Thursday, March 23, 2006

A letter of Left Libertarian solidarity

[Drafted by Brad Spangler]

Students and Workers of France,

Professor Roderick Long once wrote:

“When Marx called the French government ‘a joint-stock company for the exploitation of France’s national wealth’ on behalf of the bourgeois elite and at the expense of production and commerce (‘Class Struggles in France’), he was only echoing what libertarians had been saying for decades.”

France and all other nation-states remain so today. You and we live in a world where freedom and economic opportunity exist only at the sufferance of a political class that allows us only some small amount of them for sake of their own convenience and take the rest from us by force and coercion for sake of their own parasitism.

Under such circumstances, state-sponsored market liberalization is a cruel joke. The legislation you protest and rebel against seeks only to increase the latitude given your overseers, while maintaining the overall restrictions on your own liberty that, if abolished, would empower you to seek your own prosperity. We believe you and we would be very good at that, mixing both cooperation and peaceful competition, if we were not slaves.

For those reasons, the signers of this letter offer their solidarity to you and present themselves as a sample of a small tendency known as the Movement of the Libertarian Left (MLL), advocates of revolutionary market anarchism or “agorism.”

It is not the place of others to tell you how to wage your own revolution against tyranny. We have some suggestions, though — a version of dual power strategy called “counter-economics.” We humbly recommend MLL founder Samuel Edward Konkin III’s small book on agorism, counter-economics, and revolution The New Libertarian Manifesto in hopes you may find it useful or inspirational. It is available free online at:

The Movement of the Libertarian Left
Agora! Anarchy! Action!

Brad Spangler
Diane Warth
Thomas L. Knapp
Adem Kupi
Wally Conger
J. Freeman Smith
Kevin Carson
M.D. MacKenzie
Roderick T. Long
Jeremy Weiland
M.R. Jarrell
Lady Aster Francesca
Per Bylund
Bruce Hobbs
Jeff Murphy
Sheldon Richman
Matthew Claxton
Jorge Codina
William Gillis

[If you want details about the protests in France and why we offer our solidarity to those demonstrators, visit Brad’s original posting of this letter. You may add your name to the letter by indicating your desire to do so in the comments section at that post.]


At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand. Why would you oppose a reduction of restrictions on liberty? I read the letter and accompanying post, but saw nothing there to answer my question.


At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether something counts as a reduction of restrictions on liberty depends on the context. Remember when Reagan "deregulated" the Savings & Loans -- such deregulation could be a good thing under many circumstances, but given that he didn't remove federal despoit insurance, "deregulation" amounted in that context to an increase of aggression against the taxpayers, licensing the S&Ls to takes greater risks with taxpayers' money.

So in this case: when government passes laws giving group A unjust privileges over group B, and then passes another law giving B some protection against A, then repealing the second law without repealing the first amounts to increasing A's unjust privilege over B. Of course a free society would have neither the first nor the second law, but repealing them in the wrong order can actually decrease rather than increase liberty.

At 1:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"repealing them in the wrong order can actually decrease rather than increase liberty"

The role of libertarians is surely to argue unconditionally in favour of greater liberty across the board. You sound like those libertarians who say "I am in favour of free immigration but just not yet"

"then repealing the second law without repealing the first amounts to increasing A's unjust privilege over B."

Who are A and B in your example?

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roderick - thanks so much for this clear and cogent explanation/example - this resolves entirely the seeming dilemma for me when I encounter such cases. Real life is complex - not every apparent reduction in restriction on liberty nets out to be one - it all depends, as do so many things, on the context. As with many such profound insights, I am left thinking 'I don't know why I didn't see it before!' ;-)


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