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Inquire into this: “CEO pay and benefits on the rise”
Posted: 29 August 2007 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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And to complete the idea, who is going to make a really good educational system reachable for all? The ones who could have their position threatened by the masses skilled enough to understand what they decide?. I have my doubts.

We have here free college with a reasonable quality. But you need to reach this free college, the public middle and initial education are far from good.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Barto - 29 August 2007 04:47 PM

Their succes is not to make the company more succesful, is to raise the stock price to increase their wealth. Sometimes, increase the stock price has nothing to do with create real wealth or make real contributions to our life standard, and sometimes, to increase the stock price is convenient to do things that are far from convenient to the rest of us. I think it is the big problem, not the high CEO salary. I disagree with Milton Friedman claiming that anything that is good to companies is ultimately good for the society.

I couldnt agree more, Barto.

Their pay is symptomatic and not the illness itself. Again, the problem is in the way the coporation is structured. It is not structured to serve the community or the workers, but rather the “investors.”

I dont think its necessary to go over the history of corporations, the 18th amendment or “corporate personhood.” But I think we - outside of George and maybe some others - recognize that there is something awfully wrong with CEO pay and how the economy is structured. We dont have to do away with competition. When I hear that argument I immediately can tell that whoever is saying that is wrongly assuming that I am talking about putting the power in the hands of a state, which I most certainly am not. I am talking about putting that power in the hands of the workers and the communities through some form of direct councils.

Again, we can see it quite clearly in terms of political organization. When the public is shut out completely and decisions are made by dictators or kings, we see the all-too-easy potential for corruption, exploitation and disaster.

Why on Earth would it be any different for the economy? A tyranny is a tyranny is a tyranny, whether private or state. And, the best way to avoid a tyranny is the broadening and separation of powers.

The best way to manage things is to allow those effected by decisions to have some form of say in the formulating and determining those decisions being made, whether at home, work, school or society.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Barto - 29 August 2007 05:10 PM
truthaddict - 29 August 2007 04:53 PM

democratize the economy!

top down authority has always ended with corruption and exploitation. you dont have to get rid of competition if you run things from the bottom up.

the top-down form of political government has shown to be oppressive. it is more than equally true in case of economics.

Well,  but let me skeptic about the real posibility of a democratization in economy. The things in business and economics are quite dificult. I mean, it is not rocket science, but I have no problems to admit that the average decisition taken in a management meeting deals with a lot of things that are far from the education received for the guy who is moving boxes in the warehouse.

Let me be raw: the wareshouse guy would understand that the manager earns more than he beacuse the manager wrong decision could cost to the company far more than his wrong decisition?. Or he/she would understand that we should buy an expensive equipment in order to mantain us in the market and that this prevents us to raise salaries?. Maybe this sounds terrible, but I think that the democracy to be sucessful needs a lot of educated persons (please, don’t understand that I think that there is anything innate in the people’s skill, I think it is a matter of education).

To resume that, I think to democratize the economy is a good idea, but we are far away from being able to put it in practice.

Barto,

Lets save this for tomorrow. I got alot to say and time is running short for my day. Ill talk to you more on this tomorrow.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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TA,

Can you please explain to me how libertarian socialism works?  I am interested, I just don’t understand how it can function.  The US follows a capitalist philosophy; the term libertarian socialism strikes me as inconsistent.  If libertarian socialism will only function if a majority of the people believe in the principles, then I think this is a pipe dream.

[ Edited: 30 August 2007 08:55 AM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 30 August 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Barto,

I am opting for the short answer cause Im a bit busy at work today (or at least right now, but I do want to respond).

Skepticism is more than welcome. Actually, it’s vital.

So, what you are asserting is that we need either a centralized government or economic center that is top-down. Otherwise business decisions, schools, etc would not be feasible. We need some centralized authority to make those decisions.

Thats balderdash. Citizens and workers are more intuned to their needs than any privileged class of authoritarians - be it legislators, governors or corporate bosses. As a citizen and a worker I know what services and items I need. We dont need a corporate executive to build machinery anymore than we need them to run a business. I see nothing that would block an organized society that is structured and operated from bottom-up from being able to build roads, hospitals, schools (plus their currciculum - in the US we have Parent Teachers Association - which unknowingly follows the anarchist ideas of free associations designed to resolve such issues), factories, etc.

———

retrospy,

like I just said above to Barto. libertarian socialism is running things from the bottom up; leveling the playing field; broadening the powers so that those effected can have a say in making those decisions. consider Bakunin’s criticism of “communism.” that is socialism operated from the top-down, where it concentrates the authority and ownership into the state. libertarian socialism does the opposite. from an anthropological perspective there have been numerous socieites all over the planet throughout time that have operated on many of the libertarian socialist values - and almost all of the labor struggles on any continent and in any country have shared the principles (Three Musketeers: All for one, and one for all!). but in modern terms I would suggest looking at Spain (in particualr Barcelona and Catalonia) when the anarchists were in the saddle; and the short-lived successes that the Ukraine were able to achieve shortly after the Russian Revolution and before the Bolsheviks brutally suppressed what Nestor Makhno and others collectively built up.

I would also say look at the concept of Parent Teachers Association (PTA) as a good example that could be improved upon and applied to nearly everything else. Though flawed, the concept that there should be some association between parents and teachers to deal with the curriculum that effects our children has many of the currents of anarchism/Libertarian Socialism.

Errico Malatesta said it well when he wrote:

“Free participation of all, by means of the spontaneous grouping of men according to their requirements and their sympathies, from the bottom to the top, from the simple to the complex, starting with the most urgent interests and arriving in the end at the most remote and most general, a social oranization would emerge the function of which would be the greatest wellbeing and the greatest freedom of everybody, and would draw together the whole of mankind into a community of comdradeship, and would be modified and improved according to changing circumstances and the lessons learned from experience. This society of free people, this society of friends is Anarchy.”

We can look at Western Democracy - or the US in general - and while accepting its flaws (big and small) we can see there is still something good about it, especially when we compare it to some monarchy or dictatorship. And, we dont have to read Tom Paine to see what it is. Likewise, we dont necessarily have to read Noam Chomsky or Michael Albert to see that many of the strucutal issues of economic ogranization have the same problems: top to bottom hierarchy that breeds exploitation, injustices and corruption. The remedy is generally simple: organize from the bottom up!

alot of folks show skepticism and it makes sense. when you spend your lives in any form of bondage it becomes your reality and a different world doesnt look possible. Again, Errico Malatesta:

“Man, like all living beings, adapts himself to the conditions in which he lives, and transmits by inheritance his acquired habits. Thus, being born and having lived in bondage, being the descendant of a long line of slaves, man, when he began to think, believed that slavery was an essential condition of life, and liberty seemed to him impossible. In like manner, the workman, forced for centuries to depend upon the goodwill of his employer for work, that is, for bread, and accustomed to see his own life at the disposal of those who possess the land and capital, has ended in believing that it is his master who gives him food, and asks ingenuously how it would be possible to live, if there were no master over him?

“In the same way, a man whose limbs had been bound from birth, but who had neverless found out how to hobble about, might attribute to the very bands that bound him his ability to move, while, on the contrary, they would diminish and paralyze the muscular energy of his limbs.”

and such changes - from the capitalist wilderness to libertarian socialism - couldnt and wouldnt occur over nite. it takes the three activist steps that I try to mention frequently: get educated, get organized, get active.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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truthaddict - 30 August 2007 09:46 AM

I am opting for the short answer cause Im a bit busy at work today (or at least right now, but I do want to respond).

Don’t worry, it is a very interesting topic to me (the alternatives to capitalism as we know it, since it’s clear to me that we need alternatives but I don’t see options), so I can wait until you have time, if this topic is interest to you.

So, what you are asserting is that we need either a centralized government or economic center that is top-down. Otherwise business decisions, schools, etc would not be feasible. We need some centralized authority to make those decisions.

No, in fact, I am not asserting anything, I am wondering. While here we have some experience with worker rule companies (*), I see that the most sucessfull companies are ruled by a privileged class of ‘business man’, educated and trained to conduct their business. I’d be happy to see another reality, really really happy. I wonder if what we need is that the decision were taken by a kind of aristocracy, based on their training, knowledge and skill. Of course a system in which the goods ideas see the light no matter who is proposing them would be perfect. Of course, being educated to be a CEO doens’t mean that the person is prepared to manage a company, and it’s argueable that the knowledge is in the CEOs quite often, but in one part or another, knowledge matters.

As a citizen and a worker I know what services and items I need. We dont need a corporate executive to build machinery anymore than we need them to run a business. I see nothing that would block an organized society that is structured and operated from bottom-up from being able to build roads, hospitals, schools (plus their currciculum - in the US we have Parent Teachers Association - which unknowingly follows the anarchist ideas of free associations designed to resolve such issues), factories, etc.

Well, but it took me a lot of years to be able to make the decision I take in my daily work (and sometimes I make mistakes). I don’t know if the libertartian socialism takes into account the skill and knowledge factors in decistion making (I am not claiming that id doens’t), but I think knowledge is something very important in decision making.

Can you recomend a reading about libertarian socialism?

(*) The 2001 crisis destroyed a lot of companies and business. Some of them were taken by the former employees and managed through the crisis. When the economy fixed, this companies start to generate profit and some of them were claimed by their former owners. Sometimes the justice backed the employees and sometimes the former owners. Some of the workers ruled company (‘recovered companies’, we call them here) are quite sucessful, and often they supply their need of expert advice with consultancy in public college, but sometimes they face troubles with growth, because they need expert advice on many areas (logistic, finance) and the expert employees in these fields emigrated to more secure jobs when the economy started to growth.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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truthaddict - 30 August 2007 09:46 AM

libertarian socialism is running things from the bottom up; leveling the playing field; broadening the powers so that those effected can have a say in making those decisions.

Who enforces leveling the playing field?  How does everyone get a say?  Does that mean only those passionate about the topic?  Is it up to the individual to stay informed?  What role do leaders play in this society?  What does libertarian socialism look like in an uneducated society?  or un motivated society?

truthaddict - 30 August 2007 09:46 AM

We can look at Western Democracy - or the US in general - and while accepting its flaws (big and small) we can see there is still something good about it, especially when we compare it to some monarchy or dictatorship. And, we dont have to read Tom Paine to see what it is. Likewise, we dont necessarily have to read Noam Chomsky or Michael Albert to see that many of the strucutal issues of economic ogranization have the same problems: top to bottom hierarchy that breeds exploitation, injustices and corruption. The remedy is generally simple: organize from the bottom up!

and such changes - from the capitalist wilderness to libertarian socialism - couldnt and wouldnt occur over nite. it takes the three activist steps that I try to mention frequently: get educated, get organized, get active.

I agree with you, that educated, informed, organized & active people can recognize the strengths of western democracy and the weaknesses that need to be avoided and that this can’t happen overnight.  Do you think that our present day government is a necessary middle road or stepping stone in light of all the uneducated, uniformed, unorganized, inactive or some variation of the four?

Do you think that all good education leads to this libertarian socialist philosophy?  How long do you think it will take for a libertarian socialist government to take place, given our present condition?

A promising bit of information, I have been researching a lot of businesses lately and found a common movement in business to restructure boss-peon relationships in the form of more parallel group structure to reinforce motivation & innovation.  A lot of studies are being done showing it is more beneficial to reinforce positives as opposed to the dominate business philosophy of eliminating negatives.  This seems to follow the bottom up structure, maybe your philosophy is the future zeitgeist?

[ Edited: 30 August 2007 10:46 AM by retrospy ]
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Posted: 30 August 2007 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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barto,

youre right. you werent asserting. that was a poor choice of words on my part. i should have used wondering or something synonymous

im becoming more and more familiar with the Argentine labor history. Actually, im reading a biography on Buenaventura Durruti - the Spanish anarchist and revolutionary - who spent some time in Argentina and before the author went into his encounters in the country they did a quick summary of the conditions at the time and some history on the labor movements (Durruti was there in the 1920s) and I fell in love with the labor movement and history of Argentina!!

Noam Chomsky has a great pamphlet about Libertarian Socialism, Government in the Future. Also, I would suggest stuff by Murray Bookchin and the anarchist historian, Paul Avrich and the classics by Errico Malatesta, Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Berkman, Nestor Makhno, Michael Bakunin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Daniel Guerin, etc. The anarchsit experiments in revolutionary Spain and Ukraine are other good things to read. Even Paul Avrich’s history book on the Kronstadt uprising can give you good glimpses into how such experiments structure themselves.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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retrospy,

Those are great questions. I would suggest reading anarchist histories on the Spanish and Russian revolution (things by Abel Paz, Paul Avrich, Murray Bookchin and Max Nattlau). I suggest them because they go into more detail than I can or want to on here, but I would say that:

Who enforces leveling the playing field?

the workers and community through direct councils or mutual associations. again, these things were done in Spain and the Ukraine during their revolutions. For Spain I would look at histories of the CNT, FAI and for Ukraine I would look at stuff on or by Nestor Makhno.

How does everyone get a say?

even in anarchist or revolutionary organizations there is hiearchy, so there is leadership. in viewing histories of these examples you see that there is a constant struggle to maintain the goal and to avoid sliding into some oligarchy, etc. In Spain, Buenaventura Durruti was being urged to seek leadership roles in the CNT, etc, because of the influence he had as an individual but he always turned it down because he was opposed to “professionalism” and felt the best and most meaningful work was with the workers. When he was doing his revolutionary work around Europe or the Americas he was always a worker himself doing odd trades. In our society - which has a tinge of bottom-up element to it - we see huge discrepancies between public opinion and official policy. In the anarchsit experiments this isnt how it worked. If workers in a certain industry in a certain city needed or wanted to do certain things there was an open discussion and an agreement made, then the leaders would execute the will of the workers. Sometimes mistakes were made, sometimes not.

Does that mean only those passionate about the topic?  Is it up to the individual to stay informed?

yes, but one of the first acts of revolutions is propaganda (I dont mean that in the modern since of disinformation, but in the sense of informing the community, workers, etc ) so, going back to Durruti, he and his friends would work with others, talk to them and listen to them and develope bonds, etc. Actually, I have this thing of mine in organizing where I say: I will not talk TO anyone, but I will talk WITH anyone. anarchism is about individualism - hince the “libertarian” - but its the fusion of egotism and community - hince “all for one, and one for all.” so yeah, certainly it is up to the individual to be passioante and stay informed. anarchsits certainly dont seek to coerce others and we push the notion of free association. But as Durruti demonstrated, talking and working WITH people is the best means of getting and keeping people passionate and informed. Look back at any labor movement and you see this spirit of comradery.

What role do leaders play in this society?

 

the executers of the people’s will. when direction and decision is made by the people it is the leaders job to carry that out. As opposed to our President calling himself “the decider.”

What does libertarian socialism look like in an uneducated society?  or un motivated society?

It would all depend on what you mean by uneducated. Revolutionary spirit has always been stronger and more effective in rural areas, so take away from that what you will. As for unmotivated, if anarchists are not effective at motivating the workers and community then it wont look like anything because it wont exist

Do you think that our present day government is a necessary middle road or stepping stone in light of all the uneducated, uniformed, unorganized, inactive or some variation of the four?

no, because I think the “in light of” is wrong. Without having a theoretical knowledge of terms if you talk to the average worker you will likely find that they are aware of these things in some general concept. Also, I dont think our present government is necessary because I think the perception is all wrong. Try looking at it as not being a road or stepping stone in the direction of economic, social and political liberation but as pacifying attempts to maintain archaic structures. A look at history should show that all of our achievements have been the product of popular movements, struggles and revolutions that authority has seized to maintain and keep from going too far (meaning dismanteling centralized and top down authority). In other words, I see them not as stepping stones, but as obstacles. Upton Sinclair, the socialist writer, compiled an anthology on social justice that uses literature to chronicle the consistent cries for justice: Cry for Justice. If you can find this book, browse through it and you will notice a central theme in humanity regardless of culture or time: the general public is seeking to break free from bondage of coercive authority from above and is seeking to forge mutual bonds to manage our own affairs.

Do you think that all good education leads to this libertarian socialist philosophy?

In some general and vague sense, yeah. Keep in mind that the term “libertarian socialism” is and can be interpreted broadly or interchangable with other terms and concepts of humanity. The whole purpose of a “good education” is to liberate our minds, grow and expand so that we can be better informed citizens in a collective society. Havent you ever wondered why we call the “liberal arts” liberal? Likewise, havent you ever noticed that the liberal arts - the bleeding hearts and artists - have some “radical” feature to it, some call to liberate ourselves from coercion by free expression or knowledge gained? Why isnt business management considered a liberal study? I will tell you why. Because its modern sense is basically - not entirely - akin to neo-fascism and is often times advocates authoritarian management.

How long do you think it will take for a libertarian socialist government to take place, given our present condition?

I have no clue. They say the darkest hour is just before dawn. No one thought slavery could be abolished in 1855, but less than twenty years later, the actions of anarchists like Josiah Warren (one of the earliest american anarchsits) and others like William Lloyd Garison and John Brown were materialized. And, what did the government do? Seize upon it to make it its victory and maintained it to keep from going too far. Which is why Jim Crow laws were instituted and why black people still were not free and that it would be another century before the Civil Rights movement emerged to push the envelope.

A lot of studies are being done showing it is more beneficial to reinforce positives as opposed to the dominate business philosophy of eliminating negatives.  This seems to follow the bottom up structure, maybe your philosophy is the future zeitgeist?

Try and look at things like this, this way: it is becoming too apparent that the current structure will not last or be intolerated too much longer. What these studies suggest, im willing to bet, is that leaders should allow a bit of revolution but not too much in order to maintain the status quo. To use one last historical example. Take the New Deal that FDR implemented. Up untill that point there was a rather militant struggle to fight for those rights and much more. FDR knew that a revolution was brewing and to maintain the existing political and economic structure as much as possible, he threw some bones to the starving pack of wolves. I think if you can look back at the labor movement history up untill the New Deal you will see that. But what immediately followed? Attempts to undermine. Look up the “Mohawk Valley” formula and look at modern policies of Wal-Mart.

Okay, I lied. I got one more historical example: in two days we will have Labor Day. The real Labor Day is May Day: May 1st. Why? What is the historical significance in the US? Look up info on the Haymarket Riot and how the labor movement wanted to use May 1st as the official Labor Day and how the then US president aribtrarily chose September 1st so as not to give in too much to the labor movement. What was the Haymarket Riot about, in response to and who were the usual suspects? Anarchists fighting for an eight-hour work day!

[ Edited: 30 August 2007 12:41 PM by truthaddict ]
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Posted: 30 August 2007 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Do you think that our present day government is a necessary middle road or stepping stone in light of all the uneducated, uniformed, unorganized, inactive or some variation of the four?

I wanted to come back to this briefly. I dont think the public is uneducated or uninformed. What I mean by that is like I said above. though the average Joe may not have a detailed theoretical understanding of this or that and is not throwing around particular terms they do have a basic understanding of how things operate. There have been polls done into why such large portions of the public dont participate in voting. We have one of the lowest turn out rates - especially on state and local elections where it matters most - and the most common answer is: it wont change anything.

without having a detailed knowledge of political science, economics, et cetera, the public is keen to the fact that pulling a lever every few years doesnt change anything. thats true, like Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine says, “the structure is set, you’ll never change it with a ballot pull.”

Now are we unorganized and inactive? Yes and no. There are lots of organizations and activities going on all the time, but the organizations are often unorganized for the sake of succeeding and laying down residues of success to build a stable foundation. In other words, they make lousy stalagmites!

Scott Ritter has a great critique on the antiwar movement and social movements in general. If interested, I strongly suggest it: Waging Peace; The Art of War for the Anti-War Movement

Basically, without calling himself an Anarchist (I dont think he considers himself one at all) he is making the case that Nestor Makhno made in the “The Organizational Platform of the Libertarian Communists” [ http://nestormakhno.info/english/platform/org_plat.htm ] and the CNT and FAI in revolutionary Spain.

But, I dont think our current government is a stepping stone. It is an obstacle. How do we help mature our education and level of information than it currently is, and how do we increase and improve organizing and activity in the public? While there is no blueprint for successful and progressive change, it ought to be clear that the first step is reaching them by making bonds and friendships. The movements in the US and around the world need to unite, better organize themselves and keep their fingers on the pulse of the public and allow them to steer.

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Posted: 30 August 2007 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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With the questions and thoughts being mentioned, and with me referring folks like Errico Malatesta, I wanted to share an excerpt from Malatesta’s pamphlet, Anarchy:

“That’s all very well, some say, and anarchy may be a perfect form of human society, but we don’t want to take a leap in the dark. Tell us, therefore, in detail, how your society will be organised. And there follows a whole series of questions, which are very interesting if we were involved in studying the problems that will impost themselves on the liberated society, but which are useless, or absurd, even ridiculous, if we are expected to provide definitive solutions. What methods will be used to teach children? How will production be organised? And supposing all the inhabitants of Siberia should want to spend the winter in Nice? And if everyone were to want to eat partridge, and drink wine from the Chianti district? And who will do a miner’s job or be a seaman? And who will empty the privies? And who will establish the railway timetable? And what will be done if an engine-driver has a stomach ache while the train is moving..? And so on to the point of assuming that we have all the knowledge and experience of the unknown future, and that in the name of anarchy, we should prescribe for future generations at what time they must go to bed, and on what days they must pare their corns.

“If indeed our readers expect a reply from us to these questions, or at least to those which are really serious and important, which is more than our personal opinion at this particular moment, it means that we have failed in our attempt to explain to them what anarchism is about.

“We are no more prophets than anyone else; and if we claimed to be able to give an official solution to all the problems that will arise in the course of the daily life of a future society, then what we meant by the abolition of government would be curious to say the least. For we would be declaring ourselves the government and would be prescribing, as do the religious legislators, a universal code for present and future generations. It is just as well that not having the stake or prisons with which to impose our bible, mankind would be free to laugh at us and at our pretenstions with impunity!

“We are very concerned with all the problems of social life, both in the interest of science, and because we reckon to see anarchy realized and to take part as best as we can in the organization of the new society. Therefore we do have our solutions which, depending on the circumstances, appear to us either definitive or transitory – and but for space considerations we would say something on this here. But the fact that because today, with the evidence we have, we think in a certain way on a given problem does not mean that this is how it must be dealt with in the future. Who can foresee the activities which will grow when mankind is freed from poverty and oppression, when there will no longer be either slaves or masters, and when struggles between peoples, and the hatred and bitterness that are engendered as a result, will no longer be an essential part of existence? Who can predict the process in science and in the means of production, of communication and so on?

“What is important is that society should be brought into being in which the exploitation and domination of man by man is not possible; in which everybody has free access to the means of life, of development and of work, and that all can participate, as they wish and know how, in the organization of social life. In such a society obviously all will be done to best satisfy the needs of everybody with the framework of existing knowledge and conditions; and all will change for the better with the growth of knowledge and the means.

“After all, a program which is concerned with the bases of the social structure, cannot do other than suggest a method. And it is the method, which above all distinguishes between the parties and determines their historical importance. Apart from the method, they all talk of wanting the wellbeing of humanity and many really do; the parties disappear and with them all action organized and directed to a given end. Therefore one must consider anarchy above all as a method.

“The methods from which the non-anarchists parties expect, or say they do, the greatest good for one and all can be reduced to two, the authoritarian and the liberal. The former entrusts to a few the management of social life and leads to the exploitation and oppression of the masses by the few. The latter relies on free individual enterprise and proclaims, if not the abolition, at least the reduction of governmental functions to an absolute minimum; but because it respects private property and is entirely based on the principle of each for himself and therefore of competition between men, the liberty it espouses is for the strong and the property owners to oppress and exploit the weak, those who have nothing; and far from producing harmony, tends to increase even more the gap between the rich and the poor and it too leads to exploitation and domination, in other words, to authority. This second method, that is liberalism, is in theory a kind of anarchy without socialism. The criticism liberals direct at government consists only of wanting to deprive it of some of its functions and to call on the capitalists to fight it out among themselves, but it cannot attack the repressive function which are of its essence; for without the gendarme the property owner could not exist, indeed the government’s powers of repression must perforce increase as free competition results in more discord and inequality.

“Anarchists offer a new method: that is free initiative of all and free compact when, private property having been abolished by revolutionary action, everybody has been put in a situation of equality to dispose of social wealth. This method, by not allowing access to the reconstitution of private property, must lead, via free association, to the complete victory of the principle of solidarity.

“Viewed in this way, one sees how all the problems that are advanced in order to counter anarchist ideas are instead an argument in their favor, because only anarchy points the way along which they can find, by trial and error, that solution which best satisfies the dictates of science as well as the needs and wishes of everybody.

“How will children be educated? We don’t know. So what will happen? Parents, pedagogues, and all who are concerned with the future of the young generation will come together, will discuss, will agree or divide according to the views they hold, and will put into practice the methods which they think are best. And with practice that method which is in fact the best, will in the end be adopted.

“And similarly with all problems which present themselves.”

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Posted: 30 August 2007 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I recently came across Libertarian Socialism when looking for some kind of Economic/Social/Political doctrine that more closely represents what I have come to value as a Secular Humanist.

As I have said in other posts, I have a brother who is a Libertarian.  However, he (and other Libertarians) hold ultra conservative views related to capitalism, survival, etc. which I do not share.  Many Libertarian concepts appeal to me, such as smaller role for government, ban on imperialist actions, among others.  But the every-man-for-himself element of the Libertarian movement I find distasteful. 

Similarly, there are some elements of socialism that appeal to me.  The welfare of all, facilitation of the basic needs of human life such as food, shelter, physical/mental health, education are paramount to a healthy society.  However, the tyrannical nature of many implementations of Socialism have deterred me from looking further in that space.

It would appear, on the surface, that Libertarian Socialism holds promise for a fairer, more sustainable society than alternatives I have researched to date. 

Many arguments I hear against such an approach seem to come from people who believe they have something to lose in such a society.  And yet, I feel that if we are to survive, beyond the ext century or two, we need to evaluate our options better than we have.

I do believe that Secular Humanists, in particular, can have a positive influence on the creation of such a society.  Naturalism, Reason and Critical Thinking along with a dedicated scientific approach to the development of such a society could produce a system that evolves beyond what is known today as Libertarian Socialism. 

It is our nature, as Secular Humanists, to question the accepted practices of society.  And as such I think we owe it to ourselves to look into such possibilities.  If our best minds were set to work on developing a model for such a society, wouldn’t it be possible to improve the design and answer the critics with well thought out responses?  And if experimental societies were established that could take the design and put it into practice, we would naturally find ways of improving it over time. 

It seems to me that many of todays society ills stem from failed systems that we see no alternative to.  We have become so accustomed to the doctrines we have in place we are unable to clearly evaluate alternatives. Philosophers, Scientists and Free Thinkers have difficulty sharing the lime lite with the Talking Heads and Politicians.  The 30 second sound bite leaves no time to intelligently discuss the issues with our current lifestyles, much less economic, and political issues.

Simply said, I think we can take these ideas and expand on them.  Use the logical reasonable approaches we use to debate all such issues and apply them to solving some of societies ills.  We tend to focus on symptoms like global warming, CEO salaries, religion and paranormal activities, etc.  Meanwhile the big picture issues go unnoticed. 

The structure and operation of our society needs an overhaul, we don’t need to be satisfied with what we know today.  And I think we are well equipped to kick off the discussion.

I’d love to participate in such a dialogue, I have many ideas.  Perhaps a thread dedicated to this concept would be in order. 

Truth Addict, you have done an admirable job of providing some hints on where to look for information on Libertarian Socialism.  I have found that such discussions get bogged down in finding replacements for existing practices.  Also, people do find it difficult to get a good picture of a society that is built on the principals of Libertarian Socialism.  It would seem that very few examples have existed, and when they do they have had difficulty fending off influence or intimidation from competing doctrines.

I think a good place to start is with a simplified description of such a society.  References to specific implementations can be helpful, but only in so far as they provide examples of specific aspects of the doctrine, rather than models of an ideal implementation.  If we can outline the basic principles of Libertarian Socialism while demonstrating the methods of implementing those principles to date, we can determine what works and what does not as well as what is missing.

In the end I would expect a Secular Humanist version to look very different than what I have read so far about Libertarian Socialism.  Of course, to be truly open to all possibilities, Libertarian Socialism would not be the only doctrine used for inspiration. But who knows where it would go.

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Posted: 01 September 2007 08:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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TA, if you are interested in the story of the anarchist movement here, I can tell you the story of Simon Radowitzky, who killed colonel Ramón Falcón (I regret violence, but I think Falcón well deserved his death), and, according to the legend, he (Radowitzky) waited one day more to kill Falcón in order to avoid killing Falcon’s dog.

Or the story of Severino Di Giovani, who was condemned by a militar judge to death. He finally was executed, but the weird thing was that his attorney, although militar, defended Di Giovani strongly. Asked why, he answered because ‘I am amazed with this man’s courage and ethics principles’, and, of course, it was the end of his militar career.

I was thinking about libertarianb socialism, and I think that we have another trouble: I am not sure we have enough to leverage the life standard for everybody in the world to a level we all considerer ‘acceptable’, without even consider the average american life standards. I don’t know if we could rely on this quiz, but according to it, we’d need almost three worlds to let everyone on this world live like me, and although I have a nice living, I can assure I am far from a typical american.

http://www.earthday.net/footprint/info.asp

(Does anybody knows anything about this quiz? is it relliable?)

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Posted: 03 September 2007 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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truthaddict - 29 August 2007 02:00 PM

CEO pay and benefits on the rise: report
http://biz.yahoo.com/rb/070829/usa_economy_pay.html?.v=1

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top executives at major businesses last year made as much money in one day of work on the job as the average worker made over the entire year, according to a report released on Wednesday.
Chief executive officers from the nation’s biggest businesses averaged nearly $11 million in total compensation, according to the 14th annual CEO compensation survey released jointly by the Institute for Policy Studies based in Washington and United for a Fair Economy, a national organization based in Boston.

At the same time, workers at the bottom rung of the U.S. economy received the first federal minimum wage increase in a decade. But the new wage of $5.85 an hour, after being adjusted for inflation, stands 7 percent below where the minimum wage stood a decade ago.

How is this a bad thing?

CEOs deserve their millions for keeping the company profitable and productive.

As for the minimum wage, how many companies only pay their workers that?

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Posted: 03 September 2007 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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CEOs deserve their millions for keeping the company profitable and productive.

Arguable. After all, don’t the workers, middle managers, etc also keep their companies productive and profitable? And CEOs often make millions even when mismanaging companies into bankrupcy. And, of course, there are fairness issues. Is what CEOs do truly worth 365 times the work of an average worker? And aren’t companies in other countries with far less inequity also profitable and productive. I think the issue is a lot more complex than you seem to suggest.

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