The Road to (private) serfdom...

I've been thinking about what to post next from the "archives". Part of the problem is that I started with the works I consider best, so now I'm at a wee bit of a lost what to post next. Any suggestions will be gratefully received!

That also means that new visitors should start at the last page and work forward! Maybe some sort of index page would make sense? Is that possible?

After much thought, I decided to post a few bits on "anarcho"-capitalism and related subjects. This was provoked, in part, by this thread on infoshop on "market anarchism." While some "market anarchists" are genuine individualist anarchists and mutualists, many more are just rebranded "anarcho"-capitalists. As can be seen from the link to the Molinari Institute used to define "market anarchism." That Institute is, apparently, an "anarchist" think-tank which, as well as being named after someone who explicitly rejected anarchism (Molinari), also includes such "anarcho"-capitalists as Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann
Hoppe (see here for these two authoritarians).

It was also provoked by this thread on the BBC News's Have Your Say (HYS) webpage. I dip into HYS sometimes, just to see how stupid people can be but this thread was particularly bad. The serf-like mentality is staggering, with calls for unions and strikes to be banned and the constant urge that public sector workers should be grateful because private sector workers get nothing! Suffice to say, we libertarians have a lot of work to do...

Both of them reminded me of why I dislike right-wing "libertarian" ideology. It really does place property above liberty and it is no coincidence that the unwillingness of British workers to stand-up for themselves flows from the "success" of Thatcherism. Of course, the so-called "middle-classes" are being squeezed just now and their confusion is obvious -- they have played the game, yet social mobility is falling, inequality is soaring and hope for their retirement is disappearing. Yet most of them will probably still love Thatcher and blame "socialism" (i.e., Thatcherite New Labour) for their ills.

Unsurprising, then, that William Godwin saw the need to "point out the evils of accumulated property," arguing that the "spirit of oppression, the spirit of servility, and the spirit of fraud . . . are the immediate growth of the established administration of property. They are alike hostile to intellectual and moral improvement."

And as Chile under Pinochet showed, limiting "economic liberty" to just being able to change jobs does not make wages equal productivity. As post-1980 America shows beyond doubt, with the collapse of the labour movement resulting in productivity gains accumulating at the top of the social hierarchy. That is why unions and strikes are essential, particularly as the underlying theory on why changing jobs stops exploitation is wrong!

It would also make sense to point to my article on wage-cutting, on why strikes for pay-rises just now would actually help the economy. They would, of course, harm the autocratic position of the boss, while explains why they are unpopular in elite circles! But better for the politicians to talk about such things causing inflation than to seriously try and understand how capitalism works....

So what is new, so to speak?

First thing is my critique of "anarcho"-capitalism, by means of "anarcho-capitalism. That article shows the massive contradictions at the heart of that repulsive ideology and, moreover, how it holds positions anarchism was created to fight. I've revised it slightly.

I should also point to this You Tube talk by Noam Chomsky which he discusses how anarchism and right-wing "libertarianism" has nothing in common. He explains how, in America, the word "libertarian" has been turned into the opposite of what it traditionally meant. How in America, as Chomsky says, it means "advocating total tyranny" -- that is, the notion that selling yourself to a boss and following orders is freedom. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some right-wing "libertarians" advocate voluntary slavery.

Second, is an interview I did for Freedom about An Anarchist FAQ. As I've mentioned before, it should be out this year. The interview covers its history, why we started it and so on.

Third, is my review of Colin Ward's Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction. Covers the ground well, for those interested a modern take on the subject.

Fourth, there are two articles on Sarkozy's France, one on his election victory. Given that the Republicans in America are, unbelievely, campaigning on a change platform as Sarkozy did it may be of interest now. I should note that The Daily Show is very effectively destroying that particular campaign slogan! I would recommend that programme, very funny! Then there is a few notes I made after the public sector strikes in France, the attacks on which echo the attacks on the proposed strikes here. The irony of neo-liberalism using the politics of envy to try and equalise down working class people is worth noting.

Lastly, the next issue of Black Flag is at the printers so it should be ready for this year's London anarchist bookfair and at which there will be a Black Flag stall.

  


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