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Here are excerpts from "cRed-72" of "Anti-Joseph and the S.O.M.E. Hypothesis"
Deletions from the original are indicated by missing paragraphs and "[...]"

Excerpts from: "Mark Gets Burned"

Cooperative Anarchy and
Communist Competition

 Contents:       TIP: Clicking on any of the paragraph numbers
 ---------            along the left margin
                      will take you back and forth
                      between the body of the article
                      and the table of contents.
number           chapters sections subheads
  M78a     How Mark Equates "Cooperative Anarchy" with
               "Anarchy of Production" 
  M85a         Assumption # 1 -- "only capitalism can organize
  M89a         EVERYTHING Complex is Made Up of Independent,
               Conflicting Processes 
 M100a         Communist Competition 
 M106a         Competition Under the Dictatorship of the
 M111a         Cooperative Anarchy 

How Mark Equates "Cooperative Anarchy"
with "Anarchy of Production"
Folks, this is a major issue of first rate theoretical importance. I hope readers pay careful attention to how Mark's allegiance to Stalin's codified theory of social and economic organization and his sectarian induced artificial stupidity degrades his ability to deal with what is certainly one of the most important questions of our time.
Below are Mark's comments on the matter (emphasis added):
"... for [Ben], everything would be just dandy if organizations were less 'top down' and more 'bottom up'. That is, of course unless 'bottom up' doesn't work, then, he says, you should be 'top down.' I must admit, Ben's organizational theories have gone bottoms up! ...
"Further insight into Ben's organizational genius can be culled from his analysis that the dictatorship of the proletariat should be based on
        "'cooperative anarchy in which the actions of many independent, conflicting and parallel processes will somehow be coordinated to create fantastic amounts of material and social wealth without the necessity for any clumsy, burdensome and inefficient bureaucracy.'
"Let's see, a society of independent producers who, despite conflicting with one another, 'somehow' produce a heaven on earth. Ben's 'cooperative anarchy' is just another way of describing capitalism, another way of praising the 'invisible hand' which unites the independent, conflicting entities. Socialism must overcome anarchy of production, it must overcome independent processes that are somehow coordinated. Ben is right to be upset about the bureaucracy that developed in the former Soviet Union. But opposing bureaucracy without opposing anarchy of production is fitting for the Chamber of Commerce, not a socialist. And no matter what Ben imagines, his anarchy will, like in all other capitalist societies, give rise to a repressive bureaucracy -- no matter how many computers exist in that society!"
Mark makes a number of assumptions here that reflect both sectarian fury and typical revisionist prejudice. Let's consider what they are:
Assumption # 1 -- "only capitalism can organize competition"
Mark equates the coordinating force that would bring into alignment "the actions of many independent, conflicting and parallel processes" with the "invisible hand" which coordinates independent commodity producers under capitalism. Of course this "invisible hand" is also known as the action of the capitalist market. So Mark is simply assuming that no other kind of force is possible that can coordinate the actions of producers who have any significant degree of independence from one another. Hence, according to Mark, only capitalist principles can structure an economy in which the creators of wealth may organize into units that compete against each other and enjoy significant freedom of action in their economic decisions. We might expect revisionists to think like this, but why should communists?
EVERYTHING Complex is Made Up of
Independent, Conflicting Processes
The magnitude of Mark's error is difficult to overstate. By denouncing the idea of an economy composed of vast numbers of conflicting, independent processes, Mark has accomplished the impossible. Mark has presented to us a picture of a future communist economy and world without internal contradictions. Such a world would be utterly devoid of life and completely dead, not to mention impossible. [...]
To broaden our view a bit, let's consider the phenomenon of life. All life processes are based on the extremely complex interactions of large and small macromolecules which simultaneously both attract and repel one another. All life processes are products of a system of organization made of billions and billions of contradictory, conflicting, independent and parallel processes. And yet there exist principles of organization that nature has stumbled upon which allow these independent, contradictory, parallel processes to interact in such a way that the sum effect is highly synergistic (ie: the whole is more than the sum of its parts) and creates a system with a higher order of complexity.
Similarly all profound intellectual or emotional processes involve the interplay and interaction of independent, conflicting elements.
No process of any complexity could possibly be otherwise. Nature, by its nature, is PARALLEL.
Yet Mark, smugly and in a most authoritative manner whips around a strand of cooked spaghetti, imagines he is cracking a bullwhip, and lays down the law: any complex economy composed of independent, conflicting, wealth-creating processes is by definition capitalism. I would say that if someone should be accused of worshipping capitalism -- it should not be Ben, but Mark.
Competition is inseparable from and an indispensable component of cooperation. Competition is, in the final analysis, the only available means to measure the efficiency or effectiveness of a process. All measurement involves a process of comparison of a known quantity to an unknown quantity. Competition is the most real method of comparing and contrasting, in practice, one process with another.
Competition is here to stay. Competition in all spheres of society (whether economic, cultural, political, etc.) is fundamentally a reflection of the inherent tendency of all processes in nature to operate in parallel. As such, as a manifestation of parallelity, competition (as a way of resolving contradictions, which must, of necessity, interact with one another) is inherent in the character of physical law. Those who profess that competition, as a principle of economic development, is only possible via the mechanism of money and the market are in fact preaching that money and the market are eternal -- that from now until the end of time "MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO 'ROUND". [...] Mark, [...] is absolutely certain that competition is forever bound up with the existence of money, the market, commodity production and the rule of capital.
Communist Competition
One of the most essential and defining characteristics of a truly communist economy would be the active participation of the masses in setting priorities for the overall direction for economic development and growth. Would the action of the masses be reflected simply through central planning bodies which would dictate a tune to which all production units must march? Well this is conceivable in particular industries and in particular circumstances but in general I believe it absurd to consider this the general rule covering the bulk of the production of the wealth of society.
There are other ways of involving the masses in the economic life of society. The masses can participate as consumers, as producers (ie: as workers) and as shapers of public opinion. This could include participation in mass organizations that would be very effective despite wielding no formal authority whatsoever.
Consider an example. Two similar products are available. One tends to use resources that endanger an ecosystem and the other requires more labor. Or, similarly, the production of one or the other may indirectly affect the living conditions of people in Bangladesh. Or again, one may be produced by an economic unit which is seized by an internal dispute and the masses may wish to take sides. The decisions of the masses, as consumers (as individuals or via organizations that choose products), as workers (as individuals or via organizations similar to unions) and as shapers of public opinion (again, as individuals or via participation in economic, political or cultural organizations) would determine the proportion of the two competing products which accumulate to the public wealth. Does this mean that there would be no central planning bodies? No. But it allows us to see a picture of a society and an economy vastly more complex and sophisticated than the one-dimensional cartoon picture Mark has drawn up in which the general rule is that production units can be neither in conflict with nor independent of one another.
For example, there might be different and opposing bodies concerned with economic planning and development. Or there might be different schools of thought or currents of opinion within a single planning body. These differences would correspond to opposing or competing political, economic or cultural philosophies. Another factor here may be competing material interests. Competing material interests may play a small role for a while in the early stages of communist (ie: classless) society, even if their effect is infinitely smaller than the role they play in a class divided society.
What is required to accomplish the coordination of production units which may both compete and cooperate with one another in ways more complex than the vibration and interaction of molecules in a living cell? The action of the marketplace under capitalism is infinitely crude compared to the kinds of coordination that would exist in a communist economy. A communist economy would operate without a market. It would operate without money. There would be no production of commodities (ie: goods produced for the purpose of sale). ALL production would be for the sake of consumption and ALL consumption would be for the sake of production. The economic, political and cultural struggles in society would be utterly and completely merged and indistinguishable from one another although by this time we are probably discussing something advanced beyond the very earliest stages of communist society that we can foresee.
For such an economy a high degree of political, cultural and economic development would be necessary. The mechanism that coordinates the action of all producers and all consumers would not be the marketplace but consciousness. The intervention of consciousness in the economic life of society would occur in myriad ways at every level. Consciousness would in turn be served by the material and cultural/informational goods and services (ie: "hardware" and "software") produced. And consciousness would also be the primary, the highest and the ultimate form of wealth.
Competition Under the
Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Of course I have been discussing the functioning of a communist economy. We know that under communism there would be no state and hence no possibility for central planning bodies to throw their weight around in a coercive manner. But Mark's opposition to me centers around the transition period between capitalism and communism, the period of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". Would competition exist under the "D of P"? Yes. It would flourish. Otherwise we could never get "from here to there".
I consider it is a mistake to believe that there would be a single form of economy during this transition period. I have concluded that instead of inventing forms corresponding to a homogeneous "socialist economy" -- that we should consider a different approach. I conclude that during the transition period both capitalist and communist sectors of the economy would exist side by side. In fact, I expect there would be three sectors because the capitalist sector would itself be divided into a private capitalist sector and a state capitalist sector. All sectors would compete against one another as well as cooperate in various ways with the arbiter of these interactions being the masses, via their direct actions and via their will reflected indirectly through the state machine.
Initially the communist sector would be very small and awkward. It would not be as efficient as the capitalist sector and would require state intervention to keep it alive so that it could grow. Of what use would it be if it were not strong enough to compete against the capitalist sector and survive on its own? To answer this question we can paraphrase Ben Franklin who, upon witnessing an early demonstration of a lighter-than-air balloon, was asked "of what use is this?" Franklin replied "Of what use is a new born baby?" The communist sector would be increasingly supported by the masses as it demonstrates that it had the present and future ability to serve their needs far better than the capitalist sector. It would grow and develop and eventually overwhelm the capitalist sector which (via the intervention of the workers' state) gives it nourishment in its infancy much like the white of an egg gives nourishment to a growing chick embryo.
During the transition period, the state apparatus would act as a defensive shield to protect the interests of workers and the majority of society from the economic might and powerful corrupting influence of the capitalist class which would be in constant motion towards subverting the workers' dictatorship. Such a defensive shield could not successfully hold off attack forever and furthermore would be extremely expensive, in terms of the social distortions that it creates, to maintain. The development of a sword is the only way to end the contest for once and for all. That sword would be the communist sector which, once more mature, would be able to outproduce the capitalist sector by orders of magnitude (ie: hundreds or thousands fold) with a vastly higher productivity of labor. Once the communist sector had proven itself fully capable of providing for all the material and cultural needs of the masses, it would be allowed to absorb whatever remnants of the capitalist sector would be worth absorbing.
Cooperative Anarchy
Now let's consider the meaning of the term "cooperative anarchy" which Mark assures us is just another way of describing capitalism. But let's examine it not as described by either Mark or Ben but as described by the actual pioneers who are experimenting with creating a form of wealth that, to a significant degree, lies outside of the bounds of commodity production.
The December 1994 issue of Dr. Dobbs' Developer Update (a journal for software developers) features as its lead an article on the development of the next generation of standards for the internet. It turns out that the development of standards for the internet is a very important matter. A great many people are affected. Different views on what the standards should be clash and it is important that the resulting decisions are best for everybody as a whole. Interestingly, the article focuses more on the process and philosophy of people working together to work out common standards than it does on the standards itself. The term "cooperative anarchy" has evolved to describe the process by which many kinds of work get done on the internet. The article goes on to quote a section of a technical paper which had a subhead titled "Cooperative Anarchy":
"A major contributor to the internet's success is the fact that there is no single, centralized, point of control or promulgator of policy for the entire network. This allows individual constituents of the network to tailor their own networks, environments, and policies to suit their own needs. The individual constituents must cooperate only to the degree necessary to ensure that they interoperate. We believe that this decentralized and decoupled nature of the internet must be preserved. Only a minimum amount of centralization or forced cooperation will be tolerated by the community as a whole." (emphasis added)
The Dr. Dobbs article goes on to note that much of the work involved in setting policy and standards on the internet is done on a volunteer basis but that this self-appointed collection of largely unpaid volunteers has accomplished vastly better results than were accomplished in the setting of standards for OSI (the dominant standard for local area computer networks) which involved negotiations among paid representatives of corporations. One can imagine the dynamics involved as the common interest as well as technical considerations tend to get overwhelmed by corporate political infighting.
Of particular note is the attitude above toward "centralization or forced cooperation". These terms of course correspond to what is often referred to as "top-down" methods of organization. The attitude of the above author towards top-down methods reflects the experience of large numbers of people who have worked in this kind of environment. They recognize that to a certain degree and in certain circumstances centralization is necessary but they will accept only the "least necessary" degree of this necessary evil. What is the problem with centralization? The problem is that independent of the good will or resistance to corruption of those in the center, that the process of all information having to be channeled through a single central point inevitably introduces distortions and limits the ability of constituent elements of the process from interacting locally, or "in parallel".
I hope that sectarian supporters can consider the fact that Mark's most strident opposition to "independent, parallel processes" stems from his absolute fidelity to the principles of organization (of society and of its proletarian political party) codified under J. V. Stalin. In the Soviet party and in Soviet society all information, all interconnection between disparate process was in theory channeled through Stalin's brain.
Such organizational theories may have served the needs of survival and development of a very brutal regime in very brutal conditions but they have no place in the development of a communist society nor in the development of a proletarian party in the modern world.