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These cries are often raised by a rising number of young “libertarians” who are serious about civil liberties. Fueled by the ever-growing evidence of government surveillance, high taxes, and astronomical national debt these young people are challenging the status quo. This libertarian cadre is opening the door to third-party politics and a political philosophy that blurs the classic lines of “republican/democrat”. There is much to commend. However, there is much that needs to be discussed. It is easy to react, but it’s a whole other thing to be revolutionary.
It is true that the state is a wealth wasting, liberty crushing, perpetrator of violence. However, every beast has two hands. The libertarian movement is drawing attention to the need for grassroots democracy on a political level. But they have failed to introduce a fresh economic paradigm that incorporates a truly “libertarian” ethic. Instead, they have reverted to old-time “laissez-faire” capitalism. They call us back to that old system that has inevitably morphed into that strange monster that we call “corporate capitalism.” While breathing fresh air in the political realm and in the area of civil liberties, they have managed only to blow hot air into economics.
If each person is able to govern his/her self on a political level then why not at an economic level? If local communities can come together to govern themselves democratically without the intervention of the state in a political sense, then why can’t they do so economically? If we are to be free from the tyranny of kings and priests then why shouldn’t we be free from the tyranny of CEO’s, and yes, even small business owners. Big kings and small kings alike have no place in a libertarian society.
For those who advocate a return to old school capitalism I say, so be it. Let us go back to the very system that gave rise to the Rockefellers, the Mellons, the J.P. Morgan’s, and the Andrew Carnegie’s. A utopia of small business owners will never exist under “free for all” capitalism. In capitalism money is the only power, especially if you remove the restricting power of the state. And those who are getting more money will consolidate their power, their wealth, and will take control of the market. In fact, that is what happened. And with the evolution of the robber barons came the evolution of the corporate state. A government that exists to protect property and business.
You may hate the wars that are costing us billions, but the arms companies don’t. They are raking in billions. You see, you are not important to the government. You don’t finance political candidates. The government exists for the maintenance of our economic system. Business takes care of the politicians and the politicians take care of business.
The biggest tax the working class receives is not from the government. It is from the business we work for. The wealth we create is taxes by our company and only a portion of the wealth we create, a wage, is given back to us? And why? Why is this acceptable? Because they had the capital (through inheritance, robbery, hard work?) to buy and control the means of production. In bygone days our forefathers tore down the idol of “the divine right of kings”. Today, we must tear down the idol of “the sacredness of property”. No man has a divine right to rule politically. Equally so, no man/woman has the right to rule economically. The state does not belong to a king or government. People do not belong to a king or government. Equally so, we do not belong to a corporation or a market.
Political power belongs to the community and to the individual. Equally so, economic power belongs to the community and the individual. Wealth belongs to the community. Labor belongs to the community. The means of production created, tweaked, and perfected by thousands of nameless faces over the years, belongs to the community. It’s time to cast off tyranny and take back what is rightfully ours. The specifics can be worked out later. But first we must come onto the common ground that capitalism is economic tyranny as redundant and destructive as kings and a monolithic state.
Hello everyone. If you are visiting this page for the first time let me say “welcome”. My friend Joshua Lawson just posted an article about my anarcho-communist viewpoint on his wordpress page. Check it out: http://www.insearchofthecity.com/interview-with-a-christian-socialist/?utm_source=In+Search+of+the+City&utm_campaign=130fda96e0-INSEARCH_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_62f057862b-130fda96e0-58504813
If you came here via that website and article then please look around and read the articles. You will get a better understanding of my world
Lately, I have been gaining a greater awareness of the consumer mindset that pervades our culture. When I go to the grocery store or to a restaurant I find myself paying closer attention to the attitudes, stress lines, and actions of the workers who are trying to make a living in a very fast paced, service-oriented environment. It is easy for me to empathize because I work in food service and retail. I work in a fast paced environment where I have to constantly juggle my actual work tasks with continuous questions and requests from anxious customers. They are anxious, I am anxious. It is a disease bread by capitalism and consumerism. Through my experience as I worker I am finding that I no longer want to be dominated by a consumerist mindset that looks at employees at a store i’m shopping at, or a restaurant I am eating in, as my slaves or inferiors.
There are two kinds of service. There is the service of one fellow human being to another. This is one of the most beautiful attributes in the human experience- one to be appreciated and emulated. In this realm I choose to serve you freely out of respect for you as a fellow, equal human being. But there is another kind of service that breeds division and frustration (feelings of entitlement to consumer and of inferiority by the employee). This service is counter-productive and counter-intuitive. It is contrary to the dignity of the human personality and should be shunned by those who are seeking to build, in some small way, a new world. So, what can we do?
First, realize that the employee is a human being equal in worth and dignity as yourself. This is a big first step and puts everything else in its proper light. Remember, that the majority of employees working under a boss or manager already feel pressure from them. They feel a sense of slavery and inferiority working as an “underling”. However, those in customer service have this problem compounded when customers put the same kinds of pressures on employees. When you are in a store or restaurant, look past the uniforms and dress codes that mark out the employees as slaves to the company and to your passions, needs, and desires. Instead, view them as fellow workers who have special skills, insight, and expertise in this particular field. Talk to them the way you would talk to your neighbor who is a mechanic or your father who is carpenter.
Also, understand the work load that the employee is already carrying. When you come with your request or question remember that the worker already has a job (s)he is trying to perform. It is true that most company’s tout “customer service” as the number one priority. But if the worker has no time to put milk in the cooler it really doesn’t matter how nice (s)he answers your question. Understand the implications of your request. For instance, if I go to a store and ask for a gallon of Orange Juice that is out of stock I need to understand that that employee will have to leave the job they are currently performing, go all the way to the cooler, and most likely look and dig through a couple pallots of product just to get to your one gallon of Orange Juice. I’m not saying that there is no place for asking a question or making a request. I am simply saying we should try to fully realize all of the implications of the requests we make.
We work 8 hours a day under immense pressures and alienations. It’s easy to think its “our time to be king” when we go to a store or to a restaurant. We should get everything we want, get it fast, and go through the line in a “jiff”. Our culture and economic system reinforces and capitalizes on this mindset. We forget how crappy we were just treated at our job, the pressures we had to endure, the negative feelings when those “above” us failed to take stock of our feelings. Or, we simply fail to understand that customer service employees have the very same experiences. If we simply called this simple thing to mind it would help us treat our fellow workers with the patience, understanding, and respect they deserve.
Last year in Madison thousands upon thousand of working class citizens of Wisconsin invaded the capitol to convey their disgust with, and opposition to, Scott Walkers bill banning the collective bargaining rights of public workers. It takes no genius to realize that to restrict this right of public workers is only the first step in a comprehensive attack on labor. Scott Walker has admitted as much. Just tonight I was watching an episode of “Independent Lens” on PBS which was focused on the town of Janesville and the direction the city has taken since the closing of the GM factory in 2008. In this episode Scott Walker clearly said that this restriction of bargaining rights for public employees was a tactic to “divide and conquer” in order to weaken the whole apparatus of Labor- public and private.
This injustice unleashed pent up agitation in the working class. This man, who supports tax credits, ie corporate welfare, put the tab for the state debt upon the working class of Wisconsin. This kind of bullshit was unacceptable to the working people of Wisconsin and all their energy turned to direct action. We took action. We raised our voices. We went to the capitol. And then we let it die. Instead of finding a new way forward to redress our grievances we chose to direct our resources, time, and money to a recall election. We jumped on the political Hampster Wheel forgetting that by nature it can only go around and around. The recall election, with its steep cost to tax payers, cooled the zeal of many, and in the end Scott Walker won the recall election.
Maybe it would have been different if we would have stayed in the capitol. Perhaps we never should have left. Just maybe we the people could have taken hold of the symbol of state power and made the decision to start running our communities ourselves- our way. The singing should never have stopped. The steps leading to the capitol never abandoned. We should have staked our tent peg deep in the earth and said, “This is ours. We’ll take it now”.
I’m tired of political usurpers in their black suits coming down from the celestial heavens of “business” to save us. They don’t want to save us. They don’t care about saving us. They care only about the economy. A thing. A market. They want it to be strong. If that market is strong because of low paying retail jobs that are raking in billions for owners and CEO’s, so be it. Scott Walker has made it clear that the concerns of Labor are of no import to the powers that be. I am not against political activity or voting. But direct action should not be a stream that flows into the stagnant waters of politics. On the contrary, politics should simply be an avenue that flows into the mighty tide of popular direct action. Direct action is the miracle- not a Savior being elected.
What can we do now that we know our government can kill us without due process of law (btw, this not new in our national history)? We can stop passing on responsibility for things to others. We can take responsibility. We can organize our workplaces. We can raise our voices. We can form alternative power structures based on democracy, service, honesty, and egalitarianism. We can choose to know what’s going on. Consider it. Form a thought out and moral opinion. And take action in accordance. Your ideas are as good as mine. Let’s get them flowing.