Re: (Eng) Issues for Anarchism/Vaughan's comments (fwd)

Fri, 1 Nov 1996 15:56:46 +1000 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 12:03:12 +1000
Subject: Re: (Eng) Issues for Anarchism/Brian's comments

Brian wrote

> wrote:
>> But there are significant problems with trying to establish anarchist forms
>> of social organisation in the midst of capitalism. Any attempt to
>> establish co-operatives, or alternative lifestyles within capitalism runs
>> up against the fact that the basic conditions under which such projects
>> must survive are those dictated by capitalism. Capitalists who have no
>> qualms about exploiting their workers or destroying the environment will
>> always be able to out compete - to provide cheaper goods or superficially
>> more attractive lifestyles - concerns which try to operate in a
>> non-exploitative, environmentally sustainable fashion. And for many people
>> it will be more important that the goods and services which they require be
>> available to them cheaply rather than produced without exploitation or
>> environmental destruction - not because they are uncaring but just because
>> they are struggling to make ends meet. We also need to recognise that
>> involvement in such projects can sometimes have quite high costs in terms
>> of time and energy and is often only a realistic option for those who live
>> lifestyles which allow them the freedom to bear these costs for the sake of
>> their political commitments. For these reasons, while they may serve as
>> excellent examples of how anarchism might work, communes, cooperatives and
>> the like will never succeed on a large scale *while capitalism continues to
>> exist*. Anarchist institutions *are* (vastly) superior to existing
>> institutions but they cannot flourish when the entire social order is
>> stacked against them. They will be out-competed, co-opted or simply
>> destroyed by capitalism. And that is one of the reasons why a revolution
>> is necessary.
>This would make participating in such a revolution very difficult to
>justify. It seems anarchy would make the economic situation of people
>worse in the short term. With the immediate gratification that many
>people I know want(myself included) sacrificing what I have now seems
>irrational. I would really have to BELIEVE that it would make things
>better for everyone in the long term. Believing in something not tried
>in full scale application makes me apprehensive of its application.
>Plus of course you would always have an opposition if anarchy is
>achieved. Without immediate gratification many might dissent. Leaving
>the country in total disarray. Of course the last two statements are
>just mere speculation based on people I know. But it is not totally

In fact a revolution would benefit the vast majority of people, who are
exploited and oppressed by capitalism, almost immediately. Taking control
of factories and workplaces and running them democratically for the benefit
of all, instead of the profits of those who currently "own" them, is in the
material interest of that portion of the population (a vast majority) who
currently work for the profit of others and thus do not reap the benefits
of their own labours. Creating a society where the "economic" decisions
which affect all of us were made democratically rather than by a
privileged, un-elected and self-interested few would also benefit all of
us. ( Anyone else out there had their hospitals closed, forests cut down,
education made more expensive, genes spliced or lost their job because the
"free" market dictates it? If it's so important why don't we get a say in
it?) This is before any discussion of the psychological/ spiritual
benefits of becoming involved in a revolution which seeks to take back
control of our own lives. Not to mention the psychological and spiritual
benefits of living in a free world. ( Anyone out there find life under
capitalism spiritually satisfying?)

Of course people will need to believe in the benefits of such a revolution
before they will be willing to participate in it. That is why attempts to
establish working models of anarchism are worthwhile - to demonstrate that
anarchism is a superior mode of social organisation. But we should not
delude ourselves that such attempts will ever be entirely successful or
that we could ever hope to destroy capitalism by establishing an
alternative form of social organisation within it and then gradually
winning people over that way ( an "evolutionary road" to anarchism). A
revolution is necessary to establish anarchy. This revolution is in the
interests of almost all of us. The task for anarchists is to bring people
to awareness of this.


Brian, I feel your comments have some merit. However, when
talking revolutionary struggle it is neccessary to consider the ability of
the ' liberated ' institutions ability to provide for basic human needs.

In our modern consumer-capitalism ( not neccessarily a world wide
actuality ) the provision of basic human needs, at the most basic level
ie. food is generally obtained from interstate and internationally. The
ability for the various hierachies which provide us our basic food to be
run by anarchists as extended geographically distant networks is highly
unlikely. Particularly when capital can be shifted and goods withheld by
parties outside our juristiction.

I believe it is therefore important to develop alternatives which
provide for the basic needs of food, shelter, health and basic services.
Encouraging moves to towards permaculture and L.E.T.S schemes as methods
of Anarchist organisation and the satisfaction of d.i.y culture. The
localisation of basic human needs, ie food , shelter is the first step to
a revolutionary form of anarchism. ( A world wide anarchist revolution I
am sure most of you would agree is unlikely in the near future )

As for ' liberating ' other institutions, we must note the nature
of these institutions in our modern consumer capitalist world. What I
mean by this ( based on my knowledge of Australia ) is that there have
been fundamental shifts in our society. Where previously the nature of
our work had more meaning to us and our immediate communities and was a
measure of our social place and class power, this has changed in many
parts of the world.

What use would liberating a bank, financial institution, department
store, travel agents, or other institutions which create the pseudo-needs
of modern capitism have to the provision of basic needs. ie. at the
most basic Food ? The social institutions
which shape the economies of the modern world are those of lavish
unneccessary consumerism, and have little baring to the creation of basic
human needs, in an Anarchist world. In addition to this the workers find
this mush of this work is deamening and hated by employees many of which
would never want to liberate institutions which are really meaningless
without capitalism. Why would many wish to liberate McJobs that have no
security or fullfillment.

Anarchism must keep abreast of contemporary culture if it is not to
become outdated. ( I know that there are many streams of ' modern '
anarchist thought, however I see alot of anarchist holding on to outdated
notions which are not in accordance with the nature of the reality I see.
: NOte in Australia )

I feel that it is important to attack the world of pseudo-needs
and imaginary culture around us as a first step to liberation. As well as
our focus on the state, we must increase our focus on the multinational
and smaller creators of imitation reality. We must focus on the
fullfillment of being having control of our lives, providing basic needs.
Most of modern capitalism institutions could be destroyed and not
liberated in an Anarchist world. Would this not simplify the state of
living and the ability of control over our lives ?? I am not proposing an
anarcho-primitivist solution. There is little reason I see that we cannot
maintain, telecommunication, electricity and housing and food at existing
levels without the pseudo-need creating culture industry and the
manufactured creation of financial institutions. These are the real
cause of the complexity of the modern world which may cause problems for

We must focus on " killing consumer culture ", the culture
industry, proposing alternatives which cut at the food industry, like
permaculture and LETS and work for revolution through demonstration of our
organisationsal principles. This is hard but the road to revolution can
not even be reached let alone travelled without snapping the collective
conscious out of the fabricated world of pseudo needs we live in. The
liberation of most modern institutions is pointless because they do not
provide for the basic needs of a humanity. Production is not the primary
determinate of identity - this is why, I belive, many of us are having
raising a class consciousness and acceptance for anarchist ideas.

Consumerism is the face of modern capitlism. Work-based( ie
Anarcho-syndicalist ) revolution should not be dissmissed, but the nature
of modern capitalism should not be ignored. Consumerism's pleasure
principle rules, the illusions must be destroyed to attain our goals.
Anarchist must note and challenge the nature of postmodern-culture,
shying from it dooms our vision. ( at least in ' modern ' countries )

Feel free to flame as I am young and lack any direct experience of culture
outside of Australia.

P.S Would any Australians be kind enough to post this message and those
preceeding to the Xchange bulletin board as i do not know the address.

Vaughan " Kill consumer culture " Sorry for using this list like a