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- Anarchism is first and foremost a socialist trend. It opposes Capitalism for the same reason other branches of socialism do which I shall now explain. First we must examine the Capitalist mode of production, one class of the population (The bourgeoisie) owns the means of production, and the other class (The proletariat) owns nothing but their labour and their labour power which they must sell to the bourgeoisie in order to survive. The proletariat enters into a coerced agreement (work or starve) with the bourgeoisie who then purchases the prole’s labour. Now the first question to be asked is how do we determine the price of labour? Well labour like any commodity’s price is based upon the cost of production, so the bare minimum wage to be paid to the proletariat is just enough to allow the proletariat to survive, food water clothing shelter, all of these are necessary to the production and reproduction of the proletariat class. This has nothing to do with the individual proletariat, but the proletariat as a whole is paid enough to propagate its own race, some parts of the prole can be unemployed and paid nothing and other parts can be better paid. And like all commodities the price of labour fluctuates depending on if times are good or bad, but the price will never drop below the cost of production. Now we are going to draw a difference between labour, and labour power. Labour is what the bourgeoisie pays for, labour power is what he gets. Labour is the container for labour power, labour power can create more than is necessary to maintain labour, that is to say labour power can create more than what is put into it. This is what is known as capital, the ability to put in a specified amount and get out a larger amount. So the proletariat’s method of survival and income is C-M-C that is Commodity (labour) is sold for Money which is then traded for other Commodities necessary to maintain labour. The method of capital accumulation is M-C-M’ Money buys a Commodity which then produces a value known as Money prime.
- I would also like to take an insight to the social effects of this method of production. Before Capitalism, people make products, a cooper would make barrels, a shoemaker would make shoes, and a furniture craftsman would make tables and so on. People took a certain pride in their craft; they were connected to their trade. Now that we have Capitalism, division of labour is in place. So where before the furniture craftsman was intimately involved in the process the whole way, and at the end of the day he could say “Loe and behold the table which I have crafted.” Now the table craftsman would only make pieces parts of a table which would then be taken from him and given to the next group of labourers. Something changes when you go from crafting tables to crafting table legs; you lose your connection to your labour and stop caring. This is coupled with the fact that the worker is probably only working for the pay and not because he cares about his craft, and is what we call alienated labour.
- So from knowing what the Capitalist mode of production is, we can see several things. Society is split into two classes with fundamentally differing goals, the prole wants higher wages, and the bourgeoisie wants more profits (and paying higher wages lowers his profits). These two goals can never be mutually met, and both classes will always want more, therefore either the proletariat must win this class-war or the bourgeoisie. However the bourgeoisie requires the proletariat to exist in order for itself to survive, for that is their method of capital accumulation. The proletariat on the other hand does not need the bourgeoisie, as all they do is exploit the prole’s labour as we have seen. Therefore either the class-war will end in the destruction of humanity, or the proletariat will rid itself of the bourgeoisie. More on worker exploitation as I feel I didn’t cover it well enough. The bourgeoisie pays for the proletariat’s labour, but he receives the prole’s labour power which is GREATER than his labour. Labour as a commodity is measured in currency; labour-power however is measured in time. We can draw several conclusions from this, first that the prole is literally forced to sell his time, and second that the prole is obviously being paid less than the value of his actual production is creating.
- So to rid ourselves of these problems, Anarchism, being a Socialist tendency, takes to the Socialist answer. First we should ask why is this mode of production allowed. What allows it to take place? The answer exists within Private Property. Most Anarchists would tell you we need to abolish Private Property; I would say we should redefine Property. Currently Property is defined on a jus ad rem position, which is you have a right TO property; the way it should be defined is jus in rem, the right IN a property. In laymen’s terms this just means property would be defined by use and occupancy. The differences in Private Property and the Property I have described are like the differences between the Property of Toyota’s factories, and the Property of a triangle having three sides. To rob the triangle of one of its sides would be a clear injustice, and to call it a triangle any longer would be a mockery. But to rob Toyota of its factories so the proletariat could work directly with the means of production would serve no injustice. Another way to put it would be, The Company isn’t using the factories, why do they care if someone else decides to use it they’re just sitting there anyway. Ultimately, Private Property is an assumption based on title that needs justification of which I have never witnessed. Because honestly, under 100% Private Property rules, if you shipwreck yourself on an Island that I happen to own, I could deny you access to my land for trespassing, so have fun out there in the shark-infested waters.
- We have only examined so far the Capitalist method of Production and the Socialist alternative of workers directly interacting with the means of production, now we must move to Capitalist methods of distribution.
- The Capitalist method of distribution is a bit simpler, if you have money you can buy it, and we’ve seen above the only two ways possible to acquire money. The methods of acquiring money are obviously slanted in the bourgeoisie’s favour, the proletariat can’t even afford to buy the very commodities he JUST made based off of the fact that labour is worth less than labour power. A Socialist method of distribution would be simply, to each according to need just as production is from each according to ability. Some institutions already operate on a Socialist method of distribution actually. Coast Guards for example, when they see a drowning man they don’t ask what has the man done to contribute to society, instead they say “A human who is in need and I can provide? That’s all the justification I need.” And off they go to save the man’s life. Now of course the question is asked how do you ensure that everyone will work, with their needs guaranteed, why bother? Simply put, human’s have an innate desire to change the world around them, some desire to do it through science, others through art, some through botany, and all other sorts of trades. With private profit motive removed, people can begin working on projects that they actually want to work on, imagine how much more efficient things would be. Now of course you might say that there could still be a person who is just a nuisance in general to society and refuses to work, in which case society would probably deny him his needs. But wait you scream, have we not just now gone back to the rhetoric of “work or starve?” That rhetoric will always exist, our problem lies in the fact that under a Capitalist mode of production the rhetoric only applies to the proletariat, the bourgeoisie can simply do nothing but own the means of production and have quite enough to survive.
- Now that we have examined our economic sphere, let us move to the political side of things.
- The Anarchist can at once see that the State is slanted in favour of the bourgeoisie; it protects private property, and is largely bought off by the bourgeoisie. The State is also structured like a vertical hierarchy, exactly like the Capitalist mode of Production, except politics involve thoughts and behaviour. So your acceptable behaviour is dictated from above. Another quip Anarchists have with the State is its monopoly on violence, their violence is law and order, and mine is crime. Anything with an organisation based on vertical hierarchy is bound to be oppressive by its very nature, and all vertical hierarchies relate to one another; the ruling elite of the political realm and the ruling elite of the economic realm are often one in the same.
- I have mentioned vertical hierarchies but not explained them, the best way I know how to do so is offer an example of vertical and horizontal hierarchies. Consider the relationship between a Doctor, a Nurse, and a CEO that owns the medical clinic. The relationship between the Doctor/Nurse with the CEO is that of vertical hierarchy, the CEO can tell the Doctor/Nurse how to operate even though the CEO has no medical experience necessarily. The relationship between Doctor and Nurse however is a horizontal hierarchy; the Doctor probably knows more than the Nurse and so advises the Nurse on how to operate. Vertical hierarchy is also often called unjust authority and horizontal hierarchy is sometimes called just authority.
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