Re: Libertarian or "Dynamic" Socialism

Wade Cherrington (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 14:56:25 -0800 (PST)

>This is more or less true, however, what is left out is that
>anarcho-syndicalism, or libertarian socialism, is not a philosophy based
>on altruism but in fact on rational, enlightened self-interest.
>There are in fact win-win, and lose-win situations in a socialistic
>context as well as the context one might have between two capitalist
>businessmen who make a deal (both see themselves as "winning"...
>this is considered the capitalistic "win-win" situation...

Why is it more win-win for two capitalists to agree on something
then it is for an employee to voluntarily exchange
labour for wages with an employer?

>of course it is a win-lose situation when one capitalist is forcing
>people at gun point in a slave-labor shop in South Korea, or
>El Salvador. In the case of a socialistic win-win situation,

One capitalist initiating force against people tells us
that a particular capitalist is in violation of all the individual
rights of self-ownership and private property which are necessary
for a free market. It tells us nothing about capitalists as
a category of persons, except perhaps that they can be just as evil as
anyone else, which is no great surprise - but keep in mind that in doing so
they are acting outside there capacity as capitalists - they are using force
rather than trade.

>you have cases where two people agree to work on building a house.
>both will eventually benefit from the warmth of the house... but
>their agreement is not based on the exchange of capital, but
>the fact that they both need each others labor. One could try to

What if one person is a carpenter who builds 90% of the house
while the other persons specializes in just the plumbing? How
do we make up that difference? The only problem with the
anarcho-syndicalist win-win is that it will only work reliably
if both sides can set things up so work is split perfectly
even. If capital such as money is used, the difference in
labor can be made up by the less productive contributing
an agreed upon sum. But here I find something disconcerting;
the very fact that anarcho-syndicalism is aimed towards this
very specific way of organizing labor is cause for concern;
if its is really just an affirmation of individual rights and
nothing more, whose to say that in an anarcho-syndicalist
society people will choose to forgo the use of capital?
Why not have corporations, if they don't violate individual
rights? In other words, is anarcho-syndicalism about
freeing people to pursue there own ends, or is it about
people having freedom as defined by Noam Chomsky?

>sucker the other individual
>So-called Libertarian capitalism or "Anarcho-capitalism" is described as
>capitalism without the state. This, however, is far from comparable to
>libertarian socialism or even anarchist individualism. A capitalism
>without the state would not do away with state regulations
>of private property, because the new private state put up to protect
>private property would prevent people from utilizing vast areas of

Would it? Or would land find its way into the hands of people
who could best use it, by voluntary exchange?
If it became as powerful interventionist as the prior state could it still
be called anarcho-capitalist? Hardly. Besides which, anarcho- capitalists
support many competing "Private protection Agencies" and base their theories
on the order that would emerge from there interaction, not on replacing our
current government with a some private, plutocratic, corporativist
quasi-state which is the straw man you seem to be putting forth.

>Collectivist anarchy and Individualist anarchy vs "anarcho-" capitalism:
>There are two groups of Libertarians the Spontaneous
>Socialists (Collectivist anarchy) and the Individualist Anarchists.
>There is another group, the so-called anarcho-capitalists, but
>they in fact are one of the current incarnations of a form
>of liberalism that existed before the more common Liberalism
>of the post-FDR years. This type of "liberalism" bases it's
>"liberal" emphasis on the fact that it opposes the State and
>the Church as entities that control capital. It does not,
>however, have much to say about liberty of labor, or the rights
>of individuals in the labor force, beyond that they have the "choice"
>of whom to take order from, or the opportunity to become a boss
>and give orders to someone else.

Such beautiful semantics. An order in the military has
consequences such as beating or even death for not being obeyed.
An order in the business world is when, as a customer, I ask
for a medium ham and pineapple with extra cheese. Or when,
as a manager, I ask for that report to be on my desk by 8:00.
If the report's a bit late I might not care. But what if
it was critical? What if it is a doctor asking for a file
before an operation? What if it wasn't the first time it was late?
The point is that employer can not, without violating your individual
rights, punish you in any other way than perhaps some verbal chastisement or
by firing you.
>The first group is where Rudolf Rocker, Noam Chomsky
>and Gregory P. Maximoff stand. A common misconception is that their
>systems are based on the illegalization of private property. This
>is not true. anarcho-syndicalism, or libertarian socialism, is based
>on working class individualists putting their own self-interests
>first and _abandoning_ the system of private property that
>exploits them. The survival of such a group is not based on

There is nothing stopping these people from setting up there
alternative syndicates, communes, etc within a free and open
society founded on individual rights such as anarcho-capitalists
espouse. Unless of course the "abandonment" means the looting
of property belonging to people outside those who voluntarily subject
themselves to such a movement. This is what makes me
suspicious of anarcho-syndicalists; are they really after
a just society based on the non-initiation of force or do they just seek a
free-for-all, a forced redistribution of wealth, a way of "getting even"
with there alleged oppressors?(The richer,
the more guilty, of course, eh Jacque?).

>"expelling" win-lose meme private property people, but rather
>in keeping the win-win libertarian socialist people.
>This group does not force itself to not see the "win-win" aspects
>of capitalism: it's pretty obvious that there are some win-win
>transactions, where two powerful capitalists might make a transaction

So its only powerful capitalists that can find themselves
in win-win situations? Again, is the typical purchase
of retail goods by a consumer not just as much a win-win
situation as between two "powerful capitalists"?

You seem to falsely assume that employers/capitalists by definition or by
vocation, are rich, probably drive BMW's, and are of course skimming more
than they should from there workers. Further, you seem blind to the fact
that corporate profits are often spread out amongst thousands of
shareholders; in many cases the greater portion of the shares are owned by
workers themselves.
Its amazing the type of snow job our western media has done
in propogating these politically correct myths.
More "capitalists" and businessmen are losing money than making money. In
Canada at least, two out of three new businesses
fail and file for bankruptcy in a year. 80% of employees work for small or
intermediate size companies, and the remainder is mostly public sector - a
fraction is accounted for by those "big corporations", who are downsizing
anyways, where they are not artificially propped up by government.

>and each side be satisfied... however, what they recognize is
>that there is ALWAYS a win-lose side to capitalism in how workers
>are treated.

>From the worker's perspective this is obvious - the worker
will always want to make higher wages. But the employer
could just as easily be on the losing side if a certain worker
is endangering the lives of other workers, causing damage
to his property, producing considerably less than other employees (while
drawing the same wage), or otherwise defrauding the employer. Its a two-way

Again, our culture seems to be saddled with this illusion that if you're
doing business your necessarily making bundles of money. The fact of the
matter is that many capitalists barely survive; many thousands go out of
business every year. We always hear about the fortune-500 type corporations
in the media (who themselves
have been known to collapse overnight), but we never hear about the ones
that are struggling to compete under massive taxations and regulation.
Besides which, most of the money that a capitalist makes goes right back
into the business if he has any hope of making it through the next fiscal year.
The successful capitalist is typically a person who has made an
initial investment, risked some capital, and has become rich over the course
of many years (the "vision" thing), while the wage-earner is one who chooses
a steady cash-flow at a certain level. Different strokes for different
folks. The hard luck stories are certainly not unique to either side, and
is the blame.

>Individualist and Socialistic anarchy are not fundamentally different.
>Some capitalist theorists have argued that capitalism is an
>individualist philosophy based on the idea that the "individual"
>capitalist is pitted against the "mass" of workers. But the

This word "capitalism" that is thrown around is incredibly
anachronistic. In a free market there is no predestination of who is or
can be what - You could be simultaneously employed at three part-time jobs
and have your own little business on the side.
You could go freelance and do everything by contracting out -
are you a temporary employee, or a "capitalist" offering a service to
another capitalist? Not surprising, the market reality is by far
more complex and fluid then antiquated Marxist dogma will ever be able come
to terms with.

>reality is that it is the individual worker against the
>individual boss. The model of "mass" representing the left,

True, but having a constant conflict like that isn't very good
for business. Sometimes it can't be avoided; the question
is are they going to work it out on there own for a mutually
agreeable outcome or are we going to have Big Brother come
in on one side or another. So another model you can
throw out is the left representing the worker - I hopefully
won't have to go into the life of the average worker under
any form of communism compared to the standard of living in
market economies.

>something boosted by Stalinist ideology, only helped re-enforce
>the illusion of "individual" on the capitalist side. However,
>the early individualist anarchists were not in favor of capitalism
>per se, they were simply opposed to mass state organizations like the
>Communist Party. Individualist-leaning philosophers like Thomas Jefferson,
>Adam Smith, Lysander Spooner, Henry David Thoreau, Max Stirner and so on
>all believed that workers had fundamental rights, and the right to their
>fair share of labor... but they had to claim it themselves,
>their own efforts, and through acts of resistance, strikes,
>and civil disobedience.. not by imposing ones will on the
>capitalist individual, but by refusing to be exploited by the
>capitalist individual.

A worker should have no more or less rights than the capitalist.
The labor of a worker is a commodity to be offered to other free
individuals, and as such the price will be set by the market;
i.e. what people are willing to pay. Any other method of determining labour
is inherently non-voluntaristic, and requires
a State or State-like institution to mandate and enforce.

>Another name for libertarian socialists might be "Laissez-Faire
>Socialists": the saying goes that if a group of libertarian
>workers were approached by a government official who asked them
>"what can I do for you?", the answer would be "leave us alone:
>labor united can solve it's own problems". The Communist and
>Socialist parties turned to electorialism and the
>state as a tool to solve the working class's problems... but
>libertarian and individualist anarchists historically
>rejected this.

A fair analysis. As long as labour united was through voluntary association.
I can name dozens of professions here in Canada where joining a union,
paying its dues, striking when ordered and parroting its ideology is mandatory.
I would still question your dividing people into hostile camps of
"workers" and "capitalists" - the freer the market the more meaningless this
artificial division becomes.

>Laissez-Faire Socialists (individualist and syndicalist anarchy)
>believe people like to work hard and get paid fairly for it. Win-win...

Would this include the capitalist that works hard for years,
risking capital with no immediate pay-off or guarantee of
success, and in doing so creating jobs?

>(though capitalists often force themselves to refuse to see the win-win
>aspect of such a situation and only see it as win-lose, thus opposing
>working-class individuals who ask for nothing more than freedom
>from exploitation)

The only capitalists I can think of that would grant to themselves
special priviledges above and beyond those given to other individuals are
those who benefit from statist intervention
in the form of protectionism, subsidies, regulations that
favor there market niche, etc...

>Libertarian Socialism/ anarcho-syndicalism encourages people to work and
>be paid a fair wage (WIN-WIN) when they are employed.

A fair wage according to who?

>Libertarian socialism assumes people own their own bodies, unlike
>"anarcho-capitalism" where the individual is "owned" by the corporation
>they work for. In "anarcho-" capitalist society human behavior is

Not true. Anarcho-capitalism is far more firmly grounded in
the right to self-ownership than any anarcho-syndicalist rhetoric
I've ever heard (Or seen in practice - whatever did happen
to Catalonia...?). In practice, of course, you could always raise
the specter of the poor little worker being exploited by the
big rich industrialist, but what is to stop the syndicate or
commune, or whatever miraculously more just system of organizing
labour from doing exactly the same? Serious exploitation of the type you
ascribe so readily to your view of the monolithic corporation (always rich
of course) vs the individual worker (always exploited, naturally) amounts to
a criminal act.

(And if your cynical about the worker getting justice, just look at some of
the frivolous lawsuits where the employee recovers millions
from the "deep-pockets" corporation)

Friedman's argument is primarily a utilitarian one. He argues that with
privatization and deregulation, the worker will have far
more choice of who he works for, as thousands of more businesses
spring up his labour will become a more and more valuable commodity, as
demand increases for a finite quantity. There will always be abuse of
privilege in any organized system. All that we can hope for is that
individuals be held accountable for crimes against individuals, and not have
the issue obscured by traditional third party interests - be it the State,
the Corporation/syndicate, or the Union. Legal action must be based on the
facts of each individual case, and not unilaterally decided based on one
dominant political ideology or another. {Friedman follows this track even
deeper, making arguments for privatizing the judicial and law-enforcement
system as being the best guarantee against such abuses. I don't no about
going that far, but I'd certainly start with the depoliticization of the
current judicial system}

>by the imposition of regulatory patents, copyright laws, and so on.
>BTW, Fascism is a form extreme capitalism. Fascism occours when small business
>owners, frightened of a rising, militant and organised working class,
>turn to the extreme right which uses workerist rhetoric and emotional
>appeals to build a counter-revolutionary movement to stop the spread
>of (libertarian) socialist ideas.

So fascism comes from the small businessman who operates the
corner store? I find this a bit of a stretch.
Fascism is simply complete statism through the quickest means possible,
whether it be socialist slogans, anti-semitism, nationalist fervor -
whatever works to secure power to those seeking it.
(Granted, rich bankers supported Hitler's regime, but I've always wondered
what would of happened to a banker who didn't extend a generous line of
credit to Herr Hitler?)
Also it should be pointed out that capitalism really isn't
an "ism" at all (it was named by its enemies) - its not a political ideology
but rather an economic structure that emerges from a
society based on invidual rights, private property, and voluntary

- Wade Cherrington

Plus Ultra....