So, going through the final rounds of work on Markets Not Capitalism with Gary and the rest of the Collective has really been reminding me that I’ve accumulated a lot of occasional and fragmentary writing — papers, paragraphs, notes, etc. — that I really ought to have been collecting for this blog and sharing more widely. I be trying to work on getting some of that material up over the next several days. For now, here’s a note I was recently reminded of at /r/Anarchism, for the sake of general reference.
Hardest thing I have explaining to people. Markets =! capitalism. I’m an anarcho-syndicalist/mutualist. I see markets as useful, but private property as a government enforced means of keeping the rich in power.
Care to give someone who has mutualism on a reading list a tl;dr? I don’t really understand how markets don’t end up being the same thing. This is due to my lack of reading…
Markets are a decentralized means of transferring ownership (individual ownership and quid-pro-quo exchanges of goods and services). Capitalism is a particular pattern of ownership (a class monopoly — where capital and land are concentrated in the hands of employers, landlords and financiers). Some people think that market forms of exchange (individual ownership, contracts, etc.) will naturally lead to capitalist patterns of ownership. Mutualists dissent.
Mutualists think that the concentrations of ownership that exist right now are not the natural tendency of the market form, but the result of government privileges and prohibitions that deform existing markets — including privileges to capitalists (think bail-outs, corporate welfare and government-granted monopolies), and suppression of more grassroots or horizontal forms of economic organization (think of governments mandating people to buy in to the corporate insurance market, shutting down free clinics and mutual aid societies, busting unions through Taft-Hartley and “Right-to-Work,” etc. etc.). So they think that the best way to get rid of capitalist economic privilege is to get rid of the plutocratic political privileges that prop it up, and let it collapse under its own weight. Any social or economic problems that remain would be addressed through social activism and bottom-up, community-based forms of free association — mutual aid societies, neighborhood asembleas, co-ops, unions, etc. Freed markets would be co-ops, worker-owned shops and individuals trying out new experiments and trading with each other for the things they need or want, rather than staging grounds for highly-leveraged corporate capitalist mega-fuckery.
Does that help?
- About which, more soon…↩