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Author Topic: Anarchist Communism  (Read 13713 times)
onpon4
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2010, 02:20:18 am »

Before I go on to address your specific quotes, let me remind you that I'm talking about Anarchist Communism. There is no plan, there are no leaders, there are no superiors.

So tell me about your system Are farms completely self-sustained? Or are there factory communities producing tractors and the likes?

You seem to be under the impression that Anarchist Communism is a planned economy, which it isn't.

Other than that... why would farms be "self-sustained"? I'm talking about Anarchist Communism, here, not Anarcho-capitalism! Anarchist Communism is everyone banding together, helping each other out! How would this be reflected in a self-sustained farm?!

But if what they can do isn't enough, the project is doomed to fail. As every volunteer project without the proper resources. And both getting them and getting everyone to agree with them is not an easy task. That is my point. people don'tust magically turn up and agree to compromise and follow someone else's direction, especially if they hold one of several key skills. But if they don't, the project doesn't move forward.

If there are no people with the necessary skills who are interested, in an Anarchist Communist system, it gets abandoned.

No, this usually is the case. People are complex creatures and "the benefit of team effort" ranks pretty low on your list of priorities. That's management speak and we spit on it. Pseudo-leaders do emerge, but will almost always fail since they lack any actual authority. For instance, imagine your school janitors. Do you really think that they work together for team benefits and will willingly allow one of their own to start organizing the schedule of everyone else just like that?

OK, let's say I give you two choices. You can sew the shirt by hand yourself to get the red-black checkered design you want, or you can make a compromise for a green-black checkered design with the help of 50 other workers and a proper factory. Which one do you choose?

No, I mean as in the aforementioned janitors all voting together that "Cleaning toilets is Jack's job, we've all voted for that so clearly that's decided". You seem to be somewhat under the impression that we're just talking about computer development here. We're not, I don't care much about intellectual theories on how software should be produced. You mentioned that you want volunteers to take over real life things, such as refineries, farms and whatnot. That's what I'm curious about.

The problem is, that kind of decision is not enforceable. Jack can just leave.

As for why I use software as examples a lot, naturally it's because I'm most familiar with that field, and so I can provide more specific examples.

So what is at top, organizing these groups?

No one. That would completely go against Anarchist Capitalism.

Here's a more realistic version. Bob and Bill have a farm each. They are both the same size, and based on "to everyone what he needs", they get the same kind of resources from wherever, and can both live similar lives. Bill works his ass off to produce as much food as possible. As a result he works long days, but it pays off in the form of loads of crops that he can give onwards to everyone. That gives him a lovely warm feeling, but he doesn't see his wife much. Bob does the bare minimum required. He grows crops comfortably, and hands out what little gets left over to others. His days are shorter and he can spend more time with his wife and children. Are you telling me that after several years of this, most Bill's out there wont start thinking "maybe spending more time with my family and doing less for the world wouldn't hurt, Bob seems to manage okay"?

There's a such thing as "too much work". But that doesn't mean he should do the bare minimum, either. He should do whatever he's comfortable with. If he wants to grow 10 times as many crops as he actually needs, fine. If he's tired and only wants to produce a little more than what he needs, fine.

I suspect your society will be a dirty dirty place, few people actually want to clean toilets or sweep streets at 5 in the morning. Also, I'm very good at what I do. I enjoy my job and I find it rewarding. But given the alternative to simply travel around the world, paint a  little and try to write stories, I'd never go back in to work. I suspect a lot of engineers out there feel the same. Optimizing a bitumen pumping system is rewarding, but it's hardly what anyone dreams of doing. So how is going to run the factories? Well meaning volunteers with a background in political sciences? They'll blow a refinery up before noon.

Factories are an issue that becomes less and less of an issue as more and more things can be automated. Actually, this is applicable to every type of boring, tedious, disgusting, or otherwise undesired jobs. As technology progresses, less and less unskilled labor is needed.

As for your "blow up a refinery" example, I have thought about this before, and I would advocate some regulations on who can do what based on education level.

I reiterate, why do I care what the majority thinks? People who flaunt social conventions and are ostracised for it exist today, why would they suddenly cease to exist?

People today are ostracized today for being different, so this is not a proper comparison. A far more proper comparison would be someone being ostracized by his/her co-workers for sleeping on the job and still taking a paycheck.

And by the time this is noticeable and we've exhausted current stocks, we have a whole generation that hasn't learned about all the fancy high tech stuff they need to operate and control, power generation and production slump off, people starve and humanity slips backwards into the 18th century, feudalism is reinstated and we start over. Good going.

No, if only 20% of the population was working, the state would be facing famine and the lazy bums would get off their asses and grow some food, or in a worst-case scenario, the entire civilization would collapse from struggles to survive. But you're forgetting, this is a highly unlikely extreme. Let's create a similar one with our Capitalist system. Everyone decides that they're fine with just living on welfare, so food stocks run short, and either they get off their lazy asses and work, or famine causes disease and death, and the entire civilization collapses.

Do you see the flaw with this argument now? It is no different than the free-market Capitalist argument that welfare promotes laziness. People are not that lazy. People will seek to learn, improve, and better their standard of living, even if it helps everyone else around them at the same time.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 02:24:27 am by onpon4 » Logged

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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2010, 02:57:38 am »

I'm guessing you still live at home with your folks onpon? Here's an expiriment for ya: Get some friends together and rent an apartment. Now try practicing "Anarchist Communism" with your roommates. You'll soon understand why it will never work.
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Cedric6014
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2010, 04:05:10 am »


Quote
The interest of achieving something, of course! Consider why people working on Project6014 are working so hard!

The people on that project work hard because they have a common goal and someone organizing things. I won't pretend to know their inner workings, but I'm pretty sure not everyone has an equal say in their organization.

With respect as to how Project 6014 is “managed”, its actually pretty early days. It’s worked so far because it has been a very small team. I’ve been lucky to have people that are committed to the cause and have taken ownership of it. As long as people think that they are doing it for someone else I think they’ll lose interest.

As a project coordinator the challenge is to make contributors feel their own a piece of it and will be credited/rewarded with its success.

The bigger it gets though the harder it will be. It will be harder and harder to incorporate everyone’s ideas as they start conflicting. This is inevitable as a group of decision makers grows and grows.

So my thinking is at this time to keep the core group that I have and only add people if I’m convinced that they share the same vision.

Bringing this back on topic, I think Timewarp is a fair analogy for Communism where it was a nice idea in theory but didn’t work in practise. What we have at Project6014 may perhaps turn out to be a bit more of an oligarchy, where the key decisions are made by a core group who share the same values and vision. And of course this is supplemented by contributions made by a wider group. Not a direct democracy by any means, but then not ruled by the iron fist of one tyrant either.

And when it comes to story telling, the less people involved the better!

I’d be more prepared to believe in Communism if there were any examples of success to draw upon. I cant think of any, but I can think of several absolutely horrendous disasters: Cambodia, North Korea, post-war Russia for starters. And ultimately these were all regimes that were controlled by a dictators in any case. This is because in the end, someone opportunistic ends up filling the decision making void.

People think of themselves first – its human nature. The need for community is only brought about by the need for personal security.
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2010, 06:58:25 am »

In the purviews of philosophy, psychology, and politics, anecdotal evidence is marginally meaningful. I do not mean this as an attack. Instead, I intend for this to be an embellishment on the fact that personal experiences often lead to hasty generalizations that spawn waves of misconception. Even self discovered truths such as the mighty axiom, “I think, therefore I am” can be brought to their knees with the simple question, “What if human logic is flawed?”

My point is that one can not speak definitively on matters such as this. For example, the statement, “Humans are inherently greedy, and naturally work in their own interest” is rather dubious. Are humans selfish? Or do the social machinations of today turn us into these less than altruistic abominations? If so, are we too far gone? How do we know in the first place? I can tell you that I most certainly can not say, but perhaps we can come across something similar to an answer if we try to find it. That is, ideals are obviously not viable, but is it incorrect to strive for them? In spite of the reality we are presented, can we almost achieve the impossible?

The only truly straight lines are imagined, so must we scribble?
Or shall we search for the silver lining of every storm cloud, only to be struck by lightning?
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Angelfish
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2010, 08:18:12 am »

I don't understand why you people bring Timewarp in this discussion, really, without properly analysing which form of 'government' it used in the first place Wink.
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Cedric6014
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2010, 08:51:14 am »

I don't understand why you people bring Timewarp in this discussion, really, without properly analysing which form of 'government' it used in the first place Wink.

Haha, fair enough too

Enlighten us Angelfish!!
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onpon4
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2010, 12:38:53 pm »

I’d be more prepared to believe in Communism if there were any examples of success to draw upon. I cant think of any, but I can think of several absolutely horrendous disasters: Cambodia, North Korea, post-war Russia for starters. And ultimately these were all regimes that were controlled by a dictators in any case. This is because in the end, someone opportunistic ends up filling the decision making void.

There have been Anarchist Communist nations before, in Spain during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Both of these were crushed by more powerful regimes.

Authoritarian Communism, such as what occurred in the Soviet Union and still occurs in Cuba and North Korea, are NOT a good measure of how successful an Anarchist Communist nation would be.

I'm guessing you still live at home with your folks onpon? Here's an expiriment for ya: Get some friends together and rent an apartment. Now try practicing "Anarchist Communism" with your roommates. You'll soon understand why it will never work.

Actually, that already happens in today's society. The only difference is it usually happens between two people who are married.
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Angelfish
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2010, 01:05:37 pm »

I don't understand why you people bring Timewarp in this discussion, really, without properly analysing which form of 'government' it used in the first place Wink.

Haha, fair enough too

Enlighten us Angelfish!!

they had an asshole as a leader back in the day Tongue. Nevertheless, he was a good programmer Smiley.
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Draxas
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2010, 04:29:12 pm »

There have been Anarchist Communist nations before, in Spain during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Both of these were crushed by more powerful regimes.

This alone should tell you something. An essentially leaderless society will always be crushed by a well organized military force, especially if that miliatry force has a numbers advantage, because even if the poeple are motivated to defend themselves, they won't be able to muster an organized defense in time for it to matter. This is why your Anarchist Communist utpoia will speedily be invaded and usurped by someone with a desire for power and an army at his back, assuming they don't gain that power through charisma and politics alone in a climate devoid of a strong leader.

Actually, that already happens in today's society. The only difference is it usually happens between two people who are married.

The divorce rate in the US is currently hovering around 65%, last I heard.
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onpon4
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2010, 09:05:14 pm »

This alone should tell you something. An essentially leaderless society will always be crushed by a well organized military force, especially if that miliatry force has a numbers advantage, because even if the poeple are motivated to defend themselves, they won't be able to muster an organized defense in time for it to matter. This is why your Anarchist Communist utpoia will speedily be invaded and usurped by someone with a desire for power and an army at his back, assuming they don't gain that power through charisma and politics alone in a climate devoid of a strong leader.

Utopia? Who said anything about a utopia? I already realize that an Anarchist Communist society has its disadvantages, with weak/no military perhaps being one of them.

But then again, you are ignoring the context of both of those societies. Both of them came about during times of war/revolution, and to top it off, they were put down by world superpowers (namely the Soviet Union) and militarist states (namely Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy). That argument is about as valid as saying that Finland is no good because the US could probably take them over tomorrow if they wanted to.
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Lukipela
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2010, 09:34:09 pm »

Before I go on to address your specific quotes, let me remind you that I'm talking about Anarchist Communism. There is no plan, there are no leaders, there are no superiors.

...

You seem to be under the impression that Anarchist Communism is a planned economy, which it isn't.

Other than that... why would farms be "self-sustained"? I'm talking about Anarchist Communism, here, not Anarcho-capitalism! Anarchist Communism is everyone banding together, helping each other out! How would this be reflected in a self-sustained farm?!

Okay, I'll keep that in mind- Doesn't that make running anything more complex than a knitting circle pretty challenging though? Being a farmer, you pretty much have to reply on strangers being interested enough in building tractors, running refineries, operating chemical plants and keeping a traffic network running. If any of them fail, you can't do much more than grow by hand for your own use, and everyone depending on people like you starve. The system just sounds really sensitive to disturbances, especially since it all hinges on someone being interested in the most unlikely of things.

Quote
If there are no people with the necessary skills who are interested, in an Anarchist Communist system, it gets abandoned.

And this is fine for a piece of entertainment software. But less so for a nuclear power plant.

Quote
OK, let's say I give you two choices. You can sew the shirt by hand yourself to get the red-black checkered design you want, or you can make a compromise for a green-black checkered design with the help of 50 other workers and a proper factory. Which one do you choose?

That's simplistic to the extreme. Lets say I'm part of the collective that runs a refinery and I want to upgrade the flare network. But bob wants to switch out a leaky heat exchanger and Jane wants to look at the sulphur pit. We're all equal and we all look to what we know about. Only one of these things can be done during the turnaround though, so we're locked in endless debate on what to do.

Quote
The problem is, that kind of decision is not enforceable. Jack can just leave.

Not if they vote to chain him up. There's no law to stop them after all. On a grander scale, if the Riverdale Valley industrial collective votes to run their trucks into the Riverside Valley farming collective and kidnap their women to hold in exchange for goods, who stops them?


Quote
There's a such thing as "too much work". But that doesn't mean he should do the bare minimum, either. He should do whatever he's comfortable with. If he wants to grow 10 times as many crops as he actually needs, fine. If he's tired and only wants to produce a little more than what he needs, fine.

So if most farmers eventually want to spend most of their time with their families, everyone needs to farm. Specialization ends and we all get busy growing our food, except for the collectives who vote for razing homesteads in their path.

Quote
Factories are an issue that becomes less and less of an issue as more and more things can be automated. Actually, this is applicable to every type of boring, tedious, disgusting, or otherwise undesired jobs. As technology progresses, less and less unskilled labor is needed.

Robots that can do all our menial jobs are way into the future. Right now many more automated factories require their operators to have 3 or 4 years of experience before they can be trusted to go out into the field on their own and fix all the automatic systems that break down. A pressure control valve that sticks full of bitumen because the steam tracing fails isn't going to be opened by anyone but a human or a fairly advanced android. Same with your basic clogged toilet really.

Quote
As for your "blow up a refinery" example, I have thought about this before, and I would advocate some regulations on who can do what based on education level.

And who decides on these regulations? I thought there was no organization? Without one, no way are you going to be able to stop liberal arts majors who really want to help providing power for humanity.

Quote
People today are ostracized today for being different, so this is not a proper comparison. A far more proper comparison would be someone being ostracized by his/her co-workers for sleeping on the job and still taking a paycheck.

No, that's not true. There are plenty of people out there already who do the absolute minimum they get away with. They are already ostracized to varying levels by their co-workers, but they continue anyway. I have not visited a single office that didn't have at least one of these guys.

Quote
No, if only 20% of the population was working, the state would be facing famine and the lazy bums would get off their asses and grow some food, or in a worst-case scenario, the entire civilization would collapse from struggles to survive. But you're forgetting, this is a highly unlikely extreme. Let's create a similar one with our Capitalist system. Everyone decides that they're fine with just living on welfare, so food stocks run short, and either they get off their lazy asses and work, or famine causes disease and death, and the entire civilization collapses.

In our current system the state will have time to cut welfare and state owned media will get the word out. in your system no one is actually overseeing this, so there's no way of knowing how bad things are before we run out of food. Sure, by the time we're down to canned stocks people will be grumbling a bit, but hey. The Easter islanders probably grumbled a bit when that last tree was cut down as well, imprisoning them on the island and impoverishing them for all eternity.

Quote
Do you see the flaw with this argument now? It is no different than the free-market Capitalist argument that welfare promotes laziness. People are not that lazy. People will seek to learn, improve, and better their standard of living, even if it helps everyone else around them at the same time.

Hard to see a flaw that isn't there. I'll happily agree that many people aren't lazy, but as a race we have a tendency to take the easy way out.

In the purviews of philosophy, psychology, and politics, anecdotal evidence is marginally meaningful. I do not mean this as an attack.

Oh I agree completely. But in my opinion experience with people still trumps completely theoretical idealization. If onpon4 was citing scientific studies on human behaviour, I'd keep my work experiences to myself. But he isn't, he's just giving us theorized behaviour that is far from what most people experience at work every day. Thus I submit my anecdotal evidence as a (weak) argument.

That argument is about as valid as saying that Finland is no good because the US could probably take them over tomorrow if they wanted to.

That's what the Soviet Union thought as well boy. You're welcome to try Wink
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2010, 10:15:15 pm »

Sadly, what Lukipela describes as happening at his workplace is not anecdotal, it happens everywhere, I have three immediate colleagues (in team of 17) that are just that. We only have two (I'm proud to be one of them) that do the absolute maximum possible. All my friends and working relatives tell the same story.
You can't run away from Human nature - we are lazy egoistic bunch...
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2010, 10:34:08 pm »

Sadly, what Lukipela describes as happening at his workplace is not anecdotal, it happens everywhere, I have three immediate colleagues (in team of 17) that are just that. We only have two (I'm proud to be one of them) that do the absolute maximum possible. All my friends and working relatives tell the same story.
You can't run away from Human nature - we are lazy egoistic bunch...

Well, to be honest, my boss pays me peanuts -- so he gets a monkey Smiley. Luckily I can get away with that because most people are even lazier or even too dumb to actually accomplish anything. The worse your company is managed the more monkeys you have on the floor.
I also have some people like you as colleagues. I always wonder whether they are happy to sell themselves into such slavery, getting underpaid, fucked over by their bosses and still working their asses off each day Wink.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:45:39 pm by Angelfish » Logged
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2010, 11:39:29 pm »

Quote
Jack can just leave
And then he is an unproductive bum living on the streets cause this happens to all of his jobs.

I think the definition of Communism is something that looks great, but just doesn't work. I'd be all for a working society of equal persons, if it actually existed.
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Angelfish
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Re: Anarchist Communism
« Reply #29 on: October 19, 2010, 12:05:43 am »

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Jack can just leave
And then he is an unproductive bum living on the streets cause this happens to all of his jobs.

I think the definition of Communism is something that looks great, but just doesn't work. I'd be all for a working society of equal persons, if it actually existed.

it does work. China isn't falling apart. neither is North Korea or Cuba.
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