Anarcho-communism

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by obviousman, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. obviousman
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    obviousman Guest

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    Am I the only one who feels like the theory of anarcho-communism is awesome. It's application though is never been successful. I've always wondered why not. The biggest thing I could come up with is that it puts to much trust in the fact that humans would work for the good of others. I would love to hear everyone's opinion on the political theory. And why it doesn't work when applied. Or maybe if someone has another type of government they like feel free to post it.
     
  2. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Eric and I have been working up to a discussion of this sort on the Socialism vs. Capitalism thread in USA CHAT. Eric posted the original in a different thread, and I have made several commentaries in other threads, and the thought was that I would eventually get around to it again, and we could consolidate the discussion in a separate thread. Feel free to jump in over there.

    To comment briefly on anarcho-communism, i don't believe it has been tried on any large scale, though it has been tried with success on a small scale. Even on a small scale, though, it was short lived, owing to the violent reaction it usually generates from both liberal economics (ie the "right") and pure communists. Some people fault Anarchy's core belief that humans are inherently good to excuse themselves from trying such an advanced form of society. For obvious reasons, it would be difficult to implement on a large scale, given the current state of society, and I tend to think if a transformation were to take place, it would have to begin as a small community and spread outword, reforming gradually the dominant ideologies. A revolution would be the only alternative, and for my .02$ I don't much like violent revolution, nevermind the problem presented by the simple math. I live in Spain, and Spain has a very long and respected history of Anarchy activism. As an anarcho-communist, I find that the main practical value of the perspective is to provide an outstanding critical stand-point: if you accept that it is possible, a powerful critique of the current dominant systems is revealed. There's a book out by Todd May called The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism which blends Anarchy with poststructuralist theory, especially Michel Foucault. I haven't read the book, but it was recently recommended to me by my old philosophy instructor, but I am quite familiar with both the history of Anarchism and Post-Structuralism, and it's easy to imagine how the two would blend.
     
  3. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Hmm, I am going to have to give this some hard thought and a little research. What does come to mind though is human greed. I just think that any system based on trust in the individual human without personal gain is doomed to fail. I'll be honest I really do not know much about anarcho-communism so I would not be in any position at this time to pass judgement.
     
  4. obviousman
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    obviousman Guest

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    I wonder though if a government assisted for awhile maintaining a communist-like nation and teaching the people to live for the good of others if it could work. People would have to develop a love for it and respect for it too work. I don't know though it seems like the government would have to be really tough at first. Because obviously some people would oppose it and that would impede the success of it. I don't know though I doubt we will ever see it in our lifetime.
     
  5. eric
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    eric Guest

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    I think you are right about not seeing it in our lifetime.
     
  6. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Apart from the general question of whether humans are inherently "good" or "evil", a fundamentally wrong headed dichotomy from the beginning and one of the differences between my own analysis and that of traditional anarchy, there is the idea that the concept of "property" itself is detrimental to society. This idea is probably more easy for you to address, eric, as it flies more directly in the face of the precepts native to Capitalism. Land reform would be a necessary start for any attempt to realize an anarchist society, but control of the land would be in the hands of the people, and decisions about use would be determined democratically. One of the main characteristics of a hypothetical Anarchical society is an inversion of the current political system: participation in local decision making would be emminently more important than any federal organization. If anything, this would entail a much higher rate of public participation in decisions which affect the community, and so presumes a high level of education within the community, as well as a generalized valuing of contribution to the good of the community, rather than self-interest.
     
  7. eric
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    eric Guest

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    Yes I agree, and herein is where I believe the problem would lie. As sad as it might sound, I honestly can not think of many people I know, who put the good of the community before their own self-interests. It is entirely possible that we have been conditioned by our current system to think this way, or the other possibility is that it is just a deep rooted need for self-gratification/survival.
     
  8. Aquarian
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    for a communistic system of any sort to work, it would have to be peopled entirely by individuals dedicated to the premise. volunteer only. Under that circumstance I think it could work quite well.
     
  9. Bry
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    Bry Member

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    Yeah, that's what I had in mind when I said "it would have to begin as a small community and spread outword, reforming gradually the dominant ideologies." The original community would have to be completely vonunteer and dedicated to the experiment, but with time, this would be self-propogating: children born into the value of the system of the community wouldn't be seen as volunteers, as they would have been socialized into the society from birth.

    Nice quote from Einstein. He was an anarchist at heart.
     
  10. dijetlo
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    >>As sad as it might sound, I honestly can not think of many people I know, who put the good of the community before their own self-interests.<<
    You're are exactly right, Eric. Self interest is the driving force behind our economy, our polotics and all our technological advancements. Other societies are less "me" centered and more "us" centered though, so it might be unfair to say just because an american can't think of one it's a rare trait within humanity in general.
    >>as they would have been socialized into the society from birth.<<
    Excellent point Bry (I hope you don't mind me pirating it to advance my argument :D ) . How much of our desire for excess is learned and how much is hard wired?
    The Incas had an interesting system. Each incan had to pay a labor tax, (days in labor to the empire) but they did not think of it as a tax to the emporer (the Paca Inca) but as a tax to the incan people.
    One remote village was required to maintain several rope bridges along an incan road as their labor tax. In the late 70s', anthropologists found this village, still maintaining the rope bridges over roads that had fallen into disuse. The villagers percieved the work as a duty, a contribution towards the overall good of their people and as such had never discontinued thier efforts even after the collapse of the Incas (the end of the labor tax).
    I would consider that a succesful socialization. (So perhaps it can be done). You do remember what happened to the Incas when they ran afoul of a couple hundred "me" oriented spaniards, so maybe this example is not as encouraging as I'd originaly hoped.
     

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