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Every Individual
is Part of the Whole

Individualism and Collectivism
as Part of the Same Desire

By Punkerslut

Image from WikiMedia
Image: From WikiCommons, Edited by Punkerslut

Start Date: August 12, 2009
Finish Date: August 12, 2009

"Let us also observe that if the needs of the individual are our starting-point, we cannot fail to reach Communism, an organization which enables us to satisfy all needs in the most thorough and economical way."
          --Peter Kropotkin,
          "The Conquest of Bread," 1892, Chapter 14, Part II

     As a Socialist, many will argue how I can be an Individualist. If I believe in making things more public and more common, how can I also be a defender and believer of the individual?

     My personal belief is that only each person knows what is right for themselves. If they make an incorrect choice, only they can learn from it, and forcing them into the right path, even if you are sure it's the right path, will make them stubborn to it, instead of naturally accepting it out of their experiences.

     And it is the stubborn acceptor who will be the first to doubt, the first to exploit, the first to push and shove others around them; "This is how I was indoctrinated into the order, by something being put forcefully upon me! And so I shall do it to others around me! I have been the prey, and now I am the predator..."

     But the person to naturally accept something, because their reason and evidence compels them, will be thoughtful and logical. They'll be able to defend their belief in argument; they'll be able to expose deceit and promote virtue. They accepted it, after critically examining it. And it is this skeptical mind that will quickly point out the weaknesses and contradictions of opponents.

"The remission of debts was peculiar to Solon; it was his great means for confirming the citizens' liberty; for a mere law to give all men equal rights is but useless, if the poor must sacrifice those rights to their debts, and, in the very seats and sanctuaries of equality, the courts of justice, the offices of state, and the public discussions, be more than anywhere at the beck and bidding of the rich."
          --Plutarch, ~75 AD
          "Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans," Section: "Comparison of Poplicola with Solon"

     Whether it is a religious, social, cultural, or educational idea -- only the individual knows what is right for themselves. Pushing them into something runs the risk of making them stubborn to it, as well as the pusher being deceived in what would improve the individual. Only the individual is the best decision-maker in their own life.

     "If you believe so much in the value of the individual, how are you also a collectivist? How can you both believe in the meaning of the individual, and the meaning of the collective?"

     As an individualist, I believe that only each individual should make their own decisions. The individual should do what is in their best interest, according to their own reasoning and experience. And it is in the individual's best interest to abolish Capitalism!

Image from WikiMedia
Image: From WikiCommons, Edited by Punkerslut

"The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the nineteenth century. But this has nothing to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above."
          --George Orwell, 1941
          "The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius," Part I, Section II

     Capitalism entails ownership of the majority of wealth by the few. This is its defining detail: that property is held and controlled by the few. For this reason, it operates and functions according only to the interests of the few. Through cooperation, businesses work together to raise prices and fix markets. Then there is always the constant opposition to workers' rights.

     Some of this exploitation is done through deliberate agreements; other times, it is done just through the general understanding that all rich corporations have with each other. That understanding is that they want to maintain their position on top of the rest of society. To sacrifice some of the gains from competition, they'll get the security of absolute domination over the market.

     What is available for purchase, what hours you work, what land and factories are used for, to what end society operates -- all of this are out of your possession. As an individual, it is in your interest to resist and change it. And as a collective, it is in the people's interest to change it. Only by organizing as a collective will we liberate the individual.

     This is the spirit of Anarcho-Syndicalism; and it is the perfect duality of individualism and collectivism.

"We hold further that Communism is not only desirable, but that existing societies, founded on Individualism, are inevitably impelled in the direction of Communism. The development of Individualism during the last three centuries is explained by the efforts of the individual to protect himself from the tyranny of Capital and of the State. For a time he imagined, and those who expressed his thought for him declared, that he could free himself entirely from the State and from society. 'By means of money,' he said, 'I can buy all that I need.' But the individual was on a wrong tack, and modern history has taught him to recognize that, without the help of all, he can do nothing, although his strong-boxes are full of gold.'"
          --Peter Kropotkin,
          "The Conquest of Bread," 1892, Chapter 3, Part I


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