What about the Workers? A Libertarian Answer Reply

By Sean Gabb

I was called this morning by the BBC. It wanted me to comment on the claims that Sports direct, a chain of sports clothing shops, mistreats its workers – keeping them on zero-hours contracts, sometimes not paying them even the minimum wage, scaring them out of going sick, generally treating them like dirt. Would I care to go on air to defend the right of employers to behave in this way? I am increasingly turning down invitations to go on radio and television, and this was an invitation I declined. I suggested the researcher should call the Adam Smith Institute. This would almost certainly provide a young man to rhapsodise about the wonders of the free market. My own answer would be too complex for the average BBC presenter to understand, and I might be cut off in mid-sentence.

Here is the answer I would have taken had I been invited to speak on a conservative or libertarian radio station on the Internet.

First, it is a bad idea to interfere in market arrangements. Sports Direct is in competition with other firms. Making it pay more to its workers, or to give them greater security of employment, would require it to raise prices and make it less competitive. A general campaign against zero-hour contracts and low pay would raise unemployment. In even a reasonably open market, factors of production are paid the value of their marginal product. Establish a minimum price for labour above its clearing price, and those workers whose employment contributes less than this to total revenue will be laid off. If I felt more inclined than I do, I could produce a cross diagram to show this. The downward sloping curve would show diminishing marginal productivity, the upward the supply of labour at any given price. The point of intersection would show the clearing price. Draw a horizontal line above this clearing price to show the minimum allowed price, and you can two further lines from where this intersects the curves to create a box showing the unemployment that would result. I leave that to your imagination. Or here is a representation I have found on-line:

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The Revolt Against Adulthood Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Why don’t you grow up, Nicky? That’s the tried old refrain that never seems to get older than I do. It seems like I hear it from pretty much all the token adult figures in my life; my parents, my therapist, my government. And maybe they’ve got a point. I am over thirty, unemployed, painfully single and I still live at home. To be fair, I’m also certifiably mentally ill. As a slowly recovering shut-in, my lingering agoraphobia makes it damn near impossible to hold down even a part time job. But If I’m to be 100% honest to a gut-shiving fault, which is pretty much my whole shtick, my aversion to adulthood is far more complex than my inability to properly regulate good and bad stress.

 I was raised in the wrong fucking gender by an establishment of adults who I was led to believe held the mandate of god himself, the ultimate adult figure. By in large, growing up, the adults in my life were cruel, petty, two-faced zealots who had their way with my trust until it quite simply ceased to exist. There is a very firmly moralist part of me that yells at the top of her deeply closeted preteen lungs, WHY THE FUCK WOULD I EVER WANT TO BE LIKE YOU!

 I’ve talked about this disembodied voice before. The invisible girl who’s tired of suffocating beneath the biological trappings of manhood. She wants to come out and play with matches but she’s not particularly intrigued by the late capitalist banality of modern adulthood. And, in 2019, she’s not alone.

It seems like I come from an entire generation of kids who are downright allergic to adulthood. We are a lost generation that has chosen in overwhelming numbers to stay single, unemployed and live at home. We also seem to be a culture that is defined by our collective nostalgia. We’ve somehow managed to make washed-up boy bands and thirty year old cartoons a downright viable industry. we’ve gathered on the Internet into rabid cults devoted to everything from anime to My Little Pony. In the process, we have also become the butt of an endless barrage of jokes from older generations for refusing to conform to what their interpretation of what adulthood is. But isn’t that precisely what adulthood is? An interpretation, not unlike other equally subjective concepts like normality and sanity, of what constitutes a successful existence in a collapsing society running on fumes?

So what is an “Adult” in 2019. What earns one that cherished class distinction in the waning hours of the American Century? According to postmodern western society, an adult is someone who pays their taxes and votes for sensible centrist warmongers.

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Big Tech, Big Banks Push for “Cashless Society” 1

By Stefan Gleason, Money Metals Exchange

The War on Cash isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s an open agenda. It’s being driven by an alignment of interests among bankers, central bankers, politicians, and Silicon Valley moguls who stand to benefit from an all-digital economy.

Last week, Facebook – in partnership with major banks, payment processors, and e-commerce companies – launched a digital currency called Libra. Unlike decentralized, free-floating cryptocurrencies, Libra will be tied to national fiat currencies, integrated into the financial system, and centrally managed.

Critics warn Libra is akin to a “spy coin.” It’s certainly not for anyone who wants to go off the financial grid.

Many of the companies involved in Libra (including Facebook itself) routinely ban users on the basis of their political views. Big Tech has booted scores of individuals and groups off social platforms for engaging in “far right” speech. If Libra one day becomes the predominant online payment method, then political dissidents could effectively be banned from all e-commerce.

You can still obtain some degree of anonymity in the offline world by using paper cash. But that will become impossible in the cashless future envisioned by bankers.

Last week Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan touted new developments in digital payment systems while speaking at a Fortune conference. He said, “We want a cashless society…we have more to gain than anybody from a pure operating costs.”

They gain – at the expense of our financial privacy. A cashless society is the end of a long road to monetary ruin that began many decades ago with the abandonment of sound money backed by gold and silver.

Stefan Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 “Dealer of the Year” in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC, and his writings have appeared in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Detroit News, Washington Times, and National Review.

What Would Civil War Two Look Like? Reply

This is one of the best analyses I’ve seen to date on what an actual Civil War 2 would look like. It’s political, geographical, and cultural analysis is spot on, although its main weakness is that it largely leaves out social class (which is fragmenting both the Red and Blue Tribe) as well as cultural/social cleavages among the Blue Tribe which are growing exponentially.

An actual Civil War 2 would not be the Red Tribe vs Blue Tribe per se (although that may be an impetus that gets the ball rolling). It would be more like the Lebanese civil war of the late
1970s/early 1980s with dozens of different factions. For example, in some geographical areas showdowns between rival gangs would be just as important as political rivalries. Also, the fragmentation of the state itself would be an issue (or multiple issues).

11 Micronations in Europe You Never Knew Existed Reply

This needs to become a global trend, like McDonald’s.

By Harry Stewart

The culture trip.

We’ve all heard of places like Liechtenstein and the Vatican, tiny European nations with minuscule populations. Yet these are internationally recognized states—actual countries, if you will. Even more bizarre are Europe’s micronations: quirky little self-proclaimed lands which have come into existence for the strangest of reasons. Here are the most unusual on the continent.

The Republic of Saugeais

This tiny slice of eastern France actually formed as a state in jest back in 1947. The owner of a restaurant of the same name jokingly asked a visiting government prefect if they had permission to enter his kingdom. Upon further interrogation, the sharp-witted proprietor invented details of his kingdom on the spot, and was somehow officially appointed president of the new republic. Primarily made up of good-humored retirees, Saugeais once elected one of its many presidents after the latter received a particularly vigorous round of applause.

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How to build your own country Reply

By Joe Quirk

CNN

If you’d like to live in a country that caters to your values and lifestyle, why not build your own? Nearly half the earth’s surface is a blue frontier over which no country holds sovereignty, and startup cities that float permanently in international waters will soon be economically feasible as construction materials get cheaper, greener and printable in 3D form. These will be homesteads on the high seas — or seasteads.

Joe Quirk

Joe QuirkBy 2020, Blue Frontiers, our for-profit spinoff from The Seasteading Institute, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, plans to provide fresh jurisdictions on floating sustainable islands designed to adapt organically to sea level change. These will be privately financed and built by local maritime construction firms employing the latest in sustainable blue tech.We’ve already raised our seed round of investments to perform research and secure legislation, so get ready for the next wave of nations.Of course, the need for seasteads could not be greater. Americans are fed up with their government — in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans reported that they trust neither the Democratic or Republican establishment to represent them.But this isn’t a new sentiment. America’s founders were also fed up with their government. The New World served as a platform where political innovators could experiment with unconventional ideas. As new states and territories were established piecemeal across the frontier, they became incubators for novel ideas of governance — eventually shaping the country we have today.

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There Is No Such Thing As A Moderate Mainstream Centrist 1

Caitlin Johnstone on why it is the “centrists” who are the real extremists.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Medium

I just watched two mainstream political videos back-to-back from what is conventionally referred to as America’s political “center”, and just by coincidence they happened to completely contradict each other. The first was a Bill Maher segment in which he barely even attempted to tell any jokes, spending the time instead explaining to his viewers why the Republican Party is “the party of Putin.” The second video was a recent CNN interview with Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who proclaimed that the US needs to be “more aggressive” toward Russia “across the board”, and described his party’s unified efforts to help escalate that aggression.

Royce is a Republican.

I have never recommended that anyone watch a Bill Maher video before, and I don’t expect that I ever will again, but this segment was really extraordinary in the shrillness and seriousness with which Maher advanced his ridiculous argument that the Republican Party loves Russia. I recommend taking a look at it and just noting the near absence of actual jokes and the few pity laughs the audience gives him.

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Democratic criticism of Trump-Kim meeting show deep division in US Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

US Democrats’ widespread criticism of President Donald Trump’s recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is indicative of a deep division in Washington, where political interests shape the foreign policy, says an American political analyst.

Democratic presidential hopefuls and lawmakers launched a direct attack on Trump over his spur-of-the-moment decision to meet Kim at the Demilitarized Zone separating South Korea from the North on Sunday.

They also objected to Trump’s move in crossing the border into South Korea as the first ever American president.

A spokesman for leading Democratic candidate and former vice president Joe Biden, blasted Trump for “coddling” Kim “at the expense of American national security and interests.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who enjoys the second strongest following among the aspirants, said the president was “squandering American influence on photo ops and exchanging love letters” with Kim.

Senator Bernie Sanders, almost next in popularity to Warren, said the move had “weakened the State Department.”

Keith Preston, director of Attackthesystem.com, said Democrats were looking to “weaponize” the meeting and use it to their own advantage.

“Foreign policy has simply become an issue that political parties are using to weaponize against each other,” he told Press TV on Monday.

“The Democratic Party politicians are simply trying to attack Donald Trump and it wouldn’t matter what he did,” the Virginia-based analyst argued.

PressTV-Democrats lay into Trump after Kim meeting

PressTV-Democrats lay into Trump after Kim meetingDemocratic presidential hopefuls and lawmakers have launched a direct attack on President Trump over his decision to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Preston noted that it was always a positive development when two leaders decided to sit down and peacefully resolve their differences.

This is specially important for North Korea and the U,  as they both came within inches of nuclear war over Washington’s objections to Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and ballistic missiles programs.

During the DMZ meeting, which was their third, Trump and Kim agreed to resume talks after the collapse of the last meeting in Vietnam earlier this year.

“It is interesting that the Democrats are attacking the peace process simply for the purpose of scoring some political points,” Preston said.

“That actually reflects the kind of divisions that go on in our society at the present time” he continued, adding that the Democratic response to Trump’s meeting was “just another episode of partisan politics shaping foreign policy.”

Godspeed Justin Raimondo, You Brilliant Son of a Bitch Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

The son of a bitch promised he wasn’t gonna go. That’s what goes through my grief wrenched mind tonight, as I learn that Justin Raimondo, easily the greatest writer of the Paleoconservative Movement and total unapologetic son of a bitch to the bitter end, has passed after a white knuckle brawl with lung cancer, at 67. He can’t be dead. Their has to be a catch. He was so certain that he could kick that bastard disease back to hell where it belonged that he made you believe it too. Justin Raimondo, America’s own Yukio Mishima, an abominable twin-fisted fag who punch mountains just for the exercise between cigarettes is dead? No. No fucking way. Not possible.

To those of you who don’t know Justin and his work, I have no words to give you. There is simply no way to possibly describe to the uninitiated how massive he was to the Antiwar Movement. But I grew up, a pissed off anti-imperialist queer in my own right, enthralled by the Old Testament grade power of his sublime diction. It made little difference that he was a Buchananite isolationist and that I was a lefty-Yippie-anarcho-punk. He was radical. His enemies were my enemies, Kristol, Horowitz, Hitchens, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and he cut them down mercilessly like a shogun vigilante who’s katana thirsted only for the blood of chickenhawks. I had never seen somebody so antiwar be so cruel and it was fucking beautiful. He was brilliant, cunning, merciless, and he was on our side. Those neocon pussies didn’t stand a chance. He was our secret weapon, an action movie style wringer for the Peace Movement and he and Eric Garris’ antiwar.com remains the finest viable resource in any die hard peacenik’s arsenal.


This isn’t to say that the old bastard couldn’t piss me off. He could make my blood boil like bacon grease, especially when he became a seemingly unshakable defender of our current foul Caesar and refused to admit that the revolution had gone sour after the Donald began racking up war crimes like the politician Justin assured us he wasn’t. I raged over this hypocrisy, not because I hated Justin but because I loved him so goddamn much that I couldn’t bare to see some slick corporate welfare queen make a fool of my sensei, simply because he wanted so badly to believe that this orange bulldozer could pave the way for the antiwar revolution that we both ached for.

But it’s important, for me as much as anybody else if not more so, to remember that Justin came from the Murray Rothbard school of anti-imperialism. With every position he took, right or wrong, he put peace first, no matter how much it hurt, whether this meant endorsing Che or the SDS or Nader or Trump. Justin could care less about Trump the candidate. What he saw was an opportunity for Trump the movement. He saw barns full of Southern Baptist crackers chanting America First and he saw an opportunity to push anti-imperialism into the mainstream zeitgeist. I still, quite violently, disagree with this M.O.. Frankly it smacks of the kind of ends-justify-the-means style tyranny that turned me off of Leninism. But, much like Lenin, Justin was a complicated beast who sometimes let his bleeding heart drown out his enormous brains. And even for this mortal sin, I can’t help but to love the old bastard a friend of mine once aptly described as the gay Sicilian Archie Bunker.

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Steve Forbes Exclusive: “A Monkey Throwing Darts” Is BETTER Than the Fed… Reply

Mike Gleason: It is my great privilege now to be joined by Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Magazine, CEO of Forbes Media, and author of many fabulous books, including Flat Tax Revolution, How Capitalism Will Save Us, and Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy and What We Can Do About It. He’s also a two-time presidential candidate, having run in the Republican primaries in both 1996 and in the year 2000.

Mr. Forbes, I really want to thank you for your time today and for joining us again. It’s a tremendous honor to have you back on, welcome.

Steve Forbes: Good to be with you. Thank you.

Mike Gleason: Well, let’s start with one of the big topics on Wall Street these days, that being tariffs and trade. The president has been working to rewrite trade deals and reduce the trade deficit. Recently, the dispute with China escalated and tariffs were increased to 25%. There has been some volatility in the equity markets, but so far, at least, investors seem to be optimistic that a deal will be reached, or perhaps trade tensions don’t matter as much as they should, because the Federal Reserve is already signaling they will ride to the rescue.

Do you think the tariffs will be effective, and we wonder if America’s hand is as strong as the president thinks it is, or are people really prepared for much higher prices as the extra costs associated with tariffs get passed along? What are your thoughts there?

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Trump threats against Iran are in line with his playbook 1

Press TV. Listen here.

US President Donald Trump’s threats against Iran are in line with his playbook and should not be taken seriously, says an American political analyst in Virginia.

“The comments that Donald Trump has made recently, as well as the particular policies that he has threatening to impose are fairly in character with both Donald Trump’s personality and, as well as the general policies that the American government has followed,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

Donald Trump is prone to a lot of blustery rhetoric but rarely does he ever follow through on anything of that type,” Preston told Press TV on Tuesday.

“We can remember that he was at one point threatening the North Koreans in a similar way and then he actually turned around and did an about face on North Korea and he could very easily do that with Iran,” he added.

Trump threatened Iran on Tuesday with “obliteration” if the country launches any attack on American forces in the Middle East region.

In a Twitter rant railing against the Islamic Republic, Trump said, “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality.”

PressTV-Trump threatens Iran with ‘obliteration’

PressTV-Trump threatens Iran with ‘obliteration’Trump has said has threatened Iran with “obliteration” if the country launches any attack on American forces.

Tensions have been running high between the US and Iran since Trump’s decision in May last year to abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Tehran as part of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing it to renegotiate a new deal that addresses its ballistic missile program and regional influence as well.

The US has also sent warships, bombers and additional troops to the region in the wake of suspicious tanker attacks in the Sea of Oman, which it has blamed on Iran without providing evidence.

Despite repeating threats and baseless accusations against Tehran, Washington has also been calling for negotiations.

Tehran has time and again asserted that it does not seek war with the US, yet stands ready to defend its interests in the region.

Tucker Carlson Tells Trump in Private: No War With Iran 4

Interesting if true.

The Daily Beast

In the upper echelons of the Trump administration, hawkish voices on Iran predominate—most notably Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton. But as tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated over the last few weeks, there’s been another, far different voice in the president’s ear: that of Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

A source familiar with the conversations told The Daily Beast that, in recent weeks, the Fox News host has privately advised Trump against taking military action against Iran. And a senior administration official said that during the president’s recent conversations with the Fox primetime host, Carlson has bashed the more “hawkish members” of his administration.

While some Fox News hosts have argued that a conflict with Iran would be justified, Carlson has consistently criticized U.S. military intervention abroad, particularly in the Middle East. In recent weeks, he has questioned whether war with Iran would be “in anyone’s interest.” Last month, he publicly chided Bolton, saying he was intentionally escalating tensions, and that a potential conflict would “be like Christmas, Thanksgiving, his birthday wrapped into one.”

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Queer Power!: Because Pride is Not Enough 2

Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Once upon a time, somewhere over the rainbow, being Queer was dangerous. We were vile leather-clad degenerates, strutting down the cracked streets of neon drenched red light districts, lipstick smeared, basted in glitter, our self-manicured claws sharper than knives, our foul tongues sharper than claws, posing, posturing, begging the devil for a bad time.

We were outlaws, pirates sailing the high deserts in long stolen Cadillacs, painting our faces like savages and pitching our battered rainbow tepees on the banks of the Salton Sea, smoking peace-pipes loaded with hash, reefer, semen, tobacco, opium, ludes, kitten heels and moldy crumbled make-up. We got so high, we fucked so hard, for so long, our tantric screams of ecstasy bouncing off the canyon walls and swelling the cul-de-sacs of the recently robbed rich, depriving them of the sleep they so desperately needed to fulfill their wretched obligations as some bloated dictator’s greatest generation, a pill-popping silent majority who couldn’t swallow a barbiturate big enough to free them from the knowledge that the moaning sodomites who ransacked their garages were their bastard kin.

We were bomb-throwing revolutionaries, marching with Panthers, torching cop cars, hurling our diseased corpses upon the machines of powerful men all but deaf to anything but the sound of our shattered bones clogging the guts of their federally funded sports utility vehicles. We were Billy Burroughs, Miss Major, Hakim Bey, Allen Ginsberg, John Waters, Leslie Feinberg, Harry Hay, Paul Goodman, Gore Vidal, Larry Kramer. We were dykes, fags, trannies, perverts, lunatics, sodomites, carpet munchers, cocksuckers, radical faeries, flaming fucking queens. We were dangerous. We were beautiful. We were Queer.

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Why the “Far Left” (and “Far Right”) is Not Radical Enough 1

If there is one point that I have tried to make clear during the entire 20 years or so that I have been doing ATS, it is that the solution to globalization/globalism/imperialism/whatever one wants to call it is global revolutionary struggle, which is a struggle that (obviously) transcends most other boundaries and conflicts.

Opponents of the Empire may vary infinitely in their specific tribal affiliations: ideological, economic, religious, ethnic, cultural, moral, technological, etc. Yet the first question that has to be asked involves the issue of how the scattered tribes of resistance can collectively fight the common enemy. If one were living in 100 A.D. and trying to determine how to best resist the Roman Empire, the question would obviously be “How can the many tribes that are subject to the Empire engage in effective resistance?” The situation is essentially the same in 2019.

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Freedom of Association-Yes, Ethnic Cleansing-No: Solidarity with All Enemies of the State Reply

In my perfect world, there would be nothing but voluntary communities, and particular communities could be as open or closed as their members wanted. I tend to think that for utilitarian reasons within the current state-capitalist system there needs to be at least some limitation on both immigration and discrimination. I don’t know that throwing open the borders and saying, “Come one, come all” would have a happy ending, just like I don’t think anyone’s freedom is being abridged when WalMart can’t put a sign out front saying, “No Coloreds Allowed.” Virtually the entire spectrum of the ruling class and the state benefits from mass immigration, i.e. more scab labor employers, more clients for social services bureaucrats, more constituents for ethnic lobbies, more voters for political parties, more students for the education bureaucracy, new parishioners for organized religion, etc. But immigration enforcement also benefits other state/ruling class interests, i.e. the federal police state, companies that get state contracts to build walls/detention centers, the prison-industrial complex, capitalist corporations that profit from prison labor, retrograde Republican politicians using immigration as political vehicle, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the power elite, and lose-lose for everyone else.

I don’t think it’s a Left/Right issue per se. Immigrant detention centers didn’t start with Trump. They’ve been around for quite a while spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. I’d argue immigrant detention centers are part of the wider apparatus of the police state/state legal racket/prison-industrial complex. So people in immigrant detention centers are in the same boat as people in jails, prisons, places of involuntary psychiatric incarceration, juvenile detention, etc, etc,etc Traditionally, the US prison system has overlapped with the older slave system as well as things like Jim Crow. I’d argue it’s also something that transcends boundaries of race, class, gender, politics, etc even if those categories aren’t irrelevant either. But the same traditional conservative vs traditional progressive dichotomy that defines US politics today has been in place for over a century with swings back and forth in different directions.

Progressives have exercised a great deal of influence over US society since around 1900 (Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were Progressives, for God’s sake). Progressives have long been involved in facilitating authoritarian state policies (eugenics, racism, and drug and alcohol prohibition among them). During the course of the 20th century progressives did an about face on race, immigration, homosexuality, the “sexual revolution,” etc. But they’ve still favored authoritarian state policies in many other areas. For example, the modern “war on drugs” has been supported just as zealously by liberal politicians and civil rights leaders as conservative Republicans and the religious right, and the war on drugs is to a large degree the foundation/cornerstone of the modern American police state (though there are obviously many other contributing factors).

Most progressives are not anarchists or libertarians (left or right) and don’t claim to be. They accept the supposed legitimacy of the state, state law, state penal institutions, etc. They just don’t like it when these things are used against people they like (illegal immigrants, environmental protestors, etc) as opposed to people they don’t like (the Bundy clan, corporate executives, gun nuts, racists, etc). But given their acceptance of these things, they don’t really have a principled argument against the statist argument that says, “If you don’t want to go to jail, don’t break the law” or “The law is the law. If you don’t like the law, you can work to change it not break it” or “These people chose to break the law and choices have consequences.” Once the legitimacy of the state, state law, police, prisons, etc. is conceded, I don’t know that there is a principled counterargument that can be raised that doesn’t amount to special pleading.

Of course, my view is that anarchists and libertarians who wish to be consistent should stand in solidarity will ALL persons being held by the police state and prison-industrial complex (and, yes, that includes serial killers on death row, racist hate criminals, scumbag corporate executives, pedos, and every other kind of creep imaginable as well illegal immigrants, drug users/sellers, sex workers, “consensual criminals,” self-defenders, “survival criminals,” vagrants, etc). The struggle against the state/ruling class/power elite/globalism/imperialism/capitalism/Zionism is not a “Nice People Only” club.