Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
Who are The Poor Going to Ask for Restitution?
Last Friday (04/11), a piece of land property in Rio’s suburbia was reinstated to telecom giant Oi. The area was known as “favela da Telerj” and had been occupied by 5,000 people, mostly from Mandela, Manguinhos, and Jacarezinho favelas, who built improvised homes there. There were serious confrontations with the Military Police in the enforcement…
Draw the Pirate and Become a Reason-Approved “Free Market Think-Tank!”
If you thought the standards of the Famous Artists’ School (“Can You Draw the Pirate?”) on old matchbook covers were lax, wait till you see Reason magazine’s criteria for recognition as a “free market think-tank.” The American Federation of Teachers blacklists asset managers who manage public sector employees’ defined benefit pension funds, but have contributed…
Tax Day: What Kind of “Civilization” Are We Paying For?
April 15 seems to be a holiday of sorts for progressives, who inevitably trot out Oliver Wendell Holmes’s quote about taxes being “the price we pay for civilization,” and reminding us of all the great stuff — roads, schools, etc. — that they pay for. But on closer examination, tax day really isn’t a very…
April 15: Funding the Empire
Tax day, April 15th, is a day of celebration in the United States. On this day we citizens of the great republic take pride in the fact that we can come together in a democratic society and make decisions cooperatively with one another. The fruits of our labor, beholden to the IRS, will now be…
Working Three Jobs to Make Ends Meet? This Might be Why
The US Center for Medicare Services recently published a database of physician Medicare billing histories. One interesting bit of information from data release is the fact that a leading source of expenditures for big billers is drugs. As it turns out, Medicare incentivizes physicians to choose the most expensive drugs by reimbursing them for the…
A Mother vs. an Abusive Nanny
What would you do if your daughter had an incurable disease? A daughter destined to spend the rest of her life having frequent seizures, uncontrollable by any medicine available in your country? Or, worse: whose only medicine could be acquired abroad, but your country forbids it and labels you a criminal if you do that?…
Campaign Finance Reform is Small Change
Here we go again: The US Supreme Court has relaxed some political contribution limits. Cue the hype. Last year, 2013, was the first year of the 2014 campaign cycle. Question #1: How much did federal elected officials spend on their 2014 campaigns last year? Answer:  At least $3.45 trillion — a little over $6.4 billion…
Charles Koch Clutches Pearls, Dies of Moral Rectitude
Charles Koch of Koch Industries, wounded to the core of his being by allegations from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others that his championing of the “free market” conceals lobbying efforts to rig the system in his favor, sufficiently recovered his composure to respond in a Wall Street Journal op-ed (“I”m Fighting to Restore…
Did Somebody Say McThor’s?
The analogy in the headline “Thor 2 is a Cinematic McDonald’s Cheeseburger” (Eileen Jones, Jacobin) is apt. There is indeed a strong parallel between the predominance in comics-to-film adaptations and diner-food restaurants: A few homogenous, formulaic products aimed at broad mass-market appeal. But far from Jones’s “perfect example of how market competition does not actually provide us with the…
With “Kenyan Anti-Colonialists” Like This, Who Needs Imperialists?
Back in 2010 Newt Gingrich explained that US president Barack Obama lies “outside our comprehension” unless we use his “Kenyan, anti-colonial” ideological orientation as a reference point for understanding his bizarre actions. Obama has been amazingly successful at concealing his deep-seated hatred of colonialism — to the point of praising Europe, in a speech last…
Can the State Pardon Itself?
A retired colonel was heard on March 25th by Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade) to clarify how “political prisoners were tortured” and identify “who was alive when they arrived, who died and who is still missing, as well as the torturers” from Casa da Morte (“Death House”), an underground center for repression located…
How Not to Respond to Charges of Hypocrisy
More than a decade ago, neoconservative bloggers coined the term “Fisking” for the polemical device (originally demonstrated against left-leaning journalist Robert Fisk) of taking apart a commentary, sentence by sentence,  analytically ripping each part to shreds. Although the neocon positions in this debate range from misguided to repugnant, the technique itself is a good one.…
“Free Flow of Information Act” is Bad for Journalism
US Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) believes the Senate has enough votes to pass the Free Flow of Information Act, creating a federal “shield law” for the first time. The bill was ostensibly written to address the Justice Department’s unprecedented acquisition of Associated Press phone records, as well as several other high-profile cases where journalists might…
Net Neutrality and Its Lies
I tried to find a one simple case of censorship or content discrimination in Internet services in Brazil. I looked for cases in which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) blocked access to specific websites or offered more expensive plans that afforded access to more content. As incredible as it may sound, I found nothing. I thought…
Net Neutrality is a Distraction, not the Real Problem
The so-called Civil Landmark for the Internet, approved by Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies on March 25, now proceeds to the Senate. One of the main selling points of the bill is “net neutrality,” a legal device to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from offering various Internet access plans — for instance, a cheaper price for just…
The Forever of Anti-Capitalism
From a free market anti-capitalist perspective, Jeremy Rifkin’s account of “The Rise of Anti-Capitalism” [New York Times, March 15] gets it almost right. Rifkin’s thesis that “The inherent dynamism of competitive markets is bringing costs so far down that many goods and services are becoming nearly free, abundant,” in a process which “is about to…
Factory Farming: Who are the Real Statists Here?
In the mainstream libertarian movement, accusations of “statism” typically focus on a fairly predictable set of targets. Anyone who complains of racism, sexism or other social justice issues, the economic exploitation of workers or degradation of the environment is reflexively accused of statism on the assumption that exploitation, injustice and pollution could only be problems…
The Sorry Spectacle of the Widows of the Dictatorship
Many people in Brazil are still rather sympathetic to the military dictatorship that ruled the country until the 1980s. It isn’t uncommon to hear from older people that, back then, jobs were plenty, public education was decent, and violence was not out of control — that the country was in order. Sure it was. But…
Putin, Obama Agree: Everyone Into the Briar Patch!
Since reading 1984 as an adolescent, I’ve remained perpetually amazed at George Orwell’s prescience. The Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald surveillance state strip-tease has recently focused attention on one aspect of that predictive acumen, but “we have always been at war with Eastasia” is returning to the fore due to the … “situation” … with Ukraine, Crimea and…
She was the Rule, Not an Exception
Claudia Silva Ferreira’s crime, last March 16, was living in the wrong place and having the wrong skin color. She went out to buy bread and ham, a cup of coffee in hand. We can never know how lethal a cup of coffee might be if held by a black, poor woman living on the…