Interview questions asked by Wayne Sturgeon, February 3rd, 2015
Responses by Joe Kopsick, April 4th to 9th, and mid-September to September 21st, 2015
The Road to Panarchy: An Interview with Joe Kopsick
Sovereignty Without Territory
Government Without Monopoly
Emigration Without Movement
Please could you introduce yourself and how you came to promote and understand Panarchism?
I was born in 1987 in Lake Forest, Illinois to an attorney and a homemaker. I grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois, attended Lake Forest High School, and from 2005 to 2009 I attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science. After moving around for a few years, I settled on Portland, Oregon for a year and a half, in February 2015 I moved back to Lake Bluff, and in September 2015 I moved to Orlando, Florida.
While in college, my areas of study included American government, Israeli government, classical and radical political theory cartography, and shamanism. My hobbies include playing guitar and piano; recording music and making mash-ups; writing songs, poetry, and rap; and visual art (including graphic design, acrylic painting, and glass and Lego mosaics).
A Democrat until the age of 13, I became interested in Ralph Nader and the Green Party during the 2000 presidential race. It was at this time that I became very interested in political statistics, the electoral college, and various political issues; and during that election I constructed my first political ideological survey. I supported John Kerry in 2004 but remained a Green at heart. In 2007, while still in college, I watched the presidential debates and discovered Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Ron Paul.
Following Ron Paul’s suggestions, I studied the work of Lysander Spooner, expanded my research into libertarianism and constitutional law, both at college and in my spare time. In 2010 I settled on Agorism, studying the works of Agorists Samuel E. Konkin, J. Neil Schulman, and Wally Conger, and other free-market theorists such as C. Frederic Bastiat, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Robert P. Murphy.
Having studied some Karl Marx, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Gustave de Molinari, and Max Stirner in a radical political theory class in college, my attraction to Panarchism (and Polyarchism) developed out of a desire to reconcile free markets with fair markets, find a truly voluntary socialism or communism, and reconcile non-territorial expressions of market-based political theories (namely, Agorism and voluntaryism) with non-territorial expressions of Marxism (namely, the National Personal Sovereignty of Austromarxist Otto Bauer) and non-Statist expressions of collectivism (such as consensus-based and unanimous democracy).
But this was as far as I could get by myself. The work of John Zube and Will Schnack have been very helpful. I don’t know where I would be without John Zube’s astute cataloguing of anarchist thought and his consistent voluntaryist approach to political and social problems. Neither would I – not a student of economics, mind you – know where I would be, without Texas anarchist Will Schnack’s application of economics to anarchist theory, most notably in his formulation of “Geo-Mutualist Panarchism”, which is a union of the theories of geoist Henry George, mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and panarchist Paul Emile de Puydt. I believe that Will Schnack’s ideas are a “great leap forward” for anarchist political and economic thought, as they make possible the application of real mathematics and science to what is otherwise a disorganized, biased, and maligned stream of thought; that of anarchist and radical political theory.
Could you please define Panarchism?
Panarchism refers to a state of being in which all people are leaders, or at least potentially so. Panarchism does not mean that all people are leaders, nor does it mean that everyone must follow some leader (even one they choose), nor does it mean that rules or rulers are supreme or sovereign.
In a Panarchist society, each person would be free to follow the path which their own free will and desires have laid down as the course for the rest of their life, provided of course that their attempts to achieve their wishes do not infringe on the life, liberty, and personal (i.e., bodily) autonomy of others.