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Can someone explain anarcho-communism to me?

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David B Posted: Wed, Jul 18 2012 11:49 AM

I'm curious what anarcho-communism holds to be true about rights and property.

The problem I'm looking for a solution to, is how an anarcho-communist views dispuate resolution.  Is it coin-flip, rock/paper/scissors?

I don't mean to be flippant (actually, I do) but I'm kind of upset that anarcho-communist seems to be what people hear when they hear anarchist, and anarchist is what they hear when I say anarcho-capitalist.

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The Death Wish of the Anarcho-Communists

Murray Rothbard on Chomsky, Left Anarchists

Are Libertarians Anarchists?

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 12:12 PM

You could also try to go to the Forums of the Libertarian Left, but they will most likely just respond with snarky one-liners. Sigh.

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Autolykos replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 12:49 PM

I'm not an anarcho-communist, but I think I have a good idea about what people who call themselves "anarcho-communists" mean by "anarcho-communism".

Basically, it's Marxism without Marx. By that, I mean they advocate much the same goals that Marxists advocate, but they typically don't take the scientific approach that Marxists typically take, and they typically don't advocate the same tactics/strategy that Marxists typically advocate. A couple other things they do share with Marxists are belief in the labor theory of value and class-based social analysis. Like Marxists, they define "the state" as "the ultimate instrument of class rule". Hence "anarchy" means the same thing to them as "classless society" does.

Presumably, anarcho-communism would be established by a general strike along with concomitant seizure by the proletariat of the means of production and so forth. This would in and of itself bring about the classless society, as the means of production would be expropriated from the capitalist class, leading to both the capitalist class and the proletarian class ceasing to exist per se (i.e. as classes). After this social revolution, the idea is for the new classless society to set up an administrative apparatus for governing the means of production. Anarcho-capitalists would recognize this administrative apparatus as fitting quite comfortably within their definition of "the state".

Regarding dispute-resolution, anarcho-communists believe, on the one hand, that there will be far fewer disputes needing to be resolved in an anarcho-communist society, as private property in the means of production (and the massive wealth inequality it creates) will have been eliminated. On the other hand, according to the Anarchist FAQ, they think some sort of court system will be necessary for resolving any disputes that still arise.

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David B replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 1:22 PM

Thanks for the articles those are good.  I'll look into the libertarian left forums.  I'm curious what the narrative is that's being combatted by the "anarcho-communist" ideology.

I'm really curious how those inside that narrative conceive of social interactions that achieve the "to each according to his need" ideal in practice.

Some of the failures of Austrian Economics, and Natural Rights supporters (anarcho-capitalists) stem from an inability to embrace and redefine those narratives or at least the emotion contained within them.

For example, introducing a micro-conceptual conflict (two minds, incompatible outcomes in reality) is, IMO, an emergent a priori fact of reality.  I believe all conceptualizations of ownership that use collective, social, public, shared, or "no" ownership, glosses over the micro-conflict concept, which always results in an exercise of power in order to enforce the legitimacy of one of the two conflicting actions.

 

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 2:10 PM

I've read a good deal of literature by leftist anarchists.

The theory is that the state is abolished or overthrown, most likely through revolution, and immediately private property rights over the means of production go. Their theory of property revolves around direct use. So society cannot seize a bed from you, because you sleep on it regularly, but a worker can seize a machine from a capitalist because the worker uses it and the capitalist does not. While they call themselves anarchists, what they really despise is capitalism. They see the state as nothing more than a tool to enforce capitalism and enact the will of the capitalists. They believe that property rights are only enforceable by a coercive institution like the state which can keep workers away from their rightful property. Therefore all wars and civil rights abuses are directly associated in their minds with capitalism and the bourgeoisie. You very rarely actually see Anarcho-communists blame the state for something negative without mentioning capitalism as well.

 After the state is abolished humanity will begin to organize itself into communes which are controlled through a direct democratic procedure. Tyranny is prevented from within the commune because anyone is allowed to leave or secede at any time. Production and distribution will take place from within the commune, as well as the form of social organization and events within these societies. Distribution will be egalitarian and based upon need. Within the commune people will experience total equality regardless of race or gender.

They also believe that when the means of production are owned by society as a whole rather than by capitalists, that scarcity will be abolished because capitalists will no longer be restraining productive output and the full productive and creative forces of man will be unleashed. Work will be based around the needs of individuals and there will be an emphasis on making the workplace safe and enjoyable for all participants. Work will now become the very joy of life, although no one will be forced to work within the society, they will want to, because it is so enjoyable and most likely creative. Jobs which are mundane and inherently crappy will either be automated, done away with entirely, or it will be required for commune members to do the work, and if you don't like it you can get out. Wages are abolished in favor of direct distribution, because wages are exploitative and distribution is not.

The communes will then reopen connections and create a greater society through the democratic process. Each commune will elect representatives in a direct democratic way. These representatives will then take part of a greater democratic council which will manage the "international" affairs of the communes. This what those on the far left mean by "federalism".

After this has taken place everyone will live in perfect happiness for eternity, and all the water will run uphill...

Some of what I said is contradictory, especially the bit about work, but that's only because that's literally what various authorities who propose the system have said, and sometimes they were the same ones! The fact is that everything up there is contrary to the system of direct democracy, because everything that I have written is prescriptive, and democracy can allow for only one prescriptive idea: that the majority rule. This may or may not include total equality. If the U.S introduced direct democracy and abolished the state tomorrow.

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How does anarch-cap deal with murder and with those in society who do NOT pay for some sort of private police/security protection? Who would govern how the interaction between the companies, etc.?

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Hairnet replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:00 PM

I support the idea of an Objectivist government, not an anarcho-capitalist one, this is not where I think Anarcho-Capitalism fails though. Societies with ancap-esque legal systems have existed; such as ancient iceland and ireland. Those societies were in fact feudal systems, they were just really peaceful feudal societies due to a legal tradition of cooperation and a desire to avoid warfare.

 

If I recall correctly someone who did not adhere to any legal code would be branded an outlaw, and could be killed on sight and no one would really care. Now that is the viking version of osttracising people. Most likely a modern outlaw wouldn't be able to get loans, bank accounts, housing. You would essentially be a homeless dude.

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Wheylous replied on Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:06 PM

there will be an emphasis on making the workplace safe and enjoyable for all participants

Hah! People own their houses today and they often don't give two damns about how they look or how safe they are.

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Could someone please tell me where these "libertarian left" forums are?

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Is there a "chaos theory" for anarcho communism?

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If you mean the book by Bob Murphy, I'm not sure I know of one.  But then again, I'm not really hip on the commie scene.  This "anarchist FAQ" seems pretty comprehensive.

In fact it might be exactly what the OP needs.

 

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Could someone please tell me where these "libertarian left" forums are?

Forums of the Libertarian Left. I encourage you to go there. Then come back a few days later and tell us what taste you have in your mouth.

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Papirius replied on Fri, Sep 7 2012 12:24 PM

I'm curious what anarcho-communism holds to be true about rights and property.

For Kropotkin, the only right is the right to liberty, and he interprets it, like the word "anarchy" which for him represents that right, as not being ruled in any way by anyone. Many people (including AnComs) fail to see that Kropoktin is for the same society as Proudhon (Mutualists) and Bakunin (Anarcho-Collectivists) are.

It's a stateless society where, concerning the economy - people are free to form Proudhonian worker cooperatives, Bakuninian collectives, Kropoktian communes, or utopian socialist communes (what we mean today when we say communes); and concerning "law-enforcement" - a voluntary non-hierarchical people's militia would fight against anyone attacking the community from outside or anyone trying to attack, boss around, enslave, enserf or employ anyone within the community.

Kropotkian communes are municipalities that function in a sort of a torrent sites-like economy, products are all kept in communal warehouses and you're allowed to "leech" (in reasonable amounts) whatever you want, as long as you meet the "seed" quota of work,  which would be deliberative-democratically decided, and directly-democratically agreed on by the whole municipality. Such Kropotkian municipalities would strive for self sufficiency, but could barter products with other such communes, or with mutualist communities, or with Bakuninian collectives, or could establish an economic network of communes that would function in Kropotkian manner.

Kropotkin and AnComs are, like Mutualists and AnCols against every hierarchical structure, state, army, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, marxism etc. And Kropotkin talked about his ideas of an economic system without money or labor vauchers justifying them by his opinion that labor cannot be correctly measured and that everything in some amount a product of communal labor, and that also that amount cannot be rightly measured too; but he was not adamant about it, for him, if people want to use money (like in Mutualism) or labor vauchers (like in Anarcho-Collectivism) that's ok, the important thing being that everything's voluntary and non-hierarchical.

Could someone please tell me where these "libertarian left" forums are?

http://libertarianleft.freeforums.org/portal.php

Also a AnCom forum: http://libcom.org/forums

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David B replied on Fri, Sep 7 2012 1:49 PM

Papirius:

I'm curious what anarcho-communism holds to be true about rights and property.

Kropotkin and AnComs are, like Mutualists and AnCols against every hierarchical structure, state, army, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, marxism etc. And Kropotkin talked about his ideas of an economic system without money or labor vauchers justifying them by his opinion that labor cannot be correctly measured and that everything in some amount a product of communal labor, and that also that amount cannot be rightly measured too; but he was not adamant about it, for him, if people want to use money (like in Mutualism) or labor vauchers (like in Anarcho-Collectivism) that's ok, the important thing being that everything's voluntary and non-hierarchical.

Could someone please tell me where these "libertarian left" forums are?

http://libertarianleft.freeforums.org/portal.php

Also a AnCom forum: http://libcom.org/forums

Thanks for the information.

I've got some thoughts on things that Socialist points of view, some experiences of men that perhaps we in the an-cap camp don't necessarily take seriously enough, or we brush of as non-essential.

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Neodoxy,

What left-anarchist literature have you read, and have you ever read anything by Antonio Gramsci?

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Meistro replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 4:10 AM

The calculation problem is even more apparent when dealing with anarcho-syndicalism (this is the same thing as anarcho-socialism, just with a wayyyyyyyyy cooler name).  For with state socialism at least you have an attempted solution to the calculation problem, that is the state.  government planning is terrible when contrasted with the market economy.  but at least it is something.  you have a planning board, or whatever, that directs where nails go and everything else.  there isn't even this in anarcho-syndicalism, instead of you have various workers councils deciding on an ad-hoc basis what they are going to make, and where they are going to send it. 

it would be chaos.  dare I say it... anarchy!

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

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Meistro replied on Tue, Feb 12 2013 4:11 AM

most of these nutters are even opposed to money

 

... just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own - Albert Jay Nock

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Neodoxy replied on Wed, Feb 13 2013 11:31 AM

@SM

I've mainly read Kropotkin, although I've read bits and pieces of Bakunin, some Chomsky (although the little puss never actually wrote much about anarchism...) a little bit by and a lot about Proudhon, a shor booklet on the subject by David Guerin (who was apparently so radical that he thought people reading his work would have a good enough knowledge of certain things socialist/anarchist that he didn't actually have to explain half of what he was talking about...), and most of Emma Goldman's work on the subject.

Also, never heard of him, but there are a lot of little league socialists of all colors.

@Meistro

It's important to realized that, bar property confiscation, anarcho syndicalism and socialism (which are different, they make up the major split in left anarchism. Socialists and communists think that the community should control the means of production while syndicalists think that it should belong exclusively to the workers) are wholly compatible with anarcho capitalism. They are merely another vision for what a no-state world looks like. This is what we need to emphasize if we are to try to bring them over to our side and make more "left-libertarians"

 

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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