Durante el mes de enero traduje al español “Escape de la bahía de Guantánamo” de Joel Schlosberg, “En memoria de las víctimas de Charlie Hebdo” de Sheldon Richman, “Solo se le llama censura cuando ellos la implementan” de Erick Vasconcelos y “El FBI es excelente para frustrar (sus propios) ‘complots terroristas’” de Kevin Carson.
Como de constumbre, aprovecho para invitarte a hacer una donación de US $5 para C4SS. Con ella nos ayudarías a seguir con nuestro esfuerzo por reflexionar seriamente sobre la idea de una sociedad organizada en base a la cooperación voluntaria y cómo hacerla realidad.
¡Salud y Libertad!
Spanish Media Coordinator Report, January 2015
During January I translated into Spanish “Escape from Guantanamo Bay” by Joel Schlosberg, “In Memory of the Charlie Hebdo Victims” by Sheldon Richman, “It’s Only Censorship When They Do It” by Erick Vasconcelos, and “The FBI is Great at Disrupting (Its Own) ‘Terror Plots’” by Kevin Carson.
As always, I seize the opportunity to invite you to donate $5 for C4SS: your contribution is what allows us to keep reflecting upon and promoting the idea of a society based on voluntary cooperation. Please donate $5 today!
¡Salud y libertad!
Via the Association of Libertarian Feminists discussion group (natch) I found this video by up-and-coming YouTube star Cameron Watt (on Facebook anyway), from his channel Libertarian Socialist Rants (LSR).
His title is “My Thoughts on Feminism”, but as my Tweet on it explains, it’s really about why the hierarchy analysis of anarchism necessitates feminism. The embed is below, but first, to more fully introduce him to the C4SS crowd, I reached out to him via his Facebook page to ask a few questions, which he was kind enough to answer.
C4SS: So first question would be (and I do this too and I’m considering not doing it anymore), “why do you say you’re a libertarian when you’re more accurately an anarchist?”
Also, what got you into libertarianism in the first place, then what got you into socialist libertarianism? Or was it the other way around?
LSR: “Libertarian socialist” tends to evoke a bit of curiosity, whereas saying I’m an anarchist usually causes a lot of eye rolling and comments about chaos and whatnot.
In terms of how I came to libertarian socialism, I started off as a right-wing bastard, then became more liberal, then a social democrat, and then the phenomenon of student debt radicalised me into an anarchist.
So I came from the left.
C4SS: Why did you start your show? Why should people subscribe?
LSR: I started my channel ages ago, not for political reasons but just because I was an angry teenager just looking to let off steam (this was when I was a right-wing bastard). After being radicalised I want to commit my channel to promoting social change of various sorts, by giving theoretical analysis, and in the future I’d like to offer practical advice for people.
As for why people should subscribe, I think the arguments are worth listening to and they need to be spread around rather than be obscured and isolated in a corner of the political debate.
At roughly 5 pm CST (January 22, 2015), Brad Spangler confessed in a Facebook post to the 2004 molestation of a child and expressed his intention to turn himself in to the police. He has not posted anything, nor, so far as we know, otherwise communicated — to the contrary, or for that matter at all — in the intervening time. No other evidence or circumstances have come to light to suggest that his confession was false, fake or coerced.
The Center For A Stateless Society (C4SS) finds his monstrous actions and the way in which he admitted them utterly abhorrent and completely counter to the values C4SS stands for.
There is absolutely no avoiding the elephant in the room: Spangler co-founded C4SS. He was a key builder of its infrastructure. But he has not been a part of C4SS for a long time, either publicly or behind the scenes. His biography on the website erroneously listed him as a Senior Fellow until yesterday; that description should have been changed long ago simply for accuracy’s sake. Due to this oversight, C4SS is working on approving a proposal for identifying and removing associates who have “abandoned” C4SS due to lack of communication or participation.
C4SS has changed substantially over the years as we’ve grown and Spangler does not represent us. Rather than continue to host the writing of a child molester and to make clear our strenuous disassociation we’ve removed his historical posts from our site. At the same time we do not mean to disingenuously “memoryhole” Spangler’s unfortunate legacy and will be archiving his historical content on another site, the Spangler Pensieve.
Spangler’s admission was a heavy blow to us, but whatever discomfort our organization experiences over the coming months is nothing in comparison to the pain the survivor of Spangler’s actions has suffered for a decade, nor the pain that survivor is surely being forced to relive as a result of his selfishness. The survivor deserves the chance to heal. We will respect the survivor’s space, and offer our assistance should it ever be needed or wanted. To further this end, C4SS will be donating $200 from our Entrepreneurial Anti-capitalism fund to generationFive. [G]enerationFive “works to interrupt and mend the intergenerational impact of child sexual abuse on individuals, families, and communities. It is our belief that meaningful community response is the key to effective prevention.”
We would like to close with some quotes from Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements:
Time and again heterosexual men in radical movements have been allowed to assert their privilege and subordinate others. Despite all that we say to the contrary, the fact is that radical social movements and organizations in the United States have refused to seriously address gender violence  as a threat to the survival of our struggles. We’ve treated misogyny, homophobia, and heterosexism as lesser evils—secondary issues—that will eventually take care of themselves or fade into the background once the “real” issues—racism, the police, class inequality, U.S. wars of aggression—are resolved. There are serious consequences for choosing ignorance. Misogyny and homophobia are central to the reproduction of violence in radical activist communities. Scratch a misogynist and you’ll find a homophobe. Scratch a little deeper and you might find the makings of a future informant (or someone who just destabilizes movements like informants do). …
As angry as gender violence on the Left makes me, I am hopeful. I believe we have the capacity to change and create more justice in our movements. We don’t have to start witch hunts to reveal misogynists and informants. They out themselves every time they refuse to apologize, take ownership of their actions, start conflicts and refuse to work them out through consensus, mistreat their compañer@s. We don’t have to look for them, but when we are presented with their destructive behaviors we have to hold them accountable. Our strategies don’t have to be punitive; people are entitled to their mistakes. But we should expect that people will own those actions and not allow them to become a pattern.
We have a right to be angry when the communities we build that are supposed to be the model for a better, more just world harbor the same kinds of antiqueer, antiwoman, racist violence that pervades society. As radical organizers we must hold each other accountable and not enable misogynists to assert so much power in these spaces. Not allow them to be the faces, voices, and leaders of these movements. Not allow them to rape a compañera and then be on the fucking five o’ clock news. […] By not allowing misogyny to take root in our communities and movements, we not only protect ourselves from the efforts of the state to destroy our work but also create stronger movements that cannot be destroyed from within.
 I use the term gender violence to refer to the ways in which homophobia and misogyny are rooted in heteronormative understandings of gender identity and gender roles. Heterosexism not only polices non-normative sexualities but also reproduces normative gender roles and identities that reinforce the logic of patriarchy and male privilege.
Yesterday, a statement was posted to the facebook wall of Brad Spangler, co-founder and former fellow of C4SS. It admitted to molesting a child.
We are floored, dismayed and horrified by this post. If it is genuine, we utterly condemn Spangler’s actions.
We are in the process of confirming facts and composing a more detailed statement.
The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) has named Grant A. Mincy its first Elinor Ostrom Chair in Environmental Studies and Commons Governance.
Mincy holds a chair on the Energy & Environment Advisory Council for the Our America Initiative and an Associate editor of the Molinari Review. He earned his Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2012. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where he teaches both Biology and Geology at area colleges.
Mincy is a fellow of C4SS and has been writing with C4SS for almost two years. He has had commentaries published in many countries and in several languages. He has already published one academic study, Power and Property: A Corollary, with C4SS and is currently working on his second. His work has focused on issues of environment, ecology, commons governance, power of place, climate change, education, communication technology, resilient communities and the importance of anarchism to any social theory claiming justice, peace and prosperity as its values.
This chair is named in honor of the brilliant, prolific and passionate economist and political scientist Elinor Ostrom. Ostrom’s life, work, Workshop (research databases and libraries) and “a 50 year legacy of nurturing young scholars focused on solutions oriented research” demonstrates a powerful commitment to describing a a world beyond states and capitalism. A world where people are not at the mercy of the scarcity facts of the universe or the monocentric institutions desperately presumed as our only means of salvation. A world where people, communities, environments and resources are all important parts of governance problems and their quick-fix “Faustian Bargain” solutions are kept in view, in check, impossible and irrelevant.
We look forward to seeing how Mincy’s research and writing develops and enriches our understanding of Environmental Studies and Commons Governance for a stateless society.
Já vínhamos passando da metade de janeiro de 2015 e eu ainda não havia apresentado o relatório referente a dezembro. Então, para remediar essa situação, decidi ir um pouco além e falar um pouco do trabalho que nós desenvolvemos para atingir o público em português durante todo o ano de 2014.
Até eu assumir como coordenador de mídias, o C4SS já trazia textos para português, mas não de modo sistemático e não havia uma tentativa de chegar aos veículos de mídia. O C4SS pediu para que eu fizesse especificamente isso quando comecei no meu posto.
A partir de março, chamei Valdenor Júnior para o nosso time. Eu e Valdenor fomos a cara do C4SS durante 2014, escrevendo a maior parte dos nossos textos originais. Com o tempo, eu também compilei uma grande lista de editores para quem passei a mandar nossos editoriais e alguns de nossos artigos feature (artigos geralmente mais longos que tratam de temas que não necessariamente comentam fatos do cotidiano). A resposta foi extremamente positiva e nós conseguimos ser publicados em diversos veículos da internet e em alguns jornais impressos.
Segue um gráfico que detalha a evolução do nosso trabalho em português, contando quantos artigos originais em português nós produzimos em cada mês, o total de artigos publicados (entre originais e traduzidos do inglês) e o total de republicações em outros veículos:
Os números totais do ano são os seguintes:
- Total de artigos originais em português: 54
- Total de artigos publicados (originais e traduzidos): 207
- Total de republicações: 593
Além disso, começamos uma campanha agressiva de divulgação no Facebook. Todos os artigos que publicamos são divulgados em vários grupos de discussão, o que nos ajudou a atingir uma popularidade moderada em nossa página, que foi criada em 17/02. Os números da nossa página do Facebook são os seguintes:
- Total de curtidas na página até 31/12/2014: 3619
- Média de curtidas por mês: 329
- Total de curtidas na página até 15/01/2015: 3855
Também estabelecemos uma presença no Twitter para o C4SS (@c4sspt) a partir de 31 de março. Nossos números, mais modestos que os do Facebook, são os seguintes:
- Total de seguidores até 15/01/2015: 103
- Média de seguidores por mês: 10,84
- Total de tweets até 15/01/2015: 324
- Média de tweets por mês: 34,10
Neste mês, comecei também alimentar de conteúdo no blog do Tumblr do C4SS em português, interagindo com os usuários, postando nossos textos diários e republicando nossos textos antigos, para atingir novos leitores. Até o momento, já há 28 republicações em nosso blog, com 7 seguidores e mais 21 posts na fila (republicando alguns de nossas centenas de textos de 2014 na plataforma).
Para mim, em particular, tem sido um prazer trabalhar com o C4SS em prol do ideal da anarquia e de um livre mercado radical e revolucionário
2015 será melhor e para isso contamos com sua ajuda! O C4SS só é possível através das doações daqueles que acreditam nas nossas ideias. Então, se você sente que nosso trabalho é importante, não deixe de nos apoiar e faça uma doação hoje mesmo.
Coordenador de mídias
Centro por uma Sociedade Sem Estado
* * *
Portuguese Media Coordinator Update: December 2014
We’re almost past halfway through January and I still haven’t presented the December Portuguese Media Report. So, to remedy that situation, I decided to go further and talk a little about the work we developed in 2014 to reach the Portuguese-speaking public.
Before I started as media coordinator, C4SS already brought articles into Portuguese, but it wasn’t a very systematic endeavor and there wasn’t an attempt to reach media outlets. When I started collaborating with the Center, I was specifically asked to do that and try to sprinkle our content everywhere I could.
From March on, I asked Valdenor Júnior to join our team. Valdenor and I were the face of C4SS during 2014, writing most of our content in Portuguese. Over time, I was able to compile a large list of editors to whom I would send our op-eds and selected long form features. We got an extremely positive feedback and we were able to get published in several internet outlets as well as a handful of printed newspapers.
Below I show you a graph I prepared detailing the evolution of our work in Portuguese, counting how many original Portuguese articles we published each month, the total number of articles we published (both translated from English and original pieces), and total pickups from media outlets:
The total numbers from 2014 are the following:
- Total original Portuguese articles published: 54
- Total published articles (translated and original): 207
- Total pickups: 593
I started a rather agressive campaign to spread out our articles. Every article we publish is shared in several discussion groups, something that helped our Facebook page — created on 02/17 — achieve a respectable popularity. Our Facebook numbers are the following:
- Total page “likes” until 12/31/2014: 3619
- Average number of “likes” per month: 329
- Total page “likes” until 01/15/2015: 3855
On 03/31, we opened a Twitter account for the Portuguese C4SS (@c4sspt). The respectable, albeit more modest numbers, are as follows:
- Total followers until 01/15/2015: 103
- Average number of followers per month: 10,84
- Total tweets until 15/01/2015:
- Average number of tweets per month: 34,10
I have also started this month to feed content to the Portuguese C4SS Tumblr blog, interacting with other users, posting our daily articles and republishing our older pieces to reach new readers. Up to this moment, the blog has 28 posts, 7 followers and 21 posts in queue — republishing a few of the hundreds of articles that we ran in 2014 on the newer platform.
To me, in particular, it’s been a pleasure to work with C4SS in promoting the ideas of anarchy and a radical and revolutionary free market.
2015 should be even better, and for that we hope to get your help and donation! C4SS is made possible through the donations from those who believe in our ideas. So, if you feel our work is important, do not hesitate to help us out and send $5 our way today!
Center for a Stateless Society
Hey, everyone … it’s almost mid-January, and those of you who follow the Center’s media action may be wondering why you haven’t heard anything about December yet. There’s a reason for that, which I’ll explain below, but first the numbers you’ve been waiting for:
In December 2014, I submitted 33,772 pieces of the Center’s English language op-ed content to 2,593 publications worldwide. So far I’ve identified and logged 47 media “pickups” of C4SS English language content in December.
Submissions slightly lagged my goals for December — we had a few days with nothing to publish, which meant nothing to submit. I’m actually pretty happy with the pickup numbers for the month. December’s always been a difficult month for us, especially in even-numbered years. Between post-election commentary of the type we don’t do (“inside baseball” state policy stuff, etc.) and the tendency to go with puff piece editorialism around the Christmas holiday, our pickups tend to drop off a little. They did so this year, but not as much as I had anticipated.
Now, as to why this update is running late:
Whenever there’s a significant question raised on the matter of whether to add or remove a source from our “mainstream/popular media pickups” counting, it requires discussion.
Some time back, there was internal discussion at the Center on whether or not to start counting pickups by Before It’s News. The result of that discussion was the decision to count those pickups. BIN may not be “mainstream,” but it is “popular” (according to the imperfect Alexa rating service, usually among the 2,500 most popular web sites in the world).
Starting late last month, there was again internal discussion concerning BIN and a proposal that we stop counting pickups there. That proposal was driven by two arguments: That BIN is so non-“mainstream” (lots of “conspiracy theory” stuff, etc.) as to not qualify for our pickup tracking criteria, and that it is now (if it ever wasn’t) a non-discriminating aggregator rather than a discriminating site with an editorial policy.
I hope I’ve presented both sides of the logic for counting, or not counting, BIN pickups fairly. If not, I’m sure supporters and opponents of counting BIN pickups will clarify their viewpoints in comments.
In any case, I didn’t want to put out a media coordinator report until this issue was resolved, for the simple reason that if we’re going to take a double-digit dive in monthly pickup numbers by dropping BIN, I wanted to explain why in this report.
As it happens, our policy remains unchanged — for the moment. We are, however, looking into the possibility of a more diverse pickup-tracking operation in which “mainstream media,” “alt media,” “blogs,” “aggregators,” etc. get separate tracking/reporting functions and we can provide our supporters with more information on our media penetration in general. I’ll keep you informed of our progress on that.
I’ll be back next month with another report … hopefully much earlier
Yours in liberty,
English Language Media Coordinator
Center for a Stateless Society
Essentially, the tragedy of past revolutions has been that, sooner or later, their doors closed, “at ten in the evening.” The most critical function of modern technology must be to keep the doors of the revolution open forever! –Murray Bookchin
Part of the dissolutionary strategy advocated by C4SS is called Open Source Insurgency or embracing institutional, organizational or technological innovations — low-tech or high-tech — that render centralized or authoritarian governance impossible (or so damn costly as to be regarded as impossible). One of these innovations is Tor. And, so, C4SS maintains an always-on Tor Node. But we need your help.
C4SS has maintained a Tor relay node for over three years. This is our first quarter fundraiser for the project. Every contribution will help us maintain this node until April 2015. Every contribution above our needed amount will be earmarked for our first quarter fundraiser.
We encourage everyone to consider operating a Tor relay node yourself. If this, for whatever reason, is not an option, you can still support the Tor project and online anonymity with a $5 donation to the C4SS Tor relay node.
C4SS maintains a Tor relay node with a freedom friendly data center in the Netherlands. The relay is part of a global network dedicated to the idea that a free society requires freedom of information. Since June 2011 C4SS has continuously added nearly 10 Mbps of bandwidth to the network (statistics). Although we can’t know, by design, what passes through the relay, it’s entirely likely that it has facilitated communications by revolutionaries, agorists, whistleblowers, journalists working under censorious regimes and many more striving to advance the cause of liberty and the dissolution of authority.
If you believe, as we do, that Tor is one of the technologies that makes both state and corporate oppression not only obsolete, but impossible, please consider operating as a Tor relay or donating to support the C4SS node.
The State is damage, we will find a route around!
- Internet Security Is Our Responsibility
- Tor: The Onion Router
- Tor Is For Everyone: Why You Should Use Tor
- 7 Things You Should Know About Tor
- Using PGP Encryption To Communicate Privately
- Keeping Your Cryptocurrency Safe
- Dark Wallet: New Weapons for Old Wars
If you are interested in learning more about Tor and how to become a relay node yourself, then check out our write up on the project: Stateless Tor.
Bitcoin is also welcome:
Murray Rothbard once opined that there were only two “just wars” in all of American history. The wars in question were the American Revolutionary War and the secessionist war of the Confederate States during the American Civil War.
Murray’s reasoning for including, at least, the war of the Confederacy is dubious. To quote his take on what constitutes a just war:
My own view of war can be put simply: a just war exists when a people tries to ward off the threat of coercive domination by another people, or to overthrow an already-existing domination. A war is unjust, on the other hand, when a people try to impose domination on another people, or try to retain an already existing coercive rule over them.
This viewpoint of Rothbard is not the best take on just war. Rothbard uses the collectivist concept of a people rather than the autonomous individual. This can easily lead to a nationalistic defense of state sovereignty as opposed to a radical defense of individual rights. This is not to deny that human beings exist in a social context. It simply acknowledges that consent is ultimately necessary on an individual level.
Even if one agrees with this viewpoint, it doesn’t legitimize the South’s war. The South was trying to preserve coercive domination over black people. And the Confederacy hypocritically denied slaves the same right of secession that the Confederate government was claiming in relation to the Union. The negative libertarian rights and freedoms of the slaves were not acknowledged by the Confederate state.
There is simply no way of reconciling radical libertarian principle with a defense of the so called Southern War of Independence. This doesn’t mean the Union was perfect or perfectly embodied libertarian ideals either. To quote Roderick Long:
When libertarians on one side point out that the Union centralised power, violated civil liberties, committed vicious war crimes, was hypocritical on secession, ignored avenues for peaceful emancipation, and cared more about tariffs and nationalism than about ending slavery, I agree and applaud; but they lose me when they start calling the Civil War the “Second War of American Independence” and portray the Confederates as freedom fighters.
Equivalently, when libertarians on the other side point out that the preservation and extension of slavery was central to the South’s motivations for secession (as seems clear from what secessionists said at the time of secession, as opposed to what they said in their memoirs years later), and that the Confederacy was just as bloated and oppressive a centralized state as the Union, equally hypocritical on secession and equally invasive of civil liberties, once more I agree and applaud. (As I like to say, the Confederacy was just another failed government program.) But they too lose me, when they start calling Lincoln a great libertarian and the consolidation of federal power a victory for liberty.
The proper position to take is one of opposition to both states alike and support for anarchistic abolitionism of the Lysander Spooner variety.
Welcome to 2015! This is Missing Comma, a media criticism and analysis blog project graciously hosted by the Center for a Stateless Society. As with last year, our continuing mission is to understand how various forms of informational media – mainly the news – interact with individuals, and vice versa. Our goal: lay down the framework for an anarchist news organization that not only challenges the existing media landscape, but can ultimately replace it entirely.
To do that, we’ll be looking at the history of journalism, as well as present-day examples of breaches in media ethics and instances where misunderstandings between the public and the media arise. We’ll also be talking with experts in the field of media ethics about various issues from conflicts of interest to press freedom.
We’re expanding our operation this year to include a podcast and DIY educational materials. We’ve got a Patreon page set up here, where you can donate as much or as little as you like to keep us going. We explain where your donations go over there on the Patreon page, but basically, you’ll be helping us to bring on multiple writers to work on the blog and establish a general fund we can tap into for things like printing materials. We’re also expanding our social media presence in 2015 to encompass Twitter and Facebook, and we’ve got a secondary blog over here at Tumblr where we’ll be posting to daily.
This was kind of a short post, but one of our new year resolutions is to adhere to the old adage “quality over quantity” as much as humanly possible. I’m Trevor Hultner, main thing-doer at Missing Comma; you can follow me on Twitter at @missingcomma. We’re also incredibly lucky to have Juliana Perciavalle on the team for a second year as well. She’s about to start her final semester in college, but she’ll be dropping in throughout the year. Thanks for your support, and thanks for reading!
December is almost over and along with it 2014. C4SS had an amazing month and an amazing year and we owe everything to you — our supporters.
This year closes with many people interested in anarchism or, at least, the ground long surveyed and mapped by anarchists. From the stark and gleeful brutality of state sponsored torture to the relentless, metronome regularity of police abuse against peaceful men, women, children and animals, the world is slowly realizing that the state is not only standing on our necks robbing us blind, it is standing in our way holding us back from our future.
This is where, and when, we need more anarchists writing about anarchism — its practicality, its everyday nature and its transformative and uplifting power. Liberty is an acid that dissolves and disintegrates all authority; this is why liberty is blocked at every approach and banned from even basic expression. This is why we need liberty, more then ever, roiling and seething. In 2015 we will do our part in bringing liberty to a boil, but we can’t do it without your support. A stateless society is what we want, more than anything, and C4SS is a concerted way of bringing this goal closer. As Voltairine de Cleyre has said, “We have done this because we love liberty and hate authority.”
If C4SS, as an organization and an idea, is something you like having around or would like to see do more things (like funding more studies, publishing more books, helping with travel expenses for writers to speak at events, updating the youtube graphics, etc), then, please, donate $5 today.
What will $5 a month get you from C4SS? Well let’s see,
For the month of December, C4SS published:
And, thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators and translators, C4SS translated and published:
Jeff Riggenbach on Feed 44
We are happy and honored to have the golden voice of Jeff Riggenbach helping out our growing media project Feed 44. His first contribution is the left-libertarian classic by Roderick T. Long‘s The History of an Idea: Or, How An Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Socialism Became An Argument Against the Workability of Authoritarian Capitalism.
C4SS cannot thank Nick Ford enough for his tireless devotion to the Feed 44 project. This is his garden and it is beginning to yield amazing fruit.
The Anarchism of Everyday Life
In December we published Kevin Carson’s 18th Study, The Anarchist Thought of Colin Ward, a survey of the work of Colin Ward. Colin Ward is one of those social theorists, like Pyotr Kropotkin, David Graeber, Elinor Ostrom, James C. Scott or Karl Hess, that grounds their approach in working people working and the flashes of creative problem solving brilliance found in their everyday collaboration and cooperation.
Like Kropotkin’s, Ward’s was a communism expressed in a love for a wide variety of small folk institutions, found throughout the nooks and crannies of history, of a sort most people would not think of when they hear the term “communism.” Kropotkin himself resembled William Morris in his fondness for the small-scale, local, quaint and historically rooted—especially medieval folkmotes, open field villages, free towns, guilds, etc.—as expressions of the natural communism of humanity. But as David Goodway notes, “Ward… goes far beyond him in the types of co-operative groups he identifies in modern societies and the centrality he accords to them in anarchist transformation.”
No More Cheers for Uber
In Uber Delenda Est, Kevin Carson withdraws his initial “One Cheer for Uber…” while doubling down on a radical p2p iteration of the concept, “hack the app, salt the service, fight the competition with better competition.” Even though Carson has withdrawn his cheer, he couldn’t help but point out the ideological blinders that allows both pro- and con-Uber that see it as an expression of a “free market”,
But anyone who either defends or attacks Uber as an example of the “free market” is a damfool. Uber and Lyft are not genuine sharing services. And they’re sure as hell not “free market” or “laissez-faire” operations, Reason‘s and Pando’s agreement to the contrary notwithstanding. The proprietary, walled-garden app they use to enforce the toll-gates between riders and drivers is every bit as much a state-enforced monopoly as the legacy taxicab industry’s medallions.
The Spectacle of Revolution
Ben Reynolds, in his first article with C4SS, The Image of Revolution, takes us through a brief history of 21st century revolutions and attempted revolutions all the while pointing out why they have failed to achieve their desired ends. Reynolds offers us a rapid series of questions that each would-be revolution should be able to enthusiastically answer positively.
If state power is the foundation of oppression, war, and the monopolization of property, then a genuine revolution must dismantle state power. There can be no half-measures or gradual steps in this regard. There are thus only a few simple questions that the observer may ask of any revolution: Does it struggle for the freedom, equality, and dignity of the people? Does it oppose institutionalized hierarchy and authority wherever it may be found? Does it seek to shatter the state? If a movement cannot answer any of these questions positively, then it deserves neither our support nor our sympathy. To the contrary, if it can, it deserves nothing less than the ardent support and aid of all those who struggle together in the name of freedom.
Consent: More Important Then Ever
As the debate concerning issues of sexual assault in our society and in our institutions continue to demand acknowledgement and solutions there is a tendency to turn to the state as the answer. The state doesn’t — it can’t — solve problems. The state can only smash things apart and give priority to elites over the remaining pieces.
But this doesn’t mean that solutions do not exist or, if kept out of the hands of bureaucrats and away from the hammer of the state, do not merit our consideration. Nick Ford in his feature Affirmative Consent: Yes and No takes a moment to delineate the differences between Affirmative Consent “as a law” versus Affirmative Consent “as a cultural norm”:
As a cultural norm it becomes a bigger conversation between equals. It becomes possible to challenge, revise and reorganize our lives in accordance with this norm. When we suggest to our friends that they should aim for affirmative consent, or hold an impromptu protest, invite a public speaker on the matter, hang up signs or integrate this principle into our daily lives, then we are trying to cultivate a norm about consent and how we deal with its absence.
Liberty and Equality
One of the positions that left-wing markets anarchist defend is the difference between the centrifugal forces of freed markets versus the centripetal forces of capitalism. If we were to look into a system and identify great inequalities of wealth and, its corollary, power, then, by our analysis, we have damn good reason to think somewhere in that system a state, in its myriad manifestations, is present and growing. As David S. D’Amato discusses in his The Warning of Animal Farm: Inequality Matters inequalities, vast or developing, are a warning sign, a symptom, that the cancer of the state is beginning to grow or has already metastasized.
Criticizing inequality ought to be important to libertarianism to the extent that we take our own free market ideas seriously and see the political economy of today as far removed from our model. Libertarians should accordingly welcome socialism and class analysis as found in the work of leftists like Hodgskin and Orwell. It’s time we start emphasizing liberty and equality, not liberty or equality.
Another Entrepreneur Lost
As the world watched the police choke the life out of Eric Garner and, then, see the state vindicate the brutality of its agents against peaceful people, C4SS Adviser Cathy Reisenwitz penned, I’m sorry Eric Garner. I don’t know what else to do. Reisenwitz’s touching letter recognizes the fear, sense of hopelessness and heartbreak that comes from living in a society were our friends, family and neighbors can be killed virtually in front of us. I have no doubt in my mind that we will win the day and build a better world, but this will never change the fact that Eric Garner and many many others will not be able to share it with us.
I’m sad. Beyond angry. Brokenhearted. The Staten Island Grand Jury chose not to indict the officer who choked father of six Eric Garner to death on the street while attempting to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes.
The One Soldier that Fought for our Freedom
Chelsea Manning turned 27 in prison on December 17th. Manning has been described by Kevin Carson, back in 2010, as the One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”. She is yet another example of authority’s self-aware fear of liberty and revulsion to conscience. Nathan Goodman in his letter, Happy Birthday, Chelsea Manning, articulated our feelings for her and our hope for her future,
I hope someday, the sooner the better, Chelsea Manning will be able to celebrate her birthday free from the state’s prisons. Until then, I wish her a happy birthday and as much freedom and happiness as possible.
Fellows on Patreon
Kevin Carson and Thomas Knapp have both popped up on the creator supporting site Patreon. Patreon allows individual to directly support their favorite creators, or in this case, left-libertarian writers. You can pledge any amount that fits your budget or enjoyment of their work, and, for certain pledged amounts, they offer bonuses.
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ALL the best!
Just like use of the first Thanksgiving as a cudgel against the commons, defenses of Ebenezer Scrooge like this Christmas’s Mises Daily article “Correcting Scrooge’s Economics” and Bleeding Heart Libertarians post “Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge!” (“Scrooge, then, isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be.”) are a year’s-end holiday perennial on certain parts of the libertarian right:
Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute
“I think Scrooge is clearly misunderstood and used to vilify business.”
Fred Smith, “Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge Was The Ultimate Job Creator” (Forbes, reprinted at the Competitive Enterprise Institute)
“By the tale’s account, Scrooge was honest … perhaps excessively so.”
Ted Roberts, “Ebenezer Scrooge: In His Own Defense” (the Foundation for Economic Education’s Ideas on Liberty)
“And may we all have a Merry Christmas on happy, full stomachs—thanks to inexpensive, imported corn.”
Michael Levin, “In Defense of Scrooge” (Mises Daily)
“So let’s look without preconceptions at Scrooge’s allegedly underpaid clerk, Bob Cratchit. The fact is, if Cratchit’s skills were worth more to anyone than the fifteen shillings Scrooge pays him weekly, there would be someone glad to offer it to him. Since no one has, and since Cratchit’s profit-maximizing boss is hardly a man to pay for nothing, Cratchit must be worth exactly his present wages.”
Art Carden, “Christmas and Consumption” (Mises Daily)
“One of my favorite Christmas stories is A Christmas Carol, but my reasons for liking it so much have changed over the years. As I’ve learned more economics, I’ve come to see that Ebenezer Scrooge’s tight-fisted, miserly ways have some admirable qualities.”
Butler Shaffer, “The Case for Ebenezer” (Mises Daily)
“As I became older, I decided that Mr. Dickens had given Ebenezer Scrooge an undeserved reputation for villainy”
Thomas E. Woods Jr. calls Shaffer “devastating” towards “That Bum Bob Cratchit” on Mises Daily’s sister site LewRockwell.com.
Walter Block, Defending the Undefendable (predating, but excerpted in Mises Daily)
“The miser has never recovered from Charles Dickens’s attack on him in A Christmas Carol. Although the miser had been sternly criticized before Dickens, the depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge has become definitive and has passed into the folklore of our time. Indeed, the attitude pervades even in freshman economics textbooks.”
Though it should be duly noted that Mises Daily has been slacking of late. Last year, rather than posting a new Scrooge article, “Ebenezer Scrooge, Humanitarian” merely linked back to Shaffer and Block.
Rand Paul recently suggested that cigarette taxes played a role in the NYPD killing of Eric Garner. This has sparked much ridicule from people supportive of cigarette taxes and taxation in general. Are they right? Is Rand Paul right? This post seeks to offer an opinion on that question.
To begin with, the confrontation might never have happened without Eric Garner selling loose cigarettes. And that would not have been considered a crime without taxation on cigarettes. It’s true that the cops may have still stopped him for another reason or just to harass him, but the likelihood was increased by cigarette taxes.
It’s true that cigarette taxes didn’t literally kill Eric Garner. They did however contribute to the context in which he was killed. When you empower police through compulsory taxation laws; you set up a situation where they may have to forcibly subdue violators. And the act of tax evasion is not a violent one. A person may resist the imposition of a tax with violence, but that doesn’t mean the initial act of refusing to pay a tax is itself violent.
The reason we libertarians oppose compulsory taxation is that we object to the use of force against peaceful people. If the analysis above is correct; tax evaders fall into the category of peaceful persons qua tax evaders. And therefore cannot be justly coerced into paying taxes. Not even taxes with good intent and cause in mind.
The sin kind of taxes leveled on cigarettes are also a particularly loathsome form of taxation. It financially penalizes people who choose to keep buying large quantities of the good being taxed. It’s usually motivated by puritan standards too. The notion that people should meet a state enforced standard of moral or health purity.
Using force to impose such a standard is particularly galling. It would be bad enough for people to receive undue nagging social pressure to enforce purity standards, but the use of physical force to enforce them is even more odious. Such a thing needs to be opposed by liberty lovers everywhere. And we left-libertarians can lead the way.
Some suggestions for working on this issue include peaceful agorist black market activity, educational work, and civil disobedience like occupying congress person’s offices. All of which have been done before with some success. I encourage people to get started on this project today. And to help bring sin taxes to an end. You can trying hooking up with the Alliance of the Libertarian Left or this site, The Center for a Stateless society to assist in the efforts mentioned above.
The Molinari Institute is pleased to announce a new interdisciplinary, open-access libertarian academic journal, the MOLINARI REVIEW, edited by me.
We’re looking for articles, sympathetic or critical, in and on the libertarian tradition, broadly understood as including classical liberalism, individualist anarchism, social anarchism, anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcha-feminism, panarchism, voluntaryism, mutualism, agorism, distributism, Austrianism, Georgism, public choice, and beyond – essentially, everything from Emma Goldman to Ayn Rand, C. L. R. James to F. A. Hayek, Alexis de Tocqueville to Michel Foucault.
(We see exciting affiliations among these strands of the libertarian tradition; but you don’t have to agree with us about that to publish in our pages.)
Disciplines in which we expect to publish include philosophy, political science, economics, history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, theology, ecology, literature, and law.
We aim to enhance the visibility of libertarian scholarship, to expand the boundaries of traditional libertarian discussion, and to provide a home for cutting-edge research in the theory and practice of human liberty.
All submissions will be peer-reviewed. We also plan to get our content indexed in such standard resources as International Political Science Abstracts and The Philosopher’s Index.
The journal will be published both in print (via print-on-demand) and online (with free access); all content will be made available through a Creative Commons Attribution license. We regard intellectual-property restrictions as a combination of censorship and protectionism, and hope to contribute to a freer culture.
We’re especially proud of the editorial board we’ve assembled, which at present includes over sixty of the most prestigious names in libertarian scholarship.
For more information on the journal, including information on how to submit an article, check out our website. (Information on subscribing, or ordering individual copies, will be available later.)
We’re excited about this new publishing opportunity, and we hope you’ll help us make it a success!