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Cortes internacionais vs. estado nacional

A Anistia Internacional declarou que a sentença da Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos, em caso no qual as autoridades guatemaltecas não investigaram o trágico assassinato de uma adolescente, transmite aos governos do mundo inteiro a enérgica mensagem de que não será tolerada a inação a respeito da violência contra as mulheres.

Maria Isabel Veliz Franco tinha 15 anos quando foi agredida sexualmente, torturada e brutalmente assassinada na Guatemala em 2001. Sua mãe lutou para que a justiça fosse feita, e, em 28 de julho deste ano, a Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos concluiu que as autoridades guatemaltecas não haviam investigado adequadamente o assassinato, tratando-o com negligência em um ambiente de sistemática violência e discriminação contra a mulher.

Sebastian Elgueta, pesquisador da Anistia Internacional sobre a Guatemala, afirmou que “[as] lições deste caso só serão aprendidas quando forem levadas a sério as mortes de todas as mulheres e meninas assassinadas na Guatemala, e quando forem tomadas medidas concretas para prevenir a violência contra as mulheres e para criar uma sociedade segura e respeitosa para todas as pessoas”.

Esse trágico caso julgado pela Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos representa de que modo a criação de jurisdições internacionais que avaliem se estados estão respeitando obrigações que eles assumiram de respeitar os direitos das pessoas sob seu poder é muito importante para a liberdade humana.

O primeiro caso que pesquisei da jurisprudência da Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos foi um caso também da Guatemala, Meninos de Rua (Villagrán Morales e outros) vs. Guatemala.

Eu já era libertário à época e me impressionou que o caso de 5 meninos de rua sequestrados e mortos pela polícia, que com certeza teria sido esquecido para sempre se dependesse do estado guatemalteco, tinha sido trazido ao conhecimento internacional para que um tribunal independente pudesse julgar o caso e condenar o estado a compensar as famílias daqueles meninos, investigar e punir os responsáveis e tomar medidas para evitar que isso acontecesse novamente.

A importância da emergência desses tribunais é que eles permitem um controle independente sobre os estados e desafiam a concepção de que o estado é o árbitro final sobre nossos direitos e liberdades. Ao invés do poder estatal ser a instância máxima, em casos de direitos humanos os próprios Estados têm de sentar-se no banco dos réus, diante da denúncia de um indivíduo, perante tribunais que seguem parâmetros legais respeitosos aos direitos individuais.

No caso brasileiro de um paciente deficiente mental, Damião Ximenes Lopes, que havia morrido – por negligência – em uma casa de repouso ligada ao SUS, o estado brasileiro foi condenado pela ausência de investigação do ocorrido. Outro caso foi o dos desaparecidos da guerrilha do Araguaia na época da ditadura militar brasileira, em que Corte entendeu que a Lei de Anistia brasileira, que perdoou as graves violações de direitos humanos cometidas pelo estado ditatorial, era ilegal, o que já comentei em outra ocasião.

Da perspectiva de um livre mercado radical, essas cortes arbitrais internacionais permitem que argumentemos que o Brasil viola direitos humanos por não admitir liberdade sindical para seus trabalhadores.

Essa possibilidade existe porque a Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos pode avaliar casos de violação de direitos previstos na Convenção Americana de Direitos Humanos, que trata de direitos civis e políticos, mas também pode examinar alguns dispositivos do Protocolo de San Salvador, que trata de direitos econômicos, sociais e culturais. Dentre estes, destaca-se:

Artigo 8 Direitos sindicais
1. Os Estados Partes garantirão:
a. O direito dos trabalhadores de organizar sindicatos e de filiar‑se ao de sua escolha, para proteger e promover seus interesses. Como projeção desse direito, os Estados Partes permitirão aos sindicatos formar federações e confederações nacionais e associar‑se às já existentes, bem como formar organizações sindicais internacionais e associar‑se à de sua escolha. Os Estados Partes também permitirão que os sindicatos, federações e confederações funcionem livremente;

Desde Getúlio Vargas, a liberdade sindical dos trabalhadores brasileiros foi roubada pelo estabelecimento da “unicidade sindical”, um monopólio legal onde é permitido apenas um único sindicato para representar a categoria em determinado território. Por isso, as maiores instituições sindicais do país, a CUT e a Força Sindical, estão alinhadas ao capitalismo corporativo brasileiro.

Isso inclusive é um dos motivos pelos quais o Brasil não ratifica a Convenção nº 87 da Organização Internacional do Trabalho. A OIT em sua constituição já estabelece a primazia da liberdade sindical, mas ratificar esta convenção em específico faz com que o país se comprometa explicitamente com este princípio nas relações trabalhistas. O artigo 2º estabelece que os trabalhadores, sem nenhuma distinção e sem autorização prévia, têm o direito de constituir as organizações que estimem convenientes, assim como o de filiar-se a estas organizações, com a única condição de observar os estatutos das mesmas. E resta clara a proximidade do art. 2ª da Convenção 87 da OIT com o art. 8.1.a do Protocolo acima, ambos consagrando um princípio de interação sindical livre que o Brasil viola.

Se conseguíssemos uma condenação do Brasil junto à Corte Interamericana por ter impedido a operação de um sindicato livre, fora da estrutura monopolística criada pelo estado brasileiro, pela violação da liberdade sindical, seria um importante passo para chamar atenção da população, especialmente dos trabalhadores, do absurdo que é o governo continuar a negar seu direito de associação livre na busca de melhores condições de trabalho em negociações coletivas.

Portanto, seja para não deixar esquecidos os casos de meninos de rua mortos por policiais ou de uma adolescente cujo assassinato brutal não foi investigado pela polícia, seja para denunciar como o estado privou trabalhadores de liberdade sindical, passando por uma série de outras possibilidades, a existência de tribunais internacionais de direitos humanos apresentam um conceito radical: o de que o estado não pode ter a última palavra, de vida e de morte, sobre nós e nossos direitos.

O ativismo legislativo não vai nos conduzir para a liberdade, mas existe uma lei a nosso favor e devemos tirar máximo proveito dela.

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The Culture of Anarchism

State ideologies require an underlying cultural disposition, if they are to stand the test of time. This cultural disposition is inevitably tied to the core concepts of an ideology. Nationalism subordinates the individual’s values to those of their national community, while numerous strands of socialism focus upon the lives and pastimes of the proletariat. Romantic conservatism paints an idyllic vision of pastoral simplicity, all watched over with love and grace by a landed aristocracy. But what of anarchism? Where is the shared culture of a movement that rails against such concentrations of power?

At first glance, the question may appear oxymoronic. Indeed, it is true to say that anarchists of all stripes disagree on “fundamentals” such as wage labour. What then makes anarchism a distinct mode of interpreting the world? A vague aversion to the State will not do: such a disposition is necessary but insufficient. The State is just one of numerous power structures (e.g. patriarchy and institutional racism), and any anarchist worth their salt is concerned with hierarchies in general.

Note that I say “concerned with” rather than “automatically opposed to”. As Austrian competition theory explains, freed markets allow concentrations of economic power to ebb and flow like the tide. Competition is a state of flux and dynamism, with firms, workers and entrepreneurs constantly adjusting to a changing world. It is inevitable that — in some cases — power structures will emerge. The anarchist concern is to ensure such structures are beneficial and are not entrenched to our detriment. To be an anarchist is to commit to constant evaluation of power structures; our damning verdict of the State, as the instigator and catalyst of oppression, is a product of this commitment. Paul Goodman sums it up cogently:

[The] relativity of the anarchist principle to the actual situation is of the essence of anarchism…It is always a continual coping with the next situation, and a vigilance to make sure past freedoms are not lost and do not turn into the opposite, as free enterprise turned into wage-slavery and monopoly capitalism, or the independent judiciary turned into a monopoly of courts, cops, and lawyers…

The anarchist culture of scepticism towards power structures is key to human flourishing. On an individual level, this manifests in critically examining our everyday habits. Samuel Beckett reminds us that “the pernicious devotion of habit paralyses our attention, drugs those handmaidens of perception whose co-operation is not absolutely essential”. Our unwavering collective devotion to entrenched power structures paralyses society, and blinds us to the evils that plague it. Embrace change and the possibility it provides.

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Why We Do Not Vote

C4SS Feed 44 presents Dyer Lum‘s “Why We Do Not Vote” read and edited by Nick Ford.

But, it is alleged, that as both sides resort to fraud, the chances are equal. That is, politics is a game of cards, in which only the best trumps win. Like a game also “we the people” are needed to constitute the rest of the pack, so that the gamblers may be enabled to deal out stacked hands. Suppose we refuse to be longer shuffled for their amusement! The hollow pretense would collapse at once; the court cards couldn’t carry on the game alone. But if we stay away the less number will settle the election! “O, ye of little faith!” Abstention from the polls would also have other effects.

Feed 44:

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The Engineer of the American Revolution

The following article was written by Kenneth Gregg and published at CLASSical Liberalism, February 2, 2006.

The young Tadeusz (or Thaddeus) Andrzej Bonawentura Kosciuszko (pronounced KOS-CHOOS-KO, 2/4/1746-10/15/1817), born near Brest (now in Belarus) studied military engineering in Paris with the intent of serving in his native Poland. However, in 1772 Prussia, Austria and Russia had partitioned Poland, seizing around 30% of its territory and forcing governmental changes through bribes, threats and arrests. There was no place in the Polish Army for Kosciuszko, and he left in 1775 to France where, at some point in late 1775, he heard about the American rebellion against the British and was recruited by Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin.

Like many young Europeans of his time, he was enthralled with the Revolutionary activity in the New World. Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia in 1776, Kosciuszko read the Declaration of Independence and he recognized everything in which he truly believed. When he discovered Thomas Jefferson was responsible for drafting the Declaration, he had to meet him. A few months later, while moving south with the Continental Army, Kosciuszko stopped in Virginia to meet with Jefferson. The two men spent the day comparing philosophies and became the best of friends.

The colonists were desperate for engineers, even those who had only just arrived from abroad with no knowledge of America, and on October 18th 1776 Kosciuszko became Colonel of Engineers, Washington’s chief engineer and strategist. The thirty-year-old began planning forts along the Delaware. His first duty was to help fortify Philadelphia from naval attack. Kosciuszko centered the defenses on a new fort, Mercer, while setting up aquatic blockades designed to force British ships closer to both the shore and bombardment. Kosciuszko moved on to help with the defense of Fort Ticonderoga. Partly due to disregard of Kosciuszko’s advice, Ticonderoga was toppled. Kosciuszko’s forces felled pine trees and flooded fields to slow the pursuit of the British. This gave the rebels time to prepare for their first major victory of the war: Saratoga. At Saratoga, Kosciuszko fortified Bemis Heights overlooking the Hudson. His ingenious design contributed to the surrender of 6,000 troops under General John Burgoyne.

Kosciuszko then undertook the defense of the Hudson at West Point in 1778. So thorough were his fortifications, that the British never mounted an assault. One of the more imaginative links in the colonel’s defensive plan was a 60 ton chain stretched across the Hudson to block British ships. Kosciuszko went on to lead troops and, by 1783, he had been promoted to Brigadier General. Of the foreign subjects who came to the revolution’s aid, Kosciuszko’s contribution was perhaps only second to Lafayette (with Charles Lee and von Steuben far behind). Kosciuszko learned how to win battles with a militia of untrained and poorly equipped men, as well as how to apply his years of study, often quite brilliantly, in the field, abilities he would use in his later career.

Kosciuszko developed a strong dislike for slavery and serfdom based on his belief in individual rights and Republican government. These applied not just to the newly independent colonies, but to his homeland.

Following the Revolutionary War, Kosciuszko returned to Poland to fight for independence from the occupying Russians. In 1789, he became Major General of the Polish forces. The reforms of the May Constitution of Poland, the first modern constitution in Europe and second in the world after the American, were seen by the surrounding powers as a threat to their influence over Poland. In, 1792 a Russian army of 100,000 crossed the Polish border and headed for Warsaw, now that Russia and her imperial allies were no longer battling the Ottoman Empire; thus began the War in Defence of the Constitution. the Polish Army was well-trained and prepared for the war. After the betrayal of Prussian allies, the Army of Lithuania could not stop the advancing Russians. The Polish Army was too weak to oppose the enemy advancing in the Ukraine and withdrew, regrouped, counter-attacked, and was victorious. In the ensuing battles, Kosciuszko repelled the numerically superior enemy and became the most brilliant Polish military commander of his time. In 1792, King Stanislaw joined the Targowica confederation and surrendered to the Russians and, in 1793, Prussia and Russia signed the Second Partition of Poland. Such an outcome was a blow for the Targowica Confederation who saw their actions as defence of centuries-old privileges of the upper classes, now regarded by the majority of Polish population as traitors. After the partition, the Targowica confederation evaporated.

Kosciuszko prepared a plan of an uprising and led the Polish-Lithuanian uprising of 1794 (known as the Kosciuszko Rebellion), winning key conflicts before being defeated by the vastly superior forces of Prussia, Russia and Austria.

Kosciuszko drew popular support from peasant classes as well as nobles and magnates. Wounded during the battle of Maciejowice, Kosciuszko was taken prisoner. After two years’ incarceration, the Czar granted him amnesty on the condition he never return to Poland.

He set off once more to America in 1797. Throngs of Philadelphians lined the wharves to welcome their Revolutionary War hero back to the United States. The mob carried him on their shoulders while bands played and cannons fired fusillades of homage.

Yellow Fever was ravaging Philadelphia, so Kosciuszko left to visit with friends in New York. Upon return to Philadelphia, Kosciuszko convalesced while receiving admirers daily. Jefferson came by frequently and Philadelphia ladies had their pictures sketched by Kosciuszko himself. Kosciuszko was awarded back pay from Congress and 500 acres of land along the Scioto River in what is present-day Columbus, Ohio.

Restive, Kosciuszko left in 1798 for Europe, involved in agricultural pursuits near Paris. Still devoted to the Polish cause, Kosciuszko took part in creation of the Polish Legions. He remained active in the Polish emigré circles and in 1799 was a founder of the Society of Polish Republicans (precursor to the Polish Democratic Society). In 1806, Napoleon asked for him to join in the invasion of Poland, but he refused. He distrusted Napoleon and would not fight for him, despite the Emperor’s offer of command of the Polish Legion. Kosciuszko instead demanded a commitment to Polish sovereignty, believing Napoleon only sought French domination. Consequently, Kosciuszko was not involved in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, a puppet state set up by Bonaparte in 1807.

He was invited to the Congress of Vienna, the great gathering of European leaders which redrew Europe in the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat. Here, Emperors courted Kosciuszko, and Tsar Alexander planned a Poland under Russian dominion, possibly headed by Kosciuszlo, which he refused.

The idea of revolution drove Kosciuszko, and he wrote several texts on rebellion, analyzing uprisings and guerilla warfare. In 1815 Kosciuszko moved to Switzerland, dying of a fall in 1817.

He was a hero of both the American Revolution and European republican movements. The American Revolutionary War’s success changed the modern world and, while the revolution in Poland failed, the monarchical forces diverted to the destruction of the Polish Republic gave the French Revolution sufficient time to establish more durable institutions. After the final partition in 1795, the Polish Commonwealth ceased to exist. It was not until World War I after the Allied victory in November 1918 that Poland was able to regain its independence, only to later lose to the Soviet Union. The renaissance of Poland has much to do with the efforts of those like Kosciuszko.

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Pela abolição da polícia

O caos e os protestos em Ferguson, Missouri, que se seguiram à morte de um adolescente desarmado, estimularam uma discussão sobre o poder da polícia e até que ponto ele deve se estender. Para os anarquistas, a resposta é simples: o poder da polícia não deveria existir.

“Mas o que você faria com os psicopatas e as demais pessoas violentas?”

Essa é, talvez, a pergunta mais comum apresentada aos anarquistas. Afinal, a maioria das pessoas vê no estado e em seu monopólio sobre o uso da força a maneira pela qual a sociedade limita as ações das pessoas violentas. Para responder à pergunta, devemos primeiro analisar a atual “solução”: a polícia.

A situação em Ferguson é exemplo das medidas mais extremas e absurdas tomadas pela polícia. Porém, uma compreensão do tipo de cultura promovida pelo estatismo leva à conclusão de que Ferguson se trata, simplesmente, de um sintoma de uma doença maior que toma os Estados Unidos.

O estatismo normaliza a iniciação do uso da violência e a violação dos direitos humanos mais básicos. As eleições, que servem as propriedades e liberdades civis de milhões de pessoas em uma bandeja para os grupos de interesse, torna a destruição dos direitos humanos um fato corriqueiro. O complexo militar industrial, que cria ódio e estimula o racismo, a xenofobia e o nacionalismo no exterior, em casa promove bombardeios literais como parte do cotidiano. E o pior de tudo: a militarização da polícia cria gerações de servos obedientes que têm medo de estranhos que andam pelas ruas com roupas escuras e que lembram gangues, portando armas que podem explodi-lo em um só tiro… ou pior.

A polícia de Ferguson está acabando com o direito de livre expressão, impondo toques de recolher e ameaçando manifestantes e jornalistas com violência. E eu pensei que a anarquia era o caos.

Por que isso continua a acontecer? Simples. Porque eles têm a maior parte das armas – porque têm um monopólio.

A polícia não é eficiente porque não depende do apoio voluntário dos consumidores. Não é responsabilizada criminalmente porque não tem qualquer ameaça séria de perda de poder. Os policiais cometem abusos porque os cidadãos só têm duas escolhas: obedecer ou sofrer as consequências. A polícia é militarizada porque não opera em um sistema de lucros e prejuízos em um mercado livre e tem uma fonte infinita de dinheiro roubado dos pagadores de impostos.

Se o monopólio policial fosse quebrado, a polícia que conhecemos não mais existiria. Agências privadas de defesa, associações comunais, vigias comunitárias e sociedades de auxílio mútuo assumiriam o lugar da “defesa” estatal. Embora elas fossem servir para proteger os cidadãos, como a polícia afirma fazer, essas organizações provavelmente teriam um caráter muito diferente das polícias atuais.

As forças policiais são isoladas atualmente da competição, das pressões de mercado, do mecanismo de preços e do sistema de lucros e prejuízos. como monopólios, têm incentivos para gastar demais, cobrar demais, subproduzir e, geralmente, trabalhar em oposição aos interesses dos consumidores e em favor do seu próprio.

Mas as firmas e organizações que espontaneamente surgem no mercado livre através das trocas voluntárias estão sujeitas às forças de mercado todo momento. Elas devem servir aos interesses dos consumidores, criando um produto adequado a preços realistas ou sendo engolidas pela concorrência. No ramo da proteção, os conflitos violentos devem ser minimizados em favor de soluções pacíficas e baratas, caso contrário surgem organizações concorrentes que servem melhor aos interesses do público.

Uma vez que essas organizações estariam sob constante ameaça da concorrência, seus métodos e táticas seriam completamente diferentes dos empregados pela polícia. Teriam que incluir o respeito aos direitos dos consumidores ou perderiam seus clientes e membros. As agências que melhor protegessem os direitos individuais seriam as mais lucrativas e aquelas que mais os violassem seriam empurradas rapidamente para fora do mercado.

E o que faríamos com todos os psicopatas e criminosos violentos? Nós não daríamos a eles uma plataforma isolada da competição do mercado que permitisse que eles ameaçassem, prendessem, espionassem, torturassem, agredissem e controlassem as outras pessoas. Ou seja, não teríamos uma polícia.

Traduzido por Erick Vasconcelos.

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A Revolution is Needed

It is easy to criticise a government. Apologists and supporters defend it by claiming that they are doing the best they can, and they point to small token victories as evidence of progress. “Look at what this government has done for you”, they say, but my response is always, “is that it?” The ease of criticism is supported by the necessity with which it needs to be made. Without speaking out against your government, you are giving silent approval to the actions they conduct.

This criticism is made all the more easier when you are not present within the nation that is being governed. An outsider’s perspective, where only the bad news makes headlines, and only the tragedies live long in the memory. This is the position I find myself in currently with more news reaching us in the UK of the atrocious manner in which Obama and his administration continues to conduct business.

The hope that Obama was a bright new future for the American people faded almost as soon as he was inaugurated. His policies at home and abroad, no matter what he may say and feel personally, prove that he is only a continuation of a long line of puppets. Away from the bright lights of the oval office sit the real masters, and they have Obama dance a similar tune to that of the previous President.

The importance of this show cannot be overstated. The US is the world’s only superpower, as much as Russia would hate to admit it. With its position within the world, the US lays at the centre of a tangled web of international geo-politics and decisions. Phonecalls cannot be made in Germany without the US listening in, papers cannot be signed in the UK without its nod of approval, and rockets cannot be fired in Israel without the supply arriving from North America.

The US appears to be at the centre of most things. The doctrine of “follow the money” inevitably leads you back to those in and around the White House. It is because of the US’s global position, and because of its impact, that if real change is to be made in this world, it needs to begin within the United States.

The war crimes committed by Israel recently are simply another offence to add to the rap sheet of that criminal state. UN resolutions have been continuously broken, economic blockades have been put in place, human rights have been violated, and illegal settlements are springing up at an alarming rate.

Palestinian resistance to this is often no more than throwing rocks at tanks and bulldozers as they roll through their towns and villages. The futility of that action is not just evident by the fact the rock causes no damage to the tank, but also that the tank is the wrong target.

Israeli action in Palestine is a direct result of decisions made above the White House. They say that the White House is the “highest office in the land”, but I can assure you there are many who look down upon on Obama. The real enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Israeli oppressor, but is in fact the people who support, fund and defend Israeli action. Attacking Israel is attacking the effect, and it is vital that you get to the cause.

With Gazan Twitter users sending advice to those Americans in Ferguson, it is this realisation that struck me. Though one is based in Palestine, fighting an Israeli oppressor, they both face the same enemy. Palestine’s struggle against Israel will never end in victory unless the people of the United States partake in a similar struggle against their own oppressors, the US government.

As disgusting as the events of Ferguson are, the real disgust should come in the knowledge that this is not an isolated incident. These scenes and these actions are relatively common on US soil, and each one further reinforces the fact that the US government views its own people as enemies.

Robert David Steele, a former marine and member of the CIA, recently presented a paper which was based on the findings from his latest book. He told the gathered audience “that all the major preconditions for revolution… were now present in the United States”. With everything in place, there needs only to be a spark to ignite the flames of revolution. A revolution which is long overdue, and much needed.

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Abolish the Police

The tragic chaos in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of an unarmed teenager and massive protests has prompted a discussion police power and how far it should extend. For the anarchist, the answer is simple: police power shouldn’t exist.

“But what would you do with all the psychopaths and violent people?”

This is perhaps the most common question posed to anarchists. After all, most people view the state and its monopoly on force as the method by which society handles the psychopaths and violent people. To answer the question, we first have to analyze the current “solution”: The police.

The situation in Ferguson is an example of some of the most extreme, egregious measures taken by police as of late. But an understanding of the kind of culture statism promotes leads to the conclusion that Ferguson is merely a symptom of a growing disease that is sweeping the United States.

Statism normalizes the initiation of violence and the violation of people’s most basic human rights. Elections that serve millions of people’s property and civil liberties on a platter to the biggest special interest group makes the destruction of human rights commonplace. A military industrial complex that creates hate abroad and encourages racist, xenophobic nationalism at home makes literal bombings just a part of every day life. And worst of all, the militarization of police creates generations of obedient serfs who live in fear of strangers roaming the streets in dark colored outfits reminiscent of gangs with weapons that can blow you away in one unaccountable, shot … or worse.

The Ferguson police are crushing the right to free speech, imposing curfews and threatening protesters and journalists with violence. And I thought anarchy was chaos.

Why does this continue to happen? Simple. Because they have the most guns – because they have a monopoly.

Police are not efficient because they don’t rely on customers’ voluntary support. They aren’t held accountable because they face no serious threat of losing power. They are abusive because citizens have two choices: Obey or suffer the punishment. They are militarized because they don’t operate on the profit and loss mechanism of the freed market and have an endless trough of stolen taxpayer money to waste.

If the police monopoly was broken up, the police as we know them would no longer exist. Private defense agencies, communal associations, neighborhood watch groups and mutual aid societies would take the place of state “defense.” While they would serve the end of protecting citizens, like the police claim to do, these organizations would likely look far different from modern local police forces.

Police forces are insulated from competition, market feedback, the price mechanism and the profit-loss system. As monopolies, they come with incentives to overspend, overcharge, under-produce, and generally work in opposition to the consumers’ interests and in favor of their own.

But firms and organizations that spontaneously arise on a freed market out of voluntary exchange are subject to market forces every step of the way. They must serve the consumers’ interests – they must produce a worthwhile product at an affordable cost or be crushed by competition. Being in the business of defense, they must minimize costly, violent conflict and pursue cheaper, peaceful solutions or else be out-competed by other organizations that better serve their customer’s interests.

Since these organizations would be at constant risk of losing business to competition, unlike the police, their methods and tactics would be completely different. They would have to respect their customers’ rights if they ever want their business. The agencies that better protect rights would be the most profitable and the ones that violate peoples’ rights would be quickly pushed out of the market.

So what would we do with all the psychopaths and violent criminals? We wouldn’t give them a platform insulated from market competition that allows them to threaten, arrest, spy on, torture, aggress against, and control other people. Namely, we wouldn’t give them a police force.

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Paul Krugman e as fantasias libertárias

Em artigo recente para o New York Times, Paul Krugman criticou os libertários por “viverem em um mundo de fantasia”, afirmando que há, normalmente, bons motivos para os burocratas ignorarem o julgamento individual em favor de suas próprias preferências. Quando alguém afirma que se opõe a um livre mercado pleno, o que essa pessoa na verdade diz é que quer decidir quais trocas e formas de cooperação pacíficas devem ser permitidas. Uma vez que eu não considero que um grupo especial de pessoas deva ter o direito arbitrário de chefiar ou dominar as outras através da violência, naturalmente eu não acredito na restrição das trocas voluntárias que beneficiam todas as partes interessadas e não prejudicam mais ninguém. Porém, espera-se que sempre aceitemos o Julgamento dos Especialistas, então ao que parece eu devo ser pouco esclarecido ou no mínimo antissocial por não aceitar limites e regulações “razoáveis” (razoabilidade essa definida, é claro, por burocratas especializados) às trocas entre adultos em mútuo consentimento.

Paul Krugman, provavelmente inconscientemente, se movimenta de forma interessante sempre que articula sua visão sobre o que guia as ações dos agentes do governo em oposição a atores do mercado. Quando ele fala sobre estes últimos, ele presume, talvez corretamente, que sejam motivados puramente pelo interesse pessoal, pela ganância e pelos benefícios particulares que podem ser conseguidos, a despeito de quem seja prejudicado, com a poluição de recursos naturais ou com a venda de produtos perigosos aos consumidores, por exemplo. Tudo bem, mas ao considerarmos as motivações dos burocratas do governo, deveríamos ter as mesmas premissas, certo? Não exatamente. Veja bem, de acordo com a visão de mundo de Krugman, simplesmente não há motivos para pensar que os pensadores da escolha pública realmente tenham feito contribuições significativas ao nosso entendimento das maquinações políticas, que devamos olhar para a política “sem romance” e considerar as motivações dos poderosos no governo da mesma forma que as consideramos nas empresas. Não importa o trabalho de gente como Butler Shaffer, que mostrou que as grandes empresas há muito tempo fazem campanhas em favor das regulamentações para “obter benefícios que não eram capazes de conseguir por conta própria”. Para uma empresa ou para qualquer outro ator dentro do mercado, a falta de flexibilidade e capacidade de resposta às mudanças significa entropia.

Shaffer demonstrou que empresas estabelecidas e bem conectadas que não desejem sofrer mudanças, é mais fácil tentar mudar o ambiente da competição, transferindo sua entropia para os concorrentes. Os meios legais e regulatórios se apresentam. No mundo de Krugman, porém, em que o estado benfeitor nos foi dado pela Graça Divina, é inconcebível que os reguladores possam ter intenções diversas do mais puro altruísmo. Em sua cabeça, uma vez que já estamos próximos a um mercado desregulado atualmente, precisamos de mais intervenções benevolentes advindas dos burocratas do governo em Brasília, que são superiores moralmente a nós. Krugman é incapaz de ver que seu cabresto ideológico esconde o fato de que já vivemos sob um estado corporativo centrista (ou seja, fascista) e que esse estado foi incapaz de agir da forma que ele deseja.

Krugman, portanto, é o fantasista utópico com quem ele próprio tanto se preocupa. Sua fé na benevolência do poder centralizado é tão grande que supera todas as suas crenças sobre as tendências do interesse particular sem freios. Os Krugmans do mundo ainda não aprenderam que os burocratas do governo pensam da mesma forma que os agentes do setor privado, os gerentes corporativos que são os vilões na narrativa social-democrata. Grandes instituições burocráticas, tanto “públicas” quanto “privadas”, com ou sem fins lucrativos, inculcam uma ortodoxia essencialmente hierárquica, uma deferência às decisões centralizadas e ao julgamento superior dos especialistas. No livro Bureaucracy, de 1859, Richard Simpson explicava a mentalidade burocrática:

“[A] ideia de burocracia não está completa até que acrescentemos uma presunção pedante de capacidade de dirigir nossas vidas, saber o que é melhor para nós, mensurar nosso trabalho, supervisionar nossos estudos, prescrever nossas opiniões, responsabilizar-se por nós, nos colocar na cama, cobrir, colocar um gorro em nossa cabeça e nos alimentar com uma papinha. Esse elemento não parece ser possível sem a ideia por parte do poder governante de que ele possui o segredo da vida, o conhecimento real de toda a ciência política, que deve dirigir a conduta de todos os homens ou ao menos de todos os cidadãos. Assim, qualquer governo que estabeleça como seu objetivo o bem maior da humanidade, o defina e dirija todos os seus esforços para alcançá-lo tende a se tornar uma burocracia.”

Nossos governantes dependem de apologistas como Paul Krugman, os intelectuais públicos que realmente acreditam neles e que são sinceramente incapazes de entender a natureza criminosa da autoridade política. Como descentralistas e libertários, não devemos esperar convencê-los. Mas podemos demonstrar que as fantasias não são dos libertários, cujas ideias nunca tiveram espaço. Com todas as suas advertências perturbadas sobre os libertários, são as ideias de autoritários como Krugman e David Brooks que repercutem nos EUA há muito tempo, defendendo uma burocracia que domina todas as áreas da vida. Individualistas de esquerda e descentralistas entendem que não há pessoa ou organização que possua o “segredo da vida”. Assim, devemos resistir à tentação de dar o poder arbitrário e coercitivo ao estado, que, por natureza, não pode jamais ser altruísta ou ter preocupações genuínas com o povo.

Traduzido por Erick Vasconcelos.

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Liberal and Libertarian Conceptions of Policing: Response to Armanda Marcotte

Armanda Marcotte recently wrote about the supposed refutation of libertarian arguments represented by the Ferguson protests. She acts surprised that a “few libertarian types,” other than Radley Balko, are attempting to sound consistent on police power in Ferguson, as if most libertarians had previously been endorsing this kind of policing response.

She also goes on to accuse libertarians of thinking that civil liberties violations allegedly created by Bush are actually the invention of Obama. A baseless charge for which I am aware of no evidence. As if that weren’t bad enough, she postulates that libertarians are just “ass covering”. A notion implying that they aren’t really seriously opposed to this stuff.

All that aside, the meat of the piece revolves around a contrast between the liberal and libertarian conceptions of policing. Her central piece of empirical evidence for the liberal conception is what happened when Liberal Democratic governor, Jay Nixon, got involved. She specifically mentions him putting the head of highway police, Ron Johnson, in charge, and his marching with the protesters.

The central problem with this line of reasoning is that Jay Nixon recently declared a state of emergency along with a curfew in Ferguson, Missouri. He also recently sent in the National Guard. There are also police abuses still occurring such as the threatening of reporter, Chris Hayes. Ron Johnson broke a promise to not enforce the curfew with military style trucks and tear gas. He also ordered the arrest of journalists. It appears that the old approach is still in effect.

Another major part of her thesis is that non-violence has proven itself more effective than violence. This is ironically combined with mentioning that Ronald Reagan cracked down on blacks carrying guns in the form of the Black Panthers. Not to mention that there is no unifying libertarian view on the use of violence against government as a form of protest. We can grant truth to her argument without believing it’s refuted libertarianism.

The final part of her piece worth addressing pertains to her queer view that libertarians view police as inherently authoritarian. This implicitly means all libertarians believe this. The fact is that some libertarians do oppose all police while others want to have private policing. Not all libertarians even think government police are inherently authoritarian. There are minarchists who support them.

That having been said, her liberal conception of government police as serving in an accountable “serve and protect” function ignores a number of factors. The factor of officer friendly belonging to a monopolistic organization. This means people can’t escape abuse easily. Another issue is that the government police may only be officer friendly for respectable members of the community who aren’t violating any unjust laws deemed socially necessary.

The final problem with her analysis is that all government relies on the initiation of force to survive. Officer friendly will eventually have to be unfriendly to anyone seeking the services of a non-government protective association. In the context of most governments, they also have to eventually be unfriendly to those evading compulsory taxation. Her goal of police who genuinely serve communities is better realized in left-wing market anarchy. One way to go about creating rights protection outside of government is to encourage things like non-government sanctioned neighborhood watch and jury nullification. Both of which can serve to protect rights without the state. The first by deterring violent crime through citizen watch and the second by freeing people unjustly headed for imprisonment. Please get started on this vital task today!

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Liberty in America During the Great War

There’s always plenty for libertarians to complain about in our troubled world, but in many respects, things could be much worse. I’m thinking particularly of how the U.S. government punished dissent before, during, and even after America’s participation in World War I. Although it will be a few years before we observe the centenary of…

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