Rejoice! The Agora is Growing!

in #agorism3 months ago (edited)

by James Corbett
August 1, 2020

Have you entered a store without the mandated mask affixed to your face?

Visited a friend in violation of a lockdown order?

Frequented a New York bar that didn't offer "substantive" food to go with your beer?

Congratulations! You're a thought criminal!

And here's the best part: There are more thought criminals being born every day!

What am I talking about? The counter-economy, that's what!

As you'll no doubt remember from my previous writing on the subject, counter-economics is not what the Pentagon does to cook its books each year. No, it's both an idea and a practice that was pioneered by Samuel Edward Konkin III, everyone's second favourite Canadian emigre anarchist.

In An Agorist Primer, Konkin explains that "All (non-coercive) human action committed in defiance of the State constitutes the Counter-Economy." That's a deceptively simple definition, so let's tease out some of the nuance here:

  • "Non-coercive" is important because murder, theft, assault, fraud, extortion and other forms of coercion are not part of the counter-economy, but, as Konkin notes, are simply "other forms of statism."
  • "Human action" is important because, as Konkin was at pains to stress, counter-economics is not a dry, dusty theory to be discussed in a philosophy classroom, but an idea that can only be realized in practice.
  • And "in defiance of the State" is important because the purpose of counter-economics is to undermine, and, eventually, shrink the state out of existence.

So, you walk into a store without a mask in defiance of your city's ordinances? Congratulations! You're a practicing counter-economist.

You pay a barber under the table to cut your hair despite lockdown orders to the contrary? Congratulations! You're a practicing counter-economist.

You're a business owner who fails to implement the government-mandated physical distancing and disinfection standards in your workplace? Congratulations! You're a practicing counter-economist.

Now, this idea could be extended to the point of inanity. Yes, you could technically be a counter-economist if you drive 51 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, but such action is less likely to be an attempt to undermine the authority of the state and more likely to be an attempt to get to a dental appointment on time.

A key part of counter-economics is that this "human action committed in defiance of the state" is consciously directed action. Its purpose is to defy the state, or to carve out a space for people to interact and transact with each other in ways that defy the state's edicts. This space—the truly free market, unfettered by concern for the state and its mandates—is the agora. Derived from the Greek word for the marketplace, the agora is the space where counter-economic activity flourishes. (But you already knew that, right?)

As Konkin puts it: "The goal is living in the agora and the path is expanding Counter-Economics."

It should now be apparent how applicable these ideas are to our current situation.

Take the recent demonstration in Berlin. Depending on which source you rely on, there were thousands or hundreds of thousands of Germans that just took to the streets of Berlin to protest the stifling coronavirus restrictions in their country. But this wasn't just a protest, it was human action in defiance of the state. Note well: These Germans didn't protest these restrictions by writing scholarly papers on the situation or starting an online petition. They physically took to the streets in defiance of the very orders they were opposing. That is counter-economics in action.

Or take the recent action by Defending Utah, a liberty-minded organization based in Utah. To protest local face mask ordinances they began a regular Thursday event whereby interested members would be texted the location of a particular grocery store and a particular time. At the appointed time, members of the group would all enter the store without masks. They can't be stopped on their way in because there are simply too many of them, and they can't be ignored by the establishment mouthpiece media, who have to resort to smearing them instead. That is counter-economics in action.

There are plenty of other examples. Like the Texas salon owner who cut hair in defiance of lockdown orders and who chose jail time rather than make a court-ordered statement that she was wrong and selfish. Or the New Jersey businessmen who were thrown in jail for refusing to shut down their gym despite statewide shutdown orders.

You see? This whole COVID-1984 phenomenon is giving plenty of otherwise ordinary, obedient tax cattle the chance to become counter-economists. It is growing the agora.

But it needs to be restated: All of these counter-economic activities that are happening as a natural response to the lockdowns and restrictions mean nothing if they are not consciously directed counter-economic activity. If people are not aware of the importance of their decisions, if they don't understand why we must expand the agora and broaden popular support for unsanctioned activities, then they will be easily led back into the system at the first convenient on-ramp.

If the state slackens the rules here or creates some leeway there, then people will—as usual—take the path of least resistance.

"Sure, we could form trading communities outside of the purview of the state. We could begin building up alternative currencies, supporting local businesses, disconnecting ourselves from the Big Brother enslavement grid . . . but that seems like a lot of work. And what if we get caught? What if we face resistance? What if we get a bad social credit score! No, much safer to just sign up for our new Digital Dollar account with the Fed and receive our monthly UBI payment. Of course, it means we'll have to roll up our sleeve for the coronavirus vaccine and keep our COVI-PASS app up to date, but what's the harm in that? At least we'll be taken care of!"

It's impossible to argue that the counter-economic path is going to be an easy one, because it's not. But for those who care about human freedom, it's the only path. And, as the technology of control available to the state increases in sophistication—from brain chips to 5G to gene editing—the agorist path becomes even more important. It is not exaggeration to say that there will be no humanity as we've known it by the end of this century if the would-be societal controllers get their way.

The choice of whether or not we grow the agora is quickly becoming an existential one.

In the end that choice is ours to make, but we better make it quickly. Are we counter-economists committed to growing the agora and ending the state? Or are we merely tax cattle to be slaughtered when the state deems us to be sufficiently fattened?


Why use the Greek word for market (agora) instead of some more fitting language's word? What do the Greeks have to do with this?
And is "market" really the best description of a counter-economy?
Most of this made sense to me, but it's got nothing to do with agora. I guess that was supposed to be clickbait in the title?

There is actually a movement of Agorists. He didn't make it up.

You might as well say the same things about Libertarianism. From the Greek Libertas.

You seem hostile to Corbett. If you're not, you might better phrase your comments. If you are, you've given no glimpse of why you are, and should better explain your position. Is it your intent to oppose Corbett and Agorism?

agora is the free and open place where everything comes together.. that was also the main idea of capitalism.. free market economy..

market (agora) is essential.. but yeah it's pretty similar to voluntaryism

I once saw a great documentary about agorism in... I think it was Haiti. It had to do with a radio station host and I believe it was called: "The Agorist"
It was more than 10 years ago now , but I can't seem to find it anywhere.
Does anyone know where I can find it?
Always nice to see alternative solutions, so thank you for that.

Disregard, the documentary was 'The agronomist' (still recommended though).

Watch "The Argonomist" for free, no signup.


Wow thanks! I've been trying to find this for a while :)

has that something to do with agriculture?

says, tubi is not available in europe


Use your VPN.

in Tor Browser it says not available ^^


This one has a very similar message, the link is a playlist in three parts, total runtime is about 38 minutes,

This one has a very similar message, the link is a playlist in three parts, total runtime is about 38 minutes,

The reality is that unless we oppose Technocracy successfully as a society, society will be subjected to it, rendered hapless and destitute, and only those that adopt decentralized means of production sufficiently stealthily will not be desperate slaves, overlords, or minions of overlords.

I strongly advocate adopting decentralized means of production because it resists centralization of wealth and power at all levels, from global to personal.

It will be very, very difficult to have independent means in a technocratic tyranny of global extent, but it will be less difficult than being a slave. Independent means is the only definition of wealth that's real.



We can demand nothing if we cannot provide our personal security.

Being able to demand is dependent on the ability to effect what we demand. We cannot demand what we cannot create, so intend to provide what you seek to enjoy. As you demonstrate the benefits thereof, I reckon folks will adopt it for those benefits.

Those terms are unfamiliar to me, and I suppose most folks as well. We'll probably proceed based on understanding of what we need being provided by examples we can observe. I recommend creating examples we can judge accordingly.

RCV in 2 minutes,

Votes only count when they're counted. I ain't counting on my votes counting in extant polities, regardless of how they are claimed to count.

We're not going to be voting in the coming door to door distribution of mandatory vaccines by military forces. The ballot box won't matter. Only the bullet box will.

Good point. "TWO PARTY" = ONE PARTY.


In 18 minutes, or just watch the first few minutes,

We can demand nothing if we cannot provide our personal security.

Not necessarily,

In 3 minutes,

I don't recommend neglecting security. I ain't Gandhi, and this ain't the summer of love.

When it comes time to take the bull by the horns, be the bull.

With impending chaos on the horizon, "anarchy" (individualism) is looking less and less appealing. I'm seriously considering joining either a mormon church or a motorcycle club.

Remember that it's easier to hit bigger targets.

Yeah, but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to live off sorrel, bok choy, dandelions, sunflower seeds, and sweet potato leaves.

I'm thinking something like this,

what are decentralized means of production?
all means of production seem centralized to me.. cuz they are just at one place, which can be raided and people there punished.. like with weed..

An example of decentralized means of production are guerrilla gardens, such as I have growing innawoods. If I am prevented entry to grocery stores, I will still have access to those gardens, creating independent means of supplying my needs.

Any means of producing a good or service you can control yourself is decentralized. Your ability to secure your home is critical to your ability to have personal means of production in your home. Security is the hurdle you must surmount to possess means of production, and therefore the most important aspect of decentralization you can adopt.

You have discussed your desire to live nomadically, and the ability to provide goods and services in such conditions is limited by the need for mobility. I recognize that living in an apartment in a city is practically impossible to secure from armed assault, and this is a significant recommendation of nomadic habit.

Securing our freedom will not be easy. We each must manage our personal security and our success as individuals concatenates with that of our peers to produce free society. Your personal circumstances depend on you, and cannot be provided for you, or prescribed from a list. Your decisions are the source of your actions, not my preferences.

What you ensure will be available to you, in terms of goods and services, will be available to you, but more than that I cannot be sure you will have available. Therefore I have recommended undertaking means of personally producing goods and services necessary to you. That is exactly the definition of decentralized means of production I use.

A 3d printer you own and can keep is a decentralized means of production of widgets. A garden that is productive and you can access is decentralized means of production. A grocery store you can be excluded from, or a hardware store you cannot buy widgets from is not decentralized means of production.

That is what I mean.

I don't even have a home atm..
and I don't think I would find good "uncultivated" spots which are also a bit hidden for guerilla growing.. I'm from germany.. and everything is overcultivated (and forests dying cuz of it - monocultures everywhere)
I also think one needs to be kinda static (to have a secure home) and simultaneously mobile (to get to all those different ninja grow spots).. while I have my oldtimer enduro, I'm not allowed to drive it cuz I had used cannabis against my permanent pain

but yeah, I'm on your page and am really thinking hard to plan my way..
I'm not even sure anymore if I still want to get educated for a job in germany (you have to cuz of all those regulations), while I prefer learning autodidactic/ teaching myself.. but yeah there is a war against decentralized people like us

Physics is the ultimate arbiter of what works better than other things. Decentralization works better.

Adopting means of production you can use yourself will be better than dedicating your production to overlords that then provide the goods you need, maybe. History reveals that overlords have destroyed peoples' gardens and starved them to death in the Holodomor, Mao's great leap forward, and Stalin's purges, amongst other horrific atrocities.

It is necessary to undertake independent means independently, and cryptically.

We do not undertake to keep our access to videogames or beer, but the necessities of life itself, and the blessings of civilization. It's not going to be easy. It's probably going to be called a crime.

Do it anyway, and live.

A corporate fast food chain is centralized because a CEO can directly control hundreds of thousands of individuals.

A family owned restaurant is decentralized because each location is owned by a real person.

Congratulations @corbettreport! You received a personal badge!

Happy Hive Birthday! You are on the Hive blockchain for 4 years!

You can view your badges on your board And compare to others on the Ranking

Do not miss the last post from @hivebuzz:

Feedback from the last Hive Power Up Day


I think agorism is another word for voluntarism. I like the latter, because people know what it means even if they've never heard it before.


Sounds cool but it says "not available" for me.