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Bookchin Article Thread

BKM

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Mod note: Thread split giff57




jresta said:
he then goes on to talk about moving jobs offshore - full text

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bookchin/raddemocracy.html
Interesting, I'll have to digest it.

I remain skeptical of the Marxist Intellectual cant (Marxism is still a religion to me. Maybe ok as a descriptivce system, but for prescriptions.....?

Still, this was very interesting: ." In the United States, you're not deindustrializing as much as reindustrializing in a new way. The Americans are turning the economy into a war economy. Its greatest product consists of missiles, rockets, satellites, space technologies, weaponry, and everything else is being geared around that. They're ready to let the Japanese, the Asians, generally, produce the textiles and let the Mexicans and Third World peoples produce the blue collar type industrial goods of traditional capitalism. They'll always maintain enough of that in America, by the way, in order to support the arms industry or at least to meet their minimal needs. "
 
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jresta

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BKM said:
Interesting, I'll have to digest it.

I remain skeptical of the Marxist Intellectual cant (Marxism is still a religion to me. Maybe ok as a descriptivce system, but for prescriptions.....?
I don't know where you got that from, maybe from here -
"Please remember very well that whether one was a Marxist"
but Bookchin isn't a Marxist, in that paragraph he's pointing out the shortcomings and misinterpretations of the marxists and syndicalists.

Still, this was very interesting: ." In the United States, you're not deindustrializing as much as reindustrializing in a new way. The Americans are turning the economy into a war economy. Its greatest product consists of missiles, rockets, satellites, space technologies, weaponry, and everything else is being geared around that. They're ready to let the Japanese, the Asians, generally, produce the textiles and let the Mexicans and Third World peoples produce the blue collar type industrial goods of traditional capitalism. They'll always maintain enough of that in America, by the way, in order to support the arms industry or at least to meet their minimal needs. "
Definitely. I think it was relatively apparent (but up for debate) that was what was happening if you were studying it back when he said it. It should be obvious to most by now and i think it becomes more true with every passing day.
 

BKM

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While Bookchin is not a traditional Marxist, my understanding of his work is that he still uses Marxist thinking-but maybe more as an analysis tool.?? He is also amazingly vitriolic about "Capitalism." Like many people, I have always automatically associated "Capitalism" with the "free market." That is probably a mistake :) I cannot agree with anarchists' dismissal of private property. I have not read very deeply in this subject, so I may be off base.

His arguments are also interesting in light of a new book now being reviewed in the New York Times book section this Sunday-a Biography of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was a firm, early supporter of the kind of centralized, competitive American state, a "strong nation" in the traditional sense. His opponents were of course a combination of rural aristocrats and rural idealists who believed in decentralization and traditional societies.
 

jresta

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BKM said:
While Bookchin is not a traditional Marxist, my understanding of his work is that he still uses Marxist thinking-but maybe more as an analysis tool.?? He is also amazingly vitriolic about "Capitalism." Like many people, I have always automatically associated "Capitalism" with the "free market." That is probably a mistake :) I cannot agree with anarchists' dismissal of private property. I have not read very deeply in this subject, so I may be off base.
Marx offers an interesting critique, not just on economics but on society. Even if he's a little out there you can't really ignore him when trying to take a balanced look at current problems. It's sort of like trying to discuss psychology and trying to avoid anything that Freud ever said.

Bookchin promotes a program of "libertarian municipalism" and i believe calls himself a "left-libertarian." He actually often laments that the right stole the term libertarian - as anarchists have been using it since the 1860's to describe themselves.

In marxist theory all property belongs to the state, including your labor. In anarchist theory (which is all about individualism and free association - like the right-wing version) there is no state, therefore all property is either personal or collective. Collective property is confined to the means of production, eg. farm land, factories, etc. Your car is yours, your house is yours, the books in your house are yours, etc. but the public works are public, the auto plant is public, etc. There is no coercion in anarchist theory, you own your labor, and so you're free to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This was demonstrated in practice in Spain in the mid-1930's. Which is really quite interesting, even down to the barbers, society organized themselves by workplace and by trade and kept things running with no bosses and held off Franco and Hitler for 3 years. But yeah, they see "private" property as just a euphemism for "corporate" property and so make pains to distinguish between "personal" and "private."

Bookchin is very anti-capitalist but as you've observed and as i'm sure i've mentioned before Capitalism is not the same thing as a free market - David Korten sums that up better than anyone right here - http://www.ru.org/artkortn.html

His arguments are also interesting in light of a new book now being reviewed in the New York Times book section this Sunday-a Biography of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was a firm, early supporter of the kind of centralized, competitive American state, a "strong nation" in the traditional sense. His opponents were of course a combination of rural aristocrats and rural idealists who believed in decentralization and traditional societies.
and, (not to toot Bookchin's horn too much b/c he's certainly not the be all and end all on the subject) ultimately what he is suggesting is a return to a more traditional society based on the village. He's saying get rid of state and federal governments and let municipalities form federations on the regional level (MPOs?) and then align themselves further with other MPOs for purposes of trade and mutual aid. Of course, reinvigorating democracy on the local level ( a serious challenge) comes much earlier.

at any rate, back on the topic of this thread, If Bookchin's assesment is correct then we should expect a serious national brain drain sometime at the end of the decade . . . and Korten's interview above is a must read.
 

BKM

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Well, I am an employee of government, so I tend to shy away from libertariansim, even if I am sneakily somewhat attracted to it.

I think the problem is just what you said-its a term stolen by the right. Some rightist libertairans are equally suspicious of corporatism, but the vast majority seem to be simply interested in removing any obstacles to corporate power in the expectation that some mythical corporate free market will make things right. I still believe, corrupt as it is, that we need an EPA and an FDA. I think right-libertarians ignore the power of concentrated private power.

I have to admit to an interest in the old free cities concept (Italian renaissance). It seemed like a more intense, creative period. But, the degree of factional violence and conflict also seems greater, at least when compared with intact modern states.
 

jresta

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i always say, about right-libertarians, that "they want the government to protect them from government interference."

The Italian city-states were oligarchic and were based on trade, commerce, and accumulating wealth and power. I think of the New England town meetings before the US was a country or even the Iroquois Confederacy - sure the New England towns were often based on the church and voting was limited to land-owning men and the Iroquois were land hungry and patriarchal but you get the point.

I think my interest in all of it is how communities can protect themselves from corporatism and eventually from the violence and deprivation that's almost sure to come in this country.

and yeah, i talk a lot of rah-rah, but i work for an MPO.
 

Lee Nellis

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Point of fact: the Iroquois were matrilineal, property passed on the female side, and women were very active politically, although as in most traditional societies, each sex had its domains. This began to break down in contact with the Europeans, but the stability and longevity of their confederated (to use one of Bookchin's favorite words) societies had a lot to do with women's active participation in decisions.

Marx was wrong about almost everything except that capital will drive wages to the point of mere subsistence, if it can. But he didn't anticipate at all how cleverly they would learn to make that acceptable to wage earners. The distinction between a capitalist regime and a free market is just critical to clear thinking about where we are at.

Bookchin is worthwhile reading for everyone who thinks about communities.
 
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