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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, September 10, 2007

Heads-up on the Sidebar

You may have noticed that a large number of links have disappeared from the sidebar. I'm in the process of adding more subject categories for links, and more carefully assessing what presently unsorted links might be suitable for a particular subject heading. The goal is to have most of my links indexed by major subject area, to make them more accessible to readers. Of course if your blog or site remains in the uncategorized list, that's not a negative reflection on you; it just means that the subject matter is intensely personal or not easily pigeonholed.

I've eliminated the defunct links, along with those that have some combination of the following criteria: 1) long inactive; 2) no reciprocating link to me; and/or 3) I have no clear recollection of what originally motivated me to add them, and they have no clear connection to any of the subject areas I focus on.

Otherwise, if your site or blog has temporarily disappeared from the sidebar, it's because I'm in the process, in the next few days, of incorporating you into one of the existing or new subject headings. New subject headings should begin appearing soon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Online: A New History of Leviathan

You've may have seen this already--it's been announced by several people with less lead in their asses than me--but A New History of Leviathan is now online in pdf form at Mises.Org. That book is probably the single most monumental achievement of Rothbard's attempted alliance with the New Left (although there's also a hell of a lot of good writing in Left and Right and Libertarian Forum).

A New History of Leviathan: Essays on the Rise of the American Corporate State was co-edited by Rothbard and Ronald Radosh. Radosh, these days a neocon, was a libertarian socialist at the time of his collaboration with Rothbard. As others have suggested, he's probably more embarrassed today by having once associated with an Old Rightist than at having been a commie. Here's a good quote from the Preface (courtesy Brad Spangler):

It is now widely understood that the United States in mid-twentieth century is a Leviathan Corporate Stateā€”a political economy dominated by giant multinational corporations whose extensive domain, operating with the levers of government, extends from the local retail outlet to firms negotiating for rights to explore oil deposits offshore of Saigon. But the corporate state, whose pervasive influence has recently been subjected to sharp critiques by Herbert Marcuse, Charles Reich, and Phillip Slater..., is by no means a new phenomenon. The corporate leviathan began to emerge at the turn of the twentieth century, after an era of substantial laissez-faire had proceeded to industrialize and urbanize the nation.

The essays in this book reveal how and in what manner the corporate state developed in twentieth-century America. They show how a sophisticated group of large corporate reformers managed to replace a freely competitive economy and make a new governing class, through the use of reform mechanisms to mold the government into a mighty instrument of monopolization and cartelization.

Of course I'd question the characterization of the nineteenth century economy as "substantially laissez-faire" and "freely competitive." The order-of-magnitude increase in statism in the twentieth century was a direct response to instabilities resulting from the state-engineered rise of the corporate economy in the nineteenth. But never mind--as an account of twentieth century corporate liberalism in its own right, this is priceless.

This is just the latest example of the countless volumes, many of them out of print for decades and gathering dust in special collections (like Tucker's Liberty, recently resurrected by Shawn Wilbur, PBUH). This stuff, previously mouldering away beyond the reach of anyone but academic specialists, is now readable at the click of a mouse by anyone with an Internet connection. More importantly, it is downloadable, and infinitely reproducible at zero cost, by anyone with a hard drive.

And now for a cranky tinfoil hat digression: If Peak Oil turns out to be serious business, it (along with the "crackup boom" and other terminal crises) may well lead to rolling blackouts of Internet servers and finally the Web going belly up. If that happens, every bit of this stuff stored on hard drives will be electronic gold. And the CD burner may be the New Dark Ages' equivalent of monks in a scriptorium.

In addition, if Homeland Security succeeds in putting the Internet under full lockdown, burning and physically distributing subversive libraries on CD may well be the 21st century version of Samizdat.

So for the love of God, please download, download, DOWNLOAD!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day--Four Months Late

As Kehlkopfmikrofon says, "Happy fake labor day." The real one is now called Law Day, or Loyalty Day, or some other such filthy thing. A labor holiday that originated in America with a general strike for the 8-hour day movement, as American as baseball and jazz, is now identified as a holiday for parades of tanks in the capitals of communist regimes. Why? A police state crackdown by St. Woodrow and his pet secret policeman, A. Mitchell Palmer, and a concerted propaganda effort during the War Hysteria and Red Scare to tag the worker's movement with "disloyalty" and "un-Americanism." That's pretty remarkable in itself, identifying "loyalty" with "Americanism," in a country founded by a bunch of guys telling their own government to go to hell. But as you know, the first rule after every revolution is "OK, no more revolutions, starting.... Now!"

Jesse Walker got a really good Labor Day thread going at Reason Hit&Run, based on the largely buried history of nineteenth century classical liberalism's surprisingly pro-labor stance.

Around the left-Rothbardian blogosphere, some other attempts to rehabilitate unionism and reclaim labor from its four-letter word status among right-libertarians: Brad Spangler, Wally Conger, Roderick Long, and Rad Geek.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Petty Bourgeoisie of the World Unite!

I've got a guest post up at John Medaille's Distributism Blog: "Free Market Anti-Capitalism." Check it out!