Friday, August 05, 2005

Building a New Class Theory

In the U.S., “only rightist kooks and commies talk about ruling classes and class structures,” Samuel Edward Konkin III remarked two decades ago. Even in the libertarian movement, discussing class theory is too often considered impolite and unrespectable. This is one reason I brought up the subject a few weeks ago.

If Libertarian Leftism (i.e., radical Rothbardianism, New Libertarianism, agorism) is to ever recapture the Left from a dying (some would say dead) Marxism, it has to hammer out a class theory upon which to build a new movement. With such a theory, we can finally sweep Marxism into the “dustbin of history” and, as SEK3 once wrote, “the revolutionary agorist cadre (New Libertarians) will supplant neo-Marxists in the new movements and institutions of present and future Left currents and will reduce to vestigial status or annihilate hopelessly Marxist-controlled institutions of the past.”

In the early 1980s, Konkin began writing a book about Agorist Class Theory vs. Marxist Class Theory called Agorism Contra Marxism. Only an introduction and first chapter were ever published (in the now out-of-print Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance #2) and the book — along with many other SEK3 projects — was left unfinished at the time of Sam’s death last year. I’d love to see some libertarian theorists build on Sam’s work in this area.

In the next week or so, I intend to summarize on this blog what now exists of Agorism Contra Marxism, supplemented with other Konkin sources and my own ideas and comments. I hope readers of out of step will feel free to join this “work in progress.”

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At 12:18 PM, Blogger Vache Folle said...

As a preliminary consideration in developing a class theory, we should keep in mind that "class" is a theoretical concept rather than an existing phenomenon in the world. One may posit classes along any number of dimensions as long as they are useful within the context of a larger theory or model.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A civilization tends to arrange the populace into three classes, which sometimes sub-divide into hereditary castes. These classes are: 1] The rentiers, who use political power and guile to live at the expense of [2] the producers, who provide the artifacts, the comforts, and the continuity that make civilization possible. The remaining people, the vast majority, are the [3] perprtual infants, unable to plan or otherwise manage their lives. They mimic both the best and the worst of the "LEADER/FUEHRER/VOZHD" charlatans, who appoint themselves from among the Rentiers. Which set of mountebanks is emulated depends upon the fashions of social intercourse currently propagated to keep the proles amused and useful. SO, CUI BONO?

At 2:58 PM, Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Is there any chance that SEK3's out of print writing and unpublished ms's will be reprinted in one place? His work on Counter-economics and the stuff in both volumes of Strategy of the NLM, especially!

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

Seems to me, Kevin, that 80-90% of ALL of Sam's writings are either out-of-print or unpublished. Since Sam didn't believe in copyright, I suppose it'd be fine for any of us to begin republishing his stuff.

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Unfortunately, I don't even know how to get ahold of the scattered back issues and the unpublished ms. Kent Hastings has a lot of them, doesn't he?

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Wally Conger said...

Dunno about Kent, Kevin. But Victor Koman used to be the publisher of New Libertarian Manifesto and all of the MLL publications (including New Libertarian, the newsletters, and the pamphlets). There's a source we should explore!


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