Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
Tag: class war
The Utopia of Rules
David Graeber. The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Brooklyn and London: Melville House, 2015). This book is, properly speaking, not a book at all, but a collection of essays loosely clustered around the common theme of bureaucracy. Of the material in the book, only the long introductory essay…
FIFA and Its Accomplice: The Brazilian State
A story over at Estado de S. Paulo (“Brasil que se vire com arenas vazias, diz FIFA. ‘O problema é de vocês’”, Estadão Esportes, March 21) notes that FIFA isn’t at all interested in Brazil anymore, and that the useless stadiums the 2014 World Cup left us are not their problem and should be dealt…
Listen Libertarian Municipalist!
Murray Bookchin. The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies & the Promise of Direct Democracy. Foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin (New York and London: Verso, 2015). This book is a collection of Bookchin’s essays on libertarian municipalism and communalism, extending from the period when he still considered himself an anarchist until his final post-anarchist phase. In…
How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis on Feed 44
C4SS Feed 44 presents “How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis” from the book Markets Not Capitalism, written by Roderick Long, read by Stephanie Murphy and edited by Nick Ford. “Lodge practice” refers to an arrangement, reminiscent of today’s HMOs, whereby a particular society or lodge would contract with a doctor to provide medical care to its members. The…
A Theoretically Incoherent Critique of the Free Market
As a libertarian masochist who keeps up with the regular by-the-numbers attacks on libertarianism at Alternet and Salon, I almost dared to hope for something at least marginally better from Robert Kuttner at The American Prospect (“The Libertarian Delusion,” Winter 2015). I was disappointed. “The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists,” Kuttner writes, “despite…
“Net Neutrality”: a Net Increase in Statism, or a Net Reduction?
In an article I wrote several years ago (“Free Market Reforms and the Reduction of Statism,” The Freeman, Sept. 1, 2008), I stated some principles that are relevant to the current debate on “net neutrality”: Some forms of state intervention are primary. They involve the privileges, subsidies, and other structural bases of economic exploitation through…
Russell Brand’s Revolution
We’ll get to the book in a bit, but first I have to say a few things about the phenomenon of Russell Brand himself. Frankly, I’m a bit worried for Russell Brand. He has shown tremendous personal courage in recent years, transforming himself from a bad-boy British comedian/celebrity, whose comedy revolved around his own dionysian…
All the Social Structures of Domination
Harriet A. Washington. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Anchor Books, 2006). There has been considerable controversy over the ethics of using knowledge — even to save lives — that was obtained from Nazi medical experimentation on death camp inmates. Unfortunately far…
Wild Cards
In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (a book of great virtues and great flaws, but I’m not going to get into either right now), Thomas Kuhn describes an experiment that I think is of tremendous importance to libertarians, particularly left-libertarians: In a psychological experiment that deserves to be far better known outside the trade, Bruner…
Three Tales of the DRM Curtain
These three short stories all come from the same Cory Doctorow collection, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2007). Free download here. The three are all set against a background of what I call the “DRM Curtain,” a transnational corporate Empire based on artificial scarcities enforced through a maximalist version “intellectual…
Obama: The Bosses’ Friend
“Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen,” Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations, “its counsellors are always the masters.” US president Barack Obama reaffirms this insight with his intervention in the dispute between shipping industry employers and longshore workers on the west coast. That intervention comes at the behest of…
“Homeland Security”: Please, Br’er Conservatives, Don’t Throw Us Into the Briar Patch!
“Hardline House GOP conservatives aren’t worried about a looming Department of Homeland Security shutdown,” reports Cristina Marcos at The Hill. They’d rather let DHS’s funding lapse than give up a provision in its new appropriation reversing president Barack Obama’s recent executive orders on immigration. Is it just me, or does this sound more like the promise of ice…
At Alternet, Every Day is Liberal Self-Parody Day
How to write an Alternet criticism of libertarianism: 1) Cite an unpleasant aspect of Ayn Rand’s philosophy; 2) use the news topic of the day as an exemplar of that unpleasantness; and 3) treat it as somehow symbolic of the fundamental nature of the entire libertarian movement. In this case, I’m not so much interested in…
Defending the Commons from both Corporation and State
For policy elites in most nations, there are only two alternatives for the provision of public services: State ownership and management (the preferred model of Social Democrats and liberals/progressives) or corporate “privatization” (pushed by neoliberal heirs of Reagan and Thatcher). Commons governance (about which more later) isn’t even on the radar. There’s little practical difference…
The Warning of Animal Farm: Inequality Matters on Feed 44
C4SS Feed 44 presents David S. D’Amato‘s “The Warning of Animal Farm: Inequality Matters” read by James Tuttle and edited by Nick Ford. Like Hodgskin, today’s market anarchists do not object to the mere fact that capital is compensated for its part in the process of production. The worry — which can only finally be allayed by observing…
How Not to Criticize Spontaneous Order
The first thing I saw on Twitter this morning, when I sat down with my coffee, was Allison Kilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) linking to a David Edwards piece at RawStory with the remarkably asinine comment “‘Spontaneous order’ is not a thing, libertarians.” The article (“Fox host: FEMA is unnecessary because Walmart will ‘spontaneously’ save us all in…
Compulsory Vaccinations for Freedom?
The prospect of compulsory vaccination (“Should Obama make vaccines mandatory for all children,” Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News, January 30) should trouble even those who think the practice can be defended in principle as a kind of self-defense. The burgeoning women’s liberation movement of the 1960s emphasized a theme with a prominent American pedigree, powerfully expressed…
On Manufactured Loyalties: My Experience
My radio alarm woke me with a perky voice announcing “Northwest Arkansas! We’re all growing together as a region — and so is our newspaper!” I hear that tone of breathless enthusiasm a lot from local elites trying to secure public buy-in on actions they were never consulted on to begin with. By way of…
The Latest Capitalist Monopoly: Opposition to the State
New corporate enclosures, looting and monopolies are springing up all over the place these days. Watching the news is a lot like watching Robocop or Blade Runner, what with stuff like Detroit’s “Emergency Manager” auctioning off local assets to corporate cronies the same way Paul Bremer’s Coalition Provisional Authority did in Iraq. Given all that,…
Romney’s 2016 Charade is Symbolic of Government
On January 30, two-time Republican Party presidential hopeful Mitt Romney nixed a third go-around, telling supporters via teleconference that he can better serve America by supporting whomever the party chooses as its 2016 presidential nominee. Hallelujah. A third Romney candidacy would have been difficult to stomach. Romney had floated a trial balloon of making “helping the poor”…