Where are the AWL experts? Crude falls again.greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
``There's a lot of uncertainty about the exact Saudi position,'' a senior trader at a large European oil company said Monday. ``They're adding barrels but no one knows for sure by how much.''
NOW. Where could that be coming from if Y2k "crippled productions" as the FRUITLOOPS AND AWL NUTS SAY???
Oil Reverses Some Gains in Profit Taking
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices eased Monday, reversing some of the sharp gains made last week when worries re-emerged about low fuel inventories in the United States.
London Brent blend futures were off 47 cents at $28.90 a barrel after climbing $2 last week. U.S. light crude was off 23 cents at $29.65.
Dealers attributed the declines to profit taking.
Oil shot up last week after weekly data showed a nine-million-barrel fall in U.S. crude oil stocks, leaving inventories 41 million barrels or 13 percent lower than a year ago.
Brent hit a peak of $31.40 in mid-June before easing to less than $27 a week ago.
Doubts also emerged last week as to whether leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia would fulfil a promise to supply another 500,000 barrels daily to the 76 million bpd world market.
Riyadh has remained silent since announcing in early July that it would add the extra crude to push prices down toward its target of $25 a barrel.
Industry sources familiar with Saudi policy said shortly afterwards that another 250,000 bpd was coming in August followed by the same amount again in July.
But some major customers said last week that the kingdom appeared to be curtailing some of the incremental production.
``There's a lot of uncertainty about the exact Saudi position,'' a senior trader at a large European oil company said Monday. ``They're adding barrels but no one knows for sure by how much.''
A Reuters survey of OPEC output put Saudi at 8.44 million barrels a day in July, taking it nearly 200,000 bpd above its official quota for the month.
Overall OPEC output rose 130,000 bpd to 28.3 million with production from 10 members that have official quotas up 210,000 bpd to 25.81 million -- 410,000 bpd in excess of the official limit of 25.4 million.
Traders were bracing for more developments from OPEC this week from the sidelines of a tour by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in preparation for September's summit of OPEC heads of state in Caracas.
OPEC President Ali Rodriguez, the Venezuelan oil minister, accompanies Chavez on the 10-country tour which includes a stop in Saudi Arabia Monday and Tuesday.
For reasons of protocol Riyadh is thought unlikely to make any further public announcements on output policy during Chavez's tour.
Officially the cartel will not raise output until a basket of its crudes stays above $28 for 20 consecutive days. The basket was priced at $27.35 Friday.
-- cpr (email@example.com), August 07, 2000
Bozo's energy man doesn't have a clue:
US Not Sure if Saudis Shipping More Oil
August 7, 2000 12:54 pm EST
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said Monday he is unsure if Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations will pump more crude oil into the world market and increase oil shipments to the United States in August.
"I think it's too early to tell," Richardson told Reuters. Saudi Arabia reportedly raised its production by 250,000 barrels per day in July and will raise its output by another 250,000 bpd in August. Most of that oil was reportedly bound for the United States and Asian markets.
However, oil market traders began doubting last week whether Saudi Arabia would supply the extra 500,000 bpd, as some Saudi customers said the kingdom appeared to curtail some of its promised production.
Richardson said he has been talking with Saudi Arabia about oil market policies. "These discussions have been constructive," he said.
Last's week drop in U.S. crude oil inventories and oil imports fueled market fears that the Saudi oil was not forthcoming.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported last week that U.S. crude oil stocks plummeted 9 million barrels, while the Energy Information Administration (EIA) saw a larger draw of 10.6 million barrels.
Richardson said he was concerned over the "little spike" in U.S. oil prices that shot above $29 a barrel last week, following one the largest weekly inventory drops in five years.
"That last increase over $29 (a barrel) concerned me a bit," he said.
At midday Monday, crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange was trading at $29.40 a barrel, down 56 cents on profit taking on the huge gains late last week.
Richardson said it's too early to tell if a trend is underway for higher oil prices and a continued decline in U.S. oil inventories. "I think it's too early to determine that a trend has been set," Richardson said.
"I think we need a few more days, perhaps a week, to determine what trends are out there," he said.
The API releases its weekly report on U.S. oil stocks on Tuesday afternoon, followed by the EIA's inventory report on Wednesday morning.
-- cpr (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 07, 2000.
Bozo's energy man doesn't have a clue...
Judging only from the above two posts, that appears to make it pretty much a clean sweep of people who don't have a clue.
-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), August 07, 2000.
WRONG. OPEC knows what it is doing SQUEEZING YOU SUCKERS.
BTW: Unleaded, Heating Awl and Crude all got pasted this PM.
....TS for the Doomzies........ Some already know the game is up and have started to play "BE PREPPRED IF YOUR ELECTRICITY FAILS" known as "THE OFF THE GRID Yo-Yos".
-- cpr (email@example.com), August 07, 2000.
A.2 What does anarchism stand for?
These words by Percy Bysshe Shelley gives an idea of what anarchism stands for in practice and what ideals drive it:
The man Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys: Power, like a desolating pestilence, Pollutes whate'er it touches, and obedience, Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth, Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame, A mechanised automaton.
As Shelley's lines suggest, anarchists place a high priority on liberty, desiring it both for themselves and others. They also consider individuality -- that which makes one a unique person -- to be a most important aspect of humanity. They recognise, however, that individuality does not exist in a vacuum but is a social phenomenon. Outside of society, individuality is impossible, since one needs other people in order to develop, expand, and grow.
Moreover, between individual and social development there is a reciprocal effect: individuals grow within and are shaped by a particular society, while at the same time they help shape and change aspects of that society (as well as themselves and other individuals) by their actions and thoughts. A society not based on free individuals, their hopes, dreams and ideas would be hollow and dead. Thus, "the making of a human being. . . is a collective process, a process in which both community and the individual participate." [Murray Bookchin, The Modern Crisis, p. 79] Consequently, any political theory which bases itself purely on the social or the individual is false.
In order for individuality to develop to the fullest possible extent, anarchists consider it essential to create a society based on three principles: liberty, equality and solidarity, which are interdependent.
Liberty is essential for the full flowering of human intelligence, creativity, and dignity. To be dominated by another is to be denied the chance to think and act for oneself, which is the only way to grow and develop one's individuality. Domination also stifles innovation and personal responsibility, leading to conformity and mediocrity. Thus the society that maximises the growth of individuality will necessarily be based on voluntary association, not coercion and authority. To quote Proudhon, "All associated and all free." Or, as Luigi Galleani puts it, anarchism is "the autonomy of the individual within the freedom of association" [The End of Anarchism?, p. 35] (See further section A.2.2 - Why do anarchists emphasise liberty?).
If liberty is essential for the fullest development of individuality, then equality is essential for genuine liberty to exist. There can be no real freedom in a class-stratified, hierarchical society riddled with gross inequalities of power, wealth, and privilege. For in such a society only a few -- those at the top of the hierarchy -- are relatively free, while the rest are semi-slaves. Hence without equality, liberty becomes a mockery -- at best the "freedom" to choose one's master (boss), as under capitalism. Moreover, even the elite under such conditions are not really free, because they must live in a stunted society made ugly and barren by the tyranny and alienation of the majority. And since individuality develops to the fullest only with the widest contact with other free individuals, members of the elite are restricted in the possibilities for their own development by the scarcity of free individuals with whom to interact. (See also section A.2.5 - Why are anarchists in favour of equality?)
Finally, solidarity means mutual aid: working voluntarily and co-operatively with others who share the same goals and interests. But without liberty and equality, society becomes a pyramid of competing classes based on the domination of the lower by the higher strata. In such a society, as we know from our own, it's "dominate or be dominated," "dog eat dog," and "everyone for themselves." Thus "rugged individualism" is promoted at the expense of community feeling, with those on the bottom resenting those above them and those on the top fearing those below them. Under such conditions, there can be no society-wide solidarity, but only a partial form of solidarity within classes whose interests are opposed, which weakens society as a whole. (See also section A.2.6 - Why is solidarity important to anarchists?)
It should be noted that solidarity does not imply self-sacrifice or self-negation. As Errico Malatesta makes clear:
"we are all egoists, we all seek our own satisfaction. But the anarchist finds his greatest satisfaction in struggling for the good of all, for the achievement of a society in which he [sic] can be a brother among brothers, and among healthy, intelligent, educated, and happy people. But he who is adaptable, who is satisfied to live among slaves and draw profit from the labour of slaves, is not, and cannot be, an anarchist." [Life and Ideas, p. 23]
For anarchists, real wealth is other people and the planet on which we live.
Also, honouring individuality does not mean that anarchists are idealists, thinking that people or ideas develop outside of society. Individuality and ideas grow and develop within society, in response to material and intellectual interactions and experiences, which people actively analyse and interpret. Anarchism, therefore, is a materialist theory, recognising that ideas develop and grow from social interaction and individuals' mental activity (see Michael Bakunin's God and the State for the classic discussion of materialism verses idealism).
This means that an anarchist society will be the creation of human beings, not some deity or other transcendental principle, since "[n]othing ever arranges itself, least of all in human relations. It is men [sic] who do the arranging, and they do it according to their attitudes and understanding of things." [Alexander Berkman, ABC of Anarchism, page 42]
Therefore, anarchism bases itself upon the power of ideas and the ability of people to act and transform their lives based on what they consider to be right. In other words, liberty.
A.2.1 What is the essence of anarchism?
As we have seen, "an-archy" implies "without rulers" or "without (hierarchical) authority." Anarchists are not against "authorities" in the sense of experts who are particularly knowledgeable, skillful, or wise, though they believe that such authorities should have no power to force others to follow their recommendations (see section B.1 for more on this distinction). In a nutshell, then, anarchism is anti-authoritarianism.
Anarchists are anti-authoritarians because they believe that no human being should dominate another. Anarchists, in L. Susan Brown's words, "believe in the inherent dignity and worth of the human individual." [The Politics of Individualism, p. 107] Domination is inherently degrading and demeaning, since it submerges the will and judgement of the dominated to the will and judgement of the dominators, thus destroying the dignity and self-respect that comes only from personal autonomy. Moreover, domination makes possible and generally leads to exploitation, which is the root of inequality, poverty, and social breakdown.
In other words, then, the essence of anarchism (to express it positively) is free co-operation between equals to maximise their liberty and individuality.
Co-operation between equals is the key to anti-authoritarianism. By co-operation we can develop and protect our own intrinsic value as unique individuals as well as enriching our lives and liberty for "[n]o individual can recognise his own humanity, and consequently realise it in his lifetime, if not by recognising it in others and co-operating in its realisation for others." [Michael Bakunin, cited by Malatesta in Anarchy, p. 27]
While being anti-authoritarians, anarchists recognise that human beings have a social nature and that they mutually influence each other. We cannot escape the "authority" of this mutual influence, because, as Bakunin reminds us:
"[t]he abolition of this mutual influence would be death. And when we advocate the freedom of the masses, we are by no means suggesting the abolition of any of the natural influences that individuals or groups of individuals exert on them. What we want is the abolition of influences which are artificial, privileged, legal, official"[quoted by Malatesta, in Anarchy, p. 50]
In other words, those influences which stem from hierarchical authority.
A.2.2 Why do anarchists emphasise liberty?
An anarchist can be regarded, in Bakunin's words, as a "fanatic lover of freedom, considering it as the unique environment within which the intelligence, dignity and happiness of mankind can develop and increase." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, p. 196] Because human beings are thinking creatures, to deny them liberty is to deny them the opportunity to think for themselves, which is to deny their very existence as humans. For anarchists, freedom is a product of our humanity, because:
"the very fact. . . that a person has a consciousness of self, of being different from others, creates a desire to act freely. The craving for liberty and self-expression is a very fundamental and dominant trait." [Emma Goldman, Red Emma Speaks, p. 393]
For this reason, anarchism "proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Only in freedom can man [sic!] grow to his full stature. Only in freedom will he learn to think and move, and give the very best of himself. Only in freedom will he realise the true force of the social bonds which tie men together, and which are the true foundations of a normal social life." [Ibid., p. 59]
Thus, for anarchists, freedom is basically individuals pursuing their own good in their own way. Doing so calls forth the activity and power of individuals as they make decisions for and about themselves and their lives. Only liberty can ensure individual development and diversity. This is because when individuals govern themselves and make their own decisions they have to exercise their minds and this can have no other effect than expanding and stimulating the individuals involved.
So, liberty is the precondition for the maximum development of one's individual potential, which is also a social product and can be achieved only in and through community. A healthy, free community will produce free individuals, who in turn will shape the community and enrich the social relationships between the people of whom it is composed. Liberties, being socially produced, "do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace . . . One compels respect from others when one knows how to defend one's dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life; it has always been the same in political life as well." [Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-syndicalism, p. 64]
In short, liberty develops only within society, not in opposition to it. Thus Murray Bookchin writes:
"What freedom, independence, and autonomy people have in a given historical period is the product of long social traditions and . . . a collective development -- which is not to deny that individuals play an important role in that development, indeed are ultimately obliged to do so if they wish to be free." [Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism, p. 15]
But freedom requires the right kind of social environment in which to grow and develop. Such an environment must be decentralised and based on the direct management of work by those who do it. For centralisation means coercive authority (hierarchy), whereas self-management is the essence of freedom. Self-management ensures that the individuals involved use (and so develop) all their abilities -- particularly their mental ones. Hierarchy, in contrast, substitutes the activities and thoughts of a few for the activities and thoughts of all the individuals involved. Thus, rather than developing their abilities to the full, hierarchy marginalises the many and ensures that their development is blunted.
It is for this reason that anarchists oppose both capitalism and statism. As the French anarchist Sebastien Faure noted, authority "dresses itself in two principal forms: the political form, that is the State; and the economic form, that is private property." [cited by Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible, p. 43] Capitalism, like the state, is based on centralised authority (i.e. of the boss over the worker), the very purpose of which is to keep the management of work out of the hands of those who do it. This means "that the serious, final, complete liberation of the workers is possible only upon one condition: that of the appropriation of capital, that is, of raw material and all the tools of labour, including land, by the whole body of the workers." [Michael Bakunin, cited by Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism, p. 45]
Hence, as Noam Chomsky argues, a "consistent anarchist must oppose private ownership of the means of production and the wage slavery which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labour must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer." ["Notes on Anarchism", For Reasons of State, p. 158]
Thus, liberty for anarchists means a non-authoritarian society in which individuals and groups practice self-management, i.e. they govern themselves. The implications of this are important. First, it implies that an anarchist society will be non-coercive, that is, one in which violence or the threat of violence will not be used to "convince" individuals to do anything. Second, it implies that anarchists are firm supporters of individual sovereignty, and that, because of this support, they also oppose institutions based on coercive authority, i.e. hierarchy. And finally, it implies that anarchists' opposition to "government" means only that they oppose centralised, hierarchical, bureaucratic organisations or government. They do not oppose self-government through confederations of decentralised, grassroots organisations, so long as these are based on direct democracy rather than the delegation of power to "representatives." For authority is the opposite of liberty, and hence any form of organisation based on the delegation of power is a threat to the liberty and dignity of the people subjected to that power.
Anarchists consider freedom to be the only social environment within which human dignity and diversity can flower. Under capitalism and statism, however, there is no freedom for the majority, as private property and hierarchy ensure that the inclination and judgement of most individuals will be subordinated to the will of a master, severely restricting their liberty and making impossible the "full development of all the material, intellectual and moral capacities that are latent in every one of us" [Bakunin, Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 261] (see section B for further discussion of the hierarchical and authoritarian nature of capitalism and statism).
A.2.3 Are anarchists in favour of organisation?
Yes. Without association, a truly human life is impossible. Liberty cannot exist without society and organisation. As George Barrett, in Objections to Anarchism, points out:
"[t]o get the full meaning out of life we must co-operate, and to co-operate we must make agreements with our fellow-men. But to suppose that such agreements mean a limitation of freedom is surely an absurdity; on the contrary, they are the exercise of our freedom.
"If we are going to invent a dogma that to make agreements is to damage freedom, then at once freedom becomes tyrannical, for it forbids men to take the most ordinary everyday pleasures. For example, I cannot go for a walk with my friend because it is against the principle of Liberty that I should agree to be at a certain place at a certain time to meet him. I cannot in the least extend my own power beyond myself, because to do so I must co-operate with someone else, and co-operation implies an agreement, and that is against Liberty. It will be seen at once that this argument is absurd. I do not limit my liberty, but simply exercise it, when I agree with my friend to go for a walk."
As far as organisation goes, anarchists think that "far from creating authority, [it] is the only cure for it and the only means whereby each of us will get used to taking an active and conscious part in collective work, and cease being passive instruments in the hands of leaders." [Errico Malatesta, Life and Ideas, p. 86]
The fact that anarchists are in favour of organisation may seem strange at first, but this is because we live in a society in which virtually all forms of organisation are authoritarian, making them appear to be the only kind possible. What is usually not recognised is that this mode of organisation is historically conditioned, arising within a specific kind of society -- one whose motive principles are domination and exploitation. According to archaeologists and anthropologists, this kind of society has only existed for about 5,000 years, having appeared with the first primitive states based on conquest and slavery, in which the labour of slaves created a surplus which supported a ruling class.
Prior to that time, for hundreds of thousands of years, human and proto-human societies were what Murray Bookchin calls "organic," that is, based on co-operative forms of economic activity involving mutual aid, free access to productive resources, and a sharing of the products of communal labour according to need. Although such societies probably had status rankings based on age, there were no hierarchies in the sense of institutionalised dominance-subordination relations enforced by coercive sanctions and resulting in class-stratification involving the economic exploitation of one class by another (see Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom).
It must be emphasised, however, that anarchists do not advocate going "back to the Stone Age." We merely note that since the hierarchical-authoritarian mode of organisation is a relatively recent development in the course of human social evolution, there is no reason to suppose that it is somehow "fated" to be permanent. We do not think that human beings are genetically "programmed" for authoritarian, competitive, and aggressive behaviour, as there is no credible evidence to support this claim. On the contrary, such behaviour is socially conditioned, or learned, and as such, can be unlearned (see Ashley Montagu, The Nature of Human Aggression). We are not fatalists or genetic determinists, but believe in free will, which means that people can change the way they do things, including the way they organise society.
And there is no doubt that society needs to be better organised, because presently most of its wealth -- which is produced by the majority -- and power gets distributed to a small, elite minority at the top of the social pyramid, causing deprivation and suffering for the rest, particularly for those at the bottom. Yet because this elite controls the means of coercion through its control of the state (see section B.2.3), it is able to suppress the majority and ignore its suffering -- a phenomenon that occurs on a smaller scale within all hierarchies. Little wonder, then, that people within authoritarian and centralised structures come to hate them as a denial of their freedom. As Alexander Berkman puts it:
"capitalist society is so badly organised that its various members suffer: just as when you have a pain in some part of you, your whole body aches and you are ill. . . , not a single member of the organisation or union may with impunity be discriminated against, suppressed or ignored. To do so would be the same as to ignore an aching tooth: you would be sick all over." [Alexander Berkman, ABC of Anarchism, p. 53]
Yet this is precisely what happens in capitalist society, with the result that it is, indeed, "sick all over."
For these reasons, anarchists reject authoritarian forms of organisation and instead support associations based on free agreement. Free agreement is important because, in Berkman's words, "[o]nly when each is a free and independent unit, co-operating with others from his own choice because of mutual interests, can the world work successfully and become powerful." [Op. Cit., p. 53] In the "political" sphere, this means direct democracy and confederation, which are the expression and environment of liberty. Direct (or participatory) democracy is essential because liberty and equality imply the need for forums within which people can discuss and debate as equals and which allow for the free exercise of what Murray Bookchin calls "the creative role of dissent."
Anarchist ideas on libertarian organisation and the need for direct democracy and confederation will be discussed further in sections A.2.9 and A.2.10.
A.2.4 Are anarchists in favour of "absolute" liberty?
No. Anarchists do not believe that everyone should be able to "do whatever they like," because some actions invariably involve the denial of the liberty of others.
For example, anarchists do not support the "freedom" to rape, to exploit, or to coerce others. Neither do we tolerate authority. On the contrary, since authority is a threat to liberty, equality, and solidarity (not to mention human dignity), anarchists recognise the need to resist and overthrow it.
The exercise of authority is not freedom. No one has a "right" to rule others. As Malatesta points out, anarchism supports "freedom for everybody. . .with the only limit of the equal freedom for others; which does not mean. . . that we recognise, and wish to respect, the 'freedom' to exploit, to oppress, to command, which is oppression and certainly not freedom." [Errico Malatesta, Life and Ideas, p. 53]
In a capitalist society, resistance to all forms of hierarchical authority is the mark of a free person -- be it private (the boss) or public (the state). As Henry David Thoreau pointed out in his essay on "Civil Disobedience" (1847)
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves."
A.2.5 Why are anarchists in favour of equality?
As mentioned in above, anarchists are dedicated to social equality because it is the only context in which individual liberty can flourish. However, there has been much nonsense written about "equality," and much of what is commonly believed about it is very strange indeed. Before discussing what anarchist do mean by equality, we have to indicate what we do not mean by it.
Anarchists do not believe in "equality of endowment," which is not only non-existent but would be very undesirable if it could be brought about. Everyone is unique. Biologically determined human differences not only exist but are "a cause for joy, not fear or regret." Why? Because "life among clones would not be worth living, and a sane person will only rejoice that others have abilities that they do not share." [Noam Chomsky, "Anarchism, Marxism and Hope for the Future", Red and Black Revolution, No. 2]
That some people seriously suggest that anarchists means by "equality" that everyone should be identical is a sad reflection on the state of present-day intellectual culture and the corruption of words -- a corruption used to divert attention from an unjust and authoritarian system and side-track people into discussions of biology.
Nor are anarchists in favour of so-called "equality of outcome." We have no desire to live in a society were everyone gets the same goods, lives in the same kind of house, wears the same uniform, etc. Part of the reason for the anarchist revolt against capitalism and statism is that they standardise so much of life (see George Reitzer's The McDonaldisation of Society on why capitalism is driven towards standardisation and conformity). In the words of Alexander Berkman:
"The spirit of authority, law, written and unwritten, tradition and custom force us into a common grove and make a man [or woman] a will-less automation without independence or individuality. . . All of us are its victims, and only the exceptionally strong succeed in breaking its chains, and that only partly." [The ABC of Anarchism, p., 26]
Anarchists, therefore, have little to desire to make this "common grove" even deeper. Rather, we desire to destroy it and every social relationship and institution that creates it in the first place.
"Equality of outcome" can only be introduced and maintained by force, which would not be equality anyway, as some would have more power than others! "Equality of outcome" is particularly hated by anarchists, as we recognise that every individual has different needs, abilities, desires and interests. To make all consume the same would be tyranny. Obviously, if one person needs medical treatment and another does not, they do not receive an "equal" amount of medical care. The same is true of other human needs. As Alexander Berkman put it:
"equality does not mean an equal amount but equal opportunity. . . Do not make the mistake of identifying equality in liberty with the forced equality of the convict camp. True anarchist equality implies freedom, not quantity. It does not mean that every one must eat, drink, or wear the same things, do the same work, or live in the same manner. Far from it: the very reverse in fact." He goes on to argue that "[i]ndividual needs and tastes differ, as appetites differ. It is equal opportunity to satisfy them that constitutes true equality. . . Free opportunity of expressing and acting out your individuality means development of natural dissimilarities and variations." [The ABC of Anarchism, p. 25]
For anarchists, the "concepts" of "equality" as "equality of outcome" or "equality of endowment" are meaningless. However, in a hierarchical society, "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcome" are related. Under capitalism, for example, the opportunities each generation face are dependent on the outcomes of the previous ones. This means that under capitalism "equality of opportunity" without a rough "equality of outcome" (in the sense of income and resources) becomes meaningless, as there is no real equality of opportunity for the off-spring of a millionaire and that of a road sweeper. Those who argue for "equality of opportunity" while ignoring the barriers created by previous outcomes indicate that they do not know what they are talking about -- opportunity in a hierarchical society depends not only on an open road but also upon an equal start. From this obvious fact springs the misconception that anarchists desire "equality of outcome" -- but this applies to a hierarchical system, in a free society this would not the case (as we will see).
Equality, in anarchist theory, does not mean denying individual diversity or uniqueness. As Bakunin observes:
"once equality has triumphed and is well established, will various individuals' abilities and their levels of energy cease to differ? Some will exist, perhaps not so many as now, but certainly some will always exist. It is proverbial that the same tree never bears two identical leaves, and this will probably be always be true. And it is even more truer with regard to human beings, who are much more complex than leaves. But this diversity is hardly an evil. On the contrary. . . it is a resource of the human race. Thanks to this diversity, humanity is a collective whole in which the one individual complements all the others and needs them. As a result, this infinite diversity of human individuals is the fundamental cause and the very basis of their solidarity. It is all-powerful argument for equality." ["All-Round Education", The Basic Bakunin, pp. 117-8]
Equality for anarchists means social equality, or, to use Murray Bookchin's term, the "equality of unequals" (some like Malatesta used the term "equality of conditions" to express the same idea). By this he means that an anarchist society recognises the differences in ability and need of individuals but does not allow these differences to be turned into power. Individual differences, in other words, "would be of no consequence, because inequality in fact is lost in the collectivity when it cannot cling to some legal fiction or institution." [Michael Bakunin, God and the State, p. 53]
If hierarchical social relationships, and the forces that create them, are abolished in favour of ones that encourage participation and are based on the principle of "one person, one vote" then natural differences would not be able to be turned into hierarchical power. For example, without capitalist property rights there would not be means by which a minority could monopolise the means of life (machinery and land) and enrich themselves by the work of others via the wages system and usury (profits, rent and interest). Similarly, if workers manage their own work, there is no class of capitalists to grow rich off their labour. Thus Proudhon:
"Now, what can be the origin of this inequality?
"As we see it, . . . that
-- anarchist text man (anarchist@text.Man), August 08, 2000.