Director’s Report: December 2014

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:

18 Commentaries,
1 Study,
Weekly Libertarian Leftist Reviews,
Life, Love and Liberty,
7 Blog posts,
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:

12 Italian translations,
Spanish translations,
12 Portuguese translations

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  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.

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!

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory