Commit e49632b7 authored by Samuel Henrique's avatar Samuel Henrique

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afaq
====
This repository contains the source files from the online book
[An Anarchist FAQ (AFAQ)](http://www.anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html)
obtained automatically with [afaq-dl](https://0xacab/ju/afaq-dl),
which download the HTML files and convert them to other formats.
The book HTML files and other format files are available in Debian
as the [anarchism](https://packages.debian.org/jessie/anarchism) package.
Until the package version 14.0, every time there was a new version
of the book, the Debian maintainers needed to manually run an script
(not included in any repository, not the package)
to download the HTML files.
Then the package had to be rebuilded to generate the TXT files.
The code to generate the TXT files was only include in the package sources,
and there was not `upstream` code to perform the process nor `upstream`
source files which which versions could be easily compared.
This repository is intended to be modified automatilly by `afaq-dl`.
If `afaq-dl` code,the HTML pages from the AFAQ Website or a proxy
changes the content, it will be saved in this repository and
the differences can be compared thanks to the git history.
A human checks the last commit and can generate a new release.
This repository could be an upstream reference for the Debian package
while the authors of the book do not have their own public repository.
One potential issue for the authors to have a public repository
is that git commits show the author name and email.
The author name and email could be however a shared account between
different authors.
HTML and TXT files are not suitable formats for authors/translator
to edit the contents.
More suitable formats are [Markdown]
(https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/)
or [reStructuredText](http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html)
that can be later converted to PDF, E-book or other formats.
For this reason the `afaq-dl` generates Markdown files that are included
in this repository.
This repository should also be beneficial for the contributors
to the content or translations as it is easier to check changes
and/or directly modify the sources.
**NOTE**:
Readers using the Debian package, they can still report content bugs
to the `anarchism` package.
Either the Debian package or this repository would be modified.
Other readers not using this Debian package can report content bugs
as usual in Git repositories, creating an issue in the
[issue tracker](https://0xacab.org/ju/afaq/issues)
or a [pull request](https://0xacab.org/ju/afaq/merge_requests).
Probably the best directory to modify the content in pull requests
is the `markdown` one, as the differences would be easier to see.
To modify the HTML structure in pull requests use instead the `html` one.
License
--------
GPLv2
Copyright
----------
1995-2017 The Anarchist FAQ Editorial Collective <anarchistfaq at yahoo dot co dot uk>
<div class="content clear-block">
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<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title>An Anarchist FAQ after ten years | Anarchist Writers</title>
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<h1>An Anarchist FAQ after ten years</h1>
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<p>4. For a discussion of one early incident, mentioned in the Wikipedia entry on AFAQ, see my article (<i>"An Anarchist FAQ, David Friedman and Medieval Iceland"</i> on my webpage). Suffice to say, once we became aware of his new criticism this year (Friedman did not bother to inform us directly), we sped up our planned revision and expansion of that section and corrected the few mistakes that had remained. In summary, it can be said our original critique remained valid in spite of some serious errors in details caused by a failure to check sources in a rush to officially release it. We learned our lesson and try not to make the same mistake again (and have not, as far as I am aware).</p>
<p>5. A few people have said that AFAQ does not give equal billing to individualist anarchism. However, in terms of numbers and influence it has always been very much a minority trend in anarchism outside of America. By the 1880s, this was probably the case in America as well and by the turn of the 20th century it was definitely the case (as noted by, among others, Paul Avrich). As such, it is hardly a flaw that AFAQ has presented the majority position on anarchism (social anarchism), particularly as this is the position of the people involved.</p>
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</p>
<p></p><title>Other Anarchist Web-pages</title>
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<p><br>
</p>
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<a href="/afaq/arlinks.html" class="page-next" title="Go to next page">Sites of interest to Anarchists ›</a>
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<title>Appendix : Anarchism and "anarcho"-capitalism | Anarchist Writers</title>
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<h1>Appendix : Anarchism and "anarcho"-capitalism</h1>
<p>This appendix exists for one reason, namely to explain why the idea of "anarcho"-capitalism is a bogus one. While we have covered this topic in <a href="secFcon.html">section F</a>, we thought that this appendix should be created in order to discuss in more detail why anarchists reject both "anarcho"-capitalism and its claims to being anarchist.</p>
<p>This appendix has three parts. The first two sections are our critique of Bryan Caplan's "anarcho"-capitalist <a href="http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/bcaplan/anarfaq.htm">"Anarchist Theory FAQ."</a> Caplan's FAQ is the main on-line attempt to give the oxymoron of "anarcho"-capitalism some form of justification and so it is worthwhile explaining, using his FAQ as the base, why such an attempt fails. The last part of this appendix is the original version of <a href="secFcon.html">section F</a>,</p>
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</ul>
</h2>
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<ul class="menu"><li class="leaf first"><a href="/afaq/append11.html">Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 5.2</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append12.html">Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 4.1.1</a></li>
<li class="collapsed last"><a href="/afaq/append13.html">Appendix - Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?</a></li>
<ul class="menu"><li class="leaf first"><a href="append11.html">Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 5.2</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append12.html">Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 4.1.1</a></li>
<li class="collapsed last"><a href="append13.html">Appendix - Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?</a></li>
</ul>
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<a href="/afaq/secJ7.html" class="page-previous" title="Go to previous page">‹ J.7 What do anarchists mean by "social revolution"?</a>
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<li>Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 5.2</li>
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<p>That Caplan's position is ultimately false can be seen from the "anarcho"-capitalists themselves. In many dictionaries anarchy is defined as <i>"disorder,"</i> <i>"a state of lawlessness"</i> and so on. Strangely enough, no "anarcho"-capitalist ever uses <b>these</b> dictionary definitions of "anarchy"! Thus appeals to dictionaries are just as much a case of defining anarchism as you desire as not using dictionaries. Far better to look at the history and traditions of the anarchist movement itself, seek out its common features and apply <b>those</b> as criteria to those seeking to include themselves in the movement. As can be seen, "anarcho"-capitalism fails this test and, therefore, are not part of the anarchist movement. Far better for us all if they pick a new label to call themselves rather than steal our name.</p>
<p>Although most anarchists disagree on many things, the denial of our history is not one of them.</p>
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<li>Replies to Some Errors and Distortions in Bryan Caplan's "Anarchist Theory FAQ" version 4.1.1.</li>
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<p>The reason for increased inequality and poverty as a result of increased deregulation is simple. A "free exchange" between two people will benefit the stronger party. This is obvious as the economy is marked by power, regardless of "anarcho"-capitalist claims, and any "free exchange" will reflect difference in power. Moreover, a series of such exchanges will have an accumulative effect, with the results of previous exchanges bolstering the position of the stronger party in the current exchange.</p>
<p>Moreover, the claim that removing taxation will <b>increase</b> donations to charity is someone strange. We doubt that the rich who object to money being taken from them to pay for welfare will <b>increase</b> the amount of money they give to others if taxation <b>was</b> abolished. As Peter Sabatini points out, "anarcho"-capitalists <i>"constantly rant and shriek about how the government, or the rabble, hinders their Lockean right to amass capital."</i> [<b>Social Anarchism</b>, no. 23, p.101] Caplan seems to expect them to turn over a new leaf and give <b>more</b> to that same rabble!</p>
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<h1>Appendix -- Is "anarcho"-capitalism a type of anarchism?</h1>
<p> </p>
<h2><a href="append13int.html">Introduction</a></h2>
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</ol>
<p> </p>
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<ul class="menu"><li class="leaf first"><a href="/afaq/append13int.html">0 Introduction</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append131.html">1 Are "anarcho"-capitalists really anarchists?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append132.html">2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom"?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append133.html">3 Why do anarcho"-capitalists place little or no value on "equality"?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append134.html">4 What is the right-libertarian position on private property?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append135.html">5 Will privatising "the commons" increase liberty?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append136.html">6 Is "anarcho"-capitalism against the state?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append137.html">7 How does the history of "anarcho"-capitalism show that it is not anarchist?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append138.html">8 What role did the state take in the creation of capitalism?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append139.html">9 Is Medieval Iceland an example of "anarcho"-capitalism working in practice?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="/afaq/append1310.html">10 Would laissez-faire capitalism be stable?</a></li>
<li class="leaf last"><a href="/afaq/append1311.html">11 What is the myth of "Natural Law"?</a></li>
<ul class="menu"><li class="leaf first"><a href="append13int.html">0 Introduction</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append131.html">1 Are "anarcho"-capitalists really anarchists?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append132.html">2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom"?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append133.html">3 Why do anarcho"-capitalists place little or no value on "equality"?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append134.html">4 What is the right-libertarian position on private property?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append135.html">5 Will privatising "the commons" increase liberty?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append136.html">6 Is "anarcho"-capitalism against the state?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append137.html">7 How does the history of "anarcho"-capitalism show that it is not anarchist?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append138.html">8 What role did the state take in the creation of capitalism?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append139.html">9 Is Medieval Iceland an example of "anarcho"-capitalism working in practice?</a></li>
<li class="leaf"><a href="append1310.html">10 Would laissez-faire capitalism be stable?</a></li>
<li class="leaf last"><a href="append1311.html">11 What is the myth of "Natural Law"?</a></li>
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</p><title></title>
</p>
<h1>1 Are "anarcho"-capitalists really anarchists?</h1>
<p>In a word, no. While "anarcho"-capitalists obviously try to associate themselves with the anarchist tradition by using the word "anarcho" or by calling themselves "anarchists", their ideas are distinctly at odds with those associated with anarchism. As a result, any claims that their ideas are anarchist or that they are part of the anarchist tradition or movement are false.</p>
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<blockquote><p> <i>"The modern Individualism initiated by Herbert Spencer is, like the critical theory of Proudhon, a powerful indictment against the dangers and wrongs of government, but its practical solution of the social problem is miserable -- so miserable as to lead us to inquire if the talk of 'No force' be merely an excuse for supporting landlord and capitalist domination."</i> [<b>Act For Yourselves</b>, p. 98]
</p></blockquote>
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<h1>10 Would laissez-faire capitalism be stable?</h1>
<p>Unsurprisingly, right-libertarians combine their support for "absolute property rights" with a whole-hearted support for laissez-faire capitalism. In such a system (which they maintain, to quote Ayn Rand, is an <i>"unknown ideal"</i>) everything would be private property and there would be few (if any) restrictions on "voluntary exchanges." "Anarcho"-capitalists are the most extreme of defenders of pure capitalism, urging that the state itself be privatised and no voluntary exchange made illegal (for example, children would be considered the property of their parents and it would be morally right to turn them into child prostitutes -- the child has the option of leaving home if they object).</p>
<p>As there have been no example of "pure" capitalism it is difficult to say whether their claims about are true (for a discussion of a close approximation see the section <a href="append1310.html#secf103">10.3</a>). This section of the FAQ is an attempt to discover whether such a system would be stable or whether it would be subject to the usual booms and slumps. Before starting we should note that there is some disagreement within the right-libertarian camp itself on this subject (although instead of stability they usually refer to "equilibrium" -- which is an economics term meaning that all of a societies resources are fully utilised).</p>
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<p>Interestingly, since the end of the era of the Gold Standard (and so commodity money) popular debate, protest and concern about money has disappeared. The debate and protest was in response to the <b>effects</b> of commodity money on the economy -- with many people correctly viewing the seriously restrictive monetary regime of the time responsible for economic problems and crisis as well as increasing inequalities. Instead radicals across the political spectrum urged a more flexible regime, one that did not cause wage slavery and crisis by reducing the amount of money in circulation when it could be used to expand production and reduce the impact of slumps. Needless to say, the Federal Reserve system in the USA was far from the institution these populists wanted (after all, it is run by and for the elite interests who desired its creation).</p>
<p>That the laissez-faire system was so volatile and panic-ridden suggests that "anarcho"-capitalist dreams of privatising everything, including banking, and everything will be fine are very optimistic at best (and, ironically, it was members of the capitalist class who lead the movement towards state-managed capitalism in the name of "sound money").</p>
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<h1>11 What is the myth of "Natural Law"?</h1>
<p>Natural Law, and the related concept of Natural Rights, play an important part in Libertarian and "anarcho"-capitalist ideology. Right-libertarians are not alone in claiming that their particular ideology is based on the "law of nature". Hitler, for one, claimed the same thing for Nazi ideology. So do numerous other demagogues, religious fanatics, and political philosophers. However, each likes to claim that only <b>their</b> "natural law" is the "real" one, all the others being subjective impositions. We will ignore these assertions (they are not arguments) and concentrate on explaining why natural law, in all its forms, is a myth. In addition, we will indicate its authoritarian implications.</p>
<p>Instead of such myths anarchists urge people to "work it out for themselves" and realise that any ethical code is subjective and not a law of nature. If its a good "code", then others will become convinced of it by your arguments and their intellect. There is no need to claim its a function of "man's nature"!</p>
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<p>The aim of the scientific method is to invent theories that explain facts, the theories are not part of the facts but created by the individual's mind in order to explain those facts. Such scientific "laws" can and do change in light of new information and new thought. In other words, the scientific method is the creation of subjective theories that explain the objective facts. Rand's method is the opposite - she assumes "man's nature," "discovers" what is "good" from those assumptions and draws her theories by deduction from that. This is the <b>exact</b> opposite of the scientific method and, as we noted above, comes to us straight from the Roman Catholic church.</p>
<p>It is the subjective revolt by individuals against what is considered "objective" fact or "common sense" which creates progress and develops ethics (what is considered "good" and "right") and society. This, in turn, becomes "accepted fact" until the next free thinker comes along and changes how we view the world by presenting <b>new</b> evidence, re-evaluating old ideas and facts or exposing the evil effects associated with certain ideas (and the social relationships they reflect) by argument, fact and passion. Attempts to impose <i>"an evaluation of the facts of reality by man's consciousness"</i> would be a death blow to this process of critical thought, development and evaluation of the facts of reality by individual's consciousness. Human thought would be subsumed by dogma.</p>
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<h1>2 What do "anarcho"-capitalists mean by "freedom"?</h1>
<p>For "anarcho"-capitalists, the concept of freedom is limited to the idea of <i>"freedom from."</i> For them, freedom means simply freedom from the <i>"initiation of force,"</i> or the <i>"non-aggression against anyone's person and property."</i> [Murray Rothbard, <b>For a New Liberty</b>, p. 23] The notion that real freedom must combine both freedom <i>"to"</i> <b>and</b> freedom <i>"from"</i> is missing in their ideology, as is the social context of the so-called freedom they defend.</p>
<p>Before starting, it is useful to quote Alan Haworth when he notes that <i>"[i]n fact, it is surprising how <b>little</b> close attention the concept of freedom receives from libertarian writers. Once again <b>Anarchy, State, and Utopia</b> is a case in point. The word 'freedom' doesn't even appear in the index. The word 'liberty' appears, but only to refer the reader to the 'Wilt Chamberlain' passage. In a supposedly 'libertarian' work, this is more than surprising. It is truly remarkable."</i> [<b>Anti-Libertarianism</b>, p. 95]</p>
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<p>Other people give us the possibilities to develop our full human potentiality and thereby our freedom, so when we destroy the freedom of others we limit our own. <i>"To treat others and oneself as property,"</i> argues anarchist L. Susan Brown, <i>"objectifies the human individual, denies the unity of subject and object and is a negation of individual will . . . even the freedom gained by the other is compromised by this relationship, for to negate the will of another to achieve one's own freedom destroys the very freedom one sought in the first place."</i> [<b>The Politics of Individualism</b>, p. 3]</p>
<p>Fundamentally, it is for this reason that anarchists reject the right-Libertarian theories of freedom and justice -- it just does not ensure individual freedom or individuality.</p>
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<h1>3 Why do anarcho"-capitalists place little or no value on "equality"?</h1>
<p>Murray Rothbard argues that <i>"the 'rightist' libertarian is not opposed to inequality."</i> [<b>For a New Liberty</b>, p. 47] In contrast, "leftist" libertarians oppose inequality because it has harmful effects on individual liberty.</p>
<p>Part of the reason "anarcho"-capitalism places little or no value on "equality" derives from their definition of that term. Murray Rothbard defines equality as:</p>
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<p>As noted, the right-libertarian (passing) acknowledgement of poverty does not mean that they recognise the existence of market power. They never ask themselves how can someone be free if their social situation is such that they are drowning in a see of usury and have to sell their labour (and so liberty) to survive.</p>
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<h1>4 What is the right-libertarian position on private property?</h1>
<p>Right libertarians are not interested in eliminating capitalist private property and thus the authority, oppression and exploitation which goes with it. It is true that they call for an end to the state, but this is not because they are concerned about workers being exploited or oppressed but because they don't want the state to impede capitalists' "freedom" to exploit and oppress workers even more than is the case now!</p>
<p>They make an idol of private property and claim to defend absolute, "unrestricted" property rights (i.e. that property owners can do anything they like with their property, as long as it does not damage the property of others. In particular, taxation and theft are among the greatest evils possible as they involve coercion against "justly held" property). They agree with John Adams that <i>"[t]he moment that idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the Laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or liberty cannot exist."</i></p>
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<p>Due to this basic lack of concern for freedom, "anarcho"-capitalists cannot be considered as anarchists. Their total lack of concern about factory fascism (i.e. wage labour) places them totally outside the anarchist tradition. Real anarchists have always been aware of that private property and wage labour restriction freedom and desired to create a society in which people would be able to avoid it. In other words, where <b>all</b> relations are non-hierarchical and truly co-operative.</p>
<p>To conclude, to claim that private property eliminates hierarchy is false. Nor does capitalism co-ordinate economic activities without hierarchical structures. For this reason anarchists support co-operative forms of production rather than capitalistic forms.</p>
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<h1>5 Will privatising "the commons" increase liberty?</h1>
<p>"Anarcho"-capitalists aim for a situation in which <i>"no land areas, no square footage in the world shall remain 'public,'"</i> in other words <b>everything</b> will be <i>"privatised."</i> [Murray Rothbard, <b>Nations by Consent</b>, p. 84] They claim that privatising "the commons" (e.g. roads, parks, etc.) which are now freely available to all will increase liberty. Is this true? We have shown before why the claim that privatisation can protect the environment is highly implausible (see section <a href="secE2.html">E.2</a>). Here we will concern ourselves with private ownership of commonly used "property" which we all take for granted and pay for with taxes.</p>
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<p>These examples can hardly be said to be increasing liberty for society as a whole, although "anarcho" capitalists seem to think they would. So far from <b>increasing</b> liberty for all, then, privatising the commons would only increase it for the ruling elite, by giving them yet another monopoly from which to collect income and exercise their power over. It would <b>reduce</b> freedom for everyone else. As Peter Marshall notes, <i>"[i]n the name of freedom, the anarcho-capitalists would like to turn public spaces into private property, but freedom does not flourish behind high fences protected by private companies but expands in the open air when it is enjoyed by all"</i> [<b>Demanding the Impossible</b>, p. 564].</p>
<p>Little wonder Proudhon argued that <i>"if the public highway is nothing but an accessory of private property; if the communal lands are converted into private property; if the public domain, in short, is guarded, exploited, leased, and sold like private property -- what remains for the proletaire? Of what advantage is it to him that society has left the state of war to enter the regime of police?"</i> [<b>System of Economic Contradictions</b>, p. 371]</p>
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