Socialism is not merely Anti-Capitalism

FFS! Why are the propertarians so hell-bent in appropriating all the concepts of socialists for their own ends? Libertarianism was twisted to mean Capitalist Minarchism. Anarchism has been pulled over by the AnCaps trying to make it mean Private State Capitalism. And now Libertarian Socialism? Will it ever end? Will you leave us no term untainted? What next? Communism?

No wait, that one has only been taken over by the statists instead…

Ok, enough ranting, lets look at why Brad Spangler believes that Agorism is a valid LibSoc movement.

His confusion seems to emanate from misunderstanding what Socialism entails. He is under the impression that socialism means simply anti-currently-existing-capitalism which is patently false. Socialists were never merely interested in shallow opposition to the current status quo but rather against all the building blocks of what makes capitalism. Socialists recognise that the exploitation coming from Capitalism, the wage-slavery, rent and usury that is rampart in our society stems from Private Property and the possibility of accumulation it repressents.

Of course Socialists spend the most energy criticizing the current system rather than any fantasy laissez-faire utopia Liberals could think of but it’s a great jump to consider that this was their only opposition and therefore as long as someone proposes a non-contemporary capitalist system, they are also “socialists.”

Basically, the point that Brad confuses is this

* Labor-based ownership rights? Check.

Socialism is not simply labour-based ownership rights. It is persistent labour-based ownership rights. That is,  the ownership of any capital or land is held by whoever is currently working it. In other words: via Possession. This is a profoundly anti-propertarian proposition as it would prevent the basic concepts that make capitalism capitalist: The Capitalist mode of production Or more specifically Wage-labour (and also Rent.)

While under Agorism the theoretical initial redistribution of ownership rights made after a revolutionary effort might be based on labour (although I fail to see how their theory aims to achieve this), they would not change the system so as to prevent wage-labour or rent. This means that very soon, the inequalities would start to amass, people will be turned into proletarians en masse and de-facto states (those private defense companies) will be required to prevent the class struggle from escalating once more. Enter democratization of the states to pacify the proletariat and you’re back where you started.

So unless your main purpose is to manage to allow all workers to own the capital and land they are working on, you are no socialist. And to extend that, unless your main purpose also includes the abolition of all hierarchy and domination of human over human, you’re neither an Anarchist or a Libertarian. A system therefore which will not systematically prevent wage-slavery (a mode of production encompassing both non-worker-onwership of capital and hierarchy) cannot be Libertarian Socialist.

And if you’re such a Libertarian Socialist who still wishes to have free markets as well. Then you’re a Mutualist, not an “Anarcho”-Capitalist.

A clarifying question might be this: Do you embrace the free markets because you believe they will achieve egalitarianism (ie allow the workers to own the means of production?) If so, you’re indeed socialist but such a perspective would require that you reject the free markets if you discover that they cannot, in fact, achieve this goal. However, if you’re for free markets and private property in principle whether wage-slavery, rent, usury and vast inequality will persist or not (but just think they won’t) then you are no socialist.

Agorism fails this test. If does not worry about whether labour-based ownership will remain after their revolutionary change but only that past aggression is reneged according to propertarian principles and afterwards, come what may. But those propertarian principles are also a result of the past aggression and unless they are abolished as well, the fix will be impotent.

This kind of confusion seems to be very common in those who do not seem to understand Anarchist or Socialist thought. The same way that Anarchism is mistakenly conflated with Anti-Statism, now we see Socialism being mistakenly conflated with Anti-Capitalism and ending up with absurd propositions such as a “Socialist” system which would have the capitalist mode of production as dominant or an “Anarchist” society where people enter voluntary slavery or simply sell their liberty piecemeal. People refuse to understand the political history behind these two concepts and use their own definitions.

So yeah, if you simply define Socialism as merely Anti-Capitalism, then all sorts of things become “Socialist”.  Feudalism for example. However defining yourself into Libertarian Socialism would still not make you a LibSoc as the greater LibSoc movement defines itself. Much like Socialism, so does Libertarian Socialism not apply via self-description either and to pursue such a path is to unnecessary muddle the waters and provide the appearance of infighting to outsiders.

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