The Anarchist Township

Fight the war, fuck the norm!

Month: May 2010

Blog Roll Call for the Week of 5/24/10

In this weeks news…

Anarcho blogs:

Well I should begin by saying anarchoblogs is a HUGE collection of articles, essays, and links from all over the world, so often it’ll be tough for me just to narrow it down to one or two links I liked/thought was interesting. This is another thing to keep in mind just because I find a link and post it does not mean I agree with it even 1% it just means it stuck out to me in some way whether I liked it or I just found the viewpoint interesting.

In this link here this individual expands on some of RadGeek’s ideas about the whole Rand Paul debate and reminds us,

“The way the debate is being framed, there are only two sides: private actors who, given the chance, will inevitably be racist, versus public (state) civil rights guarantors. Citizens who organize without the state’s blessing drop out of the picture, as do the state policies that are racist in practice, if not in wording.”

Here’s one way of dealing with the taxes on your house…by tearing it downhere assesses how the current climate bills are insufficient to deal with a climate change of any sort and how if you really want to do something for the environment do it yourself and don’t wait on any politician.

Austro-Athenian Empire:

Roderick Long points out that Rand Paula and his opponentseem to have their foot in their mouth.

Finally some good news about a “same sex couple” who may have been sent to jail for activities the president wasn’t fond of in Malawi pardoned them.

DarianWorden.com (Blog Section):

Darian points out James Tuttle’s cool handout to pass out to show solidarity for George Donnelly here.

Free Association (Sheldon Richman’s Blog)

Sheldon easily dismantles the strawmans against libertarianism in a quick 1-2 punch which can be found here.

Free Dissent*:

Scott Ferrie is a frequent poster (And to be more precise the one of three posters so far at Free Dissent for right now) and posted an interesting article about whether the Individualist Anarchist Benjamin Tucker was Anarchist or Capitalist (Indicating that you can’t be a capitalist without being anti-anarchist or something, something I don’t completely buy but regardless…) while I don’t agree with everything on the post I found it interesting and worth the read, you can find it here.

And not to toot my own horn (But I will anyways!) I had a pretty cool piece on Tucker’s Big Four Monopolies and how they were expanded on by Charles Johnson and Darian Worden which can be found here.

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism:

At P2P Kevin is having excerpts from his upcoming release HomeBrew Industrial Revolution, this is the first excerpt from his second chapter, check it out here.

Perichoresis Zine*:

At the Perichoresis blog I wrote about recent commentary that Thomas L. Knapp at C4ss.org has been posting about art and so I expanded on his commentaries a bit with some of my own.

Polycentric Order:

Here’s Alex Strekal on how Freedom has a social context and that it’s important to be wary of any concentration of power or worse yet apologists for such power in the name of libertarianism and “living free”.

An excerpt:

“It is true that a position of power is not absolutely or inherently authoritarian, in the sense that someone can refrain from exercising it or using it to impose an institutional monopoly. But it is also true that the circumstance opens up the possibility of this and that authoritarian consequences are ultimately more likely to occur when power is concentrated. For example, a society in which the economic structure of power is plutocratic or one in which the distribution of land is feudal, is logically compatible with and an apt atmosphere for authoritarianism. The people who exclusively hold such massive amounts of power are in a better-suited position to control other people.”

Rad Geek People’s Daily:

How did you become an anarchist? A simple question that has gotten a lot of responses on Rad Geek’s site, check it out and contribute if you feel up to it.

And that’s it for this week, see you guys next week for another Blog Roll Call!

What is Libertarianism? (Part 1 of 3)

Introduction and Knocking down dumb definitions

I’ve talked about market anarchism in depth enough, now I wish to discuss the backing of market anarchism which is libertarianism. But now we must get into the process of what is libertarianism, just as we did with market anarchism. Luckily many writers have done a lot of the sorting out for me and it’d be all too easy for me just to quote them and be done with. For example I could just say, “Libertarians are socially progressive and economically conservative.” But this would be a lame response to any question wanting specifics and as far as generalities go it’s not even a good one. For example then the words progressive and conservative must be given their proper context in conjunction with the next word. For example what does it mean to be economically “conservative”? Does this mean to save all of your money while socially “progressive” means advocating a never-ending line of evolutions in society until we’re in some future dystopia controlled by robot masters? (Ok that one was a bit far fetched but you get the point I’d think)

What about “hippies with a hard on for guns and isolationism?” Well this is not that commonly used as the old conservatives with more drugs and less government neither one are a good definition of libertarianism and completely destroys any legitimacy the ideology may hold before it’s even discussed. The same happens to anarchists when they try to discuss their ideas (libertarianism and anarchism are not necessarily the same thing and for this case I shall be using libertarianism as the ethical backing for anarchism instead of a term to be confused with it)

Finally, another definition of libertarians is, “The philosophy that all violence unless retaliatory is unjust and therefore aggression is inherently wrong” (There are many definitions of course but I’ll just use some I can think of, this last one actually being semi-common among libertarians themselves) and while this definition certainly spreads information on some of the ethical principles of libertarianism and what it is based on (which in turn can be used to justify anarchism which is why the two ideas are so closely linked together) it leaves much to be desired. For example is that all there is to libertarianism? A strict finding of violence being wrong except in retaliatory defense? (Which in the writer’s opinion is just a dressing up of violence, but that’s for another time…) Well clearly not or any philosophical pacifist (Opposing all violence morally as inherently wrong but thinking that retaliatory violence is necessary for survival, more on this problem of necessity and morality in a  later blog) or person who claimed such a thing could also claim to be a libertarian and so libertarianism should be more thick then that.

Libertarianism, Culture, and Property

For example in Charles Johnson’s Libertaranism through Thick and Thin he expresses discontent with standard libertarian options such as just opposing governmental oppression or just mainly focusing on that and other oppressive structures instead of ones that are built into society. Such ideas may include, racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia in general that are built into a society and therefore reinforce the oppression of the state and the power elite who are at large. This also alienates workers and separates them from showing solidarity with one another and deradicalizies them in some points because they feel their goals of autonomy from a boss may be too much on their own. Of course for such workers I’d recommend How to Sack/Fire your Boss: A Worker’s Guide to Direct Action passing out these pamphlets at your local factory would definitely help motivate some workers to find alternatives to the state solutions they may be so used to.

But why should libertarians worry about social justice and commitments to a better society, not only structurally wise but culturally wise? For the simple reason that a libertarian society would rest a libertarian culture and not just a sort of lack of central planning and so forth. Now by libertarian I mean anarchist society, it should be pointed out that when I refer to libertarian ideas I’ll generally be regarding a philosophy that advocates, “The idea of property being an inherent thing in each person and thus no one has a right to inflict damage on you or you to others except in retaliation of loss of self or property.” This is a much more conclusive definition, why? Well look at the start, as Stephen Kinsella notes in his essay,  What Libertarianism Is libertarians tend to view everyone as their own piece of property and a consistent libertarian outlook on life results in an anarchistic view, both opinions I agree on. (By the way you won’t find me quoting Kinsella much unless it has to do with general ideas of libertarian or Intellectual Property, this just happened to fall under the former)
Libertarians in that respect certainly has an emphasis on property most other ideas would find tough to beat to say the least and so should be said in the definition but shouldn’t be stressed to the point of absolutist propertarianism so warns Alex Strekal in his blog on Polycentric Order, Propertarianism, Voluntaryism, Freedom. and in his video on propertarianism which can be found here.

Libertarianism as a thick  philosophy

So, I have talked about thickness only quickly but in this section I’d like to go over it a bit more and develop what Johnson has said in his essay, first I’d like to start of with something, recently there has been debate over Rand Paul’s outcry about segregation and how he thinks people should be able to discriminate if they so choose in their own private property, and that’s fine with me. Except there’s a bit of difference between one’s own personal private property and one’s commercial private property and even if a right-libertarian saw no difference as I do it still makes no sense for business owners to be able to legitimately resort to force and violence when the  (for example) lunch-counter black student protesters  are harassed and sometimes beaten or killed by the police with little or not repercussions for the police or the property owner because they were dealing with “trespassers” . Whether right-libertarians want to admit it or not there is discrepancy to be made in the application of libertarian and the thickness of it cannot be unnoticed  by any libertarian for as Johnson says,

“…[F]eminists are right about the way in which sexist political theories protect or excuse systematic violence against women, there is an important sense in which libertarians, because they are libertarians, should also be feminists. Importantly, the commitments that libertarians need to have here aren’t just applications of general libertarian principle to a special case; the argument calls in resources other than the non-aggression principle to determine just where and how the principle is properly applied. In that sense the thickness called for is thicker than entailment thickness; but the cash value of the thick commitments is still the direct contribution they make towards the full and complete application of the non-aggression principle.”

And so while this application of feminism may be not crucial to the NAP it can certainly compliment it and indeed helps libertarianism more consistently oppose oppression of any type, whether in the public or private sector. There are a whole host of things libertarians can be thick-minded in but my point in this blog post is to simply make the point that libertarianism is a advocacy of self-property rights and a thicker look at social justice then most other philosophies. If you wish to see the logical end of thick-libertarianism (which is a part of the broader movement of the Libertarian Left) then check out Johnson’s other essay Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Towards a Dialectical Anarchism.

In the next blog the issue of where libertarians specifically stand on the political spectrum shall be addressed.

So…now what?

(This is the third part in the series, parts one and two are located here and here.)

So the idea that you should have know (or may have, maybe you’re reading this and still not convinced, this is fine and I don’t expect this littler series on a hardly known blog to convince you that the main form of organization in society currently is wrong but I do implore you to at least think of alternatives when the state doesn’t seem to go your way) is that the market place should be the main form of organization bearing in mind that such organizations result from a freed market that comes in the form of voluntary organizations, that up to (not not limited to) mutual-aid organizations, communist associations, private groups, and so forth. But what do you do with this knowledge? What do you do to make sure this vision may succeed? Well I have three suggestions for you, better understand the knowledge, spread the knowledge, reevaluate the knowledge.

Better understand the knowledge

So first of all, make sure you’ve understood what I’ve said (And I’ve got to do this too obviously, I’ve got to go back what I’m writing and make sure it’s in line with what I believe, the phrasing of it, the wording, and so forth to make sure it fits me just right) because if you don’t even understand what you’re saying or the implications you’ll be at a big disadvantage in the world. I should probably take this advice myself, I find myself sometimes saying things I do not realize the implications of, but that’s just being human, making mistakes in our estimations. So by better understanding the knowledge I and other anti-statists may have given you do not feel like you need to be perfect at it to get it right. Even an above average job will take care of the message you’re trying to get across, for example in a recent current event at the school I still (for a few more times anyways) go to I openly advocated no borders and no such thing as illegal immigration. Now I was no expert on the subject but thanks to people like Charles Johnson and other no border types I understood the arguments and used the ones I agreed with the most and used them with moderate success. In the end I succeeded at getting my message across, now of course almost no one agreed but that wasn’t the point, I didn’t expect for acceptence, right now I hope for tolerance and understanding and to ask any more is asking too much of the current society.

But let’s compare that to a different time in which my thoughts were all jumbled up and I had no real idea what I was going to say weeks prior when the issue of illegal immigration was brought up and was not so confident in myself. I created a firestorm in the classroom and most people ganged up on me and lashed out on me and I was not prepared for it and thus could make hardly convincing arguments against them. If (in that case) I had stuck to the subject matter and left I my deeper thoughts to better understanding I may have been better off. But there is a positive of course, that being that I learned and was better at it the next time around as I’ve already shown through my first example. So understanding what you advocate and the implications and saying it in the right words and right way is very important.

Spread the knowledge

Of course once you actually understand the knowledge, why not spread it along? This one is a lot easier then it may seem (or rather is easier in your mind then it is in practice) all you have to do is start a conversation with someone you know (or maybe a complete stranger if you feel alright with that) and talk about something you have a strong opinion on and try to discuss it with them. You’ll probably disagree on a lot of things (especially if you’re me talking to indoctrinated kids in schools) but perhaps you’ll make headway, or perhaps better yet you may not. Why is this better? Well it’s good to know who’s actually open to alternatives to begin with, but be warned that you can’t just walk up to somebody and ask if they’re open to alternatives, because chances are most people will say yes. What you want to do is engage in conversation and see in practice how open minded they are, see if they can walk the walk as well as talk the talk. If they can then perhaps you can engage in more conversations with them and with enough evidence, empirical findings and persuasive language you could get them to see things your way a bit more, not even necessarily agree with you but at least tolerate and understand your view.

Now someone out there may ask, “Well why can’t anarchists tolerate and understand people who support government?” It may seem like a double standard but anarchists really do understand their arguments for what they are, it’s actually the pro-government people who don’t understand what they advocate and so we as anarchists attempt to talk to them in order for them to understand where the anarchists are coming from. Because, in point of fact, statists of all stripes believe anarchists are childish, they’re utopian, they’re too idealistic (who knew there was something wrong with having ideas and wanting them to be as good as possible?) they’re unrealistic, they support chaos, violence, murder, or if they don’t that’s what would happen, I’ve heard this many times from personal experience and it’s hard to deal with such lack of an understanding of a philosophy that dates back to the Cynics of Greece and possible further. So what do you do with these people? Well the best thing to do is to refer them to popularly supported anti-statist readings, perhaps go back to basics and ask them some basic questions, such as, is force and theft wrong? If so then taxation which amounts to basically theft as it is the government taking the product of your labor whether you want them to or not means the government is funded through force and theft, both of which the person will almost undoubtedly say is wrong! But what if they don’t say it’s wrong? Then you ask them what they do think is wrong, or if they think this criticism does not apply to governments for some reason, call them out on it, demand to know why governments are exempt. And sometimes debates can go absolutely nowhere and both people are left in disgust at one another, if this is the case, back away from the argument, ask the person if they’d like to discuss this matter another time when both of you have your thoughts better in place and move on for now, discussing important topics shouldn’t be something that gives you a hernia in other words.

Reevaluate the knowledge

And after it all what do you do with your knowledge? Make sure you got it right! After all that hard work of understanding it and spreading it, you don’t want to find out that you’ve been spreading the wrong knowledge the whole time! But even if you have it’s not the biggest deal in the world, you can still do some cleanup, you can work on telling people that you have changed positions and explain why and say why you’re previous stance is inferior to your current one. It’d be a bit of luck but if it means enough to you you’ll go for it.

Some final thoughts

Now, on the topic of arguments I recommend Stefan Molyneux for some good debating tactics, his official website freedomainradio.com is here. And there are many different podcasts on there for varying topics and how to talk to people, I’m not sure which to exactly recommend but if there’s one person I could recommend for having pleasant and fulfilling conversations it’d probably be Mr. Molyneux.

Overview of series: Introduction to Market Anarchism

This was my first series, more are to come in the coming weeks, I plan on making a few different series’s before I start blogging about whatever, I shall usually update from week to week but sometimes more. But for this seres three things should be put in mind:

1. The market and a stateless society go together in the context of a freed market free of government regulations.

2.  Figure out what you are, take quizzes, ask yourself questions and others and so on, then decide if market anarchism is what you really believe, if not find out why if it’s something you’re truly interested in, redouble your efforts!

3. Once you have the knowledge to call yourself a market anarchist, there are three important parts, understand it better, spread it as far as you want to and feel comfortable with and then reevaluate it to make sure you’re not sending the wrong message out there.

Take care.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwc-amI7AmESre

I’m a market anarchist and so can you!

(I apologize for a lack of posts, I’ve been busy as of late but without further ado…)

So I’ve already explained how I became a market anarchist here and since I’ve explained how I’ve become a market anarchist I’d like to offer some reasons why you should too! (if you’re not already which most likely is the case if you’re reading this) I’d like to run down the main reasons people become market anarchists and how they get there to begin with, some founding principles of market anarchism that you might want (but not necessarily need) to become a market anarchist, some people to read on the subject and so forth.

From here to there

So now you know what market anarchism and you perhaps have a better understanding of it as well, so now you’re interested in becoming a market anarchist! Fantastic! But hold on, we’ve gotta get some principles, thinkers for reference, readings to recommend and rhetoric to advise on. First of all, where do you stand currently? I’ve got a few political quizes in mind that could help you out like The Smallest Political quiz or perhaps you’d like a more in depth quiz from C4ss.org that just came out? That quiz is located here. And finally a great and in depth quiz by Alex Strekal (Also known as Brain Police on Youtube and elsewhere) has this quiz that’s been around for a while located here.

Once you’ve got that figured out, how can you get to be a market anarchist?

Well it’s actually not too hard, all you really have to do is first of all figure out that all intervention in the market place, displaces the rational actors in the market place from making well informed choices with a good and reliable medium of exchange with reliable and accountable businesses. None of this can happen of course in a state-controlled society because the medium of exchange is propped up by some central banking organization which inflates the medium quickly. Murray N. Rothbard talked about this in Take Money Back (specifically from controlling the money supply to the end of central banks is my point of reference in this case)

For the business how can they be reliable, accountable, or even run well with all of the corporate bureaucracy involved in it that is subsidized by the state? How can such big organizations overcome the economic calculation problem that not only applies to state-controlled markets but big organizations in general as Kevin Carson explains here in the Freeman with all over the subsidies to the business how can they really feel compelled to satisfy the customer in the least? And with the bosses managing so much and the workers only slaving away at their jobs per the order of the managers who are propped up by the state it’s a lot of information for the bosses to handle, so much in fact that the calculation problem applies to a leader of any large organization though a top-down one in particular.

How can people make informed choices when the government is subsidizing costs of businesses? This makes he actual costs are hidden from the consumer and the inflation is hidden under high GDP rates which is actually only a small portion of the economy. A more sizable part is the investment and this is hard to do when there is so many companies tanking due to lack of government health that they’ve leeched off of the people to get and stay big. The use the state to make sure that their competitors can’t keep up and then reap monopoly profits at the expense of the consumers and the workers and make it look as if both groups would be lost with the all-knowing and seeing managers and bosses.

The general premise here is simple, government intervention in your life makes it more complex and hinders your experiences and does in no way helps the economy, this mostly solves the market problem. That is if you’re having trouble coming to grips with the free market or the idea of an unregulated market, a lot of people do and it’s a valid concern.But what must be remembered is that the market is related, market anarchists are only against governmental regulations and restrictions not such things that would happen naturally in the free market.

For example, due to prices being lowered via an influx of free competition it is believed by some market anarchists that the wages and so forth would reach their “equilibrium prices” or in other words would more or less equal out and give people more money for their labor. This empowers the laborer and gives him more of an incentive to work and a better life while the bosses will most likely in due time (with no force necessary) finding themselves either raising wages and conditions for the laborer drastically and stop relying on the state or he’ll be out of his position due to all of the free competition in the market place.  The market place is a self-regulating and correcting apparatus, one that changes and adapts to new situations faster than the red tap of any governmental organization that may try to compete with it, such was the case with even emergencies private companies responded faster than governmental agencies reacted and saved lives. Granted such organizations are most likely helped out by the state but even when the market is distorted through government intervention the market can still provide services better than the government can even in emergencies.

Now that markets are (for the most part) out of the way how does it follow that then we need no government at all if the market can outdo the government even when extremely perverted by the forces of state-capitalism? Quite naturally, if the market can overcome in even the most adverse cases then one might imagine a world in which

“…property was widely distributed, capital was freely available to laborers through mutual banks, productive technology was freely available in every country without patents, and every people was free to develop locally without colonial robbery, is beyond our imagination…it would have been a world of decentralized, small-scale production for local use, owned and controlled by those who did the work…” [Kevin Carson, The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand, P. 2]

With this all in mind it’s easy to see how one can progress from a market supporter to a supporter of anarchism, it’s easy enough to do, a few lines of cognitive dissonance must be broken, you may have some objections to anarchism and so to save time I shall point you in a few directions of responses to common objections to anarchism. One is by Alex Strekal on youtube and is a three part video series which is located here. and Roderick T. Long also did an article on it which is located here. For now I will not address them and I may not address them at all for (as said before) most people reading this will already be market anarchists so even this blog is a bit unnecessary but for me it’s a good exercise in arguing for market anarchism so I find it useful.

References

Speaking of useful here are some useful references for market anarchism that I’d recommend:

Kevin Carson, Benjamin Tucker, Josiah Warren, Roderick T. Long, Charles Johnson, Murray Rothbard, Lysander spooner, Linda & Morris Tannehill, Gary Chartier, and Brad Spangler just to name of a few.

I can recommend reads by any of these people, though of course it depends on what you’re looking for, for instance mutualistic or individualistic anarchism you can’t go wrong with Carson, Tucker, or Warren. For Left-Wing Libertarians/Market Anarchists I’d highly recommend Charles Johnson and also add Spangler and Chartier and Alex Strekal as well. The Tannehills may be a good starting read as well as The Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman for a more anarcho-capitalism side of things but nevertheless worthwhile information on how the market place can handle services better than the government can. There’s also a useful introduction by Gary Chartier using the Tannehill’s book in a lecture format here.

On the side of my blog is many of those people’s blog sites so please check them out if you want to know more about them, there are many other writers I could recommend but those 10 thinkers could keep you busy for quite a while just reading all of what they have to say so enjoy!

Market anarchism, what’s it all about?

If you’ve been convinced in some way to become a market anarchist and embrace these values that’s great! But again there’s a lot more to market anarchism then supporting a free self-regulating freed marketplace and opposition to governmental forces in society. It’s more thick than that and I think many market anarchists or soon to be market anarchists (even current market anarchists) would benefit from reading this piece by Charles Johnson, Towards a Dialectical Anarchism and another piece by Johnson called Libertarianism through thick and thin which calls for a thicker libertarianism that advocates social justice and more egalitarian ends with free market libertatrians means in mind.

Needless to say there are plenty of ways to get to market anarchism but what to do from there? This will be talked about in the next post. I’d like to think of these three posts as a series on market anarchism, explaining what it is, why you should be one and then where to go from there. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.

What is Market Anarchism?

In my earlier post I mentioned the idea of market anarchism so I think it’d be best to start off the official sequence of blogs by going into detail about what exactly market anarchism exactly is in the first place. In order to start however terms, must be defined, I won’t go crazy with them but I find it worth my time to define at least the two words in the phrase and separate them from popular misconceptions the reader may have or indeed society at large may have in general. From there popular thinkers will be discussed (though not at length, I leave it to the reader to find out which specific school of market anarchism appeals to them most if any of it does at all) and the schools of thought they help established. And to wrap it up I will go into what school I personally subscribe to and why I subscribe to and what led me to it.The reader can think of this as a second introduction if they want to, first I introduced myself personally and the blog formally, now I am introducing myself politically and the blog informally.

With that how about a discussion about what the term market means?

The Market

The market is something that to some is synonymous (especially with those who favor a welfare-state and support the statist contemporary leftward side of things) with something that exploits the poor and is constantly gotten taken advantage of by the privileged and the elite or perhaps they are a beneficiary to everything business regardless of the  size and path of which it took to obtain it’s capital (see the contemporary statist-right) and an opponent to the big government currently in our lives. Both sides fight about this constantly but what’s so sad about this broken record is that both sides of it are right in a way (now of course neither sides rhetoric are inherently full of anything meaningful or should be taken seriously but SOME of it is meaningful and this is what I intend to discuss) the marketplace certainly can be taken advantage of by the elite and it certainly can be lying in opposition to the state but how can it be both?

Well the market place is simply an environment for transactions of goods and services to be traded off by individuals.

This means that any government regulation or restriction in it can certainly distort the market but the market may be already distorted due to the culture or climate of the environment. For example the market may have been put in place to begin with by big business  or set up in some distorted fashion by aggressors or exploitations. Regardless the marketplace is simply a device, an engine, if you will to get people through their lives in a fairly peaceful and voluntary meaningful way most of the way, but for others it is a means of exploitation so the means to get goods should be differentiated. This is why the German economist and left-wing market anarchist Franz Oppenheimer called the voluntary means of which people interact with each other the “economic means” and the involuntary means “political means” saying that  in one of his most prevalently heard of books (at least in libertarian and anarchist circles) The State he said,

“The tendency of the development of the state was shown in the preceding as a steady and victorious combat of economic means against political means. We saw that, in the beginning, the right to the economic means, the right to equality and to peace, was restricted to the tiny circle of the horde bound together by ties of blood, an endowment from pre-human conditions of society; while without the limits of this isle of peace raged the typhoon of the political means. But we saw expanding more and more the circles from which the laws of peace crowded out their adversary, and everywhere we saw their advance connected with the advance of the economic means, of the barter of groups for equivalents, amongst one another. The first exchange may have been the exchange of fire, then the barter of women, and finally the exchange of goods, the domain of peace constantly extending its borders. It protected the market places, then the streets leading to them, and finally it protected the merchants traveling on these streets.”(The State, Pg. 105)[1]

The state therefore rests on political means and people who participate in the market place operate under economics means, unless the political means of the elite has been used to distort the market place in such a way that both buyers and sellers get less of what they wanted due to the privileged. This is something that is conceptually out of the reach (or seemingly so) from people on the statist right or left to grasp and take a firm hold on. The left is certainly correct in it’s response to people who support freed markets that market places currently are taken advantage of by the privileged, but who handles out those privileges? The state does, through its tax breaks on bigger companies and barrier entries on smaller companies such as licensing fees, regulations, restrictions, making bigger companies big and helping them stay big and hold monopoly profits via copyrights and patents. (More will be discussed about four certain monopolies that hinder progress in the market place in a later blog)

Regardless the current market is heavily distorted as the contemporary statist left tells us and certainly the market can be used against the government and so market anarchists simply synthesize these arguments and say that current markets are full of privilege and therefore must be freed so people can have more wealth and live better and the way to do this is through a voluntary means of thing, the “economic means” as Oppenheimer put it. But what about anarchy how well does it mesh with the concepts of freed markets?

Anarchism

Ah yes, anarchism, the philosophy that, “all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)[2] is one of the most controversial ideas of all time.  But why? Why is the idea that government should be necessarily abolished and that private, communitarian, mutual-aid, and other free associations be the basis of society be such a horrible thing? Well it’s because the image anarchists are associated with and the associations made with the contemporary idea of the state, that it being the “power of the people” (An idea that will be addressed in a different blog at some point) and that “we are the state” and so forth.

While anarchism is seen as a diversionary philosophy, leaving people on their own and leaving the old and sick to die, the military to take over, the goblins of yesteryear to eat us all up and suck on our bones. The association most anarchists get as bomb wielding, mustache crazed, molotov cocktail carrying hoodlums who want nothing but disorder in society. Of course nothing could be further from the truth, such associations are certainly not true at the very least of anarco-pacifists like Robert LeFevre or Leo Tolstoy or plainly advocated by people such as Murray Rothbard (the founding grandfather of anarcho-capitalist, the father technically would be Gustave de Molinari and his essay “The Production of Security” in which he discusses the market as an alternative to the state back in 1849) or many other contemporary anarchists such as Roderick T. Long, Charles Johnson, Stefan Molynex, Marc Stevens, David D. Friedman, in fact the only anarchist to really ever to suggest such activities proudly was Peter Kropotkin an anarcho-communist (and I am not blanketly blaming the anarcho-communists for the bad image of anarchism is now associated with just stating a historical fact) who took pleasure in advocating total revolution against the privileged and the state. This revolution he called “propaganda of the deed” which involved in killing powerful figures to disrupt the systems gears and make it fall apart. Unfortunately whenever it was done successfully or not it merely resulted in the persecution of anarchists (specifically in the early 1900s in Russia and America). Killing top officials and sending bombs to congressman, judges and so on did not give people a good idea of what anarchism was all about  but to be sure not all anarchists at the time advocated such positions, it was merely the idea of the day taken too far by a few too many anarchists and from there the corporate press ate it up and spit it  back out at the public warning them of these anarchists as terrorists! And since then anarchists have been hard pressed to get such an idea out of the public’s head.

But how accurate is such a picture? As I’ve already pointed out it’s not that accurate at all, most anarchists currently would abhor such violent activities (I consider myself a philosophical pacifist and therefore would as well) I challenge any statist to ask as many anarchists as you can and ask them if they support violence and violent revolution as a viable and strategically sound way of achieving a stateless society, chances are you’ll be greatly disappointed.

This all being said, what is anarchism all about? Well the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary definition is actually very accurate, while not a complete definition it’s not supposed to be and I feel it will do for this blog in particular. Anarchists want nothing more than the abolishment of the state, that is,

“a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” (Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation)

Anything further than that is a mere add-on to the anarchist label, therefore market anarchists support a freed market place in which the goods and services can be exchanged voluntarily without the involvement of a coercive institution known as the state. This is how the two labels mix and always have and always will mix together. But what thinkers have established these add-ons to begin with?

For market anarchism specifically there have been several figures and although some (such as Jacob Mauvillion) may have actually been before thinkers like Gustave de Molinari in his thinking, in some cases I may go for popularity or the more well known in lieu of which one was historically called first, after all it’s hard to say for certain who really invented market anarchism when there are so many different parts to the idea then just what Gustave gave in his essay. But without further ado here are some of the major thinkers.

Gustave de Molinari

As was already said Gustave was one of the first people to appreciate and in fact advocate market alternatives to the state in general, from him comes the schools of thought such as anarcho-capitalism as individualist anarchism can also be said to have drawn influences from him. Gustave later on in his life though (like some anarchists did) changed his views and started favoring private monopolies in the economy instead of free competition. One of the most valuable works he had produced was The Production of Securtiy in which he said,

“No government should have the right to[…]require consumers of security to come exclusively to it for this commodity.”[2]

Murray Rothbard

Certainly one of the biggest figures in the libertarian movement, Rothbard was the founding grandfather of anarcho-capitalism and leading contemporary father of the movement itself, though he fluctuated throughout his life politically, at one point trying to make establishments with the anti-war new left and so forth at other points he’d be decidingly more rightist in his approaches to his philosophy. Regardless Rothbard was an important figure and helped shape the tradition of anarcho-capitalism that is currently seen in contemporary anarchism. Rothbard is most known for his over 1,000 page magnum opus Man, Economy and State, Market and Power. In addition to David D. Friedman (another anarcho-capitalist who relies more on consequentialist arguments and utilitarian viewpoints) Murray Rothbard is credited to reviving the idea of market anarchism.

Benjamin Tucker

Before Rothbard and Friedman however another free market anarchist named Benjamin Tucker had his own views on how anarchism should be properly handled, his views are now most seen in free market anti-capitalists and individualist anarchists as well as mutualists. His views on property were at first based on occupancy and use but later was favored by might makes right sort of theory and held on to an idea that society was kept in it’s cage through the four big monopolies of intellectual property such as patents and copyright as well as the money, land and tariff monopoly. (Which I shall discuss later on)

My own personal philisophy

I currently prescribe to left-wing market anarchism, it is a collection of mutualists, agorists, voluntary socialists, individualists and anarchists who I specifically like which is also called the “libertarian left”.  As far as economics and philosophy I have not delved into much of either at this time of my life and mostly focus on political philosophy but in that I do read a bit of everything, currently I find myself leaning towards mutualism in certain cases. Good examples of contemporary mutualists would be Shawn P. Wilbur and Kevin Carson and I’d also  recommend other libertarians who are on the left such as Charles Johnson, Sheldon Richman, Gary Chartier, Brad Spangler and if you look at their blogs you’re sure to find more. I’m always looking for more to read and tighten up my ideas so I can get a better handle on them so if you have any recommendations for me let me know.

[1] An internet version of the book can be found here:

http://www.franz-oppenheimer.de/state0.htm

[2] Said defenition can be found at this link:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict/anarchism

https://anarchisttownship.com/9/what-is-market-anarchism/

An Introduction

Hello, my name is Nick Ford, I am what’s called a Market Anarchist (capitalized for emphasis not grammar) which will be explained in a subsequent blog. For now however I just want to go over some basic premises of this blog, why it’s here, why am I making it, the sort of interaction you can expect to have with me, and so forth.

First off I’d like to say that this will (or at least I hope it will be) a very user friendly blog for people to contribute to, sound off on, and have their say in a fair and easy way. I’m hoping people will be able to share their opinions in a respectful and intelligent manner and that conversations don’t barrel down into a blaze of infamy through ad hominems and strawmans but regardless I encourage people to participate.

Second I’d like to say the the blog itself will be very political, it’ll almost always be political unless I for some specific reason feel compelled to post something else, and even then it’ll most likely have some relevance to politics. My recommendation if you do not like the content I post is to suggest what I write, I am open to suggestions about what to write all the time and will take just about any request seriously.  I cannot promises everyone I will always have them done in a timely manner (especially if I feel I need to research the topic more deeply) but I do promise that if I want to do it I shall A) let you know and B) tell you when it’s done. That said this will resemble my former Myspace blog in which I too requests there. At some point I will be posting my posts from that blog just so I can get some of my previous writings out there.

Continuing on I’d like to say that anyone is free to share their own blogs, websites, recommended reads with me or what have you or can reach me on Facebook if they look up my name. With that all of the way I’ll give a little backstory of how I became political in the first place and future goals I have.

It all started in the Fall of 2008 when my mother was going  out with my (now) second ex-step father, he had this band in his collection called Rage Against the Machine and I decided to listen to it. On the first day of listening to it I realized they were talking about injustices and some involved the government, well I looked it up and made my very first political poem which I shall eventually get around to posting. Regardless I then picked up The Bill of Wrongs by Molly Irvins which talked about how the Bush administration had basically forsaken the Bill of Rights. Now, coming from a mostly apolitical family (or at least my mom was, my dad left when I was two, but that’s not a topic I want to get into here) I had little political leanings. So in my mind it seemed to me that the Republicans=Fascists and the Democrats were the good people! They wanted to help out the poor after all….at least…that’s what they said they wanted.

So I became a democrat for a bit but not for too long, after a bit of a fling with supporting Obama (Yikes!) my ex-girlfriend (girlfriend at the time) in early 2009 gave me the World’s Shortest Political Quiz and I scored as a liberatarian. I wasn’t sure what that was so I looked into it a bit and found I agreed with them more than the democrats (during the school year I said I favored democrats and wrote an essay about it in English and saw their positions on a NY Times website and thought it was ok but imagine what I would have written had I done it now! Ha!)  so I quickly became a libertarianism. Though not before forgetting about the quiz, taking it two months later (again due to my ex-girlfriend who by the way to this day is still one of my best friends) and again scoring as a libertarian, I knew I had to know more so I found a libertarian group on Myspace and joined.

Within two-three months I was an anarchist.

From that point I remained what is called an “anarcho-capitalist” but eventually got to something called voluntaryism (Both concepts shall be explored later on) and am currently a voluntaryist with mutualist influences on land, banks and businesses  (This concept as well). But why did it happen so fast? Well I can sadly say I got so wrapped up in libertarianism and the internet that I was constantly on there and constantly learning new things, opinions, and especially anarchists ones, although there were only a few they seemed the best articulate and the most well reasoned even though at the time I thought a state of anarchy was impossible. I eventually learned though that it was possible and there were ways to get there, it just had to be done through the right methods and strategies like almost anything else. I learned the history of anarchism gradually (and still am) and learned more of the economics and philosophy behind it as well (still am on those fronts too). And so by September of 2009 I was a committed anarchist.

From there I read more in depth articles, mostly from the Mises Institute and various other websites, I never got into one specific writers, I usually did (and still do) read various people and try not to focus too much on one writer in particular.

I am currently reading mainly left-libertarian literature from C4ss.org and other resources as I find myself supporting a “left” interpretation of libertarianism (More on this later). Such prominent writers I frequently enjoy will probably be listed on the blog roll and other sites of interest I find.

And so I hope people will not only find this a good place to discover new ideas (or old perhaps and review them, etc.) and discuss them but to share their own and hopefully work out the so many loose ends in our lives as we inch our way ever slowly to more freedom in this world.

Thank you and please enjoy my blog.

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