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(en) Workers Solidarity #84 - thinking about anarchism - Communist anarchism

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 13 Mar 2005 09:25:08 +0100 (CET)


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For anarchists a person's full potential is most easily fulfilled in an
environment of freedom. Rather than mechanically following orders,
where one is essentially nothing more than the extension of another's
will, in a free society people think and act for themselves. This in turn
would enhance the society as a whole.
Anarchists have a rounded conception of freedom; it is not merely the
absence of tyranny, but the meaningful opportunity to shape one's own
life. As well as being free from, one ought to be free to do. And you
can't be free to do much if you're constantly weighed down by the
threat of poverty.

But what environment facilitates the blossoming of freedom?
Anarchists have consistently maintained for over 100 years that a
communist society is such. A communist society would be where the
production and, importantly, the consumption of goods would be held
in 'common': from each according to ability, to each according to need.
If there is a scarcity of goods then they can be rationed in an equitable
manner. We already have a form of rationing, the money system - if
you have lots of money you can get whatever you like. If you don't,
tough.

In addition to being convenient, communism is entirely fair as
everything produced in a modern society is produced in common; the
brainiest doctor depends on a whole array of medical workers, from
nurses, to cleaners, to the factory workers who make the implements
to do a good job. There is no real way of accurately calculating any
particular job's true value to society[1]. And the attempt to do so
ensures a useless layer of workers and bureaucracy; from central banks
to control the money supply, to insurance companies which put the
bandages on during the bad times to the police who contain the
discontent.

The Super-Fucking Rich

We regularly read in the papers about Michael Smurfit or some other
well groomed thug making millions every year and, as the figures are
so outrageous, we never really take it in. But why should he have more
wealth than he can use for himself in a thousand lifetimes when the
hospitals are at breaking point? Particularly when the actual work that
makes his millions is being done by others as his 'job' is to invest his
capital and hire others to do the work.

Probably the real reason for massive disparities in wealth is the one
offered by Orwell in 1984: without differences in wealth, the need for
inequality in society will disappear. Wealth is the currency of power.
But without inequality the justification, always dubious, for the
existence of a ruling class disappears for they will no longer have
power over others, and this is obviously not a welcome prospect for
them.

A communist society is in contrast to the current capitalist set-up
where a tiny minority of bosses made up of the likes of Tony O'Reilly
and Dick Cheney, control the wealth produced by the rest of society.
And because they control the wealth they get to issue the orders. This
has profound implications for everything from environmental
degradation to your working conditions. Capitalists aren't going to base
their decisions on what's best for the community. What counts is how
much profit they can make. And if that means an oil spillage here or a
strict hierarchy at work there, then so be it.

Socialism

Socialism[2] would ensure that the constant worries over rent, the
kids_ future, the lack of money to go to the doctor would be eased.
These stresses of everyday life, particularly when they begin to pile on
top of each other, grind us down, making it harder to find the time, the
money, or even the desire to pursue the good things in life. In a society
as rich and as technologically advanced as the modern world, there is
no good reason that everyone should not have a high standard of living.
It is feasible; it is no longer a dream. At this point in history it is more a
question of consciousness, organisation and desire than about whether
it is materially possible.

Given the experience of the USSR[3], which as the anarchists of the
time noted, was a lesson on how not to introduce communism, extra
care needs to be taken to ensure that a communist society is also a
libertarian one. In fact, the most logical communism is anarchist
communism, for it carries through to all spheres of life the basic
propositions of communism: that humans are a social species who not
only like to live with others but who live most happily when these
relationships take the form of friendship amongst equals without the
need for authoritarian structures to control the people.

Footnotes

(1) The so-called 'free' market is a joke which is thoroughly distorted
by control from above through devices like advertising and, when
necessary, war.

(2) I use the terms 'socialism' and 'communism' interchangeably.

(3) As the USSR had a minority ruling class, i.e. the leaders of the
Bolshevik Party, which controlled the wealth of society and issued
orders to everybody else it clearly wasn't communist, despite the
rhetoric of both it and its opponents.

=========================================
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html
We also provide PDF files of all our publications
for you to print out and distribute locally
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/pdf.html
This edition is No84 published in Jan 2005
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/ws/2005/index.html


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