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The Future of Agorism

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 22:26
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The Monthly Mutual Exchange Symposium is C4SS’s effort to achieve mutual understanding through exchange. September’s Mutual Exchange Symposium will explore the philosophy of agorism. Originally coined by radical libertarian social theorist Samuel Edward Konkin III, agorism is a theory of social change that aims to bring about a completely free and voluntary society through counter-economics, black market arrangements, and decentralized, peaceful cooperation unhindered by the iron fist of the state. Exploring the nature and purpose of agorist theory and practice is vital to moving forward in a statist world and developing a comprehensive, consistent theory of anarchist social change.

Is agorism merely a philosophy of social change or can it also inform us about our end-goals as well? Should agorists align themselves with other movements, such as illegalism, syndicalism, feminism, and anarcho-capitalism? What are the potential pitfalls of such alliances? How do we ensure agorism, in practice, actually serves state disruption instead of status quo hegemony? What is the relationship between agorism and theories of class? What is the relevance of increasing advancements in technology and decentralized production for agorism? Lastly, how does agorism relate to discussions of public policy and anarchist justice? These questions, and more, will be discussed in our monthly symposium by a group of anarchists who I hope, despite their diverse experiences and sometimes radically differing opinions, walk away from the conversation with a greater mutual understanding than they went in with.

Nick Ford opens our discussion with a reminder about the basics of agorist theory and, along with Logan Glitterbomb, explores the pros and cons of an agorist-syndicalist coalition. Glitterbomb goes on to discuss the intersections between agorism and illegalism, as well as “ethical consumerism.” Nathan Goodman, after examining the prospects of an agora-feminism, expresses some doubts about illegalist and syndicalist alliances, to which Ford and Glitterbomb both respond with more optimism about such tactics. Derrick Broze also takes issue with Goodman’s coalitional concerns, while articulating some of his own regarding the union of agorism and anarcho-capitalism. Broze also examines the modern agorist movement in the framework of Konkin’s four-stage spectrum, mapping the shift from a statist society all the way to a libertarian one. Dillon Williams examines agorism in the past, present, and future, while Jason Byas lays out a libertarian theory of politics beyond policy, utilizing agorism’s approach to social change. Finally, Chris Shaw, with an eye to the future of agorist practice, discusses the role of technology and burgeoning black markets in agorist theory.

Agorism drives a litany of libertarian and anarchist social movements today, making it a crucial philosophy to critically examine every now and again, lest our strategies for freedom become as stale and uninspiring as the statism we fight against. I hope the following symposium serves to deepen the conversations surrounding agorism, both within libertarian and anarchist communities, and outside of them.

The Center for a Stateless Society ( is a media center working to build awareness of the market anarchist alternative


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