Agorism is a strategy many of us in the voluntaryist movement advocate. It’s a simple idea that many people partake in without ever realizing it. Whenever you work for “cash under the table” you’re performing an act of counter-economics as you’re disobeying the state’s decree regarding income tax. In Minnesota you perform an act of counter-economics every time you buy something online or in a state with lower sales tax and don’t pay the difference to the state. Most of us are agorists in some way or another and such practices become more common in failing economies such as Spain:
More than six months ago, a 37-year-old worker here named Juan was laid off from his job delivering and assembling furniture for customers of Ikea, joining the legions of unemployed in Spain. Or so it would seem.
Since then, Juan has continued doing more or less the same work. But instead of doing it on the payroll of Pantoja, a transport subcontractor to Ikea, he hovers around the parking lot of the megastore, luring customers of his own by offering not only to deliver their furniture but also to do “general work,” like painting and repairs, all for the bargain price of €40, or $51, a day.
“I will do anything except electricity and plumbing, where I really don’t have enough expertise to guarantee a safe and decent job,” said Juan, who did not want his full name used because he does not declare his income and did not want to run afoul of the tax authorities.
One nice benefit of not having to pay income tax is the ability to undercut those who do. If you pay income tax you must make enough money to not only survive but to also pay the state its tithe. Those who don’t report income tax don’t have to worry about the additional money that will be stolen by the state and therefore can work much cheaper and still get by.
When you consider the amount of money that goes to the state in the form of taxes, licenses, and compliance with regulations you realize a great deal of economy goes to feed the state. How much of your life is spent working for the state? What percentage of the money you spent on your computer went to the state?
When you think about it we’re not better off that then serfs of yore. Serfs were those who worked land owned by or rented from nobles. In exchange for working the land they were “granted” the privilege of protection and the use of some fields for their own subsistence. Those of us living in the United States are in a similar situation although the illusion of freedom is presented to us. Like serfs our land is owned by another entity, in our case the state. We are allowed to use the land so long as we pay rent, usually referred to as property tax. The state promises to protect us from outside enemies and criminals living within its borders (and like the nobles’ promises of protection the state never really fulfills their end of the “agreement”). If we fail to pay our tithe the state kidnaps us, holds us in cages, and steals our property under the “debt” is paid off. When we lack property to take we become bonded laborers, our wages are garnished until the “debt” is paid off.
Serfdom never went away, the nobles merely changed their title to the state and pretended to give us the ability to elect a representative government.
The serfs of yore eventually awakened to their plight and revolted against the nobles. Agorists are revolting but not by using violence. Instead the agorists analyzed the enemy and discovered its weakness, it survives only on what it can take by force. If the state has no income, if they are unable to seize wealth by force, it eventually starves and dies. Why wage a violent revolution against an entity that specializes in violence? When you challenge a specializes you are likely to lose unless you are also a specialist. While the state specializes in violence it is utterly incompetent when it comes to economics and economics is something individuals specialized in. The golden rule of a fight is to never fight fair.
Fortunately for agorists the state recruits people for our movement as it attempt to bleed the serfs dry. When the serfs no longer have anything to give they must fact facts and decide whether they’re going to continue providing to the state at the cost of their lives or keep what wealth they can scrounge and disobey the decrees of the states. Most people will follow their survival instinct and give the state a giant middle finger and it is at that point that they become agorists.