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Commentary :: Politics
A Question for the Collectivist Anarchists from a Spooner Fan
27 Jul 2004
A question about free exchange of goods and services between people.
I would like to take part in a serious discussion with some Bakunin anarchists.

I stopped by the bazaar today.

You all obviously aren't against free people exchanging goods for money or other goods.

Forgetting the use of government monopoly money for a moment, Is this not basic capitalism? Free exchange between free people?

What you are against is Corporatism, I think.

I have questions and comments and would rather do this in person. Where should I go to engage in this discussion/debate?

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Re: A Question for the Collectivist Anarchists from a Spooner Fan
27 Jul 2004
"A question about free exchange of goods and services between people. I would like to take part in a serious discussion with some Bakunin anarchists." -

Well, I really don't think that there are many "Bakunin anarchists" out there. There are few people who I guess might fall into the idea of collectivism that was the main idea of Bakunin, where services received some type of credit, and thus you could buy things with it. A similar idea was proposed via Z Magazines' M. Albert's 'Parecon'.

"You all obviously aren't against free people exchanging goods for money or other goods." -

Being that I'm in CA, I wasn't there, but I can guess from past experiences what went down. Firstly, we do live in a system where goods are exchanged for money, therefore, it's pretty possible that some people did exchange money for certain things. Just because people do that dosen't mean that they're Bakuninists or collectivists. Would they become Kropotkinists if they started working farms and workshops collectively, and sharing 'each according to ability, each according to need'?

"Forgetting the use of government monopoly money for a moment, Is this not basic capitalism? Free exchange between free people?" -

I think you're missing the main points of doing such an activity, which probably was to show poeple that there all real alternatives out there to the capitalist system. However, as long as we are a part of it, we're going to have to use some of it to further our work, hince, Green Anarchy has a website, and IWW asks for union dues.

"What you are against is Corporatism, I think." -

Bakunin was against capitalism in all forms.

"I have questions and comments and would rather do this in person. Where should I go to engage in this discussion/debate?" -

http://www.infoshop.org/faq
Re: A Question for the Collectivist Anarchists from a Spooner Fan
28 Jul 2004
"You all obviously aren't against free people exchanging goods for money or other goods."

i don't know what you mean by "bakunin anarchists," but i'll respond to this anyways:
within the constraints of the system we are forced to live in right now, i support people who sell/trade goods to live relatively well. that is opposed to people who sell/trade for an extreme profit that goes way way beyond survival, and often entails exploiting workers.
HOWEVER both selling and trading are parts of capitalism, and neither are included in my vision for an ideal society. What would be ideal is a Gift Economy, where people simply GIVE things to eachother without a sense of "debt" or "payment." the idea is that if everyone gives things to eachother, we will all be able to survive and live well, reaching a sort of equilibrium.

I think the bazaar actually was a really good place to discuss this, having gotten into a couple of conversations about it today. but, if you happen to be around any black tea society events in the next few days just strike up conversation. i'm sure people will be glad to talk to you!
Re: A Question for the Collectivist Anarchists from a Spooner Fan
28 Jul 2004
"You all obviously aren't against free people exchanging goods for money or other goods."

i don't know what you mean by "bakunin anarchists," but i'll respond to this anyways:
within the constraints of the system we are forced to live in right now, i support people who sell/trade goods to live relatively well. that is opposed to people who sell/trade for an extreme profit that goes way way beyond survival, and often entails exploiting workers.
HOWEVER both selling and trading are parts of capitalism, and neither are included in my vision for an ideal society. What would be ideal is a Gift Economy, where people simply GIVE things to eachother without a sense of "debt" or "payment." the idea is that if everyone gives things to eachother, we will all be able to survive and live well, reaching a sort of equilibrium.

I think the bazaar actually was a really good place to discuss this, having gotten into a couple of conversations about it today. but, if you happen to be around any black tea society events in the next few days just strike up conversation. i'm sure people will be glad to talk to you!
Re: A Question for the Collectivist Anarchists from a Spooner Fan
28 Jul 2004
there's nothing inherently wrong with buying or trading. but when exchange is only based on a completely abstract currency which is beyond the control of those using it, beyond the scope of the communities it affects, and beyond the scale of the goods it is exchanged for, that's a problem.

gift economies sound nice, but an economy based *entirely* on gifts sounds a bit silly. gifts plus trading makes more sense, since there's only so much time in the day and for everyone to get everything they need, everyone would have to spend all their time making gifts for everyone else. which would end up looking like trading, and eventually become trading in many cases.

it's when people start trading massive amounts of things that aren't actually theirs, for abstract currencies that don't accurately reflect value, that we start to see capitalism.

nothing wrong with working or trading, only certain kinds of work and trade.

ps. indymedia rawks