Episode 309 – Solutions: Agorism

10/20/201528 Comments

Many people have their own theory about the way the world should work, but few combine it with action. Today on The Corbett Report we explore the writings of Samuel Konkin, and how his central idea, agorism, combines the theory and practice of freedom through counter-economic action. Agora! Anarchy! Action!

For those with limited bandwidth, CLICK HERE to download a smaller, lower file size version of this episode.

For those interested in audio quality, CLICK HERE for the highest-quality version of this episode (WARNING: very large download).

New Libertarian Manifesto (YouTube playlist)
Time Reference: 0:15
New Libertarian Manifesto (pdf)
Time Reference: 1:22
Samuel Edward Konkin III bio by Jeff Riggenbach
Time Reference: 03:34
“Agora” in The International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe
Time Reference: 06:01
An Agorist Primer
Time Reference: 07:16
Robert Poole and Samuel Konkin: What is a Libertarian?
Time Reference: 23:50
A Map of the Weirdest Sex Laws in the United States
Time Reference: 28:12
Agorist cab service succeeds thanks to Bitcoin
Time Reference: 29:55
What Uber (and Taxi) Drivers Think About the Politics of Ride Sharing
Time Reference: 30:25
Can You Use Bitcoin for a Tax Haven?
Time Reference: 31:02
Silk Road Back Online After FBI Shutdown
Time Reference: 31:54
Episode 303 – Solutions: The Peer-to-Peer Economy
Time Reference: 33:32
“undercover anarchist” by 1nvisibleman
Time Reference: 52:20
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  1. anacardo01 says:

    A lot of these talking points are a liiiiittle more mirror-universe-world Maoist, authoritarian and revenge-minded than I’m comfortable with.

    “Statists apprehended pay restoration and if they live long enough to discharge their debts(!), are re-integrated (“re-educated?”) as productive entrepreneurs. (Their “training(?)” comes automatically as they work off their debt.)

    What kind of “statists” are we talking about? Dick Cheney? FBI agents? Some sour old woman that works down at the Social Security office? Somebody who voted in the last election or paid taxes? Apprehended by whom and on what authority? (There’s that word.) Clearly in a voluntarist society, the class of people being rounded up (can’t believe ‘libertarians’ are even talking like this) is not going to volunteer to be subject to the jurisdiction of the “free-market arbitration and protection agencies” that will be doing the dragnetting.

    I mean, James – are you not the least bit creeped out by any of these quotations?

    • archives2001 says:

      Ditto!

    • paul6 says:

      I also immediately stumbled about these quotes. Frankly I am amazed that such a nonsense is published and quoted without critical comment.

      But then again I am not an anarchist and I think anarchism as a whole is a misguided and contradictory concept that denies conflicts of interests (and therefore the necessity of institution to solve such conflicts), glorifies “the market”, has no clear position on property and is a handy tool for capitalists to spread anti-social thoughts. But I digress.

      • I think you have to stop thinking about this in terms of “anarchism.” The term voluntarism is more applicable. For you or any of the critics above to understand the message that is contain therein, you must first premise that coercion is immoral, unnecessary and inefficient. If you do not, then it follows the following premises are not going to make sense or be applicable to you. To reject the first premise, then you must believe that coercion is moral, efficient and necessary. I should clarify: this isn’t about pacifism. I am not a pacifist and I do not believe in pacifism. I believe in justified self-defense. Specifically, we are talking about initiating aggression. I would refer to you to Mark Passio, who has done the yeoman’s work on breathing a philosophical and spiritual life into the morality behind voluntarism, and its distinction from pacifism.

        • paul6 says:

          I certainly think that “coercion” is immoral. But those quotes in that “Agora” manifesto read like a recipe for coercion of “statists”.

          Also you (and that extremist Agorist manifesto) say violence against “initial violence” is “justified”. That is a recipe for civil war, coercion and chaos.

          Tell me: When is an action “violence“? When is an action “initial”?

          That is basically the same question as: When is an action legal?

          A few questions may illustrate this:
          – Is drilling for oil violence? Is blocking the drilling for oil violence?
          – Is exposing yourself naked in front of schools violence? Is chasing people who expose themselves away from schools violence?
          – Is verbal abuse violence? Is stalking?
          – Is it violence to claim that a certain part of the country is exclusive property? Or is it violence to disturb the proprietor?

          Also, are there any limits to the “justified violence”?

          Is “bringing someone to justice” “justified violence”?

          And who is to decide when an action is legal or illegal (a.k.a. “initial violence“)?
          You, personally? Everyone by themselves? Sam Konkin III? The “market”? A comittee in the “New Libertarian Alliance”?

          IMHO the word “voluntarism” is just an ideological label to stick on the advocated coercion of other people in the name of “justified violence”.

          • Terraset says:

            I have this exact same problem with the farce of “morality”. It’s only immoral because you don’t like it. Same follows for the non aggression principle. It’s only aggressive according to you.

            I however default to the observable fact that such acts, regardless of whether I like them or not, happen. Therefore it is irrational to bother with questions like “is it moral.” The only question that matters is. “Does it get me what I want?”

            If yes, keep doing it.

            If no or if you find a better way of getting what you want, don’t do it.

            Everything else is useless emotional semantics and rhetoric. That’s why the coercive rule the world and the “moral” do not. Moral people don’t live in reality.

            And as the old saying goes, “You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

            • anacardo01 says:

              Genuinely curious and not trying to be snitty – do you advocate any change in the ruling structure of society at all, then? Do you believe such a thing to be de facto impossible, or even undesirable? Is your interest in our man JC / the alt-media generally one of just knowing how the various scams work in order to avoid and/or personally profit from them as your interests dictate? I ask because one rarely sees someone with a genuine understanding of how the world really works ultimately in agreement with the power elite’s ideology, which is, of course, “might makes right.”

              • Terraset says:

                I do want change and am working on it from a few angles. I just finished recording and proof listening to a 40 minute explanation of these types of things that I’m going to cut up into 10 minute bits shortly here as one example. I’ll link when I’m done.

                I consider the current oligarchs idiots quite frankly. Yes their system has worked for a very long time but it’s very unstable requiring constant and ever increasing upkeep to maintain. This largely happened because they appear to have no intentions of befriending anyone. Seeing themselves as the only ones “worthy” to be around or like.

                Since that system is bound to fall upon my head and because it just plain doesn’t work I’d rather change it. Some of that likely includes using their own tactics against them.

                I go over that point kind of briefly and in a roundabout way in my overview of “Externalism and internalism” the problems, observations and solutions thereof. Audio might not be amazing but whatever.

              • Terraset says:

                Here’s the audio only videos if anyone’s interested

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Z4QRalYnc

                4 parts total.

      • Terraset says:

        Until said institutions themselves have conflicts of interest thus skewing their decisions to the highest bidder. Then who decides? Another institution to control the first. And when that one gets corrupted do you make a third? And so on and so forth.

        As is documented exhaustively by Corbett and others.

        If a wooden house burns down what would you think if the owner went “I know I’ll just use MORE wood! Surely the fire can’t consume it all!”

        Unless of course you suggest we find some sort of perfect system? A perfect judge that is incorruptible that will always be “fair” and take care of all the conflicts of interest for us?

        *eye roll*

        I like what you said below though, perfectly on point. It’s so rare to see people smart enough to turn these questions back on themselves to show their contradictory nature.

        At the end of the day, might makes right.

    • WannabePhilosopher says:

      IMHO you missed the whole point. The old lady will, by that time, have long lost confidence in the government and the worthless currency given to her. In other words, there won’t be any statists to “round up” as you say because the State will naturally wither away as the economy becomes more and more decentralized. Theoretically, in the far future, the economy itself will too because of a lack of scarcity.

      • anacardo01 says:

        Iiiii don’t think I missed nothin’, homey – it’s right there in their own manifesto as a part of their endgame scenario.

        • WannabePhilosopher says:

          What I got from it is that, at that time, they would have to join the agorists out of necessity if they wanted to better their lives and enjoy a much higher standard of living, and their “training” would be to learn the ability to actually produce something of value that others will voluntarily exchange their money for.

  2. Rebecca Nichol says:

    Hi, the link is dead to the smaller mp3 file size for this podcast

  3. ismado95 says:

    Hi James, good podcast. I came across this video recently about an interesting idea from the small town of Crestone, Colorado: a community “free box.” This is a place where people drop off things they don’t need or want anymore and people who need or want something can go in a take with no questions asked. There is no regulation or stealing because it is all open and free for the community. Some of the people are a little quirky, as are many of us from Colorado, but the idea seems fit for this topic and the 911 truth part is just the icing on the cake haha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4ajLDoQiJ4

    • I am naturally skeptical of the whole Crestone community – especially because it’s roots were either a result of, or influenced by, certain elements behind the “counter culture movement.” As you may know, the hippie counter culture was very much a product of certain elements in the intelligence community.

      As far as Crestone, I found an interesting entry from the NY Times:

      “Crestone’s emergence as an international religious crossroads started in the 1970s when Maurice Strong, a Canadian power company tycoon and an international diplomat, acquired a controlling interest in the 200,000-acre Baca Ranch next to the town. While Mr. Strong’s wife, Hanne, was visiting the place, a local mystic named Glenn Anderson appeared at her doorstep.”

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/travel/escapes/11crestone.html?_r=0

      From the get go, the hippie counter culture movement needed to inject into peoples’ consciousness some Eastern philosophy hokum, which later became the birth of the New Age movement – a movement whose endpoint is solipsism and relativism. Strong purchased the Baca Ranch from none other than Adnan Khashoggi – the infamous Saudi arms dealer. Yet, if you ask your average hippie in Crestone of who Maurice Strong is, they probably won’t know. I haven’t been able to verify the purchase of the Baca Ranch from Khashoggi independently.

      I refer you to this article:

      https://www.heartland.org/sites/all/modules/custom/heartland_migration/files/pdfs/7792.pdf

      http://www.citizenreviewonline.org/august_2002/maurice_strong.htm

      This article cites to another article by Marci McDonald, “Maclean’s,” October 10, 1994, p. 51.

      Additionally, Strong was involved in schemes and covers to pump water out of the San Luis Valley, which is well documented, and eventually resulted in a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in 1991:

      https://www.questia.com/read/1P2-33372682/the-grit-of-a-colorado-water-war-plan-to-pump-water

      I would also look into Ram Dass (aka Richard Alpert) and his connections to the introduction of LSD along with Timothy Leary. Where you have Leary, you have the CIA. In any event, I digress.

      • nosoapradio says:

        Fascinating digression as usual!

      • captjrab says:

        Better watch out for those free boxes. It’s a CIA plot.

      • ismado95 says:

        @Algorithm of Consciousness: While I agree that we should be skeptical of certain elements of the “counter culture,” and the whole religious center idea turns me off, I still think that the free box idea is a positive one. It can be an Agora of sorts and can bring together a community by sharing. We all have things we don’t want or need and giving it to benefit anyone in the community who could use it is a win-win situation. Plus it is completely unregulated with volunteers and best of all no government involvement because there is no money being made. It is a kind of community program similar to what James advocates. Thanks for the links I will have to look into those.

        • nosoapradio says:

          Hi ismado95,

          Some early morning, random thoughts before jumping in the hamster wheel:

          Just like the finest gatekeeping is done by mixing truth and manipulative or false messages so the new world order is built mixing humanistic ideas with tyrannical ones. I thinkd it’s important we keep our eye on the ball to know who is initiating great ideas in order to try to understand their ultimate motivations and objectives.

          9/11 was my first epiphany in 2008.

          I’ve had my second just recently with smart cities.

          I’ve more or less come to realize that the Climate Warming/Change hoax has been engineered to scare people into accepting anything that will “sustainably” save them, even being herded into cities filled with sensors that monitor their every activity with the pretext of “energy efficiency” and “saving limited resources”. Learning to share, all well and good, rather than to own things such as cars, bikes, machinery etc is also part of this paradigm.

          People think democracy is so important but their real future is being decided for them outside the ballot box. Nobody in my entourage has ever heard of smart cities yet they’re well on their way to being integrated into our existing cities and being built from the ground up in “developing countries”.

          Fablabs and the “library fo things” teaching us to innovate, share and cooperate are also great but they’re also being elaborated and instrumentalized to give the illusion that our hyper-surveillance “smart world” was built up from the grassroots level through the will of “the people” when its been decided by the same social engineers that brought us the industrial and digital revolutions.

          I also think there’s a sudden massive collective consciousness towards total destigmatization of cannabis- it’s part of the brave new world “soma” paradigm. As is the hypersexualization of our society reaching as far as into the realms of our preadolescent children.

          I’ve now overstepped my time and my original ideas and must flee to work…

          Who is initiating is as important as the great idea being initiated.

          • Very lucid post. As far as the cannabis, great point. I’ve made this point before also. It’s just one step away from Soros’ investment and GMO cannabis. Anyway, I’ve derailed the thread here. I will politely excuse myself away.

            • phreedomphile says:

              Since 1994 Soros has reportedly spent more than 80 million dollars supporting the legalization of marijuana, including the initiatives in Colorado and Washington.

              Besides the “soma” factor, as the elites move the world towards a cashless society, another motive for the legalization of drugs is to tax and monitor its use.

  4. anacardo01 says:

    I watched the linked debate between Poole and Konkin and feel that SEK absolutely crushed it, for the most part, and find it a perfect example of the road to the status quo that is the usual fruits of consequentialist thinking, as James has often pointed out.

    On the other hand, I remain thoroughly creeped out by SEK’s vision of the ultimate fruits of his own movement. For one thing, I’ve never seen the notion of “private arbitration & protection companies” fleshed out in any serious way, and I find the idea that such institutions will wither away with the coming of the New Anarchist Man, rather than, say, form a regime largely indistinguishable from a state, to be rather naive. For another, it’s very difficult to square a vision of anarchist liberty with rhetoric and talking points one might expect from, say, the Weather Underground. I think SEK’s hatred, othering, and collectivizing of ‘statists’ got away from him on this one. I mean, I sometimes fantasize about drinking enough ayahuasca to apotheosize into some kind of Dr. Manhattan figure and hadouken Fort Meade and Goldman Sachs’ headquarters too, but I try not to let such things bleed into my serious political philosophy.

  5. marcus says:

    Very amazing video about Voluntarism with lots of practical solutions 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXNRzI64L9Q

  6. iiYd says:

    Mnemonics like acronyms sometimes burn an unfamiliar (to me)term into my conscious mind. The word isn’t an acronym but begged for me to make it one so I did. I bet there are better, more accurate ones..

    Anti
    Govt
    Opportunities,
    Resources,
    Income,
    Services &
    Monies

  7. dave.butler65 says:

    Phew! Thank you so much anacardo01.
    For once the comment section gives me solace.

    While I admire Sam Konkin’s boldness in publishing such a manifesto, and agree with many of his observations, his ultimate solution violently disagrees with me, and as with others here, it sets alarm bells ringing in my mind.

    We can all recognise that states, like governments, consist of people behaving according to sets of conventions, procedures and traditions. They are not supernatural forces of evil. Shouldn’t we point out the basic objectives that we share with government employees, rather than alienating all those who apparently support the state by branding them mortal enemies? I have a suspicion that humanity has a massive, unknown debt of gratitude owing to myriad minions of tyrants, who by following their individual consciences, have mitigated some of the worst excesses of government, throughout history.

    For me the non-aggression principle is as logical yet worthless, as the argument that if there were no guns, then nobody would ever get shot. Obviously, if everyone, everywhere was decent and honest all of the time, we would have very few problems.

    I’m repulsed by the attempted guilt manipulation that resembles “You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Apparently, we must all choose one side or the other. To polarise society is to court civil war. We must subscribe to the fantasy of a world where organised crime is impossible due to the predominance of non-aggressive free-marketeers, or we are personally responsible for all the horrors inflicted by every empire, state, kingdom, fiefdom and gangland since the beginning of time. Like much of JC’s listener-ship, I distrust all binary polarisations. You are either an enlightened libertarian or you are a monterous statist. Surely, we allowed a few other options!?

    I laughed in delight at the idea that once I move to Indiana or South Dakota, every erection will become an agoristic act of non-violent defiance; a revolutionary contribution to ejecting the ruling elite. Sadly, we were later told that such activities don’t count unless they are consciously agoristic. I have reasons to doubt whether my one-eyed-advisor, has a conscience!

    Evidently, Sam’s utopia has a new priest class; those who are fully radicalised and “maintain purity of thought”. I wonder who he envisages having sufficiently sanitised minds and what privileges they will enjoy.

    The three frontiers for activism that I can identify are:
    1. Information gathering, organisation, corroboration and sharing. (JC does this very well)
    2. The design, construction and improvement of independent (from any state) systems of survival, communication, interaction, trade, organisation, defence, security etc.
    3. The gradual usurpation, sabotage, co-option, de-funding, boycotting etc. of the dysfunctional establishment, until it eventually becomes powerless and obsolete.

    For me, the only justifiable purpose for human society, is for mutual survival and the enrichment of one another’s lives. This is the antithesis of ordering civilisation for the empowerment and enrichment of a few by deceiving, exploiting and oppressing the many.

    The key problem I find with the voluntarist ideology, is that it only safeguards justice for two parties who have exactly equal powers of influence and coercion. It denies the responsibility of third parities, who I believe have a duty to intervene on behalf of those who are weak, vulnerable or frightened; and to restrain people while they are acting irrationally, due to emotions temporarily overriding their reason.
    “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere”. Consequently, this brand of anarchism has no intrinsic immunity to the utopia being destroyed by the first psychopath, lazy or greedy person who has the sense to form a gang and enjoy the fruits of other people’s labours while doing nothing but mischief themselves.

    We need to develop robust ways in which the best aspects of human behaviour are encouraged and rewarded, while we embrace our shared responsibility to keep domination and exploitation in check.

    Having followed some of the evolution of JC’s beliefs, and financially supported his work for many years, I am confident that with the help of other sharp minds such as Sibel Edmonds, he will outgrow his present flirtation with the impractical, immature, dishonest, non-solution expounded by the Konkin, Passio et al cult.

    Alternately, I and the other agoraphobic dissenters, can be dismissed as mentally debilitated victims of our statist indoctrinations.

    P.S. Thank you James and all your guests for all the diverse food for thought and inspiration for actions. You are a genuine marvel!

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