Posts tagged Alliance of the Libertarian Left

Rad Geek Speaks: interview on Scratching By, Urban Homesteading, and Black-and-Red Markets, with John Bush of Rise Up Radio

Here’s a belated note from Libertopia 2013: while I was working the ALL table, John Bush of Rise Up Radio dropped by to talk, and very generously invited me to an interview about some of the themes in my article Scratching By, and my talk at Libertopia, touching on structural poverty, political monopoly, the libertarian left, and grassroots mutual aid. Here’s the interview.[1]

And by libertarian, we mean Anarchist… .

  1. [1] I haven’t got a transcript yet; soon, I hope.

First annual New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair, October 19-20, 2013

Poster by Jolly Armada and Erin Wilson.

I was happy to see this in my mailbox this morning. From the New Orleans bookfair collective (emphasis added):

Comrades,

We are writing to let you know that the First Annual New Orleans Anarchist Book Fair will take place on October 19-20, 2013. We are now accepting vendor applications for tabling. Please visit our website for more information on the book fair in general and registration in particular.

We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

Solidarity,

The New Orleans Anarchist Book Fair Organizing Committee

N.O.A.B.
1631 Elysian Fields #282
New Orleans, LA 70117
http://www.nolaanarchistbookfair.org/

From the website:

We’d like to invite you to an exciting experiment in books, tables and Gulf Coast Anarchism, The First Annual New Orleans Anarchist Book Fair! Our collective has been hard at work securing a wonderful list of tablers and events for our book-based autonomist free-for-all on October 19th and 2013, 2013. The Book Fair will take place at the cavernous Zeitgeist Multi-disciplenary Arts Center and include events, shows and readings all around the city. For more information feel free to browse around the site or contact us directly. We are also helping to coordinate rideshares and housing for those coming into the city from out of town.

— About New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair

Their Facebook page is at facebook.com/NewOrleansAnarchistBookfair. Their website is at nolaanarchistbookfair.org. Mark your calendars! A.L.L. Distro just sent in an application for a table; more on this, hopefully, soon.

Who’s up for ALLiance in Indianapolis, Indiana?

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee

ALLies,

Are you yourself, or do you know anybody who is, an individualist anarchist, agorist, mutualist, market anarchist, or otherwise on the libertarian left, who happens to live in or nearby the Indianapolis, Indiana metropolitan area?

Are you yourself, or is the ALLy that you know, interested in meeting like-minded people and getting (more) involved in local activism and organizing? If so, please drop me a line with your or their contact information. I have some requests — from three local ALLies — who are looking for other libertarian-left folks to discuss, meet up with, and possibly start organizing a local group of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I would love to be able to put interested ALLies in contact with each other.

What puts the “Left” in “Libertarian Left”?

One of the quickest and simplest ways to gloss what Left-Libertarian, or the Libertarian Left part of ALL, means, is just to say that we are for left-wing social ends through libertarian means. This inevitably involves a certain amount of oversimplification — does through libertarian means just mean by getting rid of government controls and letting social outcomes emerge spontaneously, or does it mean something more like engaging in conscious activism and social organizing to encourage particular outcomes within the context of freed market and civil society? When we say left-wing social ends, is that supposed to mean that the libertarian means are valued only as far as they seem likely get the left-wing goods, or are the non-invasive, anti-authoritarian means supposed to be side-constraints on ends that might possibly count as worthwhile, or do the libertarian means really enter directly into the conception of left-wing social ends that we’re supposed to be for? Do we ultimately have exactly the same sort of social ends that progressives or Marxists or other state-leftists do? I’m a philosopher by training, and I’ve hardly ever met a conceptual distinction or analytical complication of a question that I didn’t like, so of course I think these are all good questions, and important ones to wrestle with.[1] But at the end of the day, I think there are some pretty clear pre-analytical ideas about what left might mean, and what libertarian might mean, that make the formula a useful guide. If you’re wondering what puts the Left in Libertarian Left, when we’re not for an activist state and when we oppose the effectiveness or the worth of any governmental responses to social or economic inequality, the answer is not just going to be some opportunistic redefinition of Left to meet our pre-existing political commitments or some obsolete French seating-chart. The answer is just going to be to point to some fairly straightforward understandings of what it is to value social justice, or what it is to be a Leftist — like this really admirable summary from Cornel West:[2]

. . . Being a leftist is a calling, not a career; it’s a vocation not a profession. It means you are concerned about structural violence, you are concerned about exploitation at the work place, you are concerned about institutionalized contempt against gay brothers and lesbian sisters, hatred against peoples of color, and the subordination of women. It means that you are willing to fight against, and to try to understand the sources of social misery at the structural and institutional levels, as well as at the existential and personal levels. That’s what it means to be a leftist; that’s why we choose to be certain kinds of human beings. . . .

— Cornell West (February 2011),
A Message from Cornel West, for left forum

Again, there’s a certain amount here that’s oversimplified and a certain amount that’s left out.[3] But it seems to me a good start. And an obvious point of contact and call to action for the Libertarian Left — for radical libertarians and radical leftists to take up, think through, express, and act on our concern about developing anti-authoritarian, counter-political, grassroots, consensual, activist alternatives against structural violence — against exploitation in the workplace — against multiple, interlocking and intersecting systems of interpersonal domination and social inequality — and to try understand the sources of social misery on multiple levels, and the intimate interplay between structural and institutional factors, diffuse cultural development, and interpersonal dynamics and existential experience. The Left is in Libertarian Left because when we work for liberation we Fight the Power. The Libertarian is in Libertarian Left because we know that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

See also.

  1. [1] In case you’re curious, my answers are: it means both of them, and the latter is quite as important as the former; it’s supposed to mean that they are both side-constraints on worthwhile ends and also — because social anti-authoritarianism is itself a left-wing commitment — itself one of the ends to be achieved; and no, at the end of the day we have a broad overlap on some goals and some distinct difference on others, but the differences that we have, we have because libertarian leftists are the more consistent and radical leftists, who don’t just drop our anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment analysis when it comes to professedly Progressive or Popular or Revolutionary authorities, establishments, parties, politicians, elites, or other monopolizations of social capital.
  2. [2] Repeated here thanks to Marja Erwin, and repeated here because its status as a commonplace usage is I think vouched for by the approximately 5,271,902 times the quotation was re-posted across Tumblr.
  3. [3] In context, West was trying to give an inspiring riff on some key themes, not to make a comprehensive statement of the definition of Leftist. (Actually, in context, he was trying to raise money and attendance for the 2011 Left Forum. But the thematic riff was, if a means to that end, not a means only…)

M@ Mailed Monthly: Organized Anarchy and Free Markets Against Privateering

tl;dr. Two beautiful new booklets are available for ordering to-day from the ALL Distro — this month’s Market Anarchy, with an article by Sheldon Richman on free-market anticapitalist approaches to privatization, and this month’s Anarchist Classic, an 1899 pamphlet by Fred Schulder on anarchy, evolution, and free social organization. You can get one free sample copy of either series (or both) to check out, if you’re considering a monthly subscription for individual copies or monthly packs to distribute in the radical space of your choice. Sound good? You can contact me for details, or you can order directly from the Market Anarchy Zine Series and Anarchist Classics Series homepages.

Scatter tracts, like raindrops, over the land….

— William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, March 1831.

So it’s been a long time since I last posted an update about the ALL Distro’s monthly series to this website — since I got the new Distro website up and running, I’ve mostly kept up with the updates over there and haven’t been posting notes over here as new issues come out. Sometime soon I hope to put up a catch-up post just to give you an idea of what’s come out through the Distro over the past several months. But in the meantime: To-day, I am happy to announce this past month’s two additions to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Distro. Let us welcome No. 22 of the monthly Anarchist Classics Series, Fred Schulder’s 1899 lecture / pamphlet on The Relation of Anarchism to Organization. And No. 35 of the monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series, Sheldon Richman’s recent essay on radical, homesteading-based alternatives to neoliberal privateering, From State to Society: How and How Not to Privatize.

Market Anarchy #35 (Nov’12). From State to Society.

How & How Not To Privatize

Sheldon Richman (2012)

This article by Sheldon Richman explores a radical libertarian, free market anti-capitalist approach to privatization — decentralized, homesteading-based alternatives to neoliberal models of corporate privatization, and a libertarian attack on capitalist privateering and government outsourcing masquerading as free-market reforms.

“It’s not privatization per se, but free competition through voluntary exchange, that is desirable. It matters little whether the government calls people who perform its functions public employees or private contractors. When a company becomes a monopoly government con­tractor, to that extent it is an arm of the state rather than a private firm. For that reason such ersatz ‘privatization᾿ devic­es as contracting out the operation of prisons and charter schools merely blur the line between ‘private’ and ‘public’ sector – in the nature of corporatism – and undermine the case for the genuine divestiture of state­held assets… .

“Since government possession of state assets originated in one form of usurpation or another, the requirement that they be bought back is unjust. It may be argued that the revenue could be used to benefit the general public … but political incentives tend to work in the other direction. Politicians will see the new revenue as an oppor­tunity to launch new programs that offer benefits to well­-organized interest groups…

“Better, then, that state assets be seen as existing in a state of non­ownership … and opened to homesteading … . Government elementary and secondary schools could be turned over to the people who work in them or the students’ parents, or both groups, who would be free to decide how to run them — without tax money. A government university could become the property of its students, mem­bers of its faculty and staff, or both. Some schools might organize as joint stock companies with tradable shares, while others might become consumer or producer coöperatives. Competition would determine which forms best satisfied con­sumers and attracted capable producers … .’

$1.00 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk.

This odd little classic from Fred Schulder (1874-1961) — the individualist anarchist writer, lecturer, and sometime traveling salesman from Cleveland, Ohio — is a discussion of anarchy, the theory of evolution, the role of free association and property in an anarchic society, and the emergence of positive social organization. The lecture reprinted in this chapbook was originally delivered by Fred Schulder at the Franklin Club, a social and intellectual dis­cuss­ion group in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 18, 1898. The next year, Schulder was per­suad­ed to prepare his club lecture for publication in pamphlet form by his friend, the renowned printer Horace E. Carr.

“Organization has been defined as the taking on of organic structure… . Evolution is a series of changes, under natural law, from a diffused, uniform and indefinite arrangement, to a concentrated, multiform and definite arrangement… . Organ­iz­ation pro­ceeds according to the same inevitable laws, and … constitutes the evolution, not only of living beings, but also of all communities, societies, and society in general … . Organ­iz­ation is the law of life — of development. It is true that in union there is strength, but in organization there is still more strength. . . .

“Anarchism may be defined as the doctrine that the liberty of every individual shall be limited only by the equal liberty of every other… . We can find nothing in organization itself, which is a deni­al of equal liberty. Men [sic] may, and where they find it ad­van­tage­ous, in fact do combine and organize, without being forced to do so. And such org­anization will persist under liberty, so long as the individuals com­pos­ing it find it to their advantage. Society at large is such an org­anization … The organization may be in its incipient stage, but the development is go­ing on as fast as antagonistic forces will permit… Under liberty, how­ever, this difficulty will continue to grow less; men [sic] will ever more realize their mutual dependence, and this must increase with the dev­el­op­ment of the social organ­ism. And realizing this mutual dependence, they will adjust these minor differences according to their intel­lig­ence — an ad­just­ment which government often prevents… .

“What the anarchist objects to in the state is not the Element of org­anization but the element of govern­ment. Through the instrumentality of the state some individuals acquire a mon­o­p­oly of opportunities, some of which are absolutely necessary to the prod­uc­tion of wealth, and others very helpful to it – monopolies which are unthinkable in the absence of government, and which enable their holders to extract from the producer a tribute. Such is the fruit of organized rob­bery. And again, anarchism is opposed, not to the organization, but to the robbery. While any particular government, according to the laws of org­an­iz­at­ion, tends to grow and become stronger until it loses its adaptation to its sur­roundings, government in general is losing the adaptation to its sur­round­ings, and is undergoing a change in the direction of dissolution.”

$2.00 for 1; $1/ea in bulk.

Now as I’ve mentioned before, both the Market Anarchy Zine Series and the Anarchist Classics Zine Series are regular monthly publications, with one issue each being sent out each month. You can always order individual copies online from the Distro page, but if you’d like to save on shipping & handling charges, and to get new orders as soon as they come out, you can always sign up for a regular subscription. Subscriptions can be for personal reading, or for discounted bulk orders of material for distributing, tabling, or for stocking your local infoshop and other radical spaces. I’m happy to say that in the past few months I have added online subscription forms, so that you can set up half-year or full-year subscriptions directly from the Market Anarchy Zine Series and Anarchist Classics Zine Series homepages.

Alternatively, if you’re considering subscribing you can also contact me to request a free sample copy for you to check out, compliments of the Distro; then, if you like it, continue the subscription for the rest of the year at the following rates (all prices already include any shipping and handling costs):

Market Anarchy Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$1.50/issue
(= $18/year)
No. of copies ✕ 80¢/issue
(= N ✕ $9.60/year)
Anarchist Classics Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$2.25/issue
(= $27/year)
No. of copies ✕ $1.25/issue
(= N ✕ $15/year)

For details on all your options (including ready-to-print electronic versions, customizations of booklets with local contact information for your ALL chapter or local Anarchist activities, discounts for receiving quarterly shipments, etc. etc. etc.), see Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly. If you decide not to continue the subscription, the sample issue is yours to keep. Intrigued? Contact me forthwith, and we’ll get something worked out.

That’s all for now. In December we’ll be dropping some more science; until then—enjoy the Anarchy!