Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Conversation Starters

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  • Keir Leslie,

    <quote>But those are ordained and maintained by governments, which are like, authority...</i>

    But they needn't be -- see the Co-Op Movement.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    What do vegan anarchist utopians do to people who insist on eating animals? Pass a law against it?

    This is coming from the largest single consumer of pork in the southern Wellington area: they don't say you can't eat meat, they say you shouldn't. Given the numbers, my guess is that they're going to collectively give you the evils if you're caught eating ham in public. (Oh, and if you're the last remaining carnivore, you'll have to do the requisite pig farming yourself I guess.)

    Yes, but the hardware and technology still comes from commercial manufacturers, and they still have management structures, legal status and all that other authoritarian stuff.

    That's it, I'm getting you the complete works of Bakunin at the Whitcoulls Christmas sales. There is nothing - *nothing* - that puts anarchism and industry in contradiction with each other.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    they don't say you can't eat meat, they say you shouldn't

    And never bomb butchers, factory farmers or those who experiment with animals?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • richard thomson,

    Seriously, when we've done away with capitalism, who runs global telecommunications?

    Um, apparently it's not obvious to everybody that even the capitalists are capable of running it on their own:
    http://www.guide2.co.nz/money/news/business/parts-of-ngns-may-be-unlikely-to-be-economic-to-duplicate/11/4865

    owhiro bay • Since Mar 2008 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And never bomb butchers, factory farmers or those who experiment with animals?

    You're lumping. It's a bit like saying "you non anarchists start wars".

    Um, apparently it's not obvious to everybody that even the capitalists are capable of running it on their own:

    And correct me if I'm wrong: didn't the companies that laid fibre in the North America all go bust?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    I can never seem to get a good answer to basic problems: like, what do you do with people who don't see things like you do -- and, say, insist on making things and selling them for a profit? Shoot them?

    Whatever. Are you suggesting we change drinking behaviour by shooting people? No. Then why can't you conceive of radical leftists aiming to change behaviour in any way other than violence?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    You're lumping. It's a bit like saying "you non anarchists start wars".

    Of course I'm lumping, but it's one end of the spectrum. My feeling is that for the most visible anarcho-vegans, their disapproval might not extend to bombing, but certainly "collectively giv[ing] you the evils" would extend beyond raised eyebrows and anonymous gifts of the Moosewood Cookbook, and would involve rather a lot of shouting and red paint. Maybe there is a difference between saying you can't do something and saying you shouldn't, but collective disapproval can get very ugly and coercive.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Oh, and these conversations are combining with the hot weather outside to give me a burning desire to pick up a couple of bottles of plonk and some pork sausages from the nearest dairy :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I learned years ago, to never get into arguments over alcohol.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Beat that with the largest stick at your disposal.

    I wouldn't dream of it -- it sounds like a great organisation. Squatting culture was one of the things I always liked about living in Europe, and it seems that the social centres have a unique place in Italian society.

    But Leoncavallo is an arts society and community centre. They're nearly always run by committees, whether anarchist in philosophy or not.

    It''s not quite the same thing as an economy that makes things and sustains billions of people. Have the social centres, for example, built any of the venues they occupy?

    Markets are just another form of the wisdom of crowds; they're a way of making decisions. We get together in modern democracies and make laws as to what they're permitted to do -- and what things we will do in the name of the public good -- but we value and rely on them.

    I also value the social role of people at the other end of the anti-authoritarian spectrum -- the doctrinaire libertarians -- but they're not exactly helping my life.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    but collective disapproval can get very ugly and coercive.

    Ask any witch.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    I learned years ago, to never get into arguments over alcohol.

    Themsh fightin' wordsh!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Sure, but this goes back to the point made earlier about regulation being seen as the problem, not the (potential) solution.

    My problem is more with the people doing the regulating -- and if a good proportion of Parliament isn't perma-pissed they've no excuse at all. I've said this before, but I was part of the team who drew up the Young Nationals submission on lowering the drinking age (which is a misnomer in itself, but moving on...). We supported it, with the rather significant caveat that there needed to be a serious and properly resourced commitment to enforcement.

    And that includes regulations currently on the books about sale of alcohol to under-age and visibly intoxicated persons. And you don't have to go far to see places where the latter, at least, is routinely flouted.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Markets are just another form of the wisdom of crowds;

    Maybe 200 years ago, they were.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I live within a short distance of several small beer/wine outlets and have noticed no problem with noise or anything else from them. If anything, Hell Pizza, which doesn't sell alcohol, creates more of a nuisance.

    I actually consider restricting alcohol sales to large businesses to be a form of semi-conscious racism. Why should the nice Indian family at Shalimar have their livelihood taken away, whilst large overseas multinationals can sell as much booze as they want?

    Prohibition (even partial) doesn't work for any drug including alcohol. The reason Continental European countries have less of a booze "problem" than we do is not some magic genetic factor. It's because they have a social system that reduces the number of people with the underlying problems that promote problem drug use.

    We need to start by building a better society, not by taking individual rights away.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Ask any witch.

    We prefer to be called 'people of Satan' now thanks.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Just to shoot down this notion of a zero-government anarchist state that could stay involved with the rest of the world, how will this state get mail delivered? The treaty on postal services, whatever it's called, is signed and ratified by nations, not cooperatives. That's one of the things about treaties.
    Also, telecommunications is handled by various trans-national NGOs, like the ITU, and guess what: they don't admit non-countries. So suddenly this anarchist state has no telephone service and no mail services. The other hitch is that telecommunications is heavily based on contracts, and the ability to enforce. Who's going to sign a contract with a cooperative that exists in a lawless state that has no processes or organisations for enforcement? You can have all the jurisdictional clauses you like in the contract, but part of the power of an international contract is that even the party in the non-jurisdictional country can be made to answer to organs of their home state. No state? No organs? No answerability? No contract!

    Anarchy is a great idea, until you want to interact with a world that's based around concepts of state-enforced law.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Maybe there is a difference between saying you can't do something and saying you shouldn't, but collective disapproval can get very ugly and coercive.

    As opposed to the system we have now, you mean?

    But Leoncavallo is an arts society and community centre. They're nearly always run by committees, whether anarchist in philosophy or not.

    True. But isn't that one of the usual criticisms of collectivism, that it discourages innovation and creativity as if Aristotle, Leonardo or Arthur Miller hadn't been funded by the respective states? And if a non-market based entity can sustain invention, industry, the arts, why couldn't it run everything else?

    It''s not quite the same thing as an economy that makes things and sustains billions of people. Have the social centres, for example, built any of the venues they occupy?

    Not from scratch, as far as I know, but a lot of renovations and rebuilding, yes. Still, it's kind of a moot point - it's not as if you can expect the good people at Leoncavallo to seize the railway system and start running that. But all the same plenty of states - which you could argue are anti-capitalists organisations by definition - have built plenty of infrastructure, often with their own public works organisations and R&D arms as opposed to relying on commercial entities. It can be done, has been done in a non market-based way.

    Markets are just another form of the wisdom of crowds; they're a way of making decisions.

    I would argue that there is no compelling reason for that model of social organisation to work that it should be based on money, or private property.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lynda Johansson,

    Going back to the earlier comment on standardised assessment and John Hattie's research. First of all, there's nothing new there, I remember the stuff about formative assessment and feedback being introduced to the school I was working at in 2002, direct from his research. The other parts have filtered through over the years as well. I suspect this had more to do with the slow news period over the silly season. But to answer Graeme, the important thing here is that feedback goes primarily with formative assessment, the ongoing imformal sort built into your classroom programme, and less so with the summative sort.
    I've talked to a couple of friends, both principals at South Auckland schools from opposite political positions, and they both say they will be directing teaching of the tests (Star and asTTle).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    And how would this anarchist state (if that is not an oxymoron) get started? What would induce people to decide they no longer want a government, and for the existing government to abdicate all its authority and responsibility? No, don't tell me - it will all happen after nuclear holocaust

    Cooperative ventures like Leoncavallo are rad, but they exist within liberal democracies. They don't replace them.

    Besides, there is too much real stuff happening, most of it unpleasant, to worry about imaginary states.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Evan Yates,

    I must admit I'm not very well read on anarchism but just musing on it always brings up this question for me...

    If you overthrow authority and establish an anarchistic society, how do you stop authoritarian groups from forming and trying to fill the power void?

    Don't the anarchists then have to form some sort of authority to stop authorities forming?

    I'm sure ambitious/ruthless people would see anarchy as a perfect opportunity to form a group/gang/army and take control of resources with themselves at the top of the hierarchy.

    Would an anarchy need to reduce population density to the point where cities were no longer viable? Otherwise any group of sufficient size then has the ability to pool resources and rule the roost.

    As I say, all these questions may be answered in the "Anarchy 101" textbook, but I can't see obvious ones.

    Hamiltron, Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Nov 2006 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    As opposed to the system we have now, you mean?

    No, but not necessarily any better.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    two small new buildings near the rail station at Morningside. One is a tiny little liquor outlet which will be opening soon.

    Pray it's not a Betty's Liquor Store. They're popping up everywhere. Corporate as.

    Hell Pizza, which doesn't sell alcohol, creates more of a nuisance.

    Hell seem to be blanding out with expansion. I'm sure a few of the most frowned on sins have made their way off the menu. Adultery happened to be quite a good pizza. We now refer to them as Heck Pizza, and fear that the may soon be downgraded to Gosh Darn Pizza.

    As it happens, there is a great non-franchise pizza place in Belmont called Serafino, on Lake Road between Maccas and Heck. My favourite was we went in to pick up our pizza, and he was like 'You ordered a large meatlovers?'. If only I'd had the wisdom to crack back 'Yes, with extra barbeque sauce'...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    Oh wait. I neglected to mention that you should order the pizza with the artichoke from Serafino.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    True. But isn't that one of the usual criticisms of collectivism, that it discourages innovation and creativity as if Aristotle, Leonardo or Arthur Miller hadn't been funded by the respective states?

    I don't really buy the line that state funding procures you a less vital creative work (apart from anything else, that would make me a hypocrite right now). And it lets people make art that is anathema to the market. It's not so good for art that is anathema to the state.

    But weren't we going to smash the state anyway?

    And if a non-market based entity can sustain invention, industry, the arts, why couldn't it run everything else?

    Just possibly not nearly as well. Would the personal computer you're using be anywhere near as good if its technologies had not been forged in the contest of a market? Would we have even known that people wanted computers for their personal selves? We didn't know that until one was offered for sale and somebody bought it.

    The libertarians hate the idea of network neutrality, because telcos should be able to use their networks as they wish, including anti-competitively. The rest of us would argue that unless the networks are available non-discriminatively you'll lose both the market of new ideas and the market of new products and services (or, as they say "the next Google"). Both markets matter.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

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