Of course! If you make a tumblr and give me (tumblr user emobedwetter.tumblr.com) your email address I can make you an admin. Most of the original admins either aren’t mutualists anymore or have stopped using tumblr, a new poster would be welcomed.
What is the question here?
Votes to make this the ancap anthem?
pretty sure its already been done
YUP IT HAS
Mutualism Is Anarchist
Strictly speaking, mutualism should be thought of as anarchist. While most of the core concepts of mutualism can be applied within a State framework, this socioeconomic model is frequently referred to as “distributism” instead. Proudhon and most other prominent mutualists have been anarchists (in fact, Proudhon coined both the terms “anarchist” and “mutualist”) because mutualism, being a philosophy of common empowerment, is most consistently understood to preclude the control and power of the State.
Mutualism Is Anti-Capitalist
If one accepts the rather recent use of the word “capitalism” as a synonym for “free exchange”, mutualists might be called “capitalists”. However, mutualists prefer instead to use the historical definition of capitalism, which means “a system where economic power is wielded by a small minority who control access to the means of production and, through this power, are able to exploit the many laborers who are made dependent on and obedient to them for survival”. Mutualists use this definition because it calls into question the presupposition that a tiny number of large, hierarchical organizations would hold vast economic power at all in a true system of free exchange.
Mutualism Is “Thick-Libertarian”
Mutualism is an opposition not only to the violent, political power of the State, but the economic power of the extremely wealthy in contemporary capitalist systems. As an opposition to more than mere violent power, but also of economic power, its philosophy of reciprocity is also frequently applied by contemporary thinkers to social power. While it is true that Proudhon himself was a racist, anti-semite, and proponent of the conservative, male-dominated vision of the family, modern mutualists unequivocally reject these positions and frame our mutualism as an opposition to social power, including racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of social privilege and oppression.
Mutualism Is Critical of Property
Since Proudhon’s (in)famous charge that “Property Is Theft!” in 1840, mutualists have been fringe radicals in our understanding of property, neither embracing it as it exists nor decrying it outright. As socialists, mutualists generally hold that all property must initially derive from labor, as property itself is merely a social device for ensuring to labor the reciept of its full product. However, we hold that the “mixture of labor” with a natural resource does not alone make that resource the true “product” of labor, and are wary of long, absolute, or inflexible rights in land or other natural resources. Mutualists are also willing to distinguish between property claims created to protect a laborer’s right to his product and those meant merely to deplete the commons for reasons of antagonism or hoarding. This conception of property is frequently termed “occupancy and use”, suggesting that a person cannot rightfully own more than he or she could put to use directly, though this is a simplification of the theory which is often crassly reduced to the idea that leaving one’s home for groceries is to be construed as abandonment of it. We are also aware that the history of the world can leave no question regarding the current distribution of property titles: they are stained with the blood of a thousand past injustices and can seldom be considered just at all. Therefore we are often in favor of expropriationary measures to remedy or invalidate these ill-gotten gains, but remain skeptical regarding their universal appropriateness and judge them on a case-by-case basis. We are also opposed to artificial “property” rights such as intellectual property.
Mutualism Is the Free Market
Mutualists embrace the free market as a just and effective system of economic organization. Because of our philosophical understanding of the Labor Theory of Value (which, for us, is descriptive rather than strictly normative, though we oppose conditions where it objectively cannot hold such as monopolism), we see market exchange as a system of trading toil for toil, effort for effort, and loss for loss. We see justice in the equal exchange of toil and trouble, as a truly egalitarian and fair system of mutual benefit. However, we embrace the concept of the gift economy, and hold that the free market will frequently produce gift economies as a part of its natural operation (as competition favors those who will produce for free without the need for enticement). Accordingly, we are not opposed to currency as a medium of exchange, though we frequently prefer a form of mutually-agreed-upon currency, the production of which cannot be monopolized as precious metals are.
Mutualism Is Propertarian Communism
Proudhon once referred to mutualism as “the synthesis of communism and property”. Communism—that is to say, true, full communism—refers to a stateless, classless, moneyless society where the means of production are accessible to all and operated to the benefit of all. While mutualists are not against money, exchange, or exclusionary ownership of productive means per se, we recognize and embrace the many benefits of communist organization and seek to integrate them into a general market framework. The concept of “mutual aid”, from which mutualism itself partly draws its name, is one where many people voluntarily pool their resources to create a greater degree of common access for each than would have been previously available. The mutual bank and the friendly society are two such models, the former based on the pooling of property titles and mutual agreement to create a more flexible form of money and credit, and the latter based on the pooling of financial resources to create a redistribution mechanism or hire shared goods and services at reduced cost. Other models, including community workshops or “hackerspaces” and community gardens are also suggested. What separates these institutions from “charity” is that they are based not on beneficence but guaranteed right of access. In effect, they constitute the voluntary creation of whole or partial communist spaces to address percieved weakness in the behavior of market exchange.
Mutualism Is Workplace Democracy
If mutual aid institutions are thought of as “consumer cooperatives”, where each customer of the institution (who is purchasing, through labor or capital, a right of access to something) is an equal co-owner, then mutualist “firms” can be thought of as “worker cooperatives”. Mutualists hold that hierarchy is both subjectively unfree, unfair, and exploitative, as well as objectively inefficient, and should be avoided. Mutualists embrace many forms of organization, including stigmergic (which roughly describes an economy of self-employed independent contractors) and “adhocratic” or “do-ocratic” (which roughly describe a spontaneous order developing from an unregulated space based on common access and common motive). However, when coalescence into a firm is beneficial for reasons of labor division, scale, or other organizational motives, mutualists reject hierarchy as problematic imposed authority. We prefer democratically operated and equally owned firms, where each worker has a say in the organization of the institution and a right to his full share of its produce. We support naturally-emerging leadership as preferable to elected leadership, but still prefer the majoritarian system of elected leadership to that of imposed hierarchy, and object generally to wage labor as a system for depriving the laborer of the reward for his full contribution to the productive process.
Mutualism Is Communitarian
Mutualism often embraces the synthesis of the above two conceptualizations of the firm into the more inclusive “multi-stakeholder cooperative”, which attempts to grant equal voice in control of the firm to all who are affected by its actions, including not just customers and laborers, but suppliers to the firm itself and other elements of the community in which it exists and operates. Mutualism embraces cooperation, and somewhat paradoxically considers competition itself a form of friendly cooperation where each competitor tries to outshine the other in the excellence of treatment to the community. Mutualists also generally support the “collective rights” of federative organization, which demands automomy not just for each individual, but for each collectivity of people, from all higher-order organizations. As each individal may secede from an organization, so too may each state, county, city, township, or neighborhood secede from the grouping to which it belongs. Accordingly, mutualism is anti-imperialist and retains its opposition to hierarchy. Mutualists also recognize that there are many forms of property naturally obtained and maintained by the community or public, and are not opposed to naturally-arising instances of common or public property, holding that they can properly be considered property of the entire community which created and utilizes them.
Mutualism Is Decentralist
Mutualists distrust bureaucracy and large size. In accordance with federative principles, mutualists believe that the distribution of autonomy throughout any organization is critical to freedom. We do not hold that “communities” must be geographical; we embrace concepts such as the phyle (a distributed community based on common identity or purpose) or industrialism (organization based on fields of labor and the commonalities they create). We embrace the conceptualization of society as being an overlapping mesh of communities, rather than firm geographical lines on the map, as key to the decentralization of power. By making communities conceptually flexible, the tendency toward permanent and rigid bureaucratic control is lessened, leaving individuals and groups with greater power and choice in pursuing their organizational needs and desires. We value the dynamism and flexibility of small-scale and shifting association as preventing stagnation and capture by self-interested bureaucracy.
Mutualism Is Proactive
The mutualist praxis is not based on insurrection (though it does not strictly object to it, it views it as frequently ineffectual), nor open revolution (as the enemies of mutualist society far exceed us in power and capacity at this point in time). Instead, it is based on what Proudhon termed the dissolution of the State in the social mechanism, or what Lenin called “dual power” and Konkin called “counter-economics”. The essential principle of mutualist organization is to build a better, freer society, right here and now, which can serve as an alternative to the current system. Mutualism can, and should, compete with capitalism and statism, hollowing them out by making them unnecessary and freeing people to leave them for a more desirable life. Mutualists emphasize the primacy of defending the new social structures from destruction or coopting by the old order over aggressive hostility, seeing the latter as generally ineffectual until the power and popularity of the new institutions has outstripped the old. We generally eschew participation in the extant political system except as an attempt to keep the new society free from interference, and do not seek to use the existing power structure to reform society. Our strategy is practical, in that we recognize the superior might of our enemy and must fight him where he cannot see or reach, and principled, in that we are opposed to the forceful imposition of any socioeconomic order, even one we see as superior.
Mutualism Is About Reciprocity
“Reciprocity in the social order is the formula for justice,” as Proudhon put it. Mutualists fundamentally believe in treating all human beings the way we ourselves would want to be treated, and vice versa. From this expectation comes our condemnation of aggression and violence, political power, economic exploitation, and social oppression. It is the foundation of our appreciation for decentralism, communitarianism, and egalitarianism, as equality and solidarity are the best tools for ensuring mutual respect and reciprocity. It is the basis for both our condemnations and praises of the concept of property, as it is a tool for both securing livelihood and obstructing it. Reciprocity is the lens through which we mutualists judge all things.
So, What Is Mutualism?
Stated succinctly, it is a philosophy which seeks to empower, both through defense of justice and solidaristic mutual support, all individuals to live their lives precisely as they see fit, without depriving any others of the equal ability to do the same. It is a fundamental reconception of the socioeconomic structure of civilization, based on maximizing choice and autonomy and eliminating the imposition of authority, not only by violent power but by economic necessity, social convention, bureaucratic rigidity, and all other general circumstance which forces some to submit their lives to the interests of others without a reciprocation of that obligation. It is a form of libertarian socialism that is left of most market anarchists and right of most anarchist communists, attempting to synthesize the best elements of their ideas into a more just and practicable combination. Its means are gradual, but it seeks radical ends.
To quote them verbatim:
I do not think I totally understand the concept of profit from a mutualist point of view.I understand the LTV, saying that one should not be compensated more or less than the labour put into the product. Correct?If this is so, how does one provide for the necessities of living, like food and clothing? Would the cost of something be not only the cost of the materials, but also the labour producing it, making up for living costs?
First off, erase this notion of mutualist “profits”. It makes absolutely no sense! There is no such thing as a profit under mutualism - at least as far as I understand it.
Mutualists do say people should be compensated fully for the labor which is put into a good which they bring to market. But I guess my question to you, furthermore, is how does this somehow raise the issue of being able to ‘provide necessities of living’? In other words, why does the fact that price approximates the costs of labor inputs somehow cause you to question how people will be able to provide for themselves?
Under capitalism, the state creates an economic structure in which one very small class of individuals is allowed to subsist off the productivity of the many without contributing anything, by abusing the mechanisms of a market and manipulating them through the state. It is this manipulation of the market through the state which allows the capitalist to exploit the surplus labor-value of a worker. For example, in chapter 15 of Capital Volume 1, Marx talks of how the English legally banned the use of an extremely productive and efficient loom that could be used by a single worker because it interfered with and created competition for centralized, bureaucratized factory modes of production. A technology that would allow labor to compete directly with capital, and that would liberate labor from the tyrannical, iron fist of capital.
The natural tendency on a freed market is for price to approximate cost. This is something perhaps one of us will post about in the future (in fact I’ll probably write something up tomorrow on why that precisely is the case - because it really is a Great Question), but that is the Natural Stat eof Things. But, in short, to answer your question yes: the price of a good approximates costs of input - adjusting for slight variations due to supply and demand.
But the mutualist version of the labor theory of value states that, excepting goods naturally inelastic in supply, profit results from unequal exchange—itself a result of state intervention in the market.
Kevin Carson, Studies In Mutualist Political Economy
Profit, in the mutualist sense, is not the overhead charged by a producer to make ends meet, but the use of government intervention i.e., patents, subsidies, etc, to jack up the price of a commodity past what it would be w/o all the gubbmint meddling. I think that may be whats confusing you. Mutie speak is weird.
Mutualist Alliance thus far >.<
I’ve been promoting everyone to admin so anyone can add new people/change the blog settings, FYI. (Should we continue this trend or cap off admin positions at some point? I really don’t care but if someone has an opinion I’d like to know)
Any mutualists wanting to join please don’t hesitate to ask for an invite :D