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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

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Center for a Stateless Society

A very belated welcome to the new market anarchist think tank, Center for a Stateless Society (CSS).

A tiny think tank has set out on a project to provide ongoing news commentary in order to promote their set of views, known as market anarchism.

AUBURN, ALABAMA — October 10, 2006 — Center for a Stateless Society — The Molinari Institute, a market anarchist think tank, today launched a new media effort aiming to put their agenda to abolish government front and center in US political discourse. Dubbing their project the Center for a Stateless Society (www.c4ss.org), institute officials laid out plans to publish and distribute news commentary written by anarchists with radically free-market oriented views on economics — taking market anarchism out of the realm of academia and obscure internet blogs in order to put it in the public eye.

Molinari Institute President Roderick Long explained “For too long libertarians, and I mean anarchist libertarians, have treated market anarchism almost as an esoteric doctrine. It’s time to put market anarchism front and center in our educational efforts, time to start making it a familiar and recognizable position. The Center for a Stateless Society aims to bring a market anarchist perspective to the popular press, rather than leaving it confined to scholarly studies and movement periodicals.”

Naming longtime radical libertarian activist and freelance web developer Brad Spangler as the first Director of the Center, Long unveiled the Center’s new web site at www.c4ss.org for Molinari Institute supporters and the public.

Said Spangler “I’m honored to accept the post. In anticipation of this moment, we’ve developed a database of thousands of US media outlets for email distribution of content which these publishers will be able to use free of charge. Additionally, the c4ss.org web site makes use of stable, reliable and “free as in freedom” open source web technologies. We’ve developed the site in such a way as to make maximum possible use of social bookmarking services, web syndication feeds and search engine optimization techniques. With this site, we aim to awaken more Americans than ever before to the brutal reality that all governments everywhere are essentially nothing more than murderous bandit gangs — and show them the shining light of hope for a world without the State.”

The mission of the Molinari Institute is to promote understanding of the philosophy of Market Anarchism as a sane, consensual alternative to the hypertrophic violence of the State. The Institute takes its name from Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912), originator of the theory of Market Anarchism. The Center for a Stateless Society is the Molinari Institute’s new media center.

Brad Spangler
Center for a Stateless Society

Monday, November 06, 2006

Question Authority (Obligatory Election Day Post)

Three very loosely connected items:

1. "Did You Know?" Those three words should always raise a red flag. They indicate that you're in the process of being manipulated by your mortal enemy. Whenever I see a propaganda poster or a public service announcement that starts out asking "Did you know?", my immediate response is "No--and I still don't." Any time anyone in a position of authority wants you to believe something, the wisest course is to assume it's a damned lie until proven otherwise.

2. "As Bad as Hitler." Any time the corporate media echoes the government's talking points on how horrible, awful, and thuggish some foreign leader is (I'm talking about the Saddam trial here, obviously), you can safely assume that you're being manipulated into supporting somebody's agenda. I figure Saddam probably really did a lot of the wicked stuff he's accused of--although I've seen accounts that cast considerable doubt on the "people shredders" and "rape rooms," and make me suspect those stories belong in the same category as Belgian nuns and Kuwaiti incubator babies. But if he did do those things, he was doing them for years before the orchestrated demonization campaign began in the fall of 1990. Saddam was torturing and murdering people a long time before 1990, it's just that you didn't hear about it. Why not? Because he was following orders.

Here's a typical scenario. Satan is on the CIA's payroll. All the arch-demons are getting sent to Ft. Benning for training in the latest torture techniques at the SOA/WHISC. Then Satan stops obeying orders from Washington and outlives his usefulness. The next day, Tony Snow is up at the podium announcing in horrified tones all the awful things they suddenly just "discovered" that are going on in Hell. Then the first pictures surface of Rumsfeld shaking hands with the Devil back in 1983.

The CIA and U.S. armed forces have installed some of the bloodiest murders in history into power. But you almost never hear about them in the mainstream media so long as the murderers are doing their jobs, murdering the people that U.S. corporate-state elites want murdered.

3. What are the most important issues in American politics? The ones you never hear about because the two major parties agree on them. And who are the only candidates who are not total manufactured fakes? The third party candidates who can afford to be genuine because they know they haven't got a snowball's chance in hell of being elected.

In the microcosm of Arkansas politics, that's illustrated by all the candidates for statewide office who agree on the priority of "economic development" through special incentives to "bring business into the state"--i.e., try to lure businesses here by offering a better corporate welfare deal than other states. If you suggest that the best form of economic development is through flourishing, diversified local economies, owned by the local population, and that the best way there is to stop subsidizing the big corporations that colonize those local economies; or if you suggest that most of our economic problems are caused by the fact that big business already pays too few of the costs it imposes on society... well, needless to say, that puts you somewhere on the outer fringes.

Locally, I've noticed that just about every single City Council candidate is agreed that the top priority should be to "relieve congestion" by building more roads (in Springdale, that means especially the big east-west corridors through town and the Hwy 412 bypass north of town. Anyone who thinks building more and bigger roads will relieve congestion is delusional. It's understandable, though, that the political establishment has absorbed the conventional wisdom of the local Growth Machine. In fact, though, building more roads just generates more congestion. That bypass and those east-west corridors will just be filled up with the new traffic generated by all the new subdivisions and big box stores built along those subsidized roads.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Christopher C. Toto, RIP

Via R. Joshua Vincent on the Land Theory email list.

Christopher C. Toto, of Lawrence, died Tuesday at home. He was 51.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a former resident of Red Bank, in Monmouth County, he had resided in Lawrence for 21 years.

Mr. Toto was a self-employed exterior insulation and masonry contractor. He attended Stevens Institute of Technology and graduated from Monmouth College (now Monmouth University) where he received a degree in chemistry.

Mr. Toto formerly held chemical engineering positions at the Graver Water Co., Koppers Paint Co., and the Betts Water Treatment Co. He also was a former pharmacy technician at St. Francis Medical Center.

Mr. Toto was active and interested in local politics and school reform. He showed concern and taught others about land value taxation. He was a member of the Georgist Organization.

He is survived by wife Margaret A. Frank-Toto, his parents, Francis C. and Lillian Marie Hunter Toto, two brothers, Wallace Toto and his wife Michele, Vincent Toto and his wife Karle, and a sister, Eileen Toto Pinoos and her husband, Neil.

Also surviving are his father-in-law, George A. Frank and his mother in-law, Betty Ann Hynds, a brother-in-law, Lawrence Frank and his wife Kate and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Church of St. Ann, in Lawrence. Family and friends may call from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday at Poulson & Van Hise Funeral Directors, 650 Lawrence Road, Lawrence.

Memorial contributions may be made to Center of the Study of Economics, 1518 Walnut St., Suite 604, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102-3404 or Simone Protective Cancer Center, c/o Charles B. Simone, M.D., 123 Franklin Corner Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.

Vincent adds: "We will miss Chris' enthusiasm and his Born-in-Brooklyn pugnacity that served him and us so well in the uphill struggle for Land Value Taxation in the State of New Jersey."

I was many times not only impressed by the brilliance of Chris' commentary, but also charmed by his courteous manner. Unfortunately, since he had he had no particular website of his own, his astute observations on so many subjects are widely scattered around the Web.

Here are a few of them I've gathered:


In the rare cases where the Producers own their own "natural means of production," that the classically defined systems of Capitalism and Socialism are one and the same, that they intersect at a nexus of unusual and infrequent, but eminently possible conditions....

Geoism is the nexus of classically defined Capitalism and Socialism; it is the very unusual subset of possible economic conditions where Capitalism and Socialism are the same. It is the market which is truly free of government enforced entitlements, where each and every individual in a community has the equal right and opportunity to access, use and hold an equal percapita value of the natural means of production for independent self support and self shelter. Geoism is the nexus subset of Capitalism where each and every individual has not only the right to be, but the right to be somewhere, meaning the equal right to independently use the naturally available wealth in a territory to shelter himself and to produce his own livelihood. This same Geoism is the nexus subset condition of Socialism where government does not top-down command and control markets, but is very careful to avoid granting politically enforced entitlements. Such restraining vigilance results in "maintaining" a level playing field where the market is not forcibly tilted in anyones one's favor. Such Socialism results in a market where no one has a government enforced entitlement to more than percapita shares of natural means of production. Such market "maintenance" results in a condition where all producers have equal rights to use and access naturally available market values (natural means of production) while enjoying the voluntaryist freedom of choice in a genuine, unrigged "laissez faire" market. Geoism provides both the advantages of Capitalism and Socialism without either's possible negative conditions....

...Where Land Monopoly is not part of a Laissez Faire market, the Socialist ideal of "Producers owning the natural means of production" is achieved and conserved. When this condition holds, the Capitalists supposed goal of private ownership instead of Government ownership is conserved also. What is eliminated from this market condition is entitlements and entrenchments enforced by Political Power.

* * *

....there has been a major corruption of the historical meanings of terms "libertarian" and "socialist" into nearly always mutually exclusive, opposite meanings. It may help you and others to know that the first "libertarians" and the first "socialists" were largely the same people. Probably the most famous of these was the Frenchman P.J. Proudhon. (Later, somewhat less famous representatives were Bakunin, Goldman, Tucker and Nock.) Various historical and political revisionists have muddied the historical track with confusing half true commentaries about "anarchistic socialists, libertarian socialists," etc.

The original context of "socialism" was the opposition of politically powered privilege and monopoly to free social self determination and freely organized cooperation and association. In this original context, circa 1820 to 1850 in France, "socialism" meant "Social Power" of a free society vs the "Political Power" of the privileged Aristocracy and their client middlemen "cronyocracy" or bureaucracy. The English word "libertarian" is literally borrowed from its original usage by, for and of these original "French Socialists." Eg, a free society meant "Societe Libertaire."

These orignal "libertarians" were opposed to all forms of politically coerced monopoly, privilege, and coercive combination and concentration of opportunity for the favor of a private few at the expense of the rest of the public. It was not until Marx' Germanic form of "socialism" did socialism come to mean the opposite of its original french usage, to mean an even greater extreme of monopoly of political power over production and natural opportunity. Marx' "wrinkle" that allowed him to hide under the sheepskin of "socialism" was that under his version political power "siezed by society" (snatched from the puppet strings of oligarchy) would be used to ensure a fairer, more equal access and disposition of economic opportunity and natural resources for production. Marx often disdainfully contrasted French "romantic socialism" of anti-monopolism with his supposedly more "scientific, realistic, materialistic socialism" because of his presupposition that monopolistic concentration of all the factors of production would be "inevitable."

Marx made no substantive policy distinction between politically coercively rigged artificial monopolies and the very few "natural monopolies."
* * *

[This last item, which originally appeared as a letter in Antiwar.Com Backtalk, was my first notice of Chris' thinking]

Genuine libertarianism is to be found in a very special place and condition, the nexus overlap of both Equality and Liberty, a place where all liberties are rights, not licensed privileges to rend ones neighbors of their equal liberty.

It amuses me to read about libertarians bashing socialists, leftists and complaining of betrayal of themselves by the Rightist Cato, or complaining that the Right is betraying their principles. It reminds me of Spencer's betrayal between his 1851 and his 1891 editions of Social Statics.

The first libertarians were the first socialists: they were for free social power as opposed to statist politician power and the associated cronyocracies.

Conservatism at its base is for select privilege at the expense of others. They are for their property rights including privileges, forget about others. Genuine libertarianism is to be found in a very special place and condition, the nexus overlap of both Equality and Liberty, a place where all liberties are rights, not licensed privileges to rend ones neighbors of their equal liberty. Not all kinds of Equality nor all kinds of Liberty: only a very special kind of Equal Liberty that would hold for everyone. (Remember your set field theory.) True libertarianism balances the property rights of the propertied with the opportunity rights of the property-less....

The pro-state socialists have left a relative vacuum in the Democratic Party by their exodus over to the Greens. Many Borsodi Jeffersonian Greens are being overwhelmed there and looking elsewhere. Many LPer veterans are fed up with Conservatives overwhelming the LP and Cato. We're tired of shoveling sand against the tide just to get on the ballot. Some of us are looking to push the DP toward being more Jeffersonian again. ...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Levelling the Playing Field for Local Enterprise

Dave Pollard, in "Why Local Sustainable Enterprises Are at a Disadvantage, and What to Do About it," reviews Michael Shuman's The Small-Mart Revolution, a book about "the reasons entrepreneurial businesses face an uneven playing field and an unfair competitive disadvantage versus the multinational corporatist oligopolies (MCOs)."

The first part of the book outlines the 13 market distortions that multinational corporatist oligopolies (MCOs) have been able to create and exploit to enormous advantage, to the great detriment of entrepreneurs who actually add value to the communities in which they operate -- and offer customers much greater value for their dollar:

1. Government Subsidies: More than $300B in corporate subsidies, almost all of which go to MCOs, are paid by North American and European governments each year to protect and incent these rich and powerful corporate goliaths. These subsidies are 'purchased' with MCO campaign donations, junkets and lobbying.

2. Access to Cheap Capital: MCOs can borrow money much cheaper and under much more favourable terms from the big financial corporations than entrepreneurs can. These rates reflect formulaic conventional lending wisdom and not actual risk....

5. Subsidized Transportation and Energy Infrastructure: Because the cost of gasoline is suppressed by political deals with OPEC, and energy and highway projects are heavily subsidized with tax dollars to favour long-distance transportation carriers, the true cost of imports is hugely distorted, to the advantage of MCOs....

10. Naive Local Planners and Zoners: Because they're unaware of the multiplier benefits of LOIS enterprises, local zoners and planners often offer huge incentives to attract MCOs that yield little local return on that investment, and actually destroy local employment and manufacturing.

11. Oligopoly Network Power: MCOs, by striking exclusive deals with other MCOs, cut LOIS enterprises out of the bidding for major supply contracts, effectively starving them out of all distribution channels except local independents'. You won't find small local food vendors' products in large chain grocery stores, for example, because the Big Agribusiness producer oligopolies won't let the chains carry small competitors' products.