Monday, April 4, 2011

Confused Union Employees Protest in San Francisco

Union employees marched through San Francisco's financial district today. Their apparent mission was to protest global elitists, but seemed to hook up to the protest all corporations and anyone who is rich.

They stopped and screamed in front of Bank America's SF headquarters and that of JPMorgan Chase, but also in front of a Hyatt Hotel. They also managed to stop in front of the Federal Reserve. As you can see below, the "Tax Rich" signs were there along with those of Common Cause and SEIU. These people are in a class war with anyone who is rich, or who wants to hire them.

One gal was handing out fliers. I shook her off when she tried to hand me one and told her that I was for Private Property. She said she was also. When I asked her how she could be for private property, when she was representing a union that wanted to force its demands on corporations. She told me it had nothing to do with private property. She told me, "It's about negotiations over healthcare." When I brought up the fact that government forces private corporations to deal with unions and that didn't sound like a private property stance. She just repeated, "It's about negotiations."

Next up was a guy handing out fliers. I shook him off and also told him that I was for Private Property. He said he was also. I then explained to him that when government forces a private operator to deal with a union that no longer is an exchange simply involving private property. He then changed his stance and said he wasn't for private property but for "personal property". When I asked him what the difference was between private property and personal property, he looked exasperated at me and said, "Look buddy, I'm a communist."

There were probably a couple of thousand protesters. There's definitely anger in the country, but these people really don't hold any kind of consistent views at all. They could be driven in almost any direction, if the right leader did the driving. The only positive is that at some gut instinctual level, they still react positively to the notion of Private Property, though they have no clue as to what it means, or how it would be applied in given situations.


  1. I don't agree with these protesters, but from what I read from here I don't think I can agree with you either. I'm a free market anarchist, but I don't think corporations would fit in at all in a free market environment. Their whole exstistence is because of the government. How is it free market when the corporations are basically the government? Please, enlighten me at to how corporations are not part of the problem.

  2. @Previous Anonymous...

    While there is not enough in the post to draw a conclusion, I can see where you'd get that impression. If people were protesting the state in the Soviet Union 35 years ago, a comment about them protesting against the state industry that "wants to hire them" would be just as accurate. After all, it was the state providing the jobs. That didn't mean the way the state gained the ability to provide jobs was legitimate.

    I don't think Wenzel is defending state-capitalism but there might be a little right-conflationism showing. Also see Kevin Carson.

  3. Robert I think you are the one that is confused. You wrote "the apparent mission was to protest all corporations and anyone who is rich". "Apparent" is the operative word, here. Did it occur to you to investigate the "actual" mission of the rally? Did you listen to any of the speakers in front of One Market Plaza? "These people are in a class war" ... "These people"? There is a class war being waged upon the working people of America and it is being waged upon by greedy corporations who refuse to pay there fair share. The building at One Market was assessed at 1.5 billion dollars - it is only paying taxes on 500 million dollars. Meanwhile, SF is laying off teachers because of a lack of revenue. I spoke to health care workers, electricians, plumbers, hotel workers - they all know what is going wrong in this country.

  4. @anonymous #1 above:

    Corporations can be consistent with private property and anarchism. They can exist on a voluntary basis without the state. I recommend Walter Block's "In Defence of Corporatios".

  5. @anonymous 3:40 AM:

    Yes there are many groups not "paying their fair share" but that is a dangerous phrase often used by collectivists to steal property. Private property is an extension of each individual's life. Take away private property and you take away a piece of someone's life. The key is voluntary relationships. I recommend "My Philsophy of Liberty" at along with "Boundaries of Order" by Butler Shaffer.

  6. LLCs can exist on a free market. Thing is you're just not obliged to deal with an LLC if you don't want to in a free market, whereas now there are many factors pressing a firm to become an LLC. The main issue with the so-called rich and private property is how do you determine who legitimately acquired what? This is why I am all for privatisation schemes like that advocated by Hans Hoppe, except where there are clear cases of theft and identifiable rightful owners.

  7. Director's law has never been more relevant then it is today. I love the class war ruse that the public sector unions use as an excuse for them to get the state to steal other people's property, including that of other middle class people, for their personal gain. As always has been the case, the unions are for the union class and no one else. Its absolutely absurd to hear union protesters argue that they are somehow defenders of the middle class.

    Today the public sector unions have only one mission and that is to preserve at all costs the gains they've made from a fraudulent (bubble) economy and the exploitation of a political process that allows them to sell votes for increased wages and benefits. If getting their demands met means cutting benefits to the poor or doubling taxes on their neighbors, its all fine and dandy with them. When was the last time union workers were protesting cuts to medicaid or food stamp programs?

    Let's face it, no one likes to take a pay cut or to lose benefits, but that is the reality we face as we have a government we cannot afford anymore. There are not enough rich people for government to steal from to keep the inflated bureaucracy afloat. What is also interesting is that when you hear all of these left and right wing groups fight about taxes and spending is that none of them, want themselves to be taxed more to pay more for the government we have, not even the union members.

    If the public sector unions' demands for the state to steal more of other people's property is met, it will ultimately have the same impact as it did in Detroit--capital will flee to where its safer and everyone else will be left holding the bag.

  8. Inquisitor, why do you believe that LLCs could exist in a free market? If LLCs can exist in a free market, then why had no one called their businesses LLC before the passage of the relevant statutes that defined them and sanctioned government's proclamation of them? Did the LLC used to be called something else? Apparently you think so. So what were they called before government intervened?

    Or perhaps there was no free market before government started proclaiming the existence of LLCs, and given the conditions that prevailed, no one thought it beneficial to form one. Still, the option might have been considered before ruling it out. So what were LLCs called then?

    In fact, if LLCs could exist without government intervention, then what would be the harm of abolishing the practice of government proclaiming their existence on behalf of those who petition government to do so? Surely this change would reduce the possibility of mischiefmaking by politicians, businesspeople, and lawyers who might like to change the statutes to transform statutory LLCs into something that your alleged free market LLCs are not.

    Perhaps there's no such thing as a free market LLC.

  9. If they are irritated enough to go marching without having a specific reason why, I'd say that's a bad sign. These people have no idea what their mission is, or what it is they want exactly.

    The vague notions and confused platitudes amongst these people is only ameliorated by the fact they have no clear goal and no clear plan. The problem is, this environment is just waiting for some charismatic figurehead type that shouts cliched phrases and leads banal chants.

    Beware the kind of leaders this might throw up. I realize it's hard to imagine, but they might be worse than the activist neo-con hacks that have ruined the country for the past decade.

  10. Uh, Robert, the guy said, "Look buddy, I'm a communist."

    Didn't it occur to you that at a gut instinctual level the guy despises the very notion of private property and was just lying to your face when first he spoke to you? Granted, he might be a little weak-minded, hence his quick revision of his stance. Still, he was lying all the same. Pretty much the same thing goes for the evasive female, though she seems a little more strong willed.

    Also, I think they know exactly what property means. It means that they don't have the right to steal it, hence their eagerness for government to do the stealing. That way the act will look legal and leave the victim without options for self-defense and recovery. It's also safer for the communist to get the police and bureacrats to do their dirty work, which could be dangerous without the cover of law, the use of jails against victims who might defend theirselves, and so on.

    By the way, it would be pretty sweet to get on video a few conversations like the ones you described.

  11. LLC's can exist in a society where individuals respect contracts. A LLC is simply a voluntary association of individuals who agree to contract with others on the condition that their personal liability is limited. If a person does not want to do business with an LLC they don't have to but the benefits of LLC's provide savers (capitalists - owners of capital) the opportunity to pool resources and undertake large, long-term projects that bring us the many benefits that we enjoy.

  12. To Anonymous at 10:07 AM,

    To my knowledge, limited liability companies began to appear in the first Dutch Republic in the 1600's. Their creation was not a state edict, but a natural market outcome. I don't believe I'm incorrect in my reading of history, but if I am, please, direct me towards a credible source supporting a counterpoint. Thanks.

  13. There is clearly a class war a brewing but it is between tax payers and tax consumers. Parasites and their hosts if you will. It's election day here in Wisconsin, the big one is for supreme court judge. Trust me, I'm not voting. The unions are still using the ballot box to advance their agenda, but does anyone doubt they will turn to violence if they lose elections?

  14. "Inquisitor, why do you believe that LLCs could exist in a free market? "

    For the reason The Freedom School submitted. If you see anything anti-market in it, please let me know.

  15. It's really frustrating when people arguing against an LLC and claiming to be free marketeers don't even understand the fundamentals of a "firm" or a group of voluntary persons associating with different levels of ownership, equity, and liability.

    Here is a helpful accounting principle for anyone who took accounting in grade school:

    Assets = Liability + Owners Equity.

    The key is the balancing of Owners and Liability. Some firms may be a sole proprietorship. Some may be a partnership. Others may be some type of corporation with many shareholders and/or owners.

    And, in a stateless society, there would still be law provided by private courts and enforced by private security, defense, and insurance companies.

    While removing certain government privileges, mandates, and subsidies would affect many large firms, one cannot argue (ex ante) how big firms would or would not be in a stateless society. Economies of scale and vertical integration would still be advantageous for some industries while smaller decentralized firms using specialization and the division of labor would be advantageous in other areas.