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Anarchism

I realise it's a wide subject, but are the ideas of Anarchism compatible with the aims and principles of the PPUK? Personally, given the party's emphasis on civil liberties and freedom, I can't see why not.

Comments

  • Dear Anthony, the word 'Anarchism' suggests violence, and I don't think that PP wishes to be labelled as such. Have you thought about the 'Class War' party, they positively love the word!
    Bluebird
  • I don't agree that the term 'anarchism' suggests violence. However I'd also consider that most Pirate Parties, PPUK included I think, would consider themselves champions of more strongly representative democracies. I don't think any Pirate Party would naturally call themselves anarchic
  • Agreed, 'anarchy' suggests old-fashioned methods, whereas PP's are naturally modern and forward thinking, even if the name 'Pirate' is an association with a bygone age...
  • There is undoubtedly a link in a lot of people's minds between anarchy and violence.

    However, they aren't actually linked. Anarchism isn't inherently violent.

    I enjoy a lot of what anarchy can offer but perhaps to set people's minds at rest, we should prefix it as Peaceful Anarchy for the purposes of discussion.
  • There is a question then raised as to how one guarantees peace in an anarchic state. Countries which have gone for extended times without an official government in power but also without collapsing have generally been held upright by their bureaucracies, for example Belgium. If we arrange a sort of peer to peer system of government, that is by definition still a system of government. Sort of.
  • The question of peace in any social system falls into the same trap. You get a three-way choice: people are peaceful, people are not peaceful, or peace is "enforced". The enforcement of peace is (sadly) not a peaceful operation.
    The association of violence with anarchism is probably deeply formed by the urgent and revolutionary zeal of some anarchists over the years.
    But there are plenty of peaceful anarchists and plenty of branches of anarchism that espouse peace even to the point of pacifism.
    The sad thing about this thread and some other threads (left v. right; libertarian v. authoritarian; in EU v. out EU; etc...) is that they neglect the main thrust of PPUK. It is important to read the constitution for the guiding principles, and to build the manifesto from the bottom up based on those principles.
  • edited July 2016
    The aims may be similar, but I would have said the methods of the Pirate Party and anarchism aren't compatible with each other. Surely anarchists reject all forms of government in principle, including democracy? There's much to admire in that, but for people who just want to get on with their lives and earn a living, and who really aren't interested in formenting insurrection or revolution, but who want just to make the best of things as they are now, it's good to have a "least bad option" to put an "X" next to at the polling station.
    George.
  • ThyPirateDaveThyPirateDave South Wales
    Anarchism need not necessarily be without government, it's simply without leaders. It depends who you ask really. My view has always been it rejects permanent authority. If you want to build a bridge, for a moment you need someone to lead that project - but they don't reside over all bridge making for 5 years regardless of if the people don't want him there after 6 months etc.

    I think the best definition for me is "Rejection of all forms of coercive control and authority".
  • Anarchists don't have to reject all forms of leadership and government per se; just their traditional embodiments. But in the end, projection makes perception, which is why I'm going to have to go with Dave on this one and agree that Peaceful Anarchy would be the best way of naming it and rejecting coercive control and authority the best way of describing it.
  • edited December 2016
    @TheInternetRebel it's a tricky one, IMO what you're describing may be true of anarcho-syndicalists, whose leaders are recallable delegates (at least in theory, if not always in practice, in the historical record- two anarcho-syndicalists joined the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War. Of course, being composed of humans, humans f*** up, no movement or political group can be pure to their ideals 100%.)
    But if we really want to reject coercive control and authority, how can PPUK policies be implemented?
    For example, the Universal Basic Income. Some of it would have to be funded through taxation. Taxation is only possible through coercive control and authority. Otherwise no one would pay any. Maybe that's cynical. Billionaires do spend money on philanthropic projects. Maybe there are "soft" forms of coercion we could look at as policy which might work, so for example with the tax problem, if taxpayers still had to pay tax, but could choose what it was spent on, that might be an acceptable middle position.
  • I agree that no movement or political group can remain true to their ideals. As you say, the human element always pops up, and like it or not, humans are paradoxical primates. But hey, one thing you've got to hand the human race if nothing else is that if we keep trying at something, no matter how impossible it might seem at first, we tend to get there in the end. And Edison had to try 1000 times before he got the light bulb right. So should we give up based on previous failures and simply accept the shortcomings of the human element, or should we at least keep plugging away until the light bulb finally switches on?

    With regards to rejecting coercive control and authority, that's a good question. I suppose I should have made my point a bit better... I think we should reject coercive control hands down, and as for coercive authority; just the current delivery system. How do we do that? I'll put forward a suggestion, but I must admit, I don't have all the answers. And that's the great thing about the Pirate Party; it's probably the only party that doesn't pretend to have all the answers and understands that we've got to figure this thing out as we go along. Far better this than pretending we've got an infallible plan for society only to look like an idiot when that plan falls on its arse. Do we need any more proof of this than the current Conservative government?

    PPUK policies have a far greater chance of being implemented if people actually believe in them, and that can be achieved through real, transparent direct democracy. Your idea of paying tax but being able to choose where to is a great idea, for example. I'm sure a lot more people would be more comfortable paying tax for the changes they want to see in their country/communities.

    But in the end, I believe what we need is a complete upheaval of the taxation system and a complete redistribution of the wealth. In 2016, the richest 1% own more than the other 99% put together, and just 62 people have as much wealth as half of the world's population. Some people might point out that a growing number of the richest people in the world made their fortunes in tech and so the bread and butter of the richest is moving away from fossil fuels, but that ignores one very simple fact (and one which most people are completely unaware of): Over 90% of all global capital is tied to fossil fuels.

    Please think about that for a moment. Something is very wrong here, and the only way we can make it right is to leave fossil fuels in the ground and redistribute the wealth by taking it from the greedy 1% who are very clearly are not willing to share. Not just for ourselves but for the millions of starving people around the world too.

    And the only way this can be achieved is through an environmental revolution: namely taking power away from the fossil fuel industry, and the only way that can be achieved is by putting a very significant price on carbon, fining all the major fossil fuel players for the damage they have caused to the planet since the start of the Industrial Revolution, holding our current governments accountable to the realities of climate change through the courts (thereby leaving them with no choice but to go after their grubby fossil fuel bed-fellows), and moving over to 100% clean renewable energy which (much to their dismay) means no more energy bills for us and no more profits for them.

    There is no other movement in the world today which has so much momentum and has as much potential to upset the status quo than the environmental movement, and they know it. That's why everybody from Centrica (BG), BP, Shell to Exxon are working overtime funding the climate deniers right now (whilst their other face is telling us they appreciate how serious climate change is). They know they're on the wrong side of history, and in the past couple of years, many governments and business leaders have started to see that too.

    It is my opinion that the Pirate Party must take full advantage of the benefits that are offered to them by the environmental movement, and I say the very best thing PPUK can do right now is put environmentalism right at the heart of our policies. As in the number one most important aspect of the party.

    The Pirate Party shares many virtues with that of environmentalism, and a natural partnership between the two should exist if not for any other reason than it would be hypocritical for it not to.

    And isn't that the very same charge we level against this current joke of a government?
  • Thanks for your post TheInternetRebel. It's a really interesting statistic that just 62 people have as much wealth as half of the world's population. I wonder how many live in the UK. Because I reckon PPUK should offer them a deal: Leave over 50% of your wealth in your will to the public purse, and get full input on what it's spent on, the hospital or museum or whatever named after you... maybe even a bronze monument of you at the site!

    Here are some other (maybe more easily realisable) ideas.
    Most people think the wealthiest pay most tax, proportionately . That's true of if we look at income tax alone, but not if we include consumption taxes , like VAT (on most things at 20%, it went up from 17 1/2% in 2011)and council tax. Then, if we look at taxes in general, the least well-off actually pay more, as a proportion of their income:

    Our analysis of the proportion of gross household income that households at each decile pay in
    all taxes shows that:
    1. The current tax distribution in the UK is regressive.
    2. A household in the bottom 10% pays 43% of its income in tax, while the average
    household and a household in the top 10% both pay 35% – 8 percentage points less
    than the bottom 10%.
    3. The higher percentage paid by the poor (bottom 10%) is attributable to a
    number of taxes. While income tax and national insurance are broadly progressive, the
    bottom 10% of households pay roughly 23% of their gross household income in indirect
    taxes on consumption and more than four times as much of their income in council tax as
    the top 10%.
    These findings show that the current tax system is not fit for purpose. For the system to
    better acknowledge the preferences of the electorate, policy must aim for a tax system that
    is progressive.


    (Source: https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/unfair_and_unclear.pdf )

    PPUK already has some economic policies based on "middle out economic principles", but I wonder if we might incorporate the recommendations of the authors of the report (Equality Trust) as well . These are:

    Parties seeking to form the government from 2015 [the report was written in June 2014] should commit to the
    principle that any changes in tax policy are progressive
    • Council tax should be transformed into a progressive property tax by reevaluating
    properties and creating new bands with higher rates for high value
    properties
    • Government should look to reduce VAT when it has a budget surplus
    • The upper limit of National Insurance should be raised to ensure that the tax is
    progressive across all deciles


    Particularly, reducing VAT. It would benefit the poor most, because most of their money goes on everyday expenses.
    And tax on alcohol and smokes is pretty steep- Vote PPUK for cheaper vices!
    And lowered cost of living generally.
  • Thanks for sharing your insights too, Moriarty.

    Truthfully, I cannot disagree with a single thing you've written there. Again, I think the way of achieving many of these goals is to align with the ecology movement.

    Oxfam announced last week that it's now the richest 8 people who own the same wealth as half of the world. I've got no doubt in my mind whatsoever that within a few years we're going to be talking about the richest man/woman.

    It's the direction we're blatantly headed in. And so long as the fossil fuel industry is calling the shots in the corporate world; nothing's going to change. Corporate lobbyists influence the UK political state simply too much.

    Aligning with the ecology movement is the only solution. But that's just my two pennies' worth.
  • Yes, the direction we're headed in is towards catastrophe. This is from Paul Mason's book, Postcapitalism:

    ...the global oil and gas companies have declared the existence of 2.8 trillion tonnes of carbon reserves, and their shares are valued as if those reserves are burnable. As the Carbon Tracker Initiative warned investors: ' they need to understand that 60-80% of coal, oil and gas reserves of listed firms are unburnable' - that is, if we burn them, the atmosphere will warm to a catastrophic degree. (p.248)

    So, apart from the damage to the planet by burning fossil fuels in the meantime, they're a massive Ponzi Scheme waiting to happen. The planet will be toast, before the all those fossil fuel reserves could be used. So even just from a hard nosed investment point of view, most of the fossil fuel reserves in existence (60-80%) are worthless.
    (BTW I've changed my forum name, to avoid confusion with the other Moriarty in PPUK!)
  • edited January 29
    ^ I should have said "a massive South Sea Bubble waiting to happen." A Ponzi scheme is a deliberate fraud, a pyramid selling scam. It don't think that's the case with the fossil fuel industry, those in charge probably believe it's viable, or manage to convince themselves it's viable. (I was in a MacDonalds once, eavesdropping on a conversation between a couple of salesmen. They were talking about a colleague of theirs: "That's the worst thing , when you start to believe your own b******t.")
    But again, just from a capitalist perspective, why put money into something that's long term unusable (and therefore worthless)? The gripe with green tech has been storing power. I used to work for a courier company who did a trial of electric scooters. They said they were great, except the batteries didn't last long enough. (Couriers typically work extremely long hours, to make up for the company maybe 40% of the job price -much more on "rush" jobs , and having to pay their own petrol/servicing/replacement bike costs, or bike hire from the company, on top of that as well.)
    But power storage is being worked on by some green tech companies.
  • ^that should read "to make up for the company taking maybe 40% of the job price" (i.e. as commission.)
  • Thanks again for sharing your valuable thoughts, George. Although personally, I see the South Sea Bubble as nothing more than an elaborate Ponzi Scheme, so I'm going with either of your analogies there...

    One of my biggest gripes with the fossil fuel industry (other than the obvious damage they're causing to the planet in the name of selfish profit) is precisely the fact that they DON'T believe their own BS. Take ExxonMobil. They knew the truth back in the 1970's and they paid millions to pull the wool over our eyes. The fossil fuel industry has a long and proven history of misleading the public so make no mistake about it: they're involved in a deliberate fraud and they've been knowingly scamming us since time immemorial.

    And why put money into something that's long term unusable? Because they couldn't give a damn about the long term! They're opportunists, living only for today, getting away with what they know they won't be able to get away with tomorrow!

    We're perpetually hearing this whole argument of battery storage being the reason why we've got to stick with fossil fuels for now. Who do you think put this argument out there in the first place? The green industry? Joe Public? The fossil fuel industry of course!

    George, I really don't mean to sound condescending, but we'd have had battery storage sorted out in a minute of it wasn't for the fossil fuel industry and the politicians/inventors they've bought with their brown envelopes.

    Nevertheless, they're on the wrong side of history, as the latest tech clearly shows:

    pocket-lint.com/news/130380-future-batteries-coming-soon-charge-in-seconds-last-months-and-power-over-the-air

    And trust me, even when the storage issue has been fully resolved, they'll come up with yet another reason why green energy is all well and good, but we need to carry on buying their dirty fuels.

    The fact of the matter is this: All fossil fuels MUST stay in the ground. And for every courier company who says they can't do things a certain way, you'll find 10 others who refuse do the fossil fuel industry's bidding:

    en.imaginecargo.com

    Which brings me on to my next point. Whose side is PPUK on anyway?

    It seems to me that PPUK is more interested in political reform and solving society's ills through freedom of speech than it is in fighting the greatest existential threat to mankind, which is climate change.

    By refusing to address this issue head on by putting environmentalism at the very centre of all the Party's activities, all PPUK is doing is maintaining the status quo and enabling the fossil fuel industry to consolidate their grip on UK politics.

    And if anybody honestly thinks that PPUK is going to have any sort of influence on UK politics by simply fighting privacy and copyright laws, then they're overlooking the fact that UK politicians are being bankrolled by a fossil fuel industry who will always make sure PPUK is nothing more than a fringe party.

    PPUK can be so much more than what it is today with a much louder voice; if only PPUK will open it's eyes to the real battle going on out there.
  • edited February 6
    By why put money into something unusable, I meant from the point of view of investors. ExxonMobil are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Real-life J.R. Ewings can weave whatever webs they wish to, but they're beholden to shareholders, ultimately. There's not much they can do if their share price crashes. If it does, they won't have money for drilling, and then the fossil fuel reserves will stay in the ground.

    Long-term investors won't buy shares if they realise that the fossil fuel reserves, on which the share prices are based, are unburnable, and therefore not worth anything. Short-term investors might,to try to gain a quick buck, but the more realization of the "unburnable" issue there is, the more the future worthlessness of the shares will ripple down into the present. (Short term speculators will get shares , but as a "short sell", i.e.they'll borrow the shares at their current price and sell them, before any panic selling hits, to replace later on when the replacement cost is much less, profiting from the difference.)

    But investors with an eye to the future and in investor -speak possible "tenbaggers" (becomes worth x10 times as much as the initial share purchase price) will put money into companies like Tesla Motors.

    You mention PPUK being a fringe party. It is, it's an interesting mix, though. (I'm trying to pitch arguments like the one above, so it has some appeal to Ayn Rand -reading libertarians. )
    In my opinion, there's little point in PPUK putting environmentalism "at the very centre of all the party's activities", because the Green Party already does that. Frankly, I think if we were to do that, it'd be more efficient to just disband the Party, and join the Green Party as individual members.

    Courier companies don't care either way about burning petrol or green batteries. They just exist to make a profit. To do so, they will happily co-opt ecological arguments. I can remember an ex-boss of mine saying sorry you're all off your (wages) guarantees this week, there's much less delivery work to do, due to the economic slowdown, due to the volcanic ash in the atmosphere.
    If they can get electric scooters with long lasting batteries, and gain an advantage over competing firms for a while by marketing themselves to clients as green, then they will.
  • edited February 6
    Here's an article with more on the "carbon bubble" at risk of bursting:
    http://www.corporateknights.com/channels/responsible-investing/make-killing-shorting-coal-companies-14279976/
  • My apologies, George. I misunderstood what you meant by investors. But nevertheless, nobody knows what the next twobagger stock is going to be, much less the tenbagger; which is why your typical long term investor will always take the safe route. The example you gave, ExxonMobil, have been listed since the 70's and have consistently been making their shareholders money and that's why people will continue to invest in them regardless of future reserves. They know that ExxonMobil have enough clout to play the game by hook or crook and if you need proof of that then look no further than Rex Tillerson.

    Real-life J.R. Ewings are not beholden to shareholders, George. If anything it's the other way round. That's my whole point. And that's what Robert Litterman fails to address in his article. Society as a whole is being held hostage by these fossil fuel powerbrokers who control everything, including the price of fossil fuels. And they have a bloody good laugh all the way to the bank making you believe that they're at the shareholders' behest as they all sit in a room together deciding which price they're going to make the shareholders and the end consumers pay on so much more than just fossil fuels.

    As for them not having enough money for drilling: c'mon man, that's just wishful thinking. Do you know how rich these people are? Do you know how much clout they carry with politicians, banks, indeed the entire financial system which the global economy is based on?

    This is precisely why we need an environmental revolution and the reason why nothing will ever change until we do.

    Everybody uses the example of Tesla Motors, omitting the reality that people put their money into Tesla because of Elon Musk and his track record, rather than what he's done for the planet or what Tesla will potentially do to that end. It's all hype and speculation and that's what you're buying into. Let's not forget Elon Musk never made his money in sustainability. Elon Musk made his name in a completely unrelated industry. SolarCity and Tesla are actually losing money and had they been ordinary start-ups, they'd probably never even made it much further than the start line due to the ridiculous sums of money they've required to get them to this point.

    Besides, Tesla Motors is an exceptional example, and one which I'm not entirely convinced can be used as a nod towards which stocks people are going to be investing in tomorrow.

    And courier companies, in your own words, they don't care either way about burning petrol or green batteries. And that's my point. If they did care then they'd realise that they can electrify their fleet and purchase a bunch of batteries which would constantly be on charge at HQ ready to be swapped over as and when needed. But as I say, for every courier company who says they can't do things a certain way...

    As for there being little point in PPUK putting environmentalism at the very centre of all the party's activities... and honestly speaking, I was waiting for somebody to come and present the Green Party argument...

    I'm sorry, George, but that's a terribly flawed argument. The Green Party doesn't hold the monopoly on environmentalism nor are their policies the epitome of what it means to go green.

    By your rational, should Labour disband their party and join the Tories as individuals - just because the Tories already promote building 200,000 new homes and increasing NHS funding?

    (BRB just banging my head against a brick wall...)

    Doesn't PPUK advocate direct democracy? If so, then please allow me to point out that the UK public overwhelmingly backs wildlife and forestry protection, green energy, clean air, emobility, and a more environmentally friendly future for our children.

    The fact that PPUK does not put environmentalism right at the very heart of its policies means that we've got a very serious case of the pot calling the kettle black right here.

    You can try and dress it up all you want, but joining the environmental revolution is the single most consequential act that PPUK can undertake in order to both achieve its objectives and listen to the voices of the people.
  • No-one's trying to stop anyone else's democratic rights. :smile:
    Anyone's free to discuss or suggest policies, here, on Discord, or at one of the meet-ups. Or to collaborate in PPUK and write policy.

    The existing policies on the environment can be found here:
    https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/environment/home
  • Thanks for the link, George. I'm sorry to say that it was precisely what I read there which prompted me to take PPUK's environmental policies to task in the first place.

    Even if each and every one of PPUK's environmental policies were to be implemented, we would still be a long way off from limiting global warming to 2C, let alone taking power away from the fossil fuel companies.

    Let me give you a quick example: the PPUK stated requirement of all new commercial buildings to have a roof with at least 50% solar panels or a green roof installed - Commercial buildings can have anywhere between 1-400 businesses; all using energy. Kitting out 50% of the roof with solar PV mightn't even cover the electricity requirements of one of those businesses should they be energy-intensive (that's if you can get them there in the first place; try seeing how many you'll get on top of the Shard). And let's not forget that heat can account for up to 70% of all energy consumption - electricity is just a one piece of the puzzle.

    Even so, 50% of a rooftop doesn't even meet the lowest BREEAM rating standard and to call that any kind of environmental policy is quite frankly an insult.

    All newly-built commercial buildings should be subject to a 100% renewable energy policy: meaning that any energy that wouldn't be self-secured through on-site solar PV/thermal, air/ground source heat pumps, biomass and wind must be procured via a green energy supplier.

    Same goes with all new residential buildings. Don't like it? You don't get to build a house then.

    We're fast approaching grid parity in the UK, and going 100% renewable not only makes climate sense, but financial sense too. Which is why in my view the only people who would object to a 100% renewable energy policy are those with a stake in the fossil fuel industry and/or those who want to see extreme weather events destroy the UK.

    Again, it all comes down to whether or not PPUK is prepared to practice what it preaches. For my part, I'll certainly be doing everything I can to push the agenda of PPUK developing a proper environmental manifesto. And please forgive my cynicism, only I've talked about this on Discord before and let's just say I haven't exactly received a great deal of support on the matter.

    But then again, you and I do agree on many other things, George, so maybe things can be different this time...
  • ThyPirateDaveThyPirateDave South Wales
    edited February 10
    I feel I should explain how policy is created here.

    Policy is crowd sourced, not decided on or created by the Leadership. If there is a hole in the policy, if we run the crowd source again that policy can be amended. The policy was also run in 2015 and in cases, far prior to that, so some policies will naturally be older and possibly out of date.

    A policy curator is a volunteer position that is open and is someone we could really use to keep track of what policies need updating or what need special attention during the next policy discussion.

    On one point however:
    Even so, 50% of a rooftop doesn't even meet the lowest BREEAM rating standard and to call that any kind of environmental policy is quite frankly an insult.
    Surely that depends on the size of the roof? For example about 10% of my roof is solar panels but I'm already at the maximum (4KW) array allowed for a domestic/residential building. I'm guessing 50% was used as half the roof (south facing side) is where the panels typically go and most buildings still don't have any panels. Hard to know without a link to the policy.

    I expect the principal direction of that policy was to basically make solar more a thing and it probably needs updating now. I think labelling an exact number like 50% on it isn't a particularly helpful thing at this stage but it probably was back then.
  • Thank you for explaining how policy is created, Dave. Indeed, crowd sourcing policy is the only way that any truly democratic institution should be implementing their policies. So I sincerely do look forward to PPUK's environmental mandate being a possible topic of policy discussion in the future.

    To address the point you made: and in the case of commercial buildings, the size of the roof is a far less of a determining factor than what most people think. Let's take a look at the UK's largest commercial rooftop solar PV installation for example: a 6.1MW array on top of M & S's East Midland's Distribution Centre. With over 24k panels pumping out 5000MWh of electricity each year, there's more than half of the roof covered with PV and being over 900,000 sq ft, nobody can reasonably argue against that being a large roof.

    Yet that doesn't even account for a quarter of the Distribution Centre's electricity needs.

    Solar panels are great, don't get me wrong, but with a maximum efficiency of under 25%, I think people tend to overestimate just how much electricity they can actually churn out. Hence the need for a 100% renewable energy policy: fit what you can (regardless of the size of your roof) and simply purchase the rest of your energy needs from a green energy supplier. Solar PV is always going to be just one piece of the puzzle in the broader fight against climate change and we need to treat it as thus.

    Also, there is no, and never has been any, maximum limit allowed for a domestic/residential building. It used to be that you would get a higher Feed-In Tariff (FiT) rate if your installation was less than 4KW. That didn't mean that you couldn't go higher; it just meant that if you were choosing between 4KW and 4.5KW then 4KW would stack up slightly better in the short/medium terms.

    In any event, that's referring to the old FiT scheme. These days 4KW is no longer even a marker and you're going to get a better FiT rate by deploying a residential installation of 10KW or higher as opposed to one lower than 10KW. The Tory Cowboys know very well how to keep mixing things up in order to carry out the most damage to the renewable energy sector and appease their fossil fuel sponsors.

    Still, good on you for having solar PV installed on your home. Whilst 10% sounds about right for a typical UK domestic retrofit, it's important to note that having an east-west split also stacks up financially in the UK (and has done for a good few years now) and in many instances will provide a more even distribution of power generation anyway so the whole south-side facing only argument is very outdated at best.

    Truth be told, I haven't a clue as to where the whole reasoning for this 50% of the roof came about. That's why I'm making such an issue of it. It's like trying to put out a fire with a water pistol.
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