Anarcho-Capitalism, Anarcho-Socialism, and Anarcho-Poopalism

There is a lot of debate amongst anarchists of varying stripes as to what is the “One True Anarchism”. If you listen to the Anarcho-Capitalists, they say that the Anarcho-Socialists will use force to steal property from the legitimate owners. The An-Socs respond that the An-Caps want to oppress all the workers in unending wage slavery. Over at Anarchy in Your Head, Dale has come up with Anarcho-Poopalism to poke fun at this ongoing clash of ideas. The problem arises from individuals believing that the anarchist version of some system will have all the same disadvantages of the state version. State Capitalism does allow big business, working with the state, to opress workers, and drives people to wage-labor to make ends meet. State Socialism does allow political groups to steal property from the legitimate owners. I don’t want to know about state poopalism.

The Anarcho-Socialist argument that Capitalism oppresses the workers is not without merit. Through licensing requirements the state restricts who can compete to offer a service. Through regulation, state agents drive out smaller businesses, while granting larger profits to big businesses. Through state spending, certain business interests are given massive contracts, often without allowing competing bids to perform the work. However, in the absence of a state, many of these problems go away. The worker need not seek a license to perform work, and because a poor person is often willing to take less money than a middle class person to do the same job, they can out-compete larger companies, and soon not be so poor anymore. Without regulation, but direct liability for damage caused, a business can quickly adapt practices to changing market conditions without filing form X24-J7 in triplicate with the burrocrats in the state. The absence of state contracts will cause many of the largest businesses to fold, as their whole system relies on constant infusions of stolen money. This includes many road construction firms that currently take 3 years to fill a pothole, and 99% of the US arms industry, which, having no military to supply, has only products that very few people want.

Nor should it be said that the Anarco-Capitalists arguments are wrong, at least as applied to State Socialism. State Socialism relies on the state taking the means of production by force “For the Common Good”. Smaller socialist programs of the state rely on stealing money from everybody to be used as the state decrees. Where Anarco-Socialism and State Socialism share ground, is that they both view big business and corporate interests as exploitative. In a Freed Market though, the high level of competition brought about by the removal of licensing and regulation will make big business, and the inherent burrocratic structuring used to control it, uncompetitive. The other big issue between An-Socs and An-Caps is the idea of property abandonment. Many An-Socs express an idea of property that you can only own things that you are actively possessing and using, while the An-Caps say that once you own a thing there is no way your ownership can be taken away without consent. I personally find the answer to be somewhere in the middle. If a property is left untended for an extended period of time, a squatter could move in and make improvements, effectively re-homesteading the property, and expect arbitration to find in his favor. The time this would take is something that the market would need to decide on a case by case basis, and reasonable effort to contact the absent owner would likely be seen as essential to such a homesteading effort.

Ultimately, the Anarcho-Poopalists are right, these debates are silly, and a waste of valuable time. Anarchists of all stripes need to focus on getting rid of the state, and let the market work out how things ultimately arrange themselves afterwords. The only winner when anarchists fight each other is the state, and any anarchist should oppose that.

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 9:00 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. After reading your post, I can fully agree with the following:
    “The problem arises from individuals believing that the anarchist version of some system will have all the same disadvantages of the state version. State Capitalism does allow big business, working with the state, to opress workers, and drives people to wage-labor to make ends meet”

  2. […] Anarcho-Capitalism, Anarcho-Socialism, and Anarcho-Poopalism […]


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