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“.

kevin-carson-desktop-regulatory-state

$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).

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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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.

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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

Support C4SS With Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?”

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 Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?

authority

$1.00 for the first copy. $0.75 for every additional copy.

The short fragment reprinted in this booklet, one of the most famous passages from Bakunin’s pen, is a widely quoted excerpt from his best-known essay, God and the State, which was itself an excerpt, written as Part II of a much longer planned book, to be entitled The Knouto-Germanic Empire. The incomplete manuscript was dis­covered in Bakun­in’s papers after his death, by his close friends and fellow anarchists Carlo Cafiero and Élisée Reclus, who translated the text into French and published what they could in 1882. English translations were later circulated by Anarchist publishers in the U.S. and England, including Benjamin Tucker, Henry Seymour and Emma Goldman.

“It is the characteristic of privilege and of every privi­leg­ed position to kill the mind and heart of men. The privi­leg­ed man, whether practically or economically, is a man de­prav­ed in mind and heart. That is a social law which admits of no exception, and is as applicable to entire nations as to clas­s­es, corporations and individuals. It is the law of equality, the supreme condition of liberty and humanity. . . . Con­sequ­ent­ly, no external legislation and no author­ity — one, for that matter, being inseparable from the other, and both tending to the servitude of society and the de­grad­at­ion of the legislators themselves. . . .”

“Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the author­ity of the bootmakers; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their know­ledge, re­ser­v­ing always my in­con­test­able right of criticism and censure. But I recognise no infall­ible authority; I have no absolute faith in any per­son. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my under­takings; it would im­med­iately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others. . . .”

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (1814–1876) was a Russian-born anarchist revolutionary, speaker, traveler and phi­l­o­sopher. Born into a noble family in Prya­mukh­ino, he was later stripped of his titles, imprisoned, condemned at differ­ent times to death, to life imprisonment, to hard labor, and exiled from France, Prussia, Saxony, Austria, Russia, and the First International for his radical speeches and rev­ol­ut­ion­ary activities. One of the founders of collect­iv­ist anarchism, a leading theorist of liber­tarian social­ism, a friend and student of Proudhon, an enemy of Marx and a fierce critic of auth­or­i­tar­ian social­ism, Bakunin was in­volved in revolution­ary up­ris­ings in Paris, Prague, Leipzig, Dresden, and Lyon. An enor­m­ous influence on radicals throughout Russia, Eur­ope, and the Americas, he and his comrades in the anarchist faction of the Inter­nat­ion­al Working Men’s Association (1868–1872) are often credited as the principle founders of the social anarchist move­ment. Although constantly writing fiery pam­ph­lets, letters, short works and radical jour­nals, Bakunin never completed his ambitious plans for longer works on Anarchist philosophy, often re­mark­ing to his friends, “My life is but a fragment.”

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Support C4SS With Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?”

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 Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?” that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Mikhail Bakunin’s “What is Authority?

authority

$1.00 for the first copy. $0.75 for every additional copy.

The short fragment reprinted in this booklet, one of the most famous passages from Bakunin’s pen, is a widely quoted excerpt from his best-known essay, God and the State, which was itself an excerpt, written as Part II of a much longer planned book, to be entitled The Knouto-Germanic Empire. The incomplete manuscript was dis­covered in Bakun­in’s papers after his death, by his close friends and fellow anarchists Carlo Cafiero and Élisée Reclus, who translated the text into French and published what they could in 1882. English translations were later circulated by Anarchist publishers in the U.S. and England, including Benjamin Tucker, Henry Seymour and Emma Goldman.

“It is the characteristic of privilege and of every privi­leg­ed position to kill the mind and heart of men. The privi­leg­ed man, whether practically or economically, is a man de­prav­ed in mind and heart. That is a social law which admits of no exception, and is as applicable to entire nations as to clas­s­es, corporations and individuals. It is the law of equality, the supreme condition of liberty and humanity. . . . Con­sequ­ent­ly, no external legislation and no author­ity — one, for that matter, being inseparable from the other, and both tending to the servitude of society and the de­grad­at­ion of the legislators themselves. . . .”

“Does it follow that I reject all authority? Far from me such a thought. In the matter of boots, I refer to the author­ity of the bootmakers; concerning houses, canals, or railroads, I consult that of the architect or the engineer. For such or such special knowledge I apply to such or such a savant. I listen to them freely and with all the respect merited by their intelligence, their character, their know­ledge, re­ser­v­ing always my in­con­test­able right of criticism and censure. But I recognise no infall­ible authority; I have no absolute faith in any per­son. Such a faith would be fatal to my reason, to my liberty, and even to the success of my under­takings; it would im­med­iately transform me into a stupid slave, an instrument of the will and interests of others. . . .”

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (1814–1876) was a Russian-born anarchist revolutionary, speaker, traveler and phi­l­o­sopher. Born into a noble family in Prya­mukh­ino, he was later stripped of his titles, imprisoned, condemned at differ­ent times to death, to life imprisonment, to hard labor, and exiled from France, Prussia, Saxony, Austria, Russia, and the First International for his radical speeches and rev­ol­ut­ion­ary activities. One of the founders of collect­iv­ist anarchism, a leading theorist of liber­tarian social­ism, a friend and student of Proudhon, an enemy of Marx and a fierce critic of auth­or­i­tar­ian social­ism, Bakunin was in­volved in revolution­ary up­ris­ings in Paris, Prague, Leipzig, Dresden, and Lyon. An enor­m­ous influence on radicals throughout Russia, Eur­ope, and the Americas, he and his comrades in the anarchist faction of the Inter­nat­ion­al Working Men’s Association (1868–1872) are often credited as the principle founders of the social anarchist move­ment. Although constantly writing fiery pam­ph­lets, letters, short works and radical jour­nals, Bakunin never completed his ambitious plans for longer works on Anarchist philosophy, often re­mark­ing to his friends, “My life is but a fragment.”

Support C4SS with ALL Distro’s Bookshelf of the Libertarian Left

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

$92.00 for the first copy. $72.00 for every additional copy.

We offer trade-paperback editions of left-libertarian books including works by Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, and Charles Johnson. You can:

  • Purchase copies of individual titles with the listings below; or
  • Pick up a whole little left-libertarian library: 5 books for $92.00

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Support C4SS with Jeremy Weiland’s “Let the Free Market Eat the Rich”

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 Jeremy Weiland‘s “Let the Free Market Eat the Rich“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Jeremy Weiland‘s “Let the Free Market Eat the Rich“.

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

“Along running debate among anarchists, especially between the individualist and collectivist schools, centers around the justice of wealth disparities. Certainly the existence of the State serves to enrich particular interests at the expense of others, but in anarchy would the rich dominate society–just as they do with the State? Even if we could immediately switch off the institutions that forcibly manipulate society, there is danger that the legacy of privilege and accumulated wealth could persist for some time, distorting markets and continuing to frustrate the balance of power between individuals . . . .

“The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate how large scale aggregations of wealth require an outside stabilizing force and defensive agency to maintain, and how in a free, dynamic market there are entropies that move imbalances back to equilibrium. . . .”

“Let the Free Market Eat the Rich!” was written in May 2007 at the 6th Density blog. This revised version (2011) appeared as # 33 in Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier’s Markets Not Capitalism: individualist anarchism against bosses, inequality, corporate power and structural poverty (pp. 301–308), and online at socialmemorycomplex.net

Jeremy Weiland is a software developer, writer and left-libertarian activist. He maintains the website Social Mem­ory Complex: a political economy of the soul, and lives with his wife in Richmond, Virginia.

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Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “The Homebrew Industrial Revolution”

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 Homebrew Industrial Revolution“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Kevin Carson‘s “The Homebrew Industrial Revolution“.

$20.00 for the first copy. $15.00 for every additional copy.

This book explores the impact of dramatic technological and social changes on work and manufacturing. Kevin Carson uses real-world examples and theoretical insights to illuminate the conflict between two economies: one a highly-capitalized, high-overhead, and bureaucratically ossified conventional economy, the subsidized and protected product of sustained collusion between big government and big business; the other a low capital, low-overhead, agile and resilient alternative economy, outperforming the state capitalist economy despite being hobbled and driven underground. The Homebrew Industrial Revolution explains clearly and powerfully why the alternative economy is winning–and why we should welcome its victory.

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 EconomyOrganization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution. 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).

CONTENTS

  • Preface
  • 1. A Wrong Turn
  • 2. Moloch: The Sloanist Mass Production Model
  • 3. Babylon is Fallen
  • 4. Back to the Future
  • 5. The Small Workshop, Desktop Manufacturing, and Household Production
  • 6. Resilient Communities and Local Economies
  • 7. The Alternative Economy as a Singularity

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Support C4SS with Clarence Lee Swartz’s “The Practicability of Mutualism”

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 Clarence Lee Swartz‘s “The Practicability of Mutualism“ that you purchase through the Distro, C4SS will receive a percentage. Support C4SS with Clarence Lee Swartz‘s “The Practicability of Mutualism“.

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

“The Practicability of Mutualism,” a classic statement of Mutualist theory and practice by Clarence Lee Swartz, first appeared as a two-part serialized essay in one of Edward H. Fulton’s many anarchist newspapers, The Mutualist, published from Clinton, Iowa, in December 1926 and January 1927. This is, to our best knowledge, the first time that the entire essay has ever appeared in print since its original publication.

“MUTUALISM IS A SOCIAL SYSTEM BASED ON RECIPROCAL and non-invasive relations among free individuals. The Mutualist standards are:

  • INDIVIDUAL: Equal freedom for each — without invasion of others.
  • ECONOMIC: Untrammeled reciprocity, implying freedom of exchange and contract — without monopoly or privilege.
  • SOCIAL: Complete freedom of voluntary association — without coercive organization. . . .

“THE LIBERTARIAN IDEAL IS THE ONLY CONCEPT THAT PAVES the way for the operation of Mutualism. Perfect Mutualism could not exist under any form of authority. It would be thwarted and emasculated at every turn. Just as today every social and economic evil that serves to enslave humanity is the result of some form of governmental interference with freedom and with natural processes, so would the same or similar forces tend to nullify and counteract, to all extent, the advantages to be derived from the application of the principles of Mutualism. It is a plant that requires the fertile soil of liberty in which to make its unimpeded growth. . . .”

Clarence L. Swartz (1868–1936) was a California mutualist activist, writer and publisher. He was a close friend of the individualist Benjamin Tucker, and contributed frequently Tucker’s paper Liberty, as well as publishing his own anarchist journal, I (1899–1900). After Tucker was forced to retire from publishing by a disastrous fire in his New York book shop, Swartz became a leading figure in preserving, reviving, and carrying forward the tradition of individualist Anarchism and mutualism in America. During the 1920s, he edited an anti-prohibition magazine, The Libertarian, contributed frequently to Edward H. Fulton’s The Mutualist, prepared and published a collection of Tucker’s short articles, entitled Individual Liberty, and published his best-known work, What Is Mutualism? (1927), a new synthesis of individualist and mutualist thought on anarchist economics and strategy.

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