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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, December 11, 2006

Free Market Anti-Capitalism: A Compendium of Posts

Definitions and Distinctions
R.A. Wilson on Property
Joe Peacott on Property
Capitalism Without Capitalists
Knapp on the Land Question
May Day Thoughts: Individualist Anarchism and the Labor Movement
George and Tucker
Individualist Anarchists in the First International, Etc.
James L. Wilson on Free Markets
Socialist Definitional Free-for-All, Part I
Socialist Definitional Free-for-All, Part II
The Utility of Disutility
R.A. Wilson: Privilege and Unequal Exchange
William Greene on the Labor Theory of Value
William Greene: Individualist Anarchists in the First International
Larry Gambone: Recovering the Socialist Tradition
Larry Gambone: Before "Socialism" Became "Government Ownership"
A Market Without Capitalists
J.S. Mill, Market Socialist
Christopher C. Toto, RIP


Blogger dkoechlin said...


As a French "citizen", I find many points in yous writtings quite "contentious". But at the same time, I must admit that I have been overwhelmed by your extensive usage of political economists from both sides of the divide.
Where I come from, the term "libertarien" (in French) means "anarchist" (with an anarcho-syndicalist meaning). Actually, most modern day leftist "non-coercive" groups refer to themselves in this way. There is not the slightest sense of "right-wingism" implied. Those groups (often small shop-owners) who want to show their disapprovouval for state subsidies always call themselves "liberals". Which is kind of funny, seeing an American friend of mine told me liberal means left-wing in the USA...
In France, Liberal/Libertarian means conservative/anarchist.
Anyway, back to an interesting discussion. I quite like Marx but I hate Lenin and the bolchevicks. I think Marx has been grossly (voluntarily) misunderstood by both right-wing and left-wing people. Marx had his own shortcomings, but he was quite adamant in pointing out that the capitalist system could only survive through the help of the state in supporting the widespread eviction of tenents from their lands and the enforcement of the vagrancy laws that ensued. Capital I, 7 explains in considerable detail how millions of farmers were forced into selling their labour to the capitalists.
I totally agree with you on this subject. However, I get the feeling that your analysis of marxism is somewhat "americanized" and out-of-date. There have been very many attempts (at least in France) at trying to demonstrate that Marx was an 'anarchist', in direct opposition to the orthodoxy of Soviet (and Cuban-Maoist-Albanian) "Marxism" : Lacan, Deleuze, Foucault, Kojeve, etc.
The dismissal of Marxism I come across in these pages seems somewhat out-dated too, harkening back as it does to MacCarthynism and the "good ole American way" (Ay Mister, we don't like no smarty-pants folks, we don't : us, we like it all goddammed simple, the way the lord meant it to be).
Surely such an ambiguous (nobody really knows what he really thought) thinker as Marx deserves a more thorough treatment ?
Anyway, just inquiring whether you were at all familiar with neo-marxism and the economic theories branded as "anarchistic participatory economics" (in which different democratic consummer groups decide what all their members want to consumme and send the data to a democratic producers group which runs the factories)?

December 12, 2006 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dkoechlin, I think you will find it ironic that Kevin and I have both been accused of being too marxist by some anarchists and FM libertarians. Kevin incorporates a large amount of Marx's theory in his book Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and I acknowledge Marx in my own writings. I am also indebted to the writings of Karl Korsch, the Frankfort School, Rosa Luxemburg, Joseph Dietzgen, Anton Pannekoek, and Antonio Gramsci. Science is synthesis, the realm of sacred text and forbidden authors is the realm of religion..

December 17, 2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


Thanks for the comments. I wish free market liberalism in this country was mainly the ideology of small shopkeepers, instead of just a bunch of giant corporations appropriating the rhetoric of small shopkeepers.

Marx certainly is an ambiguous thinker--I plodded through most of his major works in writing Mutualist Political Economy, and could sympathize with the assessment that nobody knows what he really thought. The problem is there are so many strands in tension with each other in his philsophy. I tried to incorporate as much of him as possible into my own framework, because there is much good in it ("eat what you can and spit out the rest"). He's complicated by the fact that his thought contains considerable remnants of his "petty bourgeois socialist" heritage, and he draws back from the implications of it.

The primitive accumulation you mention is a prime example: Engels, apparently with Marx as sympathetic editor, repudiated (in Anti-Duhring) most of the implications of Marx's analysis in Vol. 1 of Capital, and instead essentially reaffirmed the "bourgeois nursery tale" that the process would have occurred naturally in a free market without any state intervention or violence at all.

I have done very limited reading among the Neo-Marxists: James O'Connor, Paul Mattick, and others of the Monthly Review group. I hope to remedy the gaps someday. I'm certainly not as familiar with the different currents of 20th cent Marxism as I should be.

BTW this characterization of typical American attitude...

"Ay Mister, we don't like no smarty-pants folks, we don't : us, we like it all goddammed simple, the way the lord meant it to be"

...just about made me wet my pants.


Yeah, when different groups of people call you a Rand-worshipping Nazi and a commie, it's probably a kind of blotter test. Says more about which of their sacred cows you're barbecuing than anything else.

December 18, 2006 12:40 AM  

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