Spooner Volumes Published

[cross-posted at BHL and POT]

Phil Magness has performed a great service for the history of individualist anarchism by tracking down and publishing some of Lysander Spooner’s hardest-to-find works, in two volumes:

Two Treatises on Competitive Currency and Banking

“Available for the first time in over 140 years, these two ‘lost’ treatises [What Is a Dollar? and Financial Imposters I-IV] by libertarian legal philosopher Lysander Spooner present his vision for a radically decentralized monetary system rooted in privately issued competitive currencies and free-banking. …

Once presumed to have been destroyed in a turn-of-the-century fire, these writings contain Spooner’s most extensive foray into economic theory and reveal new insights into his distinctive and uncompromising free-market vision. …

Spooner’s articulated theory of radically decentralized competitive currencies might be seen as something of an intellectual grandfather to the rise of cryptocurrency in the present day.”

Public Letters and Political Essays

“This collection brings together the political writings and short essays of Lysander Spooner for the first time in a single volume. Spooner’s editorials span topics ranging from abolitionism and the Civil War, to free banking and currency, to the trial of President Garfield’s assassin, to government corruption in Massachusetts during the Gilded Age – all with biting wit and an uncompromising disdain for politicians.

Containing over 40 years of newspaper editorials as well as the complete set of Spooner’s contributions to the magazine Liberty, many of these essays have been out of print for over a century. For any fan of Spooner’s political philosophy, and the idea of human liberty generally, this collection is essential reading.”


Smashing Fences and Fascists

[cross-posted at BHL and POT]

I’m excited to announce the publication of two new anthologies from C4SS (the Center for a Stateless Society): The Anatomy of Escape: A Defense of the Commons (357 pp.; buy at C4SS [$12 plus shipping] or buy at Amazon) and Fighting Fascism: Anti-fascism, Free Speech and Political Violence (479 pp.; buy at C4SS [$14 plus shipping] or buy at Amazon).

The Anatomy of Escape explores the role of common property in a market anarchist system, while Fighting Fascism features debates over the ethical, political, and strategic/tactical considerations that should inform resistance to fascist movements. (Both books include contributions by me – although my piece in the fascism volume is a bit of an outlier, as it concerns fascism in a somewhat different sense of the term from the one addressed in most of the other pieces.)

From the introduction to The Anatomy of Escape: A Defense of the Commons:

Many market anarchists – especially, though not exclusively, those associated with market anarchism’s “right” wing – tend to envision a fully free market as one in which all resources are privately owned. The essays in this book offer a different perspective: that a stateless free-market society can and should include, alongside private property, a robust role for public property – not, of course, in the sense of governmental property, but rather in the sense of property that is owned by the general community rather than by specific individuals or formally organized groups.

From the introduction to Fighting Fascism: Anti-fascism, Free Speech and Political Violence:

Anarchists are, by definition, anti-fascist. They oppose all forms of fascism just as they oppose all forms of statism, domination, and oppression. What’s left to be settled, however, is what our anti-fascist commitment entails in practice. What should our theoretical debates surrounding the nature and danger of fascist ideas imply for our practical strategies for creating the new, anti-fascist world in the shell of the old, fascist one?

More specifically, we need to understand just what fascism is and how it spreads. We need to know why fascism has any appeal at all and how to stem that appeal. We need to see how concepts like freedom of speech figure into anarchist praxis. We need to discuss what free speech is. We need to explore what constitutes mere speech and assembly and what constitutes intentionality and violence. We need to differentiate between self-defense and aggression. We need to seriously interrogate the morality and efficacy of different kinds of political violence. Most importantly, we need internally consistent ethical and strategic insights into replacing fascist ideas with anarchist ones. Failing to clarify these issues could cost us, not only our souls, but any fighting chance for anarchy left in this fragile world.

You can view the tables of contents at the links above.

And for more LWMA (left-wing market anarchist) books and other swag, check out the C4SS Store.


CFP: Alabama Philosophical Society 2019

This year’s Alabama Philosophical Society meeting will be September 27-28 in Pensacola; submission deadline is August 1st. Note also the undergrad essay contest (Alabama students only), which pays $100 plus one night’s stay at the conference hotel.

More info here.


Vernal Venturings, Part Tři

A few afterthoughts:

a) Re my San Diego trip, I forgot to mention that I also had lunch at Coasterra (great waterside views), and revisited the mountain town of Julian (see my driving directions).

b) Back in San Diego, I also revisited Captain Fitch’s Mercantile, a bookstore in Old Town. Sadly, it’s become less interesting (to me, anyway). On my visit last year, they had shelves and shelves of Dover classics on history and mythology, and I bought several. But now, while they still have plenty of Dover, it’s mostly just children’s books.

c) In Prague I revisited another bookstore, Kanzelsberger on Wenceslas Square, but that was a little disappointing too. On my previous visit their English-language section had lots of books by Čapek, Kafka, and Hašek. On this trip they still had plenty of Kafka, but no Čapek or Hašek. I did pick up Bohumil Hrabal’s Closely Watched Trains, Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero, and a new translation of Hans Fallada’s Little Man, What Now?, though. (I read the first two at cafés in Prague and am just finishing the third now.)

d) One of the most distinctive features of Prague is the various black and white tile patterns that adorn the sidewalks. You can get a good look at them in backgrounds in the first half of this video:


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