Price often used the term “democracy” in discussing these anarchist alternatives and it would have been great to hear more of a critique of democracy from him or his specific ideas on the subject. Inside of me, I couldn't help but cringe while thinking of the JM Barrie from Peter Pan (1928) quote: "Every time an anarchist says, "I believe in democracy," there is a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead."

Category: 

Comments

democracy is typically rationality-directed organization but it doesn't have to be. indigenous anarchist democracy is relationality-orchestrated organization. instead of orienting to the attainment of some goal [future desired state] one orients to sustaining balance and harmony in the continuing present.

No anarchist believes in democracy, not even a rationality-orchestrated organization. So. . . SHUT -- THE -- FUCK -- UP. You're nothing but a troll with an account.

actually the whole "anarchists don't like democracy" thing is both a fairly recent development, and also entirely semantical, depending on one's definition of democracy. if you're someone who got radicalized more than 3 years ago, then chances are "direct democracy" was pretty high on the list of anarchist politics which could be prefigured in your organizing efforts. for all you youngbloods, just remember that when you talk shit on democracy, there's a decent chance that the person you're talking to has a different understanding of that word than you do, and it might be a good idea to clarify what exactly you mean by "democracy" when you say "no anarchist believes in democracy." if you're referring to critiques such as those that have come out over the past few years from one P. Gelderloos, then i'm sure you're aware that you're referring to a specific type of democracy, namely a largely fallacial one that serves only to legitimize states. but one could also easily argue that an affinity group gathering together in the thick of a confrontation to decide how they want to play their cards is also practicing democracy. so just make sure you're clear about what exactly it is you're rejecting when you use broad, vague, undefined terms such as "democracy."

Not me. I'm not the one who used the term uncritically.

uhh...actually emile made distinctions about whether anarchy was compatible with democracy depending on how it is practiced or defined, you, on the other hand, (assuming that you're the person who commented saying "no anarchist believes in democracy") made a sweeping generalization about two very broad, undefined concepts

but those distinctions as you call them were made in Emile's private language ("rationality-orchestrated democracy": what the fuck that does that even mean?). It seems to me that rationality as such is totally problematic, that the current order would claim that its democracy is already "rationality-orchestrated," and that any democracy that is representational / representative is not what any anarchist who is truly an anarchist would want.

Fuck "rationality" as a whole, fuck "democracy" and fuck you, too, while we're at it.

wow. ok. you clearly didn't get what emile was saying, but ok. i'll just step back and assume that he's gonna explain it to you in novel form.

YOU explain what "emile" means by "rationality-orchestated democracy": you pretended to understand it!

i'm not saying that you misunderstand what is meant by "rationality-orchestrated democracy" i'm saying that you seem to be under the assumption that emile was saying it's a good thing, while you're saying it's a bad thing, when in reality you're both saying it's a bad thing and i don't understand why you're so upset.

I have a lot of misgivings about using the term democracy at all, but I agree you've misread emile here. They certainly aren't condoning 'rationality-orchestrated democracy'. On the contrary, they're talking about decision making in the ever-present now that's doesn't orient itself to goals and a purely material conception of need.

Seriously. Why are people who claim to be pro anarchy & pro freedom also claiming that democracy is a good thing. Democracy is majority tyranny over the minority no matter how you slice it. Yes, the minority is 'putting up with it' but that's not something anarchists desire: to live in a society we just put up with. We want a society where nobody can tell me what to do.

I will tell you what to do in Anarchy, I'd say don't fuck with me! When the majority come together and say stop fucking with us it can be called-revolution-democracy-anarchy or whatever.
Freedom from responsibility and other people is simply untenable or at least being a hermit is not terribly political. Also being a hermit isn't being terribly free either. Freedom to do things (easier with people. Also freedom from things like police and jerks sure is easier when your completely alone. However but not freedom from things like cold sickness isolation deprivation etc. are not nearly as possible when you are utterly alone.

If you have a vision of freedom that looks like a very large solitary confinement then maybe it is time to rethink.
Also minority rule not majority rule is where we are at.
If grassroots democracy requires maximum social solidarity to exist then witch hunts would cause the mechanism for its implementation to crumble.

perhaps not surprisingly, it is only too common for people to jump into discussions applying their own definitions to someone else’s words which bear no resemblance to the understandings intended by the speaker. i say ‘not-surprisingly’ because many participants in a forum of dissidents are eager to pick a fight. the adrenalin rush is the thing and idea exchange and cultivating of mutual understanding doesn’t even make their top ten priority list.

this article, meanwhile, was about trying to understand what is meant by ‘anarchist economics’ noting that along the way, the speaker on that topic, Wayne Price, uses a number of terms in a way that was questionable to the reviewer, such as ‘anarchist economics’, ‘terrorism’ and ‘democracy’. the reviewer ponders what Price intended by ‘democracy’, saying;

“Price often used the term “democracy” in discussing these anarchist alternatives and it would have been great to hear more of a critique of democracy from him or his specific ideas on the subject.”

but, since i am participating more on the basis of sharing ideas than honing my duelling skills so as to get my adrenalin pumping in which case ‘sharing of ideas’ is nothing more than tractable ground to pivot from (by choosing a strawman definition that gives good traction for an attack), .... i will apply due diligence and comment on language and understanding in general, using ‘democracy’ as an example.

if we go to the dictionary, we find that ‘democracy’ is a blurry word like most words are. that is, since the definition of ‘democracy’ takes several paragraphs to explain, then we are not really getting to the point, just smearing it out so that one has to chase down the meanings of a whole load of other words which themselves lead to more paragraphs of more words. in the case of ‘democracy’, there are pages of definition and just one of the paragraphs (the example picked out and cited just below) has over fifty words in it which themselves say that ‘democracy’ has been used in different ways to mean different things;

”The term originates from the Greek δημοκρατία (dēmokratía) "rule of the people", which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) "people" and κράτος (kratos) "power" or "rule" in the 5th century BCE to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens; the term is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία (aristocratie) "rule of an elite". While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically.” --- wikipedia

just one of the meanings of democracy puts ‘government’ in there. like, who says that ‘dēmokratía’, ‘rule of the people’ has to be through government, why not through spontaneous direct action of the people, the salient feature being the absence of specific agencies and institutions that specialize in the actualizing of the ‘rule of the people’ like police, courts, lawyers, judges, military, legislatures, politicians etc. ‘rule of the people’, as this definition says, is in opposition to ‘rule of an elite’. that leaves a whole lot of interpretations open as to how a collective might operationalize ‘rule of the people’.

my comment on ‘democracy’ was to bring out the fact that it has become common to think of ‘democracy’ in terms of ‘intellectual/rational/scientific direction’; i.e. ‘rule of the people by rational direction. what i said was;

“democracy is typically rationality-directed organization but it doesn't have to be. indigenous anarchist democracy is relationality-orchestrated organization. instead of orienting to the attainment of some goal [future desired state] one orients to sustaining balance and harmony in the continuing present.”

and what you said in response was;

“No anarchist believes in democracy, not even a rationality-orchestrated organization” ... [and then you accuse ME of being a ‘troll’].

so, according to the wikipedia definition you are saying “no anarchist believes in opposing the rule of the elite” [the term ‘democracy’ is an antonym to ἀριστοκρατία ‘aristocracy’, "rule of an elite"].

oh, never mind, .... let’s move on to elaborate on my statement since i don’t think we are going to be able to make much sense out of yours.

‘rationality’ based ‘rule of the people’ is where ‘rules’ are based on ‘what things do’ or ‘what people do’. this is where ‘behaviour based laws’ [hard rules] come from like ‘thou shalt not kill’ etc.

the indigenous anarchists practiced ‘democracy’ in the sense of rejecting the ‘rule of an elite’, ... but it was not based on ‘what things do’ [‘what people do’] but rather on the ‘relations’ amongst people. this is why the worldview and practices of indigenous aboriginals are said to equate to a ‘quantum physics’ world view since they hold that ‘relations’ are more important than ‘things’ and ‘what things do’.

“By the principle of Occam’s razor, physicists and philosophers prefer ideas that can explain the same phenomena with the fewest assumptions. In this case you can construct a perfectly valid theory by positing the existence of certain relations without additionally assuming individual things. So proponents of ontic structural realism say we might as well dispense with things and assume that the world is made of [relational-spatial] structures, or nets of relations.
.
In everyday life we encounter many situations where only relations count and where it would be distracting to describe the things that are related.” --- Meinard Kuhlmann, ‘What is Real’, Scientific American, August 2013

the ‘learning circle’ of the aboriginal tradition is where the participants switch from their ‘head voice’ [rational views] to their ‘heart voice’ [relational experience] and everyone gets a chance to speak as the ‘talking stick’ is passed from person to person. the aim here is for all to get informed on the condition of ‘relations’ amongst one another and the living space dynamic. the approach to co-managing the social dynamic [‘rule of the people’] is to cultivate, restore and sustain balance and harmony IN A RELATIONAL SENSE.

if one guy ends up monopolizing land or resources, our ‘rational rule of the people’ puts the spotlight on ‘his behaviour’ to see whether it has been within the allowed behaviours of an individual as prescribed by the RATIONAL laws formulated to govern ‘what things-in-themselves do’. the indigenous anarchists don’t give a shit about rational laws, ... if the guy is monopolizing stuff, it gets redistributed since the relational management is all about cultivating, restoring and sustaining balance.

in the indigenous anarchist view, ‘relations’ are in a natural precedence over ‘things’ and ‘what things do’. their understanding is consistent with the real physical world, as understood by quantum physics and its ‘thingless connectedness’.

as it turns out, crony classes get into a monopoly position by using ‘yin’ influence within a society that models the world in all-yang-no-yin terms. yang dynamics are local, visible and material while yin influence is non-local, non-visible and non-material and, in the relational space of modern physics, is in a natural precedence over yang. as erwin schroedinger says, ‘yang dynamics’ are ‘schaumkommen’, ‘appearances’, not the physical reality.

for example, al capone’s individual ‘what a thing-in-itself does’ [rational] performance in moving down a crowded street is far superior than that of the average guys. it seems as if the crowd opens up like the red sea opened up for moses, ... a curious phenomena. rational analysis examines this ‘thing-in-itself’ called ‘al capone’ and what is observes is ‘what the thing-in-itself does’ since this is ‘local’, ‘visible’ and ‘material’ and we take that to be ‘real’ and ‘rational reality’ is composed of ‘things-in-themselves’ and ‘what things-in-themselves do’.

the ‘relational’ interpreter, on the other hand, will put ‘yin’ first; i.e. the relational investigator understands that the non-local, non-visible, non-material [‘yin’] aspect of dynamics is in a natural precedence over the local, visible, material [‘yang’] aspect of dynamics. this is ‘easy to intuit’ [one can’t directly ‘see it’] in the case of a storm-cells in the energy-charged fullness/flow of the relational spatial plenum of the atmosphere. that is, if the storm-cell enlarges and strengthens, while that is the local, visible, material aspect that rational analysis homes in on, ... it derives from the purely relational spatial dynamic it is included in whose influences, being purely relational, are nonlocal, nonvisible and nonmaterial [that is what ‘relational’ is; i.e. it is like ‘field effect’].

have you ever noticed how crony groups give special privileges to one another? this is the ‘yin’ aspect of dynamics. if a crony group is driving in the flow of the freeway and you are the ‘odd man out’, they can block the lanes so that you get boxed in, but open up corridors of passage for their members. in a rational system that seeks to understand things in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’, ... your ‘performance’ is going to be rated as inferior while theirs are rated as superior. then they will say that they earned their status and monopoly position fairly and squarely. that is, they did not break any of the ‘rules of the people’ which are all in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ and they didn’t need to, because in the real physical world [of the relational space of modern physics and in our real physical relational experience], the nonlocal, non-visible, non-material ‘yin’ influence is in a natural precedence over the ‘local, visible, material’ ‘yang’ influence, the latter being ‘all she wrote’ in rational view.

in the RELATIONAL ‘rule of the people’ of the indigenous people, the cronies who exploit the over-simplistic ‘rational’ view of dynamics [in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’] are not going to get away with their manipulative exploitation as they do get away with it in a rational rule of the people system that manages the social dynamics by way of ‘all-yang-no-yin’ laws governing ‘what people as things-in-themselves do’ as if the relational space we live has no role in dynamics.

well, not quite a novel, ... but then not dilute and meandering either; i.e. rather dense in its conveyancing of ideas.

the bottom line is that ‘democracy’ aka ‘rule of the people’ is commonly understood in terms of a ‘rational rule of the people’ which implies managing individual people-things-in-themselves and what they do, ... however, indigenous anarchists use ‘relational rule of the people’ which demotes ‘what individual people do’ to a secondary role, the primary orientation being the relational dynamics amongst the people. indigenous anarchists understand that rational models are in terms of ‘what things-in-themselves do’ and while this provides ‘economy of thought’ [Mach], it fails to capture the real physical complexity of nature’s dynamics and the human social dynamics which are included in nature’s dynamics.

one could also describe this in systems sciences terms and say that ‘rational rule of the people’ is based on seeing the people as a system and focusing on ‘regulating the system’ on the basis of the behaviour of its component parts. meanwhile, all systems are included in a relational suprasystem which the system depends on. if all of the farmers in the valley drill wells to irrigate crops, this fits with all men are independently-existing things-in-themselves, created equal and granted equal rights by the Creator to their independent pursuit of happiness. but if a crony group of men build a shared reservoir and pump their wells into it continuously in the non-summer months which leads to a depleted aquifer in the middle of the summer, they can keep their crops irrigated through the growing season while the crops of the non-cronies will die due to the failure of the aquifer because of the thirsty demands of the crony reservoir which, is a two-pointer for the cronies, giving them continuous supply while at the same time crippling their competition.

anyhow, you get the point. the suprasystem is ‘upstream’ from the system and is the ‘relational space’ the system is included. rational analysis is ‘systems analysis’ and is concerned with [starts and stops with] ‘what things-in-themselves do’. meanwhile, the real physical situation is that systems are included in relational suprasystems and they derive their power and steerage from the the relational suprasystems they are included in, kind of like sailboats. if we measure the performance of two sailboats in a race we cannot assume that they are ‘independent’ since their continuous filling of their sails is continuously transforming the common flow they are included in; “the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants’. This is Mach’s principle [acknowledging the relational nature of space], which is not addressed in standard rational systems analysis which is in terms of what so-called ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves’ do. the general case is that sailboats are stealing wind from one another, in the manner that storm-cells are stealing relational-spatial atmospheric flow from one another. ignoring that the net loss/gain is never going to be 'zero' and assuming that it is, nevertheless, is the 'ceteris paribus' assumption that is foundational to rational systems analysis.

THE RELATIONAL INFLUENCES AMONGST THINGS, ... in ‘PHYSICAL REALITY’, ... TAKE PRECEDENCE OVER ‘WHAT SO-CALLED ‘INDEPENDENTLY-EXISTING’ THINGS-IN-THEMSELVES DO’

bottom line; if we accept that ‘democracy’ is ‘rule of the people’, there are lots of different options as to how we approach this. while ‘rational management’ that orients to ‘the behaviour of individuals [‘individuals’ seen NOT as relational features in the relational spatial flow, but as notional ‘independently-existing things-in-themselves’] by way of laws governing allowed and prohibited individual behaviours IS THE MOST COMMON, indigenous anarchists employ ‘relational management’ which ‘doesn’t care’ whether the individual acted within the rational laws of allowed behaviour or outside of it, ... it orients to the continually transforming relations amongst things, holding these to be the more fundamental knobs and levers for ‘rule of the people’.

Fetishizing process is actually a good read on democracy, if you look at it in a descriptive sense as something most practical at this point in time then it makes a certain amount of sense. It's not something to be made into a principle however.

I just finished reading this article and this seriously has to be the worse article written by Bob Black. Either that or Bob black is not an anarchist anymore since he is mainly repeating arguments againts democracy made by authoritarians of various types thoughout history without never exploring the relationship between anarchy and democracy. I will certainly think that collective agreements will have to be kept to a minuimum and mostly made for the worst unavoidable things in social life such as work or dealing with murderers and rapists. Nevetheless if you only "debunk" democracy without pointing out to an alternative which will guarante the closest form to anarchy in unavoidable collective agreements then anyone can well say you might really be trying to sell ideas such as elitism, theocracy, corporatism, aristocracy, centralism, autocracy and as such hierarchy. Or it might be that Bob black needs to finish his article. To me it seems that it ended very abruptly.

I know. If you criticize something without presenting an alternative, that's just lame. Everyone knows that anarchy is the purest form of democracy because democracy means "rule of the people," and anarchists are all about giving power to the people (right on).

Oh wait...

Really, icon, don't you know better than to surrender to the liberal bullshit that insists that a criticism is undermined -- if not completely dismissible -- if there's no alternative posited along with the criticism? What, precisely, is "the relationship between anarchy and democracy"? There's plenty of tension in that relationship as far as I can tell; more than love, that's for sure. Why don't you start by reading this:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/aando/minoritiesan...
Then why not graduate to these:
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/errico-malatesta-democracy-and-an...
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/moxie-marlinspike-and-windy-hart-...

Perhaps Bob didn't write a specifically anarchist critique of democracy because it's been done already. His project in this essay, it seems to me, is to disabuse the more illiterate anarchists (those who never read Goldman or Malatesta or any of the other radical critics of democracy) who're still under the spell of the democratic ideals that were shoved down our throats in elementary school.

you prolearchist lobotomy of a mind. Does your feeble mind not understand that uncontrollably cannot be made strategic?

Rim the base.

That's right! Cuz everything happens magically and spontaneously!

it actually does

*uncontrollability* for my last comment

If there is no strategy for insurgency, how do you suppose it can be engineered to happen?

it is not engineered to happen.

Insurgency can be engineered in any country. But "magic" is a false concept.

just attain state power an raise food prices.

Engineering the socio-economic conditions in other words. Creating a dualistic platform which spawns insurrection.

The fact that phenomena has no place in your conception of reality is very telling in this dialogue.

“Every time a child says 'I don't believe in fairies' there is a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.” ― J.M. Barrie

Monsieur Dupont made that anarchist/democracy shit up... JM Barrie never said that, lol.

I concure with Sir E.... I would like it if anarchists used democracy, not out of principle, but instead because it is practical at a given time. Anarchy is not compatible with democracy.

I thought we were past all this shit folks ...

We use affinity instead of consensus processes like "democracy", direct or otherwise.
If anyone was paying any attention during Occupy, this was the only useful lesson there, other than the obvious shit like more militant defence of the camps but we already knew that.

Wayne Price is so wack. He is a moron if he doesn't understand "terrorism" to just be a term that the beast uses. It uses "terist" and "violent anarchists" to introduce separations and contradictions into the masses so this residue of resistance (a cancer if you will) doesn't contaminate the rest of the social body. "Violent Anarchists" are willing to embrace criminality, rioting, fighting with the police, expropriations, political violence, etc (everything that would actually threaten them and constitute an insurrection if widely used by large numbers of people).

"Terrorism" has no widely accepted definition (which is the whole point), it is only a discourse that they deploy as part of their strategy for maintaining the present state of things. Instead of recognizing this and pointing out this strategy of power to unsuspecting people who might become fearful of being associated with "the terists", Wayne Price legitimizes their false category of "terist" through his ignorance and poor scholarship by taking the bait and distancing himself from those cool with the aforementioned tactics.. No matter what we do, THEY will try to turn it against us, that is why it is necessary to draw up the blueprints for their discursive strategies so we can adequately respond.

And Fucking Co-ops, are you serious?

Fucking Co-ops rule. I am very serious about sex co-ops.

i would love it if the person who wrote this original article (since they were apparently there) would have expressed or discussed any of this with Wayne and/or RRB folks at the event itself. rather than saving it all to write a snarky review later on the internet. instead of engaging in conversation and dialogue, you'd rather snipe from the online shadows. great praxis, bro.

This brief review of the talk was not meant to be snarky or full of personal venom directed towards Wayne or RR&B. Why do you feel it is?

It is intended exactly as you said, an attempt at conversation and dialogue surrounding these ideas - but on a larger scale, in a more or less so anarchist friendly way.

if it was intended to start a dialogue, then why don't you come to our events, walk up and introduce yourself and say "hey, i'd like to talk to you about ___." that's what dialogue is. nearly all conversations are better in person than on the internet. and ALL conversations are better in person than on @news. this also strikes me as a way to do this anonymously, which comes off a tad cowardly. we're not gonna like beat you up or anything for not liking something we do. so why not talk to us in real life?

you make a lot of assumptions in your comment. what makes you think the author of the review hasn't spoken with you before or came up and asked questions?

what was so offensive about this review? your comments (i'm assuming you are anon. OP before hand) sound like you are upset about what is written above. can you offer an explanation or are you just going to complain that the author should have spoken with you first before writing it? you also sound like you're speaking as a member rochester red and black, since they hosted the event - like the author needs their permission to write an opinion on a book discussion. next, you point out that @news is a terrible place to have discussions. okay, but that is far from the truth unless we also admit that the Internet is a terrible place to have dialogue as well. Then, you go on to say that it's cowardly to post anonymously, when in fact I'm posting as someone called "Rocinante", which surprise - is not anonymous. Meanwhile, your own posts are anonymous. Okay, that makes sense.

i must really not get it. afraid to talk to you because you''ll beat me up? where did that even come from? it's a ridiculous thing to say. you sound like a fun person to talk to at a party. or just really upset that not all anarchists want to join your platform of class struggle anarchy. or whatever.

"what makes you think the author of the review hasn't spoken with you before or came up and asked questions?" well, i don't know anyone named "rocinante." also, i was under the impression that most of the more insurrecto types in rochester were better writers.

i never said that anyone needed my (or RRB's) permission to do anything. i'm just saying that you chose the least productive possible avenue to discuss this and did it in a vague and furtive way. that strikes me as a chicken-shit move. and of course you (and everybody) has the right to be a chicken-shit, but it's not exactly admirable.

"you point out that @news is a terrible place to have discussions. okay, but that is far from the truth unless we also admit that the Internet is a terrible place to have dialogue as well." nope. @news is significantly worse than the rest of the internet.

as far as anonymity, either your name is actually Rocinante (in which case nobody i know of has met you) or that's a fake name (in which case it's not really different from posting anonymously). i post anonymously because i don't want to broadcast anything about myself to the festival of crazy that is @news. but then again, i also don't write articles on here anonymously snarking other ppl's shit.

as for the original article, if you like i can post a full debunking/mockery. but that's kind of a waste of everyone's time and it wouldn't be a very nice thing to do.

plz do post "a full debunk" of the original review. that would be wonderful. although the way you're approaching it and myself in the comments section here, unfortunately signals that you're not the most easily understood person. again, the OG review wasn't meant to be snarky or a "festival of crazy" - perhaps, it's just the narrow stance you are finding yourself trapped in.

also, not sure if you're deep reading and thoughtful examination of everything caught this, but the original article was posted here ( http://www.stalkingtheearth.net/media/wayneprice ) and was then reposted on @news.

you seem very aggressive towards other anarchists. personal attacks are not the way to make new friends. the OG review was not a personal attack or snark platform. i'm curious as why someone, whom i'm assuming is associated with RR&B is replying in such a way. aren't you trying to build movements (ie not being a dick to others)?

This is incredibly embarrassing. If you think anarchist economics is an oxymoron then you barely have the capacity to breathe. Why is anarchist news filled with unbelievable morons who spend their time trolling the internet in an attempt to prove how radical they are? Wayne Price has written some great books on anarchist theory and the use of Marx, which may be important for anyone who actually wants to build a new society.

Let's see: breathing is like anarchist economics. Why? I guess our anonymous interlocutor believes, like all good 19th century Liberals and Socialists, that Man (women hadn't been invented yet) is primarily defined by his relations of exchange: Homo economicus. Hence an anarchist economics is a prerequisite for existence. Perhaps our Realist critic would like to know that there are some radicals (real ones, not those trying "to prove how radical they are") who believe that exchange relations are not foundational to human existence; rather, some radicals understand that relations of affinity, shared values, conviviality... in a word, Culture, is foundational. Storytelling, fucking, learning about and interacting with one's environment, preparing and sharing food, visiting friends and relatives, making tools and other toys, meeting people from different cultures, creating shelter, and teaching kids can all be reduced to "exchange" or "economics" if your worldview is reflected through the lens of capitalism and its associated values. But if these human activities aren't -- or can't be -- commodified, if nobody has to pay for them, and if nobody is making a profit from engaging in them, what sense does it make to describe them as economic activities? Some radicals (the real ones) understand economics to be about the production and circulation of goods and services within a framework that is based on the assumption of limited resources, and find such a realm uninteresting -- if not horrifying. They usually laugh at the Labor Theory of Value; they usually understand that human relations cannot -- and shouldn't -- be confined to the machines, factories, farms, and other locations of capitalist alienation and exploitation. Those are the radicals I find interesting. None of them is named Marx, and not very many are Marxists.

Wayne Price has written some books on Marxifying anarchism. Some of what he's written might even "be important for anyone who actually wants to build a new society." But some of us aren't interested in Marx as a philosopher, a critic of capitalism, a political economist, or the alleged usefulness of any of Marx/ism to anarchists. It might come as a scandalous surprise to you, but some of us aren't even interested in building a new society; instead we are busy trying to find ways of irreversibly destroying the existing one.

"Rocinante's" account of my talk in Rochester gives me some idea of how it came across to at least one person in the room. I wish she (?) had asked more questions, during or after the talk; we might have cleared up some things (such as what kind of anarchist I am!). Some comments:

(1) The point of my discussion of the nature of the historical period of capitalism was this: to argue that socialist-anarchism is not just a nicer, more attractive, more moral goal than capitalism, but that it is necessary, since capitalism is in its epoch of decline, heading for destruction of society and ecology.

(2) I did not equate all anarchist actions with "terrorism." I did warn that many, even most, people would see even nonviolent small scale actions as terrorist (incorrectly), would not get the point, and just see them as more problems of our society. Sometimes this is all we can do, but we need to find ways wherever possible to build popular, mass, movements, from labor struggles to anti-fracking efforts (there will be no lack of issues in this period).

(3) "Democracy" is used in two ways: as an ideological coverup for the existing capitalist state or as a goal of a free, self-managing, society. I do not want to quibble. Many anarchists might object to "democracy" but are happy to use "self-management," which seem to me to be synonyms. Anyway, like Goodman, Goldman, Bookchin, Tucker, and others, I regard anarchism as the most radical form of democracy.

I have posted on Rocinante's blog (not here) about the general idea of promoting anarchist ideas in our immediate future, and the value of practical tactics, instead of recursive debate. I wonder if you would agree with what I wrote there (my comment still needs to be approved.)

In regard to your own response, I would like to ask, how do you equate or intermingle anarchism with a prefabricated social order? To be more specific, I am bothered by your claim that we need more of what is already not working for us, in this generation (and since even before.)

www.AssafKoss.com

you say;

"Democracy" is used in two ways: as an ideological coverup for the existing capitalist state or as a goal of a free, self-managing, society.”
you further say;

“I regard anarchism as the most radical form of democracy.”

do you therefore intend that ‘our goal’ should be a free, self-managing anarchist society?

i ask this because, in my view, ‘working towards a better system of self-management’ is ambiguous as to what is intended by ‘self-management’ [there is the destination-oriented self-management and the journey-oriented self-management].

our European destination-oriented culture is inherently anthropocentric and it screws up the common living space in which ‘self-organization’ is inherent.
‘democracy’ as a ‘system of self-management’, as it developed in Europe, incorporated the notion of the human organism as a ‘independently-existing thing-in-itself’, as in Christian religious myth, as individual units made by God. humans were NOT seen as interdependent participants in an unfolding ecosystem with inbuilt self-organizing capability.

that is the history of our now globally dominating European culture and it is very unlike the form of ‘organizing’ in the indigenous aboriginal anarchism which understands man as inextricably bound into the transforming web-of-life.

as we know, european culture man, believing he was a God-given thing-in-himself, rejected the ‘in-the-now’ journey-oriented philosophy of indigenous anarchism, ... and decided that it would be necessary to ‘put someone in charge’ and ‘whip the world into shape’. of course, european man’s anthropocentric goals and objectives had no idea of how human actions would impact wolf, bear, grasshopper, and the tiny ones like microbes, and frankly, european man didn’t give a damn. this was likely due to Christian religious belief [acknowledgement of inhabitant-habitat interdependence is not found in the Bible];

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:28

this ethic of subjugation of ‘lesser things’ by ‘greater things’ [the christian value hierarchy was God, angels, man, animals, plants, minerals as in St. Augustine’s ‘Civitate Dei’] was part of the ‘self-management program’, and the categories of man and animals was further divided up placing aboriginals and brown and black skinned people farther from the image of God [white males made God in their image] and thus destined to be a follower rather than a leader in humanity’s ‘self-organizing’ initiatives.

the animating source of human activity, in the European mind conditioned by noun-and-verb European language-and-grammar, is ‘intellection and purpose’. this is inherently ‘goals-oriented’,... HUMAN goals-oriented. what these human intellection and goals-oriented actions have been doing is to screw up the environment [everything below the apex of the control-center hierarchy]. this anthropocentrist social dynamic, since it jumpstarts from the human intellect, has no idea how the actions it precipitates will impact others who are not in the inner circle of intellectuals and enforcers. Europeans did not sit around in a ‘talking circle’ so that everyone could share their experience, apart from in romanticized folklore such as ‘the knights of the round table’.

‘organization’, in European cultural terms meant ‘determining what happens’, while, in indigenous anarchist terms, ‘organization’ referred first and foremost to the relational web-of-life that one was included in, which was NOT the product of ‘what humans decided to do’.

in fact, European man had ‘no idea’ of what would actually ‘result’ from his actions since their actions were designed to determine European man’s anthropocentric ‘wants’, and the ‘collateral damage’ has been enormous because we live in a relational space, and it is impossible to act without impacting others woven into the common relational web. in fact, the more remote one is from ‘mover-and-shaker central’, the more one is going to be whipped about like the last man on the skaters game of ‘crack the whip’, wolf and bear to the extreme.

‘democracy’ has been an anthropocentric self-management scheme that has been the source of massive ‘collateral damage’ not just to the environment but without influence on the intellectual central directives due to the human intellect having no idea of the full relational implications of human actions. as mcluhan pointed out, it takes a whole community to raise a factory, and many contribute whether they like it or not, who are not mentioned in the glorious plan.
that is why indigenous anarchists do not use their intellect as the primary driver of their ‘organizing’. what sense is there in that, if one doesn’t know the implications of one’s intellect directed actions?

the indigenous anarchists use the talking circle or ‘learning circle’ as the primary shaper of their collective behaviour. in the circle, one flips from ‘head voice’ to ‘heart voice’ to share actual feeling experiences. the centre of the circle is understood as the point of synthesis where the diverse multiplicity of experiences come into connective confluence so that ‘what is happening’ is given by the coherency in how all these experiences relate. The learning circle thus emulates the quantum physics compliant communications theory of Gabor, which similarly suspends all filtering of noise [one would have to know the truth in advance to identify ‘noise’] and extracts information from coherency in the synthetic/confluence of a diverse multiplicity of unfiltered signals.

comparison of European organizing model and Indigenous Anarchist organizing model;

1. the European understanding of self-organization is where a collective works together to determine a desired result. the goals and objectives are ‘in charge’ of coordinating individual and collective behaviours. [powerboater model]

2. the indigenous anarchist understanding of self-organization is one in which the participants acknowledge they are included in a dynamic that is greater than their own actions, and so must share with one another what they are personally experiencing and let this inform their collective actions. goal oriented initiatives are secondary to, and informed by the ‘learning circle’ understandings.

[the (2.) approach to organization comprehends systems sciences pioneer Russell Ackoff’s point that ‘analytical inquiry into a local system that looks at what it does,.... Must be informed by synthetical inquiry into the relational suprasystem it is included in and answering some relational need; i.e. it acknowledges that the system and its relational suprasystem are in ‘conjugate relation’].

the difference between the two is clear. in (1.) the operatives believe that they can know and determine the results of their actions, while there is no such assumption in (2.) and the ‘learning circle’ is to gather input as to what is really going on [what people are actually experiencing from all sources of influence], so that this can inform their continuing actions.

as mcluhan points out, if you want to construct a factory, the only space you can do it in is one that is already occupied [whether or not with humans] aka the ‘suprasystem’ or ‘community’, ... and so ‘construction’ amounts to ‘destruction’ of what is already ‘in place’, as far as physical structures go. more fundamental than the change-out of physical structures is the transformation of the operative relations in the community/suprasystem. the European mind may model what happened in the CONCEPTUAL terms of an organized initiative to CONSTRUCT some new physical structures, but the physical reality is the transformation of relations in the community dynamic that are the deeper source of such structures and which rebuild them if they are damaged or destroyed.

So what’s the point?

the point is that our European conception of ‘organization’ has been in terms of ‘what things do’ so that ‘organization’ translates into ‘coordinated doing’ in which goals and objectives are ‘put in charge’ of an operating collective.

this is very different from indigenous anarchist organization which does not assume that we can know the results of our actions since we are woven into a relational web of interdependencies. that is why goals and objectives oriented actions are demoted to secondary status. for example, the powerboater and sailboater analogy is one where the former is purely destination-oriented [goals and objective oriented] while the latter acknowledges that power and steerage derive from the relational suprasystem one is included in, and so puts balanced/harmonious journey into precedence over destination, acknowledging that the relational suprasystem one is included in is a greater determinant than the actions of the systems that are included in it.

you say;

“I regard anarchism as the most radical form of democracy.”

but what do you mean by that? without elaboration it stands there as an empty platitude.

in your prior statement you describe democracy and thus anarchism [a form of democracy] as; ‘the goal of a free, self-managing society’, ... BUT it is still not clear what you mean by ‘self-managing’. is it type (1.) or (2.)

if everyone is free to ‘do their own thing’, believing that their actions determine a knowable result, and seeing themselves as independently-existing beings with the God-given right to their own independent pursuit of happiness, then we are in the fictional reality of the European mind conditioned by noun-and-verb European language-and-grammar that is the source of massive collateral damage or ‘incoherence’ [Bohm]. we are ignoring the physical reality of Mach’s principle;

“the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants.”

however, if everyone acknowledges that they can’t know the results of their actions due to being woven into a relational-spatial web of interdependencies, then such people will naturally evolve some form of ‘learning circle’ to understand how one and other [including animals, plants, oceans etc.] are affected by the nexus of influences they are experiencing that are infused into the common relation space that is conditioning their behaviour..

at present, the dominating mode of organization is (1.), the goal oriented mode of the European mind where the centre of authority and centre of intellectual direction tell the masses that those at the control centre ‘know what they are doing’ [they are more or less informed by the masses] and they explicitly predict what will be the results of their control-centre jumpstarted actions. of course their predictions are superficial; e.g. the U.S. intellectual control centre said they would remove saddam and, if one wants to take that noun-and-verb European language-and-grammar construct LITERALLY, they did, but in the process, they shook the web of interdependencies and their actions radicalized thousands of muslims who are now mobilizing to bring down ‘the American Satan’. for those who believe that the ‘poles’ of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are real rather than secondary phenomena induced by polarization, the end game is nothing other than mutual annihilation.

at sovereign state level, there are 193 of these intellection and purpose directed self-managed organizations in the world [thousands more on other levels and billions on the individual person level], all of which fall into the habit of the European mind [which recruited and backed them] that insists on a God-given right to equality, independence and to their individual pursuit of happiness, as if everyone were living in a non-participating absolute space and absolute time reference frame/operating theatre.

it is taken for granted that you don’t favour representative democracy which predominates in the world at present even though those that do consider it a form of ‘self-management’. but what do you mean by “...anarchism as the most radical form of democracy.”?

is it still organization (1.) that puts intellection and purpose based goals and objectives ‘in charge’ of coordinating individual and collective behaviours? [powerboater style]

or are you advocating organization (2.) that acknowledges that we are included in a suprasystem dynamic greater than our own actions and so must share with one another what we are each personally experiencing and let this inform our collective actions. goal oriented initiatives being secondary to, and informed by the ‘learning circle’ understandings.

indigenous anarchism is type (2.) and it is this form of organization that impressed Engels and Marx and the founding fathers of the U.S.;

“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women.” — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders

there is much talk of ‘anarchist organization’ but almost never a clarification of what sort of organization that implies.

i.e. which type of organization is your ‘anarchism’? is your “...anarchism as the most radical form of democracy.” still in the (1.) mode?

To Assaf Kass,
I have to say that I do not understand your question about "how do iyou equate or intermingle anarchism with a prefabricated social order?" There are things about this society which I find abhorent and vile, particularly its basic structure and dynamics. But there are other things which I like and want to see more of, such as self-organization, self-management, independent thinking, technology used for human and ecological purposes, and human solidarity.

To MG, who writes, "some of us aren't even interested in building a new society; instead we are busy trying to find ways of irreversibly destroying the existing one." Don't worry then, because capitalism is on the road to self-destruction, through economic collapse, nuclear war, or ecological catastrophe. You will get your masochistic wish. Some of us, however, believe that the alternatives are "socialism or barbarism" (Luxemburg) or, better yet, "anarchism or annihilation" (Bookchin). We don't want annihilation. We want anarchism and are willing to work for it.

You wrote, "I regard anarchism as the most radical form of democracy." Now, you said you don't want to quibble, and I do agree about that.

What bothers me, which is not a quibble, is how you seem to ignore the fact that any form of social order, be it democracy or otherwise, cannot allow for anarchism. I am an actual anarchist, in the respect that I do not abide to having any other person make choices for me, without my consent, nor represent myself, again, without my consent.

So, I will rephrase. How do you figure we can have both freedom of choice and others forcing their opinions on us? Taking into respect that any social order, always, puts a portion of society in position of power over others; this power, extending beyond their society, even.

www.AssafKoss.com

truly radical theory is not a critique of political economy. for those that are still critiquing capital are still IMPRISONED by the logic of capital. Too find some hidden diamond of revolt in the deafening ideology of Marxism (critique of political economy) is a fools job, why not buy a powerball ticket for the revolution.

"radical criticism has merely analyzed the old world and its negation. It must either realize itself in the practical activity of the revolutionary masses or betray itself by becoming a barrier to that activity" -october 1972

Marxist critique of political economy has done just that betrayed it self.
a critique will all ways betray it self. for it always makes that which it is critiquing stronger.(unless that is the point of the critique.)
marxist critique of political economy betrayed it self, by making capital stronger (social democratic compromise)

truly radical theory must base it self in negation. the negation of it self and the destruction of that in which it comes from.

VALUE if there is a more capitalist word i know not what it is.
value that which make the world go round.
marxist labor theory of value is still just a critique of capital.
critique capital, capital becomes stronger!

the negations of the concept of VALUE is truly radical economics. for it is the negation of economics.

the world i wish to see has no value, for value is but a social construct, that the logic of capital has dogged us in to.

for a world with out value. for a world that is free. for anarchy

I'm impressed by how many empty platitudes you were able to fit into one comment. I'm further impressed that you could type so many words yet say present no actual argument.

I hate to say dialectical antithesis to dialectical materialism, eh, but, um, dialectical antithesis to dialectical materialism. It really is kind of cute, but in our futuristic scientific society, we don't have time for such kids games.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
                 ___  __   __  ____    ____  
___ _ _ |_ _| \ \ / / | _ \ | _ \
/ _ \ | | | | | | \ V / | | | | | |_) |
| __/ | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | __/
\___| \__, | |___| |_| |____/ |_|
|___/
Enter the code depicted in ASCII art style.
Subscribe to Comments for "The species being of anarchist economics"