Posts from August 2013

Shameless Self-promotion Sunday

It’s Sunday. Everybody get Shameless.

Lay it on me: What have you been up to lately? Got anything big coming up? Anything you’ve been working on? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about

Help us ALL get to Libertopia!

This upcoming Fall is going to be an exciting season for the ALL Distro. It begins next in San Diego: I’m going to be putting on a workshop at the Libertopia 2013 Festival (August 30 – September 2), on Black-and-Red Markets – How to Build a Gift Agora, or: Left-Libertarian Counter-Economics, Grassroots Mutual Aid and Radical Left Counter-Institutions, which intended as a sort of introduction, for people interested in agorist counter-economics, to some points of productive contact with the grassroots forms of mutual aid, solidarity, and bottom-up counter-institutions emerging from the Anarchist and anti-authoritarian Left, and some expansion and workshopping of some of the ideas suggested in the comments on Black-and-Red Markets here. In addition to my talk, I’m also going to be bringing a trunk full of anarchist and left-libertarian literature with me — chapbooks from the Distro, Markets Not Capitalism, books by Gary Chartier and Kevin Carson, and flyers, buttons and magazines on left-libertarianism and counter-economics. I’ll be working with compas from C4SS to set up a table in the Festival’s exhibition space. We’ll be bringing a strong free-market anti-capitalist presence to Libertopia, passing out literature, selling books, spreading ideas, answering some questions and starting some conversations about left-wing market anarchist ideas.

This is just the kick-off for a season of travelling, talking, and spread the word: the Distro will be be distributing our literature and talking about individualist anarchism at the New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair and SFL Regional Conferences in October; I’ll be travelling to give a talk on Anarchism at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK this November; I’ll be making a research and literature-gathering journey to the Labadie Collection in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and there may be more to announce soon. More on all of that soon. But for now, we’re trying to cover the costs for Libertopia, and to replenish our travel budget, so that we can keep up with scholarship, speaking and traveling for a busy Fall season. Here are the costs we’re trying to cover:

  • To pay transportation and lodging costs to get the Charles Johnson and the ALL Distro from Auburn, Alabama to the festival in San Diego, California (approx. costs $800)
  • To rent an exhibition booth at the conference for our literature and for person-to-person outreach (cost: $400).
  • To cover out-of-pocket transportation & lodging expenses for other Molinari Institute speakers who will be presenting workshops or panels at Libertopia (approx. costs $1,000).[1]
  • To replenish the Institute’s travel budget and provide seed money for our upcoming travel to bookfairs, speaking appearances, research, etc. (approx costs $600).

You can help out here, or by using the widget over on the right. Help us ALL get to Libertopia!

Thanks! And tell your friends. Anything you can chip in will help us a lot during the upcoming season. Hope to see y’ALL there!

Also.

  1. [1]If we don’t make our fundraising goal, we’ll do equally-divided partial reimbursements to the extent possible.

We know other marketplaces.

If you enjoyed Pigs as a Paradigm, here is some more from the same place, which may be something by way of a moral. This is in Aristide’s article Globalization: A View from Below, which is a frustrating mix of sharp and important insights and politically-blinkered non sequiturs. The article includes the story about the international-aid driven massacre of Haitian creole pigs, and also includes this, which I think is another of its best passages.

In today’s global marketplace trillions of dollars are traded each day via a vast network of computers. In this market no one talks, no one touches. Only numbers count. . . .

We know other marketplaces. On a plain high in the mountains of Haiti, one day a week thousands of people still gather. This is the marketplace of my childhood in the mountains above Port Salut. The sights and the smells and the noise and the color overwhelm you. Everyone comes. If you don’t come you will miss everything. The donkeys tied and waiting in the woods number in the thousands. Goods are displayed in every direction: onions, leeks, corn, beans, yams, cabbage, cassava, and avocados, mangoes and every tropical fruit, chickens, pigs, goats, and batteries and tennis shoes, too. People trade goods and news. This is the center; social, political, and economic life roll together. A woman teases and coaxes her client: Cherie, the onions are sweet and waiting just for you. The client laughs and teases back until they make a deal. They share trade, and laughter, gossip, politics, and medical and child-rearing tips. A market exchange, and a human exchange.

We are not against trade, we are not against free trade, but our fear is that the global market[1] intends to annihilate our markets. We will be pushed to the cities, to eat food grown on factory farms in distant countries, food whose price depends on the daily numbers game of the first market. This is more efficient, the economists say. Your market, your way of life, is not efficient, they say. But we ask, What is left when you reduce trade to numbers, when you erase all that is human?

–Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Globalization: A View from Below
In Bigelow and Peterson (eds.), Rethinking Globalization: Teaching Justice in an Unjust World (Rethinking Schools, Ltd.: 2002). 10.

Now I’d actually want to say a word or three in favor of mind-boggling scale, computer networks, and global markets. But I think what is most valuable in them — when they are valuable — is precisely their ability to interconnect and network bottom-up confederations of a lot of local, people-centered marketplaces, and to facilitate and loop in the kind of messy, informal, individually-driven, un-professional trade that Aristide celebrates. The highly centralizing, politically captured global market that aims to annihilate this, aims to annihilate it because it is a corporate-owned market herded, and driven by, some very powerful interests exercising tremendous amounts of interventionist political force in order to reshape their environments, to dominate their markets, and to protect their corporate empires, their preferred business models, and their commerce without a human face. Self-organizing markets are at their best when they are the Other Marketplaces. And a radical defense of trade and private property is essential precisely because it is only by sticking to our guns, and defending market forms down to the bottom, and especially in the hands of and for the use of the poorest and most marginalized, that we can move beyond half-measures, business balance sheets and number-crunching neoliberal economic reform; get out of the strip mall and into the bazaar; and get down into the people-powered Other Marketplaces that bring together the best of human sociality and mutual exchange.

Also.

  1. [1][Sic.]

Wartime Logic

Suppose that you have — somehow or another — conclusively proven that there is just no way to have a modern war without bombing cities and massacreing innocent people.[1] That leaves you with a hard incompatibility claim between moralism and militarism — so if you go around morally condemning military tactics (like the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, say, or the firebombing of Tokyo) because they killed innocent people, then you’d end up having to condemn any modern war at all as immoral, no matter who fought it or how it was fought.

Many people, when they reach this point in the argument, want to shove it at you as if the incompatibility made for an obvious reductio ad absurdum of any kind of moralism about military tactics — Oh, well, if it’s always immoral to bomb cities then you couldn’t have any wars. That’s why it must not always be immoral to bomb cities. I honestly don’t know why so few of the people who give this argument ever even seem to have imagined that their conversation partner might take the incompatibility as an obvious reductio ad absurdum of any kind of militarismOh, well, if it’s always immoral to kill innocent people, you can’t bomb cities, and if you can’t bomb cities, you can’t have any wars. And that’s precisely why you shouldn’t have any wars.

Also.

  1. [1]Actually, I think this has been more or less conclusively proven. And that’s precisely why you shouldn’t have any wars.