Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
Books & Reviews
A Stiff Upper Lip Doesn’t Make Politics Go Away
Iain Levison’s A Working Stiff Manifesto (2002) reads like a less political and more sardonic version of Barbara Ehrenreich’s tale of the working poor in America, Nickel and Dimed. The subtitle, A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine that Fired me, and Three I Can’t Remember means that Levison gives a more detailed account…
A Country Called “Favela”
Rocinha Hill in Rio de Janeiro (source: sean fitz @ Flickr) “Um país chamado favela” (literally, “A Country Called Favela”) is a surprisingly excellent book about the Brazilian favelas [1], written by Renato Meirelles and Celso Athayde. Without any recommendation, I spotted it on a local library and read it in one sitting. The approach…
Individual Autonomy and Self-Determination
Wayne Price. “Kevin Carson’s Revival of Individualist Anarchist Economic Theory” Anarkismo.net, November 30, 2014. Wayne Price’s overall summary of my approach in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (also available online) is quite even-handed and fair (unlike some others, e.g. the critique of Markets Not Capitalism, ed. by Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier, by Crimethinc’s Magpie…
Venture Communism
Dmytri Kleiner. The Telekommunist Manifesto. Network Notebook Series (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2010). Kleiner starts with a materialist analysis of class relations quite similar to Marx’s. Through their access to the wealth that results from the continuous capture of surplus value, capitalists offer each generation of innovators a chance to become a junior partner…
The Coming Swarm
Molly Sauter. The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet (New York, London, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2014). “The aim of this work,” Sauter writes, “is to place DDoS [distributed denial of service] actions… in a historical and theoretical context, covering the use of the tactic, its development over time, and…
The Communism of Everyday Life
David Graeber. Debt: The First 5000 Years (Brooklyn and London: Melville House, 2011). David Graeber, as we already saw to be the case with Elinor Ostrom, is characterized above all by a faith in human creativity and agency, and an unwillingness to let a priori theoretical formulations either preempt his perceptions of the particularity and…
Introduction to the Portuguese Version of Iron Fist
The publication of “Iron Fist” in late 2001 was a milestone for me. Larry Gambone’s decision to publish it as a Red Lion Press pamphlet was an honor, and was the main thing that kicked off my career as a published writer (as opposed to the kind who writes angry letters to the editor and…
Debt: The Possibilities Ignored
It’s no secret that economists and libertarians have developed a bad habit of assuming things about history and other societies on first principle without actually checking archaeological or anthropological findings. On occasion the divide can be quite stark. David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years gets a lot of momentum by attacking a widely circulated…
New Wine in Old Bottles
Big is not beautiful when it comes to economics. This is the key message of Kevin Carson’s “Industrial Policy: New Wine in Old Bottles“. His essay makes compelling arguments in favour of an anarchist society based on small-scale community manufacturing, peer-to-peer production and decentralised production. Carson sets out the ways in which the state concentrates economic…
George Reisman — Piketty’s Capital
George Reisman. Piketty’s Capital: Wrong Theory, Destructive Program (TJS Books, 2014). Reisman’s critique of Piketty, from beginning to end, is nothing but pronouncements of a priori Austrian dogma from Böhm-Bawerk and Mises, with no direct contact with reality outside the pages of their work at any point in the process. He makes dogmatic pronouncements about…
Bringing an Unfortunately Obscure Educational Movement to Life
It is a testament to Paul Avrich’s talents as a historian and writer that his book on the Modern School Movement, a libertarian educational movement of the early twentieth century, remains not only the essential text on an unfortunately obscure topic, but also a worthwhile resource for understanding the various currents of American radicalism and…
Two Foundational Elements of Statelessness
The book I will discuss below develops and defends the idea of law without a state. The book’s blurb tells us the following: This book elaborates and defends the idea of law without the state. Animated by a vision of peaceful, voluntary cooperation as a social ideal and building on a careful account of non-aggression,…
Noontime Songs of Freedom
The Collected Writings of Renzo Novatore (2012, Ardent Press), edited by Wolfi Landstriecher is split up chronologically and features most of Novatore’s known work at the time. It most notably features his longest and relatively best known work “Towards the Creative Nothing” which takes up a big portion of the book at thirty-five pages. In…
New Forms of Worker Organization
Immanuel Ness, ed. New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism (Oakland: PM Press, 2014) (Amazon link). In his foreword to the book, Staughton Lynd describes the official model of unionism in the United States, first pioneered by the company unions under the American Plan (especially by the company union…
Markets Not Capitalism: A Review
Markets not Capitalism is a wonderfully compiled set of readings spanning 150 years of the market anarchist tradition. We must first commend Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson on their work in bringing all this great literature together and bundling it in a fantastic book for those interested in what market anarchism truly has to offer, as…
Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book
With Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, coauthors Jordan Raphael and Tom Spurgeon provide a balanced biography — thorough, yet a concise 300 pages; sympathetic yet markedly non-hagiographic — of not only the titular comics stalwart, shown punching through the comics page like one of his larger-than-life creations in the playful cover illustration; not even just…
Playboy Interview: Karl Hess
At first glance, a no-holds-barred conversation with an anarchist might seem the most inappropriate centerpiece imaginable for a magazine issue marking the bicentennial of the United States of America. But then again, Karl Hess was no ordinary “anarchist.” For all its brazen anti-statism, Hess’s “red-white-and-blue anarchy” fits like a glove with a cover that proclaims “Happy…
Lincoln-Worship Overlays the Corporatist Agenda
Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again by Rich Lowry (HarperCollins 2013), 390 pages. One of the central themes in James Scott’s Seeing Like a State is the ideology he calls “authoritarian high modernism”: It is best conceived as a strong (one might even say muscle-bound)…
Geography and Anarchy: A Libertarian Social Order As Goal
The earth’s surface, the natural environment, human, animal and plant life, but also the culture, have all been mapped out for centuries. Old cartography and engravings often show this with striking images. How one understands and interprets this mapping and imaging will depend largely upon the state of scientific development at the time. The reasons why people begin this…
Psychology for Anarchists
Robert Anton Wilson’s 203-page mindbender, Quantum Psychology: How Your Brain Software Programs You and Your World, is more than meets the eye. The subtitle suggests a self-help book, and it appears to be just that in many respects. But twenty pages in, one realizes that there is no labeling this one. It is a psychedelic…