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Who would produce the weapons that would be used to defend the anarchist society?

–2 votes
You know, without markets; since if there were markets, money, and capital it wouldn't be anarchy. The problem of economic calculation and the massive coordination problem would need a solution. Otherwise, there would be no weapon production; and hence, no means to defend from aggression.

edited to add tags
asked Dec 20, 2013 by VoluntaryThinker (380 points)
edited Jul 16, 2014 by dot
Seriously? Please take dot's suggestion and stop asking questions for which there are no answers.
that is not what i said, lawrence. i said questions and comments are fine.

if the problem with the question is that the underlying assumptions are off (according to us), then on a beginner's site it is up to us to point that out (or, if we're sick of it, then to ignore the question and let someone else who wants to, do it).
A better question would have been: 'How can production happen without markets, money, or capital?'
Right as usual dot. Maybe it was what I was hoping someone else would say so I wouldn't have to...
Formyinformation - I agree. Ask it. Or answer it. If you would like to.

3 Answers

+2 votes
No no, I've got a great answer for this one, actually!

Literally anyone.
answered Dec 21, 2013 by Rice Boy (8,650 points)
All of the sudden, market just means 'exchange', and exploitation just means 'use'. This is silly.
You can all go back to your nihilistic circle jerk. Have fun patting each other on the back and pretending you are doing philosophy or discussing a coherent social theory.

exactly. you either learn to/accept our premises, in which case maybe MAYBE we could have a different conversation, or you insist that we accept your premises, which is not going to happen (we didn't search you out and attempt to start a conversation, although some of us did give it a decent shot).
you sort of tried the first (which is the only reason i expect anyone here is still trying to talk to you).

these conversations pretty much always end with the guest saying something along the lines of above: "you all are stupid because you don't accept my premises, which by the way are the only correct ones."
it's understandable, but i expect you don't feel any more satisfied in your self-righteousness than anyone here does. i think you gave it a valiant effort; but there has to be something more at stake than winning a fight with/convincing someone online who i don't know, for me to put real effort into explaining the differences, especially when you can't seem to be bothered to figure out who you're even talking to.
>> "you all are stupid because you don't accept my premises, which by the way are the only correct ones."

I'm pretty sure this is the source of most of my vitriol toward "anarcho"-capitalists; that they make these broad, universal statements about goodness and fairness and necessity (of markets, for example) that just plainly aren't universally true (if at all), yet they insist that they are the ONLY truth.

I don't know why I waste my time arguing with people like this.
Okay, okay. Dot - you are being fair to criticize my last comment for being "self-righteous". I may be entirely incorrect. It doesn't seem to me that you are correct. I don't think that I know everything and it is quite possible that some of things that I have written here on this site are wrong. I might be more wrong than right. I will look into the writings that you and a few others have encouraged me to read.

If I am wrong, I am okay with that. It is hard for anyone to see when they are wrong. Especially since we can seek out reinforcement for our biases online. That is why I have continued on with you and your members.

Insults aside, I appreciate all of the effort that you and some other members have put into this conversation. I don't think that you are idiots and I am sorry for anything rude or unnecessary that I have said in my previous comments. I'll leave them there for the record so that it doesn't look like the attacks are going just one way (from y'all to me).

I hope I didn't facilitate any permanent harm to Rice Boy or Lawrence; I could just imagine them on the verge of an aneurism when I read some of their comments. Dot and formyinformation were pretty fair tempered and patient. Thanks to all though. Peace out.
VT for what it's worth, while i kept my temper a bit better, i think that rice boy's responses were actually the ones in best faith (including his aggravation) and would be the most helpful to pointing you in a direction synchronous with this site.
so if you are tempted to revisit the threads you've been on, seriously considering his comments is probably your best bet.
–1 vote
Assuming that weapons would be needed (and they probably would in the early days, to defend against counter-revolutionaries and the like) then, like in most things, anarcho-syndicalism has the answer: they would be made by the workers, like they always have been.  But they wouldn't be wage slaves (or the more regular kind of slaves), they would instead be an active part of the enterprise, involved only if they freely choose to get involved and able to quit at any time they wish.  They would also have equal say in the running of the enterprise, through the syndicate that would run the factory and of which they would be a member.

It is hard to get too specific, most anarchists don't have a clearly-defined idea of what an anarchist society would be like.  Those decisions should be made at the time, by the people who are part of it.

Other anarchist philosophies have other answers to the problem (as is the case with a lot of potential problems) but there is no reason to think that the production or procurement of weapons would be impossible in an anarchist society, if it was felt that there was need for them.
answered Jul 15, 2014 by Anarchisteve (290 points)
i hope that people appreciate anarchisteve participating on a site that is not especially friendly to his kind of @. i like having a variety of anarchists responding to questions!
and i hope that whatever disagreements happen are more through comments (and/or writing one's own answer) than voting (a fairly empty kind of feedback, after all)...
"But they wouldn't be wage slaves (or the more regular kind of slaves), they would instead be an active part of the enterprise, involved only if they freely choose to get involved and able to quit at any time they wish.  They would also have equal say in the running of the enterprise, through the syndicate that would run the factory and of which they would be a member."

When you talk of running an enterprise, it sounds like a worker-cooperative version of capitalism. I am confused by what you are trying to get across.
+2 votes
My grandfather was a mechanical engineer who worked for the British in World War II. His job was to go around to small private workshops and get them to make essential weapons components. At that time throughout Britain people were contributing to the war effort by growing their own food, collecting scrap metal, organizing neighborhood patrols, etc.. Similar things happened in all the heavily involved countries. In other words, when society REALLY needed weapons, they abandoned market mechanisms because market mechanisms by themselves didn't work well, and never have.

In fact, the ability for markets, as such, to coordinate activity is vastly exaggerated, and the claim that the cooperation of thousands of individually skilled workers can only be (or even is best) coordinated by market mechanisms is empirically false. The world economy is dominated
by corporations each employing tens of thousands of specialized workers. Do these corporations use market mechanisms internally to coordinate production? On the contrary, internally they use other forms and only externally do they lobby for the market model, forcing their competition to deal with its inadequacies. The idea that decentralized non-market mechanisms cannot produce large scale cooperation is similarly false. Witness, for example, the large scale irrigation systems maintained for centuries in east Africa. For the more modern inclinations, observe the availability of high quality free software (I've certainly never been paid for my Linux kernel code). The reality is that large scale endeavors have occurred using the whole range of human economic mechanisms, and that there is no reason, theoretical or empirical, to believe that market forces alone will lead to a desirable outcome, let alone the best one.

I read Leonard Read's "I...Pencil", and I recommend everyone here do likewise, since it's short and charming. Read expresses wonder at the range of people who unknowingly interact to produce everyday objects and persuasively claims that in fact no one knows how to make even a pencil, and concludes that it's foolhardy to impose rigid economic plans. You will note, however, that nothing he says actually supports the idea of an institutionalized "free" market (though he probably thinks they do). To the contrary, if even the production of a pencil involves subtle and unplannable human coordination, isn't it no less foolhardy to impose
a violent "free" market ideology than to impose, say, a Stalinist command
economy (which, by the way, also made pencils)?

I think that market mechanisms' main strength is that they work when other mechanisms fail. In particular they are well suited to exploiting alienated labor. To the extent our society needs alienated labor, we might want a market. But this is perhaps a necessary evil. The more often I read the question and comments, the more I begin to read it as:
"How, without a market or state, will we force people to do work they don't like, to build parts for machines they don't understand, to be used to kill people they don't know, for a cause they don't care about?". Exactly.
answered Jul 16, 2014 by Geomancer (610 points)
edited Jul 16, 2014 by Geomancer
"How, without a market or state, will we force people to do work they don't like, to build parts for machines they don't understand, to be used to kill people they don't know, for a cause they don't care about?"

1) Why should anybody be forced to do anything?  If nobody is willing to do a job then you should determine whether it is necessary.  If it isn't then it is fine that it isn't being done.  If it is necessary then you should examine why it isn't being done.  Is it too laborious?  Is it dangerous?  Is it tedious?  The answer to that should help to make the job more desirable (or less undesirable).  If still nobody is willing to it (and it is absolutely essential) then the society is in serious trouble anyway and defending it is pointless.

2) Poor education of the workers is sadly a necessity for capitalism.  Intelligent workers ask why they're giving most of their earnings to parasitic executives and shareholders.  This wouldn't be true in my vision of an anarchist society (though education takes time).

3) Surely it would be easier to kill someone you don't know than someone you do (except in circumstances where you know someone you'd happily kill)?  And while they may not know the people they would surely know the objectives of those people.

4) If they don't believe in the cause then they shouldn't be fighting for it.  Conscription doesn't really fit with the anarchist philosophy.
Oh my yes. I wasn't advocating those things, quite the opposite. I'm suggesting that perhaps the things free market capitalism and authoritarianism are good at aren't really things we want too much of.
That is sadly true, discipline and unquestioning obedience can be very useful in combat situations but are not our "strengths".  Just one more thing making the path to an anarchist future so difficult.
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