I have noticed a growing number of individuals who, for whatever reason, think that espousing stateless “free market” capitalism while professing “liberal” social views is the same thing as “anarchism.” It’s not. Anarchism– even though it does comprise a great many points of view– is not and will not be in anyway compatible with any form of capitalism, no matter what guise capitalism hides under. Agorism, lassiesz faire capitalism, anarcho-capitalism and market anarchism are all variants of the same load of neo-libertarian thought that seeks lesser regulations for corporations under the guise of “freedom and liberty.” As such, they are diametrically opposed to every tenet of Anarchism, being that Anarchism is directly opposed to capitalism in all of its forms.
This trend is the product of the bush years, when people with good intentions –but lacking experience with critical thinking– poured into the anti-war movement. Motivated primarily by an emotional reaction to the prospect of an illegal war of aggression, the common theme was that if a pundit or philosophy was nominally anti-bush and/or anti-war, they were an ally in the fight. In a general sense, this is true– many hands make light work, after all. Unfortunately, lots of these groups were anti-war and anti-bush for reasons other than a moral opposition to war. These groups now enjoy a membership base that fervently clings to them out of either the desire to keep the righteous feeling of the early 2000’s going– or are the product of a poor investigative spirit. Hence, libertarian-type groups have seen a surge in membership motivated not by the desire to see unregulated capitalism, but by the desire for drug legalization and greater gun rights. These members dutifully reproduce libertarian talking points out of the mistaken belief that looser restrictions on corporations produces greater freedom for the common citizen.
This amounts to little more than another variant of third position/third way thought. Stateless capitalism thus has much in common with other farcical groups like the “national anarchists” who have no problem in melding two wildly-disparate thoughts under one shambolic monstrosity that exists in a perpetual state of suffering under the hypocritical weight of its very existence. Indeed, as “national anarchists” wish to see no state to govern their racial hatred, neither do the “anarchist capitalists” wish to see any state curtail the world-consuming greed of the corporations they serve.
The anarcho-capitalist couches their rhetoric in the mistaken belief that simply being “anti-state” is all that should qualify a mode of thought as Anarchist. This completely glosses over the fact that in hyper-evolved capitalism–such as we see in the world now– the corporation exists as a de-facto state. In the utopian scheme of the anarcho-capitalist, were society to start again from a blank slate, they argue that the “market anarchist” system would prevent corporations and monopolies from forming. This ignores two key elements:
-Corporations and monopolies are able to form under a restricted marketplace; given an unrestricted marketplace, their growth would be exponential in size and rate.
-Society isn’t starting from scratch! Corporations and monopolies exist NOW, and are drooling over the concept of more freedom for them to control all aspects of the lives of their consumers.
Corporate freedom isn’t freedom— it’s trading the superficially accountable public tyranny of the state for the wholly unaccountable private tyranny of the corporation. All companies have by-laws and regulations that, when infringed, result in punishment or termination; people who engage in “anti-company” activity can be blacklisted from finding employment, companies have “courts” and persons who enforce their laws, and they have all other trappings of The State: anthems, flags, uniforms and restrictions on speech and actions while on company time. Whether this new crop of pseudo-libertarian capitalists realizes this aspect of the rhetoric they’re parroting is unclear,but reprinting talking points from advocates for stateless capitalism does not make one an “anarchist.”