Social Ecology

 

From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:01 am
Subject: Social Ecology Part One

In an attempt to research exactly what is meant by "Ecofascism" and the "Social Ecology" that Mr. Staudenmaier declares himself to be an adherent of, I have read and analyzed the article below. This will need to be in parts, due to the limitations of length allowed by my e-mail server.

I am presenting here an article by Peter Staudenmeier published on the website of "The Institute for Social Ecology."

http://www.social-ecology.org/article.php?story=20031118120303576

I recommend first linking to the website above and reading the article in its entirety before going through it with my highlights and commentaries.

Due to the limitations of my internet provider in being able to use font formatting to show my highlighting of certain phrases for emphasis, I will enclose some of Mr. Staudenmeier's phrases that I want to highlight in brackets. All such emphasis as such is my own and are used as substitute for yellow highlighter. My commentary will be between lines of asterisks and as such, sometimes entail dividing original paragraphs.

None of these techniques are meant to change any of the words of Mr. Staudenmaier or their context or meaning. They are only being used as a means of showing relationship between his words and my commentary.

If such techniques are not acceptable, I apologize in advance and will try to learn a better way of "discussing" such articles.

Christine Natale

Copy of original article posted on the website above:

Economics in a Social-Ecological Society
By Peter Staudenmaier

In the midst of our struggles for a better world, social ecologists have frequently engaged in critical dialogue with other strands of radical thought about just what kind of world we're struggling for. Such dialogues often address the question of how people in a liberated future will organize their material relationships with one another and with the natural world. What would economics look like in an ecological society? How might free communities arrange their livelihood?

Exploring questions such as these requires us to exercise an important faculty of dialectical philosophy: the capacity to think speculatively. [Envisioning a future beyond capitalism and the state] means thinking past the world around us and putting ourselves inside of a different world, a world structured in a very different way, a world that has developed some of the social and ecological potentials that we see around us, in distorted form, today. It means trying to see the world not merely as it is, but as it ought to be.

(Christine)
But he does not specify what this "ought to be."

Social ecologists have put forward a number of [concrete proposals] over the years for a municipalized economy and a moral economy. These proposals point toward what Bookchin calls "the recovery of the productive process itself as an ecological mediation of humanity with nature." What these [practical proposals] have in common is an underlying conception of how complex economies could be run differently, without markets or classes or bureaucracy, along egalitarian and participatory lines. Social ecologists argue that the economic mechanisms of a free society, whether for production, distribution, or reproduction, should have four basic characteristics: they should be conscious, transparent, alterable, and integrated.

Conscious: We want economic mechanisms to [deliberately chosen and deliberately structured,] so that they fulfill the purposes that [we collectively give to them], rather than the economic structures forcing us to fulfill their purposes.

(Christine)
How would these mechanisms be determined?

Transparent: We want every member of society to be able to grasp how society's economic mechanisms function.

(Christine)
Does this indicate an educational system? Level of education?

Alterable: We want to be able to change our economic structures according to [ecological and social needs.]

(Christine)
By whose determination?

And last, we want economic mechanisms to be comprehensively integrated with all other aspects of [communal self-management.]

(Christine)
How?

What might these values look like in practice? How could this ensemble of speculative postulates actually be implemented? What follows is a brief attempt to sketch a reconstructive vision of economics in a social-ecological society.

The World Social Ecologists Envision

The world we envision is one of adventure and possibility, of radically new relationships and potential [forms of social and individual life that are difficult to imagine, much less describe,] from the perspective of the present. Most of what will happen in a social-ecological future, whether at an environmental level, a personal level, or a communal level, will be spontaneous and creative-and these are things we can neither plan nor propose nor predict. Nevertheless, such spontaneous and creative unfolding of potentials will require both [an institutional framework and an ethical vision] if they are to become more than mere dreams. Thus we must turn our attention to the [social structures] that might make free nature and a free society more likely.

Social ecologists work toward a society structured around [freedom, cooperation, and ecological and social diversity.] Our vision of a better world draws on a wealth of practical experiments and utopian hopes raised throughout history by emancipatory movements from below. At the center of our vision of free communities [is direct democracy.] Direct democracy means people managing their own lives, consciously and collectively, for the good of the communities they are part of. Instead of handing over decision-making power to experts, professionals, representatives, or bureaucrats, social ecology foresees [all people participating directly in the self-management of their communal affairs.]

(Christine)
MARXISM???!!!! Sounds like the polit-bureau of the Soviets - the local cadres

Because we oppose institutionalized forms of domination and hierarchy, [social ecologists reject the state] as such. Instead of positing a separate body that stands apart from society and makes decisions on its behalf, we envision [a network of community assemblies as the basic decision-making body and as the primary venue for practicing direct democracy.] These assemblies include all the residents of a local area (in cities at the neighborhood level and in rural areas at the township level), who meet at regular intervals to discuss and decide on the issues before them: political as well as economic decisions, indeed any social decision that significantly affects the life of the community as a whole.

The popular assembly includes everybody who is willing to participate in it and provides a democratic forum for all community members to engage one another on an equal basis and actively shape social life. Ongoing interactions of this kind encourage a sense of shared responsibility and interdependence, as well as offering a public space for resolving disputes and disagreements in a [rational and non-coercive way.] Recognizing that people have differing interests, aspirations, and convictions, the neighborhood assembly and its accompanying civic ethos present an opportunity for [reconciling particular and general objectives.] Direct democracy, in this view, involves a commitment to the wellbeing of one's neighbors.

(Christine)
How would 1. "the commitment to the well-being of one's neighbors" be fostered in the group? And 2. What would be the mechanisms for "reconciling particular and general objectives"? In other words, for resolving disputes?

This sounds generally like a throw back both to early American "town hall" politics and yet, the ideals of communism. What about Ayn Rand? I need to re-read her, but I think this co-relates.

[Communal wellbeing], in turn, implies an active respect and appreciation for the natural context within which local communities exist. No social order can guarantee that the ecosystems and habitats that host our various settlements will thrive, but social ecologists believe that [communities built around free association and mutual aid are much better suited to fostering environmental diversity and sustainability] than those built around authoritarian systems of power. In societies that have overcome domination and hierarchy, ecological flourishing and human flourishing can complement and reinforce one another.

The [ethical] outlook that embodies these potentials is as important as the [practical methods]

(Christine)
(he hasn't specified ANY practical methods yet.)

themselves. Social ecologists want to create social forms that promote[ freedom and solidarity] by building these values into the[ very fabric of social relations and public institutions.] Thus, our emphasis on face-to-face assemblies open to all is meant to encourage, not preclude, the creation of other [libertarian and cooperative social forms.]

(Christine)
This sounds like a lot of gobbledy-gook backtalk. A mish mash of early American independent communities and bolshevism ) In the best sense of the ideology of Marxism, the individual and local body should be supreme, while at the service of the good of the "collective".

An enormous variety of spontaneous associations, living arrangements, workplaces, family structures, and so forth all have an important place in our vision of a free world. The only forms that are excluded are ones based on exploitation and oppression.

(Christine)
How specifically would the society prevent the "freedom" of the individual from leading to exploitation of other individuals? What about when the "good of the collective (so to speak)" impinges on one or more members of that community? How does one distinguish & define oppression?

Social ecology's model of direct democracy can therefore be realized in a number of different ways depending on the needs, desires, and experiences of those who are inspired by it. This is especially true of economic processes, and the [scenario outlined here is only one possible interpretation of the economic aspects of a social-ecological society.]

(Christine)
(he hasn't' outlined ONE specific example of how any economic process would work.)

The fundamental shared perspective is that of a [moral economy,] in which the material conditions of our existence are reintegrated into a broader ethical and institutional framework. [A moral economy means making decisions about production and consumption part of the civic life of the whole community.]

(Christine)
How? Who controls the materials and means of production and distribution of goods? How exactly are these decisions to be made? By vote? By consensus?

Communal Self-Management in Practice

In this scenario, [workers' councils] play a crucial role in the day-to-day administration of production, while [local assemblies] have the final say in major economic decisions. All members of a given community participate in [formulating economic policy, which is discussed, debated, and decided upon within the popular assembly.]

(Christine)
How does this differ from Marxism?

Social ecology foresees an extensive [physical decentralization of production], so that workers at a particular enterprise will typically live in the same municipality where they work.

(Christine)
How would this take place? By force? As this society, especially in economics, gets more and more centralized, how would production be "taken" back to grassroots levels? For example? Who will produce automobiles, (or similar futuristic means of transportation)? Will there be a car factory in every village? Town? City? County? That will produce cars just for that locality? Or, if one municipality produces cars and another one produces garments, what is the mechanism of distribution? Who controls this mechanism?

We also foresee a continual voluntary rotation of jobs, tasks, and responsibilities and a radical redefinition of what 'work' means. Through [the conscious transformation of labor into a free social activity] that combines physical and intellectual skills, we envision the productive process as a fulfillment of [personal and communal needs, articulated to their ecological context.]

(Christine)
What does "articulated to their ecological context." mean?

Along with [the rejection of bosses, profits, wages, and exchange value,] we seek to overcome capitalism's reduction of human beings to instruments of production and consumption. Social ecology's assembly model [encourages] people to approach economic decisions not merely as workers and consumers, but as [community members committed to an inclusive goal of social and ecological wellbeing.]

(Christine)
How are people "encouraged"?

While the broad outlines of [communal production] are established at the assembly level, they are implemented in practice by smaller collective bodies which also operate on an egalitarian, participatory, and democratic basis. [Cooperative households and collective workplaces] form an integral part of this process. Decisions that have regional impact are worked out by [confederations of local assemblies], so that everybody affected by a decision can participate in making it. Specific tasks can be delegated to [specialized committees,] but substantive issues of public concern are subject to the discretion of each popular assembly. Direct democracy encourages the [formation and contestation of competing views and arguments], so that for any given decision there will [be several distinct options available], each of them crafted by the people who will carry them out. Assembly members consider these various proposals and debate their merits and implications; they are discussed, revised and amended as necessary. [When no clear consensus emerges, a vote or series of votes can be held to determine which options have the most support.]

(Christine)
How would this work in "real time?" Would this process take place for every issue from where to buy office supplies and what to buy to the decision to plant wheat or oats on a local collective farm? Is there no need for decision makers, presumably people with expertise in a particular area?

Social ecology's vision of a moral economy centers [on libertarian communism,] in which the fruits of common labor are freely available to all.

(Christine)
How does he leap from "Direct Democracy" to "Libertarian Communism"?

This principle of ["from each according to ability and to each according to need,"] which distinguishes our perspective [from many other anti-capitalist programs], is fleshed out by a civic ethic in which concern for the common welfare shapes individual choices.

(Christine)
Distinguishes it from WHAT other anti-capitalist programs? I haven't heard anything new in this proposal. Isn't of "from each according to ability and to each according to need," the very essence of Marxism? Was it coined by Marx? This "civic ethic" is the very ideology of Marx and Engels, is it not?

In the absence of markets, private property, class divisions, commodity production, exploitation of labor, and accumulation of capital, [libertarian communism] can become [the distributive mechanism for social wealth]

(Christine)
(HOW?)

and the economic counterpart to [the transparent and humanly scaled political structures that social ecology proposes.]

In such an arrangement, the interaction between smaller committees and working groups and the full assembly becomes crucially important to maintaining the democratic and participatory nature of this deliberative process. Preparing coherent proposals for presentation to the assembly will require both [specialized work and scrupulous information gathering,] as well [as analysis and interpretation.] Because these activities can subtly influence the eventual outcome of any decision, the [responsibility for carrying them out should be a rotating task entrusted to a temporary commission chosen at random from the members of the assembly.]

(Christine)
How is this choice to be made? Through lottery? Does this pre-suppose that every member of society is both equally educated to deal with every issue that arises AND that every member is equally disinterested in a personal way? What is the time frame for decision making? How much "red tape" will this create and how much forestalling of individual initiative while either the minutae or overall benefits of each decision are weighed?

Confederal Economic Democracy

When the assembly has considered and debated and fine-tuned the various proposals before it and has agreed on an overall outline for the local economy, community members continue to refine and realize this outline while implementing it in their workplaces, residences, and elsewhere. If obstacles or disagreements arise that cannot be resolved at the immediate level of a single enterprise, institution, or household, they can be brought back to the full assembly for discussion and resolution. If some aspects of an agreed-upon policy are not fulfilled for whatever reason, this will quickly become apparent to community members, [who can then alter or adapt the policy accordingly.]

(Christine)
How? Back to the "drawing board"? What kind of time frame is needed? Would production be halted while this process is being enacted?

While most of economic life will be carried out within [smaller collectivities], in direct cooperation with co-workers, housemates, associates and neighbors, overarching matters of public economic direction will be worked out within the [assembly of the entire community.] When necessary, city-wide or regional issues will be addressed at [the confederal] level, with final decisions remaining in the hands of each local assembly.

(Christine)
What exactly is a confederal level? How are the political boundaries drawn? Is there any freedom of movement for the individual? From one "confederacy" to another?

The reason for this emphasis on assembly sovereignty is two-fold. First, the local assembly is the most accessible forum for practicing direct democracy [and guarding against the re-emergence of power differentials and new forms of hierarchy.] Since the assembly includes all members of the community on equal terms and operates through direct participation rather than representation, it offers the best opportunity for extending [collective self-management] to [all spheres of social life.]

(Christine)
ALERT!!! ALERT!!! ALERT!!! HOW DOES THIS COLLECTIVE SELF-MANAGEMENT EXTEND TO ALL SPHERES OF SOCIAL LIFE???? HOW DID WE JUMP FROM ECONOMIC PRODUCTION TO "ALL SPHERES OF SOCIAL LIFE"?? NOW IT SOUNDS REALLY TOTALITARIAN!!!

Second, the local assembly makes it possible for people to decide on their economic and political affairs in a comprehensive and coherent manner, through face-to-face discussion with the people they live with, play with, and work with. The popular assembly encourages a [holistic approach]

(Christine)
(co-opting double-speak)

to public matters, one that recognizes the myriad interconnections among [economic, social, and ecological concerns.]

Much of this vision will only be practicable in conjunction with [a radical overhaul of the technological infrastructure,] something which social ecologists support on [environmental] as well as democratic grounds. We foresee most production taking place locally, with specialized functions socialized and conceptual and manual labor integrated. Still, there will be some important social goods that cannot or should not be completely decentralized; [advanced research institutes], for example, will serve large regions even though they will be hosted by one municipality. Thus [confederation, which offsets parochialism and insularity,] plays an essential role within social ecology's political vision.

(Christine)
How is this "radical overhaul of the technological infrastructure" to be brought about? Through vote? Or revolt? How is this infrastructure to be broken up? What would the consequences be?

Who would control the "advanced research institutes"? Who would oversee what they are researching and how they are performing such research? Where would the funding come from?

While the primary focus of this scenario is on local communities generating economic policies tailored to their own social end ecological circumstances, social ecologists reject the notions of local self-sufficiency and economic autarchy as values in themselves; we consider these things desirable if and when they contribute [to social participation and ecologically nuanced democratic decision making.]

(Christine)
Double-speak!! What is the DIFFERENCE between "…local communities generating economic policies tailored to their own social and ecological circumstances…" and "local self-sufficiency and economic autarchy…"? How is it to be determined, who makes the decision as to whether or not a local decision "…contribute(s) to social participation and ecologically nuanced democratic decision making." ? What does "ecologically nuanced democratic decision making" mean??

We foresee a confederation of assemblies in consistent

(Christine)
(?) (Does he mean constant?)

dialogue with one another via confederal bodies made up of [recallable and mandated delegates]

(Christine)
(voted for?) (how chosen?)

from each constituent assembly. These bodies are established as outgrowths of the directly democratic local communities, not as substitutes for them. Since economic relations, in particular, often involve cooperation with distant communities, confederation offers a mutually compatible framework for sharing resources, skills, and knowledge.

(Christine)
How is this confederation structured? How is it different from federal government of locally elected representatives?

A confederal network of popular assemblies offers a practical way for all people to consciously direct their lives together and to [pursue common goals as part of a project of social freedom.]

(Christine)
(Double Speak)

Bringing together solidarity and autonomy, we can recreate politics, [the art of communal self-management,] as the highest form of direct action. In such a world, [economics as we know it today will no longer exist.] When work becomes creative activity, when production becomes the harmonization of human and ecological potentials, when economics becomes collective self-determination and the conscious unfolding of social, natural, and ethical possibilities as yet unimagined, then we will have achieved a liberated society, and the ideas outlined here will take on concrete form as lived realities and direct experiences.

(end of Mr. Staudenmaier's article)

(Christine)
How is work NOT creative activity in our society as it is today? How does this political ideology propose to ensure that it becomes "creative activity"?

How does "production become(s) the harmonization of human and ecological potentials"?

How does "economics become(s) collective self-determination and the conscious unfolding of social, natural, and ethical possibilities as yet unimagined"?

How will "the ideas outlined here will take on concrete form as lived realities and direct experiences"?

Ayn Rand?

(Christine)

(End of Part One - see Social Ecology - Part Two)

...................................................................................................................................

From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:05 am
Subject: Social Ecology Part Two

Please see "Social Ecology Part One"

Christine's Commentary:

This whole article is a mish mash of standard collectivist material with "sound bytes" like "wholistic" and "social freedom" and "democracy" thrown in. Personal freedom as the highest ideal YET submitted to the greatest "well-being" of the social collective. No real practical mechanisms are presented here and nothing new. Both American "Democracy" and Russian "Communism" contain pretty much all of these mechanisms - decision making at the local level with all members of the local community participating (for example) belong to both. The need for communication and cooperation between individual communities is recognized and worked with. Representatives are chosen to work at decision making for broader based regions. And ultimately, there is a need for the "confederal" level of decision making.

Neither American "Democracy" nor Russian "Communism" has really achieved social, political or economic realities that live up completely to the common idealism that lives in both.

In American "Democracy" there has been a swing of the pendulum more to the side of the local and independent "free enterprise". Drawn to its logical conclusion, "free enterprise" without control by a government that expresses and enforces the "will of the people" collectively for fair practices, human rights and dignity and workers' benefits - becomes a devouring monster that serves fewer and fewer members of society as it grows. There has to be a mechanism that ensures that the profits of "free enterprise" are shared by all who participate in its success. And there has to be a mechanism that works from "outside" its own power structure to protect those who contribute to that success from social and economic exploitation and abuse. In America, this has been perceived as the arena of the government - local, state and federal. However, the very way that government representatives are elected "by the people" and the relative freedom of decision making given to American government on the whole, allows it to be "infiltrated" by special interest groups. Historically, this has meant the great influence of private enterprise over individual politicians and the decisions of political bodies in favor of laws and privileges which have benefited industrialists greatly over the needs and concerns of local communities. Only the social radicalism of the second half of the 20th century has forced the American government to be "tried" in the court of public opinion at a grassroots level. The right to object to participation in war, to demand economic fairness and protection of workers' rights and benefits as well as social and economic equality of opportunity regardless of race, creed or sex have all been achieved by local, grassroots organizations and "collective" participation, albeit often at a high cost. While much has been achieved, there are further battles to be fought. And we have seen in recent years a conscious and concerted effort to rescind many of the social, political and economic gains of the past half century and to place "free enterprise" outside the bounds of social justice, both in the United States and around the world.

On the other side of the pendulum swing, Russian "Communism" sought to enforce "moral economy" through indoctrination and social and political control. The decision making in the economic sphere became so complicated and ponderous that it interfered with individual initiative. Also, decisions about the necessity for production of certain "commodities " such as scientific and technological research and development were made at a much higher level than local and did not originate from the grassroots level. Even though equality of distribution of goods and profit was ideologically incorporated in the social philosophy and political construct, there was, in fact an unequal distribution process in effect. There was a perceived dichotomy between the ideals of a "common good" and the actual economic distribution process that the individual was forced to live with. The lack of incentive to improve the one's economic and social condition led to indifference and apathy, rather than creativity and drive. While local workers ostensibly had a collective ownership of raw materials, tools and other means of production, there was little local incentive for initiative in the economic arena. All results of production were sucked up by the "collective society" where they subtly rose to the upper levels of the power structure to benefit the few.

In the article above, "Social Ecology" is not actually defined in practice. While it uses terminology which may link it in the mind of the casual reader to good ideals common to both the capitalist and communist systems and may appear to be trying to extract and combine the best of both, in fact, it proposes no new mechanisms which can protect people from the abuses of either system. There are gaping holes in its ideology at both the practical and idealistic levels. It pre-supposes a universally high level of intellectual education and ethical development in all "citizens" of its society. It does not define the ownership and distribution of materials and means of production or of the profits of economic enterprise. It does not define the mechanisms by which dissent and opposition to collective decisions will be handled. It does not define the role and responsibility of the "confederal" level of government or its accountability. It does not define the nature of "advanced research institutes" and what they are permitted to do that would be beyond the control of local community decision makers.

The lack of definition combined with the continual use of "double-speak" in its descriptions lead the reader to imagine the worst consequences of both political philosophies to arise. On the one hand, the removal of "local" enterprise from government control completely, which would leave the granting of workers' right and benefits solely to the discretion of the local enterprise itself. On the other hand, a "collective" mentality which expects every member of the society to willingly submit themselves to the demands of the local, collective or "confederal" decision makers for the "common good."

The balancing of the two seemingly opposing sets of interests - those of economic enterprise with the social collective - has been the main struggle of the intellectual and political communities of the past three hundred years, since the French and American Revolutions. In the process of attempts to put social, political and economic ideologies into practice, humanity has witnessed great progress and great tragedy. In every social philosophy, whether based on religious or strictly humanitarian ethical ideals, there is inherent danger in its practice. The basic dichotomy that lives in every human individual between self-interest and willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of another, expresses itself a thousand- or a million-fold in the creation and practice of various forms of government.

One can take hope in the perspective that over the past few hundred years (a short period indeed when considering human history), despite the abuses and atrocities committed in the name of social, political and economic ideals, some real progress has been made. Free Enterprise, in spite of its dragon-like nature of wanting to accumulate greater and greater personal wealth, has in fact raised the physical standard of living for a larger percentage of people in the world than ever before. The "average" American or European citizen lives more comfortably and has greater access to medical care, education and social protection that could even have been conceived of until this past century. This has, of course, come at a high cost in terms of human life and sacrifice. And the somewhat ironic reality is that the "dragon" forces of the free enterprise system require greater and greater levels of health and education in its workers for the very continuation of its own progress. Technology increases production, but increased education and health are needed to maintain and grow technology. Raw muscle and sweat created the foundation of our production systems, but mental labor has supplanted physical in our current technological societies.

Of course, there is still a need for human physical labor in production and the technological society must continue to exploit less "developed" societies for its labor pool. But the more production is mechanized, the more education will be required of all of the world's population.

Communism, or Social Collectivism on the other hand has made sweeping and profound contributions to the quality of life over the past century by supporting and contributing to the fight for social, political and economic justice. More individual members of society than ever before are being allowed to share in the kinds of rights and privileges once enjoyed by very few. The demand for social justice and political equality has led to the adoption of legislation and creation of social institutions to oversee the personal freedom of expression by individuals and their protection from persecution and abuse under the law. As rights have been fought for and won which allow workers greater amounts of personal time and availability of education and health care, there has been more opportunity for individuals and small groups to pursue more creative and socially oriented economic projects. Awareness of human rights and individual self-worth has promoted the creation of many humanitarian and socially progressive organizations. Greater educational opportunities have led to greater understanding of the history of human political and social development and its triumphs and pitfalls. A greater sense of responsibility has grown in society at large for the health of the planet and all of its occupants, human and otherwise. The interconnectedness of all life has become a common awareness. Development of the technology and tools of global communications has spread a social and environmental message world wide. As we begin to witness through the media how the abuse or destruction of an animal species in one remote corner of the world has a destructive chain reaction effect on the opposite side of the world; as we learn about how the release of a toxic chemical in one country can have devastating consequences in another country thousands of miles away; as we become aware of the myriad factors which influence our very personal experience of the quality of life, we rise to the level of social consciousness which was once only a dream of political philosophers and ideologues.

Attempts have been made over the past three hundred years to put into effect, often by force, ideals which in and of themselves have been a true expression of the great goodness inherent in humankind. But, as with all development that is forced and brought into being ahead of its time, there is usually corruption, distortion, defect and miscarriage. Nevertheless, even in the most gruesome situations that we have lived through collectively, seeds for future human development have been planted. And there is reason to believe that mankind has the ability, the will and yes, the love within our very nature to continue to develop social, political and economic forms which will always have as their highest ideal the combination of individual freedom with the benefit to mankind as a whole.

However, the concept of "social ecology" as outlined in Peter Staudenmaier's article above gives us no new insights as to the forms of positive social development nor to the protection from abuses which humanity has lived through in the past and is continuing to struggle with today. In fact, the concept itself is only vaguely defined and opened to the worst possible interpretations. One would be wise to use intellectual and practical caution in regard to the formulations of its adherents.

Christine Natale

February 28, 2004

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 8:36 am
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Dear Christine,

I am so glad you did this as I am sure is Peter. You have a great mind that allows you to seek what is truly being said. Peter will be able to take another gander at his work and figure out what he is really trying to say.

Now, I am wondering if you or maybe Frank or JoAnn might be able to share where this differs from Dr. Steiners Threefold work?

Bradford, I am wondering if you can detect where specifically this teaching is coming from? Specifically in the long run of the social questions dating back to the Greeks. What stream is he swimming in?

And Danny, I am wondering if you might be able to see what it is that Mr. Staudenmaier is really seeking through his interactions with Dr. Steiners work? What is he really trying to get in this particular incarnation?;:))) and how can the Steiner students help him on the stormy seas to make a safe harbor?

Love,
Dottie

...................................................................................................................................

From: VALENTINA BRUNETTI
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 11:37 am
Subject: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

----- Original Message -----
From: dottie zold
Sent: Saturday, February 28, 2004 5:36 PM
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Dear Christine,

I am so glad you did this as I am sure is Peter. You have a great mind that allows you to seek what is truly being said. Peter will be able to take another gander at his work and figure out what he is really trying to say.

Now, I am wondering if you or maybe Frank or JoAnn might be able to share where this differs from Dr. Steiners Threefold work?

Bradford, I am wondering if you can detect where specifically this teaching is coming from? Specifically in the long run of the social questions dating back to the Greeks. What stream is he swimming in?

And Danny, I am wondering if you might be able to see what it is that Mr. Staudenmaier is really seeking through his interactions with Dr. Steiners work? What is he really trying to get in this particular incarnation?;:))) and how can the Steiner students help him on the stormy seas to make a safe harbor?

Dottie, Dottie, Dottie.......

I can understand your warm-hearted desire to be openminded and positive towards anyone, including the worst Ahri's puppet, but I believe that our best thinkers, those you are referring to above, have a better work to do than "interpretate" the "social thinking" (in itself total irrelevant) of an ultra-materialistic snake who calls RS, on and on and in spite of all the counter evidences "racist" and "antisemite". "Nolite projcere margaritas ad Porcos" (don't give pearls to pigs) did say the Christ in the Gospels. So let it be for us too

Andrea the Choleric Italian.

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:34 pm
Subject: Re: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Andrea:

"Nolite projcere margaritas ad Porcos" (don't give pearls to pigs) did say the Christ in the Gospels. So let it be for us too

My task is: not until the last blade of grass; that includes ALL my brothers and sisters.

If others are do not want to indulge me in this that is fine. I have no quarrel. But Peter Staudenmaier blinked the other day and I caught it. That is why I ask the above.

Love to you,
Dottie

...................................................................................................................................

From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 5:15 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Thanks Christine, you wrote:

In an attempt to research exactly what is meant by "Ecofascism" and the "Social Ecology" that Mr. Staudenmaier declares himself to be an adherent of, I have read and analyzed the article below. This will need to be in parts, due to the limitations of length allowed by my e-mail server.

I am presenting here an article by Peter Staudenmeier published on the website of "The Institute for Social Ecology." <snip>

Mike:

I loved your critique of this article. Interesting that there is no mention of any means to promote an idea of religious freedom. It seems very akin to the "religion is a disease" Marxist maxim, without actually coming out and saying it.

But I think most people who have a sense for metaphorical meaning, and a taste for religious freedom (which is ultimately freedom from religious organizations) can see right through this.

It also makes sense to me now more that ever, why someone who is religiously committed to this Ideology, would wage an intellectual war against it's most prolific rival

Truth and Love

Mike

...................................................................................................................................

From: golden3000997
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 5:38 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Thank you for the compliment Mike,

However, I think it is important to be able to take a work on the basis that the author intended. Since the article is a political and economic polemic, I just wanted to approach it on its own terms as I understand them at a layman's level. The only time the "social" per se came in was when he specifically stated:

(Peter - with my brackets for emphasis)

The reason for this emphasis on assembly sovereignty is two-fold. First, the local assembly is the most accessible forum for practicing direct democracy [and guarding against the re-emergence of power differentials and new forms of hierarchy.] Since the assembly includes all members of the community on equal terms and operates through direct participation rather than representation, it offers the best opportunity for extending [collective self-management] to [all spheres of social life.]

And I said:

(Christine)
ALERT!!! ALERT!!! ALERT!!! HOW DOES THIS COLLECTIVE SELF-MANAGEMENT EXTEND TO ALL SPHERES OF SOCIAL LIFE???? HOW DID WE JUMP FROM ECONOMIC PRODUCTION TO "ALL SPHERES OF SOCIAL LIFE"?? NOW IT SOUNDS REALLY TOTALITARIAN!!!

There were many areas of life that were not brought forward in the article and therefore, to me they do not serve to refute or support his political construct. Such considerations might well need to be brought forward if he or the other "Social Ecologists" become more specific in their proposed means of enforcement of this "ideal state". They may well do so elsewhere, but I don't have five or six years of experience with these ideas, so I can only take it one article at a time.

Personally, I think that the reason that Peter said to me in the post below:

Subj: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: agreement and disagreement
Date: 2/22/2004 12:58:26 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: Peter Staudenmaier

(Christine)

While your scholarship on the issue is profound and has involved many hours of research and thought, do you think that you have presented it in a way and through a medium that would keep the discussion in an academic and objective realm?

(Peter) (Christine's brackets for emphasis)

I hope not! I am very critical of the academic realm and the stultifying conception of objectivity that is so often associated with it. That is one of the main reasons I have avoided an academic career so far and remained an independent scholar (though I must confess that I am currently in the midst of throwing in that particular towel); one of my goals is to move historical discussions out of the academic realm so that non-academics can participate in them. My published work on anthroposophy is not objective in the sense I think you mean, and no competent reader could mistake it for such; I am very up front about my own skeptical stance. Much of what I write on anthroposophy is a mixture of scholarship and polemic, addressed to a non-specialist audience. It is not a neutral reflection on the pros and cons of Steiner's various doctrines.

(Christine again)

is basically, because his political/ economic/ & social constructs cannot survive in the light of day of contemporary academic study. Since I am not an academic, I cannot speak for the whole academic community, but if a layman like myself can see the flaws in the construct and the holes in the arguements, then surely those who are truly working in the "real worlds" of social, political and economic thought must have long ago consigned this dilletante effort to the circular file. N'est pas?

: ) Christine

PS - I think I am right in saying that one can be "pro" or "con" any idea, philosophy, religious belief system or political ideology and STILL be objective in one's work. Objectivity, to my understanding does not require neutrality, only honesty and a willingness to take another point of view into serious consideration. What academic study requires, to my understanding is (in addition to objectivity) the readiness of the scholar to not only entertain opposing ideas, but to surrender his or her own pre-conceptions in the face of facts brought forward that remove the foundations of those pre-conceptions. This is an expanded form of honesty. Real scholars, in my opinion, are less concerned with "addressing a non-specialist audience" than in contributing something of substance to their chosen field of research. Rudolf Steiner, in my opinion was a real scholar by my own definition above.

...................................................................................................................................

From: at
Date: Sat Feb 28, 2004 7:14 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Christine:

PS - I think I am right in saying that one can be "pro" or "con" any idea, philosophy, religious belief system or political ideology and STILL be objective in one's work. Objectivity, to my understanding does not require neutrality, only honesty and a willingness to take another point of view into serious consideration.

I was discussing recently with someone how to find truth. The question was how an "ordinary" person could judge whether Steiner was likely correct or incorrect in some of his more far-out descriptions of spiritual beings. It was suggested that we could start with the things we could easily verify, namely how Steiner treats other authors. Is he fair to other authors? That is, in agreeing or disagreeing with another point of view, does he present that which he is opposing in a manner that fairly describes what the original author intended before beginning with his objections? Steiner wrote a considerable amount on philosophy and the history of philosophy (for example, his book "Riddles of Philosophy") so a person knowedgeable about philosophy in general could establish whether Steiner was generally trustworthy by how he treats other philosophers.

This type of test is useful for writers beyond Steiner as well. Take for example Peter Staudenmaier. Is he fair to other authors? That is, in agreeing or disagreeing with another point of view, does he present that which he is opposing in a manner that fairly describes what the original author intended before beginning with his objections? Does he pass this basic test of trustworthiness?

Daniel Hindes

...................................................................................................................................

From: dottie zold
Date: Sun Feb 29, 2004 7:08 pm
Subject: Re: R: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Andrea:

Dottie, Dottie, Dottie.......

I can understand your warm-hearted desire to be openminded and positive towards anyone, including the worst Ahri's puppet, but I believe that our best thinkers, those you are referring to above, have a better work to do than "interpretate" the "social thinking" (in itself total irrelevant) of an ultra-materialistic snake who calls RS, on and on and in spite of all the counter evidences "racist" and "antisemite".

Okay Andrea so I will have a go at it. In as far as where this stream of thought comes from.

It seems that, according to the Heavenly Sophia we have three stages of Sophia: the first being Sophia, during the Grecian period, where they experienced her as a living being; second after the founding of Christianity we find Philo-Sophia portrayed in the arts such as paintings, poems and then philosophers 'feelings for this Lady Philosophy; thirdly we have what we now call Anthroposophia who leads us to our spirit self. And each of these coincides with our evolution up till Spirit Man.

Here is an excerpt of what happens during this last transition and Ahriman comes into play.

pg 86:

However, this relationship to Philo-Sophia as a living being changes - and in a very radical way - in the last thrid of the period under consideration (the beginning of the consciousness soul age), when, after recieving the substance of the cosmic intelligence into his own being, man began to engender his thoughts for himself without any connection with the living being Philo-Sophia. This kind of intellectual activity, as we have seen, reached its culmination in the philosophy of Hegel, who brought forth out of himself a whole cosmos of thought. In a certain sense his philosophy was, therefore, at once the high-point and the end of all philosophical developement. For having sundered any living connection with the sphere of the Sophia, Hegel's thoughts turned into 'pure thought, but only such as can be grasped with the instrument of the physical body, which dies with a persons death'. As a result of this, two paths opened up for philosophy: either to fall from the heights of intellectual speculation down into matter (and this 'fall' of philosophy actually took place in the transition from Hegel to Marx) or to find the path from a purely intellectual understanding of the world to a spiritual understanding of it, which is possible for modern man only through spiritual science. The former would lead to a complete ahrimanisation of human thoughts. Ahrimans taking hold of cosmic intelligence which has become earthly.

Onto page 98:

In the example of the utterly materialistic doctrine of Marxism, which emerged in the nineteenth century on the foundation of the wholly idealistic philosophy of Hegel, this endeavor of Ahriman to seize hold of intelligence belonging to man and entice it - and, with it, the whole of mankind - away into the stream of an ahrimanic evolution which would ultimately destroy Earth, manifests itself with particular clarity. It is evident in this most striking of examples that the philosophy of Hegel, the culmination of earthly philosophy as a whole, it cannot out of itself prevent humanity from falling prey to the power of Ahriman unless it is able to make the transition to the modern science of the spirit or Anthroposophy, which leads directly into the spiritual world. For that which lives in the thought of Hegel, despite its being directed towards the ideal aspect of the world, nevertheless remains mere thought; and this cannot out of itself find the path to actual supersensible perceptions, to imaginative consciousness.

So, here it goes back to at least Hegel. And boy is it difficult to separate what is Steiners thoughts and that of Mr. Prokofieff. They are so intermingled that one can not quote it effectively in my opinion. So, within this post is mostly Prokofieff with a smattering of Dr. Steiner three or four word quotes that I just do not have the time to seperate:(

Dottie

...................................................................................................................................

From: Mike Helsher
Date: Sun Feb 29, 2004 8:09 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Social Ecology Part One

Hi again Christine, you wrote:

Thank you for the compliment Mike,

However, I think it is important to be able to take a work on the basis that the author intended. Since the article is a political and economic polemic, I just wanted to approach it on its own terms as I understand them at a layman's level. The only time the "social" per se came in was when he specifically stated:

It's cool that you can be so patient and objective - I think that's great! I on the other hand like to go for the throat, shoot from the hip (something I've learned from another prominate list member ;^)), and hopefully try and come close to telling the truth, about how I feel and why. And if I'm wrong, well - Oops - sorry! I am by no means a scholar, thus my approach is very unscholarly, but I'm pretty good at sniffing out rats.

I am so very grateful for people like yourself, who have the skills and the patients to go toe to toe with PS.

PS - I think I am right in saying that one can be "pro" or "con" any idea, philosophy, religious belief system or political ideology and STILL be objective in one's work. Objectivity, to my understanding does not require neutrality, only honesty and a willingness to take another point of view into serious consideration. What academic study requires, to my understanding is (in addition to objectivity) the readiness of the scholar to not only entertain opposing ideas, but to surrender his or her own pre-conceptions in the face of facts brought forward that remove the foundations of those pre-conceptions. This is an expanded form of honesty.

I think your right too! Honesty! Above all Self Honesty!

Real scholars, in my opinion, are less concerned with "addressing a non-specialist audience" than in contributing something of substance to their chosen field of research.

And real scholars probably won't create a bias Polemic tirade, motivated by concrete and arrogance, with the intent of smearing RS, Anthroposophy and Waldorf, primarily for the attention, acknowledgement, or just the plain FUN, that can be had in doing so.

Rudolf Steiner, in my opinion was a real scholar by my own definition above.

Me too. He went to great lengths to define Schopenhauer's and von Hartmann's positions it the POF, before offering up his opposition, and he even mentioned that he had great respect for the latter. Something Daniel wrote about in response to what you wrote above.

Respect speaks volumes to me.

All the best

Mike

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Re: To Peter 2


Click to subscribe to anthroposophy_tomorrow
 

February/March 2004

The Uncle Taz "Anthroposophy Tomorrow" Files

Anthroposophy & Anarchism

Anthroposophy & Scientology

Anthroposophical Morsels

Anthroposophy, Critics, and Controversy

Search this site powered by FreeFind