Markets NOT Capitalism! (Intro to Left Libertarianism/ Market Anarchism)

Do you know it’s possible to be anti-capitalist, but also pro-market? This is definitely the direction I find myself heading in these days. Here’s some resources to give an overview:

What is Market Anarchism?
Market anarchists believe in Market exchange, not in economic privilege. they believe in free markets, not in capitalism. What makes them anarchists is their belief in a fully free and consensual society – a society in which order is achieved not through legal force or political government, but through free agreements and voluntary cooperation on a basis of equality. What makes them market anarchists is their recognition of free market exchange as a vital medium for peacefully anarchic social order. But the markets they 
envision are not like the privilege-riddled “markets” we see around us today. Markets laboring under government and capitalism are pervaded by persistent poverty, ecological destruction, radical inequalities of wealth, and concentrated power in the hands of corporations, bosses, and landlords. The consensus view is that exploitation – whether of human beings or of nature – is simply the natural result of markets left unleashed. The consensus view holds that private property, competitive pressure, and the profit motive must – whether for good or for ill – inevitably lead to capitalistic wage labor, to the concentration of wealth and social power in the hands of a select class, or to business practices based on growth at all costs and the devil take the hindmost.

Market anarchists dissent. They argue that economic privilege is a real and pervasive social problem, but that the problem is not a problem of private property, competition, or profits per se. It is not a problem of the market form but of markets deformed – deformed by the long shadow of historical injustices and the ongoing, continuous exercise of legal privilege on behalf of capital. The market anarchist tradition is radically pro-market and anticapitalist – reflecting its consistent concern with the deeply political character of corporate power, the dependence of economic elites on the tolerance or active support of the state, the permeable barriers between political and economic elites, and the cultural embeddedness of hierarchies established and maintained by state-perpetrated and state-sanctioned violence.” 

From the introduction to “Markets not Capitalism” – edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson:

Three Types of Capitalism
Defenders of freed Markets have good reason to identify their position as a species of “anticapitalism.” To explain why, I distinguish three potential meanings of “capitalism” before suggesting that people committed to freed markets should oppose capitalism in my second and third senses...

Three Senses of “Capitalism”

There are at least three distinguishable senses of “capitalism”:


An economic system that features personal property rights and voluntary exchanges of goods and services 


An economic system that features a symbiotic relationship between big business and government


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)

Capitalism1  just is a freed market; so if “anticapitalism” meant opposition to captalism1, “free-market anticapitalism” would be oxymoronic. But proponents of free-market anticapitalism aren’t opposed to captalism1; instead, they object either to capitalism2 or to both capitalism2  and capitalism3

From “Advocates of Freed Markets should oppose Capitalism” by Gary Chartier in Markets not Capitalism” – edited by Gary Chartier and Charles W. Johnson:

See also: 

Grassroots (not statist) Panafricanism

Western "Democracy" = Corporate Dictatorship

There are many people who I encounter online who consider themselves to be liberal, progressive types. They say they want to see an end to poverty and they want more people in the World to have a share in the wealth of the World. These people think that the prevailing economic and political system in the World – Capitalism – is essentially fine, and that it just needs some tweaking here and there to make it more humanitarian and compassionate. 

Here is where I and they part company. Capitalism is an anti-human system. It depends on the exploitation of the many in order to create profits for the few. Everything is about making more profits. The motive of Capitalism is the lust for bigger profits, not the wellbeing of the people. It is precisely because of Capitalism that there is so much poverty, disease and death in the World. As long as Capitalism reigns supreme, the World will never be a just place.

Now, usually, the well-meaning (and not so well meaning) liberals I mentioned earlier don’t really talk about Capitalism. It’s almost as though they are unwilling to admit that Capitalism exists. But when people like me mention the alternative to Capitalism, i.e. Socialism, these people are super-quick to attack. They will rail against the supposed evils of Socialism, they will pontificate about how Socialism doesn’t work and how Capitalism may not be perfect, but it’s the only viable system.

A favourite accusation I hear against Socialist countries is that they are dictatorships. This gets to one of the fundamental hang ups of many do-goody liberals. They are obsessed with the concept of democracy – by which they mean western forms of liberal democracy. Most of the time, these people have not spent even 10 minutes researching into the political system in places like Cuba, North Korea, China or pre-NATO/ NTC Libya. They just swallow the corporate story that these places are/were dictatorships.

But the bigger problem with these folks is that they totally ignore that the so-called democracy in places like Britain and the US is a sham. There are 2 or 3 parties in those countries that have any hope of winning an election. But all of these parties represent the same tiny group of people, the 1%, the super-super rich. These ‘democracies’ are in the business of transferring the wealth from the poor to the super-rich. This is a dictatorship of the 1% with a veneer of actual democracy. These same people also control the media, which means they control what information the public gets to hear. They relentlessly push the agenda of the 1% – ensuring that any views outside of their status-quo are portrayed as dangerous and even crazy.

What’s worse is that not only are these so-called liberals ignorant about the lack of democracy in the West, they are often the biggest cheerleaders for western militarism overseas. They seem utterly oblivious or perhaps unconcerned at the fact that the ‘democractic’ West continuously attacks genuine democracy around the World in order to defend the 1%’s global hegemony.

So they cheered loudly when the North Atlantic treaty Organisation bombed Libya into ashes. For them, this was a necessary bit of violence to remove a ‘brutal dictator’. Never mind all the massive increases in the quality of life for Libyans that had happened under Jamahiriya – what Libya really needed was multi-party democracy! They are now salivating at the prospect of ‘our boys’ going over to Syria to ‘liberate’ the country from the ‘evil’ ‘satanic’ President Assad in Syria. And they will probably jump into action when the US tries to engineer a situation in Venezuela this coming October during the elections there.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for all of their lovely-sounding talk of ‘development’ – many do-goody liberals are actually enemies of human progress. They are (probably unwitting) cheerleaders for Capitalism and Imperialism, exploitation, inequality and injustice.