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What would it take for Russia to be #1?

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#5081 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 02:38 PM

Originally posted by donquijote

How about the Kielbasa Revolution?;)

No. I am theoretically vegetarian from spirit and mind.
But my vegetarianism is like yours humanism.
I would theoretically opt for but in reality I go for revenge.

I don
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#5082 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 04:04 PM

john wrote:
> FUNNY revolution, huh.

Howdy John
Si, Revolucion! ;)

> No offense, but unless the Revolution retains enough of a political
> State to field an army of some kind, and a pretty good army at that,
> it's going to be crushed very quickly.

No offense, constructive criticism is ALWAYS good.

In this day and age armies are passe... Small, efficient guerrillas are in. They give a heck of a headache from Colombia to Iraq. In this last case a relatively large army didn't have a chance, small armed bands do. At least they can make governing a pain in the ***, and may wear down foreign armies until they quit.

The Swiss have such a defensive scheme. They let them it, and then each able-bodied citizen got a rifle, and the knowledge for sabotage, etc. They discourage any predator from coming in, by making it VERY COSTLY.

All this would take the abhorrence to a predator or the adherence to AN IDEAL or both. In order to have a better chance though you must not only be AGAINST something but FOR something. And I have thought convenient to provide the people with A POLITICAL PLATFORM. They like it and they must defend it against predators. They don't need a leader the way they need Chavez or Castro, say, which are Caudillista's Revolution. The people are the leaders!!!

But I must say, that in a TRULY POPULAR CAUSE (I got children aged 9 reading this), there's not even need for violence. And there are so many weapons in the arsenal of NONVIOLENCE, from boycotts to general strike, that hopefully there would be no need for violence. In reality, VIOLENCE FEEDS THE LION, becoming its validation and its profit...

> Maybe by capitalists, maybe by fascists (the fate of the anarchist
> revolution in Spain, I believe), maybe by Communists (the fate of the
> anarchist revolution in the Ukraine in 1919), maybe by someone else.

I ain't purely anarchist though. I believe that NONBUREAUCRATIC MEANS should be preferred, but a government OWNED BY THE PEOPLE is simply necessary. I say that we can have a TAMED LION (government) alongside NON-LION INSTITUTIONS (such as coops). And these institutions are complementary via a MINISTRY OF COOPERATIVES.

> Orwell himself was close to being an anarchist, I believe. And I love
> his "Animal Farm." But in "Animal Farm," the Pigs really do succeed,
> and the workers really do not win in the end. And I don't see that
> "Animal Farm" or "1984" offers any formula for preventing this.

I like Orwell. He's the model for this, both against the Mr. Jones and the pigs, as well as in the animal language. I see he provides the lessons to be learned in Animal Farm: Do Not Trust the Pigs!!! To bring the example to the real word: If you live in Venezuela, do not trust Chavez, as well as the lions that preceded him! Orwell said, "All saints are guilty until proven innocent." ;)

> As an alternative to both non-functional anarchism -- anarchism that
> cannot defend itself -- and dysfunctional Leninism/Stalinism --
> "socialism" that bases itself on a one-party state, and soon finds that
> absolute power corrupts absolutely -- I suggest American-style
> republican federalism, but with a socialist/anarchist economy rather
> than a capitalist and competitive one.

I like that. Instead though I'd create competition between Libertarians and Anarchists. That is, we are both ANTI-LION (anti-authoritarians), and should COEXIST since you can not ban capitalism by decree. Moreover, you'd prevent rebellion by coopting them. So who's the enemy? The enemy is the MONOPOLISTIC LION, represented both in COMMUNISM AND CONSERVATISM.

The Political Compass helps visualize the issue...


I, like you, lie on the left-lower quadrant, but some people may hover toward the right, which is OK. Otherwise we both would be vigilant of tendencies toward authoritarianism, which is declared "lion territory"... I mean, the Proles understand this in this jungle language, and even children can be educated in that belief. We can even tell our children, "If you don't behave the lion will eat you!" ;)

> In the United States today, obviously there are all kinds of problems
> with economic injustice and exploitation and centralized political
> power. But what about the real virtues of our misnamed and
> compromised "democracy"?
> Despite all of the obvious American shortcomings, the US system of
> divided government and federal organization -- with the "checks and
> balances" provided by the two-house legislature, the executive branch
> and the independent judiciary, and with the various state governments
> often acting in opposition to the federal government -- does preserve a
> remarkable protection for political dissent and political freedom.
> Would-be dictators and autocrats do appear -- George Bush and Tom Delay
> seem obvious examples today -- and yet the existence of multiple power
> centers in the system ensures that they are usually brought to heel,
> often by equally corrupt and autocratic rivals who simply want the same
> kinds of goodies for themselves. Neither the Republicans nor the
> Democrats is particularly representative of the people, and yet their
> chronic competition keeps any individual pol, like Stalin, or any
> individual party, like the old Communist Party of the USSR, from
> getting a permanent iron grip on all
> power and putting all its opponents in jail.

I totally agree with you, only that Switzerland is a better model. Perhaps the biggest difference is that there their politics are better insulated from BIG MONEY. It would require, first of all, an enlightened citizenry, so the BANANA REPUBLIC we got now can be avoided. I know, for example, many old ladies who, on cue from the radio, voted Bush in over Bush's tough talk toward Castro...

> There are abuses of people's political and civil rights all the time,
> and the courts obviously are gamed for the benefit of the rich. Yet
> despite this, the ACLU does win battles for the powerless at times; a
> brilliant African American leader like Martin Luther King Jr. can
> mobilize a large minority group to battle for its rights with some
> success; such a long-despised group as gays and lesbians has a chance
> to battle for legal and social acceptance, etc.

I'd say we need a system where opposition is not only TOLERATED, but WELCOME. I hand out my flier and I'm still alive, but I get roared at all the time. It seems like I'm not welcome by the big fish... :)

> Thanks to the US military, moreover, and thanks to a horrible panoply
> of intelligence agencies that supplement its power, no foreign
> conqueror is likely to take over the United States and take away
> American liberties, such as they are. Instead, the main danger to
> those liberties lies in the American state itself. Which is more than
> the poor inhabitants of Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Tibet, Chechnya,
> etc. can say.
> I think American radicals, confronted with the obvious political
> virtues of American federalism/republicanism, are fools if we jettison
> the clear POLITICAL and LIBERTARIAN virtues of this system for the
> failed promise of Leninist "proletarian dictatorship" or the
> chronically unfulfilled promises of anarchism. Regardless of whether
> it's nonviolent anarchism, the old bomb-throwing syndicalism of the
> 1890s, the Catholic anarchism of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker
> movement, or whatever.

I say America doesn't need radicalism. If it only were like Canada, a pacifist nation involved in the well being of its citizens, we wouldn't have a problem. And I believe we can do even better than Canada by establishing ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY (EconomicDemocracy.org).

to be continued...
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#5083 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 04:08 PM

> What we need to create a viable post-capitalist, anti-capitalist world
> is not the same kind of strategy that got the Spanish anarchists and
> Ukrainian anarchists killed in the 1920s and 1930s and that never
> succeeded in fomenting revolution in any modern Western society,
> although god knows the anarchists of the 1880s and 1890s tried.
> What we need is revolutionary social democracy -- an ANTI-IDEALISTIC,
> ANTI-PERFECTIONIST, corrupt, opportunistic, "populist" social democracy
> that will look at society realistically and make the American Republic
> and its anti-authoritarian political machinery work for the sake of the
> majority of the people, and not mostly for the wealthy and the
> corporations.

Well, it sounds like I propose (http://webspawner.co...ers/donquijote1).

> Such a revolutionary social democracy could be just as "constitutional"
> as Justice Scalia, but with a bias towards putting the workers and
> consumers in charge of the economy rather than the top 5% of the
> wealthiest families. We could have a Socialist Democratic Party and a
> Socialist Republican Party regularly contending in elections, neither
> one of them led by saints. We could have a socialist Senate, a
> socialist House of Representatives, a socialist White House and a
> socialist Supreme Court, each of them jealously guarding its powers
> against all the others.

Funny, a right-wing president like Chiraq is to the left of Kerry, which goes to tell you what kind of ultra-right vs. super-right presidencial race we got. Kerry is also found in the Conservative quadrant of the Political Compass.

You talk about SOCIALISM, but I believe it won't work here. Our political foxes are too corrupt for that. We should introduce good-old-fashioned COMPETITION, Economic Democracy for all. Then workers will have the choice to work for a lion and live in the jungle (trust me, it's a jungle out there), or work together in coops and share the good life. Something similar is found in the kibbutz, where people can have a great life without money! Nevertheless, pure coops (like Mondragon) where they share the profits, shoud also exist.

I'll put it another way. The Statist Lion will be tamed by Competition, not by regulation, which is socialism.

> We could provide the unconstructed capitalists among us with just as
> much liberty, democracy and influence as the capitalists now provide to
> the American left - that is, the forces of the left would own and
> control all of the major industries and all of the major mass media
> outlets and the court system and the police forces of the country, but
> we would allow the capitalists to own and publish about six or seven
> small magazines and to operate about as many storefront offices in
> major cities as the Socialist Workers Party runs today. Whenever the
> political right looked as if it was getting too powerful and
> influential - not bloody likely, considering our overwhelming control
> of the media, but still possible - we could have a socialist FBI that
> would infiltrate the capitalists and horribly violate their civil
> rights.

That's what I said before. But they would be FREER than now. To begin with, I second nowadays their proposal for LEGALIZING MARIJUANA, UNREGULATED HIGHWAY SPEEDS (but we need traffic laws for that to happen), GUNS SWISS STYLE (but not handguns), and best of all their money not being dilapidated in foreign wars.
> Then ten or twenty years later, once the bad guys were effectively
> crushed, we could have a national orgy of breast-beating and repentence
> and bemoan the terrible thing that had been done to the right in a
> moment of national panic, and the socialist ACLU and the socialist
> Supreme Court could solemnly declare that nothing so destructive of
> democracy must ever, ever, ever be allowed to occur in the United
> States again. Which would mean that we could effectively squelch real
> subversion, but still allow most ordinary people astonishing amounts of
> political and intellectual freedom most of the time.

The bad guys are the MONOPOLISTIC LION. The lion is OK, just not monopolistic. The Libertarian Lion, for example, can have their own cantons like in Switzerland, where, naturally their laws will prevail. And then people VOTE WITH THEIR FEET AMONG CANTONS. There may be a ratio of 10-1 anarchist-libertarian cantons, for example, but they are just as good.

> In short, a revolutionary socialist democratic government, so long as
> it was willing to be sufficiently hypocritical, two-faced and
> inconsistent, could provide most Americans with just as much liberty as
> they enjoy today. Which is the only reason that most Americans would
> support us, as they are never going to support a wholesale
> reconstruction of society along anarchist lines.

It depends. I call anarchist lines living in a coop by free will. That's it. If it were to IMPOSED on the people, then we would be the lion. But, our slogan is "no lion no problem!"

> Because ordinary Americans really do have some preferences for
> decentralized government and control over their own local affairs,
> however, we could also have the social democratic government subsidize
> and facilitate local experiments in communal living and decentralized
> decision-making and the like.

Exactly, what I've talking about.

> It would be like Bush's "faith based initiative," except the
> beneficiaries would be different. Or it would be like pork-barrel
> transportation spending and Corps of Engineers water probjects today,
> except it would be "black and green" pork, libertarian social justice
> pork, instead of big construction projects. When the grants for small
> community-building subsidies were loaded onto a huge Christmas tree of
> a corrupt spending bill in the House of Representatives, the sponsors
> would call them "demonstration projects," and they would get about as
> much scrutiny as most "demonstration projects" and "pilot projects"
> funded by Congress receive today.

The Water Well is better than the Dam. Real Solutions for Real Needs and most importantly, no WASTEFUL BUREAUCRACY.

> In other words, a green and revolutionary social democratic government,
> dominated by two somewhat corrupt and hypocritical green political
> parties, both probably dependent on large worker-controlled
> enterprises, could in fact promote many of the goals of anarchism. But
> it would do so within a statist context, within a traditional American
> governmental context that has been show to work, kind of.

I think the forces must be bottom-up, the basic democratic unit being the coop. If it works, then is duplicated thousands of times. Democracy may be corrupt up there (and it sure will) but down here in the coop we have real and honest DIRECT DEMOCRACY.

> And of course, there would be a green revolutionary Pentagon and a
> green revolutionary CIA, NSA, Homeland Security Dept. etc. to ensure
> that if any capitalist or fundamentalist religious foreigners tried to
> crush this experiment in human liberation, the invaders would have
> their butts whipped. Probably by proud NRA members, Southern good old
> boys and tough ghetto youth who were proud of their fighting skills,
> and proud to put them at the service of the greatest country and the
> greatest government in the world.

If people really believed in the system, and the system didn't have a lion, there would be hardly any need for coercion, for there would be little to fear other than THE REAL BAD GUYS. But the real bad guys know they don't have a chance so they give up, and go and live with the Libertarian cantons, where they are not considered real bad, unless they want to mess with them too.

> That kind of "total revolution," I think, might conceivably make sense.
> It might possibly work. If idealistic anarchist youth want to go back
> in history and recreate the history of Brook Farm or the Amana Colonies
> or the Oneida Community or the Shakers or the Ukrainian communes,
> however - well, what happened to those early experiments in anarchist
> cooperation? Weren't all of them failures?

And yet the kibbutz exist and the Mondragon coops are thriving, as are thousands of coops and employee-owned enterprises around the world. What we need is a MINISTRY OF COOPERATIVES, and, of course, THE REVOLUTION to make it all possible.

(Please break it down into topics since I really get tired by long posts. Thanks!)
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#5084 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 04:11 PM

Originally posted by woj1@cyberonic.
No. I am theoretically vegetarian from spirit and mind.
But my vegetarianism is like yours humanism.
I would theoretically opt for but in reality I go for revenge.

Revenge against the lion? Wouldn't you be satisfied with taming the beast?:confused:

The Kielbasa though can be vegetarian, just as burgers are. And they are better than McDonald's!!!!:cool:
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#5085 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 05:04 PM

john wrote:
> Hmm. You seem like nice people, and anyone who likes Orwell really
> can't be all bad.
> But what's all this crap about the PROLES? Yeah, I know that Orwell
> talked about this in "1984."
> But at least in the United States, do you know many people who consider
> themselves "Proles"? Really?

Howdy again John
I believe some powerful message in that, so much so that it becomes more evident every day. There's a passage where he talks about the middle class craving to topple the upper classes so they can be the new lions of the jungle. These are 99% of revolutions. Their goal is not to end the jungle, but to become themselves the new lions--just because their egos betray them. Then they surround themselves by a new class of predators, all dependent on the SCRAPS.

The scraps tells you all about the jungle. Those higher up in the food chain, will defend the jungle. If you proclaim a revolution for the Proles, where there's little room for the middle class' appetite, which is dependent on the scraps, they will hate you. I have handed out perhaps 50,000 copies and no more than a handful of middle class people have reached out. That bad...or that good. It depends HOW you look at it.

There's three viewpoints in the jungle: That of the lion (it's all about money and power), that of the prey or little animals (survival), and that of the middle class (keeping the scraps), who also want to become lions themselves. Never ever, they want the lower class to catch up with them.

But I beleive the one and TRUE REVOLUTION that of the Proles. Sure there's going to be room for the lion and other predators, but they simply WON'T BE IN CONTROL.

> Maybe I'm quibbling here -- not with the concept, but with the wording.
> I think the idea of would-be revolutionaries getting into the American
> workforce, which is a very diverse one, and interacting with working
> people of all different descriptions is a very good idea.
> Mao Zhe Dong, one of history's great killers, but a smart person all
> the same, advised his Red Army followers to "go to the people, learn
> from the people" in the process of trying to change things. And it was
> good advice, even if China's "great leap forward" and the "Great
> Proletarian Cultural Revolution" of the 1970s turned out to be a mess.
> So sure, I think it's essential that anyone who wants to change things
> in America should go to the American people & learn from the American
> people and see what kinds of political ideas appeal to them. If that's
> what you mean by attracting the "Proles," I'm all for it.

Sure, that's what I mean. But the fate of the Proles is not only bad in America but all over the world with a few exceptions. That's why THE MESSAGE IS UNIVERSAL. If you are a Prole in America, or China, or Russia you are fighting for survival.

> I wonder how many people outside of the average radical college campus
> think of themselves as PROLES, however. I think it's not too hard to
> get across to many Americans that they don't own any significant amount
> of farmland, any significant businesses or factories or oil wells, and
> that that because they don't own the "means of production," they're
> stuck having to work as "wage slaves," more or less, for the people who
> do. Let me correct that: WE don't own the means of production,
> including us smartypants intellectuals who were raised in what we think
> of as the educated middle class. And therefore WE also have to work
> for the Man, for whatever pay is available.

Or we can say, WE WORK FOR THE SCRAPS. Though sometimes there's not even work, in which case WE HAVE TO BEG FOR THE SCRAPS. But in either case you are dependent on the scraps, so you are f***ed!

> It's not too hard to help many people realize that there's
> fundamentally screwed-up about this, I think. That's common sense, and
> it's true, and I think a lot of people can get it. Which of course is
> what being a "Prole" is really all about.
> But I wonder how many people relate to the name, which seems too damned
> foreign and too damned intellectualized. I think a hell of a lot of
> Americans who you may consider "proles" prefer think of themselves as
> "White" or "African American" or "Latino" or "Catholic" or
> "libertarian" or "Born again Christian" or "middle class." Which means
> that appealing to them as "proles" may seem condesdending and
> alienating.

Proles are below middle class. Middle class have a stake in keeping the jungle. They fear sliding down or the lower class climbing up!

> Of course, I could be wrong. If large numbers of people are actually
> responding to your fliers, you may be on to something.

I do, but, again, I only target Proles.

> EXOTIC and HOT? I don't think so. If I'm going to risk my damned life
> in an attempt to change the world, I want something HOMELIKE, something
> SAFE, and something COOL.
> I want something SOLID, something that will goddamn well WORK.
> "EXOTIC" and "HOT" are for young people who have way too many hormones
> and way too much education and way too much time on their hands.
> "EXOTIC" and "HOT" are fascinating when you're 20, or when you're
> watching a video on TV. They're fine for entertainment. But to fight
> and sacrifice and maybe die for? To get on an FBI list for, so your
> job prospects are affected for the rest of your life? I don't think so.

We are not talking about dying, we are talking about living. We had enough people die for us--including Jesus. What we are talking about is bringing a different philosophy of life, which, again, may not work for you but for the younger generations. I don't have a problem; I love to party and dance! So I'm looking forward to it. Actually I'd be scared of having a serious face like Chavez's telling me what to do, and not a bunch of kids trying some new Utopia. The old get entrenched in their ideas and become greedy. There's a saying that says that it's perfectly "normal" for every young to ba socialist and every older person to be a conservative.

Perhaps I'm just an humorist the way Mark Twain was, seeing the farce in politics, or perhaps I'm a lazy revolutionary who just says "Banana Revolution" and people grab it with a smile or hate it at once. There's no need to explain much. Here's the proposal with a funny name (saying "names don't matter") and here are real solutions to real problems. My jobs ends there...

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in." -George McGovern

A Revolution for the Young?

Sorry guys, but this revolution is aimed at the young--or at least to the young at heart.

Perhaps it's natural for a young idealist to turn into a greedy hypocrite later in life, given the harsh reality of a jungle where FEAR from predators is a strong motivation to become a predator...

Then we need to reach the younger generations. What do the older voters who put a war-mongering, environment-hater president in power care about the future? Well, they don't have a future. I have approached the young though, and they agree that WE GOT TO STOP THE JUNGLE...or else the jungle will swallow us. And they, you know, have a hope for the future. So, YES, there's a generation gap, and we need a change of generations. And that's why the Banana Revolution is so warmly welcome by the young for its content as well as for its fun and spice.


***An Appeal to the Young (great!), by Peter Kropotkin...

I guess you can call us an "Epicurean Revolution"...

"Pleasure and happiness here and now"

Epicurus of Samos, the Greek "philosopher of the garden" who lived 341-270 BC, was an ancient sage who left us an enduring message of optimism. His teachings conveyed a fundamental conviction that individuals can live in serene happiness, fortified by the continual experience of easily obtainable pleasures. All we really need to satisfy ourselves, he informs us, are the sustenance of nutritious food, the comfort of a secure living environment, the comradery of good friends, and the assuring wisdom that the nature of the larger universe is benign.

But although Epicurus' hedonistic ideal is easily achieved, it's not quite as readily believed. Many of us are disposed to believe that a pleasurable life necessarily entails the winning of riches, fame, and power, only to come away feeling anxious that we still don't have enough--the goal slides forever forward, like the proverbial carrot hanging on a string. Meanwhile, religions proclaim that a pleasurable life on earth is not even desirable, but that we must strive instead for a blissful afterlife, which may be earned after a lifetime of toil and strife. Here the carrot is so far deployed into the future, that one cannot live long enough to seize it--nor can we really tell that anyone else has ever succeeded in doing so. Epicurus, by contrast, challenges us to examine the nature of the universe scientifically, to analyze the root causes of grief and anxiety, and to put pleasure and happiness in their place--here and now.
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#5086 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 06:38 PM

john wrote:
> Hmm, a long thoughtful reply.
> I don't have time at the moment to reply to your reply in full,
> but I want to point out one or two points that I strongly disagree
> with.
> COMPETITION in the place of monopoly is a recipe for pollution and
> resource destruction, not to mention rock-bottom wages, so long as we
> have anything like our existing capitalist system.

That's only because it's COMPETITION IN THE TERMS OF THE LION. In the jungle you must compete or die at the hands of the lion. But he fears another kind of competition: COMPETITION FROM COOPERATIVE ENTERPRISES. It's like the shark having the sardines compete among themselves for scraps. What he fears though is the sardines getting together, and having a real option among themselves. The sardines would surely take care of the environment if they are not forced to compete. It happens with the kibbutz, where their impact on the environment is very light, in large part because they are far less consumeristic. And yet kibbutz are highly competitive with the outside world. So the solution is a mix of both, COMPETITION and COOPERATION.

"The solution that leftists propose is the creation of a sustainable
economy. This would involve holding the population constant through
birth control, and using resources no faster than they could be
replaced. We would then use our abundance and technology to allow
everyone a good standard of living. There would be no need to compete
for survival, and no need to kill anyone to survive. This would tilt the
balance towards cooperation, not competition. Critics charge that humans
are naturally competitive animals -- after all, they evolved that way.
To create a perfectly cooperative society, they charge, is both
impossible and utopian. This is certainly true, but fortunately, there
is a way around it. Competition for survival is only one of the many
thousands of ways that humans compete. Humans also fulfill their desire
to compete through games, sports, contests, social status, career
status, academic status, even mating. Eliminating the need to compete
for survival would hardly eliminate the countless other ways that humans
compete. Competition could still be used to improve society, even a
sustainable one."


> Total centralized economic planning on the old Soviet model doesn't
> work, either, but "free market competition" as most libertarians
> imagine it is just awful, both for the environment and for working
> people.
> I'm doing a lot of reading these days on Great Britain during and just
> after the Industrial Revolution (1780 - 18450 for the IR, with the
> aftermath stretching into the early 1900s), and the "free market"
> orthodoxy that prevailed in this period had horrible effects: grossly
> polluted rivers, grossly polluted air, factories and mines where
> children under the age of 10 worked up to 60 to 70 hours a week. And
> an emerging sector of "sweatshop" industries where displaced artisan
> workers turned themselves into very, very small, self-employed
> capitalists -- really, just self-employed workers -- and came close to
> starving while putting in weeks of up to 90 hours.
> Victorian libertarianism, aka "Liberalism" and "Radicalism," mostly
> condoned these disgusting conditions on the grounds that the
> competitive market could do no wrong. It was a few Tory and/or
> Conservative politicians, notably Benjamin Disraeli and the Earl of
> Shaftesbury, who pushed through factory legislation and sanitary laws
> -- most of it in the teeth of Liberal opposition -- to bring a modicum
> of humanity to the factory system and to begin a very belated clean-up
> of the polluted water and air.
> If you want to talk about a market system that's under strict
> government regulation, or that's controlled at the level of the
> individual industry or trade by powerful trade guilds, that might work.
> During the Middle Ages in England and in a number of other European
> countries, urban trade guilds did an impressive job of taming the
> market so that buying and selling and investing could occur, but only
> under strict rules that safeguarded the interests of consumers and (to
> a lesser extent) workers.
> The trade guilds were not really labor unions, I believe; the
> historians I've read portray them as associations of small businessmen
> in each individual sector and individual city. Originally organized as
> religious societies and drinking clubs, they evolved into a mechanism
> for restricting competition in each trade, since a merchant or artisan
> belonging to the guild had to agree to limits on advertising, product
> quality, the employment of apprentices (no more than two per workshop
> in some trades), and the hours of work per day. (In many trade guilds,
> for example, night work was forbidden -- you couldn't steal an
> advantage from your competitors by keeping your apprentices and
> journeymen up all night turning out extra woolen cloth or extra shoes
> or whatever.)
> The trade guilds certainly weren't perfect, and some evolved into
> institutions that advanced the fortunes of the master workers at the
> expense of the journeymen and the apprentices over time. But they
> provided a stability to the medieval economy that England lacked during
> the rapid growth of the Industrial Revolution, and they banned the
> worst forms of exploitation of the apprentice and journeymen laborers.
> When they worked well, they insured that human beings controlled "the
> market," rather than "the market" controlling human beings. And it was
> largely when the old guild system was abolished in the late 1700s and
> early 1800s, with Parliament repealing the Elizabethan Statute of
> Artificers in 1813-1814, that the severe overworking of British labor
> and the radical instability of British industrial production really
> began.
> A green economy that allowed the organization of the economy by trade
> guilds or labor guilds or cooperatives, with private individuals or
> groups of individuals owning the factories, farms and offices in the
> place of some Big Brother government, might be a good thing.
> A "radical" economy devoted to unrestricted free trade and free
> competition, however, might bring back the British sweatshop industries
> of the late Victorian era and insure that each factory, in order to
> produce goods at the lowest possible price, would dump poisons into the
> environment. Some of the most poverty-stricken sweatshop workers,
> simply to survive brutal competition with each other, might be
> motivated to poison and destroy the environment, too.
> I used to be a rightwing libertarian, a long time ago, and I respect
> where most of them are coming from in terms of their belief in
> individual liberties, political freedom, and the virtues of hard work.
> Many libertarians of today, like the "classical liberal" and
> "Manchester School" businessmen of the 1850s in England, also are
> opposed to imperialism and war - which is great. In this side of
> libertarianism, there are many things to admire.
> But the libertarian belief in the unregulated "free market" is just not
> supported by history, or for that matter by capitalist economics when
> the economics is studied very carefully. Competition may be a
> Darwinian fact of life; some competition may be inevitable, but
> unrestricted competition kills both human beings and ecosystems. At
> the extremes, as Thomas Hobbes pointed out, unrestricted competition
> leads to a "state of nature," a war of all against all in which the
> life of humanity becomes "solitary, nasty, brutish and short." Social
> mechanisms for cooperation are what's needed.

Thanks for all the valuable input.

Well, I agree with you, except that in a state of true competition you would have places--such as coops, unions and guilds--where you can cooperate--and survive. If there was COMPETITION between between sweat shops and coops, where the good life is guaranteed even without money, those going to work for the sweat shops would be truly stupid, and deserving of their fate. Naturally people is not THAT stupid, and the sweat shops would have to behave--or else disappear.

Remember is not about weakening the shark, it's about giving strength to the sardines. ;)

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#5087 donquijote


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Posted 15 April 2005 - 11:40 PM

john wrote:
> If what you mean by "competition" is "market exchange, but with social
> ownership structure and limits to how competitive it gets," sure, fine.
> Maybe your revolution would liberate the sardines. (aren't sardines
> themselves predators, though? Just very small ones? - just a
> linguistic question).

That's what I mean. But the limits pretty much take care of themselves by real competition rather regulation.

As for the sardines, sure, they are smaller predators, just like us. But the key word is the *degree* of predation. Say, a coop of 500 members may own 25 cars to be shared when the real need arises. In the meantime, 475 gas-guzzling cars are saved. Oh, a shark wouldn't even be satisfied with a regular car; he would need an SUV to show his status at the top of the food chain. :(

> Free market competition among the "sardines" with no limits and no
> safety net and no social/government oversight, on the other hand, may
> lead to the sardines trying to eat each other. And many of them
> starving in the process.

No, I haven't said that much. I say "acrobatics with a safety net." How can you prevent falls? But the coops take care of many of those needs, just not a bureaucrat. These may become those blood-sucking fish on the back of the shark. ;)

> That's partly what happened in the British sweatshop industries between
> about 1850 and 1900. Partly the sweatshop workers were killing
> themselves trying to compete against the factories, but after awhile
> they were engaged in ruinous competition against each other.

No, you said the guilds were appropriately banned before hand, so they were FEARED COMPETITION to the lion. The coops can indeed compete (Mondragon style) but can have as its purpose QUALITY OF LIFE (kibbutz style), without being a burden. Coops, by definition, are self-sufficient, but can have certain "insurance" among them, to avoid going under. A Ministry of Coops (which already exists in Singapore) can oversee the whole thing.

> The market system can be good, within limits, and I think the rightwing
> economist Ludwig von Mises has made a pretty good case that in some
> applications, the market system is almost inevitable. But if
> competition is total free and unrestricted, the "free market" can
> promote disaster.

Sure, John Nash (the character of "A Beautiful Mind"), a Noble Economic Prize, stated that "Adam Smith was wrong"! "The best result comes from doing the best for one's self and for the group"!

> The medieval guild system offered one way around this problem. The
> Yugoslav Communist Party in the Tito years tried another way, by mixing
> state ownership of the factories with workers' control and elected
> managers with market distribution of goods. The Mondragon cooperatives
> may have found another solution.

Many ways around it. The issue though is creating the POLITICAL WILL to make it happen.

> But the rightwing libertarian idea of "let 'er rip! Compete, and devil
> take the hindmost" is not a solution, but a problem.

Sure, too much INDIVIDUALISM, mixed with PRIVATE OWNERSHIP and PARANOIA, can lead into disaster. But at least they are honest about it, and can be contained by the pack of sardines working together. Like this...

Bite back! The little fish organized in coops can chase away the big fish...
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#5088 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 16 April 2005 - 12:03 PM

Originally posted by donquijote

Remember is not about weakening the shark, it's about giving strength to the sardines. ;)

Fattening sardines doesn
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#5089 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 16 April 2005 - 12:08 PM

Maiden Castle hill fort in Dorset)
was a huge social undertaking and it marks the power of the chief and his family that he could force thousands of people to come here and dig out these defensive ditches. In times of crisis this was where you would come with your family, your possessions to seek refuge. Hill forts were the nerve centres of tribal Britain so the Roman army made straight for them. The only trouble is that the Roman Army was the kind of threat that no one building these hill forts had ever anticipated.

The idea of these ditches was that an attacker would have to run down here so that the defenders up there could throw things down on top of him.
The trouble is that the Romans didn
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#5090 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 16 April 2005 - 12:14 PM

Few could match the fitness of a Roman soldier - they
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#5091 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 16 April 2005 - 12:23 PM

Roman historian Tacitus:
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#5092 donquijote


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Posted 16 April 2005 - 03:21 PM

Originally posted by woj1@cyberonic.
Fattening sardines doesn-t make shark weaker . Learn to appreciate your conquers as Celtics in Britain did it.

You are telling me, Woj, to sell out to the conquerors? Perhaps McDonald's and Coke are to bring civilization into our barbaric lands?

Sorry, CULTURE OF OVERWORK to fatten some big fish, of JUNKFOOD that makes addicts out of kids, and of STUPID VIOLENCE made in Hollywood ain't very appealing to me.

I rather have you talk to me about Kielbasa Revolution.;)
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#5093 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:38 PM

Originally posted by donquijote
You are telling me, Woj, to sell out to the conquerors? Perhaps McDonald's and Coke are to bring civilization into our barbaric lands?

I rather have you talk to me about Kielbasa Revolution.;)

I hoped that you could recognize the joke.

Kielbasa -doesn
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#5094 donquijote


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Posted 17 April 2005 - 04:53 PM

Originally posted by woj1@cyberonic.
I hoped that you could recognize the joke.

I did. Mine was a joke too.;)

I got my cholesterol high, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to grow vegetarian. You must have low cholesterol, right?
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#5095 donquijote


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 02:37 AM

john wrote:
> I agree with Doreen Miller that things here are getting worse in terms
> of political liberties. That we're at the stage of Orwell's "1984"
> yet, I doubt. I agree that all kinds of people had better work like
> hell to keep the "1984" scenario from unfolding.

Remember, "1984" is political satire, not a realistic projection of the future. It's a warning about some tendencies we are already living...

'In many ways, Bush has become the physical manifestation of Big Brother, the omnipotent, all-knowing symbol of leadership in Oceania. In "1984", Big Brother is both feared and loved by the people. His power goes untested. Similarly, the Bush administration has sculpted an infallible image of integrity for itself, and the American people have responded with a show of faith and support. In fact, it has become accepted, if not fashionable, to show American pride with stickers, T-shirts and flags. A frenzy of nationalism has infected our country; and consequently we have put trust in the government to do all that is necessary to defend and vindicate the United States.

As a result, American freedoms are being cleverly attacked by new legislation, which is taking advantage of the vulnerability of its citizens. In "1984", signs reading "Big Brother is watching you" constantly remind the people of Oceania that their every move is being monitored and judged. The Bush administration has enacted programs such as TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System), which allows the government to recruit citizen-spies within the United States to supplement law enforcement. In addition, the USA Patriot Act now allows law enforcement and intelligence agencies to expand surveillance to monitor phone conversations, Internet usage and business transactions. All the while, it eliminates the checks and balances system which allows courts to oversee the legality and integrity of the affairs.'


> As a democratic socialist and an opponent of the American police state,
> I guess I would like to see some kind of economic "revolution" if it's
> done right, and if it's carried off peacefully, and if it doesn't lead
> to some new form of tyranny.
> Those are three big "Ifs," however.

I'd responds to those "ifs" with: The REVOLUTION will be peaceful or not at all. Another "Civil War" scenario is as unthinkable as a WW3 as a "solution" to the problem that we got, namely war and environmental devastation, not to name poverty, crime, etc.

As for tyranny, I don't think there's much of a chance if you choose Orwell as your inspiration. He warned us against the pigs taking over the revolution, as well as against Big Brother. Further safety can be had by drawing from anarchism...

"Anarchism has been written off time and again by politically-minded people as a quaint historical anachronism, irrelevant as the century turns. But the politicians themselves are living out the final sentence of George Orwell's Animal Farm, where the poor creatures out in the yard peered through the windows of the farmhouse, looking from pig to man and from man to pig, but found it impossible to say which was which.
In real life this leads to apathy and resignation as well as to the rise of demagogues and dictators. But if people had faith in their capacity to make decisions, it could be changed by an upsurge of popular self-organisation and inventiveness. Probably every generation has to learn this."

> But any attempt to create "REVOLUTION" through armed struggle and
> street fighting, I think, will only make political repression in this
> country worse. Mussolini's fascism first emerged in Italy because
> middle-class Italians were afraid of a Bolshevik-style revolution on
> the part of the Italian Communist Party. Hitler won the support of big
> German industrialists in the late 1920s because they were deathly
> afraid of domestic Communists and the Soviet Union. Historically,
> fascism becomes strong, and capitalists become willing to support it,
> when capitalist societies feel threatened by leftwing revolution.
> So I don't think your sunny optimism about life after the "REVOLUTION"
> is justified. It will only be justified if those of us working for
> fundamental change can keep millions of middle-class Americans from
> being so frightened of us that they're willing to support really ugly,
> ugly authoritarians.

True. They must be assured that IF THEY DON'T CHANGE THEY ARE DOOMED. And that we represent a reasonable solution. Forget about something really radical. If America were to adopt the politics of Canada, it would be saved, at least it would be spared from war and it would have universal healthcare at a lower price tag, and that amounts to a revolution. If, however, more is to be expected, then they could put in practice something more ambitious like what I propose, which is not anarchist, but which provides many working models. (http://webspawner.co...ers/donquijote1)

> And I think you're not going to sell your sunny optimism about
> "REVOLUTION" to millions of politically moderate Americans in the
> middle class and the high end of the working class who don't want to
> lose their houses, their 401(k) plans and their lives in any kind of
> revolutionary upheaval.

Their priviledges may need some readjustment, but their future will look brighter. Who you think have a better future, American elites or Scandinavian elites? Scandinavian elites have learned to share and they live in societies with fewer conflicts, and have learned to share in international efforts for peace. It pays off.

> I think drastic economic changes are going to have to be made, pretty
> soon, to keep millions of Americans from sinking into poverty and
> economic despair. The current situation with corporate "downsizing"
> and "outsourcing" of good jobs to China and other low-wage countries
> just does not bode well for American working people.

I know. But, it's first the poor that are affected, until it reaches the Middle Classes themselves, and then it becomes an issue. We are playing by the Law of the Jungle, and by the same law we are threatened militarily and economically. That's why America, too, has a big stake in ending the jungle.

> But to have a chance of succeeding, proponents of a post-capitalist
> society are going to have to sell their vision to the vast majority of
> the American people, including large numbers of people in the armed
> forces and the intelligence community and state and local police forces
> that most anarchists are now treating as the bad guys.

The anarchists are wrong in that. At the FTAA in Miami, I felt more hostility from some of them than from the autorities. (Though who doubts they were undercover.) The police, the security services, and the armed forces, all have a bit stake in defending the country, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE. They have families; they want to see healthcare for all, not only for those who join the Army; they want the resources being invested here, not in some far away land. But we are not selling a post-capilist society, but ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY (EconomicDemocracy.org), where you can practice democracy politically and economically.

> Maybe the rapid development of a sub-economy of coops and worker-owned
> enterprises within the existing economic structure is the only way to
> proceed under those circumstances. But in order to prevent a massive
> turn towards sweatshop labor as the US economy gets less and less
> competitive internationally, I think progressive and leftist people
> also are going to need to capture the capitalist State, and use that
> State to maintain minimal labor and environmental standards.

Perhaps it can be captured somewhere else, see how it works, and then be brought by democratic means to America. For example it may happen first in Haiti or Colombia or Mexico and then spread around. That's the way the American Revolution inspired the French and Haitian revolutions.

> All the while persuading the vast majority of the people, including
> many who now call themselves "conservatives," that the new order
> really will protect their interests and their liberty.

They will be better off if they can live free from fear. The jungle is a very scary place...

An Alternative Inaugural Presidential Address
"From this day forward, our country renews a rock solid commitment to the world rule of law. Just as no individual is above the law within countries, no nation can be above the law among countries. We believe that if we disregard the law of nations we're left with the Law of the Jungle, where the only constraint on violence is the power and ruthlessness of those who would employ it. Rest assured, in that world, we won't be the only ones to employ it."
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#5096 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:14 AM

Chinese students and businessmen gathered Sunday at the Japanese embassy in Vietnam protesting Japan's distortion of its aggression history and the country's bid for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. http://news.xinhuane...ontent_2844015. It has triggered widespread protests in China, South Korea and other Asian countries in recent weeks .

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average having its biggest drop in 11 months. as anti-Japan protests spread to about a dozen cities in China, Japan's biggest trading partner, over territorial and historical disputes. Japan is also faced with the China risk now and that's a big factor keeping investors from buying.''
. China surpassed the U.S. last year as Japan's biggest trading partner, with exports and imports of $206 billion, a fifth of Japan's total. Japan is China's largest trading partner after the European Union and the U.S.
Bottles and eggs were hurled at the Japanese embassy in Beijing.
The demonstrations were kindled by Chinese allegations that Japan's textbooks gloss over atrocities committed against Chinese civilians during the 1931-45 Japanese occupation and by a dispute over oil-drilling rights in the East China Sea.
``The tension is growing rapidly and it's a sentiment damper for stocks
It is not what US planned proposing the Japan for UN seat. :) US leadership in UN is halted by China,:P
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#5097 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:29 AM

The development of relations with China is of "special significance" for the European Union (EU) and Austria, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said . Asked about the Anti-Secession Law adopted last month by the National People's Congress of China, Schuessel said he realized the Chinese government's position of a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question.
The Austrian government reiterates its adherence to the one-China policy and respects the Chinese people's will to fulfill the cause of national reunification. http://news.xinhuane...ent_2844732.htm
It was grave Clinton
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#5098 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:43 AM

Originally posted by donquijote
I did. Mine was a joke too.;)

And more jokes;
US points out that the code of conduct currently has no legal force. The code calls on EU countries to refrain from selling weapons or technologies that could be used to suppress internal dissent or be used against allies.
It was introduced in 1998 by Robin Cook, the former British foreign secretary, as part of the Labour government's "ethical foreign policy".
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#5099 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 11:49 AM

Originally posted by woj1@cyberonic.
And more jokes;

The U.S. military said Monday that an investigation into an explosion that destroyed five fuel tankers in the blast early Sunday,parked outside its main base in southern Afghanistan was an accident, not the result of a Taliban attack.
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#5100 woj1@cyberonic.


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Posted 18 April 2005 - 12:07 PM

Originally posted by woj1@cyberonic.
And more jokes;
US points out that introduced in 1998 by Robin Cook, the former British foreign secretary, as part of the Labour government's "ethical foreign policy".

The right stuff: F-16s to Pakistan is wise decision :cheers:


A Deal for Jet Fighters Opens the Door to India :cheers:

On the same day last month that the United States announced that it would sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, President Bush personally called the prime minister of India, Pakistan's archrival, with advice intended to soften the blow. The United States, Mr. Bush confided, had decided to allow fighter jet sales to India as well. :cheers:

Pakistani police detained hundreds of activists who tried Saturday to greet the husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and block an opposition rally.
"By not allowing me to hold a peaceful rally, the government has unmasked its face. They are dictators. There is a fascist government here, and I announce that our struggle for restoration of real democracy will continue,"
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