Introduction -- What is Anarchy? What is Communism/Socialism?
Before I begin on this essay about the development of society in an Anarchist, Communist, and/or Socialist community, I should probably define these words as I use them. The word "anarchy" is from the Greek, prefix an (or a), meaning "not," "the want of," "the absence of," or "the lack of", plus archos, meaning "a ruler," "director", "chief," "person in charge," or "authority." The pure, lingual form of Anarchy or Anarchism is "Anarchos," or "Anarchia." However, Anarchism taken in this sense is only one view of the matter of politics. It is not a system, but rather, it is the absence of any authority system. In many Anarchist societies, they have relied on Democracy. When I speak of Democracy, I speak of it in the form which old philosophers and educated individuals have used it: meaning that the people in a society vote for bills before they become laws, often times called "Direct Democracy." Anarchy and Democracy are two sides of the same coin: Anarchy means no leader, whereas Democracy means the people choose the rules and regulations of society. Of course, I am sure there are instances where there is neither Democracy without Anarchy or vice versa. Our media and United States government has so vulgarized the term Democracy, simply equating it with the idea of "living in liberty" and promoting it every chance they get. The US government is not a Democracy. As long as we have a president and a congress who decide the laws for the people, we are not living in a Democracy -- we are living in a Republic, a system where people choose the people who choose the laws, but in essence this is the same as a Dictatorship, as the sole difference is how people are chosen as leaders. To an Anarchist, both the systems of Dictatorship and Republic are evils, as they are productive of depriving people of their right to confront issues. To quote Joseph-Pierre Proudhon on Anarchism...
In my previous writings, I have given the differences between Communism and Socialism always with this one caution: that in our society today, as far as the political parties and philosophers are concerned, the only difference between Communism and Socialism is that Communism is more extreme. When I wrote my concerns on the matter of Socialism and Communism, I often tried to go to the historical roots of both ideologies: to the works of Marx, Engels, and other thinkers. However, the works of Marx are so expansive beyond just "The Communist Manifesto," that any person, even those of greatest interest and desire, would be hard-pressed to read all of Marx's works. So, today, even many of the national Communist parties are unaware of all of the ideas proposed by the great thinker, and I will not deny that even I have neglected some of his more intimidating pieces. To the definitions of our culture, Communism is simply more extreme compared to Socialism, but more extreme to what? The concepts that these systems deal with are the rights of the workers, which often times manifest themselves in minimum working wage, minimum working hours, unions, boycotting, consumer rights, among other things; but, the greatest ideal of both Communism and Socialism, is that the person who works in the factory ought to be the person who owns the factory. This is to say, the individual who produces the goods of society ought to be the one to determine what happens to such goods. As to the greater detail in the difference between Communism and Socialism, I will not further explain, as it would not serve the purpose of this paper. Yet, as far as this essay is concerned, Socialism and Communism will simply mean that the worker is in control of the means of production.
Often in our society, from radical and revolutionary groups, we will hear slogans, such as "freedom for all" -- "workers' rights, refugees' rights, one battle, one struggle" -- "liberate labor" -- and the ever-famous, "power to the people." If one were to read the works of Communist and Anarchist thinkers, they would find a much more revealing description of these slogans. Proudhon, Bakunin, Marx, Engels, Berkman, among others, have gone at length to describe the systems of Anarchism and Communism. Of Anarchism, there has been a great deal said on the will of the people being the governing force of politics and of matters of concern to the people as a whole. Of Communism, there has been a great deal said on the rights of the workers, of the fair share of income, of the economy being ruled by the workers and not by investors or businessmen. Though, in all of my investigation into these matters, I have not discovered many pieces or articles which dealt with the practical applications of society. By this, I mean what would happen in reality once these ideals would be realized. If a group of a revolutionary people were to get together and have their own land to govern themselves, all of them Anarchists and Communists, the question may arise, "Okay, now what?" The will of the people shall rule them all, but how do they turn that into a realization? The worker will be given a fair pay, and the workers will be given the right to decide what happens with the products -- but how does this come to realization? This essay is a method of tackling this question. For a great deal of time, I was wondering what I could expect to see as social developments in an Anarcho-Communist society, and no publication could answer this for me. With this essay, I will try to answer how the ideology of Anarcho-Communism can be realized by a willing people.
Politics -- The Governing of Governmentless People
It is not difficult to see the great, incalculable failure of a Republic government. Consider, for example, the last presidential election. George Bush and Al Gore were competing. Both of them have inside connections to the government. Neither of them are much different than each other. The public remained unconvinced that either of them would be capable of making any realistic changes. The election reached a historic low for public interest. With such a low voter turn out, it was quite easy to see that the peoples' confidence in such a system was destroyed. And, finally, once all the votes had been cast and Al Gore won the popular election, George Bush was decided president -- not by the people, but by the armies and navies that have supported every tyrant. To know why a person is an Anarchist is simply to live in the United States, or any country where laws are determined by an unjust, unfair aristocracy. The failure of the Republic, though, is not limited. At the beginning of the American Revolution, it was often hypothesized by philosophers and political writers that representation would bring about fairness, justice, and a more Utopian idea of society. Monarchs were written of as though they were the very servants of iniquity and presidents were described as the just, fair rulers of a free society. From every quill and every mouth came these words, these ideas, that we are free when we choose someone to rule us -- but these were no more than lies. There is only one difference between a dictator and a president, and it is not in the amount of people they torture, the amount of homes they burn, the amount of children they deprive of mothers and fathers -- both senators and monarchs did this. The primary difference between an elected official and an unelected official is how they are chosen: one comes with the consent of the people while the other simply assumes it. Yet, both dictators and presidents show unprecedented lines of corruption. The system of a Republic is a failure for the same reasons as a Dictatorship: rulers typically deprive their people of their rights as they search for their quest for power and wealth. When I speak of a Republic system, understand that I am speaking of a system where people choose other people to choose laws, not where the people choose the laws. If anyone needs a more sure sign of the failure of a Republic government to fairly represent the people of the nation, consider how Ralph Nader, a presidential candidate, was refused when he wished to enter the public debates, where he was not allowed to speak to the people, where his views were shunned and thrown out of the light in regards to any publicisizing... and yet Nader's beliefs about government ran contrary to everything every president or senator ever believed, as he was concerned with Workers' Rights, with the environment, with justice, with eqaulity, but his opinions differed from those of mainstream political groups, and for this he was silenced.
When I say I believe in Anarchy, I mean that I believe in a system of laws devised by the people for the people. The idea of representation is insane. I don't need anyone to represent me. I am fully capable of representing myself. To make one man act as a representative for another man in such vital matters is to stir the ingredients for injustice. I am not for a system where one person rules other people I believe in Democracy. A law should never be enacted unless it is voted on by the majority of the people. When a Democratic society decides to have voting session, where laws are voted upon, they will need to meet together. In the Democracy of Ancient Greece, where they met was called a "forum," a word that would trickle down through the ages, meaning a place for the free discussion of ideas. It is interesting that Anarchism would be responsible for such a creation yet all of history, written by the leaders of the world, would come to condemn the Anarchists and their objectives. It would probably be best if the forum held sessions in a routine manner. The reason for this is that everyone would know when the next one is. Such a routine session could be as simple as, "every night at 8:00 P.M.." Of course, the practical application of setting up such a time could run into certain problems. Though I used a late time when everyone is probably done working as an example, it is very possible that certain people find 8:00 at night to be the perfect time for star gazing, while others find it to be the best time to experiment with mind-altering, recreational drugs, while still others are asleep at 4:00 P.M. in the afternoon and wake up at midnight. These are variations of the simple idea that some people might be preoccupied to make it to a forum meeting at a specific time. Whatever time, or date, the people choose to decide for the meeting of their forums is up to them.
When the time to vote on a bill comes, there are a wide variety of ways to enable this into practical establishment. The primary concerns when it comes to Democratic voting in this manner are: (1) a person may vote more than once, (2) using certain techniques, once the votes have finally be cast in a high-population society, it may be difficult to see which side won. Of all importance, it must be understood that we will be living in a real Democracy, not in a pseudo-liberty Republic or Dictatorship. In Ancient Greece, the people filled up two baskets, using either a black stone or a white stone, denoting their opinion: "Yes, I am for this law," or "No, I am against this law." This is indeed one simple process of doing it. It's a decent way of keeping anonymity among the voters, so that no one is later discriminated against for voting a certain way, or their simple privacy in their opinion is kept. One method of preventing people from voting more than once is to make a list of people and how they decided to vote, but this would totally destroy a person's right to privacy in these matters, and though this is not something that is of extreme horrors, it is certainly something we would be desirous of preventing. One good method of enacting a Democracy is, during the forum, to propose the law, and then have large, vertical glass containers. One is for the vote of "yes, I am for this law," and the other is for the vote of "no, I am opposed to this law." Then, a person will put in a small plastic ball, of equal size to every other plastic ball, to the container of their decision. There will be a clear, physical separation of people who have voted and people who have not voted. Then, once everyone has voted, it will be clear and simple for any person to see which side won -- they can be by which stack of plastic balls is higher. The reason why I would suggest this method of voting is because, it's not just one person counting balls to see which side won; it's the whole community, each individual, who is capable of seeing whether the law won or not. However, there is another method for this that is more effective. At the bottom of the glass towers, there will be scales for measuring weight. Instead of putting in a plastic ball, a person will put in a small lead ball, weighted to 1 gram. Then, once it is completed, the forum can see which scale is measuring more. This is effective for those close, almost tied referendums. There can also be an technological piece implemented into the glass towers, allowing only one ball to be put in at a time (and no other ball can then be put in for 3 seconds), and this would allow someone trying to sneak in extra balls for their side of the vote. In regards to a whole community that lived with a sort of degree of Federalism, where several small communities where joined together through a sort of confederacy, and there was a bill to be passed that would affect them all, then it would be far too difficult for each community to get together and vote on the bills altogether. In this situation, a practical solution would be for each community to vote on the matter alone, and then to have all the votes added up from each community and then used to find a conclusive result -- at least, if some Federalist ideas were incorporated into communities, not that I am writing that I am for or against them now.
There is also the rather effective method of counting off by voting, which would only work for a community of a limited population. Basically, the voting would occur on these grounds... The proposition, or the bill, will be stated. And then people would count off numbers. The first person would count off "1" or "-1," the first if they are in favor of the law, the second if they are opposed to the law. Then each person will count off once, adding one or subtracting one from this number as they see if. That is, they add if they are in favor of the proposition, and they subtract if they are opposed to it. The particular nature of this method of voting is easy to see. By voting, a person is also counting. So, there is no need to count the votes once they're all complete, as the methods are one and the same in this case. That eliminates the possibility of having flawed, corrupted, or bribed results, which means a true Democracy reigns. The voting and counting method, too, is observed by all, so everyone has the ability to see if it is successful or inefficient, or fake, or plagiarized. Furthermore, in only a few minutes, a group of people will be able to make a bill a law, in the amount of time that would take the Congress and House of Representatives perhaps weeks, or even months. Of course, in high amounts of people, this method may seem difficult, or even impossible.
Of course, if you want to go with the best method of voting, keeping anonymity and maximizes effectiveness, then one would go with computers. A computer program can be written to allow a community to vote for a law, and it will disallow them from voting another time on the same law. This offers some positive aspects: (1) there is no double or triple voting, (2) a person who is too preoccupied to attend a forum meeting will be able to vote at home, (3) it is extremely quick compared to other methods, (4) there can be no arguments about the results of the voting. However, one ought to be very cautious when they employ a piece of technology to advance politic, economics, or justice. For example, the use of cameras, both for still and moving pictures, has been a great method for capturing evidence of a crime, and some people may think, "With cameras now, it seems impossible to have conducted a fair trial 200 years ago." I am not skeptical that there will be one day where photograph pictures can be altered to the point where there is no deciphering an actually taken photograph and one that was made in a laboratory. Today, we may have cameras and photographs, but tomorrow, we will have a method of producing whatever we want in a photograph. So, too, someone must consider the implications of using computers for the sake of Democratic accomplishment. While today computers have advanced political thought a great deal by linking together many differently minded people, as well as providing resources to activists and those who work for different causes, I am speaking of use of computers in a purely Democratic means -- as a voting machine. For example, it is just as possible that someone could use a device to hack the computer and change votes like that, or it is possible that the person who built the computer could build it so they could change votes whenever they like. This differs largely from the system of the glass towers, in that a person can personally examine the construction of the glass towers whenever they like and see that their is nothing faulty about them, whereas most people are unknowledgable in computer programming. Perhaps, though, for a society, the best attitude to have about it is to use the computers until there is suspicion that something is wrong. It is possible that someone could hack into the computers, but somewhat unlikely. Still, it is a social decision, for the people, by the people. One way to increase the effectiveness of computer voting would be to have a hand print, or preferably an eye retina, identification system, meaning a person cannot vote without being identified by a computer. The reason to prefer eye retina identification is because a hand print identification would give a reason for bandits to start amputating hands, whereas it would be more difficult to obtain one's eye without damaging the retina. Of course, the possibility of such occurrences is unlikely, but anything that ensures the success of a Democracy is a friend of the people.
At the beginning of this paper, along the lines of the introduction, I made it strictly clear that a Democratic society would be led by the people, not by the leaders. Anarchos and Anarchia come from the Greek language, meaning "no leader." However, this may be a bit of misleading. When I speak of leaders in that sense, I am speaking of people who rule others without their consent, or who make, pass, and enforce laws against the people's will. In an Anarchist community, where all decisions are reached Democratically -- that is, where every law comes into enactment only by people directly voting for them -- in such a community, there will be leaders. But, they will vary greatly compared to the leaders of today. These leaders of Anarchist communities will not force other people to do their will, nor will they threaten or intimidate. Instead, during these forum meetings, they will simply speak their opinion, back up their ideas with evidence, and then they will rest. In a very real way, they are little more than an orator. They speak what they feel, then another person of an opposed ideology speaks, and then the mass votes on the matter themselves. In this way, they are moral leaders, and their power extends only as far as their influence goes. This system of "leaders" is by far more just, more fair than today's system of politics. In our world, the presidents and dictators have sent millions of people to their deaths in wars, have stood by injustice and brutality. When George Bush today made the claim that Iraq was oppressing the people and that the United States government was required to free them, every person to disagree was silenced. There was no opposition to state that the United States had sold weapons of mass destruction to Iraq in the past, that previous US involvement with foreign conflict has resulted in creating extreme poverty and depriving citizens of their rights, that there was no intention to give Democracy (in a meaningful sense) to the Iraqi people -- every word of opposition was silenced. The United States government proceeded with its intentions to destroy another country and turn it into another jewel in the crown of Neo-Colonialism. Where was the opposition to speak to the president as he told great lies? Were they allowed to speak? No. In fact, when Saddam Hussein offered to debate George Bush in an organized debate, Bush denied this. And why is that? He claimed that it was simply a public relations tactic -- from a man whose army has funded the production and distribution of millions of pamphlets on why the United States government will restore order.
The United States government is a failure and it always has been. From the beginning, George Washington and many of the other founding fathers supported dungeons and jails for political offenders. This idea continued greatly into the next century where Lincoln imprisoned and executed people without a trial. The liars of history can speak what they will on Lincoln, but though he removed the shackles from the slave, he certainly didn't have the idea of freedom in his mind when he released into a world where death awaited when one spoke certain words If someone today wishes to change a law or implement a law, in what way can they do this? Through lobbyists. What does this mean? Instead of convincing the public that something is good, they try to convince the representatives. A great deal of laws are passed this way. It's not about convincing everyone that your idea is right. It's about convincing one single person that your idea is right. If you succeed, then three hundred million people are under the yoke of a law that they had no matter in deciding. But, if you convince millions of people in the United States that a law is necessary, it'll be no to no avail. In this government, who decides the laws? To say it's the people is an absurdity, and so the words "We the People" in the Constitution are nothing more than a grievous lie. So, in analysis, who decides the laws of the government in a Republic? Less than 1% of the population. This alone is a crime to humanity, but then think of the idea that lobbyists exist who try to convince just this one small amount of the population. Of course, with one person in control of all the other people, there is a great deal of corruption. The interests of the people aren't represented. The interests of the corporations, the companies, the trade organizations are represented. If anyone finds reason to argue in this, then consider the fact that the United States government has granted multi-billion dollar tax cuts for the industrial sectors of the economy, and consider how United States military action, in Cuba, the Philippines, Haiti, and Guatemala have always been at the benefit of foreign investors and at the cost of local populations.
So, before voting for a law, the forum members will first hear opinions on this law. In fact, this is the very nature of a forum: the free exchange of ideas. If the community decided to implement computers into the voting process, then those who wanted to speak on the matter may be able to type up their opinion and then have it published in the computer, so those voting may read the opinions of the speakers. Now, then, the matter of who gets to speak and when is an important one. If everyone spoke what they thought all the time, the forum would degrade from a place for the free exchange of thought to simply a rather noisy place. When a person proposes a bill, they can stand up and say what a new law ought to be, as well as why the law should be enacted. Then those who have an opinion to say on it can stand up and say what they want, in an order that they collectively decide.
One of the primary faults of decision-making in a Republic is that decisions and political elections are based largely on political parties, and not the opinions of the people. If someone desires to make a difference in a certain issue, often times they need to side with a political party. And it's nearly impossible for someone to get elected if they're Independent. The reason for this is because the laws of the United States work to favor only a two-party system. And why wouldn't they? Who decides the laws? The members of congress. It should be no surprise then why there are so many Anti-Democracy and Anti-Anarchism laws on the lawbooks: because those who choose the laws are having their power threatened by such ideologies. If someone in our society wants to make a difference, they will have to join a political party. By joining a political party, with only two decisions and both parties not at all much different, one must consent to a plethora of various ideologies before they can make a difference. Furthermore, if someone tries to get elected in this political arena, they must have the support of one of the two political parties. Not only does the system of political parties prevent independent political thought from challenging the system -- but it forges in concrete a political system that is opposed to the will of the people. By doing this, the will of the people is suppressed. In an Anarcho-Democratic community, political parties could exist, but their prevalence would be irrelevant. In the end, it would be the people who would listen to the opinions of the speakers and in the end it would be the people who would vote for the laws and the rules. In our current political system, what political parties do is oppress dissent -- whereas they would be deprived of such power (if they even existed) in an Anarcho-Democratic community.
One final assault against Democracy -- the will of the people -- is that, if going by this system of voting on laws, there could be suppression of the minority. For example, a law could come to pass that enslaved a minority to the majority. The law could be anything similar to American racial slavery, such as, "All members of this race are to become obedient slaves of this race," to, "1 out of every 5 people will randomly be picked by computer to be slaves to the others." It is very possible that this could occur in a purely Democratic community. However, it is incredibly unlikely. The reason why I would believe this is for various reasons. First, it must be understood that leaders of Republics and dictatorships have been the first to oppose any new reformers or revolutionaries. Not only have they been opposed, but they've been silenced. Whether this has been through blackmail and torture, or by the very simple means of book burning, governments all around the world have been responsible to being obstacles to the advance of progressivist and idealist groups. In a Democratic community, the people would be forced to deal with the issues. People would be allowed to speak on the matters, and Censorship would not exist. Another reason why I don't believe Democracy is productive of slavery is because all of the great liberationist movements started with the people and not with the government. The kings and presidents of the world have rarely ever destroyed shackles or removed fetters. It has been the people who decided that slavery was a crime, that brutality was inhumane, that cruelty is to be detested. Furthermore, there is one more issue on this matter that is to be considered. There is no bribery in an Anarchist society. It simply cannot exist, as there are no elected officials. In our modern society, the governments work for the interests of those with wealth. They will pass laws to help investors, as investors spend some of their profit on aiding those political parties. But, in a Democracy, it's the will of the people not the powerful that is enacted.
Economics -- The Work of Bossless People
Of all things, a fair and just work environment and economy is something that has been desired by all Anarchists and Communists. When a person examines the Capitalist economy, as it exists within any Western nation, they will see slavery. A man is owned by his boss or employer, and is dependent upon him for sustenance. It is true that as humans, as animals made of flesh and matter, we are subject to slavery of the natural laws -- we cannot disobey the fact that we need food and water to live. In that way, we are truly slaves to the Universe, but when I speak of the slavery of Capitalism, understand that I mean it in a wholly derogatory manner. When a man enslaves another man, it can be defined by one man being wholly dependent on another man, with no choice or option in the matter. In Capitalism, if a person refuses to work for a boss, there is an extremely small chance that they can sustain themselves with self-employment or their own business, where they enslave others. But, in general, it is incredibly unlikely to survive without a job. All workers of an economy need food, water, shelter, and the basic necessities of life. In Capitalism, unless a person submits to the merciless work of an employer, they will not receive any money for these necessities. And even with the Minimum Wage as it exists now, it is incredibly difficult for some people to make it by in this economy. So, when I speak of Capitalism being equivalent to slavery, I mean that it provides no option, no fair work, no justice, no respect for mercy or kindness or humane methods. In that regard, Capitalism is immoral, in that it produces the worst outcome for the greatest (and worthiest) people. When I say they are worthy, I mean this: they are the ones who do the work. Under Capitalism, the rich become wealthy by the work of the poor, while the poor workers simply delve further and further into poverty, struggling to put food on the table for their family. Meanwhile, Capitalist investors become rich, spending their money on many lavish, unnecessary, purely luxury items. While millions of children starve to death in foreign lands, our Capitalist leaders are spending their money on buying their tenth set of cars, expanding their mansions, and building golf courses. This is not justice, and this is not fairness.
Of course, it would be irrelevant for me to go on with the cruelty of the Capitalist system. Any person who is even slightly fluent in the statistics of a Capitalist economy is thoroughly convinced of the necessity of Socialism for any justice to take place -- and those who are unconvinced of the necessity of Socialism, with the facts as they stand, are those with vested interests in exploitation. For those further interested in the statistics concerning the Capitalist economy, they may refer to my book Class Conscious, or the essay Socialism: A Broader Explanation which further reduces the statistics to a more easily understood fashion.
There are many mechanisms of a Capitalist economy which are counterproductive: not only towards the interests of the workers, but towards the interests of the consumers. In a very real way, investors are not interested in creating a vibrant economy and political arena, where there is no prejudice or discrimination and every person is allowed their fair share, or where workers can be sure they will have work tomorrow, or where consumers can be sure they can afford food tomorrow. The only language that a Capitalist investor understands is the language of money: "If I can reduce the wages to the point where workers will become homeless, how much more profit will I make?" -- "If I decrease the safety standards of the factors, how much lower will my expenses be?" -- "If I fire all the unions workers and rehire those not represented by independent unions, will that make it easier to force workers to work 12 hours a day?" The concerns of an investor are for his own wealth, whereas the concerns of a worker and consumer are whether or not they will be able to survive. While one does no work, the other struggles to survive and does all the work of society. There is no justification for Capitalism but pure malice and greed.
In our current Capitalist economy, if a person has a job, they must serve their employer between certain hours. Often times, this has been translated to "the regular nine to five," indicating the hours that are typically issued to workers for the time they have to work. A practical alternative to this system, at least within a fair system of an Anarcho-Communist community, would be to allow workers to work whenever they wanted, for however long they wanted -- provided that work existed to be done. This may be hard to envision, but allow me to expand upon this concept. In an Industrial Society, the Assembly Line (with the aid of robotics) has become the primary method of manufacturing, as far as tools go, "tools" being loosely defined as anything that can make our lives easier, such as furniture or electronics. In each position of a single assembly line, there is a worker constructing one part of of the tool in production. Under an Anarcho-Communist community, a worker would go to their place of work when they desired to work, and assume their position at this part of the assembly line. Then, once they punch in an ID card, all the work that they do in that position will be registered as work done by them.
However, there are certain complications under this. For example, let us assume that under one factory, they have such a demand on their products that they are planning to make at least 100 units. Each unit will have its individual parts, each part constructed by the workers with the aid of technology. Now, consider one worker who assumes one particular role of the assembly line, and then consider that this worker was so devoted to their job and their personal advancement, and that they are so skilled, that they are capable of building the 100 parts of the unit that they are responsible for in their part of the assembly line -- then they would have no more work to do. Well, in an Anarcho-Communist community, education would be a top priority. When I speak of education, it would be helpful that we rid ourselves of the idea of forcing helpless, defenseless children and adolescents to a building that does nothing, but convince them that learning is nothing. When I speak of education, understand that I am speaking of voluntary learning. In these libraries and schools of the community, a person would be able to educate themselves on how to operate the different machinery of the factories, so that they could fill the positions of other parts of the assembly line. In that manner, if a person becomes bored with one position of the assembly line, or becomes bored with the type of manufacturing altogether, then they can work in another factory doing another position. This can also be one solution if one factory has already met its quota of units.
Of course, this would work perfectly fine for those businesses that employ the assembly line as a primary method for accomplishing work -- primarily, manufacturing. However, there are other industries that must be considered for this idea of working whenever you want. For example, in farming, a person would not take a position on an assembly line, but they would take a position on a tractor, or a piece of farm machinery. In mining, a person would take the position of overlooking and operating machinery. In construction, a worker would take the position of simply a builder, most likely a specialized builder who would build one part of a building, and then travel to another building that was ready for that part of the building, until there were no more buildings ready for that part or the worker was ready to stop working. For transportation, a worker would take the position of a driver. Yet not every industry can be so simple. Many of these industries are relatively simplistic, in that no boss is required, and with the aid of technology, workers don't all have to work at the same time. There are some industries that require workers to work at the same time, though. Consider, for example, the movie-making industry: actors, assistants, makeup specialists, directors, and all the other workers who are responsible for making movies -- they must all work at exactly the same time together cooperatively, if they are to be productive. Under these conditions where many workers must work together at the same time, only then will a worker have a set hour to work. Aside from that, farming and manufacturing and other relatively simple industries will not require set hours and all that.
The service industry, however, must be taken into consideration in a different light. I have read some Communist documents that have argued that service industry is based upon servantry, or menial slavery. However, in the context that it was spoken, it was mostly referring to clerks and the like. There must be certain service people who work in a society. The type of a service person that comes to mind would be a doctor or a surgeon. For these types of individuals, one practical method of solving their dilemma would be to have them work a set of hours, such as twelve o'clock to four o'clock. This way, a person in need of a service person will know when they are available. In the regard of doctors, one ought to always be available. So, for their position, it would be adequate to have one doctor work twelve o'clock to four o'clock, then four 'o'clock to eight o'clock, and so on, until all hours of the day are covered. Another solution to this problem would be to have a service worker stay home and simply leave a sign out, that they are available for work. In this manner, they can go about their own affairs and do what must be done in their own life, until they are needed by someone. Then that person will go to the service worker and ask for work to be done upon them. In that regard, the service worker is available and can go about their own life when they are not available. Perhaps, though, since a service worker must stay in their home while they are available for work, they should be paid for every hour that they make themselves available, a small fee, along side the work that they do for their customers. Of course, whatever decision about the matter must be agreed upon by the workers and the people of the commune, as it is a Democratic community.
Another outdated, antiquated mechanism of our modern Capitalism is how people are paid: per the hour. I propose that instead of being paid per the hour, a worker ought to be paid per the worth of their work. If we were to judge work by quality, then it is no mystery that the working environment would soon delve into that of a Bureaucracy -- where more resources are spent on governing the work than doing the actual work. This would be counterproductive for obvious reasons. If we were to have judges to measure the quality of work, it would be too lengthy of a process and too obstructive of a free working environment. A worker ought to be paid on the amount of work that they do. For example, in an assembly line, a worker would be paid for each unit that they work on. On a farm, a worker would be paid for each bale of hay they could get from a machine, or for each row of land they were capable of harvesting with a tractor. In transportation, they would be paid for every mile they were capable of driving. And so on, with the different industries and the marks of production they hold.
The value of compensation for a position would be determined by several factors: (1) the variety of individual positions which are required to produce the final product, (2) the difficulty of the individual positions which are required for the final product. For example, consider that a factory was producing desks. The process of producing a single desk was as follows: (1) first, the wood comes in and is either cut into legs or a top, (2) second, the legs are then attached to the top, and (3) third, paint is applied to the final product. It must be kept in mind, though, that each one of these tasks is done with the aid of technology. The cost of the wood per desk is $10, and the final product cost is $20. This would mean that for every desk made, $10 would go to the workers. As far as the variety of positions, that would deduct to each position earning $3.33 per desk worked on. However, then it must be taken into consideration that one job may be more difficult or stressing than another job. For example, perhaps the technology for painting the desks was antiquated, and this would result in making it messy for those working that position, and therefore it took them longer to complete the task and more effort. Then, for those working in the painting position, they might be paid $5.00 per unit they work on, whereas those working in the other areas would be paid $2.50 per unit they worked on. In the end, a person is rewarded precisely for the amount of work that they enact upon the product. This is fairness, this is justice, and this is the type of economy I would desire.
Finally, there is the primary question... How many units are to be made per industry, and who makes this decision? Since this would be an Anarchistic community, where decision are decided by the people and not by a person, the answer is rather clear: units to be made per industry are to be decided Democratically by the community. Of course, the complication that arises is that it would seem to be an extremely tedious and boring job. One solution is the community could hire several consultants to decide for them all -- but not absolutely. The consultants could research the matter, and then recommend to the community an amount per industry that should be made. The research would be based upon the statistics of how many people are currently purchasing what items and the factors of how that may change. Of course, if a society believes that a consultant's predictions are off, they have the right to change it -- Democratically, as all decisions are made. Here, though, is where the primary appeal to a government is made: it is much simpler, easier when only one person decides things, because there is no conflict or disagreement. Regardless, when only one person decides things with a military and police force to back them up, it is the ingredients for corruption, brutality, and a Totalitarian state, not much different than life in this contemporary America.
When an economic plan is brought up, it is a vastly complex thing. There are a hundred numbers, each decided by a formula of its own. This is similarly the case with legislation passed today. It's not just one law, but a package of initiatives. The problem with this is that in an Anarchist community, it could possibly be an extremely tedious and lengthy process. For example, let's assume someone brings up the bill that the community is to fund the building of a radio factory, with four different positions on the assembly line, importing materials from a particular country, and then the bill set wages for the different positions. Now, let's consider that another person opposes this bill, but then proposes their own bill in response to it: instead of a radio factor, it's a television factory; or instead it has six positions on the assembly line; or instead the materials are imported from another country; or instead the wages for the different positions is different. In a package of laws in one bill, it would not be difficult to find an Anarchist community quickly divided among ten or twenty different bills, each proposing different standards. And, in a community where each individual understood that their vote was important, we would find someone supporting a bill, because they agree with most or part of it, or where the bill is the lesser of the two evils in their opinion. A person may like the idea of a radio factory with four positions, but might disagree with where the materials for construction are purchased from. Or a person may like the idea of the four positions, but disagree with the wages given to each position. What we found, then, is that the efficiency of Democracy is lessened. Every person in the community is in the minority of at least one part of the bill they detest. The way for a Democratic community to solve this problem is easy, though. Once the bill is proposed, instead of proposing alternative bills to it, there is a vote to make an alteration to the bill. For example, once the bill is proposed, if someone thinks that materials should be imported from another country, for the sake of the humane working conditions in that country or for the sake of cost, then they will make their case to the public and someone else will say why they disagree, and then a vote will occur; this process will be repeated until every person has had their say on the bill and what they disagree about it, and the public has voted on what they like best and detest the least.
Essentially, what I covered in the last paragraph was based more on Democracy; primarily how Democracy works within regards to Socialism. Also, when a community decides that they are going to enact a bill that requires funds, the best Democratic choice is for the community to do a tax with th passing of the bill. In this regard, it eliminates the possibility of static funds being set aside With regards to our American Republic, massive amounts of taxes are collected (often times, excluding rich, industrial sectors due to their donations to political party campaigns), in our socio-political arena, taxes are collected, and then bureaucrats spend years on what to do with the taxes. In an Anarcho-Communist commune, though, a bill will be passed, with instructions for taxes, and then the taxes will be collected for that bill alone. This will be a great technique for preventing corruption, as every person will be able to see where every dollar they spend on taxes is going -- no taxes will ever be collected without the taxpayer's vote and knowledge of the matter.
A Western Commune Today
Many, many, many years ago, there was a Socialist man by the name of Robert Owen (his followers to be known as "Owenites"). The social significance of this is great though, because Robert Owen was not a reformer or a revolutionary. Instead, he was a factory owner, and in many real ways, he was a member of the "Capitalist class," but in opposition to Capitalist ideology. What made him a Socialist though was not just what he believed but what he did. He lived during the rise of the Industrial Revolution. To any reader who is even only slightly education in working conditions of the Industrial Revolution, it would be inane for me to cover them: the long, 14 hour shifts of work, the extremely dangerous conditions, the starvation wages, the children working under the condition of an overseer equipped with a whip, among other heartless and merciless brutalities. Robert Owen refused to partake in any of these activities, despite the fact that doing so would save him money -- and to any Humanitarian, it may seem obscure to indicate that a person would ever be cruel and brutal to save small amounts of money, but to those in the Capitalist class, it is the only language they know, and it shows in the way they conduct their tyranny. Robert Owen built communities, providing housing and education for his workers. Better yet, he made factories safer for workers and he reduced the work day to only 8 hours -- something that would later be realized by the law only 200 years later. He was under no obligation to do this, except the obligation of his heart to a humane, rational method, but when I say he had no obligation, I mean he had not entered into a collective bargaining contract. Instead, he did what he did for his workers on account of the fact that he believed in fair and just working conditions. He did a great deal more than many of the Socialist and Communist writers, despite the fact that some philosophers have conceded that they still deplore Robert Owen on rather farcical accounts, such as how some of his factory communities went out of business due to the economy and how this led to unemployment. Some of his entrepreneurial ventures were successful, while some were not. The fact is, he provided housing, better compensation, and education to his workers -- something that even today Capitalists refuse to do. Above all, he provided fairness and liberty. In an age and time when there was no respect for justice by the crowns of the world, he decided to make it be the guiding force of his decisions -- and for this, he has my respect.
In many respects, the type of community I proposed is far, far away from us, legislatively and as far as the public is concerned. The governments of the world will forever oppose Anarchism and Communism, because Anarchism puts them out of the job and Communism is a threat to their biggest supporters. But, it is not entirely out of the question to start an Anarcho-Communist community today. For every Socialist, Communist, or Anarchist that exists in this world, there are at least 10,000 people who want better working conditions, fairer wages, and a more Democratic government. People are sick of working so hard for so much, seeing so much wealth in the pockets of so few, and of the corruption, the bribery, and the elitist industrial class making the decisions for all of society. The reason why people do not all call themselves Socialists, Communists, or Anarchists is simple: the government, the media, and the corporations have so opposed these ideas that to even consider them makes you taboo. What I would like to see today is a group of workers pool their money together and buy up several lots of land, perhaps an old factory, and then focus around that one industry. They would operate in a manner that I have described with this essay: purely Democratic and Socialistic. Since they would be under the jurisdiction of the United States government's federal and local laws, a total disobedience to these laws would be in effect, meaning that every person would refuse to cooperate with the government authorities. This would mean that those laws which today are unjust would not be practiced: recreational drugs would become safe and affordable, saying and thinking what you want would no longer be a crime, and Euthanasia would be practiced when absolutely necessary. The mechanics of this community do not need to be elaborated upon, as that was the target of this essay. But if such a community existed, it would be of great moral support to all Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Syndicalists, and persons in support of social justice. In a very real way, once it was discovered that such a community could exist, that Anarcho-Communism was capable of producing fair working conditions and a true Democracy, there would be a massive underground and mainstream migration to this community. Those who are poor, homeless, and living on the street, but their heart always living by justice, would have a place to travel to, where they know they would be treated with respect and kindness. With this commune, there would be a sanction for those who were sick of Capitalism's madness, and its disregard for the rights of the Proletariat. And, in this community, unlike in America, when a person works, they work knowing that it is for the betterment of themselves and the betterment of mankind, and in this, we can find pride in our work, instead of knowing that it all simply ads to the wealth of some sickeningly rich, elite class.
[Resource on information on Robert Owen is from: Contemporary Macroeconomics, by Milton H. Spencer, Worth Publishers, Inc., Fourth Edition.]
Truth, Justice, Humanity...