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How can there be anarchocapitalists and anarchocapitalism?

0 votes
Isn't capitalism a part of the state? Arent't anarchists against the state?
asked Mar 27, 2010 by anonymous
edited Apr 7, 2010 by dot
There cannot. My experience is that the term 'ancap' has been used by anarchists to distinguish themselves from those who they consider to have a limited perception of anarchy (one that is still caught up in 'capitalist' thinking). However, the essential quality (for anarchy) of being leaderless (not violently coerced to follow a leader) remains, whatever other's views on how the market functions happen to be. Hence the terms anarchocapitalists and anarchocapitalism are redundant.

3 Answers

+6 votes
Anarchocapitalists and anarchocapitalism can exist because some people confuse capitalism--a system that began when state-funded companies such as Britain's East India company were able, thanks to this funding and to the infamous enclosures of the commons, to accumulate capital and thus come to dominate markets--with free markets--where individuals bring their goods, produce etc. to trade and sell to each other. Though I am and anti-market anarchist, I could see anarchy and this latter form of market as compatible. But capitalism has always required the state and cannot operate without it. Thus, these phenomena exist through a misunderstanding of what capitalism is.
answered Mar 27, 2010 by apio ludd (1,170 points)
dns: " you're refusing to accept their 'services' "

no, that is not what i said at all. i said i do my best to ignore/avoid the state. since they do exist and i cannot fully avoid them, i will "use their services" anytime it suits my needs.
@Amor: Should be addressed in an environment thread imo.

I've been called a few things in my time ... that one's certainly ... original.

Freedom is good for everyone, rich and poor (except those who feed off the 'State').

I don't manufacture anything, I'm a service provider. It's not my job to 'end poverty' and I don't have a 'plan' to do it (so not much of a 'Marxist'). If it involves forcing people to hand over their wealth I would argue against it.

If you think that makes me cheap, what alternative do you propose?

I put 'services' inside quotes. i.e. how they themselves see what they do. If you ask a Statist bureaucrat "why do I need a dog (or any) license?" they'll tell you it's a 'service' they provide to 'protect' the public. By not conforming and turning up to make a license application you're effectively refusing to accept their 'services'. There's always the possibility they will extort from you for not having that license. We can't do it with everything all the time. I see attempting not to as an expression of anarchist/agorist ideas and what I was alluding to, perhaps you see it differently?

i was talking about services the state provides that might occasionally be useful to me (and others), like food stamps, medicaid, or roads. my refusal to follow rules that don't make sense to me can surely be seen as an expression of anarchic thought, and years ago that was probably a huge motivating factor for me. these days, it is simply what makes sense in the context of creating my life - practicality.

i guess i have long since given up the idea of living "in revolt" for the sake of revolt. i contrast my own ignoring of state laws (which is of course far from complete) with the ideology of "illegalism". i don't do/not do shit just because it goes against the state. (well maybe once in a while, but that's more for shits and giggles....) i do it because it is what makes sense for my life.

+6 votes
yea, the tag sophistry gets to it.
i agree with apio ludd's explanation and will merely add to it a bit...

@capitalists refuse to release the term capitalism. just as marxists have spent their time working the word communist, and anarchists have a million different prefixes for anarchist, @caps are attempting to reclaim (or hold onto) capitalism as a term that can have a place in a liberated society. they do this by using a definition that is very constrained (compared to how most political people talk about capitalism - which is as not just a market or economic system, but a model of how to see the world) and use other words (see corporatism) to describe what most people call capitalism.
i would argue that @caps are closer to marxists than to anarchists, because of their focus on how the market and economics relates to free societies, and because from what i can tell they fundamentally accept the current definitions of market and economics.
answered Jul 28, 2011 by dot (51,120 points)
@dot: From what I have seen on this forum anarchists appear to be quite focused on how the market and economics relates to free societies as well. Marxism was a critique of the (then) current definitions of market and economics which suggested an alternative. If what distinguishes anarchy from Marxists and 'ancaps' is non-acceptance of the current definitions of market and economics, what alternative is it proposing?
different anarchists propose different things: barter, gift economy, gifting, and communism, for example.
0 votes
I think these "anarcho-capitalists" adhere to a convenient vulgar simplistic definition of anarchism. Mainly I think their definition of anarchism is "opposition to the state" when anarchism has meant opposition to authority and hierarchy in general and not just bureaucracy, politicians and other components of the state. Wage work and having bosses are obvious forms of hierarchy and authority and they are main features of capitalism and it is a main reason why most anarchists donĀ“t include "anarcho-capitalism" within anarchism alongside the obvious fact that anarchism has been historically alongside marxism a furious anti-capitalist position.

But also I think "anarcho-capitalists" are conscious entrists (see wikipedia article on the political phenomenon called "Entryism") inside anarchism who want to parasite its history and in the meantime also get a certain rebel edge which comes with the word anarchism. And so for example they have spent time on ridiculous maneuvers in places like wikipedia where they have tried to appear as an important part of anarchism mainly through obscuring anarchism history and through trick conceptualizations.

Since "anarcho-capitalism" adheres to a kind of neo-liberal economics called "austrian economics" it is clear that they are just a more radical form of neoliberalism, and the mainstream form of neoliberal ideology being mainly what is known as "minarchism". In real activism and debate they spend their time alongside conservatives and so called minarchists but nevertheless somehow decide to call themselves "anarchists". It seems that this "anarcho-capitalism" phenomenon anyway is mostly a USA thing and so anarchists outside the US like me became aware of this thing through the Internet but it looks like in the USA they exist within the neoliberal "Libertarian Party" which is a party which has people who also act in the right wing conservative Republican Party. This shows "anarcho-capitalism" is clearly a radical section of the neo-liberal right wing which means it has almost no relationship with anarchism and anarchists and so even a famous US anarchist like Bob Black has said that these "anarcho" capitalists "seem to have no noticeable presence except in the United States, and even there they have little dialog with, and less influence over the rest of us."http://www.theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Bob_Black__Theses_on_Anarchism_After_Post-Modernism.html

From what I know "anarcho-capitalism" is not the only contemporary case of strange mixing of strongly contradictory ideologies. In a somewhat similar case in Russia there are some guys who came up with a thing they call "National Bolshevism" apparently trying to mix marxist-leninism and fascism. It seems to me this phenomenon just as the USA "anarcho-capitalism" thing obey to specific historical and local political situations.
answered Sep 7, 2011 by iconoclast (3,250 points)
edited Sep 7, 2011 by iconoclast
One of my biggest issues with trying to discuss things with @caps is their apparent insistence on discussing things only on a person-to-person level.
This may have quite valid reasons, but limits the conversation to a kind of presumption of the status quo.
My issue with capitalism isn't just that many people have insanely too much for their needs, it is the way that capitalism makes people think about the world. the quantification of everything, the atomization, the abstractions, the reductionism. that is not something that gets discussed when the only examples that can be used have to do with how one person treats another person.
@iconoclast: You are using  a redundant term ("anarcho-capitalists") and then deriding it as a 'convenient vulgar simplistic definition of anarchism'. In other words a straw man argument.
if the term "anarcho-capitalist" is redundant, aren't you saying that anarchy == capitalism?

The Agorist perspective does not only see the world in personal one to one relationships. It promotes the market permeating all aspects of society, some of which we may personally dislike or not approve of (or find nauseating). It appears to me to encapsulate the quite common sense idea that what people say (in forums/public etc.) and how they actually spend in free exchange can be quite different and that the market, society wide, will come to reflect who we really are as humans (personally chosen compromise, exploitation and all) rather than some moralist's (or intellectual's) ideal that is imposed (ultimately via the initiation of physical violence).

There is nothing (in Agorism, at least) to stop you reflecting your concerns regarding "the quantification of everything, the atomization, the abstractions, the reductionism" in your market choices and personal interactions. Many may well agree with you and exchange accordingly.

Bringing this simple logic into the 'real world' is not at all a presumption of the status quo. It would involve a revolutionary change in thinking. Far from what we currently have with every individual encouraged to be a petite moralist imposing his/her ideas on the rest of the world via 'democracy'.

We are all limited in that we can only personally interact generally in one-to-one situations (like an exchange) at any one time. Viewing situations that we may find ourselves in, through that lens, can often help to reflect the broader agorist perspective in my experience. Very often what makes sense to the individual makes sense for the broader society despite all the politicians pleas that we should abandon our individuality to the 'common good'.

ask capitalists like high level bankers, industrialists and their political allies if their views match my understanding of anarchy (from what you have read here). For example, how many of them reject 'democracy' in the way that it is currently formulated and exported around the world. The only ones to come close (that I'm aware of) are the Koch Brothers which resulted in the self-defeating 'Kochtupus'. Anarchy != Capitalism.
oh for sure, surveying capitalists about alt-capitalists is exactly how i want to spend my time.
@dns, you didn't explain how anarcho-capitalism is redundant term. Writing a vague, non-sequitur wall-o-text concerning agorism isn't an explanation. I'm curious for your explanation. It will help me understand your understanding of anarchy.  Please keep it short and to the point if you can.

I will ask Gordon Gekko type slimeballs that work in financial institutions the question you wanted funkyanarchy to ask based on your explanation. It will be soOoO much fun.