A Brief Overview Of Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism

A Brief Overview Of Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism

By Nicholas Evans

Benjamin Tucker’s brand of Individualist Anarchism was mostly known through his journal Liberty which lasted over 27 years. 1. His Individualist Anarchism is a combination of the work of Josiah Warren, William B. Greene, J.K. Ingalls, P.J. Proudhon, and Herbert Spencer. 2.

Table of Contents For This Article:
A. What is Anarchism?
B. What is Capitalism?
C. What is the State?
D. What is Socialism?
E. What is Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism?
F. How Can Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism Be Achieved?

A: What is Anarchism?
Anarchism is a free society based on voluntary contract where everyone has equal access to what they need to live better lives. 3. Everyone is free to live as they wish (freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, ect ect) as long as they do not force their will on others or limit others from having equality of opportunity to live how they want. 4.

Since a free society needs equality of opportunity all forms of Anarchism are forms of Socialism. However the various forms of Anarchism are forms of Socialism that are free societies unlike the oppressive forms of State Socialism with involuntary taxation promoted by Karl Marx and others. 5.

What are the main forms of Anarchism?

The main forms of Anarchism are Individualist Anarchism, Mutualist Anarchism, Collectivist Anarchism, and Anarchist Communism. 6.

-Individualist Anarchism is best known through the work of Benjamin Tucker and is a form of Free Market Socialism with self-employed individuals, democratically controlled businesses, and businesses where employers pay their employees the full value of their labor. 7. Mutual Banks will charge interest rates at less than 1 percent so anyone can go into business themselves and therefore equality of opportunity will exist on the market. 8.

-Mutualist Anarchism is known through the work of P.J. Proudhon and is a form of Free Market Socialism with self-employed individuals and large-scale democratic businesses and equality of opportunity is maintained by Mutual Banks that will charge low interest rates (just enough to cover wages and the cost of running the bank) so anyone can go into business form themselves. 9. Mutualism would also have agro-industrial federations to help ensure equality of opportunity on the competitive market. 10.

-Collectivist Anarchism is known through the work of Michael Bakunin. In Collectivist Anarchism all workplaces are part of a union and are owned democratically. 11. Self-employed individuals would also exist. 12. Self-employed individuals and the democratically controlled workplaces would give their products to the Bank of Exchange which will distribute the products to the public in community owned marketplaces. 13. Items that cannot be moved like buildings will be registered with the Bank of Exchange. The Bank of Exchange will give vouchers in return for the items deposited by the self-employed individuals or democratically controlled workplaces. 14. The vouchers are the money. The Bank of Exchange will also use its statistics with a Communal Statistic Commission to predict and balance supply and demand as well as deal with imports and exports ect ect. 15.

-Anarchist Communism is known through the work of Peter Kropotkin and Alexander Berkman among many others. 16. In an Anarchist Communist society, self-employed individuals will exist along with democratically controlled workplaces. All products are available at community owned public distribution centers for free. Supply and demand is regulated by the community associations and through contract with self-employed individuals and democratic workplaces. There is no money or exchange in the anarchist communist society since all products are free to all contributing members of the society through the distribution centers. 17. In any form of a Communist society and unlike all forms of Socialism which still retains money or vouchers, money is abolished in all forms of Communism.

B: What is Capitalism?
Capitalism is a market system where labor is not generally factored into the price of the product. 18. Forms of market systems that do generally factor labor into the price of products are socialist free markets like Individualist Anarchism and Mutualist Anarchism. 19.

C: What is the State?
The state is an organization that is supported by involuntary taxation. 20. The difference between the state and the involuntary government is the state exists through involuntary taxation and the involuntary government is a particular form of a state.

D: What is Socialism?
Socialism is any economic system where workers are paid the full value of their labor. 21. This can be a free market socialist system or a collectivist system. This means self-employed individuals, democratic businesses, businesses where employers pay their employees the full value of their labor, and collectively or publicly owned democratic workplaces are all forms of Socialism. 22.

E: What is Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism?
Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism consists of 6 main aspects.

1. The government is supported by voluntary taxation and therefore is not a state. 23. Prisons, 24. military, capital punishment 25. ect ect. can continue to function as with all other aspects of the voluntary government.

2. Employers pay their employees the full value of their labor. 26. It is socialist because the employees are paid the full value of their labor as a result of Mutual Banks. 27. Employers would pay the full value of the worker’s wages that free market competition determines because the workers would have the option to go into business for themselves through Mutual Banks that charge interest rates at 1 percent or less and therefore the employers would raise wages to entice workers to work for them therefore the workers receive their full value of their labor that is determined by the market. 28. Under Capitalism workers can be paid less than their full value because they are forced to accept low wages less than the market value just to survive without the option of Mutual Banks. The part of the wages that would have been the worker’s if they were paid their full value that goes to the employer instead is called surplus value or capitalist profit. 29. However the full value of wages cannot be determined unless equality of opportunity exists on the market. Mutual Banks will ensure equality of opportunity on the market.

3. Mutual Banks will charge1 percent or less interest (to pay for wages and the costs of running the bank) so all people have the opportunity to go into business for themselves if they so choose. 30.

4. People only own land they live or work on. This system is called occupancy and use. 31. Landlords can exist and make a living if they get paid only for their own labor in upkeeping their rental housing properties. 32.

5. Tariffs and patents are abolished because they restrict free ideas on the free market. 33.

6. The economy is an unrestricted socialist free market. 34.

F: How Can Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism Be Achieved?
Benjamin Tucker’s Individualist Anarchism can be achieved through education. 35. Tucker believed in non-violence and voluntary adoption of his ideas. 36. Proudhon an influence on Tucker and his contract theory (See Tucker’s Instead of a Book) stated in the Epilogue of his General Idea of Revolution in the Nineteenth Century:

“Will you join the compact, and form a part of their society?
Do you promise to respect the honor, the liberty and the property of your brothers?
Do you promise never to appropriate for yourself by violence, nor by fraud, nor by usury, nor by interest, the products or possessions of another?
Do you promise never to lie nor deceive in commerce, or in any part of your transactions?
You are free to accept or refuse.” 37.

Notes:
1. Martin, James J. Men Against the State. Ralph Myles Publisher, Inc. Colorado Springs. 1970. pp. 203.
2. Ibid.
3. To quote Peter Kropotkin in his ‘Anarchism’ entry in Encyclopedia Britannica 1910, Anarchism is a society of “…free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.” Kropotkin, Peter. ‘Anarchism from the Encyclopedia Britannica 1910’. Anarchy Archives: An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy...
4. Ibid. Also please see Benjamin Tuckers excellent article ‘State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree And Wherein They Differ’ from 1888 and Dolgoff, Sam. Bakunin on Anarchy. Vintage Books: Random House. pp 82.
5. Kropotkin, Peter. ‘Anarchism from the Encyclopedia Britannica 1910’. Anarchy Archives: An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy... and Benjamin Tuckers excellent article ‘State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree And Wherein They Differ’
6. Kropotkin, Peter. ‘Anarchism from the Encyclopedia Britannica 1910’. Anarchy Archives: An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy...
7. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 12.
8. Ibid.
9. Proudhon, P. J., Dana, Charles, Greene, William B. Proudhon’s Solution of the Social Problem. Vanguard Press: New York. 1927. pp 26-27. And Proudhon, P.J. General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. Cosimo Inc.: New York. 2007 pp 218-219.
10. Vernon, Richard. The Principle of Federation by P. J. Proudhon. University of Toronto Press: Toronto. 1979. pp 67.
11. Dolgoff, Sam. Bakunin on Anarchy. Vintage Books: Random House. pp 363-364, 366-367
12. Ibid. pp 366-367.
13. Ibid.
14. Ibid.
15. Ibid. 369-370.
16. Also see the works of Emma Goldman, Errico Malatesta among others.
17. Berkman, Alexander. What is Anarchism? www.libcom.org. Chapter 29 Consumption and Exchange. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: https://libcom.org/library/what-is-anarchism-alexander-berkman-29
18. Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676. "The working day of 12 hours is represented in a monetary value of, for example, 6 shillings. There are two alternatives. Either equivalents are exchanged, and then the worker receives 6 shillings for 12 hours of labour; the price of his labour would be equal to the price of his product. In that case he produces no surplus-value for the buyer of his labour, the 6 shillings are not transformed in to capital, and the basis of capitalist production vanishes." And Baldwin, Roger. Peter Kropotkin: Anarchism A Collection of Revolutionary Writings. Dover Publications: New York. 2002. pp 169. “So long as Socialism was understood in its wide, generic, and true sense- as an effort to abolish the exploitation of labor by capital…” retrieved 5-19-20 from: https://books.google.com/books?id=eUK8AQAAQBAJ&pg=PA169&lpg=PA169&dq=an+...
19. Ibid.
20. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 32. And Anarchy Archives: An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy...
21. Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676. And Baldwin, Roger. Peter Kropotkin: Anarchism A Collection of Revolutionary Writings. Dover Publications: New York. 2002. pp 169. As well as Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 12. “Labor…will thus secure its natural wage, its entire product.” And pp 365 “Of course there is a sense in which every Anarchist may be said to be Socialist virtually, in as much as usury rests on authority…”
22. Ibid. also please see: Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 363. “But Liberty insists on Socialism, nevertheless,-on true Socialism, Anarchistic Socialism: the prevalence on earth of Liberty, Equality, and Solidarty.”
23. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 32, 57
24. Ibid. pp 56.
25. Anarchy Archives: An Online Research Center on the History and Theory of Anarchism. Retrieved 5-18-20 from: http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/britanniaanarchy... and Avrich, Paul. . An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre. Retrieved 5-19-20 from: https://books.google.com/books?id=l3s5DwAAQBAJ&pg=PT137&lpg=PT137&dq=Ben... Tucker stated: …’’Anarchism ‘does not exclude prisons, officials, military, or other symbols of force. It merely demands that non-invasive men shall not be made the victims of such force. Anarchism is not the reign of love, but the reign of justice. It does not signify the abolition of force-symbols but the application of force to real invaders’"
26. Please see ‘State Socialism and Anarchism’ by Benjamin Tucker.
27. Ibid.
28. Ibid.
29. Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676.
30. Please see ‘State Socialism and Anarchism’ by Benjamin Tucker.
31. Ibid.
32. Tucker, Benjamin. Instead of a Book. Alpha Editions. 2019 pp 303. “Every sale is an exchange of labor, and the tenant simply pays money representing his own labor for the result of Edgeworth’s labor which he (the tenant) has destroyed in appropriating it to his own use.” The Individualist Anarchist Lysander Spooner did believe in absentee landlordism see: Spooner. The Law of Intellectual Property. 1855. “The principle of property is directly the reverse of this. The principle of property is, that the owner of a thing has absolute dominion over it, whether he have it in actual possession or not, and whether he himself wish to use it or not; that no one has a right to take possession of it, or use it, without his consent; and that he has a perfect right to withhold both the possession and use of it from others, from no other motive than to induce them, or make it necessary for them, to buy it, or rent it, and pay him an equivalent for it, or for its use,…” From section XI Objection Eleventh. He is still considered an Anarchist or libertarian socialist because landlordism is not what makes Capitalism. Capitalism is a free market system that does not factor labor in general into the price of products. Spooner believed that companies should be co-operatives so workers receive their full value and retain democratic ownership of the company on a competitive free market. See Spooner’s ‘A Letter to Grover Cleveland’. Therefore he is a Socialist and hence an Anarchist.
33. Please see ‘State Socialism and Anarchism’ by Benjamin Tucker
34. Ibid.
35. Please see Tucker’s 1926 Postscript to his State Socialism and Anarchism: “But education is a slow process, and may not come too quickly. Anarchists who endeavor to hasten it by joining in the propaganda of State Socialism or revolution make a sad mistake indeed. They help to so force the march of events that the people will not have time to find out, by the study of their experience, that their troubles have been due to the rejection of competition.”
36. Ibid.
37. Proudhon, P.J. General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century. Cosimo Inc.: New York. 2007 pp 295. Also of some interest are the views of Addison Brown. He believed wages of employers and employees should be voted on by a labor bureau. His system could be considered a form of moneyless individualist anarchism which he called Prior Choice Economics. For more information please see: Prior Choice Economics: The Way To Better Living For Everyone by Gabriel Green. The anonymous forward in the book is by Lucus Louize. Tucker also believed that although immoral people who voluntary choose to be capitalists, banks with high interest, and absentee landlords could exist in his society however as long as they are a minority for obvious reasons if the majority of the society was made of capitalists, bankers and landlords the society would no longer be an individualist anarchist society but a Capitalist one. Tucker states: "Liberty, therefore, must defend the right of individuals to make contracts involving usury, rum, marriage, prostitution, and many other things which are believed to be wrong in principle and opposed to human well-being. The right to do wrong involves the essence of all rights" Please see Benjamin R. Tucker. ‘Right and Individual Rights’ Liberty (January 7, 1882) pp 3. Retrieved 5-19-20 from: https://books.google.com/books?id=6SkrAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA3-PA15&lpg=RA3-PA15&...

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"Capitalism is a market system where labor is not generally factored into the price of the product."

"Socialism is any economic system where workers are paid the full value of their labor. "

overview = reductionism?

People who might know much about anarchist economics aren't aware that the first person to call himself an anarchist (Proudhon) was a supporter of market socialism. (See Proudhon's What Is Property?) Tucker was highly influenced by Proudhon's market socialism however he kept the labor theory of value between employers and employees and rather than focus on co-ops like Proudhon Tucker instead supported non-exploitative employers in his form of market socialism. (The non-exploitative employer/employee way of business is influence from Josiah Warren.) Marx wrote about non-exploitative employers as a form of socialism as can be seen in this quote discussing his labor theory of value (LTV):

"The working day of 12 hours is represented in a monetary value of, for example, 6 shillings. There are two alternatives. Either equivalents are exchanged, and then the worker receives 6 shillings for 12 hours of labour; the price of his labour would be equal to the price of his product. In that case he produces no surplus-value for the buyer of his labour, the 6 shillings are not transformed in to capital, and the basis of capitalist production vanishes." Marx, Karl. Capital Volume 1 England: Penguin Classics (reprint) 1990 pp. 676.

Tucker knew about this hence his support of Marx's labor theory of value (LTV) as can be seen in his article 'Karl Marx As Friend and Foe' which can be found in Instead of a Book by Tucker which can be read here: http://fair-use.org/benjamin-tucker/instead-of-a-book/karl-marx-as-frien...

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