Sunday, 8 February 2009

the domination of terms

I have noticed that certain terms are dominated and distorted by certain groups in a way that often distorts arguments a bit. for example: socialism.

the authoritarian state socialists (ie Marxists,Leninists etc) dominate this term quite a lot and this brings about a fair amount of confusion in some parts. it kind of plays into the hands of anarcho-capitalists (whose philosophy is largely propped up by misunderstandings of terms) who, when a genuine anarchist correctly says "anarchism is a type of socialism"will then say "anarchism isn't a type of socialism, you need a state for that. socialism is the state owning the means of production."

This is nonsense. Socialism has never been a single ideology, it is a multiple group of schools of thought and anarchism is one of them. when an anarchist says he or she is a socialist it means that person wants the workers to own the means of production and for the distribution of wealth to be equal and fair. Now of course all anarchists are against state socialism, where (in theory) the state is comprised of workers who own the means of production and share them out with the rest of the workers/people. in other words they want a dictatorship of the proletariat. this does not work. It always becomes a dictatorship OVER the proletariat. you take a proletarian out of his work and put him in charge of a council, pretty soon he's a bourgeoisie, you are just replacing one set of coercive bureaucracies with another.

In anarchism on the other hand this does not happen because there is no illegitimate authority and no middleman. It's just the people doing it for themselves.

Another group of terms that gets dominated are the terms "market" , "free-market" and "market anarchist".

capitalists, and by extension "anarcho"-capitalists like to make out that if you are against capitalism, then you are against markets.


There are anarchists who are against markets. I think they are wrong here, but I'm willing to agree to disagree on that one.

however, you can have a market without it being capitalist. it is perfectly possible to have groups of producers trading the fruit of their labours without it being capitalist. if you had group of individuals voluntarily coming together to form a cooperative, where every individual collectively owns the means of production and make decisions by discussing it with each other and trading with other cooperatives by making deals without outside regulation, that would be a non-capitalistic way of having a market. property would of course be based on personal use (in other words Proudhon's notion of "possessions" rather then the capitalistic notion of private property which is based on robbery).

Now how about the free-market?

a free market is a market that is unregulated by the state and the particular groups that are making the deal come to their own terms fairly without government bullying.

Any market in an anarchist society would be free-market because there would be no state to pass laws or boss the cooperatives around.

how about market anarchists?

A market anarchist is simply an anarchist who advocates there being a free market in what he/she thinks of as the ideal society. That makes me a market anarchist. the reason I don't generally use that term is due to the fact "anarcho"-capitalists dominate it and too many people automatically think you are a capitalist or at least lump you in with that lot.

sure, I'm pro-free-market. But I am VERY anti- capitalist too.

since capitalism cannot, I repeat cannot exist without a state, the closest a capitalist society could come to free-market is if there were a market with minimal state interference.

Capitalism cannot exist without a state because it requires the state to protect the dishonest and vile practice of private property and to generally prop it up and maintain the inequality of wealth and therefore the crime it creates.

"anarcho"-capitalists advocate private defence agencies to fulfil the role. This is a idea they cribbed from tucker (who was a form of mutualist and always maintained was socialist). however, in a anarcho capitalist system, they would represent a monopoly of force in a certain area and would therefore be a sort of mini-state. The capitalist/landlord would be making the decisions and would therefore constitute a form of government. This means anarcho capitalists want there to be a state, albeit a set of small private police states.

One of the main problems i have with "anarcho" capitalism is that is forces anarchists to spend time argueing over terms in order to show them that they are not anarchist, when they could be talking about important issues.

do not confuse anarcho-capitalism with market anarchists. Thats what they want you to do.

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