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Announcement :: Labor
JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost... Current rating: 2
30 Jan 2006
Modified: 10:26:59 PM
An ongoing protest against the high-price leader
Join with the Progressives Against Progress in protesting WalMart in the most effective way possible:

Activists will be taking the "counter-intuitive" step of actually shopping at Wal-Mart during the entire month of Feburary, but making a specticle of handing over to the cashiers DOUBLE the "low price" for every item purchased. Employees will be instructed to divide the funds up evenly at the end of each work day.

Our soon-to-be-launched media publicity campaign will focus the nation's attention on this action. Broadcasters & reporters will be made aware of the action, and, we hope, will interview the ecstatic employees who will share their stories of need, and highlight exactly how much they've been helped by the Progressive's plan. We just need to get enough people involved first.

If you'd like to join us in making a real difference for Wal-Mart slaves...er, "employees", join P.A.P activists in stores across the state during the month of Feburary.

In Solidarity,

"WalHeart" -- the high boss of woe rises

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Comments

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 1
30 Jan 2006
It's a great idea, but won't that cost us a lot? I can't afford to pay WalMart employees more!

John

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -1
30 Jan 2006
John,

Yes, that's a good point. However, if our economic justice movement is going to work, we need to be prepared to pay more for the things we need. Think of this as "practice" for the other world that's possible.

WalMart employees deserve a living wage. They deserve health care &, for those who need it, child care. They deserve to be treated with dignity in their work. We need to be willing to do our part & pay for these things.

Compassion starts with each of us. We can't wait until everyone else is "on-board". We need to show people the way. We need to show people that we're willing to pay a lot more, so that our working brothers & sisters can have the things we're fighting for.

WalHeart

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 11
31 Jan 2006
The problem isn't that there isn't enough wealth to go around, it's that the owners (capitalists) take a disproportionate amount of the wealth for themselves.

None of whats being proposed will solve the problem... it doesn't even point to the problem and is removed from the reality of the situation.

Lets decentralize the hierarchy and recieve the full fruits of our labor! Dump the bosses! These parasites only care about themselves and the bottom line! They feed off of you and me and steal from us on a daily basis! It's time we take what is ours!

www.iww.org

Organize! Solidarity fellow workers!

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 0
31 Jan 2006
I'm a little confused.

I do think new tactics are needed. Is this serious?

When I was 15 I worked an awful fast food restaurant - we would get fired if we took tips. Have you checked that out?

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 2
31 Jan 2006
No Lindsey, I believe it's a right wing, pro-capitalist parody group.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 9
31 Jan 2006
They've been posting things to KC Indy Media in order to promote http://bureaucrash.com/

Which is indeed a pro-capitalist, (rightwing-fiscally conservative-socially liberal), neo-liberal advocacy site aimed at youth.

They're super confused ;)

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -4
01 Feb 2006
I'm not so sure about the effectiveness of this. Just double? It's a great idea but I'd suggest that you encourage participants to at least start there and to pay what they can afford. Wal-Mart employees could certainly use the extra wages!

My second concern is how do we know that they'll use this money in a way that is good for social justice? I'd be more confident if unions got their cut I suppose.

I don't mean to be a pessimistic - I do appreciate your outside the box thinking.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 3
01 Feb 2006
It's a parody folks. They're fucking with you. It's rightwing capitalists making fun.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -3
01 Feb 2006
Oh Vlad, you silly vampyre! We're not "right-wing" capitalists. We're just capitalists! No conservative social policies here. Just live & let live.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 5
01 Feb 2006
Bureaucrash is a group run by Ayn Rand, pro-capitalist wingnuts. I've seen them in action at a few protests. These people are so nutty that they actually sent people to the Quebec City protests several years ago to protest FOR capitalism.

These libertarians think they are having some fun at our expense, but one of these days some of our people will notice them at some protest and will beat the holy crap out of them. The morons at Free Republic found this out the hard way recently when some so-called "peaceful hippies" turned out to be anarchists who ripped up their signs and beat them up.

Class war is a war. The rich and their supporters are fair targets.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 8
02 Feb 2006
Oh capitalist-making-fun, perhaps youre not right wing- without a state these designations lose meaning -but your promoted website has that flavor.

Regardless, small point of contention aside, the fact remains that you wish to pursue an economic system based on exploitation and brutality somehow imagining that you will be at the top of the hierarchy to recieve the fruits of others toil and suffering. Unless of course you'd like to join the IWW (www.iww.org) and work within the framework of a decentralized federation of autonomous, directly democratic workplaces and communitites. Technically, syndicalism is free market although we prefer the term Fair Market in order to distance ourselves from the negative spin wrought by neo-liberalism and other capitalist tool of imperialism.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 3
02 Feb 2006
Right on Chuck!

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -2
02 Feb 2006
>>Chuck sez: "Bureaucrash is a group run by Ayn Rand, pro-capitalist wingnuts"

Actually, I think Ayn Rand is kind'a silly myself. I prefer to think of myself as an F.A. Hayek pro-capitalist wingnut; or perhaps a Ludwig von Mises pro-capitalist wingnut...but without so much respect for the state.

>>Vlad sez: "Oh capitalist-making-fun, perhaps youre not right wing- without a state these designations lose meaning -but your promoted website has that flavor"

I don't think you got a very good taste: I think we have your site matched one-for-one with the anti-Bush posts right now; and there's way more discussion about ending the oppressive drug war, and supporting free speech than there is here. (And our site's a lot less "bitter", to stick with the analogy.)

>>Chuck sez: "one of these days some of our people will notice them at some protest and will beat the holy crap out of them."

...see what I mean?

That's the thing about democracy-worshipers: They just love to see the big group beat up on the little group.

>>Vlad sez: "the fact remains that you wish to pursue an economic system based on exploitation and brutality somehow imagining that you will be at the top of the hierarchy to recieve the fruits of others toil and suffering"

Well, actually that's not what I wish to do at all. After Chuck's comment (and your concurrence), I don't know whether you guys are even open-minded enough to listen to another point-of-view, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. (Maybe you’re not as intolerant as you seem):

What I really want is an economic system that recognizes the fact that people have their own beliefs and values, which may be different from my own; and that allows them the freedom to act on them. The non-capitalist anarchist systems, as well as the social democratic systems ignore this fact; which is why you guys see "free trade" as exploitative.

The way it seems to me: I have different values than other people, and different skills as well. I'm really bad at making my own clothing, for instance. (I could show you pictures.) I'm pretty good at carpentry & woodworking, though; and I sort'a enjoy it.

In fact, I enjoy it so much that I've got more crap sitting around here made out of wood than you would believe! I don't need any more, that's for sure; but I'll keep making things because I know there's someone out there who does need them -- who values them more highly than I do. (“Exploiter!” they scream.)

If I could find someone who wants carpentry done, and who has some nice clothing that (s)he doesn't want as much (ie, doesn't "value" as much) as (s)he wants the carpentry done, we'd be all set! We could trade with each other, and -- here's the important part -- we'd both come out ahead. Neither one of us has been "exploited" because we have different values -- I value what I received more than what I gave up; and (s)he valued what (s)he received more than what (s)he gave up. Pretty cool, huh?

The reason I'm an (anarcho)capitalist is because none of the other economic systems recognize this; especially not the systems that you guys are talking about. "Democratization" imposes the values of the majority upon everyone else in the group. It destroys diversity in favor of homogenization (ie, "equality").

To say that free-markets & property rights are exploitative is to either ignore the diversity of values in our society, or to simply be intolerant of them. Sure, if we all had the same values, then there would be no way for two people to trade property fairly: Somebody would always wind up with something (s)he didn't want as much as what (s)he gave up! If this were the case, I'd be on your side. But it's not.

>>Technically, syndicalism is free market although we prefer the term Fair Market in order to distance ourselves from the negative spin wrought by neo-liberalism and other capitalist tool of imperialism.<<

I’m totally with you there. I hate the fact that the term “free-market” has been co-opted into the “Republican” (fascist neo-conservative) doublespeak. Think about it: What the fuck is a “free trade agreement”?! It’s a contradiction in terms! “Free” means there are no rules governing trade! If there are rules & regulations (as there are – 527 pages of them to be exact – in the “Free” trade area of the Americas agreement) then it’s not “free trade”! Its regulated trade; and the way it’s practiced by the Republican/neo-con crowd, its Mercantilism (not capitalism).

A Free Market means “hands off” – no government intervention; no “corporate licenses” and “limited liability protections” for sale (and therefore no corporations); no tariffs, or barriers, or subsidies that make it impossible for Mexican farmers to compete in our markets. It’s a far-cry from the exploitative & brutal hierarchy that you’ve come to believe it is. (Of course, as pervasive as the Republican doublespeak is in our culture, it’s easy to see why you’ve been mislead.)

Open your mind a little bit. You can only benefit from looking at things from another point-of-view. (Heck, you might even find a cure for syndicalism.)

As for the Progressives Against Progress: That's our preferred way of getting people to question their ideas. Chuck, you can stick with kicking peoples' asses if you want to.

sh(A)ne

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 9
02 Feb 2006
Anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron. Capitalism requires the existence of the state, whereas anarchism is a system that exists instead of the state.

See:
Anarchism and "anarcho"-capitalism
http://infoshop.org/faq/append1.html

Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?
http://infoshop.org/faq/secFcon.html

Anarcho-capitalism was debunked 10 years ago by the FAQ. It's really strange that there are still people around who are confused about the nature of capitalism and what anarchism is about. You can be a free-market American libertarian, but "anarcho-capitalism" is a contradiction in terms. Anarchists oppose the state AND capitalism.

This is basic political theory, which you should have learned in high school.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 8
02 Feb 2006
Shane, I'm quite well educated in "Libertarianism" and/or "Capitalism" as you're putting forth. As an anarchist I cannot advocate an economic system such as this as it's antithetical to personal autonomy and freedom as well as collective responsibility. Capitalism cannot exist without the State (as Chcuk said basic political theory) and Anarcho-Capitalism is an oxymoron at best. Both are systems of hierarchy, and are authoritarian where no-one is free. Capitalism is inherently exploitative and expansionary, is unstable and requires heavy regulation less it collapse.

As for myself...

Niether Slave Nor Master.

I'm not gonna regurgitate pages of whats already available but suffice it that Chucks links would be almost word for word what I would argue.

P.S. syndicalism is not the only way. I can imagine a world full of syndicates/federations, guilds, gift economies, workers councils ...I could go on and on but capitalism doesn't fit.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 3
02 Feb 2006
What secures private property?

the most common objection voiced by the economically literate is that anarcho-capitalism would quickly decay into monopoly, whether through war or merger. And it's a short step from a monopoly defense firm back to government.

The standard anarcho-capitalist rebuttal is to compare the scale economies in the market for defense services to demand, and see how many firms the market has room for. If there is only room for three firms, it's plausible that they might merge to monopoly and become the new government. If there is room for ten thousand firms, it's totally implausible. As David Friedman wrote in The Machinery of Freedom:

If there are only two or three agencies in the entire area now covered by the United States, a conspiracy among them may be practical. If there are 10,000, then when any group of them start acting like a government, their customers will hire someone else to protect them against their protectors.
...My own guess is that the number will be nearer 10,000 than 3. If the performance of present-day police forces is any indication, a protection agency protecting as many as one million people is far above optimum size.


But there is a simple rejoinder to Friedman, If scale economies are really this weak, why have states emerged and remained stable for thousands of years?

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 9
02 Feb 2006
http://world.std.com/~mhuben/wilson_1.html

How a Libertarian Capitalist Became a Libertarian Socialist

http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/anarchism/rants/SabatiniLBA.html

Libertarianism: Bogus Anarchy

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 0
02 Feb 2006
Chuck & Vlad,

>>Anarcho-capitalism is an oxymoron. Capitalism requires the existence of the state, whereas anarchism is a system that exists instead of the state.<<

Capitalism only involves the existence of property rights and unrestricted trade -- both of which can exist outside of government...

You know, it seems like I have to go through this argument, defending the “reality” of anarcho-capitalism, every time I post something to an Indymedia site. Let me do this the easy way, and copy/paste from the last time I went through this (on the Madison site, which I still post to regularly. -- This thread is still active, if you’re interested. It’s been a good one.)

-------------
Kim Jong Elk wrote:

"Anarcho"-capitalists are not anarchists at all as anarchism is incompatible with capitalism and anarchists have always opposed it….I know my history. "Anarcho-"capitalism is a relatively modern invention. All of the early (and major) anarchist theorists were anti-capitalists. Anarchism is inherently anti-capitalist, as capitalism is incompatible with an anti-authoritarian and anti-hierarchal platform, which is what anarchism is all about. It means much more than "no government" despite what the ancaps would have one believe.

KJE
-------------

Kim Jong,

>>I know my history.<<

Excellent. That should make this much simpler for me.

Being well-versed in Anarchist history, I’m sure you know of Peter Kropotkin – an early and major anarchist theorist, and an anti-capitalist (so it’s okay for you to acknowledge him).

>>All of the early (and major) anarchist theorists were anti-capitalists. Anarchism is inherently anti-capitalist bla bla bla bla…It means much more than "no government" despite what the ancaps would have one believe. <<

I’m going to disagree. Actually, so is Kropotkin. In fact, Kropotkin cites Pierre Proudhon as the first theorist to use the term "anarchism" in its modern sense; and describes Proudhon as the first in a prominent series of anti-communist, pro-property-rights anarchists – or, in the current terminology, "anarcho-capitalists".

Yeah. That means that, according to Kropotkin, the first person to use the term "anarchism" to refer to a society with no government...was an anarcho-capitalist.

The following passages are from Kropotkin’s 1910 article, "Anarchism", which was written for the Encyclopaedia Britannica, & which I’ve linked to here for your denial...er, "reference":

http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/kropotkin-peter/1910/britannic

ANARCHISM (from the Gr. an and archos, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent - for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary - as is seen in organic life at large - harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

[snip]

Proudhon was the first to use, in 1840 (Qu’est-ce que la propriete? first memoir), the name of anarchy with application to the no government state of society. The name of ‘anarchists’ had been freely applied during the French Revolution by the Girondists to those revolutionaries who did not consider that the task of the Revolution was accomplished with the overthrow of Louis XVI, and insisted upon a series of economical measures being taken (the abolition of feudal rights without redemption, the return to the village communities of the communal lands enclosed since 1669, the limitation of landed property to 120 acres, progressive income-tax, the national organization of exchanges on a just value basis, which already received a beginning of practical realization, and so on).

Now Proudhon advocated a society without government, and used the word anarchy to describe it. Proudhon repudiated, as is known, all schemes of communism, according to which mankind would be driven into communistic monasteries or barracks, as also all the schemes of state or state-aided socialism which were advocated by Louis Blanc and the collectivists. When he proclaimed in his first memoir on property that ‘Property is theft’, he meant only property in its present, Roman-law, sense of ‘right of use and abuse’; in property-rights, on the other hand, understood in the limited sense of possession, he saw the best protection against the encroachments of the state. At the same time he did not want violently to dispossess the present owners of land, dwelling-houses, mines, factories and so on. He preferred to attain the same end by rendering capital incapable of earning interest; and this he proposed to obtain by means of a national bank, based on the mutual confidence of all those who are engaged in production, who would agree to exchange among themselves their produces at cost-value, by means of labour cheques representing the hours of labour required to produce every given commodity. Under such a system, which Proudhon described as ‘Mutuellisme’, all the exchanges of services would be strictly equivalent. Besides, such a bank would be enabled to lend money without interest, levying only something like I per cent, or even less, for covering the cost of administration. Everyone being thus enabled to borrow the money that would be required to buy a house, nobody would agree to pay any more a yearly rent for the use of it. A general ‘social liquidation’ would thus be rendered easy, without violent expropriation. The same applied to mines, railways, factories and so on.

In a society of this type the state would be useless. The chief relations between citizens would be based on free agreement and regulated by mere account keeping. The contests might be settled by arbitration. A penetrating criticism of the state and all possible forms of government, and a deep insight into all economic problems, were well-known characteristics of Proudhon’s work.

Josiah Warren, who was born in 1798 (cf. W. Bailie, Josiah Warren, the First American Anarchist, Boston, 1900), and belonged to Owen’s ‘New Harmony’, considered that the failure of this enterprise was chiefly due to the suppression of individuality and the lack of initiative and responsibility. These defects, he taught, were inherent to every scheme based upon authority and the community of goods. He advocated, therefore, complete individual liberty. In 1827 he opened in Cincinnati a little country store which was the first ‘equity store’, and which the people called ‘time store’, because it was based on labour being exchanged hour for hour in all sorts of produce.


Individualist anarchism found…its fullest expression in Max Stirner (Kaspar Schmidt), whose remarkable works (Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum and articles contributed to the Rheinische Zeitung) remained quite overlooked until they were brought into prominence by John Henry Mackay. Stirner…advocated, not only a complete revolt against the state and against the servitude which authoritarian communism would impose upon men, but also the full liberation of the individual from all social and moral bonds - the rehabilitation of the ‘I’, the supremacy of the individual, complete ‘amoralism’, and the ‘association of the egotists’.

The ideas of Proudhon, especially as regards mutual banking, corresponding with those of Josiah Warren, found a considerable following in the United States, creating quite a school, of which the main writers are Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Grene, Lysander Spooner (who began to write in 1850, and whose unfinished work, Natural Law, was full of promise)

A prominent position among the individualist anarchists in America has been occupied by Benjamin R. Tucker, whose journal Liberty was started in 1881 and whose conceptions are a combination of those of Proudhon with those of Herbert Spencer. Starting from the statement that anarchists are egotists, strictly speaking, and that every group of individuals, be it a secret league of a few persons, or the Congress of the United States, has the right to oppress all mankind, provided it has the power to do so, that equal liberty for all and absolute equality ought to be the law, and ‘mind every one your own business’ is the unique moral law of anarchism, Tucker goes on to prove that a general and thorough application of these principles would be beneficial and would offer no danger, because the powers of every individual would be limited by the exercise of the equal rights of all others. He further indicated (following H. Spencer) the difference which exists between the encroachment on somebody’s rights and resistance to such an encroachment; between domination and defence: the former being equally condemnable, whether it be encroachment of a criminal upon an individual, or the encroachment of one upon all others, or of all others upon one; while resistance to encroachment is defensible and necessary. For their self-defence, both the citizen and the group have the right to any violence, including capital punishment. Violence is also justified for enforcing the duty of keeping an agreement. Tucker thus follows Spencer, and, like him, opens (in the present writer’s opinion) the way for reconstituting under the heading of ‘defence’ all the functions of the state. His criticism of the present state is very searching, and his defence of the rights of the individual very powerful. As regards his economical views B.R. Tucker follows Proudhon.

The individualist anarchism of the American Proudhonians finds, however, but little sympathy amongst the working masses...The great bulk of the anarchist working men prefer the anarchist-communist ideas which have gradually evolved out of the anarchist collectivism of the International Working Men’s Association.
----------------------------------------------------------------

I hope that helps shed some light on the subject. You’re missing out on half of anarchist theory if you keep your eyes closed & refuse to recognize the rich history of pro-property-rights anarchist thought. It's out there. All you have to do is look.

sh(A)ne
Your friendly neighborhood iconoclast

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -1
02 Feb 2006
Vlad,

>>What secures private property?<<

What secures any of our rights in an anarchist society? (We do – Our desire to live peacefully with one another, and knowledge of the consequences of not doing so, encourages us.)

>>the most common objection voiced by the economically literate is that anarcho-capitalism would quickly decay into monopoly, whether through war or merger. And it's a short step from a monopoly defense firm back to government.<<

Robert Nozick. I’m familiar. I just tried to upload a copy of my reply to Nozick to the site, but it seems to have disappeared. I’ll put it in my yahoo briefcase so you can take a look:

http://briefcase.yahoo.com/shane10101 (It’s called “Nozick paper” & it’s in the “public documents” folder.

sh(A)ne

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 12
03 Feb 2006
You speak of anarchism as if it were an end in itself. I was attracted to anarchism because of what it promised for society, not the fact that it was anarchism.

I have no problem with a market economy, provided everyone has relatively equal amounts of spending power. The basic problem with the wealthy is that they can spend much more money than everyone else. This screws up the entire method of allocation of resources within a market economy because it means a much larger percentage of people will be devoted to serving the very few.

The result is that everyone else suffers from less resources being available to produce for them. If you want a society in which everyone is better off, you have to allocate resources in such a way that there's enough people producing things for everyone. That can't happen in a market economy if a very few people have so much more spending power than everyone else.

The answer, I believe, is anarcho-syndicalism - or in other words, democracy in the workplace.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 0
03 Feb 2006
Cyu,

>>You speak of anarchism as if it were an end in itself.<<

Not at all. I’m not sure what gave you that idea, but I can’t imagine anything further from a correct description of my beliefs. If you let me know more specifically what you’re talking about, I’ll do my best to explain.

>>I was attracted to anarchism because of what it promised for society, not the fact that it was anarchism.<<

Well, yeah. Of course. I don’t get off on calling myself an anarchist. I’m an anarchist activist because I see it as the only way to preserve the wonderful diversity of ideas, cultures, values, etc, that make us each unique – that make us who we are. I see democracy as doing the polar opposite: It works to homogenize a diverse society, only allowing the ideas of the majority to be put into action; while suppressing the minority. It’s a system based on intolerance.

>>I have no problem with a market economy, provided everyone has relatively equal amounts of spending power. <<

I’m not sure how you would achieve this – or, rather, how you would sustain it. Let’s say we redistributed all wealth in this country evenly tomorrow: How long do you think it would take before it was unequal again? (Probably just as unequal, though I don’t doubt that it wouldn’t necessarily be in all the same hands as before.) People are different. We have different values, and, when we’re allowed to act on those values, we make different decisions. Some of those decisions will result in more wealth. Some won’t.

>>The basic problem with the wealthy is that they can spend much more money than everyone else. <<

Yes, the wealthy can spend more, but there are fewer of them! I don’t have any numbers to back this up, but I would guess that, right now, the middle-class (as a group) has more spending power than the wealthy (as a group). I guess it depends where you draw the line between the two; I mean, right now, one out of every 127 Americans is a millionaire, so if we’re thinking of “the wealthy” as the economically-elite, then I don’t know that simply being a millionaire qualifies anymore.

>>The result is that everyone else suffers from less resources being available to produce for them. This screws up the entire method of allocation of resources within a market economy because it means a much larger percentage of people will be devoted to serving the very few. <<

Again, I don’t think this is true, though I’m not positive what you mean when you say that the problem of the wealthy is that they “screw up” the method of allocation of resources. What do you mean by “screws up”? You can’t mean that everybody wants to produce for the rich, leaving nobody to produce for the poor. We do have both Hyundai & Ferrari involved in producing cars, for example.

I mean, that doesn’t even make sense in a free-market model: Supply of “luxury-type” goods would be so high, that prices would plummet! That problem would correct itself very quickly – there simply isn’t that much of a market for the goods desired by the wealthy. Everybody would be making Ferraris, but there wouldn’t be demand for all those Ferraris. The price of Ferraris would drop, as sellers fought to be competitive-enough to sell all their Ferraris; and eventually it would reach a price too low to make it worth the Ferrari-producers’ efforts. Some (most) would stop, and look for another market niche to fill. (There is, after all, among the poor, a demand for automobiles still; and Hundai, with it’s sub-$9k new cars, is a very profitable company, despite not catering to the wealthy.)

I think the more compelling argument is that, in a democratically-controlled system of production, you’d have production resources exclusively allocated to filling the wants of the majority; with a very small percentage of resources going to meet the demands of the minority. At least in the free-market model, I’d have a chance of making trade-offs (according to what I value more), or improving my lot enough to get what I desire the most. In a democratically (or technocraticly, or whatever) controlled system, the only way I can get what I want, is to /change/ what I want; or to convince the majority that that’s what they want too. I’d rather take my chances in the market; trying to alter the values of half the freakin’ populous sounds just about impossible!

At least, in a free-market, the minority’s needs are served too.

>> If you want a society in which everyone is better off, you have to allocate resources in such a way that there's enough people producing things for everyone.<<

That’s just the thing: There aren’t enough resources available to produce everything that everybody wants, under any economic model! I wish that weren’t true. I wish we all had replicators like on Star Trek. Then nobody would have to work, and all our material desires would be taken care of. But unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

The other option is to limit production just to those things people “need” instead of what they “want”. (Keep in mind that we all want the things we need – I want food & water, because I need food & water –so when I use the term “wants”, I’m referring to essential needs as well.) The problem here again, though, is how do we decide what people “need”? Doing so requires a value-judgment: What we “need” is a description of means: It can’t be defined without first deciding what the goal is. Do we only need those things that allow us to stay alive? Living just to stay alive doesn’t seem like a rewarding endeavor. Why bother living, if just for the sake of living?

Maybe the goal is to stay alive and happy: Who gets to decide what “happy” is? If we do it democratically, then we’re back at the same problem – the majority gets what it wants, while the values of the minority are ignored. A free-market system allows people to pursue whatever it is they want, according to their own individual systems of values. That’s why I’m an anarcho-capitalist. (Not because it sounds cool.) ;)

>> The answer, I believe, is anarcho-syndicalism - or in other words, democracy in the workplace.<<

Nothing prevents you from running a democratic workplace within a free-market capitalist system. The only thing you wouldn’t have is the ability to coerce people to participate…and, if you think that’s what’s necessary, then you’re talking about something other than anarchism – you’re talking about government.

sh(A)ne

BTW, why are all my respectful, thought-out responses getting negative ratings, while dogmatic references to infoshop.org & threats of physical violence are getting the highest ratings on this thread? That really says something about the people who read this stuff, doesn't it?

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 8
03 Feb 2006
What are the myths of capitalist economics?

http://infoshop.org/faq/secCcon.html

Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?

http://infoshop.org/faq/secFcon.html

Appendix : Anarchism and "anarcho"-capitalism

http://infoshop.org/faq/append1.html

Is individualist anarchism capitalistic?

http://infoshop.org/faq/secGcon.html

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 5
03 Feb 2006
> I see democracy as doing the polar opposite: It works to homogenize a
> diverse society, only allowing the ideas of the majority to be put into
> action; while suppressing the minority. It’s a system based on
> intolerance.

There are certainly problems with democracy, but I think you'll agree it's better than the dictatorship in the Soviet Union. If government dictorship is bad, then so is the dictatorship seen in the structure of corporations. What led me to anarchism is the idea of localized democracy. Keep shrinking the number of people who have a say in something to those most affected by it. That may come all the way down to one individual, thus anarchism.

> > I have no problem with a market economy, provided everyone has relatively
> > equal amounts of spending power.
> I’m not sure how you would achieve this – or, rather, how you would sustain it.

Quite simply democracy in the workplace. It's no guarantee that everyone will be paid the same, but if the CEO's salary is determined by the employees instead of the other way around, you're much more likely to have more even pay scales.

> mean, that doesn’t even make sense in a free-market model: Supply of “luxury-type”
> goods would be so high, that prices would plummet!

The fact that there are people even producing "luxury-type" goods (islands, huge mansions, butlers, teams of lawyers and investment strategists) while others can't afford even basic health care or find a home points to the fatal weakness of the capitalist market economy. It simply means this type of economy is unable to meet the needs of its participants. A market economy where people have similar spending power is the only type of market economy that works. Again, there are many ways to achieve the redistribution of paper wealth - progressive taxation is one of them - I just prefer the anarcho-syndicalist model.

> Nothing prevents you from running a democratic workplace within a
> free-market capitalist system. The only thing you wouldn’t have is the
> ability to coerce people to participate…and, if you think that’s what’s
> necessary, then you’re talking about something other than anarchism –
> you’re talking about government.

Ah, but what if the current employees of a corporation want to make it a democratic one? Who prevents that from happening? The government. I'm not going to force democracy on you, but if the majority of the employees in your company want democracy, then the government should not be allowed to prevent them.

I know you're going to say, "Whoa man, this violates the capitalist's Rand-given property rights!" Well, there are no rights but the rights a society deems necessary for the well-being of its people. If uneven distributions of wealth is seen as harmful to the general public, then the people can take whatever actions to prevent the harm.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 2
03 Feb 2006
Cyu,

Thanks for your reply! You’re making me think that there are some reasonable people in KC ;) I’m glad.

>>There are certainly problems with democracy, but I think you'll agree it's better than the dictatorship in the Soviet Union.<<

I’ve thought a lot about that – well, actually about democracy versus monarchy (which, except for the “divine ordinance” part, would be about the same thing -- for the purposes of this discussion anyway). I don’t want to give you the wrong idea – I don’t like either one of them -- but I’m not sure I can say which I think would be better: I mean, on the face of it, it would seem like a dictatorship/monarchy could force _all_ the people to submit to the will of a single ruler. But, in reality, that’s not the way it goes.

Like all governments, the ruling party’s power depends upon the consent of the subjects/citizens. I know the concept of government’s power as coming from “the consent of the governed” is a relatively modern idea, but in reality, that’s the way it has always been: At some point, military power (or the faith of the populous in the divinity of their king) isn’t enough to effectively resist an uprising. Once dissent grows beyond this level, the ruling party’s power is no longer secure. The “injuries and usurpations” (to borrow from one of the most radical, pro-revolutionary documents ever published) may get pretty bad before enough people find them intolerable enough to rise up against power; but at some point, this does become a threat – a deterrent of sorts, which keeps the power of the ruler restrained to some degree.

In a dictatorship, there’s the potential for a lot more people to be oppressed; but one need only overthrow the dictator to elicit a change in power. In a democracy on the other hand, the number of oppressed citizens can only go as high as 50%; but it’s a lot harder to overthrow a voting majority than it is to overthrow a dictator. In a democracy, the oppressive force is far more stable – to the point of being virtually unrestrained in its power. Though the percentage of people who can be oppressed by their ruler in a dictatorship is higher; the intensity of the oppression brought down by the ruling class in a democracy is virtually without bounds.

It’s a tough call; but as I said, I don’t like either of those options.

>>If government dictorship is bad, then so is the dictatorship seen in the structure of corporations.<<

There’s a distinct difference, though: No one can be forced to submit to the will of a corporation. They can’t tax you. They can’t throw you in prison. They can’t even make you shop in their stores! To compare a corporation’s power to the power of government – well, they’re worlds apart; and not just as a matter of degree, but as a matter of substance.

Now, again, I can’t seriously sit here & defend corporate power. Corporations are the creation of governments – they are as isolated from the will of the people as they are because the government sells them protection in the form of a “corporate license”, which limits the liability of the owners to the amount of their investments. I’m a free-market capitalist, which means that I want absolutely no government involvement in the economy. Meanwhile, the corporate license is very likely the single-biggest government intrusion into the economy! Corporations wouldn’t exist in a true free market…which is why it makes me laugh whenever anyone says, “if we had free markets, corporations would rule the world”. Too funny. (Please note that I’m not talking about what the Republicans call a “free” market, which is a really fucked-up doublespeak way of saying, “a market regulated the way we want it regulated”. There’s nothing free about what they call “free” trade.)

Still, the government (even a democratic one), can take away your house & give it to a WalMart. The government can say they think you’re a terrorist, and throw you in jail without ever telling anyone where you are. The government can pass a law that says you can’t be open for business during Thanksgiving; or that you can’t sell beer on Sunday; or that you have to join the army & go off to war. All a business (even a corporation) can do is ask you to buy their products.

Besides, I don’t know whether it’s accurate to describe corporate structure as “dictatorial”. Public corporations are owned by stockholders, who vote to elect a board of directors. That sounds pretty democratic to me. In fact, it’s so democratic, that the Progressives of the 1930’s, while working to break up the “trusts”, longed to model government after the same integrated & efficient system of management that they saw at work in the corporations of the day.

>>What led me to anarchism is the idea of localized democracy. Keep shrinking the number of people who have a say in something to those most affected by it. That may come all the way down to one individual, thus anarchism. <<

Exactly :)

>>[re: sustaining relative equality in spending power] democracy in the workplace. It's no guarantee that everyone will be paid the same, but if the CEO's salary is determined by the employees instead of the other way around, you're much more likely to have more even pay scales. <<

I’m not sure you would. The employees would still have to be offering enough to attract competent management…unless you’re talking about forced labor, which I don’t think you are.

Besides, the problem with that system is inherent: A manager’s role is to look after the well-being of the company – to make sure that it stays in business, which, in turn, makes sure that the employees have jobs. Sometimes, what’s best for the business (i.e., “the collective”) isn’t necessarily the same as what’s best for the employees. (Sometimes not even the majority of employees.)

If the employees control the manager’s pay, I’m assuming they control his or her hiring/firing as well; thus they exercise control over the manager’s decisions. A manager might not be able to make decisions that a majority of employees don’t like, even if doing so is in the best-interest of the business as a whole. In a system like that, businesses wouldn’t stay in business too long; unemployment would be high. Efficiency (in terms of labor and materials) would take a back-seat to the desires of the majority of the employees; and thus resource allocation would suffer. (Inefficiency, by definition, means that resources aren’t being used as effectively as they could be to produce the things we want/need.)

Let’s say a manager knew of a new automated assembly system that could improve productivity, reduce costs, and make the company more competitive. However, it would also make 30% of the current employees unnecessary. No way a worker-run business would go for that; though doing so would make for a more efficient use of resources – the labor power of that 30% of employees would be freed-up for use somewhere else in the economy. They could be producing goods that otherwise wouldn’t have been produced before, thus fulfilling the wants/needs of a larger percentage of the population. (As a bonus, this would cause the price of this newly-created “bumper crop” of goods come down, making them more accessible to those with less spending power.)

It’s hard to see sometimes, but inefficiency hurts those with less spending power. It’s true that, in the short-run, some workers are hurt by no longer being needed in their current jobs; and it’s important to remember that. But in the end, once those laborers are working somewhere else in the economy, more goods are being produced than were being produced before, and more of the needs & desires of the society are being met.

I honestly believe that the free-market capitalist model is the one that results in the most efficient use of resources; and its increases in the efficiency of resources use that makes goods & services more accessible, and creates a higher standard of living for everyone.

Now, please don’t compare the system we have here today to the system I’m talking about trying to create. The two have almost nothing in common. Government intrusion into the economy is rampant. $300 Billion in corporate welfare last year alone; not to mention (again) the issue of limited liability protections…and the list goes on & on. Most of the anti-social tendencies of corporate businesses are made possible by the limited liability the government extends them. What we have today is more akin to “mercantilism” than “free-market capitalism”. I think it sucks too.

>> what if the current employees of a corporation want to make it a democratic one? Who prevents that from happening? The government.<<

I’m not sure I know what you mean – how the government prevents this from happening – but that’s irrelevant to what I’m saying anyway. (I’d still like to find out, though.)

I didn’t make myself very clear; but what I was talking about was, in an anarcho-capitalist system, there would be nothing preventing you from running a democratic workplace. The problems I mentioned above might make it unsuccessful, but there’s certainly nothing preventing you from trying. (Hell, I even hope you’d succeed! I’d love to see a business whose employees were enlightened enough to run the business competitively. There’s nothing anti-capitalist about that at all.)

>> I'm not going to force democracy on you, but if the majority of the employees in your company want democracy, then the government should not be allowed to prevent them.<<

Amen. ;)

>> I know you're going to say, "Whoa man, this violates the capitalist's Rand-given property rights!" Well, there are no rights but the rights a society deems necessary for the well-being of its people.<<

:) Actually, I’m going to surprise you: I completely agree with you. (As I’ve said, I think you guys have let the Republicans fool you into thinking that what they’re doing is “capitalism”. It’s not. It’s mercantilist bullshit, and I’m as opposed to it as you are.)

In my mind, rights are exactly what you said they are: Those things that we _need_ to extend people the freedom to do, in order to make society work. It all starts with the right to life (…not in the sense of the abortion debate – that’s a completely different story!) We have the right to life because, like all animals, we have a strong biological instinct to survive. You can’t ask somebody to ignore that instinct. It’s really hard to do. If society were based on rules that prevented people from sustaining their own lives, it wouldn’t last too long. Thus: the right to life.

The right to liberty follows from that: I need to be free to do the things I need to do in order to sustain my life. Again, a society that restricts liberty beyond that point is a society that’s doomed to fail. (A true democracy is a good example – Let’s say there’s three of us in the society. We’re all hungry, but don’t have any food to eat, so we take a vote & decide that YOU’RE LUNCH! In a true democracy, this would be perfectly acceptable…which is why a true democracy would never work as a sustainable society: There’d never be any peace – people would never willingly submit to such an intense restriction of their liberty – and that wouldn’t make for a very stable society.

Property is the other half of the “sustaining life” equation: You can’t be sure of your own survival, if you don’t have the right to obtain & secure the things you need to survive. Consider how widespread the problem of stealing and hording rations was during the (inevitable) famine in the early Soviet Union. People don’t give up their right to property when it’s infringed so far as to call into question their ability to sustain their life. Thus, the right to property. (There’s another argument that could be made, showing how a right to property stems from our right to liberty, but I think this one is sufficient on its own.)

…and, by the way, I personally think Rand is kind’a silly. I’m not a Randian, or, as I like to call them, “Randroids” – most of them just repeat the dogma; instead of actually thinking for themselves…kind’a like so many of the people in the Indymedia community, unfortunately.

There's a pretty good (I think) discussion thread about the source of rights on the Bureaucrash site, if you're interested. I'll link to it here:

http://bureaucrash.com/forum/government_intervention_in_the_name_of_anim

(...please realize that a couple of the "Randroids" I mentioned have posted to that thread; one in particular w/ screen-name "jason_somer". I think I handled him pretty well, but keep in mind that his view is far from the majority view within libertarian circles; and even further from it in anarcho-capitalist circles. He's a jackass.)

So, do you still believe that I’m thinking of anarchism as an end in itself?

;)

sh(A)ne

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 1
03 Feb 2006
Is infoshop.org just a teeny bit biased & misleading?

http://www.HellYes.com

;)

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 1
04 Feb 2006
What the hell are you guys talkig about? This is supposed to be about protesting walmart.

Can we please stick to the topic, and figure out how to make this protest work?

L

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 11
04 Feb 2006
No Lyndi, this article was a spoof, a paraody directed at statist liberals. It is exactly on topic.

If it was inteded to garner support for these capitalists and their website, I find making fun of and baiting folks who truely care about Globalization, Wal-Mart and how they are effecting local communities, to be a poor tactic and juvenile at best.

Seems stupid to alientate and make fun of folks in a community you intend to inhabit or draw supporters from but thats just me.

I take issue with the notion that the current race to collapse of global capitalism will somehow be tamed by more capitalism and "free markets".

I also do not find it cool to visit a local community media outlet and make fun of folks who are working hard in their own capacity to realize a better world.

It shows a lack of maturity and a poor understanding of how to approach folks with an idea one wishes to propogate.

It also shows poor research into the target audience as a majority of us are anti-capitalists.

You'll notice Shane continues to ask why folks are dissmissing him and his website out of hand, noting that he is a shining example of thoughtfullness and rationality, all the while ignoring the fact that the post itself is condesending, ignorant, childish and unthoughtful.

This was never a constructive post about tactics concerning Wal-Mart and Globalization nor did it origionate from any one of the groups here locally working on this issue but was rather a childish spoof making fun of those folks working on this campaign.

Hope that clarifies things.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 1
04 Feb 2006
okay, you don't have to be that way about it. i didn't know.

i'd still like to make this protest idea work though.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 0
04 Feb 2006
Sorry Lyndi, I didn't mean for that to sound angry or mean LOL!

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 2
06 Feb 2006
> Besides, I don’t know whether it’s accurate to describe corporate structure
> as “dictatorial”. Public corporations are owned by stockholders, who vote
> to elect a board of directors. That sounds pretty democratic to me.

Ah, but there's a difference between the owning class and the working class. The owning class just sits around doing nothing, and yet they have the power to control the company. The working class is putting forth all the effort, yet they have less say over their own destinies. Sure there are employees who may own some stock in their corporations, but you'll have to admit they have even less control over their board elections than citizens over their political representations in capitalist democracies.

If capitalists can't accept that those on welfare aren't working for their money, anti-capitalists can't accept that shareholders aren't working for their money.

> > if the CEO's salary is determined by the employees instead of the other
> > way around, you're much more likely to have more even pay scales.
> I’m not sure you would. The employees would still have to be offering enough
> to attract competent management…

That remains to be seen. I think you overestimate the value that management has over the performance of a company. Many anarcho-syndicalists would argue that having permanent management in place results in a group of people who will eventually start to make decisions based more on their own interest than the interests of the company. The United States has term limits for presidents after all, for similar reasons.

> Let’s say a manager knew of a new automated assembly system that could
> improve productivity, reduce costs, and make the company more competitive.
> However, it would also make 30% of the current employees unnecessary.

I think you've forgotten the reasons a group of people come together to form a company (or a government) in the first place. It's not for the sake of the company or government itself, it is for their own sake. If the company or government fails to provide for the benefit of its people, then it is a failure. If a democratically run company has a way to require 30% less labor, then I would imagine either it would not require its employees to work 30% as much (leaving more time for leisure), or it would at least keep them around until they've found work elsewhere. You're forgetting the principle that decisions are made based on who the decision affects the most. Clearly the manager isn't affected as much as the laid off worker (unless the manager decides to lay himself off as well).

Some of the more environmentally minded folks would argue that instead of forcing 30% of the employees to start up in some other industry, everyone should just work less and thus use up less natural resources in production. Personally, I'm neutral with regard to this proposition.

> It’s hard to see sometimes, but inefficiency hurts those with less spending
> power.

Sure inefficiency hurts, but we see inefficiency in different places. When there are large concentrations of wealth, whether it's with individuals or corporations, then inefficiency happens because the big spenders cause resources to be allocated to serve them, and not other people. Take the corporation I work for, for example. It makes the vast majority of its money selling software to other corporations (where all the money is) and not to average consumers. Its own landscaping is perfectly manicured. It has large expensive office buildings. Local resources are being spent to serve this corporation instead of its employees. Of course, I don't even have to mention the size of our chairman's home.

> > I'm not going to force democracy on you, but if the majority of the
> > employees in your company want democracy, then the government should not
> > be allowed to prevent them.
> Actually, I’m going to surprise you: I completely agree with you.

Well, if you support, for example, the right of workers to occupy and work their bankrupt factories, as in Argentina right now (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1482898), or the right of peasants to occupy and farm on unused land in Brazil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landless_Workers_Movement), or in general the right of employees to assume control over the means of production, then I would not classify you as a capitalist.

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -1
17 Feb 2006
What about K-Mart?

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: -2
18 Feb 2006
Dude, K-Mart is like, broke! We dont give a fuk about K-Mart...we're after the real success-story.

We're gonna bring e'm down. To our level. Yeah.

~R

Re: JOIN THE PROTEST - WalMart High Cost...
Current rating: 0
19 Feb 2006
If you advocate for the poor, how can you justify them paying more for their goods. Your's is a moronic article.

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