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Preview: Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or

Updated: 2018-03-06T02:02:21.625-08:00


Desktop Regulatory State -- Now in Print!


The book I've been working on for almost five years, The Desktop Regulatory State: The Countervailing Power of Individuals and Networks, is now in print. Here's the page at Amazon.

How the O Lordy Curve Got Its Name


Driving through the Boston Mountains for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to relate an old family story about that route while there's still someone alive to remember it.

The seventeen miles from Winslow to Mountainburg is very crooked and steep, and my family calls the sharpest curve the O Lordy Curve.

It got its name back in the '50s when my Aunt Alma and Uncle Ivan went down to Ft. Chaffee to bring my Uncle Dale up to Springdale on leave from the Army. The road was narrower and more dangerous back then, and Uncle Ivan drove pretty fast and recklessly. Alma was a large bosomy woman, and Ivan was a lanky man with bony elbows. Dale sat in the middle, and kept getting tossed back and forth against Alma and Ivan as the latter whipped around the curves.

Every time Ivan sped around a bad curve, Alma would moan "O Lordy, Ivan, you're going to kill us all!" And when they went around the sharpest S-curve on the route, Alma started hollering "O Lordy O Lordy O Lordy O Lordy!"

That's how the O Lordy Curve got its name.

Addendum. The 17-mile Boston Mountain route is anchored on its south end by Mountainburg Hill,  a steep, winding pathway about two miles long just outside Mountainburg. It can overhead an old car engine even today. In my grandfather's time, the old men used to sit in the cafe and compare their time getting up Mountainburg Hill with a wagon and team of mules.

On C4SS and the "Cultural Left"


On C4SS's "outreach mission": Today @C4SSdotorg came under fire for throwing away its anarchist outreach mission in order to promote "bargain basement content" like social justice and other trivial "PC" concerns. Our goal is to promote left-market anarchism to a broad, mainstream audience.
If our mission is "outreach," as he says, it obviously means reaching out to people who don't already believe as we do. It means saying unpopular things to people who are offended by them. He apparently doesn't object to all the right-wingers like Walter Block who are pissed off about our anti-capitalism and class struggle stuff. So basically he must be saying the class war aspects of left-libertarianism and anarchism are worth taking a stand on even at the expense of pissing some people off, because getting the workerist and anti-corporate types on our side is worth it, even if it means treating the concerns of PoC, women and LGBT people as marginal trivia and throwing them under the bus. But taking a stand on the concerns of the latter from a libertarian standpoint is bad because those people aren't important -- but the workerist dudebro types and their hurt feelings are.

Shorter version: Anti-empire and class stuff is important, "real" anarchism; people who are fucked over by social forms of domination aren't. The people who get offended by calling them out on racism, homophobia, etc. are vital to our outreach mission. The PoC, women, gays, trans ppl, etc., who have felt excluded from a white middle-class and culturally right-wing movement for years, and dismissed libertarianism as irrelevant, are entirely expendable.



Jeff Graubart. AFFEERCE:  A Business Plan to Save the United States and Then the World(Second draft -- 2013).[Disclaimer. This is a paid review. I was assured by Jeff Graubart that negative reviews were fine – he expected only honesty. And I received 40% of the payment up front, with the rest to come after writing the review.]Graubart's vision of a future society, like the whole of Gaul, is divided into three parts:We need free markets on steroids and we need universal entitlement on steroids. If you can’t see past what appears to be an absurd contradiction, then you haven’t put that together with the third thing that is essential for the survival of the planet: reproductive control: parents must pay for their child’s entitlements before they are allowed to give birth or adopt. These are outlined in the fundamental relations.For Graubart, these three basic features of his proposed society are a three-legged stool. Without all three of them, it won't stand. Remove any one, he warns, and the result will be barbarism. The first feature, the free market itself—the maximum possible degree of economic freedom—is a goal for Graubart in it's own right. But without a universal entitlement, a totally free and unregulated market will lead to barbarism through the concentration of capital, technological unemployment and mass impoverishment, and eventually class war and revolution. And without reproductive control, the universal entitlement will lead to an underclass breeding out of control for the sake of the additional entitlement money their kids will bring into the household, and eventually to mass impoverishment and social bankruptcy from overpopulation.I don't see either of these outcomes as necessary or inevitable absent his proposed remedy, and therefore for me the chain of logic by which the three parts of his agenda cohere into a whole is weak (as I will explain later in this review).Graubart explains the basic principles in more detail with the acronym AFFEERCE, with AF standing forAlternative Family, FE for Free Enterprise, E for (Universal) Entitlement,  RC for Reproductive Control  and E for Enlightenment.Alternative Family does not mean you have to run off and join a commune or have a 5-way sexual relationship. You have every right to structure your family on 1 man + 1 woman + children. Or you can choose to live alone....Free Enterprise means laissez-faire. It means government keeps its hands off business. It means no minimum wage and no inflation. It means no corporate income tax of any kind. It means the marketplace will determine if monopolies should form and the effectiveness of collusion. It also means no civil rights protection and no right to a job....Universal Entitlement – ...Entitlement is not based on need. A billionaire receives the same entitlement for food and housing as a pauper. Each person in a family of 50 receives the same dollaramount for food and housing as a person who lives alone.Personal entitlements include nutritious food, safe shelter, unlimited free education, and quality medical....Reproductive Control – Families must pay the present value for a lifetime of entitlements before they are allowed to adopt or raise a child. This is approximately $600,000 but it is tax free. However, this goal might not be met for a century or more. In the beginning, families might pay only half the cost of entitlement or $300,000 before being allowed to adopt or raise a child. Even this amount might be phased in over 100 or more years.... Regardless of cost, if the parents cannot pay, the child will be placed with a family that can afford the child....Enlightenment – In a free society, all religions, spiritualties, beliefs or lack thereof, are welcome. The AFFEERCE enlightenment is a reliance of the truths in nature following the deconstruction of postmodernism....The postmodern age will lead to the synthesis between objectivism and subjectivism; an age of the union of science with spirituali[...]

Radicalism in my roots?


My sister and brother-in-law came up today to visit my mom in the hospital, and we got to talking afterward about our dad and his family.Amos Morgan Carson 1916-1979She remembered, back when she was young and living at home, my dad telling her that Mother Jones had earned the respect and love of miners by devoting her life to fighting alongside them for their rights, and for the work she did to help strikers in need. She doesn't remember what spurred the conversation now, or why he would have had such a strong impression of her, but the question has intrigued me for a long time.He was born in Hartman, Colorado in 1916. My paternal grandfather moved to the Missouri Ozarks in 1921 with all his children (six or eight -- I've lost track). He died sometime the late '20s, I think, when my dad was twelve, and his mother's second husband pressured her to get the older kids out of the house. So my dad spent most of his time boarding and working as a hired hand at neighboring farms until his mother and step-father made him feel so unwelcome he migrated down into Arkansas and eventually married my mother.I really don't know anything about my paternal grandfather, or what his life had been like before he wound up having a son in Colorado. He was fairly well-read, and passed along a love of books to my dad. My dad's moldering set of Shakespeare, since lost to mice and mildew and multiple changes of residence, was originally his father's.And thinking about the whole Mother Jones thing, it seems pretty likely he would have been working in mining or some other extractive industry in the Colorado of 1916. 1916 wasn't long after the Copper Wars had ended in Colorado, with the governor declaring martial law and mine workers affiliated with the I.W.W. and other unions (Big Bill Haywood's Western Federation of Miners was the original core of the Wobblies) fighting pitched battles against state militia.And looking back on it, my dad's side of the family were classic textbook examples of the sort of people who made up the Wobblies in the first two decades of the 20th century. Aside from immigrant workers in New England mill towns, the I.W.W. was made up mostly of itinerant mine. lumber and migrant farm workers in the Plains and Rockies. The Wobblies spread like a religion out West in the mining and logging camps, and in harvesting gangs. The kinds of labor described in Woody Guthrie's song "Hard Travelin'" will give you a good idea.As soon as they got old enough to leave home, all my dad's siblings wound up gravitating back West, spread out through the Rockies and Alaska.And there has always been an unusual strain of radicalism among them. His sister Isabel used to be a communist (during an extended visit in the 1950s, she and her husband raised eyebrows by having the Daily Worker or whatever it was called at the time delivered to my parents' address). His sister Ruth married a guy who'd been heavily involved in organizing the shipbuilder's union in the CIO on the West Coast in the '30s, and had been knocked unconscious fighting cops during an organizing strike.Unfortunately, everything now is entirely a matter for speculation. All my father's siblings are dead, and years ago when I asked the last surviving one, his younger brother John, he couldn't remember much about their father's life before he moved to the Ozarks. [...]

My Trip to the County Courthouse, by Kevin A. Carson


I just finished negotiating the bureaucracy at the Washington County Arkansas courthouse in order to get my mom an absentee ballot.

Both yesterday (when I picked up the application) and today (when I picked up the actual ballot), I had difficulty parking because of all the political campaign workers (including some of the politicians themselves) standing around with signs and obstructing the drive-thru area. I actually had to circle around and pass up empty spaces because the people holding signs didn't give me room enough to maneuver and pull into the spaces at the proper angle.

On the plus side, one of the people holding a sign was mayor Lioneld Jordan. It's not every day you get to glare at a mayor and refuse to shake his hand.

Inside, I had the joy of going through Security Theater with a metal detector staffed by County Sheriff's Department deputies, taking off my belt and handing over my phone, keys and wallet. First of all, nobody in Al Qaeda is going to bother blowing up some chickenshit county courthouse in Arkansas. And second, if they did they'd be smart enough to find a way around that perfunctory bullshit.

Mayor Jordan and his campaign staff had apparently been taking in my (pro-gun, pro-drug, anti-police, anti-publik skool, anti-Walmart, pro-anarchist and pro-Wobbly) bumper stickers while I was in the building, because I was spared any attempted gladhanding on the way out.

Aside from that, my only inconvenience was finding parking at the brew pub (thanks to some wonderful folks playing the game of "make the neighboring parking space unusable as possible while technically keeping within the lines"). And now I'm working on my first IPA, getting ready to write some columns, and trying to rinse the memory of my "public servants" out of my mind.

Mutualism Queensland


I've been remiss in updating my links for a long time, but you should check out Lillian Geddes' Mutualism Queensland blog. She's a mutualist writer in Australia.

Small Business Survey: Licensing and Regulations Trump Local Tax Rates


I recently got some interesting information about a small business survey from Sander Daniels:

I'm Sander Daniels, co-founder of - we're a site where you can easily hire local help (photographers, tutors, carpenters, etc.). We've partnered with the Kauffman Foundation to conduct a survey of 6,000 of the small businesses on our site. We've ranked the friendliness of states and cities towards small business, and we're releasing the results this Tuesday, 5/8.

You can see the beta preview of the results here and a methodology and analysis paper here.

Here are some of the survey's most interesting findings:
  • Small businesses care almost twice as much about licensing regulations as they do about tax rates when rating the business-friendliness of their state or local government.
  • An important predictor of small business friendliness was whether small business owners are aware of their state or local government offering training programs for small businesses.
  • Small business owners ranked Idaho and Texas as the most business-friendly states, with Oklahoma City and Dallas-Ft. Worth taking top honors among cities across the nation. Vermont and Rhode Island found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum, joined in the bottom-five by New York and California.
Every city and state has its own page with a visualization of that location's full results - you should check out some of the links above to see what I mean.

The rankings are based on a survey of real small business owners, like wedding photographers, auto mechanics, and yoga instructors.

New MIcropayment System at C4SS


Center for a Stateless Society (c4SS) has switched to a new method of paying contributors. There's a Flattr button at the top of every column. So if you like what you're reading and you have a Flattr account, you can simply click the button and make a one-time payment of any size you like (even just a dollar) to support the writer.

Call Emory Campus Police to Protest Arrest of Joe Diaz


Please call and email to protest the arrest of Joe Diaz, a PhD student at Emory University, who was brutally assaulted in the University Library by campus police, arrested, and held under degrading and punitive conditions. In the library he saw his diminutive friend Alice, surrounded by hulking uniformed officers standing over her as she sat peacefully on the floor. As you can see in the video, he stepped in in a non-confrontational manner, identified himself, and asked if his friend was OK. It immediately escalated into a violent confrontation, initiated by the police, who might have following the script of soldiers storming a living room in a house-to-house search of occupied Baghdad. The cop's behavior was that of an Alpha Male dog confronting someone who didn't roll over and show their belly fast enough.

As you can see in the video, Joe did not obstruct police business. That accusation was a lie, coming from someone so hyped on his own adrenaline and authority that he could see only a red haze before his eyes. Joe was not resisting. That was another obvious lie barked by the snarling animal in uniform. The cops also lied when they said it was illegal to videotape them, and when they accused those recording them of having a camera "in my face" -- but that lie's standard police operating procedure, repeated as a matter of course regardless of what "the law" is. Because, you see, "the law" only applies to people who aren't wearing uniforms and carrying guns.

Here's Joe's written account of the events. Here's the video.

What have things come to, when a campus police force dealing with peaceful students in a library behave like Nazi soldiers dealing with an occupied population? Thirty years of the Drug War and SWAT team militarization have bred up uniformed beasts of prey in our midst.

I've aready written before, in the case of UC Davis thug John Pike, of the power of viral video for holding these cockroaches up to the light of day. Please help me give the Emory thugs the John Pike treatment.

Please call and/or email the Emory Campus Police to demand an end to such behavior, and please circulate this message as widely as possible.

Emory Campus Police email:

Emory Campus Police email: (404) 727-6115

Know Your Enemy


(image) "One of the officers began to remove us physically without the use of weapons. And Lieutenant John Pike ordered them to stop, raising his pepper can and saying ... 'Leave them. I want to spray these kids.'"
Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth...
Lieutenant. John Pike
Records Unit Manager
Phone: 530-752-3989
Cell: 530-979-0184
Skype: japike3
email id:
Address: 4005 Cowell Boulevard, Apartment No 616. Davis,
CA 95618-6017.
LinkedIn Account:

NYPD Gestapo Shutting Down OWS. Shut Down NYPD!


NYPD Whiteshirt Gestapo are raiding Zuccotti Park on orders from Bloomberg, evicting protestors, conducting mass arrests.

Let's shut down the NYC government. Swarm the phone lines, emails and faxes of the Mayor's office and NYPD.

For starters:

Bloomberg's email:
Bloomberg's Fax: (212) 312-0700
NYPD 1st precinct: (212) 334-0611
NYPD Central Booking: (718) 875-6303
NYPD Internal Affairs: (212) 487-7350
City Hall: (212) 788-3058

Circulate this far and wide, jam the city government's phone lines, and demand Bloomberg's thugs STAND DOWN NOW!

Happy Veterans Day


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It was just before dawn
One miserable morning in black 'forty four.
When the forward commander
Was told to sit tight
When he asked that his men be withdrawn.
And the Generals gave thanks
As the other ranks held back
The enemy tanks for a while.
And the Anzio bridgehead
Was held for the price
Of a few hundred ordinary lives.

And kind old King George
Sent Mother a note
When he heard that father was gone.
It was, I recall,
In the form of a scroll,
With gold leaf and all.
And I found it one day
In a drawer of old photographs, hidden away.
And my eyes still grow damp to remember
His Majesty signed
With his own rubber stamp.

It was dark all around.
There was frost in the ground
When the tigers broke free.
And no one survived
From the Royal Fusiliers Company C.
They were all left behind,
Most of them dead,
The rest of them dying.
And that's how the High Command
Took my daddy from me.

When YouTube's Advertising Algorithm Goes Awry


The ad next to this video was: "Earn a Bible Degree."

Property is Theft! A Proudhon Anthology


Property is Theft! A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Anthology. Edited by Iain McKay (AK Press, 2011).

Every time I look through this book, I'm amazed at the sheer amount and quality of material in it, and the scholarly apparatus included with it.

As I keep telling people, the last major Proudhon anthology out there -- if you can call it that -- was Stewart Edwards' Selected Writings of P. J. Proudhon. Calling Selected Writings an anthology is generous. Its format was actually more like that of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, with a long series of short excerpts from assorted works grouped together under topic headings. It totalled 262 pages, which meant that even if someone took the trouble to assemble all the scattered excerpts from any particular book in order in a single place, the result would hardly qualify as an abridgement.

On the other hand, this effort by Iain McKay -- widely familiar as the principal author of An Anarchist FAQ -- is over 800 pages, with almost twice as many words per page. It includes modestly abridged versions of almost all of Proudhon's major works, along with dozens of shorter works in their entirety. The abridgements of longer works include What is Property?, both volumes of System of Economic Contradictions, Solution of the Social Problem, Organisation of Credit and Circulation, Bank of the People, Confessions of a Revolutionary, Interest and Principal, General Idea of the Revolution, The Federative Principle, The Political Capacity of the Working Classes, and The Theory of Property. The excerpted material from General Idea of the Revolution, for example, is over fifty pages, and over forty pages are excerpted from Political Capacity of the Working Classes.

A considerable portion of the material is in English translation for the first time, some of it translated by Proudhon scholar Shawn Wilbur.

Iain McKay's fifty-page Introduction is not only a studied bibliographic essay on Proudhon, but also a closely argued thesis regarding the place of markets in the anarchist movement and anarchism in the socialist movement. As such, it is the latest contribution to the ongoing and often heated "Who is an anarchist?" debates, and will no doubt attract careful attention from my market anarchist comrades at Center for a Stateless Society.

Edwards' venture at a Proudhon anthology, for better or worse, was pretty much it for thirty years or so. I expect this one will stand -- far more deservedly -- as the standard anthology for at least that long.

Alleluia, Nunc Dimittis, and Glory Be!


Something to celebrate, in the five-thousand-year war between the people who own the world and the people who live in it. Read here if you want to know why I'm so happy.

Fourth Quarter 2011 C4SS Fundraiser


The Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) just began its Fourth Quarter Fundraiser. It's a pretty big target, since it includes a rollover of all our shortfalls for the previous fundraisers.

The rate of contributions has fallen way, way down over the last year or so, even as the readership continues, presumably either because former contributors no longer consider us worth supporting or because they're no longer able to do so. So we've been working mostly for free -- getting considerably less than half our pay -- for a long time.

The thing is, C4SS will keep on going no matter what. We keep writing -- and doing our media relations, social media, and other work -- regardless of whether we get paid, because we believe in it. Our director, Brad Spangler, doesn't get any pay at all, aside from coverage of bare webhosting costs he pays. Our media director, Tom Knapp, usually gives back a considerable portion of his salary. And with my actual pay down to about a hundred or less a month on average, I'm still contributing $20 a month to the fundraiser.

If you can't afford to contribute, or don't like most of what we do, you obviously have no obligation to support us. But if you're one of the people who used to contribute, just fell out of the habit, and can still afford to do so, please consider helping us out again on a regular basis.

You can donate here.

Why Hierarchy Creates Clusterfucks


At Unqualified Offerings, thoreau devotes a post to "an important point about organizing a bureaucratic organization." Most of my post will consist of the money quote from thoreau's original, inspired piece, and a digest of the debate that ensued in the comment thread. My development of the issues, which follows, is a minority of the whole thing. But I strongly recommend you read the first part in full, because it's one of the most intellectually engaging debates I've read in a long time.Thoreau, in the body of his post:If you make it costly to go through Official Channels, people will find ways to do things outside of Official Channels. Most of what they do will be harmless. However, some of it won’t be. By driving the activity underground you guarantee the following: 1) Harmful activities will not be spotted except through chance or when there’s An Incident. And we all know what bureaucracies do when there’s An Incident. 2) There will be no chance to work with people on making their activities safe, because they won’t come to you in advance. The only chance you’ll have to talk to them is when they get caught by chance (at which point they’ll be more focused on doing a better job of keeping secrets) or when there’s An Incident (at which point their main concern will be deflection of blame). 3) The institutional culture will develop an even greater disdain for Rules and even (in many cases) for Safety. Given the realities of how these things work out so frequently, disdain for Rules and even Safety (in most cases) is largely a healthy thing. However, to the extent that a bureaucrat actually values these things, that bureaucrat should try to make it so that doing things through Official Channels is cheaper than skipping Official Channels. That’s your only hope of getting people to actually respect these things. Well, there’s also fear, but fear isn’t respect. It’s mindless, panicked compliance, and it can fade over time, or motivate people to find even better evasive tactics. Another thought on when there’s An Incident: Besides all of the usual problems with incentives and information in large institutions, it occurs to me that size guarantees that the people responsible for Safety, Compliance, and related matters will be separated from the people on the ground doing whatever it is that the organization is allegedly there to do. Consequently, the person who enforces a ridiculous rule, or who makes you sit through a useless presentation full of statements that are at best insulting and at worst factually wrong, will not be having lunch with you. Often the local enforcers (especially people whose primary task is something other than Safety) are more reasonable than the distant enforcers because, frankly, they need to be. Yes, their access to local information leads to smarter decisions, and they have at least some sort of incentive to see that the job gets done (whereas the distant enforcers only care about Compliance). But they also can’t afford to piss everyone else off (too much) because they will be having lunch with everyone else. If they insult everyone else with a boring and factually wrong Powerpoint, they’ll be ostracized.This elicited an immediate response from Eli Rabett -- the first in the comment thread:Obviously you never had to clean up after a big one, like one where a) people get seriously hurt and b) the potential for more to get hurt and buildings to go blooey is not zero. Let Eli tell you a story about a physicist who thought he knew what he was doing, and was suc[...]

John Boehner, Leninist


Lenin, in a marginal note in his copy of On War, enthusiastically endorsed Clausewitz's argument that wars were not started by aggressors who moved their armies across other countries' borders -- but by the governments of the invaded countries who decided to resist. See, the invading country would like nothing more than to occupy the other country without firing a shot. The war doesn't start until the invaded country starts fighting back.

In that sense, I guess the working class and the Left can be legitimately said to be waging class warfare. The corporate plutocracy has been waging a full-scale class invasion for the past thirty or forty years, with the ratio of CEO-to-line-worker pay rising from 50 to 500 and almost all real dollar increases in GDP going to rentiers and senior management. The percentage of wealth owned by the top 1% has risen from around 25% to around 40%.

So when workers propose fighting back, maybe they're "starting the war" in Clauzewitz's and Lenin's sense.

I never thought Lenin and John Boehner would be on the same page.

Bleg for People Who Share


Benita Matofska is raising funds for People Who Share at Buzzbnk. Here's her description of the project:

The People Who Share is both a movement and a social enterprise. We are a marketplace for the new ‘sharing sector’ (car sharing, skills exchange, upcycling, freecycling, swap trading, redistribution…). We’ll make sharing easy, proving that it’s cheap, green, social and fun! As campaigners, we’ll engage more and more people as "Collaborative Consumers".

Online, we are building a marketplace for people who want to share. Onland, we will provide services and experiences.

If I can raise £2,800 in 30 days, then I'm in the running to get an investment of £50K from Village Capital. Together with your support, this will enable me to take my idea forward. Please share with me, and together we can make a better world.

Announcements Moved to Twitter


From now on, I'll link to most of my new publications online, etc., at my Twitter account: @KevinCarson1

Bleg for Factor e Farm


Marcin Jakubowski of Factor e Farm had an anticipated $60k grant either delayed or fall through altogether (it's not clear which), and has an emergency fundraiser to raise $20k ASAP to keep plans for concurrently prototyping the entire Global Village Construction Set on track. $10k came from one generous contributor. Some $4500 of the remaining $10k has come in via ChipIn. If you can afford to help put them over the top and keep this project going, please consider doing so here.

At C4SS: Move Over, Lawrence O'Donnell