Sunday, March 10, 2019

Murray Rothbard on the Soundness of a 1973 Alliance With Left-Wing Anarchists

Murray Rothbard
As a follow-up to my post, An Introduction for Libertarians to the Strategy and Tactics of Lenin, below is a comment by Murray Rothbard which appeared in the June 1973 issue of the Libertarian Forum. I believe it provides excellent insight into the way Rothbard thought deeply about strategy and tactics, not much different from the way Leninists have thought and continue to think about tactics and strategy (bold in original).

Alliance With Left-Wing Anarchists? From time to time, and
particularly during the bizarrerie of the late 60s, libertarians have linked themselves with left-wing, or communist anarchists. This has 'been the guiding principle of the Hunter College Libertarian Conferences of the last two years, as it was with the now defunct magazine Libertarian Analysis. The theory was: if we should ally ourselves with the New Left, why not with Communist Anarchists who are totally opposed to the State? This idea totally misconceives the theory of alliance for libertarians. The idea of alliance, whether with Left or with Right, is on ground of tactics rather than principle. We acquire multiple social leverage by allying ourselves on specific issues with differing groups with whom we agree on those particular issues: with Leftists opposed to the draft, or with Rightists opposed to the income tax, for example. But the danger always is thinking of these as principled, permanent linkages. If we look at leftwing anarchists, their absurd ideology and social philosophy, combined with their bizarre and dropout life style, makes their social leverage not only nil but negative. What can we possibly gain, either in theoretical understanding or in social effectiveness, by linking ourselves with the kooky Kropotkinites? No group, in content or in form, is better calculated to turn off middle-class Americans, and with good reason, than the leftwing anarchists. I can think of no group with whom an alliance, at any time, would be less fruitful.


  1. That's why we differ on borders, Robert. I'm more of a Hoppean, rather than open borders. The wall thing, BTW, is just rhetoric.

    1. It appears to me you miss the entire point of Rothbard's comment.