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Posts tagged labor

Welcome, Reasoners

Since my article on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Walmart, and alt-labor is appearing this morning at Reason.com, a fair number of y’all passing by may be readers who are more or less new to the blog.

Shared Article from Reason.com

Free-Market Labor Wins Wage-Boost Victory

Economic liberty shouldn’t simply assume a pro-business stance, or discuss only the privileges government extends to unions.

Charles W. Johnson @ reason.com

So–welcome! I’m Charles W. Johnson; often, I write online under the handle Rad Geek. (Not because I’m trying to hide who I am, but because it suits me, and because sometimes it helps me avoid being confused with some folks I am not.) I’m an individualist anarchist, living in Alabama. I write this blog, I co-edited (together with Gary Chartier) the left-wing market anarchist anthology, Markets Not Capitalism (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia: 2011). I write occasional columns for libertarian and anarchist outlets including The Freeman, Reason.com, Free Voices, and The Industrial Radical. I publish a lot of small-press anarchist and left-libertarian literature through the Distro of the Libertarian Left. If you’re new to the blog here, and trying to get oriented, here’s some things you might find interesting to read, which will give you some broad idea of where I’m coming from, and what I care about.

I’ve written a lot over the years about the C.I.W., both basic event coverage of some of their main campaigns, and also a fair amount of my own commentary on what I take to be the significance of their use of social protest and state-free, market-based methods in their activism.[1] If you’ve come here from the article and you want to read more about the C.I.W. or the context of its campaigns, I have some links, both to my own writing and also to a number of other sources that I consulted while preparing the column on the recent Walmart victory. Those are at the bottom of the post, though, so feel free to scroll right down past the following, which is mostly just orientation on me and where I’m coming from.

Speaking generally, I am a market anarchist: I am radically opposed to any invasion of economic liberty and to the state as such, and I am in favor of freed markets, free exchange, voluntary association, open competition and individual ownership of property. But, unlike many pro-capitalist libertarians, I argue that one of the likely and important features of freed markets is their tendency to cut against socioeconomic inequalities, to provide a space for economic alternatives to status-quo corporate capitalism, and to undermine and replace traditional top-down firms or employer-employee relationships. The kind of things I believe are often called free market anticapitalism or left-wing market anarchism. For more on what I mean by all that, and why I believe it:

I also think that rambunctious nonviolent social activism, worker-owned enterprises and radical labor unions, based on voluntary association without government privilege, and an anti-authoritarian culture of worker solidarity, are all an important part of a flourishing free market.

Since Walmart is at the center of the story, I should say that, while I am immensely pleased to see Walmart signing an agreement for the Fair Food Program, I think that many of the common criticisms of Walmart’s business model, exploitative labor practices, and economic dominance are justified, and that I would be quite happy in general to see Walmart constantly confronted and challenged with some really vigorous and uncompromising competition, social criticism and alt-labor organizing and activism. I say this not because I object to business, or to low prices, or whatever, but because I object to highly centralized state-capitalist business models that depend on, and heavily exploit, corporate welfare, eminent domain, and other favors from corporatist local governments.

More broadly, much of my writing on economic questions aims to focus attention on the relationship between the economic privileges granted by the State, class, poverty, and corporate power.

I am an Anarchist. I don’t care about smaller government, or limited government, or about Constitutions, or about electing libertarian candidates to political office. I am the farthest thing possible from a conservative. I believe in abolishing the State as such, and in doing so through the practice of education, solidarity, and direct action.

As an Anarchist, and as a human being, I am utterly and irreconcilably opposed to all forms of government warfare.

I believe that the nationalistic violence of the warfare State is closely linked with the paramilitary patrols, police state, and nationalistic violence of government border controls — which are nothing other than international apartheid. See for example:

I also believe that the violence of the U.S. government’s imperial military abroad is closely linked with the repressive violence of (increasingly militarized) paramilitary police forces within the U.S. See for example:

And as a feminist I think that the violence of men’s wars and of men’s law enforcement are closely linked with the violent ideals of masculinity and patriarchy that men are brought up with in our society. For more, see:

I’m against all forms of Intellectual Property restrictions, which represent not genuine forms of property, but a grant of monopoly privileges over the minds of other people — which I view both as tyrannical in themselves and also as immensely, lethally destructive in the effects of the coercive monopolies that they grant:

Thanks for coming on down; I hope you stay a while, do some reading, and enjoy the blog. So, come, let us Reason together . . . .

Further reading on C.I.W., the Fair Food Program and Alt-Labor

As I mentioned, I’ve been following the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Fair Food Program for over a decade now. Here are some other articles that I’ve written on C.I.W.:

And here are a bunch of things that other people have written, which I consulted at some point or another recently while preparing my column, and which you might find useful as elaboration, context or backdrop about C.I.W., the Fair Food campaign and the creative activism used to win it, or the development and direction of alt-labor groups in general.

  1. [1]Full disclosure: besides having written frequently about the C.I.W., many years ago I was also indirectly involved in setting up an organizing workshop for C.I.W. that led to an impromptu radical cheerleading picket at our local Taco Bell in Auburn.

Monday Lazy Linking

<li><p><a href="http://www.copblock.org/1504/policebad/">Why All Police Are Bad — for Society. Ademo Freeman, <cite>Cop Block</cite> (2010-12-30)</a>. <q>I’m often questioned about my stance on police which is fine — anyone who knows me is aware that I don’t mind sharing my thoughts. Oftentimes during the conversation I’m accused of being a “cop hater” or told that not all cops are bad. I understand the reasoning most people...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Friday 2011-01-14.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/DownsizeDCorg/~3/-LmP3jphEs0/from-the-downsize-dc-foundation-the-dictator-fallacy">From the Downsize DC Foundation: The Dictator Fallacy. <cite>DownsizeDC.org</cite> (2011-01-13)</a>. <q>The Downsize DC Foundation's website, www.DownsizeDCFoundation.org, continues to grow. Today, we bring you one of those articles, from the Our Lexicon category . . .  &quot;The Dictator Fallacy&quot; by Jim Babka fal·la·cy  -  * a misleading or unsound argument.  * Logic. any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Saturday 2011-01-15.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2011/01/nothing-natural-about-it.html">Nothing Natural about It. Sheldon Richman, <cite>Free Association</cite> (2011-01-15)</a>. <q>The sharp historical division between labor and capital ownership is not a natural emergent feature of the market economy but largely the conscious result of government privilege.Atom</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.modestoanarcho.org/2011/01/two-little-pigs-how-some-cops-get-jail.html">Two Little Pigs: How Some Cops Get Jail While Others Go Free. <cite>Modesto Anarcho</cite> (2011-01-16)</a>. It's not that police "protect their own," exactly. It's that police protect their power. Rape your step daughter or get plastered and drive your car off the road, and you're well behind the blue wall. Do something that disrupts command and control within a prison, and the long knives come out. <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/2011/01/kiva-lending-team-anarchists-for.html">Kiva Lending Team: Anarchists for Empowerment. tolstoyscat, <cite>things along the way</cite> (2011-01-11)</a>. <q>Join here: Anarchists for EmpowermentKiva's mission is to connect people, through lending, for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.Anarchists for Empowerment: We loan...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.theagitator.com/2011/01/16/mistakes-were-made-guns-were-pointed-a-family-was-terrorized-pets-were-threatened/">Mistakes Were Made. Guns Were Pointed. A Family Was Terrorized. Pets Were Threatened. Radley Balko, <cite>Gangsters in Blue</cite> (2011-01-16)</a>. <q>The DEA has apologized for the wrong door raid in the Hudson Valley that I blogged about last week. Sort of. John P. Gilbride, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, issued a statement Friday clearing Spring Valley resident David McKay and his family of anything to do...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://realtech.burningbird.net/web/web-technology/why-read-about-it-when-you-can-play">Why read about it when you can play? Shelley, <cite>MyTech</cite> (2011-01-16)</a>. <q>Earlier today I got into a friendly discussion and debate on Twitter about a new web site called W3Fools. The site bills itself as a &quot;W3Schools intervention&quot;, and the purpose is to wake developers up to the fact that W3School tutorials can, and do, have errors. The problem with a...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://sheldonfreeassociation.blogspot.com/2011/01/take-it-to-limit.html?showComment=1294502769776#c69564467185806158">The state begins in robbery; some patterns of robb... Gary Chartier, <cite>Comments on Free Association: Take It to the Limit</cite> (2011-01-08)</a>. <q>The state begins in robbery; some patterns of robbery are doubtless spontaneously ordered, but surely others are planned by groups of robbers.Once the state has been established and mechanisms for obtaining power have been regularized, it will surely be unsurprising if people who do obtain power are people who like...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/id.3489,y.0,no.,content.true,page.1,css.print/issue.aspx">The Semicolon Wars » American Scientist. <cite>www.americanscientist.org</cite> (2011-01-16)</a>. <q>I mock the pettiness of these squabbles—and I believe some of them deserve mocking—and yet I don't want to give the impression that only cosmetic issues are in dispute, or that programming languages are really all alike under the skin. On the contrary, what's most fascinating about programming languages is...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>
<li><p><a href="http://decafbad.com/blog/2010/12/19/let-a-million-bookmarks-bloom">Let a million bookmarks bloom. l.m.orchard, <cite>0xDECAFBAD</cite> (2010-12-19)</a>. <q>TL;DR: Don’t depend on Delicious; host your own, pay for it elsewhere, or hope for the best. Use real-time feeds to stitch the bookmarking diaspora back together into topical aggregate indexes. In the last entry, I wrote about why my use of Delicious has dropped over time, and what I’ve...</q> <em style="font-size: smaller">(Linked Sunday 2011-01-16.)</em></p></li>

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