Paul Honigsheim, THE SOCIOLOGICAL DOCTRINES OF FRANZ OPPENHEIMER: AN AGRARIAN PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY AND SOCIAL REFORM




An Introduction to the History of Sociology, edited by Harry Elmer Barnes, 1917.


CHAPTER XVI

Paul Honigsheim, Michigan State College

THE SOCIOLOGICAL DOCTRINES OF FRANZ OPPENHEIMER: AN AGRARIAN PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY AND SOCIAL REFORM

I. OPPENHEIMER’S LIFE AND THE MAIN CURRENTS OF THOUGHT IN GERMANY AT THAT TIME

The problems raised by Oppenheimer and the answers that he gives are, to a large extent, conditioned by the socioeconomico-political and intellectual trends in Germany before the first World War and by his own personal experiences. Therefore, an introductory consideration of these two, so far as they have influenced his system, is indispensable.

In pre-war Germany the Junker class of eastern Germany had a virtual monopoly on the leading positions in administration and in the army. They were owners of baronial estates, dependent on the labor of very poorly paid agricultural workers, partly seasonal workers of Polish origin. They treated the relatively few middle-class farmers living near their estates as dependent clients. As a result, the younger sons of these middle-class farmers and, to an even greater degree, the agricultural workers themselves migrated to the cities, where they swelled the numbers of industrial workers until the supply exceeded the demand to such an extent that there was no alternative for them but to accept the wages and working hours imposed by the ascendant class of industrialists. There they lived in rookeries owned by middle-class citizens with moderate liberal views. They also organized themselves into moderate socialist or Catholic labor unions.

The intellectual life of that epoch was characterized by a decrease in the importance of religion and the restriction of philosophy to the history of philosophy, experimental psychology, and epistemology — with a few exceptions, such as Driesch, Husserl, Scheler, and Nelson. In the field of epistemology a position of primary importance was held by the
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so-called “Neo-Kantian school,” represented by Jellinek, Rickert, Max Weber, and Troeltsch, who worked on the problems raised by their assumption of a qualitative difference existing between statements of fact and value-judgments and between history and the natural sciences. On the other hand, the prestige of the natural sciences was at that time so great that the demand was raised for other sciences to adopt their methods. This actually took place, for example, in anthropology, which spread the doctrine of the parallel development of the social and cultural phenomena in all parts of the world — conceived by Adolf Bastian and his followers in an optimistic sense of progress, but in a pessimistic sense by Gumplowicz, who saw only cyclical periods without progress and the perpetual use of violence which accomplished nothing permanent. A movement of protest against these ideas as being mechanistic appeared only later, at the beginning of the twentieth century; the protest came from the anthropologists, in the rediscovery of the Mother-right theory of the forgotten Romantic mysticist, Bachofen, and in the emphasis given to diffusion and migration in primitive civilization by the schools of Grabner and Father Schmidt. In opposition to these predominant tendencies in anthropology, the historical school of Ranke and Treitschke, which enjoyed tacit official recognition, dealt almost entirely with the foreign relations of great and powerful states, said to be under the exclusive direction of so-called great men, such as Bismarck. This school ridiculed anyone interested in hypotheses concerning the relation between history based on written sources, on the one hand, and prehistory and ethnology, on the other, or anyone interested in historical laws or comparative cultural and economic history. This other tendency found more response among Catholics and also among economists.

The economists were not much interested in pure theory or the use of deductive methods, in the manner of the so-called “classical” school, except for Adolf Wagner and the so-called “marginal-utility” school, the followers of the rediscovered Gossen; however, this group taught primarily in Austria. In spite of the fact that this group claimed to be liberal, the belief in pure laissez fairc diminished; the demand for state interference could be heard on every side, especially from the so-called “historical” school of Schmoller, long tacitly recognized as the official school. They investigated socioeconomic history, primarily the history of urban handicraft and industry, and claimed to supply the scientific
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background for the political programs of state-supported welfare work. More or less independently of that dominant group or even in opposition to it, the history of the beginnings of horticulture and animal husbandry was investigated by Eduard Hahn; the history of the medieval co-operatives and their suppression through the reintroduction of Roman law, by Gierke; and the history of agriculture and rural social life, by Knapp, Meitzen, Gothein, Lamprecht, Von der Goltz, Max Weber, and the Austrian Catholic, Dopsch. Some of these were also sociologists.

There were a few other sociologists, as, for example, Tonnies, who was primarily responsible for working out the distinction between “community” (Gemeinschaft), conceived as the primary contact group, and society in the strict sense of the word (Gesellschaft), conceived as the secondary group, and who also analyzed the replacement of the former by the latter in modern times. These circles of sociologists, anthropologists, and economic historians studied the works of some foreign sociologists, such as Comte, Herbert Spencer, Ward, Giddings, Small, and Ross; but, generally speaking, sociology was a stranger in the German universities at that time. The universities also excluded the following school of socioeconomic theory: the decreasing numbers of Marxians under the leadership of Kautsky; the increasing numbers of so-called “Revisionists” under the leadership of Eduard Bernstein, who rejected Marxian economic determinism and recommended the use of parliamentarian methods and other practical means to improve the social and economic condition of the lower classes; a few so-called “liberal socialists,” such as Duhring, who advocated, among other things, maintenance of private property and enterprise to some extent, going back, in part, to the Saint-Simonists and Proudhon; the so-called “land-nationalizers,” such as Wehberg, Flurscheim, Hertzka, and Stamm, going back, in part, to Henry George and to some earlier English writers; and the few so-called “federalists,” adherents of Constantin Frantz — a critic of Bismarck, who was almost completely unnoticed outside the circle of his immediate followers. This last group attached great importance to the political, economic, and cultural autonomy of professional, local, and provincial associations and of the various districts of Germany, such as Hanover, Bavaria, etc., and to the reunion with Austria.

Such were the main currents of thought in Germany when Franz Oppenheimer began to study. He was born on March 30,1864, the son of a poor liberal Jewish rabbi in a suburb of Berlin. Having little chance,
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owing to his family background, of becoming a high-school teacher, much less a university professor, he studied medicine and for many years was a practicing physician in Berlin. Here he had occasion to become aware of the connection between the problems of disease and moral decline, on the one hand, and housing and ground rent, on the other. He, therefore, began to read socioeconomic literature and became personally acquainted with adherents of many of the above-mentioned movements. Dissatisfied with all of them, he felt himself obliged to seek the truth, first, by systematically studying economics. To this end he abandoned his medical practice and supported his wife and child by writing articles. His first books made him known in the scientific world, and in 1909 he became Privatdozent of economics at the University of Berlin, i.e., an unsalaried lecturer, receiving only the students’ fees; he still had to support himself by his publications. During the first World War he was employed as economic counselor in the war office, and in 1919 he became Ordinarius, i.e., full professor, of sociology and economic theory at the University of Frankfurt, where he wrote down his system in much larger and more universal form than in his earlier books. In 1929 ill-health caused him to retire earlier than he was obliged by law, and he took up residence in one of the rural settlement co-operatives he had founded before the first World War in conformance with his own principles. After 1933 he was a guest lecturer, from time to time, in Paris, Palestine, and the United States of America.1 His death occurred in Los Angeles, September 30,1943.


II. OPPENHEIMER’S SYSTEM OF SOCIOLOGY

A. EPISTEMOLOGY AND THE SOCIAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF JUSTICE

Although the sciences, in so far as they are distinct from philosophy, have to be based on factual data and have to use inductive methods, it is, nevertheless, possible and also necessary to combine inductive with deductive methods.2 It is in the so-called “general sciences” that the use of deductive methods is necessary. These are sciences of a class of phenomena, considered in its entirety. Such a science is possible, according to the theory of the Americans, Ward and Giddings, which Oppenheimer accepts, on one condition: The “general science” must deal with attributes of the class that are common to all of its subclasses and not with the particular attributes of any subclass.3 Here, as in every special
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science, personal bias played a role, especially in evaluation, but it must, so far as possible, be eliminated.4 In fact, not all evaluations are based on personal bias; there exist scientific evaluations which can be objectively justified.5 Of course, there is a difference between statements of fact and value-judgments, but the latter need not be eliminated from all parts of the scientific system as radically as the Neo-Kantians require. Indeed, the limits within which their use is justifiable are different in each branch of science. We shall see in a moment how this affects sociology. The various branches of science are likewise different, not only with regard to their subject matter and type of procedure between the historian, on the one side, and the natural scientist, on the other, but also because the former does not therefore need to be limited, as Rickert demands, to the statement of the unique — that which occurs but once and does not come under general laws — for, on the one hand, the unique also can come under general laws, and, on the other hand, it is both possible and obligatory for the science of history to observe the regularities in recurrent phenomena.6 It is on such statements of historical regularities, among other things, that sociology is based.

Sociology is one of the general sciences in the above-mentioned sense; it is not a natural science, nor is it a synthesis of all the social sciences; it is a new combination of the results of the investigation of society, considered as an organism, and of the social process; its investigations are made from a point of view different from that of psychology, anthropology, economics (and a number of other sciences), to all of which it is, nevertheless, related. It is necessary to investigate from a sociological point of view all the psychological, economic, juridical, and political phenomena of the past and the present.7 On the basis of this material, sociology is able to form not only judgments in the form of statements of fact and general laws but also judgments of another character; for, society being an organism, its “normality” can be fixed with sufficient scientific exactitude, that is to say, it can be stated which social status is the normal one. By considerations based on the conclusions of both the social sciences and the philosophy of Right, the normal status of the social organism can be shown to be that status which is regulated and dominated by justice.8 From history and social psychology we know how the sense of justice originated and developed. Just as there are in human nature, on the one hand, factors favoring conflicts and, on the other hand, instincts for mutual help, so there exists independently of
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these two — as the American sociologist Ross, in particular, has demonstrated — the sense of justice. The sense of justice is based neither on instincts nor on intellectual considerations about the rights of others, but it originates in the pressure brought to bear on conflicting persons or groups by third persons or groups, primarily not themselves concerned with the conflict in question.9 But this and many similar statements of a sociopsychological character concern the origin, strength, and content of the sense of justice of a particular group; these are sociopsychological facts important in determining the methods whereby the social structure can be changed. But the essence and content of justice in itself will never be grasped in that way. It can be recognized, being in character identical with the essence and content of natural law, only by pure philosophical perception, following a deductive method and not depending on any factual data. Thus it must be conceived and defined as the limitation of the sphere of liberty of the individual, made necessary in practice by the reciprocal interaction of individuals. This limitation is so essential that, even where something valuable exists in a social situation, this value has to recede if it is in conflict with the demands of justice. Conformance to this principle, which is obligatory on all groups, especially institutionalized groups and, above all, the state, constitutes the realization of the ideal of justice.10

If we combine these two considerations, we arrive at the following conclusion: On the one hand, sociology is a general science based on the factual data obtained by the specialized sciences of anthropology, history, and psychology. On the other hand, on purely philosophical grounds, the normal status of the social organism is conceived as the status which is dominated by justice; the essence of a status in which justice is dominant is defined as one in which a limitation on the sphere of liberty of the individual is imposed by the reciprocal interaction of individuals. Thus sociology, having a knowledge of all kinds of society, past and present, is able to compare every known form of social structure with the norm, that is to say, with the status where justice is dominant. On the basis of such a comparison, it is able to make judgments about the deviation of any given social structure from the normal status of the social organism. This is the value-judgment which sociology is able to formulate and which we had in mind when we referred above to the possibility of value-judgments in sociology. Moreover, sociology, being based on factual data obtained by the sciences of anthropology,
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history, and psychology, is also able to formulate the following two kinds of judgment in the nature of statements of fact. In the first place, based on the knowledge of the particular causes of every particular case of deviation from the norm, sociology is able to establish the causal connection existing regularly between a factor A of social, economic, or political character and the form B of the deviation from the norm. Second, again on the basis of the factual data furnished by anthropology, history, and psychology, sociology is able to determine the means of a social, economic, and political character which have to be used in order to eliminate the causes of the deviation itself, and so to realize the normal status of the social organism.11

Since the ideal which has to be realized has, by virtue of the considerations outlined in the first section of our explanation of Oppenheimer’s system, been recognized to be the society dominated by justice, we have to deal in Section B with the general causal laws which sociology has formulated, and, finally, in Section C with the practical implications of these laws, i.e., with the means which have to be used in order to realize the ideal — the society dominated by justice.


B. THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS OF SOCIOLOGY


One of the fundamental pillars of Oppenheimer’s system is the law of systematic uniformity in the origin and development of the state, state law, social classes, private property, monopoly, and surplus value. This law was put forward by Duhring, though the first suggestions of it go back to the Saint-Simonists and Proudhon. Its essential content is as follows: Economic activity consists not in the satisfaction of economic needs but in the attainment of any end through the use of economic means. But these are not the only, or even the most important, means of attaining an end.

In particular, where the social structure is involved, the means to a given end are often not exclusively or even primarily economic in character; there may be a simultaneous, or even exclusive, use of political means, such as territorial conquest and the subjugation of other peoples. This is, in fact, the way that primitive economic inequality arose, not as the theory of so-called “primitive accumulation” would have us believe. The theory of “primitive accumulation” was held by the adherents of the idea of natural law and natural rights; these doctrines were advanced by the Stoics in antiquity and in modern times by the
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thinkers of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, by the liberals of the nineteenth century, by the “classical” school of economics, and even, in a disguised form, by Karl Marx. All these thinkers shared the following conception of the origin of economic inequality: In the prestate period, a relatively large measure of economic and social equality among the members of the same group existed. Then some were able to become wealthier than others. Thus they laid the foundation for the subsequent reduction of their former equals in the tribe to a condition of economic dependence on them. They were able to do so, according to the majority of the thinkers just mentioned, because they had greater intelligence and ability than their fellows; but according to Rousseau and Marx, because they were more cruel, fraudulent, and antisocial. Yet both these explanations are wrong; for in that period members of a tribe never used means of an economic character to obtain the social objective of having others work for them; rather, one group used the political means of conquering land and subjugating the inhabitants for the purpose of acquiring wealth based on the labor of others. The ruling class then introduced a uniform pattern of institutionalization to guarantee the permanence of the new social situation to which they had so long aspired — the state was founded and a system of laws established.12

But the most important and effective measure undertaken for the same purpose was the seizure of the land by this group and the denial of land to the rest, particularly to the subjugated peoples — in other words, the introduction of land monopoly. This is the universal background and cause of the development of all other monopolies, as well as class stratification and surplus value. This is shown by the following reasoning: Those who do not live by the labor of others must work the land in order to obtain the means of livelihood. But, given the existence of private landownership, the relatively few landowners do not need to alienate the land or the right of its usufruct just because the landless persons need access to the land. Therefore, the owners have a monopoly, and thus they have the opportunity to require a monopoly tribute. This is paid by the semidependent tenants in the form of rent; by the almost completely dependent rural workers in the form of money deducted from their wages and retained by the landlord; and by the completely dependent slaves in the form of the totality of the economic value of their labor minus the cost of their maintenance.13
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The existence of land monopoly and of the resulting monopolies in all other departments of life has further social consequences. First, it follows from the preceding analysis that complete competition never did exist, since the monopolists have always occupied a privileged position. Second, since free competition never has existed, it can in no sense be considered as one, much less the only, cause of any social or economic phenomenon that has appeared since the prestate period or that still exists in the present. Third, because of the existence of land monopoly and other monopolies, there exists one kind of property which is not based on the proprietor’s own labor, thus is not in conformance with natural law and justice and therefore is not justifiable — in contrast to property acquired by individual labor, which does conform to natural law and justice and therefore is justifiable.14

The consequences of the existence of land monopoly which have just been enumerated are important, but there are others as well. However, they are to be understood only in connection with a group of other laws of an economico-psychological character, which we must deal with first.

This second group of laws concerns the uniformity governing seemingly subjective valuations of economic goods. The assertion of the existence of this regularity is made possible by the theory of so-called “marginal utility” as developed by Gossen, but with a decided emphasis on its objectivistic side, in contradistinction to the subjectivism of some outstanding Austrian adherents of that school. Its main assertions, in so far as they concern Oppenheimer’s sociological system, are as follows: The satisfaction derived from consumption decreases with each additional unit of a given commodity until it reaches zero or the point of satiety. From this psychological law of decreasing satisfaction there follows the law of decreasing economic value: Commodities are valued not on the basis of their general importance but in terms of small units in the available supply. All these units of a given commodity being alike, that unit which is set aside for use in the most important category of consumption is interchangeable with the unit set aside for the least important use, and an equal value must attach to both. Hence the effective use-value of any good decreases rapidly as the supply increases.

This and some similar general laws of an economico-psychological character were applied to the theory of wages, as well as to some other problems. Applied to the theory of wages, it led to the following formulation:
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The amount of the wage is determined by the value attached to the least useful worker whom it is necessary to employ in production, the enterprise in which he is employed being constituent of the sum total of production, even if it is the least important one.16 This application of marginal utility to the theory of wages will become especially important when combined with two other theories: the first is the above-mentioned theory of the systematic uniformity in the origin and development of the state, private property, and land monopoly; the second is the fundamental law of the ratio between the quantity of emigrating rural population and the distribution of rural property. This law may be stated as follows: The quantity of emigrating rural population is in direct proportion to the amount of land owned by the landed gentry and organized in large estates but is in inverse proportion to the amount of land owned by peasants and worked by the peasant himself and his family. The truth of this law — first discovered by Von der Goltz — can be shown by the following considerations. Where the population is increasing, the profit rate of industrial products regularly rises, while that of agricultural products regularly falls. This phenomenon is compensated for by the emigration of rural population to the cities. This influx to the cities intensifies competition and brings down prices of industrial products. Simultaneously, the increased demand for rural products raises the prices of the latter. This is the general law.

However, this general law is subject to modifications, depending upon the special form of distribution of the rural property. Where the land is predominantly in the hands of peasant proprietors, the surplus income created by the rise of prices of the primary products is distributed among the entire population. The reason for this is that in that situation a reduction in the wages of the urban workers takes place simultaneously with a rise in the income of the rural producers. But, in a country where large estates owned by landed gentry predominate, the land monopolists, as explained above, are powerful enough to prevent a rise in the wages of the agricultural workers. It is particularly easy for them to do so if it is possible, as it was for the Junkers of eastern Germany, to import seasonal agricultural workers from foreign countries who are accustomed to a lower standard of living and the lowest possible wages. Thus the whole of the profit obtained from the increase in prices of primary products brought about by the decrease in prices of industrial products accrues to the holders of large estates in the form
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of increased ground rent. Under such circumstances the phenomenon observable in countries where peasant proprietors predominate fails to appear — that is to say, the simultaneous fall in the wages of the urban workers and rise in the income of the rural producers. Instead, another form of reaction against the economic pressures of the situation is worked out. The rural population emigrates in larger numbers than in the former case, though not large enough, and goes either to the industrial towns of their own country, where they become factory workers, or overseas, where they settle as pioneers or likewise become urban factory workers.

The difference in the distribution of landownership in the two cases — in the first case, among a large number of independent peasant proprietors and, in the second case, among a small number of landed gentry — is the cause of the difference in the amount of emigrating rural population.

Once this law is established, we are able to determine the cause of the increase in the supply of urban factory workers in excess of the demand, one of the factors bringing about the decline in the wages of this group. All the many earlier theories which attempted an explanation of this phenomenon are incorrect, for the explanation lies not, as is held by the classical school of economics from Malthus to Mill, in the overproduction of children among the working class. Neither does it lie, as is held by Karl Marx, in the displacement of workers by the machine; on the contrary, a great deal of emigration occurs often from countries and in periods in which no machinery was imported for use in rural districts, as in Ireland in the middle of the nineteenth century, which differs from other countries in this respect. Finally, the explanation does not lie in the overpopulation of the rural districts in question; on the contrary, emigration often occurs on a large scale from the less densely populated districts. Thus all these attempts at an explanation of the phenomenon under discussion — the increase in the supply of factory workers in excess of the demand as a causal factor in the decline in wages of the urban factory workers — are seen to be wrong. The true cause of this phenomenon and also of the migration from the rural districts to the city is the fact that the land is not in the hands of peasant proprietors but in those of owners of large estates, i.e., a land monopoly exists.
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The coherence of this analysis will become especially evident if we combine Goltz’s law of the ratio existing between the amount of emigrating rural population and the distribution of the different kinds of rural properties and forms of rural management with the special application of the marginal-utility theory to the theory of wages, which was discussed previously. According to the latter, as we saw above, the amount of the wage is determined by the value attached to the least useful worker whom it is necessary to employ in production, the enterprise in which he is employed being a necessary constituent of the sum total of production, even if it is the least important constituent.

By applying this general law to the special case of emigration from countries where large estates are the predominant form of rural property, we are justified in making the following inference: The lowest level of wages paid to the lowest type of agricultural worker on the least important establishments of the feudal landlords of eastern Europe — e.g., Russia, Rumania, Hungary, and eastern Germany — determines the amount of the existing supply of urban factory workers and is the cause of the excess of that supply over the demand. Consequently, it is the cause of the low wages paid to the urban factory workers, not only in the industrial countries of Europe but elsewhere also. A further consequence is, as explained above, the emigration of part of the rural workers not to the industrial towns of their own countries but overseas, where, in so far as pioneer farming is not open to them, they, too, become factory workers and thus form an essential element of the sweatshop labor in the overseas industrial centers. But the low wage level of the agricultural workers on the feudal estates of eastern Europe is the result of the existence of a land monopoly. This, in turn, is caused by the use of political means to obtain and maintain an unjustifiable kind of property. Thus land monopoly — this unjustifiable system of distribution and organization of landownership — is the ultimate cause of the existence of a proletariat and of the absence of justice, everywhere in the world, both in the present and in the past;10 for the truth of this system — as was stated at the beginning of Section II — can likewise be proved by an anthropologico-historical survey of the course of human development.

In analyzing historical development and the relations existing between different historical phenomena, there are two considerations of a general character which we must bear in mind. First, it is possible for cultural gains to be lost, and interpretations of seemingly primitive
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phenomena must allow for this possibility. Second, all the similarities appearing in different parts of the world need not be interpreted as the result of independent parallel development exclusively, as attempted by the evolutionary school of Adolf Bastian and by Gumplowicz; or as a result of migration and diffusion exclusively, as attempted by Grabner and by the diffusionistic school of Father Schmidt. In any particular case these two possibilities must be considered before a definite decision is reached.17 In the light of these two considerations, the following conception of world history emerges:


Primitive hunters, likewise totemistic hunters, as well as neolithic horticulturists of the matrilinear type, lived in a state of relatively broad economic equality and, in particular, knew nothing of land monopoly, conquest, social classes, and private property.18 The last three institutions were introduced in the Bronze Age by pastoral nomads. In addition to the original pastoral nomads, there were former horticulturists who had adopted the culture of the cattle-breeders with whom they had been in contact.19 These nomads subjugated other groups with a culture similar to their own, as well as horticulturists of the neolithic type, forced them to work for their new rulers, and introduced the institutions of land monopoly and the state — in the area of the Andes, China, Hindustan, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean countries.20


Confining ourselves henceforth to Occidental civilization, we find a particularly clear example in ancient Rome. There we see the results of the management of land not by peasant proprietors but by a landed aristocracy, who used slaves and farm tenants — viz., famine, proletarianization, depopulation, and ultimate destruction at the hands of the peoples of Germanic origin.21 These Germanic tribes, like the Celts and, on the whole, the majority of the peoples of Indo-European language-group, were secondary herdsmen — i.e., they had adopted the way of life of pastoral nomads with whom they had been in contact. After conquering other Germanic tribes, they had developed into semi-feudal landlords over these conquered peoples; in the provinces of the Roman Empire they established states whose territory was divided into large landholdings.22 In these states the condition of the peasants was not the same in all places and at all times; but from the eleventh century on, it became in some countries relatively tolerable. This was primarily due to the fact that the peasants were relatively independent and
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organized in associations of a co-operative character and because the payments to the landlords were made in kind and were of a relatively low and fixed amount. Hence, while formerly the peasant had to produce in his own home all the goods needed by himself and his family, such as clothes, he was now able to buy these at the markets in the cities, where they were produced by specialized urban handicraftsmen. Thus the economic and cultural flowering of the towns in the great period of medieval civilization depended to a large extent upon the prosperity of the, peasant and his relatively large measure of independence from the feudal landlord.23 Later the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe were subjected to political conquest, the land was divided into large estates, and the peasants were reduced to the position of serfs. A similar situation arose in some parts of central and western Europe. Simultaneously, Roman law was rcintroduccd, rural community life and co-operatives of a primary contact character disappeared and, with them, the economic basis not only of the cities but of medieval society as a whole.24 The new absolutistic state took away from the feudality its predominance in some political spheres and replaced it by state employees, bureaucratically organized and receiving salaries not in kind but in money. Nevertheless, the absolutistic state was unable to remove the antagonism existing between the landed gentry and the peasant, and the French Revolution was the result of its failure to do so.25 In spite of the important role in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries of new social forces, such as the industrialists and financiers, land monopoly still existed and continued to produce its inevitable effects, as we saw at the conclusion of our theoretical analysis.26

Thus this anthropologico-historical survey confirms the conclusions reached in the theoretical analysis, namely, the failure of the social organism to realize the ideal of justice and the reasons for that failure. In conformance with the plan developed at the end of our first section, sociology must now indicate the remedies to be applied in order to eliminate the disease and establish a society regulated by the principles of justice.

C. A PROGRAM OF SOCIAL REFORM

The co-operative satisfies all the conditions of a solution to the problem. But there are various types of co-operatives: Consumer co-operatives may be good, but they do not achieve the essential aim; urban producer co-operatives either become stock companies or collapse.27
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The essential type is the rural producer co-operative, and its ideal form is the rural settlement producer co-operative. It has the following advantages over the urban industrial producer co-operative: It docs not involve personal credit but credit on real estate mortgages. Its situation is that of the urban consumer and not that of the urban producer, for it does not and cannot have the urban producer’s tendency to eliminate competitors from the market, and, on the other hand, it cannot itself be destroyed by a more powerful competitor, such as an industrial corporation or trust. Furthermore, the continuance of its prosperity does not depend upon the market price of one commodity or even of a few.

Last but not least, it is much easier in a rural producer co-operative than in an urban industrial one to maintain psychological harmony between the co-operative and its members and, simultaneously, among the latter themselves, without resort to coercion; for in the urban industrial co-operative the larger it grows and the more its membership increases, the greater is the necessity for bureaucratization and specialization of the mechanical work of each member, whereas in the rural co-operative, even if it increases in size, each member retains to some extent his economic individuality. Thus a maintenance of individualism in the collectivity is assured. Moreover, if, by the statutes governing landholdings, the individual right to sell and bequeath the allotment is granted by the co-operative, it surpasses in quantity and quality of its products all other kinds of rural management. In consequence of this superiority, the landed proprietor will not be able, in the long run, to compete with the co-operative, in spite of the low wages that he pays his hired workers, since these workers, for the very reason that their standard of living is low, are unwilling and unable to work intensively. In this situation the landed proprietor may be glad to sell his estate to a co-operative cheaply.

Moreover, every rural co-operative keeps more people in productive labor than any other kind of rural management. As a result, in spite of the fact that the individual’s freedom of choosing his domicile remains untouched, migration to the industrial cities of the home country or overseas will fall off rapidly. Consequently, the possibility is opened that the supply of industrial workers will fall short of the demand; then the factory-owner will be obliged to pay as high wages as his enterprise can afford. This enables the factory worker to buy goods on the market, which is still maintained as a free institution; this, in turn,
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giving a further impetus to agricultural and industrial production. On the other hand, the power of the factory owner, like that of the landed proprietor, is continuously diminished in the process.28 There will be a continuous shift of power in favor of the rural producer association and similar urban professional groups. The higher boards of the cooperative movement must be and will be formed on the basis of federal representation and co-operation between all component groups; the logical climax of the whole is the peaceful federation of all the co-operatives of the world. In such a world federation there would be a synthesis of individualism and collectivism, in which the peculiar genius of every nation would be absorbed.29


III. OPPENHEIMER’S DEBT TO PRECEDING THINKERS

We shall be able to determine Oppenheimer’s place in the history of social thought if taking note of the indications that Oppenheimer himself gives as to the writers who influenced him, we compare the content of Section I with that of Section II, eliminating minor details and avoiding, as hitherto, any attempt at evaluation.30 Oppenheimer accepted, without essential modification, the concept of “general science” of Ward and Giddings;31 the theory of the origin of the state and private property of Duhring and Gumplowicz, which goes back in part to the Saint-Simonists and Proudhon;32 the theory of primitive hunter economy, totemism, and matrilinear horticulture of Schmidt and Koppers;33 the analysis of the social history of antiquity and the early Middle Ages of Max Weber, Dopsch, and Gierke;34 and the concept of a federated social structure of Constantin Frantz.35

Oppenheimer accepted, but only with essential modifications or additions, the Neo-Kantian epistemological dichotomies of statements of fact and value-judgment, historical sciences and natural sciences;36 Ross’s theory of the sociopsychological foundation of the sense of justice, which he modified by reducing the importance of the intellectualistic factor;37 the marginal-utility law, which he developed in a more objectivistic direction; the Goltz law, which he amplified by combining with it the theory that, in general, the amount of emigrating population does not depend on the density of the population; the theory held by a number of advocates of nationalization of the land that land monopoly is the ultimate cause of all other monopolies, to which he added new
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explanatory elements;38 and, finally, elements of Schmidt and Koppers and of Eduard Hahn are combined in his subdivision of primitive pastoral culture into two types.39

In the philosophy of Right, Oppenheimer and Nelson both developed independently the definition of justice as the necessary limitation of the liberty of the individual.40

The following are Oppenheimer’s own original doctrines, arrived at quite independently: Pure competition never existed and can, therefore, not be considered as the cause of any social phenomenon; the economic and social conditions of the rural areas of eastern Europe modify indirectly the economic and social condition of the urban industrial population of Europe and overseas; urban producer associations either fail altogether or else become joint stock companies; rural co-operatives follow a separate pattern of development; and the establishment of such rural co-operatives modifies indirectly all spheres of economic life. Equally original in the field of historical analysis is his conception of the Indo-European language-group of peoples, including the Celts and Germans, as secondary herdsmen; his conception of the independent social condition of the peasants in the great period of medieval civilization as the cause of the prosperity of the medieval town; his conception of the theory of so-called “primitive accumulation” as originating in the theory of natural law; and the inclusion of Marx in the tradition of this school of thought.

Finally, Oppenheimer’s system represents a new synthesis, or at least a combination in a new form, of certain elements formerly considered incompatible or even diametrically opposed to one another. In economic theory he combines the inductive method of the “historical” school with the deductive method of the “classical” school; in social theory he combines a philosophy of Right with a sociologico-economic system; in anthropology he combines the theory of independent parallel development of Bastian and Gumplowicz with the diffusionist theory of Schmidt and Koppers.41 He makes a synthesis of the history of preliterate epochs and the history based on written sources; of the history of agriculture and the history of urban civilization; of the marginal-utility theory, the Goltz law, and the theory of the origin of the state and of monopoly based on conquest; and, last but not least, of individualism and collectivism.
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APPENDIX

To avoid misunderstanding, it may be added that the author of this chapter does not accept — among other theories of Oppenheimer — his concept of value-judgments, justice, primary and secondary herdsmen; of the relation existing between rural and urban life during the Middle Ages; of the dependence of all other monopolies on land monopoly; and of the unique importance of rural producer associations. On the other hand, he agrees completely with Oppenheimer on the differentiation of political and economic means, on the importance of pastoral nomadism, on the role of forcible conquest in the historical origin of the state and of land monopoly, and on the necessity of establishing a synthesis between individualism and collectivism in the economic field, and the need for a federated superstructure embracing different national states.


NOTES

  1. The most important publications of Franz Oppenheimer are the following:
  1. System der Soziologie, Vols. I-IV (Jena, 1922-29). This is his chief work; Vol. II is an enlarged edition of the earlier book Der Staat; Vol. III, a new revised edition of the earlier book, Theorie der reinen und politischen Oekonomie; these two will therefore not be cited in their former separate editions. The System will be cited in the footnotes to this chapter by volume, indicated by Roman numerals, and page, without mention of the title. The pagination continues straight through the second part of each volume.
  2. The State, authorized translation by John M. Gitterman (Indianapolis, 1914). A translation of Der Staat, mentioned above; cited as “State.”
  3. Die Siedlungsgenossenschaft (3d. ed.; Jena, 1922). A history and critique of earlier co-operatives and a program for building up rural settlement cooperatives; cited as “Siedlung.”
  4. Wege zur Gemeinschaft (M&uum;nchen, 1924). A collection of earlier articles: cited as “Wege,” after mention of the special title of each article.
  5. “Pseudoprobleme der Wirtschaftspolilik,” Die Wtrtschaftswissenschaft Nach dem Kriege: Festgabe fur Lujo Brentano zum 80, Geburtstag (M&uum;nchen, 1925), I, 321-47. A history and critique of the so-called law of “primitive accumulation”; cited as “Pseudoprobleme.”
  6. “Die Wanderung, vorwiegend vom universalhistorischen und ökonomischen Gcsichtspunktc,” Verhandlungen des 6. Deutschen Soziologentages (T&uum;bingen, 1929), pp. 149-72. An application of the so-called “Goltz Law” to Oppenheimer’s own theories; cited as “Wanderung.”
  7. “Mein Wissenschaftlicher Weg,” the Volkswirtschaftslehre der Gcgenwart in Selbidarstellungen, II (Leipzig, 1929), 69-116. An autobiography with bibliography, which, incidentally, has been used in the preceding survey of Oppenheimer’s life.
  8. “Ein neues sozialistisches System der Rechtslehre und Politik,” Archiv f&uum;r the Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, XII (Leipzig, 1925), 69 — 114. An exposition and critique of Leonard Nelson’s philosophy of Right; cited as “Rechtslehre.”
  9. “Gesellschaft und Staat,” Archiv f&uum;r Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik. LVIII, No. 1 (T&uum;bingen, 1927), 179-85. A polemical discussion of the terms “economic means,” “political means,” and some others; cited as “Gesellschaft.”
  10. Vorwort — Preface to the German translation of Charles Gide and Charles Rist under the title Geschichte der volkswirtschaftlichen Lehrmeinungen, Deutsch [350] von R. W. Horn (Jena, 1913), pp. 13-18. An exposition of the importance and the methodology of the history of ideas; cited as “Vorwort.”
  11. Einf&uum;hrung — Introduction to Ludwig Gumplowicz, Ausgewahlte Werke (Innsbruck, 1926), pp. vii-xxiv. An exposition of Oppenheimer’s own relation to Gumplowicz and his concepts of violence, independent parallel development, and the theory of historical cycles; cited as “Einf&uum;hrung.”

2. “Wanderung,” p. 154; Vorwort, p. xvi.

3. I, 149.

4. I, 681-95:111,159-61.

5. I, 435, 537; “Wissen und Werten,” Wege, pp. 2-3.

6. I, 171,182, n. 3.

7. I, xix, 445; II, 207 f.

8. “Rechtslehre,” pp. 253 f.

9. I, 294-98.

10. “Rechtslehre,” pp. 253 f.

11. “Wissen und Werten,” Wege, pp. 2-4; “Pseudoprobleme,” pp. 323 f.

12. II, 44-85, 212-50, 259-303, 323, and III, 46, 146-52; State, pp. 6-10, 15; Pseudoprobleme,” pp. 333-42; “Gesellschaft,” p. 184.

13. II, 278; State, p. 15; “Das Bodenmonopol,” Wege, pp. 16 f.

14. II, 689; III, 409; Siedlung, pp. 261, 559 f.; “Physiologic und Pathologic des sozialcn Körpers,” Wege, p. 49.

15. III, 100-119; “the soziale Bedeutung dcr Genossenschaft,” Wege, pp. 66 f.

16. “Wanderung,” pp. 147-60; Siedlung, p. 218; “Zur Geschichte und Theorie der landwirtschaftlichen Produktivgenossenschaft,” Wege, p. 238; “Die soziale Bedeutung der Genossenschaft,” ibid., p. 67.

17. I, 769, 877 (n. 1), 1015.

18. IV, 1-8; State, pp. 28-33.

19. II, 264; IV, 10-25.

20. II, 308-546; IV, 8-62; State, pp. 33-228.

21. IV, 325-407; State, pp. 172 f.

22. IV, 137-44, 225-47, 294-325; State, pp. 209-12.

23. III, 153; State, p. 286; Siedlung, pp. 179 f.; “the Utopie als Tatsachc,” Wege, pp. 497 f.

24. II, 537; State, p. 206; Siedlung, pp. 195-98; “Gemeineigentum und Privateigentum an Grund und Boden,” Wege, p. 198.

25. II, 590-616; State, pp. 243-46.

26. III, 2151., 549-55; State, pp. 282-84.

27. Siedlung, pp. 16, 22, 33, 89; “Die soziale Bedeutung der Genossenschaft,” Wege, pp. 61 f.

28. I, 673-76; Siedlung, pp. 318 f., 362-69, 381, 517, 559; “Die soziale Bedeutung der Genossenschaft,” Wege, pp. 76-83; “Gemeineigentum und Privateigentum an Grund und Boden,” ibid., p. 203; “Zur Geschichte und Theorie der landwirtschaftlichen Produktivgenossenschaft,” ibid., pp. 228, 239 f.

29. II, 793-811; “Rechtslehre,” pp. 262, 266; “Einf&uum;hrung,” pp. xxi f.

30. Citations of passages by or about Oppenheimer’s predecessors arc made only when relevant to an analysis of his indebtedness and originality. Where the original editions are not readily available, more recent selections are sometimes cited. For more detailed information on the general subject, the reader is referred to the following works: “Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (New York, 1930-35), especially the sections “Marginal Utility” and “Historical School” in the article “Economics”; Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften (4th ed.; Jena, 1923-29), especially the articles “Bodenbesitzreform” and “Grenznutzen”; Harry Elmer Barnes and Howard Becker, Social Thought from Lore to Science (Boston, 1938), I, 716, 719-21, 726, 730, 741, 769-71, and II, 800, 830, 880, 921, 963-73, 976, 978, 983; Pitirim Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological [351]

Theories (New York, 1928), pp. 353, 480 f., 491, 508-13, 640-42, 670-72; Charles A. Ellwood, A History of Social Philosophy (New York, 1938), pp. 481-88, 546-48; Charles Gide and Charles Rist, A History of Economic Doctrines (2d ed.; Boston, 1915), pp. 385-407, 521-28, 570-78; Lewis H. Hancy, History of Economic Thought (New York, 1922), pp. 493-95, 530-41, 574-78.

31. Lester F. Ward, Pure Sociology (New York, 1903), p. 191; Franklin Henry Giddings, The Principles of Sociology (New York, 1923), p. 31.

32. Doctrine de Saint-Simon, Exposition, 1. annie 1829, New ed. by C. Bougie et Elie Halevy (Paris, 1924), pp. 163, 246, 317; C. Bougle, Proudhon (“Reformateurs sociaux, collection de textes” [Pans, 1930]), pp. 122, 123, 126, 131, and La Sociologie de Proudhon (Paris, 1911), pp. 41, 43, 51; Ludwig Gumplowicz, Ausgewahlte Werke (Innsbruck, 1926), II, 94-105, IV, 225-27. The passages in question of Eugene Dühring are reprinted in Friedrich Engel, Herrn Eugen Dührings Umwälzung der Wissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1919), pp. 161. 163, 166, 172, 181, 186, 196, 199.

33. Wilhelm Schmidt and Wilhelm Koppers, Der Mensch aller Zeiten, Vol. III: Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft der Völker (Regensburg, 1924), pp. 158-93, 225-84, 396-501, 539-89.

34. Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte (Tübingen, 1924), pp. 227-78, and Wirtschaftsgeschichte (München, 1923), pp. 59-109; Alfons Dopsch, Wirtschaftshche und soziale Grundlagen der europaischen Kulturentwickelung (Wien, 1920-23), I, 94-413, II, 291-393, and the Wirtschaftsentwickelung der Karolingerzeit (Weimar, 1912), pp. 269-369; Otto Gierke, Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht (Berlin, 1868-1914), I, 14-249, 531-637, 658-96; II, 134-525; 829-976; III, 186-238, 351-416, 645-826; see also Paul Honigsheim, “Max Weber as Historian of Agriculture,” in Agricultural History, forthcoming soon.

35. Constantin Frantz, Deutschland und der Föderalismus (Stuttgart, 1921), pp. 175, 185; Eugen Stamm, Constantin Frantz (Stuttgart, 1930), p. 168.

36. Georg Jellinek, Allgemeine Staatslehre (2d ed.; Berlin, 1905), Book I, chap, ii, No. 2, pp. 26-40; Heinrich Rickert, Die Grenzen der naturwissenschaftlichen Begriffsbildung (Tubingen, 1902), chaps, iii and iv, pp. 226-599; Ernst Troeltsch, Der Historismus und seine Probleme (Tübingen, 1922), pp. 83-110, 200-220; Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Wissenschaftslehre (Tübingen, 1922), pp. 146-214, 451-523; see also Paul Honigsheim, “Max Weber als Soziologe,” in Kolner Vierteljahrshefte für Soziologie, I (München, 1921), 32-41; and “Max Weber as Rural Sociologist,” Rural Sociology, XI (1946), 208-9.

37. Edward Alsworth Ross, Social Control (New York, 1916), pp. 11-16, 36-38.

38. Henry George, Progress and Poverty (New York, 1931), Book III, chaps, iv, v, vi, pp. 189-217; Book V, pp. 263-96; Book VI, chap, ii, pp. 328-30; Adolf Damaschke, Geschichte der Nationalökonomie (12th ed.; Jena, 1920), chap, x, pp. 305-10 (very partial); Hans Wehberg, “Ein deutscher Vorkampfer für internationale Verständigung,” Die Friedenswarte, XXXVII, No. 6 (Zurich, 1937), 232-36.e

39. Schmidt and Koppers, op. cit., pp. 194-224, 304-51, 502-38, 590-624; Eduard Hahn, “Waren the Menschen der Urzeit zwischen der Jagerstufe und der Stufe der ackerbaucr Nomaden?” Ausland, LXIV (1891), 482-87; Demeter und Baubo (Lubeck, 1896), pp. 14-17, 24-28, 31, 37, 47; “Zur Theorie der Entstehung des Ackerbaues,” Globus, LXXV (1899), 98, 283; Das Alter der wirtschaftlichen Kultur (Heidelberg, 1905), pp. 12, 17, 20, 28, 33, 59, 91, 97, 122, 131, 145, 148, 151; “Die Hirtenvolker in Asien und Afrika,” Geographische Zeitschrift, XIX (Leipzig, 1913), 311, 380 (see Paul Honigsheim, “Eduard Hahn,” Anthropos. XXIV [1929], 597-99, with bibliography). A detailed criticism of the special anthropological theories of Oppenheimer can be found in Paul Honigsheim, “Viehzuchternomadismus, Bodenrente, Reichtumsbildung, Staatsgründung,” Kolner Vierteljahrshefte, IX (1932), 84 ff.

40. Leonard Nelson, Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (Leipzig, 1910), sees. 65, 66, 76, 87, 278, 282; System der philosophischen Rechtslehre und Politic (Leipzig, 1924), pp. 40, 50 ff., 64, 96, 144; Die Reformation der Gesinnung (Leipzig, 1924), passim; Vom 

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Staatenbund (Leipzig, 1918), passim; Democratic und Führerschaft (Stuttgart, 1927), passim.  

41.  Adolf Bastian, Der Mensch in der Geschichte (Leipzig, I860), passim; 
Das Bestindige in den Menschenrassen (Berlin, 1863), p. 151; Die Völker des östlichen Asiens, V (Jena, 1869), v; Der Papua (Berlin, 1885), p. 294; 
Ideale Welten (Berlin, 1892), p. 254; Gumplowicz, op. cit., IV, 178 f.; Fritz Grabner, Die Methode der Ethnologie (Heidelberg, 1911), pp. 91-170; 
“Ethnologie,” in the Kultur der Gegenwart, Part III, subsec. 5 (Leipzig and Berlin, 1923), pp. 444-47; Schmidt and Koppers, op. cit., pp. 63-111 (see Paul Honigsheim, “Die geistesgeschichtliche Stellung der Anthropologie, Athnologie und Urgeschichte,” in Festschrift: Publication d’hommage offerte au P. W. Schmidt [Wien, 1928], pp. 851-54, 862-64);  “Adolf Bastian und the Entwickelung der ethnologischen Soziologie,” Kölner Vierteljahrshefte, VI, No. 1 (1926), 66-69; “Soziologische Fragestellungen in der gegenwartigen prahistorischen und ethnologischen Literatur,” ibid., VII, No. 3 (1928), 331-43, and No. 4 (1929), 427-46; “The Problem of Diffusion and Parallel Evolution with Special Reference to American Indians,” Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, XXXVII (Ann Arbor, 1942), 515-24; “The Philosophical Background of European Anthropology,” American Anthropologist, XLIV, (1942), 376-87.

English is the lingua franca of the world — no bullshit

Woke up this morning, thinking of the series of videos on the dominance of the English language in the world, narrated by Robert MacNeil.  I think this was prompted by what I heard on Sunday.   On Sunday, Nov. 11. 2018, in Paris, during his speech commemorating the centenary of the First World War Armistice, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is its betrayal.”  I reject this for the following reason.  A nation is a country (or State) with one language. A patriot is someone who is loyal to his country — even if it is not a nation; while a nationalist is someone who aspires to create a country based on his language, or to preserve the existing Nation.

This made me think of how English is spoken everywhere in the world.

Below are the 9 videos “The Story of English,” broadcast in 1989, which was followed by the  publication of the book: Robert MCcrum, Robert MacNeil and William Cran, The Story of English, 3d ed., 2002. [496 pages]

1. An English Speaking World: Discusses how English has become the most dominant language throughout the world.
2. The Mother Tongue: Discusses the early stages of the English language, including Old English and Middle English.
3. A Muse of Fire: Discusses the influence of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible on the English language.
4. The Guid Scots Tongue: Discusses the Scottish influence on the English language.
5. Black on White: Discusses the influence of  Blacks on the English language. (Includes interviews with Philadelphia hip hop legends The Scanner Boys, Parry P and Grand Tone.)
6. Pioneers, O Pioneers!: Discusses Canadian English and the various forms of American English.
7. The Muvver Tongue: Discusses Cockney dialect and Australian English.
8. The Loaded Weapon: Discusses the Irish influence on the English Language.
9. Next Year’s Words: Discusses the future and new emerging forms of the English language.

1 An English Speaking World

2 The Mother Tongue

3 A Muse of Fire

4 The Guid Scots Tongue

5 Black on White

6 Pioneers, O Pioneers!

7 The Muvver Tongue

8 The Loaded Weapon

9 Next Year’s Words

Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution

If my readers have not figured it out yet, I am a self-conscious anarchist.   Since people who call themselves anarchists have different interpretations of what anarchism is, I will be blunt and tell you what I mean by anarchism.  Anarchism strives to do everything through actual — rather than through delegated — agreements.  This means that it is based on direct democracy; not on a representative democracy. These agreements start with a small community of people, of such a size that everyone can know everyone else.   And the first thing that has to be agreed to is that anyone who wants to live independently of others may do so through receiving a free homestead adequate for subsistence.  It would, of course, be wiser to pool resources together for mutual benefit.

Now, given that the unit of government is a small face-to-face community which elects a council or councils for different functions,  grouping  of communities are organized through delegates to a higher level council of some workable size, and so on until the highest council is formed.  This is bottom-up democracy; rather than a top-down democracy, which exists everywhere in democratic States, where thousands or millions vote for a political candidate.

In order for people to learn and understand what anarchism is, I have tried to collect as much literature as I could find into one comprehensive bibliography, with links as I found them. Here is the link:

Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution

Nine Lives of Nestor Makhno [Девять жизней Нестора Махно] in Russian

Although anarchists worldwide have known about the self-conscious Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, and celebrated him; however, in the Soviet Union he was portrayed as a bandit. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, his life and activity has been the subject of many books and a 12-part television series which aired July 6, 2007 in Russia. It was filmed in Ukraine in the following places: Bila Tserkva, Dnipropetrovsk, Kamyanets-Podilsky.

Below are the twelve episodes.

1
2

3

4

5
6
7
8

9
10

11

12

A documentary of how an American lived for 6 weeks in a Ukrainian village

Peter Santenello, an American from San Francisco with limited Russian language skills, moves in with a local family in the village of Osypenko near the city of Berdyansk near the Sea of Azov in Ukraine. From one perspective, this shows how one can live on a homestead as an alternative to living on welfare, as in the United States.

Andrew Chrucky’s speech at the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument, Forest Home Cemetery (Waldheim), Forest Park, IL — May 1, 2018

Transcript of Andrew Chrucky’s speech:

First of all, as I was riding here … anyway, I became an anarchist somewhere in 2000. The rest of my life I have been in philosophy, studying epistemology and logic … until it hit me in 2000, roughly. . . . Anyway, as I was biking over here I was thinking about what is the significance of this? … Well, when I woke up this morning I said, shit it’s May 1st, its the labor day for the whole world, and this is the greatest monument … this is the Mecca of the laboring people of the world. This is it, its like the Muslim Mecca. So, I said, what does this mean? I felt like it was like Easter for Christians. Why Easter? Well, I was talking with a fellow here and he said it was like Christmas for him. Well I said, Christmas was when Christ was born, and there is a promise of things to come. But Easter is the big event. Easter is the promise of heaven, of resurrection. Well, perhaps these people are buried here and they are dead, but their spirit has resurrected . . . it spread all over the world, so in a sense this to me is Easter.

Here we are.  I was listening to you talking about and thinking about workers.  And I want to talk to you about capitalism. What is the definition of capitalism? There is a movement called anarcho-capitalism. It is bullshit. I’ll tell you why its bullshit. They think that capitalism is free trade. Well, free trade is just barter. It always existed. It existed under slavery, it existed under feudalism. What is unique to capitalism is what came after the French Revolution. It came after the end of feudalism, at the end of slavery. But what happened? Well, you had wage workers, you had wage-slaves. You had to work because what was the alternative? The alternative was starvation, or being homeless, going around looking in garbage for food. Now, why is that? Why if you don’t work you don’t have food, you don’t have shelter? Well, it’s a simple thing: you don’t have access to land. You cannot grow your own food. All land is privatized. You cannot be a free man if you do not have access to land. This has been recognized throughout history. It was recognized in Roman times…you have a problem of people not having access to land. You had the Mexican Revolution … what was their slogan? Tierra y libertad. Tierra is land. After that you had the Russian Revolution in 1917. What do you think their slogan was? Zemlia y volia, which translates into land and freedom. They were fighting for land. Then in 1936 to 1939 you had the Spanish Civil War. What do you think their slogan was? [Someone in the audience says “Tierra y libertad”] Tierra y libertad! It’s all about land. Capitalism cannot exist if people have access to free land. All these other definitions of capitalism make so sense. They say its free trade. No. Free trade has always existed. If you don’t have free access to land, then you have to sell yourself. All right. Glory to the anarchist Easter!

Three forms of slavery: chattel slavery, serfdom, and wage-slavery

 

 

Philosophers often use thought-experiments for the clarification and testing of theories. For example, to clarify and justify the present political institutions, philosophers appeal to a Social Contract. This is an imaginary agreement among an imaginary group of people with imaginary traits. Several years ago John Rawls wrote A Theory of Justice appealing to such a Social Contract.

A thought experiment is a species of hypothetical reasoning. It is the testing of a hypothesis under imaginary circumstances.

I propose to use a thought experiment concerning two individuals on an island, whom I will call Robinson Crusoe and Friday. And my task is to characterize the economic-political systems of slavery, feudalism, and capitalism as a relation between two individuals.

Slavery will exist if Crusoe forces Friday to do anything he wants him to do. Friday will fish, hunt, and gather plants. He will bring them to Crusoe and prepare and cook these things for him. He will build for Crusoe a hut, he will fetch water, and he will wipe Crusoe’s butt. Crusoe, in turn, will allow Friday to feed on the scraps which are left over. If Friday misbehaves, he will be punished by the whim of Crusoe.

Feudalism will exist if Crusoe lets Friday fend for himself on the island, i.e., Friday may build himself a shelter and keep a store of food for himself, provided that Friday brings to Crusoe a certain quantity of food, and does a certain amount of labor.  Crusoe will set up some form of punishment for non-compliance.

The creation of a capitalist situation on the island is initially puzzling to formulate because of mistaken definitions of what capitalism is.  A useful way of giving a definition is through the method of genus and difference. Capitalism is in the genus of trade: it is a market economy. But trade is just barter with or without money, and is well nigh universal.  It existed under slavery and under feudalism.

So called anarcho-capitalists say that capitalism is free trade under conditions of private property.  How will that be modeled in the Crusoe-Friday scenario? We can suppose that Crusoe and Friday have divided between themselves the island in half.  They do not trespass on each other, and periodically trade.  Crusoe is good at fishing, while Friday is good at gathering coconuts. There is an agreed division of labor and trade. This satisfies the anarcho-capitalist’s definition, but it is not the capitalism which socialists were objecting to. What is missing? Wage-labor.  So if there is to be “voluntary” labor by Friday for Crusoe, what possibly can induce Friday to work for Crusoe, given that they possess equal shares of the island?

One scenario is this. Crusoe has a rifle and there are feral pigs on the island. Using the rifle, it is easy to kill pigs. So, Crusoe makes a deal with Friday, allowing Friday to do all the pig hunting for the two of them.  As a result, Crusoe has leisure, while Friday does the work of hunting.

This, however, does not model historical capitalism. Why? Because under present day conditions of capitalism, if Friday does not enter into this agreement as a worker, he will become homeless and risk starvation. How can such a situation be modeled on the island? I can think of only one scenario. Crusoe claims the whole island as his private possession, and Friday is welcome on the island on the condition that he will work for Crusoe. What is the alternative for Friday if he refuses? He is compelled to leave the island in whatever way he can manage, and risk the perils of the sea.  Alternatively, Friday can, of course, trespass without Crusoe’s permission; but if caught, there will be punishment.

So, Friday is forced into working for Crusoe because he does not have free  access to subsistence land on the island.  This, as I see it, is the difference which must be added to the genus of trade in order to define capitalism per genus and differentia.