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(en) Russia, avtonom: An anarchist pension: how will it be? [machine translation]

Date Mon, 10 Sep 2018 08:38:53 +0300


Raising the retirement age is an act of liquidating by the current authorities one of the most significant elements of the "social state" that we inherited from the Soviet era. This sacramental event is a good occasion for us, anarchists, to answer the question: How will the pension provision in the society that we are striving to build look like? ---- There is a terrible information noise. It consists of ridiculous attempts of the state to "justify" the benefits of pension reform for the population and its widespread angry condemnation, which can be summarized in the abstract: There is not enough money to support the elderly, cut your own parasitic super profits! A third party is added to a few convinced marketers who sincerely believe that "it is necessary to raise the retirement age - it is higher in all developed countries."

All this is superficial and fussy. And most importantly, we, as anarcho-communists, can not in any way be satisfied with the requirement to leave the age unchanged and raise pensions. So you have to turn off the volume, and in silence to deal with the topic in essence.

1. The crux of the problem
A universal state pension is an attribute of a social state-that is, a form of state organization that demagogically claims to reflect the collective interests of its citizens and provide them with support. In practice, the "social state" proves to be somewhat more harmful than the "non-social" state, because it replaces very many functions that society previously performed without the state, including social support.

Why do you need a pension? The pension is necessary because people, because of the age-related weakening of health (and also because of injuries, congenital and acquired diseases, etc.) lose the ability to provide themselves with their own work (in this case it does not matter - to provide directly by "natural" production or to engage in types of work, rewarded in this society).

In pre-retirement days, such people, in the first place, were provided by children (usually numerous), and more widely - the family, in some cases - the community. However, the industrial age, with its reduction in the birth rate and the new economic situation, made the former scheme almost unviable. Along with this, the "social state" created an effective replacement of the tradition through a universal pension.

The pension is welcome (hence the desire to retire no later than the due or, for example, the right to retire earlier as a privilege for certain categories of employees). The reason for this - first, the alienated nature of labor. Work is often perceived as an unpleasant burden, opposed to man, and the opportunity to get rid of it as soon as possible, having received material support and remaining a socially approved unit, is perceived as a blessing. Secondly, commodity-money relations by their very nature generate a sense of lack of means of subsistence for each individual. And the opportunity to start earning extra income without making additional efforts is desirable for everyone (this often involves family obligations and much more).

Here antagonism arises: in a class society, the state and partly the capitalists tend to let people retire later and pay as little as possible, saving more money for themselves and more intensively exploiting the labor resources of society, while the majority of the people are interested in the opposite.

2. Transformation of the pension problem in a libertarian society
The transition to an anarchic society will greatly change the outlines of the problem. We note at once that the issue of preserving (temporary) or abolishing the money turnover or its equivalents in this text is left out of brackets.

First, the alienation of labor-through the abolition of economic exploitation (the appropriation by the capitalist of the result of total labor), the involvement of each worker in the management of the labor process, and the freedom to change work, in accordance with the needs of the community, will be overcome as much as possible. Secondly, the process of obtaining material benefits will become collective - "to each according to the needs", based on the production capabilities of society.

These two innovations will eliminate the problem of "covetedness" of pensions as a right to depend on. If the work is liberated as much as possible, it, as far as possible, ceases to be a nuisance, from which it is necessary to get rid quickly. And if everyone gets "according to the needs", based on the results of the work of the whole society, then the meaning of additional subsidies is lost.

Thus, it can be expected that an elderly or unhealthy person will choose labor-free forms that are not burdensome for himself and useful for society, in convenient volumes for himself, instead of switching to full dependency, while retaining his former level of well-being.

However, the problem of full or partial incapacity for work and, as a result, the need for a pension (or wider social support), the release of labor does not remove ...

3. Who will help the disabled?
Now, the state or private savings funds acting as a kind of banks can pay pensions. Both these institutions are categorically rejected by the anarcho-communists, the first as a machine of oppression, the latter as parasitic speculative economic actors. Who will provide social support for the disabled in a libertarian society?

To answer this question, you first need to find out who will inherit the material wealth that the state and capital now assigns? These will be bodies of territorial self-government (consisting of several levels up to interregional ones) and associations of workers who can function as fully integrated with territorial bodies (especially if an enterprise functions locally) or separately, but in close cooperation and with mutual agreements (first of all, in the situation with the enterprise, scattered across several territories).

Recognizing a person incapacitated, the community takes on his material security, which is carried out either at the expense of local resources, or with the involvement of additional participation of broader self-government bodies.

In the situation of collective and equitable decision-making, as well as the distribution of economic goods in the community according to the principle of "according to needs" - one can expect that self-government bodies, unlike the state and capitalists, will not be interested in maximally cutting the ability of a disabled person to receive material support from society.

In such a system, the existence of a single retirement age is not necessary, although it can be established by the decision of public self-government structures.

Like any radical project, the anarchist communist social support plan may seem remote and redundant. However, given the speed of social transformations in the modern world, it is very likely that this future is not far off. And it is the proposed scenario that allows solving the complex problem of social support for the elderly person, which in the present system is insoluble because of such factors as the interests of the state and capital, the alienation of labor and the particular nature of appropriating its results.

Phil Kuznetsov

Specially for the site "Fighter Anarchist" https://bo-ak.org/

https://avtonom.org/freenews/anarhistskaya-pensiya-kak-eto-budet
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