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Friday, November 2, 2012

Left libertarianism symposium announced

Somebunall of Robert Anton Wilson's political ideas can be defined as "left libertarianism," and I do think that's the best short description of his political thought. So what's up with left libertarianism these days? You're about to have a great opportunity to find out.

The two big Internet sites for left libertarianism, Bleeding Heart Libertarians (a favorite site of mine one that I've mentioned here) and the Center for a Stateless Society (a particularly important site for some of our friends, such as Jeremy Weiland) have joined forces for a symposium on left-libertarianism that starts Monday.

The full announcement is here, but here's a taste:

Drawing inspiration from the likes of Benjamin Tucker, Thomas Hodgskin, and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, left-liberarianism purports to combine a (libertarian) support for free(d) markets with a trenchant (leftist) critique of contemporary corporate capitalism. The current wave of left-libertarian scholarship is led by the likes of Kevin Carson, Charles Johnson, Sheldon Richman, and our own Roderick Long and Gary Chartier. You can find their writings on the web at the Alliance of the Libertarian Left and at the Center for a Stateless Society. And now, thanks to the hard work of Charles and Gary, you can find a great sampling of classic and contemporary left-libertarian writings in their anthology, Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty, available as a free PDF or in paperback.

Benjamin Tucker and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon are names I recognize from RAW's writings.


michael said...

Absolutely of interest to me, and thanks for posting about it.

RAW wrote a long learned book review of Proudhon's _General Theory of the Revolution_, and it's included as a sort of Introduction or Preface to the edition of Proudhon published by Gordon Press in 1972.

Wilson liked to cite the quote from Joyce that Tucker had the best mind about politics. There seems an interesting bifurcation point at which various types of Anarchists became re-labeled as Libertarians, and it's often been a labor for me when I talk to Leftists who don't know this stuff. I mention a "libertarian" thinker and immediately they think I'm going to try and sell them on Ayn Rand, which is maddening. There's too much learned ignorance and too much media blackout on the history of Henry George, Proudhon, Tucker, Rocker, Bakunin, Josiah Warren, on and on.

So far, my best riff on this is reminding Chomsky readers that he's self-labeled himself, at times, as not only an "anarchist" but as a "libertarian socialist." THEN you see in their eyes they're not talking to a Randroid.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I wonder if the Proudhon review was published somewhere else before it became the intro to the Proudhon book. I'd like to read it.

Jesse said...

It was originally published in the September 1962 issue of WAY OUT. I have the Proudhon book and can scan the intro for you.