Support C4SS with a Copy of “The Desktop Regulatory State”

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 Desktop Regulatory State” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “The Desktop Regulatory State“.

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$15.00 for the first copy. $13.00 for every additional copy.

Defenders of the modern state often claim that it’s needed to protect us — from terrorists, invaders, bullies, and rapacious corporations. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, for instance, famously argued that the state was a source of “countervailing power” that kept other social institutions in check. But what if those “countervailing” institution — corporations, government agencies and domesticated labor unions — in practice collude more than they “countervail” each other? And what if network communications technology and digital platforms now enable us to take on all those dinosaur hierarchies as equals — and more than equals. In The Desktop Regulatory State, Kevin Carson shows how the power of self-regulation, which people engaged in social cooperation have always possessed, has been amplified and intensifed by changes in consciousness — as people have become aware of their own power and of their ability to care for themselves without the state — and in technology — especially information technology. Drawing as usual on a wide array of insights from diverse disciplines, Carson paints an inspiring, challenging, and optimistic portrait of a humane future without the state, and points provocatively toward the steps we need to take in order to achieve it.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE–THE STIGMERGIC REVOLUTION

  • Reduced Capital Outlays
  • Distributed Infrastructure
  • Network Culture
  • Stigmergy

CHAPTER TWO–NETWORKS VS. HIERARCHIES

  • The Systematic Stupidity of Hierarchies
  • Hierarchies vs. Networks
  • Networks vs. Hierarchies
  • Systems Disruption

CHAPTER THREE–NETWORKS VS. HIERARCHIES: END GAME

  • Transition from Hierarchies to Networks
  • The Question of Repression
  • The Question of Collapse
  • Conclusion

CHAPTER FOUR–THE DESKTOP REVOLUTION IN REGULATION

  • The Regulatory State: Myth and Reality
  • Individual Super-empowerment
  • The “Long Tail” in Regulation
  • Networked Resistance as an Example of Distributed Infrastructure
  • Informational Warfare (or Open-Mouth Sabotage)
  • A Narrowcast Model of Open Mouth Sabotage
  • Attempts to Suppress or Counter Open Mouth Sabotage
  • Who Regulates the Regulators?
  • Networked, Distributed Successors to the State: Saint-Simon, Proudhon and “the Administration of Things”
  • Monitory Democracy
  • “Open Everything”
  • Panarchy
  • Collective Contracts
  • Heather Marsh’s “Proposal for Governance
  • Michel Bauwens’ Partner State

CHAPTER FIVE–FUNDAMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURES: NETWORKED SUPPORT PLATFORMS

  • Bruce Sterling: Islands in the Net
  • Phyles: Neal Stephenson
  • Phyles: Las Indias and David de Ugarte
  • Bruce Sterling: The Caryatids
  • Daniel Suarez
  • John Robb: Economies as a Social Software Service
  • File Aesir
  • Venture Communism
  • Medieval Guilds as Predecessors of the Phyle
  • Transition Towns and Global Villages
  • Modern Networked Labor Unions and Guilds as Examples of Phyles
  • Virtual States as Phyles: Hamas, Etc.
  • Eugene Holland: Nomad Citizenship
  • Producism/Producia
  • Emergent Cities
  • The Incubator Function
  • Mix & Match

CHAPTER SIX–FUNDAMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURES: MONEY

  • What Money’s For and What it Isn’t
  • The Adoption of Networked Money Systems
  • Examples of Networked Money Systems

CHAPTER SEVEN–FUNDAMENTAL INFRASTRUCTURES: EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALING

  • Introduction: Whom Do Present-Day Schools Really Serve
  • Alternative Models
  • Potential Building Blocks for an Open Alternative
  • Open Course Materials
  • Open Textbooks
  • Open Learning Platforms
  • Credentialing

CHAPTER EIGHT–THE ASSURANCE COMMONS

  • Introduction
  • Legibility: Vertical and Horizontal. Graeber, Scott, etc.
  • Networked Certification, Reputational and Verification Mechanisms
  • Ostrom, Commons Governance and Vernacular Law

CHAPTER NINE–THE OPEN SOURCE LABOR BOARD

  • Historic Models
  • Networked Labor Struggle
  • Open-Mouth Sabotage

CHAPTER TEN–OPEN SOURCE CIVIL LIBERTIES ENFORCEMENT

  • Protection Against Non-State Civil Rights Violations
  • When the State is the Civil Liberties Violator
  • Circumventing the Law
  • Circumvention: Privacy vs. Surveillance
  • Seeing Like a State, and the Art of Not Being Governed
  • Exposure and Embarrassment
  • Networked Activism and the Growth of Civil Society

CHAPTER ELEVEN–THE OPEN SOURCE FOURTH ESTATE

  • The Industrial Model
  • Open Source Journalism

CHAPTER TWELVE–OPEN SOURCE NATIONAL SECURITY

  • The State as Cause of the Problem: Blowback
  • Meta-Organization
  • Active Defense, Counter-Terrorism, and Other Security Measures
  • Passive Defense
  • The Stateless Society as the Ultimate in Passive Defense
  • Disaster Relief

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 is the author of ”The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand”, Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution, and The Desktop Regulatory State. He keeps a blog at mutualist.blogspot.com and frequently publishes short columns and longer research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Director’s Report

December is almost over and along with it 2014. C4SS had an amazing month and an amazing year and we owe everything to you — our supporters.

This year closes with many people interested in anarchism or, at least, the ground long surveyed and mapped by anarchists. From the stark and gleeful brutality of state sponsored torture to the relentless, metronome regularity of police abuse against peaceful men, women, children and animals, the world is slowly realizing that the state is not only standing on our necks robbing us blind, it is standing in our way holding us back from our future.

This is where, and when, we need more anarchists writing about anarchism — its practicality, its everyday nature and its transformative and uplifting power. Liberty is an acid that dissolves and disintegrates all authority; this is why liberty is blocked at every approach and banned from even basic expression. This is why we need liberty, more then ever, roiling and seething. In 2015 we will do our part in bringing liberty to a boil, but we can’t do it without your support. A stateless society is what we want, more than anything, and C4SS is a concerted way of bringing this goal closer. As Voltairine de Cleyre has said, “We have done this because we love liberty and hate authority.”

If C4SS, as an organization and an idea, is something you like having around or would like to see do more things (like funding more studies, publishing more books, helping with travel expenses for writers to speak at events, updating the youtube graphics, etc), then, please, donate $5 today.

What will $5 a month get you from C4SS? Well let’s see,

For the month of December, C4SS published:

18 Commentaries,
Features,
1 Study,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
Life, Love and Liberty,
7 Blog posts,
Reviews, and
19 C4SS Media uploads to the C4SS youtube channel.

And, thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators and translators, C4SS translated and published:

12 Italian translations,
Spanish translations,
12 Portuguese translations

Jeff Riggenbach on Feed 44

We are happy and honored to have the golden voice of Jeff Riggenbach helping out our growing media project Feed 44. His first contribution is the left-libertarian classic by Roderick T. Long‘s The History of an Idea: Or, How An Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Socialism Became An Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Capitalism

C4SS cannot thank Nick Ford enough for his tireless devotion to the Feed 44 project. This is his garden and it is beginning to yield amazing fruit.

The Anarchism of Everyday Life

In December we published Kevin Carson’s 18th Study, The Anarchist Thought of Colin Ward, a survey of the work of Colin Ward. Colin Ward is one of those social theorists, like Pyotr Kropotkin, David Graeber, Elinor Ostrom, James C. Scott or Karl Hess, that grounds their approach in working people working and the flashes of creative problem solving brilliance found in their everyday collaboration and cooperation.

Like Kropotkin’s, Ward’s was a communism expressed in a love for a wide variety of small folk institutions, found throughout the nooks and crannies of history, of a sort most people would not think of when they hear the term “communism.” Kropotkin himself resembled William Morris in his fondness for the small-scale, local, quaint and historically rooted—especially medieval folkmotes, open field villages, free towns, guilds, etc.—as expressions of the natural communism of humanity. But as David Goodway notes, “Ward… goes far beyond him in the types of co-operative groups he identifies in modern societies and the centrality he accords to them in anarchist transformation.”

No More Cheers for Uber

In Uber Delenda Est, Kevin Carson withdraws his initial “One Cheer for Uber…” while doubling down on a radical p2p iteration of the concept, “hack the app, salt the service, fight the competition with better competition.” Even though Carson has withdrawn his cheer, he couldn’t help but point out the ideological blinders that allows both pro- and con-Uber that see it as an expression of a “free market”,

But anyone who either defends or attacks Uber as an example of the “free market” is a damfool. Uber and Lyft are not genuine sharing services. And they’re sure as hell not “free market” or “laissez-faire” operations, Reason‘s and Pando’s agreement to the contrary notwithstanding. The proprietary, walled-garden app they use to enforce the toll-gates between riders and drivers is every bit as much a state-enforced monopoly as the legacy taxicab industry’s medallions.

The Spectacle of Revolution

Ben Reynolds, in his first article with C4SS, The Image of Revolution, takes us through a brief history of 21st century revolutions and attempted revolutions all the while pointing out why they have failed to achieve their desired ends. Reynolds offers us a rapid series of questions that each would-be revolution should be able to enthusiastically answer positively.

If state power is the foundation of oppression, war, and the monopolization of property, then a genuine revolution must dismantle state power. There can be no half-measures or gradual steps in this regard. There are thus only a few simple questions that the observer may ask of any revolution: Does it struggle for the freedom, equality, and dignity of the people? Does it oppose institutionalized hierarchy and authority wherever it may be found? Does it seek to shatter the state? If a movement cannot answer any of these questions positively, then it deserves neither our support nor our sympathy. To the contrary, if it can, it deserves nothing less than the ardent support and aid of all those who struggle together in the name of freedom.

Consent: More Important Then Ever

As the debate concerning issues of sexual assault in our society and in our institutions continue to demand acknowledgement and solutions there is a tendency to turn to the state as the answer. The state doesn’t — it can’t — solve problems. The state can only smash things apart and give priority to elites over the remaining pieces.

But this doesn’t mean that solutions do not exist or, if kept out of the hands of bureaucrats and away from the hammer of the state, do not merit our consideration. Nick Ford in his feature Affirmative Consent: Yes and No takes a moment to delineate the differences between Affirmative Consent “as a law” versus Affirmative Consent “as a cultural norm”:

As a cultural norm it becomes a bigger conversation between equals. It becomes possible to challenge, revise and reorganize our lives in accordance with this norm. When we suggest to our friends that they should aim for affirmative consent, or hold an impromptu protest, invite a public speaker on the matter, hang up signs or integrate this principle into our daily lives, then we are trying to cultivate a norm about consent and how we deal with its absence.

Liberty and Equality

One of the positions that left-wing markets anarchist defend is the difference between the centrifugal forces of freed markets versus the centripetal forces of capitalism. If we were to look into a system and identify great inequalities of wealth and, its corollary, power, then, by our analysis, we have damn good reason to think somewhere in that system a state, in its myriad manifestations, is present and growing. As David S. D’Amato discusses in his The Warning of Animal Farm: Inequality Matters inequalities, vast or developing, are a warning sign, a symptom, that the cancer of the state is beginning to grow or has already metastasized.

Criticizing inequality ought to be important to libertarianism to the extent that we take our own free market ideas seriously and see the political economy of today as far removed from our model. Libertarians should accordingly welcome socialism and class analysis as found in the work of leftists like Hodgskin and Orwell. It’s time we start emphasizing liberty and equality, not liberty or equality.

Another Entrepreneur Lost

As the world watched the police choke the life out of Eric Garner and, then, see the state vindicate the brutality of its agents against peaceful people, C4SS Adviser  penned, I’m sorry Eric Garner. I don’t know what else to do. Reisenwitz’s touching letter recognizes the fear, sense of hopelessness and heartbreak that comes from living in a society were our friends, family and neighbors can be killed virtually in front of us. I have no doubt in my mind that we will win the day and build a better world, but this will never change the fact that Eric Garner and many many others will not be able to share it with us.

I’m sad. Beyond angry. Brokenhearted. The Staten Island Grand Jury chose not to indict the officer who choked father of six Eric Garner to death on the street while attempting to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.

The One Soldier that Fought for our Freedom

Chelsea Manning turned 27 in prison on December 17th. Manning has been described by Kevin Carson, back in 2010, as the One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”. She is yet another example of authority’s self-aware fear of liberty and revulsion to conscience. Nathan Goodman in his letter, Happy Birthday, Chelsea Manning, articulated our feelings for her and our hope for her future,

I hope someday, the sooner the better, Chelsea Manning will be able to celebrate her birthday free from the state’s prisons. Until then, I wish her a happy birthday and as much freedom and happiness as possible.

Fellows on Patreon

Kevin Carson and Thomas Knapp have both popped up on the creator supporting site Patreon. Patreon allows individual to directly support their favorite creators, or in this case, left-libertarian writers. You can pledge any amount that fits your budget or enjoyment of their work, and, for certain pledged amounts, they offer bonuses.

Please Support Today!

All of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition of left libertarian market anarchist, freed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please, donate $5 today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

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Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “Millennial Liberty”

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 “Millennial Liberty” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson‘s “Millennial Liberty“.

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

This article was originally published as “Five Libertarian Re­forms Millennials Should Be Fighting For” in January 2014, as a Feature for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

“Millennials are disgruntled and it’s no won­der. In 2008 they turned out in record numbers in sup­port of a presidential candidate who used the most leftish sounding rhetoric of any Democratic candidate since Mc­Govern. In­stead he governed as a moderate Repub­lic­an, continuing the Paulson TARP program, bailing out the larg­est ‘too big to fail’ industrial corporation in America, and implementing a national healthcare ‘reform’ proposed by Rich­ard Nixon. In the meantime, twenty-somethings face a situ­ation where half of recent college graduates are un­em­ploy­ed or underemployed. They were the backbone of the Occupy movement, founded on the assumption that repre­s­ent­ative democracy and the political process were worth­less, and the only alternative was to build a new system outside the existing one.

“The reforms I propose below are all free market libertarian reforms, but they’re also essentially soc­ial­ist or anti-capitalist in that they shift wealth from rent­ier classes to the people who actually produce it, break the power of giant corporations, and create a fairer sys­tem with a more egalitarian distribution of wealth. End the credit monopoly. End the land monopoly. End the ‘in­t­el­lect­u­al property’ monopoly. End the minimum wage for plu­tocrats. Cut welfare from the top down. Start by elim­i­n­ating eliminating all the forms of artificial property, artificial scarcity and subsidies that concentrate wealth in a few hands. Let free com­pet­it­ion destroy enor­mous con­cen­trat­ions of wealth and redistribute it downward. . . .”

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 Per­spect­ive, The Homebrew Industrial Revolution, and numerous articles and research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society.

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Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “What Is 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 Kevin Carson‘s “What Is Left-Libertarianism?” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson‘s “What Is Left-Libertarianism?“.

wll

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

“We on the Libertarian Left consider it utterly perverse that free market libertaria­n­ism, a doctrine which had its origins as an attack on the economic privilege of landlords and merchants, should ever have been coopted in de­fense of the entrenched power of the plutocracy and big busi­ness. The use of the ‘free market’ as a legitimizing ideology for triumph­ant corporate cap­i­tal­ism, and the growth of a community of ‘libertarian’ propagandists, is as much a perversion of free market principles as Stalinist regimes’ co­opt­at­ion of rhetoric and symbols from the historic socialist movement was a perversion of the working class movement. . . .

“The industrial capitalist system that the libertarian mainstream has been defending since the mid-19th century has never even remotely approx­im­at­ed a free market. Capi­t­al­ism, as the historic system that emerged in early mod­ern times, was founded on the dissolution of the open fields, en­closure of the commons and other mass­ive ex­propri­ations of the peas­antry. Capitalism evolved into a world system through the col­on­ial occupation, expropriation and enslavement of the glob­al South. We of the Libertarian Left want to take back free mark­et principles from the hirelings of big business and the pluto­cracy and put them back to their original use: all-out assault on the en­trenched economic interests and privileged class­es of our day.

“We of the Libertarian Left also want to de­mon­strate the relevance of free market princ­iples, free assoc­i­at­ion and volunt­ary cooperation in ad­dres­s­ing structural forms of oppression like rac­ism, sexism, homo­phobia and trans­phobia. As libertarians we oppose all legal re­strictions but we should enthusiastically support direct act­ion to combat in­jus­tice in the social realm, like bus boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins and the Stonewall riots. In addressing all forms of injustice, we should take an intersectional ap­proach. . . .”

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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. . . .”

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Director’s Report

The Center for a Stateless Society continues to keep pace with itself, month to month, and it is all because of you — our supporters and donors. September has been a month filled with opportunities for us to correct historical inaccuracies and vulgar libertarianism; to watch Scottish near-independence, continued US “bomb-em” diplomacy and millennial wooing; and to combat ridiculous and shameful wobblie red- and klan-baiting. In other words, we are having a blast. But October and the rest of 2014 are sure to be just as interesting and we need your help to keep our powder dry and our hatchets scoured.

If C4SS, as an organization and an idea, is something you like having around or would like to see do more things (like funding more studies, publishing more books, helping with travel expenses for writers to speak at events, updating the youtube graphics, etc), then please donate $5 today.

What will $5 a month get you from C4SS? Well let’s see,

For the month of September, C4SS published:

29 Commentaries,
Features,
Weekly Abolitionists,
Life, Love and Liberty,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
5 Blog posts,
Missing Commas,
3 Reviews, and
19 C4SS Media uploads to the C4SS youtube channel.

And, thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators and translators, C4SS translated and published:

Italian translations (2 more than August),
Spanish translations (1 more than August),
24 Portuguese translations!

Our appeal to the Portuguese speaking world, especially in Brazil, continues to grow. The C4SS Portuguese social media presence, as a metric of this growth, is increasing at an outstanding rate. Just last month we were cheering C4SS’s Portuguese facebook “like” page for reaching 2,000 likes, up from 1,000, in only two months. Now the same page is, again, already half way towards adding another 1,000!

Speaking of Social Networking

As facebook becomes even more pathological with its “real name” policy, being a medium for serving legal documents and the prediction that it could vindicate infectious disease models by losing 80% of its users, two alternatives social networks are becoming more attractive — even describing themselves as anti-facebook in their policies. These alternatives are the kickstarted “Decentralize the web” 4 year veteran Diaspora* and the nascent “You are not a product” Ello. Whichever service you decide to transition to, never fear, C4SS will be there:

Diaspora

 

c4ssello

The C4SS Q4 Tor Node Fundraiser

Four times a year, every quarter, C4SS pays a freedom friendly data center in the Netherlands to continue operating an always-on Tor Node. In order to sustain this project we need your help.

Essentially, the tragedy of past revolutions has been that, sooner or later, their doors closed, “at ten in the evening.” The most critical function of modern technology must be to keep the doors of the revolution open forever! –Murray Bookchin

Part of the dissolutionary strategy advocated by C4SS is called Open Source Insurgency or embracing institutional, organizational or technological innovations — low-tech or high-tech — that render centralized or authoritarian governance impossible (or so damn costly as to be regarded as impossible). One of these innovations is Tor. And, so, C4SS maintains an always-on Tor Node.

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

C4SS has maintained a Tor relay node for over three years. This is our fourth quarter fundraiser for the project. Every contribution will help us maintain this node until January 2015. Every contribution above our needed amount will be earmarked for our fourth quarter fundraiser.

We encourage everyone to consider operating a Tor relay node yourself. If this, for whatever reason, is not an option, you can still support the Tor project and online anonymity with a $5 donation to the C4SS Tor relay node.

If you believe, as we do, that Tor is one of the technologies that makes both state and corporate oppression not only obsolete, but impossible, please consider operating as a Tor relay or donating to support the C4SS node.

The State is damage, we will find a route around!

If you are interested in learning more about Tor and how to become a relay node yourself, then check out our write up on the project: Stateless Tor.

Please donate today!

Bitcoin is also welcome:

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The Benjamin R. Tucker Distinguished Research Scholar in Anarchist Economic Theory

C4SS has, currently, awarded three academic positions:

The third, The Benjamin R. Tucker Distinguished Research Scholar in Anarchist Economic Theory, was presented to David S. D’Amato this month. All of these positions are designed to honor, motivate and signal exemplary work towards developing and extending this little experiment we call left-wing market anarchism. D’Amato takes his place along Kevin Carson and Nathan Goodman as just such an exemplar. During September, D’Amato lived up to the mantle of “distinguished research scholar” with two wonderful pieces on the history and promise of a reemergent 19th century individualist anarchism.

Possession of Liberty: The Political Economy of Benjamin R. Tucker:

… The burden of principled consistency fell to Benjamin Tucker and Liberty as it falls to left wing individualists and C4SS today. Tucker suggest that “Anarchy may be defined as the possession of liberty by libertarians,—that is by those who know what liberty means.” That question, the meaning of liberty, is what we as anarchists are attempting to puzzle out. For so many, the life and work of Benjamin Tucker has been the lodestar in that odyssey, ever an inspiration and point of reference. …

Left Wing Individualism:

… The individualist anarchists were sticklers about consistency; if labor was made to come under the law of competition, of supply and demand, then so too should capital. As Schuster points out, the “scientific anarchism” of people like Benjamin Tucker thus “did not appeal to the Capitalist because it demanded not ‘rugged individualism’ but universal individualism” (emphasis added). Because the individualists regarded them as the proximate results of coercive privilege, rent, interest, and profit — the “trinity of usury” — were treated as akin to taxes, allowing the owners of capital the stolen difference between prices under a regime of privilege and prices as they would be under true, open competition. …

George Reisman — Piketty’s Capital

One of the unofficial services that C4SS provides to the world of libertarian discourse is the constant reminder that we do not live in a freed market. The universe we inhabit is riddled, layered, corralled and bludgeoned with those primary and secondary interventions that culminate into that political master noun the state. It is a service we are happy to provide and Kevin Carson is our star representative. Carson comes to the aid of George Reisman, again, in his thorough critique of Reisman’s critique of Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Reisman, like most of the Austrians, equates increased productivity to capital accumulation and capital intensiveness. Piketty, Reisman says, “advocates his program on the basis of ignorance of the essential role of capital in production, which is to raise the productivity of labor, real wages, and the general standard of living.” But Reisman’s criticism, in turn, is based on ignorance of actual technological history, or of anything else outside the dogmas of Austrian economics.

George Reisman is entitled to a priori axioms. He is not entitled to a priori facts.

Scottish Independence, Almost

September saw the potential for an independent Scotland and its defeat by a sliver more of opposition. This turn of events pulled into the light a number of issues dealing with myths of legitimacy, the interests of corporate and aristocratic elites, and admissions of economic instability and vulnerability. Joel Schlosberg discusses the inevitable dissolution of empire in the acid decentralization in his article The Conquest of the United Kingdom by Scotland:

The Scottish economy, with its diminishing oil and gas revenue, has been hit particularly hard by deindustrialization. But as post-industrial technology rapidly becomes the norm, an economic base is increasingly viable. Key services can be unbundled from geography; the referendum received much of its impetus from the effects of the most limited competition of Scotland being able to pick and choose between the UK and the EU. And full competition of currencies, for one, will go far beyond the choice between the pound and the euro. Decentralization to a point matching the level of the traditional Scottish clan system will no longer be a romanticized memory, but everyday reality.

The sun is setting on the imperial state.

Red-baiting and Klan-baiting

This month we witnessed new attempts to use old scare tactics. The strangest part about these tactics is that they are designed to appeal to established, comfortable status quo types, not radicals that respond to “…between these two classes a struggle must go on until…” with an, “Of course! Let’s do it! Today!” Reason magazine (our favorite target for September) published a howler of an article, Meet the Left-Wing Extremist Running for U.S. Senate, by A. Barton Hinkle. And we just couldn’t resist.

Kevin Carson’s Smarter Red-Baiters, Please! points out the irony of the piece:

I’d also like to note just how ironic it is for a publication like Reason, which is so uniformly hostile to “union bosses” and NLRB-certified union shops, to run an article blasting a union that also hates these things. The Wobblies, by and large, prefer to bypass NLRB certification and union bureaucracy, instead functioning as self-organized unions on the shop floor, eschewing exclusive bargaining unit representation and automatic dues deductions, and returning to tactics like wildcat strikes and direct action on the job that the Wagner Act was passed precisely to prevent.

While Joel Schlosberg’s Klan-Baiting the Wobblies: Unreasonable goes for a line-by-line take down:

Hinkle then presents a passage from the IWW Preamble as self-evidently Leninist. Let’s take a phrase-by-phrase closer look:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.

First of all, this “working class” and “employing class” aren’t simply automatic aggregates of workers and employers. What makes the population into classes isn’t an inherent tendency of voluntary decisions to engage in employment relations to stratify power, but the predominance of such relations by systematically ruling out alternatives to wage work, artificially increasing the amount of wage work necessary to earn enough to survive, and limiting the opportunities for wage work to those permitted by a restricted pool of employers most of whom can act together as a stable cartel. All of these, and the resulting formation of privileged employers into an employing class, require the coercive power of a state to back them up.

Thus, the division of society into a productive class and a coercive exploiting class that do “have nothing in common” is entirely consistent with longstanding libertarian class analysis of a “productive class” and “political class” drawing their wealth from what Franz Oppenheimer called the “economic means” of obtaining wealth through labor and voluntary exchange and the “political means” of compulsory taking. The analysis is also a rebuke to the “we’re all in this together” liberal rationales, with their eliding of conflicts of interest.

Both conclude with a rebuke of Hinkle’s attempt to compare the anti-KKK IWW to the anti-IWW KKK. Carson concludes:

Hinkle actually compares the I.W.W., in sheer odiousness, to the Klan. Well, except there are no legitimate reasons to hate, terrorize and lynch black people — but plenty of legitimate reasons to believe corporate power and the present distribution of wealth and income result from injustice.

There is, however, one organization that really is as evil as the KKK, and was founded for the express purpose of terrorist attacks on Wobblies, directly analogous to anti-worker terrorism by Mussolini’s industrialist-funded black shirts: The American Legion. Maybe Hinkle could take them on.

And Schlosberg drives it home:

Finally, we get the comparison to the Ku Klux Klan. The comparison of a group that produced posters denouncing the KKK as “anti-labor”; that was formed in large part as a direct response to the exclusionary racism of the elitist unions of the time; that prominently counted within its ranks such people of color as Lucy Parsons, Ben Fletcher, and Frank Little; that was among the first to systematically defy segregation laws; that was repressed by KKK-style vigilante thuggery. All solely on the grounds that they must be comparable to the Klan since they’re as “extreme”. And all particularly ironic since Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that “the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’;” – and who is equally opposed to “extremists for hate or for love”.

But hey, IWW and KKK have the same number of letters in their acronyms, so potayto, potahto.

We Haven’t Forgotten

We still have our David Graeber Symposium on Debt: the first 5,000 years. There is only one article to be finished; it should be ready soon. Thank you for your patience.

Please Support Today!

All of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition of left libertarian market anarchist, freed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please donate $5, today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

flattr this!

Director’s Report

August has been wonderfully productive month for C4SS. We have published more commentaries, features, book reviews, blog posts, and translations, across the board and by a wide margin, than previous months. And we even, finally, published our version of Colin Ward’s edited Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow by Pyotr Kropotkin – complete with an original introduction by Kevin Carson.

All of this output is the result of our love for the ideas and our desire to see them realized, but this level of output can only be attributed to the generosity and support of our donors. We are thankful for every penny and bitcoin decimal. Your enthusiasm and support is our proof that anarchism is not only possible and practical, but humbling and emboldening.

If C4SS, as an organization and an idea, is something you like having around or you would like to see it do more things (like funding more studies, publishing more books, helping with travel expenses for writers to speak at events, updating the youtube graphics, etc), then please donate $5 today.

What will $5 a month get you from C4SS? Well let’s see,

For the month of August, C4SS published:

29 Commentaries (5 more than July)
14 Features (4 more than July),
Weekly Abolitionists (1 more than July),
Life, Love and Liberty (2 more than July),
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews (1 more than July),
Missing Commas,
1 Republished Book: Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow,
3 Book Reviews (2 more than July), and
19 C4SS Media uploads (7 more than July) to the C4SS youtube channel.

And, thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators, C4SS translated and published:

Italian translations,
Spanish translations,
26 Portuguese translations!

I would also like to take a moment to point of that Brazil really likes C4SS. Supporters in Brazil visit our site more than supporters any other country, besides the US, and, in only two months since we reported the C4SS Portuguese facebook reaching 1,000 “likes”, it has already surpassed 2,000!

Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow

It took more than a couple of months, but we were finally able to complete the C4SS Edition of Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow. This is a special edition that includes an introduction by Kevin Carson, a running extended commentary by Colin Ward and rounded out with Murray Bookchin’s essay Towards a Liberatory Technology.

Pyotr Kropotkin and Colin Ward have long been important figures to the C4SS approach and articulation of a stateless society. Showcasing the ability of individuals to work together in such a way as to provide abundance and autonomy, without the connected nightmares of centralized governance or centralized production, is at the heart of both their work and our very own Kevin Carson. As Carson describes,

I read Kropotkin’s original version, the Ward commentaries, and Bookchin’s essay all around roughly the same time, along with other writings by Ward on neighborhood workshops as a means of communal self-provisioning by the unemployed and underemployed, and similar ideas by Karl Hess in his and Morris’s book Neighborhood Government. Their ideas all clicked together for me and produced the conceptual framework that I expressed first in Chapter 14 of my book Organization Theory, and then grew into a book of its own with the publication of The Homebrew Industrial Revolution.

Autonomy is regarded as possible within all anarchist conversations, but, for some, this possibility is at the expense of technologically produced abundance. Liberals, on the other hand, tend to make the sacrificial concession that reduced autonomy is the price of industrial capacity and capital abundance. Freed Market Anti-capitalists or Laissez-faire Socialists see no necessary conflict between autonomy or abundance; both, in the absence of a state, can be mutually determining, supporting or enhancing. It is this spirit of universal autonomy and abundance that we are proud to offer you Kropotkin’s Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow.

Please Welcome Our Newest Intern

We are four months into our test of a paid internship program. Cory Massimino has been doing amazing things with C4SS and we look forward to helping his career along. Since we began talking about an intern program for C4SS we have received notes from interested supporters curious about how they might apply. We are still figuring out what such a program requires, how best to support and prepare our interns for the curious world of writing about anarchism for a general audience. To help us answer these questions we have included Daniel Pryor to our roster of interns. Pryor’s internship officially begins September 1, but he has already begun writing for C4SS. His “The Culture of Anarchism” gives a taste of what we can expect form his work,

The anarchist culture of scepticism towards power structures is key to human flourishing. On an individual level, this manifests in critically examining our everyday habits. Samuel Beckett reminds us that “the pernicious devotion of habit paralyses our attention, drugs those handmaidens of perception whose co-operation is not absolutely essential”. Our unwavering collective devotion to entrenched power structures paralyses society, and blinds us to the evils that plague it. Embrace change and the possibility it provides.

It is our hope that we will have the bugs worked out and the rubrics in place to make our internship program supportive, challenging and fruitful. We are currently limited by funding, but we feel confident that we can sustain, at current donation levels, two interns a year. We hope to begin deciding on our next intern December 1, 2014. But you don’t have to wait, you can always start writing for C4SS now. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact us:

  • General inquiries: admin@c4ss.org
  • Media inquiries: media@c4ss.org

Book Reviews

August was a great month for books; we were able to publish three original reviews:

1. Joel Schlosberg reviewed Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book just in time for Guardians of the Galaxy. Schlosberg has a slow-burn writing style like a fuse attached to a powder keg. It takes its time, bringing all the background details into focus, before concluding with lines like,

The shift of power back towards artists paralleled the shift towards viable post-mass-market economic alternatives. When in the 1980s the main point of sale of comics moved from newsstands to specialty stores, the decreasing capital-intensiveness of distribution opened the field for creator-controlled independents, many formed by Marvel walkouts who took their experience with them.

and,

The reverberations from Lee’s quickly-forgotten Comix Book, a fleeting effort treating underground comix just like any other fad to be co-opted, shows the disruptive power of alternatives. The contributing underground artists demanded and got rights to their work as a condition of their participation, leading artists at Marvel to agitate for creator rights as well.

2. Cory Massimino, C4SS’s first intern, offered a review of Markets Not Capitalism. Massimino’s review uses selections with themes that challenge libertarian preconceptions about what is or is not possible with a freed market critique of political economy.

For example:

  • Massimino begins with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s “General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century” and his discussion of the liberatory effects of universal competition.
  • Next is Gary Chartier’s “Advocates of Freed Markets Should Oppose Capitalism”. Chartier disentangles the three dominate referents of the term “Capitalism” and offers a case for why advocates of freed markets are, or ought to be, thorough anti-capitalists.
  • Roderick Long’s “A Plea for Public Property” considers the validity and necessity of public property for the defense of individual autonomy and community development.
  • Kevin Carson’s classic “Economic Calculation in the Corporate Commonwealth” applies the classic Austrian calculation argument, with withering effect, against the “corporate commonwealth”.
  • Murray Rothbard’s challenging “Confiscation and the Homestead Principle” asks the question, “what is to be done with all this stolen property known as state complex industry and compromised education?” Rothbard answers, in the absence of clear and identifiable beneficiaries, “it belongs to the workers and the students – the first or discernible homesteaders of the property.”
  • Jeremy Weiland’s radical “Let the Free Market Eat the Rich: Economic Entropy as Revolutionary Redistribution” thesis is that mass accumulation of wealth can be described as a byproduct of centralized monopoly authority which subsidizes its maintenance, liability and protection against the centrifugal tendencies of freed markets or the spontaneous institutional arrangements possible in a stateless society.
  • Charles Johnson’s “Scratching By” calls into question the state-based progressive plans designed to ameliorate poverty while maintaining the very barriers to subsistence and raised access to capital that created the poverty in the first place.
  • Massimino concludes with Roderick Long’s “Platonic Productivity”. Long challenges some of the accepted notions within certain circles of Austrian economic theory regarding “marginal revenue product” and the power of social change given a passive social context.

Massimino’s parthian shot is a quote by Long,

Once we see why the productivity theory of wages, though correct as far as it goes, goes less far than its proponents often suppose, it does not seem implausible to suppose that this sexism plays some role in explaining the wage gap, and such sexism needs to be combated… But that’s no reason to gripe about “market failure.” Such failure is merely our failure. Instead, we need to fight the power – peacefully, but not quietly.

3. Kevin Carson, while doing research for his latest book The Desktop Regulatory State, received a review copy of New Forms of Worker Organization from PM Press. New Forms… begins by detailing the historical and radical differences between domesticated “Wagner-style business unions” and the horizontal direct action union “descendants of the socialist and anarchist labor formations of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” Carson comments,

Since then, employers have decided the New Deal labor accord no longer serves their interests. They have instead shifted to a labor model based on union-busting, offshoring and precarious labor (part-timers and temporary workers). Outside of a handful of dying industries, the New Deal model is increasingly irrelevant to today’s workers.

But the pre-Wagner model is becoming quite relevant. It includes such things as minority unionism (in which a minority of workers acts as a union without certification, as the Jimmy Johns workers did), which former IWW Secretary-Treasurer Alexis Buss wrote extensively about in her “Minority Report” columns. It includes the forms of on-the-job direct action described in the pamphlet “How to Fire Your Boss [PDF]” (all of which are prohibited during the duration of union contracts under the Wagner model): slowdowns, sick-ins, random unannounced one-day wildcat strikes, working to rule, “good work” strikes and (perhaps most relevant) “open mouth sabotage,” which is simply public whistleblowing about internal working conditions and the kinds of shoddy goods and services that result from management policy.

Krugman on Libertarianism?

Paul Krugman, rightly, regards the various strands of libertarianism as a challenge worthy of comment. Unfortunately his ready response is dismissal; libertarianism is fanciful or utopian. Joel Schlosberg and David D’Amato both responded to Krugman for C4SS.

Schlosberg points out Krugman’s unfamiliarity not only of libertarian literature on various subjects like pollution, but of allied corporate reformers as well:

Krugman waves a single word at libertarian economics like a vampire hunter’s crucifix: “phosphorous”. (Not “phlogiston“?) The chemical’s contamination of Lake Erie is treated as a prime example of a problem which self-evidently can be fixed only by the regulatory apparatus of a benevolent government. … No mention is made of the decades of substantial libertarian literature dealing with pollution, much of it specifically about water pollution. … Krugman’s entire rejoinder to Milton Friedman’s proposal that tort law could effectively replace the regulatory state as a check on corporate power (only one of enough such examples to fill a book) — and his only actual attempt at addressing free-market proposals at all — is: “Really?” Really. Never mind that exactly that approach has been championed by no less of a foe of corporate power than Ralph Nader, much to the chagrin of more statist leftists like Doug Henwood, who chides Nader that tort “[l]itigation is an individualized solution to broad economic and social conflicts whose proper arena is politics, not the courtroom.”

D’Amato focuses on Krugman’s unbalanced suspicion of business yet resilient faith in bureaucrats. Suspicion, perhaps even uncharitable suspicion, is appropriate towards all with access to power:

Paul Krugman, unconsciously I’m sure, makes an interesting move whenever he articulates his view of what it is that drives the acts of government agents as opposed to market actors. When he’s talking about the latter group, he assumes, perhaps quite rightly, that they are motivated by unalloyed self-interest, by greed and the bottom line, regardless of who gets trampled on, whether it means polluting cherished, shared natural resources or hawking unsafe products to consumers. Well, all right, so when we’re considering the motivations of DC bureaucrats, the same assumptions ought to hold, right? Not exactly. You see, in the Krugman worldview, there is just no reason to fear that the public choice scholars actually made a meaningful contribution to our understanding of political machinations, that we should look at politics “without romance” and consider the motivations of the powerful in government just as we do the powerful in business. Never mind the work of people like Butler Shaffer, who has shown that big business has long agitated for regulation as a way “to obtain benefits it has been unable to secure by its own efforts.” For a firm or any other market actor, lack of flexibility and responsiveness to changing conditions means entropy.

Ferguson: The Tactics of Occupation

As a participant in the Occupy movement, I was able to experience, up close and personal, the default positions of the American Police State: deference and zero-discretion. This is what Kevin Carson refers to as “the Prussianization of American Culture,”

One of the peculiarities of the increasingly militarized culture of Prussia/Germany under Bismarck’s reich was that civilians became second-class citizens. It was common practice for citizens to step off the sidewalk and into the gutter to make way for anyone in uniform. We’re seeing the same tendency in the United States, as the respective rights of officials and ordinary citizens becomes increasingly a matter of status or caste rather than universal law.

In Tulsa, OK, November 2, 2011, the Tulsa PD pepper-sprayed and arrested 10 Occupiers after 1. being made aware that this measured and strategic act of disobedience was civil, 2. making the Occupiers, attendant Media and on-lookers aware that the Officers had two options available to them: citation or arrest, and 3. deploying over 50 Officers to make it abundantly clear what the rules of the game were. Where did they get all of these Officers to accomplish such a task? The training academy. They looked upon that event as a training opportunity in how to deal with a disaffected population.

This was my experience, but it doesn’t even register when compared to Ferguson. Needless to say, we at C4SS have a lot to say on the situation specifically and in general:

Grant Mincy offer a good summation of the situation,

No more can we look to vertical power structures. We need a polycentric approach. How liberating it will be to embrace the idea that we can manage ourselves! Is this not the very essence of the “hands up, don’t shoot!” movement? Is it not the idea that social power is the answer to police violence, racism within the justice system and class warfare? I think it is, we are looking at systems of power, noting how they are all related and seeking our individual and collective liberation. As we walk into this period of revolution, once we really start talking to one another, we will scale these problems up to all institutions — damn right a change is going to come!

Left Wing Individualism

David D’Amato wrote a wonderful feature detailing the historical tradition he calls Left Wing Individualism and its importance to us now,

The individualist anarchists were sticklers about consistency; if labor was made to come under the law of competition, of supply and demand, then so too should capital. As Schuster points out, the “scientific anarchism” of people like Benjamin Tucker thus “did not appeal to the Capitalist because it demanded not ‘rugged individualism’ but universal individualism” (emphasis added). Because the individualists regarded them as the proximate results of coercive privilege, rent, interest, and profit — the “trinity of usury” — were treated as akin to taxes, allowing the owners of capital the stolen difference between prices under a regime of privilege and prices as they would be under true, open competition.

Agri-terrorism

Kevin Carson’s “Agri-Terrorists Accuse Seed Bank of Agri-Terrorism” has done very well at calling attention to yet another method of the state for the defense of privileged Big Agibusiness,

Since their beginnings, the USDA and state departments of agriculture have heavily subsidized, and acted as the enforcement arm of, the corporate agribusiness crime syndicate, terrorizing people who presume to feed themselves without paying tribute to their corporate crime lords. If, as the late Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler said, the US Marines were the overseas strongarm operation for the big US banks, then the USDA and Pennsylvania DA are strongarm operations for Monsanto, Cargill and ADM.

Carson followed up his op-ed with a feature, “Seed Libraries: Treat Law as Damage, Route Around It,” where he discusses what can be done to route around this damage now that it has been identified,

Lobbying against draconian copyright laws like the IP chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ACTA has done a lot of good, but encryption, proxies and improvements in file-sharing technology have done far more. Before ACTA had even come to a vote, several Firefox extensions became available that can simply bypass domain names seized by the federal government and go straight to their numeric IP address. That’s how people access Wikileaks’ various national sites and mirrors around the world.

In other words, to paraphrase a famous quote, treat the law as damage and route around it.

We Haven’t Forgotten

We still have our David Graeber Symposium on Debt: the first 5,000 years. There is only one article to be finished; it should be ready soon. Thank you for your patience.

Please Support Today!

All of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition of left libertarian market anarchist, freed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please donate $5, today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

flattr this!

Director’s Report

July has been a busy month for a lot of our writers: there was the World Cup coverage, AltExpo, Freedom Fest and the Students for Liberty Campus Coordinator’s Retreat all vying for their attention. Yet, even with all that, we were still able to publish twenty-four commentaries and ten original features.

C4SS pays the writers that work with us, we pay our interns and we pay our bloggers. From what I hear, around the blogoshpere, this is on the unique side. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our site, also, only features one relevant advertisement, Markets Not Capitalism, which supports the site and our message. In other words we are funded by supporters. Our supporters donate small amounts, the average being $5 to $10 a month, and this is perfect. C4SS wants small donations from lots of people; we want the swarm and all the information is contains. If C4SS, as an organization and an idea, is something you like having around or you would like to see it do more things (like funding more studies, publishing more books, helping with travel expenses for writers to speak at events, updating the youtube graphics, etc), then please donate $5 today.

What will $5 a month get you from C4SS? Well let’s see,

For the month of July, C4SS published:

24 Commentaries,
10 original Features,
Weekly Abolitionists,
Life, Love and Liberty,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
Missing Commas (2 more than June),
Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism,
1 original Review, and
12 C4SS Media uploads to the C4SS youtube channel.

Thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators, C4SS translated and published:

Italian translations,
2 Spanish translations,
11 Portuguese translations.

Tor Success

For over three years, C4SS has maintained a dedicated Tor relay node. This node operates 24 hours a day. This node is one of the ways that we contribute to the various technologies devoted to identifying the damage of state and routing around it. The state will never relent or be sated with anything less then total awareness for total control. Maintaining your own Tor node is encouraged, but for whatever reason this is not possible for you, you can help us maintain ours.

On that note, we are happy to declare another successful fundraiser for another four months of continuous operation. Thank you to everyone that donated through the site and bitcoin. We haven’t started next quarter’s fundraiser, but, if you would like to start early, feel free to donate today (just leave the note: For Tor), bitcoin is, as always, welcome too: 1N1pF6fLKAGg4nH7XuqYQbKYXNxCnHBWLB

 

c4ssbiggerTor

Entrepreneurial Anti-capitalism

Entrepreneurial Anti-capitalism has been a C4SS project since November 2013. Its primary goal, to seek out and support the those anarchist projects that desperately need or can make full immediate use of a $200 to $400 donation. One of these projects that we have recently donated to is the Anarchist Black Cross. The prison state and its prison economy are two interlocking threats that Nathan Goodman’s The Weekly Abolitionist is devoted to abolishingNathan Goodman summarizes the situation and our enemy,

Prisons are the antithesis of all we stand for as anarchists. While we seek a society built around peace and bodily autonomy, prisons are violent institutions that trap inmates at gunpoint and make them vulnerable to rape and murder. Where we seek justice through restitution, reconciliation, and self-defense, prisons are based on punitive vengeance. While we seek a society free from oppression based on race, gender, class, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, prisons systematically brutalize the most marginalized among us.

As anarchists, we admire those who resist oppression.

One of the crucial parts of a prison abolitionist strategy is supporting those that have been captured in its black iron jaws. The Anarchist Black Cross has been doing this for over a hundred years. We implore everyone to find (or start) a local chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross and help out however you can.

The New Leveller Volume 1, Issue 3 online now!

The New Leveller is the publishing side of the Students for a Stateless Society (S4SS). If you are a student and desire a stateless society, S4SS just might be a perfect fit for you.

newnewnewleveller
“Are you interested in individualist anarchism, or at least so frightened by it that you want to keep an eye on its progress? Are you frustrated by capitalism’s love for central planning and communism’s conservative view of human potential? Do you suspect that abolishing the institution responsible for war, police brutality, and mass incarceration might not be so dangerous after all?

Then The New Leveller is for you!”

The third issue of the Students for a Stateless Society‘s newsletter, The New Leveller is now online.

For a link to a PDF of the entire issue (recommended!), click here.
For links to an HTML version of each individual article, click here.

New Book(s)

C4SS’s first book, a collection of articles discussing the notion, possibility and necessity of common pool resources and “public” property spaces for a flourishing stateless society, The Anatomy of Escape: A Defense of the Commons, is near completion. We have finished the cover, beautifully designed by Benjamin Godwin, for both English and Portuguese. Work on the next book in our collection series, The Iron Fist: Capitalism, the Economy of the State, has already begun. We hope to complete three more books covering the topics: the psychopathology of hierarchy, ecology and environment, and strategy and tactics. After that we will begin the massive task of creating full author collections – Kevin Carson’s will, most likely, need multiple volumes.

New Book Review

Missing Comma‘s Juliana Perciavalle has agreed to review Matt Hern’s Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better for C4SS.

Karl Hess

Of all the individuals that have contributed to the development and presence of Left Libertarian thought, Karl Hess is easily one of the most important. All are essential, but Karl Hess set the temperament and tone – radical, active, experimental and kind. Hess gave us our conception of the left/right spectrum, helped solidify our appreciation for the weird, gave us an example of heartfelt patience for old friends (that will probably never get us), and reaffirmed our commitment that concentrated economic and cultural power is just as dangerous and worthy of open vigilant opposition as concentrated political power.

Kevin Carson currently holds our first academic position, The Karl Hess Scholar in Social Theory and Markets Not Capitalism is dedicated to the memory of Karl Hess. Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson wrote, in Markets Not Capitalism, about Karl Hess,

We’ve dedicated Markets Not Capitalism to Karl Hess – a gentle, insightful, graceful, articulate, and passionate believer in freedom, decentralization, and peaceful, voluntary cooperation. Karl bridged the gap between the Old Right and the New Left, powerfully indicted the political status quo, and provided a compelling and unsettling model of life outside the state’s clutches. Flawed like everyone else, he was nonetheless good and decent, embodying the commitment to human liberation we seek to foster with this book.

In March, 1969, Karl Hess had an article published with Playboy magazine; that article would be called The Death of Politics. Joel Schlosberg has published a wonderful and detailed review of Hess’ other appearance in Playboy an interview of his life and politics for C4SS. Schlosberg opens with,

At first glance, a no-holds-barred conversation with an anarchist might seem the most inappropriate centerpiece imaginable for a magazine issue marking the bicentennial of the United States of America. But then again, Karl Hess was no ordinary “anarchist.”

Hobby Lobby

The ability or power to opt-out is one of the Thoreauvian aspects crucial to any meaningful theory of liberty. And many commentators lauded just this spirit in the Hobby Lobby ruling. But this power to opt-out, we must never forget, has been granted to billionaires and corporations, it was never considered or expected to trickle down to us –  the individuals. They will not cite it or stand by it when you decide to opt-out. They will zealously stand against opting-out when it comes to the intellectual property provisions of the DMCA or the provisions against secondary solidarity strikes and boycotts in the Wagner Act. The primary interventions are kept firmly and lovingly in place while the rest of us fight each other for corporate and political scraps. As Brain Nicholson summarizes, “with thought, the ‘culture war’ reveals itself as a prison fight — forced by the guards.” And Kevin Carson concludes,

But we’re never going to get Hobby Lobby, and big corporations and wage employers in general, out of control of our lives by using the state as a weapon. They usually work together, and always will. Ultimately, the only way out is what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri call “exodus” — building our own horizontal institutions outside of both corporation and state, and abandoning the corporate-state nexus to rot.

C4SS has written a lot on this subject for July,

Eric Garner

For those of us that follow and worry about the growing militarization and militancy of the police in the Untied States and around the world, the tragic, needless and unwarranted murder of Eric Garner – live on camera – was not unexpected yet still shocking. There is something strange and terrifying, besides summary executions for loose cigarette entrepreneurship, about the default use of violent arrest when one could just as easily, and with discretion, issue a citation. The question to be asked, “Is this motivated by the desire to set an example for an occupied population or simple bloodlust?” I fear a case can be made for both. Ryan Calhoun‘s “Where’s Eric Garner’s Amargosa?” compares the popular reaction to Garner’s murder with the small Brazilian town of Amargosa,

His crime? Garner was a known holder of contraband, which you might know as loose cigarettes. Despite no evidence that he was selling or even had said contraband on his person, after a brief verbal quarrel between Garner and the police, he was put into a chokehold, held on the ground and pounced on by several more NYPD gang members. His last words, the words of an innocent family man to these “peace officers?” “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” …

In the city of Amargosa in Brazil, citizens took to the streets after a stray bullet fire by a local police officer struck and killed a one-year-old girl. But they didn’t stay in the streets. They quickly took the police station, freeing prisoners, jacking state-owned weaponry and burning the station and police vehicles to the ground.

Millennials

As twilight sets on the Boomers and GenXers begin to find themselves in positions of civic responsibility (whatever that means), all number-crunching and trend-analysis eyes have turned to the Millennials. What makes them tick? What do they want? What will they do to the status quo? Kevin Carson has penned two pieces on the Millennial question: one suggestive of reforms Millennials should be pushing for and a trend-analysis of the Millennial based upon the historical and cultural novelties that have converged during their development. Carson writes,

So based on all this, it stands to reason this generation would be heavily involved in building all the major components of the successor society that’s emerging from the decaying ruins of the corporate-state nexus. There are 20-somethings in the hackerspace, open hardware and micromanufacturing movements, in Permaculture and community gardens, organizing squats into coherent, cooperative communities, developing encrypted counter-currencies and mutual credit systems, creating scholarly communities around open courseware and academic journals liberated from behind paywalls, and developing open meshworks the state can’t shut down and anonymizing darknets the state can’t penetrate.

I have gathered together the all the articles published with C4SS discussing the Millennial question,

We Haven’t Forgotten

We still have our David Graeber Symposium on the horizon, along with our Carson-Ward-Bookchin edition of Kropotkin’s “Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow”.

Please Support Today!

Needless to say, all of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition of left libertarian market anarchist, freed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please donate $5, today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

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Director’s Report

June has been a great month for the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS). We were able to publish more commentaries in June than in the previous three months.

If you are a regular donor, then I would like to thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support. If you are interested in supporting our mission “to explain and defend the idea of vibrant social cooperation without aggression, oppression, or centralized authority” with a monthly $5 donation, then I would like to give you an idea of you can expect from C4SS.

For the month of June, C4SS published:

31 Commentaries (6 more than May),
15 original Features (1 more than May),
Weekly Abolitionists,
Life, Love and Liberty,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
Missing Commas,
Wars and Rumors of Wars,
Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism,
1 academic level study,
2 original Book Review and
12 C4SS Media uploads to the C4SS youtube channel.

Thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators, C4SS translated and published:

Italian translations,
22 Portuguese translations (1 more than May).

Our purchase in Brazil continues to grow. In only three months the Portuguese C4SS facebook “like” page has gone from zero to well over a thousand. To mark the occasion, one of our friends made us this:

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Missing Comma‘s Trevor Hultner has decided to take a month or two off, and, to your good fortune, Juliana Perciavalle has decided to join the C4SS team with a focus on maintaining the Missing Comma blog. Juliana and Trevor have also recorded C4SS’s Feed 44 media project’s first podcast interview, discussing Juliana’s first two Missing Comma posts. Currently the number of downloads that the C4SS podcast channels have counted stands a little over eighty five hundred. You can follow Feed 44 through one of these outlets:

And as always, Bitcoin tips welcome:

  • 1N1pF6fLKAGg4nH7XuqYQbKYXNxCnHBWLB

The C4SS Tor Node

C4SS maintains, now going on three full years, a Tor Relay Node. We have completed fundraisers to support this node in the past to great success; so successful was the last one that we haven’t needed another one in quite some time. We encourage everyone to consider operating a Tor relay node yourself. If this, for whatever reason, is not an option, you can still support the Tor project and online anonymity with a $5 donation to the C4SS Tor relay node.

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

The Point of Privilege Mutual Exchange

Mutual Exchange is the Center’s goal in two senses — we favor a society rooted in peaceful, voluntary cooperation, and we seek to foster understanding through ongoing dialogue. Mutual Exchange will provide opportunities for conversation about issues that matter to the Center’s audience.

The Point of Privilege Mutual Exchange generated eight responses from four contributors, with a possible ninth from Kevin Carson.

Carson’s Graeber Study (No. 17)

Since January 1st, 2009, C4SS has been able to publish nineteen academic level studies on issues important to a left market anarchist critique of the state and conceptions of a stateless society. Our studies, along with our press room with almost fifteen hundred documented C4SS republications around the world, distinguishes us from the humble anarchist blog. Part of your monthly $5 donation will go towards continuing this project.

David Graeber’s Anarchist Thought: A Survey

… Graeber, as we already saw to be the case with Elinor Ostrom, is characterized above all by a faith in human creativity and agency, and an unwillingness to let a priori theoretical formulations either preempt either his perceptions of the particularity and “is-ness” of history, or to interfere with the ability of ordinary, face-to-face groupings of people on the spot to develop workable arrangements—whatever they may be—among themselves. Graeber is one of those anarchist (or anarchist-ish) thinkers who, despite possibly identifying with a particular hyphenated variant of anarchism, have an affection for the variety and particularity of self-organized, human-scale institutions that goes beyond ideological label. These people, likewise, see the relationships between individual human beings in ways that can’t be reduced to simple abstractions like the cash nexus or doctrinaire socialism. …

Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism

In June, Net Neutrality, that “unstable equilibrium,” died. I am sure that many open internet advocacy groups will fight valiantly to restore it, or pieces of it, but this is a dead end. The ISPs and the Dingos in the FCC will continue to throw mountains of cash and influence at the internet, until they get – completely – what they want. Capitalism is damage, time to route around it. To this end, the fourth Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism project that C4SS has backed are radical mesh networks:

… We at the Center for a Stateless Society believe strongly in the potency and importance of persuasion in building a freed world, but we also know that world won’t be built without hands-on grappling, activist organizing and building commons. That’s why we started the Entrepreneurial Anti-capitalism project, to pay forward the good fortune we’ve received and provide a helping hand to those doing amazing, necessary, frequently thankless work with very little.

It is our hope that others will follow our lead in donating to these great projects. Each one accepts bitcoin at the following addresses:

    • People’s Open Network: 12RxU4DpLpdWcmEBn7Tj325CCXBwt5i9Hc
    • AlterMundi: 12mVSq3NBKTs3tCpWXyJqwdHq8p92ka6fq
    • KC Freedom: 1Jmjmf2hDWsrSfnxiM27GZtNWmWGbPNEQM

Look forward, in July, for our write up on the fifth Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism project, and how you can also support, the Anarchist Black Cross in Mexico City and Denver.

What is Left-Libertarianism?

Friedrich Nietzsche councils us, in his The Genealogy of Morals, that “…all ideas, in which a whole process is promiscuously comprehended, elude definition; it is only that which has no history, which can be defined.” This is not to say that these ideas cannot be approached, utilized, valued, defended or understood, only that their status as solid or definitive is, forever, in dispute. They must be approached genealogically, contextually or con-textually, instead of derivatively or positively. Quentin Skinner explains, “the history of thought should be viewed not as a series of attempts to answer a canonical set of questions, but as a sequence of episodes in which the questions as well as the answers have frequently changed.” Or, as Skinner concludes his introduction to his Visions of Politics: Regarding Method,

What the historical record strongly suggests is that no one is above the battle, because the battle is all there is.

If this is true for such all purpose and all powerful words like “liberty,” “consent,” “property,” and “state,” then it is doubly true for the word “libertarian” – triple for “left libertarian.” We have occasionally published, re-published or collected summaries and introductions answering this episode’s question “What is Left-Libertarianism?” as we understand and defend it. But, since, we will never be “above the battle,” Kevin Carson has thrown down a refreshed and (near) three thousand word gauntlet:

We of the Libertarian Left, as we understand it at C4SS, want to take back free market principles from the hirelings of big business and the plutocracy, and put them back to their original use: an all-out assault on the entrenched economic interests and privileged classes of our day. If the classical liberalism of Smith and Ricardo was an attack on the power of the Whig landed oligarchs and the moneyed interests, our left-libertarianism is an attack on the closest thing in our own time: global finance capital and the transnational corporations. We repudiate mainstream libertarianism’s role in defense of corporate capitalism in the 20th century, and its alliance with conservatism.

We of the Libertarian Left also want to demonstrate the relevance of free market principles, free association and voluntary cooperation in addressing the concerns of today’s Left: Economic injustice, the concentration and polarization of wealth, the exploitation of labor, pollution and waste, corporate power, and structural forms of oppression like racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. …

New Book Reviews

We have added to our list of book reviews to expect:

Zines!

C4SS has been a long time partner with Charles Johnson‘s Alliance of the Libertarian Left DistroThis partnership brings with it a little “help the Center” finder’s fee. Just another way you can help support C4SS. The following zine list, highlighted below, has been selected to further showcase the topics discussed in June’s Mutual Exchange and Kevin Carson’s gauntlet.

newmutualism knowprob
DofLL ironfist

We Haven’t Forgotten

We still have our David Graeber Symposium on the horizon, along with our Carson-Ward-Bookchin edition of Kropotkin’s “Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow”.

Please Support Today!

Needless to say, all of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition ofleft libertarian market anarchistfreed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please donate $5, today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

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.

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