Category Archives: Alan Carter

Alan Carter

Consequentialism may be able to provide reasons for why their theory does not, in fact, entail some counter-intuitive outcome in the world in which we happen to live. But in relying on some contingent feature of the world, their theory, when it rules our such counter-intuitive outcomes, does so for the wrong reason.

Alan Carter, ‘Inegalitarian Biocentric Consequentialism, the Minimax Implication and Multidimensional Value Theory: A Brief Proposal for a New Direction in Environmental Ethics’, Utilitas, vol. 17, no. 1 (March, 2005), p. 71

Alan Carter

Red flags and red guards, professional vanguards,
Stalin and Lenin, and rule from the Kremlin,
The Central Committee has told me to sing:
‘These are a few of my favourite things.’

Strict iron discipline and militarization,
Subject the nation to centralization.
Deep in my conscience I hear someone say:
‘When will the state start to wither away?’

When the Tsar falls,
Commissar calls,
Or I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember from March to September
Freedom was to…
Be had.

Alan Carter, ‘My Favourite Things’, in Marx: A Radical Critique, Brighton, 1988, p. xiv

Alan Carter

[W]hen defenders of capitalism frequently compare socialist East with the industrialized West, they choose the richest and most liberal capitalist countries for the comparison. This is analogous to defending feudalism by drawing attention to the happy condition of the nobility, while forgetting that their wealth and leisure are the obverse of the poverty of their serfs. So, similarly, the rich capitalist countries are paraded as exemplars of a wholesome social order. However, when the West is acknowledged to be far from self-sufficient and is seen to be part of an international economic system which includes the exploitation of the Third World as a basis for the high standard of living experienced in the developed nations, or at the very least is seen to induce underdevelopment in other parts of the, then it is this internationally exploitative system as a whole which must be compared with the socialist countries. And in this comparison capitalism (which must include Third World misery) dose not fare so well.

Alan Carter, Marx: A Radical Critique, Brighton, 1988, p. 4

Alan Carter

Marxists, by considering the use of state power or in advocating a revolutionary vanguard (which would eventually form a new state power) as acceptable means toward equality and freedom, advocate courses of action that, as the State-Primacy Theory reveals, would perpetuate the extensive inequalities Marxists ostensibly oppose. And they are uncritical of such courses of action because their theory overlooks the fundamental importance of the state and, especially, state power. The result of this is the promotion of a strategy that inadvertently perpetuates unfreedom and inequality. Consequently, the State-Primacy Theory indicates that anarchists are indeed correct to oppose all statist and vanguardist approaches to revolutionary change. In this respect, the State-Primacy Theory provides anarchism with the theory of historical transition it requires.

So, an anarchist theory of history can be developed that offers the promise of being at least as effective as Marxist theory in explaining technological, economic, and political developments but that has the added advantage, by drawing attention to the tremendous power that the state can exert, of predicting accurately the outcome of statist and vanguardist revolutions. This is in stark contrast with Marxist theory, which, through underemphasizing the power of the state because of an unbalanced stress on the economic, has created such a dangerous pitfall for the Left. By stressing the technological and the economic, Marxists have distracted attention from the state. This proved disastrous in the Russian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, and numerous revolutions in the Third World and will do so time and time again until Marx’s theory of history is eventually abandoned by the Left.

Alan Carter, ‘Analytical Anarchism: Some Conceptual Foundations’, Political Theory, vol. 28, no. 2. (April, 2000)