Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.


+1 vote
Last night I asked a question about Libertarian Socialism and Mutualism, namely about how labor would be tracked in a worker run economy that still maintains a form of currency. I was informed by dot that if I did not explain how this pertained to Anarchy my question would be removed and I didn't have a chance to respond (I posted the question around 10 and dot asked me at around 2, according to the site, we must be in different time zones, sorry I didn't have a chance to get back to you in time before you deleted it, if you're reading this, sorry). dot said that this wasn't a "Libertarian Socialist/Mutualist website" so I guess i'm just confused as to why these wouldn't be considered forms of Anarchy. They are stateless and non- hierarchical so I don't see why they aren't forms of Anarchy. Am I using the wrong definition of the term? I'm confused. Thanks.
by (240 points)
to me, "tracking labor" for currency doesn't seem like anarchy.

it sounds like a function of hierarchical thinking and systems.

i don't desire the "tracking of labor" - whether someone else of me, or me of them.
Well to abolish the wage system and have each worker entitled to what they produce, like if I flip five burgers I get paid for five burgers, not a wage, the amount of burgers flipped would need to be tracked by something. Maybe tracked isn't the right word.
i don't see any fundamental difference between your description and what i experience today.
probably i shouldn't have deleted your question FT.

but i've been cleaning up the site and getting grumpy -- which your continuing to use the tag ANARCHY doesn't make any better, btw.

i myself don't consider anarchy to be any kind of socialist, because i define socialism as "Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy." and Proudhon might have been the first person to claim the label anarchist, but that doesn't mean that he's my role model, nor do i think he should be yours. mutualism could be anarchistic, i guess? but it's not necessarily (the overlap of mutualism and an-cap is foggy and disturbing...).

but mostly i was grossed out by your first question, and am also by this one. the idea of tracking people's labor is pretty much exactly why i don't find socialism or mutualism appealing in any way.

but i suppose there could be anarchists who come here who would be interested in talking about this, and perhaps i should let them address this question. worst case scenario is at least then i know who to stay away from.
It's fine. I'm not a Mutualist either, I was just curious how they would tackle the issue. I just wondered how they would know who get's paid what in a worker run society.

As for Anarchy, I usually just define Anarchy as stateless, and without rulership, and I think Mutualism fits.

Again, Not a Mutualist, just curious how they would tackle this issue.

1 Answer

0 votes
Maybe I can address both questions a bit: In a non-capitalist society, individual compensation for labor makes sense as a means of decentralizing and individualizing some aspects of the economy. It also creates some safeguards, in cases where the real difficulties of determining "need" and "ability" might make communist systems of production and consumption at least potentially subject to some forms of exploitation. Different communities are probably going to have different levels of tolerance for disagreements on those matters, and different levels of energy for the sort of constant course-corrections that will be necessary for an economy without individual compensation to function smoothly. Anarchists can probably accommodate individual and local differences in both instances, and that may certainly be more pleasant than all trying to get on the same page about not just the necessities of life, but all of the other sorts of production, distribution and consumption that we can expect to go along with heightened degrees of individual flourishing. We'll grow and be more free together, but it doesn't mean we'll all do it in the same ways. So there may be times when the logical thing to do is to uncouple ourselves from one another economically, so that we can explore individual means of reconnecting through commerce.

All of our labels can be terribly abused, but presumably "mutualism" traces back to Proudhon and the argument behind the claim that "property is theft." The heart of that argument is that no individual should have the privilege of using the fruits of social cooperation to control the lives of other people, and that's true in both economic and political realms. Capitalism is the systematic appropriation of what we do together (Proudhon's "collective force") for the benefit of a few. Governmentalism is the same process ("exploitation") in a different social realm. Some of the things that get called "mutualism" don't pay as much attention to the question of "collective force," but anything worthy of the name ought to start with a rejection of that privilege-to-exploit, and then address the question of how all those social fruits, now expropriated from us by capitalism and governmentalism, might be directed to meet collective needs. And it's only really after that's taken care of, and we have society established on at least a quasi-collective basis, that these questions of individual compensation and individualized consumption can really get free play—and then precisely as a supplement to the sort of economy we are more accustomed to think of in an anarchist society.
by (450 points)