- Capitalism and Alternatives -

No bosses.

Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on January 25, 19100 at 17:06:21:

:Answer how those rules will be 'open ended' (who will enforce THAT?) and
get back to me.

:: They will be open ended because they will be made and rewritten
constantly by those who use them, and that will be enforced by people
living freely, co-operatively and democratically together. Folks'll do
what is necessary to get on with life.

:In other words, the rules will be open ended because the rules will be
open ended.

Erm, no, the rules will be open ended, because they will not be writ in stone, pace, say, the U.S. constitution. Instead of being abstracted over the people, they would simply be a tool available at the hands of people by which they may co-ordinate their activity. We would not be subjects of the law, but masters of a tool.

:The social division of labor---as Plato so aptly noted---leads to the
very hierarchy that engenders authoritarianism. Your support for the
social division of labor, therefore, supports authoritarianism. My
support for job rotation---necessary to demolish the social division of
labor---is, instead, a guarantee that authoritarianism can never form.

Erm? No, certainly i do not support hierarchy in any way shape or form, whilst I may accept that some people will dig coal while not ploughing fields, I don't accept that this necessitates hierarchy or even class.

:The illusion of your position---giving me your position
(authoritarianism) while you take mine (freedom from
authoritarianism)---rests on bourgeois prejudices which assert that
freedom is an absolute quality. It may fool Lark but others on the board
here are beginning to wise up. What galls me, RD, is that you have the
nerve to do all this in Marx's name.

I do not assert freedom as an absolute quality, what i do do is assert the unity of being and life-activity, the central core of marx's essentially æsthetic political doctrine. Further, I have practical objections to rotation, in that I believe it would just lead to a black market in chore swapping.

:In this post, you say: 'I don't argue *for* social division, I argue
that it cannot be done away with, for reasons of Geography if nothing
else.' The social division of labor as immutable 'nature,' in other
words: 'I don't defend it, that's just the way it is.' Where have I
heard that one before?

Well, explain to me how I can take part in the production of Sulphur when there are no natural deposits of sulphur nearby. I sometimes wonder if we unsderstand different things by social division of labour - I don't mean that entire famillies and communities will engage in only one labour, but that some groups will have to be organised to do specific jobs, which people may freely join or leave.

:People will no longer be, as they are today, subordinated to a single
branch of production, bound to it, exploited by it; they will no longer
develop one of their faculties at the expense of others; they will no
longer know only one branch, or one branch of a single branch, of
production as a whole...

Note, subordinated, bound - where have I ever advocated any such?

:Education will enable young people quickly to familiarize themselves
with the whole system of production and to pass from one branch of
production to another in response to the needs of society or their own
It will therefore free them from the one-sided character
which the present-day division of labor impresses upon every

No disagreement.

:That should make it pretty clear: in the communist future, the social
division of labor will not exist.

Except in teh sense I've always understood it, that at anyone time, people may well be engaged in different tasks, requisite to the needs of society or their own inclinations. Bob can be a miner for as long or a short time as he likes.

:Here you seem to be saying that if private property is abolished and
goods are distributed according to needs, hierarchy is impossible. The
inference is clear: you assert that the social division of labor can
exist within communist society without hierarchy occurring.

So long as no group controls allocation, and needs means self determined needs, indeed, thats so.

:Marx is describing primitive communism, public ownership of the means of
production, distribution according to need---all the qualities needed,
according to you, to support the social division of labor without
hierarchy forming.

No, he doesn't say according to need, he just says it is distributed, doubtless according to rank...

:That's right: maintained at the expense of the whole village. Some plow
the fields, some write the poetry. Some plow the fields, some make the
rules: judge, police, and tax-gatherer in one. According to Marx,
hierarchy IS possible within societies characterized by public ownership
of the means of production and distribution according to needs.

Again, there is no statement that it is according to needs - he is after all describing a more feudal society than a primitive communist society here.

:If you want to tell me that a Marxist position supports (or accepts the
'geographic' inevitability) of the social division of labor in the
communist future, please back up that with relevant quotes. Otherwise,
admit, concerning on the topic of the social division of labor, you have
parted ways with Marxism.

No, I think I've just parted company with clear communication to you - all I've ever said is that people should be free to choose the jobs they do, within their communities. After that, dread necessity will make it all happen.

:But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will
nowhere be found more evident than on board a ship on the high seas.
There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous
and absolute obedience of all to the will of one.(4)

Indeed, but will we be living on a ship at sea? No. Whilst scarcity and its social formations require such dicsipline, socialism is about being safe and wealthy enough to dispense with it.

:The point he was making, of course, is that industrialization itself
predicates authority, necessitates bosses, requires discipline.
Assembly-lines are not democratic affairs. If one worker slows down or
absents himself, the whole process is ruined. Industrial activity
requires centralization.

No, it requires that the workers have the self dicispline, and the incentive to not do so - to make the work pleasant enough to do that we don't need such overseers sweating us.

:Since there must be bosses on the job (momentary bosses)---in order to
do the job---the only way to prevent leaders (career bosses), i.e.
authoritarianism, is job rotation. (The first quote by Engels and this
quote by Engels are a perfect logical fit.)

Or to make such bosses, where needed, elected, and thus removable.

: [M]y point was that we are basically splitting hairs here, not
debating serious issues.

The social division of labor is a very serious issue---because the
social division of labor is the essential predicate of authoritarianism.

My point was that we are no where near as far apart as you seem to think, unless I am misunderstanding you - my point is simply that rotation will occur, but not through rotas - the only difference is in that you want it to be formalised, and I say there is not point.

:You see, I'm the one AGAINST authoritarianism; you (innocently, I’m
sure) SUPPORT it.
Knowing that industrialization necessitates bosses (the captain on the
high sea), I want those bosses to rotate. You, claiming that
industrialization doesn't need any bosses at all, support the very thing
(the social division of labor) which will create permanent bosses.

But permenant bosses are incompatable with a democratic production process, anyway, where they will only be able to carry out instructions mandated by their workforce.

Daniel DLeon used to use the example of a conductor of an orchestra - but that always raised the question for me - "Who chose the score?" Its worth contemplating.

:Red Deathy picks strawberries in the field; Franks drives the
strawberries to the city. They're both in possession of the means of
production, they're both receiving according to need.
Of course, Red Deathy is doing back-breaking work all day long while
Frank gets to sit behind the wheel of the community truck and drive to
the city. Hey, different people know different things, dude. And as long
as Red Deathy NEVER drives to the city, he'll never be able to
'volunteer' to drive to the city. He'll just continue to 'volunteer' to
pick strawberries---because that's all he knows how to do.

Deathy can read road maps, deathy could ask to drive if he wanted to - deathy only picks strawberries coz he wants to - my point was that in the simple five minutes decision as to who should drive off and pick up the tool box from Alnwick, frank cvolunteers coz he knows the way - such things happen all the time in real life.

:To sum: people may share ownership of the means of production; people
may receive equally---or, better yet, according to need. But if one
drives the truck while the other picks strawberries, or---returning to
Marx's primitive communist society---if one writes the poetry while the
other person picks the strawberries, then someone is getting screwed.

No, because that person is picking strawberries because they 8like* doing so, just as the poet writes because they like doing so.
I doubt anyone would stick exclusively to one job - too much time to fill, to many freinds to be found, too much cultural expectation.

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