[ Back to Main | Show Dates | Photos | Language Index ]
some anti-statist commentary on the value of institutions
overall, a well-constructed and responsible assessment of r2k and the needs/goals of the contemporary movement. the media blackout stuff is well-written and documentative but unsurprising, given post-chomsky activist intuitions. the presentation is clear and relatively unproblematic. i do, however, have a few comments to make on the mechanisms of change and the dangers of institutional entrenchment.
i have argued elsewhere about the inherent dangers of statist solutions (see: the capital punishment discussions anchored by myself and michael l. price; the cyanide9 submission addressed to loki; the discussion invitation dialogue anchored by michael l. price; and the agent orange submissions which attempt to question our motivations and comnmitment.) the typical argument for this position comes out of the more transparently "slippery" examples such as capital punishment and police accountability. these issues relate to overt abuses of power which have a "direct" effect on human rights. these are clear and generally prove the initial selling-point for the newly-converted. the legitimation of lethal authority is dangerous for everyone, especially those who are not in possession of that authority. the effects of the reverence for human life on the stability of the abolitionist stance are profound and effective. like i said, the arguments are presented elsewhere. the second obvious anti-statist argument of this type emerges from the institutionally-entrenched condition of differntial wealth that it serves to preserve or intensify. people are POWERFUL precisely because people are IN POWER. we have only our institutions to blame.
the less obvious argument against statism is that is is an ineffective mechanism for the promotion of cultural and scientific progress and the optimal allocation of resources between the various efforts to undetake: production; the reproduction of the means of production; the distribution of the outputs of production; and the continued education of our workforce (i.e. US). again, i will only be sketchy here. the details will be submitted in a (series of?) submission(s) whose first installment (of five?) is nearing completion. the issues addressed are precisely those related to the inherency of entrenchment within institutions, but not --- a priori --- within organizational structures, in general. the brief veiw is that the flexibility of organizations guided by external goals and motivated by considerations of their own logevity only insofar as that longevity is prohibitive of the external goals for which the organization originally emerged. the range of possible decisions in the productive-priorities debates would be severely restricted, since those priorities would have been provided by democratic consensus that exposed the need for and gave rise to the organaizational entity in the first place.
the never-ending drive for profit and those unsuccessful periods in which its attainment proves elusive and the orientation shifts to mere "institutional survival" are period in which the failure of entrenched mechanisms to behave responsively is demonstrated clearly. remember, these companies has to lose their profitability BEFORE the imminence of the survival crisis sets in (and sny actual profit-reduction takes place), so they have definitionally become unsuccessful --- having failed to achieve their primary mandate: "maintain a situation of profit-growth at all costs". from the other perspective, we can take supply-and-demand as primary in status quo production decisions and the primary determinant of "profitability" (which is too strong, i suspect, to be accurate but not too strong to be illustrative). we, again, see failure in that the institutional object has failed to accomodate the decline of demand in one area (with an appropriate reduction of supply) and an increase in another (with an appropriate increase of supply). its failure stems from its inability to predict and adapt to shifts in public sentiment. it is has failed to produce the desired output of the society (at large) and, instead has endevoured to engage in the wasteful production of unwanted goods. this is indicative of the capacity for institutions (or other highly codified and/or inflexible structures) to accomodate a rapidly changing societal context whose (economic) interest is essential to corporate-statist success for the relevant institution.
the media blackout is not primarily emergent from the personal intentions of the individual journalists but from the interplay of corporate media's rigid structure and instutional goals --- an unexpected bout of insight on the part of a "poorly deployed" journalist can be excluded under the guise of "space" and "relevance" considerations. if these structures are replaces with (near-)analogues, they will suffer from an inherent propensity for failure (regardless of their politics) induced by their very drive for continued existence that underlies the activity of institutional structures. the institutions guided by corporate concerns are even potentially more effective, since their primary and secondary goals (profit and longevity, respectively) are determined through a measurement on the same scale (that of fiscal vlaues), so their mutual pursuance can be undertaken in a fairly efficient manner. i'll take whatever i can get, but i don't look forward to a society in which our organizational efforts are less efficient than those of status quo corporate-statism. we can improve on this, and we don't need to sacrifice our ethics or our disdain for differential wealth --- we do, however, need to understand the relevant parts of economic theory. production is the most obvious societal concern and its reproduction and constraint cannot proceed democratically in the context of an uninformed populace.
the discussion on paralell structures is cogent and important but needs to be relativized to the statism debate. also, the call for media organization is significant. one of the more pronounced "victories" of r2k is the emergence of the philly imc --- i'm more of a "geek" than anyting, so i gravitate toward the present web site, but the collection of reliable information by all types of participants was overwheliming and constructive. i have never seen such a dedicated and insighful group of volunteer work so prolifically and efficiently together --- let alone one with no overt leadership and an open-door policy. if i ever was half-hearted in my faith in the potential of enlightened anarchism, that time is not now. i have seen an example in action and it worked better than an equivalent "professional" team in its attention to detail on the issues of concern.
thank you for your effort to position a candle in the space obscured by the media blackout. where is the publication based? (i grew up in michigan.) it hurts to be contrary in the context of such positive exposure --- but the risk of entrenchment runs contrary to the very assumptions of the present movement. it is a risk i believe that we cannot afford. we've gotta do this the hard way, we've gotta make it happen.