Agorism Contra Marxism, part 5
[This continues a multi-part summary of known existing portions of Samuel Edward Konkin III’s unfinished book Agorism Contra Marxism, which began, and ended, its serialization in Strategy of the New Libertarian Alliance #2, 1982-83. To catch up, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.]
The Agorist Critique of Marxist Class Theory
Marx’s Class Theory failed to see that those workers classically considered proletariat would become growingly obsolescent. In
“The entrepreneurial problem is unsolvable for Marxism,” wrote SEK3, “because Marx failed to recognize the economic category. The best Marxists can do is lump them with new, perhaps mutated, capitalist forms. But if they are to fit the old class system, they are petit bourgeois, the very group that is to either collapse into proletarians or rise into the monopoly capitalist category. Small business should not increase in the ‘advanced, decadent stages of capitalism.’ ”
Marxism also does not deal with the persistent Counter-Economy (i.e., a peaceful black market or underground economy). There is a spectrum of the Counter-Economy “tainting” workers, entrepreneurs, and even capitalists. Wrote Konkin:
“Scientists, managers, even civil servants do not merely accept bribes and favors but actively seek second, unreported employment in the ‘black market.’ And the more ‘socialist’ the State, the bigger the nalevo, ‘black work’ or ‘underground’ component of the economy. ... [T]his turns Marx ‘on his head’ ...: ‘advanced capitalism’ is generating runaway free-enterprise (the Old-Fashioned kind) in reaction; the more decadent (statist) the capitalism, the more virulent the reaction and the larger the Counter-Economy.
“But even worse is the class of Counter-Economists. That is, by Marxist class structure, the black marketeers cannot be a class: workers, capitalists and entrepreneurs in active collusion against a common enemy, the State. True, many do not perceive themselves as in a common class and some even try to deny their ‘black’ activities even to themselves, thanks to religious and social guilt induction. And yet, when the agents of the State appear to enforce the ‘laws’ of the Power Elite, the Counter-Economists from tax-dodging businessman to drug-dealing hippie to illegal alien to feminist midwife are willing to signal each other with the universal: ‘Watch it, the fuzz/pigs/flics/federales/etc.!’ ...
“Even in extreme cases, the commonality of the Counter-Economist has generated an economic determinism as strong as any Marx considered to weld ‘class unity.’ But this is still not the worst.
“This class unity is not that of a workers’ class (though workers are heavily involved) nor of a capitalist class (though capitalists are involved) nor even of a ruling class — this class is based on the commonality of risk, arising from a common source (the State). And risk is not proletarian (or particularly capitalist); it is purely entrepreneurial.
“Again, to make it clear, if the ‘entrepreneuriat’ are tossed into the capitalist class, then the Marxist must face the contradiction of ‘capitalists’ at war with the capitalist-controlled State.
“At this point, Marx’s class analysis is in shreds. Clearly, oppression exists, but another model is needed to explain how it works.”
Technorati Tags: New Libertarian, Movement of the Libertarian Left