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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Carnival of the Uncapitalists, Homage to Catalonia Edition

Well, it's that time again--the fifteenth installment of Carnival of the Uncapitalists. But this time you need click no further, because I'm the host. Since Tuesday is the anniversary of the 1936 Spanish workers' uprising, the theme for this edition is workers' autonomy, worker control of the production process, the bargaining power of labor, and suchlike.

To start off, we've got a new contributor, Dmytri Kleiner, with a post at Interactivist about his intriguing idea for venture communes. The idea of venture communism is to enable labor to mobilize its own land and capital, use them more efficiently than the corporate capitalists, and watch the massive amounts of land and capital currently in the hands of capitalists become near-worthless when they're starved for labor to work them.

Richard Chappell of Philosophy, Etc., has an interesting discussion of negative versus substantive freedom, and the effect of a guaranteed income on the bargaining power of labor.

The title of Kathy Naumann's post, at Communicate or Die, is self-explanatory: Can Advanced Technology Save Labor's Problems? She brings her own considerable experience as an organizer to bear on the subject of information technology as an aid to labor activists.

Nathan Newman has a good post up at TPM Cafe scrutinizing the much-ballyhooed "moderate" credentials of Sandra Day O'Connor when it comes to workers' rights.

Last but not least, Charles Todd of Freiheit und Wissen--the guy who got this uncapitalist thing going--exposes the thuggery of the so-called "free trade" neoliberals, and the jackboot to the face that workers in Haiti are getting.

One thing that many good, honest people do not understand: the majority of rhetoric about “free markets” is baloney. You can tell it is baloney because there is a gap between what the preachers of “free market” ideology tell you and what they actually do.

This is a very simple principle. If someone always tells you that you ought to do x and then always does y instead, they have a credibility gap...

For example, “free market” ideology will tell you about the ability of free markets to set the cost of labor. I hear this thing all the time from Republicans and Democrats alike. Governments shouldn’t intervene, the market knows best, etc. etc. Yet despite this high praise for the power of the market to establish wages, governments and corporations continually intervene by force and intimidation to artificially suppress wages.

Haiti is just one particular example where the use of force and intimidation helps keep wages low so U.S. business interests can keep profits high.

Oh, yeah--I almost forgot. I did a post of my own for the occasion: On the Superior Efficiency of Small-Scale Organization.

This Just In. Bill has a great post on Workers' Control in Venezuela at Reasons to be Impossible.


Blogger The Continental Op said...

Bravo for honoring the Spanish workers' uprising. Here's my contribution to that commemoration: the Spanish anarchist version of The Internationale.

July 17, 2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I was a bit too late to get my entry in for the carnival, but I've put a brief post up about Venezuela on m'blog...

July 18, 2005 12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job with the carnival, Kevin!

July 18, 2005 8:07 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks, Charles. I added your post to the Carnival, Bill--it's too on-target for the week's theme not to. And that Spanish anarchist version of the International was quite rousing--no doubt would be more so, if I understood Spanish. Is there an English translation of the lyrics?

July 18, 2005 10:03 AM  
Blogger The Continental Op said...

I've not seen a translation, and my Spanish isn't nearly good enough to enable me to translate the lyrics myself. It would be interesting to know just what the differences are among the various versions -- Anarchist, Socialist (2nd international), Communist, and Trotskyist (which, in English, is the version I orignally learned).

July 18, 2005 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, folks, I cannot share your enthusiasm for the '36 Anarchsit Revolt. As a Traditional Catholic, I know the end product of that Revolt murdered bishops, priests, nuns and laity, burned down churches and committed sacriledges throughout the land.

Franco and his ilk were butchers, no doubt about it. But the other side were even more bloody. I'd consider myslef a Carlist sympathizer. It would have been better if there were no Marxists or Francoists in Spain.

Just my 2 cents. Thanks for your time.

July 18, 2005 6:14 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I don't approve of the violence against Catholic clergy in Spain, either. And as an individualist anarchist, I don't care a whole lot for either anarcho-communist or anarcho-syndicalist ideology, for that matter. What I am celebrating is the success of the workers' militias in thwarting Franco's coup, and the subsequent successes of workers in managing industry.

And please bear in mind that anti-Church violence in Spain, while inexcusable, wasn't directed primarily against the Church as a theological target, but as a bulwark of reactionary landlordism as a class system. The Church in Spain wasn't just a religious institution, but a social one.

I've a lot of admiration, by the way, for the role of Catholic clergy in the Basque area in creating the Mondragon system.

July 18, 2005 6:28 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Continental Op,

A Trot version of the International, eh? I assume it includes the ritual denunciation of "splitters," and a careful list of the features distinguishing the People's Front of Judea from the Judean Popular Front.

July 18, 2005 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two Trots, three sects.

- Josh

July 19, 2005 12:29 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks! I jumped at the chance to host it on such a great anniversary.

July 19, 2005 7:41 PM  
Blogger EUGENE PLAWIUK said...

Yep I missed it but here is my website on the Spanish Civil War and Revolution 1936-39.

July 23, 2005 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Franco and his ilk were butchers, no doubt about it. But the other side were even more bloody. I'd consider myslef a Carlist sympathizer."

And that is why the Church was seen as the enemy, because of that attitude, seeing Fascism as the lesser of two evils, conflating libertarian socialism with Stalinism, and the Church's historic association with regressive tendencies and justification of traditional authority against the liberation of the workers.
Also, people don't just do things for no reason, it might not be morally justifiable to slaughter priests and burn churches, but when these priests are spies and apologists for the jackbooted thugs who wish to crush the society you have built for yourself and institute an oppressive regime, your moral calculations become a little bit more complicated. Why are you even bothering to try to argue rationally against anarchists when you openly admit to having diametrically opposed moral objectives, belied by your support for a reactionary, feudalist ideology and trivialization of the suffering of oppressed workers?

August 05, 2007 11:50 AM  

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