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Modern Commerce

… Such an organization of industry can be accomplished only in a condition of freedom.

While government lasts commerce will continue to pillage and rob; to cause the young to look old; to furrow with care the brows of those who should be careless; and, while it fills the halls of some with splendor, it fills the cots of others with woe.

Away with the parent of monopoly — government — and all other monopolies will vanish like fog before the morning sun, and the re-organization of industries upon a sane and rational basis will proceed apace, and gaunt destitution be known no more in all the land.

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Volume 1, Issue 3 of THE NEW LEVELLER now online!

“Are you interested in individualist anarchism, or at least so frightened by it that you want to keep an eye on its progress? Are you frustrated by capitalism’s love for central planning and communism’s conservative view of human potential? Do you suspect that abolishing the institution responsible for war, police brutality, and mass incarceration might not be so dangerous after all?

Then The New Leveller is for you!”

The third issue of the Students for a Stateless Society‘s newsletter, The New Leveller is now online.

For a link to a PDF of the entire issue (recommended!), click here.
For links to an HTML version of each individual article, click here.

In this issue:
“A Matter of Life & Death” by Jason Lee Byas frames the vision of individualist anarchism as a battle of life against death. This is not only because governments murder, but also because both aggression and domination are at odds with the principle behind life itself.
“Anarchists United” by Uriel Alexis explores ways in which anarchists with divergent views about how a stateless society would (and should) look can still cooperate toward those goals that they share.
“Identity & Individuals” by Elizabeth Tate explains that libertarians and anarchists should embrace, not shun, identity politics.
“Prisons: The Case for Abolition” by Nathan Goodman details reasons that prisons are both an unnecessary and unjust institution, and also shows how attempts at piecemeal reform can actually make things worse. The solution, then, is abolition.
“All Wars Are Unjust” by Jason Lee Byas argues for the conclusion in its title. To support any war is to support murder, dehumanization, regimentation, and theft, all on a massive scale. Because of this, we must reject all war.

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Testilying and Tribal Hatred: Cops React to the Murder of Eric Garner – LewRockwell.com

Eric Garner was seized in an illegal chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, thrown to the sidewalk by several officers, immediately complained of breathing difficulty, and then left unattended by cops as they created a “crime scene” to prevent people from rendering aid. Emergency medical personnel who arrived later did not perform CPR, or otherwise render aid to the unresponsive victim, who died of cardiac arrest.

Garner, who was not suspected of a violent crime, had just broken up a fight. Having been arrested dozens of times for the supposedly grievous offense of selling untaxed cigarettes, Garner had done nothing to justify harassment by police on the day they killed him. The lethal outburst of unwarranted police violence was summary punishment inflicted on Garner for daring to assert himself by ordering one of the tax-feeding pests to stop harassing him. Those events were captured on video, and attested to by numerous eyewitnesses on the scene.

The internal NYPD report written immediately following the events, however, insisted that the victim was not in “great distress,” and that after he had been violently subdued by five or six officers his “condition did not seem serious and he did not appear to get worse.” Portions of that report were published by the New York Daily News. The author of that document engaged in the familiar police practice of careful omission, dissimulation, and outright dissimulation that has come to be known as “testilying.”

Although prominent mention was made that the “perpetrator” – the term of art used in the report to refer to the victim – “resisted arrest,” the use of the chokehold by Pantaleo escaped the notice of the trained observer and dutiful servant of the unalloyed truth who composed that document. This would mean that Garner’s death is one of those impenetrably mysterious incidents in which an individual somehow dies in police custody of causes unrelated to the aggressive violence inflicted on him.

Commentator Harry Siegel of the New York Daily News points out that the officers who killed Garner plainly saw him as a “skell” – a career criminal and burden on society. Those willing to wade through the feculence emitted by police in exclusive on-line chatrooms will find that “skell” is one of the least repellent epithets used to describe the murder victim. New York magazine tasked Joe Coscarelli, who apparently isn’t hindered by a gag reflex, to skim some representative samples of police sentiments.

“A more accurate headline would be `Non Compliant Fat Bastard Gets Just Due In Resisting Law Enforcement Officers,’” sneered one New York City cop. “I guess it’s the best thing for his tribe,” added another one. “He probably never worked a legit job. They city will pay off the family and they will be in Nigggaaa heaven for the rest of their lives!!”

“If the public isn’t willing to accept the fact that the officers did nothing wrong, they can go to hell,” groused one officer identified as Joe Hoffman, responding to another officer who protested that the treatment of Garner was unjustified and that the incident would engender a backlash. “I could care less how the public perceives us when we’re in the right and if YOU were any kind of law enforcement professional, you would understand that officer safety is FAR more important than public perception.”

As any “law enforcement professional” knows, there is no consideration more sacred than “officer safety” – and that the proper role of the public they “serve” is to offer unqualified praise for their costumed superiors, and to obey without cavil or question every directive that dribbles down their chins.

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How "Crazy Negroes" With Guns Helped Kill Jim Crow

 have a dream that one day children in seventh grade will have an American history textbook that is not like my son’s. Its heroes will not just be people from the past who upheld the middle-class values of modesty, chastity, sobriety, thrift, and industry. The rebels it celebrates will include not only abolitionists, suffragists, labor unionists, and civil rights leaders who confined their protests to peaceful and respectable writing, speaking, striking, and marching. In my dream, schoolchildren will read about people like C.O. Chinn.

Chinn was a black man in Canton, Mississippi, who in the 1960s owned a farm, a rhythm and blues nightclub, a bootlegging operation, and a large collection of pistols, rifles, and shotguns with which he threatened local Klansmen and police when they attempted to encroach on his businesses or intimidate civil rights activists working to desegregate Canton and register black residents to vote. After one confrontation, in which a pistol-packing Chinn forced the notoriously racist and brutal local sheriff to stand down inside the county courthouse during a hearing for a civil rights worker, the lawman admitted, “There are only two bad sons of bitches in this county: me and that nigger C.O. Chinn.”

Although the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were formally committed to nonviolence, when their volunteers showed up in Canton they happily received protection from Chinn and the militia of armed black men he managed. “Every white man in that town knew you didn’t fuck with C.O. Chinn,” remembered a CORE activist. “He’d kick your natural ass.” Consequently, Chinn’s Club Desire offered a safe haven for black performers such as B.B. King, James Brown, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and the Platters; illegal liquor flowed freely in the county; and, unlike their comrades in much of Mississippi, CORE and SNCC activists in Canton were able to register thousands of black voters with virtual impunity from segregationist violence. …

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Snowden tells hackers of the world to unite

Snowden gives the hacker community its marching orders: Fight surveillance by making privacy tools for everyone.

Edward Snowden addressed a packed-to-capacity crowd at the Hackers On Planet Earth (HOPE) conference with a message reminiscent of a line from the hacker scene’s favorite campy movie: Hackers of the world, unite.

“Technology enables dissent,” the former NSA contractor told the crowd of thousands via video screen, this time sans robot. He entreated the loose-knit community of hackers, engineers and activists to use their skills to fight surveillance by building a new generation of privacy tools that anyone—not just the technical elite—can easily use.

“The grad school students of the world need to think about what they can do to fix this,” he said, in a broadcast conversation with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and Freedom of the Press Foundation’s Trevor Timm. “We need to think about software as a way of expressing our freedom, but also as a way of defending our freedom.”

Dissent is the theme of this year’s HOPE conference, and there’s no shortage of it among the event’s various talks, workshops and panels. A huge portion are devoted to teaching and developing the art of digital self-defense in a world where government mass-surveillance is a fact of life. …

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Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism: The Anarchist Black Cross

Prisons are the antithesis of all we stand for as anarchists. While we seek a society built around peace and bodily autonomy, prisons are violent institutions that trap inmates at gunpoint and make them vulnerable to rape and murder. Where we seek justice through restitution, reconciliation, and self-defense, prisons are based on punitive vengeance. While we seek a society free from oppression based on race, gender, class, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, prisons systematically brutalize the most marginalized among us.

As anarchists, we admire those who resist oppression. The state, on the other hand, uses prisons to confine and brutalize those who resist. Heroic whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning and John Kiriakou are locked up, while the war criminals and corrupt rulers they exposed keep their positions of power and privilege. The state locked up CeCe McDonald, the New Jersey 4, and other queer and trans people in a notoriously transphobic and homophobic prison system, simply as punishment for defending themselves from aggressors. Black liberation revolutionaries are confined in cages and often tortured in solitary confinement, while cops who murder people of color keep their jobs and their power.

One way to mitigate the violence and harm inflicted by the prison state is to support its most immediate victims: prisoners themselves. Since the early 20th century, the Anarchist Black Cross has been doing just that. Their members write letters to political prisoners and prisoners of war. This builds social relationships and community across the divides the state seeks to maintain, it lets prisoners know they’re not alone, and it helps undermine the dehumanization that is core to imprisonment. Anarchist Black Cross groups also raise money for political prisoners and their legal defense funds.

Rather than requesting reforms from the state, Anarchist Black Cross members directly make the world a better place for those the state has brutalized. Their approach is fundamentally entrepreneurial, as it involves using the resources at one’s disposal to directly serve people’s needs. Yet it is fundamentally revolutionary, using this entrepreneurship to support those who have lost their liberty in the struggle against capitalist domination. It’s thus quite fitting that the Center for a Stateless Society’s Entrepreneurial Anti-Capitalism Project has sent funds to two active chapters of the Anarchist Black Cross: the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and the Mexico City Anarchist Black Cross.

We urge you to support their work too. You can donate to the Denver ABC here and you can contact the Mexico City ABC here to find out how to help. You can also help support prisoners by writing to some of the various prisoners these organizations support. Around the world, the Anarchist Black Cross is engaging in vital work to support prisoners, resist violent repression of social movements, and build up mutual aid. Until all are free from the state’s brutal prison system, the work of these Anarchist Black Cross groups and others like them will remain a vital part of the anarchist movement.

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"Underneath the veneer of common interest between the government, big business, and the general public provided by the legitimizing ideology of “patriotism”, there is and always has been a symbiotic corporate-state alliance parasitic on the latter. The state provides corporations such favors as liability shields, regulations keeping out new competitors, and labor laws preventing workers from holding out for higher wages. In return, the corporations — as Martin Short’s satirical lobbyist Nathan Thurm put it when pressed to defend the vast amounts of corporate welfare received by his clients from the government — “give a lot of that money back”."

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This book explores the impact of dramatic technological and social changes on work and manufacturing. Kevin Carson uses real-world examples and theoretical insights to illuminate the conflict between two economies: one a highly-capitalized, high-overhead, and bureaucratically ossified conventional economy, the subsidized and protected product of sustained collusion between big government and big business; the other a low capital, low-overhead, agile and resilient alternative economy, outperforming the state capitalist economy despite being hobbled and driven underground. The Homebrew Industrial Revolution explains clearly and powerfully why the alternative economy is winning–and why we should welcome its victory.

Kevin A. Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and a prolific writer on subjects including free-market anti-cap­it­al­ism, the in­div­idualist anarchist tradition, grassroots technology and radical unionism. He is the author of ”The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand”Studies in Mutualist Political EconomyOrganization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution. He keeps a blog at mutualist.blogspot.com and frequently publishes short columns and longer research reports for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Support C4SS with Kevin Carson’s “The Homebrew Industrial Revolution”

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“Building the Structure of the New Society Within the Shell of the Old”

A key objective should be building the secondary institutions we need to make the resources we already have more usable. Most people engage in a great deal of informal production to meet their own needs, but lack either access or awareness of the institutional framework by which they might cooperate and exchange with others involved in similar activities. Expanding LETS systems and increasing public awareness of them is vital. Every need that can be met by producing for oneself, or exchanging one’s own produce for that of a neighbor, increases the amount of one’s total consumption needs that can be met without depending on employment at someone else’s whim. If an organic gardener lives next door to a plumber and they exchange produce for plumbing work, neither one can provide an outlet for the other’s entire output. But both, at least, will have a secure source of supply for both his vegetables and plumbing needs, and an equally secure market for the portion of his own output consumed by the other. The more different trades come into the system, the larger the proportion of total needs that can be met outside the framework of a job.

Ultimately, we need a cooperative alternative to the capitalists’ banking system, to increase the cooperative economy’s access to its own mutual credit. This is illegal, under the terms of capitalist banking law. The banking system is set up to prevent ordinary people from leveraging their own property for interest-free credit through mutual banking. Gary Elkin has argued that it might be possible to slip mutual banking in through the back door, by piggybacking it on a LETS system. Members of a LETS system might start out by extending store credit against the future labor of other members, and expand from there. …

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RIP, Anne Conte, Age Nine — A Casualty of Marijuana Prohibition – LewRockwell.com

Anna Conte of Albany, New York has died at the age of nine, a casualty of the bureaucratized cruelty and misguided sanctimony of drug prohibition.

Desperate to get relief for their daughter, Anna’s mother and father had traveled across the country to Colorado, exploring the possibility of moving there in order to have access to cannabis oil. Because of its relatively humane and comparably sensible state laws dealing with marijuana, people seeking to make medical use of cannabis — including parents of children like Anna, who suffered from Dravet’s syndrome — have looked upon the state as the terminus of what amounts to a modern Underground Railroad.

Last January, amid a gale-force outburst of self-approval, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would take executive action to resurrect a 1980 state program allowing limited therapeutic and medical use of marijuana. But that program would have amounted to another drug war subsidy. It would have left in place prohibitions against growing marijuana for medical use and importing it from other states. This means that the only “legal” way to obtain marijuana would be for families like Anna’s to buy it from police, who had stolen it from private providers.

For people of Cuomo’s ilk, it is perfectly acceptable for sick people to buy “illegal” marijuana, providing that the tax-feeding class receives all of the profits.

Anna and her parents have been prominent advocates for decriminalization of medical marijuana. The same state political system that acts with eager urgency to expand restrictions on gun ownership in the name of “saving children” responded with torpid indifference to the plight of a child whose life could have been saved by removing restrictions on cannabis use. A few weeks ago, the New York State Legislature enacted a measure allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat afflictions such as the severe form of epilepsy from which Anna suffered. For reasons of institutional inertia, however, that measure won’t take effect until late next year.

At the time the bill was enacted, Anna was in the audience at the state capitol, and she was reportedly the first to leap to her feet to applaud. This was a selfless gesture of gratitude on behalf of other children who may eventually benefit once the new law goes into effect. Both Anna and her mother Wendy knew that by the time the youngster could have unimpeded access to cannabis oil it would be far too late.

Anna suffered hundreds of seizures each day. As the child’s body deteriorated, all that her mother Wendy could do was to capitalize on fleeting moments of tranquility to read or sing to her daughter, calming and comforting her in lieu of administering a medication that was being withheld from them for reasons no rational person can explain. Because of marijuana prohibition, Wendy Conte could do little more than watch her daughter slowly die in avoidable agony.