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Is anarcho-syndicalism even possible?

–1 vote
Do you think that syndicalism is really possible in a system that doesn't have a central coercive authority? When everybody agrees that anyone is welcome to their private property there's no problem, sure, but what if some people in the community don't want to give their stuff away for free? If the rest of the community forces their views on this individuals, I'm pretty sure that counts as democracy, right? This problem doesn't arise if the community is anarcho-capitalist, because in that case people are free to use their possessions however they see fit. Does this mean that anarcho-capitalism is the less coercive of the two systems?
asked Jun 6, 2013 by anonymous

2 Answers

+1 vote
...and however they see fit can mean anything from 'owning' thousands of acres of land, entire lakes, housing, essential resources, etc., and then profiting off of their artificial scarcity. (within so-called anarcho-capitalism).

There's an assumption in your question about what qualifies as legitimate property. You also probably accept wage labor as a fair deal, and any wealth arising from labor as legitimate.

I say all this realizing that there is an even larger critique, I think, by individualists, of using a moralistic framework of 'fairness'. I don't know enough to say much about it.
answered Jun 6, 2013 by formyinformation (2,440 points)
I should have elaborated further on my question it would seem. My question is if it was possible to have a non-coercive society where private property was not legitimate. What if some of the people saw the property as legitimate, but most of the population didn't? I can't see this problem being resolved without resorting to democratic coercion except if private property was generally accepted in the community. A voluntary sharing of property could also still occur in this case.

And yes, I accept voluntary wage labour as a fair deal, though I'm not sure what you mean with the wealth arising from labour being legitimate.
What if some people saw racism as legitimate, but most didn't? When is coercion ok? In self-defense?

Also, search coercion on this site.

As far as wealth arising from labor, I meant wealth extracted from
labor by capitalists.
Yes, I think self-defense may be the only real situation where coercion is legitimate. I started a new question on the exploitation of labor by capital, since I think it is a different debate altogether.
I don't think you picked up my implication that private property is violent.
+4 votes
You're asking several divergent questions here, or, what's actually far more likely, questions that are intended to converge upon the pushing of one ideological agenda. Also, I'm sorry to say you're unlikely to find a true blue anarcho-syndicalist to answer your question on this site, so you'll have to settle for me putting on the costume and playing the part ;)

Anarcho-syndicalism is defined by wikipedia as a democratic system. The proponents of anarcho-syndicalism (and I have met some and heard them talk precisely about this) do not see this kind of coercion of the majority against the minority as a problem, especially when the minority are capitalists.

In other words, they would argue against you that, on the contrary, anarcho-syndicalism is the less coercive system than anarcho-capitalism, because anarcho-capitalism involves not only the coercive forces involved in the ownership of large amounts of private property, waged labor, and so on, but also all the coercive forces of the state--police, armies, prisons, law--except privatized into para-state versions of the same.

As to the question of whether a syndicalist sort of system can possibly enforce itself without a central coercive authority, I think you greatly underestimate the power of decentralized coercive authority, which is indeed the main form of authority which we encounter today and which looks to me pretty damn effective at keeping people in line and getting them to do what they aren't initially inclined to.

Now, if you hadn't framed this as a "question" that was actually an answer with the answer being the superiority of anarcho-capitalism, a perspective with which I can hardly get down, I might have discussed some of the non-anarchist aspects I find in anarcho-syndicalism, such as its adherence to majority rule, its (self-)management of the economy, and ultimately its offer of only more and more control exercised merely in a different fashion. I might have discussed why I don't think anarcho-syndicalism is "even" possible in the context of the destruction of the labor movement. I might have offered a non-syndicalist view on the matter of property and power, beyond the trick question of choosing the lesser of two coercive systems. However, as they say, you reap what you sow.
answered Jun 7, 2013 by anok (19,040 points)
edited Jun 7, 2013 by anok
I guess my question really was biased and answered itself. Sorry, I'm new. I'll ask more direct questions in the future.
that is a very nice response to anok's feedback.
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