The 1917 October Revolution

This is the first of a series of articles reviewing this history of the Soviet Union, a state which has been subject to a great deal of political mythology from both its advocates and detractors. However in order to develop a correct political opinion analysis must be based on facts and with a sense of proportionality, and context. These are issues that are often overlooked by political partisans who are under the influence of selection and confirmation biases according to their ideology. Such errors are almost certain (except by luck) if one starts with ideological position and then seeks facts that support their position, and ignores those that don't. Inevitably such approaches will result in terrible errors if their advocates ever achieve power. History should be a resource for learning the benefits of previous actions and preventing the mistakes of failed policies.

It is inevitable that one hundred years are the October Revolution (7 November, New Style) that there has been numerous reviews of that event and all that followed, although perhaps not as one may expect. The relative dearth of public debate of course comes down to the fact that the Soviet Union has not been on the world political map since December 1991. There is now more than an entire generation of people who have no living memory of the country. let alone the context of the country's existence, and memorial rallies in Russia itself were modest. A worthy historical effort was provided by Project 1917 which gives a good account of the revolution combining direct information from historical events in a modern style. From the classics it is hard to go past Leon Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution for being an eye-witness and thorough account, and the eye-witness account of Menshevik Nikolai Sukhanov whose The Russian Revolution was originally published in seven-volumes. It is interesting to note that Sukhanov and Trotsky both share the honour of both being subject to show trails in the Soviet Union, and both were killed by agents of that State only a couple of months apart.

The Etymology of Anarchy

The Greek prefix "a" literally applies the meaning "not". Contextually this can be taken to mean "no", "without", "against", or "in the absence of". The prefix "an" is derivatives of the prefix "a", with the "n" appended for phonetical reasons, the same as we say "an apple" instead of "a apple", because it rolls off the tongue more easily, sounding less stilted.

The literal translation of "archos" is "chief", which depending on the context can be interpreted as "boss", "ruler", "King", "commander" etc. What it doesn't literally translate to is "state" or "government": the word for that is "cracy".

The word anarchy isn't spelled "anarchos" though, which would literally mean "no chiefs", instead it's derived separately from the root "arch" meaning "structure. This is the same root used in words such as "hierARCHYy", "monARCH", and "oligARCHY". Contextually it means "an-ARCHy": "no command structure". Literally it means "no rulers".

Anarchy represents personal sovereignty and the autonomy of the individual. Anarchism is a political theory of how to eliminate command structures from society... Because that's what individual autonomy really is, the absence of an imposed or coercive authority structure. The absence of arbitrary hierarchy. A society organised horizontally instead of vertically, wherever possible and practical.

The Non-Aggression Principle: Failures of Subjective Deontology

It should go without saying that most people are intuitively opposed to violence. In most cases, people would like nothing less than to go about their daily business without interruption. It is from this principle that various "libertarian capitalists" developed an ethical system called "the non-aggression principle", whereby all "aggression" is defined as a unethical. "Aggression" is defined in this context as the initiation of force against persons or property, and allows for protective self-defense under these circumstances. It is explicitly deontological in its orientation, that is, arguing that all aggression, so-defined, is wrong [1]. As an attempt to shore-up the position, similar historical references from classical liberalism are often invoked [2].

There are plentiful arguments against the NAP which will be outlined here. Firstly, is issue of subjective property and personal space assertions. Secondly, there is the issues that arise from a lack of proportionality in the "self-defense" clause. Thirdly, there is consequentialist issues which make the de-ontological approach ethically absurd. In addition to these there are ethical situations which make NAP impossible. In addition to these, there is similar pacifistic approaches which also also subject to similar criticisms and by which comparison is worthwhile. In recognising these issues, an inital sketch of an alternative is posited which incorporates consequentialist and utilitan ethics.

When we say 'technocrat'...

What do we mean when we say the word ‘Technocrat’?

Liberal society - that is to say, ‘liberalism’ divorced from its current political turmoil and only made to carry the weight of its taxonomic origins - is a society in which peoples’ freedoms are maximized to the space that political realities allow for. We take for granted certain realities: That the defense of a state and/or polity must be provided for, that breaches of the social contract must be curtailed and investigated, and that things like economic transactions must be as fair as can be managed.

This means that a great deal of our social expectations rely on the ability to outsource ‘enforcement’ to a higher power. If one is robbed in the street, or if a company fails to live up to its expressed responsibilities in a contract, there are bureaucracies, Systems of Power, to appeal to. We have placed trust in these Systems of Power for the explicit sake of being able to, with a kind of implicit democratic motive, appeal to these bureaucracies to enforce the structures that make liberal society work.

Pansy Division: Some Notes on Certain Petition

by Lev Lafayette and anonymous

On the morning of Friday September 1st, the Isocracy Network initiated a petition on CommunityRun, a website owned by the social activist group "Get Up!". The petition was written by one our members, a medical practioner who wished to remain anonymous, and was launched by the group's president. The petition itself was a request to the Australian Medical Association and in particular, the the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency "to review the registration of Dr Pansy Lai as a Paediatric Medical Practitioner for violation of its code of ethics and violation of the Declaration of Geneva by her participation in the recent 'no' campaign against marriage equality in which she willfully spread misinformation and non-scientific evidence in order to promote the discrimination of LGBTIQ people in Australia".

The petition itself attracted significant media attention. Predictible, The Australian raised the matter of whether it constituted bullying and an attack of free speech. Remarkably the article claimed that "the petition, which received more than 5000 signatures in the first five days"; given that the article was published less than four days after launch, it was quite illustrative of the accuracy of almost everything that comes from that rag. The article also engaged in the hyberbole claiming that the petition was calling for the paediatrians deregistration, indicative of the reporter's extraordinary ignorance of the scope of actions that fall under such a review. Still, yellow journalism desperately needs a readership, and the greater the scandal-mongering the greater the ignorant hordes that gobble up such trash, and so the story was distributed far and wide among many media outlets across the country.

The Reawakening of the Working Class

A presentation by Kosmos Samaras, assistant state secretary of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party, to the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Isocracy Network

Radwan's story : A Syrian Refugee From Aleppo To Finland

Interviewed and written by : Qassem Al-Salamat Edited by: Joanne Roberts

Following my meeting with Amina and after listening to her story, I became more inquisitive to delve deeper into the conditions of the camp and the stories behind the refugees. As the days passed by, I made many friends there and I met many of the displaced refugees.

The circumstances and suffering we shared as refugees became the common denominator for me being able to open side conversations and allowed me to make wonderful friendships with people. I fell in love with them. Even in Syria and before the war I could not find these friendships.Here in the camp and in this situation is where I met the brothers Radwan and Malik.

Radwan was a young man in his twenty's and his younger brother Malik who was 16 years old had an anarchist teenager look about him. Radwan was a friendly young man with a smile always upon his face even in moments of anger and even while screaming at his younger brother's mistakes.

I always noticed some interesting story behind him. He is a refugee who always was consistent and decent with his appearance. The monotony of his clothes and always caring for his hairstyle. Once I even accompanied him to one of the cheap stores on the island of Mytilini, where he wanted to buy a hair dryer. Despite the difficulty of being provided with enough electricity in the camp,he insisted on buying the hair dryer. He was very careful about his appearance, the cleaning of his clothes and he did not care about the dirty camp or the bad conditions surrounding it.

Why we must vote in the Marriage Equality plebiscite

by Marian Weaver

Any way you slice it, the postal plebiscite is a nasty, but effective, piece of political maneuvring. Let’s leave aside the idea of the direct plebiscite - the Parliament won’t pass that legislation. This is, of course, precisely why the government has fallen back on the postal option.

It’s a win-win situation for the Coalition, albeit an expensive one ($122 million). The postal plebiscite is voluntary, which means many people just won’t bother sending back their ballots. You only have to look at other countries who use voluntary voting to see that only those who are particularly motivated tend to show up on polling day, or send in their postal votes. At the last US presidential election, less than half of registered voters turned out (46.1%), and that was considered relatively high. Assuming a similar turnout for the postal plebiscite (and this is by no means guaranteed), less than half of Australia’s eligible voter population would be sending in their ballots. These would tend to be organised groups with an agenda to push, rather than individuals - and while some of these would be extremely pro-Marriage Equality, there are also numerous, influential groups who are already involved in mounting campaigns of shrill misinformation and scaremongering to convince people that a positive outcome would threaten all sorts of social disasters.

Working with the Jewish community on justice for Palestine

I’m here today to define the boundaries and fringes of democracy in Israel and the Australian Jewish community.

Over the course of my short life I’ve moved across the political spectrum, from the far-right fringe where I was included in the democratic process, to the BDS-supporting left where I am largely excluded. So who’s allowed in and who’s kept out? Where are the boundaries? Let’s look at the case study of right-wing outcast Baruch Goldstein:

In Ramadan 1994 Baruch Goldstein entered the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank. Armed with an automatic Galil rifle, Goldstein opened up on the crowd of worshippers, massacring 29 Palestinians and injuring 125 more. Eventually a Palestinian knocked him out cold with a fire extinguisher and he was beaten to death.

It's important to emphasise that the overwhelming majority of Israelis firmly condemned the massacre. The prime minister of Israel at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, addressed Goldstein posthumously “You are not part of the community of Israel... you are not part of the national democratic camp... Sensible Judaism spits you out... You are a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism.”

Libertarian Social Democratic Market Socialism

[Note: I am not a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, nor of their Libertarian Socialist Caucus. However, I do sympathize with their agenda, so I have borrowed the DSA-LSC logo, which will hopefully get some of my readers to check them out.]

My views are a bit eclectic. I draw inspiration from libertarian socialism, municipal socialism, ordoliberalism, social democracy, and market socialism.

I think rules and social order matter. I think we need rules that create uniformity in order to allow for rational economic planning by individuals and businessmen. The institutions and rules of society ought to create a self-regulating framework or “invisible hand” that makes it unnecessary to actively intervene in the marketplace most of the time. Furthermore, people should be provided with a basic safety net that guarantees their wellbeing. Social welfare is a necessity. This is the ordoliberal and social democratic aspect of my thought.


Subscribe to The Isocracy Network RSS