Arguments for Libertarian Socialism, i.e., Anarchism

I came across a blog by Andrew Parker who shares my admiration for the postings of Cameron Watt.  I have copied his blog at the Voice of Anarchy below:

‘Libertarian Socialist Rants’ videos

September 18, 2014 by Andrew Parker

I’ve been planning on sharing these four videos for a while because I think they really get to the heart of everything I stand for and have been sharing with you all so far. There is a wealth of aspects of a new society and criticisms of the current model packed very nicely into very easy to digest videos by Libertarian Socialist Rants – a Scottish guy named Cameron Watt. He, like me, is an Anarchist and a Libertarian Socialist, which is the same thing as an Anarcho-Communist or Anarcho-Syndicalist. We are both from the Noam Chomsky School of Thought and I can’t say I disagree with any of his major points. Please check out the videos below:

Part 1/4 – The Case Against Hierarchy

Part 2/4 – The Case For Liberty

Part 3/4 – Arguments Against Anarchism

Part 4/4 – Achieving An Anarchist Society

Dealing with Noam Chomsky: a benchmark for credible institutions and news sources

I do not believe that there is such a thing as an unbiased institution or news report. Why? Simply because a judgment has to be made as to what information or news is important and should be reported on, as contrasted with what is trivial and not news worthy.

Well, how does a reader make this demarcation for institutions and news sources? The reader has to have some guideline or benchmark.  My ad hoc recommendation for such a guideline or benchmark is simply this:
Does the institution or news agency deal with Noam Chomsky in any form? Does it have him as a guest for interviews? Does it report on his opinions? Does it publish his articles or books?

The reality is that the corporate media shuns anything to do with Noam Chomsky. Why? For propaganda reasons. It is best to ignore your critics. And since Chomsky is an arch critic of American corporate imperialism and the corporate media, he is silenced by omission — by shunning.

So, what news sources or institutions give voice to Noam Chomsky? One way to find out is to do a video search for “Noam Chomsky” in Google or some other search engine, and note the sponsor.

Take a look at The Noam Chomsky Website, and take note of who is willing to deal with Chomsky.


Here are some of my findings:

Noam Chomsky makes frequent appearances on Democracy Now!

The Real News Network

Chris Hedges interviews Noam Chomsky

Independent (UK)

TeleSUR

Abby Martin interviews Noam Chomsky 

Cathy Newman of Channel 4 News interviews Noam Chomsky

BBC Newsnight

Al Jazeera

 

 

The Red Bureaucracy: Authoritarian Socialism vs Libertarian Socialism

Cameron Watt clearly explains the difference between authoritarian and libertarian socialists, and argues in favor of libertarian socialism (=anarchism).

The difference between democratic socialism and revolutionary socialism

Socialism in all forms strives to improve the economic life of the downtrodden people — the homeless, the poor. And this can be done only by political means. Democratic socialists hope to do this through parliaments, through congresses of representatives or deputies. Revolutionary socialists, by contrast, think this can be done only by changing the political institutions.

Authoritarian socialists think this can be done by their party taking control of the central government. The assumption is that a central government (i.e. the State) is necessary to do this. In the Soviet Union there was no socialism; there was State capitalism. The government took over the factories and farms and hired wage-workers. And these products entered into the international market.

Libertarian socialists, by contrast, want to get rid of a central government altogether, i.e., the State, and replace it with a federation of small communities governed by democratically elected councils.

Diseases and Symptoms of States

There is common distinction made between a disease and its symptoms. For  example, let’s consider the Black Death which killed off one third of Europe at its peak between 1347 and 1351. The cause of the disease was the bacterium Yersinia pestis, spread by fleas on rats. The symptoms:

“Contemporary accounts of the plague are often varied or imprecise. The most commonly noted symptom was the appearance of buboes (or gavocciolos) in the groin, the neck and armpits, which oozed pus and bled when opened.”

“It is said that the plague takes three forms. In the first people suffer an infection of the lungs, which leads to breathing difficulties. Whoever has this corruption or contamination to any extent cannot escape but will die within two days. Another form . . . in which boils erupt under the armpits, . . . a third form in which people of both sexes are attacked in the groin.”

During the period of the Black Death, if the cause was known, there would have been some chance for some people of avoiding it — even though the disease could not have been cured.

Why do I focus on this? Because when I read or watch the news — I mean the insightful news (not that issuing from corporate media) — everywhere there is a focus on the symptoms. I have in mind such programs as Democracy Now, the Real News, the Young Turks. The symptoms are unemployment, immigration, poverty, war. There is also focus on some objectionable laws or lack of laws dealing with taxation, abortions, voting, gay rights — recently the separation of children from immigrant parents. The news programs are “shows” which must fill in their news hour with content. Why do they focus on symptoms? I suppose that dwelling on the causes of these symptoms would either be boring or repetitious — so, the focus is on symptoms.

The causes of all these problems are both economic and political,  because they work together. There are some people who have rightly identified the economic problem as due to capitalism. Noam Chomsky has been criticizing capitalism for decades. A recent noticeable voice is that of Richard Wolff, a self-proclaimed Marxist. However, for some reason, neither Chomsky nor Wolff, zero in on the nature of capitalism which makes it possible. Both Karl Marx and Max Weber were acutely conscious of what made industrial capitalism possible: the deprivation of people of access to free subsistence land. Historically, this first occurred in England where people were evicted from their land for the sake of sheep runs, called for by the demand for wool for the textile industry. This is the economic disease — depriving people of free access to subsistence land.

The other cause of our misery is representative democracy. People hope for a savior president or prime minister — or even a parliamentarian. Currently there is excitement in the United States that a 28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary. I understand the excitement because for a self-proclaimed social democrat to win is almost a miracle, and this generates hope. But really what can one or a few persons do when the majority are on the side of corporations? The root problem is the US Constitution — this is the political disease.

[A very insightful critique of the U.S. Constitution was done by Lysander Spooner in his three articles, collected by the title “No Treason” (1867-1870)]

A better constitution is that of Switzerland. Why? For several reasons. First, Switzerland does not have a popularly elected president; instead it has a Federal Council of seven individuals nominated by four political parties, and confirmed by the joint vote of their bicameral parliament.   [Corruption occurs when one individual has power]  Second, amendments to their constitution have to be approved by popular vote and the majority of the cantons. People have a right to initiate amendments. And they also have a right to veto laws passed by their legislatures. Third, they have no Supreme Courts which can pronounce laws as unconstitutional.

Even though Swiss democracy is superior to that of the United States, it is not the best form of government. Why? Because when masses of people vote, they can be swayed by well-funded propaganda. A referendum or plebiscite — although better than none — can be manipulated with propaganda, which money can buy.

The remedy for this is to make the unit of government a small community with a directly elected council. All other political arrangement are to be by federation with other communities. This way, money plays almost no role in politics.

Centralized states have to be dismantled — perhaps by secession.

Chalmers Johnson (1931 – 2010) on United States’ military bases around the world

His main books:

Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire, 2000.
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, 2004.
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic, 2007.
Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope, 2010.

The Ideas of Keith Preston

I have just discovered a very interesting anarchist who has similar views to my own. His website is called “Attack the System” with two subtitles, with which I agree: (1) Pan-Anarchism Against the State, and (2) Pan-Secessionism Against the Empire.

I listened to two of his videos which are listed below, and plan to do more listening and studying of his ideas.

A description of current “leftist” views and their relation to the State.

European colonialism fathered American quasi-religious imperialism

On Reinventing the Wheel

I am troubled by the fact that many  speakers and writers do not acknowledge or are ignorant of previous relevant writings on a topic, and really repeat saying what others have written; thus, “reinventing the wheel.”

What can explain this phenomenon? Well, it is obvious that people want to have personal success and income from their speaking and writing, and so, they try to get attention.  They want people to view their videos, read their books, and be invited to various interviews, debates, and lectures.

They succeed, in part, because they appeal to a wide ignorant audience, which is attracted by the speaker’s or writer’s entertainment qualities, rather then by his or her scholarship.

For example, what do I want from a writer on a topic such as ethics? I want him to begin with something similar to what C. D. Broad did in his Five Types of Ethical Theories (1930). This is what he wrote: “Sidgwick’s Methods of Ethics seems to be on the whole the best treatise on moral theory that has ever been written, and to be one of the English philosophical classics.” p. 143.  And the bulk of Broad’s book — 113 pages our of a total 285 — is devoted to a critical examination of Sidgwick’s ethics.

Instead of jumping right into a topic, I would like an author to start by identifying what he considers to be the best work to date on a topic and write a critique of this work.

I had tried to do something like this in my dissertation in the fields of epistemology and metaphysics . I did not outright say that Wilfrid Sellars is the best contemporary thinker on these topics, but I did so implicitly by choosing to critically examine his views and claiming that he had verisimilitude. Here is what I wrote: “The examined philosopher provides an occasion for developing one’s own philosophy, and this is especially rewarding if the examined philosophy has verisimilitude, as does that of Wilfrid Sellars. The conclusions I reach are very close to Sellars’ own — so close, in fact, that I am not certain whether what I am offering as correction are of things I am only misinterpreting.” Andrew Chrucky, “Critique of Wilfrid Sellars’ Materialism,” 1990.

I myself have not done any systematic work in ethics, but it seems that being able to pursue a critical examination of morals assumes a cultural and political  context of such things as having had an education which gives one the critical acumen to pursue such studies, as well as the leisure to do so; rather than working at some unrelated area for a wage; and the means to pursue such a study — as access to a suitable library or the means to purchase necessary books. And, most important, there is the necessity of cultural tolerance and the political right of free speech.

Although I have a concern with ethics, there are also the more basic problems of how to cope with people who do not have a concern with morals and how to cope with institutions which allow such people to flourish. It is a question how to wage war against such people and such institutions.