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A Quick Explanation of Why Anarcho-Capitalism Is Not a Real Thing. Foundations of Anarchism and Socialism 6

Anarchism is the position that the best social organization is the one that exists in the absence of a coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution.

4 months ago

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A Quick Explanation of Why Anarcho-Capitalism Is Not a Real Thing.

Foundations of Anarchism and Socialism 6

APP Editors’ Note:

This is the sixth in a series on the historical and philosophical foundations of anarchism and socialism, with special reference to social anarchism (aka “anarcho-socialism,” “libertarian socialism,” etc.) and democratic socialism.

We decided to start with the Democratic Socialists of America, aka the DSA, and the Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation, aka the BRRN, for three reasons:

first, to highlight the recent emergence of the Democratic Socialists of America as a significant political movement in the USA,

second, to stress the fundamental convergences, parallels, and shared ideals between contemporary social anarchism and democratic socialism in the USA, and

third, to point up the burning contemporary need for a “borderless,” constructive, cosmopolitan coalition of all serious leftists and progressives everywhere.

And then go on from there.

The following short-&-sweet anarcho-socialist essay is by Andrew D. Chapman–

You can find out more about his philosophical work and teaching, HERE.


PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS

The Black Rose Anarchist Federation: Our Politics

Who Are the Anarchists, and What is Anarchism?

Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution.

Towards Freedom: Democratic Socialist Theory and Practice.

A Brief History of the American Left.


1. A coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution is any organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

2. Anarchism is the position that the best social organization is the one that exists in the absence of a coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution.

3. For some position to be a version of anarchism, it has to be possible for the social organization described by that position to exist in the absence of a coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution.

4. Capitalism is the socioeconomic system in which (i) capital is privately owned, (ii) that capital is used to make a profit that is measured in monetary terms, and (iii) that profit is returned to the relevant private owners of the capital.

5. Private ownership of anything is the right for the private owner to exclude use of that thing by another individual or group along with the legitimate means of enforcing this exclusion. Thus, private ownership requires an organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

6. The making of profit requires specific wages to workers and specific prices on goods and services and the ability to enforce these wages and these prices against workers who would demand increased wages or consumers who would demand lower prices or steal goods or services. If cost of good/service ≤ cost of production + wages, then no profit is made. Thus, the making of profit requires an organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

7. The existence of money requires (i) collective social agreement to measure credits and debts in monetary terms, (ii) collective social agreement to use a certain currency or monetary denomination, (iii) the ability to enforce these agreements, and (iv) the ability to secure and protect with force the value of this money. Thus, the existence of money requires an organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

8. The returning of profit to the relevant private owners of capital (instead of to some other person or group of people) requires the ability to protect these profits against other people who could try to claim them. Thus, the returning of profit to the relevant private owners of capital (instead of to some other person or group of people) requires an organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

9. Therefore, capitalism requires an organization that claims it has the legitimate authority to exercise violence against individuals or groups of individuals within its claimed purview.

10. And therefore, it is not possible for capitalism to exist in the absence of a coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution.

11. But as per (3), above, any position that describes a social organization that requires the existence of a coercive authoritarian State or State-like institution is not a version of anarchism.

12. Thus, no version of capitalism can be a version of anarchism, i.e., “anarcho-capitalism” names an internally-inconsistent position, i.e., anarcho-capitalism is not a real thing.

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Andrew D. Chapman

Published 4 months ago