Mutual Exchange Radio: Jahed Momand on Epistemological Anarchism

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

This month, we interrupt our scheduled episodes to bring you a special episode from the Please Try This at Home transhumanism conference. In this episode, podcast producer Alex McHugh interviews Jahed Momand on autonomous medicine.

Jahed is a PNW-based anarchist interested in epistemological anarchism and radical approaches to science. He writes long-form essays and a newsletter at In the episode, we get into the problems caused by hierarchy and authority in scientific discovery, and specifically the limitations this system has placed on treatment options for mental health issues. Jahed’s research focuses on depression, but we also dig into other mental health issues, such as psychotic disorders and personality disorders. It’s a bit science-heavy, but Jahed explains the terms well and anyone with a basic understanding of biology should be able to keep up.

The episode with Kim Kelly has been rescheduled to next month, so if you were looking forward to that, don’t worry, it’s still happening! We’ll talk about some of the history of pro-gun groups on the left and the anarchist opposition to gun control, but we’ll also cover what it’s like to be a radical writer in today’s media landscape. This also means you have more time to submit questions for Kim over at Patreon! Look out for tips on navigating submissions to non-radical publications as well as a discussion on the world of radical media.

As always, none of this would be possible without our patrons and listeners, thank you so much! 

Molinari Review I.1 Now Free Online, Molinari Review I.2 Heading to Print

In celebration of the 17th anniversary of the Molinari Institute, we’re happy to announce:

a) The long-awaited second issue of the Molinari Review will be published later this month. More details soon!

b) In the meantime, the entire first issue is now available for free online on the journal’s archive page. You can download either individual articles or the whole thing. Contents include:

  • “The Right to Privacy Is Tocquevillean, Not Lockean: Why It Matters” by Julio Rodman
  • “Libertarianism and Privilege” by Billy Christmas
  • “Capitalism, Free Enterprise, and Progress: Partners or Adversaries?” by Darian Nayfeld Worden
  • “Turning the Tables: The Pathologies and Unrealized Promise of Libertarianism” by Gus diZerega
  • Review of C. B. Daring, J. Rogue, Deric Shannon, and Abbey Volcano’s Queering Anarchism: Addressing and Undressing Power and Desire by Nathan Goodman


Mutual Exchange Radio: Nathan Goodman on the Provision of Public Goods and Welfare in a Stateless Society

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.


This month, Nathan Goodman joined us on Mutual Exchange Radio to discuss the provision of public goods and welfare in a stateless society. Nathan is a PhD student in economics at George Mason University. Previously, he was the Lysander Spooner Research Scholar in Abolitionist Studies here at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS), and you can read his contributions here.

His research interests include defense and peace economics, Austrian economics, public choice, Bloomington school institutional analysis, self-governance, and analytical anarchism. Our discussion centers around his research on why national defense might not always be a public good and how the Mormon church has found ways around game theoretic problems that arise in mutual aid. He also gives a really helpful introduction to polycentricity and some key economic concepts.

Our next episode will feature Kim Kelly, an anarchist writer whose piece on leftist gun culture enjoyed some popularity recently. We’ll talk about some of the history of pro-gun groups on the left and the anarchist opposition to gun control, but we’ll also cover what it’s like to be a radical writer in today’s media landscape. Look out for tips on navigating submissions to non-radical publications as well as a discussion on the world of radical media.

As always, none of this would be possible without our patrons. You can become a supporter of Mutual Exchange Radio — and gain access to bonus content, great C4SS merch, and more — on Patreon. Tune in next month for another perspective in anarchist thought, and always feel free to reach out on Patreon, ask questions, and suggest guests or bonus content you’d like to see!

Statement on the P2P Foundation

It grieves me to write this, but I feel I have no choice but to do so if I want to be able to live with myself in good conscience.

I remember some time ago that Michel Bauwens posted something on the P2P Foundation email list reflecting the mindset of Jordan Peterson and/or Quillette (I forget the details) and expressed my negative reaction to it, and didn’t think any more about it afterward because I didn’t notice anything further along those lines on-list and the Blog has also apparently steered clear of such issues.

But earlier this year a comrade at C4SS informed me that such material — alt-right or “Intellectual Dark Web”-adjacent — was appearing on the P2PF Facebook group, which I don’t follow because I’m not on Facebook. They suggested I might want to think about how closely I associated myself with the Foundation, and avoid any public interviews or guest articles that promoted them. That made me uneasy enough that I minimized the amount of P2PF material I shared on Twitter and limited it to the stuff I considered genuinely indispensable, and any material I saw on the Blog I shared from the original source rather than the P2PF Blog reprint as I would have earlier.

I still wasn’t prepared to make a sharp, public break because I had no idea just how toxic things had gotten.

But in the past couple of days, it’s come to my attention that the Facebook group is rife with tropes from the Intellectual Dark Web, along with explicit promotions of Quillette, Aero and the like as antidotes to “Political Correctness” and “identity politics.” Michel and others have also explicitly iterated common alt-right “reverse hierarchies” tropes suggestive that those in movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, as the common bar room refrain puts it, “don’t just want to be equal, they want to be superior!” The wrong-headed (and just plain incorrect) assessment that “identity politics” promotes disunity in economic- or class-based movements also makes a predictable appearance, as does the spurious claim that these things “push people farther right.”

On top of everything else, those who have called out Michel and others for the direction they are taking have been banned from the Facebook group, and have been subjected behind the scenes to campaigns harassing and attempting to discredit them. This is despicable.

As I noted at the outset, this is very hard for me. Michel has shown me great kindness in the past and promoted my work on the P2PF Blog in ways that have been invaluable. Aside from such personal considerations, a great deal of earlier work by Michel, Franco Iacomella, and others is still of monumental importance, and I will continue to cite it in my own work when appropriate.

Nevertheless, I cannot continue to associate myself with an organization whose internal culture has been overrun and contaminated with such ideas, and where such ideas are actively promoted by the leadership. You are giving aid and comfort to a toxic ideology that came to prominence thanks to utterly wretched movements, hatched in the bowels of 8chan, like GamerGate and ComicsGate, which proliferated on social media and in turn gave birth to the alt-right, and are now being mainstreamed by Quillette, the “Intellectual Dark Web,” and pundits ranging from Reason’s Robby Soave and Cathy Young on the right to people like Aimee Terese, Jimmy Dore, and Michael Tracey on the “Dirtbag Left.”

For this reason, I publicly disassociate myself from the Peer-to-Peer Foundation, Michel Bauwens and anyone else engaged in the activities I described above. I will unsubscribe from the Foundation’s email list and no longer promote its content on social media. When I do cite their valuable older work in future publications, I will always add a footnoted disclaimer stating my views on the course they have chosen to take.

I urge Michel and others sharing his views to strongly rethink the direction in which they are headed. The possibilities of Wikileaks, and its accomplishments in 2010-11 in helping to launch the Arab Spring, M15 and Occupy, were of inestimable value. Julian Assange chose to undermine and compromise Wikileaks by hijacking it as a personal marketing and propaganda vehicle, using it to promote his anti-“SJW” agenda and his alt-right allies, and pursuing a personal grudge by intervening in support of the GOP in the American 2016 election. This was an act of utter selfishness and amounted to sabotage of Wikileaks’ potential. I believe that Michel’s embrace and promotion of the ideas he has chosen to identify with have discredited and sabotaged the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives, and seriously undermined its mission.

To repeat, I beg you to rethink this and take action to restore your credibility. If nothing else, this is required by the P2P ethos itself, and by the stake many people and groups not represented in your inner circle have had in the success in your original mission.

If anyone still affiliated with the P2P Foundation shares my concerns, I ask you to make your voice heard and use your influence to the best of your ability within the organization, to rescue it from this cancer.

Mutual Exchange Radio: William Gillis on Positive and Negative Liberty

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify, and SoundCloud

Our guest this month was someone familiar to many in the audience, Will Gillis. Will is the director of the Center for a Stateless Society and is a second-generation anarchist who’s worked as an activist in countless projects since getting involved in the lead-up to N30. He studies physics and writes regularly on the egalitarian potential of markets. His writing can be found on his website,, as well as on

Today’s discussion centers around a technical topic in political philosophy that has utmost importance for real-world political movements and many ideological debates: the distinction between positive and negative liberty. Will positions himself as defending a universalist conception of positive liberty as primary, against neo-Lockean libertarian views that place negative liberty as fundamental. He also discusses how a heavy priority on negative liberty has led many American libertarians to alt-right and fascist perspectives.

This is a fun, philosophically exciting conversation and I hope it is as thought-provoking for you as it was for me. Be warned though, it is a long one which was necessary since we covered a lot of ground and Will takes a lot of great philosophical sophistication and thoughtfulness into his views, which I hope comes across here.

Beyond this most recent episode, big things are happening over at the Mutual Exchange Radio Patreon! We’ve added new swag for supporters, including pins, buttons, stickers, and zines. Bonus content is going up more slowly than planned, but lookout for more soon! And if you have ideas for episodes, questions for upcoming guests, or anything else, reach out on Patreon and let us know!

Mutual Exchange Radio: Kelly Wright on Grand Juries and How the State Attempts to Control Information

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify, and SoundCloud

Today we are joined by Kelly Wright. Kelly has written for the Center on topics ranging from the history of anarchist thought, transgender liberation, and police militarization. Kelly also served as Chelsea Manning’s Campaign Manager for her run for U.S. Senate in the Democratic Primary in Maryland in 2018 and is a member of Chelsea’s support committee providing material support for Chelsea as she defies a federal grand jury.

Our topic today is on the legal tools the US Government has to target whistleblowers and dissenters and restrict the civil liberties of every day Americans. Today we cover the legal ground surrounding grand juries, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other examples of legal overreach by the state. Kelly is able to draw from a wide variety of examples from the history of state overreach.

Beyond this most recent episode, big things are happening over at the Mutual Exhcnage Radio Patreon! In addition to the release of our first bonus episode — in which host Zachary Woodman, producer Tony Dreher, and C4SS editing coordinator Alex McHugh discuss increasing tensions with Iran and the politics of pride month — we’ve also updated our patron tiers.

Now, in addition to pledging at the $20 and $10 level, supporters can help this project for as little as $2 per month. Plus, we’ve added new swag for supporters, including pins, buttons, stickers, and zines. We’ve even made it easier to get an Associate Producer credit on each episode, which is now available to supporters at the $10 level. Thanks so much for all your support! And if you have ideas for episodes, questions for upcoming guests, or anything else, reach out on Patreon and we’ll consider it.

Russia Targets Journalists in New Wave of Repression

In a concerning development for radicals everywhere, Russian officials have been cracking down on journalists with renewed vigor. In particular, journalist Ivan Golunov was recently arrested on fabricated drug charges and help for six days. While Golunov was released on June 11th, following a massive outpouring of support from journalists and citizens alike, there remains a great danger to the free flow of information.

Police arrested hundreds of protestors during a Moscow march in support of Golunov, and have been generally responding with violence to the spread of the #FreeGolunov movement and related anti-repression demonstrations. Thankfully, though, there does seem to be some response to the public pressure in support of journalists. Two police officers have been fired for Golunov’s arrest, in what appears to be a direct response to mass protests and public pressure over the incident. It goes to show how important public pressure can be for fighting back against repression, but the important thing to remember is that this is not over.

Like many governments, Putin’s Russia goes through cycles of repression, backing off when the pressure at home and internationally becomes too much, but maintaining a position of opposition to journalists and other political types. It’s important to stay aware of the obstacles facing radicals around the world, and Russia’s recent attempt to target journalists should worry us greatly. We can help keep the pressure on internationally by keeping abreast of the issue, and supporting journalists like Golunov when they are targeted with arrest and other repressive tactics. An injury to one is an injury to us all.

Mutual Exchange Radio: Fabio Rojas on Common Objections to Open Borders

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify. SoundCloud distribution is coming soon! 

Sorry for the delay! May’s episode is out now and features Fabio Rojas, a professor of sociology at Indiana University. Dr. Rojas is an expert who works on the sociology of political movements and social theory. We are exploring what a world with little to no immigration restrictions might look like and Dr. Rojas’ case for why it would be preferable, both on economic and on ethical grounds. Dr. Rojas addresses some of the most common objections to open borders from the left and the right. He is a very knowledgeable expert on the sociology of immigration as well as a passionate advocate for immigrant rights and that really comes through in our conversation.

Next month, we welcome Kelly Wright, a writer at C4SS and due process advocate, to discuss the targeting of whistleblowers, activists, and journalists through the application of legislation like the Espionage Act and the CFAA, as well as the problem of prosecutorial abuse and other methods of quashing dissent. Grand juries and other legal tools have been used with increasing aggression in recent years to target and silence American dissenters. Tune in next month to learn more about these methods of state repression, and how people are resisting.

One reason for the delayed release this month was the addition of our first bonus episode to the production schedule. To hear this first bonus episode, you’ll need to be a patron of C4SS and Mutual Exhcnage Radio. In it, host Zachary Woodman, producer Tony Dreher, and C4SS editing coordinator Alex McHugh discuss the US ban of Huawei telecommunications equipment and increasing tensions with Iran. We end with a discussion of Impossible Burgers and other green meat alternatives.

May Day Poetry Feature

First off, I want to thank everyone who answered the call and submitted poems for our first ever May poetry feature! I’ll admit I was a little scared about going off the beaten path here, but you all delivered, and it’s been a real pleasure to review the poems we’ve received. I also want to give a special thanks to those of you who chose to donate your writer’s fee to Chelsea Manning’s personal support fund. It’s going to do a lot of good! You can read more about her continued resistance to state intimidation here.

This is just a quick update to say that we’ll be publishing the accepted poems (ten in total) throughout the month. The first will be published next Monday, May 6th, and we’ll go from there with the last poem wrapping things up on Thursday, May 30th. I’m happy to report there’s a lot of variety in the style and subjects, so it should be an exciting few weeks.

Finally, with May Day yesterday, I want to note that this project was partially inspired by the anarchist tradition of May Day remembrance. That tradition both celebrates and mourns the lives of those who came before us, and who have sacrificed much for the cause of anarchism. Such occasions can stir intense and complicated emotions, so I wanted to give people a space in which to express these feelings and a reminder that intensity of emotion is not a weakness, it is a reflection of our strength. I hope those who submitted poems felt some release in writing them, and that we all continue to embrace our own emotional depth. Look out for that first poem on Monday!

Mutual Exchange Radio: Lyn Ulbricht on Due Process

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.



Today’s guest is Lyn Ulbricht. For those unfamiliar with the Silk Road case, Lyn is Ross Ulbricht’s mother and she became a crusader for due process after his 2013 arrest for developing the dark net trading site. In this episode, we consider issues of due process, the precedents set by the Silk Road case, and the right to privacy. An important conversation for anyone living in the Internet age!

Next month, we’ll cover the issue of immigration rights and reform. With so much talk of immigration issues in the current political cycle, it’s important to think about how we can help and support our neighbors who have moved from somewhere else. From ICE blockades to providing safe houses and advocating for sanctuary cities, there is a lot to be done. But we also have to win the ideological battle here, and next week, we’ll get deep into the weeds on the right to free movement and anarchist positions on immigration. 

In the meantime, head over to the C4SS Patreon and consider supporting this project. From there, you can support this podcast and other C4SS projects by making a monthly pledge of $5 or more. We’ll be updating our Patreon tiers next month as well, and offering more cool prizes and opportunities for our supporters. We appreciate all you do and look forward to continuing the growth the podcast has seen so far. 

Cory Massimino on SiriusXM

Following his recent publication in The Independent, C4SS coordinator Cory Massimino was again in the news on the issue of immigration. Speaking with Tim Farley on SiriusXM’s morning show yesterday, Cory once again outlined the case for open borders, using El Paso, Texas as a model of success.

You can listen to the full segment here or below:

Cory Massimino in The Independent

C4SS coordinator Cory Massimino has been published in The Indpendent on the realities of immigration to the United States. Despite the repeated claims of President Trump, the fact remains that immigrants commit less crime than native-born Americans. Trump has recently threatened to close down the border with Mexico, maintaining his line that immigration across that border constitutes a “state of emergency” and a threat to the United States. Cory explains just how ridiculous this is:

The idea that closed borders and more fencing will increase border security isn’t supported by the facts. In his State of the Union address, Trump made this argument when he credited the decline in El Paso’s violent crime rate to the local border wall. But El Paso’s violent crime rate had already fallen 34 per cent from 1993 to 2006 — the year George W Bush authorised the wall.

Meanwhile, welcoming immigration works.

In 2009, only a year after the local border wall began construction, journalist Radley Balko explained how El Paso — then the third safest city in the country and currently the seventh safest city— proves common stereotypes wrong. To immigration restrictionists, El Paso could look like a recipe for violence and anarchy: it has the seventh largest immigrant population of any American city. Its population is over 75 per cent Hispanic and over 25 per cent foreign-born and its poverty rate is twice the national average. Many residents are likely undocumented. Yet Balko found that “El Paso’s embrace of its immigrants might be a big reason why the low-income border town has remained one of the safest places in the country.”

Read the full piece here.

Mutual Exchange Radio: Maggie McNeill on Sex Work

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Today’s guest is Maggie McNeil, an author, journalist, blogger, sex worker, and expert on sex work. Maggie has written a series of short stories on sex work, Ladies of the Night,  runs her own blog, The Honest Courtesan, and has had her writings featured in outlets such as The Washington Post, Reason Magazine and Cato Unbound.

Most recently, she was featured prominently in the documentary The War on Whores, which you can rent on Vimeo. Today we discussed the legal and moral issues surrounding sex work in which Maggie gave her strongest case for decriminalization and responded to some common objections, as well as the social and moral implications of its decriminalization and normalization. You can tell that Maggie really knows the empirical literature on this topic and that made this an especially informative conversation. I hope you learned as much as I did.

Next month, tune in to hear our interview with Lyn Ulbricht. For those unfamiliar with the Silk Road case, Lyn is Ross Ulbricht’s mother and she became a crusader for due process after his 2013 arrest for developing the dark net trading site. In this episode, we consider issues of due process, the precedents set by the Silk Road case, and the right to privacy. An important conversation for anyone living in the Internet age! 

In the meantime, head over to the C4SS Patreon  and consider supporting this project. From there, you can support this podcast and other C4SS projects by making a monthly pledge of $5 or more. And we’ve extended the opportunity to be listed as an Associate Producer on the show! Anyone who pledges $10 per month or more will get a shout out in the credits of Episode 4 — and those who pledge $20 or more will gain access to additional content from our guests and scholars.

Thank you for your support, and look out for more fun prizes for our patrons coming soon!

C4SS Thinkers in Upcoming Anthology on Dialectical Libertarianism

Several C4SS people (Jason Lee Byas, Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, Billy Christmas, Nathan Goodman, and Roderick T. Long) are among the contributors to a forthcoming anthology, Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, edited by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Roger Bissell, and Edward Younkins.

Other contributors, from a variety of libertarian traditions, include Robert Campbell, Troy Camplin, Douglas Den Uyl, Robert Higgs, Steven Horwitz, Stephan Kinsella, Deirdre McCloskey, David Prychitko, Douglas Rasmussen, John Welsh, and the editors themselves (Sciabarra, Bissell, and Younkins).

In Sciabarra’s words: “These essays explore ways that liberty can be better defended using a dialectical approach, a mode of analysis that grasps the full context of philosophical, cultural, and social factors requisite to the sustenance of human freedom.” Sciabarra notes that while “some of the authors associated with the volume may very well not associate themselves with the views of other authors herein represented,” a “context-sensitive dialectical approach” is a “living research program” that “will necessarily generate a variety of perspectives, united only in their ideological commitment to freedom and their methodological commitment to a dialectical sensibility.”

Sciabarra has devoted his career to exploring such an approach, as for example in his book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism.

Check out Sciabarra’s announcement of the Dialectics of Liberty anthology here, and the abstracts of chapters here.

Mutual Exchange Radio: Kevin Carson on Libertarian Municipalism

You can now subscribe to Mutual Exchange Radio on Stitcher, and Spotify.

Today’s guest is Kevin Carson, a senior fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society who holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He has written books such as Studies in Mutualist Political EconomyOrganization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available on C4SS’ website — or, in print at the C4SS store.

Today, we discussed a study he published last year for the Center on New Libertarian Municipalism. Libertarian Municipalism is an idea that has its roots in one of the most famous social anarchist thinkers of the twentieth century, Murray Bookchin. However, Kevin is more interested in modern movements focusing on a more decentralized model of a market economy based on common ownership of certain resources, drawing from thinkers such as Elinor Ostrom.

Next month, tune in for a conversation with Maggie McNeil, an expert on sex workers’ rights and the decriminalization of sex work. Maggie writes for publications such as Reason magazine, her own blog The Honest Courtesan, and was recently featured in the documentary The War on Whores. Our conversation will focus on the legal and ethical issues surrounding the criminalization of sex work and the impact of prohibition on society at large. I’m sure it will be a fun and enlightening conversation.

In the meantime, if you liked this episode, head over to the C4SS Patreon  and consider supporting this project. From there, you can support this podcast and other C4SS projects by making a monthly pledge of $5 or more. And we’ve extended the opportunity to be listed as an Associate Producer on the show! Anyone who pledges $10 per month or more before March 15th will get a shout out in the credits of Episode 3 — and those who pledge $20 or more will gain access to additional content from our guests and scholars.

Thank you for your support, and look out for more fun prizes for our patrons coming soon!


Roderick Long on Bullshit Jobs

This month, C4SS Senior Fellow Roderick Long was featured in Reason magazine with a review of David Graeber’s Bullshit Jobs: A Theory.

“Bullshit jobs” are defined by Graeber as “so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify [their] existence.” The book discusses the rise of such jobs in the modern economy, pointing fingers squarely at private industry, rather than public largesse. Long’s response considers how Graeber handles two sets of libertarian objections, and identifies a few blind spots in his arguments.

Here are his closing thoughts:

On Graeber’s analysis, unneeded jobs are protected by the perception that eliminating them would throw people out of work. That Jetsons vision of reduced working hours was supposed to benefit the workers, not impoverish them. Graeber notes that while, as an anarchist, he generally prefers bottom-up grassroots solutions to social problems rather than top-down public policy solutions, he nevertheless favors a tax-funded universal basic income as a way to relieve the working class’s reliance on bullshit jobs. But calling upon the state for assistance is always a risky strategy for anarchists; those who subsidize the piper call the tune.

Whatever the blind spots in his analysis, Graeber’s liberatory vision of a de-bullshitized future of work should serve as a useful corrective for those who are too quick to take the case for free enterprise as a validation of the perversities of the existing employment market.

Read all of “Why Do So Many Modern Jobs Seem Pointless?: An investigation into why people are working more without accomplishing more” here.

C4SS Featured in Two Podcasts

C4SS scholars were recently featured in two different podcasts. As a philosophy, left-wing market anarchism sometimes has a hard time finding a home — but the flip side is that our ideas are relevant to discussions in a few different political contexts. Recently, C4SS scholars were featured in two seperate podcasts — William Nava’s “Who Shaves the Barber” and the relatively new “Non Serviam Podcast” on anarchism.

First, C4SS director William Gillis was featured in William Nava’s “Who Shaves the Barber.” Episode 52 explores anarchism as a concept and covers many applications and experiences of anarchism. Central to the discussion is the difference between horizontal organization and hierarchy, and a few different conceptions of freedom are discussed as well. You can listen to this episode below:

On “Non Serviam,” C4SS fellow Jason Lee Byas discusses radical liberalism, ethics, and more with host Joel Williamson. Jason discusses these ideas as they relate to anarchist politics, radical liberalism, and the anti-war philosophy. Listen below for more:


Mutual Exchange Radio: Gary Chartier on Liberal Anarchism

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new project from the Center for a Stateless Society: Mutual Exchange Radio. This new podcast on anarchist thought, hosted by Zachary Woodman, brings together a wide variety of guests, from academics, to on-the-ground activists, to Center scholars, to entrepreneurs to discuss the latest developments in the philosophy and practice of market anarchism.

Our inaugural guest for this show is Gary Chartier, a distinguished professor of law and business ethics at La Sierra University, a leading anarchist philosopher, and a Center Senior Fellow. He’s the author of such books as Anarchy and Legal Order: Law and Politics in a Stateless Society, The Consciousness of an Anarchist, and Radicalizing Rawls: Global Justice and the Foundations of International Law.

In this conversation we cover a broad range of issues from the evolution of the liberal tradition, to the relationship between liberalism and anarchism, to the limits of ethical theory for politics. We discuss how to handle deep religious and moral disagreements in a stateless society, and the relationship between state and corporate power. This is a conversation about what liberalism, the philosophical tradition rather than the existing centrist political movement, could be as a potentially liberating force in politics that it perhaps might not yet be in practice. But this is not just a conversation about liberalism—it’s a conversation about how moral and cultural discourse and practice proceeds in the absence of the state.

You can listen to the first episode of Mutual Exchange Radio here or below:

Stay tuned for next month’s episode with C4SS scholar and the author of Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and The Desktop Regulatory State, Kevin Carson. We’ll be releasing that episode on the last Tuesday of this month — Tuesday, February 26th — In the meantime, if you liked this episode, head over to the C4SS Patreon account and consider supporting this project. From there, you can support this podcast and other C4SS projects by making a monthly pledge of $5 or more.

Any new donors who pledge more than $10 per month before Feb. 15th, 2019 will get a shout out in the credits of Episode 3 — and those who pledge $20 or more will gain access to additional content from our guests and scholars. Thank you in advance for your support, and look out for a new episode every month with guests from across the anarchist community.

Update: Queer Defense in Brazil

Click here to donate now.

cw: skip first paragraph for mentions of graphic anti-LGBTQIA violence

It has been a brutal week for LGBTQIA communities in Brazil. A queer Brazilian friend is heartbroken over the murders and suicides of 3 people close to him in just the last 4 days. The stories of these deaths are grisly: one was a gay male professor who was followed home from a bar and killed, another transmasculine friend and his partner committed suicide following prolonged financial struggles. Especially appalling is the murder of a travesti (a Latin-American identity in the transfeminine spectrum) who was accused of being a demon and had her heart removed by an evangelical man. This sequence of events demonstrates the increased hostility towards LGBTQIA people in Brazil following the election of right-wing president Jair Bolsanaro in January, 2019.

This increase in hostility was easily predicted by those most likely to be affected by it. As an activist stated in the Guardian’s documentary Marielle and Monica, “By the time Bolsanaro rises to power, even if we still don’t know how his government will be, there’s already a legacy of violence and hate [by him]. Dissemination of hate between people.” Bolsanaro legitimizes violence against LGBTQIA people by being “explicity homophobic, biphobic and transphobic,” according to Salomão Cunha Lima, from GAMES, an LGBTQ employment organization in São Paulo. Bolsanaro’s words, Lima stresses, “have empowered fascist, homophobic and racist people, who started feeling free to commit hate crimes against this population.” Such increase in hate crimes has been seen in the United States, where, in the year following the election of right-wing president Donald Trump– and the visibility of white supremacist groups his election endorsed– reported hate crimes increased by 17%.

Bolsanaro has then followed up on his promises. In the first 48 hours of his presidency, he enacted executive orders to the Minister of Human Rights to ignore all complaints and violations involving lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer Brazilians. The Minister of Human Rights herself is an evangelical pastor quoted saying, “Girls will be princesses and boys will be princes. There will be no more ideological indoctrination of children and teenagers in Brazil.” In addition, a guide to STIs for transmasculine people was taken off a government website. This initial flurry of homophobic and transphobic policies were accompanied by threats to indigenous lands and undercutting funding for public art, youth fitness programs, and programs that address hunger.

Recall that this increase in violence against LGBTQIA people is happening in what is already the country with the highest rate of travesti/trans* murders in the world, even before Bolsanaro was elected. Also, those numbers have already been increasing: in 2017, a record 387 murders of people who identified as LGBTQ+ were recorded; there were 346 as of October 2018, with 167 of them trans, according to Grupo Gay de Bahia.

The Center for a Stateless Society, acting in response to this alarming uptick in violence against LGBTQIA people in the wake of right-wing fascism, has decided to double its commitment to match donations made to our fundraiser for “Extravasa: Defesa Pessoal,” a self-defense project serving LGBTT people in Florianópolis, Brazil.

C4SS will donate an additional $250 match to donations in this round of fundraising for a total of $500 made to the GoFundMe.

Acknowledging that Self Defense is Self Care, C4SS moves to empower those struggling to survive under fascism all over the world, and encourages you to do the same. Please donate if you can, and share among your networks.

Max Blumenthal, You Can Hate Two Things At Once

What the Hell?

We have found ourselves in the fortunate position of making enemies with fascists, the Kremlin, western feds, and tankies all at the same time. What kind of genius sorcery have we channeled to deserve such a gift? Well, we simply researched disinformation wars and red-brown fascist networks surrounding the alt-right. We slept in a bad motel and presented our findings at an IEEE (a leading engineering/tech organization and scholarly journal) on Big Data. About a month later Alexander gets a blackmail-ish email from none other than leftist commentator of some renown, Max Blumenthal more or less accusing us of being spies embedded in a vast conspiratorial network. Then, as if to hand us credibility on a silver platter he co-publishes a weird and grasping article claiming the same with, of all people, notorious misogynist Mark Ames who literally gave a column in his expatriate tabloid based in Moscow, The eXile, to notorious National-Bolshevik Liminov. (Ames’s own former co-editor at The eXile called Limonov a “fascist revolutionary”). Our research struck a nerve it seems.

Some Notes on Perspective

The hardest part about disinformation is the extent to which positionality informs what various actors consider to be disinformation. One presenter in the disinformation workshop we attended suggested that people filming cops are “possibly paid protestors” as an extension of the bizarre and lowkey anti-semitic Soros conspiracy theories. When Emmi confronted him publicly from the audience about spreading disinformation in a workshop about combating it, he made a classic “oopsie” face, and shimmied around the question. Because for him, all narratives from the periphery might be disinformation. For him, information is that which has a federal stamp of approval. Surely no one would film the cops for free without the influence of some nebulous and possibly Jewish or foreign cabal. Power does not change ground truth but it does impact what is accepted and propagated. So where you stand doesn’t change reality, but it does change where you buy your maps of reality from.

So then as a result of this, various actors, competing to hold the monopoly on truth, develop and propagate “evidence” in favor of their view. Biases become implicit rather than explicit and two or more sides barrage each other with information and both sides see nothing but propaganda from their opposition. A fun fact about reality though is that it doesn’t change. Complexity and nuance can lose you points in a status contest. It can give your enemy easy dunks on you. It’s an order of magnitude easier to create bullshit than to get to the bottom of something. Power defines what is considered to be propaganda without changing the actual truth.

Blumenthal and others get this on some level. They understand the feds from both the US and the UK to be involved in an imperialist project and fighting illegal wars, overthrowing governments, and engaging in right-wing coups for decades. Alexander edited an anthology on these issues—and granted it came out four years ago and lacks a bit of a polish—but it lays out important intersections of environmentalist and workers movements given an anti-imperialist framework of political ecology writ large. While we won’t claim to know the extent of CIA information operations, we will say this. Much of what came out of the Gerasimov doctrine was a best guess at what the west was doing, and trying to couple that with the philosophical project of people like Dugin and the Izborsky club. But of course this is where it starts to gets sticky.

Anarchists have the somewhat unique position of being able to hate multiple sides that hate each other at the same time while simultaneously recognizing historical crimes and power imbalances. We can look at harm done from many directions without defending any states. We aren’t encumbered by protecting the good name of Russia or the US. Max is smart but he has allegiances and a narrative to push that conveniently aligns with the Kremlin’s talking points. And while we’ve never been invited to or attended fancy CIA galas, he has done that with the Kremlin and then abruptly begins to shift his tone on critical topics such as Syria. We won’t speculate on the degree to which he is friendly with the Kremlin, but just point out that his sources are often specious in this regard.

That being said, because we aren’t here to protect the feds, we are just as interested as he is in potential US/UK disinformation networks. If Integrity Initiative is the tip of some vast spy network we’d love to know about it. Unfortunately the sources for the majority of reports of them are RT (Kremlin controlled initial report source), Zerohedge (pro-Kremlin conspiracy peddlers), a report done by a 9/11 truther and an Assadist (discussion of the White Helmets has tell-tale Kremlin disinformation signs), a Grayzone article (Blumenthal’s baby) that casually uses the phrase ‘Knights of Templar’, this new “exposé” on Grayzone that frankly kind of sucks, and a weird sketchy blog that claims to be Anonymous (check out their theme music). It doesn’t exactly instill a great deal of confidence. But sure, Integrity Initiative (via the Institute for Statecraft) seems to at the very least get military money. A lot of think tanks and institutes do, not to mention universities. All of which are indeed worthy of critique and being exposed.

It seems to us that Russia and the U.S. are locked into what in the old days leftists used to call an “inter-imperialist rivalry,” a fight over influence, resources, and hegemony that takes place on the world stage. Journalists are at the frontline of this struggle, since much of it takes place behind closed doors. That doesn’t mean that you’re on one side or the other—quite the opposite—and that’s the whole point. Blumenthal is currently being sued by a wonderful journalist, Sulome Anderson. She says that articles like his most recent one put people in real danger by leveling false accusations (we’re not in any way connected to MI6, obviously) in the midst of international contestation. RT wants to make the CIA look bad; western disinformation firms lobbying for federal funds want to make Russia look bad. It’s not that hard of a job either way. The people who get caught in the middle are the ones attempting to undermine a kind of global hegemony of state-sponsored Truth and use reason to contravene myriad political distortions and lies.

The conclusion of our paper and presentation had an extremely light touch. We never said anything resembling “Russia is controlling the White House and the alt-right and responsible for everything bad happening everywhere,” like the conspiracy theorists that Blumenthal thinks he’s engaging with. We said something simple and objectively true: that there are elements within the Kremlin that support hybrid warfare tactics against the United States (that in many cases they learned from the CIA) and that the alt-right, far-right, hard-left, and syncretic red-brown networks are a potential pawn in this battlefield. This is such a weak claim that it shouldn’t be very contentious to anyone familiar with the terrain.

Further Fact-checking

As to the quality of our paper, we used widely accepted statistical and data-mining techniques such as Latent Semantic Indexing, Topic Modeling, and External Link Analysis and our paper was deemed of high enough quality to be accepted into a high impact scholarly technical journal. That’s more than can be said for your essay. But even so, it’s a conference paper. An initial investigation not a full-scale research project which is why we were cautious in our takeaways. Additionally we suspect some of your fear of the network graphing done about topics like the White Helmets conspiracy networks is in part because your crew is implicated and in part because maybe you don’t understand how edges, nodes, and measures of centrality/clustering work? Math can be used to lie, but you can’t really critique that if you don’t understand how the actual math is determined to be accurate.

Integrity Initiative was not the host of the event. They had one employee [edit: two] who gave a talk and have worked with Adventium Labs before (according to your semi-sketchy sources). His talk was pretty problematic as you can see. When someone asked him how we would know when we could end this “war mentality” he dodged it as if he’d never considered it. The conference, however, was by IEEE who are a cutting edge, high-impact scholarly journal in the topic of big data which the conference was on. There was a huge range of people at the conference from terrible to amazing. There was even an excellent presentation on civilian journalism against despotic regimes and police violence. Most of the attendees were *gasp* academics from *gasps deeper* information and data schools. This is the nature of most academic conferences.

Attending a prestigious conference is not the same as supporting, being funded by, or otherwise collaborating with skeezy feds. Oxford University was recently asked by the U.S. Senate to produce a report on social media meddling by the Internet Research Agency. Does that make Oxford and everyone who attends an MI6 agent? Of course not. And here’s the most dissatisfying part. Ready? No we did not get paid to present at the event and neither of us are under the employ of any of the sponsoring or participating organizations. In fact we paid for registration at the conference like anyone else, because we hoped to learn more about how people are automating and forwarding systems of disinformation detection. We’re grad students who presented at a conference, not part of some elaborate spy network but you’re welcome to make yourself look like a crackpot if you wish.

A favorite block-quote of the article typifies this willingness to grasp for straws to make a point:

That ability to shamelessly smear and denounce leftists over the most crudely manufactured links to the far-right —  while cozying up to groups as sleazy as C4SS and authoritarian as the Integrity Initiative — is the sort of adaptive trait that MI6 spies and the Rendon Group would find useful in a covert domestic influence operation.

So, because we presented at an academic conference where some people in attendance support the feds (like literally every academic conference we’ve gone to, such as the American Political Science Association and American Association of Geographers) that automatically makes us MI6 field operatives? Sweet. Maybe Emmi’s gonna get to see the UK someday.

Speaking of “ability to shamelessly smear and denounce leftists over the most crudely manufactured links to the far-right,” Kevin Carson publicly cut ties with Keith Preston a decade ago as his racist and queerphobic views became apparent which you even cited and yet couldn’t let go of the catchline of “White nationalist associates.” Wow, congratulations. Someone was revealed as a fascist entryist and Kevin denounced him. Much sleuth. Many investigative journalism.

But incidentally, C4SS is a model of how to block fascist entryism at all points. The Right Stuff has hated C4SS since the beginning and targeted us on multiple occasions because of our steadfast opposition to the alt-right since before they were well known. Closed border right-libertarians with racist views have hated us since our inception because we resist them at every turn. You can see this in the longstanding hatred we garner from the Ludwig Von Mises Institute and Lew Rockwell  over the years. If you can find a secret fascist under the employ of C4SS let us know and we’ll be happy to burn that bridge too. As far as courting the right or promoting right-libertarianism goes, the group has facilitated a lot of dialogues between a wide range of anti-authoritarians including even at times people who identify as libertarians or lefties. C4SS even tables at SFL to pull people left and downward on the political spectrum. Who cares? We table at lots of different things. This just shows that although we prioritize countering fascist entryism we’re not actually stomping out all discourse or political dialogue more generally. We walk the walk of encouraging dialogue while no platforming actual fascists.

We are invested in nerdily following questions to their roots which means we don’t choose a team over a truth. This is a novel concept to people like Blumenthal who would think being a leftist means propping up every shitty dude-bro like Ames whose convenient, or unflinching allegiance to people like Corbyn and John “contributed white nationalist talking points solicited by Richard Spencer to Taki’s Mag” Dolan. Gross allegiance to an ingroup is a neurological malfunctioning functioning similar to racism, but we still fight against actual fascists. If you want the left to be better you don’t cozy up to rapists, you give them no quarter as C4SS does. The fact that you deflectingly imply that Kevin’s distrust of Ames is anti-Semitic rather than, anti-pieceofshit, is a laughable example of the heroic leaps you’re willing to make.

We don’t get any Koch or Soros money. We probably never will. We wouldn’t take MI6 money even if it did come. Ames worked for Pando, a startup partly funded by neo-reactionary Peter Thiel. The world goes round. C4SS gets its funding entirely from small personal donations, built up over a decade of providing anarchist and anti-authoritarian analysis and commentary in the long tradition of individualist anarchists like Voltairine de Cleyre and Benjamin Tucker.

With regard to Brad Spangler, C4SS practices what they preach. They expose and kick out shitty people, unlike countless socialist or libertarian organizations. In the early days Spangler contributed notably to the formation of C4SS and occupied the informal position of “director” for a few years. He later began to post sketchy anti-feminist shit on his personal social media at which point C4SS stopped working with him (although he’d already began creating distance at that point). Much later, after many had lost contact with and blocked him, he announced his having sexually assaulted a child at which point C4SS immediately publicly denounced him without hiding the fact that he had written articles for them and helped run things (you see how we’re accepting responsibility not dodging it?). One scumbag helped with early C4SS which they later denounced. That is not exactly a smoking gun and is much better than could be said for Alternet, for years led by notorious Don Hazen, or it seems, Grayzone. But of course, you don’t actually care about the fact that we push out shitty dudes. You even mention that later. You just want a catchy and misleading headline.

But of course, kicking out shitty people from the left is actually the opposite of what you want, so of course you’d minimize that because how many of your buddies would be implicated? You can’t even cut ties with Ames who bragged about raping a 15 year old in a sharply misogynistic book self-described as “non-fiction” but who has recently attempted to claim it was ironic.

You’re right that we connected Zerohedge to right-wing militia groups in the borderlands…. Because there was a relevant connection. Tim “Nailer” Foley, founder of Arizona Border Recon, a group currently doing anti-refugee civilian military operations in the borderlands constantly shares things from Zerohedge, many of which are conspiracy theories fueling the ideology behind his operations. Any wingnut can share an article from anyone, the issue here is that their articles are specifically about anti-immigrant conspiracies that feed his violence. So congratulations on almost getting a fact straight. We’re not sure why such a pure and untainted leftist as yourself would feel the need to defend a crackpot website…unless …. They’re in your broader pro-Kremlin “alternative news” circles.

But please continue to take weird potshots at us because it makes us look moderate and reasonable by comparison. It seems that when you shine a light on conspiracy theorists they make up conspiracy theories about you. Go figure.

Why Does He Care?

So we struck a nerve. What was it exactly that earned us this ire? Was it that we presented at a conference with some sort of connection to this weird disinformation research firm? It seems this isn’t a strong enough reason to target us specifically. Why not just target the person who actually works for that organization with that same degree of malice you show us? What seems more likely is that it was how, in our research of the alt-right, we began seeing potential connections to larger red-brown projects using conspiracy theories to forward their state-aligned agendas. Why does this strike such a nerve for you? If you are so confident that your work is well sourced and not rooted in state-line conspiracy theories and information war why are you panicking so hard and targeting a couple of young academics at a tiny workshop producing a nerdy little conference working paper?

We’re happy to help expose western spy networks supporting fascists abroad. We support Blumenthal and others to do honest work on this topic and generally agree with him on a range of issues such as being pro-BDS or anti-Christian fundamentalism. But in the process of exposing fascist networks, we’re not going to protect vulgar “anti-imperialists” who use that as a shield against any claims of authoritarian brutality. We’re against all fascism which means we don’t stop looking for it at the highest level. We follow it down to the roots and in all its strange incantations.

Max, we’d invite you to join on this nerdy quest but it seems your interest in uncovering brutality, fascism, and imperialism has limits when it begins to touch your networks and pet projects. Because you care more about protecting your crew than finding truth, your claims of combating misinformation will always have these tell-tale stamps of propaganda that you’ve shown here. So I guess thanks for letting your true unhinged colors fly. It makes it easier to spot a crank.

The Anatomy of Escape
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist