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Paradigm Shift

The old guard built this movement. Without them, it’s unlikely any of us would be aware that a liberty movement even exists! This alone is an accomplishment. And the history books will look favorably upon them for it - & justifiably so. Their preference for a political approach however, has been ineffective at bringing about liberty (just take a look around, if you’re still permitted). Progress hasn’t just stagnated, we’ve been losing ground rapidly. It’s time for a paradigm shift. One that moves away from the old way of thinking & instead focuses on teaching people how to opt out of corrupt systems & to build competing, market-based alternatives to state institutions. Like sports teams, ideas also get tired & worn out, old players retire, & new, fresh ideas take their place. In the world of ideas, when paradigm shifts occur, the old guard resists the change at first, but eventually comes around to seeing the benefits and virtues of the new way. This is how progres

In Defense of Left Libertarianism, Part II


The early anarchists - the first anarchists, were undeniably leftists.


In fact, the Father of Anarchy, William Godwin, sought the abolition of the state only insofar as it served as a means of achieving his true end, the elimination of private property. Godwin’s immediate ideological successors largely agreed. Pierre Joseph-Proudhon, Josiah Warren, Kropotkin, Tolstoy, Henry David Thoreau & Ben Tucker - all rejected the idea of private property to a greater or lesser extent.

Under the influence of these thinkers, several attempts at more "equitable" communal living were made; all of which now litter the dustbin of history. Some, like the New Harmony colony, Brook Farm, the Oneida colony, or the Amana colonies, were lucky & either closed or converted to market-friendly models. Other communes like Jamestown, tell a much darker tale.

But how much blame can we assign to these early anarchists for their economic shortcomings? If it’s true contemporary anarchists can see further than their predecessors, it’s only because they stand upon the shoulders of Murray Rothbard, who along with his teacher Ludwig von Mises, solved the problem of production & coordination.






Nevertheless, the early left anarchists had several distinct traits which they share exclusively with modern agorists.

First, they were peaceful. None of the anarchists mentioned thus far advocated for violent solutions to statism. Godwin proposed educational reform for example, whereas Thoreau famously advocated for civil disobedience. Tolstoy, who drew his inspiration from the Bible, took “turn the other cheek” quite literally. This in turn laid the groundwork for Gandhi’s counter-economic quest for satyagraha, which culminated in the removal of British forces from India.

Leo Tolstoy, May 23 1908

Indeed, the chain of non-violence in anarchist thought would have remained unbroken if not for Mikhail Bakunin, the ideological father to both Antifa & the Boogaloo. Bakunin rejected non-violence, & thus struggled with a concept much more fundamental than production - succession. He failed to take into account that beheading one tyrant only installs the next. Thus, when his followers assassinated Tsar Alexander II, Alexander III was installed. When they assassinated President William McKinley, Vice-President Teddy Roosevelt was installed.


Non-violence isn’t the only ideological trait we agorists inherited from the early left anarchists. We also share their preference for bottom-up solutions as opposed to top-down approaches. No early anarchist nor modern agorist seeks to achieve their goals within the existing political framework. Imagine Tolstoy making an appeal to the Russian Tsar the way some right-libertarians make appeals to republican politicians?


Instead, left anarchism focuses on opting-out of existing legacy institutions & building local production facilities that bypass state regulation. This strategy, nowadays referred to as horizontal counter-economics, is best articulated by austro-libertarian theorist, Per Bylund in this 2006 paper. The efficacy of horizontal counter-economics is seen every day, all around the world. It can be heard in the whirring noise of blockchain miners & 3D printers, in homesteads and stills, and in every garden from New York to Hong Kong.

The early left anarchists may not have had the privilege of theorizing in the post-Rothbardian era, & perhaps should be forgiven for their naivety of complex economic phenomena. Yet their preference for non-violence & a bottom-up approach to confronting the state are ideological links that can only be found among their true heirs; agorists.






Comments

  1. The early leftist anarchists were anything but peaceful. Wherever they existed they left a wake of assassinations and bombings. This is because anarchism is a weapon of the oligarchs who wield it to overthrow the natural authority inherent in the native institutions and cultures of western society so they can supplant them with top down centralized control.

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