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  •  Not at all true (4+ / 0-)

    The town councils you refer to are central authorities. Local governments, as you conceive of them, are in fact, a form of central authority. And thus money, wealth, and the lust for power through wealth is as much a problem locally as on a large scale. People have long terms in which they can rule autocratically, and are extremely difficult to impeach or recall. They rule from their own whims, serving their own needs, serving the interests of their economic class.

    What you're missing is that in this alternate system, of which there are numerous proposed variations (there are a lot of ways to go about this), the small horizontal, non-hierarchical community assemblies group together with other assemblies, councils, and associations, forming federations. Federations group with other federations, forming regional, national, and international councils whose "authority" rests completely in the basic, small, local communities.

    There are no campaigns. No money is involved in selecting delegates for the federations (most likely selected by majority vote, but some communities might decide to rotate delegates, or use some other method). The delegates are answerable to the communities who select them. The delegates would normally be intimately known by their communities. They are immediately recallable, and have binding mandates, which, if betrayed, can cause them to lose their appointments rather quickly without much trouble other than calling a community meeting.

    This entire structure is thus grassroots, bottom up. No elites can achieve control. No national army would be at their command (but local militias could combine through federations, and would be completely under the control of the small communities). Corruption would be rather lacking since there is nothing to profit from by individuals, since no one would be anyone's boss, no one would monopolize property used in production, no one would profit from rents, interests, stocks. All of this would be eliminated.

    And with profiteering at the expense of the working class eliminated, the greed and corruption would be directed to better ends. You underestimate the degree to which acculturation plays a role. Change the structure, make it more egalitarian, and people will acculturate. Most Americans are actually, literally taught that greed is the basis of capitalist economy, and that it must be tolerated and even harnessed for society to function. Hogwash.. Let's teach people a different side of their natures for a change. Most people help others when asked. My worst, most hateful neighbor would give me a cup of sugar if I knocked on her door.

    I'm a very slow typist, and I don't  generally like to belt out quips as answers. Sorry for the delay in replying.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 11:06:05 PM PST

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    •  Oh, if you're in la-la land about (1+ / 0-)
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      establishing self-sufficient communes - which, btw, have already attempted at various points in even our past - by ignoring the fact that structural changes can't take the selfish factor out of humanity (i.e., it can only keep it better monitored and sometimes placed into partial check) - then, please go ahead and try.

      You seem to be under a blanket illusion that someone not signing up for that idealized fantasy solution is not aware of how socialized people are to understand greed as an implicit motivator - perhaps you didn't account for various folks who find your larger proposal as naive and simply bringing it's own pluses and minuses to the table to already understand the nature of fairness between neighbors being undermined by a mad race to send all power and attention upwards - by design of those wealthy and connected who continue to consolidate their positions and ownership of both assets and public disinformation away from a more cooperative and equitable manner of holding values in society among its members, rather than supporting artificial constructs based on worship and aspirational struggles to become part of the elite.

      I find your blanket denunciation of how existing processes can be improved by increasing roadblocks and visibility to entrance by the already-powerful in government as merely the simplistic denial that anything but your ideal view of regional, communal bodies that somehow change their values of "success" in life on a dime by virtue of being organized more flatly from the top-down.

      Funny thing . . .  it's easily arguable that current political structures can be tweaked to support a similar enforcement of new values and measures for "success" in life among individuals and logical groupings called communities or somesuch, with a faster path there by virtue of reusing existing infrastructure and processes without having to toss it all away for brand-new agreements across existing, governmental boundaries (i.e., state, county, town, village).

      You seem inebriated with the notion that a new structure will necessarily come with new values, and that benevolence will shine between communes in a fashion such that cooperation within and between such establishments will lead us all to a more harmonious relationship with neighbors and other locales.  I've read plenty of sci-fi/fantasy, as well.  It's all fine for abstract discussion of how we can bring better values into society, but our structure is not the problem: even in past attempts at self-sufficient communes, interpersonal aspirations were inevitably the downfall of loose regulations.  Any system with better checks against fairness is corruptible, but any system without such checks fails to account for human nature, IMHO.

      Have a fun time with your proposals, though.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 11:00:28 AM PST

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      •  Man, this is tiring and useless. Why do I bother? (2+ / 0-)
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        DeadHead, poligirl

        I'm a bit physically and mentally fatigued after working all day in service to my quite dimwitted bosses, but I'll respond. And after the "la la land" comment, and your reference to my alleged "inebriation" you're really not someone worth taking seriously, if you think capitalism is realistic, and every other alternative is just a fantasy.

        There are many examples of successful anarchist societies which have historically existed, ranging from tribal cultures during paleolithic periods, to medieval peasant villages, to the Paris Commune, to the Makhnovists in the Ukraine, and to anarchist Spain involving 3 to 8 million people for nearly three years. But you just go ahead and keep making up your own facts. In the last three examples they didn't fail due to some intrinsic flaw, but were suppressed and murdered at the hands of massive opposition from all sides, so much a threat to power anarchism poses.

        Check out this video of anarchist Spain, which lasted for almost three years:

        And anarchism isn't just any generic "commune" you've heard about that may have "failed", but a specific way of organizing, without surrendering one's autonomy, like sheep, to some external authority. Anarchism is present whenever two or more people collaborate, without a need for a pecking order. I pity those who just can't get their authoritarian heads around the concept, which is at work every day, all around the world.

        Moving along, your next two paragraphs are rather rambling and incoherent, consisting of one long sentence each, but seem to allude to your notion anarchism is some far off fantasy rather than a natural form of organization that is as old as time.

        Have you read Kropotkin? Bakunin? Anything about anarchism? But here you are feigning to know all about the topic, because you think the concept so childish and naive you don't even need to bother educating yourself even slightly as to its sociopolitical theory.

        So tell me, why should I take you seriously? You ramble about building on the "existing structure" or some such notion, as if all this talk of equality and workers' rights, and objection to unequal power relationships and unjust distribution of resources is mere whining, rather than vitally important issues pertaining to quality of life. Gee, imagine, some of us actually want to determine the course of our own lives,  and have a better standard of living, free of slavery and coercion, rather than allow a minority of wealthy fops to lord over us as if we were serfs, which in fact we are. For the conscious, awakened working class, this is a horror, a miserable way to live.

        You're raising the same old canard that most other capitalists raise. You say it is human nature to be at each others' throats, when in fact we have clearly evolved as social animals who find efficiency and strength by working together. You've bought into the capitalist brainwashing that only through the competitive side of our natures, through greed and avarice, can we prevail, and this leads you to absurdly conclude only a central state hierarchy can miraculously keep the greed (which thrives in capitalism!), in its place. Really? That somehow, the elites who end up in control will be in someway immune to this greed? That they will willingly check their own authority, rein themselves in out of a sense of... unselfishness? Any laws you would pass (which would those be, by the way?) will need the consent of the ruling class to pass. And laws can be repealed by that same ruling class, which happened with Glass-Steagall. At the moment, and for the last several decades, we're heading backwards. So, your notion of reform isn't working so well.

        Can't you see what a contradiction this is? Capitalism is the best model for human greed, because any other system will fail? How's that working out for the planet so far? Or are you blind to the sunami of rape and destruction of the ecosystem that capitalism unleashed in unprecedented levels, and the selfishness is actually thought by you to be good for us?  Are you daft? We've been at this for centuries, and so far, we aren't much closer to creating those checks and balances you speak of. That is the real fantasy at play here, the foolishness that power will rein itself in. Just look at the current example. Obama ignores international law with the flip of his hand, as if they apply to everyone else, exempting himself. He operates in secrecy, and wages warfare against whistle blowers. He expands executive power, and operates outside our own constitution and international law, while his admiring supporters ignore his overreach. If the most promising candidate in a lifetime behaves this way once in power, it seems your notion of power engaging in self restraint isn't very hopeful. The "la la land" fantasy more aptly belongs at your own feet, sir.

        Read the daily news, and witness the increasing disparity of wealth between the minority ruling class and the rest of us. Go back and read my earlier posts, I won't repeat them, but things are not at all going well for a lot of the people on the planet, if you've somehow missed this easy observation. And they're going to get worse.

        Even Sweden -- oh, you lovers of liberal capitalism and social democracy -- is moving more and more to privatization, and has had recent riots, and is treating the immigrants there in a racist, intolerant manner. No, even Sweden's capitalism is showing its ugly, authoritarian side as of late. Which tends to prove my point: The state relentlessly gravitates to concentration of power in a minority, elite class, exploiting the rest of the citizens.

        Which is why it won't work to simply try to moderate the worst effects, with reforms. Those who hold the power will never reform themselves out of power. They may be wise enough to make small concessions to ward off wholesale revolt, but they will never willingly give up their power, their elite status, and their wealth. They will not simply wake up some day and have an epiphany that they made an error, and turn the land, the means of production, the position at the top of the hierarchy, which they appropriated by false authority, back to the people, for their wealth and authority exists precisely at the expense of the poor. They need a working class to buoy them. They float with their heads above the water by standing on our enslaved shoulders.

        That you on one hand state that people are by nature greedy, and on the other naively believe that authority will unselfishly concede its power, is a contradiction. Make up your mind. Which is it?

        The only way to solve this is to remove from reach the throne. Abolish the concept of central authority. Take the ring of power and crush it. Take away the private profiteering, the lure of thieving wealth from others to enrich oneself. All excessive wealth in the hands of a few comes at the expense of the poor, and creates unequal power relationships. As long as this is actually permitted, and even lauded as heroic, as if exploitation through economic domination is something to be proud of, a respectable achievement, this problem will not go away.

        No one has the right to simply declare whole tracts of land, even whole regions, as his or her own. We all were born with the right to live, and we can't have that right if we are born into a society in which all property is already "owned" by a ruling class. The right to live means we collectively own the land, the resources, the air, the water, the very earth that gives us birth. When slave masters, feudal lords, monarchs, presidents, and corporate bosses own the very earth from which we all spring forth, leaving no place to stand without paying some form of rent, in subservient bondage forever, the very concept of life and liberty is destroyed.

        No, the state cannot liberate the people, since it is, itself, the barrier between people and liberty. It cannot cure the disease because it is the disease. Elites will never cede power and wealth voluntarily, since through economic inequality they maintain their unequal share of the resources they have commandeered for themselves. You're suggesting as a solution the mere improvement of the conditions of wage slavery, rather than eliminate the exploitation.

        This is why anarchists say "only the people can liberate themselves." As long as we look to the State for freedom and a fair distribution of wealth, it will never come.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Thu Nov 21, 2013 at 10:53:22 PM PST

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