Archive for February, 2010

The present anarchy of our commerce (cont’d)

So, here is the latest on the Alliance of the Libertarian Left at the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair.

First — I’d like to give a big shout-out to the three very generous donors who chipped in to cover all of the costs for the table registration fee and the shoestring-budget travel expenses from Las Vegas to San Francisco. Thank you! You’re awesome. Seriously.

Second. Along with the selection of booklets and buttons that we had at last year’s Bay Area bookfair, and last month’s bookfair in L.A., James Tuttle from Tulsa ALL will be bringing along some new literature from ALL and from Corvus. And Southern Nevada ALL will be bringing along a passle of new literature, including four new Market Anarchy Series zines and several new button designs. If you’re curious, or interested, we’ve added the new items to our distro page. If you need some literature and merchandise for your ALL local, or just want to pick some up for yourself, check it out — everything’s available either as an individual item or for discounted bulk orders. It’s a great way to get the word out; also a way that you can pick up some solid left-libertarian materials while helping us defray the costs of supplies and printing for the Bookfair.

Here’s a sampler of the new booklets and buttons we’ve got in at the Distro.

Market Anarchy #13: Libertarianism Through Thick and Thin

Charles Johnson (2008)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Government is Violence / think Anarchy for consensual alternatives [ALL] (1.5″)

Market Anarchy #14: Libertarian Feminism: Can This Marriage Be Saved

Roderick Long and Charles Johnson (2005)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Deporten a La Migra! [ALL] (1.5″)

The Best of BAD Press: Tracts in Individualist Anarchism 1986–1999

BAD Press (2001)

i don’t pay war taxes [ALL] (1.5″)

MA15: Property to the People! Expropriate the Expropriators!

Where Are The Specifics? Karl Hess (1969)

NO BORDERS / NO STATE [ALL] (1.5″)

MA16: Liberty, Equality, Solidarity

Charles Johnson (2008)

(Specially commissioned by James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL. Ships on or after March 1, 2010.)

The General Strike

Ralph Chaplin 1933)

(Produced and distributed by Southern Nevada ALL for an ad hoc organizing committee of the IWW in Las Vegas.)

Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities

Timothy C. May (1994)

Market Anarchy Zine Series: full print run

16 Market Anarchy zines for $1500

I’d like to take special note of a couple new items in the Market Anarchy series . There is, first, the most recent issue (#15), which is a reprinting of Karl Hess’s Where Are The Specifics?. For those of you familiar with Rothbard’s (in)famous Confiscation and the Homestead Principle (already part of the Market Anarchy series, as Market Anarchy #1: All Power to the Soviets!), this is the article by Hess that Rothbard was riffing on when he wrote that essay. (The two were first published together in a single issue of Libertarian Forum, along with a polemic against the government assault on People’s Park.) Since the two are of a set, to go along with All Power to the Soviets! I gave the Hess booklet the title Property to the People! Expropriate the Expropriators! Hess’s article is shorter than Rothbard’s, and raises a lot more questions where Rothbard aims for a specific answer (Hess asks what would become of General Motors in a free society; Rothbard tries to answer the question). But it’s notable, among other things, for Hess’s shout-out to militant reclaim-the-land movements in the Southwest U.S. / northeast Aztlan, and for the really excellent programmatic statements at the beginning, on the difference between the defense of individual property and freed-markets, on the one hand, and apologetics for actually-existing property claims and the typical business practices of state capitalists, on the other.

And, second, there is the upcoming issue (#16), which is — at long last — a reprint of my essay Liberty, Equality, Solidarity: Toward a Dialectical Anarchism, which will be freely available for reprinting with attribution at the end of February 2010. (As a result, the booklet ships on March 1 at the earliest.) It used to cost somewhere between $60 and $80 to get a printed copy of the essay; come March, it can be yours in an attractive booklet edition for only $1.75. The essay ranges pretty widely, from the anarchist case against limited government to radical equality to the interconnection of struggles and thick conceptions of libertarianism to individualist anarchist engagements with radical feminism, the labor movement, and the great capitalist conflation controversy. Thus: The purpose of this essay is political revolution. And I don’t mean a “revolution” in libertarian political theory, or a revolutionary new political strategy, or the kind of “revolution” that consists in electing a cadre of new and better politicians to the existing seats of power. When I say a “revolution,” I mean the real thing: I hope that this essay will contribute to the overthrow of the United States government, and indeed all governments everywhere in the world. You might think that the argument of an academic essay is a pretty slender reed to lean on; but then, every revolution has to start somewhere, and in any case what I have in mind may be somewhat different from what you imagine. For now, it will be enough to say that I intend to give you some reasons to become an individualist anarchist, and undermine some of the arguments for preferring minimalist government to anarchy. In the process, I will argue that the form of anarchism I defend is best understood from what Chris Sciabarra has described as a dialectical orientation in social theory, as part of a larger effort to understand and to challenge interlocking, mutually reinforcing systems of oppression, of which statism is an integral part—but only one part among others. Not only is libertarianism part of a radical politics of human liberation, it is in fact the natural companion of revolutionary Leftism and radical feminism.

(This booklet edition of Liberty, Equality, Solidarity was, incidentally, made possible by a generous commission from James Tuttle of Tulsa ALL.)

Anyway. If you’re there at the Bookfair, these items and some others will be out on the table for you to check out. If circumstances force you to be square rather than there, they are all available now through the Southern Nevada ALL Agitprop & Artwork Distro.

Enjoy!

Civic duties

In which I write a letter to elected officials.

So by now you may be familiar with South Carolina Code Title 23 Chapter 29, the state law that requires all organizations who directly or indirectly advocate, advise, teach or practice the duty or necessity of controlling, seizing, or overthrowing the government of the United States, the state of South Carolina, or any political division thereof, to register their activities with the South Carolina Secretary of State. Now that I’ve been informed of the law, here are the contents of the letter that I wrote and dropped in the U.S. postal service today, addressed to Mark Hammond, arbitrary Secretary of State over South Carolina.

Secretary of State Mark Hammond
P.O. Box 11350
Columbia, SC 29211

Dear Sir:

I am writing to you today as a member of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, a subversive organization advocating the duty, the necessity, and the propriety of overthrowing the governments of the United States and of the state of South Carolina by unlawful means – as we advocate the duty, the necessity, and the propriety of overthrowing all forms of government at every level throughout the world. As advocates of the doctrine of Anarchism and the strategy of counter-economics, we specifically reject legalized methods of changing government policy, such as government elections and legislative lobbying, and we advocate the deliberate use of illegal tactics such as civil disobedience, and nonviolent direct action in defiance of unjust laws, as our preferred means of bringing about the dissolution of all government into the economic organism.

Members of the A.L.L., both anonymous and open, operate in many states, including in South Carolina. We are actively engaged in attempts to influence political action in the state of South Carolina – specifically, by aiming to stop any political action at all from being inflicted upon the people of South Carolina. We reside and transact business within the territorial boundaries claimed by the state of South Carolina; we are in your neighborhoods and we are in your business districts. We may even be in your homes; have you checked under the beds and in the closets?

I believe that our doctrines and activities qualify us as an officially recognized subversive organization, as described in South Carolina Code Title 23 Chapter 29.

Please consider this our notice of subversive activities; I would be honored if you would add our organization to your registry of organizations working for the overthrow of government in South Carolina. All government is, after all, nothing more than an absurdity, a usurpation, and a crime, inflicted on the vast majority of peaceful people, without their consent, by the dictation of a select few men who have neither the wisdom, nor the virtue, nor the right to presume to rule over anyone other than themselves. It has always been the most deadly tool of oppressors and exploiters, as the past victims of South Carolina’s government, from the Stono rebels to Denmark Vesey to the 35 victims of the Orangeburg Massacre have known all to well. When belligerence and inhumanity prevail, the peaceful and the humane must find honor in being categorized as the enemies of the prevailing order. Please keep me updated as to the status of our registration. I look forward to hearing back from you as to our official recognition as enemies of your state and its government.

Sincerely,
Charles Johnson

PS. I am told that there is a processing fee in the amount of $5.00 for the registration of a subversive organization. Our organization is in fact so dastardly that we have refused to remit the fee.

All the great governments of the world - those now existing, as well as those that have passed away - have been of this character. They have been mere bands of robbers, who have associated for purposes of plunder, conquest, and the enslavement of their fellow men. And their laws, as they have called them, have been only such agreements as they have found it necessary to enter into, in order to maintain their organizations, and act together in plundering and enslaving others, and in securing to each his agreed share of the spoils. All these laws have had no more real obligation than have the agreements which brigands, bandits, and pirates find it necessary to enter into with each other, for the more successful accomplishment of their crimes, and the more peaceable division of their spoils. – Mr. Lysander Spooner, Natural Law, or the Science of Justice.

I’ll keep you advised as to how the process goes.

ALL out for the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair

The Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair is going to be held the weekend of March 13-14 in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park. It’s a great time; it’s also one of the largest annual Anarchist community events in North America. And I’m in the process of organizing a table for A.L.L. at the bookfair.

In addition to a great lineup of speakers, panels and workshops, the main event (this is a bookfair, after all) will be the space in main hall with dozens of vendors with tables to show off their Anarchist books and materials from 10:00am–6:00pm on Saturday, March 13 and 11:00am–5:00pm on Sunday, March 14. Among them will be us — members of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left from Vegas, California, and around the Western U.S. I’ll be there, along with fellow Anarchists from Southern Nevada ALL. We’ll have books, journals, buttons, and more from the Southern Nevada ALL Distro available for sale as fundraisers, along with a lot of free pamphlets, smaller pieces to give away, and information about ALL as an organization and what we do back in our hometowns.

This will be Southern Nevada A.L.L.’s third appearance at an Anarchist bookfair (after appearances at last year’s Bay Area bookfair, and this year’s Los Angeles bookfair). These bookfairs are a real blast to work: partly because the bookfair a great opportunity to make connections with fellow Anarchists and to get the good word out about individualist anarchism, market anarchism, mutualism, counter-economics, to an audience of engaged radicals and movement anarchists. And also because, for a dispersed, Internet-coordinated network like the A.L.L., working the bookfair table is great opportunity to posse up with ALLies from many different towns, meet folks you’ve only known online, have some great conversations, and work together on some practical counter-economic outreach. (It’s also a good opportunity for local organizing on the ground — since we can put out a sign-up sheet and get contacts for people who are interested in ALLiance in the Bay Area.)

Anyway. If all this sounds like something you’re down with, interested in, excited by, here’s three things you can do:

  1. If you’re in the Bay Area, or will be around March 13-14, drop on by the table and say hi and see what we’re doing.

  2. If you’ll be there and you’re interested in selling books or merchandise for your hometown Alliance of the Libertarian Left local — or if you’re interested in hanging out with ALLies from other towns and helping with the table — then get in touch with me to coordinate. We’ll definitely have space for you, and it’d be great to posse up.

  3. If you want to help support the A.L.L. presence at the Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair (and other bookfairs in the future), you can help us out by covering the costs of the table and the transport. Bound Together Books just recently boosted the cost of reserving a table (last year it was $100 for both days; now it’s $150). We’re doing this on as thin a shoestring as possible. With support from y’ALL, we can make the most of these opportunities to do local organizing, make connections between our locals, and put the word out and about among our fellow Anarchists.

    Here’s the shoestring, for reference.

    ALL @ Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair 2010 shoestring budget
    Cost Description
    $150 Table reservation (Saturday and Sunday)
    $87 Car rental for transport from Vegas (driving up Friday; returning car Monday).
    $86 Cheap hotel in Bay Area (Friday and Saturday night)
    ~$0~ Gas costs will be covered by carpooling ALLies and our allies from Vegas up to the Bookfair and to the Empowering Women of Color conference, which is being held at UC Berkeley the same weekend. Food costs will be covered through Food Not Bombs.
    $333 Total costs

Hope to see y’ALL there!

bookfairvendors

We’ll be here. Will you?