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Open Letter on
the So-Called
'Free' Market

By Punkerslut
Addressed to the
Future of Freedom

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From "Cops" Gallery from RadicalGraphics.org

Start Date: April 22, 2010
Finish Date: April 22, 2010


     There are some admirable ideas in the principles of the Future of Freedom Foundation. Support for immigration and opposition to a tyrannical, hierarchical police-state. There is perfect justice in fighting the foreign wars for imperialism and conquest, as well as the war on drugs in our own homeland. However, there is one difficulty in your mission, which is stated as "... to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government." Free markets have never been free for the people; they have only been free for those who own property -- the capitalists.

     Adam Smith put it perfectly well in his book "Wealth of Nations." Put eloquently, "Masters [property-owners] are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals." (Book 1, Chapter 8, 13th paragraph.) To doubt this is to be "as ignorant of the world as of the subject [of economics]." (same paragraph)

     Smith's principles still stand well today. Plainly put: "It is not, however, difficult to foresee which of the two parties must, upon all ordinary occasions, have the advantage in the dispute, and force the other into a compliance with their terms." That is to say, markets are free for the capitalist, who possesses the productive powers of society, but they are unfree for the worker -- that is, they are unfree for the great, vast majority of the people.

     To be in the position of the laborer is to constantly seek employment to sustain yourself. Not work, but employment -- not laboring specifically, but must admit submission to some supervisor, manager, or boss. The relationship is not based on free and voluntary terms. The worker cannot simply labor upon the land, and live by their own production, without interacting with society. Without the technology that has been collectively produced, life would become very difficult.

     It was the workers' ancestors who were slaves that built the technology, from railroads to steam engines. It was slaves who mined out the earth, who built the cities, and who transported shiploads across oceans. And today, who possesses the wealth? It is in the hand of the descendants of the slave masters -- not the slaves. So the whole world has been built up, every part has been claimed. There is not one stretch of land that any person can go to and farm out by their own labor, to live without dependence on a master. We all need employers.

     Hence, this is why the shackles have been shed. When there was land enough for everyone, slaves could escape; but today, where all the land is owned by a tiny percent, you must be a slave to your own hunger. In the words of the former-slave Lucy Parsons, "It was believed the chattel slaves would not work if the overseer and whip were removed; they are so much more a source of profit now [as wage-workers] that ex-slave owners would not return to the old system if they could." (From: "The Principles of Anarchism.") For a dictator, there is no need to put a man in prison, if his refusal to obey means he will die from starvation anyway. This is how the employer works; this is how the entire system of Capitalism functions. The French economist Simon Linguet explained in 1767...

"It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat, and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that drags them to those markets where they await masters who will do them the kindness of buying them. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him ... What effective gain has the suppression of slavery brought him? ... He is free, you say. Ah. That is his misfortune. The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him. But the handicraftsman costs nothing to the rich voluptuary who employs him ..." [Théorie des lois civiles, ou Principes fondamentaux de la société, pages 274, 464, 470.]

     In state tyranny, the master threatens their subjects with imprisonment, with trials and the death penalty. In capitalist tyranny, the master threatens their subjects with poverty, homelessness and starvation. Force is force, no matter how it works to threaten a human being's life. If you are truly opposed to authoritarianism in government, then you should be opposed to it in social and economic life.

     Criticism of the Capitalist system does not necessarily equal the idea of a Socialist, regulatory government. Adam Smith pointed out that the Capitalist class generally props up the state to enforce their agenda. But still, he didn't come up with the idea of a top-down, state bureaucracy to regulate and control industry. It may not have been a major concern for this economist, since the economy had not yet become industrialized -- the majority of society were not wage-workers. However, this situation has radically changed over the past few, hundred years. And the development of technology is showing no signs of slowing down.

     The fact that our stores are packed with products of foreign slavery should be proof enough that our capitalist system has never depended on voluntary, social organization. And if our society is not voluntary, then it cannot be free. The solution is not to enact regulation and pass laws. The state, over the past thousand years, has only been a tool of capitalist aggression: from slavery to foreign wars, from monopolies to union-busting.

     For resistance to capitalism to mean anything, it must lead to greater autonomy of the individual. It must lead to greater personal freedom in our social and economic relationships. It may require everything from revolutionary trade unions to affinity groups, from strikes to boycotts. Social and economic behavior, not political behavior. However, for this to really have an impact, we need to tell people the truth about the Capitalist system: we need to express exactly how 'free trade' is nothing more than a propaganda term that means the freedom of a few and the slavery of the great many.

     There is no point trying to use laws, coercion, and force to create a just society. A just world is going to become our reality when the people are ready to want it. It would mean a place where no person is dependent upon another -- where there is no exploiter who lives by possessing, who lives off of the fruits of other's labor by some "deed."

     Thank you for reading this far. I patiently await a response...

Andy Carloff

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