Dear Kevin Carson,
thank you for your attention, and thank you for your comment. It shows that indeed my previous post requires clarifications. Since I invite socialists to join phalanstères, kibbutzim or cooperatives instead of trying to engineer society, you ask the very relevant question of whether or not kibbutzim, cooperatives, and similar organizations are socialist or not, and whether or not they demonstrate that there is a peaceful brand of socialism, namely libertarian socialism.
Let's distinguish several forms of socialism. Socialism #1, the political project, is a crime -- forcing people into some collectivist dystopia. Socialism #2, the economic theory, is a lie -- explaining society in terms of conflict and negative-sum games. Socialism #3, the egalitarian spiritual impulse, is a death cult -- wishing to dissolve individuality into a blob. If by Socialism, you would only mean a project for a just society where the meek are protected, then the only proper Socialism is Capitalism, which also has political, economical and spiritual variants, all opposite to Socialism in the common meanings.
So yes, a kibbutz, if based on voluntary adhesion of its members, may be an instance of Socialism #2 and #3, but not of Socialism #1. It is a legitimate way in which socialists may associate with each other, and demonstrate by the example the inanity of their ways. It may even be done in a way that only pays lip service to socialism, keeping its internal inefficiency low enough that it costs less to the socialists to live in such a setup than would cost to them the checking of their premises (see the evolution of kibbutzim in Israel since the subsidies have been cut - Cám ơn Vincent Bénard).
But for the very reason that a kibbutz isn't Socialism #1, it will remain unsatisfactory to the Socialist, who yearns for a world-wide collectivist order, be it a State, a giant Kibbutz, a cooperative federation of cooperatives, or any conceivable hierarchical division into collective organizations of his liking.
And there remains the crux of the problem:
in as much as
adhere to Socialism #1, they too are criminals in ambush.
I will refer to Bryan Caplan's fine essay on
the Anarcho-Statists of Spain
for a demonstration.
Indeed, as long as you hold as political norms,
i.e. enforceable rules, the precepts of Socialism #1,
as soon as you forbid or regulate
commercial relationships between individuals, including trade and employment,
as soon as you allow the capital accumulated by ones to be seized by others,
it doesn't matter whether this enforcement is done
by a self-proclaimed central State or by
It will still be a group of self-proclaimed violent people
aggressing peaceful other individuals.
Do libertarian socialists in general, and you, Kevin Carson, in particular,
by killing, imprisoning, fining, despoiling or otherwise coercing the employers
and forcing employees to either join collectives or effectively starve,
under the pretense that
employers are making
wage-slaves out of employees,
and that the relationship between them is one of
I can't speak for you, but that's exactly what your writings suggest,
and this norm is indeed adhered to by all socialists I know,
libertarians or not.
If you renounce this norm, if you affirm that employer-employee relationship though distasteful to you are perfectly legitimate, if you agree that economical error (whichever side it be on) is no excuse for political enforcement, only then will you cease to be a Socialist #1, only then will you avoid being a criminal-in-stalking in my eyes.
So far, I haven't found a Socialist who passes this litmus test. I'm hopeful to find a few, and you are the most promising one I know. But I believe it unlikely that more than a marginal minority of them ever will, because Socialism has deep roots in human psychology, spirituality, and economic theory, and the individualistic political norm of Capitalism is alien to it.