C4SS in the MSM By Roderick on August 30, 2010 15 Congratulations to Ross Kenyon, whose latest C4SS piece has been picked up by the Christian Science Monitor! Anarchy, Ethics, Left and Right, Left-Libertarian, Molinari/C4SS
And before anyone else raises it: yes, I think he’s too dismissive of G20 protestors. But hey, we got these words published in a Monitor editorial:
Sorry, but I thought that the anti-G20 crowd was as statist as the G-2O itself. Aren’t they enemies of free trade and free enterprise?
Well, insofar as they’re anarchists they’re not statists. And what they’re attacking is a corporatist, fake version of free trade. Of course many of them confuse the corporatist and libertarian versions of free trade and so end up opposing both; but the version they’re actually there to protest is certainly worth protesting. (And not all of them are confused; there are free-market types in that movement too.)
On which, see Shawn Wilbur’s “What ever happened to (the discourse on) Neoliberalism?” and the Boston Anarchist Drinking Brigade’s Free Trade is Fair Trade.
Of course, many people in the counterglobalization movement haven’t been Anarchists. And those who are Anarchists have sometimes been gradualists, or simply confused. But a lot have been, and haven’t been. And it’s worth noting that the major targets of the counterglobalization movement — the WTO, IMF, World Bank, and G8/G20/etc. — are all government conclaves, in which “free trade” and “markets” typically used (as at the IMF and World Bank) to describe a financial system based on rich governments lending millions or billions of dollars to cash-strapped governments so that the latter can either use it to manipulate forex and local money markets, or “invest” it in politically-favored corporate-welfare projects for local political capitalists and politically-connected TNCs. It’s clear what this has to do with advancing the trade interests of incumbent political capitalists, and perhaps also increasing government tax revenues in the developing world. Not so much what it has to do with free trade or market exchange.
Is what you describes, the infamous State Capitalism?
Sure; or close enough for government work, anyway.
Although, to be picky, “State Capitalism” may be a broader term than “Neoliberalism” of the sort criticized by the counterglobalization movment. Neoliberalism is one form of state capitalism — currently the triumphant form, if anything can be said to be — but there are others — e.g. Keynsian corporate liberalism, “Asian Tiger”-style authoritarian protectionism, old-guard Western European welfare states, etc. The term also tends to include a number of things that are more provincial or local — not just the kind of national policy or multi-state alliances that “neoliberalism” usually refers to. (E.g. “State Capitalism” includes things like state insurance cartels or local land-grab rackets, or government union-busting, as well as high finance or international aid packages.)
(Presuming throughout that the “State Capitalism” you’ve seen held in infamy is what mutualists or other left-libertarians are referring to by that term. There’s another, unrelated use of the term popular amongst Marxist intellectuals, to refer to a system that combines the appropriation of surplus value with antidemocratic state ownership of the means of production — in which the bureaucratic / managerial class would replace “private” industrialists in the role of commanding and exploiting workers. Trotskyists used to enjoy endless arguments amongst themselves about whether the USSR and the Eastern bloc under Stalin and his successors should be classified as examples of “state capitalism” in this latter sense or as “deformed workers’ states.” Which made for a lot of fun at cocktail parties.)
The equivalent dispute among libertarians might be whether the u.s. is state capitalist (in the left-libertarian sense) or a deformed free market, with left-libertarians favouring the former view and right-libertarians often (though not always) favouring the latter.
Incidentally, a Trotskyist friend once told me that the libertarian use of “state capitalism” is a more accurate interpretation of Lenin’s usage than the usual Trotskyist use of the phrase is. For whatever it’s worth.
I have a fairly good opinion of the Christian Science Monitor even before this. It seems to be quick on the uptake for international current events without introducing a lot of bias.
“I’ve attended tea parties as an anarchist because I’m a sincere libertarian who cares about limiting the power, scope, and size of government and fighting its unjustified intrusion into the lives of peaceful individuals. Many of my fellow tea party attendees intuitively and intellectually grasp the danger of the unlimited state and seek to reduce its influence over their personal lives. Anarchism is the logical extension of that reasonable impulse, not the nihilist tantrum that Boehner makes it out to be.”
What the fuck is that?
Sorry, but Ross Kenyon is a raving lunatic!
Maybe Ross Kenyon isn’t a vulgar libertarian in your own meaning, but Tea Party movement is a rightist statist movement that is not even close of vulgar libertarianism, except for some confused “fiscal responsibility” propaganda.
The tea parties are a mixed bag. It’s important to distinguish between the speakers up on the platforms, who tend to be statist creeps, and the people who attend the rallies, who run the whole range from statist creeps to principled libertarians, with plenty of confused people in between.
For several different libertarian takes on the tea parties, see here, here, here, and here.
The Tea Party as a movement is rightist, statist, and sometimes frighteningly authoritarian. However, some individuals who attend Tea Parties may be responding to the anti-politician “Don’t Tread On Me” message that Tea Parties sometimes use. So I see nothing wrong with talking to individuals at Tea Parties with the goal of getting them thinking along more libertarian “Don’t Tread On Any Non-Oppressing Individual” lines.
Anarchy in the CSM!
Darian, I have no problem to talk with any individual! But anarchists should not militate in the Tea Party. No way Tea Party is close to anarchy!
But the Tea Party is a bunch of individuals, right? What’s wrong with going into that group of individuals to lure them away from their Tea-Party-ness?
“The witness for the truth — who naturally will have nothing to do with politics, and to the utmost of his ability is careful not to be confused with a politician — the godfearing work of the witness to the truth is to have dealings with all, if possible, but always individually, to talk with each privately, on the streets and lanes — to split up the crowd, or to talk to it, not to form a crowd, but so that one or another individual might go home from the assembly and become a single individual.” — Kierkegaard, That Individual