Feature Articles
Is This Micromanufacturing’s Hour?
If you’re involved at all in the micromanufacturing, hardware hacking, or open-source hardware communities, or interested (as I am) in their potential for economic relocalization and for undermining corporate power, you’ve probably seen a story going around about makers in Italy 3D printing valves to keep ventilators running for COVID-19 patients in critical condition. According…
Credit As an Enclosed Commons
Whenever someone like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk is attacked from the left for their parasitism, the outcome is as certain — and much swifter — than the return of Halley’s Comet. Without fail, we see a swarm of outraged conservative, libertarian and centrist voices — ranging from Koch-funded op-eds and Stossel columns to bedbug…
Revealed Preference: A Parable
Three close friends collectively inherit a house in the country from a departed mutual friend who built it. It’s a dream come true for these young friends, sick as they are of city life and longing to grow their own food. The house is big, gorgeous, and well-maintained. It has a large multifaceted kitchen, which…
Pandemics: The State As Cure or Cause?
Looking at the news on the COVID-19 (or coronavirus) pandemic, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that this is one of those lifeboat situations in which a crisis cannot be managed without a resort to large-scale social coercion. China and South Korea seem to have turned the tide on the pandemic, with a reduced number…
An Interview with Young Russian Activists from Food Not Bombs
Food Not Bombs is an independent international movement whose activists are doing direct action by handing out vegan food to everyone. They believe that their activities help to struggle against poverty, militarism, and violence. Absolutely all existing groups in Russia are decentralized, but they all support the same idea. While the Russian government spends billions…
Ihumātao: Reclaiming the land and resisting settler colonial capitalism in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Artist: Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho In Aotearoa, one of the major forms of social struggle is the indigenous Māori struggling to reclaim the land stolen from them by the New Zealand colonial government as part of the capitalist settler colonisation of Aotearoa. Since 2015, the greatest land struggle in a decade has been happening at Ihumātao…
The Free Labor Market and Other Capitalist Just-So Stories
Some years ago, I coined the term “vulgar libertarianism” to refer to a particular, egregiously bad form of right-libertarian analysis. I did a long series of posts (“Vulgar Libertarianism Watch”) at my now mostly inactive blog, in which I applied the concept to a considerable volume of absolutely wretched material from the right-libertarian commentariat. I…
The War on Hamburgers Part 2: An Impossible Dream
In my essay The War on Hamburgers: A Practical Alternative to World Veganism, I posited that the way to create a more environmentally-friendly food system would require us to consume less meat but that a majority of people would not do so if it felt like a sacrifice. As such, I touted alternatives such as…
White Market Agorism
Within any political movement set on radically changing society, there always comes a debate on how best to achieve those goals. Should we unionize towards a general strike? Should we withdraw from the prevailing system by living on scavenged, stolen, and scammed resources in the fashion of classic CrimethInc. propaganda? Should we build cooperatives and…
Individualism Towards Abolition of the Self
One of the most twisted words in today’s political discourse is individualism. When people talk about individualism, they tend to conflate two types of individualism and present them as inseparable. The first is ethical individualism which sees the individual as the most important ethical consideration. The second is methodological individualism which sees the individual as…
Twenty Years Beyond Seattle
“They’re even gassing children!” A small affinity group of teenagers raced past me, all in black bloc, one member slowing down only to look at me. I had put my red bandanna away, soaked as it was in tear gas and pepper spray. What remained was a skinny thirteen year old kid in a bright…
Chile and the Limits of Neoliberalism
Photo credit: Susana Hidalgo, Instagram There are many protests throughout Latin America and the world right now, but the revolt in Chile is a particularly sharp rejection of neoliberalism. Chile has been sold as a model economy in the region that allegedly promotes the “free market” while constructing solid institutions. The reality is that Chile’s…
Status Hierarchies: Tacit Consent and Performance Expectations
What keeps all different types of libertarian socialists together is the belief that minimizing hierarchy generates more freedom and equality. Nonetheless, hierarchy is a word etched in ambiguity. The terms power and status are used carelessly. Historically, libertarian socialists, with some notable exceptions, have tended to only be critical of power hierarchies. Feminists and race…
Rights, Privilege, and Power
What do we speak of when we discuss the concept of rights? There exists the philosophical concept, the notion that all human beings are embodied with certain inalienable rights, simply by consequence of their being human. This notion refers to human rights as they are commonly understood. Then there exists the legalistic understanding, that of…
Money Without the State
Graeber, in his Debt, attacks what he refers to as ‘the myth of barter’ — the idea that money is a communal invention and agreed-upon standard to avoid the problem of having to barter. He’s entirely correct — such a myth is false. However, some of his overzealous fans are incorrect — he at no…
Postmodern Discourse in the Corporate Boardroom
During a recent business meeting, I noticed some ways in which corporate hierarchy leads to negative sum competition and distortions of reality. At my current job in data analytics, I build live business “dashboards” to provide actionable insights to upper management; this includes working with different departments to create new data pipelines and ensure the…
“Under Capitalism”?
In a couple of earlier pieces, C4SS writers Frank Miroslav and Black Cat argued, respectively, that the frequently stated principle “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism” is a “thought-stopping cliche,” and — in response — that “there really is no ethical (individual) consumption under capitalism.” As I read it, the disagreement between them is…
No Citizens: Abolishing Borders Beyond the Nation-State
The very existence of borders is one of the founding injustices of this world. Most of us recognize this implicitly, and I won’t spend too much time here trying to argue what’s been clearly argued by generations of anarchists: Borders and citizenship are constitutive elements of the nation-state, and as such must be overturned and…
Anti-State Responses to Terrorism
Another week, another misogynist and/or white nationalist terrorist attack. They’re urging each other on, they’re forming broad movements, ecosystems, networks of cells. The Base. Atomwaffen. The Rise Above Movement. American Identity Movement. Hammerskin Nation. Wolves of Vinland. European Kindred. Proud Boys. The names and factions proliferate. Hordes congregate online to cheer the latest atrocity and…
“Economic Calculation,” “Strong Property Rights,” and Other Lies Koch-Funded Libertarian Commentators Told Me
A common cliche among conservatives and those on the libertarian Right is that “strong property rights” are an incentive to create wealth and are necessary for progress. Closely related is Ludwig von Mises’ critique of the Oskar Lange model of market socialism, namely that it would result in irrationality because factor input pricing by non-market…
The Anatomy of Escape
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist