Autonomy Vs Freedom

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Absolute autonomy means complete freedom from all rights and responsibilities. It is antithetical to freedom, and freedom must include (as a necessary but insufficient condition) freedom from absolute autonomy. Without that we do not have any rights at all. The negative program of no rights or responsibilities is not a straw man of absolute autonomy, it is exactly what the hyper individualistic anarchisms want as a conception of that which should be. To advocate for such chaos in the name of freedom and non hierarchy is disturbing (as are the Leninoid and Maoist cults that advocate for authoritarianism and totalitarianism in the name of socialism).

Rights and responsibilities imply freedom from absolute autonomy. The idea that one’s autonomy ought to end where another’s autonomy begins implies a prescription of ‘lack of absolute autonomy’ through a freedom from absolute autonomy. The question we ought to ask is where ought we place limits and why and for what ends? That is a question that anarchists are so divided upon that advocates of absolute autonomy, and people who want to organize rights and responsibilities non hierarchically, are considered part of the same ideology/tendency.

Absolute autonomy, if made into a minimum standard, negates itself. If it is not made into a minimum standard, then all we are left with are arbitrary minimum standards for treating each other; By extension the rule of arbitrariness replaces both hierarchical law and a conception of non hierarchical law, and hierarchy is effectively legalized in the name of anarchy. Taking power potentially means shifting minimum standards. Anarchistic fear of power means trying to abolish such standards altogether. Absolute autonomy is a revolt against all rules and not just all rulers.

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Dear Jacque Fresco: Goodbye old friend.

 

 

Jacque Fresco, the man who introduced me to post scarcity economics, is dead. His quantitative evaluation of resources/technology along with his qualitative understanding of dimensions of human psychology (in regards to incentives) have lead to arguments that have abolished any possible apologies for exchange value and money as an idealistic distributive mode. For a world with an access abundance for all, For a post scarcity economy. May the dreams of the Venus Project be actuated through communalist rudders. Rest in Power Jacque Fresco. May the ripple effect of your best ideas go onward and may we never build a statue of you to hold us back from transcending your thoughts.

Jacque Fresco Lived a 101 year old life. One of the sharpest elders ive ever heard speak. Lived in obscurity until zeitgeist addendum popularized his ideas. Zeitgeist film series seemed to be the only thing capable of popularizing Fresco, yet simultaneously a film series bound to alienate the masses from the best ideas Fresco had (due to their conspiratorial nature). Fresco spoke of the ultimate negative program, a world without states, capitalism, money, hierarchy etc. and a good positive program of a post scarcity economy. For all the flaws in his vision, he is someone most everyone should interface with to learn from.

 

Left Libertarian Reflections on The Zeitgeist Movement

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TZM went from being an internet phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of supporters into a fossilized fringe organization unable to even achieve the ends of spreading its own ideas, ideas insufficient to even achieve its own post scarcity goals (given a lack of a political program). The films zeitgeist 2 and 3 went from record breaking internet sensations to films eclipsed by mainstream media, liberal youtubers (of identitarian and non identitarian varieties), and the big tent of white nationalistic alt right and nationalistic alt right lite. “Left” Identity Reductionists, and reactionary Identity Reductionists have taken center stage in the media. “The politics of check your privilege”, as opposed to a serious anti capitalist worldview that actually has positive programs and a vision of a cooperative polity/economy and a resilient form/structure, has emerged throughout pop culture and alternative cultures.

Of course TZM never deserved the attention it got in the first place given its roots in conspiracy theory rather than systemic analysis as seen in Zeitgeist 1. Its critique of finance capital and money without a critique of privatized ownership of productive forces, gave an eerily reductionist account of markets rooted in right libertarian as opposed to marxian/socialist economics. Its technical reductionism claimed scarcity vs post scarcity as a reductionist paradigm, claiming socialism/communism vs capitalism as mere reactions to scarcity as opposed to an actual divide. As opposed to being rooted in the history of the left and trying to pull the best ideas and leave the bad ones behind and move forward, TZM tried to reinvent the wheel.

Rather than directly democratic structure, TZM created an administrative hierarchy completely removed an unrecallable, relying on volunteer efforts to the unrecallable administration and individualistic projects. Policy was held far away from members, to a cartoonish level. Hence the turn over, people trying to get involved and being told to do nothing more than “take initiative” on their own projects.

Its vision of utopia was so appealing to members that it felt like a natural culmination of human potentialities. The truth was that it was structurally visionless and advocated for content without form. Anti democratic, beyond left and right, anti finance capital, and rooted in conspiracy theory, it appealed to an emerging right libertarian conspiracy culture, and coopted a great many of them to many important far left ideas. No wonder it could not escape from pseudo science (among members).

Rather than a conception of struggle and prefiguration, TZM had a purely voluntary transition strategy, as if the logic of the current system would ever allow a transition to a post capitalist society without a fight. In this sense it had failings of the cooperative movement of old.

For all its shortcomings it was against money, against states, and for liberatory technology and a cooperative and anarchistic society (in the worst ways; it was against rules and not merely rulers), assuming human character could be perfected, and assuming a transcendence of “the minimum standard of treatment for eachother” would mean its negation.

TZM is a Childish, Brilliant, Lost, Backwards, and utopian collage that is only so obviously flawed to me from hindsight 20/20. It went from being internet royalty to something that is not relevant to current online and offline discussion and culture. Many members have either gone anarchist, liberal (often through left forms of identity reductionist reaction), right libertarian, or reactionary.

What once felt like the ultimate soothing thought at the end of a shrooms trip now looks like an amalgamation of progress and backwardness not even worthy of critical support.

Anti Civ, Capitalism, Futurism, Socialism, and Labor

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Anti Civilization theorists (including Deep ecologists, biocentrists, and normative primitivists, etc) have suggested that back in the stone age and beyond that there was a life of leisure and plenty. With all due recognition to certain egalitarian dimensions INTERNAL to various non civ relationships, we must understand them also as realms of labor, ignorance, and xenophobic ingroup/outgrouping. The very laborious dimension that capitalism enforces, anti civ theorists/practitioners want to create through non artificial exponents of labor.

 

Through work, the process of transforming raw material into artifice, we enable a potential to automate and mechanize parts of labor and the means of labor (the realm of biological necessity) and undesired work, to allow us to do political action and self managed work. Political action is the public participation in history, where we immortalize our consequences through the ripple effect of action, shaping the human condition for ourselves and others. An expanded conception/standard of necessity, (that includes things that were considered luxuries prior), also means that the necessary labor to reproduce such needs expands (but technology, allowing us to do more with less, can minimize necessary labor time regardless).

 

Non-Civ humans are usually romanticized or demonized. There is either a conception of nature as inherently stingy, or so abundant that without work we do not have to labor. In pre civ societies, 40 hours and more a week were used to obtain food resources [1]. Far from the “original affluent society”, Non-civ societies were realms of labor where we were forced to uptake biological processes without the technics to do more with less. Labor, in capitalist societies, is largely subsumed to the means of hierarchical work, and the work itself is partially/mainly subsumed to the end of labor (biological necessity) for workers in a way that is technologically avoidable. Yet a low wage earner in the US does less work to gain more resources than they would in a non-civ society. This is due to artifice, the thousands of years of dead labor/work/action that have given us the world to act within. And as capitalism is explored, it is amazing how technics allow us to get so much with so little not because of capitalism but in spite of it. Because 1. “Capitalization is a measure of control (over production) and not production.” (Ryan Salisbury), and we get less out of production by not having direct control of production, as well as psychosocial stress (through  structural violence [12] and the negation of autogestion) 2. There are ways to develop productive forces that are non capitalist, in fact it is desirable for them to develop in a non capitalist way because the technology created under the influence/limits of capitalism sacrifice important ethical metrics to profit relative to directly pooling needs/skills/technology and distributing bottom upwardly towards luxury for all. The kinds of technology created with different means/ends/limits will affect the means/ends/limits of the technology 3. Miniaturization (as Murray Bookchin called it) or Ephemeralization (as Buckminster Fuller called it) of technology allows us to “do more with less” 4. The fruits of philosophy and scientific methodology over time and thousands of years of dead labor/work/action have been key factors in developing technology. Capital, like a parasite, reaped the fruits and invested surplus into itself and steered the development of the scientific method/technology and the lives of wage laborers. 5. We are decades behind in regards to liberatory technology, for example, solar panels being five decades behind, due to concerns of profit. Easily automatable and undesired labor/work is not automated because human wage laborers are more cost effective, and to not take into consideration cost efficiency is to cease to be competitive.   

 

 

 

Anti civilization theorists are not merely revolting against institutionalized/federated interaction between roaming groups (which would potentially allow us to move beyond xenophobic kinship relations) , they also advocate for the abolition of work, at the expense of the minimization of labor possible through the labor/work/action done to allow humans to achieve a quality and degree of artifice to make the minimization of large amounts of labor an actual possibility.

 

“The only activity which corresponds strictly to the experience of worldlessness, or rather to the loss of world that occurs in pain is laboring, where the human body, its activity notwithstanding, is also thrown back upon itself, concentrates on nothing but being alive, and remains imprisoned in its metabolism with nature without ever transcending or freeing itself” [6, p 115]. Anti Civilization theorists, far from wanting to minimize labor, want to abolish/minimize work (the transformation of raw material into artifice). Doing so would put humans into the realm of necessity and biological uptake, by extension giving us non artificial labor imperatives that are time consuming where we get less out of more labor. The rationale is usually either one of “ecology”, claiming that we must suffer in order to be in harmony with “Gaia” (imposing immense restriction on part of what makes humans human), or that this “realm of necessity” is a realm of free flowing non imperative when it is easily avoidable technically (while at the same time prescribing an imperative for almost everyone to do more labor).

 

To conflate the imprisonment to metabolism with freedom, is to conflate labor with freedom. Anti civilization theorists do not see participatory politics/work as that which frees us from toil, irrationality, and hierarchy. They may even see such projects as the most promethean attempt to make civilization work, especially if they involve automating arduous labor (which they see as an automation of freedom). There is a lack of vision for technology to enhance the cycle of exertion and rest in life. According to an anti civilization worldview To minimize non artificial labor through artifice is to destroy freedom. By extension anti civilization theories are at war with non imperative bounded by participatory political boundaries, and the technology required to enable such a public sphere. For anti civ theorists, alienation does not exist in the reduction of humanity to non artificial dictatorship of metabolism, but does exist in escaping from avoidable toil involved in the non artificial dictatorship of metabolism. To be alienated from non imperative while indulging in the imperative of “no building the world” is the anti civ conception of freedom. Lack of artifice creates alienation from political deliberation which creates alienation from higher qualities of contemplation, virtue, rationality, and human potentiality. Yet rationality/deliberation/contemplation helps inform our higher order desires/volition, allowing for individual/collective reflection, freedom, and action, and enables participatory boundaries (and the means of participatory boundaries) that are desirable for lack of imperative to exist within. Capitalism alienates us from our activities, our products (in a way that distributes products hierarchically), and our selves, but normative primitivism alienates us from the distinguishing features of humanity.

 

Of course, the process of abolishing artifice and the realm for action that it provides, makes it so we will abolish history. This also means depriving future generations of the potential positive consequences of action and the development of history, the development that gives us the thousands of years of knowledge and technics to potentially minimize large amounts of labor and undesirable work and have a pleasurable, virtuous, and free political life available to all. In this sense, anti civ theorists want to abolish history, and in fact they want to abolish the very tools required for ecology. And they often do this under the name of the deepest ecology that there is, where the study of ecology leads humans to the realization to destroy the study of ecology in order to care for Gaia by forcing humans to obey the imperatives of the non artificial world. And resistance to such a prescription is deemed anti ecological by anti civ theorists.

 

Anti civilization theorists call for the murder of political life. It is a call for nothing less than the negation of the participation of humans in the process of history. It is a call for the negation of humans in the process of creating an artificial world. The abolition of art, language, and institutional arrangements would make it so humans are no longer humans but non political and non artistic beings, subsumed to labor without the benefit of the “ruthless critique of everything”  (preserved in artifice) that allows us to steer our intention, however rudimentary, in ethical directions (individually and collectively).

 

Calls to authenticity through Heideggerianism might prescribe some romantic conception of a human past. The search for authenticity is the search for some human condition before “the fall”. However, such a conservative and backwards sighted worldview is ahistorical; It searches for some perceived romanticized ideal past time and prescribes it as a potential for us to actuate. Not only can we not reverse ourselves to “an authentic condition before the fall” (wherever one is locating it), it would not be desirable for us to. The progressive historical approach searches for what should be, and does not conflate the should with some time before the fall, and looks to all points in history for potential insights and dimensions to the good, and then seeks to transcend them by adding something new, and do so in a coherent way. We must rebel against anti rational neophobia and neophilia which cloud our judgement in regards to theory/practice of the good.

 

Capitalism and labor:

 

Under Capitalism, wage laborers compete with each other for labor in order to survive. However, wage laborers also compete with technology in order to survive.  Under capitalism, the more potential for our tools to mechanize/automate labor without rapid enough job creation, the more unemployment occurs. Some theorists have claimed that this is the final straw in capitalism and that its internal contradictions will bring capitalism to an end due to itself and its necessary consequences. This teleology of the death of capitalism keeps getting born again in new forms. It is always “just around the corner” yet it does not arrive. Every crisis theory since Marx has failed miserably to prove itself through consequences. One fundamental flaw of many crisis theories is that they attempt to view economics through the lens of economics in reduction of other factors which might be cultural or political that can enable a capitalist world system or regional dominant economic system to continue despite a real or perceived internal flaw within capitalism’s ability to reproduce itself. But perhaps, a more fundamental flaw is the failure to see capitalism as a highly resilient and adaptive system/practice that can be textured with many adjectives and particularistic variables while maintaining its most fundamental core (hierarchical privatized production being legalized within a market economy, with wage labor legalized, and a goal of accumulation of money and capital) [4].

 

Capital must extract sufficient surplus value to reinvest in itself to extract more [9]. The process of doing so negates self management through turning persons into instruments alienated from their activities, their products (in a way where products are hierarchically distributed), and themselves [10].  Rather than creating cities, Urbanization is created that negates civic unions and organizes what should be cities into instruments of capital through the development of capital and the centralization of political decision making [5, 11].  

Of course, time and space develop and capitalism will one day fall (if not for anything else due to ecological crisis and EXTERNAL limits to itself). It will take an extra parliamentary political movement to bring capitalism to an end in a way where there is a positive result. That is, it will take action, and it is NOT sufficient for that action to be limited to a sphere of lesser evils and representative policy makers and bureaucracy (where persons give up their personhood to just follow orders, or to rule over persons at the expense of mandated and recallable administrations)

 

Futurism:

 

The futurist conception of positive development often reduces that which should be to the technical realm (or at least overly reduces that which should be to the technical realm). The action required for us to use our technics towards the good is left out of the equation. This technical reductionism, claims that political action is entirely subsumed to artifice. This linear conception of causality misses the liberatory potential for technology by reducing technology to technology. All artifice and technics have a social life, intentionality that produced them, and actual consequences that might be different to the author’s intent (in quality or degree).

 

Futurism often imagines current social relations under the influence of not yet developed technology rather than new positive social relations under the influence of current technical potential. But technology, in and of itself, is not sufficient for social relations to be more ethical. Projecting many years ahead in regards to technical potential is something very difficult with even leading experts “missing the mark” in regards to many a priori claims. That being said it is possible and useful to posit science fiction esque thought experiments to understand what we ought to do with potential technics so we can be more reflective/responsive if/when/regardless if they develop.

 

Socialism:

 

Socialism’s most minimum program is some form of social ownership of the means of production, in the hands of workers and/or consumers and/or communities. In its most utopian, libertarian, and public form, ownership over productive forces needed to maintain political units is embedded directly within them (with personal/collective spheres of property embedded within the communal spheres bounded by usufruct).  

 

Socialism is not “anything the government does that someone left of a republican likes”, nor is socialism the mere redistributive and anti neoliberal policies of someone like Bernie Sanders (as progressive as he is compared to a right winger like Hillary Clinton). Nor is socialism the barbarism that occurred under Stalin/Mao and Lenin and Castro. Such state socialist projects have nothing to do with the trajectory of socialism [7], and all of the above banned worker/consumer/communal ownership of the means of production in favor of some form of hierarchical production in state/capitalist spheres  as the dominant mode of producing and distributing goods and services. Centralization of power as a means for achieving a good society has been a hangover from Marx that has plagued the left. Marx being both indispensable in understanding capitalism yet wrong about parts of it, and him having authoritarian and libertarian prescriptions, makes it particularly difficult to parse out what we ought to accept and reject from Marx.

 

Old debates over non capitalist and socialist distribution systems have many dimensions. For the sake of saliency these can be divided into: markets, labor voucher collectivism, and free/libertarian communist distribution systems (and mixes of all of the above). Markets distribute economic transactions through money, artificial markets through single use labor vouchers (with an equalized system of accumulation per hour), and communist distribution where there is no money; instead abilities and needs are pooled together to make distribution bottom up from basic needs to luxury [8]. Automation provides a new material dimension to communism; It means that so much of the undesired toil can be done away with to make society less based on rewards for undesired work..

 

Libertarian Communist practices/arguments make sense even without post 1960’s automation. Grades of it can exist however germinally, as soon a dual power starts momentum. And as people attain power, and cooperative sharing of the realm of necessity, along with mechanization and automation of labor, communism can be more resilient than ever. “A century ago, scarcity had to be endured. Today, it has to be enforced” [2, page 103].  

 

Back to productive questions of economics: Productive systems for that which is needed for the commune to reproduce itself ought to be in the hand of a commune itself (or scaled federations of communes or “communes of communes”). Administrative tasks can then be delegated to mandated/recallable delegates who do not make policy outside of them making policy on an equal footing with everyone else in the directly democratic communal sphere. Technical delegation can be mechanized/automated as communes of communes gain greater gradations of post scarcity. In this sense, community ownership of the means of production becomes the main economic rudder, toil being automated/mechanized/rotated, products distributed according to abilities and needs, people on an equal footing, within the limits of a non hierarchical social contract with the context/means/ends of  direct democracy and the means thereof [3]. That is a means and ends based on deliberation and democracy without  rulers (horizontality), and a context that enables such ends, and a content that reproduces itself (as well as the context required for itself).

 

“Worker ownership of the means of production” is often claimed to be what socialism is. Yet, such a claim is misleading, for socialism can take other forms. Yet, worker ownership is so refreshing compared to almost everything else that it almost does not seem fair to critique it; for the last thing I would want is for people to think of something more reactionary than worker control to replace it as an ideal. However, there are other options. Despite limits of anarchist thinkers from Proudhon, Bakunin, to Kropotkin, they all placed the commune as far more central to their conception of the good society than the workforce. In this sense, they were building on ancient conceptions of politics, yet revolting against it by making economics political; bringing production and distribution of goods and services into the realm of the polis (at least partially) rather than leaving it to be something people do in their own oikos. Syndicalism, a highly organized and democratic libertarian praxis, essentially inverted many of the old anarchist notions of the relationship of the polis to the oikos by making the economic sphere something that essentially subsumes political processes as a means and an ends through the means and ends of syndicates and worker control over productive forces.

 

But what does worker control over productive forces required for communes to reproduce themselves mean in a world where for decades it has been technically possible to automate anything simpler than production/distribution of cars/houses? If the workers increasingly become policy makers delegating the most arduous tasks to robots, there are few hours for them to labor. The vast majority of labor/work that is left over would be more desired/enjoyed.

 

Worker control over productive forces the commune requires to reproduce itself, quickly becomes worker control over policy of communes. This privatizes policy relative to publicizing it in the hands of all community members on an equal footing in freely associated directly democratic communes. Relatively privatized collectives should not be making policy over that which a commune needs to reproduce itself, for all ought to be included in decisions that directly effect them (if there is to be communal self management of course). Delegation of labor(and even undesired work) can then be automated/mechanized and rotated by those able to contribute. To put increasingly automated workers in the hands of policy making over the community as a whole might socialize production, but it does not communalize it.

 

 

Whether it is a private realm that expands into the public sphere, capitalist urbanization destroying civic bodies and cities [5], states centralizing/nationalizing production and policy making power, subsuming economics to social yet non-political forces, the separation of politics according to some conception of “authenticity”, or calls to abandon means of production altogether via reactionary misanthropic normative anti civilization ideals, there are prescriptions from many sides that have hollowed out not only the public sphere, but the prescription of public economics.

 

For communes to be communal (rather than merely socialized), people within communes must be able to participate in the economics required to reproduce the commune and the persons/collectives embedded within it, therefore the means of existence should be distributed to all within it. The means of production for the reproduction of the commune are a means of existence. Therefore the means of production for the commune should be distributed to all within it. To avoid parochialism, isolation and particularism, communes must be federated so the commons can be managed on multiple scales while keeping decision making power at the “lowest level” in the hands of the people directly. This allows for mutual aid between communes which would add to overall resilience, ecological efficiency, and human cooperation.

 

For all to participate politically, the means of production  as well as the products should be distributed to people who need it,. The most effective way to do so is to pool together needs and abilities and liberatory technology and distribute according to needs from the bottom up towards luxury and freedom for all through federated communes of communes. Communist distribution and communalist production systems become a context that enable the reproduction of communal politics.

 

Production of goods and services is part of city management/politics. If persons cannot participate in political production and redistribution of goods/services on an equal footing (in regards to formal power with participatory rights/obligations ((distributed in regards to ability and responsibility))), a polis becomes privatized to various degrees through privatizing economics required to reproduce a polis to various degrees. For “Public life” is “possible only after the much more urgent needs of life has been taken care of” [6, p77].  

 

The Athenian Polis, for all its virtues politically/artistically/philosophically (especially in regards to its historical context), relied upon everything from a patriarchal family and slavery and various other forms of privatized and “strictly unequal” economics. Less than 20% of persons within the territory of Athens were able to participate. The technical context was one that required a great deal of toil to reproduce daily life. The toil COULD have been shared in some equitable or more equitable way, and the direct political processes could have been shared. In Athens privatized economics was part of what excluded persons from the public politics (either through time required to toil or lack of formal ability to participate on an equal footing).  “Freedom from labor itself is not new” [6, p 4], and now modern technical context allows us to all be free from labor instead of just a few yet that potential is not actuated.

 

Public economics foster virtues of giving and receiving, and the virtues of giving and receiving in turn foster public economics, both of which develop eudaimonia. Virtues of giving and receiving [13] make the distribution of goods and services into something that is public. This acknowledgement of dependence upon each other enables us to have substantial freedom, where we take care of eachother to give each other the means of freedom, greater gradations of post scarcity, and the kinds of characters we need to sustain such relations.

 

What is left of the realm of necessity?

 

This leaves us with a new question: what should the role of labor be in a world where we can do more with less effort? We are dependent on society materially as well as emotionally for survival. Labor that requires emotive interpersonal care (such as parenting), ought not be automated, to do so would be to abuse children by depriving them of their social needs. However, the non care labor involved in raising children can and should be automated according to what is possible, and the desires of the parents.  If something required to reproduce daily life is easily automatable, and within humanist and ecological limits, and the task is undesirable, then it can and should be automated. However, we find some labor enjoyable, at least in an animalistic sense, such as the joys of eating, walking, showering, etc. An ethically automated society is not one where we automate every biological function, it is one where we ephemeralize our ability to reproduce daily life freeing us to do what we want. Some persons may have an absurd desire to automate something that does not make sense for their actual interests (despite what their perceived interests are). To the degree they are virtuous, they can be temperate and reproduce temperance, to make it so their desires are more in line with their actual interests and of course in line with care for others. One’s actual interest regardless of perceived interests, is virtue, which by extension becomes the bridge for social and self interest (given that emotive and mental virtues create eudaimonia in self and other).  Superfluous automation of the realm of necessity (that is labor that is undesired yet should be desired for eudaimonia of self/others) that is within ecological limits is to be minimized by virtues, yet people should still be able to make such choices collectively/individually about reproducing communal/biological life.  

 

The realm of necessity is not something that can be abolished. But the degree we have to exert ourselves to meet our needs can be greatly minimized through technology freeing us to do work/action.  We have a few forms of labor leftover: 1. Care labor (requiring emotional/interpersonal connections) 2. unavoidable/un-automatable and undesired labor 3. Desired labor, whether it is automatable or not (eating, walking for examples).

 

And the labor that is leftover above (care labor, unavoidable/un-automatable and undesired labor, and desired labor ) should be done non hierarchically to reproduce virtues that will allow us to apply our knowledge in ethical directions. The cycles of exertion and rest will have less exertion required for reproducing daily life, and rather than a society that does not know what to do with itself besides laboring, such a society should have a culture that fosters work/action as well as play. Rather than being forced into exertion when there is not enough rest, such a society would enable people to reproduce daily life more leisurely, and allow people to exert themselves in a worldly and free way with more control over and participation within rest/exertion cycles.   

 

In this communal sphere there is “freedom from the inequality present in rulership” [6, 33]

///

 

Works Cited:

 

  1. Kaplan, David. “The Darker Side of the “Original Affluent Society”” Journal of Anthropological Research 56.3 (2000): 301-24. Web.

 

  1.  Bookchin, Murray, and Janet Biehl. The Murray Bookchin Reader. London: Cassell, 1997. Print.

 

  1. Biehl, Janet. “Municipalization of the Economy.” Ecology or Catastrophe. N.p., 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 03 Dec. 2016.

 

  1. Bookchin, Murray, Debbie Bookchin, and Blair Taylor. The next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy. London: Verso, 2015. Print.

 

  1. Bookchin, Murray. Urbanization without Cities: The Rise and Decline of Citizenship. Montréal: Black Rose, 1992. Print.

 

  1. Arendt, Hannah. The Human Condition. Chicago: U of Chicago, 1958. Print.

 

  1. Goldman, Emma. My Disillusionment in Russia. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1970. Print.

 

  1. Kropotkin, Petr. The Conquest of Bread. New York: New York UP, 1972. Print.

 

  1. Marx, Karl. Capital, Volume 1 / A Critique of Political Economy. NY, NY: International, 1977. Print.

 

  1. Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Moscow: Foreign Languages Pub. House, 1956. Print.

 

  1. Harvey, David. Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. New York: Verso, 2012. Print.

 

  1. Wilkinson, Richard G., and Kate Pickett. The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010. Print.
  2. MacIntyre, Alasdair C. Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues. Chicago, IL: Open Court, 1999. Print.

 

Hegemony or Ethno Nationalism

Hegemony or Ethno Nationalism:

Both Candidates:

There is a good argument that the worst things about both candidates are shared in common: They both want to maintain internal structural violence in the USA via legalization and enforcement of hierarchical production, markets, and states, They both want more powerful internal and external security forces. They both do not want to sufficiently allocate a fraction of resources spent on violent security forces to saving millions of people around the globe and internal to the USA from excesses of structural violence. And they both want to keep the political sphere bureaucratic with power far removed from people. They both want to hollow out civil liberties via a surveillance state.

The state itself is a realm of evil, as is capitalism. Both are based on hierarchical policies and enforcement and negate the means and ends of direct democracy and participation in politics/economics. Doing so creates structural violence, which is the biggest cause of interpersonal violence.

“If the State is a realm of “evil,” as Bakunin emphasized, the “art” of statecraft is essentially a realm of lesser or greater evils, not a realm of ethical right and wrong. Ethics itself is radically redefined from the classical time-honoured study of good and evil into the more sinister contemporary study of compromises between lesser and greater evils — in short, what I have elsewhere called an “ethics of evil.” This basic redefinition of ethics has had deadly consequences over the course of recent history. Fascism made its way to power in Germany when Social Democracy lived in a diet of choices between liberals and centrists; later, centrists and conservatives; and finally, between conservatives and Nazis — a steady devolution in which a conservative President, Marshall von Hindenberg, finally appointed the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler, to the position of Reich Chancellor. That the Germany working class with its huge parties and its massive trade unions permitted this appointment to occur without any act of resistance is an easily forgotten and dismal event in history. Not only did this moral devolution occur on the level of the State, but also on the level of German popular movements themselves, in a cruel dialectic of political degeneration and moral decomposition. – Bookchin

Both candidates represent not merely the essence of the problems of the position that they are running for (POTUS), but have excesses of authoritarianism in various directions. These excesses can be expected to develop from the essence of hierarchy. In other words the excesses of hierarchy continue to flourish because its root is not properly dealt with. If we want to explain why the greater evils consistently win in the realm of statecraft, we must look beyond a reduction of politics to two candidates in one particular election, and look at the greater context that even allowed such scenarios to happen in the first place. Particular problems with particular politicians aside, we can be assured that such reaction will rise to the surface again and again as long as statecraft exists. In the USA, 1 year out of 4 is spent on politics surrounding national office. It is the extra parliamentary work that is really needed to deal with root problems and root solutions.

Hillary Clinton:

Hillary Clinton is a cliche corporate candidate, with a degree of particular corruption even among corporate politicians. Her policies have been generally authoritarian, whether it is working to expand the prison industrial complex, neo liberalism, or empire,etc.. She voted for the Iraq War, was for the most hawkish of all of Obama’s foreign policies, voted for the patriot act, has been for free trade policies, NDAA, has been interwoven with Saudi Arabia state and military via continued USA/Saudi Arabia alliance ( a country that financed ISIS and Jihadi groups) where US arms Saudi Arabia (which hillary new was financing ISIS as shown in Podesta emails). Hilary voted for the banker bailout.

She is a perfect status quo candidate, a perfect republicrat. Her top donors include money from JP Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Time Warner, Microsoft Corp, and Bank of America, DLA Piper, and more. As the Princeton study showed, the USA is an oligarchy with the policies people want being negated over 90% of the time. Hillary Clinton is a representative of the conventional status quo, a non risky oligarch advocating for oligarchs, in the basic tradition of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama (Who had his cabinet hand picked by Citigroup).

Her corporate sponsors include vast lists of billionaires and millionaires literally too many to even begin to mention, and together they show a broad elite decision around her as the candidate for the ruling class. She is of course supported by Obama, Biden, her husband, hundreds of state/municipal statecrafters, far more political support than Trump has (although the support for Trump within the Republican party is substantial). This lends credibility to the theory that she is the most effective of evils through the broad coalition she brought together which include a good amount of the republican establishment who split from the party line due to Trump. Her coalition includes major economic corporations and players from finance, to food, to technology, to media, large segments of the military, and Washington Bureaucrats.

Her politically correct intersectional gloss makes her imperialism and neoliberalism trendy. A couple famous activists have endorsed her. As usual the democratic party has gotten segments of the left to vote for it through holding it hostage to the potential of victory by what appears to be a worse evil, and potentially a substantially worse evil.

Donald Trump:

Hillary represents hegemony and in some ways Donald Trump does as well. Despite being less imperially ambitious in rhetoric and admitted policies than Hillary, Donald has claimed that the US military needs to be larger and that Obama has weakened it. That is neo con esque military mongering. It is difficult to even fathom what that means given that the USA’s military is the most powerful that the world has ever seen. He might appear to have a more soft approach to Russia, but it is evident that his “America First” internal policies will have an external dimension as well as he pushes the USA towards ethno nationalism.

His admitted policies include an ethnic cleansing of at least 10 million people from the USA, mainly brown, because of lack of documents. He wants to enforce an illegalization of people, disproportionately poor. Historically immigrants have been used as a surplus labor source for the USA, providing cheap labor when needed, and viciously attacked when they were merely excess to the goals of capital. Unfortunately we see in trade union history certain divisions of legal and illegal men, immigrants thought of as people under cutting wages. This nationalistic labor perspective puts national lines before class lines, subsuming anti capitalism to nationalism, dividing the working class internally and inhibiting gains that happen through working class solidarity. The “illegal” people are scapegoated while the ruling class get away.

Trump has gotten support from a few key oligarchs like Peter Thiel, Adelson, Roger Ailes, David Green, Harold Hamm, Carl icahn, Phil Ruffin, Kenneth Fisher, Wilbur Ross, Andrew Beal Joe Ricketts, Robert E. Murray, Doug Burgum, Robert Mercer Rupert Murdoch, Bill Koch, Anthony Scaramucci, Brian France, as well as Breitbart News (which has been the main platform for the neo nazi alt right), + Trump hired Steve bannon of Breitbart to be on his campaign and is in mutual solidarity with ethno nationalist right wing christian market fundamentalist “conspiracy theory of the gaps” guru Alex Jones. + Donald Trump has gotten endorsements from the police union (union of a hierarchical enforcement agency with 20%+ of world’s prisoners and over one million victimless drug criminals locked up in cages a night). Trump has also been supported by Cheney, Rumsfeld, various right wing bureaucrats and politicians. Clearly “Hillary is the establishment candidate” moreso than Trump; but that does not mean that Trump is out of left field. As Trump admits, he used to be part of the high end of the investment class of politics, and has invested in Republicans and Democrats. But on top of that he has support from a few key oligarchs.

Trump has a relatively unanimous support from the nationalist right. From the KKK, to neo nazi groups, to David Duke, and beyond. Trump has catalyzed open white supremacy and anti Semitism in the USA. This is no accident, his policies are in line with ethno nationalism at the expense of a broader conception of what it means to matter ethically as a person; in a way that is not limited by blood/soil and blood quotas.

Trump has called for killing innocent family members of terrorists (war crime), increased torture programs (war crime suspension of constitution), increased stop and frisk, and a ban on all Muslims entering the country (anti constitutional, anti freedom of religion, mixed in with collective blame and a kind of broad brushing of persons treating them without individuality ((something I am sure many Trump fans would flip out about if such a thing was done to white men)). He has also called for tax cuts for the wealthy with abolishing regulations on capital internal to the country. This external nationalism with internal free trade is reminiscent of the quasi fascist right wing libertarian Hans-Herman Hoppe (which explains support Trump has gotten from right wing libertarian types from Alex Jones to Stefan Molyneux). Trump also threatens reproductive freedom, through taking substantial steps against state funding of social services that disproportionately help women, as well as appointing a reactionary supreme court judge.

Hillary has been able to pull various people from the far left, due to the threat of Trump being even worse than the status quo. However, Trump has been able to pull many people from the far right. The far right treats Trump like steps in the direction they want, but the left do not treat Hillary like that. The left treat Hillary like pure evil that is less evil than Trump. The far right treat Trump like many steps towards ethno nationalism and they are correct; Trump’s opposition to “globalism” and support of nationalism, is populism with a right wing texture. Trump has policies that are anti women (through being anti reproductive freedom), anti immigrant (deportation of 10 million+ mainly brown people), anti poor/anti non white (through advocating stop and frisk policies and increasing the power of the police which disproportionately target the poor and non white people), and anti working class (tax cuts towards rich with various cuts of social services and regulations on capital), nationalistic (which sacrifices the people within the nation state and external to the nation state to the nation state. )

There is an Alternative to Electoral Politics:

For example: Actual Grassroots Democracy via Communes, Co-ops, Social Movements, Alternative Institutions, Radical Unions, and Dual Power Systems. Organizations that aim to meet needs, decentralize power, pool skills/needs together, build the good world in the shell of the old world, and catalyze other tactics and networks of persons with common ideals. There is Direct Action against hierarchy. There is Mutual aid/Volunteer work to help people out. There is Popular Education, and education in regards to theory/practice of a free society. And liberatory city initiatives and politics on a more local level outside of parties, with candidates running to decentralize power, democratize the republic, radicalize the democracy, and hollow out the military power of the state.

For a world with no states, no nationalism.

For a world with freely associated directly democratic communes of communes that use ecological and humanist technology to create a post scarcity society.

Meta Ethical Virtue Ethics by Peter Berkman

Meta Ethical Virtue Ethics:

Virtues:

Virtues are relatively stable character traits that probabilistically lead to happiness in the subject and in others (a vice being the inverse). They are developmental based on potentialities rooted in reality. The virtues of compassion/wisdom are “keystone virtues” that create a foundation to others. For example virtue of wisdom without compassion leads to a greater capacity to be successfully malicious, and the virtue of compassion without wisdom can lead one to accidentally reproduce vice, cause or harm, or serve an evil institution.

Meta Ethical Subjectivism states that:

1. Ethical statements express propositions

2. Some of the propositions are true

3. Whether or not one values such propositions and in what way is relative to a subject’s attitudes (ideal observer theory stating the attitudes of an Ideal person).

Meta Ethical Virtue Ethics / Social Virtue Ethics:

Which subject are we talking about? A vicious subject? Or a virtuous subject? Or someone in between?  Gradations of virtues lead to gradations of a genuine care and correspondence to truth and reflections of virtues. It is out of the gradations of the virtues, which evolved out of the evolutionary continuum, that we get the kind of subject that ought to be and prescribes what ought to be in a genuine attempt to help others. It is from the actual existence of descriptive virtues and gradations thereof that we get prescriptive virtues and prescriptive ethics in general that is rooted in compassion for others and wisdom to guide action and institutional action.

Ethics evolved out of compassion/wisdom and a genuine care about others and understanding of that which is becoming. The virtuous subject evolves a virtuous society, and a virtuous society evolves virtuous subjects. Virtuous societies evolve virtuous societies. Vicious societies evolve vicious societies. Vicious subjects evolve vicious subjects. In this sense gradations of descriptive virtues which prescribe gradations of prescriptive virtues, also evolve out of gradations of descriptive virtuous societies and prescribe gradations of virtuous societies. The development of virtue/vice and the relationship of a vicious/virtuous person to that which is not them has a social dimension.

Biology and ecology, evolving out of physics and chemistry, evolves gradations of self/other consciousness, self organization, intentional volition, and institutions. Out of this evolutionary process comes gradations of virtues which then enable subjects to have genuine care about others, wisdom as an additional substrate, and then intentional volition to do what ought to be done according to a virtuous subject.

Rather than merely looking at the hypothetical ideal observer, we ought to ask what a virtuous subject would think and try to strive to be such a subject and reflect virtues. The truth is the ideal observer must be a virtuous observer, for without compassion the observer would not be ideal. However a virtuous observer is an observer we can actually become, whereas an ideal observer is impossible. But a virtuous observer is as ideal as possible.

Virtuous moral Ontology:

Virtue ethics is relative to a subject, but such a subject that is virtuous would want to universalize virtue ethics. Quoting Chomsky, it “follows if we adopt the principle of universality: if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others — more stringent ones, in fact — plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil.”. If all relevant variables are the same, then the same minimal ethical conclusions follow, and knowledge of that comes from gradations of the virtue of wisdom. The universalist moral ontology derives from gradations of virtues.

In regards to “why ought I be ethical?”:

Yes this is a philosophical and meta ethical question but it is also a non empathetic question. That is, not wanting to do the minimum of that which a virtuous person would given relevant variables would do entails gradations of vice. The virtuous person will be intrinsically motivated to do the good due to their care for others and self. However asking such a question, far from necessarily coming from non empathy, can arise out of gradations of the virtue of wisdom and the questions one seeks when claims are put up to scrutiny and the challenge of doubt and the burden of proof. Virtue ethics is not merely a normative ethical theory, but can be a meta ethical theory that can enrich semantic, substantial, and justification theories and fill in gaps.

Direct Democracy Vs Unanimity by Sophia Goldman

companion-planting-1

For the exact same reason we shouldn’t want unilateral policy power in the hand of any one person, we ought not want unilateral veto power on policies in the hand of any one person. Both enable the minority of one to stop policies. This is regardless if it is in the hand of one person (extreme centralization of power) or in the hands of everyone (which on the political level leads to incoherence, breakdown of political life, and loss of dynamism by making it so everyone has to agree every time anyone makes any political decision preventing decisions from being made and being dissented to without people parting ways… A polity is made resilient having by at least a degree of diverse ideas and challenging minority opinions which helps cultivate better policies as well as virtues through deliberation). The right of an individual to veto any political decision is not one I would want others to have nor something I would like to have. I want the right for people to be free from rulers, and I want people to have an obligation to make sure others are free from rulers, and the means required for rulerlessness (such as a guaranteed means of existence) and development thereof. Such a formal minimum standard/limit(nomos/law) of non hierarchy should be transcended into the qualitative realm of political, economic, and social freedom and self management and through fostering virtues that enable us to do more than merely be non authoritarian. Such a transcendence does not make the formal minimum standard/limit(nomos/law) negated.

 

Within those boundaries of rulerlessness, direct democracy based on a simple majority (to ensure decentralization of power within decision making processes for accepting AND vetoing decisions) ought to decide on various political scales how to resolve Incompatible preferences. People ought to have rights to argue against a decision, disagree, re-appeal, move to another neighborhood/political unit, refuse to participate in implementation, protest, attempt to combine preferences and vote on the combination compared to the other options, form their own factions, and revolt against rulership and be provided with the means to do all of the above.

 

Development of post scarcity 1. enables people to have a material foundation to participate in direct politics 2. enables greater degrees of free association 3. makes it so many “incompatible preferences” become compatible through greater degrees of ephemeralization and liberatory technical potential. However, such a liberatory technical potential does not mean that the end of incompatible political preferences is upon us, for society, preferences, city management, and technology will still descriptively develop and prescriptively should unless we want a monotone society without movement nor dissent.