Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.


+2 votes
Okay I know the "allies vs enemies" dichotomy isn't all that useful or representative of the anarchistic struggle against heirarchy, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.

In longer form, my question is this: Do the aims of so-called anarcho-capitalists coincide with those of anarchists frequently enough for association with ancaps to be worthwhile? When you break down all the pretense and phony philosophy, what is there in "anarcho-capitalism" that is useful to anarchists, and is there room for anarchists to cooperate with the people who support it?
by (340 points)
Kudos on the Alliteration!  :)

Your dischord of dichotomy is well taken.
While individuals may go one way or the other, when pushed to the point, i fear most an-caps would jettison the 'anarch' far before their beloved 'capitalism'.
The thought that comes to mind is:  The enemy of my enemy is not (necessarily) my friend; the enemy of my enemy is a fucking tool.

(additional kudos for the rampant tagging.)

4 Answers

–4 votes
In a nutshell, yes.

Even though our brothers and sisters still cling to parts of the matrix that has been forced upon them they endorse a cooperative management system.

The an-craps are against violent control of their neighbors, and that is a step in the right direction.  In time we can demonstrate to them the exploitive nature of crapitalism.

They do favor using their neighbors disability to enrich themselves, but that is because they haven't freed their minds from the indoctrination that says that profiting from your neighbors inability to mow her yard, build a guitar, or grow her own food is a good thing.  They still value shiny bits of metal over their fellow human beings.

Once they understand that profit separates us into profiteer and victim they will drop the crapital aspects of their anarchism.

Until then we need all the help we can get and the an-craps are at least self-identifying as anarchists, thereby bringing the term to the masses.
by (320 points)
The very notion of 'neighbor' is an internalization of capitalist antisocial 'relations.'
Or maybe it just means the girl next to me?
You know, the one that is my sister?
The one that makes those great pancakes?
Only if you desire to keep yourself and your pancake-making sister working in the bowers (cages) of private property.
Well, I do like the pan she makes them in, I said, we can iron out the differences with the an-craps after we get the thugs with guns to stop pushing us around.
"after we get the thugs with guns to stop pushing us around."

Which they probably won't do until their reason-for-being is obliterated.
All the more reason not to infight with anarchists, we can resolve our differences later.
+4 votes
Nope. Ancaps are not allies. That doesn't mean there aren't some I would maybe (possibly) trust, but as a group their continued reverence for capitalism (and the way they conceive accumulation of property) means that ultimately what they are working towards is antithetical to the anarchist project.

They envision a world where all are "equal", but where access to and accumulation of resources (including human resources, er, employees) are things that can be accrued and passed on. What this means is that just because my dad had 50 acres of land and a factory which he passed on to me, and that you pay me $200 rent/month to live in a shack on that land (that my dad gave me the deed to) by working in my factory (that my dad gave me) for $250 a month that you are no less a human deserving of dignity, and just as free to make choices of your own. You are just as free as I am to look for a new place to live, or to choose to find a different job, because, freedom. There is still, obviously, domination and systems of power and control that are incompatible with any sort of anarchist future I would work towards.

Frankly, what ancaps describe sounds a lot like the world we live in now, except that the liberal democratic form of capitalism in which we currently live has evolved from a completely laissez faire model to one which includes a created safety net (in the form of welfare programs, public works, etc.) that helps as a pressure valve for unrest and revolt. Sure, there would be no police and no state, but that doesn't mean that (in my hypothetical world) I wouldn't have a private army that I pay to keep you in line (using money I make from charging you rent and profiting from your work). That is not anarchy, that is capitalism, pure and simple.
by (22.1k points)
They would have to have private armies to insure that the wage slaves continued to slave for their wages.

The early labor struggles illustrates an an-crap world, gov't regulation was at a minimum, if not non-existent, and the bosses ordered the machine gunning of women and children to keep the slaves in line.

That the machine guns now controlling the masses come in the form of tv programming and schooling does little to change the fact that crapitalism is slavery and that voluntary slavery is still slavery.

What the ancraps fail to recognize is the violence involved in telling your neighbor to join the exploitation or starve.
+4 votes
The people who invented anarcho-capitalist logic were capitalists themselves. Over time the bourgeoisie developed the logic that the technological advancement of society improves life, and therefore, is freedom. This, combined with the long held ruling-class belief that there are people fit to rule and be ruled by nature (you can call this social Darwinism) gave birth to what is called classical liberalism in political thought, which teachers that competition under the "free market" creates the best conditions we can hope for in mankind.

Anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism (as it's known in the US) are the children of this type of thinking, hence, they are very directly related to ruling class thought. There's really nothing anarchistic about "anarcho-capitalism" except for the destruction of the public service branch of government. However, just like any other ideology, im sure there are plenty of differences between specific people who are part of the anarcho-capitalist movement, so im sure that there could be anarcho-capitalist allies in certain projects and activities.

The truth is that leftists, anarcho capitalists, and anarchists embrace ways of thinking that serve to enslave us, so to draw distinctions between enemies and allies, you always stupid when it comes down to ideology
I liked what you said about being open to having affinity with them for some things. I know an American libertarian. We can definitely work together on anti state action. However, he favors working within the system sometimes..:/
I used to have a really good friend who became a really adamant libertarian/anarchist/prepper/environmentalist, and I was mad about  the fact he didn't oppose capitalism, and this fucked up our this is part of the reason why I'm very distrustful of ideological labels and ideas. I mean, the guy was also getting into a really paranoid prepper mentality, so this kind of irritated me as well, but I feel like the most important goal as an anarchist is to figure out how to have better, more anarchistic relationships with other people. There were so many cool things about that friend though, it was stupid for me to get wrapped up in petty political argument crap
Great answer.  Anarcho-capitalism is a fundamentally bourgeois ideology, and so seeks to preserve the present order, just more on it's own terms (ie. without taxation, public services etc), and so as you quite rightly point out, it doesn't really challenge any of the assumptions that the present order is built on.

On the question of allies, I think we could probably distill the caveats expressed here into one sentence - 'There can be no such thing as an unconditional ally'. That sounds pretty negative I'll admit, but the flipside is that it opens the door for a wider array of possible conditional allies, if we refuse to let ourselves be burdened by rigid ideological loyalty.
or just find a way to distribute "the unique and it's property" really cheaply....
i think the question of whether someone is a friend is mostly unrelated to whether they are an ally.
there are interesting dedicated intelligent kind people who believe all kinds of things (ie they're not all anarchists, lol).

we should never assume that because we like someone that they will not find it necessary to shoot us under certain circumstances. (or, to be less dramatic, that they will work against the things that we find most important.)
dot: "i think the question of whether someone is a friend is mostly unrelated to whether they are an ally."

i agree. and it bothers me. i wonder why most of my friends don't ally with me, and most of the people i do ally with (like many on this site) i don't have friendships with. a personal problem perhaps, but something i think about sometimes.
yeah well a lot of times i havent felt like ive had any friends, but that was friends being kinda shitty and paranoia...

paranoia, when does someone become paranoid? Stalin was paranoid for good reasons, but it seems like a lot of people these days have a thinly veiled paranoia.
Well, the management of capitalism is based on greed and fear.  The only model that tracks the movement of the stock markets is 'Greed and Fear'.  The basis of 'popular culture', which is just a prop to distract while they try to sell us shit we don't need, is greed and fear (and the occasional shiny happy shit thrown in for frosting the gingerbread.)  So, we are afraid to drive little cars because of the video of one smashing into a concrete wall, we are afraid of eating wheat because it will 'do bad things', we are afraid of eating salad because some has been recalled (again), we are afraid of a zombie in a hoodie breaking into our house (and doing 'bad things'), we are afraid we are fat and ugly and no one will ever want to fuck us, we are afraid our children may be stupid or unathletic or otherwise embarrass us, we are afraid our suburban lawn isn't the prescribed shade of green, we are afraid our wife will fuck around because we can't get it up or we're not big enough or....  Oddly, we are _not_ afraid of the medical system that kills thousands ever year through carelessness, or the automobiles that kill thousands more, or....
Ah, but that is all for the loyal citizens to suffer, and ignore in their delusions.  You and i are stirner stuff, self-declared enemies of the state - the bastards really are out to get us (when they get around to it... entrapment takes time and paperwork... and well we'll get back to you honest), not that it would do them much good.

i've always found my definition of 'friend', and what others called a friend, were so far apart that the conversation didn't have much meaning.  i doubt (un)social media has improved matters much.

(interesting discussions, thank you all.)
+3 votes
And once again, no. Historically, capitalism has formed itself through colonialism, enclosure of the commons in combination with various laws limiting the movement of individuals on their own while allowing for mass movement toward the factory floors, slavery and genocide, despoiling our lifeworld for every morsel which will bring profit, as well as the social appropriation of people's bodies toward the institution of work. (Sylvia Federici's _Caliban and the Witch_ is definitely worth the time spent reading it!) This is the basis upon which capital has been, and continues to be, accumulated in repeated cycles and in various forms. Think of the first colonization of Cuba in 1492, and the very recent 'normalization' of Cuba. Very different methods of 'primitive accumulation' and opening new markets, but a ready to hand  example of this cyclic accumulation.

'An-' caps will look at the above features of colonization, genocide, etc., and say, with varying degrees of sincerity, that these are all products of 'the State,' the principle dark fallen angel of what could be a light, heavenly, civilization. Theirs is a Manichean worldview in which 'caps always try to conceptually separate these undeniable violent acts and features of modern civilization from what they see as the 'peaceful' or 'voluntary' exchanges of products and services; in their parlance, 'the Market.'

Therein lies the mendacity which is idealism; ideology, particularly **their** ideology.

The accumulation of capital didn't, and doesn't, simply rely upon 'the State' and/or 'the Market,' on 'force' or 'voluntarism,' in some divine dualistic plan. The accumulation of capital has relied upon a wholesale conversion of every living human and non-human into a quantifiable commodity. This conversion relied upon the work of the churches, the schools, the newspapers, novels, the arts, the philosophers and scientists, every bit as it has on gunboats, cops and politicians, and always in tandem with these latter openly coercive institutions. They are, and always have been, inseparable, where the 'internal' and the 'external' aspects of every unique one are dominated by these spooks.

'Caps will always shake the blame and point the finger at the spook called 'State,' and see themselves as offering 'opportunities' and 'choices' while ignoring the conditions within these choices are made, particularly when it comes to previously colonized, enslaved peoples. Their Manicheanism blinds them to the reality of the forced conversion to internalized, (anti-)social capitalist relations as well as the alienation of body and world now simplistically conceptualized as  'labor' and 'resource' respectively.  

Even their own Manichean worldview is out to get them at the end of the day, for a futuristic anti-topia of an absolutely voluntaristic, global Ancapistan will either be founded directly through violence or later in the wake of that violence when the conversion is completely socialized and internalized by every unique one. Labeling this violence as 'the State' is as wholly mendacious as it is irrelevant, for either way, Ancapistan is a deadly and devastating project through and through no matter when it's believed it will to come to pass.

Edit for typo... and later, to strike a needless phrase
by (7.5k points)
edited by
As a note, it is in this critique of capitalism where I also find the importance of both egoism/individualism in the Stirnerian sense, as well as the anarcho-primitivist critique.

However, @prim as a positive, creative project seems to rely upon the same structural Manicheanism in the interplay of its spooks as the 'caps rely upon theirs. Capitalism may perhaps be the apex of civilization since states have overtaken the entirety of our Earth and the logic of capitalist system is being adopted by nearly all states and internalized by the people within those states.*

'Caps take this logic toward it's 'good' conclusions, whereas @prims (and many other @s) take it toward its 'evil' conclusion. Both seem to me to share the same civilized logical structure expecting different results; one hyper-domesticated, the other 'wild,' 'uncivilized.' The 'cap position is understandable particularly since there is no pretense of abandoning modernity/civilization; but the latter (and Zerzan comes to mind) when applied as a positive project is, well, the proverbial definition of 'insane' if we mean doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. A Manichean mind is not a wild, uncivilized mind and I hardly see anything 'uncivilized' arising out of it.

This is precisely where I find Stirner and Nietzsche so useful in that egoism here is a deep re-wilding of each our 'internality,' rather than the civilized logical structure sexed up in green in order to appeal to modern, increasingly Westernized and domesticated, primates.

* the Misean critique of 'socialist calculation' is correct, in my opinion, within the bounds of who's better at 'running' a modern, industrial civilization. It's all about the a priori presuppositions here.