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Eric Fleischmann: From Marx to Markets

My dear friend, Eric Fleischmann, whose work and music I’ve spotlighted on Notablog, is interviewed on Non Serviam by host Lucy Steigerwald. The Podcast (#48), “From Marx to Markets: Materialism, Agorism, and Laurance Labadie“, exhibits how well Eric has benefited from the “cross pollination” of ideas, integrating lessons from communist and continental traditions as well as mutualism, North American individualist anarchism, and modern left-libertarianism. This constellation leads Eric to celebrate the brilliance of markets in creating a multiplicity of humane communal relations, in a context free of state violence, radically different from current markets under capitalism.

Much of Eric’s work can be found on the website of the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS). In fact, he hosts an interview program at C4SS, The Enragés—which is why the current podcast was such a pleasant turnaround.

In it, Eric explores theories of historical materialism and agorism, as well as his own distinctive reclamation project: “The Laurance Labadie Archival Project.” Labadie was a progenitor of left-wing market anarchist and freed market anti-capitalist ideas.

While some on both the right and the left have heralded the rise of localism in American politics as a way of checking federal encroachments on basic freedoms, Eric reminds us that even “localism can be a means for greater oppression.” Indeed, it’s not acceptable to be “okay with state oppression as long as it’s on a lower scale”. Eric points to provocative parallels between those who favor state building through secessionism on the right and those who seek to establish a top-down ‘worker’s state’ on the left.

Another nice theme to emerge from this interview is Eric’s emphasis on the need for greater attention to praxis, that is, to the practical means by which to create ‘on-the-ground’ parallel institutions that replace currently operative coercive structures. His own recently completed undergraduate thesis at Bates College, “Patience and Time: Timebanking and Self-Organizing Networks of Eldercare in Greater Portland, ME“, documents some of those bottom-up community practices.

This is a nice interview and I highly recommend it.

Another Side to Eric Fleischmann: Soy! Live!

My friend Eric Fleischmann has published widely at the site of Center for a Stateless Society, including, recently, some very fine, original essays on the thought of individualist anarchist Laurence Labadie. I have previously written about his work on Notablog, here and here (where he critiqued my monograph, “Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation“). In addition to his developing scholarship, he’s a regular rabble-rousing activist anywhere he goes!

Not many people know of yet another side to Eric. His “secret” was safe with me—until now. Check him out tonight with the band Soy, which will run a live show, taped on January 2, 2022. He is a roaring lion on stage! It’s at 7 pm (ET) tonight! Don’t miss it!

Eric Fleischmann on Social Change and Thinking Dialectically…

I first encountered Eric Fleischmann back in 2018 when I came upon one of Eric’s papers on Academia.edu. So intrigued was I by this article—and its reference to my book Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism (2000, Penn State Press)—that I dropped Eric a note. Since then, we have become the best of friends and watching Eric’s intellectual and personal growth has been a remarkable adventure. I mean, back then, Eric was a junior in high school. Today, Eric is a sophomore at Bates College (in Lewiston, Maine), double-majoring in anthropology and philosophy.

As a left-libertarian anarchist and a contributor to the Center for a Stateless Society, Eric is currently involved in two forthcoming book projects, as a co-organizer of—and contributor to—Defiant Insistence: David Graeber, Anarchist, Anthropologist, Fellow Worker (1961-2020) and TOTAL ABOLITION: Police, Prisons, Borders, Empire

Today, I had the great pleasure of listening to a wonderful interview with Eric given by host Joel Williamson as the second episode of The Enrages. Folks can listen to the interview, which covers topics all over the ideological map—from abolitionism and social change to intellectual history and dialectical method. I especially appreciate Eric’s shout-out to me as friend and “mentor” and also for telling the world exactly how to pronounce my last name (around 31 minutes or so in!).

Check out the interview here. Proud of you, Eric! Keep up the great work!

Oh, and one other thing: I will be featuring one of Eric’s scintillating punk-rock performances on my “Song of the Day” series in the near future. Don’t let that calm and relaxed conversationalist fool you; Eric’s a Total Tiger on the Stage!

The Enragés: Dialectics with Ryan & Eric

I was delighted to listen to a new podcast of The Enragés at the Center for a Stateless Society (to which I was recently added as a fellow). The show is hosted by my dear friend Eric Fleischmann, who interviews yet another dear friend, Ryan Neugebauer, on his enlightening article, “Market, State, and Anarchy: A Dialectical Left-Libertarian Perspective” (previously discussed on Notablog here).

I have known Eric since he was a junior in high school, and have had the pleasure not only to read and comment on his work but to highlight his music as well. As for Ryan, we’ve known each other for five years now, and our ongoing dialogue has been a Notablog feature. Ryan has recently begun building an impressive series of self-reflective articles on Medium, detailing his many journeys—intellectual, personal, and spiritual. The courage and vulnerability exhibited in these essays speak volumes.

Aside from my friendship with these two wonderful individuals, they have both been, in many respects, students of my work. The good news is that they have had an impact on my life and work as well; I’ve been challenged by—and learned from—each of them.

The first question out of the gate deals with how we were introduced to one another and on how my dialectical libertarian approach impacted their thinking. It then proceeds into a wide-ranging discussion that lasts nearly an hour-and-a-half. They confront a diversity of issues, including the nature of ‘freed’ markets, the commons, authority, class conflict, and the state. Nearly every political ‘ism’ under the sun is addressed, from free-market-propertarianism and state socialism to distributism, democratic socialism, and anarchism (in all its varieties).

Most pleasing is the way in which they put dialectics to work, focusing on the structural and dynamic problems generated by the system that exists. They both repudiate binary thinking and navigate the tensions we face in our analysis of apparent opposites. And in their exchange, they place high importance on the necessity to adjust to changing contexts in our prescriptive thinking.

Ryan’s fine article is enriched by a commitment to genuinely progressive ideals. But ideals—inspiring though they may be—act primarily as guideposts in carrying forth an agenda for social change. As Eric puts it, Ryan shows that an array of traditions promising social change on both the left and the right often skip the most important starting point for prescriptive thinking: that context matters, that we must begin by asking the questions: “Where are you? What do you have? How did it get there? And what can we do to improve people’s lives in that situation?”

This podcast provides us with a thoughtful exchange that is fully accessible in its substance, conversational in its tone, and not lacking in a sense of humor. Indeed, when Ryan jokingly refers to himself as “Mr. Addendum” or uses phrases like “It depends [on the context]”—he’s preaching to the choir!

Check it out C4SS, Stitcher, Before It’s News, Twitter, and YouTube (see below)!

Song of the Day #1948 & 1949

Songs of the Day: This Track is a Planet Killer / Milky [YouTube links] are two songs composed by Soy. (to appear on their upcoming album “Johnathan”), with my dear friend Eric Fleischmann on vocals. The starkly different tracks, which follow one another, are united as part of a live performance that debuted on 2 January 2022 [YouTube link]. The first track is full of punk fury; the second is an ambient-alternative instrumental. The full 50+ minute official video can be viewed here. When Eric isn’t protesting on campus or writing about the work of Laurence Labadie or subjects as varied as historical materialism and the anarcho-punk movement, he’s busy wreaking havoc on stage with his bandmates: Mose Hatcher (bass), Max Folan (guitar, vocals), Noah Michalski (drums), Lex Puckett (guitar), Shaan Dahar aka HHP (guitar, backing vocals).

Soy.

C4SS: Denialism = Death (Reboot)

An edited version of my Coronavirus (36): Denialism = Death post is now available on the site of the Center for a Stateless Society. Folks can check it out here. Yet another H/T to my friend Eric Fleischmann for having proposed these additions to the C4SS site.

It is ironic that we have just learned of the death of Luc Montagnier, the French virologist who shared a Nobel Prize for discovering the virus that causes AIDS. He died at the age of 89 in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine on Tuesday, February 8, 2022—making this discussion of Duesberg denialism all the more pertinent. (Also pertinent is the sad fact that in later years, Montagnier himself embraced fringe beliefs concerning the treatment of autism and the origins of—and vaccines developed for—COVID-19. Clearly, denialism is not restricted to lifelong denialists!)

C4SS: “Lockdowns, Libertarians, and Liberation” (Reboot)

An edited version of the twenty-first installment in my Coronavirus series (“Lockdowns, Libertarians, and Liberation“), which originally appeared on Notablog on 5 May 2020, has been published today by the Center for a Stateless Society (see here). Another installment in that series will be republished by C4SS in about a week. A H/T to my friend Eric Fleischmann for proposing these reboots!

No, this doesn’t constitute the 37th installment in my series; that will be posted on the anniversary of the first entry in the series (14 March 2020)—a planned index to all 37 installments in the series, and one that is in keeping with my friend Thomas L. Knapp‘s “Prime Number Obsession” (that “all sets should consist of a prime number of items”). Stay tuned …

C4SS: Homonograph Reviewed

Eric Fleischmann—who is not just a student of my work and a very dear friend, but a very fine young scholar in his own right—offers a critical and provocative review of my monograph Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation on the site of Center for a Stateless Society, which, not coincidentally, is offering the “Homonograph” for sale at its C4SS Store here.

Eric interviewed me for the piece, which places the monograph in its proper context—a nearly two-decade old discussion of the relationship between Objectivism and those in the LGBTQ+ community who were drawn, “like moths to a flame,” to Rand’s uplifting celebration of individual freedom and authenticity “only to be burned in the process.”

Despite some many on-point criticisms of the work, of Rand and her acolytes, and of reactionary elements within the libertarian movement, Eric argues that the “monograph serves as one of the centerpieces in the establishment of thick libertarian ideas. It especially forwards the point that it is not enough that people refrain from trying to use the state against the LGBTQIA+ community. We must go further and combat a culture that breeds both physical and nonphysical violence.”

Check out the review here and other reviews of the work here. And thanks, Eric, for your challenging and wide-ranging examination of the monograph!

The “Homonograph” (Leap Publishing, 2003)