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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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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Libertarian Alliance and Friends

Sean Gabb
GarnerBlog (Richard Garner)
Libertarian Alliance
Libertarian Alliance Blog
Society for Individual Freedom


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you planning on visiting England sometimes soon?

January 07, 2008 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Garner? I remember when he was an anarchist!

Back when he was a mutualist, he tried to show that anarcho-communism was not real anarchism. In the process of me refuting him, he unfortunately quoted Proudhon to support his claim that the French anarchist supported property. Shame, though, that on the page he referenced Proudhon explicitly stated he wanted to abolish property! I was not impressed by that...

My half of the exchange can be found on my webpage:


In various "Letter on Property and Anarchist Communism"

An Anarchist FAQ

January 07, 2008 3:21 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


I'm afraid not. Aside from the cost, I have family circumstances that prevent long-distance travel.


I agree that Richard created a false distinction between the property systems of Proudhon and Kropotkin. However you resolve the semantic boundary between "property" and "possession," the system you come up with will apply to both thinkers pretty much the same. As to whether Proudhon wanted to "replace" property with possession, or "unite" the two concepts, seems like a largely semantic dispute. When you and other anarchists contrast "private property" to "usufruct" or "possession," I know what you mean and am comfortable with it. But I think Richard (back then) meant by possessory property essentially what you meant by possession as *opposed* to property; he was mistaken in believing that Kropotkin opposed individual possessory rights, whether one chooses to call the latter "property" or not. For myself, I find it useful to lump together Lockean property with Tuckerite and other possessory systems under a broader category of "property," because "property" is a useful term for a set of conflict-minimizing rules that determine who has primary access rights to something.

Thanks for providing the link to your anarcho page, BTW. I had it once, but I think I lost it when I had to reset my hard drive in 2003. I'll be adding you to my libertarian socialist links.

January 07, 2008 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've actually read what is property "What is Property?", then you know Proudhon also declared "Property is liberty." Neither statement is meant to be taken alone, but together compose a dialectical explication that rejects both absentee ownership and communism. Naturally, "anarcho"-communists like to quote the one while deliberately omitting the other because . . . well, I'll see if you can figure that out.

Nevertheless, he still referred to his own arrangement as "property."

"Property is a revolutionary force, with an unequaled capacity for setting itself against authority. The principal function of private property within the political system will be to act as a counterweight to the power of the State, and by so doing to insure the liberty of the individual."

"Where shall we find a power capable of counter-balancing the State? There is none other than property. The absolute right of the State is in conflict with the absolute right of the property owner. Property is the greatest revolutionary force which exists."

"Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In Communism, inequality comes from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence."

"Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity – in short, of tyranny – and it is committed to making tyranny universal."

Curious how your attempts to use his ideas in argument omit things he actually said about himself. This tendency becomes even more problematic when applied to the individualists. You cite Tucker's rejection of "capitalism" (whatever that means) while omitting the fact that he acknowledged proto-Ancaps Molinari, Donisthorpe, and the early Spencer as anarchists, while simultaneously denying the title to Johann Most, Pëtr Kropotkin, and the Haymarket martyrs. No mention of this appears in your "Anarcho"-Communist FAQ.

Is it really so inconvenient to the inquisition that, in (selectively) scouring their writing talking point, you can't find space for what their own direct statements on the matter (surely their evaluations of Molinari and the radical Spencerians seem like the best guide we could have to what their views would most likely have been on Rothbard, Friedman, etc.) Nor does it acknowledge the largely favorable recognition of modern day Tuckerites like Kevin and Charles Johnson (see this recent post, if you haven't already). Really, claiming to represent people's beliefs contrary to their stated beliefs is so vanguardist.

January 07, 2008 6:24 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...


In fairness to Iain, I believe he specifically referred to Proudhon's description of property as both theft and liberty in one of the articles referenced.

Tucker, no doubt, saw right-wing liberalism as a heresy from proper Manchesterism in the same way he saw state socialists and anarcho-communists as heretics from the proper understanding of libertarian socialism. He saw both groups as erring bretheren, or fellow travellers who were wrong in many particulars. My guess is that his view of Rothbard and Friedman would be similar to his view of the late Spencer: that his basic principles were promising if they were applied consistently, but that he applied them disproportionately in defense of capitalists and plutocrats.

January 08, 2008 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've thought of finding the video link of Libertarian Alliance International Conference a long time ago, but I forgot to do in the middle. Thanks for the link...
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January 31, 2008 9:18 AM  

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