Michael Albert - Anarchist Economics Pt 2



I just say one other thing that might not be popular I have a tendency to do this I don't think it's very constructive to go places and say only what people agree with and I want to hear maybe this won't be but I think a very significant problem with our movements is that they they they embody a set of values and norms which whatever the motivation may be come across as anti working-class come across as uncongenial to working people participated there's a lot of ways to think about this I mean the obvious way to think about it is exactly the parallel to the question that was asked earlier if we have movements that are racist and sexist internally that says to blacks and Latinos and women that the movement is sort of hostile to them if our if we wash their aspirations and their culture inside our organizations what we do that to working people we create movements and organizations whose internal structure pays zero attention to our rhetoric about improving a lot of working people because it replicates the structures which cause there a lot to be horrible right so that's the first way that this happens but there are more ways that this happens for instance the way that we I won't even take the hand wave but the way that we know just individually not watch sports right but the way that we get a gut visceral hostile reaction to people watching or participating in sports the way that we do that around religion we are in the most sports conscious and the most religious country in the world it is a little like it is a little like if you were going to go to France and be an organiser but not speak French it's not wise not if you want to win now if the reason that you go into French to organize is because you like the other organizers in France and you don't give a shit about reaching the French public okay no need to speak French but if the reason that you're organizing in the United States is not to feel good about ourselves that we're moral or to fight the good fight right but who cares if we win I the slogan fight the good fight is for instance I mean I fired few things that right I mean you know maybe some of you get nauseous about football I get nauseous about fight the good fight because it says you know we just fight the good fight well the fucking people who are suffering care if we win and I carefully what are we doing go to the goddamn beach I never understand these people enjoy yourself a little bit more you know so so that's a key aspect and the extent to which we are not yet so first as I went to the state universe State College and Pennsylvania's people heard me say this last night there are other examples but this one is just so striking a room with 300 people all radicals I could have picked 280 of them out walking around the campus that's how much like each other they look and how much unlike the rest of campus they go now you know I look that way too but at some point we once upon a time write a maybe yes do we have to understand something it on that campus each Saturday everybody goes to the football game except the 300 people in that room really I ask people to raise their hands how many people had been to a football game right three people all black raised their hands the whole rest of the room no and they were all laughing because of course they thought that in the beginning of my talk I was pointing out how wonderful they were that they managed to rise above the horrible you know lifestyle and and degenerate morality of their brethren on the campus so then I said you know on the way here this morning I passed the sports bar this huge bar downtown State College State College has a population of maybe 60,000 the stadium holds 80,000 and every Saturday is 80,000 people in it that should tell you something you know the pot football is this town so you go past the sports bar but this thing wasn't really unusual for me I mean it was a huge bar it was full of talking people and they were big I mean there isn't a single person in this room think who would have looked in place even if they were dressed exactly like the people in that part these people were athletes I mean these people were huge the women were big the men were big everybody in the goddamn place was was intimidating in some sense so I came into the in that sense right I said after I did the football thing I said look how many of you people have been down to the sports bar to organize the whole room burst into hysterics meanwhile if you don't organize the people in that sports bar go to the beach because you're not organizing the campus you know what are you doing that's the whole student body right how can you possibly write that off and and I honestly think if we ask what it is that we're writing off oftentimes it's we're writing off working class culture and values and styles which might be very disturbing but if you think about it what kind of music did we write off and what kind is acceptable what kind of you know McDonald's is unacceptable why is McDonald's unacceptable you know is it unacceptable because it's a multinational or is it unacceptable because working people eat their right with good reason right not with bad reason they don't eat their to get sick right they're not morons they eat their cuz it's inexpensive and it's actually not poison right and so on so I think that it's important for us to to that doesn't mean McDonald shouldn't be a target for us yes but it has more than one way to make it a target like there's more than one way to talk about it every working-class guy who watches football in the afternoon knows that those people earned you know more on Saturday than he or she earns in you know two years it isn't just us who know that they're not stupid they know that they also know you know but we might know that about the tennis player whether you know but we were okay watching that but it's no good to watch the football but it's okay to watch the tennis or it's okay to watch it's okay to go to the symphony but it's not okay to go to the hootenanny what's the most popular sport in the United States the most popular spectator sport shit yeah hold on racing and how many if you even know what an auto race is well some that's more than most places huh I mean these things now am I saying that every person on the Left has to be religious sports fanatic and into TV you know in a profoundly way so they can talk no I'm not saying that but but notice what the reality is it isn't that I'm not saying every person has to I'm saying look around nobody is right it's not just personal preferences it's just it's a style right and it's a style that is destructive of our capacity to reach out go ask any black organizer what they think of a white organizer who simply cannot talk about sports at all in the United States just you know watch your chin while you do it I don't train I don't like sports I went to high school with a lot of athletic people they make fun of me and called me a faggot and like those are my people I don't want to like go into a sports bar just because that's where the people are and I wanna organize the places where I feel comfortable and like those are my kind of people hanging out that might not be a sports bar it's probably like a punk show or like an open-mike poetry event and like I don't see what's wrong with that whoa see I didn't say working-class people go there too like why is this emphasis being put on clanks bar for pleasure you didn't hear me say that I said you should go I don't even like because that's where the population is and you want to win a revolution there's also like you know at hardcore show you know the population is everywhere yeah but yeah we can agree to disagree maybe but look at State College and the University of Pennsylvania there's 300 people in the room you can you can go through the campus and identify you know 280 of them as being in a cultural minority that it's quite different there's nothing wrong with that I'm not saying something intrinsically wrong with that but if those 300 people want to have the 30,000 people on that campus against war they have to talk to the 30,000 people if they don't want to don't that's ok but but don't make believe that we want to have that let me give you an example of doing this let me just give me an example of doing this in the early 6th well you know I have the mic in the early sixties in the early 60s because I'm not here most the time in the early 60s at MIT the demonstrators around the war the Vietnam War were most people that MIT didn't even know there was a Vietnam War all right so the people at MIT who related to the Vietnam War are at Harvard at Boston University who related to the Vietnam War demonstrations which were small rallies on the Boston Common in 1965 1966 1967 right the people who went down went down to throw rocks at the demonstrators right that's what they went for by 1968 and 1969 those campuses were only at the war now that happened because what because people in those campuses who were organizers right said we're gonna talk to everybody at MIT what we did is we said we got together organizations and we began to start and we said how are we gonna get this whole campus to be anti-war which was quite a daunting project because these people were people who a were oblivious to any of these kinds of issues and be thought everything that was going on in the world was for the benefit of everybody right I mean just the level of lack of understanding in a second here's what we did we said the guy who is the president of the interpreter natee conference has the same genes we do the guy has the same he nature we do the guy has bad values now but he can be talked to let's go talk to him let's go talk to the person who does the football team was basically a male college I mean the basketball team let's go talk to these there is people who have hundreds of friends and hundreds of acquaintances let's organize them let's simultaneously go into the dorms and into all these other places we weren't going into places where we were comfortable right we weren't going into places where they had our values of course they didn't have our values most importantly they didn't have our value about the war right but they didn't have other of our values too and that wasn't where we went to have fun we also had a movement that tried to give us sustenance and fun and pleasure and they tried to fulfill our aspirations but when we were organizing we went out to talk to the people who needed to be reached is why should you do like to to somewhere where like you have nothing in common like with the people who are there when instead you should be like going back to your own community and starting like and starting organizing with people you relate to well instead of like look if the situation was that your own community so to speak at State College in Pennsylvania or wherever here here if your own community but that's the exam if your own why would they come to a sports bar like one night when they came from places like Baltimore and Pittsburgh Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are like State College me well well okay see I think they are and I think that that you that they are and then and there's nothing wrong with a huge proportion of the population is religious is watch TV is into sports is a whole life attribute that's true okay we disagree on the first off when when people ask that question yes is no but but in the phone with don't rush the answer is no because we already have violence how could there be a non-violent way forward when we already have gargantuan amounts of violence even just in the United States so if you look at the lot of people who live in you know black communities and Latino communities and stop working class people right they already face repressive violence so surely there will be violence now the question is the second part of the question is will the 20% be convinced right well will the capitalists be convinced and therefore I one-on-one nice day say shit what have I been doing right over a period of time I mean this seriously you know I can see how it is both just and moral and remarkably it might even make my life more happy and so I'm on your side well some people do that yes some people will well many people do that no no I don't believe that for a host of reasons I do not believe that and so I spend none of my time right trying to organize and convince capitalists or coordinator class people now it doesn't mean that I don't think that it could number of people in this 20% will be on our side and if I'm talking to one of course I'm talking to them right but I don't think we should orient ourselves to convincing them which is what we do largely right and it's a big mistake because it says to the other 80% that they are dispensable the same way everything says that to them same way all advertising says that to them you know if you have money you count if you don't you know so and the left says that to them too we're only concerned about who reads the New York Times you know it's a mistake but violence the when I was in my violent mode I'm not a pacifist by any man's right by no means and I've looked down the barrel of a gun you know with somebody threatening my life and you know all those kinds of things so I'm not a pacifist and I have some experience not a lot but some experience of when I was in my more violent oriented stage I used to say this to people I used to say we live in a country in which if you turn the other cheek they'll hit that one too and that's true if you lie down on the railroad tracks they'll run you over and so my deduction was right we have to be willing to fight violence with violence well I was right about those facts the deduction was moronic right and the reason the deduction was moronic is because there is no such thing as fighting capitalist state power there's no by way of violence there is no such thing as fighting the u.s. army or the u.s. police departments there is no such thing there is no scenario which involves the u.s. populace picking up guns and defeating that the only scenario that defeats that is if they put down guns but notice that isn't the 20% putting down guns to 20% don't carry guns right it's the police and the army if if you want to know when we're really making headway we're really I mean sports bar huh I mean I mean if you want to know what we're really making headway it's going to be when a serious decision in life of some budding activists is do I want to go join the police force do I want to go join the army to organize there right now people did that in the 60s you know a lot of people went to Canada to escape the war in Vietnam or to end to make a protest which was good right and not everybody is suited to all kinds of work but there are other people who self-consciously went into the army in order to organize against the war those were the most courageous people with the possible exception of the people in parts of Chicago who tried to join the police force to organize inside the police force right these are real things to do now I don't think everybody should do it I'm gonna give the other side of my answer to you now I knew people who in those days would would say to themselves what's the most important thing for me to do what's the most productive thing to do well the first problem is that's a stupid question because nobody knows the answer to that question right how about Rosa Parks not moving from her chair in the bus can anybody predict you know remotely the impact of such a thing no you know there's no such thing as what's the most important but okay let's go along with it the person would sort of list possible things to do and maybe the top one was going to a working-class community and be an organizer right now let's find some way to live there get a group of people to work with make friends etc etc let's say that was the top and you go down the person would look at that list and say I'm a revolutionary I care about changing the world I should do the thing that's most important I'll do that one right they didn't look at themselves at all they didn't ask can I do that am i suited to do that am i is my disposition such that I can make a life doing that that I can smile ever doing that right that I can be in for the long haul doing that what we should really do is look at the array of possible things to do and look at ourselves and our inclinations and find something over here that gives us enough of what we desire and enough of what makes us smiling people and positive people enables the community you know functional and that instead of depressed and slowly burning out and choose that alright that wasn't your actual question so your actual question is what's the depressive what's the response to that they have the guns the response to they have the guns as we to have the people and we have to have so many people that we create conditions under which the use of repression is more counterproductive to them than it is productive to them what are we doing when we try and stop the bombing it's when not try it we're not educating George Bush that killing people in Afghanistan is a bad thing you can spend from now until the year 4000 you're not going to succeed right he is never gonna believe that he doesn't even believe they're humans right yeah hey don't get me started but in any case we're not gonna we're not gonna do that so what are we doing we're saying to George Bush if you pursue the end to the policy making apparatus if you pursue the policies the result will be and now a lot of people are saying things in Europe people are saying the result will be dissent here in in the Mideast people are saying not with the values that we hold the the the result could be the fall of Saudi Arabia and so on that was there there are ramifications we're saying here the result will be the emergence of more and more people who are against the war and then who are against the whole goddamn thing the whole system behind the war in again you know my formative influence was was the Vietnam War so I used that as an example and also because it's far enough in the past that we have a lot of information when the war was on after time after there were a huge movements senators and congresspeople and lawyers and and and you know prominent citizens and only worth members of that coordinator class when they came to the conclusion that they didn't want to support the war anymore they would often hold a press conference that's the way they view themselves you know that's that important so they would hold a press conference and they would explain why it is you know my I can no longer a good punch and support the war in Vietnam and then they would say walk they didn't say I can no longer in good conscience support the war in Vietnam because it's killing a million actually two or three million indo-chinese people didn't say that they didn't say I can't support it because we're dropping plastic toys right in trees which explode and when they explode push their shrapnel into the arms and the bodies of the kids and we make them in plastic so that they won't be able to find them with x-rays so that it will burden their infrastructure I can no longer support the war because only the devil could have a brain that would come up with that tactic ie our government right they don't say that they don't even say I no longer support the war because I can no longer support the death of American GIs because they don't give a fuck about the death of American GIs the only way they care about that is if there's no more to take the place what they say is and you can go back and look for yourself what they say is I can no longer support the war because our streets are in turmoil because we are losing the next generation because what are they saying they're saying I can no longer support the war because although the war has aspects and our ramifications that I do support it has this side effect and the side effect is the growing dissent which is beginning to threaten when I hold even more dear right my elite position my the whole system that's what had the power and that tells us something about our organizing like the single issue veiled people versus multi issue people right why is multi issue the right answer the right it's the right answer because we're trying to raise social cost to these folks because a single issue movement never reaches the the magnitude to say to elites you have to change because it doesn't threaten what they really hold dear right so the answer to the question is at one point we had a demonstration and MIT they had the National Guard on the roofs that had machine-gun nests they had all this crap right and they had an injunction this is all for intimidation right some people would think they were going to use it we know they couldn't use it why because if they use it the next day they'd have a half a million people instead of a hundred thousand that's the condition you have to create so they had these injunctions you cannot appear you cannot talk you cannot do this so we would get up in the most public place imaginable with all these people around and we would tear up the injunctions why could we do that it wasn't because we were courageous you didn't take any courage at all because we had built a structure in other words we couldn't do that in San Antonio if we had gotten up at that point in time in the exact same in San Antonio ripped the thing up they would have carried us off to jail beating us to a pulp on the way but we could do it there because we had big enough movements and enough consciousness that if they did that it would cost them more than they would gain that's how you fight oppression you create conditions under which it is a useless tactic if you don't do that if all you do is get gas masks right we're shields or something like that and you don't build support I'm not totally sure I'm hearing the question you know is what's the efficacy of trying huh yeah well trying to end the draft it has it's good side and it has its bad side if you get rid of the draft then the army becomes those people who can't get a job if you have a draft and it's a really Universal draft then the army includes the sons and daughters of the elite so there's a sense in which ending the draft is not always even a progressive desire right because it just puts more and more of the burden on the poor and it reduces so there's a sense in which I didn't spend a whole lot of time fighting you know fighting against the draft I fought against the war and every war since so if you can end the draft and you have among you in which nobody will go then it's progressive then it's positive it just depends but it's not you can see how it could be problematic oh wait I do have to do something are we okay if I if it goes on do we have to leave yeah okay I don't care I'm perfectly happy to stay but people who want to leave for instance to eat I will certainly understand that and the rest of you who are insane and want to stay and not eat I'm happy to go please because some people do want to keep talking question was in a participatory economy if we're rewarding effort and sacrifice what happens if somebody doesn't work well what happens to the person who doesn't work obviously they're not they're not putting forth any effort and sacrifice at work because they're not working so how do they eat well the answer is if the reason they're not working is because they can you know because of a health problem or something then I mean even capitalism recognizes that problem and obviously a participatory economy so you you remunerated and sacrifice and also need in the case where somebody can't work but suppose somebody says hey I just don't want to work I'd rather not contribute I'd rather than exert any effort and sacrifice support me well different different participatory economies might have a different answer to that one could say okay we'll have some minimum income that's guaranteed right another could say fuck that you know why should somebody get to say I don't go I don't have to do everything the rest of us are working why should somebody get to say that there's nothing wrong with work it's equitable it's fair it's just it's dignified why shouldn't they carry their share all right I might say that so that is I in other words that doesn't mean you don't get any vacations doesn't mean knowing any time off but the idea that somebody should just you know not work suppose we were all shipwrecked on an island tomorrow that's a way to think about economics that's very good I think that's very constructive because it takes a lot of the crap out we're all shipwrecked on an island so we come up on the island what should we do well one possibility is we hold a gigantic fight right and some people grab all the land and all the pineapples or the food and from then on they get almost everything and the rest of us work for them probably will come out against that the next thing we could do is we could see people's prior training their knowledge and their skills a portion tasks that way and have some people get more again and some people or we could do our way but suppose we did it our way because we believe in those values and somebody raises their hand and says hey it's really great we've set up a nice system it's not exactly luxurious because we're on this frigging islands right but at least it's fair and it's equitable but I don't want to work what are you gonna say to that person I'm gonna say what the fuck are you talking about you want me to do your work for you now if the person got hurt in the shipwreck right that's a different story we might all decide that we want to have a norm whereby person can eat and and get a shelter and maybe get you know get some minimum amount and I know what they do oh we might not what about family structures and children and things like there's no children it's complicated so I decided to rule it out there there like somebody on the island who can't work so they get their hair just by virtue of need how would that work well it depends I mean there's a bigger question here the bigger question is we're doing this economic revolution well what's happening over here in kinship and in the family is there is there one happening there see I don't think that what we're going to have is participatory economics and the same kind of political system and the same kind of kinship system and the same kind of culture that we have now so I think they'll be changed there too and until we figure out what that change is for example suppose it was the case as a hypothesis that sexism is generated by women mothering and men fathering in other words not people parenting but a demarcation of tasks and responsibilities into this thing called mother and this thing called father which are dramatically different and which may only do one and then do the other suppose that's the case suppose that's generates suppose it nurtures and produces sexism so that when we then do affirmative action and all the rest of it right we are making nice changes but we are leaving the cause right then we would want to change that I think I'd want to change that I think that's true that that's the part of the cause and that that needs to be changed and address but I don't have a good answer but if we do all those things then the answer to how kids get food is the same as the answer to how anybody else gets food it's part of the planning process and kids are too young to be part of the planning process when they're really kids so the parents or other people who are responsible for them or what about what about when it's a nothing you don't want to work but what they want to do isn't valued by the society or by the system like I think I think maybe that's where that guy was trying to say about the innovation right but let's see maybe he felt that it wouldn't be or maybe there's stuff that isn't that didn't value now but could be what what is it that that permits in some sense of the word something to be done in a good economy people have to value it if you're right but people are not stupid so for instance suppose we asked about musical styles that are not yet popular nobody values them yet cuz nobody knows what the hell they are but we're not morons we know that and and who has to be convinced now right well the owners of the music companies you have to convince them to give you money to experiment or you have to convince some corporate and some board of a university or whatever right in the new economy what you have to do is you have to convince your your fellow workers your fellow composers your fellow you know your your your your your community of people in your industry right now they have to convince the whole economy but what are they saying to the whole economy they're saying do you like music do you like new music you know they're not saying do you like this particular experiment that nobody has heard yet they're just saying should we apportion a certain amount to innovative innovative anything innovative air transport innovative bicycles and a bit of music innovative research into science etc so so and there's no reason to think that normal people now much less normal people with good education who aren't dumbed down who etc etc with trust and empathy and solidarity wouldn't be in favor of research and development etc now would they work at this there's a related criticism that comes this is a criticism that comes from economists this one a little Museum they say wait a minute there's no pressure to accumulate that's a very a variant on this Mark said accumulate accumulate that's Moses and the prophets for capitalist in other words market systems have a pressure to accumulate and they say producer economics doesn't have that pressure the only pressure to accumulate in participatory economics or to innovate is that people want it but it isn't structurally built in so they say people won't work as many hours and they say that's a criticism right and I just sort of like you smile and laugh and I say yeah that's right it is highly probable that in a good economy when people have control over their own lives and they assess the relative value of leisure and work they will want to work fewer hours than now especially when we eliminate you know all of the wit when we eliminate military production when we limit their there's about 7 million homeless people I think that's the number I could have the number wrong and 7 million empty hotel rooms every night in the United States there there what about advertising work so you get rid of all of that right and you get rid of the in unequal distribution and you ask how many hours a week would people likely be working in a good economy I don't know the answer 20 a good guess right 15 maybe I suspect more because I think people will like it that is productive labor is a part of human fulfillment and so I would imagine 20 or 25 hours not because merely of the desire for the product but actually because of the desire for the productive activity sometimes in the back here whatever about money and I was a little disconcerted by the way it seemed like we sort of dismissed the the money issue and then said something about how you know the keep the key is it to talk about money but it's to talk about social relationships and and I think money like a technology has certainly shaped by social relations but we can't underestimate the language its shaped social relations no Universal currency seems to have a tendency for accumulation and hierarchy built into it in some sense if what we mean by currency let's just clarify terms okay suppose we mean by currency something that earns interest something that's capital that's one way of looking at it suppose we mean just something that facilitates exchange something that allows I have shoes you have hats and you have oranges right and and I want what you've got you want what he got and he got it's what I got and it's hard to trade the stuff all around so we use this universal as you say there's universal equivalent that somehow allows us to to manipulate you know to move the stuff right then all it is is an index it's just a play skipper right the same way is that on an index I don't want to go into this in detail but it's the difference between those two things the pernicious aspects of money have to be dealt with right but the pertinent pernicious aspects of money are really pernicious aspects of capital pretentious aspects of the distribution of money of the distribution of income of remuneration right these are the real pernicious aspects the the simple facilitating of exchange is not pernicious anyway that's the point see and how its exchanged and how it works I'm sorry what you still have to deal with the form and function of the currency and how it works I'm thinking of the difference between a universal dollar and a local currency you know which but you're talking about under this system not under a good economy right that's not which is two very different things and I don't think we should spend a whole lot of time on local currency but I think a lot of the impetus and the desire is behind people who work with local currencies is good but I think a lot of many of the implementations of it are probably bad in many places I suspect local currencies are mechanisms that allow employers to dodge health care concerns and and you know other concerns like that to escape not the worst part of the economy but the best part of the economy and the desperate people put up with it so there are good sides and bad sides the good sides we have to learn from the bad sides we have to overcome but that's not the issue of what it would be in a good economy yeah you always have to make a distinction between and it's hard not it's hard to do it between thinking about a part in the current situation as compared to thinking about an alternate a different situation because in the current situation a part is doesn't make a lot of sense sometimes right now see I'm saying it it all makes sense as a whole system a half a bridge is useless right and half a bridge only gets you into the lake right you need the whole thing so you have to first understand the system as a whole or any system as a whole and then see if elements of it can be incorporated in the present as a part of the process of going forward there are innovations that we can do around money now that would be positive but money is its capital that's a big issue or the monopolization of information and knowledge that's a big issue or the maillot distribution of assets or the MAL distribution of access to goods and plenty or the maillot distribution of circumstances those are all the big issue and and money just is it's a part of that you compared it to technology at one point I think that's a mistake – I don't know whether you're making a mistake but a lot of anarchists do make a mistake they hate think biology is bad that's like reform is bad you know that's it's just a horrible confusion this is technology a pencil is technology everything that is a human artifact is technology if technology is bad we should become worms you know we should stop using our minds bad technology is bad that's true bad technology you know electric shock machines to kill people that's bad assembly line it's bad nuclear bombs bad all sorts of bad technology but what makes the technology that is not that it's technology a human artifact but that it is its purpose and its construction and its conception and its and its implementation have bad effects it's a mistake to say technology is bad in his right to say bad technology is bad but then you have to ask well wait why is there good and bad technology what are the structural factors which cause some technology to come out horrible in some technology to come out at least benign or maybe even good and then you're behind the scene once again into institutional structures and social relations which is where we should be you know where we should be focused I was just gonna ask a question about non reformist reforms my mom saw the families from Appalachia it's like a historical hotbed of union activity and on the one hand there have been labor unions that are kind of you know looking toward the big picture like the United Mine Workers when they started up had a program more or less like the revolutionary syndicalism and on the other hand they kind of traditional business unions I just wanted to know what what you would suggest as a strategy for of working with labor unions you know should you try to create alternatives like the IWW or to you know try to bar within or you know I don't know that is to say I think that that both of those I can envision the emergence of rank-and-file workers movements right around lots of things from globalization from those kinds of issues to workplace issues there would be a fantastic thing I can envision the emergence of rank-and-file council structures that to me seems necessary so the emergence of workers beginning to to coalesce together and to say this is our this is our Council this is the embryo of what we want in the future and we're gonna try and start to develop programs and stuff out of this vehicle that brings us it's like a union except it's Council's it's local you know it's for control over the workplace I can see unions as a part of it but what makes something or a form or a non reformist form is very reformed is very rarely the actual content of the thing it's rather how it's talked about and what you do about it so for instance increasing wages right it's neither reformist nor non reformist in and of itself it could be either so you can talk about increasing wages in a way which legitimates corporations which legitimates markets which legitimates capitalism or you can talk about it in a way which is you know oriented towards some other things let's say participatory economics and you can fight for it in a way which is fighting for the wage gain and that's it or you can fight for it in a way which is fighting to create structures to create movement organization and infrastructure which will win the wage gain and then use the higher wages to win still more that's what non reformist is is compared to reformist given that we're trying to do the non-performance reform should we try to like create an alternative both I try to you know be like much easier to do it if we created an alternative but there's all these business unions already in place it's both I mean it's the same question it's really it's honestly the same question is should we work in General Motors or create South End press and we noticed when we look at that that while Southland press is nice but General Motors is huge right and the same thing goes here should we create a alternative labor institution or should we work in the unions well the question becomes you know how much progress can we make in the union's I don't know the answer to that if we could make fantastic progress in the union's immediately we shouldn't even bother with creating anything else because we could turn them into something really pop if we make slow progress there then we probably need the other both to win games and to provide something for the people in the unions to look at to see what it is we're trying to accomplish it you see the answer is probably both yeah kind of came to anarchism sort of from Marxism and when I started to handle it because that's what I was first exposed to I started to look at it and I came up with some critiques which you know the authoritarianism was a big thing and then another theory that that I came in contact with a little later later which I'm more familiar with this kind of a revolutionary program is libertarian municipal ISM that's had a lot of influence on me that's something that Murray Bookchin has written a lot about and then I started to come up with this other piece of Marxism which is what I think is economic reductionism seeing us as merely economic entities as workers or as in a lot of campaigns think of us right now as consumers and it sounded and that's something that is also I think a problem in syndicalism is that it sees it deals with the authoritarianism question a lot but it still it's only looking at us in the economic sphere and not in the political sphere to varying degrees you know I guess in the personal sphere but I think the political sphere is one but it particularly is ignored and when I think of like a directly democratic workplace it seems like it can't just be that workplace or a confederation of workplaces it seems to me that and this is something that I'm really getting from libertarian municipal ISM is it needs to be accountable to a community to a municipality and that's something I kind of wanted to to pose I mean isn't there a danger that a collective workplace would kind of turn into some kind of like collective mini capitalist endeavor one of the things was economy I think that's horrible right we might my critique of Marxism is partly economy is impart ly elevating economics to this primary position and viewing everything else in terms of it which i think is a big mistake but it's partly getting the economy wrong that is to say even in the sphere that they pay most attention to I think they get class analysis wrong so they see capitalists they see workers they don't see the coordinator class I think there's a reason they don't see the coordinator class I think it's you know Marx taught us to look at a theory and ask not what it says about itself but who it serves I think Marxism is the theory of the coordinator class not the working class that's why Marxist revolutions put the coordinator class into the ruling position so that's my big critique if you will that doesn't mean they're everything the more it says is wrong by no means just like everything that Milton Friedman says is wrong and marks a whole lot better than Milton Friedman right but that's the so I agree with you about economizing I agree with you about needing a political vision I just don't think libertarian municipal ism is a political vision I honestly don't in the following sense what would it pollute what I say an economic vision is what we have to figure out the economic functions our production allocation consumption and we have to figure out alternative institutions for accomplishing them okay so what's the political vision well we'd have to figure out what are the political functions and then what are the institutions that are going to accomplish them libertarian municipal ism pays attention to I think peculiarly but it pays attention to legislation at some level in other words somehow getting out of a populace it's it's it's desires in the form of programs and legislation but it doesn't say attention to adjudication it doesn't pay attention to disputes it doesn't say if we pay attention to a police function it doesn't pay attention to doesn't pay attention to a great many things that are part of politics meaning polity the state you know or polity in the good sense so I have problems with in on those scores I think it is I hate to say this but there's no point you know mincing words I think it's ridiculous when it talks about the economy libertarian municipal is just the people who did it should have stuck the politics which they understand and they have someone who's standing up but when they start talking about economy it's embarrassing it to me when I read it and I was debated with them and talked about that trying to be a little more gentle than I just was but but it really is I mean it's just there's no conception of what it means to talk about allocation to talk about things exchanging at the proper rates arriving where they need to be right and and of having a system that that manages that and gives people appropriate say now your real question could in a participatory economy each workplace become callous toward the people in the vicinity or cow well in the sense of the others you said it had to be subject to or at least influenced by appropriately the will of the people in the municipal in other words in its surroundings well that's what it means in other words if it's not subject to that it might do things that hurt those people right it might do things that hurt those people on a larger scale and do things take it take a different scale suppose we so as we suppose workers and or even workers and consumers right in other words workers and people who living in the neighborhoods in Michigan decide to put in some kind of new electrical thing right that will improve the situation in Michigan but the prevailing winds are such that it will create a whole lot of pollution in Chicago that's serious right no worth it should be the case in a good economy that the situation of those people in Chicago is a part of the calculation and as a part of the decision they should have as a part of the stay so it's not only that if we're our workplace the people outside our door should have a say in whether or not we have a little open pipe that leads into their backyard dumping pollution right which they should right but it's also the case that if we and they want something that will benefit us and them but a little drop shit in Chicago the people in Chicago should how to say so it's an even bigger problem than you raise and and it's exactly the case this is the hard part of economics it's exactly the case that we shouldn't slide it under the door and solve the problem by having either an authoritarian ruler who just decides or by having markets who that simply exclude all of this and have a profit decide we should have an allocation system which does what which a portion is appropriate say over this decision to the people affected by it that's exactly what participatory economics does now if it doesn't do that if somebody shows me if a libertarian municipal it shows me that it doesn't do that right I have to renounce it that's why I'm claiming it does but no libertarian initiative lists no straight economists nobody right hasn't even bothered to make an argument that it doesn't do that right and there's a good reason it's because it does do that but but so if you were right that that a workplace would dump or would just ignore or would are the people in the neighborhood would be excluded from impacting its decision then it would be a problem among people who are unfamiliar with libertarianism the problem with libertarian as soon as they say okay the people in the municipal in the neighborhood should have a say and then they say well it will have been the holiday of the neighborhood decide what goes on in the workplace well notice what that does it gives the people in the neighborhood total or certainly huge say over what goes on in the workplace which largely affects the people in the workplace it airs in the opposite direction it doesn't solve the problem it train it reverses the problem right it gives the working people too little say over their circumstances right not appropriate say saying that they are going to influence their circumstances by virtue of being over here in the city in the polity having one vote among all the city people just think for a minute if we are working place does it make sense that your say and what we do in our workplace right is one end of the population of the whole city which is what libertarian municipal ism says or does it make sense that it is whatever it should be within our fifty or a hundred or a thousand person workplace and that the workplace is you see the difference and that the workplaces say and the cities say are appropriate with respect to things that affect the city or things that affects Chicago now I can't do the details but you see how I'm not ignoring that what what the libertarian municipal us is saying I'm taking it very very seriously so seriously that I think that what they're saying is a critique of their vision right because their vision does ignore it and violates it right and that I need to identify and if somebody can show me that we're not abiding that then we just screwed up we have to go back to the drawing we're seeing this this issue that the workplace should be also an entity that has primary decision-making over at sell news and I mean I I'm actually new to the theory as well so I mean there's a lot of stuff what libertarian municipal ISM comes becomes is a political vision a vision for how people should work together with appropriate input into norms that that guide our political life and into how we deal with when there are disputes if all we say is that there will be no disputes therefore we don't have to deal with them that's crap there will be disputes right there will be big disputes there will be instances where you need to deal with violence right whether it's you know some somebody who goes berserk or whether it's a serial killer or whether it's somebody who gets drunk and is rowdy right how do you deal with that in a way that's consistent with our values rather than violating them right so if they develop a political vision that's great and if participatory economics is great they should be compatible and I think they would be ok [Applause]




Comments
  1. He only talks Anarchist Economics for about 35 seconds in this one but GOD DAMN this is a good video. I wish I could phrase its content succinctly enough to make a good r/breadtube title so that we can live in a world where more than 400 people have seen this.

  2. Here in Dublin We've been fighting a tough battle on the housing front. Occupations, marches, clashes with security and police. Makes me feel good knowing we made it past this hurdle. Were made up primarily of working class people, migrants, and queer people (categories not mutually exclusive)

    We host solidarity dinners, go door to door connecting with local communities. We O R G A N I S E. There are tensions, there are cliques. But at the end of the day were all comrades.

    I'm obviously queer and trans. I hate football. I come from a middle class family (even if we do live in social housing) And I'm a super inexperienced nineteen year old, who has severe social anxiety. I know it can be hard af, but if you throw yourself into this stuff (or even dip your toes) you'd be surprised how many of the walls you thought divided you from your fellows, were actually a lot smaller than you thought.

  3. love the vaporwave effects on these <3

    fr tho lotta good stuff in here even if you don't agree with parecon. thanks for sharing!

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