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The below "Statement on Agorism-21 was written by Jospeh Miranda.
Its purpose is to bring Libertarianism into the 21st century. This is not the final word. Constructive comments are welcomed and we look forward to taking this statement to a wider audience.


* The Dilemma

Libertarianism as it is today understood is a product of the mid-20th century: the era of Rothbard, Rand, Hayek, von Mises, Friedman and many others. They were operating within a framework characterized by:

     * The rule of totalitarian states in much of the world.

     * The relative weakness of capitalism versus the regulatory state.

     * A wide scale labor movement which kept checks on management-capital and was a political force in its own right.

Events of the last three decades have overthrown these assumptions:

     * The collapse of communism as a state vector (USSR, PRC).

     * The growth of cartels in especially critical sectors such as information technology (IT).

     * The rise of globalism superseding national boundaries and overthrowing 20th century national economics.

* The Goal

The goal of Agorism-21 is a free society. What stands in the way of attaining a free society today (2021)?


    * The state does not protect the basic precepts of a free society: enforcement of contracts, protection of lives and property, defense against foreign foes.

     * The alleged private sector is no better. Cartelized corporations have suppressed the market (via monopolies, economic manipulations, bribery of public officials), have intervened in the political process (via media propaganda/disinformation, buying out politicians), repression (via de-platformings, prison-industrial complex). What has made this all the more dangerous is that the centralization of information technologies (IT) under cartels working alongside state agencies involves control of a critical sector which amounts to a public utility.

 

The classical alternative to corporate power has been government regulation: anti-trust legislation, regulatory agencies, taxation of income. These measures have had varied success but there are objections:

The first is that using the government to regulate the corporate sector gives power to a bureaucracy which is de facto repressive and works not in the interest of that amorphous body called “the public” but of whatever interests can buy it out.

The question is raised, “Who can you trust in the government?” The rejoinder is “Who can you trust in the corporate sector?”

This is the trap of the false alternatives.

The second objection is that the distinctions between the state and corporate sectors have been largely dissolved by the rise of what is termed often the “managerial-technocratic state” (cf James Burnham's Managerial Revolution; Robert Michels's Iron Law of Oligarchy), the interlocking system uniting the government and corporate sectors which has been in place since at least World War II and has expanded to include the information and academic sectors. While there is ritual denunciation of the so-called military-industrial-(infotainment-prison-academic-etcetera) complex, there is little in the way of understanding its full implications.

The fact that in the 21st century IT corporations work alongside state intelligence agencies for surveillance and attacks on dissidents ought to give cause for consideration. Effectively, the IT cartels with their partners in the state are the ruling Complex.

Whether this Complex is the product of the deliberate actions of state-corporate actors, or a result of the technological necessities of an industrial-information economy is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that they form the new ruling class.

A case in point is the Drug War, in which the government and corporations have worked in a self named Partnership to involve a vast expansion in the incarceration system, drug testing, and media anti-drug propaganda. Similar partnerships are to be seen today with government, corporations and non-governmental (but often clandestinely financed) organizations cooperating to suppress dissent domestically and expand the reach of their combined power via worldwide Color Revolutions.

One cannot ignore the nature of the modern university in all this. While in the 20th century a claim could be made that university campuses were the scene of a free exchange of ideas and real dissident movements, today they are little more than fronts for Complex sponsored indoctrination and repression of real dissenters, with stage managed “protests” being confined to Complex approved ideologies.

To this might is added the rise of globalism which has removed political decision making from the local and national levels and transferred it to an array of transnational economic bodies, foundations with links to both the state and corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), transcontinental military alliances, and let us not leave out the new class of oligarchs who finance much of this. The line between the “state” or the “corporations” has disappeared.

Once cannot declare one is “anti-government” or “anti-state” while at the same time supporting a corporate sector which is one aspect of the duopoly. Nor can one declare that one is opposed to the “corporate media” when that media is a front for state propaganda.

Given that the IT corporations can de facto declare states of emergencies and expel people from social media, to include national politicians, we might ask, “Who is really the government?”

Given that the IT corporations have participated in “Color Revolutions” worldwide on a level which exceeds that of military interventions, we might again ask, “Who is really the government?”

Consider the absurdity of the argument that “only the government can censor speech” when IT cartels can deplatform millions of people without the slightest due process or appeal. And on top of this, IT corporations, as well as the financial sector and mainstream media, cooperate with law enforcement to track down dissidents. This “outsourcing of repression” has become the new mode of suppressing dissent.

In this environment, 20th century libertarianism has become an ideological justification for corporate cartel power which in turn is the power of the Complex and thus the State.

If the march of globalism continues, then the world will be subsumed into a Universal Homogeneous State.

The only way this setup can be justified is via increasingly convoluted ideological rationalizations.

Some examples: management directed drug testing, workplace indoctrination, terminating employment for political statements made outside the workplace; when libertarians claim these practices are part of voluntary relation between labor and management, they are perceived as supporting the power of the corporations which in turn means the power of the Complex. Libertarianism is thereby discredited. Moreover, convoluted ideological rationalizations are a symptom of a Movement which has lost contact with reality.

* An End to Cargo Cults

Libertarians too often have a quasi-religious faith in what is termed the Market.

The basic idea is that if one sits back and does nothing, then amorphous economic forces will fulfill human needs. And when the desired results do not occur, libertarians blame it on even more amorphous forces of government interference.

Really, this is an excuse for doing nothing and thus playing into the hands of the Complex.

It is a cargo cult mentality which ignores the reality of cartels in suppressing competition through various methods, such as denying access to payment processors or via control of the courts.

To reiterate: while in the 20th century one could reasonably refer to the State as the primary element of repression, in the 21st century it has been superseded by what is termed here the Complex.

Therefore, the dead hand of the 20th century must be discarded.

What is being discarded here is the false dichotomy between what were once termed “capitalism” and “socialism.”

What is being discarded here is the division of politics into left-wing and right-wing labels.

What is being discarded here is theoretical debate.

What is being advocated here is a Third Way.

* The Third Way

There is a Third Way: the organization of independent networks which can advocate for the interests of liberty. This is self-organization.

The objective here is not to beg for access to the existing social media apparatus, but to create alternative networks beyond the control of the state-cartel Complex or, indeed, of even megalomaniac insurgent forces.

Such organizations can include deep web online networks, labor syndicates, free speech advocates, 2nd Amendment proponents, consumer groups, legal defense fronts, individual cybernetic advocates, artist cooperatives, flash demonstrations, and so forth.

They can (and this is critical) form counter-economic networks to build alternative technologies. This means peer-to-peer communications, block chains, alternative media, and more so forth. This would circumvent the current IT cartels. More critically, this would shift the mindset away from reliance on centralized structures to decentralized networks.

For example: the response of dissidents of Complex directed deplatforming of dissidents is not to plead for government regulation, but to organize alternative networks for communications and finance, as well as taking actions to swarm Complex institutions with protests exposing their contradictions.

We might note the success of the Zapatistas in their netrocentric non-kinetic operations in Mexico in the 1990s as one example. Or the early 2021 GameStop(tm) campaign against Wall Street. There is the realm of next generation information tactics in their approach to a contest for ideas, culture and visions of the future. The advocate in this agora becomes the activist for liberty.

* Counter-Infonomics

If “control of the means of production” was the great revolutionary goal of the 20th century then “control of the means of information” is the frontier for the 21st.

To oppose the state without simultaneously opposing the cartels is a path for surrender to an oligarchic Complex which has demonstrably been antagonistic to freedom. To oppose the cartels without simultaneously opposing the state means surrendering to totalitarianism.

In the 20th century the goal of the underground economy was the production of good and services outside the regulatory-taxation apparatus, or Counter-Economy. In the 21st, the goal is the creation of alternative IT technologies and networks: for communications, for media, for finance, for creating larger networks.

Let us term these alternatives as Counter-Infonomics.


* Agorism-21

Agorism means the market but not simply the trade of goods and services at agreed upon prices without third party interference. The agora is also the exchange of ideas, of culture, of visions of the future. In the information age, such technologies as the “internet”, “social media”, “online banking” etcetera are not a luxury or a commodity. They are the foundations for 21st century freedom.

The long game is to create an alternative free society.

Agorism-21 advocates for:

Counter-Complex: opposition to both the state and corporate oligarchy.

Counter networks: virtual and real world voluntary associations free of the Complex.

Counter-communications: alternative technologies such as peer-to-peer and also non-technological alternatives such as in-person meetings and traditional media (print, shortwave radio, etc).

Counter-economics: alternative currencies (such as Bitcoin(tm) as well as barter and other realworld transactions.

Counter-politics: voting is seen as a front in a wider struggle; vote strategically for selected candidates to undermine the legitimacy of the Complex's bought off politicians.

Counter cancel vulture: support for people whose employment or businesses have been terminated for their political expressions.

Counter-repression: use of lawfare, swarming info, etc, against online and real world censorship and deplatforming.

Counter culture: creation of alternative forms of culture apart from Complex manufactured propaganda and commodified entertainment.

The goal is to create an Agora which ranges transnationally wherever people network for liberty.

The slogan for the 21st century: “Don't forget to unplug the Complex.”