Comments on Peter Joseph’s book, The New Human Rights Movement, 2017

I have now read most of Peter Joseph’s book, The New Human Rights Movement, 2017. It can be summarized as a condemnation of capitalism because it creates all the maladies arising from poverty, the warfare resulting from economic competition, and the ecological disaster because of a disregard for collateral damage. It proposes a consumer economy using all the advances we have in science and technology.

My reaction is like that of Noam Chomsky: it is a nice proposal. Chomsky, when asked for an alternative, said that he has been offering alternatives for years, which is libertarian socialism, based on worker controlled enterprises of small democratic communities federated into larger unit.

Peter Joseph seems to miss the Marxist thesis that the necessary condition for capitalism is the existence of a proletariat. These are people who have been deprived of access to subsistence land. My proposal is — in terms of priority — to first give each person free access to subsistence land. Afterwards we can talk about the use of technology for mutual aid.

Joseph, Chomsky, and I have these ideals, but how do we realize them? The three of us say that it must originate with the people through a grassroots movement. However I have more specific proposals. 1. Nations have to be decentralized. All groups should have the right of secession. 2. Governments should be based on the autonomy of small communities. 3. No individual should hold decisional power; all powers should belong to councils.

If this sounds utopian, then my realistic proposal is: imitate Switzerland.

Disambiguation of Socialism

Just now I came across a video by Thomas diLorenzo, whom I admire about his expose of Abraham Lincoln. In this video he talks about his new book , The Problem with Socialism (2016), which criticizes socialism.  I think his criticisms are worth considering — and I am going to get a copy of his book.  Jokingly,  he says that his talk could be about how to argue with your Bernie Sanders roommate in college.  He defines “socialism”, roughly,  as “state managed means of production.”  This includes both state controlled industries, as in the Soviet Union, Cuba, and Venezuela; and what is called Social Democracy, which we have in the United States and Europe.  These kinds of Socialisms are to be contrasted with, what in the United States is called, Libertarianism.

Watch this video, but make sure you also watch the next video by Cameron Watt, who contrasts these kinds of state or authoritarian socialisms with “libertarian socialism” or “anarchism.”  ‘”Socialism” here does not mean state owned or managed industries, but worker-owned and managed industries; and “libertarian” does not mean private ownership of industries, but refers to a political structure rooted in direct democracy in small scale communities, federated into larger units.

Finally, watch Noam Chomsky’s explanation of how the word “socialism” traditionally has been used to refer to worker-controlled work-places, which is the view of “libertarian socialism.”

 

Andrew Chrucky’s annotated commentary on the debate between Stefan Molyneux and Peter Joseph of the Zeitgeist Movement about the free market system, which took place on September 23, 2013.

Here is the video of the debate. My commentary is below.

Commentary

Criticism of Capitalism by G. A. Cohen, reflecting on Al Capp’s creature, the Shmoo

G. A. Cohen: Criticism of Capitalism

The Legend of the Shmoo

Al Capp Documentary