Categories
Economics Future

The State of the World – March 2019

I’ve been very busy for the past month and I haven’t written anything here. Of course, that’s no surprise to anyone – we are all very busy. Very very busy. Especially in the United States and other developed countries. Personally, I think that’s by design – I believe it’s a massive control mechanism based on the model of ‘idol hands are the devil’s work’ or to put it more clearly ‘busy people don’t have the time or energy to create problems by rocking the boat’. Our busy-ness (business) is a control state’s dream come true.

I admittedly have a problem with thinking – I think too much. My brain never shuts down but just chews and chews and chews on things and carefully observes what comes out of the cud. Mind you, I’m not saying I’m a genius or above average intelligence (I don’t believe I am), I’m just saying that I have a problem with being cerebrally inclined and where most people can shut that annoying part of their human-ness down and watch a good sporting event or let some annoying event slide off of them – I don’t seem to possess that capability – although meditation definitely helps.

But back to the world. We are moving rapidly towards a massive societal change. I think of it as humanity being in lifeboats from a sinking ship on a giant river. There are only so many boats for the survivors to get on and we’ve occupied them – our boats have careened towards a massive split in the river – the current has picked up considerably – some boats have gone to the left, some have gone to the right, and some have stayed in the center – we know that there is danger ahead on all courses – but we aren’t sure what it is.

The middle course, the human tendency towards totalitarianism and massive control and exploitation seems to be carrying the bulk of us. Totalitarianism always ends with an explosion and a huge loss of life. So, let’s just say that for those on that path, the channel narrows and pours down into a deep chasm at the bottom of which is a huge deposit of raw sodium (which explodes on contact with water). Most on that course won’t survive.

On the right is total free market capitalism – a very small number have followed this because it is scary and loud and disruptive and dangerous – there is a big waterfall at the end and it cascades down to a paradise that ends with humanity achieving all that it dreams of – but it’s almost impossible to reach because every time a stream gathers some force – it branches off towards totalitarianism – ‘protectionism’, ‘protected capitalism’, ‘controlled markets’ and more.

On the left is what I call cooperationism – this is another paradise branch of the stream with a healthy world, healthy people, and all of the ills of humanity solved through cooperation – but of course, the tendency towards totalitarianism creates things like ‘war communism’ ‘centralized control’ and other ‘we’re smarter than you and will decide what’s best for you’ systems.

So, the bad news is that humanity is heading towards a 98% chance of full totalitarianism and the explosion that follows – there is virtually no chance for our survival. The good news is that there has never been such a great chance that we can fix ourselves and our way of thinking. Do I think we will? No. Do I hope we will? Hell yes. There are many small streams which are running towards paradise scenarios.

People are finally rethinking cars and ‘reinventing the wheel’. People are looking at the planet as what it is – a giant spaceship that carries all of us through a dangerous universe. I believe that more and more people are starting to see the very real possibilities and power of working together despite cultural differences.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us in March of 2019. We are on the verge of a tyrant seizing power in the United States, the peaceful cooperation of Europe seems to be crumbling with Brexit, the world has been so degraded by our actions that we have somewhere between 20-100 years before it is uninhabitable for us, unemployment is down and servitude is up, and – finally – there are technological disruptions coming on such a massive scale that the old apple cart is going to get blown up. We don’t have a choice about changing – we will have to.

Categories
Politics Writing

A Question of Authority – Can there be Authority in an Anarchist Society?

I wrote this back in 2000 and as has been pointed out by anarchist friends and colleagues, the whole thing is rather un-anarchist in its perspective. Thirteen years later, I have to say that I’m still not certain what box I fit in, with regards to political and economic pigeonholing. It may be that not fitting in any box is the only answer I can give with certitude.

Second update 2020 – after many years of looking, what I’ve realized is that this vision most closeley aligns with the ideas of Murray Bookchin and Abdullah Ocalan – these ideas are known collectively as Democratic Confederalism, and Libertarian Municipalism. The ideas are truly revolutionary and were changing the way things were done Rojava and other places in Northern Syria among the free Kurdish and Peshmerga forces until collaboration between the U.S, Turkey, Russia, and Syria ended the experiment.

 

A QUESTION OF AUTHORITY

Often with the topic of anarchy comes the question “But what about authority? Who will be in charge? And how will they stay there and be kept from corruption?”

The answer is much simpler than you might think. A nearly perfect example is the cooperative movement. Co-ops are owned by the workers who operate them and the customers who purchase the goods or services being manufactured. They are run democratically and have checks and balances built in to protect against abuse of power. Authority is granted by the workers and patrons of the co-op.

To the average American, this formula sounds good. Democracy, checks and balances, responsibility. Sounds just like what we all learned about America, but the truth is, America has changed.

One of the more obvious changes from the ideal is the representative democracy made up of the two political parties, the delegates, and the electoral college. Democracy has been subverted. The popular vote is meaningless. The mainstream media has even taken to calling the popular vote the “beauty contest”, implying that true democracy is only for show. The real decision is decided by delegates. Who are the delegates? Ask anyone, someone is sure to know. Good luck.

The checks and balances are in place to keep the executive from cheating the supreme court and the congress, but what if they work together? Even if the visible figures of the government are kept in line, who is responsible for the un-elected and mysterious delegates.

So to start, my answer to who would be in charge in an anarchist government is ‘Who the fuck is in charge now?’ Where does authority come from, because it certainly is not coming from the people. In the paragraphs that follow I will attempt to outline an anarchist society from the ground up. My postulations are based upon my own studies of government, human systems, and human events.

1) The Group (neighborhood, office, school, or other place of grouping)
Groups are simply people who have reason to be in contact discussing the rights and wrongs as they see them in their lives. A representative from a group takes these concerns to a city or county referendum where all group representatives meet and vote on issues. No laws are passed, instead people talk about the problems and how to solve them. No time is wasted in legislation that deflects interest from the actual problem.
Ex: There are homeless people in our group, how can we help them?

Current Authority: We will hold a conference telling everyone that your group has homeless people, we will condemn homelessness and offer our sympathy, after some time we will give some money to a foundation so that they can run more ads to tell people that people are homeless. We will pass more stringent laws about residences so that people who don’t think they are homeless get to become homeless.

Anarchist Authority: Okay, we’ve got some wood and so and so has that old house, do we know any carpenters? Lets build a house? Wait..but what about permits and rules and regulations? Ha..don’t be silly there are no rules when someone doesn’t have a house to stay in.

This same group process is taken up to the next level if it needs to be. Decisions are made as close to the bottom of the ladder as possible. Eight is the age required to vote.

Pride in self rule brings about innovative solutions to keep problems from needing to go beyond the group. The group and the individual are allowed to do whatever they like so long as no other individual or group are affected. If other groups are affected than a meeting of groups gets together and finds the problem and the solution.

Ex: Group A is strip mining and the slag is running into the river which Group B and C require for agriculture and human use.

Current Authority: Acknowledge everyone’s right to either mine or suffer the consequences of mining. Build up ill will between miners and farmers by making it a mine or don’t mine scenario. Ignore all other possibilities. Create legislation which allows strip mining and limited polluting of the water source. Rename strip mining and pollution to mineral extraction and emissions.

Anarchist Authority: Shut down the mine. The groups get together and figure out exactly how to provide the same income and needs to the mining group. If a satisfactory answer is achieved it is implemented. If it is not, the mine is reopened until an answer can be found.

Taxes, revenues, records, and land ownership.
There is no authority for collecting taxes. Revenues are collected from a portion of all business operating within a group. Land is owned by title and deed by individuals and groups. Corporations cannot own land.

Corporations are taxed upon the amount of revenue generated by their product or service in each city group, a percentage of this is used to fund education.

Education
From grade school, children would be encouraged to explore their interests in elective classes and apprenticeships.Schools would be funded primarily by the students labor and the “wages” earned in apprenticeship programs. The Mondragon cooperatives have a beautiful working model.

Roads and Transportation
Gasoline tax would be used to maintain roads. Tolls would be collected to fund massive public transportation projects using “clean” energy.

Of course, the collective could decide on completely different criteria. The one constant would be to avoid creating laws which require a police force to enforce the laws. In the case of murder, let a jury decide and the family sentence.

AUTHORITY RESTS WITH THOSE AFFECTED BY YOUR DECISIONS.