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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Monday, July 25, 2005

Come See Us at Our New Location!

No, I'm not abandoning Mutualist Blog--far from it. But I'm not posting anything else here today. I'm blogging over at UnCapitalist Journal. It's an extended ramble on the archives of The Libertarian Forum, newly available online at Mises.Org. If you want the link, come check out the post at my other digs.


Blogger colorless green ideas said...

i wasn't able to post over there, so i'll do so here. i really liked that post that you linked to. most things tagged with the official Libertarian seal of approval make my stomach turn, so it's nice to peek back at a time in recent history when american libertarianism was not just corporate apologism. where can i get more info about the work of Rothbard and Hess in their leftish phase? Did Rothbard ever go as left as Hess? What happened to Hess politically?

July 26, 2005 2:39 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

Rothbard never went as far left as Hess. Hess retreated from his ultra-leftist phase in the '80s and '90s -- compare his two autobiographies, Dear America and Mostly on the Edge, to see what I mean -- but he remained interested in workplace democracy and other ideas associated with the decentalist left up to the end of his life.

July 26, 2005 3:31 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


What Jesse said.

I think Rothbard was probably squirming quite a bit over the Castro fatigues and Wob pin thing (not to mention Hess' flirtation with the labor theory of value). And by that point, Rothbard was already starting to reassess the effectiveness of his New Left strategy, and beginning the long process that would take him to paleo-ism.

Hess' left-wing trajectory went considerably further into the 1970s; he stayed on a fairly hippie-ish track through most of the decade, what with Community Technology and all that. But by the 1980s, he was probably a lot closer to the Goldwater speech writer than the Che-wannabe of 1969. He still hated large organizations, though, as Jesse says, and stuck with the kind of "small is beautiful stuff" that he said in his Plowboy interview.

July 26, 2005 7:58 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

Murray Bookchin was still willing to contribute an article to Hess's short-lived newsletter in the early '80s. And even when Hess took over the editorship of the Libertarian Party News in the mid/late '80s, his editorials had a communitarian, mutual-aid oriented tinge. He was into the whole cyberpunk thing too.

He was also buddies with Charles Murray, though; he wrote some cranky-conservative flavored pieces in the '90s about welfare and political correctness (a couple of which I edited); and in his last book he seemed more wistful about his period as a red-fighter in the '50s than as a Wobbly in the '70s.

July 27, 2005 8:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


Didn't Bookchin express grudging admiration for free market libertarians at one point, and then lash out at them afterward? I think I remember you quoting him on LeftLibertarian sometime in the past.

July 27, 2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger Jesse said...

Yes -- when Reason interviewed Bookchin in 1979 or 1980, he described the anarcho-capitalists as comrades (though he argued that the system they favor isn't really "capitalist") and even had some kind words for Ayn Rand. He also spoke at a Libertarian Party convention around the same time, and reportedly told an LP activist during the '76 elections that "If I were a voting man, I'd vote for MacBride." There was also an attempt to work with Murray Rothbard in the '60s, though that didn't work out -- mostly because of personality conflicts, or so I'm told; I don't know the details.

His more recent pronouncements on free-market libertarians have been much less friendly.

But the important thing about his article for Hess's newsletter is that, if I remember correctly, it espoused Bookchin's "libertarian municipalist" views, and Hess willingly published it. I should add that Hess wrote at least one article identifying himself with Bookchin's "social ecology" even after he joined the Libertarian Party in the '80s, and that he appeared at a Green confab in the early '90s, where some people were apparently upset at him for an article in Liberty mocking one of those liberal "50 Ways to Save the Earth" books.

July 27, 2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger colorless green ideas said...

thanks for the info. here's the bookchin quote:

"People who resist authority, who defend the rights of the individual, who try in a period of increasing totalitarianism and centralization to reclaim these rights -- this is the true left in the United States. Whether they are anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, or libertarians who believe in free enterprise...I feel much closer, ideologically, to such individuals than I do to the totalitarian liberals and Marxist-Leninists of today."

-- "Reason Interview: Murray Bookchin"

July 27, 2005 3:51 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks, colorless. That's the quote I was thinking of, but I couldn't remember where I'd seen it.

Bookchin's attitude toward free market libertarians is about as inconstant as Chomsky's.

That silly hat isn't doing him any good, either.

July 28, 2005 6:50 AM  
Blogger freeman said...

I don't think Chomsky has been even remotely friendly towards free market libertarianism. I'm pretty sure he considers all free market types to be fascists in disguise.

July 28, 2005 11:04 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

I think Chomsky had a good working relationship with Reason magazine in its early days. Jesse--are you still following this thread?

July 28, 2005 3:26 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

It wasn't Reason, it was Inquiry, which at the time was published by the Cato Institute.

July 29, 2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Ah, OK. I was afraid Chomsky has cancelled his Reason subscription in a huff when Postrel left.

July 29, 2005 7:11 PM  

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