Feature Articles
Looking for Daylight: Minarchist Strategy’s Missteps
Reason magazine editors Nick Gillespie and Katherine Mangu-Ward have recently debated the question of minarchism (i.e., minimal government) vs. free-market anarchism. As an anarchist, I’m obviously on Mangu-Ward’s side of the debate. But both writers make some assumptions about strategy that I find problematic. I’ll start with Gillespie, who expresses impatience with “boring, tedious, and…
A Simple Reform
If the problem with taxation is the coercion, then surely the priority of any coherent and consistent libertarian reformism on taxes should be to minimize the number of people who are robbed at all. Of course this would mean entirely abolishing taxes on the poorest. By the non-aggression principle, a mugger drawing a gun on…
The Discourse Is Not the Territory
When evaluations of reality become seen entirely in terms of their utility as rhetorical weapons it ruins a group’s capacity to get an accurate lay of the land and efficiently strategize. Everything becomes about winning debates, not about ultimately winning ground. One of the main things the social media age has done is collapse divides…
Defying Power: Different Views on How Best to Understand the Evolution of the State (Part II)
In Part I of this article, I responded to William Gillis’ review of Worshiping Power: An Anarchist Vision of Early State Formation. I wanted to give special attention to what I found to be his most interesting critique. Gillis takes me to task for focusing too much on the anthropological definition of the state, analyzing…
The Last Person in the Room Must Close the Door: Hayek in the Age of Computing
There is a common joke in computing circles to announce at the beginning of a course that “The last person in the room must close the door.” Though at first blush the request seems reasonable, this is an example of an uncomputable function. The last person to enter the room has no way of knowing…
The Failure of Soviet Privatization
When “The Market” Is Just Money Laundering the Bloodsoaked Riches of Statism When the USSR fell one of the “privatization” schemes was to just hand workers stock certificates in the companies they worked at. The problem of course was that the economy was seized up and everyone was starving. So gangsters and the children of…
The Status Quo Bias Of Libertarians
By definition no consistently anti-statist libertarian believes that government property is legitimate. The state, by its very nature, cannot be meaningfully consented to; its claims to ownership are the claims of a ranting madman armed to the teeth and soaked in blood. It is also broadly recognized that, because the state is aggression at its…
Closed Borders and Black Market Economics
In 2012, sixteen-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodríguez was murdered in Nogales, Mexico by a Border Patrol agent across the wall, on the U.S. side. The agent shot from behind the rusted iron slats, the existing border wall in Sonora, about 50 feet above the boy. The murderer claimed that the boy was “throwing rocks in…
Defying Power: Different Views on How Best to Understand the Evolution of the State (Part I)
Since its publication, I have come across two reviews of Worshiping Power that I would like to respond to, not to bat a discursive ball back and forth, but to engage with the flow of conversations that form an integral part of our interaction with the world around us. One is William Gillis’ “The Tangled…
Black Market Mutualism and the Soul of Society
When anarchists talk about counter-economic action, we envisage exchanging goods and services independent of state jurisdiction. Our purpose is to press the bounds of the regulatory state. It doesn’t matter if our efforts are illegal per se. Legality is not a moral prescription. A proper concern for institution building is uncommon in counter-economic philosophy. The…
Widening the Bridges: Beyond Consent and Autonomy
Everyone is bad at consent but it’s worth getting better anyways. No one is perfectly autonomous but it’s worth respecting agency anyways. Many of our problems are endemic to the tools we use. These are parts of the truth that often get left out. Sometimes better consent and autonomy practices look like sloppy, complicated cry-fests,…
Fighting Fascism in a Complex World: A Response to William Gillis
There are many threads in Will’s post, spiraling out in several different directions, and it would be impossible for me to fully respond to all of them within the length appropriate for a response post. Furthermore, much of what I have already said can be cross-applied to his post – for instance, he seems to…
On the Disease Theory of Fascism: Response to Bevensee & Yershov
Emmi Bevensee & Logan Yershov’s “Free Speech Dreams and Fascist Memes” is probably the single most thoughtful and nuanced defense of violently disrupting fascist assembly. Of particular note is the way that it draws out something lingering implicit in most other defenses of that tactic. This is what I will call the “disease theory of…
Determining a Threat When You’re the Target: A Response to Several Authors
Common Ground It’s worth mentioning that there is some shared intent here. I take issue with Jason’s framing of it as being ‘liberal’ but appreciate his search for common ground. I assume that we are all: Opposed to fascism: Although we debate its exact boundaries, there is a clear center mass that we are all…
Is Narrative The Whole Point? A Response to Jason Lee Byas
Obviously, I strenuously object to anarchism being classified as a “liberal” — I find Jason Lee Byas’ attempt to reclaim that term profoundly misguided and I’ve written my thoughts on this before. Jason claims that fascism cannot survive in liberalism and so seeks to disrupt it, but this is ass-backwards in a lot of ways….
On Antifa’s Critics
I’m old enough that I can remember when even showing up to oppose fascists was considered controversial. Never mind the fact that the best way to stop racist scum from organizing in public is through a strong show of resistance, or that NOT having a show of resistance on the ground helps fascists in their…
Beyond the Whack-A-Mole of No Platform
In my first post, I explicitly avoided phrases like “No Platform,” “de-platform,” “denying fascists a platform,” etc., because they’re used to refer ambiguously between some strategies that are good and some that are bad. I still think that’s true, but here I’ll be using those terms in a way that allows for that ambiguity. This…
We Must Defeat Fascism by Any Means Necessary
Fascist movements are made with political violence. At any stage of their development they pose a threat to the safety of individuals they target. As fascism gains momentum it becomes a threat to society in general. If national leaders open the doors of political power to fascists, disaster results. Authoritarian nationalists, like those currently in…
A Pacifist’s Take on Punching Nazis
In this piece I ask readers of whatever anti-fascist persuasion to contemplate critiques of stereotypically violent no-platforming as well as defenses of that controversial practice. Though I’m personally guided by a utopian vision of anarchist nonviolence, I’m not convinced popping Richard Spencer in the face conflicts with this dream. It’s a long slog from here…
Antifascism and Historical Memory
I am not here to discuss political strategy but historical memory. I grew up in that European country that had the dubious historical distinction of having invented fascism. Since the end of the Second World War the country’s national holiday has been dedicated to the Antifascist Resistance, on that day of the year when, in…
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist