Your Anarcho-Capitalist FAQ on your website has proved very informative, and there are some points that I would like to respond to...
One of the arguments against the state is this: " Considering all the war, genocide, slavery, and repression perpetrated by States through history, might humanity do better without this barbaric institution?" The problem here, of course, is that every state received its physical powers by some privileged class -- whether it was the noblemen, the priestly class, god's caste, the aristocracy, or the Capitalist class, there has always been group of people who built the state's powers. It was also always this landed class that received privileges. In the present, Statist Capitalist society, the Capitalist class receives tremendous advantages -- in wars, they receive private contracts for making weapons and then developing annexed lands; in the judicial system, they regularly commit murder with the toxins they put into the air, and the third world governments they bribe into genocide, but if you're poor and you steal food, you can serve years. The present educational system, instead of elevating its students, instead indoctrinates them into responding to authority -- who cares about physics, anatomy, philosophy, sociology, or politics. It's important to learn how to take and understand orders, from your boss or your politician. In every way, our society has been completely built for the purposes of those on top and against those on the bottom.
None of their wealth belongs to the Capitalist class. We all admit that those who possess wealth today in fact do not deserve it. It is our property -- the property of the working class. The first thing that can possibly happen in overthrowing the state is this -- history's most-massive land and wealth redistribution. After all, if the right to property means anything, it means the right to retrieve property that has been unjustly taken from you. This, in itself, appears and sounds very Socialist -- to give the entire means or production, and all property, to those who are workers and laborers. But it is the only thing you can advocate, if you genuinely believe in the right to property.
How is it going to be given back to the workers? Very few records exist, but we know that at one point, the world was collectively mankind's, and now, it is privately owned by an extreme few. Somewhere in between millions were slaughtered and billions were enslaved. How are we going to divvy up the wealth of the world, to give it back to its owners, when it was extracted from them in miserable conditions? More importantly... How can we guarantee that the workers will never be exploited again, or that the common people will never be oppressed again?
It is impossible to a single worker to take up a piece of land, and then compete with a Capitalist -- whether mining, or manufacturing, or agriculture, these are things that require heavy amounts of capital and wealth. No single worker can just pull themselves up and compete with this. The result has always been: anti-competitive behavior. The lowering or prices, until the new competitor is driven out, and made absolutely no threat any more. Given the nature of our present technology, one must already be wealthy and a Capitalist to compete with another. People have self-interest, and they tend towards self-preservation. This is exactly what the Capitalist does in their anti-competitive behavior.
In Anarcho-Capitalism, I may have my liberty from oppressive governments, and theoretically I'll have my freedom from a violent, Capitalist class. But what can freedom amount to, when all the land is owned by a few, and none of them will allow you to work the lands? Freedom amounts to starvation, which is exactly what happens to unionists, or African-Americans who try to vote in the South. Capitalists, and their organizations, get together, and they blacklist the "trouble-maker." Employment for that person ceases, and there's not one bit of coercion or violence involved, but you still kill the human being. What does liberty amount to -- when it is only death? Very little.
It is this Capitalist class that created the state, as the priestly class created theirs, or the top-caste created theirs. It is this social-economic authority that gives birth to a political authority. Every time we, as Anarchists, sought to abolish the state, and succeeded, we didn't attack the state directly. The state is nothing more than a church for Capitalism! When we crushed the state, it was always by attacking the Capitalist class! Our strike against Capitalism in St. Petersburg brought down the tzar, it brought down governments in Bolivia, Poland, Paris (twice), New Guinea, Korea, Syria, Algeria, Germany, in every continent and corner of the globe. To destroy the government, there has been only one way -- destroying Capitalism! This is what has worked in the past, and it is what shall work in the future.
If you want to abolish the state, then advocate and organize workers' resistance to the state and Capitalism -- that is, support the Anarcho-Syndicalist cause. Our tactic is the General Strike: voluntarily withdrawing our labor from someone, until they give in to our demands. It may seem weaker than wars and battles, but it is non-violent, and it is the only thing that has succeeded in abolishing power (as opposed to exchanging those who hold power). And, given that the present Capitalist class has no right to their property, it should seem that Anarcho-Syndicalism is the ideal philosophy -- we're striking against the Capitalist, because they are the thief of the worker, and we are striking against the State, because it is the oppressor of the people.
If we are going to achieve real liberty, then the people need just that -- the right to work the lands, enjoy the benefit of the fruits of their labor, and to be the masters of themselves. This is not possible in any form of Capitalism, or any form the state. But it can be created, and has been created, by those who follow the practice of Anarcho-Syndicalism.
Thank you... I patiently await a response...
Discussion about the Anarcho-capitalist FAQ...
I'd quibble with this phrasing. The State receives power due to the aquiescence of the masses. But you are right that "there has always been group of people who built the state's powers," i.e. benefited from that power and exploited the masses by wielding that power and "received privileges" as you put it.
Yep, I agree 100%.
I agree with your main point, that a massive redistribution of wealth is in order due to past violations of property rights. I suspect that our class analysis is somewhat different. To me, the two classes are the producers and the parasites. Some capitalists got their wealth through voluntary trade and without favoritism from the State. These are in the producer class. Conversely, some "workers" got wealth via State aggression. Doctors with high salaries due to occupational licensure for example, and some others through big established government-privileged unions. There is a huge difference between an Apple or Ben and Jerry's and a Bechtel or Halliburton. In short, I look at actual government favors rather than superficial Marxian classes.
I agree. Murray Rothbard discussed such redistribution in The Ethics of Liberty chapter 10 and 11. Basically, he thinks that stolen land/goods should be returned the the rightful owner as determined by (non-proviso) Lockean property theory. In free market courts, he avers, the current possessors are innocent until proven guilty, i.e. it takes a reasonable claim with some proof that you are the rightful owner, or an heir thereof. Simply dispossessing someone because of their caste or class doesn't hack it.
I disagree with this assumption. Before land was scare, e.g. in hunter-gatherer days when humans had the same population density as bears, land was unowned. How can someone legitimately own something they don't know about, have never seen, etc. I go by the neo-Lockean theory of property. Before things were owned, they were unowned. The purpose of property is to solve the scarcity problem. See my e-book "Against Authority," particularly the chapter "What is Property?"
I don't think we can - that is an unrealistic goal. Some people want to be ruled, and it would be against our principles to force them to be free. I propose a more realistic goal: that people who want to be free can be free. Even then, there is no guarantee that some evil assholes won't try to create a new State. But history shows that, once a stateless society exists, it is stable. In our current statist societies the anarchists have the public goods problem, but in an anarchist society the statists have the public goods problem. There are two equilibriums, like driving on the left or right side of the road. Both are stable; both are difficult to change.
This strategy generally only works in conjunction with State aggression. In a free market, the larger firm is hemorraging wealth faster than the smaller firms. Not only that, the smaller firms can stop producing easier than the huge ones. The little guys are more nimble and versitile. I don't see large corporations surviving without State privilege except in rare cases of extreme competence. Monopolies are creatures of the State.
From the discussion above, you now no doubt see the faulty assumption in this. Contrary to the assumption in the preceeding paragraph, anarcho-capitalism does support redistribution of property to its rightful owners. The "few" that you are worried about will be dispossessed except in the rare cases where they created the wealth through production and trade (or acquired the land through personally mixing their labor with it or through a sequence of legitimate trades.) Anarcho-capitalists, like other anarchists, believe that most massive accumulations (and large corporations) are not results of legitimate production/trade, but State-supported aggression.
Some anarchists make a big deal out of the differences between schools. I'm more of an "anarchist without adjectives" type. We agree on most things. We have a minor difference, perhaps, about class theory, and a clear difference (if you are like most anarcho-syndicalists) about the best property/economic system. But in a stateless society, different visions about economics can peacefully coexist - unlike a statist society with its winner-take-all fight to the death. Without a state to bash each other with, diversity is no problem.