Private Authoritarianism

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PRIVATE GOVERNMENT
How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)
Elizabeth Anderson

Private Authoritarianism
By Wade Lee Hudson

Americans are sensitive to government curtailing individual freedom. They’re less concerned about employer violations — such as businesses that unjustifiably control workers’ behavior on the job or monitor them off-duty. Widely embraced “free market” ideology proclaims that workers are free. Nevertheless, one in four workers consider their workplace a “dictatorship.” 

In her pathbreaking 1999 article, “What Is the Point of Equality?” (see “The Democrats: What Happened to Equality”), Elizabeth Anderson insightfully examined social equality, authority, esteem and social standing. She follows up on these issues in her powerful 2017 book, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It).

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My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)

My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)

About/Wade Lee Hudson

My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)
By Wade Lee Hudson

My first organizing was on sandlot softball fields. Boys would show up and two “captains” took turns selecting teammates, assigned positions, and set the batting order. Two of the better players, which usually included me, served as captain, but anyone could do it, and many often did. There were no arguments about this decision. Each captain was dispensable. The players weren’t dependent on a leader. Little did I realize that this simple, horizontal, self-regulating, self-perpetuating, peer-to-peer structure would become a community organizing model for the rest of my life — though, alas, I followed it imperfectly.

My second project was the high school chess club, which I initiated. After advertising, some fifteen students joined and met weekly. At the first meeting, we randomly determined each student’s initial position on a vertical ladder. Players moved up and down the ladder as they won or lost. Another peer-to-peer structure, this one within a larger, democratic hierarchy: the school administration.

During high school, as is common, I participated in a clique. Mine was a group of five boys who read and discussed iconoclastic literature such as H.L. Mencken and Bertrand Russell and frequently gathered at night to smoke pipes and play poker. That informal structure also nurtured a rewarding sense of peer-to-peer community. As Bob Dylan sings, “I wish, I wish, I wish in vain / That we could sit simply in that room again.”

When I entered the University of California, Berkeley in 1962, I joined a student co-op as a boarder.

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Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”

Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”

Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”
By Wade Lee Hudson

Process is important. So is product. Advocates for democracy who focus on mobilizing popular power can forget that the tyranny of the majority is a real threat. New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World -- and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms acknowledges this reality, and offers a solution. …

They make a strong case for dynamics that are “open, participatory, and peer driven.” Yet they also write: ”As we see with ISIS and the growing hordes of white supremacists,... the tools that bring us closer together can also drive us further apart.” Heimans and Timms argue we can avoid this danger by creating “a world in which all major social and economic institutions are designed so that [all] people can more meaningfully shape every aspect of their lives.” 

According to their vision:

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