Monday, January 29, 2018

A Marxist Defense Of Libertarianism

I've been running with a bad crowd lately. Too many libertarians. Too many capitalists. They've had a bad influence on my commie Marxist ass. I use to be redder than Trotsky's cock in an ice storm. Now I'm dissing taxes, questioning single-payer and tossing around words like voluntaryism and panarchy like Murray goddamn Rothbard. What the hell happened to me? I use to be a regular limonka chucking Bolshevik. What would my childhood idols, Che Guevara and Abbie Hoffman say about me now? Have I sold out?

Hardly. I've simply broadened my horizons a little bit. I think the kids call it woke. I may not be the same welfare state loving democratic centralist that I use to be but I still believe in essentially the same values. I still despise capitalism and I still believe that things like healthcare, education and housing are fundamental human rights. I've just lost faith in the state at a time when I happened to make friends with some exceptional libertarians. This has lead me to a rare terrain for most Americans. A scary place called thinking outside the box. You're average American of any political political ideology would sooner swallow a fist full of live hornets then spend more than five minutes with an opinion that doesn't jibe with their preferred world view. But the more time this Marxist has spent among libertarians, the more I've come to realize that they offer the best solutions to the problems of capitalism.

The fundamental source of all class oppression is authority and when you boil it down to the marrow, the state itself is little more than authority institutionalized and capitalism as we know it cannot exist without the institutionalized market authoritarianism of the state. Multinational conglomerates only exist thanks to the largess of big government and their so called "free trade" bills. Long story short, big government is the best friend big business could ever ask for and the longer one or both of these creatures exists the more incestuously interchangeable they become. This is why in state communist societies the party members essentially take the place of the oligarchs. Even with the most radical of intentions, the state's number one objective will always be to justify its own existence and those who pull the levers behind this behemoth will always become the complicit benefactors of this power imbalance with the workers remaining exploited regardless of whether or not their bosses wear pressed red roses on their lapels.

This is why even in the welfare wonder-states of Scandinavia the living standards of the working class are being eroded by the menace of neoliberal austerity. In the end, it didn't matter how much the government gave the workers. As long as they remained unempowered by the authority of the state, their rights where always just one prime minister away from being flushed down the toilet. Sweden. Norway. Venezuela. Brazil. They all ultimately fell victim to the offspring of their own liberators. The lord giveth and the lord taketh away.

So what's the alternative? We kill the lord. The Libertarian Party essentially advocates the total liquidation of the federal government. Most of the rank and file believe this to be a boon for unfettered capitalism. But that's really all dependent on how we the people choose to exercise our right to free assembly. There is nothing wrong with welfare in and of itself. It just needs to be divorced from the state. Successful stateless welfare systems have been launched in this country from the Wobblies to the Black Panthers. In Southern Lebanon Christians and Muslims alike prefer the welfare services provided by the Shia militia Hezbollah to that of their own socially derelict government. These kinds of programs not only take care of those who can't take care of themselves but they strengthen their sense of community and empower them to become active participants of a movement rather than numbers in a faceless bureaucracy. It also fosters the kind of mindset necessary to achieve the kind of voluntary egalitarian society Marx dreamed of in his more lucid years.

In general, most if not all things done by big business or big government can be done better by civilian collectives witch carry the added benefit of being entirely voluntary, thus negating the need to rob people through taxation (I make an exception for certain forms of reparations, but that's a topic for another post). All of this jibes with the Libertarian Party's objectives but it fails to jibe with the overall objectives of any other current party on the left, all of whom support increased regulations that would only stagnate the civilian welfare system if not strangle it to death with red tape. Thus I've come up with a three step goal for achieving a truly Marxian society through a libertarian revolution.

Step 1: The radical left must shift focus from state reform to creating voluntary communal alternatives to both the predator-capitalist-profit system and the welfare state. This will involve the construction of a massive, intricate, but grass roots network of trade unions, collectives, free clinics, free schools, co-ops, mutual aid societies and credit unions. This will also require a massive social movement that will require us to rethink the very way we live our lives and organize society. This is the hardest step and it won't be easy but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

Step 2: Once we have a viable civilian safety net in place we throw the full weight of our support entirely behind the Libertarian Party both locally and nationally, under the strict condition that they hold up their end of the bargain by remaining true to their antiwar and anti-statist roots. That means no more limp-wristed, dope-smoking, Republican poseurs like Gary Johnson, Bob Barr or Bill Weld. The Libertarians will have our support but only if they earn it. This means a return to the golden age of Harry Browne and Karl Hess. No more half measures.

Step 3: We wait until the minarchist night watchman state is weak enough to snap like a twig and then we crush it with a massive bloodless Luxemburgian general strike. A revolution that with any luck will spread like a wildfire across the globe. We start over with a million little stateless republics and a population free to chose how to live their lives in peace.

I'm not sure about Che and Abbie but somehow I think old Karl might approve. Either way, true Marxism is about evolution. The dialectic never sleeps. The hustle doesn't stop until the boss-man's off the block and that boss-man has gotten pretty fucking fat off our sweat and taxes. We're gonna need a little help from our friends to roll his ass. We better get to work.  See you in the streets, dearest motherfuckers. Viva la Revolucion!

Peace, Love and Empathy- CH

Soundtrack; Songs that influenced this post.

* The Concept By Teenage Fanclub
* Bad Kids By Black Lips
* Soon By My Bloody Valentine
* Walk On The Wild Side By Lou Reed
* Corona By The Minutemen
* Neat Neat Neat By The Damned
* Freak Scene By Dinosaur Jr.
* Lithium By Nirvana
* With A Little Help From My Friends By The Beatles
* The Diamond Sea By Sonic Youth


  1. Comrade, I find I agree with almost everything you say here. When you say that libertarians support "pure capitalism," I think we are just arguing here about semantics. Thomas Knapp has made it clear to me that I must relinquish the Randian definition of "capitalism" as being the "free market," as it does not mean that to most individuals on both the left and the right. When most people use the word "capitalism," they mean, not the free market, but rather, corporatism, the corporate state, or fascism (actually "socialism for the rich"). The free market, on the other hand, can be an environment which supports virtually any non-aggressive value system.

    Beware of self described "libertarians," or even "anarchists," who would use the existing state apparatus to enforce their prejudices and value systems. Libertarian history student Anthony Gregory has created a word for these "libertarians". He calls them "anarcho-statists". Here is his definition of anarcho-statism:

    an'ar'cho'stat'ism n. The theory or doctrine that all forms of government are oppressive and undesirable and should be abolished, but in the meantime those governments should go on doing what governments do, for the most part. (Modified from American Heritage Dictionary).

    Examples of "anarcho-statists" are our own Justin Raimondo, Ilana Mercer, Lew Rockwell (these three definitely on the issue of immigration), and a host of people on the war issue. The original anarcho-statist was probably Ayn Rand, who made an incredibly asinine statement implying that a 5% tax to support social welfare programs should be considered more onerous than an 80% tax to support the military.

    Anyway, I am glad that you can see that a true libertarian has almost nothing in common with a conservative, except perhaps some overlap in rhetoric (the difference being that conservatives don't mean a damn word of the "getting government off your back" stuff). I think Thomas Knapp may have been instrumental in showing you that, and, hopefully I have influenced you to a lesser extent.

    You are absolutely correct that the LP is in a precarious position and could go either way, i.e. becoming either more libertarian or more statist. My offer still stands: If you are willing to become a voting member of the LP so at to make sure it hews strictly to principle, and nominates candidates who also do, I am willing to pay your membership fees at least through the 2020 Presidential nominating convention. Perhaps I can also help you with a convention motel room. Anyway, find out what the requirements are in your state for being a delegate to the national LP convention. In a few months, I should be able to pay your membership fees.

    1. I deeply appreciate the offer but I'm still not sure if I feel right being an official member of any party. And, yes, both you and Tom are among the "exceptional libertarians" who influenced my political evolution along with the ideas of another ex-Leninist named Abdullah Ocalan.

    2. That's OK. My own reservations about being a member of the LP are what caused me to leave, after I could no longer endorse, even moderately, the disgusting pile of crap they had become. It's just that now we have essentially one shot to correct the error, in 2020, and I need all the help I can get. Believe me, there will be plenty of delegates who will be persuaded to make the Party be "more mainstream," which is just a euphemism for selling out. It would really be nice if the libertarian grass roots could somehow assert themselves and nominate an actual libertarian for a change. I really can't see myself supporting anyone either major party is likely to nominate, and I am not as young as you, and probably will be on this Earth for many years less than you, and can't afford to wait 30 years for another miracle.