What a Bunch of…

May 1, 2010

I’ve always had my doubts about Francois Tremblay, although other anarchists tried to talk me out of it. But now it seems that my suspicions were in fact warranted. Look at this page criticizing C4SS’ first online course. You’re going to double-take when you see this:

Can anyone now doubt of their evil intentions, to propagate capitalism and portray it as Anarchism?

Now keep in mind, his blog is called CHECK YOUR PREMISES. And his main approach here is to jump to conclusions! There is absolutely no indication that he bothered to ask anyone involved with the course or that he watched the introductory lecture that provides extensive qualifications about the choice of text. In fact, he completely overlooks the work of Gary Chartier, the instructor, opposing capitalism. Can anyone now doubt his evil intentions, to propagate disinformation and portray it as fact?*

* I, of course, don’t think Francois has evil intentions. This was parody designed to show the absurdity of this kind of intellectually lazy attack on people doing good, solid work for anarchism. If I had a few bucks (people used to say “nickel” but inflation…) for every assigned text in school that had nothing to do with the instructor’s own views, I take my wife out for a long session at Kaito Sushi. Osusume wa nan desu ka.

Here’s Gary, from the intro lecture:

The point of the course is to introduce you to anarchism, not exclusively or primarily the variety of anarchism laid out by the Tannehills…Again, we are using this book…not because it’s perfect but because it’s a useful conversation starter and is readily available. You can question and you can challenge the Tannehills…as much as you like. We are not reading a sacred text; we are exploring one illustrative proposal. And your goal, especially in a course about anarchism, is not to submit to the authority of the author…Your goal is to think critically and reflectively…

What a wonderful idea!

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14 Responses to “What a Bunch of…”


  1. […] Reisman, I mean Tremblay, has finally seen through our evil plans. Though Neverfox makes a valiant but futile effort to disguise our true perfidy, it’s all to no avail – we stand exposed as the pack of […]


  2. Yeah, Francois’s post is pretty ridiculous. Sometimes I really wonder about the guy.


  3. “We are not reading a sacred text; we are exploring one illustrative proposal.”

    If François thinks that this text is a piece of shit, I can understand his reaction. I’m not sure this is a great “illustrative proposal”…

  4. Neverfox Says:

    In many ways, it’s not. And “illustrative” need not mean “good”; strictly speaking it is a illustration of one couple’s idea of anarchism. But how does that translate into calling a bunch of people traitors?


  5. Maybe François could think that this text is not anti-capitalist, and that they should not focus on this text to promote anarchism, no?

    Note: I don’t exclude the possibility that maybe François overreacted but I see some justification for his reaction here.


  6. Is Chartier a proprietarian, or not?

    http://c4ss.org/content/1738

    capitalism-1
    an economic system that features PROPERTY RIGHTS and voluntary exchanges of goods and services.
    capitalism-2
    an economic system that features a symbiotic relationship between big business and government.
    capitalism-3
    rule — of workplaces, society, and (if there is one) the state — by capitalists (that is, by a relatively small number of people who control investable wealth and the means of production).[3]

    Capitalism-1 just is a freed market; so if “anti-capitalism” meant opposition to capitalism-1, “free-market anti-capitalism” would be oxymoronic. But proponents of free-market anti-capitalism aren’t opposed to capitalism-1; instead, they object either to capitalism-2 or to both capitalism-2 and capitalism-3.[4]

    My comment:

    I agree with the position against capitalism-2 and capitalism-3, but what about the Carson-type of Free-Market Anti-capitalism? Capitalism-1 is anarcho-capitalism, so mutualists and libsocs are against that.

    You should define “Free Market Anti-capitalism” like this;

    Free market anti-capitalism: an economic system that features POSSESSION rights (not property!) and voluntary exchanges of goods and services.

    “http://c4ss.org/content/1738#comment-1494″


  7. […] for a Stateless Society: what a bunch of traitors… UPDATE: Lew Rockwell and Roman Pereah reply, followed by each and every person who doesn’t like me coming out of the woodwork to […]

  8. Neverfox Says:

    Is Chartier a proprietarian, or not?

    As I use the term, not. I use it as Brainpolice defines the term:

    to refer to libertarian ideologies that tend to treat property as a primary value, as an absolute, or as some sort of starting point or the basis for defining everything. For example, Murray Rothbard’s declaration that all rights are property rights is an example of a form of propertarianism. More generally, propertarians tends to view freedom as reducible to a question of property and have a deontological view of property rights.

    Gary does not, in my judgment, fit into this definition in the least, which is clear from his books and other publications. His view of property is not primary, absolute or a foundational to his theory of libertarian ethics.

    Capitalism-1 is anarcho-capitalism, so mutualists and libsocs are against that.

    I consider myself a mutualist/libsoc and I am not against what Gary here calls “capitalism-1″. Where Gary and I differ slightly is that I wouldn’t even call it capitalism when reduced to that level. Though I suspect that he is only using it that way to reflect that other people might use it that way, while he himself, like me, would not. The free market and a conception of property do not capital-ism make, as I argue here. So from that perspective, anarcho-capitalism is very much oriented towards capitalism-3, in that they would not oppose it and often argue that such an outcome is best.

    POSSESSION rights (not property!)

    Maybe we need a “property-1, property-2, property-3″ type analysis and then maybe someone can convince me that what I believe in is property-1 and that it really shouldn’t even be called ‘property’ at that point. I suppose I have to be open to such a line of reasoning. But my argument against capitalism is not strategic or linguistic but conceptual; I’m not inclined to think ‘property’ suffers from the same conceptual misuse when applied to “possession” rights. I think adjectives can serve the purpose, e.g. “personal”, “usufruct”, “non-absolute” etc. I do think ‘property’ minimally means what is ‘proper to’ someone with regards to the external world and that includes theories that only recognize the kinds of relations you’re talking about.

  9. David Z Says:

    I gave up on FT a long time ago, his writings becoming more and more vitriolic, his tendencies to wildly exaggerate and straw-man any viewpoint with which he disagreed, to take as personal insults any interpretation of his essays which did not fit whichever anarchist flavor-of-the-month to which he currently subscribes, etc.


  10. Maybe it’s just a semantic debate here, I see…

  11. Neverfox Says:

    Well, with regard to “capitalism” vs. “free market”, my argument is that there are reasons to think it’s not semantic, i.e. that the two are not compatible. With “property” vs. “possession”, I’d say there is more of a semantic element in that I see one as a category and the other as a specific instantiation.


  12. Okay, that’s more clear for me now. Thank you!

  13. David Z Says:

    David, I gave up on using “capitalism” as a synonym for “free market” a while ago. I’m not sold on the distinction between “property” and “possession” on the other hand, particularly because I think ideology really defines “property” as part-and-parcel to capitalism-3 as defined above. Whatever. I think that’s semantic, if a free market eliminates that sort of ‘possession’ and all we’re left with is usufrucht etc., then as far as I’m concerned, we’re still dealing with ‘property’, just not in the pejorative. :)


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