photo by SG

Thursday, December 20, 2007


An anonymous poster on the "anarchists" community on LiveJournal finally fucking says what I've been wanting to say for months:

Semantics is valuable, under certain circumstances. Colloquial language is too. When red anarchists here discuss "free trade" or "free market capitalism" or "laissez faire" or "privatization" in US economic policy, or in Euroimperial economic policy, or in WTO/GATT/NAFTA/LMNOP/QRSTUV... they're *almost never* discussing what you or [another anarcho-capitalist] refer to as market anarchy. They're referring, quite specifically, to a phenomenon in what you'd call mixed economies wherein clearly socialized (cost) states are manipulating a highly regulated, highly subsidized, highly protected market and calling it "free trade" by rewarding powerful private tyrannies (to borrow from Chomsky, since you cited him) with even greater power at the expense of the general public.

What drives me absolutely batty is *you fucking know* this is true. You know what's being discussed. There *are no valid semantic objections* because the words in use, while spelled and pronounced the same, are clearly different words with clearly different meanings. You don't like that these semirandom strings of vowels and consonants represent something other than what you'd want them to represent? Pick a new fucking set of vowels and consonants. You have a worse chance of reclaiming these terms than Buddhists in Europe have of reclaiming the swastika.

Thank you, anonymous wonder. Market anarchists shit a brick when we reds start railing against "capitalism," but of course they know exactly what we're talking about. We're not talking about their utopian "free market" without a government. We're talking about the very real, very oppressive market capitalist system of the present day. If they could get their heads out of their ideological asses for two seconds and acknowledge this, maybe we could start working together. But in the meantime, they'll just remain a pointless internet tendency.


William said...

Person #1: The only legit definition of a word is how it's popularly used.

Person #2: The only legit definition of a word must be derived logically from its linguistic roots/context.

*...and then they go off and have a sectarian war*

Now, I'm certainly the last person to worship a bugaboo, but I do like language to be logical and internally consistent. If we use the term "freedom" in one way we can't just switch it up whenever someone else muddies the term. Otherwise language will become a race to the bottom in orwellian postmodern slush.

What's absolutely maddening about this is that the fucking Red Anarchists are being ridiculously hypocritical.

For god's sake man, we're "ANARCHISTS". Do you have any clue what that word means to the majority of the public? Our entire movement STARTED as a nitpicky attempt to reclaim a despised word. That's pretty much the definition of our legacy. We're uppity word geeks going "nu-uh, ____ doesn't mean what you think it means."

So if we really think that we can reclaim the term "anarchy" from 2500 years of abuse why the hell shouldn't we have a go at "free trade" while we're at it?!

Sticking to the logical and internally consistent highground is just as important as sticking to the moral highground. By refusing to give up the term "freedom" we reject the artificial marxist/capitalist dichotomy (and its authoritarian consequences) and show both sides up as the hypocrites that they are.

If we let them define our language then we're pretty much fucked.

William said...

"Capitalism" is a slightly different matter.

Since it has far less concrete roots, like "socialism" it's almost entirely a product of social context.

For 98% of the fucking world your definition of "capitalism" is largely accurate. But for the remaining 2% the definition is almost entirely flipped. And that 2% is a vast, vast section of society--and almost a majority in America. Just as social context helped define "capitalism" one way everywhere else, there's a TON of social history behind the popularity of the other definition within the anglosphere.

You can't just demand that they suddenly erase all that history at the demand of the rest of the world. That would be unnuanced, authoritarian, and democratic as fuck.

They need to recognize the local legitimacy of your definition and you need to recognize the local legitimacy of theirs. And stop arrogantly demonizing one another as "republicans who smoke pot" and "hot topic kids who brick windows." They're not going to hand you over to the Baron Robbers and you're not going to put them in death camps.

William said...


shadowcrrew said...

what projects are "red" anarchists and "market" anarchists wanting to work together on? what are the commonalities in your inspirations that lay foundation for solidarity?

fuck if i know how to run a buisness either way- show me a successful urban cottage industry model that i can pull off with fellow hobbyists and you can call me whatever you want.

shadowcrrew said...

and the movement would be eternally grateful