Agora #34: Kevin Carson

Kevin Carson is by far the best contemporary left-anarchist economist. His ideas on economics are more or less what I think the dominant mode of production would look like in a world where anarchist movements achieved political hegemony on a cultural and intellectual level. Although, like Noam Chomsky, he often falls into the “anarcho-Democrat” trap, largely out of exaggerated right-wingophobia (Trump is Nixon, not Hitler). If you take Carson’s work in economics and add to it Bellamy Fitzpatrick’s critique of “World Domination Anarchism” you’re almost over the finish line.  Carson’s ideas are more or less what I think the left-wing of pan-anarchism/anarcho-pluralism would look like, at least to a substantial degree, but I suspect Carson’s vision would occur as a subset of something more like what is depicted in Hans Widmer’s “bolo’bolo” utopian novel” (see the quote below) or what the Startup Societies Foundation envisions.

It appears that seemingly “utopian” proposals like bolo’bolo create more confusion than they help to explain things. (The real “utopia” is capitalism.) One of these is the idea that everybody should live in bolos. It might be sufficient that 60%, 50% or 30% of people live in such basic communities to break the fundamental power of the Machine. Around this core many other “systems” — singles, families, capitalisms, socialisms of different kinds, small states, feudalistic, asiatic or other modes of production, traditional tribes, etc. might find more space to unfold than today. Once the stranglehold of the centers of the Machine — in North America, Europe and Japan — is broken (when history is really ended), even earlier stages in the development of the Machine cannot be dangerous any more. Once you get rid of (enforced) progress, uniformity in the levels of productivity becomes obsolete. Different ages and epochs can co-exist. Even truly free-market economies of partners of comparable starting positions could emerge in some odd places, and thereby realize the old liberal utopia for the first time in history. All these oddities are no temptations for a strong core structure built on self-sufficiency. What we have in mind is not the “next stage,” but a shortcut across country.

Another issue is that I don’t think mass resistance to states would be solely or (perhaps) primarily economic as much as it would be political, ideological, cultural, religious, subcultural, identitarian, ecological, technological, medical, legal, fourth-generation warfare-oriented, or issue-based (pro-choice, pro-life, guns, drugs, illegal immigration,  resistance to vaccine mandates, animal rights, etc).  I have pointed out many examples of how this is occurring at present.  Although economics would obviously be an important component as well, and there could certainly be sanctuary cities for those engaged in, for example, various forms of resistance to intellectual property law (vendors of pirated merchandise, for instance), who have established alternative monetary systems, and even those who have “seized the means of production” to some degree (like direct action expropriation of a Wal-Mart superstore).


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