Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sometimes, it's what the government doesn't do which constitute its evil.

A lot of time, anti-statism is focused merely on its interference with the freedoms and direct violations with human rights. This is of course nothing illogical, there's no doubt a huge chunk of the evils of the state - its police force, it's military, it's prisons, its unjust legal system, it's land-grabbing, it's constant transformation of complex, voluntary human interaction into arbitrary  simplified, taxable and/or profitable units - are mostly in its actions, i.e the evil in the state is in what it DOES. However, a lot of the time, it is what it DOESN'T do, it's in-actions, which constitutes it's evil. Though a lot of the present day evils of the bourgeois states inaction can more often than not be traced back to a past, historical action, one can't always change the historical injustices done through a state without the state itself playing a role, as it sometimes is too heavily involved in a certain injustice to completely bypass it.

Take the tax system: while ultimately, every anarchist (and even some Marxists, in the long run) is opposed to taxes, at least in their present form, but in the context of a nation state, who and who is not taxed plays an enormous amount of difference, and currently, the rich ARE paying way to little in taxes. The wealth that the rich holds is largely due to structural monopoly and subsidies designed and enforced by the state, and as long as they exist, it is only fair that they, the only people who benefit from government in a REAL sense, they should be paying a LOT in taxes, compared to the worker and unemployed, who only benefit from the government in the sense that it is more profitable to have people not starve to death, because it is well known that living people have stronger consuming power. In the end of the day, an anarchist wouldn't want to tax the rich, because radical leftists in general don't want to have many rich people, but contextually, it is a given that the state being inactive in collecting taxes from the people who owe the most to the taxpaying population  is an evil.

Another way the state hurts people through inaction is by not protecting their rights and persons. It is curious how the U.S protects a hateful organization which continually promote ideas that reinforce abuse of minorities, but didn't do the same for Occupy? How about the police in India, who refused to protect striking Suzuki workers from the hired bouncers of the company? The police in Greece, who turns a blind eye to the abuses carried out by Golden Dawn?

The states inaction in these regards is proof of its complete lack of democratic control. The modern nation state, and the global and transnational institutions, refuse to act when the people they should be answering to command them to. The denial of popular control over the means of communication and decision-making is one of the core evils of the state.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October Funding Goal!


As most of you should be aware right now, me and my girlfriend are trying to fund a trip, to get her over from Australia to me here in Europe! I wrote a blog-post detailing the whole thing. The way we are going about this is selling our art, which thus far is Kahtia's book. We've also been taking donations, which you can message either me or Kahtia about through your preferred social medium, if you want to. We reached our funding goal for September, and we're grateful to all the people that helped out!

We're still far from were we need to be to completely cover the trip and related expenses, so we will still have to keep linking the book on twitter and other places. We've set up some goals for the coming months (depending on how much we sell in a month, of course), so we'll be able to stay on track.

The funding goal for this month is 20 copies of Kahtia's book, which is about $130 AUD, $132 USD, 102€ £82 GBP and 880SEK.


Here are some reasons, besides the gripping and tear-inducing story of transcontinental lovers, of course, to buy the book:

  1. The author is hella cool. I know I'm biased, but she really is. Nevermind the fact that she wrote a book, she is also a feminist, student of formal logic, ukulele player and film-maker. Wouldn't you buy a book from such a person? I bet you would.
  2. The book is very good. Written in the style of absurdism, it is a hilarious, thoughtful book written in an original style, were the dialogue and the characters are more of a driving force than the plot, setting and cheap Hollywood suspense-tricks. 
  3. You support independent art. When the revolution comes, there will be no Lady Gaga's, Stephanie Meyers and Zac Efrons. 
  4. Reading makes you smart. At least reading smart things. This is a smart thing. Read it. 
If you've already bought the book, or donated money, or you're completely broke, you can help by spreading the word, through twitter (make sure to @ us using the handles @sushi_goat and @obscurity_goat), via blog, on facebook, just whatever you feel comfortable using.

In the future there will also be more art to be sold. I'm in the process of writing an album, which I will sell at bandcamp for a very low price. Look out for that.

Until later, have a cool life

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to distance yourself from racism by making racist claims.

A leader for the notoriously anti-immigrant "politically incorrect" populist party "The Sweden Democrats", Pär Norling recently did an interview on why SD refused to participate in an anti-Nazi rally in the city of Bollnäs. According to Norling, "it would've been fine if it was against the Nazi's, but it was for multiculturalism, which we oppose". Apparently, Mr Norling believes that this is something that is seriously misguided, stating something along the lines that Nazism is basically to be blamed on immigration policy. "There has been too much immigration, so Swede's have been put aside. Young and unemployed people are usually worse of than immigrants." I did not occur to him that a lot of immigrants are young and unemployed, apparently. He then claimed that we should ban Islam from Sweden, stating that "well really they exercise freedom of religion, but this religion is so different that it need not exist in Sweden. They mistreat people, children, circumcise..."

This, of course, is pretty outrageous. SD chose to exclude him from their organization, stating that it was against the "democratic principle". But this rhetoric is something the Sweden Democrats have been using since the beginning, not only hinting at radically excluding Muslims from Swedish society, but using the idea that immigration, in a sense, is what causes bigotry between races. If only people from different cultures and different religious backgrounds are segregated into their own community without overlap can we respect them and understand them. Or?

What is really implied is that the average Swede has a set of prejudices against people from Muslim or Arabic countries, and that these prejudices have been proven correct by their integration into the Swedish society. The Arabs really ARE uncivilized desert dwellers, insane terrorists, haters of white people, who all REALLY believe in violent jihad against Christians, even though they don't state they do, who are genetically incapable of comprehending and practicing the principles of Democracy.  The Sweden Democrats have internalized these very misguided ideas about Muslim communities, and like most racists, they assume every other Swede has too. Basically, they are saying this:

We have very racist prejudices against Arab and other minority people. But we're against racism! The reason racism exist is that Arabs are here to confirm all our racist prejudices and thus creating social and economic problems. Racism won't exist if we just kept to a monoculturalist policy and let all our racial prejudices against Arabs and other minorities be left unconfirmed by unnecessary exposure to other cultures that would just prove us right in how terrible and hateful they are! Shame on the leftist ideals of open borders and plurality, see how they break down the healthy culture of hating people on a distance? Boo-hoo.
When you see statements like "racism is caused by immigration", you might want to step back to look at what is really said. In reality, they are defending the idea that prejudices against a certain ethnic groups are true, and that they themselves hold these prejudices, but it is masked poorly by a notion that after all, racism is bad.  So they're racists, claiming that their racism is negative, but not their fault.

/Jakob Pettersson

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On contextual and individual concerns and promoting libertarian socialism.

I'll admit it, I'm a "revolution fetishist". I love the idea of taking part of one. The liberal, reformist and conservative consensus is clear: there will be no more revolutions! We've had enough of those, you know. It seems like such and old fashioned thing to do, like riding on a horse-and-wagon, something that made sense back when we didn't have the unquestionable virtues of representative democracy, universial suffrage, corporate capitalism and a caring nanny state to protect us. Revolutions of past, that got us where we were, are romanticized and held by the regime that it instituted as sacred objects. But of course, revolutions are way out of style now. That was THEN. This is NOW.

The fate of the U.S.S.R, PRC and other revolutionary Marxist projects, as well as the Syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War has sadly turned many people interested in radical social change away from the idea of revolution and in to the silly quagmire of reformist progressivism, or at worst, conservatism. And the revolutionaries themselves haven't been useful, mainly because they're so disconnected from what actual people want. These days, atomism prevails in political debates. Women's rights is a different debate from gay rights which is a different debate about tax-loopholes which is a different debate from war which is a different debate from labor-unions. You can't rail against "The System" or anything like that. People usually have one pet issue, that maybe indicates preference for other issues, but you can't really tell. When people are interested in Politics they are more interested in Specifics rather than the Whole Picture. This is of course, dumb, everything has a context and that context may be as important as the thing itself. But sadly, this is how people think. We could devote our time trying to get them to see the larger picture, but a lot of times, we need to give people a starting point.

They don't wanna hear about Revolution, they have a pet issue that needs a solution. And libertarian socialists don't have any answers. When the issue of austerity comes up, people like the writers for usually get riled up against the evil capitalist state selling of public industry to profit-driven industry. But what is the libertarian socialist stance on public service? We know that state owned services isn't ideal, but what is the alternative? The LibSoc's usually answer with lines straight out of the Authoritarian Socialist textbooks, about how Free Markets are the Evilest and These Cool State Programs are going to make it all ok, just with the disclaimer that of course all of that will be gone after the revolution. This is pretty unattractive to any single issue voter looking for a different way of thinking. To be clear, you don't have propose a reform, but you could propose a form, in which these things could take.

The point I'm trying to get at is that revolutionary politics of the day have make sure they are aware of the political environment they're in, and adapt a form of propaganda which does not only dwell in systematic analysis, but also provides an attractive solution to solve the specific issues that people usually worry about. All of this should be done while avoiding reformism and top-down approaches to the issues, and hint at a revolution bringing about these things. There is no dichotomy between contextual and individual concerns, rather, a need to balance the two and integrate them more efficiently into our political analysis.

New everything!

Well. The posts are still the same. But I changed my URL, blog title and template. Hope this new style will inspire magic!


I want to change the name of this blog, and change it's looks. Anyone wanna help with a new template?

Why You Hate Yourself

This article was originally published in the American Bay Area student zine The Academic Activist

Do you hate yourself? The question might not be a comfortable one to ask, but a nontheless important one. I am asking, because I know for certain that I have hated myself, and other people also keep telling me, or showing me, that they hate themselves. It seems odd, that you should hate yourself. What reason is there, really? There never is an obvious answer, it seems. 
But not many things are allowed to be obvious when there’s vested interests, power-structures and antagonism surrounding just about every part of our life. If the answer were obvious, if you could grasp the reason for your misery, then you might be able to work out a way of loving, or at least accepting yourself. But maybe some people wouldn’t like that . Maybe, some people are shivering at the very thought of you breaking free from all the hate you subject yourself to. Society, in with it’s bureaucracies, hierarchies and inequalities, has built-in mechanisms to make everyone not in a position of power and privilege, hate themselves. The main form that hierarchy makes you hate yourself is by making itself invisible; by becoming shadow ghosts, hiding in your peripheral vision. It does this, because if it were to be seen, you would surly revolt against it. You, and all the other people who’ve been taught to hate themselves, could easily tear down the systems if you were only able to see them. It makes you hate yourself by making you BLAME yourself. The oppressed are being told that they must take personal responsibility for being oppressed, that at the end of the day, the blame lies on the POOR for not making it in the market-place, on the WOMAN for not performing as well as men, on the STUDENT for not being able to pay back their student-loan, you could go on and on with every marginalized group there is out there. The blame is on YOU, because YOU are in control of your actions. ”Nevermind us, the people who control the institutions, the persons responsible for the context of your actions.” 

Take the modern workplace. The workplace is not what it used to be. But the exploitation is still the same. You are still forced to sell your labor to a capitalist to satisfy your most basic needs, but the administration is different. The stereotype used to be of the heartless boss, firing anyone at will, treating their workers like dirt. Now, the bosses are smiling, encouraging, and ”your friend”. Sentences like ”how can you and me CO-OPERATE to better use your skills and abilities in the company”, ”the management is INTERESTED IN YOUR OPINION” and ”at this workplace, we are a TEAM” give us the illusion that what the worker-boss relationship REALLY is, is just a form of cooperation. In reality, the workplace is still a hierarchical, competitive environment. The boss, most likely, is not your ”friend”. More likely, the boss is trying to create a friendly environment in which their exploitation can go unnoticed. Because there’s the illusion of equality and cooperation in the modern workplace, the workers feels as if they really can’t blame his exploiters, regardless if they bear the full responsibility for the things they put the workers through. Power is being delegated in the workplace in a way which makes holding anyone accountable for the abuses that occur in a workplace a headache, something you won’t even bother with. The worker does not know who to blame for the loss of 6-8 hours a day in a place were they are forced to produce goods that aren’t theirs for people they’ll never meet. It must be their own fault. How can it be someone elses? The hierarchy they spend all their days in has made itself invisible to them, leaving the only thing left to hold accountable the workers themselves, and their failure to get a better job, or to communicate with the bosses better. To borrow a line from a friend on twitter (@ReThePeople): ”The chattel slave never deluded herself that she was free, unlike her wage-slave counterpart.”

This pattern, making hierarchy and exploitation harder to notice, is pivotal in most social relationships. It’s much harder to fight something that you might not even know exists, or that you are taught not to bother with. We live in a society in which every basic institution, from the family, to school, to production of goods, to politics, to media, hell, even our language is centered around an inequality of power, on hierarchy, and those at the top would do anything to convince you that they are working for you, that they aren’t using you for their own ends. Listen to the politicians discussing the present economic nightmare. Listen to the talk about Greece. Surely, the Greek are to blame for being lazy and not working enough! The talk about the lazy Greek is just the most obvious example of this twisted classism: it has infected the entire debate. It is the fault of the poor for using too much precious public money, it is their fault for not working hard enough, for not consuming enough, for being more human than they are worker.

We must reject this logic. We must stop blaming ourselves. We are not at fault for being excluded, by violence, from satisfying our own needs. We are not at fault for being restricted, by violence, from becoming self-reliant. We are not at fault for being manipulated, through media, to accept our situation. We are not at fault. If we realized this, we might not hate ourselves so much. We do not wash ourselves clean from the actual responsibilities of being a human, we simply wash ourselves of clean from that which is not in our control. Keep this in mind as bourgeois politicians discuss ”class warfare” and ”envy of those that have succeeded”. ”Envy” is a weird word to describe our feelings. We aren’t saying no because we feel like that should be us, with private jets, mansions and fancy food. We are saying no because we feel the CAUSE of those things are in violation of our basic dignity as human beings. And it is our dignity that we fight for. It is a fight against the self-hatred that is perpetuated in society. If we reject the logic of capital, reject the logic of the state, and reject the logic of all the other hierarchies that attempt to poison our experience as humans with hatred for ourselves, we have created a platform on which social change can happen

Thursday, August 23, 2012

An open letter to Humanoids with Hearts made of Gold

I haven't been active on here, at all, and for that I apologize. There has been a lot happening. I'm going to study Social-Anthropology at uni, I've been doing Swedish translations for left-libertarian website , I have read a lot of theory, especially Autonomist Marxism. And, as it so happened, I found the love of my life.

There is a problem with this all though. We didn't meet like regular people meet. We didn't run in to each-other at a party, we didn't meet in school, we certainly did not meet at a club, and not just randomly in the street either. We met on twitter. Twitter was basically the only way she and me could ever know about each other. Mainly because she is Australia, and I'm in Sweden. It's funny, me and my childhood mates used to joke about digging a hole through the earth to get to Australia and steal a kangaroo that we would then bring back home to Sweden and keep as a pet (I'm not sure how it would've handled the Swedish weather). It was so exotic to us, so far away... And know I've met the most important person in my life, there, far away, half-way across Mother Earth. It's not a situation we chose. It's, of course, exciting, comparing our cultures, being curious about how life is over there compared to over here, laughing about our differences. But cultural studies is a poor substitute for being able to talk to someone face-face, to be able to touch, to kiss the person you're in love with. This is why we've been planning on spending a couple of months together next year.

We're really in love. I mean, really, in love. Every minute of the day I think about kissing her. She's funny, smart, and beautiful, and she makes me want to write music to sing for the world. All I do is pine. I've never really done that since I was around 17 or something. And it's frustrating. I can't even call her whenever I want, because the cost of calling to Australia is not something I can't afford.

We're both poor. I'm starting uni in a couple of weeks, she's already studying, and plane-tickets are expensive. Without help from other people, we won't ever get to meet. That is sort of depressing. Luckily, we've gotten quite a few people to help us out! We are very grateful for this, but we still have quite a bit of funds to raise before we can afford the plane tickets and the costs of traveling in Europe. The main way people have done this is by buying her book, but people have also donated via PayPal, you can contact us to get. I am also planning on recording an EP of around 4-5 songs, available on Bandcamp with the lowest price of 3$ but with the option of donating as much as you want, but that's for the future. For now, the main way is the book. It's a great book, in the style of absurdism, funny and witty, and clever. It's only 6.54, which isn't very much. We're sort of desperate here, and while it may be a beautiful and romantic thing to look back at, it's not very fun now, not knowing whether or not we'll be able to afford to meet next year. So I'm calling to you, Humanoids with Hearts made of Gold, to please help us out. We will be eternally grateful. And if you have no money, tell a friend!

This isn't the first blog post that has been made about this subject. My girlfriend wrote A Tale Of Two Goats, and fellow Swedish twitter abuser @sargoth wrote The love, the situation and the solution. You should read those, if I haven't been able to convince you well enough.

Follow us on twitter: @sushi_goat and @obscurity_goat

The link to the book is:


Thank you

// Jakob Pettersson

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Social property and Political property

Another essay reposted from

Mutualists are at an awkward place: they’ve labelled themselves as anti-propertarians  and pro-propertarians at the same time. Proudhon’s “Property is Theft” is certainly quoted way more than “What is Property?” is read, let alone Proudhon’s later work. It becomes especially confusing if you read Tucker and Clarence Lee Swarts defense of individual property, which brings to mind a gun-pointing neck-beard waving the Gadsden flag (jokes, jokes…).

Mutualist property is usually summed up as “occupancy and use”. It is true that it is this PRINCIPLE on which we base legitimate ownership, but that principle is generally only applied when there’s a conflict in who has the right of ownership. That is the way mutualist have always framed it, as a response to the feudalism of capitalist “private property”. It generally never discussed in traditional mutualism whether person A could legitimately go to your house and steal person B’s food while B is away. I find this concern rather silly. Local agreements would be made by all involved to ensure that people don’t step on each-others toes. It’s the only way, since property in dead material is a social construct, not an objective law.

In a broader analysis, mutualist promote not just some vague occupancy and use basis of property, they promote what I’d like to call Social property against Political property. Political property is the property that can only be realized and enforced through a state mechanism. Political property can exist and be maintained only through state force. Kevin Carson does a brilliant job at showing us how instrumental the State has been in creating, enforcing and maintaining what is now known has “capitalist” private property in his illusion-shattering essay The Iron Fist Behind The Invisible Hand. It is clear to mutualists that capitalist property as a product of a free economy is a destructive myth, an insulting fable. The dominance of private ownership over capital, and territorial property (effectively feudalism), can only be viewed as one class using the state to expropriate labor-time and rent from the other. State socialist property is also included under this, even though it’s instituted for different reasons: to attack capitalist property. But as we have seen, it is a ridiculous attempt, since capitalist property is a product of the state itself.

Social property in contrast to Political property can best be described as Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea put it in The Illuminatus Trilogy:

The test is to ask, of any title of ownership you are asked to accept or which you ask others to accept, “Would this be honored in a free society of rationalists, or does it require the armed might of a State to force people to honor it?” If it be the former,… [it] represents liberty; if it be the latter… [it] represents theft.
Social property is precisely what would be honored by all in a free society, and it is what we want society to center around. A way to interact with each-other without stepping on each-others toes. Without state enforced privilege distorting principles of ownership, we would expect this form of property to become the norm of society: it may be individual, collective or common, but never feudal, territorial and usurping. 
The differences are clear: social property is evolves from the continued interaction of free individuals in a community through realizing how we can best structure society in a mutual way. Political property is the opposite: it cares not for people, it only cares for the will of the person holding the gun. It doesn’t evolve; it hinders evolution, and keeps people down. Social property, then, is our goal. Political property remains our enemy. 

Social safety-nets vs anti-social safety-nets

Reposted from the new communal blog for mutualists,

Belief in a “social safety-net” is usually connected to progressivism or Scandinavian-style social democracy, so it’s understandable that the concept is usually linked to a state function, and the concept of “Big Government”(even though it’s not necessarily so). The concept has been tried and has under periods of time worked (see my home-country Sweden for example). Whenever, though, the inevitable dip in the corporate economy occurs the social safety-net (see: the poor), is falsely blamed, even though the culprits usually are the capitalists and the monopoly privilege they get from the state.

Mutualists, while anarchists, also believe in a social safety net. We believe that for reasons of reciprocity and progress, it is good that we take care about those worse off in society. Our social safety net is different, though. I’ll attempt to explain the social safety-net mutualists prefer and how it is different(and preferable) over the welfare state.

The mutualist social safety-net: Mutual Aid

Mutual Aid is an organization or network in which goods and services are voluntarily and reciprocally exchanged between the members for mutual benefit. It is a system of cooperation to meet needs and take care of people. This form of organization has existed for as long as we know, and it definitely exists today. But mutualists don’t just want a few of these organizations. Mutualists seek to build this form of organization, network and associate it over larger geographical areas through federation, gradually replacing the existing state functions. After the fall of present day voucher-feudalism, they will be the fundamental cornerstone of the mutual society.

Privileged charitably vs reciprocal solidarity

Oscar Wilde, in “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”, pointed out the following about welfare and charity:

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible.

(….) It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property.

While he wasn’t a mutualist, we agree with him that charity isn’t the goal of society, but solidarity. Welfare is privilege trying to justify itself by spending parts of what it looted from the poor on keeping those poor people from dying. Solidarity, in form of mutual aid organizations, is a system of equal agents acting together to promote reciprocity and mutuality.

Furthermore, the state is an inherently anti-social organization. As Mao put it, it’s political authority comes from the barrel of a gun. It’s job is to mandate or prohibit. How absurd is it to assume such an institution would solve the problems of inequality? Social equality cannot be mandated from above by a state, because the state is an inherent inequality, just like anti-racism cannot be mandated by a “master race”. If we want equality, we must create institutions that are equal. A core part of mutualist political strategy is doing so: creating networks of free mutual aid structures to gradually replace the old, failing, attempts by the status quo to clean up it’s own mess.

Free association vs forced dependence
The social safety-net, in order to stay true to it’s name, must give people the right to freely associate and disassociate with it. How “social” is it to force people to partake in your organization? In order for the structure to remain social, it must also be voluntary. The welfare-state is not, but mutual aid is. There may be many different mutual aid-networks overlapping, and people who feel dissatisfied with a particular mutual aid network can switch to one that satisfies their needs. Another benefit of free association is that if the structure is failing, everybody can quickly disassociate and re-associate without the tedious processes that the bureaucratic welfare-state brings with it.

Accountability vs Bureaucracy

Hierarchy entails bureaucracy, and this is true for the hierarchical welfare state too. When people in need turn to the state for care, they are usually met with a cold, faceless bureaucracy, difficult to understand paper-work, questions about your personal habits and character you’d rather keep to yourself etc… It is hard to imagine the centralized, top-down structure could ever possess the magical altruism the social progressives attribute to it, and it doesn’t. Hierarchy, bureaucracy and centralism makes the supposed egalitarianism of welfare-states a perverse joke. Hierarchy, as Kevin Carson points out, is incapable of properly processing the information necessary to serve it’s function:

No matter how insightful and resourceful they are, no matter how prudent, as human beings in dealing with actual reality, nevertheless by their very nature hierarchies insulate those at the top from the reality of what’s going on below, and force them to operate in imaginary worlds where all their intelligence becomes useless. No matter how intelligent managers are as individuals, a bureaucratic hierarchy makes their intelligence less usable.

In a mutual aid-society, concerns are handled in a localized face-to-face democratic structure. Information about the available resources and the needs of every member is open to all. Individuals are more respectful toward each-other, since all of them are mutually indebted to one another, as opposed to the debt a welfare recipient has to the welfare worker. Concerns that demand communication and decision-making over a larger geographical area would be handled through a loose, free federation between the local organizations, meaning that power comes from bottom-up as opposed to top-down. Bottom-up organization starts with the individual, and interlocks into a more complex federation of individuals and groups based on the choices of these individuals. This means a degree of accountability unprecedented in the cold bureaucracy of the welfare state.

In short:

Welfare is privilege softening the edges of it’s tyranny through charity, mutual aid dismantles privilege and replaces it with reciprocal solidarity.

Welfare destroys the social aspect of the safety-net by pointing a gun at the neck of everyone, mutual aid becomes the full realization of the social aspect by making it voluntary and humane.

Welfare uses the means of less freedom, mutual aid uses the means of more freedom.

Welfare creates dependence of most to a few, mutual aid creates mutual interdependence of all involved.

Welfare attempts to reach the end of a social safety-net by the means of a cold, hierarchical bureaucracy, mutual aid attempts to reach the same end through a horizontal, humane, and accountable democracy.

Welfare is the adolescence of socioeconomic justice, and mutual aid is it’s manhood.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welp (Tumblr)

I've forgot to tell Blog Followers that a majority of my activity in debating the issues surrounding mutualism and philosophy has been moved to my tumblr:

I guess it's easier for me because I get to respond directly to what I have a problem or thought about.

Plus, responding to anarcho-capitalists who've just had a cry-wank over the mutualist wikipedia page directly is just too much fun! Follow along, I haven't abandoned this blog though, I'm definitely going to make use of it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Involuntarism of Existence.

No matter where I go in terms of trying to understand the universe, I always fall back on this: That life, (or the chemical process of our brain helping our material body interact with other material bodies) is a form of slavery.

My reasoning for this is based on 2 facts that I feel are apparent about our human consciousness.

  1. I did not ask to be Born.
  2. I cannot escape Death.
To elaborate: First point: One cannot consciously choose to be conscious, that would be impossible. Other conscious beings have made that choice for you, and even if you only experience it briefly, you did not ask for it.  There was no "Terms and Conditions" for you to accept, when you first encountered consciousness. We are Born, necessarily against our will.

Second point: Being Born means that you will Die. Death of human sense experience is a fact. The human brain, the thing which makes us experience what is called "consciousness", will end it's activity, as a fact of nature. You could make the claim that there is an "essence of life" that exists outside of the brain that lives on, but, as always when dealing with claims that are un-falsifiable, the burden of proof is on them.

The involuntary nature of Consciousness doesn't have to be a problem. It is a logical must that my consciousness is against the will of my consciousness. Human consciousness only becomes vulgar when you take point 2 into account, that I cannot escape the end of my consciousness. If I were able to choose existing consciously forever, or die when I see fit, then the involuntary nature of conscious existence wouldn't be a problem. However, I don't have that, and it turns existence into a state of in-voluntarism.

I can choose to live another day. I can abandon my life in the blink of an eye. If I choose to live, I have chosen to die in the future. If I choose to end my consciousness, then I have chosen to cut life short. Neither of these actions change the absurdity of a consciousness programmed to die. Whatever you choose, you choose death. I think it is a situation best comparable to Slavery.

Now, return to your regularly scheduled "existence" (whatever you think that means).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Progress - Yes, but for whom? Toward what?

Excuse the Leninist word-games, but I felt I had to.

Progressives! Ah! The intellectuals! With high morals and a love for progressive "democracy", believers in "compassionate capitalism", the politically correct thought police, the "rational middle ground" between Soviet Gulags and Reaganomics, the upper middle class people who'd rather tell a welfare mother they voted Democrat (but the social program got voted down) than buy groceries for her or help her with the kids. 

It's not with complete disgust I approach American Progressives. I mean, at least they have the decency to lie about not being corporate hacks. It's just that while they at times sound egalitarian, righteously standing up against oppression, corporate bailouts and environmental disaster, their solutions seem to imply they don't mind it's cause.

Take Elisabeth Warren for example. I know, I know, her rant on taxing the rich is old news by now. But it's pretty interesting to look at how she touches upon some important truths about the state of state capitalism. We all remember this rant:

You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.

Correct, infrastructure spending is a huge subsidy for corporations.

You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. 

This is correct, and absolutely frightening. State education came about as a form in which to create wage slaves. 

You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that maurauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.

Also right, the poor pay for all the protection of the giant corporate monsters we see today, pretty sure anyone can see the problem with that. 

So far, so good. 

But wait. Just wait for it. 

"Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."

Ok. So much bullshit here. The social contract bullshit, the myth of corporations "paying forward to our kids" bullshit, but that's not the worst part. I believe this is the problem of progressive "egalitarianism". 

The first part of her analysis talks about how the system Americans live under is a system designed directly for the rich. We build roads for, educate our children for, pay for the protection of Corporate power, and Corporate elites. Ah! What an open and honest statement in our deluded status quo! What do we do? Do we build a new system? Do we revolt? Do we start building a society for OURSELVES?

Nope. No. You're forgetting, this is a progressive speaking. The best she can come up with is "i dunno, tax the rich, social contract, whatever". The "social contract" thinking works both ways: we enslave ourselves for the rich, create their wealth, as it is is said in the "underlying social contract" (somewhere, I can't find a copy of said contract online, or anywhere else), and they, by the same contract, might share a portion of their wealth to society so maybe they generate revenue for some food stamps for the unemployed debt slaves of tomorrow. 

Truly radical people don't want a milder version of invisible despotism, we want it's complete abolition. Don't tax the rich, stop paying for their privilege.   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Ok, nobody is claiming a monopoly on "Property is Theft!", but for Christ sakes, if you're going to quote Proudhon, it's good if you've at least READ "What is Property?" before you want to discuss how true/false it is. He said three things, all equally true and consistent, if you actually UNDERSTAND his arguments: 

Property is Robbery!
Property is Liberty!
Property is Impossible!
If you can't grasp what he meant by these 3 apparent contradictions, please refrain from using "Proudhon said Property is Theft!" as the rallying cry for your own personal ideology. The term "Property is Theft" has been misused and misquoted by both the pro-capitalist right and the pro-collectivist left for SO LONG. If you're going to say "Property is Theft!"in reference to Proudhon, please also mention that Property is Liberty and that Property is Impossible. If you want to find your own, black and white definition of property, fine. But stop misconstruing Proudhon's message. I'm especially looking at you, authoritarian socialists. NEVER, EVER use "Property is Theft!", because you're the last ones to understand that.

Proudhon's view was that property was complex, and he rejected both the classical liberal idea of private property and the communist idea of a gift economy. He recognized what property was, and saw it's contradictions, evils, and a swell as it's liberating qualities. He was neither an "anarcho-collectivist", neither could he be seen as an "individualist" in the same way that Warren, Tucker, and Stirner was.

What I'm saying is: Communist and Market anarchists can't claim Proudhon, neither can you, neither should I. Let Proudhon be Proudhon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

"But it's VOLUNTARY" - And so?

-"Working for wages is dehumanizing!" 

-"But it's VOLUNTARY!"

-"I think there should be a social safety net!"

-"Why do you want to COERCE me into paying for it?"

-"Women should be paid equally!"

-"But the woman agreed upon entering that contract VOLUNTARILY!" 

Notice the pattern? Notice how these knee-jerk reactions to the concerns of mainstream statists really doesn't answer much at all?

It seems to me that if the voluntaryism-movement wants to be taken seriously, maybe it should start taking actually ADDRESSING some of the issues discussed. Maybe then it can evolve into, you know, something more than just currently existing capitalism minus the state. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Property is Theft" is a contradiction - and it must be.

Proudhon, from The System of Economic Contradictions, responding to the critics who said "Property is Theft is a contradiction:

Property is, in fact and in right, essentially contradictory and it is for this very
reason that it is anything at all. In fact,
  • Property is the right of occupancy; and at the same time the right of exclusion.
  • Property is labor’s reward; and the denial of labor.
  • Property is society’s spontaneous work; and society’s dissolution.
  • Property is an institution of justice; and property is theft.

From all this it results that one day property transformed will be a positive idea,
complete, social and true; a property that will abolish the older one and will become for
all equally effective and beneficent. And what proves this is once again the fact that
property is a contradiction.
From this moment property started being recognized, its intimate nature was
unveiled, its future predicted. And yet, it could be said that the critic had not realized
even half of its task, because, to definitely constitute property, to take away its exclusion
characteristics and grant its synthetic form, it was not sufficient to have analyzed it in
itself, it was also necessary to find the order of the things, of which property was not
more than a particular moment, the series that ended it, outside of which it would be impossible either to comprehend or to initiate property.
 Proudhon actually never finished his analysis of property, because he couldn't solve these problems. But it's a fascinating look at the problems of property.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thomas Hodgskin on Government and Property.

Interesting quote I found while binge-reading mutualist critique of property, by one of the Ricardian socialist and minarchist mutualist Thomas Hodgskin:

"Among the legislative classes embodied into, and constituting the government, we must place the landed aristocracy. In fact, the landed aristocracy and the government are one--the latter being nothing more than the organized means of preserving the power and privileges of the former.... His [the landowner's]right to possess the land, not to possess the produce of his own labour, is as admirably protected as can be effected by the law. Another must not even walk on it, and all the wild animals and fruit it bears are said by the law to be his. Nature makes it a condition of man having land, that he must occupy and cultivate it, or it will yield nothing.... The mere landowner is not a labourer, and he never has been even fed but by violating the natural right of property. Patiently and perseveringly, however, has the law endeavoured to maintain his privileges, power, and wealth." - The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted, 1832

 I found it pretty powerful and on point.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A word on contract law and property.

"The institution of private property, in the full, legal meaning of the term, was brought into existence only by capitalism" - Ayn Rand
Objectivist "Anarcho-Capitalists" who think of themselves as "more Rand than Rand", usually see Ayn Rand's flawed critique of anarchy and support of minarchy as inconsistent and probably think of her rejection of polycentric law as just her having a "mental barrier to entry" so to speak. This quote suggests otherwise. I think it suggests (correctly) that private property is an institution, a legal right that society needs to respect, and that there must be a legal monopoly enforcing it, so that all recognize it.

Because, in a minarchy, people are forced to recognize the legal privilege of private property. That is, if a corporation builds a factory near your community and is given the legal right to dump toxic waste in the lake nearby, you can protest all you like, but you are still forced to recognize the corporations right to own and use that factory, and your tax money is used to protect that legal institution.

But it's different in a stateless society, or, in a contract law society. A contract law society is a society in which law isn't created by state coercion, but by voluntary agreement. Contracts would be made between actors, and enforced by Dispute Resolution Organizations.* Much has already been said about how absentee ownership and private control of means of production might decrease because of increased cost of insurance and protection and other things under such a society, and that mutualist practices and rights would be more practical and desirable in such a situation. But another thing that we should keep in mind is, that nobody is forced to recognize private property.

Let's say Klaus wants to build a factory and claim private control over it. He lives in a contract law society. Klaus needs a few legal privileges in order for him to have an incentive to build it in the first place. First of all, Klaus needs protection while he's homesteading the land and building the factory, so that nobody steals or destroys the things he is building with. He will also need insurance, so that he can be compensated if that happens. When the factory is built, he'll need a contract with an arbitration agency fully protecting his new factory, as well as insurance for the now built property.

Now lets say that the communities that are close to were Klaus wants to build his factory are aren't very happy about what Klaus is doing. They are worried that Klaus's factory is going to use up too much land and natural resources, and thus create more scarcity, and weaken the economic position of all other buyers and sellers of goods, or communes and self-reliant communities for that matter. They are worried he'll pollute the environment and/or dump toxic waste the lake. They are worried that the workers he seeks to employ will be treated poorly. What can they do?

It's fairly simple. They can firstly, create a voluntary organization and network of people who are opposed to such contracts, and discuss ways of undermining them together, by boycott and other things. They can demand secondly, the right of knowing what contracts their Dispute Resolution Organization (DRO) sign. They could demand that the legal contracts and insurances related to property titles are official to all of the customers of the DRO. If these contracts are not made official, they will simply stop associating with the DRO and find another one that does. The demand will most likely be met, since losing that many customers would be harmful. 3rd, in a contract law society, people will not interact with someone who does not have a legal contract with a DRO, or legal protection of his property. If Klaus did not provide legal documentation to workers for the factory they work in, they would not associate with him, mainly because they wouldn't have any legal protection if something happens to them. Also, if Klaus cannot provide legal documentation to the people he is trying to sell his goods too, it is not likely that they will buy his products.

4th, Even if a contract is made with a DRO, even that still does not mean that the contract will be respected. If a DRO does recognize Klaus's right to his factory, the people opposed to it will join other DRO's and demand that they do not interact with the DRO that created Klaus's contracts. The DRO's protection of Klaus' rights to his factory thus become meaningless, since the DRO now can't interact with other DRO's and create contracts with them, which is one of the main functions of a DRO. Contract Law is a system of collaboration rather than a system of coercion. It is truly democratic in the sense that the people create the legal rights, non-violently and horizontally. Your right to make a contract with one man is your right to make a contract with everyone else, and your right to not make a contract with one man is your right to not make a contract with everyone and else. And so, if Klaus will is to create a factory, and no-one in the society he lives in is willing to create contracts for him to protect his factory, he will not, unless he is insane, invest in building a factory.

In a libertarian minarchy, protection of all property, regardless of what it will do to the rest of society, is guaranteed by the monopolistic state. If you homesteaded it, all in society are forced to recognize it. You have no choice but to acknowledge it, pay for it's protection, interact with it and be exposed to violence if you don't. All of this while it's doing things that may be directly weakening your economic situation, polluting your environment, mistreating workers, and it's all funded by your tax money.  This is what I oppose when I say I oppose private property. I don't mean to limit anyone's freedom to act or create by using violence, but I don't want to have a system where a society is disempowered by a legal institution they are forced to fund and don't have any legal way of counteracting.

In a situation where law is democratized, where your consent to a legal act that affects you is the only thing that makes the legal act valid, this doesn't have to happen. You and your society is in complete control of what legal rights shall be provided, all without using violence and aggression to limit a persons own freedom to act. The society together, voluntarily, without force, sets up a set of principles they all agree on, and decides who gets power through who they give it too, by contract. It's democracy, in it's purest form.

* Please note that I don't hold "a contract society" to be necessarily the desired state. We can build upon the concept of free contract and association beyond just DRO's and legal privileges, I will talk about this in a future blogpost..

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reading Bookchin.

Murray Bookchin is slowly becoming one of my favorite libertarian thinkers. He was the founder of many movements, the Social Ecology movement, the Communalist movement, the idea of Dialectical Naturalism. He was fascinating, brave, imaginative, passionate, eccentric, and highly personal.

He was a great lecturer and writer, always interesting. I've gravitated more towards his views, particularly on Social Ecology, and the radical possibility for social change through technology, post-scarcity thinking and other things. I'm currently reading his essays on Libertarian Municipalism, and I admire the idea. Bookchin's theory of town halls and interconnecting systems of federations give an appealing alternative to modern life. He was a libertarian socialist, but not an anarchist for the latter part of his life. It reminds me of how Proudhon later on in his life moved to a system similar to a minimal state. This quote by Proudhon, addressing his critics explains it well:

“Since the expression ‘anarchical government’ is a contradiction in terms, the system itself seems to be impossible and the idea absurd. However, it is only language that needs to be criticized. … It means that once industrial functions have taken over from political functions, then business transactions and exchange alone produce the social order.” 

While I'm not sure I can accept, or even defend all his ideas, I am certainly in awe of his legacy. If you haven't read him or seen any of his lectures, I suggest you start with Post-Scarcity Anarchism , a collection of essays, and see his lecture "Forms Of Freedom". Watch the first part here:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some empirical research on the Labor Theory of Value.

Here are some interesting pdfs on the empirical strength of the LTV.  People who believe that Austrian, marginalist economics can be absolutely proven a priori need to ask themselves: If price tends to gravitate toward the cost of labor in actual markets in a way that is empirically provable, is there something wrong in your a priori analysis?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Different Kinds Of Democracy.

Democracy: Just two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner? Or an empowerment to the individual? This is an issue that I think is very confused. Noam Chomsky sees democracy as the main goal of society, while H L Mencken said this in Prejudices, Fourth Series (1924):

For if experience teaches us anything at all it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
Is democracy good? Does it promote freedom? Or is it mob rule? Does it infringe on the individual rights of the minority?

It is important to note that all democracies aren't equal. They all talk about majority rule in some way, but not majority rule in the same way. Majority rule, or rather majority decision making isn't inherently good or evil. In my mind, some democratic systems are barbaric, oppressive, negative and corrupting. However, some democratic principles are useful, liberating, and beautiful.

Now, there are a lot of different democratic systems, but I'm only going to analyse these three:
  1. Representative Democracy, as in the system of democratically elected political leaders that is the most common in the western world
  2. Statist Direct Democracy: As in a system of government where the people directly control the laws through democracy rule.
  3. Free Association Democracy: As in democracy that is voluntary and based on the principle of free association. 
Let's start with Representative Democracy. I think, with the last 100 years of western civilizations attempts at making the world a better place through electing new representatives every 4 or five years has proven it is not an effective, fair, or moral system. I don't think it requires a great deal of intellect to dismantle this sort of system, but somehow people are still repeating it's empty and often false rhetoric like drones, but that's probably because they've been fed this sort of thinking from a very young age. Very often you'll hear these people say things like "a real democracy would not treat minorities this way" like majority rule is not inherently oppressive towards minorities.

However, the main flaw of this, from a democratic standpoint, is that the power is not directly in the hands of the people. The power is in the hands of those who decide what questions to ask, that is, the congress, the parliament, the elected representatives. 

The elected representatives do not represent you, at. Governments and the people who represent them have a self-interest, contrary to what many moderates and liberals seem to assume. Government in a Representative Democracy does not work for you, it works for it. 

The problems with a Representative Democracy are almost too many to count, but I'll mention two. First of all, it divides people against each other by providing people with package deals. For our purposes, you get the Democratic and the Republican. Instead of reflecting independently on each issue, you most likely have to compromise on issues to get one issue across. Let's, for example say you believe that grown adults should be able to carry guns or firearms freely, a traditionally Republican or Conservative issue, but your other opinions lean more left, say, you believe in universal health care and ending the drug war. What candidate is going to meet those preferences? If you vote Republican, you most likely won't get free health care, and if you vote Democrat, you might get some health care reform, but guns will probably be more heavily regulated. 

And secondly, the promises of power that is inherent in representative democracy are corrupting, as we know by both looking at the present systems and the past. People will do many things for this kind of power, like providing people with empty promises (see: Obamacare), favoring the rich and powerful, giving privileges to some and oppressing others, all depending on who's in the majority. As Butler Shaffer put it:

"Democracy is the illusion that my wife and I, combined, have twice the political influence of David Rockefeller."
What about statist, or governmental Direct Democracy? Direct Democracy is, in comparison with most other governmental system, on of the most empowering to individuals, collectives and communities. It means that people vote directly on issues without electing a representative. It is often called pure democracy. It's best features are the absence of a power political elite, an equal saying in issues, a better representation of the will of the people than the often corrupt representatives of the above mentioned system. This sort of system radically decentralizes power to individuals and communities.

But there are clear problems with the system. In Switzerland, a land that practices direct democracy more than any other country, and has through it's system given the people more power and liberty than most other places, the tyranny of the majority-problem is still very prevalent. They've banned Minarets and deport foreigners if they are convicted for a felony. Religious rights are not respected, people are seen as either countrymen or foreigners, and the majority becomes the oppressor of the few. That is precisely the problems that lead the Founding Fathers of America to write down the constitution, and why most countries have some sort of limit to the power of democracy.

Statist direct democracy implies some very authoritarian things. All statism incorporates violence. Countries are artificial groups. Nature isn't naturally divided in to plots of land, we as humans did that, and the idea that the majority of the population in any given plot of land on earth has the right to decide for and aggress against the people in the minority is absurd. A nationality is an involuntary identity, forced down your throat. You did not agree to become a country-man, you did not agree to the principle of direct democracy, not by invisible social contract, not by merely existing. If you happen to disagree with the majority, and they impose your will upon you, they have no moral right to do so.

But, what about the last democracy I mentioned? It is the sort of democracy I personally advocate. I call it Free Association Democracy (FAD), some might call it participatory democracy or they call it voluntary direct democracy. It says the issues that effect a lot of people, should be decided voluntarily by the people who are affected by it. It does not require a state, nor does it imply an infringement on personal freedom.

Individual rights are important, and without them, a free and harmonious society could not happen. But individuals are social animals, they seek groups and collectives, based on preferences, goals and ideas. These groups are voluntary, unlike the groups of Representative or State Direct Democracy. Under FAD these associations, like your local community, your church, your workplace, your children's school, your charity organization, whatever group you may associate yourself with, works in a way that improves your individual say in the issues that are relevant to you.

In all of society, it is demanded that your give up your labor, time, freedom, pleasure and profit to bosses, companies, majors, senators and presidents. Why should it be this way? These hierarchical systems could, and should, be replaced with a system of voluntary direct democracy. The group treats each other as equals as opposed to a system of masters and slaves. A democratic system based on free association, individual freedom as well as collective freedom, a system of equality, of liberty. A system which does not claim itself to be the rightful moral owner to you and freedom, based on aggressive force or bribes.

While this sort of free association participatory democracy might not work for all economic or social relationships, it sure as hell beats most of them. This is the idea of anarchism, of libertarian socialism, of handling things locally, collectively, without the use of force. It is not a violent system of majority oppression, it's a system of groups voluntary using bottom-up methods of enforcing individual and collective freedom.