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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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Friday, August 27, 2010

At C4SS: The Friends of the "Free Market" Are Its Worst Enemies


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried posting this on the linked site, but it did not appear...

'Perhaps no term has been more perverted and villified than “anarchy”, which has been coöpted by stone-throwing mob rule communists.'

I assume, by that, you mean that the term anarchy has been used by libertarian-communists from, at least, the 1850s? Hardly a case of co-opting, when the vast majority of the anarchist movement has been, and is, communist. What is being "coopted" is when the name anarchist (or libertarian) is taken up by pro-capitalists, ignoring the explicitly anti-capitalist ideas which have always been associated with it.

As for the genuine individualist-anarchist tradition, well, it is true they were somewhat against communist-anarchist ideas -- although they did admit that voluntary communism was perfectly anarchistic. And as we libertarian communists stand for free communism, well, that means we have hardly coopted the term anarchy.

I would also suggest that most of the individualist-anarchists would also have rejected many of Proudhon's key ideas. So as far as coopting anarchy, well, us communist-anarchists have kept true to Proudhon's opposition to wage-labour, the agro-industrial federation, communal institutions, socialisation of property, and a host of other ideas expounded by Proudhon from when he first proclaimed "I am an Anarchist" onwards:


And back to the topic, Kevin makes a very valid point. Free markets rhetoric is used by the right and big business. They have even managed to attach the term "libertarian" to corporate power. I'm not sure how to avoid that, unless you start to develop new forms of rhetoric to avoid the association. That explains why many libertarian communists avoid the word "communism" as people associate it with the USSR/Cuba/etc. Maybe consistently using terms of "mutualism" and such like would help, but then we have the problem that European and American mutualism differ.

That was my comment. I'll add that this is a difficult issue because you don't really want to be associated with big business, mainstream "Libertarianism" and such like. It will cause almost instant rejection by people who would be sympathetic to many individualist anarchist ideas.

For example, during Katrina, Kevin wrote about "market solutions" to the problem (if I remember correctly). By that I'm sure he meant voluntary methods and mutual aid, but it came across as people paying others to rescue then, people getting ripped-off simply to survive, etc. It is that kind of associations that are best avoided.

An Anarchist FAQ

August 30, 2010 1:56 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Thanks, Iain. I pasted it in over there. Did you notice the captcha field at the bottom of the page?

August 30, 2010 3:03 PM  

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