Support C4SS with Jason Lee Byas’ “Toward an Anarchy of Production”

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 Jason Lee Byas‘ “Toward an Anarchy of Production” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Jason Lee Byas‘ “Toward an Anarchy of Production“.

TaAoP

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

“Any society worth calling “anarchist” is going to be one that can continually adapt to the needs and desires of the individuals within that society. This adaptation must also be to the interests of the entire community, not toward the limited aims of a specific class of people. There must be ceaseless social experimentation, and incentives toward developing institutions that benefit everyone and weeding out those that don’t. This requires markets . . . .

“While face-to-face deliberation is likely to render more equitable arrangements than some Leninist model of overt command and control, it is also exactly the situation in which the more subtle aspects of privilege and oppression are most at play. Whatever more limited social evolution occurs will be tampered by the implicit biases that influence us in more direct forms of communication. Those who are skeptical of this claim should think back on all the meetings and face-to-face deliberations of which they’ve ever been a part. People with more charismatic personalities are likely to have their views taken much more seriously. This is especially true when the person in question is white, male, cisgender, heterosexual. . .     By contrast, two of the most important features of markets are radically decentralized decision-making based on distributed knowledge, and the availability of alternatives. In market transactions, one does not have to convince the community at large of the goodness behind one’s use of a given resource in order to use it. . . .

“By constantly approaching equilibrium yet never reaching it, unchained economic activity is exactly the kind of social dynamic that radicals desire: permanent revolution. A market society is a society built on continuous self-creation, whose institutions are always kept in check by the looming threat of creative destruction. In so far as anarchism is the abolition of hierarchy, the production of anarchy requires the anarchy of production. . . .”

flattr this!

Support C4SS with William Gillis’ “15 Anti-Primitivist Theses”

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 William Gillis‘ “15 Anti-Primitivist Theses” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with William Gillis’ “15 Anti-Primitivist Theses“.

cr-15-anti-primitivist-theses

$2.00 for the first copy. $0.90 for every additional copy.

The past has no monopoly on the possibilities of the future. . . . I am anti-primitivism because I am a primitivist, or, that is to say, because I come from the tradition of primitivism. I no longer believe the limitations of primitivism are reconcilable with any true drive towards rewilding. –William Gillis.

15 THESES:

  1. Biology’s constructs and dichotomies are not useful.
  2. The biosphere is not inherently good or superior, just very dynamic.
  3. Humans can choose their dynamics.
  4. Role­-filling is moral nihilism.
  5. Individuals flourish with increase of dynamic connections.
  6. Understanding is not dependent on process but capacity to experience.
  7. Physical limitation inspires social oppression.
  8. Spatial limitation ingrains social hierarchy.
  9. Freedom of information is necessary for free societies.
  10. It’s impossible to speak of regional liberty.
  11. Any society that embraces death will embrace oppression.
  12. Technology can be applied dynamically.
  13. We do not live in a closed system.
  14. Hard though the struggle may be, the ease of partial victories will always cost us more.
  15. The new is possible.

This provocative perspective, from long­time anarchist org­anizer William Gillis, offers a radical reconsideration of the implications of anti-civilization anarchism, showing that a wilder, more fluid and more engaged contact with the world means an anti-­primitive, technological anarchy, a society where we are no more ruled by the force of ‘Nature’ and biological limitations than by the force of human rulers.

Fifteen Anti-Primitivist Theses was first pub­lished on the web in 2006 as a series of posts to William Gillis’s Human Iterations weblog, at williamgillis.blogspot.com

William Gillis is a left­-wing market anarchist writer, social theorist and long-time radical activist. He studies high-­energy physics, de­signs web pages, publishes radical literature and has been a core member of countless anarchist projects and mobilizations, including the RNC Welcoming Committee convergence of anarchists and anti-­authoritarian direct ­act­ion activists to confront the Republican Nat­ional Convention in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota in 2008. Originally from Portland, he now works with a radical web design col­lective in the San Francisco Bay Area.

flattr this!

Order It!

$1.00
$1.00

Or In Bulk:

1st @ $1.00

Rest $0.60/ea.

$0.60

Toward an Anarchy of Production (2014)

“Any society worth calling “anarchist” is going to be one that can continually adapt to the needs and desires of the individuals within that society. This adaptation must also be to the interests of the entire community, not toward the … Continue reading

Order It!

$1.50
$1.50

Or In Bulk:

1st @ $1.50

Rest $0.75/ea.

$0.75

Anarchy is Order (1850)

“WHOEVER SAYS ANARCHY SAYS DENIAL OF GOVERNMENT; whoever says denial of government says affirmation of the people; whoever says affirmation of the people says individual liberty; whoever says individual liberty says the sovereignty of each; whoever says the sovereignty of … Continue reading

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.

Feed 44:

Bitcoin tips welcome:

  • 1N1pF6fLKAGg4nH7XuqYQbKYXNxCnHBWLB

flattr this!

Orwell, Orthodoxy and Organization

This summer, I joined the reading group for Kevin A. Carson’s daunting, 600 page tome Organization Theory. In the first section, Carson presents a compelling mass of research and careful criticism of cross-ideological views of economies of scale. He argues that top economists, from Ronald Coase to John Kenneth Galbraith and Joseph Schumpeter, “accept ‘economies of scale’ as a sufficient explanation for the rise of the large corporation from a supposedly ‘laissez-faire’ economy”, failing to consider the systemic effects state intervention has on the architecture of large firms that would otherwise bow to real market forces.

Five pages in, Carson takes a heavy swing at the Austrians over this issue. “The irony is that the Austrians”, he scolds, “who consider themselves such iconoclasts in savaging so much of the received wisdom of neoclassical economists and liberal managerialism, also accept without critical awareness many of its implicit assumptions… So it’s somewhat jarring to see them… become ardently triumphalist enthusiasts for the sheer Hegelian ‘is-ness’ of things when it comes to Wal-Mart and sweatshops. It’s a bit odd to be so anti-Hamiltonian, and yet so fond of an economy founded on Hamiltonianism.” – Ouch.

Bad theory has an unfortunate tendency to slip between the cracks of active thought and critical inquiry, and Carson is not the first libertarian to bring it up. Henry Hazlitt warns us in the first sentence of the preface to Economics in One Lesson, “This book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy.” Here, Hazlitt uses “orthodoxy” to refer to a generally authorized doctrine that includes both accurate and inaccurate insights, like subjective value theory and the broken window fallacy, respectively.

George Orwell, however, takes the meaning of orthodoxy even further in 1984, defining it to refer strictly to subversive ideas that have become the mainstream via their uncritical reception. In this passage, Winston is speaking with Syme, a dedicated and passionate agent of the state, who is tasked with compiling the latest edition of the Newspeak Dictionary:

Even the literature of the party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking-not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

This sort of Orwellian “unconsciousness” is precisely the state of mind that allows bad ideas to fester. Like a virus, these bogus theories permeate the uncritical mind and feed on passive acceptance, reproducing to latch onto new generations of economists, psychologists, scientists, and all other manner of inquiring minds who seek valid answers to key questions.

This tendency of orthodoxy is important to recognize, because a passive thought process is unlikely to stop after letting just one unchecked notion skate by. Liability to let anything at all past the threshold of intellectual scrutiny could be indicative of a more systematic problem. As William Gillis put it, preferring the term “faith” to orthodoxy,

Faith is innately unethical. Ethics without vigilance is meaningless and faith is defined by an abdication of cognitive vigilance… a mind filled with hardened tumors of faith and the rot of lazy habits is a mind always at risk of more proactive cancers.

Orwellian orthodoxy is a threat to all ideologies and fields of study and a potential menace to the development of inquiring minds, which is precisely why libertarians ought to oppose it most fervently.

As libertarians, we take pride in logical discourse and ethical rigor. We condemn the hypocrisies and failed policies of the statist left and the nationalist right. Turning our gaze inward, we are relentless when discussing matters of what is “truly libertarian”, be that tactics, tastes, culture, and other thick conceptions of liberty. Rational thought led us to our conclusions about free markets and individual liberty, and, if exercised consistently, should keep us on the right track with more complex issues that crop up the further we delve into economic and philosophical theory.

But despite our general steadfastness, Carson’s insight teaches us that we are not even safe from orthodoxy within the borders of libertarian thought. We too are liable to let an unexamined notion pass by unchecked, maybe because it confirms our preexisting feelings about the way something works, or perhaps because an idea simply carries the banner of “libertarian”. Either way, allowing these malignant manifestations of orthodoxy in is thoroughly un-libertarian.

The pursuit of truth for truth’s sake is a constitutive part of libertarianism, and for this reason, libertarians qua libertarians owe it to themselves to form an intellectual climate that promotes perpetual scrutiny of all ideas, regardless of whether those ideas were forged by hand-wringing statists or well-intentioned fellow libertarians. This intellectual climate should resemble important features of the economic arrangements that Jason Lee Byas describes in his essay Toward an Anarchy of Production, Pt. I. Calling for markets and the profit motive as agents of social change, he explains that,

by constantly approaching equilibrium yet never reaching it, unchained economic activity is exactly the kind of social dynamic that radicals desire: permanent revolution.

Market forces are robust because they are unyielding in adaptation and growth. By “constantly approaching equilibrium”, markets continuously reach to perfect allocation of resources both material and immaterial. This profound dynamic, which simultaneously optimizes productive efficiency and social flourishing, must be mirrored by any ideological community that wishes to grow into the best version of itself. Through unforgiving intellectual resilience in the face of propositions both pleasant and precipitous, libertarianism can stand athwart orthodoxy and achieve the kind of intellectual dynamic that the liberty-minded deserve: permanent cognitive revolution.

flattr this!

Support C4SS with Dyer D. Lum’s “On Anarchy”

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 Dyer D. Lum’s “On Anarchy” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Dyer D. Lum’s “On Anarchy“.

LumAnarchy

$1.50 for the first copy. $0.75 for every additional copy.

This plea for Anarchism by Dyer D. Lum was published as articles in the Chicago revolutionary paper, The Alarm, and then reprinted, in 1887, as part of Albert R. Parson’s anthology, Anarchism: Its Philosophy & Scientific Basis, prepared by Parsons during his imprisonment, and published by his wife, Lucy Parsons, in 1887.

“Modern society, monarchical, parliamentary, and re­pub­lican alike, cries with one voice: Law and order first and foremost, liberty and progress secondary and resul­tant. Anarchy says: Not so; law must not deny liberty, order must not precede progress; they are causes, not results. It proclaims progress first, to which order must adapt itself; liberty at all times, over which law has no control. . . . .”

“Anarchy is freedom from artificial regulation and re­strict­ion; and in freedom, the farmer, as well as the art­isan and all the classes into which society is now div­i­d­ed, will find that wider scope to activity will bring in­creas­ed com­fort; and in freedom to use of land and to org­an­ize credit, rent, interest, and profits will disappear to­gether like bats be­fore the dawning light; and in co-operation find full sec­ur­ity for wealth attained and opportunity for its applicat­ion. . . .”

“In anarchy labor and capital would be merged into one for capital would be without prerogatives and depen­dent upon labor, and owned by it. The laborer would find that to produce was to enjoy and the nightmare of desti­tution ban­ish­ed. The artisan would find in co-operation that nature alone remained to be exploited. . . .”

Dyer D. Lum (1839-1893) was a revolutionary market anarchist, a labor organizer, and a pioneer of mutualist economics. He became involved in the labor movement through his trade as a bookbinder, and came into contact with Anarchists such as Albert Parsons and August Spies in Chicago. He was closely involved with support for the Haymarket martyrs during the 1880s – he took up the editorship of Albert Parson’s newspaper, The Alarm, after Parson’s death, and it was Lum who smuggled a dynamite cap to Louis Lingg in prison (which Lingg used to commit suicide ahead of the noose). A collaborator and lover of Voltairine de Cleyre’s, and a prolific writer of both books and articles for Anarchist papers such as Twentieth CenturyLiberty, and The Alarm, Lum’s Anarchism combined the radical individualism and anti-capitalist market anarchism of the Boston Anarchists, with an emphasis on worker ownership, radical solidarity, and the militant labor organizing of his Chicago revolutionary milieu.

flattr this!

Support C4SS with Early English Mutualists’ “Toward Natural Society”

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 Early English Mutualists’ “Toward Natural Society” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Early English Mutualists’ “Toward Natural Society“.

naturalsociety

$1.50 for the first copy. $0.75 for every additional copy.

This “Appendix” was printed with The Inherent Evils of All State Govern­ments Demonstrated, a special reprint of the Vindication of Natural Society (ACS # 6) circulated by early English mutualists in 1858.

“The law of progress in human society is identical with the tend­en­c­y to individualize. . . . The doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual, the most ultra-radical doctrine in theory and final purpose ever promulgated in the world, teaches, in principle, the pro­spect­ive dis­rupt­ion of every existing institution, utterly at variance with all that has hitherto been prac­tis­ed in the world. . . . State Govern­ments will never give real freedom to their subjects. When a people know what real liberty is, and what it is worth, they will assume it as their natural inheritance; and will resist any at­tempt to rob them of it, under the pretence of ‘gov­ern­ing’ them, as they would resist a band of robbers.”

“But not until the property-relations of man shall be placed on a foundation of Equity, can the sovereignty of the indivi­du­al be realized; nor can any other of the human relations be just or har­mon­ic. . . . With the full recognition of the equality and reciproc­ity of all rights and duties; with the use of land, and all oth­er nat­ur­al wealth, easi­ly attainable; with a circulating medi­um of exchange, expanding and contracting as wealth, or bona fide credit was created or consumed; and with the moral belief current in society that the prices of all com­mod­ities or services should be regulated by their absolute cost — the vicious system of profitism or profit-mongering, which now prevails, would cease; because those who now are compelled to resort to this nefarious mode of getting a living, would have other and more legitimate sources of live­lihood. . . . Equitable Society de­m­ands nothing impossible of humanity. . . . But words, words alone, will no longer suf­fice. And the remedy is, — homes for the homeless — food for the starving — Equity for all!”

Years after publishing the “Vindication” anonymously, after his author­ship of the essay was discovered, Burke claimed publicly that the anarchistic argument of the “Vindication” was really intended as satire, and a reductio ad absurdum of deistic defenses of “Natural Religion.” However, many early mutualists and anarchists were impressed by the argument and took it seriously; in the “Preface” to their reprint, the anonymous editors, English followers of the American individualist anarchist Josiah Warren, argued that Burke’s argument for philosophical anarchism was both convincing and sincerely made, and his attempts to disown it later should be rejected. While defending the philosophical Anarchism of the “Vindication,” they argued that it was incomplete, con­demn­ing “Arti­fic­ial Society” without offering guidance on how it might be ended, or “Nat­ur­al Society” brought into practical being. They added this “Appendix,” to “briefly [enunciate] the principles through which ‘Natural Society’ may be gradually realized,” draw­ing on the work of the American individualists Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. The result was a fascinating commentary and document of early English mutualism.

flattr this!

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“.

impossible

$1.50 for the first copy. $0.75 for every additional copy.

“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).

flattr this!

Order It!

$1.50
$1.50

Or In Bulk:

1st @ $1.50

Rest $0.75/ea.

$0.75

Dyer D. Lum On Anarchy (1887)

This plea for Anarchism by Dyer D. Lum was published as articles in the Chicago revolutionary paper, The Alarm, and then reprinted, in 1887, as part of Albert R. Parson’s anthology, Anarchism: Its Philosophy & Scientific Basis, prepared by Parsons … Continue reading