Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin on Feed 44

C4SS Feed 44 presents “Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin” from the book Markets Not Capitalism, written by Sheldon Richman, read by Charles Johnson and edited by Nick Ford.

Abstracting from the numerous, often mutually exclusive details of specific cultural projects that have been recommended or condemned in the name of libertarianism, the question of general principle has to do with whether libertarianism should be seen as a “thin” commitment, which can be happily joined to absolutely any non-coercive set of values and projects, or whether it should instead be seen as one strand among others in a “thick” bundle of intertwined social commitments. These disputes are often intimately connected with other disputes concerning the specifics of libertarian rights theory, or class analysis and the mechanisms of social power. In order to better get a grip on what’s at stake, it will be necessary to make the question more precise, and to tease out the distinctions between some of the different possible relationships between libertarianism and thicker bundles of social, cultural, religious, or philosophical commitments, which might recommend integrating the two on some level or another.

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Support C4SS with Anna O. Morgenstern’s “Anarcho-‘Capitalism’ Is Impossible”

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 Anna O. Morgenstern‘s “Anarcho-‘Capitalism’ Is Impossible” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Anna O. Morgenstern‘s “Anarcho-‘Capitalism’ Is Impossible“.

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“What will happen under anarchy? EVERYTHING.”

This booklet collects three Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) feature articles by left-libertarian writer Anna O. Morgenstern, examining the rel­ation­ship between anarchism, capitalism and pro-capitalist “libertarian­ism,” including: “Anarcho-Capitalism is Im­pos­s­ible,” “Anarchism & Capitalism: A Revisitation,” and “Market Anarchism vs. Market Statism.”

“Goals sometimes lead people toward certain means, but it is the means that determine results, not the goals. And if the anarcho-capitalists follow anarchist means, the results will be anarchy, not some impossible ‘anarcho-capital­ism.’ . . .

“Anarchy does not mean social utopia, it means a soci­e­t­y where there is no privileged authority. There will still be social evils to be dealt with under anarchy. But anarchy is an important step toward fighting those evils with­out giving birth to all new ones. My take on the impossibility of anarcho-capitalism is simply as follows:

  • Under anarchism, mass accumulation and concentration of cap­it­al is impossible.
  • Without concentration of capital, wage slavery is im­poss­ible.
  • Without wage slavery, there’s nothing most people would re­cog­nize as ‘capitalism.’

“Even assuming an ‘anarcho-capitalist’ property re­g­ime, any­thing recognizable as ‘capitalism’ to any­one else could not exist. In fact the society would look a lot like what ‘an­archo-socialists’ think of as ‘social­ism.’ Not ex­act­ly like it, but much closer than anything they’d imagine as capitalism. . . .”

The essays in this collection first appeared in 2010 and 2014, as Featured Articles at the Center for a Stateless Society, a left-wing market anarchist think tank and media center. They appear here in print for the first time.

Anna O. Morgenstern, a Contributing Writer at the Center for a Stateless Society, has been an anarchist of one stripe or another for almost 30 years. Her intellectual interests include economic history, social psychology and volunt­ary organization theory. She writes frequent com­ment­ar­ies for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

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Anarcho-‘Capitalism’ Is Impossible (2010-2014)

This booklet collects three Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) feature articles by left-libertarian writer Anna O. Morgenstern, examining the rel­ation­ship between anarchism, capitalism and pro-capitalist “libertarian­ism,” including: “Anarcho-Capitalism is Im­pos­s­ible,” “Anarchism & Capitalism: A Revisitation,” and “Market Anarchism vs. Market Statism.”

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Markets Freed from Capitalism (2011)

This essay, first appearing as Chapter 4 of Markets Not Capitalism (eds. Charles W. Johnson and Gary Chartier), is an examination of the mechanisms of state capitalism and the monopolistic privileges that sustain it, as well as a close and … Continue reading

Support C4SS With ALL Distro’s “CAPITALISM”

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 ALL Distro’s “CAPITALISM” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with ALL Distro’s “CAPITALISM“.

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Three provocative libertarian perspectives on the liberation, corporation, and the Big C.Charles Davis writes that libertarians are very confused about capitalism, and that a radical re-appraisal of the debate shows that libertarian principles should go a lot further than mainstream libertarians have been willing to take them. David S. D’Amato argues, against business reformists, that inclusive capitalism is a contradiction in terms. And while many more libertarians are beginning to wake up to the structural problems in the corporate economy,Kevin Carson points out it’s the capitalism, not the cronyism that’s at the root of the problem.

“Let’s start over. The wealthy elite are too tainted by the current system of state capitalism for us to rely on a “good” and “bad” distinction when it comes enormous wealth. No one worth more than $10 million is able to get that much money without systemic state violence. There is no reason they should get a head start in Liberty Land. . . . no matter what one replaces it with, dismantling an unjust system requires addressing the injustices that system created. If you don’t, then your idea of “freedom” will be attacked as the freedom to be exploited by the same people running the world today. And with good reason.” — Charles Davis.

“The political-economic reality in this country, confirmed by recent studies as well as well-nigh everything we can observe about the political process, is that big capital keeps American policy­makers comfortably and securely in its pockets. And, sad to say, an ‘in­clusive’ kind of capitalism — oxymoron that it is — is not and never has been the order of the day. . . . In conditions of economic freedom — mean­ing circumstances in which land and opportunities are no co­erc­iv­e­ly monopolized — labor would simply enjoy far more bar­gain­ing pow­er, able to maintain self-sufficiency apart from the Big Business economy. In­deed, the way to fabricate a system wherein the vast majority of indiv­id­u­als are inclined to work for a pittance of a wage at huge, face­less org­an­iz­a­t­ion is to use the power of legal and regulatory authority to fore­close other options. . . .” — David S. D’Amato.

“Conservatives & rightwing libertarians drastically under­est­i­mate the extent to which state intervention has been struct­ur­al­ly central to capit­al­ism as a historical system since its very beginnings. The en­clos­ure of open fields for sheep pasture in late medieval and early modern times, the Parliamentary Enclosures of common woods, waste and past­ure in the 18th century, the colonial enclosure of land in the Third World and eviction of native cultivators, the engrossment of Third World mines and mineral resources, the enslavement of nonwhite populations – no­thing remotely resembling the contemporary concentration of economic pow­er and wealth, or the model of corporate capitalism most people think of as ‘normal’ . . .” — Kevin Carson.

“Libertarians Are Very Confused About Capitalism” was written by Charles Davis and published in November 2013 by the online magazine Salon.com. Charles Davis is a radical columnist, producer and researcher in Los Angeles, California. His work regularly appears in publications such as VICE, Salon, AlterNet, and Al Jazeera English. He keeps a website at charliedavis.blogspot.com

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Support C4SS With Kevin Carson’s “‘Privatization’ or Privateering?”

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 “‘Privatization’ or Privateering?“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “‘Privatization’ or Privateering?

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“A free market is not a society in which all of soc­i­ety’s functions are performed by private, for-profit business corporations. It’s a society where all fun­c­t­ions are performed by free, voluntary assoc­iat­ions. That means people get whatever services they need by organiz­ing them cooperatively with other willing partici­p­ants, or persuading someone to volunt­ar­ily supply them. And nobody is forced to pay for services they don’t want. . . .

“Capitalists don’t get rich by actually making things or providing services. They get rich by controlling – with the help of the state – the circumstances under which people are allowed to make things or provide services. If they do actually make things or provide services, they do so under carefully con­trolled circumstances where they get their money from involuntary customers who are conscripted into pay­ing by the state, or the state limits the ability of other firms to compete with them. You know, like Halli­b­urton and those military con­tractors. Or the private health insurance people have to buy under Obama­care. Under cap­i­tal­ism, privileged businesses make mon­ey by doing stuff on other people’s nickel. Big busi­ness gets its profits by external­iz­ing its operating expenses on the taxpayer. . . .

“Who cares if a corporation like Halliburton is nominally ‘private’ or ‘public?’ If it makes its money through force, it’s really just a part of the state. . . .”

This article was originally published as “‘Privatization’ or Cor­poratism?” in December 2013, as a syndicated column for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Kevin A. Carson is a mutualist writer living and working in northwest Arkansas, and the author of several incredibly influential works on contemporary mutualist anarchism, including “The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand,” Studies in Mutualist Political Economy,Organization Theory: A Libertarian Per­spect­iveThe Homebrew Industrial Revolution, and numerous articles and research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society.

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Support C4SS With SEK3′s “Counter-Economics Our Means”

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 SEK3′s “Counter-Economics Our Means“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with SEK3′s “Counter-Economics Our Means“.

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Counter-Economics is the practice of direct action in economic life — the cultivation of economic relationships that evade, avoid, and defy both the State and the legally-compliant, corporate dominated white-market economy. “Counter-Economics: Our Means” is the classic presentation of Counter-Economics by the man who first coined the concept and developed the theory, Samuel Edward Konkin III of the Movement of the Libertarian Left. The essay reprinted here was originally published as Chapter 3 of the New Libertarian Manifesto (1980), first published by Anarcho­sam­is­dat Press, then in later editions by Koman Publishing Co. / KoPubCo.

“The function of the pseudo-science of Establishment economics, even more than making predictions . . . for the ruling class, is to mystify and confuse the ruled class as to where their wealth is going and how it is taken. An explanation of how people keep their wealth and property from the State is then Counter-Est­ab­lish­ment economics, or Counter-Economics for short. The actual practice of human actions that evade, avoid and defy the State is counter-economic activity. . . .”

“Now we can see clearly what is needed to create a libertarian society. One the one hand we need the edu­cat­ion of the libertarian activists and the consciousness-rais­ing of counter-economists to liber­tar­ian understanding and mutual sup­portiveness. . . . On the other hand, we must defend our­selves against the vested interests or at the very least lower their oppression as much as pos­sible. If we eschew reformist activity as counter-productive, how will we achi­eve that?

“One way is to bring more and more people into the counter-eco­n­omy and lower the plunder available to the State. . . Slowly but steadily we will move to the free society turning more counter-economists onto libertarianism and more libertarians onto counter-economics, finally integrating theory and practice. The counter-economy will grow and spread to the next step we saw in our trip backward, with an ever-larger agorist sub-society embedded in the statist society. . .”

Samuel Edward Konkin III (1947–2004) was an anarchist libertarian active from the late 1960s until his untimely death in 2004. Founder of the Movement of the Libertarian Left and editor of several irregularly published movement papers (New Libertarian Notes, New Libertarian Weekly, New Libertarian), he became an influential critic of smaller-government reform­ism, electoral politics, and the “Libertarian” Party. He is best known for his role in developing the philosophy of agorism, a direct-action movement of revolutionary market anarchism, to be achieved through the conscious practice black and grey market activities to grow the ‘counter-economy.’

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Support C4SS With Barbara Sostaita & Judith Ayers’s “Liberty Beyond White Privilege”

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 Barbara Sostaita & Judith Ayers’s “Liberty Beyond White Privilege“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Barbara Sostaita & Judith Ayers’s “Liberty Beyond White Privilege

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This article was originally published under the title “What Would Libertarianism Look Like, If It Wasn’t Just White People?” in August 2013 at policymic.com.

“Within today’s libertarianism, topics like racism and classismoften take the back burner, or are ignored entirely. Is­sues of in­equality and poverty, solitary con­fine­ment and prison reform, women’s rights, queer and trans* abuse . . . are often met with hostility. But Black com­mun­i­t­ies, and other com­mun­it­ies of color, have long traditions of struggling for freedom. Those trad­it­ions, when acknowledged by and com­bin­ed with libertarianism, could create an em­pow­er­ing and radical message. . . .

“Atrue, ideological, libertarian re­nai­s­sance can, and will only, hap­pen if we learn to list­en to those who have lived under gov­ern­ment oc­cup­at­ion: those who live in poverty, are iso­lated, and lack access to resources; those who have suffered in soli­tary confinement; those of different sexual identities; those who are vict­ims of the drug war, political prisoners, sex work­ers, domestic work­ers, or undocumented per­sons. Libertar­ians need to talk, and listen to, the survivors, the ‘others,’ the voiceless and the ignored.”

Judith Ayers is a student pursuing double major in Mass Communications and Political Science at York College in Pennsylvania, who specializes in issues of education, poverty, and immigration policy, women’s and children’s issues, race, and culture and hip-hop. Barbara Sostaita is a student at Salem College focusing on International Relations and Religion. As an immigrant from Argentina, she has witnessed her parents struggle for political, social and economic freedom. Both co-authors are active within Students for Liberty, a growing worldwide network of campus groups for young libertarians.

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‘Privatization’ or Privateering? (2013)

“A free market is not a society in which all of soc­i­ety’s functions are performed by private, for-profit business corporations. It’s a society where all fun­c­t­ions are performed by free, voluntary assoc­iat­ions. That means people get whatever services they need … Continue reading

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CAPITALISM (2012, 2013)

Three provocative libertarian perspectives on the liberation, corporation, and the Big C. Charles Davis writes that libertarians are very confused about capitalism, and that a radical re-appraisal of the debate shows that libertarian principles should go a lot further than … Continue reading