recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : kevincarson   2

Anarchism 101 | Human Iterations
"The freedom of all is essential to my freedom. I am truly free only when all human beings, men and women, are equally free. The freedom of other men, far from negating or limiting my freedom, is, on the contrary, its necessary premise and confirmation." –Mikhail Bakunin

***

For anarchists who do know something about anthropology, the arguments are all too familiar. A typical exchange goes something like this:

Skeptic: Well, I might take this whole anarchism idea more seriously if you could give me some reason to think it would work. Can you name me a single viable example of a society which has existed without a government?

Anarchist: Sure. There have been thousands. I could name a dozen just off the top of my head: the Bororo, the Baining, the Onondaga, the Wintu, the Ema, the Tallensi, the Vezo… All without violence or hierarchy.

Skeptic: But those are all a bunch of primitives! I’m talking about anarchism in a modern, technological society.

Anarchist: Okay, then. There have been all sorts of successful experiments: experiments with worker’s self-management, like Mondragon; economic projects based on the idea of the gift economy, like Linux; all sorts of political organizations based on consensus and direct democracy…

Skeptic: Sure, sure, but these are small, isolated examples. I’m talking about whole societies.

Anarchist: Well, it’s not like people haven’t tried. Look at the Paris Commune, the free states in Ukraine and Manchuria, the 1936 revolution in Spain…

Skeptic: Yeah, and look what happened to those guys! They all got killed!

***

"The dice are loaded. You can’t win. Because when the skeptic says “society,” what he really means is “state,” even “nation-state.” Since no one is going to produce an example of an anarchist state—that would be a contradiction in terms—what we‟re really being asked for is an example of a modern nation-state with the government somehow plucked away: a situation in which the government of Canada, to take a random example, has been overthrown, or for some reason abolished itself, and no new one has taken its place but instead all former Canadian citizens begin to organize themselves into libertarian collectives. Obviously this would never be allowed to happen. In the past, whenever it even looked like it might—here, the Paris commune and Spanish civil war are excellent examples—the politicians running pretty much every state in the vicinity have been willing to put their differences on hold until those trying to bring such a situation about had been rounded up and shot.

There is a way out, which is to accept that anarchist forms of organization would not look anything like a state. That they would involve an endless variety of communities, associations, networks, projects, on every conceivable scale, overlapping and intersecting in any way we could imagine, and possibly many that we can’t. Some would be quite local, others global. Perhaps all they would have in common is that none would involve anyone showing up with weapons and telling everyone else to shut up and do what they were told. And that, since anarchists are not actually trying to seize power within any national territory, the process of one system replacing the other will not take the form of some sudden revolutionary cataclysm—the storming of a Bastille, the seizing of a Winter Palace—but will necessarily be gradual, the creation of alternative forms of organization on a world scale, new forms of communication, new, less alienated ways of organizing life, which will, eventually, make currently existing forms of power seem stupid and beside the point. That in turn would mean that there are endless examples of viable anarchism: pretty much any form of organization would count as one, so long as it was not imposed by some higher authority, from a klezmer band to the international postal service." –David Graeber

***

"See, what we always meant by socialism wasn’t something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased into co-ops, collectives, communes, unions. …And if socialism really is better, more efficient than capitalism then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" –Ken Macleod

***

"But where would these ne’er-do-wells be taken, once they were brought into “custody”? Specialized firms would develop, offering high security analogs to the current jailhouse. However, the “jails” (or rehabilitation programs) in market anarchy would compete with each other to attract criminals.

Consider: No insurance company would vouch for a serial killer if he applied for a job at the local library, but they would deal with him if he agreed to live in a secure building under close scrutiny. The insurance company would make sure that the “jail” that held him was well-run. After all, if the person escaped and killed again, the insurance company would be held liable, since it pledges to make good on any damages its clients commit.

On the other hand, there would be no undue cruelty for the prisoners in such a system. Although they would have no chance of sudden unchaperoned escape (unlike government prisons), they wouldn’t be beaten by sadistic guards. If they were, they’d simply switch to a different “jail,” just as travelers can switch hotels if they view the staff as discourteous. Again, the insurance company (which vouches for a violent person) doesn’t care which jail its client chooses, so long as its inspectors have determined that the jail will not let its client simply escape into the general population and do harm." –Robert Murphy

***

"Knowledge is an immense power. Man must know. But we already know much! What if that knowledge should become the possession of all? Would not science itself progress in leaps, and cause mankind to make strides in production, invention, and social creation, of which we are hardly in a condition now to measure the speed?" –Peter Kropotkin

***

"To the daring belongs the future." –Emma Goldman

***

Primers

“Towards Anarchy” – Errico Malatesta, 1920
[http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/malatesta/towardsanarchy.html ]

“Anarchy Works” – Peter Gelderloos, 2010
[http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-anarchy-works ]

***

Theory

The Possibility of Cooperation – Michael Taylor
An influential work in game theory, Taylor covers how most of the collective action problems used to justify the state are misdiagnosed and/or solvable through alternative means. pdf torrent | amazon

Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective – Kevin Carson
A comprehensive survey of the economic dynamics that pressure for and against large organizations and hierarchies, as well as the historical and political causes of our present situation. full text | direct purchase | amazon

How Nonviolence Protects The State – Peter Gelderloos
How nonviolence is rarely responsible for the historical victories often claimed in its name, the difficulty of defining “violence” and the problems with absolutist constraints on tactics. full text | printable booklet | amazon

Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty – ed. Charles Johnson & Gary Chartier
A collection of pieces on a variety of topics, united by a focus on the centrifugal dynamics within truly freed markets that equalize wealth and facilitate broad resistance to power dynamics. pdf | direct purchase | amazon | audiobook

Anarchy and the Law: The Political Economy of Choice – ed. Edward Stringham
Writings on conflict mediation mechanisms in societies with polycentric social norms and arbitration courts. amazon | direct purchase"
anarchism  mikhailbakunin  favidgraeber  introduction  emmagoldman  peterkropotkin  robertmurphy  kenmacleod  theory  primers  anarchy  petergelderoos  kevincarson  michaeltaylor  edwardstringham  charlesjohnson  garychartier  capitalism  inequality  power  horizontality  law  legal  nonviolence  gametheory 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Center for a Stateless Society » A Modest Proposal
"Al Jazeera recently covered Chattanooga, Tennessee’s high-speed Internet service (“As Internet behemoths rise, Chattanooga highlights a different path,” June 6). [http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/5/29/chattanooga-net-neutrality.html ] The “Gig,” as it’s affectionately known, operates at one gigabyte per second — about fifty times the U.S. average — charging each customer about $70 a month. It uses a preexisting fiber-optic infrastructure originally built for the electrical power utility.

A couple of little-known facts regarding local Internet infrastructure: Telecommunications companies were given billions in subsidies and phone service rate hikes back in the ’90s based on their promise to build local fiber-optic infrastructure for high-speed Internet access — then they simply pocketed the money and never built that infrastructure. The original promise was something like the kind of ultra-high-speed, low-price Internet service available in most of Western Europe.

You can get a lot of the facts at the website Teletruth.org. Today, telecommunications infrastructure construction by these companies is down by about 60%, while revenues are way up. Instead of near-instant page loads for $40 a month, it’s typical to get gouged for more than $100 and suffer slow speeds and wireless connections that constantly fade out. Believe me, I know — I get my wireless service from AT&T U-verse, and they suck more than a galactic-size black hole. This is a classic example of the oligopoly style Paul Goodman described of the companies in an industry carefully spooning out improvements over many years, while colluding to mark up prices. The telecoms, far from building out their infrastructure to increase capacity, are strip-mining their existing infrastructure and using it as a cash cow while using oligopoly pricing to guarantee enormous profits on shoddy service.

Hundreds of cities around the United States have high-capacity municipal fiber-optic networks just like Chattanooga’s, originally built to support local government communication functions, but they’re forbidden by law in most states (passed in response to telecom lobbying) from using those to offer Internet service to the general public. Not only that, the telecommunications industry raises hell in the state legislatures even when local school districts propose using their own fiber-optic infrastructure to provide Internet service to the public schools instead of paying Verizon, Cox or AT&T for their sorry producst. These telecom companies — which received billions on subsidies for a service they failed to deliver — have the nerve to whine that it’s unfair for them to have to compete with a service subsidized by the taxpayers.

So here’s my proposal: In any community like Chattanooga, with an existing fiber-optic infrastructure capable of providing better quality Internet service to a significant part of town, this infrastructure should immediately be put to use for this purpose, with rates set at actual cost of provision. But instead of being administered by the city government, it should be spun off as a consumer cooperative owned and governed by the users.

In Cory Doctorow’s novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, dumpster-diving hardware hackers in Toronto attempt to construct a free wireless meshwork using open-source routers built from discarded electronics, persuading neighborhood businesses to host the routers at the cost of electricity. In the real world, schools, public libraries and municipal buildings could host such routers and provide free wireless access to those in the areas covered.

In fact, why not take it a step further? Forty years ago, in “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle,” Murray Rothbard argued that government property should be treated as unowned, that it should be claimed (via homesteading) as the property of those actually occupying and using it, and that government services should accordingly be reorganized as consumer or worker cooperatives. Further, he argued that the property of “private” corporations that get most of their profits from state intervention should get the same treatment.

The way I see it, the telecom companies that pocketed those subsidies and rate increases back in the ’90s owe customers about $200-odd billion, plus all the profits they’ve subsequently collected via price-gouging. So when local communities with municipal fiber-optic infrastructure organize those Internet service cooperatives like I describe above, they might as well go ahead and void out the telecom companies’ property claims to the “private” infrastructure as well and incorporate that infrastructure into the consumer cooperatives.

Those who follow the “net neutrality” debate are rightly outraged that Internet service providers are threatening to gouge customers based entirely on their ability to pay, simply because they can. But the proper expression of this outrage is not hacking at the branches through regulatory legislation. It’s striking at the root: The ability of the telecom companies, thanks to government subsidies and privilege, to get away with such behavior.

It’s time to expropriate the expropriators."
broadband  telecoms  infrastructure  internet  connectivity  2014  subsidies  law  legal  public  private  chattanooga  isp  teletruth  money  government  policy  internetaccess  digitaldivide  netneutrality  kevincarson 
june 2014 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read