Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Director’s Report: September 2014

The Center for a Stateless Society continues to keep pace with itself, month to month, and it is all because of you — our supporters and donors. September has been a month filled with opportunities for us to correct historical inaccuracies and vulgar libertarianism; to watch Scottish near-independence, continued US “bomb-em” diplomacy and millennial wooing; and to combat ridiculous and shameful wobblie red- and klan-baiting. In other words, we are having a blast. But October and the rest of 2014 are sure to be just as interesting and we need your help to keep our powder dry and our hatchets scoured.

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 September, C4SS published:

29 Commentaries,
Features,
Weekly Abolitionists,
Life, Love and Liberty,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
5 Blog posts,
Missing Commas,
3 Reviews, and
19 C4SS Media uploads to the C4SS youtube channel.

And, thanks to the dedication of our Media Coordinators and translators, C4SS translated and published:

Italian translations (2 more than August),
Spanish translations (1 more than August),
24 Portuguese translations!

Our appeal to the Portuguese speaking world, especially in Brazil, continues to grow. The C4SS Portuguese social media presence, as a metric of this growth, is increasing at an outstanding rate. Just last month we were cheering C4SS’s Portuguese facebook “like” page for reaching 2,000 likes, up from 1,000, in only two months. Now the same page is, again, already half way towards adding another 1,000!

Speaking of Social Networking

As facebook becomes even more pathological with its “real name” policy, being a medium for serving legal documents and the prediction that it could vindicate infectious disease models by losing 80% of its users, two alternatives social networks are becoming more attractive — even describing themselves as anti-facebook in their policies. These alternatives are the kickstarted “Decentralize the web” 4 year veteran Diaspora* and the nascent “You are not a product” Ello. Whichever service you decide to transition to, never fear, C4SS will be there:

Diaspora

 

c4ssello

The C4SS Q4 Tor Node Fundraiser

Four times a year, every quarter, C4SS pays a freedom friendly data center in the Netherlands to continue operating an always-on Tor Node. In order to sustain this project we need your help.

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.

Fundraising with GoGetFunding

C4SS has maintained a Tor relay node for over three years. This is our fourth quarter fundraiser for the project. Every contribution will help us maintain this node until January 2015. Every contribution above our needed amount will be earmarked for our fourth 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.

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!

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.

Please donate today!

Bitcoin is also welcome:

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The Benjamin R. Tucker Distinguished Research Scholar in Anarchist Economic Theory

C4SS has, currently, awarded three academic positions:

The third, The Benjamin R. Tucker Distinguished Research Scholar in Anarchist Economic Theory, was presented to David S. D’Amato this month. All of these positions are designed to honor, motivate and signal exemplary work towards developing and extending this little experiment we call left-wing market anarchism. D’Amato takes his place along Kevin Carson and Nathan Goodman as just such an exemplar. During September, D’Amato lived up to the mantle of “distinguished research scholar” with two wonderful pieces on the history and promise of a reemergent 19th century individualist anarchism.

Possession of Liberty: The Political Economy of Benjamin R. Tucker:

… The burden of principled consistency fell to Benjamin Tucker and Liberty as it falls to left wing individualists and C4SS today. Tucker suggest that “Anarchy may be defined as the possession of liberty by libertarians,—that is by those who know what liberty means.” That question, the meaning of liberty, is what we as anarchists are attempting to puzzle out. For so many, the life and work of Benjamin Tucker has been the lodestar in that odyssey, ever an inspiration and point of reference. …

Left Wing Individualism:

… The individualist anarchists were sticklers about consistency; if labor was made to come under the law of competition, of supply and demand, then so too should capital. As Schuster points out, the “scientific anarchism” of people like Benjamin Tucker thus “did not appeal to the Capitalist because it demanded not ‘rugged individualism’ but universal individualism” (emphasis added). Because the individualists regarded them as the proximate results of coercive privilege, rent, interest, and profit — the “trinity of usury” — were treated as akin to taxes, allowing the owners of capital the stolen difference between prices under a regime of privilege and prices as they would be under true, open competition. …

George Reisman — Piketty’s Capital

One of the unofficial services that C4SS provides to the world of libertarian discourse is the constant reminder that we do not live in a freed market. The universe we inhabit is riddled, layered, corralled and bludgeoned with those primary and secondary interventions that culminate into that political master noun the state. It is a service we are happy to provide and Kevin Carson is our star representative. Carson comes to the aid of George Reisman, again, in his thorough critique of Reisman’s critique of Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century:

Reisman, like most of the Austrians, equates increased productivity to capital accumulation and capital intensiveness. Piketty, Reisman says, “advocates his program on the basis of ignorance of the essential role of capital in production, which is to raise the productivity of labor, real wages, and the general standard of living.” But Reisman’s criticism, in turn, is based on ignorance of actual technological history, or of anything else outside the dogmas of Austrian economics.

George Reisman is entitled to a priori axioms. He is not entitled to a priori facts.

Scottish Independence, Almost

September saw the potential for an independent Scotland and its defeat by a sliver more of opposition. This turn of events pulled into the light a number of issues dealing with myths of legitimacy, the interests of corporate and aristocratic elites, and admissions of economic instability and vulnerability. Joel Schlosberg discusses the inevitable dissolution of empire in the acid decentralization in his article The Conquest of the United Kingdom by Scotland:

The Scottish economy, with its diminishing oil and gas revenue, has been hit particularly hard by deindustrialization. But as post-industrial technology rapidly becomes the norm, an economic base is increasingly viable. Key services can be unbundled from geography; the referendum received much of its impetus from the effects of the most limited competition of Scotland being able to pick and choose between the UK and the EU. And full competition of currencies, for one, will go far beyond the choice between the pound and the euro. Decentralization to a point matching the level of the traditional Scottish clan system will no longer be a romanticized memory, but everyday reality.

The sun is setting on the imperial state.

Red-baiting and Klan-baiting

This month we witnessed new attempts to use old scare tactics. The strangest part about these tactics is that they are designed to appeal to established, comfortable status quo types, not radicals that respond to “…between these two classes a struggle must go on until…” with an, “Of course! Let’s do it! Today!” Reason magazine (our favorite target for September) published a howler of an article, Meet the Left-Wing Extremist Running for U.S. Senate, by A. Barton Hinkle. And we just couldn’t resist.

Kevin Carson’s Smarter Red-Baiters, Please! points out the irony of the piece:

I’d also like to note just how ironic it is for a publication like Reason, which is so uniformly hostile to “union bosses” and NLRB-certified union shops, to run an article blasting a union that also hates these things. The Wobblies, by and large, prefer to bypass NLRB certification and union bureaucracy, instead functioning as self-organized unions on the shop floor, eschewing exclusive bargaining unit representation and automatic dues deductions, and returning to tactics like wildcat strikes and direct action on the job that the Wagner Act was passed precisely to prevent.

While Joel Schlosberg’s Klan-Baiting the Wobblies: Unreasonable goes for a line-by-line take down:

Hinkle then presents a passage from the IWW Preamble as self-evidently Leninist. Let’s take a phrase-by-phrase closer look:

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.

First of all, this “working class” and “employing class” aren’t simply automatic aggregates of workers and employers. What makes the population into classes isn’t an inherent tendency of voluntary decisions to engage in employment relations to stratify power, but the predominance of such relations by systematically ruling out alternatives to wage work, artificially increasing the amount of wage work necessary to earn enough to survive, and limiting the opportunities for wage work to those permitted by a restricted pool of employers most of whom can act together as a stable cartel. All of these, and the resulting formation of privileged employers into an employing class, require the coercive power of a state to back them up.

Thus, the division of society into a productive class and a coercive exploiting class that do “have nothing in common” is entirely consistent with longstanding libertarian class analysis of a “productive class” and “political class” drawing their wealth from what Franz Oppenheimer called the “economic means” of obtaining wealth through labor and voluntary exchange and the “political means” of compulsory taking. The analysis is also a rebuke to the “we’re all in this together” liberal rationales, with their eliding of conflicts of interest.

Both conclude with a rebuke of Hinkle’s attempt to compare the anti-KKK IWW to the anti-IWW KKK. Carson concludes:

Hinkle actually compares the I.W.W., in sheer odiousness, to the Klan. Well, except there are no legitimate reasons to hate, terrorize and lynch black people — but plenty of legitimate reasons to believe corporate power and the present distribution of wealth and income result from injustice.

There is, however, one organization that really is as evil as the KKK, and was founded for the express purpose of terrorist attacks on Wobblies, directly analogous to anti-worker terrorism by Mussolini’s industrialist-funded black shirts: The American Legion. Maybe Hinkle could take them on.

And Schlosberg drives it home:

Finally, we get the comparison to the Ku Klux Klan. The comparison of a group that produced posters denouncing the KKK as “anti-labor”; that was formed in large part as a direct response to the exclusionary racism of the elitist unions of the time; that prominently counted within its ranks such people of color as Lucy Parsons, Ben Fletcher, and Frank Little; that was among the first to systematically defy segregation laws; that was repressed by KKK-style vigilante thuggery. All solely on the grounds that they must be comparable to the Klan since they’re as “extreme”. And all particularly ironic since Martin Luther King Jr. famously stated in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” that “the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’;” – and who is equally opposed to “extremists for hate or for love”.

But hey, IWW and KKK have the same number of letters in their acronyms, so potayto, potahto.

We Haven’t Forgotten

We still have our David Graeber Symposium on Debt: the first 5,000 years. There is only one article to be finished; it should be ready soon. Thank you for your patience.

Please Support Today!

All of this work is only sustainable through your support. If you think the various political and economic debates around the world are enhanced by the addition of left libertarian market anarchist, freed market anti-capitalist or laissez faire socialist solutions, challenges, provocations or participation, please donate $5, today. Keep C4SS going and growing.

ALL the best!

Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist