Feature Articles
Radical Liberalism: The Soul of Libertarianism
Libertarianism has lost sight of its soul. This has grown clearer and clearer since Donald Trump announced his improbable campaign for President a little over two years ago. His particular brand of politics – right-wing, but not neoconservative, anti-trade, but not socialistic – had become as unusual in serious contenders for the office as his…
Progressive Border Patrol
This is the second part of the series called “Nice Cops and Other Cryptids” exploring apologism for prominent agents of the state. Part 1, “Nice Cops” can be found here. Most people don’t realize the activities and behaviors that are normalized in the U.S. borderlands. Almost every night a Border Patrol helicopter will fly low…
Combating Hate: A Radical Leftist Guide to Gun Control (Part 6)
This is the final part in a series. Be sure to check out parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.   While tackling issues of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, mental health, bigotry, and police brutality definitely goes a long way towards alleviating gun violence at the root, it still doesn’t account for the violence caused from…
We Will Defeat the Authoritarian Nationalists
Human liberty has been won in hard fights against powerful interests and systems, but the progress of liberty can be set back. The rise of authoritarian nationalism is a serious threat to the liberty of people around the world. It is a threat that must be defeated. In authoritarian nationalism, a select group will rule…
Animal Torture Violates Rights: A Response to Walter Block
Introduction Walter Block is one of the most highly esteemed libertarian theorists in the world today.1 The Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and Professor of Economics at Loyola University, Block has written hundreds of articles and books on the intricacies of libertarian theory, even a cursory review of which reveals the tremendous depth…
Antinomies of Democracy
I thought I had pretty well had my say on the subject of democracy and anarchy, but comparing the material I’ve written to the contributions I’ve submitted, I see a couple of responses languishing among the drafts. I also find that the real impasse in my exchanges with Wayne Price leaves me considerably less than…
Non-Coercive Collective Decision-Making: A Quaker Perspective
In previous articles in this symposium, a sticking-point has emerged, among both pro- and anti-democracy anarchists, concerning the presumed impossibility of a collective decision-making process that doesn’t resort to coercion. I believe the anti-democracy camp are rightly hung-up on this point; if collective decision-making is necessarily coercive, such a process cannot be reconciled with anarchism,…
Anarchism without Anarchy
The rampant dictatorial governments in Italy, Spain and Russia, which arouse such envy and longing among the more reactionary and timid parties across the world, are supplying dispossessed ‘democracy’ with a sort of new virginity. Thus we see the creatures of the old regimes, well-accustomed to the wicked art of politics, responsible for repression and…
Our Wildly Different Diagnoses Of “Liberalism”
Infamously anarchists, marxists and conservatives all use the word “liberal” as a slur — probably the most frequent one that rolls off our tongues — and yet we each mean wildly different things by it. To an anarchist the foremost characteristic of liberalism is shortsightedness. Liberals embrace state power and other problematic means to achieve…
Response to Shawn Wilbur and Gabriel Amadej
Shawn Wilbur argues that “anarchy” and “democracy” are completely distinct principles—philosophically. Philosophically, there is “no middle ground.” However, in actual living, there is “the likelihood that we might continue to have recourse to practices that we think of as ‘democratic.’
Reply to Alexander Reid Ross
It marks a nice contrast from Wayne Price’s relatively “aw shucks” disinterest in philosophical critiques of democracy that Alexander Reid Ross brings history and philosophical language to the defense of democracy. Unfortunately, I have a violent allergic reaction to the flavor of philosophical language he adopts. On the upside, I appreciate that Alexander has injected…
Social, but Still Not Democratic
As long as there has been something called “anarchism,” anarchists have been struggling to define it—and, as often as not, they have been in struggle against other self-identified anarchists. At this point in our history, this seems both hard to deny and pointless to regret.
Further Response on Democratic Anarchism
Having already written three essays on the topic of anarchism’s relation to democracy, I will only present a few comments. These are generally in response to the interesting remarks of other writers in this series.
Reply to Kevin Carson and William Gillis
It seems to me as though there’s been two prevailing and conflicting ideas about democracy in this symposium. The first idea is that democracy is irreconcilable with anarchy in principle. The second idea is that democracy can — ironically because of practical concerns — be compatible with anarchy. I’ve made my own position clear.
Response to Carson
This is not a symposium on the post-left and certainly that term of self-identification has been increasingly appropriated by reactionaries, but it’s important to note that the original post-left argument for anarchists to distance ourselves from “the left” was the opposite of some kind of etymological argument that appealed to relatively fixed underlying meanings.
Comments on the Other Lead Essays
In “The Regime of Liberty,” Gabriel Amadej advocates the Proudhonian ideal – reflected in the dictum “property is liberty” – of some individual sphere of last resort where means of subsistence are secure from the will of the majority: “Democracy disrupts this balance and places society under the unaccountable domain of community.
Individualist Anarchism vs. Social Anarchism
This C4SS discussion about anarchism and democracy has been intriguing—even though I am one of only two writers who have regarded them as compatible concepts. The brief essay by Grayson, “Demolish the Demos,” is especially useful. It clarifies what is at the root of the disagreement among anarchists about democracy. The basic issue, I believe, is not what…
Response to Wittorff
I should clarify for Derek Wittorff that I wasn’t embracing, for example, calling all collective decisionmaking “democracy.” Rather, I was entertaining the more extreme definitions out there. I was attempting to point out how some kernel of “the rule of all over all” lies within each of these alternative definitions.
Formality, Collectivity and Anarchy
I found William Gillis’ essay “The Abolition of Rulership Or The Rule Of All Over All” to be a very interesting read. It covered many of the same points as my essay without much disagreement, and in a much less compressed manner. However, there was one notable difference, and a couple of slight disagreements.
Embracing the Antinomies
It should be clear that one of the key conflicts in these debates about anarchy and democracy is a struggle over the nature of anarchism. And it is probably safe to say that nearly all anarchists wrestle with the difficulties of defining that term.
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist