I'd like to return, to a phrase I have discussed before, like a small school-boy returning to picking at a scab. Its a festering sore, it just runs and runs.
"SLAVERY EXISTS IN AMERICA: ITS CALLED THE JURY SYSTEM." I can't help returning to this comment I once heard, for me, its a marker, a dividing line, a yawning chasm of comrpehension. I still, despite Gee valiantly trying to ellucidate, cannot understand it. Its as if this statement marked a glass barrier, through which ibdividualists and Collectivists shout, unable to hear one another.
I am a collectivist. I consider myself a libertarian- I detest the seizure of that title by neo-liberalists, never mind. I see no contradiction between the two stances. I see no slavery in the Jury system. But I think, at heart, the fact that Gee et al would, is at the heart, the very central difference of presuppositions between my camp and theirs.
Freedom, for the outright individualsit, is teh freedom to be left alone. You are free only so long as no-one interferes with you, and so long as you are left alone. I think, thats a cold freedom, the cold freedom of not being cared for or about, the rest of us aren't to give a damn about the free individual, and they aren't to give a damn about us.
The free individual is free to starve, free to be alone, free to hate and resent, free to live in poverty. The free individual, also, has limitless possibilities, officially, before him (and I do mean him- you may have noticed I'm a wanky fucker who uses 'they' as a third person singular generic), regardless of their actual specific circumstance- we are each of us, officially, free to become millionaires, no matter how poor and abused we grow up, no matter where we grow up, or how we have to live. It is the fualt of the free individual if he winds up as a wage worker, sweeping floors, or homeless. Its their fualt if they are unemployed, obviously, they should innovate and make work for themselves. The free individual is abstractly equal, they have as many votes and as much right to be poor, rich or starve as everyone one else, including them as were born rich.
The free individual does not believe in circumstances. The free individual does not believe thatb his freedom is an abstraction, and the practical realities and real options may not be coincident with that. The free individual sees no system, only their own will to success.
The free individual does not accept that we live in a system of society, that their success is built upon the activities and actions/decisions of others: that if he wants to be rich, others must be poor to serve him. That just happens. He is free. teh free individual is only free, so long as he does not recognise society, and it doesn't recognise him.
It's like Kipling's poem 'IF', you are a man if you can keep yourself to yourself, and not let otehrs influence you. Store up that shit in your arse, do not give it away, retain, retain, retain. You are entirely self-contained, there is nothing outside of you.
But because the free individual actually does live in a system of society, because humans are (Human Nature ;) ) social animals, and exist within a society, the free individual must rely on a structure to support his own identity: it must be recognised. It will not admit it, but it will allow it- to have a free individual, you must have an authority to guarantee him, and authoritarian state, that recognises his property, and guarantees his uniqueness and freedom- I have discussed this before.
Geroge Orwell understood this, Anarchism is, he claimed, inherently authoritarian, because it demands conformity, whereas a state, a constitutional state, allows, protects and guarantees difference. The state, which the free individual detests, and opposes himself to as his Other, is teh absolute gaurantee of himself. Try as he might to escape the state, he only succeeeds in confirming it, the more he atomises and individualises, the more powerful and authoritarian the state grows. the state, need not, of course, be the political state, a private state of teh universalised fantasies of the free individual would be equally brutal and authoritarian.
The free individual, is a cold model of indivuality; is a false model of individuality. There are other models of individuality.
The free individual is the individual of property, he is so much as he owns. But the collective, the individual of Socialism, is as much as they are a member of society.
Collective freedom means that we recognise ourslves through community, I am free as long as Others care about me. Its about actively working together to realise the indivuality and freedom of each, the freedom of consciously recognising the system of society, and living within it, not as an abstracted knowledge, like a map or a set of rules, but a real inner-wards and working recognition and cognition of teh actuality of society. This individual needs no state to define it, it is because other people have helped support its uniqueness and specificity.
It does not raise 'because I choose' up as its supreme value, because that leads to emptiness, to a loss of hierarchy of value, as 'what I chose' simply becomes, whatever I do is right because I do it. It supreme value is, 'because you can see', so that the actual diversity and possibilities of people, and thus society, become its end goal. People, not property.
This is what all my time here has been about, this difference, about collectively working and being free, about making each otehr free, instead of leaving each other to rot. As long as humans exist within a society, then the supreme freedom for the individual must mean the slavery of all others. When the land and the factories are private, we must all work and live to the tune the owner plays.
Salman Rushdie in his THE SATANIC VERSES asked two fundamental questions: "What sort of idea are you? And what will you do when you win?".
Socialism is an idea of colelctivism, an idea of working together to be free, of being free through society, rather than against it. I'd like to think for my own part I've made it a consistant, rigorous and honest idea. What will it do when it wns? Disappear. I so want to be shot of it. When it wins, it'll go away, and we can be free.
I'm wool-gathering, drawing points together for a conclusion: you see, this is my last post to the McSpotlight forums. As of today I won't be able to post again. I just want to leave with a clear idea for everyone about what socialism is, and what it means for me. The above encapsulates all the reasons I have for putting so much effort into prosyletising here.
Finally, finally, I'd like to say goodbye, goodby and thnkyou. General thanks to everyone who took time and effort to type on a keyboard and present their ideas to me, and debate with me, especial thanks to those as thought about them first.
Despite our differences, I'd like to tahank gee, a fierce and consistent debater, in whom, as compared with many other libertarians I've enountered web-side, the idea of freedom is strong, and for that much, I can find respect.
Although it may be too late, I'd like to thank Barry Stoller for elightening me, and for debating so profficiently with me, I swear I learnt a deal from him.
Quincunx, Flint Jones and all others from the IWW, for fanning the flames of solidarity.
Winslow Wacker- my arse has never been so proficiently kissed.
Gideon Hallet is, and has been, a fount of knowledge in science, a thing I sorely lack.
Thanks to Lark for ferocious fraternal discussion, likewise Nikil- but stop hedging about Vietnam, either don't defend it, or stay quiet about the down sides, bad rhetoric, man.
SDF- il miglior fabbro. Cheers. 'nuff siad.
Lastly McSpotlights themselves , fount of knowledge, fighters of teh good fight, and fucking excellent moderators. You guys rule.
I'll miss the lot of youse.
"...I did it my way".
((Off to have a swift weep like teh fucking soft apeth I am...))