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[l] at 11/28/22 4:03pm
Author: Piotr Markielau, Anarchistická federaceTitle: IKEA Uses Slave Labour of PrisonersSubtitle: Belarusian anarchist Piotr Markielau, who protested in an IKEA store in Prague on Friday, November 18th, provided an interview for AF.Date: November 27, 2022Source: https://www.afed.cz/text/7799/ikea-uses-slave-labour-of-prisoners Why have you decided to protest in this IKEA in Prague? I was outraged by the report on IKEA’s ten year long cooperation with Belarusian companies and its use of unpaid forced labour in Belarusian penal colonies, including the labour of political prisoners and of prisoners of conscience. It has already been a known fact, that prisoners produce furniture intended for export. The final receiver of these commodities in the production chain, however, has not. It turned out to be IKEA, among others. This is not the first time IKEA has been guilty of using slave labour for production. First I researched the legislation and I found out, that neither the EU, nor any member state has laws, which would establish responsibility of a company for human rights abuses in its supply chain. For this reason it would be difficult to hold IKEA legally responsible. Thus I opted for direct action, in order to show, that Belarusians will not tolerate international companies’ support of an authoritarian regime responsible for the mass exodus of Belarusians in the years 2020-2022, torture in prison factories and political assassinations. Such collaborationist companies must be made aware, that even if they will not face any legal repercussions, their reputation will be damaged. IKEA must pay. I contacted the company management and I listed various human rights organisations which need their help. It is okay to make mistakes as long as they are corrected afterwards. We will see, if IKEA will wish to correct its mistake. In case of a refusal to do so, their firm will be forever stained with the blood of innocent Belarusians. How did police treat you? Why did they publish such an addle-brained statement right after the action, claiming you wished to turn the attention onto yourself, when in fact it was about IKEA’s collaboration with the Belarusian regime? Police (special units, the counterpart of the Belarusian OMON) in the Czech Republic does not differ all that much from the Belarusian riot police. Immediately after the action I let IKEA security know that my action was over and that I would not resist; I was not aggressive. I raised by hands above my head and security pepper sprayed my eyes. Apparently he must have waited his entire career for this. When police arrived, they treated me with disproportional violence. I repeated many times that I was not resisting and would not do so either. I was constantly repeating „I am not resisting” in English and they were replying in Czech „If you resist, we will use physical force.” And use force they did. They handcuffed me so tightly I still cannot properly use my fingers. They damaged my nerves; I lack sensitivity in my hands. They were very rude to me in the car, they put a covid mask on me because I, and I quote, „smelled like a pig.” At the police station, they refused to give me water for a long while. They forced me to sit and stare at the ground, they threatened me with deportation and called me an agent of the KGB. When I asked for a translator into Belarusian, they started discussing in surprise. I do not speak Czech, however, in their conversation I heard the word „dialect”. Already in IKEA I explained the point of my action to them multiple times. There were flyers with a clear description of the recent report and a QR code, with which one could read it. Czech police decided to instead write the nonsense they did on Twitter. Are you content with the Czech media’s coverage, which initially claimed you „running amok”? What about other media, including independent Belarusian media? The action was prepared very quickly and thus I did not manage to send a text to Czech media. That was an oversight on my part. I fenced off the space with security tape in order to show that this was a performance, that I was not a maniac. The video did not capture my distribution of leaflets. Many media corrected or added to their news stories when they received additional information. Belarusian media reported on my action sufficiently, as they are already aware of me and my activism. You carried out the action in front of the Belarusian embassy in Ukraine in connection to the tragic death of the political prisoner Vitold Ashurak. Who is the primary target audience of your actions and are they successful in fulfilling their purpose? Will you keep on carrying them out in the future? Every such action has its own message and audience. Generally speaking, the purpose of every action is to point out a particular problem. They also aim to show, that the Belarusian people are willing to fight for their freedom and rights until the bitter end. And this is not aimed only at other nations. Centuries of oppression have taken their toll on the Belarusian mentality. The people are scared to stand up for themselves, to talk about their oppression, instead burying their heads in the sand or leaving the country, ultimately forgetting their roots and attempting to assimilate. The favourite action of the Belarusian diaspora around the world is to stand in front of their embassy with candles. This stance is rather weak. I want to have my own homeland, where I would have my rights, where I could realise myself in my community. For freedom I will fight on. Belarus shall be free. ...

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[l] at 11/28/22 3:14pm
Author: Anarqxista GoldmanTitle: The Spirit of AnarchyDate: November 2022Source: Retrieved on 11/28/2022 from https://archive.org/details/the-spirit-of-anarchy John Henry Mackay. Wolfi Landstreicher. Alexander Berkman. Severino Di Giovanni. Emma Goldman. Anarqxista Goldman. Peter Lamborn Wilson [aka Hakim Bey]. What do all these past [and present] anarchists have in common? It is that somewhere on the Internet, and in some cases perhaps in several places, I have seen all of them accused of being paedophiles [or else of being paedophile "apologists" or paedophile "enablers"]. Is there anywhere any material evidence of any of them actively engaging in such activity? No, there isn't, not even a single scrap of solid, incontrovertible evidence. [I am willing to be corrected in this claim - for it is certainly not a dogmatic one - but I shall differentiate the interpretation of a text from a text's unambiguous assertion and I shall differentiate writing about an activity from participation in an activity. We must be nuanced here.] This claim, of course, is not to say that some of these people did not engage in consensual sexual relationships with young people, people notably younger than themselves. The cases of Alexander Berkman and Becky Edelsohn and Severino Di Giovanni and Fina Scarfò should be well known, by now, to my own readers since I have referenced them multiple times each before. But these were not cases of "paedophilia", an ugly word [which is why puritan anarchists use it with wild abandon, attempting to smear by mere vocabulary] which perhaps to many suggests the serial active cornering of prey by a predator, but examples of mutually desired and educated anarchist love. And this distinction is a hill I will happily die on because its a distinction that matters. In the case of Di Giovanni and Scarfò, for example, we even have Fina Scarfò's testimony as to her own teenage love and desire for Di Giovanni written in print from her own teenage hand. But I expect that even that will not be enough for the anarchist sex crime hunters who remove agency and autonomy from anyone they have decided to disapprove of and so make their own claimed "anarchism" moot in the process. My claim, then, is that certain morally censorious anarchists have, in the cases of all of these people, found reasons to disapprove of them and attached the P word to them as a result. This, I think, is reprehensible behaviour given the seriousness of such an association - not that that seems to matter much in an Internet age where anyone can say anything about anybody and seemingly without consequence at all in the vast majority of cases. One would have hoped, however, that in the case of anarchists who claim to be ethicists - and who claim to act on a moral basis [as more than one Internet accuser has] - that they would base their moralism on hard to refute material evidence [if it even exists] rather than on voluntaristic interpretations of random texts or esoteric inferences implied or asserted. In at least one case of the characters listed above it comes down to little more than the assertion that homosexuals [which at least John Henry Mackay was] are also paedophiles because they have, or express, an interest in teen boys. Isn't that the kind of thing a homophobe says [as, in fact, was common of anti-homosexual moralists of the 1970s]? That Berkman and Di Giovanni had sexual relationships with teenage girls [in both cases consensually - which their accusers seem to either forget, overlook or, remarkably, claim is impossible] does not automatically mean they were predators [i.e. paedophiles] - but it might mean that they simply worked with a completely different intellectual and moral construction of sexual love than their accusers do [a possibility such people never seem to either realise or, as a consequence, take seriously]. And that, since its my claim for all of these characters above, is worth exploring as we begin a philosophical exploration of the spirit of anarchy. What, I ask you, is the anarchist conception of love? What, I ask again, is the anarchist conception of sex? Are these questions you have ever even considered before? All of the people I listed above at the head of this text had - and perhaps did on an ongoing basis. I'm not sure I could say the same of their accusers. But let's now move beyond the enmity of the issues to the issues themselves for its IDEAS that count here. Let's start here with perhaps the hardest case, that of Peter Lamborn Wilson, otherwise known as Hakim Bey, an American anarchist of several decades standing who died recently in May 2022 and whose notoriety and, in fact, popularity in life partly managed to piss off Murray Bookchin such that, in the mid-1990s, he saw fit to write one of his many hit pieces about "lifestyle anarchism" partly against Wilson and his most famous text TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. [My only previous acquaintance with the work of Wilson is indirectly through this piece by Bookchin which I discussed elsewhere.] More seriously, however, it attracted what I characterise as a further, and later, hit piece by Robert P. Helms who charged that Wilson was a paedophile, had always been a paedophile, and that it was written in plain sight by Wilson himself. [Helms makes no criminal accusations in this piece and had no material evidence for this fundamental assertion; he merely claims that Wilson effectively exposes his own proclivities in his own words.] I want to critique this essay - "Leaving Out The Ugly Part - On Hakim Bey" - before going on to contextualise this with things Wilson said himself for comparison. ...

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[l] at 11/26/22 4:57pm
Author: Some JewsTitle: A Jewish-Anarchist Refutation of the Hammer and SickleNotes: The list is endless and, therefore, this zine is not complete. The examples of totalitarianism and fascist sympathies of the Bolsheviks, we feel, are more than sufficient. We write in hopes that this information will demonstrate to anti-fascists the importance of refusing to tolerate the presence of statist-Communists in our movement, no matter their specific affiliation.Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from https://tohuvabohujournal.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/zine-an-anarchist-refutation-of-the-hammer-and-sickle/ During the Russian Revolution, the crossed hammer and sickle became a Communist symbol, representing the union of the industrial proletariat and the agricultural peasant. Despite this relatively innocent origin, the symbol has come to represent the totalitarian Communist state... and, we argue, anti-Semitism. Stalin’s Terror, the gulags, the executions of those who fought alongside the Bolsheviks in the revolution but did not share their exact political vision, the USSR’s active cooperation with Nazi Germany--the USSR was, arguably, not ethically superior than any given fascist state. Nevertheless, one hundred years later, the Communist flag continues to fly at Leftist and anti-fascist demonstrations across the world as if this history did not matter. This is troubling to those of us for whom the Bolshevik betrayal remains fresh. Individual Communists have long fought against fascism, many of them in good faith... but, writ large, anarchists and Jews have never had reason to trust the Communists at their backs. The Bolshevik Party persecuted many different ethnic, cultural, and political groups; here, we will mainly discuss its warfare against Soviet Jews. Although Lenin publicly denounced the frequent pogroms in pre-revolutionary Russia, they continued throughout the revolutionary and war years. Yet even within the ranks of the Bolshevik army, anti-Jewish violence was rampant as the “[h]atred of the Hebrew was of course common [...] it was not eradicated even among the Red soldiers. They, too, have assaulted, robbed, and outraged Jews.” (Goldman 104) Many people of that time noted that there were “two kinds of pogroms: the loud, violent ones, and the silent ones.” (ibid 206) The latter is what the Bolsheviks excelled at. The Bolsheviks made a tactical, not ethical, choice to move away from the open anti-Semitism of the Tsarist era and instead waged a covert war to uproot and destroy Jewishness in the Soviet Union. The anti-Semitism propagated by the Bolsheviks was not dissimilar to the anti-Semitism that many Jews still encounter on the Left. Today, it is often masked and veiled by the words “bankers,” “the media,” “neocons,” “Westerners”... and even “Bolsheviks.” This is due to the remaining influence of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the false document used by Tsarist loyalists to blame Russian Jews for fomenting political disruption, and, later, the Revolution. The layered history of anti-Semitism turns back upon itself. During the year in which Lenin publicly denounced the traditional Russian pogroms, 1919, he also wrote a directive of the Communist Party known as “The Policies on the Ukraine,” stating in part that “Jews and city dwellers on the Ukraine must be taken by hedgehog-skin gauntlets, sent to fight on front lines and should never be allowed on any administrative positions (except a negligible percentage, in exceptional cases, and under [our] class control).” (Kusikov, 207) Stalin, too, shared this anti-Semitic stance as early as 1907, when Stalin differentiated between the “Jewish faction” and the “true Russian faction” within Bolshevism. Even in this alleged Communist utopia, Jews were to be forever outliers, never fully to be allowed into Russian society. These Communists shared a goal with the monarchists they opposed--the death of Jewish culture. Even when they did not intend physical death for Jews, we should always read assimilation as a violent hegemonic social force bent on the destruction of a culture. This is not a new analysis. From a Soviet Jewish response to the 1952 murder of thirteen Jews in the USSR: “We who have signed this appeal firmly declare that we will never take the painful and shameful path of national self-destruction: we declare that forcible assimilation is genocide pure and simple.” (Poets, 30) On a 1920-22 visit to a shtetl in post-revolutionary Russia, Jewish anarchist Alexander Berkman spoke with a peasant Jew who expressed this sentiment: They [Bolsheviks] also hate the Jew. We are always the victims. Under the Communists we have no violent mob pogroms; at least I have not heard of any. But we have the ‘quiet pogroms,’ the systematic destruction of all that is dearest to us — of our traditions, customs, and culture. They are killing us as a nation. I don’t know but [which] is the worst pogrom. (Berkman 195) Just as today, the Soviet government preferred to use codewords to signal its anti-Semitism: “petty bourgeois,” “banker,” or “Zionist.” Terms such as “internationalism” (despite the internationalist roots of Communism!) and “Zionism” were seen as signals of Jewish loyalty to other countries, and marked Jews as “untrustworthy.” Jews who maintained a feeling of solidarity with other Jews living abroad were seen as enemies of the state, as a fifth column. “On September 21, 1948, Ehrenberg writing in Pravda [official newspaper of the Communist Party] delivered the opening blows of the new [anti-Jewish] campaign. He warned Soviet Jews that their identifying with Jews in other countries would prove their disloyalty to the Soviet Union.” (Poets 9) ...

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[l] at 11/26/22 2:22pm
Author: Lee ShevekTitle: Against a Liberal AbolitionismDate: February 21, 2022Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from https://butchanarchy.medium.com/against-a-liberal-abolitionism-762e1d98f5d9 In the explosion of interest in the topic of abolitionism during and after the explosive summer of 2020 its meaning and purpose has become distorted in its trek through the popular imagination. The topic of Transformative/Restorative Justice also increased in popularity, and as a result many people even conceptualize TJ/RJ as being one in the same with abolitionism as a political position. While this essay is not intended as an outright dismissal of the importance TJ/RJ practices, it is an examination of why they have risen to prominence and a challenge to the idea that they represent the totality of an abolitionist politic. Abolitionism, as I will use it here, is a position that is dedicated to destroying apparatuses of domination (prisons, police, borders, the State itself) as well as a commitment to addressing harm without the use of those apparatuses. This position in action can indeed look like encouraging rigorous accountability processes in the face of harm, but that is not, and cannot effectively be, the only expression of it. A commitment to abolitionism can also look like getting a group of friends together to go beat down a local rapist rather than calling the cops. It can look like distributing information to all community members about an unrepentant abuser and shutting them out from social spaces where vulnerable people are, or even running them out of town completely. It can look like organizing to attack and break down networks of fascists so that every member of that network experiences constant rejection, shame, and isolation everywhere they go. Abolitionism is a political position, and all of these different ways of enacting it represent different tactics to address harm: all fit to their unique context, the capacity and resources available to those who want to address harm, the type of harm, the needs of the victims, and the willingness (or unwillingness) of the harmer to be accountable and change. The truth about harm is that there will never be a one-size-fits-all solution to challenging it. In fact, it is the very idea that there can be such a solution (prison) is what abolitionism is positioned against. Yes, accountability and change should always be an option, should always be an open door through which people who do harm can walk, but if we have no other options besides that we will very quickly find that many people do not fit the neat mold that we wish to shove them into and we will discover that we are repeatedly coming to a dead end of our own making. Some people will be challenged for harm they have done and refuse to see it as wrong or unjustifiable. Some people have built their entire sense of self on an identity conditioned by domination, a feeling of superiority, and a frank disregard for others whose concerns they have categorically deemed “lesser.” Are we then meant to remain helpless to intervene on the harm they perpetuate because they are not interested in our invitations to be accountable? Our goal is not for every single person to feel comfortable and validated, our goal is to end cycles of harm. Fundamental change in the people who enact harm is by far our preference, but lacking that we understand that our responsibility is then to reduce or destroy their capacity to continue to enact harm on others. We don’t just sit on our hands and hope we can eventually convince them to change at the same time that their enacting of that harm continues to work in their own interest because they’re surrounded by people who think consequences for harm is the same as throwing someone in prison. I do not believe that abolitionism being seen as equivalent to Transformative/Restorative Justice practices is at all an accident of miscommunication, but rather an expression of stubbornly liberal values distorting the political project of abolition to be less threatening, centered only on “non-violence,” unconditional forgiveness (but please don’t ask us who tends to be excluded from this forgiveness anyway), and total, slate-cleaning stories of personal redemption. If we can’t put people in prison where we don’t have to really see or reckon with what is done to them, we certainly don’t want to have to be responsible for challenging them ourselves! Rather, we want to believe that everything can be solved in the marketplace of ideas. Anyone who is racist, abusive, a fascist, a rapist, etc. must not really “know” what they’re doing, and so once we give them the “right” education they will fall in line and we will all be one happy community where there is no conflict and no one has to have (or hear about) any bad feelings. This is also, I believe, in part because of the way that the prison system as been largely and incorrectly defined as a system of punishment, rather than a system of control. I have explored and explained the distinction in more depth in my essay “Is Punishment ‘Carceral Logic’?” but it will do us well to at least touch on the subject here. Abolitionism is not a political framework against the very idea of punishment: it’s a political framework against prisons, police, and the State. These are material structures of control that limit people’s autonomy and ability to take real responsibility for their actions. To reduce them only to punishment accepts the State’s message about the purpose of prisons: that they are punishment for harm. They are not. Prisons exist as a tool of control (which absolutely includes the use of horrible punishment) to attack anyone the State deems a threat to its sovereignty, or anyone who it would be beneficial to the State’s image (and thus a crucial aspect of the maintenance of its sovereignty) to bring the might of the criminalization system down upon. ...

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[l] at 11/26/22 2:12pm
Author: Lee ShevekTitle: Is Punishment “Carceral Logic”?Date: February 2, 2022Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from https://butchanarchy.medium.com/is-it-really-carceral-logic-6f314f07d438 As conversations about the possibilities of abolition continue to proliferate — and as they are at the same time co-opted and distorted by liberal politics — it may help us to take a moment to be clear about the distinctions between liberatory accountability and what many refer to as “carceral logic.” Already many of us have borne witness to the way that accusations of engaging in “carceral logic” are weaponized against the very people that abolitionism is meant to center. Survivors asking for accountability from their abuser have been met with a distorted abolitionism as a response. “No, you cannot ask for any consequences for the harm done to you, because that’s carceral logic and we are abolitionists.” I have spoken to many a survivor who has walked away from such an encounter either feeling hopeless about the possibility for accountability or with a feeling of guilt that even the act of asking for it makes them no different from the carceral system. This, it should be needless to say, is not what true abolitionism looks like. A primary issue seems to be that abolitionism has been distorted to such a degree that many people believe that, to be an abolitionist, one must reject anything that could be construed as punishment. The prison system is a system of punishment, so the logic goes, and so abolition should mean the absence of punishment. One problem with this formulation is that it shows a deep misunderstanding of both the breadth, depth, and purpose of the carceral system. Prisons are not systems of punishment. Punishment certainly plays a star role, and it remains beneficial to examine the ways many often conflate justice with punishment, but ultimately the carceral system is about control. The carceral system does not simply dole out punishment: it takes away the agency of the people it targets. It rips them from their context and totally closes off any possibility for the expression of personal agency and accountability. It is a system of total surveillance, of excess and constant brutality, and the populations most targeted by it are also (not at all coincidentally) disproportionately the people the State most wants to exert control over. To reduce it to simply a mechanism of punishment is to concede to the State that the reason they lock people up is as they say it is: only for as a punishment of crime, rather than as a mechanism of social control and the continuation of white supremacy. Additionally, to be so crudely reductive, to draw equivalencies between survivors asking for accountability to harm done to them and a torturous carceral system, is to do a great disservice to survivors and the incarcerated people who have suffered or are still suffering the consequences of true carceral logic. Another issue we come across with making carceral logic synonymous with punishment is that people have wildly different conceptualizations of what constitutes as punishment. Is socially cutting someone out of a group punishment? Is stopping being someone’s friend punishment? Are reparations punishment? “If you punch a Nazi isn’t that punishment which is carceral logic which makes you just like police!?” This idea of what constitutes carceral logic is ultimately vulnerable to the question of what constitutes punishment, because a very easy argument can be made that any consequences for harm are punishment. Definitionally, many of them are! Punishment is a response to an offense that decreases (or at least seeks to) the likelihood of someone repeating that offense. Both throwing someone in a cell and withholding access to a space from someone until they’ve been accountable to harm they’ve done qualify, but they’re clearly not the same. In truth, the difference between carceral logic and liberatory accountability is not the presence/lack of punishment. Rather, the difference lies in how much power the person who has done harm has. Carceral logic aims to strip them of their personal power, while liberatory accountability processes require that they take ownership of that power. That is, ultimately, what accountability is: taking responsibility for your power as well as for the consequences of your use of it. Recognizing your own agency in having made a choice that resulted in harm, facing the people you hurt, giving them answers and apologies, and claiming your ability to do differently. This is what the carceral system does not allow. It strips people entirely of their agency, requires of them no meaningful repair process, and locks them in a cell where they are ritualistically abused by the State. This is a process that heals no one, nor was it ever even intended for healing or repair. It is a system only of control. Liberatory accountability processes, on the other hand, demand something incredibly difficult for people who do harm: acknowledgement of their own power, their own responsibility to the harm they do with that power and their obligation to use that same power to make amends. Taking that responsibility also means acknowledging and respecting the consequences for the harm they do. If I truly take a harm I’ve done seriously, if I genuinely see it as harm, then I also will respect that the person I harmed may need to put more boundaries up between us to feel safe again. If the harm is more extreme, I will see the steps the surrounding community takes (closing my access to certain spaces, demanding my participation in ongoing accountability processes, etc.) as important responses to re-establish safety where my actions ruptured it, even if those responses are painful or uncomfortable to me. Absent of these consequences, the people most adept at doing harm while maintaining community support have free reign to continue perpetuating cycles of harm that will reverberate through years (often generations) to come, and survivors flee into solitude because there are no communal norms in place to provide them any real or trustworthy sense of safety. This is, in fact, the status quo of the world we live in now. ...

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[l] at 11/26/22 2:04pm
Author: Lee ShevekTitle: Our Abuser’s HumanityDate: August 29, 2022Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from https://butchanarchy.medium.com/our-abusers-humanity-bb23baa8a885 Often when survivors of abuse speak out against our abuser’s behavior and control, we are approached by seemingly well-meaning people who exort us to “remember” our abuser’s humanity in the process, even going so far as to tell us to not use the term “abuser” at all, but person-first language like “person who abuses” just to make crystal clear to all who hear us that we put our abuser’s humanity first. Anything less is, in their argument, counterproductive to creating change, because what is needed for change is to center the abuser’s “healing” from their own abusive behavior. There are a great number of frustrating and harmful aspects to this line of thinking, and foremost among them is the assumption that prioritizing an abuser’s humanity is something that will challenge their abuse, rather than the very thing that upholds it. Far from being people who need reminding of their abuser’s humanity, survivors are actually intimately connected with the reality of it, and it is that connection that has facilitated our entrapment in abusive relationships of all kinds. Our understanding of our abuser’s humanity, our compassion for them, our usually incredibly deep understanding of their context and history that led them to become the person they are now, our acceptance of the myriad of excuses for their abusive treatment of us (ex: their traumatic past), are often key components to what keep many of us in abusive relationships. It is finally being allowed and encouraged to be in touch with our humanity and our anger at the way it is undermined and dismissed by abusers that allow us to dream of and strive towards escape. Survivors are intimately aware of our abuser’s humanity. It is our abusers that deny our humanity. When you tell survivors to quiet our our rage, to go back to accepting all manner of excuses for abuse, you are ultimately advocating for us to return to the conditions of the abuse itself. You’re telling us to elevate our abuser’s humanity above our own. Our abuser’s past trauma matters when we challenge their abuse, but our own past trauma never does. Our abuser’s feelings and comfort take precedent, ours are sidelined. When people paternalistically tell us to remember our abuser’s humanity, it becomes very clear that they have spent little to no time supporting survivors of abuse, as so much of our healing process is learning to accept that regardless of how good our abuser sometimes seems or how hurt they’ve been in the past that there’s no excuse for us to be treated that way. When we actually get to the point where we can say “that was abusive and it is inexcusable” it’s because we’ve done an incredible amount of work unlearning the messages forced into us by our abusers. Messages that held their desires as paramount, while casting us in the role of subverients to their whims. Further, we must challenge the assumption that calling someone an “abuser” is something that calls their humanity into question in the first place. Do the people who have such a strong aversion to using other nouns to describe people? Must we call cops “people who police”, landlords “people who collect rent”, and bosses “people who coercively extract labor value”? Does neglecting to do so indicate that we don’t think cops, landlords, or bosses have human lives not fully encapsulated by these labels, or that we think they are incapable of becoming something different by waking up tomorrow and quitting their job? Surely not. In fact, a part of the utility of these labels doesn’t lay in negating humanity, but in being able to point to a social position a human being takes on that characterized by a dominating relationship over others. We call someone a landlord rather than “a person who collects rent” because while there are probably many other things that person is in the world, we’re specifically talking about the exploitative power they hold over others and, in doing so, make that power visible. Referring to someone as an abuser doesn’t dehumanize them any more than calling someone a landlord does. What it does do is allow us to speak about an exploitative power imbalance and point to where the power lies, and it is my assessment that this is the real problem many people have with the term “abuser.” To call an abusive person an abuser isn’t to erase all the other aspects of their humanity. Not any more than calling ourselves survivors does that of us. We are talking, specifically, about an exploitative relationship that often remains invisible. When people advocate for person-first language instead, they are working to keep the reality of abuse unseen and unanalyzed. Abuse is not individual pathology. It is not a tragic mistake. It is a system of power all on its own, structured to constrain, exploit, and co-opt the agency of the victim(s). There are abusers. They hold power. And they benefit from people being afraid to say so. They benefit from people continuing to enforce the conditions of the abuse by keeping focus on uplifting the abuser’s humanity rather than restoring a sense of humanity and value to the survivors from whom it was actively stolen. They benefit from people flinching back from pointing to the power relation that keeps abusers empowered as it steals and co-opts the power of their victims. Further, it denies the reality of the abuser’s own agency in the relation. Denies that, just like the boss, the cop, the landlord, they continue to make the choice to prioritize their own desire for sovereignty and power over others and thus could, at any time, decide to do differently. ...

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[l] at 11/26/22 1:59pm
Author: Lee ShevekTitle: “Why Don’t They Just Leave?”Subtitle: Entrapment as the Context of AbuseDate: October 10, 2022Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from https://butchanarchy.medium.com/why-dont-they-just-leave-entrapment-as-the-context-of-abuse-4970f0c715d1 When faced with the stories of physical and sexual violence, manipulation, gaslighting, and coercion that survivors tell from their experiences within abusive relationships, many people’s first question frequently seems to be “why didn’t they just leave?” And, indeed, with a limited understanding of the overall context that forms abuse, victims remaining with their abusers seems unimaginable. After all, if someone walked up to you on the street and called you a worthless piece of garbage, or slapped you in the face, you would not be inclined to share their company any further, so why do abuse victims appear to accept horrific treatment time and time again without leaving? At root of this question is a fundamental misunderstanding of abuse that we must correct before we explore any further. Abuse is not determined by individual instances of violence or toxic behavior, nor do individual instances of violence or toxic behavior automatically mean abuse. Abuse is not simply whenever someone insults you or treats you badly: it is a broader relational context that limits your ability to resist, challenge, or leave someone who treats you badly. Many people understand abuse as the more extreme, individual incidents of violent behavior they tend to hear more about, but it is, in reality, the context of entrapment, in which the victim’s agency and autonomy are reduced, constrained, and coopted in order to empower the abuser that forms an abusive relationship. An abuser is not comparable to a stranger who walks up to you and insults you or slaps you in the face, even if their apparent behavior in a particular moment is the same, and the options available to you in the moment of your assault are not the same as the options available to an abuse victim. The stranger does not know you, has no means to compel you to remain for another slap, and has little power to control your reaction to them. The abuser knows their victim on an intimate level, often has buy-in and often even significant trust and rapport with their victim’s friends, family, and/or workplace. They know where they live, and may even live in the same place. They know their insecurities. They know their vulnerabilities and how to leverage them. They often do not start the relationship with a slap as the stranger did, but instead build (often at a rapid pace) connection and dependencies with their victim before slowly introducing more overt tactics of control that they then use the existence of prior moments of connection to excuse and justify. In his book Coercive Control: How Men Entrap Women In Personal Life, Evan Stark defines abuse not as individual incidents of violence, but as a system of coercive control more akin to prolonged attacks on liberty (like kidnapping and hostage taking) than it is to other incidents of physical assault: “The most important anomalous evidence indicates that violence in abusive relationships is ongoing rather than episodic, that its effects are cumulative rather than incident-specific, and that the harms it causes are more readily explained by these factors than by its severity.” (13) The stories of abusive violence that emotionally rock you and lead you to ask “why would anyone stay after that?!” are certainly a feature of the abusive context, but as long as you remain focused only on them you will remain unable to find the answer to your question. Put simply: not being able to leave an abusive relationship is a symptom of being in an abusive relationship, not its cause. An abuse victim is not continuing to experience abuse because they refuse to leave, the abuse is creating a context in which the victim is unable to leave. There are various tactics, overt and covert, that can come together to create this context — emotional manipulation, physical intimidation, social isolation, financial control, control over children, control over housing, weaponization of the State (ex: threats to report an undocumented victim to ICE), etc. — and which ones are used frequently and which ones do not even play a role is unique to both the abuser and their victim. This is why understanding abuse as an overarching context of entrapment is vital to understanding the situation abuse victims find themselves captured within. Additionally, it is important to recognize that not only is leaving an abuser an extremely difficult task (it takes, on average, 7 attempts for abuse victims to leave their abuser and remain separated from them) but it is also a highly dangerous one. Of abuse victims who are murdered by their partners, up to 75% of them are murdered at or after the moment they leave the relationship. Abusers seek to gain and maintain control over their victims, and when they see their victim attempting to escape that control, their response is frequently deadly. “Just leaving” is very rarely as simple, or as safe, as outside observers would like to believe. Asking “if they’re being abused why don’t they just leave?” assumes that there is another reason, usually some personal failing, that causes the victim to stay in an abusive relationship, but the actual answer to that question is “they don’t leave because they are being abused.” Indeed, it may be far more productive to begin asking why the abuser doesn’t leave or allow their victims to leave, because the answer to that question has a much greater capacity to shed light on the abusive context as a whole. ...

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[l] at 11/25/22 4:04pm
Author: Claire EhrlichTitle: The Lost World of Yiddish AnarchistsDate: 15 January 2019Source: Retrieved on November 26, 2022 from web.archive.org On Sunday, January 20, YIVO will host Yiddish Anarchism: New Scholarship on a Forgotten Tradition, a day-long conference. Claire Ehrlich sat down with scholars Kenyon Zimmer, Anna Elena Torres, and Tony Michels to discuss, among other topics, anarchism’s relationship to Jewish culture, religious practice, and Zionism; its erasure within Jewish scholarship; and why it’s so often dismissed as a political tendency. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Claire Ehrlich: The synergies between Jewish history and culture and anarchist ideas are hard to ignore. For one thing, Yiddish anarchists didn’t come from a Yiddish land with borders or state powers. There were certain ideas that Jews didn’t have to unlearn in order to transition into anarchist thought. Are there other factors that you think contributed to the attraction of so many Yiddish speaking Jews to anarchism? Kenyon Zimmer: Well, it’s important to remember that Italy didn’t exist until 1861. Most Italians didn’t identify strongly with the Italian nation state until well into the 20th century. It’s therefore no accident that there were a lot of Italian anarchists as well. Which is just to say, I think there’s a reason that both Jews and Italians found a lot about anarchism that was easy for them to understand. As you say, Jewish anarchists didn’t have to unlearn nationalism, especially because Zionism in places like the United States was not particularly strong until after World War I. In some ways, it was Jewish nationalism that was the new upstart, which had to contend with anarchism and other already existing political currents. In an interview late in his life, Ahrne Thorne, the last editor of the Yiddish paper the Fraye Arbeter Shtime said, simply, “Yiddish is my homeland.” Which I think nicely sums up a lot about it. CE: Anarchism has had different incarnations in so many different cultures and parts of the world. Did Yiddish anarchism develop distinct practices or emphasize particular ideas compared to anarchist cultures among other ethnic communities? In other words, was Yiddish anarchism just anarchism, translated into Yiddish? Or did Yiddish speakers practice and create their own kind of anarchism? Anna Elena Torres: Some people might assume that because anarchists believe in the abolition of borders, they also believe in the abolition of difference. But to the contrary, I think the particularities of Yiddish anarchist culture—like writing in a minor language or reinventing religious texts—show the importance of maintaining difference against cultural hegemony. I don’t think writing in Yiddish made them some sort of failed universalists; rather, writing from a non-territorial language became a position of critique. Yiddish remained in proximity to other languages: there are lively accounts of meetings in New York and New Jersey held in Italian, German, and Yiddish, all those languages in the same room together. In some anarchist spaces, Yiddish was one diasporic language among several. These social practices were crucial for cultivating comradeship; they sought to build liberated forms of kinship as the basis of society, not as a means to other ends, like the utilitarian comradeship of a military unit. The anarchists were trying to develop an everyday practice of comradeship, an anarchist minhag. This included building radical schools, art studios, cultures of song, children’s plays, picnics, steam boat fundraisers up the Hudson, intellectual salons. They sought to transform society through Yiddish radical culture, by articulating expansive visions of beauty in everyday life. Looking at these specific cultural forms might also connect Yiddish anarchism with recent thought on decolonizing anarchism, which critiques more “universalizing” aspects of European anarchism, as in the brilliant work of Macarena Gómez-Barris and J. Kehaulani Kauanui. Yiddish anarchism was invented by refugees who theorized from their experience of border crossing—how does that history relate to anticolonial anarchisms and indigenous critiques of the state? I think both share a consciousness of deep time and life before the rise of a nation-state; this remembering has the potential to destabilize the present moment, reminding us that there’s nothing truly inevitable about militarism and nationalism. Though there are different orientations towards land and territory between these movements, I am interested in a vision of anarchism that’s more than just radical cosmopolitanism, that’s really about producing solidarities in the present. Taking seriously the particularities of Yiddish anarchist culture could be a move towards also considering the particularities of Indigenous and First Nations and Maroon and PoC movements and their ongoing relationships to the state, rather than subsuming all of these into a flatly universalist idea of what freedom means or what it means to become ungovernable. KZ: It’s definitely not just anarchism translated into Yiddish. Yiddish anarchism, at least as it existed in the United States and elsewhere outside of Russia, was different from most other parallel or overlapping anarchist movements. It focused a lot more on Haskalah-type enlightenment, bringing great works of literature and science and philosophy to a Yiddish-reading audience. Yiddish anarchists translated an almost unbelievable amount of what you would call “world literature” for their readers. Their newspapers were chock full of it: Kropotkin, Herbert Spencer, Darwin, European playwrights and whatnot. I think Anna’s absolutely right. There was a focus on not universalizing, but on cultivating difference. It’s a worldview in which linguistic, cultural, and racial difference is viewed as a positive good. Yiddish anarchists very much focused on Yiddish cultural production and the Yiddish language as an important yet evolving project. They were also not traditionalists in any sense. They were not about observing or maintaining Jewish tradition just because it was tradition. They were very much about questioning and altering and innovating, but within a very specifically Yiddish and Jewish context. ...

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[l] at 11/24/22 1:21pm
Author: Ezra H. HeywoodTitle: Yours or MineSubtitle: An Essay, to Show the True Basis of Property, and the Causes of Its Inequitable DistributionDate: 1869Notes: By E. H. Heywood, president of The New-England Labor-Reform League.Source: Retrieved on November 24, 2022 from https://babel.hathitrust.org Everything, from the body one wears, to the world he lives in, is subject to the claim of ownership; an object of common desire, and the means of universal comfort, property, is yet the source of such general and ominous conflict, that an intelligent sense, both of its just and unjust claims, should guide further steps towards order and progress. Especially does an issue now interrogating us, an issue fraught with gravest interests and threatening overturn, in comparison with which, all former revolutions are insignificant—the labor question require this. It is of little use to discuss “The Rights of Labor,” “The Rights of Capital,” “Eight Hours,” “Demand and Supply,” “Free Competition,” “Co-operation,” “Cheap Money,” “Specie Payments,” “Public Faith,” “Repudiation,” or other war-cries inscribed on the banners of hostile interests, until we have determined, with some degree of exactness, what is right between these contending parties, on what grounds we may hold or dispose of property, and what causes its unequal distribution. Whether the labor movement turns out to be merely a new assault of destitute assertion on vested interests; a raid of the have-nothings on the have-somethings, to end in defeat, and the handing of the American people over to the dark fate of masses in older nations; or a decisive step towards fundamental equity,—depends much upon a correct answer of this inquiry. Hardly hoping to succeed, when so many others have failed, I yet am not at liberty to decline investigating a question which so deeply concerns individual duty and social destiny. Most people see truth, but see it so rarely with a sense of moral obligation to obey it, that reform is still the battle of a few believers with many unbelievers. That service is the source of wealth, that labor creates all values equitably vendible, is so generally conceded in political science, and the popular sense of right, argument in its defence seems unnecessary. Yet struggle to make that truth the basis of practical life,—perhaps the gravest moral issue which has claimed the attention of men since Calvary—will stir all nations profoundly. The claim of equality before God, in the sixteenth century, followed by demand for equality before the law in the nineteenth century, has now to prove its sincerity by establishing equality in law and custom. What one finds in arriving on the earth,—air, light, soil, sea, mines, forest, bird, quadruped, all objects of value or use, unmodified by human skill, may be classed as natural wealth, the free inheritance which beneficent Providence bequeathes to all His children. What this immigrant from the realm of space' produces after landing here,—hearth, hammock, food, church, town, mills, roads, post-office, newspapers, telegraph, all matter penetrated and improved by mind,—is artificial wealth. The work done, sharpening a stake, building a city, having a dream, writing a poem, service contributed, comfort sacrificed, originates the claim to ownership or property, and defines its nature and limits. In equity, one owns what he has earned, or received as the free gift of another’s earnings; to claim more. is an invasion of those natural resources which justice holds free and common, or fraudulent seizure of the fruits of others’ toil. But this possessive case has also an objective form: others labored, we have entered into the results. Every stroke of work is the resultant of numberless preceding forces. Many fortunes were made by the use of machinery, the inventors of which died in the poor-house. One builds a house in a week; but in the materials, tools, and skill used, centuries unite to construct and equip the carpenter for his work—the clothes on his person, the food in his stomach—his body brought into the world, at such cost of pain, that his mother experienced deeper meaning of the word “labor” than he ever dreamed of—flesh and blood borrowed, for all animal substances coming from surrounding elements, if plant, water, earth, air, should lay bands on their own, they would leave him no body to live in—the spark of life animating his house of clay—all derived. Though he drove every nail, and bought every fibre of material, will the man be impertinent, impious enough, to say he built the house? Still, though many foreworkers may dispute his claim, he produced the concrete result; and society allows him a title. The tenure of mere pre-occupancy, or purchase, by shuffling the cards of “supply and demand,” with little or no valid labor-claim, is so general, that property is timid, fears questions, fears an interrogation-point more than a thousand bayonets; goes into partnership with sin, with slavery, war, forgery, speculation; so that, looking into any popular evil, property slams the door in your face. But pre-ccupancy, as of land and tools, to use them, benefits society and is acquiesced in. Providence, however, holding stock in both men and things, teaches individual self-sacrifice to the public good. In view of Deity being omnipotent, avarice wonders how one can be so strong, and not steal. Yet it is the essence of power to scorn appropriation; one is great in proportion to his ability of self-support and to assist others; deeds which live in history were voluntary and gratuitous; those who work for money, cease when the pay stops; those who work for love of it, hold on. God is God, because he works for all, and for nothing. To see poverty successfully defied, strengthens one. I was sad one day, having no money to buy shoes, but recovered on meeting cheerful faces going barefoot. The loafer,—who is this free, fat, reckless fellow, in no anxiety about where he shall get his dinner? ...

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[l] at 11/24/22 5:47am
Author: М. KornTitle: Kropotkin’s CommunismDate: 1931Notes: Editor’s note: Korn, M. “Kropotkin’s Communism,” in International collection dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the death of P.A.Kropotkin, ed. Grigory Maximov (Chicago, 1931), 34–46. This essay by the anarchist Marie Goldsmith was first published in Russian in a 1931 anthology recognizing the ten year anniversary of Peter Kropotkin’s death. Almost one hundred years afer that anthology was printed, the article has been translated by Alexandra Agranovich and edited by Christopher Coquard and Søren Hough with the goal of preserving Goldsmith’s original meaning and stylistic emphases. Footnotes by the translator or editors are prefaced “Ed:” while all other footnotes are from Marie Goldsmith’s original article. Her references to page numbers in Kropotkin’s books and pamphlets correspond to the Russian editions.Source: This translation was originally published in Black Flag Vol. 2 No. 3 2022 p. 20–26. This document sourced from mariegoldsmith.uk/archives It was the development of the theory of anarchist communism that Kropotkin believed to be his main contribution to the theory of anarchism. Indeed, what had the economic ideal of the anarchist movement been before Kropotkin published a series of his famous articles in the Le Révolté newspaper in 1879, articles which eventually made up his book Words of a Rebel? At the time of the foundation of the International, socialist doctrines were developed along two lines: state communism and Proudhonism. Communists sought to concentrate economic power in the hands of the state and to structure social life in a military fashion: strict discipline, “detachments” and “labor armies,” compulsory collective consumption in a barracks-like environment, etc. The communism of Louis Blanc and [Étienne] Cabet was precisely that kind of “war communism”; it may have proclaimed the principle “to each according to his needs,” but the actual needs had to be determined from above, by means of a kind of a “reallocation” system.[1] A social ideal like this could not, of course, satisfy free minds, and Proudhon put forward an arrangement of an entirely different, opposing type. He based the economic system of the future on the notion of equality and reciprocity: production and exchange were grounded on cooperative principles with members of society exchanging services and products of equal value. The privileges of capital are thus eliminated, but private property — though exclusively property actively in use for labor[2] — would continue, and the notion of its communalization does not enter into this arrangement. As long ago as in the early years of the International, both ideals failed to satisfy the advanced socialists and, at the Congresses held in 1867 and 1868, the principle of public (in opposition to state) ownership of land and instruments of labor was adopted. In the years that followed, at the height of Bakunin’s activity, this idea was further developed to constitute, under the name of collectivism, the economic program of the federalist part of the International. The original meaning of the word “collectivism” later suffered a number of mutations, but at that time it meant: public (“collective”) possession of the land and the implements of production along with the organization of distribution within each anarchist federation community according to the preferences of the members of that community.[3] The members of the International defined “collectivism” as non-state federalist communism, thus distancing themselves from the centralized state communism professed by Babeuf, Louis Blanc, Cabet, and Marx and his followers.[4] That’s what Bakunin meant when he said at a congress: “I am not a communist, I am a collectivist.” When the “collectivists” of the International proclaimed the principle: “to each the whole result of his labor,” they did not mean that labor would be evaluated and rewarded by someone; they meant only that it would not be exploited and all the products of labor would be used to the benefit of the workers. How these products would be distributed was an open question, left to the decision of each community. But as the development of ideas advanced, collectivism in that form became unsatisfactory, and the thought of the members of the International began to search for a definite answer to the open question, an answer that would be compatible with the principle of absence of a coercive force, of state power in society. An idea was proposed that the only thing that could guide the distribution was everyone’s needs, and that an exact evaluation of each worker’s labor was an impossible thing. In 1876, the Italian Federation of the International spoke in favor of “anarchist communism” at its congress in Florence and, four years later, the Jura Federation, the most influential one, arrived at the same decision (at the 1880 congress in Chaux-de-Fonds). At this congress, the old “collectivism” that only proclaimed communalization of the land and instruments of labor encountered the new idea of anarchist communism defended by Kropotkin, [Élisée] Reclus, and [Carlo] Cafiero, as the only idea compatible with a stateless system.[5] The new idea triumphed, and since that time communism has entered the anarchist worldview as an inseparable part of it, at least in the eyes of the vast majority of anarchists. The credit for developing this idea on the basis of data drawn from both science and practical life must go to Kropotkin. It’s owing to him that anarchism possesses this guiding economic principle. Kropotkin’s communism stems from two sources: on the one hand, from the study of economic phenomena and their historical development, and, on the other, from the social ideal of equality and freedom. His objective scientific research and his passionate search for a social formation into which maximum justice can be embodied consistently led him to the same solution: anarchist communism. Over the centuries, step by step, by the labor of countless generations, by conquering nature, by developing productive forces, by improving technology, humanity has accumulated enormous wealth in the fertile fields, in the bowels of the earth, in vibrant cities. Countless technical improvements have made it possible to facilitate and reduce human labor; the broadest human needs can be satisfied to greater and greater extent. And it is only because a small handful of people have seized everything that is needed to create this wealth — land, machines, means of communication, education, culture, etc. — these possibilities remain possibilities without ever being translated into reality. ...

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[l] at 11/23/22 11:41pm
Author: Logan Marie GlitterbombTitle: Constitutionalism As a ThreatDate: September 20, 2019Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/52382 When the average american thinks of libertarianism, they often think of right-wing minarchists and self-proclaimed constitutionalists. These types don’t believe in full anarchism, but in limiting the state’s powers to only the bare minimum needed to enforce the united states constitution. These types often champion rights they see the constitution as protecting: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to petition the government, the right to bear arms, protections against unwarranted searches and seizures, the right to due process, protections against self-incrimination, the right to a speedy trial and legal representation, the right to a trial by jury, protections against excessive fines and cruel or unusual punishment, protection of unenumerated rights, states’ rights, sovereign immunity, the abolition of chattel slavery, voting rights, and the repeal of alcohol prohibition. Of course, like any statist propaganda, this view only considers half the content of this founding document. Yes, there was alcohol prohibition itself, which was thankfully defeated, but that is far from the only error in the constitution. Many of those same types may even point out a few of their favorite gripes. Income tax and citizenship rights are often the issues of choice for many right-wing constitutionalists. Their complaints against the income tax are usually well-founded and similar in vein to most libertarian anti-tax arguments except that they are more focused on the working class. Complaints about citizenship rights defined in the 14th amendment, however, mostly seem to be based in faulty “sovereign citizen” logic which, while sounding good, has sadly never held up in court. Recently I was attending court for charges I was facing for my involvement in the Occupy Prisons Gainesville campaign. In solidarity with the prison strike last September, a number of us camped outside of the local prison work camp for about a week and a half and disrupted their daily activities. We held noise demos, dropped banners, played movies and live music for inmates to watch and listen to through their cell windows, blocked inmate work vans, and followed unpaid inmate work crews around town to bring attention to their use. Needless to say, the campaign was more successful than we could have expected and we convinced the local government to end the use of unpaid prison slave labor for city and county projects, making us the first area in Florida to do so. But it did not come without cost. As I stood there in court facing a civil citation for blocking a police van, a misdemeanor trespassing charge, and a misdemeanor for obstructing police and interfering with prisoners, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when the judge declared himself a constitutionalist. I laughed because he did it in a way that completely revealed the nature of constitutionalism and exposed it as a sort of threat. While he said he fully believed in and supported my right to freedom of speech, he was disappointed in the city council for voting to end the use of prison slavery, a practice he pointed out is protected by the 13th amendment of the constitution he so greatly adores. He then reminded me that if I do not follow the rules of my probation then I could wind up a slave of the system myself. Let’s hope if that happens that I serve in Alachua County were they can no longer exploit my labor for government projects. I’ll leave you, dear reader, with a quote from the late great anarchist theorist, Samuel Edward Konkin on the dangers of trying to achieve libertarian goals via the state: And of course, the ultimate nightmare, which I’ve described in a few pamphlets for those of you who don’t remember it, the idea of a libertarian working his way through the system. Who arrests one of us counter economists, one of us people who go and break laws and things because we don’t believe in the government. And he takes us in front of a libertarian who works his way through the system as a judge and he takes us in front of a libertarian, you know he sentences us, and a libertarian working his way through the system as a bailiff, takes us to the jail where a libertarian working his way through the system as a turnkey. Holds us prisoner until eventually a libertarian working his way through the system as a court, or the prison priest, brings us up to the electric chair where a libertarian working his way through the system as a state technician is making sure it’s in good working order and a libertarian working his way through the system as a burly guard slaps us down on the chair and another libertarian working his way through the system as an executioner throws a switch and wipes out the one person who was, in fact, a libertarian not working his way through the system.

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[l] at 11/23/22 11:38pm
Author: Logan Marie GlitterbombTitle: The Failures of ConstitutionalismDate: April 29, 2018Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/50740 The first time I heard the term libertarian outside of a leftist anarchist context, it was in reference to the kind of paleo-conservative constitutionalism of the early Tea Party and the Ron Paul “Rɘvolution”. While I was impressed by their strong anti-war stance, as well as their opposition to the bank bailouts among other things, I was always uneasy about the ways they couched it in the rhetoric of the united states constitution. For one, I always found it rather odd and slightly humorous the way constitutionalists harp about the bill of rights, praising it endlessly, while failing to realize that the people who fought for the inclusion of the bill of rights only did so as a last ditch effort when they realized that they would not obtain their original goal: to oppose the creation of the new united states constitution, in favor of the more decentralized (but still just as colonialist) Articles of Confederation. But deeper than that, I was concerned to see the growing alliance between libertarians of various stripes and these constitutional patriots. To be frank, the two are not compatible and it is exactly their worship of the american constitution that holds this union back. Whereas many constitutionalists hold that the founding of america was a glorious achievement of western civilization that brought democracy and freedom to the new world, radical libertarians know better. Instead, they recognize that the founding of america came at the expense of the original residents of Turtle Island and was by no means the bastion of freedom many claim it to be. Whereas many constitutionalists will praise the 1st amendment, many of those same people claim that counter-protesters are violating the freedom of speech of others when they are not asking for anyone to be locked up for their speech but are merely engaging in counter-speech of their own. Whereas many constitutionalists will praise the 2nd amendment, none have the courage to admit that the law clearly refers to militias, most of which likely were, or doubled as slave patrols and anti-indigenous frontier militias at the time, whereas radical libertarians don’t need to justify their right to self-defense by pointing to a 200-year-old scrap of paper but instead point to the long history of marginalized and oppressed peoples protecting and liberating their communities with the help of firearms. Whereas many constitutionalists hold that alcohol prohibition didn’t work, thus necessitating the overturn of the 18th amendment by the 21st, and many will even agree with legalizing and regulating cannabis as well, radical libertarians are skeptical of the current cannabis legalization trends. They see it as being a capitalist scheme designed to make a few players wealthy at the expense of the millions who paved the way whose lives were ruined forever by the american legal system. Radical libertarians do not want legalization and regulation but rather favor complete decriminalization of all drugs, not just cannabis, as well as the immediate retroactive release of all drug war victims and/or expungement of their criminal records. Legalization means nothing if it does not address mass incarceration. Whereas many constitutionalists believe that only congress has the power to declare war within the confines of constitutional law, radical libertarians call for the end of all wars of imperialism and the abolition of the state. Whereas many constitutionalists view the only proper role of the state as one of criminal justice, radical libertarians realize the history of our police force which formed from slave patrols before being hired as armed thugs for what would become the largest mass incarceration system in the world. While the constitutionalists will claim that slavery ended with the 13th amendment, radical libertarians realize the language of the amendment is plain as day and recognize that prison slavery is alive and well. Whereas many constitutionalists see national borders as a necessary form of defense and a proper function of government, radical libertarians believe in abolishing all state borders in favor of the free travel of human beings. Whereas many constitutionalists will try and claim that “All men are created equal,” many still refuse to fully accept that those words are as empty as they were when they were written in a time of slavery, genocide, and state-endorsed systematic bigotry. And the ones who do recognize this fact will downplay it or claim it’s in the past. Radical libertarians, however, recognize that those words are still far from true today and that backpedaling to be closer to the visions of our founding fathers only means reversing much of the progress made in their wake. Whereas many constitutionalists want to return america to a time and culture that only truly exists in fiction, radical libertarians realize that this project was flawed from the start and the only way to achieve true freedom is through abolishing the constitution and starting anew.

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[l] at 11/23/22 11:29pm
Author: Kevin CarsonTitle: The Law Isn't Worth the Paper It's Written OnDate: April 18, 2009Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/388 Sheldon Richman, in a recent commentary piece at the Future of Freedom Foundation, examined “the civics-book fairy tale that we are the government.” In honor of April 15, he wrote: “You must report every dime you earned last year, and if you believe any of it should be beyond the state’s grasp, you’d better have the proof. If the government withheld more of your money than (you think) the rules require, it is your burden to prove that. You then must submit the official paperwork by a certain time. If the authorities are not satisfied with what you submit, they will demand that you prove you’ve done it right. If you can’t, you’ll have to do it their way and pay more.” In such a situation, he asks, “Do you really feel as though you’re paying taxes to yourself and your neighbors?” Let’s stipulate, for the sake of argument, to this “the government is just all of us working together” fairy tale of the soccer moms, exemplified at its most goo-gooish in the book “Why Mommy is a Democrat.” Let’s stipulate that the government’s policies really do reflect the will of the majority, and that it means well. Nevertheless, the fact remains that an enormous, continent-sized administrative state entails a huge amount of bureaucratic friction. And it requires, of necessity, the delegation of a great deal of discretion to people with an enormous potential for abusing that discretion. It should be self-evident that every regulation, no matter how “well-meaning,” requires an administrative bureaucracy. And administrative bureaucracies simply cannot function according to traditional standards of common law due process. If an administrative bureaucracy had to operate on the presumption of a defendant’s innocence until it met the burden of persuading a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, before it could levy fines or seize property, the government’s taxing and regulatory functions would be paralyzed. It would be utterly impossible to carry them out, because the cost of meeting common law standards of due process (especially in internal revenue cases) would exceed the public benefits. The government, fiscally speaking, would bleed to death. Pursuant to that rationale, the same prerogative law that the American colonists rebelled against, the law exercised by the British admiralty with its writs of assistance, has been gradually imported on a piecemeal basis. Today there are several dozen government agencies with the power to fine or imprison, or condemn property under “civil forfeiture,” without anyone’s ever being convicted of a crime. What’s more, the petty functionaries running the rabbit warren of administrative law courts have a great deal of leeway to carry out personal vendettas. They can make life an utter hell for anyone who runs afoul of their whims, and force their enemies to bankrupt themselves fighting for justice. James Bovard’s work contains hundreds of anecdotes of the Kafkaesque nightmare suffered by victims of the administrative state. Or you can just rent the movie “Brazil.” The late Harry Browne reminded us that, whenever we advocate a new law or regulation, we should always remember that it will almost certainly be interpreted and enforced by people we don’t like, in a way that’s 180 degrees removed from our intentions. In considering the unintended consequences of laws, we should also avoid falling for the liberal faith, that words on a piece of paper have some magical effect on reality. Several years ago, when the Northwest Arkansas community of Fayetteville was preparing to vote in a referendum to prohibit smoking in restaurants, local radio stations ran commercials in favor of the ban, by a group called YouthCAN! One ad had portrayed a maitre ‘d asking a customer whether he’d rather sit in the “washing” or “non-washing” section of the restaurant. That is, would he prefer his waiter wash his hands after using the bathroom, or not? “That’s disgusting!” the appalled customer said. “Isn’t there some kind of a law?” In a similar ad, a visitor to a public swimming pool was confronted with the “peeing” and “non-peeing” sections. The outraged response, again–”Isn’t there some kind of a law?” This is a classic illustration of the liberal mindset: the belief that an unenforceable law will cause people to wash their hands, or to refrain from peeing in the pool. This is fairly common among authoritarian personalities. They recognize, in theory, that some people refuse for whatever perverse reason to obey the law—but they attempt to solve the problem by passing a new law, on the implicit assumption that it will be obeyed. As Barney Fife said, “Rule Number One: Obey all the rules!” Here in Arkansas, gas pumps bear signs with the stern visage of a state trooper warning potential scofflaws that driving off without paying for gas will cause their drivers’ licenses to be revoked. The assumption, apparently, is that someone who will steal gas without any moral qualm or fear of getting caught, will nevertheless be afraid to drive without a license.

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[l] at 11/23/22 11:25pm
Author: Kevin CarsonTitle: Authoritarians in Libertarian ClothingDate: February 6, 2009Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/146 Some time ago Charles Johnson, in “Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism,” argued for what he called “thick libertarianism.” That is, libertarians should–AS libertarians–promote values of equality and justice beyond the bare bones nonaggression principle on which “thin libertarianism” is grounded. Equality and justice, he argued, should appeal to libertarians for the same reason that (assuming they were sane) they were originally attracted to libertarianism itself. Most people do not come to libertarianism as a result of deductive reasoning from the nonaggression principle. They are first attracted to libertarianism because it appeals to broader cultural values of equality and fair play, or an aversion to seeing people treated badly and pushed around, and then they gradually come to accept the more philosophical arguments for it afterward. So while it’s possible for a person to be libertarian in the sense of accepting the nonaggression principle, and without formal contradiction simultaneously favor such voluntary forms of authoritarianism as the patriarchal family, the hierarchical employment relationship, and various other forms of cultural domination, Johnson argued that it would be just plain weird. Why would the sort of person with an affinity for that sort of thing draw the line at state authoritarianism, in particular? Unfortunately, there seems to be a great deal of such authoritarian weirdness among professed libertarians. A good example is Lew Rockwell’s post of Jan. 28 at LewRockwell.com Blog, in which he appeals to the common understanding of most American workers–in contrast to “trade-union commie” dogma–that their boss is their benefactor, and that they owe him gratitude as well as hard work. If the employment contract is–ahem–a CONTRACT between two equal parties for mutual benefit, why should be workers be any more “grateful” to the boss than vice versa? Can you imagine Rockwell’s reaction if some “commie” commenting on a layoff story argued that the workers were the boss’s benefactor, and that he owed them gratitude as well as good pay? Rockwell’s attitude reminds me of Paul Graham’s quip that the contractual employment relation, in practice, contains a lot of recycled master-servant DNA. It’s certainly odd that a libertarian, who professes to celebrate the supercession of status by contract, should such nostalgia for the baggage of the age of status. It’s almost Burkean: squires in powdered wigs sipping mint juleps on the verandah, and grateful laborers in the field singing old English spirituals. No less a free market libertarian than Herbert Spencer remarked on the cultural holdovers, in the modern wage employment relationship, from the old “regime of status.” So long as the worker remains a wage-earner, the marks of status do not wholly disappear. For so many hours daily he makes over his faculties to a master…, and is for the time owned by him…. He is temporarily in the position of a slave, and his overlooker stands in the position of a slave-driver. Only, unlike many libertarians of the contemporary right, Spencer thought this was a BAD thing. Another, even more appalling example is a collection of quotes from Mises.Org Community forums, compiled by the market anarchist blog Polycentric Order (“Why I Dislike the Hoppeans and Libertarian Conservatives”): “Nonetheless we do favour individuals with authority, in the form of a natural elite.” “If the parents wish to use force, then so be it. The child consents by continuing to live off his parents.” “Libertarianism doesn’t support equal negative rights, a child does not have the same rights as an adult.” “This doesn’t imply equal negative rights for adults. Some adults, such as primitives, are not capable of rational argumentation and cannot be brought peacefully into the division of labour. Moreover, they have no conception of property rights nor any enforcable claim.” “These people (tribal or less developed cultures) simply aren’t capable of rational argumentation, and therefore have no rights, whether this is biological or cultural makes no differences.” “The fact is they often cannot be brought within the division of labour and without any concept of property rights it’s impossible that they own anything. Moreover they have no legitimate claim to any of this territory and as such it’s free to be homesteaded.” “People incapable of moral choice must either abide by the decisions of those who are or they must be removed from free society.” “Against people who have no law, the initiation of force is fully justified.” “It was not wrong for the spanish to overthrow an empire that literally fed on its slaves in religious rituals and replace it with its much milder form of serfdom.” “Childish rejection of a natural order and authority isn’t the opposite to subservience. It’s a bad trait that needs to be kept down until the youth have matured sufficiently.”…. “Seeing as towns would be owned by single entrepreneurs…” “Why wouldn’t people sell their land to a single entrepreneur? The have no interest in owning land, only in being able to lease it from some owner.”…. “Opposition to the family and church sounds somewhat Marxist to me, any libertarian society will be founded upon those two institutions so in a sense yes, one does need to be a cultural conservative to be a libertarian.”…. “Feudalism is actually an entirely appropriate model for anarchist society, and my prediction is it’s coming whether the anarchists like it or not.” “A system of feudal holdings all competing with each other for human and fiscal capital stacks up pretty good against a system whereby the parasitic majority lives off the productive minority.” ...

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[l] at 11/23/22 11:20pm
Author: Kevin CarsonTitle: Nazi PrivatizationDate: January 23, 2009Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/124 Nicholas Hildyard, writing for The Corner House (March 1998), pointed out the phony nature of most of what passes for “privatization” under neoliberalism: While the privatisation of state industries and assets has certainly cut down the direct involvement of the state in the production and distribution of many goods and services, the process has been accompanied by new state regulations, subsidies and institutions aimed at introducing and entrenching a “favourable environment” for the newly-privatised industries. Director Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance made a similar point about the kind of “privatization” promoted by vulgar libertarian think tanks like the Adam Smith Institute. The ASI, he wrote in Free Life Commentary (July 3, 1998), “sells market solutions to statist problems.” An Adam Smith Institute report… will look at the technical questions of how to privatise – at what the shape of the new private activity ought to be, at what special interests need to be conciliated, and so forth. And the report will often only sketch out the details of a proposal that will be fully explained in direct consultancy with a company or ministry…. The old statism was at least mitigated by incompetence. The people in charge of it were paid too little to feel really important; and much of their energy was absorbed in disputes with stupid or malevolent union leaders. They presided over a system that was never very strong, and that failed to weather the storms of the 1970s. As reconstructed in the 1980s – partly by the Adam Smith Institute – the new statism is different. It looks like private enterprise. It makes a profit. Those in charge of it are paid vast salaries, and smugly believe they are worth every penny…. But for all its external appearance, the reality is statism. And because it makes a profit, it is more stable than the old. It is also more pervasive. Look at these privatised companies, with their boards full of retired politicians, their cosy relationships with the regulators, their quick and easy ways to get whatever privileges they want…. As with National Socialism in Germany, the new statism is leading to the abolition of the distinction between public and private. Security companies, for example, are being awarded contracts to ferry defendants between prison and court, and in some cases to build and operate prisons. This has been sold to us on the – perfectly correct – grounds that it ensures better value for money. But it also involves grants of state powers of coercion to private organisations. All over the country, private companies are being given powers of surveillance and control greater than the Police used to possess. ….There has been no diminution in the economic power of the State, only a change in its mode of operation…. With all that by way of preface, you can imagine my reaction when I came across a paper, titled “Against the mainstream: Nazi privatization in 1930s Germany,” by Germà Bel of the University of Barcelona. Here’s an excerpt: The Great Depression spurred State ownership in Western capitalist countries. Germany was no exception; the last governments of the Weimar Republic took over firms in diverse sectors. Later, the Nazi regime transferred public ownership and public services to the private sector. In doing so, they went against the mainstream trends in the Western capitalist countries, none of which systematically reprivatized firms during the 1930s. Privatization in Nazi Germany was also unique in transferring to private hands the delivery of public services previously provided by government. Bel argues that one of the political aims of the privatization initiatives was to win the support of the German industrialists–or as Sidney Merlin put it in a 1943 paper quoted by Bel, “facilitate the accumulation of private fortunes and industrial empires by [the regime’s] foremost members and collaborators.” Along the same lines, Joseph Stromberg once argued by private email, based on his reading of Behemoth (by the Frankfurt School’s Franz Neumann), that the autarky of Fortress Europe wasn’t the Nazis’ goal at all. It was simply a temporary way around the Anglo-American ownership of the monetary system, etc. As they conquered territory, the Nazis extended their model of state-capitalism into the new areas. I suppose we could credit them with an early model of top-down globalization…. Not much different than the American model: tariffs until you control the overseas assets, then ‘free trade.’ Had the Axis won, they’d no doubt have created their own version of the Bretton Woods agencies and the UN Security Council, and made the Deutschmark into a global reserve currency. Neumann and the rest of the Frankfurt School described, as the aim of fascism, to transcend the internal contradictions of capitalism, in much the same way that Immanuel Wallerstein argued the feudal ruling class transcended the internal contradictions of feudalism. According to Wallerstein, a subgroup of the feudal ruling class reconfigured themselves as agrarian capitalists, and negotiated the transition to capitalism, setting themselves up as the core of the new ruling class over a new social system. Similarly, Wallerstein speculates, a section of the capitalist ruling class may attempt to survive the collapse of corporate capitalism from its internal contradictions, by setting themselves up as the ruling class of a post-market collectivist society. That’s exactly what fascism attempted to do, according to the Frankfurt School: to create a post-capitalist, or at least post-market, society under the control of the biggest finance capitalists. The capitalists, in the Frankfurt School scenario, attempt to transcend the law of value and mediate an increasing share of economic transactions directly through the state rather than the market price system. ...

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[l] at 11/23/22 6:09pm
Author: Faruk PakTitle: The First Intifada and AnarchismDate: November 23rd, 2022Source: Retrieved on November 23rd, 2022 from https://c4ss.org/content/57676. The First Intifada (meaning shaking off/uprising in Arabic) was the first Palestinian uprising against Israel’s takeover of Palestinian territory, lasting from December 1987 until the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. The “intifada,” which went down in history as the name of the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation, is known by this name all over the world. In December 1987, an Israeli pickup truck crashed into a vehicle carrying Palestinians in the Gaza region, killing four people. Thereupon, the Islamic University of Gaza students started the uprising that would be known as intifada by calling all Palestinians to gather around the hospital to take care of the people who lost their lives or were injured. The organizing of the First Intifada was based on the development of decentralized, grassroots committees in jails, schools, neighborhoods, and industries, which gives off anarcho-syndicalist vibes. Whether the demand was for an independent Palestinian state or anything else, it was essentially a mass uprising against authority. There were many actions that would have been appreciated by those who might call themselves anarchists: the general strike, the boycott of Israeli institutions in Gaza and the West Bank, civil disobedience to state and army orders, not paying taxes, establishing underground schools, establishing mutual aid networks, refusal to carry Israeli licenses while driving Palestinian vehicles, the prevalence of graffiti, erecting barricades, and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli military buildings within Palestinian borders. The First Intifada ended with the establishment of a Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the Oslo Accords; some may consider this as anti-anarchist; indeed, such treaties among illegitimate states, the establishment of a new hierarchy or administration, etc. do not seem to be auspicious at first glance. These forms of action and resistance, which many anarchists — even any consistent anarchist — will approve of, helped to bring a new government out of a state that is illegitimate and uses unlimited violence under the pretext of national sovereignty. It is the magnitude of the concession indicating how threatened the State felt, which I take into account to be a concrete achievement for a modern anarchist. As we can see in this example, anarchism can be seen as a way of living, a way of looking at the relationship between the individual and the State, a method against that State and existing unjust hierarchies that cannot legitimize themselves. The history of anarchism is, first of all, the history of the struggle against power and coexistence with solidarity. This is precisely the source of the uniqueness of anarchist systems that flourished simultaneously in different geographies. The organized efforts of different individuals will also contain the characteristics of that locality. Those who talk about anarchism today will realize that the history of anarchism experienced in different geographies is the history of those who organized anarchism in those geographies. The only condition for an idea or a movement to survive is to have people who keep that thought alive and maintain that movement. When anarchism is mentioned in different geographies, the things made up of the minds of the people living in that particular geography, even the use of the word, the emergence of those who consider themselves “anarchist” can be explained by the characteristic of anarchism as a movement before it is the product of an intellectual effort. Anarchism does not hit the road with a bunch of academic books in hand. Moreover, it is ridiculous to state that the Oslo Accords suppressed something and that the rioters I praised bowed to them. The perspective of the Intifada has not been defeated, suppressed, or destroyed over the years. The spirit of the Intifada still lives on, as it did in the endless riots for decades. In Palestine, in refugee camps, in exile, or in the diaspora, in struggles for justice. The Intifada has been characterized by a commitment to action against unjust hierarchy, a deep-rooted internationalism, and an emphasis on grassroots organizing. It was born out of frustration with the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinian rights, and has brought together people to resist injustice around the world. Today, it is maintaining momentum as a grassroots movement in Palestine, Israel and beyond. The struggle for Palestinian freedom continues: there will be more protests, more arrests, but also more creative ways to resist and build alternatives. Resistance will continue until Palestinians are free from Israeli occupation, from racism and from the illusion that one side can win over another. The spirit of the Intifada remains a revolutionary hope and vision for a free future.

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[l] at 11/23/22 1:37pm
Author: Benjamin TuckerTitle: Liberty Vol. V. No. 4.Subtitle: Not the Daughter but the Mother of OrderDate: September 24, 1887Notes: Whole No. 108. — Many thanks to www.readliberty.org for the readily-available transcription and to www.libertarian-labyrinth.org for the original scans.Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from http://www.readliberty.org “For always in thine eyes, O Liberty! Shines that high light whereby the world is saved; And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.” John Hay. On Picket Duty. The Detroit “Advance” reprints from Liberty, apparently with approval, Mr. Yarros’s excellent “Reasons Why.” Labadie, as I expected, is sound on Egoism as well as Anarchism. The judges say that Spies and his brave comrades must hang, though they cannot prove them guilty of murder. It is for the people now to say that the judges must go, there being no doubt as to their guilt. The poem “Paul at Athens,” which “Lucifer” prints in its issue of September 9 and credits to the “Index,” originally appeared in my quarterly, the “Radical Review,” for which periodical the author, B. W. Ball, wrote it. If the “Index” printed it, it did so at second hand. The “opinion” of the judges in the Chicago Socialists’ case reads like a New York “Times” editorial. As a legal document it is probably unparalleled, and soon a pamphlet is to appear in Chicago to show that it is a mixture of “lies, misrepresentations, and idiocy.” Judge Macgruder — the newspaper report says — read the decision against the Chicago Socialists with husky voice and pallid face and trembling lips. Was it his “conscience,” his sympathy for the condemned, or the vision of a dynamite bomb that caused him so much torture? Some enterprising reporter interviewed Chicago citizens in order to find out the general feeling in regard to the affirmation of the verdict. We are informed that Judge Gary, Chief of Police Ebersold, and Phil Armour “approve” the supreme court decision. Impossible! I refuse to believe it! Charlotte Smith, editor of the Washington “Working Woman,” keeps the presidential ticket, Blair and George, at the head of her columns. Queer, isn’t it, that such a “simplifier” of government as George should be thought of as a fitting tail for a ticket headed by that honest but rabid prohibitionist and all-round governmentalist, Henry W. Blair? Whenever the Galveston Daily “News” exposes the true character of the rubbish with which the daily press for the most part opposes Henry George’s theory, the “Standard” hastens to quote its utterance as “sound arguments from a Texas paper.” But it is a singular fact that, whenever the “News” itself opposes Henry George’s theory with arguments identical with those used by Liberty, the “Standard” carefully ignores the Texas paper, as it ignores the Boston paper, neither quoting it nor attempting to answer it. H. M. Hyndman says in London “Justice” that he “never knew man or woman who once understood Socialism [meaning State Socialism], and honestly adopted it, who ever went back on their views.” I could introduce Mr. Hyndman to a number of such people, many of them now stanch Anarchists on Liberty’s subscription list. Of course it is open to him to say that they never understood State Socialism, but it is none the less certain that at the time they believed in it some of them were looked upon as well fitted to champion it and trusted to fill party offices. In disposing with his usual cleverness of the economists’ apologies for interest G. Bernard Shaw takes a position upon the money question not at all in harmony with the State Socialism toward which he usually inclines. He would be taken, in fact, for a first-class Anarchist. Speaking of the tax which the banker who has a monopoly levies upon all commerce, he says: “Only by the freedom of other financiers to adopt his system and tempt his customers by offering to share the advantage with them, can that advantage eventually be distributed throughout the community.” Only, observe. No other method will do it. Government monopoly will not do it. Nothing but laissez-faire, free competition, free money, in short, as far as it goes, pure Anarchism, can abolish interest on money. When Mr. Shaw shall apply this principle in all directions, he and Liberty will stand on the same platform. So John Most has made application for naturalization papers, and, because he has been refused, loudly clamors for his constitutional rights. It reminds one of those opponents of marriage who are anxious to secure their rights under the marriage law. Can it be that Most wants to vote, after all his expenditure of breath in proclaiming the inefficacy and absurdity of the ballot? Rumors are rife that he and his friends are contemplating an alliance with the State Socialists against George. There may be no truth in them; nevertheless such an alliance may be looked for at any time. The revolutionary Communism which Most has preached is only another form of State Socialism, and is as far removed from Anarchism as Catholicism is. Liberty, by steadily insisting on this, has made many people angry, but its position, as usual, seems likely to be sustained by events. On Sunday, September 18, a society was formed in Boston under the name of The Anarchists’ Club. Its purpose is the abolition of government imposed upon man by man by all methods and agencies not themselves partaking of the nature of such government, and its propaganda will include public meetings, debates, lectures, and the distribution of Anarchistic literature. A. H. Simpson has been elected secretary-treasurer. Any one desiring to become a member should apply to him. His address is “Box 3366, Boston, Mass.” There is no stipulated membership fee. Whoever signs the constitution thereby makes himself a member entitled to participate in the Club’s business meetings, which are to be held on the first Sunday of each month. A public meeting will be held at an early date, which will be opened with a more elaborate statement of the Club’s aims than is contained in the constitution. This meeting will be advertised in the daily papers, and I hope that Liberty’s local readers will all attend, and many others besides. It is designed to hold public meetings weekly, if they can be sustained. This attempt at Anarchistic organization for propagandism should be warmly welcomed, and comrades in other cities should similarly organize. ...

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[l] at 11/23/22 12:37pm
Author: David GraeberTitle: AutobiographyDate: 2018Source: Retrieved on November 20, 2022 from https://davidgraeber.org/about-david-graeber/ I was born and raised in New York, the child of Kenneth Graeber, a plate stripper (offset photolithography), originally from Kansas, who had fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War, and Ruth (Rubinstein) Graeber, born in Poland, a garment worker and home-maker who had been the female lead in the 1930s Labor Stage musical, “Pins & Needles”. Brought up in the Penn South Coops in Chelsea, I attended local public schools, PS 11, and IS 70, was discovered by some Maya archaeologists because of an odd hobby I had developed of translating Maya hieroglyphics, received a scholarship to attend a fancy boarding school for three years (Phillips Academy at Andover), before returning to state school, at SUNY Purchase, where I graduated with a BA in Anthropology in 1984. From there I went on to University of Chicago. I lived in Chicago for over a decade, apart from two years (between 1989 and 1991) during which I was doing anthropological fieldwork in highland Madagascar, received a PhD in 1996, and then held a series of academic jobs. These included some graduate teaching at Chicago, though admittedly not much, a year at Haverford, a year of unemployment including a visiting scholar status and one course at NYU, and a junior faculty position at Yale. In 2004, the Yale department voted not to continue my contract, before I could begin the process of coming up for tenure. This was a very unusual procedure where new rules had to be invented for my case (i.e., no student or outside reviews were allowed.) Yale gave no reason for its decision other than dissatisfaction with my scholarship but some felt it might not have been entirely irrelevant that I was by this time quite active in the Global Justice Movement and other anarchist-inspired projects. After Yale I found myself unemployable in my own country, but for some mysterious reason, being avidly shopped pretty much everywhere else. I ended up at Goldsmiths, University of London, from 2007-2013, working with inspiring colleagues and wonderful students, and now, as a full professor, at the London School of Economics, where I am surrounded by some of the best and most interesting people one could hope to be around. After living for some years in several countries at once, I’ve finally settled full-time in London. I told a magazine once that I’ve been an anarchist since I was 16, so I guess that must be true, but I only really became active in any meaningful way after the beginning of 2000, when I threw myself into the Alter-Globalization movement and it might be said that all my work since has been exploring the relation between anthropology as an intellectual pursuit, and practical attempts to create a free society, free, at least, of capitalism, patriarchy, and coercive state bureaucracies. As a result I sometimes feel I’ve had to pursue two full-time careers of research and writing, one peer-reviewed, the other not, since in my activist-oriented work I am interested in trying to ask the sort of question those actively engaged in trying to change the world find useful or important, rather than those of funders and those influenced by same. Still, the two strains intertwine and influence one another in endless, and, I hope, creative and mutually reinforcing ways. The first book I wrote was “Lost People”, an ethnography of Betafo (Arivonimamo), a community in Madagascar divided between descendants of nobles and slaves, and I still think it’s my best, because it’s really co-written by all the characters (characters in every sense of the term) who inhabit it. It’s an attempt at a truly dialogic ethnography but as a result it’s a bit long so it took forever to publish it – it was effectively written in 1997 but only appeared ten years later (2007). The first to be published was “Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value” (2001), in part my homage to one of my most inspiring teachers at Chicago, Terry Turner. Later, when another inspiring former mentor, Marshall Sahlins, put out a pamphlet series and asked me to contribute a volume, I wrote a tiny little book called “Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology”, which has doomed me ever since to be referred to as “the anarchist anthropologist” (despite the fact that the book largely argues that anarchist anthropology doesn’t and probably couldn’t really exist. Please don’t do that. You don’t call people “the social democrat anthropologist” do you?) I also wrote a vast ethnography of Direct Action (called “Direct Action: an Ethnography”) which hardly anyone ever reads, a collection of largely academic essays called “Possibilities,” an edited volume called “Constituent Imagination” with Stevphen Shukaitis, a book of political essays called “Revolutions in Reverse”, and a book on debt called “Debt: the First 5000 Years” which virtually everyone seems to have read. This was followed by the “Democracy Project” (which I actually wanted to call “As If We Were Already Free”), the “Utopia of Rules” (which I wanted to call “Three Essays on Bureaucracy”), “On Kings” (a collection co-written with Marshall Sahlins), and “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory”. I am currently working with the archaeologist David Wengrow on a whole series of works completely re-imagining the whole question of “the origins of social inequality,” starting with the way the question is framed to begin with. After that, who knows? ...

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[l] at 11/23/22 7:39am
Author: John Russell CoryellTitle: Marriage or Free Union; Which?Date: February 1908Notes: Included in the anthology "Returning to the Family Question: Anarchist Writing About the Family 1888-1908" edited by Chris KortrightSource: Mother Earth 2:12 Perhaps it would have been more definite if I had put marriage ceremony in place of the word marriage, since it is precisely that which is in question; but, after all, an explanation of marriage is essential to this discussion, since the major part of the civilized world assumes the ceremony as inevitable to the state of marriage. Indeed it is not stating it too broadly to say that the civilized world understands marriage to mean a monogamous relation which can be entered into only by means of a ceremony, at least of a legal character, and preferable of a sacramental one. I may say that I shall try to keep my own bias in the background as much as possible, though I do not hope for as much success as if it were a matter on which I felt less strongly. Nevertheless I realize that this is a subject which as much as any other demands dispassionate discussion. It is not enough to prove that a marriage ceremony is a foolish and ineffective device, because we have before us the question involving a comparison between it and another device, called a free union. Please believe that I am not pretending to say the last word on this subject, nor even a very wise one; but I have listened to many discussions of it between radicals, and I am now taking advantage of my position here to present the subject in my own way, rather in the hope that I shall create more discussion than that I shall come near to a settlement of it. As we all understand very well, the marriage ceremony is only a means by which the State and Church assert their right to interfere with the liberty of the individual in the exercise of one of the most, if not the most, important of those acts to which he is impelled by very reason of being in existence. The one does it on the ground of a duty owed to an imagined being in a mythical sphere; the other interferes on the ground of a duty owed by the individual to a ruling power. The Church from time to time gives different explanations, varying them to suit the degree of intelligence of the individual addressed. In a general way the excuse of the Church for its different explanations is that God is so considerate that he reveals only so much of the truth as man at any given time is capable of comprehending. The State, on the other hand, is reasonably consistent in contending that it has the right of interference because of its interest in the children which may result from the marriage. It must be said for the State, however, that it grows more and more lax all the time; and it is altogether likely that if it were not for the matter of the inheritance of property, the State would let all marriage laws fall into abeyance and disuse. But when it comes to that pass, there will probably be no State to make laws or enforce those now in existence. As matters stand now, however, it must be admitted that the Church has no power to enforce a marriage ceremony between a man and a woman who wish to enter upon either temporary or permanent sex relations, whether with a view to having children or not. The State may have the power in some sections to punish men and women for disregarding the marriage ceremony, but there are few if any States in which, so far as the law is concerned, men and women may not dispense with any ceremony whatever. Of course there are certain disabilities visited upon the innocent children who are born out of wedlock, but even they may be avoided by the parents with a little care. As yet this has not become a very important question because they are mostly idealists who dispense with priestly or State sanction to their marriages; and idealists are usually such unpractical persons that they accumulate very little to leave to their children. I speak of marriages without priestly or State sanction advisedly and for the reason that the sociologist usually, if not always in this connection, is concerned only with those unions which are fruitful. Westermarck, in common with other authorities, considers all unions between the sexes as marriages when children result. This is important, since in the study of the family no thought is taken of those unions between men and women which are not fruitful of children, no matter whether a ceremony has been performed or not. The justice of such a distinction seems to me apparent and beyond the need of demonstration. Moreover, it is a distinction which we must bear in mind in the consideration of our specific question of marriage ceremony or free union; because, by making it a factor in the discussion, we may differentiate between two distinct phases of the subject of free union. That is to say between the mere association of a man and a woman for convenience or pleasure or improvement, or what not, and with the incident of the child deliberately eliminated, and that same association for whatever other reason but with the child in view besides. Before going further with that branch of the subject, however, it seems highly desirable to consider briefly some of the forms and effects of marriage, as found in vogue in various parts of the world, since doing so will assist us in understanding better the specific subject before us. ...

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[l] at 11/22/22 4:59pm
Author: Tom GoyensTitle: Johann Most and Anarchist ViolenceDate: 2012Notes: Presented at the 33rd Annual North American Labor History ConferenceWayne State University, Detroit, MIOctober 2012.Source: Retrieved on November 23, 2022 from https://www.academia.edu/38390677/Johann_Most_and_Anarchist_Violence Framework In this paper I discuss Johann Most’s evolving views on anarchist violence during the time of his expulsion from Germany in 1878 to his death in 1906. For fifteen years, Most was a Social-Democrat who became a radical socialist in 1880 and an anarchist after 1883 until his death. This was a gradual transition and his views on violence changed along with it. I let Most speak for himself by quoting from pamphlets, editorials, and personal letters. Resistance and insurrection was a favorite topic of his and should, I believe, be viewed in the wider context of the monopoly of violence by the state, the prevalence of “ordinary” crime, the advocacy of violence against strikers by the mainstream press, and the employment of private armed thugs and vigilantes by employers.[1] Peaceful Revolution During the 1870s, Johann Most was a moderate Social-Democrat who got himself elected twice to the German Reichstag. He opposed any violent means to accomplish the revolution. In 1878, two men, Max Hödel and Karl Nobiling, attempted two separate assaults on the life of the Kaiser.[2] Most condemned both, and called one perpetrator “an idiot.”[3] His friend Andreas Scheu criticized Most for abusing the terrorists and blamed it on the fact that Most had been in Parliament too long.[4] Bismarck used the shootings to pressure Parliament to pass a sweeping Anti-Socialist Law on October 19, 1878, prohibiting all socialist activities, but allowing sitting socialist MPs to keep their seats. At the time, Most had been in prison for insulting the Kaiser, and upon his release was expelled from Berlin as stipulated in the new law. Most refused to lay low and went into exile to London where he became editor of a new independent socialist paper, Freiheit, to be illegally shipped to and distributed in Germany (with the help of Hamburg dockworkers).[5] But socialist leaders in Germany did not approve of Most’s rogue action as many thought it wiser to lay low for the duration of the Red Scare. The exiles disagreed and began embracing different means to combat the crackdown. In London, Most also abandoned hope for legal reforms and instead focused on smuggling Freiheit into Germany. “It made me happy,” one friend writes in 1879, “to see that Most distances himself from the legal, parliamentary politics in order to go the way of Revolution.”[6] Of course, Most never regarded revolution and politics as polar opposites; shunning the legislature did not mean an acceptance of violence. “Thus Socialists are revolutionary in so far that they strive for a total reorganization of state and society,” Most writes in 1879, “but they are not conspirators. They undermine the existing order not secretly, but openly and expound their principles in the clear light of day. And when it comes to it, their struggle will be fought not with physical violence but on intellectual grounds. They’re not set on punching, but rather on revolutionizing the minds.”[7] Radical Socialist Most’s mission of “revolutionizing the minds” depended on the successful distribution of ideas through newspapers and public speaking, something he himself excelled at. But since 1878 none of this was legal in Germany. This situation created a willingness on the part of Most—editor of the most important German-language socialist paper—to hear arguments for shifting tactics to combat the system, esp. since the state seemed to hold all the cards. As is well known, a number of individuals influenced Most while in London: Russian militants raving about their fight against the czar, the Belgian revolutionary Victor Dave who gives him a taste of Bakunin and becomes a close friend. Most was also influenced by August Reinsdorf whom he met in 1876 when Reinsdorf blasted Social-Democrats (like Most) as nothing more than a “ballot and newspaper party.” Most remembers in 1885 that “we were then not on the same page regarding these matters, though I must confess that Reinsdorf’s words made a powerful impression on me.”[8] The two men met again in Switzerland in 1880 where Reinsdorf bluntly told Most he was willing to kill Berlin police commissioner Guido von Madai (nothing came of it).[9] Reinsdorf furthermore advised German workers to act for themselves: “Each independent group should have the right to use poison, a dagger or dynamite as a means for emancipation in their own locality.”[10] For a while, Most was a devotee of Auguste Blanqui, the French communard and proponent of the idea that revolution must be launched by a small, conspiratorial vanguard. Most’s expulsion from the socialist party in August 1880 radicalized him even further, although an anarchist he was certainly not. By March 1881, Most no longer harbored qualms about the use of violence to bring about social revolution, at least rhetorically. When news of the assassination of Czar Alexander II reached Britain, Most readied the new issue of Freiheit with his front-page article titled “At Last” in which he glorified the bombing and described in detail the last hours of the monarch’s life until “at last he died like a dog.”[11] The appearance of the article led to his arrest and imprisonment. He was released in October 1882, and then traveled to the United States for a lecture tour moving Freiheit to New York in order to continue propaganda in Europe. ...

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[l] at 11/21/22 3:29am
Author: Eric FleischmannTitle: The Age-Old QuestionSubtitle: Is Anarcho-Capitalism Anarchism?Date: May 17th, 2022Source: Retrieved on 5/17/22 from https://c4ss.org/content/56712. Is anarcho-capitalism a form of anarchism? The resounding cry from anarchists of all stripes—including myself—is NO! The debate rages on, but two questions are raised by this claim: why isn’t it anarchism and if it isn’t anarchism then what is it? I believe the answers are: because it fails to meet the deeper commitments of anarchism and is actually a form of radical libertarianism. And this brings up the further question: what then is the relationship between libertarianism and anarchism? I will attempt to substantially elaborate on the former response in order to lead to an open ended exploration of the latter. First though, it bears mentioning that, for much of the world, libertarian and anarchist are used more or less interchangeably. ‘Libertarian’ was first used in a political sense by anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque and remains in use as an inherently leftist idea in much of the world outside of the United States. However, in 1955, Dean Russell proposed that classical liberals abandon the public title of liberal and advanced that “those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own . . . the good and honorable word ‘libertarian.’” So libertarian in its common usage in the U.S. really just means, at least at its core, liberal. And the meaning of liberalism can be found in its etymological root, with Bettina Bien Greaves writing in the preface to Ludwig von Mises’s Liberalism: In The Classical Tradition that “[t]he term ‘liberalism,’ from the Latin ‘liber’ meaning ‘free’ referred originally to the philosophy of freedom” and summing up its real-world applications as represented by “the free market economy, limited government and individual freedom.” Essentially: liberalism takes the form of a belief in the essential liberty of the individual, the real-world practice of which is the greatest possible minimization of the state and the greatest possible maximization of the market. These are therefore the basics of libertarianism. Of course, liberalism now dominates the world in its corrupted, hegemonic form of neoliberalism, but at its inception, as Kevin Carson writes, “[t]he liberalism of Adam Smith, David Ricardo and the other classical political economists was very much a left-wing assault on the entrenched economic privilege of the great Whig landed oligarchy and the mercantilism of the moneyed classes” before primarily taking “on the character of an apologetic doctrine in defense of the entrenched interests of industrial capital.”[1] So while libertarianism has a common origin with neoliberalism, it is certainly not the status quo and can therefore be identified as this original radical essence of liberalism brought to bear in the 20th and 21st century. Admittedly, this is giving a lot more credit than is due to vulgar libertarians who, as Carson accounts, “use the term ‘free market’ in an equivocal sense,” seeming “to have trouble remembering, from one moment to the next, whether they’re defending actually existing capitalism or free market principles” and consequently become apologists for the status quo and ruling elite, but Jason Lee Byas argues that libertarianism—despite its misuses—is still fundamentally a radical form of liberalism and further that “[t]o say that libertarians are radical liberals is to say more than just that we are more extreme.” It means “taking an idea to its roots, and applying that idea consistently.” Radical liberalism leads to the conclusion that “although our interests are naturally aligned, they are wildly at odds in the world around us. This unnatural disharmony comes from the imposition of power and the way aggression feeds upon aggression” and that though “[t]here is little adrenaline behind the legislator’s vote, the bureaucrat’s checklist, or the policeman’s casual stroll, . . . they are acts of war all the same. Throughout that monotonous charge, the unknowing infantry’s supreme objective is always the protection of political authority.” In turn, radical libertarianism—radical radical liberalism—takes these observations regarding power and violence and the aforementioned aspects of individual freedom, limited government, and the free-market economy to the conclusion of absolute individual sovereignty, zero government, and everything being provided by a market. This is the vision of anarcho-capitalism as described by thinkers like Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, and it may sound like anarchism in the colloquial sense, but the abolition of the state and voluntary association of a genuinely free market is not enough to qualify as anarchism. This may seem like an odd statement to make, as many definitions of anarchism center on free association and zero government. Emma Goldman explains anarchism from an anti-government standpoint as being “[t]he philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.” David Graeber, from a ‘voluntary order’ perspective, concludes that “[t]he easiest way to explain anarchism . . . is to say that it is a political movement that aims to bring about a genuinely free society — and that defines a ‘free society’ as one where humans only enter those kinds of relations with one another that would not have to be enforced by the constant threat of violence.” And Pyotr Kropotkin combines both types of views in the definition of anarchism as “the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.” And if one chose not to read further than these cherry-picked quotes, it would seem that these definitions would seem to point to anarcho-capitalism, being, at least in its basic principles of voluntary exchange and individual property ownership, a form of anarchism. ...

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