Free Market Capitalists and Anarchism – a Short Play

October 17, 2011

in Opinion

Capitalism is a system where one person acquires all the equipment to make things, gets someone to make something, and sells it on their behalf, giving the original creator either a cut of the profit or by paying them a regular wage to make things for them. If you can’t spot the unfairness of that system, allow me to pose the question – why doesn’t the original creator just sell it himself and cut out the middle man?

There have been quite a lot of people throughout history who have asked themselves that question, including entire populations that capitalists wish to exploit, such as in South America, Africa, and Asia and, indeed, the people who used to live in the United States of America before they were forcibly colonised. Capitalism is therefore dependant on the state, with its army, its police force, and its legal system, to subdue dissenters, crush unions, and prop up employers.

The Haitian Revolution

The Haitian revolution, where Napoleon had his arse handed to him by a bunch of illiterate slaves.

To illustrate to you exactly why this is, allow me to describe one particular scenario – I am an actual anarchist, and you are a free market privateer who sincerely believes the lies the rich are feeding you about the state ensuring you have quality education, clean air and water, and businesses that aren’t allowed to mislead you being an outrageous intrusion on the right of people to become as rich as possible. For some reason, the revolution actually happens, and the government of the United States falls and we’re in an anarchist society.

“Great!”, you think. “We can finally get some of that free market capitalism going on.” You decide to get in on the action and seeing me, an anarchist that also has a hobby as a factory mechanic, ask how you can buy my factory.

“You can’t”, I say. “It’s collectively owned by the community”.

“What do you mean, I can’t? I have loads of gold that I carefully stored before the revolution because I was looking forward to cheaper prices.”

“Well, that’s great for you, but factories don’t have owners, they’re either owned by the collective that runs them or they’re free for communal use. I have a work-desk there and look, I made these little dollies because they’re cute.”

Che Guevara green skeletal bust

I swear to God, I wrote this entire article before I found this image.

“Che Guevaras with green hair? Whatever. Well, if I can’t buy the factory, can I get thirty dollies off you wholesale so I can sell them on as a profit?”

“Well, I’ll sell you them at my normal rate. If you can get people to pay more for them, that’s your affair.”

“But you need money!”

“No, I don’t. I work ten hours a week in the community bakery and in return I have food, shelter and people to sleep with me. I just like making stuff.”

“That’s ridiculous! Look, I’ll give you this gold bar ingot if you’ll make dollies for me on contract.”

“…yeah, alright.”

One week passes. One day, I decide I don’t like green Che Guevaras anymore and decide to produce purple Stalins. I let you know this.

“What? This is breach of contract!”

“No, it’s you exploiting my labour for profit and I can’t be bothered any more. I’m off to my local autonomous feminist bar.”

“I’ll sue you!”

“With what army, police force, judge and jury? See you later, mate.”

Stalin bear

Stalin bear, yours to own from all scary and disturbing toystores now.

You are outraged, and you decide to take over the factory. You give some more amenable people some more gold ingots in return for them becoming your henchmen, and you walk into the factory and announce you’re taking it over. The collective ignore you. So you walk into the main control room and occupy it. The collective ring up the local community assembly, who mobilise their local liberation militia, who come down to the factory, knock down the door, hang you (or put you in one of the many prisons left lying around), and add your henchmen to the worker’s council to find them a job.

I hope this demonstrates adequately to you why you will not be able to run a free market capitalist system in an era which has no state authority. Capitalism exists to exploit people, and people can refuse to be exploited. They try that now, and they get prosecuted or fired. In a stateless, classless society, your itchy little fingers trying to get hold of the products of other people’s labour will be ignored… or cut off.

“The state is but the committee room of the bourgeoisie”. – Marx

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