Economics/Class Relations

Anarchist Economics

A seriously anarchist approach to economics would eschew agitation for any new laws or begging the state for any new handouts, and instead, focus on chipping away government policies that central wealth, and creating alternative economic arrangments.

Anarchist economics would include attacking laws pertaining to legal tender, currency monopolies, intellectual property, patents, trademarks, copyrights, land monopolies, laws of incorporation, and transportation subsidies. Laws that centralize wealth include everything from local zoning laws, building codes, land use, and housing regulations; to state laws granting institutional privileges to corporations; to federal corporate welfare, and banking monopolies. Anarchists need to attack the state at the local, regional, and national levels.

Besides attacking laws at every level, anarchists need to organize mutual banks, mutual aid societies, cooperatives, collectives, communes, land trusts, syndicalist unions, and wildcat strikes. Anarchists need to oppose all taxation and insist that workers and the self-employed retain their entire income and create their own health, unemployment, and retirement programs through mutual aid societies.

All laws criminalizing poverty or homelessness must be vigorously attacked, such as laws preventing “urban camping,” living in cars, pitching tents on the roadside, etc. All laws creating “consensual crimes” which are about attacking the economic livelihood of the poor must be vigorously opposed. The use of criminal fines to generate state revenue must also be opposed.

When social democratic politicians promise more free stuff, we should simply ignore them. However, anarchists should sign up for every government program possible and bleed the system dry. It is fine for workers to strike for higher wages, but statist agitation for minimum wage escalation has the effect of pricing the poorest workers out of the labor market. Ditto child labor laws, which prevent juveniles including homeless runaways from having a livelihood.

Most right-anarchists are regrettably “functional conservatives” on economics and most left-anarchists are regrettably “functional social democrats.” This is a weakness that anarchists need to overcome and start thinking strategically about economics.

Anarchists need to develop a preference for economics that are reflective of the anarchist principles of voluntarism, free association, mutual aid, decentralism, pluralism, federalism, and non-hierarchical forms of organization. Anarchists need to develop alternative economic arrangements that reduce, minimize, or eliminate the dependence of individuals and communities on states, corporations, or the impersonal forces of the market.

Anarchist economic arrangements include cooperatives, collectives, communes, clubs, village communities, intentional communities, guilds, mutual aid societies, mutual banks, alternative currencies, land trusts, workers councils, individual and family enterprises, and libertarian municipalities, anarcho-syndicalist labor federations, worker-owned industries, stakeholder democracy, participatory economics, tenant associations, professional associations, the gift economy, dual power, decentralized planning, social credit, and squatting.

Categories: Economics/Class Relations

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