Comment 30121

By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 14, 2009 at 16:26:57

Getting back to the original topic of the post, I'm convinced that a capitalistic growth economy on a global scale will unavoidably destroy itself by exceeding ecological limits. I think people who don't want a command economy imposed on them in response to crisis should aquaint themselves with the three left-libertarian principles of ecomomic organization - COMMUNISM (organizing communally and sharing), SYNDICALISM (unions geared to the goal of self-management), and MUTUALISM (the "free market anti-capitalism" of co-ops and alternative banks). The "ideals" of direct democracy and confedaralism are actually very practical for organizing from the bottom up. If it turns out that there are limits to non-hierarchical organization, then so be it. I'm fully confident it would bring benefit to working class communities.


Historically, it's well understood (except by neo-classical economists) that the growth of capitalism and the state have been complementary processes. Look up "primitive accumulation" and aquaint yourself with the history of colonialism. Capitalists have always used the state to advance their class interests. So yes, the state is the ultimate enforcer of property and privilege.

You have to be careful though. In recent decades, the working class has also learned to use the state. Hence, the labour laws that grassroots talks about. We'll see if we've exhausted that strategy.

Also, the mutualists argue that, without state interference in the economy (war machine, transportation infrastructure, patent inforcement, etc.), the capitalists would disappear and you'd have worker self-management by default. I'm skeptical though.

But even if you could have a capitalist economy without a state, or with a minimal state, the social relations of capitalism are themselves oppressive. Do you work? If so, the next time you're at work, just look at the way people interact. Ask yourself, is this freedom?


Lifeboat scenarios are the exception rather than the norm. If extreme scarcity to the point of starvation were to emerge here, some form of rationing would hopefully be organized. Would you rather that be done by a distant, centralized state, or a local government that you can participate in?

I'll pose a question to you. If hierarchy is such a constant in society, then what is the difference between the liberal-democracy we live under and, say, Stalinist Russia or Fascist Italy? It seems obvious to me that social forms vary in degrees of hierarchy according to how much the locals have been willing or able to resist authority.

I'm well aware of the distinction between state and hierarchy. The state is a specific form of social hierarchy, as is patriarchy, class, racism, heterosexism, gerentocracy, able-ism, etc. These forms of domination interact in endless ways. Somalia is a stateless society, but not an anarchy, despite being usually described that way in the mainstream media.

I'm glad somebody finally mentioned gender on this site. Do you know the "traditional" family you speak of - the nuclear family - is not really traditional at all, but a quite recent development? Most of human experience has been formed around extended kinship networks - clans, tribes etc. - where gift economies (ie. communism) were the norm. Political leadership (chieftains, clan mothers etc.) is often based more on influence than coercion. Child rearing among "primitives" is known to be more permissive.

I'm not advocating tribalism or primitivism. I just think you should widen your purview before making universal statements about human nature.

And before you judge me as naive, you should check out the sources I listed above. Particularly Graeber. He's an Ivy League anthropologist as well as an anarchist. The new urbanists should definitely check out Bookchin, cuz he's all about cities. Finally, I don't think anyone should make any universal statement about political economy without examining the Spanish experience from 1936-39.

Save any other questions about anarchy. I'v got to get down to my research.

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