Forget Global Warming, It's the Economy, Stupid! 1

So Says the Pew Research Center. So how can Alternative Anarchists and Pan-Secessionists use this to our advantage? Is Carson’s “Political Program for Anarchists” the way to go? If so, how do we get these ideas out there? If not, what? This is what I have previously written on this question:

Our main focus should be on the working class itself, the kinds of folks who work in the vast array of service industries that comprise the bulk of the US economy.

This is the “center” part of our strategy. I am not advocating a return to old-fashioned labor unionism of the type championed by the classical anarcho-syndicalists. I believe the decline of unions is permanent in nature and while traditional labor unions might still have a role in play in a twenty first century class struggle, it will only be on the margins. Instead, the economic foundation of class struggle in the future will be alternative economic enterprises and service delivery arrangements operating independently of state and corporate structures. Foremost among them will be worker-owned and operated enterprises and non-state social or health services originating from what is called the “independent sector”. This is an essay on political strategy and not economics so I will not go into a great deal of detail here except to say that the main political implication of this is that organizations formed for the defense of such economic institutions against state repression or state-imposed monopolies will be vital part of any future radical coalition.

As for the broader question of the relationship between the state and the economy, we need a populist economic program that favors elimination of state intervention into the economy on behalf of privileged interests and the reduction of taxes starting from the bottom up. This is an issue that dissidents from across the spectrum ought to be able agree on, from socialists to libertarians to paleoconservatives to Greens. Kevin Carson’s “Political Program for Anarchists” provides a good overview of how to approach this. As anti-state radicals, we should take a position of rejecting the welfare state as a means to poverty relief, while at the same time rejecting the scapegoating of the poor common to the talk-radio right-wing. We should instead be quite outspoken about the damage to done to poor communities (particularly rural farmers and inner-city minorities) by state interventions such as agricultural policy and urban renewal. As an intermediate stage to full abolition of the welfare state, we might consider the “negative income tax” suggested by Milton Friedman back during the Nixon era, whereby the costs of welfare management could be cut back drastically by distributing cash payments or vouchers directly to the poor and eliminating the bureaucratic middle-men that absord most of the welfare budget. With this approach, it might even be possible to increase subsistence payments to the poor while simultaneously cutting back significantly on both bureaucracy and taxes. The writings of Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, Hans Hoppe, Kevin Carson and Larry Gambone also contain some interesting ideas on how to go about “de-statizing” those industries and services presently operated by the state.

It is of the utmost importance that the working masses view us as the champions of their economic interests. Nothing less will be sufficient. Our populist coalition must include rank and file blue collar workers, working class taxpayers, union members, small businessmen, farmers, the self-employed, the urban poor, single moms and the homeless. We do this not by promising entitlement rights to all, but by eliminating state-imposed obstacles to economic self-determination and self-sufficiency, placing state or state-corporate industries and services directly into the hands of the workers and consumers, developing alternative economic arrangements independently of the state, eliminating taxes from the bottom up and gradually phasing out archaic state-assistance programs, with poverty relief and social security programs being the last to go once the corporate state has been fully dismantled. This is precisely the opposite of the “cut taxes and regulations at the top, eliminate subsidies to the bottom” approach favored by the right-wing corporatists. Our approach should be “cut taxes and regulations at the bottom, eliminate subsidies to the top”. On these matters, authentic fiscal conservatives and authentic class war militants should be able to agree. We should describe our economic program as neither “conservative” nor “socialist” but as simple “economic justice”.

I might add to this that the antiwar movement, the anti-police state movement, the anti-drug war movement, the anti-prison industry movement, the anti-globalization movement, the anti-immigration movement, and the pan-secessionist movement are all necessary parts of an economic resistance movement. The various international and domestic wars, the police state and prison industry, mass immigration and so forth are serious drains on the economy. Secession from the political, corporate and international institutions that perpetrate these things is a necessary corrective step.

One comment

  1. Certainly there are many employer regulations and taxes that eliminate jobs, like minumum wage, mandatory benefits etc. which are clearly not anarchist. The problem is that many of them are popular with workers.

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