Public Employee Labor Unrest in Wisconsin

The correct agorist approach to the public employee labor unrest in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) is to advocate revolutionary free market syndicalist privatization. The teacher’s unions, for example, should seize the schools and operate them as employee-owned private cooperatives, giving up taxing authority and monopoly status.

See also: Confiscation and the Homestead Principle, by Murray Rothbard

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31 thoughts on “Public Employee Labor Unrest in Wisconsin

  1. No, local parents' committees should seize them. They own them; the teachers are employees that should be shitcanned if they don't like the terms of employment. Education is for the sake of children, not overfed unfireable prison-guard obedience indoctrinators.

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    1. Jeremy, shit-canning and probably mass-resignations would be the result of the loss of taxing authority & monopoly status.

      Brad said 6 of one, you demanded half a dozen.

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    2. Teachers should seize them and form coalitions with the parents. Having only the parents in control would turn the teachers into their slaves, meaning they would once again be forfeiting their workplace autonomy.

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  2. The correct course course of action, as L. Neil Smith has written, is to shut down all the government's mind control mills, raze the buildings so that not a single stone remains standing on another, and sow salt on the ruins.

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  3. How much profit would these agorist teachers ask for? and how long before parents of the working class can't afford it? That would perpetuate class society and the state.
    Schools should be collectively owned and directed by the community involved.

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  4. The monopoly of labor via the union, and the monopoly of services via the government schools are merely two monopolies working in tandem. In order to get true freedom and the efficiency that is inherent in competition, both monopolies would have to be dissolved; not just one monopoly taking over where there were two.

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  5. I appreciate you coming in on this (now that it’s day five!). I do agree with you, but if that happened within a generation, that would be dazzlingly fast. There are a couple of things we can be doing to set the stage. One is to support unions, though not blindly. Another is to lay the groundwork for a general strike if things really get bad. Another is to organize existing community resources into a mutual aid society, so people can strike long term.

    Posted from my phone from inside the Capitol building.

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  6. How much profit would these agorist teachers ask for? and how long before parents of the working class can't afford it? That would perpetuate class society and the state.

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  7. The monopoly of labor via the union, and the monopoly of services via the government schools are merely two monopolies working in tandem. In order to get true freedom and the efficiency that is inherent in competition, both monopolies would have to be dissolved; not just one monopoly taking over where there were two.

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    1. hogbeast6,

      Without either endorsing or opposing Spangler's proposal, I'll point out that what the teachers or their union would be getting would not be a continued monopoly on education. They'd just be getting some of the "installed plant" — land and buildings — that they had been using in their work. Whether or not that represents a just outcome is an interesting question, but monopoly isn't at issue in it.
      My recent post No- Im not a big Ron Paul fan

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  8. I wouldn't say "privatize" since it brings up the image of a capitalist take-over; I would say "mutualize". The state has no right to anything and neither do capitalist bosses or landlords; only the people who use the schools (in this case, the teachers and perhaps the parents in collaboration with those teachers) do. State AND capitalist control of education not only ruins the education process but denies the teachers their autonomy, since they can't decide how or what they want to teach and instead must submit to either a capitalist or the state.

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  9. I have a few issues with this talking point. Despite my long response, adding 1-4 sentences to the talking point would be enough to clear them up. I realize a talking point isn’t a manifesto, but I think it could address the issue more fully.

    1) Initiative of teachers – This is partly addressed by the wording that suggests teachers must take initiative to seize the government institutions, and by the mention of losing compulsory funding and monopoly status. But a more specific note on how this will incentivize good teachers to succeed and bad teachers to leave would be useful. There is a lot of potential in the teaching profession; however there are also teachers who have no respect for students, environmental science teachers who refuse to bring their class outside, and even teachers who show no interest in learning whatsoever. Furthermore, teachers’ unions are political organizations deeply connected to the state, and I’ve never heard union leadership denouncing bureaucrats’ pay or crony infrastructure contracts. Teachers would have to overcome this status quo.

    2) Role of the community that is forced to pay for and use the service – Particularly if there are not enough radicalized teachers to take control of the schools, community members ought to have some say in what happens to them.

    3) Multiple solutions – As the talking point stands now it looks like only one solution deserves mention. However, as the comment thread shows there are other options. An insurrectionary situation could break the power of the government to regulate schooling, allowing a blossoming of educational alternatives. Agorists could create underground schools for children in failing districts. Voluntary contributions to a local school could be made according to a developing local custom, and an ethic of reciprocity would result in individuals who participate achieving greater social wealth and respect. Specialized schools would exist for those who wished to pay for them. A talking point doesn’t need an exhaustive list, but I don’t think that one single outcome should be presented as the default.

    4) Student freedom – What of the youth who are forced into an environment where “education” means satisfying the demands of authority in a generally anti-intellectual environment separated from the outside world? The loss of monopoly power would likely make schools less authoritarian, but if the customers are parents with authoritarian ideas of education, then the most important problem with schools – the non-monetary costs they inflict – would not be significantly improved. A situation in which parents and teachers conspire to force youth into schooling institutions is not very libertarian. At the least, a talking point on education should mention the repeal of compulsory attendance and greater respect for the liberty of students.

    Also, I presume that this talking point is targeted toward agorists based on the construction of the first sentence. Starting with more basic terminology might be better if it’s aimed at general audiences.

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    1. I realize the issue isn't just about schooling, but since it was used as an example I think more detail is called for.

      I agree that powerful radical worker organizations are an important part of the solution and I think there is great potential for principled radicalization, but I wanted to point out some obstacles and things to keep in mind.

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    2. @Darian sez, "Furthermore, teachers’ unions are political organizations deeply connected to the state, and I’ve never heard union leadership denouncing bureaucrats’ pay or crony infrastructure contracts. Teachers would have to overcome this status quo."

      In my experience this isn't true. I have worked in and with the school district for sometime (both professionally, personally, and on student leadership communities). Many of the unions were concerned with the growing bureaucracies. In many school districts the rise of a managerial class is the source of a lot of bloat.

      Aside from this minor disagreement, I agree with your comment.

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      1. Thank you, Chris. I don't have the personal knowledge that you do in this area. I've seen teachers frequently complain about administration and bureaucracy, but never heard of any union stance on this. I'm glad that at least some teachers' unions are concerned with the issue.

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  10. So the teachers seize the school buildings and the parents homeschool or send their children elsewhere. Or the parents seize the school buildings and become the teachers themselves or hire different teachers. Or the school buildings are left abandoned and the teachers get blackballed from teaching anyone's children.

    There seems to be a lot of talk about radical organizations of one sort or another…but what about all those people who just want to be left alone…what about those who want to do their own thing…their own homeschooling and so forth?

    All this talk of radical this and radical that belies the power each individual already has. Unless someone else has kidnapped you and is holding you hostage or a political prisoner…you have first-person control of yourself.

    Nobody owes you anything except to respect your basic human rights of Life, Liberty, and Property.

    Hopefully that will help some folks.

    Starving The Monkeys and Ending The Looterfest,
    John and Dagny Galt
    Atlas Shrugged, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)

    .

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  11. There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes.
    The other, of course, involves orcs….

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  12. The teachers unions? So in the "left-libertarian free market", cartelization of business is rendered impossible by low barriers to entry, but cartelization of labor somehow continues without a hitch?

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