Technology, Capitalism and Anarchism (web)

Download PDFby Anarcho

Technology has an obvious effect on individual freedom, in some ways increasing it, in others restricting it. However, since capitalism is a social system based on inequalities of power, it is a truism that technology will reflect those inequalities, as it does not develop in a social vacuum.

No technology evolves and spreads unless there are people who benefit from it and have sufficient means to disseminate it. In a capitalist society, technologies useful to the rich and powerful are generally the ones that spread. This can be seen from capitalist industry, where technology has been implemented specifically to deskill the worker, so replacing the skilled, valued craftsperson with the easily trained (and eliminated!) “mass worker.” By trying to make any individual worker dispensable, the capitalist hopes to deprive workers of a means of controlling the relation between their effort on the job and the pay they receive. In Proudhon’s words, the “machine, or the workshop, after having degraded the labourer by giving him a master, completes his degeneracy by reducing him from the rank of artisan to that of common workman.” [1]

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Anarcho-Syndicalism, Technology and Ecology (web)

Download PDFby Graham Purchase

 Contents:

  • Worker Control
  • Efficiency and Self-Sufficiency
  • Primitivism and Technophilia
  • Capitalism and a Clean Environment
  • Consumerism and Environmentalism
  • Anarcho-Syndicalism and Environmentalism
  • Means and Ends
  • The Organisation of Daily Life

In an anarchist society, the absence of centralised state authority will permit a radically new integration of nature, labour and culture. As the social and ecological revolution progresses, national boundaries will become cartographical curiosities, and divisions based upon differences in geography, climate and species distribution will re-emerge. This essay addresses the question of what role unionism will play in these changes.

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The Ecological Challenge: Three Revolutions are Necessary (web)

Download PDFby Alternative Libertaire

1. The World is in Overdrive

1.1 The Ecological Peril

1.2 The Imperialist Peril

2. Capitalism is not the Solution

3. Three Revolutions are Necessary

3.1 Revolution in trade: putting an end to globalisation

3.2 Revolution in the modes of consumption: the question of décroissance (“de-growth”)

3.3 Revolution in the modes of production: energy saving

4. Strategic Conclusion


With a planetary ecological crisis on hand, it can no longer be denied that socialism will be incompatible with mass production and mass consumption. Indeed, even without returning to Malthusian catastrophe theories, we are forced to admit that the planet’s resources are not inexhaustible. These resources could provide for humanity’s needs, but only if they are used in a reasonable and rational way, i.e., in a manner directly opposed to capitalist logic, which in itself is a source of imbalance.

For decades, anti-capitalists have rightly raised the question of the “redistribution of wealth” between the Global North and Global South. This idea has commonly been imagined to mean an end to the pillage of the Third World by the advanced industrialized powers, so that the people of the Global South are able to attain an equivalent level of development. This demand, put simply, means that the South should catch up to the North’s “standard of living.”

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