MadCast: majorhoward

AMA, I am an Anarchist

Recommended Posts

So I know, as was said recently in the wake of Ginsburg's passing that this is a gaming community first and foremost, but if the SMFs and RFMs and the like are ok with it, in honour of a different and separate passing, the recent death of the academic giant and Anarchist activist David Graeber, (the guy who started the push backing the slogan "we are the 99%") I though I might put up a post here if anyone is interested as Anarchism is largely misunderstood in most circles. 

So with that out of the way, and if this post persists, I am an Anarchist, AMA (hopefully regarding Anarchism, no Scots jokes if you would).

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is Anarchism's answer to Centralized and/or Imbalanced Power? 

 

Ineffectually or not, many systems of government offer answers to Power(and those answers can be manipulated or corrupted), but I don't know what Anarchism answer is. If there is a Jeff Bezos or Immortan Joe, I have no idea how Anarchism deals with it meaningfully. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Specifically I am an Anarcho-Communist. Most philosophies of Anarchism abhor centralization of power, particularly my own. I envision a moneyless system similar to what Kropotkin describes in The Conquest of Bread, but with differences. for example, where he wants a very local only government, I would love a system designed along the lines of Switzerland's, insofar as it is a loose confederation of separate communes, that can agree, or choose to distance themselves, upon any resolution, and use a voting system combining the best parts of representational and direct democracy, and with prohibitions upon being a lifelong civil servant or politician, such as a prohibition upon holding public office any more than once in every five cycles. As well, I envision a minimal superstructure, for example, no executive, no judicial, barley any legislative at all, and most important to my mind, and this one is the problem that leads to nearly all corruption in our system as it is, I would advocate for the communal ownership of productive property. Given your example of people like Jeff Bezos, not to go sloganeering, but the people united can never be defeated. that is to say, I wholly disagree with the theory of history that puts "great people" as the drivers, and any groundswell of the people, united and with a common cause of equality and freedom, can roll over a Bezos or some such like him without noticing a bump. I can't remember where I first heard this phrase, but it has always rung true to me, Freedom to starve is no freedom at all. Uniting, losing chains, all that sort of thing, not to get myself banned from here, but lets just say I am no Gandhi in my ideal methods. 

 

I can go into more depth if you like, or we can have a conversation on the subject, I don't want to turn this into an essay though. 

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To be perfectly clear, I view this through the lens of a thought exercise, rather than from the perspective of one who wishes to influence political change.

I personally believe that the best system is actually one that is completely controlled by a "perfect dictator", who harnesses the power of Subject Matter Experts, listens to them, and makes informed science based decisions to better the lives of everyone in the country, including but not limited to their educational, medical, mental, and economic well being.

The ultimate downfall to this idea is that it is not the least bit realistic.  Intelligent altruistic leaders rarely end up in power (as they rarely have any desire for power, and therefore make little effort to attain it or hold it), and even if one were to seek power for purely altruistic reasons, they would not likely be recognized for the leader that they are.  Humans are notoriously bad at recognizing good leadership until there is a crisis, and really good leaders are less likely to allow situations to develop into a crisis.  This system is also extremely vulnerable to abuse, since a coup or the rise in power of someone who is not benevolent within such a government framework would have Orwellian results.  A prohibition on multiple terms would assist in this matter, but would also then require a much greater number of altruistic leaders, and a comprehensive system permitting the transfer of "corporate knowledge" between leaders after each term.

I believe that a significant portion of any population is susceptible to manipulation if there are not rigid controls preventing the spread of disinformation.  Democracy, especially pure democracy where every single issue is subject to popular vote, is particularly susceptible to disinformation campaigns.  Boaty McBoatface is a good example of how popularity is not a good decision making mechanism.  Any system that intends to operate in such a manner needs to have "sanity checks" in place to prevent wild, unpredictable actions that could have devastating consequences when the decisions being made impact the well-being of the country.

I do not know enough about Anarchism or Anarcho-Communism to really have an opinion about it, but having witnessed humans during the Pandemic, I have very little faith that humanity can manage to co-exist without a regulatory framework defining non-permissible actions (ie. laws). 

As well, I would be interested in understanding what method of maintaining national security you think should be implemented.  Would you consider a minimal military service period a requirement, such as in Switzerland and Sweden, or the more traditional standing forces such as those used by most UN/NATO nations?  A great deal of this would depend on population, the area of land being defended, the resources available and the nation's exposure to foreign threats, of course, but I am curious nonetheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue I take with your argument Angelix, (and to be perfectly clear so there is no chance of a misunderstanding, no personal attack is meant), is A) there has never been, and will never be, one person who is Plato's philosopher king. Take for example, probably the best example that comes to mind right now, Marcus Aurelius, by all accounts an Enlighted and stout individual, but his ashes were not cold before the Pax Romana fell apart and Commodus oversaw the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire, full of plots and assassins and intrigue. and b) your prohibition on multiple terms? how well did that turn out, to keep the example in the same theme, the Romans. It didn't, they had restrictions on terms served in everything from Consuls, to Tribunes, to Censors, to Senators, to Dictators in the Republic. they were commonly and often flagrantly and blatantly ignored, and that is one of the major things that broke apart the Republic, and brought to rise the Empire. more than that, I will happily take democracy over a cult of personality any day, which is far more often that not what develops in a dictatorship.

Now, to the question of how anarcho-Communism would handle it, I don't terribly want to get banned from here, as I said in reply to Voshay, I am no Gandhi or massive fan of his, if you want to talk more about it I am game to in either private messages or voice chat. Lets just say the revolution that I think has to happen to save humanity and the planet is not a peaceful one.

 

As to the problems you see in direct democracy, most of the issues I see with it die with the death of capitalism. Take the book Mutual Aid, which argues, convincingly I think, that rather than a Hobssian or Lockeian view of human nature and the state of nature, the state of nature, Mutual Aid argues, is a state of mutual aid in both most of the animal kingdom, and in humanity, even extending for a long ways into the history of civilization and human development. when one considers something like maslow's hierarchy of needs, most of the issues with direct democracy fall away, everyone has their needs met. for example, humans produce enough food to feed ten billion people, but it is not profitable to get it to a lot of the people that need it, so they starve. The point being, most of the strife, I think, that is in the world right now is being caused by moneyed interests playing off one group against another. take for example the history of the USA. after slavery was outlawed, the same group of people still controlled most of the wealth, and instead of things getting so much better for the now ex-slaves (not to say that it didn't get somewhat better, fuck slavery), the moneyed interests played off poor whites against poor african americans. so share cropping became a thing, and one group kept hating the other, because both were deprived, and so if one were to try direct democracy in a system like that (which is still rather prevalent in the USA) yeah, it would be a wolf and sheep, disinformation thing, but in a world were the populace themselves are the revolutionary and securing power, what is good for one is good for all, and as I said, that revolution, I think, as much as I dislike war, the 1% won't give up their riches without a fight.

 

ok, I think I have already gone a little bit overboard, if you want to talk personally about politics, mine yours or anyone's I am always game, I do believe I have answered your final question as well about a military and/or police force or something of the like that there would not be an official one, but most of the crime that happens in our world is due to lack of education and poverty, more than anything else, eliminate poverty, provide comprehensive and free education, and eliminate hunger? yeah, that. 

 

if you are interested in the idea of a philosopher king, and have not read it, I would recommend Plato's Republic, it deals with other concepts as well, such as knowledge and disinformation, as well as where knowledge come from and other concepts too, but it is one of the earliest written philosophical texts to my knowledge that is fleshed out and deals with the idea of a philosopher king. I have my objections to it, but now and here are not the time and place. 

 

OK (I know I went king of overboard) BUT RANT OVER NOW.

(I'll just say as an afterthought it is kind of hard to explain Anarcho-Communism without first understanding Communism, but hey, I tried.)

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The film? I thought the film largely replaced actual anarchist theory and praxis with this weird and horrid combination of a conflict between neo-liberalist and neo-conservative US elements, with a sprinkling of what most of the world sees us anarchists as, terrorists and nothing else, we in the anarchist community refer to that misconception as anarcho-terrorism. when such elements are employed in the service of actual anarchist cause we call this propaganda by deed, but this. as well as context below bears a caveat, the most important and pressing issue I have with the film mostly, but even with the graphic novel to a very limited extent, no Anarcho-Communist I know, either myself or my associates, would advocate to go on a killing spree like V does simply to make a point, most form of anarchism, (fuck "anarcho-capitalism" that shit is bullshit) are primarily about communal mutual aid and mutual organization for the overthrow of capitalism and betterment of all mankind. that being said, we anarchists have disagreements with the other communist ideologies, like the MELTS, the MLs, the Leninists, the Maoists, the Stalinists, ect. but all traditional communist ideologies end in the same place, the withering of the state to a time without any government or bureaucracy, we anarchists simply think it is best to skip the dictatorship of the proletariat and most statist natures.  

The second major caveat I will add to this is that even if it is a very bad and misunderstood interpretation of anarchism, it might induce some people to look up actual anarchism which is not a bad thing.

(given the context of the question, I am avoiding in substance all question of the LGBTQ nature, but as an asexual chap myself, it bears fruit, simply of a different context)

The graphic novel on the other hand, Alan Moore is a grand old lad.

if you mean what do I think of it cinematically, I think of it as a solid, if unremarkable film, the acting was good but not great, the same of the special effects and story, but I assume you ask the question dur to the anarchist context, no?

 

If you have a few minutes and are interested further, this is a really good video interpretation I have sent to people before, if anyone is interested. 

(I myself am not an anarcho-pacifist, I believe that to be conciliatory to capital and counter-revolutionary, as well, I am decidedly anti-electoral as I believe to good faith participation in neo-liberal and neo-conservative politics serves only to prolong the suffering of most of the worlds peoples) 

 

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, MadCast: majorhoward said:

The issue I take with your argument Angelix, (and to be perfectly clear so there is no chance of a misunderstanding, no personal attack is meant), is A) there has never been, and will never be, one person who is Plato's philosopher king.

I agree. In fact, I devoted a paragraph precisely to why the philosopher king, or perfect dictator, is not actually a viable idea.  I've read Plato's Republic and, as I stated, it would never work because it relies on people never taking advantage of the system, which would be wishful thinking of the highest order.

While I think that Capitalism has also proven itself to be a bust, this is mainly because it is unchecked capitalism. I think that a public stock market should not exist. It encourages companies to sacrifice the well-being of their employees and their customers in favour of bottom line profit.  If there were extremely strict and enforceable means of forcing a company to cap profits (much like how sports teams use salary caps), and excess profit beyond the cap went directly into bettering the lives of citizens (ie. all profit past a certain margin simply becomes tax), but also provided alternative altruistic incentives for companies to expand or scale up, then the world would be a much better place, and greed would become a significantly lower factor in business decisions.   Small businesses take pride in their product, and in personal relations, but greed seems to inevitably win because society does not value quality and integrity over its bottom line.

I think that the western culture of celebrity is a significant part of the problem, because children are raised to believe that fame and wealth are what are important in life, rather than people.  Parents may tell their children different, but media of all sorts, as well as their peers, send a different message and at a significantly higher rate of transmission.  It takes a lot of counter messaging, as well as a child who actually responds logically, to negate the effect of celebrity.  To be clear, I define a culture of celebrity as a culture that celebrates people for accomplishments that have little or no affiliation to a person's character and integrity.  Celebrities, just like everyone else, can be amazingly altruistic people, but the culture of celebrity focuses on appearances rather than motivation and action, thereby neglecting what is truly important in life.

This leads directly into the problem of Personality Cults in politics, and blind partisan belief.  Folks are so afraid to be wrong, and so afraid of losing, that they can never admit that someone on the other side of the political table might have a good idea, even when it is a belief that they professed to follow when other leadership was in charge.  Now, a lot of this is straight up hypocrisy, greed and power mongering at work, disguised as something non-sinister simply because it's just "politics".  So many times the excuse "it's just politics" is used to excuse behaviour that is reprehensible and unacceptable.  This is how corruption festers and works away at the integrity of any government until nothing is left but a shaky, rotten core, waiting for some catastrophe to strike.

That said, I think that it could still be possible to see the world turn itself around, and devote itself to a more altruistic way of life on a global scale.  I just don't think that it will happen without significant events of consequence affecting a significant portion of the world's population in a way that irrevocably demonstrates how wrong everyone's old way of life really was.  I could see climate change or catastrophic war being catalysts to such a change, but it's really sad that anything less probably won't be enough to worry those who have the power and wealth to make a difference.

Incidentally, I'll never take anything said here as a personal attack.  I see this as an interesting forum to discuss ideas.  I tend to approach such subjects from a logical and emotionless point of view.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

so, I will do my best to address this paragraph by paragraph, please take no offence if I misunderstand you, @MadCast: Angelix, I assure you in all good will any misunderstandings are not in bad faith, simply that I am a drunk and miss shit sometimes. 

7 hours ago, MadCast: Angelix said:

While I think that Capitalism has also proven itself to be a bust, this is mainly because it is unchecked capitalism. I think that a public stock market should not exist. It encourages companies to sacrifice the well-being of their employees and their customers in favour of bottom line profit.  If there were extremely strict and enforceable means of forcing a company to cap profits (much like how sports teams use salary caps), and excess profit beyond the cap went directly into bettering the lives of citizens (ie. all profit past a certain margin simply becomes tax), but also provided alternative altruistic incentives for companies to expand or scale up, then the world would be a much better place, and greed would become a significantly lower factor in business decisions.   Small businesses take pride in their product, and in personal relations, but greed seems to inevitably win because society does not value quality and integrity over its bottom line.

my issue with the paragraph also stems into why I would prefer a moneyless society. there used to be limits, at least here there did, I am no expert on America. then rich cunts lobbied the career, and the incidental, politicians, and suddenly the tax margins, they shifted a bit, then a bit more, then a bit more under pressure of lobbyists, and before you know it, Bezos had this much wealth https://mkorostoff.github.io/1-pixel-wealth/.

 

Regarding the paragraph upon celebrity, I have nothing to disagree with you upon that subject except maybe the origin of celebrity if I understood your correctly, if not, I apologize. I believe celebrity derives from capital and tangential bourgeoise industries, rather than the other way around. 

 

relevant to the continuation paragraph about cults of personality especially in politics, I stand in the firm belief that history is not driven by individuals, but by groups, and with the in mind, any sufficiently charismatic person can take the lead of a sufficiently charged group, for good or ill,  and with that said, I don't believe that people who support the likes of Trump, or Oswald Mosley, or Franco, are inherently bad or evil, just misinformed, and badly educated. as well, regarding the "its just politics" line, FUCK THOSE PEOPLE, politics are vastly important, even to one such as myself that abhors our current shammy "representative democracy" (or republic or other system depending upon where one resides). I like to think, as does everybody else I am quite sure) that I am not a hypocrite. I do quite firmly believe that, for example in the current scandal going through the Us government of Trump and the Senate trying to appoint a justice with about two months remaining in the term when they complained when Obama tried with 11 months left, I would oppose both appointments as unjustly hierarchical and anti-proletarian. 

 

With the final statement in mind, I am of the firm belief that the time of waiting for a disaster of significant even has long passed us. I have been through my fair of the shit, and seen some stuff that disguised and revolted me, helped turn me into an anarchist amoung other things, by that I mean that we can't wait for the outcome of some global catastrophe to finish, if we do, we are finished. We need to work and comparing, by any mean necessary, ahead of the collapse, I thoroughly believe things need to be changed ASAP, if we wait, the earth and everything on it dies a horrible death, and no offence intended, but approaching things from a completely emotionless and entirely logical view is quite a large part of the problem, it stifles the response in my opinion. OUTRAGE AND INDIGNATIONS ARE, to me, a very valid and logical response to the shit going on in the world right now. 

 

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, MadCast: majorhoward said:

With the final statement in mind, I am of the firm belief that the time of waiting for a disaster of significant even has long passed us. I have been through my fair of the shit, and seen some stuff that disguised and revolted me, helped turn me into an anarchist amoung other things, by that I mean that we can't wait for the outcome of some global catastrophe to finish, if we do, we are finished. We need to work and comparing, by any mean necessary, ahead of the collapse, I thoroughly believe things need to be changed ASAP, if we wait, the earth and everything on it dies a horrible death, and no offence intended, but approaching things from a completely emotionless and entirely logical view is quite a large part of the problem, it stifles the response in my opinion. OUTRAGE AND INDIGNATIONS ARE, to me, a very valid and logical response to the shit going on in the world right now. 

 

I do not disagree with you that waiting for a catastrophe to occur is an improper course of action.  As well, if the current methodology being followed when it comes to decision making continues (ie. world leaders and elected representatives refusing to take meaningful action with respect to climate change, and continuing to cater to wealth and power over the well being of their citizens), then the world may very well implode, with repercussions to not only the human race, but to all of the earth's remaining inhabitants as well. 

As for the "logical, emotionless" response, there's not much I can actually do about it.  It's who I am.  I can count on one hand over the past 42 years the number of times I have reacted to situations with any degree of emotion.  I can become "engaged" when discussing a subject that I am invested in, or even incredulous when obvious truths or facts are being blindly ignored, but the only times that I have been truly upset and felt an emotional call to action have been when I witnessed the first hand victimization of someone, and needed to intervene.  I started playing chess at age 5, and continued competitively throughout my elementary school years, and it very much framed how I determine my responses to every day life.  It doesn't meant that I don't act... it simply means that my reactions are generally clear headed, lucid responses to my environment, with a recognition that treating people well is by far the best way to elevate society as a whole.  I also believe that if you approach a conversation with someone who has a different perspective, and you become emotional about your point of view, that you will have a great deal of difficulty in convincing the other person that your own views hold any value.  That is one of the reasons I dislike forums and online media as a means of communication, because it can be very easy to read into emotional context that does not exist on one side or the other.  However, I do like to write and in the correct setting it can be an excellent means of communication. I also do not claim to have the correct opinion on every facet of life, and every now and then an insight into someone else's point of view will occur that I might have missed had I been engaged on an emotional rather than a logical level.  

Edited by MadCast: Angelix

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As somebody that has trouble understanding other people at the best of times, I entirely agree with you upon your dislike of internet forums as a means of meaningful communication, upon the matter of emotion generating understanding and agreement, I must disagree though. I don't harken back to Chamberlain's logical but cold speeches about appeasement, I recall churchill's fiery tirades. My Scottish arse has a very, might I say, fiery soul, I am not a terribly emotional person, but for example when the question of separation from the UK comes to the fore, my logical side agrees, but my emotional side takes over and I get bent out of shape, in a good way. 

None the less, I do feel we are getting off topic and would like to steer it back to the relevant topic, but if you ever want to talk in person about any of the things we have discussed, or anything else that you would like for that matter, do let me know, I would be game. 

 

I have also been know to do very stupid shit for the pure simple fun of it, logic be damned, I mean fuck, I recently had an operation to cut out my second bought of cancer from drinking because I love me the sauce, and I'm not stopping any time soon. 

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 9/23/2020 at 7:55 PM, MadCast: majorhoward said:

I would love a system designed along the lines of Switzerland's, insofar as it is a loose confederation of separate communes, that can agree, or choose to distance themselves, upon any resolution, and use a voting system combining the best parts of representational and direct democracy, and with prohibitions upon being a lifelong civil servant or politician, such as a prohibition upon holding public office any more than once in every five cycles.

How would the system you propose here check the growth of factionalism?

What's to prevent one stronger commune or faction of communes from bullying their weaker neighbors into doing things that are against their interests?

How would this system mediate disputes between communes?

 

It seems that in order for this anarcho-communism system to work, members must trust other members to put needs of the whole above the wants of the individual. 

 

Also, everyone say hi to Gary our NSA agent. Hi Gary! (I know this is On Topic and there is not supposed to be any trolling but that one was too easy)

Edited by MadCast: Icarus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, I do quite whole heartedly believe that pretty much all of our problems with factionalism stem from the intentional and unintentional dividing of people by capital and corporations. In his book Mutual Aid, Kropotkin takes on the very subject and proposes, what I believe to be true, that the state of human nature is mutual aid, and that given a fair shake and a chance, that is the attitude that will prevail. 

If, in the unlikely chance that it does not, it is a free and mutual association which any and all parts of are free to withdraw from at any time, and join at any time.

As to the whole bullying thing, I will ask you a question. which is more likely to bring about good results, for the betterment of all people involved. a system that has everyone scratching and clawing and trying to be everyone else, or all those same people working together for the same goal and end?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, so there are two answers to a question like this, the short one and the long one. 

the long one, comes in the form of Kropotkin's mutual aid.

The short one can be (with the attendant simplifications) boiled down to the essence of not wanting one's fellows to die needlessly. removing the profit motive, which is what leads manufacturers to cut corners more than anything in my experience, would lead, I think, to a much safer vehicle. 

the fundamental miscommunication I think we are having here comes out of the idea that anarchist society wouldn't need regulations for it, people would take care of one's fellows. take for example the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a 100% voluntary and unpaid gig, that has people risking their lives, and sometimes losing more than a few, for people they don't, and probably never would have otherwise, know. That is, I rather think, a short and fair answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anarchism is not anarchy, or chaos, it is not no government (at least in my concept), it is an absolute minimum of government in the flattest, most justifiable form possible, with the most minimum of laws and regulations, organized (again in my conception), around the worker controlled means of production. 

 

some (syndicalists particularly) say, this organization should be done around workplaces as autonomous units, but I believe that to be unnecessarily divisive. 

 

as to regulations, we would have an absolute minimum, as most regulations, say, in car manufacturing to keep with the turn of phrase, are to keep greedy and profit mad people and businesses and corporations from screwing over everyone that buys their product. What auto worker who builds cars, wants to drive around in a faulty car. they will work in a car factory because they like building cars, and taking pride in their work, make good cars.

 

Take me for example, I like building and playing with things that go VROOM. Were I, and cohorts like me, in control of the production, we would make quality cars because not only is that what we would be driving, but we would take pride and enjoyment in our work. 

 

The kind of regulation we have today I wholeheartedly believe to be unnecessary in a society without a profit motive. 

 

(Upon a similar and related note I would quite recommend Graeber’s book Bullshit Jobs. Not only do I think you would enjoy it, I think it, as well as Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid, quite notably addresses and answers your query.)

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.