Tag Archives: Revolution

A Misoid Revolution

Murray N.
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Have I got a treat for you this time! I just found a Mises article presenting am idea on how to bring about a change toward the kind of perfect society they envision. An actual article dealing with the social change rather than fantastical conceptions of free markets or utopias. I was stunned and I couldn’t but take the time to go through this novelty.

Unfortunately from the whole essay, only 1/5th or so was devoted to the actual methods. Most of it was restatements of assumed natural laws, denunciation of the state, praising of private property and the other classic preaching to the choir one expects from Mises.org articles. Although largely irrelevant to the final suggestion, the author couldn’t help but providing me with ample ammo for criticism of their rampart idiocy.

But first, let’s see the argument on why Monarchy is better than Democracy. For the lulz.

Why is it better? Why because of course the King was at least to an extent a “natural elite” and his only flaw was that he monopolized the protection. Still though, he was superior since he was putting the interest of the social elite (ie, the rich) in generally above the “mob’s” and thus was closer to the Propertarian ideal, even though the cost of protection was higher and worse due to his monopoly. Another benefit to the King was apparently that he was more malleable by the elites than a democratic state. That is, at least with the one King, the rich had it easier to get their way since that was the only one they had to convince to make top-down changes that would benefit them. The unwashed masses didn’t get to have as say, as is apparently right.

Princes and kings were dilettantes as rulers, and normally had a good measure of natural elite upbringing and value system so as to act often enough simply as a good household father would have done. Democratic politicians on the other hand, are and must be professional demagogues, constantly appealing to even the basest — and that is typically egalitarian instincts — as every vote is obviously as good as any other. And because publicly elected politicians are never held personally accountable for official public service, they are far more dangerous, from the viewpoint of those who want their property to be protected and want security, than any king has ever been.

It is hard to decide if one should be laughing or getting angry at this patriarchal nonsense. Why is democracy worse? Because it does not shamelessly give more benefit to the elite and rather tries to spread some measure of power among all those affected by this “monopoly of protection”. This is the “curse” of democracy it seems. That the scum of the earth get to have a say in the affairs of their own lives, even if they *gasp* possess no property.

But monarchy of course did not just get mentioned to display more of the expected Misoid intellectual bankruptcy. It was brought up to explain how much easier it would have been if we had Monarchy now. At least in that case, according to Misoid fantasies, it would have been relatively simple to convince a kings to abdicate of his “monopoly of power.” No seriously. With a straight face. It would have been simple(r) to convince a king to give up his kingdom. You can’t make this shit up.

What follows afterwards is a long assumption of what would follow when the king abdicated his monopoly or protection. It’s all fantastical nonsense of how humans would act if they were all Misoids or somesuch and how it would have lead to a perfect world naturally and peacefully. Of course actual history has shown us that humans freed from monarchical tyranny acted quite unlike to what the author expects.

I won’t go into much detail on the rest of the filling of the essay as it’s mostly irrelevant to the main tactic proposed, with the exception of the denunciation of reformism and intellectualism. I only mention this because it only makes the actual suggested tactic even more hilarious.

So how do the Misoid suggests to take down the state? How is his implementation of “Bottom-up revolution” to happen?. Via reform and intellectualism. Ayeap.

Lets break down the suggestion for commentary

And even if it is impossible to win a majority for a decidedly antidemocratic platform on a nationwide scale, there appears to be no insurmountable difficulty in winning such a majority in sufficiently small districts, and for local or regional functions within the overall democratic government structure. In fact, there seems to be nothing unrealistic in assuming that such majorities exist at thousands of locations.

Here the author takes a great leap of faith. Not only does he assume that there are areas where undemocratic sentiments are strong, but that also those undemocratic sentiments are mostly aligned with propertarian ideals and that all those undemocratic people will decide to democratically vote the undemocratic platform. That the author assumes and imagines his way through most of his suggestion is just hilarious.

The problem that the author seems to be missing is that even if somehow such a undemocratic majority existed somewhere it is extremely unlikely that they would be positive to propertarian ideals but most likely would align with the Anarchist (i.e. libertarian socialist) movement. As such, not only would they stay away from all elections whatsoever but even if they were to vote, it’s unlikely to follow the undemocratic platform. The author is basically asking for undemocratic people to trust in democracy this one time because this time it’s going to work. It’s not difficult to see the flaw in this plan.

Likewise, even though the intellectual class must be by and large be regarded as natural enemies of justice and protection, there exists at various locations isolated anti-intellectual intellectuals, and as the Mises Institute proves, it is very well possible to assemble these isolated figures around an intellectual center, and give them unity and strength, and a national or even an international audience.

Emphasis mine for the lulz. Much like the undemocratic democracy he suggests, he follows up with anti-intellectual intellectualism. It’s difficult not to imagine this essay as some kind of joke playing on oxymorons.

So these anti-intellectuals of crass individualism would somehow be convinced to suddenly co-operate with the Mises institute in order to promote collective action? Does this make sense to anyone?

First, as an initial step, and I’m referring now to what should be done on the local level, the first central plank of one’s platform should be: one must attempt to restrict the right to vote on local taxes, in particular on property taxes and regulations, to property and real estate owners. Only property owners must be permitted to vote, and their vote is not equal, but in accordance with the value of the equity owned, and the amount of taxes paid.

In my opinion, this is absolutely the best part of this essay. The central plank, the core ideology of the platform one is going to try to get elected on by the “mob”, is going to be to replace “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote”. Can anyone see the fail in this idea? Anyone? Ok, let me put it out there: He’s expecting the majority of people in an area, which generally comprises of proletarians since the property owners are always in a small minority, to vote for taking all power out of their hands and giving it to the rich minority only.

Of course it all makes sense if you assume that a “small area” exists where people are likely to be converted to misesian ideals but such an area could only be a village where only rich property owners live. Like, I dunno, a vacation village or something.

But no, the absurdity does not stop yet.

Further, all public employees — teachers, judges, policemen — and all welfare recipients, must be excluded from voting on local taxes and local regulation matters. These people are being paid out of taxes and should have no say whatsoever how high these taxes are.

So all these people must be convinced to vote for outright removing their right to vote, because voting benefits them. Right.

With this platform one cannot of course win everywhere; you cannot win in Washington, D.C. with a platform like this. but I dare say that in many locations this can be easily done. The locations have to be small enough and have to have a good number of decent people.

Emphasis mine again for the lulz. I like that the author is keeping this realistic the most.

I guess by “decent people” he means willing slaves and power-hungry propertarians.

Consequently, local taxes and rates as well as local tax revenue will inevitably decrease. Property values and most local incomes would increase whereas the number and payment of public employees would fall. Now, and this is the most decisive step, the following thing must be done, and always keep in mind that I am talking about very small territorial districts, villages.

I like that how the most difficult part of his whole idea is already past. No talk on how people are going to be convinced. No talk on where such villages might exist or some examples. No talk on how local campaigns are going to be run and promoted. No. Let’s just assume that the perfect village, full of “decent people” exists and we managed to get elected already.

In this government funding crisis which breaks out once the right to vote has been taken away from the mob, as a way out of this crisis, all local government assets must be privatized

Is “taking the right to vote away from the mob” a solid position in your platform? But wait, now we have a crisis on our hands. So the solution to the crisis that the Misoid platform has created, the solution is…more Misoid platform.

An inventory of all public buildings, and on the local level that is not that much — schools, fire, police station, courthouses, roads, and so forth — and then property shares or stock should be distributed to the local private property owners in accordance with the total lifetime amount of taxes — property taxes — that these people have paid. After all, it is theirs, they paid for these things.

Lolwut?

So here’s the plan gang. First we convince everyone to allow only us to take decisions based on how rich we are. Then we create a funding crisis. Finally we use the excuse of the crisis to pillage all public property by all voting to pass it to ourselves. Nothing could ever go wrong!

So apparently nobody but the rich pays taxes around there and thus they deserve to become even more rich. No, proletarians who worked all their lives as wage-slaves and have nothing to show for it never paid taxes. They were simply exploiting the capitalists. And the public workers? Those even less deserve any say in this as they were being paid by exploiting the capitalists or by the money of those exploiting the capitalists. It all makes sense now.

These shares should be freely tradable, sold and bought, and with this local government would essentially be abolished. If it were not for the continued existence of higher superior levels of government, this village or city would now be a free or liberated territory.

I like how “liberated territory” here means “The rich will own all of the village and make all decisions.” It seems that the most liberated territories in the history of the world where none other than company towns.

On the small local level, we can be as certain, or even more so than we could have been one hundred years ago about what would have happened if the king abdicated,

“Certain” here should mean “I imagined it in my head so it must be right.”

And many former teachers, policemen and judges would be rehired or resume their former position on their own account as self-employed individuals, except that they would be operated or employed by local “bigshots” or elites who own these things, all of whom are personally known figures[…]Local “bigshots” frequently provide public goods out of their own private pocket; and they obviously have the greatest interest in the preservation of local justice and peace.

I like how it’s assumed that the rich are “personally known figures” and that they are going to be the most charitable and eager to maintain local justice and peace. Of course, we all know the kind of justice and peace the rich generally dish out. It’s the justice geared to make them richer and the peace of putting down any challenge to their power.

But you know, those rich people who felt so unfair on having to subsidize public institutions and now going to turn charitable and out of the goodness of their heart now subsidize these public institutions to maintain justice and peace. That, or try to make them profitable, which we all know how that translates in regards to things like Firefighters….

Accordingly judges must be freely financed, and free entry into judgeship positions must be assured. Judges are not elected by vote, but chosen by the effective demand of justice seekers.

Right. Effective Demand. Interesting choice of words. So obviously someone who has no money gets no justice, while the richest with the most effective demand, get as much “justice” as they need. Something which becomes even more obvious once one considers that they now also own the courthouses as well. Basically what the author is suggesting is that justice should be explicitly geared to protecting the interests of the rich. But that’s not very surprising since the author considers them to be the only ones that count and the “natural elite.” All that the competition among judges (for effective demand of course) will do is to simply prune out those who are not sufficiently focused on protecting the interests of the plutocracy.

it should be clear that only a handful of local people, and only widely known and respected local personalities — that is, members of the natural local elite — would have any chance whatsoever of being so selected as judges of local peace.

And just to make things even more certain, you can’t become a judge unless you’re already rich and have the appropriate bias. Got that? Huh, scum?

Only as members of the natural elite will their decision possess any authority and become enforceable. And if they come up with judgments that are considered to be ridiculous, they will be immediately displaced by other local authorities that are more respectable.

What he means here is that since the rich will own all enforcement institutes like the police, if the judge makes a decision they do not like, they will simply refuse to enforce it. Obviously any decision that goes against the plutocratic interests must be “ridiculous.” That judge will most likely be arrested on the decision of less ridiculous judges and the eager enforcement of the (now) private police.

This implies that a central government cannot possibly enforce its legislative will, or perverted law, upon the entire population unless it finds widespread local support and cooperation in doing so. This becomes particularly obvious if one imagines a large number of free cities or villages as I described them before.

Yes, because there will never be local support at all from all those disenfranchised workers who now not only have no vote, but also no public goods and shamelessly skewed justice. Not at all. Plus, there will be “a large number of free cities and villages” already. They will just pop-up like mushrooms or something. It’ll never be the case that one (as impossible as that sounds) will take this step and be immediately crushed as a warning to the rest. Oh no, that would no be a perfect enough scenario.

The author then continues to say how those very small villages would resist the might of the government by not cooperating with them because the natural elite will be “only obligated to their local constituents.” Apparently it goes without saying that the rich will be more interested in protecting all those people they exploit (who are glad for it of course) rather than risk the wrath of the federal govt. Of course. Because the rich have always been paragons of courage and solidarity…

Consistently applied, no cooperation, no assistance whatsoever on any level, the central government’s power would be severely diminished or even evaporate. And in light of the general public opinion, it would appear highly unlikely that the federal government would dare to occupy a territory whose inhabitants did nothing else than trying to mind their own business. Waco, a teeny group of freaks, is one thing. But to occupy, or to wipe out a significantly large group of normal, accomplished, upstanding citizens is quite another, and quite a more difficult thing.

Putting aside the comparison to Waco (which believe me, it’s a difficult thing to do right now). The author’s willingness to assume what the government would be doing and what its motives are is brilliant. Not only will the public opinion remain on the plutocracy’s side, not only would the government be weakened by the “many such villages” but they will suddenly start caring about the lives of citizens outright challenging the power of the national plutocracy (expressed via the federal state of course). No the National Elite will be more than willing to allow the local upstarts challenge their power just like Kings were more than willing to suffer autonomous feudal lords rather than make them join their kingdom. Truly.

And it is in this situation then, when the central government will be forced to abdicate its protection monopoly and the relationship between the local authorities that reemerge and the central authorities, who are about to lose their power, can be put on a purely contractual level, and one might regain the power to defend one’s own property again.

And finally I’ll be able to shoot those damn kids playing on my lawn.

So there we go then. This is the first “practical” scenario I’ve seen from the Mises Institute about how to bring their utopia about. I hope I don’t have to explain the scare quotes around ‘practical’ by now. Unfortunately the more I read from them, the more their insane rants really make me challenge people who can take the whole institute seriously still. It really boggles the mind that some would even link me to this drivel as some feasible way to go forward.

TL;DR Version

  1. Find many many perfect small villages full of “decent people.”
  2. Vote to change “one person, one vote” to “one dollar, one vote.”
  3. Engineer a financial crisis.
  4. PRIVATIZE FUCKING EVERYTHING!!!
  5. ???
  6. Profit.
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Why choose Libertarian Socialism?

I’ve been having a lengthy discussion with an Anarchist on Facebook which was triggered by my criticism of a link he made on one of Molyneux‘s videos. The argument has been mainly around the issue of whether we should be promoting “Anarcho”-Capitalist ideas since they are also considered libertarian, promote freedom/liberty and might thus bring someone close to Anarchism, even if through a different path. Needless to say I disagree.

Nevertheless, the discussion took an unexpected direction when he demanded “proof”

I just want something more substantial than rhetoric (no offense) but the more I look for these kinds of quantitative examples, the more I realize that, so far, there are none in existence. Rather than encourage, I find that discouraging; even disturbing. […] I won’t be satisfied until I see real, measurable progress[…]I’m open to new information if it’s quantifiable; it’s generalized rhetoric that fails to persuade me.

The quote above is referring to my pointing out the success of anarchist movements from the takeovers of Argentina to the Spanish Revolution. It seems then, that because the world is at the state it is now, ie not in Anarchy, all anarchist theory has been empirically disproven. That is, none of the methods suggested – syndicalism, collectivism, direct action etc, have made the world a better place. This reasoning might look valid on the surface but unfortunately is quite fallacious.

The problem here is that one ignores the reality of human politics. There has never been a human society which managed to totally change their sociopolitical system within a generation or hell, even within a 100 years. In fact, there has never been a radical sociopolitical change of such scale outside of socialist revolutions. Both Feudalism and Capitalism came about through hundreds of years of evolution, struggle and pressure which slowly made the environment fertile for their spread. In fact the form of those systems never reached a “final form” of any sort and simply continued to change according to the way the environment around them allowed. One could even go further and say that Capitalism is in fact the natural continuation of Feudalism as it provided a way for the Landed aristocracy to retain their elite status without having to base it on metaphysical rights.

As such, to request “proof” of going closer to the Libertarian Socialist ideal is entirely the wrong way to look at this, as this is rather a gradual progress which is based on many different aspects such as popular understanding and/or support, betterment of human life, liberalization, democratization etc. And this process can even be reversed when the class struggle goes toward the benefit of the ruling class, as is what has been happening in the last 30 years.

So to ask for “quantitative examples” is to miss the forest for the trees. The process is all around us and we can see it whenever we see betterment of human life, greater satisfaction from work, increased social safety etc. If one is simply looking for the “signals of revolution” in order to be convinced who to support, they’ll be waiting forever.

The question to ask rather is: What is causing all these beneficial events? What makes human lives better, work more fulfilling and increases social safety? The answer can easily be seen: Direct Action & Mutual Aid. In short, the Libertarian Socialist principles. Whenever these have been applied, a noticeable improvement can be observed while when these are missing, when Authoritarianism (the opposite of Direct Action) and Crass Individualism (the opposite of Mutual Aid) take over, we notice the exact opposite, even though superficial improvements might be observed, like an increase in GDP or some other irrelevant statistic.

So if these principles work and if the improve the lives of humans, why are we not in Anarchy yet? The answer to this is class struggle. For every attempt by those at the bottom to self-manage and help each other directly, there is a push in the opposite direction by the ruling class through any means possible, from propaganda to violent suppression. You cannot simply ignore the opposing force and claim that nothing works because the result is not here yet! Rather one needs to look at the gradual progress and the many different movements that progress. Once there’s a relatively large amount of such anarchistic instances, then a revolution can’t but follow as the capitalist system will be too undermined to work. Such was the case in the Spanish Revolution for example.

Then there is the other aspect of the demand for “proof” put to me. The question I need to ask, proof of what? That an anarchist society can work? There’s more than enough historical proof of that already. Or is it proof that anarchist principles will bring about Anarchy? If so, then I have to point out that it’s impossible to prove the future. But you don’t have to anyway, we do know that even outside Anarchy, libertarian socialist principles make our lives better and give us incentive to do more of them. This is why Anarchism is a hopeful theory, not a Utopian or nihilistic one.

Or perhaps it’s proof that anarchist principles are better than Reformism, State Socialism or Neoliberalism? In that case, one only has to point out at the inherent flaws in each of these theories. Thus when they were attempted, their failure only validated the predictions that anarchists made. Along all of them, only Libertarian Socialism actually did what it predicted when put into practice, even if it was later crushed military before it had a chance to ignite people’s feelings elsewhere.

So there’s really no rhetoric needed to make the case for Libertarian Socialism. History and personal experience are more than enough. This is in fact why so much rhetoric is needed by everyone else, for they need something to cover the abject failure of their practice.

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Quote of the Day: Pattern of revolution

Quoth Anderson Warm-Folk

What tends to happen in their [Non-anarchist] revolutions[…]? A certain pattern tends to recur: lots and lots of people are active, from a variety of classes and perspectives, then once the main blow has been struck, there’s an internal power-struggle and some bunch of motherfuckers shoot all the radicals and inform everyone else that the most revolutionary thing in the world is Discipline

I like the sentiment in it 🙂

The Lesser Evil

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus de...
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It seems that the Debate Link has recently been criticizing the Barefoot Bum for promoting revolutionary communism instead of simply supporting Democrats as the lesser evil of the US political system. I’ve written before how supporting bipartisanism is harming to society and this the latest post prompted me to throw me 2 cents in the ring.

Debate Link’s David seems to find the suggestion that one should not support a party which goes against everything you believe in, is wrong. He argues that it is mistaken not to give my vote to someone who will use this power to do harm because if I do not do so, the other guy will do even worse than that. He argues that I become morally condemnable for supporting movements who have a chance to do real good because I may allow the really bad guys to do more harm.

But this is simply caving in to a threat. It is not much different than paying caving in to a captor’s demands. The Captor threatens that I should give him what he wants or else the hostage will be harmed. In our situation, the captor is the “lesser evil” party. People like David threaten that we become morally responsible for whatever happens to the hostage (the USA and the world) if we do not give the Democratic party whatever they want, even though we know that caving in will simply give them the incentive to take hostages again. Hell, very often we know that the hostage is going to get it whatever we do.

Further to that, when TBB says that it is worse to keep voting the “Palliative” it is not because we are not curing the disease, it’s because we are making it worse. Dave argues that taking the Palliative is better than letting the disease hurt as much as it would because in the real world, not taking the “Palliative” (ie voting Democrats) means more people would die. But what David fails to see in this example, is that in the long run, taking the “Palliative” will have even worse results than not. Specifically, the patient will die as a whole. In the real world that translates to much more people dying because a Democrat rule did not allow the necessary revolutionary cure to take place when there was still time.

Continuing to vote Democrats instead of struggling for revolutionary communism means that eventually it might be too late for even that. And the suffering people will have then will be bigger than whatever bad shit a revolution would require.

In all of this, it seems that David is desperately trying to spread the blame to everyone regardless of the choices they made. He is not interested in whether Communism is indeed the right choice to take but claims that even if it is, simply because people consider it a fringe ideology, striving for it makes us as much culpable for any deaths as is doing the deed ourselves. In essence a failed attempt to do the right thing should be considered as bad as doing the wrong thing altogether. The only correct action for David is compromise. Do just a little of the bad even though you always have to increase how much bad you do progressively anyway.

And this compromisistic mentality of our society is why we’re heading down the crapper. Because people don’t finally get Mad as Hell and refuse to take it anymore. Because as long as it doesn’t affect them, people will compromise and vote for leaders who will betray them the moment they are given the power and screw everyone else.

And for David, if you’re not a compromiser, you’re as bad as the opposition.

But what me and TBB is for people to stop compromising. To stop caving in to the “captors” demands. We want to charge the captor and free the hostages and we want the hostages to bite and kick to help us. Certainly some of us and some of the hostages may suffer in the process, but it will certainly be less than the number of hostages who would suffer in the future if captors figured out that taking hostages is a risk-free proposition for getting what they want.

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Are the commies out to get you?

A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetica...

Is Communism something violent? Does it inherently require that people start killing those who do not agree with it in order to achieve it? Hearing the propaganda thrown around, one could very well be led to believe that Communists are bloodthirsty demons who will break down your door and take your stuff. That they will force you to sing hymns, and clap for the glorious leader on pain of death etc.

Some of this is patently ridiculous but there is the sliver of truth in that every attempt at communism has gone through a violent struggle which then ended up with a dictatorial state rule. One looking no more than skin-deep at this might indeed get the idea that communists somehow spring out of the ether, kill the resisting peaceful citizens and establish their brutal rule

But when having a deeper look, one easily can find the errors in this image.

The Revolution

If one thing is true about Communism, it’s that it has proven impossible to be achieved without a revolution. The Capitalist system has proven to be very resilient to reformation from inside and instead of it changing, it ends up changing the reformers. Thus there is no alternative that to destroy the flawed system and rebuild from scratch.

But this revolution is not about violence. The people who demands things change do not want to kill their fellow man, they simply wish to stop being exploited. The way they go about it is by ignoring the Capitalist rules and simply starting to live under their own. Thus they ignore the previous agreement about private property. The majority decides that the means of production should belong to the majority who has paid their cost many times over already and they peacefully take them over.

It is at this point that violence occurs. Not from the workers, but from the state machine who steps in to protect the interests of the minority. When the workers are assaulted first by the police and later by the army, it would be foolish to remain peaceful. For peace would only mean the continuation of exploitation. But the workers are not the aggressors. Communism is not the cause of violence.

This assault from the minority towards the majority has always been the case in all revolutions. Accusing the communists of violence is as morally empty as accusing the slaves Rome of being violent when they revolted, or accusing the bourgeois of being violent when they overthrew the monarchies.

Revolutionary violence always comes from the side of the exploiter who has the most to lose and who controls the power of the state.

Imperialism

This is the fear that a communist nation would engage in the classic imperialistic moves. That it will attempt to invade other countries and forcibly turn them “Communist”. This of course is absurd. Communism has no state to wage out the war and the workers of a commune have no incentive to leave their homes and assault other countries.

Certainly, the USSR was guilty of playing the imperialist game (at least as much as the US did when it was making dictators while “spreading democracy”) but as this was a State Capitalism, it should come as no surprise. Indeed they were acting perfectly in the capitalist nature.

But a general fear of communist imperialism can simply be attributed to projection on the Capitalist’s part. If anything, the only form of “imperialism” that can be waged is peacefully cultural, where the workers or the world take the example from the ones who have succeeded and work on their own revolution. But of course, this is why Capitalist nations are so propagandistic against Communism in the first place.

Day to day

So will a communist society breed violence day to day? After all, violence is the norm in a capitalist state which depends on competition and greed. Well, that’s exactly the point. Communism does not depend on those. Why would violent crime happen when people can simply get what they need for free? How could violent suppression happen without a state?

Any system based on cooperation instead of competition can only be peaceful and this is why fears of communist violence are not only unfounded but a telltale sign of propaganda.

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