Just to let you know, a few people (some of whom w... Anonymous, Two-Gun Mutualism & the Golden Rule (2011-06-02).
Just to let you know, a few people (some of whom worked on "Property is Theft!") are working on the rest of "Confessions of a Revolutionary".Not much to report yet, but that's the plan.And if you want to publish bits of "Property is Theft!" as Corvus editions then that would...(Linked Saturday 2011-06-04.)
Why Context Matters. Roderick, Austro-Athenian Empire (2011-06-05).
“The true life, the life eternal has been found – it is not merely promised, it is here, it is in you …. Everyone is the child of God …. As the child of God each man is the equal of every other man.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist “There...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Change the world. Phil, philwilson.org (2011-05-27).
I work in Higher Education in the UK. Every day I see enterprisey systems which are awful, terrible, unfriendly, unusable, behemoths. The market for each niche system is more or less a monopoly. The market is prime for smaller, more agile, more user-friendly systems to come in and destroy them....(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
The Octothorpe, part 2 of 2. Keith Houston, Shady Characters (2011-05-22).
Bell Telephone Laboratories, one-time research subsidiary of American telecoms giant AT&T, has produced some of the 20th century’s most influential developments in the worlds of science and technology. It boasts seven Nobel Prizes in Physics awarded for, among other things, a demonstration of the wave nature of matter, the invention...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
'Radical Mental Health Meetings' Address Problems at Grassroots. lilprole, Modesto Anarcho (2011-05-17).
Stanislaus County Radical Mental Health is starting to organize weekly meetings for people looking to discuss mental health and depression issues in the Modesto area. The meetings are based off of the Icarus Project's framework. They describe themselves as such:"The Icarus Project envisions a new culture and language that resonates...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
The Cloud. xkcd.com (2011-06-05). (Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Shocking FBI Discovery: Austin Is Weird. Jesse Walker, Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2011-06-01).
From a New York Times profile of Scott Crow, an Austin anarchist who recently FOIAed his files from the FBI: Mr. Crow, a lanky Texas native who works at a recycling center, is one of several Austin activists who asked the F.B.I. for their files, citing the Freedom of Information...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Planet Burma. Jesse Walker, Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2011-06-03).
"Around the globe, it is democratic meltdowns, not democratic revolutions, that are now the norm." Or so claims Joshua Kurlantzick, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations writing in the June 9 New Republic. From Venezuela to Russia, he argues, regimes are sliding toward autocratic rule. Polls show public opinion...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Support the Allied Media Conference & Shawty Got Skillz. inciteblog, INCITE! Blog (2011-06-02).
Stacey & Mia from To The Other Side Of Dreaming break down why it’s critical to support the Allied Media Conference (June 23-26, 2011, Detroit), a movement building space for radical women of color/people of color organizing, disability justice, queer young people, and more! They urge everyone to support Shawty Got...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Irrational, or responsive to incentives? Emily Washington, Market Urbanism (2011-06-04).
In the Washington Post Brad Plumer editorializes on the choice of many Americans to accept longer commutes by car in exchange for larger homes far from their workplaces. He says that consumers are unable to accurately calculate the cost of their commutes, including time spent driving, leading them to make...(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
Freedom and School Choice in American Education. Free Association (2011-06-05). There's No Right Way to Manage a Subsidy (cont'd) (Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
feministhulk: UNFORTUNATE THING ABOUT ALL-CAPS: HARDER TO ADD SPECIFIC EMPHASIS. HULK WORK TO FIND VERBAL NUANCE IN HULK-SIZE LETTERS. Twitter / feministhulk (2011-06-01).
feministhulk: UNFORTUNATE THING ABOUT ALL-CAPS: HARDER TO ADD SPECIFIC EMPHASIS. HULK WORK TO FIND VERBAL NUANCE IN HULK-SIZE LETTERS.(Linked Sunday 2011-06-05.)
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.
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.
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.
$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. 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.
$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|
|No. of copies ✕ 80¢/issue
(= N ✕ $9.60/year)
|Anarchist Classics Zine Series|
Delivered each month
|Individuals||Bulk Distribution Packets|
|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.
$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk
$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk
$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk
- GT 2011-03-31: Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly
- GT 2010-02-17: The present anarchy of our commerce: booklets and buttons for March 2010
- GT 2007-11-23: The present anarchy of our commerce: t-shirts
-  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. ↩
Sheldon Richman recently published a TGIF column A Free Market in Banking? Not Even Close in which he points out that when folks like John Quiggin claim that free-market economic ideas have been tried and found wanting in the late economic crisis, they are attacking a Ridiculous Strawman of free-market ideas. There has been, to be sure, an economic crisis, which had something to do with bankers acting recklessly and exploitatively. But not because they were unregulated: there is no such thing as unregulated banking or a free market in money, and never has been at any time in the history of the United States (the Fed is a problem, but it’s far from the first problem). In comments on this story, Shyla asks the musical question:
This article raises a critical question about how to structure our economic policies in light of the recession, spiraling debt, and financial collapse.
Let’s say I buy the argument these catastrophes were precipitated by crazy distortions in market forces. Richman suggests these crazy distortions are the result of corporatist influence and unintended consequences.
How do libertarians propose to counter “the competition-inhibiting partnership between influential businesses and government officials?”
Well, one possibility is to get rid of the government officials.
When positions of power are held in place, I think it’s a fool’s errand to try to devise strategies for keeping the wealthy and well-connected from corrupting and exploiting the power of these offices to their own ends. Political processes tend to benefit the politically-connected, and every federal regulatory agency, from the FTC down to TARP, has a long and sorry history of being captured and exploited by the trusts, cartelists, monopolists, robber-barons and financial sharks that they were supposedly concocted to restrain. So rather than worrying about how to stop influential businesses from capturing the regulatory apparatus for their own ends, better to abolish the regulatory apparatus, and refocus on economic, rather than political, means of responding to economic crises.
Of course, you may want to ask the question one step back: how, then, do you get rid of the government officials? (I.e., how do you stop admittedly influential players from exerting their influence over the legislative process, in order to assure that the offices they want created and sustained are created and sustained, in spite of popular indifference or popular objections?) Well, that is admittedly a hard problem. My answer is that in order to get rid of the government officials, you ought to get rid of the government.
I don’t doubt that as long as a legislative process is monopolized by a single, professional political apparatus, that apparatus will be an attractive prize and a willing tool for the influential and wealthy. Concentrated power will always be vulnerable to co-optation, corruption, and exploitation by those who are well-placed to take advantage of it. Attempts to vest all political authority in a single, professionalized, territorial monopoly, but then to turn around and strictly limit that government (for example, by means of a written constitution, or regular elections of officials) have always and everywhere failed. If initially limited, it will grow; legislation will multiply officials, establish bureaucracies, and ratchet up the level of political control, in response to pressure from the concentrated interests (chief among them influential businesses) that benefit from all that. Not because power cannot possibly be limited, but because concentrated power cannot be counted on to limit itself in the absence of any ultimate accountability or threat of competition. The solution, then, is not to find ways to insulate concentrated power from outside influence (which, even if achieved, would make an even worse problem: an absolutely unaccountable absolute state). It’s to diffuse power throughout civil society, rather than concentrating it all in a single, professionalized, territorial monopoly government.
Of course, you may now want to ask the question one further step back: if the solution to business-regulatory collusion is to get rid of the regulatory offices, and the way to get rid of regulatory offices (in spite of business pressure to create them) is to get rid of government, then what’s the way to get rid of government? Well, that is a hard problem, and I don’t have an easy answer. Perhaps it is impossible under present social and economic conditions. I’m inclined to doubt that, but if it is, then surely the answer is to work towards changing present social and economic conditions, around the edges and where possible, by means that avoid the corporate-political nexus, and in ways that undermine the corporate-political nexus’s control over our thoughts and everyday lives: spreading libertarian ideas, educating people about the ways in which bankers and other influential businesses have never been subject to free market conditions, how influential businesses have used the state for their own ends, helping people become more self-sufficient, materially secure and culturally respected while working “outside the system,” encouraging forms of protest, social activism and community organization that operate outside of conventional electoral politics or legislative lobbying, etc. Some of my fellow Anarchists call this “building the new society within the shell of the old”; if anarchy is not now possible, that’s no reason to imagine that even more fanciful utopian schemes (such as “progressive regulation,” “good government,” or “limited government”) are any more plausible or likely to succeed. And if anarchy is not now possible, there is no reason why we should give up on working anarchistically to make it possible in the future.
- Rad Geek People’s Daily (2008-06-09): 10,000 ways to lose your freedom
- Rad Geek People’s Daily (2010-08-23): The only Good Government is No Government
- Rad Geek People’s Daily (2008-02-25): I am shocked!—shocked!!—to find out that politics is going on in here!
- Rad Geek People’s Daily: Dr. Anarchy Answers Your Mail
- Rad Geek People’s Daily (May 2010): Bits & Pieces on Free Market Anti-Capitalism
- The Freeman (December 2007): Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty as We Know It
-  Richman discusses efforts at national banking cartels dating back to Alexander Hamilton, restrictions on branch banking, and regulations of interest rates and currency. The only thing I’d want to do at this point is to add: to discuss how legal tender laws, government tax policies, and government-enforced economic dependency and state capitalism conspire to create an artificial demand for liquidity in general, and balances in government-approved cash in particular; how 19th century banking regulations specifically taxed or prohibited co-operative forms of credit and money backed by goods other than government-approved precious metals; how government war bonds, the coercive extraction of tax revenues, and the promise of government bail-outs have been undergirding and coercively securing American banking bidniz models since the Revolutionary War; and the rest of the usual mutualist song and dance about the Money Monopoly. ↩
It’s Sunday Sunday Sunday. Let’s get Shameless Shameless Shameless.
It’s my blog, so I guess I’ll have to go first. This weekend, the November 2010 issue of The Freeman was released; among the articles in this month’s issue are:
- Kevin Carson, The Distorting Effects of Transportation Subsidies
- Sheldon Richman, The Most Dangerous Derivative
- Wendy McElroy, An American Stasi?
- James L. Payne, Can Government Save Us from Manmade Disasters?
And — the reason for mentioning it to-day, specifically — there’s also:
- Charles Johnson, There’s Too Little Trust in Government? It Just Ain’t So!
Secondly, preparations continue for my appearance to present Women and the Invisible Fist, and to represent the Molinari Institute at the the Radical Philosophy Association conference on Violence: Systemic, Symbolic, and Foundational in Eugene, Oregon. I’ve been working over the paper for its final form before the presentation. If you’re interested in seeing a copy when it’s ready, just drop me a line and I’ll make sure you get one. In the meantime, I’d like to send out a big thank you to the folks who have generously contributed $40 to Molinari to help cover the costs of getting me to Oregon. The point is—thanks, y’all are awesome. If you, too, would like to help me reach the Willamette Valley and support libertarian contributions to radical scholarship, check out the announcement post, or toss a few coins into the hat right here:
Anyway, so that’s me. How about you? What have you been up to this week? 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.
-  I’m not familiar with Payne’s previous work, but this article is a really nice reminder about government’s direct role in ecologically toxic mass insecticide spraying — often without the consent, or without even informing, property owners whose land was being poisoned from the air. ↩
-  Previously mentioned in these pages when it appeared as an online feature: GT 2010-08-23: The only Good Government is No Government. ↩
-  Mostly footnote work right now, but if you’ve read one of my papers before, you know that the way I write, damn, the footnotes are a lot of work; once I finish that, next up is a couple timed readings to make sure that I won’t run over. ↩
-  That should cover at least the distance from Independence, Missouri to the Kansas River. If the hunting’s good, and we don’t lose anything crossing the river, and nobody dies of dysentery, it may even last us to Fort Kearny. ↩
Opposing the Civil Rights Act Means Opposing Civil Rights? It Just Ain’t So!
Charles Johnson, September 2010 • Volume: 60 • Issue: 7
Just after winning his Republican primary in May, Rand Paul got himself into a political pickle over his views on property rights and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Having reluctantly discussed concerns about antidiscrimination laws with the Louisville Courier-Journal and NPR, Paul made his now-notorious appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show, where Maddow grilled him for 15 minutes on whether he opposed government intervention to stop racial discrimination. After saying he favored overturning government-mandated discrimination, Paul finally admitted that he opposes Title II, which forbids private owners from discriminating in their own businesses.
As he told the Courier-Journal:I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners—I abhor racism; I think it’s a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant; but at the same time, I do believe in private ownership… .
Maddow responded:I think wanting to allow private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, because of property rights, is an extreme view.Within a day Progressives were touting the interview as proof of a deep conflict between libertarian defenses of private property and struggles for racial equality. Meanwhile, compromising libertarians like Brink Lindsey reacted by discovering exceptions to libertarian principles—to make room, again, for federal antidiscrimination laws. The entire debate has played out as an argument over libertarianism andextremism,with Progressives and many nominal libertarians both condemning Rand Paul’s simplisticextremismabout private property and libertarian rights.
I have little interest in defending Paul but it’s strange to treat him like some case study in the dangers of libertarian extremism. Rand Paul is a conservative, not a libertarian—let alone anextremeone. He’s said as much, in so many words, in repeated interviews. Now, you could simply say,He may be no libertarian, but never mind Rand Paul—what about the issue?Libertarianism opposes government control of private business decisions; taken to extremes, doesn’t that include laws against racist business practices—the civil rights movement’s crowning achievement?
Well, I do have something to say on behalf ofextremism.Not on behalf of sacrificing the civil rights movement’s achievements toextremestands on antistatist principle. Rather,extremestands on antistatist principle show what the civil rights movement did right, and what it really achieved, without the aid of federal laws.
[I]f libertarianism has anything to teach about politics, it’s that politics goes beyond politicians; social problems demand social solutions. Discriminatory businesses should be free from legal retaliation—not insulated from the social and economic consequences of their bigotry. What consequences? Whatever consequences you want, so long as they’re peaceful—agitation, confrontation, boycotts, strikes, nonviolent protests.
So when Maddow asks,Should Woolworth’s lunch counters have been allowed to stay segregated?neither she nor Paul seemed to realize that her attempted coup de grace—invoking the sit-in movement’s student martyrs, facing down beatings to desegregate lunch counters—actually offers a perfect libertarian response to her own question.
Because, actually, Woolworth’s lunch counters weren’t desegregated by Title II. The sit-in movement did that. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott onward, the Freedom Movement had won victories, town by town, building movements, holding racist institutions socially and economically accountable. The sit-ins proved the real-world power of the strategy: In Greensboro, N.C., nonviolent sit-in protests drove Woolworth’s to abandon its whites-only policy by July 1960. The Nashville Student Movement, through three months of sit-ins and boycotts, convinced merchants to open all downtown lunch counters in May the same year. Creative protests and grassroots pressure campaigns across the South changed local cultures and dismantled private segregation without legal backing.
Should lunch counters have been allowed to stay segregated? No—but the question is how to disallow it. Bigoted businesses shouldn’t face threats of legal force for their racism. They should face a force much fiercer and more meaningful—the full force of voluntary social organization and a culture of equality. What’s to stop resegregation in a libertarian society? We are. Using the same social power that was dismantling Jim Crow years before legal desegregation.
I oppose civil rights acts because I support civil rights movements—because the forms of social protest they pioneered proved far more courageous, positive, and effective than the litigious quagmires and pale bureaucratic substitutes governments offer.
You can read the whole thing at The Freeman Online, or in the forthcoming print issue.
Many thanks as always to Sheldon Richman and FEE.
- GT 2010-06-20: Ridiculous Strawman Watch (Part 4 of ???)
- GT 2010-06-18: In a freed market, with no government anti-discrimination laws, what will stop bigoted business owners from resegregating America?
- GT 2010-05-23: Shameless Self-promotion Sunday / on Rand Paul, Rachel Maddow, and grassroots social movements
- GT 2009-06-12: 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?