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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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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Friday, March 10, 2006

Cooperatives as Schools of Self-Government

At Chlorophyll, Esteban has some interesting comments on co-ops as an educational tool for developing an empowered society. He notes the radical disconnect between the kind of "democracy" we learn about in the publik skools' civics classes, and our experience in the economic world:

Our mental model is that there are those "above" us, who hand down dictates that may or may not make sense, and the most we can hope for is to stay on their good side. If we live this medieval model all day every day, is it any surprise that a lot of folks aren't inspired to break with it to vote? They don't think they could - or maybe even should - have an influence over the wider world.

History shows that all the propoganda in the world can't overcome people's experience. Get-out-the-vote efforts might cause a measurable rise, even enough to tip the balance one way or the other, but can't convince the other 50% of the population to vote. Only daily practice in democracy - not just voting, but engaging each other and deliberating - can create a context to do that.

Jeffersonian democracy was ideally suited to a society of self-employed tradesmen and farmers. And, despite the obvious self-serving aspect of limiting the franchise to the 40s freeholder, there was some logic to the connection between economic independence and political power. The habits of dependency and subservience that come from employment at another's pleasure can translate into some extremely pathological behavior in the political realm. Especially, in the past thirty years or so, the steep decline in union manufacturing jobs (often associated with a willingness to tell bosses to go to hell), and the rise of a work force divided between instantly disposable minimum wage service workers and careerist white collar apparatchiks in corporate bureaucracy, have undermined most of the socio-economic basis of democracy. People who spend twelve years in the publik skools learning that the path to success lies in finding out what it takes to please authority figures and jumping through hoops, and then find those lessons reinforced in the Darren Stevens world of the corporation, are a pretty dangerous bunch to count on when it comes to vigilance against the government.

But it works the other way. The more parts of our daily lives we're in the habit of managing for ourselves, the harder it is to preserve unquestioning deference to authority in the other spheres:

But there's more to this. The more people participate in their workplaces and communities, the healthier and more productive they will be. That is to say, there will be less need for the federal government to take care of us, because we'll be taking care of ourselves. Over time, that will apply to state government, and eventually even the municipal level. But this can only happen to the extent that we empower ourselves. No one will do this for us - no one wants us empowered. We must take responsibility for our own liberation. And the best way to do that is in the workplace, through worker ownership and management.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for noticing!

BTW, Kevin -
1. Did you get my link to issue zero?
2. I'm heading out on the road this week, with only your book to read.
3. I've formally joined the IWW.

March 12, 2006 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tips for Being a Successful Landlord

In today’s apartment rental market there are several things that are “must do’s” for becoming a successful landlord. The reason you’re playing the real estate rental game is to have the check in your mailbox on the first of the month, right? Here are a few tips that can help you to achieve this with as little aggravation and frustration possible.

First and foremost is finding the right tenant to rent your apartment, house or other rental. This is the most important ingredient in the recipe. Checking the prospective tenant’s credit history to make sure they are paying their bills is one of the best ways you can screen. A tenant that pays their bills on time most likely will send you their rent on time. Establish a clear system on collecting rent, handling complaints from the tenant and how you will contact them if you need to gain access to the apartment.

Secondly, get all the important terms of the tenancy in writing. You have the option to have a basic rental agreement or draw up a formal lease. Whichever you decide, the important thing is to document the terms that you and the tenant agreed to. Clarify who is paying the utilities, the rental price and any other agreements made between you and your tenant.

It’s a good idea to stay on top of the repair and maintenance needs of your property. When you are notified of something that is broken or not working, repair it as soon as possible to prevent further damages. You may also lawfully enable the tenant to withhold rent, sue for injuries caused by defective conditions or move out without notice.

On a similar topic make sure you are carrying enough property and liability insurance to cover yourself in any situation. A well designed insurance program can protect your rental property from losses caused by everything from fire and storms to burglary, vandalism, and personal injury lawsuits.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. Just remember, as long as you follow these simple tips you will be on your way to a happy and fulfilling landlord future. Best of luck!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Goldstein, associated with www.AllSpacses.com which Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places, has been dedicated to the real estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 landlords with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals feel free to visit www.AllSpaces.com or email him at Eric@AllSpaces.com.

September 21, 2006 1:46 PM  

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