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Agorism: part one

July 30, 2020 — Grant Ford

This is the first of a series of articles helping to explain the concepts within the modern agorist community. Although many who fly the black/green or black/grey flag are really simply ancaps in diguise, the agorist community does not identify with many of their rather primal instincts. The agorist does not, for instance, aggressively attempt to proselytize others into their philosophy because that is not the driving force behind the movement. I hope to explain in the following articles the advantages behind the agorist philosophy and the differences it seeks with other community philosophies.


As an introduction, I would suggest that my dear reader read this book: An Agorist Primer before they continue this article, or perhaps after. I may mention a few things that are unfamiliar, so that primer would help in your understanding of the topics we will cover in this series.

That is not the only resource available, you can just visit Agorism.info for plenty of other resources on the current topic.

So, how is an agorist different from any of the other anarchist groups out there? The agorist tends to be on the left side of the political spectrum and, like the majority of anarchists, doesn't believe in the use of violent and coercive force to accomplish goals in life. But it is deeper still than just that. Whereas the usual suspected anarchist leaves their philosophy at that, the agorist tends to favor communal relationships with their neighbors and friends over the more macro relationships that most other philosophies (anarchist or otherwise) tend to focus on. The agorist, therefore, focuses primarily on what they can accomplish in their own life with their neighbors and friends on an open basis.

Let's say that we have an agorist living in a small city in the midwestern portion of the United States. Let's call this person Sam. Sam lives in a house that she purchased a few years ago. Now let's not consider the coercive property taxes that she must pay every year. Instead, her goal is to cut out the amount of tax that she can easily control. One of the trademarks of local coercive governance in the U.S. is the sales tax. This is a tax that the local and state governments place on its citizens through the sale of goods (as one might expect). Why would she want to subvert this tax? How could Sam possibly do such a deed? Won't she go to jail if she is discovered?

Why?

Sam's local and state government uses this tax to build unnecessary and wasteful buildings. They also use this tax to help support the 'War on Drugs' and to subject the local population to unreasonable search and seizures. She wants to fight this evil in the world, but she doesn't want to be put in jail herself and leave her four kids with her partner to defend against the world. Tax protestation is one way an anarchist can subvert the state and undermine its power. It is also a way to conscientiously disavow the way the system treats its subjects. it can be risky, but our little agorist Sam has discovered a completely legal way to object to the state's violence against its citizenry.

How?

So, how is Sam going to protest this tax and not get thrown in jail by the men in blue costumes? Well, she can do it over a slow progression of goals in order to stop consuming from the corporate economy.

The first goal is to sit down with her partner and discuss their needs and wants. They need to make a list of all of the things that make their life easier and sustain their existence on this planet. They will need food, shelter, luxury goods, entertainment, among other things. I say need here because they still want to exist in a comfortable manner on this planet. They don't want to become backwoods hillbillies that live without much comfort. The goal of agorism is not to limit comforts in order to protest the system of oppressive state power. The goal is to subvert the power by small acts of independence.

The second goal is to make a plan of action. Which foods can she and her partner grow in their back yard? What plants can they grow by their windows? What are other ways that they can attain the foods that they need in order to cut down of their consumption of corporate goods? The fight against corporate goods is not a fight against the corporations themselves exactly. It should be noted that when I refer to corporations and corporate goods, I am simple targeting the main source of revenue for local and state actors. So in order to fully subvert their coercion footprint in the world is to limit their participation in the trade of coercively produced goods. The corporation receives money and incentives from the state actors and one way that Sam can help to undermine the State is to limit her consumption of these coercively produced goods.

Another way that Sam plans on undermining the collection of sales taxes is by reducing her consumption of commercially produced clothing goods. She lives in a city where she can find someone who makes clothing in modern styles (it is not as rare as you might think). This is goind to be an example that really sticks out because this implements one of the basic tenets of the agorist. Sam must build a communal relationship with a local tailor/stitcher/clothing producer. Not with the company, because a company is a construct of the state, rather with the person in charge of the business of making clothes. She can talk to them and build a relationship with them, possibly by purchasing a few things from them and starting up a conversation. Then our girl Sam can approach them about privately making her some clothes without all of the necessity of running the transaction through their business. If successful, she can establish a great source of clothing for her partner and children without having to pay tax. The tailor also benefits from this relationship as they can now produce their goods without dealing with the tax structure and system of theft setup by the state. Though inadvertant, this can become a way to convert the business owner to the agorist way through mutually beneficial exchange.

There are many other examples of how Sam can subvert the local sales tax, but I hope these have got the wheels turning in the mind of you, my dear reader. By subverting this tax, Sam has successfully built stronger relationships with her community. If she is good at growing her fruits and vegetables, she can even give the produce that she doesn't need to her neighbors, or even sell them for some tax-free profits. She can sell them for cheaper and give higher quality produce to her neighbors, therefore entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with each neighbor, and thereby growing the bonds of community in her locality. This is the picture of an agorist in the nutshell of this small article. The agorist seeks, therefore, to subvert the local state and develop their relationship with their local community, creating strong bonds that surpass the depths of a "national identity" that is heralded by the most powerful statists in the world.

I know this article is short, but I don't want to expand on these ideas just yet. The next part of this series will dive much deeper and the next set of ideas deserves its own article. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have questions or thoughts, you can always reach me on Mastodon!