<ul> <li><p><a href="http://libertarian-labyrinth.blogspot.com/2010/05/dedicated-to-mutualists-of-world.html">Dedicated to "the mutualists of the world" Shawn P. Wilbur, <cite>Out of the Libertarian Labyrinth</cite> (2010-05-17)</a>. <q>Charles T. Sprading's 1930 Mutual Service and Cooperation is available for download from Google Books.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-05-26.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/19/watch-out-facebook">Watch Out, Facebook. <cite>Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts.</cite> (2010-05-26)</a>. "The business press may be filled with rhetoric about 'participatory media' and 'user-generated content,' but the country's most prominent Web 2.0 company treats its participants like a bunch of CompuServe subscribers circa 1994. ..." <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-05-26.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2010/05/oh-no.html">Oh No! Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2010-05-23)</a>. <q>Conservatives won't want to hear it, but the libertarian alternative to antidiscrimination laws is: COMMUNITY ORGANIZING!Atom</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-05-26.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2010/05/welfare-state.html">The Welfare State. Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2010-05-23)</a>. <q>Despite what you may read at other libertarian sites, the welfare state is not the result of efforts by lazy poor people to enslave and live off the productive classes. Rather, it is the result of efforts by the political-social-corporate elite to subordinate and control the poor for a variety...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-05-26.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://darianworden.com/blog/2010/05/free-george-donnelly-handbill/">Free George Donnelly Handbill. DarianW, <cite>DarianWorden.com</cite> (2010-05-24)</a>. <q>Thanks to ALLy James Tuttle for creating a solid handout in support of George Donnelly. Download the .pdf at LibertyActivism.info.</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Wednesday 2010-05-26.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://eyeofthestorm.blogs.com/eye_of_the_storm/2010/05/heres-a-sortof-interesting-piece-of-politicalcultural-commentary-by-mark-lilla-he-frames-the-whole-thing-in-terms-of-radica.html">here's a sortof interesting piece of political/cultural. Captain Capitulation, <cite>eye of the storm</cite> (2010-05-13)</a>. <q>here's a sortof interesting piece of political/cultural commentary by mark lilla. he frames the whole thing in terms of "radical individualism"="the libertarian mob," as against...well, what? obviously the basic contrast of individualism is to collectivism, but it's hard to sit there and squarely endorse that term: there are too many...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2010-05-27.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://catandgirl.com/?p=2473">Arrivals Lounge. Dorothy, <cite>Cat and Girl</cite> (2010-05-27)</a>. <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2010-05-27.)</em></p></li> <li><p><a href="http://cherylcline.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/gimme-your-best-just-world-play/">Gimme Your Best Just-World Play. cherylcline, <cite>der Blaustrumpf</cite> (2010-05-27)</a>. <q>Come on. I need it after reading this: Jiang Chun Geng is one of 15 elderly Chinese men and women whom Zhu is treating in his simple village clinic for what locals label “rotten leg disease.” A definitive diagnosis is no longer possible so many decades after the initial exposure...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Thursday 2010-05-27.)</em></p></li>
- Tinkerer’s Sunset. Mark, dive into mark (2010-01-29).
When DVD Jon was arrested after breaking the CSS encryption algorithm, he was charged with “unauthorized computer trespassing.” That led his lawyers to ask the obvious question, “On whose computer did he trespass?” The prosecutor’s answer: “his own.” If that doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, you can stop…(Linked Friday 2010-01-29.)
- Who's a Populist? LeftLibertarian2 at Yahoo! Groups (2010-01-31). Jesse Walker makes the Wall Street Journal, of all places: “Working from his two categories, we can see the outlines of two populist traditions in the U.S. The first is the populism of grass-roots groups–some on the left, some on the right, some hard to classify–that are dominated by unpaid, part-time activists rather than professional political operatives. The second is the populism of the people’s tribune, a fiery figure who acts, or claims to act, as a champion of the masses. …” (Linked Sunday 2010-01-31.)
- Which to Choose? Fafblog (2010-02-01). Points for honesty, I suppose. (Linked Monday 2010-02-01.)
I saw this on SNL (yeah, I know) a couple weeks ago while I was visiting my folks in Alabama.
This is a truly awful impression, but if you can get around that, I think that the sketch is one of the few things SNL has done in a long time that’s both genuinely funny and politically insightful.
The right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate state.
The right wing is not wrong. It is not the problem. We are the problem. If we do not tap into the justifiable anger sweeping across the nation, if we do not militantly push back against corporate fraud and imperial wars that we cannot win or afford, the political vacuum we have created will be filled with right-wing lunatics and proto-fascists. The goons will inherit power not because they are astute, but because we are weak and inept.
A president has only so much capital to expend, both in tax dollars and public tolerance, and Barack Obama is dangerously overdrawn. He has tried to have it all on three fronts, and his administration is in serious danger of going bankrupt. Yes, Obama was presented with a series of crises not of his making but for which he is now being held accountable. He is not a “socialist” who grew the federal budget to astronomical proportions. That is the legacy of George W. Bush, who raised the military budget to its highest level since World War II despite the end of the Cold War and the lack of a formidable military opponent— a legacy of debt compounded by Bush’s decision to first ignore the banking meltdown and then to engage in a welfare-for-Wall-Street bailout. And it was Bush who gave the pharmaceutical companies the gift of a very expensive government subsidy for seniors’ drugs.
But what is nerve-racking about Obama is that even though he campaigned against Bush’s follies he has now embraced them. He hasn’t yet managed to significantly reduce the U.S. obligation in Iraq and has committed to making a potentially costlier error by ratcheting up America’s “nation-building” role in Afghanistan.
Just as he was burdened with the Afghanistan situation, Obama was saddled with a banking crisis he didn’t cause, and the worst that can be said of his attempted solutions to the financial mess is that they were inherited from Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. But Obama, who raised questions before his election about the propriety of a plan that would rescue the banks but ignore the plight of ordinary folks, has adopted that very approach as president. He elevated Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, the two Democrats most closely aligned with Paulson’s policy, to top positions in his government.
Without a government program as a check on medical costs, Obama will end up with a variant of the Massachusetts program, one that forces consumers to sign up with private insurers and costs 33 percent more than the national average. He will have furthered the Bush legacy of cultivating an ever more expensive big government without improving how the people are served.
Here’s Jesse Walker, in an article from a couple weeks ago for reason.com, Obama Is No Radical: But maybe we’d be better off if he were.
Thus far, the president’s domestic agenda has been many things, but radical it isn’t. Radicals make sudden turns. Obama sometimes slams his foot on the accelerator—just look at projected spending for the next few years—but he hardly ever tries to change direction. Radicals tear down centers of power. When Obama is faced with a crumbling institution, his first instinct is to prop it up.
That was most obviously true with the bailouts, a series of corporate preservation programs that began before he took office and have only increased since then. Candidate Obama voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the 2008 bailout for failing financial institutions, and he personally intervened to urge skeptical liberals to support it. After Congress refused to authorize a bailout of the car companies, Obama followed George W. Bush in ignoring the plain language of the law and funneling funds to them anyway. Like Bush before him, Obama took advantage of such moments to adjust the institutional relationship between these nominally private businesses and the state: firing the head of General Motors, urging the company to consolidate brands, pushing for new controls on Wall Street pay. But the institutions themselves were preserved, in some cases enriched. The radical thing to do would have been to let them collapse.
And no, I’m not using “radical” as a euphemism for “free-market libertarian.” A radical Obama still might have extended assistance to the people displaced by the corporate failures, perhaps even setting up a generous guaranteed income scheme. He might have broken up the big banks. He might have done all sorts of things, some wiser than others. But he would not have strengthened the corporate-state partnerships bequeathed to him by Bush.
Now we have health care reform. Here you might actually expect the president to veer in a new direction and let a powerful institution die. After all, it’s been only six years since he described himself as “a proponent of a single-payer, universal health care plan,” and if he were serious about that it would mean the end of the private health insurance industry.
First, it’s increasingly unlikely that a public option will be a part of the bill that emerges, in which case we’ll be left with an enormous boondoggle for the industry: a law requiring every American to buy health insurance or else face legal sanctions. Second, and more important, a system with more government-provided insurance, even one with only government-provided insurance, would still accept the institutional premises of the present medical system. Consider the typical American health care transaction. On one side of the exchange you’ll have one of an artificially limited number of providers, many of them concentrated in those enormous, faceless institutions called hospitals. On the other side, making the purchase, is not a patient but one of those enormous, faceless institutions called insurers. The insurers, some of which are actual arms of the government and some of which merely owe their customers to the government’s tax incentives and shape their coverage to fit the government’s mandates, are expected to pay all or a share of even routine medical expenses. The result is higher costs, less competition, less transparency, and, in general, a system where the consumer gets about as much autonomy and respect as the stethoscope. Radical reform would restore power to the patient. Instead, the issue on the table is whether the behemoths we answer to will be purely public or public-private partnerships.
So I can’t agree with Horowitz, Hannity, or Andy Williams. The president could pal around with militiamen, hook a money hose from the Treasury to ACORN HQ, and sleep each night with a Zapatista plush doll, but as long as his chief concern is preserving and protecting the country’s largest corporate enterprises, the biggest beneficiaries of his reign will be at the core of the American establishment.
If you want a recipe for real disgust with the prevailing political establishment, and a real opening for radical critique, one of the things that has to happen is that dissidents need to begin to see that even the longed-for best-case scenario can’t possibly deliver what they want, because what they were promised just won’t fit through the political channels that they had put their hope in. An obvious tool like George W. Bush inspires a lot of fear and loathing; but he also inspires a lot of faith in the myth that if only someone who wasn’t such an obvious tool were in power, these problems would all get sorted out right quick. But when you have a ballyhooed reformer holding the reins of power, over-promising and under-delivering — and when it becomes increasingly clear that politics as usual will keep on keeping on — that’s often when you begin to see a real chance for a crack-up. If the organizers and the dissidents know what to make of the situation, knows how to connect with that kind of disappointment and anger, and can offer a real alternative to the failure of within-the-system political reforms. (Which is part of the reason why I take out-Lefting the Left, and introducing people-powered, direct-action alternatives to electoral politics, to be really essential for left-libertarians right now.)
Perhaps it’s appropriate that we’re watching this go down as we pass through the 20th anniversary of Fall 1989. I can only HopeTM that we might yet see Barack Obama end up playing the Gorbachev of American imperial politics.
The speech will do little harm in itself. Schools shovel nonsense down boys’ and girls’ throats every day; today’s menu will offer just a slight change of flavor. But that’s why the protests are healthy. It’s a rare day when parents across the country explicitly tell their kids to take their lessons with a grain of salt.
Children shouldn’t be taught that the president—any president—is a beloved paternal figure with a grand plan for everyone. (From the original lesson plan:Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?) Children should be taught the truth: that presidents are polarizing figures who are constantly dogged by controversy. That Americans don’t always agree about proper public policy, and sometimes they disagree enough to do something as drastic as keeping their kids home from school. That politics is about conflict, not listening in unison while a friendly face on a TV screen dispenses instructions.
- Libertarians Against Property Rights and Freedom of Association. (Cont’d.) Vin Suprynowicz Vs.
Rad Geekon so-called
illegal immigration. In which I argue
keep your borders off my propertyand Suprynowicz argues that a libertarian community ought to have the government constitutionally policing people’s political views. Democracy, you know.
News and Comment.
Legal lynching. (Cont’d.) In which the liberal democratic state protects the accused from being railroaded by unreliable criminal justice procedures by convicting innocent people on the testimony of a magic police dog (the state is, of course, taking no steps to systematically review cases where the fraudulent testimony was entered into evidence). And also by refusing to review a provably false rape and murder conviction for nine years because the imprisoned innocent man’s lawyer filed his paperwork four days late. (The federal judge who signed off on the court order denying the review is, of course, now a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States of America.)
The War on the Informal Sector. (Cont’d.) quasibill, The Bell Tower (2009-06-12): Sometimes, they don’t hide it very well. Multimillion-dollar restaurants only, please.
The Bulldozer Brigade deployed to raze 50 cities in defense of the economic status quo. Tom Leonard, Daily Telegraph (2009-06-12): US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive.. Because it is absolutely unacceptable for urban housing to become cheap, ever, the federal government has decided that it has become necessary to destroy U.S. cities in order to save them. (Via Nick Manley. Cf. also GT 2008-11-24: How the local government in Las Vegas deals with the worst housing crisis in the United States.) Anyone who’s seen Roger and Me ought to know that when the Feds start taking advice on
developmentfrom the Flint city government, things are about to get a lot stupider.
Urban Homesteading and Counter-Farming. Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation (2009-06-10): Peer producing agriculture with Crop Mobs
Basher-Statism in Virginia prisons. Feminist Daily News (2009-06-15): VA Prison Allegedly Segregated Women on Basis of Sexual Orientation. The segregation was actually based on who looked butch and who looked femme, in the eyes of the prison bosses; the purpose was to segregate and punish women seen as being too
butch.The segregated wing was called the
little boys wingand the
butch wingby the guards. One guard overheard a boss saying
We’re going to break up some of thee relationships, start a boys wing, and we’re going to take all these studs and put them together and see how they like looking at nothing but each other all day instead of their girlfriends.
Pro-Choice on Everything. (Cont’d.) Wendy McElroy, iFeminists (2009-06-13): 9 implications of anti-abortion arguments
Extremism in defense of abortion rights is no vice. Sunsara Talor, Online Journal (2009-06-08): After Dr. Tiller’s murder, where to for abortion rights?.
None of this [federal anti-terrorist legislation] can or should be strengthened or relied on to protect the rights of women. But, even if you were willing to ignore all this, the fact is relying on the state has never worked. … The lesson to draw is NOT that there should be more reliance on law enforcement. It is that there needs instead to be a powerful mobilization of pro-choice people from below, relying on ourselves to reverse the whole culture and dynamic in this country. … And we must reverse the demobilization of pro-choice people who’ve been told to rely on ineffectual law enforcement and to seek
common groundwith religious fanatics. We must seize the moral and ideological high ground, declare abortion on demand and without apology, and go on the political offensive out in the streets and once again to the clinics.
Men in Uniform (cont’d.) — Rape as a weapon of war. Feminist Daily News (2009-06-08): Incidence of Rape in Democratic Republic of Congo Soaring. Right now the attacks are primarily being carried out by men in the Democratic Forces of the Liberation [sic] of Rwanda.
How the Money Monopoly destroyed an alternative currency and forced its creator to defraud his customers out of millions of dollars. Wired (2009-06-09): Bullion and Bandits: The Improbable Rise and Fall of E-Gold. Note especially:
(Via Jesse Walker.)
No matter how innocent a person is you can always find a law that government agents can use to convict him of something,[Richard] Timberlake says,
And this is a perfect example of it. Any time anybody tries to produce money, the federal government is going to be on their tail.
Look how well it’s worked out. Wendy McElroy, WendyMcElroy.com (2009-06-15): A letter from Murray Rothbard, which Wendy recently rediscovered while reorganizing her files. The letter was sent back in 1983 in response to a then-recent issue of The Voluntaryist (which, as a voluntaryist publication, had a hard editorial line against libertarians voting or running for office). In which Murray declares the Dallas Accord, and the next three years of
titanic strugglesto keep the official text of the Libertarian Party platform at least minimally libertarian,
a great triumph for anarchists in the party.Well, yeah; look at everything that’s accomplished.
The Good Old Days Were Rotten. Wendi Muse, Racialious (2009-06-15): Nostalgia: a Sport for the Privileged. I think the lesson applies just as much to libertarian nostalgia for the Gilded Age or the Old Republic as it does to more aesthetically-focused romances for the past.
Who needs a literary supplement when you can have a literary newspaper? Daniel Estrin, The Jewish Daily Forward (2009-06-10): Literary Lesson: Authors, Poets Write the News: Letter from Jerusalem.
Awesome. Now how about Firefly? Michael Ausiello, Entertainment Weekly (2009-06-09): It’s official:
J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night. The 30th anniversary edition of J. Neil Schulman’s revolutionary agorist science-fiction classic, Alongside Night, is now available for free on the Internet. Download! Enjoy! Spread the word!
Anarchy Summer Camp. July 17-19. Northern Virginia. Anonymous, Infoshop News (2009-06-12): Virginia: Anarchy Summer Camp 17th-19th, Nova.
As we prepare for the upcoming G20 summit in Pittsburgh, the Spring World Bank and IMF meetings, the ebbs and flows of our respective local campaigns, and anything else under the sun, we’ll be congregating in the woods of Northern Virginia for an action-packed Anarchy Summer Camp.
2009 Northeast Anarchist People of Color Conference. August 6 – August 9, 2009. Philadelphia, Pennslvania. The conference announcement, mission sttaement, and Principles of Unity are all available from http://illvox.org/.