Bits & Pieces on Free Market Anti-Capitalism: With apologies to Shulamith Firestone

Fellow Workers:

In my allotted time, I hope to drill down a bit, and to say something about the structural features, and some of the mechanisms of what we might call state capitalism — of how, in this actually existing economy, the political structure of capitalism2 (to use Gary Chartier’s threefold distinction) tend to produce and sustain the material conditions of capitalism3 — how state corporatism promotes the bosses’ economy. Most of my remarks will be broadly historical and economic in character — although necessarily of a sketchy or programmatic sort, given the constraints of time and format. So consider this an outline of directions for inquiry and discussion; an attempt to show you briefly where key landmarks of the free market anti-capitalist analysis are at, rather than an attempt at a full guided tour. I think it important to at least sketch out the map because the chief obstacle that free market anti-capitalists confront in explaining our position is not so much a matter of correcting particular mistakes in political principles, or economic analysis (although there are particular mistakes we hope to address and correct). It is more a matter of convincing our conversation partners to make a sort of aspect-shift, to adopt a new point of view from which to see the political-economic gestalt.

The need for this shift is pressing because (with apologies to the feminist theorist Shulamith Firestone)[1] the political economy of state capitalism is so deep as to be invisible. Or it may appear to be a superficial set of interventions, a problem that can be solved by a few legal reforms, or perhaps the elimination of bail-outs and the occasional export subsidy, while preserving more or less intact the basic recognizable patterns of capitalistic business as usual. The free market anti-capitalist holds there is something deeper, and more pervasive, at stake than the sort of surface level policy debates to which pro-capitalist libertarians too often limit their discussions. A fully freed market means the liberation of vital command posts in the economy, reclaiming them from points of state control to nexuses of market and social entrepreneurship — transformations from which a market would emerge that would look profoundly different from anything we have now. That so profound a change cannot easily fit into traditional categories of thought, e.g. libertarian or left-wing, laissez-faire or socialist, entrepreneurial or anti-capitalist, is not because these categories do not apply but because they are not big enough: radically free markets burst through them. If there were another word more all-embracing than revolutionary, we would use it.

  1. [1] See the opening paragraph of Chapter 1 of Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex.

11 replies to Bits & Pieces on Free Market Anti-Capitalism: With apologies to Shulamith Firestone Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Discussed at www.nostate.com

    Free Market Anti-Capitalism?:

    […] With apologies to Shulamith Firestone […]

  2. Discussed at aaeblog.com

    Fall Right, Swing Left | Austro-Athenian Empire:

    […] less a matter of getting them to assent to some specific list of propositions and more a matter of getting them to look at the world through the lens of those propositions. (One reason I find this explanation plausible is that I used to be more of a right-libertarian […]

  3. Discussed at aaeblog.com

    Smashing Capitalism in Caesar’s Palace | Austro-Athenian Empire:

    […] Charles Johnson’s comments, parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and […]

  4. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-05-23 – Shameless Self-promotion Sunday:

    […] cannot easily fit into traditional categories of thought, e.g. market or political, it is not because these categories do not apply but because they are not big enough: the Freedom Movement bursts through […]

· November 2010 ·

— 2013 —

  1. Discussed at libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

    Fall Right, Swing Left | The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG:

    […] less a matter of getting them to assent to some specific list of propositions and more a matter of getting them to look at the world through the lens of those propositions. (One reason I find this explanation plausible is that I used to be more of a right-libertarian […]

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