For those of you who have been around here for a while, you may be interested to know that I recorded a brief interview this afternoon on agorism and electoral politics with Mark Edge from FreeTalkLive. The interview will be attached to the end of the podcast, which I’m told will be available late tonight. Due to time constraints on the interview, there’s a fair amount that I got the chance to mention but didn’t allow myself the time to follow up on; if there’s anything that you want to hash out at greater length, please do drop it in the comments and let’s talk.
Update 2009-10-09. [An MP3 of the 2009-10-07 show, with my interview included, is now available for download](http://media.libsyn.com/media/ftl/FTL2009-10-07.mp3).)
For those of you who found out about me, or about agorism, or about this website, through the interview, or the show notes, welcome! Let me take a moment to introduce myself. I’m Charles Johnson, also known as
Rad Geek. I’m an individualist anarchist, originally from Alabama, now living and working in Las Vegas. I am a member of the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left, maintainer of several anti-statist web projects, and an occasional writer for The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. If you’re new to the blog, or to agorism and individualist anarchism as a set of ideas, here’s some things which might give you some idea of where I’m coming from, and what I care about.
For an extended treatment of agorism, counter-economics, and what it’s all about — including its positive aspects, above and beyond its critique of electoral politics, you may want to check out this interview I recorded with Jason Talley of the Motorhome Diaries back in May:
For an in-depth discussion of counter-economics and direct action, and of the inherent limitations of electoral politics, see:
- GT 2008-01-26: In which I fail to be reassured
- GT 2009-02-07: Counter-economic optimism
- GT 2008-11-14: So you are in favor of personal money holes?
Among agorists, I’m a bit unusual in the extent to which I stress counter-economic that are either already-existing projects of, or else inspired by the historical examples of, and tied to goals traditionally associated with, the anti-authoritarian Left — including, notably, anti-statist radical labor unions, grey-market mutual aid networks like Food Not Bombs or LETS and other localized trading networks, black-market mutual aid networks like the Jane abortion network, existing feminist projects like the battered women’s shelter and rape crisis center movement, and existing social anarchist projects like CopWatch and the Anarchist Black Cross Federation. For some discussions of why, see:
- GT 2008-06-16: ALL I need to know about the Revolution is what I heard in Vegas
- GT 2009-05-19: Rad Geek Speaks: Motorhome Diaries interviews me on agorism and counter-economics (see the extended discussion beneath the video interview)
- GT 2004-05-01: Free the Unions (and all political prisoners)!
- 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?
- GT 2008-06-12: Inciting people to rise against the government and reporting falsehoods about people being killed
- GT 2005-03-23: El pueblo unido jamÃ¡s serÃ¡ vencido!
- GT 2007-10-25: Radical healthcare reform (why free-market healthcare doesn’t mean corporate-provided healthcare)
- GT 2009-01-22: Roe v. Wade Day#36 (on Jane)
- GT 2008-10-03: Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin (on some general philosophical issues having to do with the connections between leftist community organizing and libertarian commitments to consensual society).
If you’re curious, I discuss my views on why I think that some more familiar forms of libertarian political strategy — such as voting for Ron Paul, or running nominally libertarian candidates for government office, or trying to lobby the state to act less statist, or trying to vindicate some less-statist reading of the United States Constitution in the courts, or indeed spending any considerable effort on teaming up in an ongoing, open-ended political party with minimal-statists — are at best futile, and often actively destructive of serious politics, at some length in:
- GT 2008-01-25: Take the A-Train discusses why I think that market anarchists should make their primary political alliances with other anarchists, not with Constitutionalists or minimal-statists.
- GT 2008-09-17: The statist
We don’t, GT 2005-09-17: International Ignore the Constitution Day, and GT 2007-12-28: A Higher Law Than the Constitution explain why Iâ€™m not a Constitutionalist, and why I think appeals to the paper Constitution are either useless or harmful to the struggle for liberty and the struggle to end war.
- GT 2009-04-04: The State of the Debate, GT 2008-02-25: I am shocked!–shocked!–to find that politics is going on in here! and GT 2008-09-10: The Stupid Campaign Season Distraction discuss problems with electoral politics, as a strategy, that I take to be built in to the structure of partisan elections.
And since the topic of Ron Paul, specifically, came up, and since, out of concern for time, I stated my views but did not spend long on elaborating them — and since, while we’re here, the miserable failure of Ron Paul’s single-digit primary showing is currently the show pony for the awesome potential of libertarian electoralism — it may be worth pointing to some more detailed discussion of what my problems with the Pauliticos are, or were:
- GT 2007-11-29: Res ipsa loquitur and the exchanges in GT 2007-12-04: We put the
Anarchy#2, GT 2007-12-11: Dropping the plumb line, and GT 2008-01-07: Paul Till You Puke probably provide the most thorough overview of my take on electoral Paulitics.
- GT 2008-01-10: Come out, my people, come out… discusses the end of the affair.
- GT 2006-04-05: Resistance is futile and GT 2006-04-09: Freedom Movement Celebrity Deathmatch discuss Ron Paul’s unconscionable assaults on immigration freedom and support for a border police state.
I suppose I could also discuss the even more miserable miserable failure of the Libertarian Party, and particularly of its recent strategy of mercilessly pruning away anything resembling libertarianism from the platform in order to advance the prospects for failed candidacies by ridiculous conservative tools, as in the recent Barr/W.A.R. ticket. But really, I am at the point where I think that kind of thing is really beneath comment. The Pauliticos may be wrong, but they have the benefit of being comprehensible. Not so, at this late date, those who still believe that serious political transformation is going to come about by means of the supporting LP.