By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’m pretty sure this place use to be a democracy. Not America. Contrary to what Broadway may have told you, even our saintly Founding Fathers were little more than racist neocons in pantaloons. I’m talking about the fucking internet. The Anarchist’s American Dream. A brave new world wrestled from the savages of the military industrial complex who birthed it and wilded into a stateless candy land of endless possibilities by fuzzy little daydream believers like Steve Wozniak and Richard Stallman. The place that gave us Linux and Anonymous and Napster. That land of a million possibilities where no kink was left without a chatroom and a 12 year old hacker in Ethiopia could take down the American Federal Government just for the lulz. That glorious pirate utopia of temporary autonomous zones foretold by Hakim Bey, where only censorship was taboo and any lunatic with a Commodore could say whatever the fuck they wanted about the latest twat in the White House and the only recourse was to bitch and troll. Even a confirmed Luddite like myself couldn’t help but to look upon this satanic majesty and swell with pride at the seemingly inevitable supremacy of raw chaos.
A couple of quotes from the godfather of modern anarchism, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, on why populism, while sometimes necessary, is never enough.
“…because of this ignorance of the primitiveness of their instincts, of the urgency of their needs, of the impatience of their desires, the people show a preference toward summary forms of authority. The thing they are looking for is not legal guarantees, of which they do not have any idea and whose power they do not understand, they do not care for intricate mechanisms or for checks and balances for which, on their own account, they have no use, it is a boss in whose word they confide, a leader whose intentions are known to the people and who devotes himself to its interests, that they are seeking. This chief they provided with limitless authority and irresistible power. Inclined toward suspicion and calumny, but incapable of methodical discussion, they believe in nothing definite save the human will.”
“Left to themselves or led by their tribunes the masses never established anything. They have their face turned backwards; no tradition is formed among them; no orderly spirit, no idea which acquires the force of law. Of politics they understand nothing except the element of intrigue; of the art of governing, nothing except prodigality and force; of justice nothing but mere indictment; of liberty, nothing but the ability to set up idols which are smashed the next morning. The advent of democracy starts an era of retrogression which will ensure the death of the nation…”
I first heard of libertarians in 1980 when Ed Clark ran for Prez on the LP ticket. I first heard of anarchists around 1983 when I came across William Godwin in a high school English literature class (which I probably failed). I first became an anarchist by reading Proudhon’s encyclopedia entry around 1987. What started as youthful fancy became a lifelong activity.
Instead of a Blog
Proudhon was not a communist. Proudhon agreed with Bastiat on basically everything, except he was more extreme about it. He wanted to deprive the illegitimately-wealthy of their monopoly of credit. Look into the history of how ‘capitalism’ actually happened, as opposed to the pure theory – the State was involved at every turn, old feudal monopolies were liquidated into state-subsidized and protected industrial monopolies. Proudhon was not a ‘socialist’ in the sense that Marx or Bernie Sanders is.
Libertarians really need to learn more about fucking history, brah. The 19th century was not unfettered laissez-faire, it was the massive expansion of the state and an non-stop incestuous relationship between big capital and big government. That’s how the modern world was born.
Also, the Marxists are right about almost everything except Communism. Marx’s economics are basically rehashed Ricardo with a bunch of nonsense, but the general theme of Marxist work is more or less correct – that a super-elite of politically advantaged banksters and capitalists are funneling resources into their own pockets and levering up global trade with imperial expansionism. Any well-informed libertarian can give you exactly the same story, it’s the dumbasses who think historical capitalism was a ‘free market’ that don’t get it.
Keep in mind that I say all of this as a supporter of unilateral free trade, unlimited property accumulation, joint-stock companies, and heavily armed citizen-militias supplemented by mercenaries as the sole defense force. I ain’t no Red. But I do read.
By Will Schnack
Evolution of Consent
This was composed for a speech given to the East Texas Freethinkers
on February 18th, 2017 in Tyler, Texas.
Mutualism is an anarchist social philosophy first established in print by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. While often considered to be the father of mutualism (something I have repeated and am apt to do again), Proudhon was actually more of its first philosopher, because mutualism already existed to some degree, long before Proudhon would write about it in his works. Proudhon had spent time among the workman’s associations in Lyon, France, where he witnessed fraternal organizations and guilds functioning in mutualistic manners, involving member control from voluntary participants. When he wrote in favor of mutualism, he probably had these cooperative associations in mind. Nonetheless, Proudhon can be considered to be the first philosophical exponent of mutualism as a school of thought.
Along with being the first philosophical proponent of mutualism, Proudhon is the first to call himself an anarchist. Yet, again, the sentiment against government and the state long preceded Proudhon. Some have traced it back to Ancient Greek or Chinese thinkers, such as Zeno or Lao Tzu. Others suggest that others much closer to Proudhon’s time were the first, such as William Godwin or Josiah Warren. Proudhon maintains the title of the first anarchist simply for being the first to call himself such on record.