A Free Market Fantasy: Anarcho-Syndicalism vs Individualist-Anarchism

By Greg R & Bryer Sousa, Ideas and Action

As of late, those of us based in the US, who attend to internet-based discussion threads as well as chat forums concerning ‘radical’ social, political, and economic philosophies may be taken aback by the relatively recent degree of attention that “Free Market Anti-Capitalism” is being afforded. These ideas are generally concentrated in two US based organizations: The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) and The Alliance of the Libertarian Left (ALL). Upon surveying the range of intellectual influence that seems to be underpinning the river of thought engulfing ALL and C4SS, it becomes readily apparent that their ideological malfeasance stems from US-centric forces.

That is to say, the “Free Market Anti-Capitalists” seem to, in part, parot particular commentaries professed by Benjamin Tucker, Henry George, Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises, ‘thinkers’ who generally argue for a synthesis of Austrian economics and 19th century American individualist anarchism. Moreover, they have so creatively termed “free market anti-capitalism,” the general idea being that state-capitalism, or even capitalism generally, should be replaced with “free” or “freed” markets.

These organizations by and large do not draw from left libertarian influences outside of the US (Europe, South America, etc.), which reject these ideas in favor of what’s commonly referred to as libertarian socialism or libertarian communism; roughly, international federations of popular councils and assemblies coordinating the economy via negotiated cooperation. Those in this milieu tend to draw from concrete proposals from people like GDH Cole, Cornelius Castoriadis, Peter Kropotkin, Robin Hahnel and others. In fact, C4SS and ALL’s “free market anti-capitalist” ideas are quite marginal, with respect to the common internationalist understanding and conception of the libertarian tradition.


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