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The world is burning, a pandemic raging, and overworked people everywhere are struggling to survive. Meanwhile the wealthy engorge themselves ever more vigorously. What ever can be done to get us out of this hell-world? I will try to answer.
The most conventional route oft prescribed is voting, and it should not be overlooked. Everyone has an obligation to judge which two options are most likely to succeed, and of those two decide which is least revolting. For all their faults, as far as global warming and pandemic response are concerned the Democrats hold the distinction of not flat out denying reality and have historically succeeded in pursuing evidence-based solutions. They showed this by fixing the ozone layer and containing outbreaks of swine flu and the Ebola virus, issues that Republicans choose to ignore as a deliberate public policy decision. Likewise only Democrats have succeeded in expanding access to basic health care, labor rights, cutting taxes for the working class, raising the minimum wage, reversing gerrymandering, decriminalizing drugs, establishing rent control, increasing access to college, building the social safety net, and modernizing the democratic process by reducing bribery while boosting ranked choice voting and ballot propositions. Not only have Republicans achieved absolutely nothing in these areas, more often than not they stand in deliberate opposition to these policies despite their overwhelming popularity. Cynics are right to condemn neoliberal elements of the Democratic Party, but to allow Republicans to take office instead only enables further decay in the material conditions of the American people. No protest vote or abstention can excuse the needless more deaths of our siblings and cousins that such symbolic gestures would allow to happen. If leftists are to ever pride themselves in embracing scientific empiricism as a unifying theory they must include voting Republicans out of office in their diversity of tactics. Voting, after all, is only the minimum of what we can and must do. Defeating Republicans unfortunately often requires donating time and money to campaigns we don't always agree with, but it is only to avoid more catastrophic outcomes. Needless to say, however, electing the lesser evil will never be enough to save us from the psychopathic ruling class.
Our well-being is too important to leave to electoral politics. Our favorite candidates are always at risk of losing, and even if elected are never guaranteed to achieve or even pursue what they had promised. What can we do then? No matter what happens, there will never be a time we can't educate, agitate, and organize each other. Ultimately that may be all we can ever do.
We need to educate each other about how our biggest problems can be solved through public policy, using technology and resources we already have. We know we can already house everyone because we already have more unoccupied homes built than homeless people. We know we have enough food because of all the food we throw away, and enough healthcare because of the wealth it creates. With solar power now cheaper than fossil fuels, only greed drives our climate crisis, not lack of innovation. Since this vast abundance has been achieved without full employment, we can even know now that forcing everyone to work is neither desirable nor even necessary for society to meet its most basic needs.
On the other hand we also know that knowledge itself is not enough. We must agitate each other out of the comforts of apathy and escapism if we ever want to construct the world we want to live in. We must continually remind each other of the magnitude of our problems while providing the vision of a world finally free of them, making as painfully clear as possible how far we are from our rightful inheritance, and how much worse things are likely to become if we don't act. In this way we should all become journalist-artists, refining our skills for maximal outcome. There are specific people in power with the ability to fix things, who need to be disabused of the notion that what they're doing is okay. They need to know how much they make their own people suffer, so that they can finally do the right thing.
Knowledge and anger will come to nothing however if we are not also organized. Sporadic bouts of public anger can easily be ignored, while a coordinated series of gradually escalating yet unpredictable demonstrations of public outrage can make even the most ruthless and entrenched dictatorships suddenly evaporate. The most formidable enemy of the ruling class is a decentralized movement of activists forming small groups with their closest friends and family in order to spur to action the best versions of ourselves. Through these affinity groups larger organizations can be formed and joined. By focusing our efforts to educate, agitate, and organize each other, our political goals can become inescapable. We can continue pressuring our bosses and politicians, but ultimately the people must take power themselves, which can only be done through direct democracy both in government and in the workplace. In the workplace it means joining a union that gives all its members an equal voice, like the Industrial Workers of the World, and forming worker cooperatives in place of corporations. In government this means enacting public policy directly with ballot propositions our politicians are forced to obey. With the right focus we may find achieving our goals to be far easier than we could have ever imagined.
– Erikos Andropoulos
Learn more at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism
Unionize at: iww.org
Follow me at: facebook.com/erikosandropoulos twitter.com/eandropoulos medium.com/@erikosandropoulos
It's a classic tactic against any reasonable political proposal, to declare it an evil scheme of the left to take away our freedoms through deception and inevitable violence, but what does the left actually want? As a libertarian socialist I will try to answer that for myself and the movement in general to demonstrate our goals are not only good, they are imminently appealing.
Most broadly the libertarian left seeks liberty, equality, and solidarity for all people. Liberty means being able to do whatever one likes so long they allow others the same freedom. This includes classic liberal values like freedom of speech, the press, belief, association, privacy, self-defense, and trial by jury. Socialists however go beyond liberalism by insisting on the freedom of all to a say in how the wealth of the world is used and distributed. They point to the inescapable truth that no one is the sole agent of their own success. All human efforts are only made possible by the immeasurable efforts made by others before them. Likewise, the child of the rich is no more responsible for their good fortune than the poor child is for their squalor.
To be free every person must have a say, a vote, on the wealth of the world. The opulence of the banker could only occur thanks to the toils of ancestors shared in common with peasants on every continent. The only reparation for the countless thefts of one heir from another is to give every conscious adult an equal vote in the distribution of our collective inheritance. It should be fantastically clear that the human race would never abolish the individual's right to personal possessions, but if an agreed upon proportion of society requires certain resources for an agreed upon as justified purpose it will do whatever it can to expropriate those resources from whomever holding them. It is not the vote's purpose to legitimize expropriation, rather it is only a means of averting more violent forms of conflict while also making clear whenever hoarders are violating their social contract, to save them the shame of consequently being denied the benefits of society all loyal citizens are free to enjoy.
Libertarian socialists recognize, however, that freedom of expression and voting are hardly freedom at all if people are ever denied free access to their basic needs of life, particularly housing, food, medicine, water, information, childcare, leisure, and a safe environment.
Thus, we want and seek freedom, to express ourselves, to take care of ourselves, and to reward ourselves for the work we do for each other. The simplest way to guarantee free access to basic goods and services is to simply give everyone newly printed money to adequately meet their needs, either given directly to producers or to the consumers themselves. Taxes can be used to discourage over-consumption and hoarding, but are unnecessary to prevent inflation since inflation is itself a tax on hoarding, so long producers are materially able to meet demand. Since we have the resources and technology already to provide everyone the basics of survival it only causes unneeded stress and suffering not to print and give people the money to access them. Conservatives may decry this “debasement” of the currency as stealing from the rich, but again this money-printing is only being done to avoid more forceful methods of expropriating resources innately belonging to everyone equally. Imagine the lives we could enjoy if we didn't needlessly force ourselves to work endless hours just to sustain them.
Thus, we seek through both political and social means to secure the basic needs and liberties we deserve. We seek this security directly through mutual aid and regionally through ballot propositions. We condemn all forms of “representative democracy” that are not bound by mandate to the will of the people. We prefer a delegative democracy as opposed to the bribery-fueled plutocratic oligarchy currently claiming to be a republic.
This liberty we seek is nothing without equality and solidarity. We must defend the liberties of our fellow humans even when we ourselves are in no danger, so that they might return the favor when we are threatened, and to finally relieve ourselves from the guilt of perpetuating needless suffering and oppression on our own siblings and cousins. If these ends we seek appeal to you, we urge you to not just join our movement and organizations, but to also join together with your friends and family wherever you are and through the internet wherever they are. We do not need leaders to act. Find each other, form groups, clubs, associations, unions and confederations, and take what's ours! Freedom! Life! Happiness! There is still time to achieve what we have always sought for if only we act now!
– Erikos Andropoulos, California
Learn more at:
Throughout humanity's existence the course of people's lives has been dictated by the struggle to survive in a world of material scarcity. Prevented from pursuing their deepest wishes and desires, folks have been forced to toil their lives away doing work in no way of their choosing just to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. Thanks to the development of technology for the first time in human history we have the means to generate food and housing for everyone with no appreciable sacrifice in anyone's quality of life.
This seemingly miraculous state of abundance mired in artificial scarcity can be demonstrated with two simple, entirely uncontroversial observations.
The first proof of post-scarcity is that America now has several times more unoccupied homes already built than its number of people who have none. News agencies of conflicting ideologies currently agree that about three million Americans are homeless, many of whom are pregnant women or with severe illness, while about eighteen million homes currently built have no one living in them. Thus we find forced homelessness entirely the result of scarcity of imagination and organization rather than scarcity of resources or technological ability.
Artificial scarcity is also proven by our second observation, that enough food is wasted everyday that could easily feed everyone regardless of how little they may be giving back in return. We see this food wasted as a routine part of both its production and consumption.
Public money that is newly taxed or printed can easily be provided to everyone as food stamps and housing vouchers so that no one again must worry about being forced into unwanted work, sometimes also known as slavery, just to maintain their immediate physical safety. The entire world likewise is now showing America that even the poorest countries can provide the highest standard of medical care to all its people free of cost. Just as Americans unconditionally provide fire protection freely for all, nations around the world have also proven the feasibility of tuition-free college and childcare for anyone seeking them.
It is a long known fact since the dawn of civilization that new money can always be printed to distribute goods and services if production is physically able to meet the demand for them. Since we are physically able to house and feed everyone it can only follow that new money can be printed to purchase it. As long as max productive capacity is not yet reached, producers will avoid raising prices in order to not lose business to competitors. Indisputably every historical instance of hyperinflation to be found has been due to collapses in productive capacity rather than frivolous money-printing policy, most often related to preoccupation with financial speculation and military adventurism. With our current abundance of unemployed workers and basic goods we can afford to give right now newly printed money as a universal basic income to give the workers who produce them jobs. Americans will continue to work for the same reason they always have, they want more than just the bare minimum in their lives. Those who will not work can give their new money to those who do while maintaining the most basic level of security till their situation changes. Since taxes are only necessary to prevent hyperinflation and the hoarding of resources, and not to fund spending, taxes on income should immediately be eliminated for anyone making less than the amount needed for emotional stability, currently estimated at about seventy thousand dollars per year. Meanwhile the taxes of incomes above that threshold can be adjusted to any level voters deem best for the economy. During the conservative paradise of the Eisenhower era, taxes on the richest Americans were never less than ninety percent. These measures could be used to immediately shut down the Covid pandemic by allowing nonessential workers to stay home. Knowing that public action has already succeeded in fixing the ozone layer, curing Hepatitis C, landing on the moon, and making people walk again with stem cells, it seems entirely reasonable that we could provide all with the most basic quantity of food, shelter, schooling, and medicine, and downright bizarre that we have not done so already. A simple explanation why we haven't is because we have too often delegated policy-making to politicians entirely bought and paid for by the ruling class. Any differences between viable political parties is kept at a minimum that this class chooses to permit, so long that actual change never really be considered by voters. Unfortunately this arrangement is now threatening the total destruction of all life on this planet, as we are already seeing in the acidification of the oceans and increasingly extreme weather sparking mass extinctions, agricultural collapse, and atrocities against those displaced as a result. Fortunately history has provided us two principal strategies to reclaim our policy-making power from these tyrants without any need for bloodshed: direct democracy and progressively escalating acts of public pressure onto those currently wielding power.
We need to join together with our friends now to pass propositions and pressure politicians. All successful movements have depended upon friends sharing the same values joining together to form affinity groups, largely informal groups of two to ten people each that function to support and empower each member to develop and utilize their skills to the fullest extent to effect political change. Mobilized by this foundation of support these close-knit activists can then join together into confederations as well as other larger political organizations, again with the goal of passing propositions and pressuring politicians to effect true liberty, equality, and solidarity for all. Until each proposition passes and each politician relents, however, we must turn to our own people, educating, agitating, and organizing each other into action. If you are not yet able to start or join an affinity group with anyone there are still plenty of larger organizations already available to explore, including the Industrial Workers of the World, the Socialist Rifle Association, and the countless credit unions that give each of their members an equal vote in their decision-making. Fighting together nothing less than the laws of physics can stop us from finally inheriting the future we deserve and desire. Let us activate and mobilize each other before we find ourselves in a world more horrifying than anything we could ever imagine in a life we might never have a chance at again. I'm confident we can get there, but we must take our first steps now!
-Erikos Andropoulos blog.erikosandropoulos.com facebook.com/erikosandropoulos
Like most anarchists around the world I consider myself a libertarian socialist, but what is libertarian socialism?
Libertarian socialism is the seemingly radical yet shockingly old idea of providing the basic necessities of life for free for all people under direct democratic control coordinated within a delegative confederalist framework:
Universally guaranteed basic income, healthcare, child care, education-for-life, healthy food, clean water, and housing.
Public policy with all elected officials under strict control of the people via national ballot initiatives that guarantee unconditionally that the above basic needs of all are met while eliminating monetary transactions from everyday life as organized by publicly audited hand-read paper ballots discussed, debated, written & re-written in local & regional telenetworked conventions organized by popular voting, reducing politicians to mere advisors to their constituencies; abolition of the electoral college; and an executive branch without a president, organized horizontally with locally and regionally elected mandate-bound officials, who can be instantly recalled by popular vote at any time, with powers given to them purely as dictated by regularly scheduled surveying of the public’s wishes, shifting from a “representative” to a liquid (direct+delegative) form of democracy.
Bringing democracy to the workplace with democratically owned worker-managed cooperatives, associations, and credit unions instead of corporations and banks.
Anarchism is not against collective, democratic management of resources, rather it is against the propping up of a select group of people to impose their own policy decisions on everyone else. That is what we call “the state” which we wish to abolish and replace with directly democratic confederations of communities and workplaces. Right now in America “representatives” are chosen between two privately financed parties who are then free to enact any policies they or their donors wish, regardless of how much their constituents may oppose them. That is NOT democracy, it’s plutocracy with the illusion of choice.
We demand an organized world of anarchy without rulers other than the people!
Liberty Equality Solidarity
How do we get there?
By Educating, Agitating, and Organizing Each Other
Let's put our “representatives” under the continually intensifying pressure they need to get universal healthcare and all other necessities secured for all, and push on ourselves to take back the power that should be ours.
You can learn more about anarchism, as explained by actual anarchists, here:
Another place of interest is here:
Anarchy is order, capitalism is chaos