There’s a lot of noise being made by the left- and mutualist-libertarian crowd about the arrest of some so-called “anarchists” (scare quotes because anti-market “anarchists” are not real anarchists, i.e. anarcho-libertarians) and seizure by the police of “anarchist” and anarchist literature, including some by mutualist-libertarian Kevin Carson. From what I can gather from various incoherent media and blog descriptions, an “anarchist” group called the RNC Welcoming Committee was going to protest the Republican convention in Minnesota; some market anarchists tried to join up to make some inroads with the commie “anarchists”, and some Ron Paul supporters. For some reason the cops made arrests and seized literature, which included some of Carson’s writings.
This mutualist-libertarian material apparently was found because some market anarchists wanted to participate in the RNC Welcoming Committee march. (See Kevin Carson, public enemy; RNC 08: America, support your patriot youth!; Market Anarchists at the RNC: Street View.)Yes, the mutualists and left-anarchists have some good insights about how the state has distorted and corrupted the corporate and business world. But anarchists–real anarchists, i.e., anarcho-libertarians–are not opposed to the market and free enterprise, nor even opposed to “corporations” (see my “In Defense of the Corporation“).
Left-anarchism suspicious of the admixture of state and business is one thing; socialist “anarchism” is another. The “Anticapitalist Bloc” pseudo-anarchists are hostile to free markets and private property rights. Take a look at this video, where one of them condones the breaking of a Macy’s window because of her hatred of “capitalism.” [Note: a libertarian friend told me he thinks this woman perhaps meant by “capitalism” merely state-regulation of markets, which we all oppose. I disagree. Listen for yourself. It’s Macy’s, for crying out loud, not Lockheed or even ADM.] And the commie lingo: “The crowd marched down the sidewalk, and in the right lane of the road when no sidewalk was available. Most of the time the marchers chanted ‘We won’t falter we won’t fail! Let our comrades out of jail!'” Comrades! Ick!
These people are just confused socialists. Sure, I’m glad they are anti-war. But unless you are pro-market, pro-private property, you have no basis to oppose the state, for the state is simply the agency of institutionalized aggression against private property rights. To oppose the state is to support property rights, since opposing aggression means opposing the invasion of property. Conversely, those who oppose property rights inevitably support the state or other forms of aggression.
Of course, the so-called RNC 8 should be freed. Of course, the state is the real enemy. But these pseudo-anarchists are not on our side.
Update: Roderick Long got the impression I was saying Kevin Carson is anti-market (I am not familiar with Gillis). Let me clarify: I tried to distinguish between genuine libertarians and anarchists, on the one hand, and the pseudo-anarchists, by using scare quotes. I never meant to imply that the “left” or market anarchists and mutualists are not libertarian. As far as I know they support individual rights and property rights and oppose aggression; and they rightly oppose–as do I–state-business admixtures or distortions that arise from this. We might disagree on the extent of these distortions, and on some of our personal preferences, but so what.
But anyone who runs around breaking storefront windows and treating Macy’s as some kind of evil state agency is not one of us: not a libertarian, not an anarcho-capitalist, not a market anarchist. (Not that I even see anything wrong with trying to make strategic alliances with these socialist anti-state types, or making inroads with them; but they are not us.) I would think, I would hope, I would expect that Carson and Long would agree with me on this. I certainly did not mean to be unfair to or impugn Carson, who is a sincere and intelligent thinker whose work I admire, even where I do not agree.1:46 am on September 9, 2008 Email Stephan Kinsella