Link

Libertarian Left: Free-Market Anti-Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal

… Here is something Marx got right. Indeed, Kevin Carson seconds Marx’s “eloquent passage”: “these new freedmen became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire.”

This system of privilege and exploitation has had long-distorting effects that continue to afflict most people to this day, while benefiting the ruling elite; Carson calls it “the subsidy of history.” This is not to deny that living standards have generally risen in market-oriented mixed economies but rather to point out that living standards for average workers would be even higher—not to mention less debt-based—and wealth disparities less pronounced in a freed market.

The “free-market anti-capitalism” of left-libertarianism is no contradiction, nor is it a recent development. It permeated Tucker’s Liberty,and the identification of worker exploitation harked back at least to Thomas Hodgskin (1787-1869), a free-market radical who was one of the first to apply the term “capitalist” disparagingly to the beneficiaries of government favors bestowed on capital at the expense of labor. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, “socialism” did not exclusively mean collective or government ownership of the means or production but was an umbrella term for anyone who believed labor was cheated out of its natural product under historical capitalism. …

Link

Into Libraries

In every city and in most towns there still exist such bastions of communism so radical as to make even dastardly terrorist cells like the Pirate Bay pale by comparison. For in these crooked dens one might find not just the free sharing of information but non-consumable physical goods as well. Some even allow you to checkout tools! Libraries are one of the few places where the ideology of theft and censorship that is intellectual property has never really taken root. It should come as no surprise that we love libraries and what they stand for, even in those situations where their operation has been unfortunately been seized by the state.

We believe the marketplace of ideas should be truly free. And in the same idealism that Libraries are founded on we’ve released all our books as PDFs. But there’s still something to be said for physical copies. As a media center we do what we can to get our ideas into newspapers and venues of all forms around the world, but when it comes to your local library, nothing beats filling out a request form in person! That’s why we’re calling upon all our supporters to help us get our books into libraries near you.

More often than not libraries will pick up a request, especially if filled out completely, but of course the more people who make it the more assured it is.

Title: Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty
Editors: Gary Chartier & Charles W. Johnson
Publisher: Minor Compositions (Autonomedia Imprint)
ISBN: 978-1570272424
OCLC #: 757148527
Price: $32
Format: Softcover
Edition: 1st. Edition
Date: November 5, 2011

You can check our progress here!

Link

Kill the Job Culture before it kills you! | out of step

It’s Labor Day weekend, the national holiday created in 1887 to pacify American workers then being suppressed and killed by U.S. marshals and soldiers. So there’s probably no better time for me to re-examine my dogeared copy of Claire Wolfe’s manifesto How to Kill the Job Culture Before it Kills You: Living a Life of Autonomy in a Wage-Slave Society.

When this book was published by the late Loompanics Unlimited a decade ago, I remarked how I wished it had appeared sometime during my 16-year stretch in Corporate America. It might have saved me a few years of suit-and-tie dress codes, unproductive business meetings, back-stabbing politics, and daily two-hour round-trip commutes to downtown Los Angeles. Its advice on how to plan an escape from the rat race was, and still is, top-notch.

But what made How to Kill the Job Culture especially important was the role it played as a first-rate primer on the radical free-market case against state-corporate capitalism. In a chapter titled “The Free-Market Case Against Jobs,” Wolfe wrote:

“Submission to the endless rules of institutions is the same, whether those institutions are run from boardrooms or bureaucratic agencies. Obedience to authority is obedience to authority, no matter which authority we choose to bow before. Surrendering self-ownership is surrendering self-ownership, whether you give yourself up to Global MegaCorp, Inc. or surrender your authority over your life to Rule No. 762.32(A)(1)(b) of Federal Agency XYZ.”

Wolfe admitted there are substantial distinctions between big government and big business, not the least of which being that we’re compelled to live under the coercive State but deal with big business voluntarily for the most part. But she argued simply and directly that…

“Big, all-controlling government and the large institutions of the Industrial Revolution were born together, from the same roots, for many of the same purposes — to regiment, centralize, homogenize, and control. To succeed in their purposes, both needed to turn a population of rowdy, diverse individuals into a compliant, largely robotic, mass. And — it’s horrible, but undeniable — big government and big corporate institutions were created side-by-side as two facets of one increasingly formidable war-making machine.

“It didn’t ‘just happen’ that two allegedly diverse institutions came together for the same purpose at the same time. And it doesn’t ‘just happen’ today that those same institutions continue to reinforce each other in war and peace.”

The Job Culture, Wolfe asserted, weakens our free will. It instills in us an irresponsible “someone else will deal with it” mentality. …

Link

Creators of New Fed-Proof Bitcoin Marketplace Swear It’s Not for Drugs | Threat Level | WIRED

… “We’re just really passionate about allowing peer-to-peer trade to happen online. We want that to exist,” says Sam Patterson, the operations lead for the non-profit project. “The internet allowed you to communicate directly. Bitcoin allowed you to send money directly. Now you can trade directly.”

And just what will you trade on OpenBazaar? A good first guess might be drugs. The multi-headed marketplace, after all, is designed to thwart law enforcement seizures or takedowns that arrest any one person or group. And though it doesn’t currently offer much anonymity by default, Patterson says its initial version can be used through a VPN to hide users’ IP addresses, and it will soon integrate the anonymity software Tor or I2P.

In fact, OpenBazaar was first launched in April as a spinoff of another open-source prototype called DarkMarket. That project’s anarchist creator, Amir Taaki, says he was inspired by the FBI’s takedown of the Silk Road and designed DarkMarket to “equip the people with the tools needed for the next generation of digital black markets.” …

Video

C4SS Feed 44 presents David S. D’Amato's “Avowals of Selfhood: Review of Egoism” read and edited by Nick Ford.

For the egoist, individualism must precede anarchism, for the affirmation of self is the source of the denial of all authority — individualism being the more general thing, anarchism a specific implication. Any anarchism that sets itself up as above individualism becomes its own cause with its own designs and will, subordinating the unique individual, becoming a new “alleged higher interest,” in Apio Ludd’s words. Perhaps this is why many anarchists deny egoists the title, and likewise why many egoists repudiate it themselves, as did Sidney Parker and Dora Marsden.

Feed 44:

Bitcoin tips welcome:

  • 1N1pF6fLKAGg4nH7XuqYQbKYXNxCnHBWLB
Quote

"Those who chose not to take the raised alert level seriously displayed the typically British response of taking the piss, with numerous “#ThreatLevel” parodies doing the rounds on Twitter. When you nearly fourteen times more likely to drown in a bathtub than be the victim of a terrorist attack, such disregard for government threat levels is understandable. Terror attacks are horrific, and no reasonable person would say otherwise. But you (or indeed someone you know) being a victim of an attack is stupendously improbable."

Photo

In this essay, Nathan Goodman (Center for a Stateless Society) discusses how the Knowledge Problems facing elites, “experts” or “representat­ives” recur not only in economics, but also in cultural conflicts over gender, disability, and other systems of structural social privilege. The danger of trying to make decisions for others, when cut off from the dispersed, tacit or local knowledge that they have, show how Hayekian limits on what we can know also apply to the the struggles and the challenges of other oppressed and marginalized people.

“IN HIS CLASSIC ESSAY, “THE USE OF KNOWLEDGE IN SOCIETY,” F. A. Hayek explains the concept of distributed knowledge. Every individual has unique knowledge shaped by their experiences and preferences, knowledge that may not be accessible to others, no matter how well educated they may be. But Hayek’s point about distributed knowledge applies to more than just economic issues. It also applies to social issues… .

“JUST AS WITH ECONOMICS, THESE SOCIAL PROBLEMS of epistemological hubris become bigger when government gets involved. By definition, politicians do not have the knowledge of everyone their policies will impact. But often, when marginalized groups are impacted, politicians become extra prone to ignore those from an affected population… .

“ULTIMATELY CALLS FOR PEOPLE TO CHECK THEIR PRIVILEGE are not an attempt to silence. Rather, they are an attempt to get people to recognize the limits of their knowledge. Libertarians should have the humility to check our privilege, to listen to oppressed people who discuss their experiences, and to respect oppressed peoples’ rights to direct their own struggles for liberation… .”

Nathan Goodman is a writer and activist living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been involved in LGBT, feminist, anti-war, and prisoner solidarity organizing. He writes frequent commentaries for the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and keeps a blog, Dissenting Leftist (dissentingleftist.blogspot.com).

Support C4SS with Nathan Goodman’s “The Knowledge Problem of Privilege”

Link

Punishment vs. Restitution: A Formulation

Kinds of Coercion

How should criminals be treated in a libertarian polity? Is it permissible to punish them? Why or why not? In what follows I’d like to outline the answers I personally have reached to these questions, stressing that I speak only for myself, and would be happy to receive comments and criticism.

Let’s define coercion as the forcible subjection, actual or threatened, of the person or property of another to one’s own uses, without that other’s consent. In light of this definition, it is possible to distinguish three kinds of coercion:

a. Defensive coercion: I use coercion against you, but only to the extent necessary to end your aggression against me (or someone I legitimately represent).

b. Retaliatory coercion: I use coercion against you, but while you are aggressing against me (or someone I legitimately represent), my coercion exceeds the extent necessary to end such aggression on your part.

c. Initiatory coercion (or aggression): I use coercion against you, although you are not using coercion against me (or anyone I legitimately represent). …

Link

Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: 'The Problem Is I'm Black'

If you’ve never experienced arbitrary harassment or brutality at the hands of a police officer, or seen law enforcement act in a way that defies credulity and common sense, it can be hard to believe people who tell stories of inexplicable persecution. As I noted in “Video Killed Trust in Police Officers,” the dawn of cheap recording technology has exposed an ugly side of U.S. law enforcement that a majority of people in middle-class neighborhoods never would’ve seen otherwise. 

Today, what’s most disheartening isn’t that so many Americans still reflexively doubt stories of police harassment, as awful as it is whenever real victims are ignored. What vexes me most is police officers caught acting badly on camera who suffer no consequences and are defended by the police agencies that employ them. 

The latest example of abusive, atrocious police work posted to YouTube comes from St. Paul, Minnesota, where a black father, Chris Lollie, reportedly got off work at Cossetta, an upscale Italian eatery, walked to the downtown building that houses New Horizon Academy, where he was to to pick up his kids, and killed the ten minutes until they’d be released sitting down on a chair in a skyway between buildings. Those details come from the Minneapolis City Pageswhere commenters describe the area he inhabited as a public thoroughfare between commercial buildings. If you’re 27 and black with dreadlocks, sometimes you’re waiting to pick up your kids and someone calls the cops to get rid of you. The police report indicates a call about “an uncooperative male refusing to leave,” which makes it sound as though someone else first asked him to vacate where he was; another press report says that he was sitting in a chair in a public area when a security guard approached and told him to leave as the area was reserved for employees. The Minnesota Star Tribune visited the seating area and reported that ”there was no signage in the area indicating that it was reserved for employees.” 

So a man waiting to pick up his kids from school sits for a few minutes in a seating area where he reasonably thinks he has a right to be, private security asks him to leave, he thinks they’re harassing him because he’s black, and they call police. This is where the video begins, and that conflict is already over. The man is walking away from it and toward the nearby school where he is to pick up his kids.

So problem solved? It could have been. …

Link

What Gave Bitcoin Its Value?

Many people who have never used bitcoin look at it with confusion. Why does this magic Internet money have any value at all? It’s just some computer thing that someone made up.

Consider the criticism of goldbugs, who have, for decades, pushed the idea that sound money must be backed by something real, hard, and independently valuable.

Bitcoin doesn’t qualify, right?

Maybe it does. Let’s take a closer look. 

Bitcoin first emerged as a possible competitor to national, government-managed money nearly six years ago. Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper was released October 31, 2008. The structure and language of this paper sent the message: this currency is for computer technicians, not economists nor political pundits. The paper’s circulation was limited; novices who read it were mystified. 

But the lack of interest didn’t stop history from moving forward. Two months later, those who were paying attention saw the emergence of the “Genesis Block,” the first group of bitcoins generated through Nakamoto’s concept of a distributed ledger that lived on any computer node in the world that wanted to host it. …