- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Flint Jones ( WSA-IWA, U$A ) on April 20, 1999 at 11:55:43:

In Reply to: Socialism and anarchism posted by LARK on April 19, 1999 at 18:47:36:

: Has libertarian socialism ever existed as distinct from anarchism?

Difficult to understand what you mean by this. Libertarian and Socialism used to be interchangeable. Now they aren't. Likewise, anarchists often considered themselves libertarian and socialist. Now... you've had Socialist Parties (and states!) and the propertarian Libertarian party in the U$A. Pretty much whatever Anarchists call themselves, some group want to attract people to the ideals of freedom adopt it. Kind of like those Nazi parties that call themselves democratic now... I believe Chomsky calls himself a libertarian socialist (while defending anarcho-syndicalism)

: What kind of a state would be accepted by libertarian socialists since all anarchists reject the state and authority all together?

This depends on how one defines "the state" and "authority". Anarchists normally reject hiearchy. Many struggle for consensus but are willing to work with democracy. Majority with strong minority rights. The principle idea to remember is free association. State power is based on its claim of control over you (Citizenship) based on your geographic location (its territory). I don't know if we'll ever achieve "statelessness" but we can certain use anarchistic means to limit state power constructively.

: Who is to police the socialist society?

Well... depends on how you define "Socialist Society" if France counts or the U.S.S.R counts... then I don't think Libertarian Socialists would be supportive of those police forces. Ideally, we would be self-policed.

:Are libertarian Socialists as anti-police and criminal jsutice as anrachists?
Well... are anarchists anti-police and criminal justice... or simply anti how those functions are peformed under the State? For instance, capitalist states tend to treat "property" as more important that people. Likewise, "socialist" states have treated ideas and hierachy (the party) as being more important than people.

: Arent there a lot of crimes that have nothing to do with property or property relations?

Yes. And there isn't much difference of opinion on them. It pretty much boils down to coercing people through violence and intimidation... beatings, rape, murder, etc... this is why many anarchists are are pacifists; others prefer a nonviolent strategy. Ultimate, all state authority is propped up by violence. Do what we say, or we'll kill you. Ofcourse, imprisonment and economic attacks are usually enough to keep the populace in control along with controlling the media and education system.

Anarchist justice? How is it constituted? How is it administered? Well... since anarchism questions the very legitmacy of the State (and thus the parlimentarian process that brings about laws... if your lucky enough to have represenative "democracy") how is justice to be achieved? Well... here we get into some questions of absolute. Are good and evil merely based on majority opinion or subjects of universal fact? A utilitarian democratic structure says right and wrong is determined by the majority (or by the group that controls the majority anyway)... *I* differ. There are absolutes... if the males in my society happened to be 51% and voted that the rape of all women was not only allowed but encouraged, I'd say it was wrong. This is the dreaded mob rule that our propertarian posters so fearful of, no matter how improbable. There are absolute values... property is not one of them. One absolute value is freedom from violent coercion.

Unfortunately there will always be people who use violent coercion to get their way (usually through the State! who kills more, petty thugs or Nation-States?) Whats the solution? Well... lots of nonviolent strategies can severly limit the effects of violent coercion... but in some cases, you got to take the mad dog around the back and shoot him.

The seperation of the police from the rest of the populace made them a largely unaccountable alienated class whose sole purpose was to carry out the orders of the hiearchy (whether it was elected, or self-selected). Whats worse is that people stop police themselves and stop defending those around them. The Police, even if 10 times in number and equipped with the best and latest of technology can't handle the monemuental task of proctecting most of us... we've got to protect ourselves.

I'd like to see Justice organized with a great amount of self-defense available for everyone along with access to arms if you feel you need them, with people learning the valuable skills of conflict resolution, to have courts constituted at the community level (like your neighboorhood). I'd like to see juries maintained. The law should be common... those right and wrong absolutes. I'd like to see actual attempts at correction rather than simply wharehoused imprisonment. I think forensic labs could be shared between different communities.

Some people may feel uneasy with trusting "the public" with justice. Just as some socialists feel that gun control is very important in protecting people. If there is gun control, who is doing the controlling... The State, and as history has shown it will always operate in its interests... not that interests of those it claims to represent. I'd rather everybody be armed than just a select group.

Ofcourse, this is pretty much a bloodbath if you let in capitalistic ethics as many capitalists are quite happy to kill to rob, steal and turn a profit. Just as many socialists are likewise willing to kill to maintain control. Gun control has been treated much like democracy, those in power and the propertied classes have always feared that the disopossesed and impovrished majority would use their ballots and bullets to redistribute wealth on a more equal footing. Its wrong for some people to starve while others grow fat and waste (another one of those absolutes).

Ye Old "Propaganda by the Deed" type of assassination and regicide was one of those moral ideas holding the Heads of State responsible for their atrocities. When innocents started getting hurt... the entire idea was found to be morally bankrupt. Bombs aren't exactly the most discriminate of weapons... ofcourse that doesn't stop the "humanitarian" NATO from using them to bring about "Peace".

Now the Militias of the CNT during the Spanish Civil War and the Makhnovists in the Russian revolution might give you some ideas of anarchist justice. But perhaps not. It was a confusing time and many people carried out vengeance as well as justice. Its hard to see what an anarchist community would function when it wasn't under direct attack by the State. There haven't been many utopian communities, but rarely did they fall apart via Salem Witch Trials or anything of the sort, it was usually external pressures...

Might be interesting to see how the Zapatista autonomous villages are handling justice.

And I don't think this would appear to be so much wild west frontier justice as it might first appear.

There is actually a Law&Anarchy mailing list that handles many of these issues (as well as how anarchists have to deal with the current laws).

The people armed, not the people's army.


P.S. May Day is coming up. Remember Haymarket!

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