Posts tagged Charles Johnson

M@MM for July 2011 and August 2011: Vices, Crimes, Corporate Power, Privatization, and mo’ Problems.

tl;dr. Four more beautiful new booklets are now available for ordering from the ALL Distro — July and Augst’s Market Anarchy zines, with articles on corporate power and privatization — and July and August’s Anarchist Classics, including a lost classic on Individualist property theory from the pages of Liberty, and a very popular, but very hard to find classic from Lysander Spooner. 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? Contact me for details.

Scatter tracts, like randrops, over the land….

— William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, March 1831.

To-day, I’m happy to announce this month’s two additions to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Artwork & Agitprop Distro. In fact, to-day’s announcement is a twofer: as I mentioned in my teaser post earlier there are also a couple of important pieces that came out in July, and were shipped on schedule to subscribers; and now, with a cross-country move and some general nonsense with the Distro’s Internet connection all, apparently, behind me, I can also happily put out the full official announcement for those two. So, then, let us welcome No. 21 of the monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series, the talk that Benjamin Tucker gave before the assembled academics, industrialists, and bigwigs at the Conference on Trusts of the Chicago Civic Federation, on the trust problem, corporate power, and market freedom; No. 22 of the monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series, a short adaptation of an article by Charles Johnson (yeah, me) on the gap between neoliberal privatization and free-market radicalism; and two hard-to-find (until now) individualist classics: No. 9 in the Anarchist Classics Series being an ambitious definition and defense of Individualist property theory by William Bailie, originally serialized in the pages of Liberty which to my knowledge has never before been collected or made available in pamphlet form; and No. 10 in the Anarchist Classics Series being a classic by an Anonymous author, now known to be our own Lysander Spooner, which — in spite of having become one of Spooner’s most popular essays! — has been almost impossible to find in print. Thus:

Market Anarchy #21 (Jul’11). Market Anarchy vs. Corporate Power

The Attitude of Anarchism Toward Industrial Combinations

Benjamin Tucker (1899)

The classic Market Anarchist take on corporate power and the political privileges that prop it up — Tucker’s talk at the Conference on Trusts by the Chicago Civic Federation in September 1899.

The trusts, instead of growing out of competition, as is so generally supposed, have been made possible only by the absence of competition, only by the difficulty of competition, only by the obstacles placed in the way of competition … by those arbitrary limitations of competition which we find in those law­created privileges and monopolies … . The trusts owe their power to vast accumulation and concentration of wealth … But for interest, rent, and monopolistic profit … trusts would be impossible. Now, what causes interest, rent, and monopolistic profit? For all there is but one cause, – the denial of liberty, the suppression or restriction of competition, the legal creation of monopolies… .

Free access to the world of matter, abolishing land monopoly; free access to the world of mind, abolishing idea monopoly; free access to an untaxed and unprivileged market, abolishing tariff monopoly and money monopoly, – secure these, and all the rest shall be added unto you. For liberty is the remedy of every social evil, and to Anarchy the world must look at last for any enduring guarantee of social order.

$1.25 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk.

A lost classic rediscovered in the pages of Liberty, this essay – never before collected in pamphlet form since its original serialization – is one of the most ambitious attempts to define and defend the Individualist theory of property, and to provide both an Anarchistic defense of private property and market competition, and an attack on the regime of structural violence and legal privilege that sustains capitalism and subjugates the working class.

Modern industry and the accompanying economic conditions have arisen under the régime of status, — that is, under arbitrary conditions in which equal liberty had no place and law-made privileges held unbounded sway,—it is only to be expected that an equally arbitrary and unjust system of property should prevail. On one side a dependent industrial class of wage-workers and on the other a privileged class of wealth-monopolizers each becoming more and more distinct from the other as capitalism advances, has resulted in a grouping and consolidation of wealth which grows apace by attracting all property, no matter by whom produced, into the hands of the privileged, and hence property becomes a social power, an economic force destructive of rights, a fertile source of injustice, a means of enslaving the dispossessed. Under this system equal liberty cannot obtain… .

Can the millionaire capitalist, the labor-robbing idler who lives on interest, the rich thugs of today and their army of parasites, be taken as the outcome of private property? Surely not. They are the direct result of restrictions and privileges, of legal and governmental origin, — causes that render impossible the growth and diffusion of individual property among the mass of wealth-producers. Inequalities in possession exist not so much because of inequalities in the power of individuals to acquire wealth under free conditions, but because political, social, and economic arrangements have always tended to create artificial inequality, to foster and increase whatever natural inequality did exist … .

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

Market Anarchists should oppose neoliberalism and its so-called privatization schemes because we are for free markets and private property. What they call privatization means only private profit from political power. What we mean is something entirely different, and it’s time to mint some new language in order to talk about the difference.

Left libertarians, like all libertarians, believe that all State control of industry and all State ownership of natural resources should be abolished. In that sense, libertarian Leftists advocate complete and absolute privatization of, well, everything. Governments, or quasi-governmental “public” monopolies, have no business building or running roads, bridges, railroads, airports, parks, housing, libraries, post offices, television stations, electric lines, power plants, water works, oil rigs, gas pipelines, or any­thing else of the sort… . Governments have no business building or running fire departments, police stations, courts, arm­ies, or anything else of the sort, because governments—which are necessarily coerc­ive and necessarily elitist—have no business existing or doing anything at all.

There is something called privatization which has been a hot topic for the past 15-20 years. It has been a big deal in Eastern Europe, in third world countries under the influence of the IMF, and in some cases in the United States, too. Naomi Klein has a new book on the topic, which focuses on the role that natural and artificial crises play in establishing the conditions for what she calls privatization. But privatization, as understood by the IMF, the neoliberal governments, and the robber baron corporations, is a very different beast from privatization as understood by free market radicals… . What we advocate is the devolution of state-confiscated wealth and state-confiscated industries back to civil society … the socialization of the means of production. Government outsourcing, government-backed monopoly capitalism, and government goon squads, might more accurately be described as privateering.

$1.25 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk.

This classic attack on political prohibition and moralistic law-making, was first published anonymously in 1875, as a chapter in the anthology Prohibition a Failure: or, the True Solution of the Temperance Question. It was revealed as the work of the radical libertarian legal theorist Lysander Spooner soon after his death in 1887, but it was neglected by posthumous collections and not included in the multi-volume Collected Works published in 1971. After Carl Watner rediscovered and recirculated the essay in 1977, it quickly became one of spooner’s most popular and influential works — but, between editions going out of print (e.g. TANSTAAFL’s 1977 edition), and the occasional useless disaster — it has remained notoriously difficult to find in in print.

Until now.

VICES are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property or another… . For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth… .

IT is only those persons who have either little capacity, or little disposition, to enlighten, encourage, or aid mankind, that are possessed of this violent passion for governing, commanding, and punishing them. If, instead of standing by, and giving their consent and sanction to all the laws by which the weak man is first plundered, oppressed, and disheartened, and then punished as a criminal, they would turn their attention to the duty of defending his rights and improving his condition, … enabling him to stand on his own feet, and withstand the temptations that surround him, they would, I think, have little need to talk about laws and prisons for either rum­-sellers or rum­-drinkers, or even any other class of ordinary criminals. If, in short, these men, who are so anxious for the suppression of crime, would suspend, for a while, their calls upon the government to aid in suppressing the crimes of individuals, and would call upon the people for aid in suppressing the crimes of the government, they would show both their sincerity and good sense in a much stronger light than they do now… .

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

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 contact me to sign up for a regular subscription. (Subscriptions can be for personal reading, or for bulk orders of material for distributing, tabling, or for stocking your local infoshop and other radical spaces.) If you’re considering subscribing, contact me to request a free sample copy for you to check out, compliments of the Distro; then, if you like it, continue th 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. Next month we’ll be dropping some more science; until then—read and enjoy!

See also:

Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly April 2011. Five Theses and a Vindication.

tl;dr. There’s two beautiful new booklets available for ordering from the ALL Distro. This month’s Market Anarchy is a collection of five contemporary pieces on spontaneous order and freed-market social movements. This month’s Anarchist Classic is a sleek new edition of the oldest known English-language Anarchist tract. 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? Contact me for details. Also, we have some new ALL buttons, now available through the distro page.

Scatter tracts, like raindrops, over the land….

— William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, March 1831.

Two things.

1. The Lit

First, I’m happy to announce that earlier this week I mailed out the first orders of this month’s newest additions to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Artwork & Agitprop Distro. Issue #18 of the now-monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series is a collection of five contemporary pieces on spontaneous order and freed-market social movements. Issue #6 of the Anarchist Classics Zine Series is as classic as it gets — the earliest known extended defense of philosophical Anarchism in the English language.

Market Anarchy #18 (Apr’11). Spontaneous Order.

Five Theses on Freed-Market Social Movements and Self-Regulating Anarchy

Sheldon Richman, Charles Johnson, and David D’Amato (2011)

In “Five Theses on Freed-Market Social Movements and Self-Regulating Anarchy,” Sheldon Richman, Charles Johnson, and David D’Amato look at the social and economic possibilities for social order to emerge without the need to impose social control – for spontaneous order and people-powered social movements against capitalism, racism, and ecocide within an anarchic freed market. Richman’s “Regulation Red Herring” discusses the demand for “regulation” and the power of unplanned spontan- eous order; Johnson’s “We Are Market Forces” considers the meaning of “market forces” and the possibilities for DIY social change in a self-regulating market anarchy; and in “I Oppose Civil Rights Acts because I Support Civil Rights Movements,” “The Free Market’s Regulatory Model,” and “The Clean Water Act vs. Clean Water,” Johnson and D’Amato apply the analysis to freed-market social activism against racism and environmental destruction.

In a freed market, who will stop markets from running riot and doing crazy things? And who will stop the rich and powerful from running roughshod over everyone else? We will.

In a freed market, if someone in the market exploits workers or chisels customers, if she produces things that are degrading or dangerous or uses methods that are environmentally destructive, it’s vital to remember that you do not have to just let the market take its course — because the market is not something outside of us; we are market forces…. When liberals or Progressives wonder who will check the power of the capitalists and the bureaucratic corporations, their answer is—a politically-appointed, even less accountable bureaucracy. The libertarian answer is—the power of the people, organized with our fellow workers into fighting unions, strikes and slow-downs, organized boycotts, and… alternative institutions…. [I]f you want regulations that check destructive corporate power, that put a stop to abuse or exploitation or the trashing of the environment, don’t lobby—organize!

$1.50 for 1; $1/ea in bulk.

The “Vindication of Natural Society,” published anonymously in 1756, is the earliest known English-language tract to offer an extended defense of philosophical Anarchism – arguing for a peaceful social order based upon individual conscience and mutual agreement, without legal constraint or political authority. It was later discovered to have been written by Edmund Burke, then a radical Anglo-Irish journalist. This booklet is based on the original edition of the Vindication, which appeared anonymously and without further explanation. In later editions, after his authorship was discovered, Burke, who had retreated from his earlier views and begun a new career as a member of Parliament, added a new Preface, in which he disowned his anarchistic conclusions and stated that the entire argument was originally intended as satire. Many Anarchist readers, however, point out that the vigorous, coherent argument of the “Vindication” does not read like satire, and take Burke’s later disavowal as careerist damage control.[1] In any case, whatever the authorial intent, the “Vindication” went on to become a major influence on early English-speaking Anarchists such as William Godwin and the mutualist followers of Josiah Warren.

To prove, that these Sort of policed Societies are a Violation offered to Nature, and a Constraint upon the human Mind, it needs only to look upon the sanguinary Measures, and Instruments of Violence which are every where used to support them. Let us take a Review of the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored, by which hundreds of Victims are annually offered up to support a dozen or two in Pride and Madness, and Millions in an abject Servitude, and Dependence…. I acknowledge indeed, the Necessity of such a Proceeding in such Institutions; but I must have a very mean Opinion of Institutions where such Proceedings are necessary….

I now plead for Natural Society against Politicians, and for Natural Reason against all…. My Antagonists have already done as much as I could desire…. The Monarchic, Aristocratical, and Popular Parti­zans have been jointly laying their Axes to the Root of all Government, and have in their Turns proved each other absurd and inconvenient. In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

As I mentioned last month, both the Market Anarchy Zine Series and the new Anarchist Classics Zine Series have become regular monthly publications. One issue in each series is published every month. I’ve been working out the publication schedules, and from here on out, new issues will be announced (and made available for pre-order) around the first Friday of every month. Issues will be mailed out to subscribers and pre-orderers during the third week of the month.

As before, I hope that the new projects and the regular publishing schedule will help out ALL locals, hometown radicals and market anarchists out to make a point. I can provide nicely printed copies at low cost; and for those who want super-low-cost zines to give away for free or just prefer to DIY, I’ll also be providing regular access to ready-to-print electronic copies to anyone who subscribes, orders or donates to the project. (For details on ready-to-print electronic copies, see below.)

As always, you can order individual copies, sampler packs, or bulk orders for tabling, infoshop-stocking, and other special events. You can also set up a monthly subscription for individual copies, or for bulk packets for distributing through your ALL local, at outreach tables, or through local radical libraries and infoshops. If you’re considering subscribing, you can 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:

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, customization with local contact information, and discounts for quarterly shipments), see Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly.

Prices include shipping & handling costs. 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.

2. The Buttons

Second, I am also happy to announce that we have three big new 2.25″ ALL buttons available for order through the Distro. One is a revised version of a button we’ve had since 2009; the other two are brand new designs.

ALL (Libertarian Left).

2.25″

$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk

No War No State (think anarchy for peaceful alternatives)

2.25″

$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk

Enjoy!

See also:

  1. [1] See, for example, the preface and appendix added by English Warrenites in their edition of the Vindication, The Inherent Evils of All State Governments Demonstrated (1850), or Rothbard’s Note on Burke’s Vindication of the Natural Society (sic). Radical readers of the Vindication have tended to conclude that Burke simply was a proto-Anarchist in 1756, and that he then abandoned the position in the interests of political power. For a convincing argument that the author of the Vindication was really using the anonymous tract as a space to explore ideas that he found compelling, but was not ready to embrace, see Roderick Long’s discussion in Burke’s Semi-Serious Anarchism part the first and part the second.

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