Support C4SS with Lysander Spooner’s “NO TREASON”

C4SS has teamed up with the Distro of the Libertarian Left. The Distro produces and distribute zines and booklets on anarchism, market anarchist theory, counter-economics, and other movements for liberation. For every copy of Lysander Spooner’s “NO TREASON” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Lysander Spooner’s “NO TREASON”.

$2.00 for the first copy. $1.50 for every additional copy.

Perhaps Lysander Spooner’s most famous, and most provocative essays, “NO TREASON” first appeared as a series of three self-published pamphlets in Boston, appearing in 1867 and 1870. In NO TREASON Spooner argues, with sharp insight and relentless detail, against any binding obligation to obey the U.S. Constitution, and against all forms of non-consensual government. Rejecting paper constitutions as a failed strategy for the protection of liberty, and skewering the rationalizations for state power and forced obedience, Spooner defends a politics of pure consent and individual liberty, based in the rights and resistance of the oppressed, not on empty appeals to law, tradition, or state guarantees. In the process, he offers one of the strongest early statements of American individualist anarchism.

“Of all these swindles, the treason swindle is the most flagitious.It is the most flagitious, because it is equally flagitious, in principle, with any; and it includ­es all the others. It is the instrumentality by which all the others are mode effective. A government that can at pleasure accuse, shoot, and hang men, as traitors, for the one gen­eral offence of refusing to surrender themselves and their property unreservedly to its arbitrary will, can practice any and all special and particular oppressions it pleases. . .

“The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. . . . Neither voting, nor payment of taxes proves anybody’s consent, or obligation, to support the Constitution. Consequently we have no evidence at all that the Constitution is binding upon anybody, or that any­ body is under any contract or obligation whatever to sup­port it. And nobody is under any obligation to support it. . . .

“Whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain: that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.”

This edition collects all three pamphlets in the NO TREASON series: the introductory pamphlet No. 1, No. 2 on The Constitution, and No. 6, The Constitution of No Authority.(The collection is complete: in spite of the numbering, Spooner never published pamphlets 3, 4 or 5.)

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887) was a labor activist and a radical abolitionist who came out in opposition to the Civil War. (He believed that the slavery should be ended by arming the slaves and supporting their rebellion, rather than by means of invading and occupying the South.) After the war, he wrote this series of essays, entitled “NO TREASON,” arguing against the U.S. Constitution and all forms of non-consensual government. His writing on natural law in the 1880s, for example in the “Letter to Bayard,” “Natural Law,” and the “Letter to Grover Cleveland,” made him an incredibly influential figure in the emerging individualist Anarchist movement, and he became close friends with the radical individualist writer and editor Benjamin Tucker. Spooner’s essays are today widely reprinted and read throughout the libertarian and anarchist movements, and his work played a major role in the intellectual revival of individualist anarchism during the 1960s.

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Support C4SS with Gary Chartier’s “The Distinctiveness of Left-Libertarianism”

C4SS has teamed up with the Distro of the Libertarian Left. The Distro produces and distribute zines and booklets on anarchism, market anarchist theory, counter-economics, and other movements for liberation. For every copy of Gary Chartier‘s “The Distinctiveness of Left-Libertarianism“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Gary Chartier‘s “The Distinctiveness of Left-Libertarianism“.

$1.00 for the first copy. $0.60 for every additional copy.

This essay from Gary Chartier, originally written for the Bleeding Heart Libertarians symposium on left-libertarianism in November 2012, lays out the distinctive vision of left-libertarian theory and practice: a social struggle to achieve left-wing ends by libertarian means — for a leftism that challenges the authoritarianism and privilege of the state, and a libertarianism that stands for liberation across the board from multidimensional, intersecting forms of oppression. Chartier applies left-libertarian thought to anti-capitalism, class, solidarity, grassroots mutual aid, civil liberties, the drug war, the rights of sex workers, the emancipation of children, challenging police power, resisting social privilege, and resisting war, imperialism and colonialism.

“Left-libertarianism embraces and transforms leftist and libertarian ideals. Many leftists and libertarians al­ready share some commitments: opposition to war, empire, and corporate privilege; support for civil liberties and grass-roots empowerment. However, many leftists and libertarians also embrace, and often share, various mistaken assumptions. Left-libertar­ians challenge these assumptions. . . .

“The ruling class — made up of wealthy people empowered by the state, together with high-level state functionaries — is defined by its relationship with the state, its essential enabler. Opposing this class thus means opposing the state. . . . Left-libertarians share the awareness that racism, sexism, heterosexism, nativism and national chauv­inism are morally repugnant. Suspicious of the state and respectful of just possessory claims, they stress non-aggressive solidar­istic action as the appropriate means of dealing with persistent discrimination.”

Gary Chartier is an American legal scholar and philosopher at La Sierra University in Riverside, California. A left-wing market anarchist and a proponent of New Classical Natural Law theory, Chartier moved from state social-democracy to anarchist views after his contact with the work of left-libertarian authors such as Kevin Carson and Roderick Long, the New Left-inspired decentralism of Karl Hess, and the individualist anarchism of Benjamin Tucker. He is the author of books including The Conscience of an Anarchist and Anarchy and Legal Order. Together with Charles W. Johnson, he is the editor of the free-market anticapitalist collection Markets Not Capitalism.

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Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand”

C4SS has teamed up with the Distro of the Libertarian Left. The Distro produces and distribute zines and booklets on anarchism, market anarchist theory, counter-economics, and other movements for liberation. For every copy of Kevin Carson’s “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand”.

$2.00 for the first copy. $1.50 for every additional copy.

This essay, originally pub­lish­ed by Red Lion Press in 2001, was one of Carson’s first ground-breaking contributions to the revival of Mutualist ideas within today’s anarchist and libertarian milieus. It has been re-issued in a beautiful new printing by ALL Distro.

“Manorialism commonly, is recognized to have been founded by robbery and usurpation; a rul­ing class established itself by force, and then com­pel­led the peasantry to work for the profit of their lords. But no system of exploitation, including cap­it­al­ism, has ever been created by the action of a free market. Capitalism was founded on an act of rob­bery as massive as feudalism. It has been sus­tain­ed to the present by continual state inter­ven­tion to protect its system of privilege, with­out which its survival is unimaginable.

“The current structure of capital ownership and org­an­iz­ation of production in our so-called ‘market’ eco­n­omy, re­flects coercive state intervention prior to and ex­tra­n­e­ous to the market. From the outset of the industrial re­vol­ut­ion, what is nostalgically called ‘laissez-faire’ was in fact a sys­t­em of continuing state intervention to sub­sid­ize ac­cum­ulation, guar­ant­ee privilege, and maintain work discipline.

“Aworld in which peas­ants had held onto their land and 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. But it would have been a world of decentralized, small-scale production for local use, own­ed and controlled by those who did the work — as dif­fer­ent from our world as day from night, or freedom from slav­ery. . . .”

Kevin A. Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and a prolific writer on subjects including free-market anti-cap­it­al­ism, the in­div­idualist anarchist tradition, grassroots technology and radical unionism. He keeps a blog at and frequently publishes short columns and longer research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society (

Mutualism, as a variety of anarchism, goes back to P.-J. Proudhon in france and Josiah Warren in the u.s. It favors, to the extent possible, an evolutionary approach to creating a new society. It emphasizes the importance of peaceful activity in building alternative social institutions within the existing society, and strengthening those insti­tut­ions until they finally replace the existing statist system; doing whatever is possible (in the words of the Wobbly slogan) to “build the structure of the new society within the shell of the old” before we try to break the shell.

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Support C4SS with Gary Chartier’s “The Conscience of an Anarchist”

C4SS has teamed up with the Distro of the Libertarian Left. The Distro produces and distribute zines and booklets on anarchism, market anarchist theory, counter-economics, and other movements for liberation. For every copy of Gary Chartier’s “The Conscience of an Anarchist” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Gary Chartier’s “The Conscience of an Anarchist”.

$12.00 for the first copy. $9.00 for every additional copy.

Anarchy happens when people organize their lives peacefully and voluntarily- without the aggressive violence of the state. This simple but powerful book explains why the state is illegitimate, unnecessary, and dangerous, and what we can do to begin achieving real freedom.

“As an idea, anarchism is the conviction that people can and should cooperate peacefully and voluntarily. As a political program, it’s the project of doing without the state. Because governments are rooted in the use of force, anarchists maintain that no actual government is legitimate and that, in any case, we would be better off without the state. Anarchists reject any kind of authority acquired or maintained through aggressive violence or fraud. More broadly, many anarchists–including me–maintain that the same ideals that motivate their opposition to aggressive violence prompt them to challenge social institutions and cultural patterns that subordinate, exclude, or impoverish people, stultify their lives, or force them into soul-numbing conformity. People can and should organize their interactions on their own terms. We can defend ourselves against aggression; we don’t need the state to force us not to kill each other. And we don’t need the state’s help to coordinate our interactions. Working together, we can craft meaningful lives and livable communities. [. . .]

“In this book, I want to help loosen the hold the state still has on people’s imaginations. I want to point out that, as in Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale, the emperor really has nothing on at all. I want to encourage you to shift your point of view–to come to see the state as a group of people no different from your neighbors, with no more inherent authority, no greater right to tell you what to do. [. . .] I want to undermine the myth that the state represents us in any meaningful sense, that when politicians and generals act, they’re acting on our behalf. [. . .]

“This isn’t a primer, a narrowly academic work in philosophy or economics or political science or history, though it’s informed by the results of inquiry in all those disciplines. It’s a manifesto, a call to action: not to more violence that’s just the mirror image of the state’s own destructiveness, but to the creative work of envisioning a new kind of society and beginning to construct it here and now, right under the noses of the people in power.

Gary Chartier is Associate Dean of the School of Business and Associate Professor of Law and Business Ethics at La Sierra University. He is the author of Economic Justice and Natural Law and The Analogy of Love. His byline has appeared in journals including Legal Theory, the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Open Your Mind to Anarchy
  • 1. The Dissent of the Governed
  • 2. Fish, Bicycles, and the State
  • 3. The State, Big Business, and Economic Privilege
  • 4. The State, War, and Empire
  • 5. The State and Personal Freedom
  • 6. Where Do We Go From Here?
  • Resources: Stuff to Check Out on the Way to the Future

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