Archive for February, 2011

classic anarcho-punk song by Crass, which needs to be heard by any of the non-libertarian anarchists who would impose their will on others by force (making them no different than the governments they replace).

Violent revolutions have unintended consequences—in statist terms: “collateral damage”. They have also been historically unsuccessful at eliminating statism, since they present no non-coercive, non-violent alternative. Angrily (and blindly) stripping away the old coercive regime with violence will only result in replacing it with another coercive, violent regime.

Agorism is about peaceful evolution away from statism through attrition and replacement of government services with voluntary free-market alternatives. If and when the final death-throes of the state lead to the use of force, agorists will act in kind only in self-defense. At that point, the state will have already withered to such an extent that it will go out “not with a bang, but a whimper”. The state will die and life will go on. It’s services will have been replaced with non-coercive free-market alternatives developed in the (formerly) grey and black markets. Only by being fully consistent with the Non-Aggression Principle can we hope to create a stateless society that is not based on aggression.

CrassBloody Revolution

You talk about your revolution, well, that’s fine
But what are you going to be doing come the time?
Are you going to be the big man with the tommy-gun?
Will you talk of freedom when the blood begins to run?
Well, freedom has no value if violence is the price
Don’t want your revolution, I want anarchy and peace

You talk of overthrowing power with violence as your tool
You speak of liberation and when the people rule
Well ain’t it people rule right now, what difference would there be?
Just another set of bigots with their rifle-sights on me

But what about those people who don’t want your new restrictions?
Those that disagree with you and have their own convictions?
You say they’ve got it wrong because they don’t agree with you
So when the revolution comes you’ll have to run them through
You say that revolution will bring freedom for us all
Well freedom just ain’t freedom when your back’s against the wall

You talk of overthrowing power with violence as your tool
You speak of liberation and when the people rule
Well ain’t it people rule right now, what difference would there be?
Just another set of bigots with their rifle-sights on me

Will you indoctrinate the masses to serve your new regime?
And simply do away with those whose views are too extreme?
Transportation details could be left to British rail
Where Zyklon B succeeded, North Sea Gas will fail
It’s just the same old story of man destroying man
We’ve got to look for other answers to the problems of this land

You talk of overthrowing power with violence as your tool
You speak of liberation and when the people rule
Well ain’t it people rule right now, what difference would there be?
Just another set of bigots with their rifle-sights on me

Vive la revolution, people of the world unite
Stand up men of courage, it’s your job to fight

It all seems very easy, this revolution game
But when you start to really play things won’t be quite the same
Your intellectual theories on how it’s going to be
Don’t seem to take into account the true reality
Cos the truth of what you’re saying, as you sit there sipping beer
Is pain and death and suffering, but of course you wouldn’t care

You’re far too much of a man for that, if Mao did it so can you
What’s the freedom of us all against the suffering of the few?
That’s the kind of self-deception that killed ten million jews
Just the same false logic that all power-mongers use
So don’t think you can fool me with your political tricks
Political right, political left, you can keep your politics
Government is government and all government is force
Left or right, right or left, it takes the same old course
Oppression and restriction, regulation, rule and law
The seizure of that power is all your revolution’s for
You romanticise your heroes, quote from Marx and Mao
Well their ideas of freedom are just oppression now

Nothing changed for all the death, that their ideas created
It’s just the same fascistic games, but the rules aren’t clearly stated
Nothing’s really different cos all government’s the same
They can call it freedom, but slavery is the game

Nothing changed for all the death, that their ideas created
It’s just the same fascistic games, but the rules aren’t clearly stated
Nothing’s really different cos all government’s the same
They can call it freedom, but slavery is the game
There’s nothing that you offer but a dream of last years hero
The truth of revolution, brother………………. is year zero.

All the world over, from Tunisia, Egypt, and Algeria, to Nigeria, Bahrain, and Libya  (and possibly soon Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Iraq), massive protests are sweeping away old oppressive regimes. The question arises, “But what do the victors expect to gain, except to replace their old brutal masters with yet more brutal masters?” Sadly, most of the people in the streets cry not for individual autonomy, but for democracy—the enslavement of all to all, and ultimately, to an oligarchy that claims to represent “the people”.

How is that going to work out? Well, let’s just take a look at Iraq. In 2003, American President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq to, ostensibly, bring peace and freedom to the Iraqi people, liberate them from a brutal dictator, and instill democracy—or some such hokum.

So, is the new democratic Iraqi regime any more permissive of protestors rights to air their grievences? How do supposedly peace-loving, freedom-loving democracies treat dissenters?

Indistinguishably from non-democratic regimes:

Props to the guy with the black flag! At least someone has the right idea.

Agora Caliente

Originally posted here
Agora Caliente
by Robbie Revenant
Most people come to agorism through some form of libertarian or voluntaryist background. Awakened to the corporatocracy that oppresses them, they begin to search for a better way to organize society. Eventually, they realize that the only just way to organize society is to let it organize itself. The “right” kind of society, a free and just society, is one in which all human interactions are voluntary. Having found this truth, they naturally want to know how to achieve such a society. Agorism, the practice of counter-economics guided by the principles of radical libertarianism, provides that answer.
But what if you are already practicing counter-economics without libertarian principles as a guide? That is to say, without the ethics of liberty? No doubt, the vast majority of people participating in the grey, black, pink and red markets do so without explicit ethical guidance.
Now let us suppose for a moment that there are tens of millions of such people in the United States alone. And let us further posit that many of them have reason to hate the State. Imagine that a whole host of people with a similar cultural background are being relegated to second-class status by the laws of this nation. Afraid to step too far out of line lest they be apprehended, abused, or deported, they tend to band together to protect one another’s anonymity from the State. This isolates them somewhat culturally, but also creates a close-knit community. They tend to prefer not to call on the police, the State’s thuggish enforcers, so they often find ways of handling disputes themselves. They typically work at far lower than average wages due to their precarious status—which automatically puts them in the grey market, but also gives them incentive to operate in other markets to make ends meet.
Of course, I am talking about “undocumented workers”, 81% of which come from Mexico and other Latin American countries. With the rising anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, even greater pressure will be put to bear on them to engage in counter-economic activity just to survive. But such communities also have an opportunity: to band together to form the largest agorist network ever! All they lack is a libertarian ethos to guide their market activities away from the pink and red markets, and toward a voluntary freed market which will strangle and replace the State.
We must, therefore, reach out to this subset of the population and educate them about agorism. They have the least to risk by embracing libertarian counter-economics over the counter-economics they are already practicing, and can have a huge impact on the demise of the State and the rise of a free-market stateless society.

Robin Hood and the Minarchists

Robin HoodIt’s a cold and rainy Saturday. My fiancée and I are cuddled up in bed watching Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, and this time around I find that I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Why I hated it the first time is not entirely clear to me. It may have simply been the lack of good company. Or perhaps it was that initially I was focused too closely on the typically lifeless acting of Mr. Crowe, and less on the other characters or Ridley Scott’s creative take on the Robin Hood story.

Either way, I’m certain that I enjoyed it more because I was watching it through the lens of a blog article I’d recently read: George Donnely’s Are Minarchists Worse than Socialists?

*SPOILER ALERT* Do not read further if you haven’t watched the movie yet.

What struck me this time was how Thomas Longstride, a radical who died for his notion of political equality, was both supported and betrayed by those who lauded his ideals. It would be a stretch to claim he was an anarchist. But his recognition that a king needed his subjects as much as the subjects needed their king was a step in the right direction.

The Barons and Longstride’s son, Robin, on the other hand, are clearly minarchists. They want to reduce the power of the Crown, not eliminate it. Near the end of the film, Robin explains to King John that all men are entitled to certain things. He’s quite verbose at this point, but what they amount to are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What they do not do is demand an end to the Crown. Instead, they make the same mistake all minarchists do—they demand that Power limit itself. Robin declares to the King that they want “Liberty by law!” Ridley Scott no doubt envisioned this to be a crowning moment of the film, but for me, this was its near ruin.

What transpires at the end of the film would never have happened had the Barons not kept Thomas Longstride’s dream alive. There would have been no confrontation with the King with demands for “liberty”. His notions would simply have been forgotten. However, the Baron’s failure to live up to that dream’s potential with consistency, or even comprehend the logical contradiction of their minarchist position, is what led to their little revolution’s abrupt end. The minarchists both saved and sabotaged the struggle for liberty.

Of course, there is still hope, for this is where Robin Longstride becomes the infamous Robin Hood—living off the grid, so to speak, and causing havoc for King John’s tax-men. All in all, a decent film and a good lesson about the disastrous consequences of compromising one’s moral ideals.

Originally posted here
Beginning at the End
(or, How Not to Change the World)
by Robbie Revenant
Many of us have been watching the events in the Middle East and North Africa with great enthusiasm and hope. Some have even asked, “When will this happen here? When will revolution come to America/Canada/etc.?” Others responded, “Why are you asking and not doing? If you want it now, take it now!
But is that what we want now? Let’s take a look at Egypt. What has all this sound and fury wrought? The 30 year-long reign of American puppet and despot Hosni Mubarak is now over. He has allegedly fled the country. The decades of anger from the abuses suffered under this man’s regime finally spilled over into an insurmountable wave that has cleansed that nation of … exactly one tyrant.
The nation is now in the hands of the military. Political pundits the world over are innundating the media with demands for “new leadership” and a move towards “Egyptian democracy.”
In all probablility, this situation will tend to one of two outcomes:
  1. The old despotic regime will be replaced with a new despotic regime, either civilian or military. The people, having paid such a heavy price in this revolution and getting only more of the same, will lose hope in changing it. We won’t see another uprising like it again for a generation or more.
  2. The old despotic regime will be replaced with a democracy. Whether or not it is merely another vehicle for Western political theater is irrelevant. The protestors will be placated for a time. Eventually, as with all democracies, they will turn to political-infighting. They will identify with collective interests they believe are at odds with the collective interests of others. In short, they will fight each other, rather than the system. Again, we won’t see another uprising against the State for quite some time.
Either way, the Egyptian people will still be trapped in the statist paradigm. They will endure another 30 years as tax-slaves and cannon-fodder. After thousands of years of statism, little will have changed but the name of the system which oppresses them.
We, as agorists, see much to admire in the revolutions sweeping Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, and numerous other Middle Eastern and North African states. The people there became acutely aware of the injustice of the Egyptian regime; and, despite fear and oppression, they resisted the police-state and demanded something better. We saw a largely leaderless, spontaneous, bottom-up organization to the protests. As government services shut down in an attempt to stymie the protestors, vendors sprang into action to provide food, water, and communications. People banded together to provide impromptu protection forces for neighborhoods as police all but disappeared—no doubt deployed entirely to guard “State property”, protect bureaucrats, and attack protestors. These impromptu forces could, in time, have formed the seed kernal for private protection forces—a free market alternative to State police.
But, alas, this will all die in its infancy.
And we know this, because we also see the weakness of revolution before its time. We all long for a state-less society; but when revolutions come they inevitably replace one state with another. Why? Because the vast majority of people do not see an alternative. They still cling to the lie that democracy, “the God that failed” as Hoppe puts it, is the ideal form of social order. It is a kind of cultural idée fixe that has gone global. Until that delusion is shattered, through education or through sufficient example, then revolutions will only be a revolving door to yet more statism.
So, to those anarchists who demand “Revolution Now!” and chide those of us who advocate education in state-less alternatives to police, courts, and all the other functions that governments have usurped in order to make us dependent on the State, I say, “Do you understand now?
Agorism is about living as state-free a life as possible now; starving the State of the products of our labor, both mental and physical, now; and also laying the foundation for an alternative to statism when the State does finally collapse in the future—through both education and implementation of free-market alternatives.
Through counter-economics and libertarian principles, we live as freely and richly as we can in the present statist society. And while we long to rid ourselves of the State completely, we know that to be the last step in the devolution of statism—not the first.
To the agorist, protesting in the streets en masse, driving out the bureaucrats and their enforcers, is the final stage of the collapse of the State. We seek to lay the foundation for a successful end of the State; which is to say, the end of this State in such a manner that it is not replaced with another. Impatient agorists and non-agorist anarchists who would like to see an Egyptian-style revolt here and now may actually do more harm than good if there isn’t a likelihood that a state-less alternative will replace the current system.
True anarchists seek not revolution, but dissolution—dissolution of the State in its entirety. We cannot settle for less.