what does chaz want? (was anarchism/marxism)

rc-am rcollins at netlink.com.au
Mon Aug 23 18:21:27 PDT 1999

a brief as possible, and final, reiteration.

yoshie wrote:

> You are making two mistakes. (1) You assume that planning must equal
infallibility (or god-like complete knowledge, which is of course neither possible nor desirable), or that a desire for planning must equal a desire for infallibility.<

the latter, but a desire for infallibility is not how i would characterise it. rather, a beleif that there is a body (either self or state or party) which can be vested or attributed with a complete knowledge.

whether this can be done, i have no idea, but i strongly doubt it. what concerns me more is the aspiration to make this so, and more specifically, the aspiration to make this so in a body which is at the same time vested with the claim to transport us from what exists to what does not, to plan a radically different future. this is authoriarianism.

a radically different future by definition goes beyond any plan, and should be (by definition) able to 'escape' it; thus raising the issue that the significant breaks (revolutions) are rather something that goes against the plan. if we define planning itself as socialism/communism, then those who go against the plan are situated as (by definition) counter-revolutionaries -- not simply a theoretical point. was the resistance against taylorisation by russian workers counter-revolutionary?

> (2) You assume that an argument against the authoritarian state must
take the form of an argument against planning.<

no. i read chaz's posts as specifically outlining a version of the theory of capitalism as 'anarchic', whose principal features (and awfulness) consists of 'the market' against which planning and 'the state' are counterposed as what defined socialism/communism. chaz specifically used the phrase 'conscious planning' twice, which is what prompted the original query as to whether he thinks there is an unconscious/subsconscious in all this, or whether indeed, consciousness is complete. in this context, it's quite appropriate i think to raise the issue of the unconscious within such formulations.

but that wasn't as much my concern as a significant tendecy within marxism which makes these kinds of distinctions and definitions, and one which becomes a critique of the market and its presumed inability to distribute according to needs, no longer a critique of capital, including the capitalist state. a critique of the form of capital and the form of the state get reduced down into a critique of a specific organisation and distribution of capital and the state. this is the connection between statism and planning. it becomes authoritarian when it is connected to the aspiration to _consciously_ encompass needs and desires within the planner state and to become a vehicle of the future (needs and desires).

chaz now answers this with the notion of practice, which i'd have to say is a good an answer as i can think of, but one which perhaps begs the next question of decisions which go outside plans already laid.

> More importantly, one may desire planning without desiring the
authoritarian state, and this fact, I think, is the common ground between anarchism and communism. A desire for a free association and voluntary cooperation of producers/consumers (an expression of which is a desire for socialist planning, ensuring predictable fulfillment of most human needs) isn't an authoritarian desire.<

well, if you answer it like that, then presumably you don't think the state is the vehicle for this planning. is that right? that the only kind of way most people can envision the possibilities of this free association and voluntary co-operation either through the invisible hand of the market or through the conscious planning of the state is already a vision caught in the options we have at hand. to define the latter as socialism, let alone communism, is itself a kind of utopianism.

> >why does shitting always seem to be the final resort of a bedrock
> >version of needs?
> Because the needs to eat, drink, sleep, and excrete are most obviously
> common to all human beings (and predictably so, I may add), unless you
> imagine human freedom and desire to be metaphysical entities that can
> be disembodied from biological givens.

ahh, yoshie. you're fudging. we both know you didn't say shitting; you said wiping your bum with toilet paper. hardly a biological given there is it? my point was that shitting gets a mention every time in supposedly witty attempts to cast around for some supposedly immediate natural need, despite the fact that how you shit, and in particular how we use toilet paper, is hardly the bedrock it's claimed to be.

Angela _________

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