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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

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. ...


Blogger Werner said...

This is well stated and fits in with the experience of anarchists in Canada many of whom began as radical social democrats. The early CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) formed in Saskatchewan in the early thirties would be in many respects fairly labelled as a small-c conservative party since it was formed as an alliance of radical farmers and socialists in the trade unions of that period. Such people who normally would not see eye to eye in terms of ideology or personal outlook were able make common cause for a time against the traditional populist targets, banks, "monopoly" capitalism, "eastern" manufacturing interests,etc.. The decline of the CCF and it's modern incarnation the New Democratic Party (NDP) follows the same pattern as other left-centre parties. Today they are identified in the public mind as a "me too" variation of the natural governing party which in Canada is the Liberals and in the UK "New" Labour. Both have perverted the original meaning of the word "socialism" as the neo-cons have done similiarly to "conservatism". The results are essentially Orwellian. It has become very difficult today to express radical ideas with a language which has been truncated by "establishment" ideologies.

December 05, 2006 8:45 PM  

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