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Anarchy and property

Posted by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM
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While I think the punk anarchists I know are on the right track in many ways, there is one thing that troubles me - the idea that "property is robbery".

I realize that this is an expression of anger/frustration regarding the widening class divisions in this country, and a rejection of failed  traditional ideas like "work hard and you can have it all".

I see a lot of these young people either working hard and getting nowhere, or avoiding work to the greatest degree possible and letting the state support them to the greatest degree possible.

However, I see property rights as the basis to all rights - I own myself, therefore I can own other things, be responsible for myself, make claim to certain freedoms....  Seeing myself as clearly self-owned, I also have a basis for determining what I can control/defend:

my body is my own - I can do whatever I like with it that doesn't hurt others; no one else can do anything to it without my permission.  I can control/defend my property as an extension of this - no one can cut my trees without my permission, but I can cut them whenever I like, for instance.

So how do y'all out there see property ownership fitting into anarchist society?

How can we empower the disenfranchised meanwhile - people who own property tend to change their attitude about it quickly, but those who know they will never own anything have no incentive to respect my property rights....

I have a sense that cooperative ownership of some kind may be part of this answer - I know my daughter lives in a house with 5 or 6 other permanent residents, and many transient ones.  They manage to rent successfully this way, why shouldn't they own this way?

Looking forward to hearing what y'all think!

-Lori

by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM
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lady.phoenix
by Group Owner on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:04 PM

I have two questions...

1) Do they argue their positions?

2) Do you believe they are more logical or more emotional in "beliefs?"

Shazer
by on Dec. 15, 2009 at 8:15 PM

Since I believe in self-ownership, I believe as an extension you have ownership of your possessions.  Under anarchy, you simply get to have your stuff (and must pay to protect your stuff) whereas under any form of government, your stuff gets taken for purposes of the state.

So how do you convince the young who work and do not reap rewards?  I would argue that most young do not know how to save.  They waste money on college (because it is expected that you can't grow up until you've gone to school) instead of working.  They buy stuff instead of saving.  100 years ago, you wouldn't find the mass whine from younger people about not being able to acquire.  People can acquire, but it takes time and energy.  This is hard concept to understand when the government steals so much with social security, sales taxes, gas taxes, medicare.  Much of what people produce is taken away before they can even enjoy it.  And I can totally understand the individuals who ride the system because it is terribly frustrating to work just to have the product of your labors stolen.  If you look at production statistics from economically free nations versus controlled economies, you will find that the more opportunity there is to work and to benefit from your labors, the more that is produced.  Under say Soviet Russia, there were constant shortages of even the most basic of necessities because people were not rewarded for their work.  And anything they had could be taken away.  So the lesson here is that the surest way to have and keep possessions is to have the freest society possible.


Taijimum
by on Dec. 20, 2009 at 4:44 PM


Quoting lady.phoenix:

I have two questions...

1) Do they argue their positions?

2) Do you believe they are more logical or more emotional in "beliefs?"


These are good questions.

As to the first - I have never debated much with any of them other than my daughter, but they are mostly people who are well read in anarchist theory and issues, and not argumentative sorts.  I'm sure they discuss among themselves the finer points, but it's more a matter of debating within the realm of agreement.  I imagine most of them COULD argue their positions intelligently, but these are people who don't want to "rule" anyone else, or tell others what to do or what to think, so they don't argue to convince "unbelievers" for instance.

The second is a really good question!  I think this varies a lot from individual to individual, and generally includes a mix of both emotion and logic. 

Many are vegan, for instance, and argue this from the position of emotional appeal, regarding animal cruelty, "meat is murder", etc. more often than the logic of factory farming and its results, but I see this changing more toward logic in the documentary movies coming out, for instance, about food issues.

When it comes to anarchy applied, I think this is often a practical issue, and therefore the arguments more logical - how to ensure that everyone in the house pays their share of the utilities, or how to arrange shifts at the volunteer free shop and bookstore, or how to legally set up a worker owned cafe...

But, while many of them engage in voluntary associations which are collective or cooperative in nature, beyond this, they continue to engage in feeding and feeding from the state.

-Lori

Taijimum
by on Dec. 20, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Yes, I agree about ownership of things being an extension of self-ownership, and that we each own ourselves.

I  understand what you're saying about young people who don't save, but want to acquire things, but that's not they type of people I'm talking about here.

Many of them own nothing that won't fit in their backpack, except maybe a bike.  They use everything to death - wearing 2d hand clothes patched with anarchist patches, they eat from dumpsters, they give their time and energy to preparing vegan meals to give away to hungry people in the park.  These are not materialistic stuff collectors.

They find it more sensible to live cheaply and not work, than to work and barely make it.  They appreciate food stamps because they like to eat.

Many of them are, or have been, students, but these are people more interested in living now than in getting a degree, although many of them recognize the value it can represent, and work toward something specific - not a lot of philosophy majors in this crowd; these are practical people who know how to do things for themselves.

But for the most part, they don't own things, or work toward owning things, and I think this is why they have no qualms about tagging, breaking the occasional window, or squatting in an empty house. 

Yes, the surest way to have and keep possessions is to have the freest possible society, but we don't have that.  We have the opposite of that, and that's what these kids have grown up with.  They have no idea what it really means to have the kind of control that ownership brings, and they have no background from which to want that.

How can they come to have and understand what it means to really own something?  Collective housing of some kind?  The commune revisited?

I read a zine a couple years back - it was "Punx over 30" or somesuch - there was a story by an "old" punk who had bought a house, and was now dealing with vandalous youth.  Very interesting.

I know my kids grew up with a good sense of ownership, because they've always been able to really own their own things - no enforced sharing of personal items, and full respect for their rights of ownership.  But this isn't true for most people.

I just really think this is one of the keys to making a free society work.

What think y'all?

-=Lori

 

Quoting Shazer:

Since I believe in self-ownership, I believe as an extension you have ownership of your possessions.  Under anarchy, you simply get to have your stuff (and must pay to protect your stuff) whereas under any form of government, your stuff gets taken for purposes of the state.

So how do you convince the young who work and do not reap rewards?  I would argue that most young do not know how to save.  They waste money on college (because it is expected that you can't grow up until you've gone to school) instead of working.  They buy stuff instead of saving.  100 years ago, you wouldn't find the mass whine from younger people about not being able to acquire.  People can acquire, but it takes time and energy.  This is hard concept to understand when the government steals so much with social security, sales taxes, gas taxes, medicare.  Much of what people produce is taken away before they can even enjoy it.  And I can totally understand the individuals who ride the system because it is terribly frustrating to work just to have the product of your labors stolen.  If you look at production statistics from economically free nations versus controlled economies, you will find that the more opportunity there is to work and to benefit from your labors, the more that is produced.  Under say Soviet Russia, there were constant shortages of even the most basic of necessities because people were not rewarded for their work.  And anything they had could be taken away.  So the lesson here is that the surest way to have and keep possessions is to have the freest society possible.

 


katieannpc
by Member on Dec. 20, 2009 at 7:59 PM

 

Quoting Taijimum:

Yes, I agree about ownership of things being an extension of self-ownership, and that we each own ourselves.

I  understand what you're saying about young people who don't save, but want to acquire things, but that's not they type of people I'm talking about here.

Many of them own nothing that won't fit in their backpack, except maybe a bike.  They use everything to death - wearing 2d hand clothes patched with anarchist patches, they eat from dumpsters, they give their time and energy to preparing vegan meals to give away to hungry people in the park.  These are not materialistic stuff collectors.

This is fantastic! Save for the eating from dumpsters....So many are still so "stuff" oriented it is sickening.

They find it more sensible to live cheaply and not work, than to work and barely make it.  They appreciate food stamps because they like to eat.

I think I understand this well. This is part of the reason that government needs a good shove back too. They take entirely too much of everything. We have little choice but to work to make money...if for nothing more than to pay the taxes on our property.

Many of them are, or have been, students, but these are people more interested in living now than in getting a degree, although many of them recognize the value it can represent, and work toward something specific - not a lot of philosophy majors in this crowd; these are practical people who know how to do things for themselves.

But for the most part, they don't own things, or work toward owning things, and I think this is why they have no qualms about tagging, breaking the occasional window, or squatting in an empty house. 

Yes, the surest way to have and keep possessions is to have the freest possible society, but we don't have that.  We have the opposite of that, and that's what these kids have grown up with.  They have no idea what it really means to have the kind of control that ownership brings, and they have no background from which to want that.

What are their thoughts of their later life? Do they look forward to see what this lifestyle would be like with children in tow or whether they will be able to handle this lifestyle at 60 years old?

How can they come to have and understand what it means to really own something?  Collective housing of some kind?  The commune revisited?

How do we really own what matters most? To own land, we have to either save forever to get the full payment or be a slave to some bank for the majority of our adult life; then still pay taxes that are due every year. To own a car...you again have to pay the taxes on it and keep it legal per state laws. If you don't do as the state says, you can lose your land. If you don't keep up with the laws on your vehicle, they may not take it but if you drive it you risk fines and even jail time. You get a certificate of title for both of these major purchases, the actual titles stay with the state...so the state actually owns these property items.

How will collective housing or communal living help them understand the concept of ownership? Especially when it could easily be taken away.

I read a zine a couple years back - it was "Punx over 30" or somesuch - there was a story by an "old" punk who had bought a house, and was now dealing with vandalous youth.  Very interesting.

I know my kids grew up with a good sense of ownership, because they've always been able to really own their own things - no enforced sharing of personal items, and full respect for their rights of ownership.  But this isn't true for most people.

Actually, I tend to see two ends of the spectrum, with little in between. Young adults today either expect everyone else to cater to their needs and wants or they are fighting to do everything for themselves - without inerference or fear that someone (government) will take it from them.  Why should any of us work our entire life to pay for a nice piece of land we have to ask permission to do anything with and/or a decent vehicle only to have the possibility of losing it to the government if we don't pay their dues? I also see many people across the age spectrum of 20 - 60 who feel helpless. The thought is "well, what do you do?" Especially those of us with young children...do we risk arrest for simply living as we feel we should be able to? The way they did here 150+ years ago?

I just really think this is one of the keys to making a free society work.

What think y'all?

-=Lori

 I hope my reply here makes sense...I feel like I'm really missing something here that would pull it all together.

~ Katie

Quoting Shazer:

Since I believe in self-ownership, I believe as an extension you have ownership of your possessions.  Under anarchy, you simply get to have your stuff (and must pay to protect your stuff) whereas under any form of government, your stuff gets taken for purposes of the state.

So how do you convince the young who work and do not reap rewards?  I would argue that most young do not know how to save.  They waste money on college (because it is expected that you can't grow up until you've gone to school) instead of working.  They buy stuff instead of saving.  100 years ago, you wouldn't find the mass whine from younger people about not being able to acquire.  People can acquire, but it takes time and energy.  This is hard concept to understand when the government steals so much with social security, sales taxes, gas taxes, medicare.  Much of what people produce is taken away before they can even enjoy it.  And I can totally understand the individuals who ride the system because it is terribly frustrating to work just to have the product of your labors stolen.  If you look at production statistics from economically free nations versus controlled economies, you will find that the more opportunity there is to work and to benefit from your labors, the more that is produced.  Under say Soviet Russia, there were constant shortages of even the most basic of necessities because people were not rewarded for their work.  And anything they had could be taken away.  So the lesson here is that the surest way to have and keep possessions is to have the freest society possible.

 

 

 



Ten things I LOVE:  Music, Essential Oils, Beeswax Candles, Natural Jewelry, Streams & Rivers, Plants Internet, Renewable Energy, Recycling, Alternative/Integrative Medicine




 




 

lady.phoenix
by Group Owner on Dec. 21, 2009 at 5:17 AM


Quoting Taijimum:

These are good questions.

As to the first - I have never debated much with any of them other than my daughter, but they are mostly people who are well read in anarchist theory and issues, and not argumentative sorts.  I'm sure they discuss among themselves the finer points, but it's more a matter of debating within the realm of agreement.  I imagine most of them COULD argue their positions intelligently, but these are people who don't want to "rule" anyone else, or tell others what to do or what to think, so they don't argue to convince "unbelievers" for instance.

The reason why I ask if they argue their positions is really quite different than you think, I think.  :) 

First, let me explain that "ownership" should be, for this discussion, be defined as "control of a thing to the exclusion of others."

Any person who feels that they have to "convince" you to (meaning cannot simply make you) agree with their position acknowledges, implicitly, the concept of self-ownership (you own your ideas, for instance)...  no one else "can" own that which essentially makes "you" -you, and not someone else.

This is damning to the socialist argument.  Socialists want "everyone to own everything."  This is not possible.  You cannot own me, even a part of me, and socialism, even in an anarchist sense, implies that you own yourself as much as everyone else owns you.  It's a contradiction. 

Given that resources (like food) are finite, and may only be consumed by a single person at a single time (at no point does one person chewing and swallowing a bite of apple constitute everyone chewing and swallowing a bite of apple), ownership outside of "self" is INEVITABLE.  The second I take that food into my mouth, wear that article of clothing, occupy a space, I have owned something (possessed/controlled it to the exclusion of others).

So, whatever socialists try to "tout" isn't "community ownership" so much as "community controlled distribution of wealth."  This is, in effect, state.  This is why I have a hard time accepting a socialist argument, at all.

The second is a really good question!  I think this varies a lot from individual to individual, and generally includes a mix of both emotion and logic. 

This is also key.  How you appeal to a person, even if just initially, is determined by how that person is most effectively reached.  If these people come to an anarchist position because of emotional appeals, they respond to emotional arguments.  If they come to anarchy by logical means, then appealing to them should be done in a logical capacity.  It's always helpful to determine why before choosing a plan of attack.  :)

If you give me some specific examples of arguments which preclude property ownership, I'd be more than happy to discuss them with you. 


Taijimum
by on Jan. 7, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Howdy

Quoting lady.phoenix:

 

The reason why I ask if they argue their positions is really quite different than you think, I think.  :) 

I really didn't have any clue why you were asking.

First, let me explain that "ownership" should be, for this discussion, be defined as "control of a thing to the exclusion of others."

This is a good definition of ownership under any circumstances.

Any person who feels that they have to "convince" you to (meaning cannot simply make you) agree with their position acknowledges, implicitly, the concept of self-ownership (you own your ideas, for instance)...  no one else "can" own that which essentially makes "you" -you, and not someone else.

This is damning to the socialist argument.  Socialists want "everyone to own everything."  This is not possible.  You cannot own me, even a part of me, and socialism, even in an anarchist sense, implies that you own yourself as much as everyone else owns you.  It's a contradiction. 

Given that resources (like food) are finite, and may only be consumed by a single person at a single time (at no point does one person chewing and swallowing a bite of apple constitute everyone chewing and swallowing a bite of apple), ownership outside of "self" is INEVITABLE.  The second I take that food into my mouth, wear that article of clothing, occupy a space, I have owned something (possessed/controlled it to the exclusion of others).

So, whatever socialists try to "tout" isn't "community ownership" so much as "community controlled distribution of wealth."  This is, in effect, state.  This is why I have a hard time accepting a socialist argument, at all.

This is a good point, and a good damnation of socialism.  I think what baffles me with a lot of people in the group I'm talking about is that they DO support so many socialist ideas - that the state (which, as anarchists, they supposedly want to see eliminated) should provide us all with health care, for instance. 

I think most of them would say that they own themselves, and many of them are pretty self-responsible individuals.  But they still feel that "society" owes them something, and that's when I start trying to figure out what thought process could possibly hold the ideas of anarchy and socialism as compatibly desirable...

And what I keep coming back to in my mind is ownership in the larger, extended sense - controlling resources by buying them.  I think there is no conscious distinction made between individual ownership - me owning some land and therefore being able to protect the environment directly, for instance - and corporate ownership - a developer buying the same chunk of land and stressing/depleting the environment for profit.  The first scenario I see as quite compatible with anarchy - the second is not possible without government to define what a developer is, provide utility services to support the development, build roads to access the houses, etc.

Yes, of course an individual could buy property and cut down all the trees and build a development - but without government to back them, they would have to bear all the costs and consequences themselves, and I think this would have more of an affect than we can imagine.

I imagine that when these young people think of protecting the environment, as an example, what comes to their minds is the most prevalent example - various groups and agencies who accomplish their environmental goals by affecting legislation - this is "society protecting the environment".  I don't think they have gone far enough in their own thinking to imagine how this would be done without a legislative body.

In my mind, this is easy - without government, there is no one to give us "free" anything - if one is to advocate the abolition of government, one needs to start by finding answers to questions like environment and health care that don't involve government.

Without government to make deals with corporate interests, ownership would be a more individual matter.

 This is also key.  How you appeal to a person, even if just initially, is determined by how that person is most effectively reached.  If these people come to an anarchist position because of emotional appeals, they respond to emotional arguments.  If they come to anarchy by logical means, then appealing to them should be done in a logical capacity.  It's always helpful to determine why before choosing a plan of attack.  :)

If you give me some specific examples of arguments which preclude property ownership, I'd be more than happy to discuss them with you. 

I am less interested in appealing to anyone, or arguing to support the idea that current conditions preclude property ownership to many people, and more interested in finding practical ways to change things now.  I don't want to change anyone's mind, I just want to change their opportunities, change their examples.

I come to the ideas of collective ownership because I know this is something many of these people understand and have already embraced - the worker owned cafe or bookstore, for instance, or the cooperative grocery.  I think this is more likely for many of these young people than strictly individual ownership under current circumstances.

Voluntary association of  this type is perfectly compatible with anarchism.  Many of them live in collective situations already - as renters, paying the big bad landlord, whose ownership is perceived as negative to those who benefit from it by having an affordable place to live....

If they became the owners themselves, I think it would alter their thinking and make true anarchy more possible.

Thoughts?

-Lori


lady.phoenix
by Group Owner on Jan. 9, 2010 at 9:41 AM
Quoting Taijimum:

This is a good point, and a good damnation of socialism.  I think what baffles me with a lot of people in the group I'm talking about is that they DO support so many socialist ideas - that the state (which, as anarchists, they supposedly want to see eliminated) should provide us all with health care, for instance. 

Socialist ideals are that everyone owns everything.  The idea is then that everyone has equal opportunity to use/consume resources.  It's not that they think that the state should provide healthcare so much as that as part-owner, I have just as much right to it as everyone else......  does that make sense?  It seems, if I'm reading what you're saying correctly, they think that the closest thing to socialist anarchy is socialist state.  This means that coerced equality is more valuable, morally speaking, to them than uncoerced inequality.  I value an existence devoid of coercion more than a world where everyone is equal (presumably by any means).  That seems to be the disconnect between the two groups, and unfortunately, it seems that it's not one easily remedied.

Quoting Taijimum:

I think most of them would say that they own themselves, and many of them are pretty self-responsible individuals.  But they still feel that "society" owes them something, and that's when I start trying to figure out what thought process could possibly hold the ideas of anarchy and socialism as compatibly desirable...

Why do they feel that society owes them something?  Why do they feel that anyone owes them anything?  I am having a hard time coming up with possible answers to these questions.

Quoting Taijimum:

And what I keep coming back to in my mind is ownership in the larger, extended sense - controlling resources by buying them.  I think there is no conscious distinction made between individual ownership - me owning some land and therefore being able to protect the environment directly, for instance - and corporate ownership - a developer buying the same chunk of land and stressing/depleting the environment for profit.  The first scenario I see as quite compatible with anarchy - the second is not possible without government to define what a developer is, provide utility services to support the development, build roads to access the houses, etc.

Yes, of course an individual could buy property and cut down all the trees and build a development - but without government to back them, they would have to bear all the costs and consequences themselves, and I think this would have more of an affect than we can imagine.

You're absolutely right.  This situation, where corporations are considered separate individuals from the individuals who own them, is mutually advantageous for state and corporations...  a symbiosis of sorts.  Owners of corporations, as you say, bear none of the financial burden of bad business, and state gets to tax income twice, effectively doubling its income.  There's not incentive on EITHER side to change this relationship.

So effectively, instead of decrying all capitalism, which is what most socialists and socialist anarchists do, what they should be decrying is "corporatism."  And I agree, they fail to see the difference.

Also consider this...  You and I, average joes, we make chump change in the grand scheme of things.  Why does the government resist the passage of things like "flat tax" which would be, by all accounts, the most fair way to handle income tax?  Because it would have to take a pay cut.  It would have to tax corporations and executives less.  People in power want to remain in power.  This means more laws, more law enforcement, and ultimately requires more income (tax).  And how many people think slavery ended with the civil war??

But I digress...

Quoting Taijimum:

I imagine that when these young people think of protecting the environment, as an example, what comes to their minds is the most prevalent example - various groups and agencies who accomplish their environmental goals by affecting legislation - this is "society protecting the environment".  I don't think they have gone far enough in their own thinking to imagine how this would be done without a legislative body.

These young people fail to realize that all legislation does is protect people from consequences.  All law does is make us less responsible for our actions. 

I know that below you say that you're not about convincing anyone of anything...  It doesn't have to be convincing people to believe one thing or another, but convincing them to think at all in the first place.  :)  Most people don't, and that's a tragic fact. 

In this instance, you need to ask questions.  Engage them.  If they haven't thought that far, you need to encourage them to do so.  As the "elder" to a bunch of youngins who probably were brainwashed by public education (at some point in their lives), I'd consider it your duty to save as many minds as you could.  ;)  And that doesn't mean to make them exactly like you...  because equality would be ridiculously boring.

How's that?

Quoting Taijimum:

In my mind, this is easy - without government, there is no one to give us "free" anything - if one is to advocate the abolition of government, one needs to start by finding answers to questions like environment and health care that don't involve government.

I think that you're starting in the wrong place........  Or maybe I should go back to the logic versus emotion thing...

The only instance in which finding "answers to questions" about an unforeseeable and absolutely unpredicable future is a "starting point" in my opinion, is one in which a proper foundation has yet to be laid.  It's like putting a bandaid on a 3rd degree burn.  You gotta start by healing the skin underneath.

I can advocate the abolition of government all the day long, but I don't envision a utopian paradise.  Invariably, when I've not taken the time to lay out the proper foundation, and I allow people to jump right into hypothetical situations, the question is, "What's to stop people from killing one another for no reason?" or some insanely short-sighted comment like that.  And my answer is always, "What stops that from happening today?  Oh, wait, it does happen today."  And the significance of that statement is lost because people EXPECT us to have the "answers" to those sorts of problems.  Anyone claiming they have answers is a charlatan.  We cannot, under any circumstance, stop people from killing one another for no reason, save for killing everyone else.  It's a practical impossibility.

So I think the first step is to explain why the absence of state is preferred, why ownership is inevitable, and make it abundantly clear that the only real purpose is to be more free than we are today...  Once that's clear, then it's much easier to move on to why being more free doesn't have to equal more "bad" stuff, which is where the "answers" to questions like healthcare and the enviornment come in.  But jumping into those sorts of scenarios straight out of the gate...  it's like trying to teach my 6 year old calculus without a proper understanding of multiplication.

Quoting Taijimum:

Without government to make deals with corporate interests, ownership would be a more individual matter.

Indeed.  When an individual feels tangible consequences for poor behaviors they are much less likely to repeat those poor behaviors.  This is much like your example in another thread about raising your children.  ;)

Quoting Taijimum:

I am less interested in appealing to anyone, or arguing to support the idea that current conditions preclude property ownership to many people, and more interested in finding practical ways to change things now.  I don't want to change anyone's mind, I just want to change their opportunities, change their examples.

Practical ways to change things now...  how can you hope to change anything beyond yourself ever if you're not interested in appealing to people? 

Change their opportuinties to what?  Why does "equal opportunity" jump to my mind upon reading that......?

Do you mean changing hypothetical examples they entertain?  Or changing yourself to be a better example to them?

Quoting Taijimum:

I come to the ideas of collective ownership because I know this is something many of these people understand and have already embraced - the worker owned cafe or bookstore, for instance, or the cooperative grocery.  I think this is more likely for many of these young people than strictly individual ownership under current circumstances.

The problem with this mentality is that if you screw up, everyone suffers.  People who advocate socialism are all about the benefits.  Everyone does good, everyone gets rewarded.  How is it EVER "right" (morally) that everyone pays for my mistakes?  Socialized ownership of property has historically lead to irresponsibility, which is why socialist states like the USSR become authoritarian.  If your populace has no incentive to produce, how are you going insure that they do?  And when your producitivity of things like food drops so low that people start to starve...  how is your society going to choose who eats and who doesn't?

Not you, specifically...  just using you as an example.  :)

Quoting Taijimum:

Voluntary association of  this type is perfectly compatible with anarchism.  Many of them live in collective situations already - as renters, paying the big bad landlord, whose ownership is perceived as negative to those who benefit from it by having an affordable place to live....

I would argue that voluntary association is the CORNERSTONE of market anarchism, but not socialist anarchism.  Socialist anarchism necessarily negates the idea of voluntary association.

I'll say it again:  It seems, if I'm reading what you're saying correctly, they think that the closest thing to socialist anarchy is socialist state.  This means that coerced equality is more valuable, morally speaking, to them than uncoerced inequality.

If this is true, I'm an anarchist (one who desires no state) first, and these people are socialists first.  That has some pretty serious implications with regard to the mentality of those who would support such an ideology.

Do you mean by "collective situations - as renters" that several of them work and live together and pay rent for a single living space?

Quoting Taijimum:

If they became the owners themselves, I think it would alter their thinking and make true anarchy more possible.

This isn't a bad idea.  The problem is the scope, I think. 

I'd like to see the logic behind, "I can't own everything I want to own therefore no one should own anything!!"  Maybe I'm misunderstanding...

Taijimum
by on Jan. 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Okay, I'm starting from the middle ;^)

you said:  I know that .. you say ..you're not about convincing anyone of anything...  It doesn't have to be convincing people to believe one thing or another, but convincing them to think at all in the first place.  :)  Most people don't, and that's a tragic fact.  .. you need to ask questions.  Engage them.  If they haven't thought that far, you need to encourage them to do so.  As the "elder" to a bunch of youngins who probably were brainwashed by public education (at some point in their lives), I'd consider it your duty to save as many minds as you could.  ;)  And that doesn't mean to make them exactly like you...  because equality would be ridiculously boring.....How's that?

Well, that's pretty damn good!  Let me begin by explaining my personal approach to change.

I cannot change anyone's mind, or bring anyone unwilling around to my way of thinking.  Therefore arguing or trying to convince anyone of anything is pointless and a waste of time.

I can act individually in ways which support my own values, and create change.

I can learn, and I can share knowledge with others who have an interest in what I know.  This is one way I can create change.

I can also create the structures for change.  I can do this without having to convince anyone of anything. 

Using homeschooling as an example, I  can choose to homeschool my own kids.  This supports the idea that state is unnecessary to educate my kids, and provides an example that this is true.

By making myself available as a contact for others interested in homeschooling, I can share what I know with people who are already interested.  This brings more people into homeschooling, equips them with knowledge about the relevant law and their choices, provides them an example and gives them confidence to proceed.

Around 15 years ago, I helped create an unschooling support network which is still going strong, and still adheres to the founding principles - it is free, consensus based, and nonreligious.  There was at the time (and still is) a great need for homeschool support that was not religiously based.  A non-religious based support group attracted mostly unschoolers, and is now a weekly unschooling co-op.

So, I multiplied my individual action, provided more support for the idea that the state is not needed to educate children, and more examples to prove that this is true.  All without having to convince anyone of anything.  

While this is a group of varied religious and political views, most of which do not agree with mine, I have created a group of people who are more receptive to other ideas I may have, because they respect me regarding this one issue we have in common. 

I will happily engage in sharing information with anyone who is interested, but I haven't the slightest desire to make anyone be "like me".  I find that this approach - starting with an area of common interest and sharing knowledge - is the only way to really affect the mind of another.

If I begin, instead, with the idea that someone is brainwashed and unable to think, and it is my duty to set them straight, I will fail.  I will fail because I have begun by creating a "me vs. you" dichotomy; I have begun with a readymade conflict, where one of us (me) is right and one of us (you) is already wrong.

I DO engage people (in this case  my daughter's punk friends) in the spirit of sharing knowledge with each other, knowing that I am as likely to learn from them as they are from me.

In this conversation with you, I am striving to better understand the wide spectrum of anarchist thought so that I might be more effective in creating the kind of change I want.  So for  me, it's basically all about my own self interest ;^)

Quoting lady.phoenix:
Socialist ideals are that everyone owns everything.  The idea is then that everyone has equal opportunity to use/consume resources.  It's not that they think that the state should provide healthcare so much as that as part-owner, I have just as much right to it as everyone else......  does that make sense?  It seems, if I'm reading what you're saying correctly, they think that the closest thing to socialist anarchy is socialist state.  This means that coerced equality is more valuable, morally speaking, to them than uncoerced inequality.  I value an existence devoid of coercion more than a world where everyone is equal (presumably by any means).  That seems to be the disconnect between the two groups, and unfortunately, it seems that it's not one easily remedied
.

I think you've hit it on the head here.  The idea that everyone owns everything (or should) and therefore has an equal right to a piece of it.  I'm intrigued by this idea of coerced equality vs. uncoerced inequality.    Even though many of them live as if they embrace the ideas, I think most of them would reject both the ideas of state, and the idea of coerced equality. 

I personally don't believe equality or coercion are necessary or desirable.

I'm gonna let this roll around in my head and ferment....  And I'll get on to addressing the rest of your post before too long! 

Right now, my collective wants to be fed.....

-Lori

 

Taijimum
by on Jan. 27, 2010 at 1:42 AM

Okay, now I'm starting from the end....and I've taken several bits out of their original order....

YOU: I'd like to see the logic behind, "I can't own everything I want to own therefore no one should own anything!!"  Maybe I'm misunderstanding...

ME:  I think it's more like "I have no hope of ever owning anything, so therefore I have no respect for the property you own"

Quoting Taijimum:

I come to the ideas of collective ownership because I know this is something many of these people understand and have already embraced - the worker owned cafe or bookstore, for instance, or the cooperative grocery.  I think this is more likely for many of these young people than strictly individual ownership under current circumstances.

YOU:  The problem with this mentality is that if you screw up, everyone suffers.  People who advocate socialism are all about the benefits.  Everyone does good, everyone gets rewarded.  How is it EVER "right" (morally) that everyone pays for my mistakes?  Socialized ownership of property has historically lead to irresponsibility, which is why socialist states like the USSR become authoritarian.  If your populace has no incentive to produce, how are you going insure that they do?  And when your producitivity of things like food drops so low that people start to starve...  how is your society going to choose who eats and who doesn't?

Not you, specifically...  just using you as an example.  :)

ME: I'm neither advocating socialism nor claiming that "society" should somehow be collectively owned.  I'm just talking about voluntary collective ownership, alongside  individual ownership, within a society.  Any suffering or joy resulting from the transaction would be self-limited, only affecting those individuals who voluntarily formed the collective in question. 

Quoting Taijimum:

Voluntary association of  this type is perfectly compatible with anarchism.  Many of them live in collective situations already - as renters, paying the big bad landlord, whose ownership is perceived as negative to those who benefit from it by having an affordable place to live....

YOU: I would argue that voluntary association is the CORNERSTONE of market anarchism, but not socialist anarchism.  Socialist anarchism necessarily negates the idea of voluntary association.

ME: I don't understand how socialist anarchism negates voluntary association.

YOU:...Do you mean by "collective situations - as renters" that several of them work and live together and pay rent for a single living space?

ME:  Yes.   In this situation, I'm talking about several people renting a house together; often, they turn garages, basements, closets, or whatever into bedrooms - the goal being to lower everyone's rent as much as possible.  In some houses, this is kind of a free for all; in some, it's very organized.  My daughter's place has posted rules for guests, regular house meetings, and a white board to keep track of who owes how much for what.  The housemates don't necessarily work together, but it sometimes works out that way.

Quoting Taijimum:

If they became the owners themselves, I think it would alter their thinking and make true anarchy more possible.

YOU: This isn't a bad idea.  The problem is the scope, I think. 

ME: I'm familiar with various types of collective living situations - friends who've turned their basements into separate apartments, but share the kitchen;  people buying houses in proximity to one another and forming intentional communities; "commune" type arrangements where the land is collectively bought and separate living spaces built....

Here, I'm just thinking out loud and picking your brain, and imagining ways to bridge the gap that would make my imaginary world (like yours, a form of market anarchy) and their imaginary world (what would seem to be a more socialist economy) more compatible.

YOU: I'll say it again:  It seems, if I'm reading what you're saying correctly, they think that the closest thing to socialist anarchy is socialist state.  This means that coerced equality is more valuable, morally speaking, to them than uncoerced inequality.

If this is true, I'm an anarchist (one who desires no state) first, and these people are socialists first.  That has some pretty serious implications with regard to the mentality of those who would support such an ideology.

ME:  My gut feeling is that these people are anarchists first, and simply lack the experience or frame of reference to see the potential of market mechanisms.  

YOU:  Why do they feel that society owes them something?  Why do they feel that anyone owes them anything?  I am having a hard time coming up with possible answers to these questions..

ME:  Yeah- I have a tough time with that one.  But I think you nailed it already - this is a socialist idea, the idea that everyone deserves something even if they do nothing "from each according to ability; to each according to need", right?

YOU: This situation, where corporations are considered separate individuals from the individuals who own them, is mutually advantageous for state and corporations...  So effectively, instead of decrying all capitalism, which is what most socialists and socialist anarchists do, what they should be decrying is "corporatism."  And I agree, they fail to see the difference.

ME: Along with ownership, I'd say understanding this difference (between corporatism and capitalism) is one of the fundamental things that will bridge this gap.

Quoting Taijimum:

In my mind, this is easy - without government, there is no one to give us "free" anything - if one is to advocate the abolition of government, one needs to start by finding answers to questions like environment and health care that don't involve government.

YOU:  I think that you're starting in the wrong place........  Or maybe I should go back to the logic versus emotion thing...

The only instance in which finding "answers to questions" about an unforeseeable and absolutely unpredicable future is a "starting point" in my opinion, is one in which a proper foundation has yet to be laid.  It's like putting a bandaid on a 3rd degree burn.  You gotta start by healing the skin underneath.

I can advocate the abolition of government all the day long, but I don't envision a utopian paradise.  Invariably, when I've not taken the time to lay out the proper foundation, and I allow people to jump right into hypothetical situations, the question is, "What's to stop people from killing one another for no reason?" or some insanely short-sighted comment like that.  And my answer is always, "What stops that from happening today?  Oh, wait, it does happen today."  And the significance of that statement is lost because people EXPECT us to have the "answers" to those sorts of problems.  Anyone claiming they have answers is a charlatan.  We cannot, under any circumstance, stop people from killing one another for no reason, save for killing everyone else.  It's a practical impossibility.

So I think the first step is to explain why the absence of state is preferred, why ownership is inevitable, and make it abundantly clear that the only real purpose is to be more free than we are today...  Once that's clear, then it's much easier to move on to why being more free doesn't have to equal more "bad" stuff, which is where the "answers" to questions like healthcare and the enviornment come in.  But jumping into those sorts of scenarios straight out of the gate...  it's like trying to teach my 6 year old calculus without a proper understanding of multiplication.

ME:  I disagree with you here.  The environment and health care are examples of current problems which the government is out to "fix" for us.  These are not issues of the unforeseeable future, they are current events.  This is not hypothetical.

I don't envision a utopian paradise, nor do I imagine we have one now.  My starting place is right here, right now, starting with what I have this minute.  I don't want to explain to anyone why the absence of the state is preferred, I want to live right now doing for myself  what the state claims it must do for me.  I want to prove that the state is unnecessary.

Take health care, for instance.  I have not had health insurance for nearly 30 years.  I've had 4 children without health insurance.  I don't want health insurance.  I take full responsibility for my own health care, using an eclectic array of alternative health care providers, wild and cultivated plants readily available out my own back door, good nutrition, and anything else that works for me and my family - none of which costs anyone else a penny, or requires government intervention.

When I share what I know, and help  others become more independent and proactive in their own health care, I enable them to do for themselves rather than depend on the state to do for them. 

Quoting Taijimum:

I am less interested in appealing to anyone, or arguing to support the idea that current conditions preclude property ownership to many people, and more interested in finding practical ways to change things now.  I don't want to change anyone's mind, I just want to change their opportunities, change their examples.

YOU:  Practical ways to change things now...  how can you hope to change anything beyond yourself ever if you're not interested in appealing to people? 

Change their opportuinties to what?  Why does "equal opportunity" jump to my mind upon reading that......?

Do you mean changing hypothetical examples they entertain?  Or changing yourself to be a better example to them?

ME:  I'd have to pick  "changing myself to be a better example".

I don't know why you think "equal opportunity", that's not what I was thinking. 

I find I don't have to appeal to anyone if I offer them something they already want.  When people are already interested in doing for themselves, for instance, and already interested in less government, they are receptive to hearing information regarding how to do things for themselves in a way that doesn't involve the government.  It doesn't matter if I agree with them on varying points of political philosophy, or if they agree with me.

I think most people want to feel some control over their own lives.  I think ownership is the best way to get a feeling of control over one's own life.  I'd like to see people who already agree with me about other  fundamental points experience ownership and therefore come to understand how important it is in creating the type of society we both want.

I have no idea what shape this will take yet, if any.  But I know that the better understanding I have of where they're coming from, and the clearer idea I have of possible alternatives (in this case, various ownership scenarios), the more likely I am to come up with a good idea, or have a conversation that makes something happen.

I think that you are speaking in terms of making a good argument, of how to talk to people to convince them that anarchy is a good idea, or that your type of anarchy is the best.  So what you are saying may be great advice for how to make a good argument.

But I have no interest in arguing or convincing people of anything. 

I am interested in starting with the world I find myself in now, and making it more like the world I want to be in.  I cannot do this with good arguments, only by connecting with others who already agree with me about something (the need for good local food, homeschooling, alternative health issues....) and creating the structures (co-op grocery, farmers market, homeschool support group, healing circle....) that will sustain the change I seek.

It is toward this end that I seek information.  Your insight has helped me to better understand the situation/people I was originally asking about, and given me a lot to think about!  Thank you!

-LL

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