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Friday, November 28 2014 @ 04:45 PM CST

42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism

Practical Anarchy

It is time to try to describe, at first abstractly and later concretely, a strategy for destroying capitalism. At its most basic, this strategy calls for pulling time, energy, and resources out of capitalist civilization and putting them into building a new civilization. The image, then, is one of emptying out capitalist structures, hollowing them out, by draining wealth, power, and meaning from them until there is nothing left but shells.

42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism

By James Herod
Republished from jamesherod.info

It is time to try to describe, at first abstractly and later concretely, a strategy for destroying capitalism. At its most basic, this strategy calls for pulling time, energy, and resources out of capitalist civilization and putting them into building a new civilization. The image, then, is one of emptying out capitalist structures, hollowing them out, by draining wealth, power, and meaning from them until there is nothing left but shells.

This is definitely an aggressive strategy. It requires great militancy and constitutes an attack on the existing order. The strategy clearly recognizes that capitalism is the enemy and must be destroyed, but it is not a frontal attack aimed at overthrowing the system; it is an inside attack aimed at gutting it, while simultaneously replacing it with something better, something we want.

Thus, capitalist structures (corporations, governments, banks, schools, etc.) are not seized so much as simply abandoned. Capitalist relations are not fought so much as they are simply rejected. We stop participating in activities that support (finance, condone) the capitalist world and start participating in activities that build a new world while simultaneously undermining the old. We create a new pattern of social relations alongside capitalist ones, and then continually build and strengthen our new pattern while doing everything we can to weaken capitalist relations. In this way our new democratic, nonhierarchical, noncommodified relations can eventually overwhelm the capitalist relations and force them out of existence.

This is how it has to be done. This is a plausible, realistic strategy. To think that we could create a whole new world of decent social arrangements overnight, in the midst of a crisis, during a so-called revolution or the collapse of capitalism, is foolhardy. Our new social world must grow within the old, and in opposition to it, until it is strong enough to dismantle and abolish capitalist relations. Such a revolution will never happen automatically, blindly, determinably, because of the inexorable materialist laws of history. It will happen, and only happen, because we want it to, and because we know what we’re doing and how we want to live, what obstacles have to be overcome before we can live that way, and how to distinguish between our social patterns and theirs.

But we must not think that the capitalist world can simply be ignored, in a live-and-let-live attitude, while we try to build new lives elsewhere. (As mentioned earlier, there is no elsewhere.) There is at least one thing, wage slavery, that we can’t simply stop participating in (but even here there are ways we can chip away at it). Capitalism must be explicitly refused and replaced by something else. This constitutes war, but it is not a war in the traditional sense of armies and tanks; it is a war fought on a daily basis, on the level of everyday life, by millions of people. It is a war nevertheless because the accumulators of capital will use coercion, brutality, and murder, as they have always done in the past, to try to block any rejection of the system. They have always had to force compliance; they will not hesitate to continue to do so. Still, there are many concrete ways that individuals, groups, and neighborhoods can gut capitalism, which I will enumerate shortly.

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42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism | 2 comments | Create New Account
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42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism
Authored by: Makhno on Saturday, May 17 2014 @ 04:50 PM CDT

There is so much wrong with this piece that I hardly know where to begin.  I attended a presentation James Herod gave years ago at  an anarchist conference in Chicago, where he was discussing a long pamphlet he had recently published, which contains pretty much the same kind of ideas as presented here.  I wasn't impressed then (nor was anyone else, as far as I could tell), and I'm not impressed now. 

To start with, in the very first paragraph, Herod promotes the same tired old Leninist notion of dual power, or "building the new world in the shell of the old". 

He then goes on to state that in order for this process to start, "...millions and millions of people must be dissatisfied with their way of life...What must exist is a pressing desire to live a certain way and not to live another way. If this pressing desire were a desire to live free, to be autonomous, to live in democratically controlled communities, to participate in the self-regulating activities of a mature people, then capitalism could be destroyed." 

That's a pretty big "if", and without this massive and far-reaching change in people's value systems, Herod's strategies are meaningless.

What are the fundamentals of his strategy?  Neighborhood associations, employee associations, and cooperative housing associations (or tenants' associations).  Of the neighborhood associations,  he admits, "It may seem pointless at first, since these associations will have neither power nor money", and if so, just how does he intend to persuade people to take an active interest in these groups?  The same could be said of his proposed employee associations; unless they have a specific purpose, such as a strike for higher wages or improved working conditions, they will generate little enthusiasm.  As for the housing or tenants' associations, communal living just isn't everybody's cup of tea.

42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism
Authored by: Admin on Saturday, May 17 2014 @ 07:03 PM CDT

James is a great guy and I really respect the work he has done on this over the years.

It's kind of hard to find fault with James over not spelling out things when he's put out more practical suggestions than just about any other anarchist out there.

That being said, I'm sure there is plenty to discuss and debate here.

Chuck