How do market anarchists regard other tendencies within anarchism?

While we espouse a certain approach to anarchism by no means do we believe it to be the only valuable vista into human social organization. In this way, we separate our decentralist methodology from our market ideology.

Market anarchist methodology is very influenced by the voluntaryist ideals of libertarian politics in America. This idea at its core is one of decentralization, pluralism and radical federalism. We want empowered people in all communities to have meaningful influence and power to shape their own lives, even if they prefer not to utilize a market system. In fact, non-market systems could very well be better than the market means that we understand and appreciate.

We would very much like those with alternatives to our models to be able to experiment to the fullest extent possible in the hopes of us all living better. At the moment, however, we hold an ideological preference for market society, and so long as other anarchists respect our ability to organize in such a way on an even footing with all other communities, we welcome our methodological allies.

Not everyone will choose communities which share the same values under an anarchistic methodology. There will be communities of communists, private property enthusiasts, members of one industrial union grand, primitivists, religious communes, conservative communitarians, communuties organized both with the gender binary and without, nuclear families and polyamorous chains, gift economies, ethnic/nationalistic forms of organization and countless other models. Voltairine de Cleyre wrote:

“To those unfamiliar with the movement, the various terms are confusing. Anarchism is, in truth, a sort of Protestantism, whose adherents are a unit in the great essential belief that all forms of external authority must disappear to be replaced by self-control only, but variously divided in our conception of the form of future society. Individualism supposes private property to be the cornerstone of personal freedom; asserts that such property should consist in the absolute possession of one’s own product and of such share of the natural heritage of all as one may actually use. Communist-Anarchism, on the other hand, declares that such property is both unrealizable and undesirable; that the common possession and use of all the natural sources and means of social production can alone guarantee the individual against a recurrence of inequality and its attendants, government and slavery. My personal conviction is that both forms of society, as well as many intermediations, would, in the absence of government, be tried in various localities, according to the instincts and material condition of the people, but that well founded objections may be offered to both. Liberty and experiment alone can determine the best forms of society. Therefore I no longer label myself otherwise than as “Anarchist” simply.”

Many of these experiments will fail, and good thing for it. In the long run with real and substantial social choice available the best forms of organization will be shown to be so and should become more universally adopted. This is not to command the living to sit back and watch oppression happen, but there is a delicate line between respecting choice and allowing for one’s voluntarily-chosen oppression. Market anarchists tend to avoid paternalism if at all possible, considering individual choice and responsibility to be an extremely important component of anarchism, but there are points at which even this principle can be titled where a legitimate case for intervention can be made.

As much as humanly possible we aim to stick to our methodological principle of decentralization and radical federalism and welcome all of those who do as well, even if specific ideology divides us.

<< Back to the Market Anarchism FAQ page