In episode no. 4 of Agoric Cafe, Roderick Long discusses the distinction between markets and capitalism in Bukharin and Preobrazhensky’s ABC of Communism, and in the Marxist tradition generally; or, how Marxism twists itself into a pretzel to avoid endorsing free-market anti-capitalism. Watch it here or below.
In episode no. 3 of Agoric Cafe, Roderick Long discusses the relationship between science fiction and philosophy. Watch it here or below.
C4SS Mutual Exchange Coordinator Cory Massimino was recently featured on the Non-Serviam podcast. The discussion covers a broad range of topics from egalitarianism, radical liberalism, left-libertarianism and more, to immigration and free-market-anti-capitalism.
From the Non-Serviam Episode Description:
Cory began his political journey on the libertarian right. His political philosophy is now more closely associated with what some might call left libertarianism. The libertarian left in America has many tendencies that separates itself from or is sometimes even hostile to thinkers such as Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard. However my guest today challenges us to not throw out the baby with the bath water, and feels that it’s entirely possible to reject and to criticize the reactionary shortcomings of some of these thinkers, while also highlighting the contributions they made to a kind of libertarianism that may be worth taking inspiration from.
I don’t generally like writing about myself, but here we go: I have long been a part of the southern Ohio and northern Kentucky punk scene(s)—playing in bands like NOPE and Soy. and going to shows of bands like Treason, Lockjaw, and numerous others. And I have always considered my involvement in the punk ‘movement’ (meaning the mass conglomeration of all scenes across the United States and the world) as inseparable from my ideology and activism as an anarchist. This is nothing unique to my own experience. As Crimethinc. write in their piece “Music as a Weapon:”
A large proportion of those who participated in the anarchist movement between 1978 and 2010 were part of the punk counterculture at some point; indeed, many were first exposed to anarchist ideas via punk. This may have been merely circumstantial: perhaps the same traits that made people seek out anarchism also predisposed them to enjoy aggressive, independently produced music. But one could also argue that music that pushes aesthetic and cultural boundaries can open up listeners to a wider spectrum of possibility in other spheres of life as well.
And this connection between punk and anarchism has been a catalyst in pushing Soy.—though not all band members are anarchists—to become a part of the Punks Against Sweatshops campaign and ensuring, in solidarity with nationwide protests against police brutality and repression, that almost all of the recent proceeds made by Soy. have gone to the Cincinnati Bail Fund hosted by Beloved Community Church.
In similar fashion, I’m proud to announce that my most recent project—a powerviolence/grindcore band called Consumerist—is officially collaborating with the Cincinnati chapter of Food Not Bombs so that all our profits from the Consumerist self-titled debut EP (whether made through purchases on Bandcamp or through our label Floorjazz Recordings) will be donated toward their efforts. So, whether you like extreme music or not, please consider buying our EP (or donating directly to Cincy Food Not Bombs)!
It was brought to our attention recently that a one-time contributor to C4SS has been outed as a member of a racist and misogynistic chat group. Toby Fitzsimmons, a student at Durham University in the UK, submitted one article in May 2020, titled “ANTi-Capitalism: The Use of Knowledge in the Nest.” At the time, we were unaware of Toby’s involvement in such communities and published the article after a quick vetting on Twitter.
We were notified on September 26th, 2020 that Toby was revealed to be a member of at least one of these chats, and we removed his piece shortly after. You can read the Durham University newspaper The Tab for more on this collection of group chats and the vile things being discussed there.
In light of the severity of some of the things said: including conversations making light of or even encouraging sexual assault, we’ve also decided to post this disclaimer stating that we won’t be working with Toby in the future nor publishing any more of his work.
We are also discussing ways to improve our vetting process for guest writers and new submissions moving forward. Many thanks to the Durham students who uncovered this activity and took the time to reach out and let us know about this behavior as well.
You might remember the May Day poetry feature last year, centered around remembrance and emotional release. This year, we thought probably everyone (at least those in the US) could do with some election-related self-expression. So we’re doing another poetry feature, this time centered on election day. I’m selfishly naming this one after what I’ve been told is my best podcast roundtable quote: “Rage is a positive emotion.” (Found in this episode of Mutual Exchange Radio.)
You can of course, however, write on whatever you’re feeling. Fear, grief, tenderness, hope. The idea is to get a snapshot of what it feels like to live in this time. It’s part of why anarchists have historically written poetry: to keep an emotional timeline of our history as well as an academic one.
Send in poems throughout this month that speak to the emotions of our current political moment and we’ll publish them throughout November, starting with election day. It may not be much, but it will be something to look forward to on an otherwise anxious day.
Rules are simple! Any form of poetry is acceptable. Email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 20th. We’ll be paying a $25 fee for all accepted submissions.
We at C4SS are excited to announce that we will be attending the 2020 NYC Anarchist Book Fair, which is being held virtually this year due to the pandemic. The NYC Anarchist Book Fair is a yearly event where various anarchist groups and individuals gather to share materials and host workshops, panels, and skillshares on topics related to anarchist politics.
Not only will we at C4SS be attending as a virtual vendor selling books, stickers, zines, and more (page goes live Friday, 9/25), but I, Logan Marie Glitterbomb, will also be hosting my own panel entitled Don’t Call the Pigs: Creating an Anarchist Justice System modeled after my similarly named article on the same topic and the updated zine version which can be found for sale here.
At a time when protesters are taking to the streets to demand the defunding of the police and some of the largest prison strikes in recorded history are happening behind bars, the topic of this panel could not be more relevant. It is not my goal to be prescriptive in discussing what I believe should be our end goal, so much as to highlight the various work those in the anarchist movement are already doing and piece it together to show a vision for how to possibly create a more just justice system in the general direction that those projects are already heading. It is my hope that by putting these projects in perspective and to help to guide others to see the importance of collaboration between these projects and provide a general organizing guide around these issues.
So please join me this Friday from 6-8pm EST on Jitsi for this important discussion. The full schedule of panels can be found at anarchistbookfair.net where links to the live streams will be posted beforehand. And be sure to drop by the virtual C4SS table to check out our amazing selection of merchandise and organizing materials. Can’t wait to see y’all there!
Radical writer and thinker William Anderson has been running a fundraiser in support of former Black Panther Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and his partner JoNina. They need help with living costs and medical costs, and it’s a great reminder that we shouldn’t forget our heroes as they get older and fall out of the spotlight.
With $10,000 raised so far, they’re only $5,000 short of the goal! Donate here.
Ervin and his partner continue to organize and struggle. Here’s the fundraiser description from William Anderson:
Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin has risked his life consistently while doing revolutionary work over the years. This former Black Panther Party member has been a political prisoner before. He’s also battled surveillance and continued harassment in order to provide people with his groundbreaking writings like “Anarchism and the Black Revolution.” These are just a few of the reasons we need to continue supporting Lorenzo.
The importance of making sure our revolutionary, movement elders have survival funds shouldn’t be lost on us. Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin has paved the way for all sorts of activists, thinkers, and intellectuals. And he’s influenced generations of rebels along the way. Lorenzo and his partner JoNina continue to support, organize, and teach people across the world while in need themselves. In the midst of a pandemic, they’ve fallen ill and been subject to some difficulties as aging activists. This fundraiser is to help them with their material needs like the cost of living, bills, and medical expenses. It’s the least we can do for them considering how much they’ve done for us.
C4SS Mutual Exchange Coordinator Cory Massimino was featured as a guest on Libertarianism.org’s Free Thoughts podcast to present an anarchist analysis of the influential libertarian thinker Murray Rothbard and his work. Their discussion is based on Cory’s contribution to the upcoming Routledge Handbook of Anarchy and Anarchist Thought co-edited by C4SS senior fellow Gary Chartier. Cory provides his conception of Rothbardianism and its value for anarchists and libertarians.
Free Thoughts Episode Description:
Murray Rothbard was, at the very least, one the top three libertarian thinkers in the 20th century. He was a prolific writer as the author of dozens of books, articles, and essays. Cory Massimino joins the show to discuss Rothbard’s brand of anarchism.What does it mean to be paleoconservative? What is the New Left? What do they believe? Who influenced Murray Rothbard?
In episode six of Roderick Long’s new video project, he interviews Kevin Carson in a wide-ranging discussion that covers many issues. Watch it here or below.
C4SS Mutual Exchange Coordinator Cory Massimino was recently featured on Camilo Gómez’s History and Politics podcast. Cory discusses the differing reactions to Trump from left and right libertarians and how American libertarians often ignore anti-authoritarian lessons and struggles from outside the West. Also mentioned in this episode is C4SS senior fellow Roderick Long’s book Rituals of Freedom: Libertarian Themes in Early Confucianism.
History and Politics Episode Description:
Conversation with Cory Massimino a philosophy student and fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society. We talk about the effect of Trumpism in the libertarian movement, how libertarians have been dealing with racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia, and what lessons could libertarians learn from Latin America.
Roman incursions into Britain began with Julius Caesar between 55-54 B.C.E. with two separate attempts. The first invasion (55 B.C.E.) was launched on the grounds of supposed support from the Britons towards the Gallic tribes against the Romans during the Gallic Wars (58-50 B.C.E.). This first attempt ended in failure, loosing their cavalry boarded on ships due to bad weather and constant guerrilla attacks by the Britons forced a stalemate. The second invasion (54 B.C.E.) proved more fruitful for the Romans and Caesar as they managed to fight their way to the river Thames as well as establishing a number of treaties and trade partners with local tribes living in the south-eastern parts of the territory.
It wouldn’t be until about a hundred years later that Rome would even attempt to set foot in Britain again. When it did return in 43 AD under the Roman emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus it would be with much greater success. Rome had wanted access to Britain for some time due to rumors of great material wealth, both in metals and food that were always in need by the large, imperial government of Rome. It would be under these conditions that Boudica of the Iceni tribe would rise to become queen of her people and lead a brutal insurrection against Roman occupation.
The Romans invaded Britain when Boudica was around eighteen years old, having either previously or within recent times married their husband Prasutagus, whom may have been related to the then king of the Iceni, Antedios. Meanwhile their neighbors to the south in the Catuvellauni tribe, in alliance with other tribes, waged a guerrilla campaign against the Roman army. After a successful battle against the Catuvellauni lead rebellion Claudius established a legionary fortress located at Camulodunum, now modern day Colchester in Essex, as well as the submission of eleven British tribes, including the Iceni under Antedios.
In 47 AD Ostorius Scapula replaced the first, previously established Roman governor of Britain. Ostorius arrived to the territory under guerrilla attacks and as such, decided to disarm the British tribes, including the Iceni. This was seen both as a threat and an insult to the Britons Celtic traditions and as such rebelled. However, this rebellion would fail and at some point Antedios would die, leaving Prasutagus and Boudica as king and queen of the Iceni. The Romans seized more land around Camulodunum to establish a colonia of veteran Roman soldiers, resulting in the enslavement and execution of many local tribes in an attempt to expand Roman influence, both materially and culturally in an effort to “Romanize” the territory. In 52 AD the king of the Catuvellauni, whom had been a leading figure in much of the resistance up to this point, was captured by Rome. That same year, Ostorius died, replaced as governor by Didius Gallus.
In 54 AD Emperor Claudius was poisoned, possibly by the mother of his successor, Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus who became emperor of Rome. Later in 58 AD Caius Suetonius Paullinus, replacing Didius Gallus, became governor of Britain and began a vicious military campaign in Wales. After successfully pushing to the north-western borders in 61 AD, Suetonius reached the sacred Celtic groves on the isle of Mona. There, they attacked the isle slaughtering the druids and what resistance was there, cutting down the sacred groves that were located on the isle. This would most likely have been an incredibly painful moment for the Celtic tribes of Britain, and it wouldn’t have been unlikely for Boudica to have heard of this assault against such an important spiritual location.
In conjuncture to the brutality at Mona, Boudica’s husband Prasutagus died. In death, Prasutagus left a will that was meant to split power between Rome and the Iceni, however this had no legal precedence either in Roman law or Celtic tradition and was therefore ignored. Under Roman law the death of a client king meant that either a new one was to replace them or Rome would take control of the territory directly. In this case, it would be the latter. Boudica, now acting as the sole ruler of the Iceni, was confronted by the procurator Decianus Catus, a financial official of Rome. They began to take inventory of Iceni property and lands, now considered property of Rome. When Boudica objected to this, Boudica was beaten and their daughters were raped. This violent act against Boudica and their daughters wouldn’t silence them however. It would spark a fire that would be felt across Britain and would not be forgotten.
After uniting with a number of other tribes resistant to Romes imperialism, Boudica attacked Camulodunum, slaughtering the inhabitants and burning it to the ground. The Roman legion Legio IX under the command of Quintus Petillius Cerialis Caesius Rufus attempted to halt the rebellion, but was ambushed by Boudica’s forces, escaping with their cavalary leaving his remaining infantry to be slaughtered. At this point Suetonius would learn of the rebellion and made their way from Mona to Londinium, Boudica’s next target. However, much like Camulodunum, Londinium had no walls or defenses and so Suetonius ordered the town evacuated. Those whom remained were brutally executed by Boudica’s forces.
Similarly to Camulodunum and Londinium, Verulamium, which had been granted the title of municipium by Rome which allowed for a limited amount of autonomy and participation in Roman government, was raided by Boudica. Suetonius gathered an army of around 10,000 soldiers, made up of the combined forces of Legio’s XIV and XX, as well as a number of auxiliaries gathered from around the local area. Dio wrote that Boudica’s forces number at around 230,000 warriors from various celtic tribes that had allied themselves to Boudica’s cause. Where exactly Suetonius and Boudica’s forces met in battle isn’t exactly known, though some suggest it to be located around Watling Street (A5).
One might initially think that Boudica’s numbers would have played a decisive factor in the battle. However, the training, equipment and strategem of the Roman army would prove itself once again against the might of the Celtic rebels. The Romans chose to position themselves in a defile in which the woods would be at their back, with open country in the front, taking advantage of an essentially natural fortification. Boudica’s forces met Suetonius’s in the field, Boudica reportedly riding in a chariot, commonly used by the Celts in warfare. The Romans opened the battle with their throwing javelins, followed by a charge in wedge formation, supported by cavalry on their wings. The long swords of the Celtic warriors, which required relative space to swing properly, were rendered ineffective on the cluttered battlefield that favored the Romans shield formations, stabbing with their short swords into Celtic lines. The chariots that the Celts favored proved completely useless against an enemy that had effectively fortified their position. The Celtic warriors weren’t even able to effectively retreat as they had brought their wives in wagons, set up behind their lines to witness the battle, effectively barricading themselves against retreat. The result was an overwhelming Roman victory, slaughtering the Celts and pushing Boudica to suicide, most likely in order to avoid capture by the Romans. Tacitus reports around 80,000 causalities for the Celts and 400 for the Romans.
Boudica’s revolt resulted in the death of about 70,000 Roman civilians and 7,000 Roman soldiers, if Tacitus’s numbers are to be believed. Boudica’s revolt, while a failure, shocked Roman society with its tenacity and violence. Rome would eventually take control of Britain, but the effects of Boudica’s rebellion are still felt to this day and much can be learned from them and the Celtic warriors that fought by their side. Lessons can be drawn from the successes, failures and context of the insurrection itself.
Which is what Boudica’s revolt must be understood as, an insurrection.
An insurrection is a general uprising against the power structure. It is usually a sustained rebellion over the course of days, weeks, months or even years. It is a type of class war that involves a whole population in an act of armed or semi-armed resistance. Sometimes mistakenly called a rebellion, its character is far more combative and revolutionary. Rebellions are almost totally spontaneous, short-term affairs. An insurrection is also not the revolution, SINCE REVOLUTION IS A SOCIAL PROCESS, RATHER THAN A SINGLE EVENT, but it can be an important part of the revolution, maybe its final phase. An insurrection is a planned violent protest campaign which takes the spontaneous revolt of the masses to a higher level. Revolutionaries intervene to push rebellions to insurrectionary stage, and the insurrection to a social revolution. Source.
Under this definition, Boudica’s revolt meets all the criteria for an insurrection. When we consider the revolts that proceeded Boudica’s from the beginning of the Claudian invasion in 43 AD all the way to their own ending in 61 AD, there exists eighteen years of prolonged insurrectionary activity within Britain. Though not necessarily able to be classified as a revolutionary process, the Celtic tribes of Britain certainly were united in a sustained, multi-year long process of warfare against Roman occupation. Boudica’s revolt was an extension of this campaign, which is especially obvious when we consider the targets that the Celtic insurrectionists chose and the kind of violence and destruction unleashed upon Roman colonists and soldiers. Of note is Boudica’s first target at Camulodunum, due to its establishment as a colonia and especially for the temple to the emperor Claudius that had been constructed there by emperor Nero in their honor. In assaulting Camulodunum, the soldiers and survivors that were able to escape the initial attack took shelter inside the temple itself. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Celts burned Camulodunum to the ground, including the temple. The Celts also, according to Roman reports, slaughtered and mutilated much of the towns inhabitants, though to what extent the Romans could judge with their own use of rape, torture, slavery and gladiatorial blood sports is questionable.
Suffice it to say, the Celtic insurrectionists sought to remove the Romans, and anyone who would ally with them, from Britain entirely. Of the three locations that were assaulted by Boudica’s forces, Camulodunum and Londinium were colonia. Verulamium itself was a Celtic community that had accepted a degree of Romanization and was therefore seen as a threat to Celtic autonomy due to their loyalty to Rome. A clear path of anti-imperialism is present in the insurrectionary campaign of Boudica, for personal as well as social, political, economic and spiritual reasons. This campaign would culminate in the battle against Suetonius.
The Celts made a number of errors in regards to this particular battle. Equipment wise, the Celts were highly under prepared for the type of engagement that they were about to undertake. While the style of weapons and battle dress of the Celts did not necessarily spell defeat for them, it had to be undertaken with their strengths in mind against whatever weaknesses could be exploited against their opponents, namely the Roman military. However the Celts choose to meet the Romans in open battle, something they were incredibly experienced with, in a position that highly favored the Romans. Not only that but the Celts, under their own arrogance, brought their wives in wagons with them, which would later prevent them from escaping Roman slaughter. The Celtic failure at this battle is quite disappointing given resistance up to this point, especially given the strategic knowledge Boudica had employed previously. There is an argument to be made that, had the Celts been successful in this battle it very well may have completely halted Roman incursion into Britain, at least for some time.
Boudica’s insurrection demonstrates that the struggle against domination and oppression is not one that can be accomplished over night. It is an evolutionary social process. Boudica’s insurrection was not the first in Britain but rather a part of an established historical struggle. Without that, Boudica would have had little to no reason to resist with the tenacity that they did, barring their own obvious personal reasons for doing so. This history would have given Boudica an understanding of what and why Roman imperialism needed to be resisted. The colonization, enslavement, murder, torture, rape and destruction of spiritual practices and ritual sites that had taken place before Boudica’s insurrection deeply informed their actions and strategy. It is why for example they chose to burn Camulodunum and the temple built there as they represented, both materially and symbolically, Roman domination over their lands and peoples.
In order to struggle for our freedom against domination, we must understand the history of that struggle for us to understand the context of our current one. Not only that, but we must be united in our struggle, otherwise it may fall apart without direction or understanding of what we are fighting for. Finally, struggling against domination must be understood within the evolutionary social process, that the struggle for freedom itself will contain the potential for a free society within it. These are the lessons that Boudica’s insurrection teach us, ones that I am of the idea must be understood if we are not only to understand the context of rebellions in our own time, but so that we may push them towards their insurrectionary and quite possibly, revolutionary potentialities.
Those who follow the work of C4SS Senior Fellow Roderick Long will be excited to learn he’s got a new project just launched on YouTube. The “Agoric Café” is “…devoted to philosophy, politics, history, literature, and whatever else he feels like sounding off on, as well as video interviews with interesting people.”
Taking its name from the ancient Greek agora, the new channel is devoted to Aristotelean philosophy, anarchist politics, science fiction, and intellectual history. So far there are three episodes available: an introduction, a review of Steve J. Shone’s American Anarchism, and an exploration of philosophical thought experiments and science fiction. Those with eclectic intellectual interests will enjoy the wide range of ideas Roderick covers and his creative approach to key philosophical theories.
Check out Episode 2: On Steve J. Shone’s AMERICAN ANARCHISM
Let’s face it, it’s not easy being LGBTQ+ in this society. There is an ongoing rise in the murder rates of trans and gender non-conforming individuals, with the Human Rights Campaign documenting at least 21 murders just this year, which nearly matches last year’s documented 27 murders despite us only being halfway through the year. We are posed to easily pass last year’s murder rates before the end of the year.
LGBTQ+ people are more likely to suffer from abuse, be kicked out of their homes, refused services and resources based on their identities, and face job and housing discrimination. These factors lead to increased suicide rates in the queer and trans communities. Being a person of color, disabled, undocumented, etc. only increases these struggles for many. So where does one go when they have nowhere else? Where does one seek refuge in a red state where so many are against you?
This is exactly why we are working to establish a queer communal homestead and community organizing space in the heart of Cajun Country which we have named Coup de Main. Louisiana is a deeply red state with some of the highest incarceration rates per capita in the entire world. That is why we seek to establish a sanctuary from that as much as possible.
“Coup de Main” is Cajun French for “lend a hand.” We believe this name purposely encapsulates our mission with this project. Being anarchists, we wish to establish a community based on mutual aid and solidarity. The land we are working with was abandoned after Katrina after the trailers on the property were completely demolished in the storm. Since then, they have been left to rot into the ground as nature grew up around them. Now, we have to clear an acre and a half of land from a decade and a half’s worth of overgrowth and two household’s worth of hurricane debris.
Once that acre and a half is cleared, we can build spaces for people to live and thrive, where we can organize community projects and campaigns, where we can collaborate and start worker-run businesses, where we can hold workshops, skillshares, meetings, festivals, and other events.
Even with the land being an absolute mess, it has already served as a community resource, serving as a campground for local houseless folks in need of a safe place to lay low. Coup de Main also hosted a Mardi Gras festival/work party, Coup de Gras, in which we brought Vermin Supreme and his amazing wife Becky to New Orleans for Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras days.
We have more folks interested in joining our community. Many are waiting out hurricane season since we’re still living out of tents on the property and plan to continue in the fall. We have to clear more land, clean things up more, and buy more tools and supplies to adequately care for people and finish the job. We can’t be a tent city forever.
We need gas for the generator and chainsaw, we need water tanks and solar panels, we need weed eaters, stump rot, a decent lawnmower, saws to chop up the trailers for removal, sledgehammers, shovels, rakes, and a new front gate. We need bug spray, water, food to feed those in need, fans to deal with the extreme heat and humidity, battery packs for backup power sources, rain barrels, tables, canopies, building materials, and so much more.
We’ve come a long way since we started earlier this year and many folks have donated time, labor, resources, and money to the cause including the fine folks with Team Supreme, the Coalition of Armed Labor, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party, Enemy of the State’s Dank Pod-Stash, Green Market Agorist, and so many more. Many individuals, including myself, have put a lot of their own personal money behind this project because it is so important. They have helped us obtain tents, a generator, hand tools, machetes, chainsaws, an outdoor shower, water, food, hygiene products, canopies, fans, batteries, and so much more.
This will be an ongoing project which we hope will serve the community for decades to come. We hope that as an organizing hub, it can serve as a space to inspire positive change in the surrounding community, hopefully making it a safer more inclusive place for those seeking sanctuary at Coup de Main.
So please, if you wish to support this project, spread this fundraising call far and wide! Donate if you can and help boost the campaign by sharing on every platform you can. New Orleans may be known for its vibrant queer culture and community, but just across the bridge many of us still live in unsafe conditions with few resources and a lack of community. Help us offer that community. Together we may end up saving lives and help folks thrive in the process.
You can donate via the project’s GoFundMe at: https://gf.me/u/x4sngr
If the United States has become gradually less religious, it has simultaneously become entrenched in the quasi-religious ideology of its own corrupt two-party system. Devout liberals figuratively cross themselves, reaffirming their faith in a democratic savior come November–clinging to their faith in democracy without realizing that the system they think will save them is the very system that created the current political situation.
Liberalism is not enough. If religion was the opiate of the masses, it has been replaced. Faith in the US government, faith in a liberal victory in November is, to quote Marx, “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions–the opium of the people.”
It’s not enough to be a liberal
On stolen land in a stolen country
In a country built off human trafficking, human rights violations, genocide, rape
In a country with monuments to white supremacy still extant to this day
In a country where the president mobilizes militarized force against the citizenry
In a country where corporations will close to prevent looting, but not to protect workers
In a country where the mass-murder of animals is considered essential business
This is a call to anarchists and liberals alike–stand up against fascism now. Do it and do it loudly. If donald trump wants to find “Antifa,” let him.
Mutual Exchange is the Center for a Stateless Society’s effort to achieve mutual understanding through dialogue.
In this fecund moment of global political collapse and upheaval, amidst pandemics and police repression, there are also seeds of a better world being planted. It is in this spirit that we open this Summer Mutual Exchange on Decentralization and Economic Coordination as an offering to these visions and practices. Most critically, we ask “How can we create a radically free and equitable society that provides for the needs of all sentient beings?”
Read the full exchange here.
To engage with the nitty gritty of this question requires dialogue about the nature of economic coordination in lieu of authoritarian centralism. From this question a great plethora of answers and tendencies have emerged such as proponents of participatory economics (Parecon), p2p advocates, anarcho-communists and other social anarchists, libertarians, left-libertarians, mutualists, social ecologists, geo-libertarians, and much more. From a shared desire for this utopian society, it is worth opening up this discussion in ways that will overcome inadequate exploration in the past thanks to the academic focus on inter state-capitalist imperialist rivalries.
It has been sufficiently established that even in lieu of capitalist economic blockades and internal counter-Bolshevik revolts (both fascist and radical), authoritarian central planning is both untenable and undesirable. The style of massively centralized economic planning utilized in the Soviet Union faced inordinate and inherent problems of complexity, coordination, and political repression. Debate around these issues has often occurred in the context of “knowledge” and “coordination problems” and usually took place between Austrian capitalists, Langean market socialists, state-socialists, and neoclassical economists since the original Austrian critiques.
However, during and since this period a wide range of anti-authoritarian and much more decentralized tendencies have also been propagating their own critiques of Soviet and capitalist economics. These theories accompany movements that are putting them into practice, drawing from long-standing horizontalist traditions. For those that never believed in the totally centralized vision of a command economy, different questions arise. Some of these are:
- How much can a society economically plan?
- What is required in order to plan anything?
- How much decentralization is needed?
- Can a decentralized and horizontal society exist without mediums of exchange?
- If so, what limits on scale and complexity does that create?
- If mediums of exchange are necessary, what risks are inherent to their utilization?
- Are there mathematical and computational limits to what can be planned?
- Will advancements in technology help us circumvent the limits facing Soviet or even more decentralized planners?
In order to constrain the scope of the exchange, participants were encouraged to limit these discussions to shared areas of interest. Some of these general themes are:
- How does your proposal ensure that there is not formal or informal runaway power accumulation resulting in various forms of domination (both social and economic)?
- How does your proposal concretely eliminate or utilize rivalrous conditions to facilitate economic coordination?
- How do you ensure that preferences and supply availability are accurately reflected in production?
Through this symposium we hope to help chart a more nuanced path forward and expose the tensions inherent in these difficult topics in service to the radically free and nurturing society which we are all trying to cultivate.
New articles will be posted every Monday and Thursday. After the lead essays, there will be an opportunity for responses to be written. If you have questions or would like to submit a late response or essay please contact email@example.com.
The essays below the exchange list offer some other resources that we have compiled on the topic to help show the breadth and tensions of the discussion on these themes.
- Decentralized Economic Coordination: Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Kevin Carson
- Mathematical Optimization and the Economic Calculation Problem, Rai Ling
- Social Anarchism and Parallel Computation, Emmi Bevensee
- The Problem of Scale in Anarchism and the Case for Cybernetic Communism, Aurora Apolito
- Action Is Sometimes Clearer Than Talk: Why We Will Always Need Trade, William Gillis
- The Tithe as an Element of Economic Democracy: Decentralizing Collectivization, Zoe Belinsky
- Memetic Propagation and Mediation: Tools for the Distributed Economy, Siddharth Sthalekar
- We Are in Midst of a Seismic Shift, It Is up to Labor to Decide the Outcome, Asem
- Does Anarchism Skirt the Calculation Problem?, Logan Marie Glitterbomb
- The Implications of Institutional Limits in a Complex World, Frank Miroslav
- De/centralization, Discretion, and the Anarchist Movement, M Black
- Modern Money Theory: Using Authoritarians’ Tools Against Them, H.B. Dillon Williams IV
- Maximum Viable Economic Planning: The Basis of New Economies, Emmi Bevensee
- Centrifugal Tendencies in Information & Wealth, William Gillis
- Revealed Preferences and Deliberation: A Defense, Andrew Kemle
- Complexity As a Fundamental Diseconomy of Scale, Frank Miroslav
- Relitigating Decentralization: Response to M Black, William Gillis
- Response to Aurora Apolito, Kevin Carson
Articles on C4SS
- “Economic Calculation,” “Strong Property Rights,” and Other Lies Koch-Funded Libertarian Commentators Told Me, Kevin Carson
- Anarchist Themes in the Work of Elinor Ostrom, Kevin Carson
- The Last Person in the Room Must Close the Door: Hayek in the Age of Computing, Jocheved Matt
- The History of an Idea: Or How an Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Socialism became an Argument against Authoritarian Capitalism, Roderick T. Long
- The Knowledge Problem of Privilege, Nathan Goodman
- Anarchist Ends, Market Means, Emmi Bevensee
- Review: The People’s Republic of Walmart, Frank Miroslav
- The Economic Bandwidth Problem, Frank Miroslav
- Revealed Preference: A Parable, William Gillis
- The Organic Emergence of Property from Reputation, William Gillis
Knowledge and Coordination Problems
- The Use of Knowledge in Society, FA Hayek
- In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You!, Cosma Shalizi, Crooked Timber
- Computability and Economic Planning, Ionela Bălţătescu, Petre Prisecaru, Kybernetes
- Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory, Desktop Regulatory State, Studies In a Mutualist Political Economy, and this article on how corporations are centrally planned economies.
- Rivalry and Central Planning, National Economic Planning: What is Left? Lavoie
- Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, Mises
- Marxism and Workers Self-Management, Producer Cooperatives and Labor Managed Systems, (links are to snippets not full books), Prytchiko
- Expanding the Anarchist Range, Prytchiko
Criticisms of Standard Market Interpretations of Economic Coordination
- The Mirage of An Economics of Knowledge, Mirowski
- The Centrally Planned Economy, Hayek, and the Red Spot of Jupiter
- More Flim-Flam from the Austrians about Cantor, Cockshott
- Socialist Calculation: The Computer Engineering Problem, Cockshott
- Calculation, Complexity, and Planning: The Socialist Calculation Debate Once Again, Cottrell and Cockshott
- Langean Market Socialism Wiki
- “An Anarchist Case Against Markets” thread on r/DebateAnarchism
- The Economic Calculation Controversy: Unraveling of a myth, Cox
- The Computer and the Market, Lange
- Anarchist Review of Democracy and Economic Planning by Pat Devine
- Universal Capitalism or Regional Planning, Polanyi
- What economic agents do: How cognition and interaction lead to emergence and complexity by Robert Axtell
- “Is socialism impossible?” An Anarchist FAQ, Section I.1.1.
Non- Market Approaches to Economic Coordination
- Parecon or Libertarian-Communism, Libcom and Project for a Participatory Society
- Participatory Planning Through Negotiated Coordination, Pat Devine
- Parecon Introductory Resources
- Participatory Planning in Parecon
- Social Ecology and Parecon Debates, Peter Staudenmaier
- Wiki on Decentralized Planning
- The Accumulation of Freedom: Writings on Anarchist Economics (particularly section 4 and 6)
- Anarchism and Worker’s Self Management in Revolutionary Spain (full pdf not found), Frank Mintz
- Worker-Self Management in Revolutionary Spain, Dolgoff
- The Anarchist Collectives
- Angel Economics: Non-monetary coordination, anonymous
- VIAAC Wiki, Ryan Salisbury, Pieter DeBeer
- OpenHumanity, ixnaum
- On the Invisible Hand of Communism, Mark Hoskins
- Provision and Production without Markets: A Primer on Priority Theory of Value, Ryan Salisbury
- Mutual Aid Emergency Response Network
Mutual Exchange is C4SS’s goal in two senses: We favor a society rooted in peaceful, voluntary cooperation, and we seek to foster understanding through ongoing dialogue. Mutual Exchange will provide opportunities for conversation about issues that matter to C4SS’s audience.
Online symposiums will include essays by a diverse range of writers presenting and debating their views on a variety of interrelated and overlapping topics, tied together by the overarching monthly theme. C4SS is extremely interested in feedback from our readers. Suggestions and comments are enthusiastically encouraged. If you’re interested in proposing topics and/or authors for our program to pursue, or if you’re interested in participating yourself, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Recently, we recorded a crossover episode of Mutual Exchange Radio with Joel Williamson of Non Serviam Media. As part of that project, our host Zachary Woodman was a guest on the Non Serviam Podcast this month.
Episode description: Zachary Woodman is a Master of Philosophy student at Western Michigan University, a market anarchist, and the host of the Center For a Stateless Society’s Mutual Exchange Radio podcast. His research interests include political philosophy, meta-ethics, philosophy of social science, and decision theory. He’s particularly interested in the intersections of anarchist and liberal political theory, the legitimacy of political authority, and the practical implications of philosophical anarchism.
In this interview, we discussed why markets matter, democracy, borders, nationalism, Mutual Exchange Radio, Center for a Stateless Society, and a whole lot more.
Support Non Serviam Media — https://www.patreon.com/nonserviammedia
Support Mutual Exchange Radio — https://www.patreon.com/c4ssdotorg
Last night, we received the very relieving news that, after yet another suicide attempt while in confinement, a judge has ordered that Chelsea Manning be released after nearly a year of imprisonment for refusal to cooperate with a grand jury.
While this is very good news, it doesn’t come without continued challenges. In an attempt to further coerce Chelsea to cooperate, she was fine $1,000 per day for every day she was in prison. Now, those fines total $256,000. The good news is that you can help by donating to her official GoFundMe campaign organized by our dear friend Kelly Wright.
Here is the full campaign message from Kelly:
This campaign is being organized by her friend Kelly Wright. Funds raised here will be used only to pay legal fines, and will be held in trust for this purpose alone.
Either way, every penny will go towards these fines.*
Chelsea E. Manning is a network security and artificial intelligence expert, and activist. She is a former military intelligence analyst and political prisoner.
Chelsea was incarcerated at Alexandria Detention Center for nearly a year, due to her principled refusal to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the publishers of her 2010 disclosures. She was also fined $1,000 for each day she refused to testify, and those fines now total approximately $256,000.
On March 12, 2020, Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea Manning’s release after the apparent conclusion of the grand jury, but he further ordered that she pay $256,000 in fines that had accumulated over the course of her confinement.
Chelsea does not have the means to come up with over a quarter million dollars on her own, and is exhausted from this ordeal, and can really use your help repaying these fines.
Thanks so much for your support!
If you are interested in offering an in-kind donation or other support, please e-mail: ReleaseChelsea@protonmail.com
To learn more about Chelsea, check out her Twitter and Medium pages and the ReleaseChelsea.com website.
The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) wants to bring about a world where individuals are liberated from oppressive states, structural poverty, and social injustice. We use academic studies, book reviews, opinion editorials, essay collections, podcasts, and social media to spread left-wing market anarchist ideas far and wide.
Students For Liberty’s LibertyCon (April 3-5) is the year’s premier gathering of libertarian minds from all over the world – and C4SS is a mere $800 away from getting an exhibitor table at this event. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote radical left market anarchist ideas among libertarians from around the globe.
Every penny counts and the Center appreciates any and all help you are willing to give. Let’s get C4SS to LibertyCon and start building the new world in the shell of the old!
The long-awaited second issue of the Molinari Review (the Molinari Institute’s interdisciplinary, open-access, libertarian academic journal) is here! Nearly twice the length of the first issue!
(A Kindle copy should be available later this month. In the meantime, the previous issue is available as a free PDF download here.)
So what’s in the new issue? Here’s a rundown:
- Anarchist communists reject not only the state but the market as well, arguing that private property and market exchange are as much a source of domination as the instrumentalities of the state. In “Supplying the Demand of Liberation: Markets as a Structural Check Against Domination,” philosopher Jason Lee Byas argues, to the contrary, that individualist anarchism, precisely because of its reliance on markets and the greater plasticity they offer, satisfies the anarchist commitment to non-domination more successfully than communism does. Byas highlights the potential dangers of anarchist communists’ proposed alternatives to markets, arguing that these dangers become even more serious when the dynamics of race, gender, sexuality, and other systems of privilege and oppression are factored in, while the market process can be shown to be a powerful engine for addressing such problems.
- The economic regulations of the American Progressive Era have long been viewed – whether with approval or with disapproval, depending on the political perspective of the viewer – as a powerful blow against big business. In the 1960s, Gabriel Kolko and other New Left historians argued, to the contrary, that the corporate elite were the major beneficiaries of these regulations – a revisionist thesis soon enthusiastically embraced and promoted (much to the dismay of Kolko himself) by a number of free-market libertarian thinkers, including Murray Rothbard and Roy Childs. In recent years, however, Roger L. Bradley Jr. and Roger Donway have argued (see here and here) that Kolko’s account of the relationship between business and the state during the Gilded Age and its aftermath was flawed by a mistaken conceptual framework and a misleading use of evidence through selective quotation of his sources; for Bradley and Donway, what Kolko made to seem like corporate support for regulation was in most cases merely a matter of corporations adapting to regulation as a form of self-defense. In “The War on Kolko,” historian Joseph R. Stromberg defends Kolko against both the charge of misinterpreting the motives of corporate leaders and the charge of distorting the textual evidence, concluding that Kolko’s work remains “quite unscathed.”
- Is there any connection between liberty in the political sense and liberty in the sense at issue in the free will debate? John Stuart Mill, in the first sentence of his treatise On Liberty, famously replied in the negative. But in “Libertarianism and Hard Determinism,” “Thomas Lafayette Bateman III and Walter E. Block argue that if a human being were “no more than a moist robot, subject completely to nature’s laws,” then political institutions to protect such an entity’s freedom of choice would be pointless, abstract principles of rights would be meaningless, and seeking to control individual behaviour through totalitarian manipulation and the judicious application of stimuli would seem optimal. Hence political libertarianism and hard determinism are incompatible; a consistent adherent of the first must reject the second.*
- For the past thirty years, philosophers Jan Narveson and James P. Sterba have been debating whether a commitment to liberty entails welfare rights or instead rules them out. For Narveson, those who acquire property by innocent means are entitled to it, and anyone who tries to take it from them without their consent is violating their liberty; whereas for Sterba, preventing the poor from making use of the excess property of the affluent is a violation of the liberty of the poor to access resources they need, which is a more important liberty than that of the affluent to maintain control of such resources. In “Liberty vs. Welfare Rights – Continued,” Narveson marshals the principles of Innocent Possession and Open-Ended Use to defend the right of the first user as more consonant with the requirements of peaceful and productive human cooperation than the right of the neediest user; in “A Response to Narveson: Why Liberty Leads to Welfare and Beyond,” Sterba argues that a more defensible formulation of the principles of Innocent Possession and Open-Ended Use instead favours the neediest user over the first user.
- In our previous issue, Gus diZerega argued that contemporary libertarians misunderstand and misapply their own key concepts, leading them to embrace an atomistic vision of society, and to overvalue the market while undervaluing empathy and democracy. The present issue features an exchange among diZerega, Chris Matthew Sciabarra, and myself on these matters, with particular attention to the interpretation of Ayn Rand, in contributions titled (from Sciabarra) “Reply to Gus diZerega on His Essay, ‘Turning the Tables: The Pathologies and Unrealized Promise of Libertarianism’,”, (from diZerega) “Response to Chris Matthew Sciabarra,” and (from me) “It Ain’t Necessarily So: A Response to Gus diZerega.”
Want to order a copy? See the ordering information above.
Want to contribute an article to an upcoming issue? Head to the journal’s webpage.
Want to support this project financially? Make a donation to the Molinari Institute General Fund.
* Incidentally, I welcome Walter Block’s conversion to thick libertarianism – and look forward to his explanation of why his position here doesn’t really count as thick-libertarian. 😛