a-gor-a /ˈagərə/, /əˈgôrə/ n. A public open space used for assemblies and markets.
What is Agorism? It is a form of revolutionary market-anarchism with a focus on using counter-economics to try to reduce the State’s role in society in a peaceful, non-violent way. The idea is for private people and organizations to get together and form an underground network of trade based on voluntary interactions while at the same time, ceasing to support coercive organizations like the State and any corporations and businesses that are in bed with them. The way it is sometimes worded is that Agorists try to trade through the Black Market (illegal goods or goods sold through illegal channels), and the Grey Market (Legal goods sold through underground channels) while avoiding the Red Market (any market where some or all of the proceeds go towards supporting violence or coercion ranging from the sex-slave trade all the way down to sales taxes.)
Now, of course this is a gradual transition. The goal is not to become a 100% Agorist over night; not many people are financially secure enough to do something like that and the State is so ingrained in our society that it may never be completely removed. The goal is to make changes in our lives whenever we can. Not many among us are prepared to become full-fledged income tax-resisters (the government has a lot of guns) but there are some changes you can make to reduce the amount of extortion money you send to the state. The following is a brief and incomplete list of ideas that you might want to try out.
Work under the table- Do you know of anyone who needs odd jobs done around their house or place of business? You could supplement your income with a little work on the side. Have them pay you in cash, food, shelter, bitcoins, silver, or you could even trade your services for theirs. Maybe they need you to help them repair their computer and you need some yard work done. Become a freelance handyman, techie, or graphic designer. You may even be able to eventually transition to working completely under the table for a living, either doing odd jobs in your community or even finding a like-minded employer who is willing to pay you off the record.
Solar Panels- It’s always good to be green, but if it also saves you money and allows you to stop supporting coercive monopolies, well what’s not to love? Solar panels require a modest upfront investment but over time, they save you tons of money on electric bills. In some cases, the meter can even run backwards! As a bonus, you will also be living off of the grid; no more worrying about rolling blackouts.
Grow your own food- It takes a surprisingly small amount of land to be able to grow or raise all of your own food. Some websites I’ve read say it can be done with just a few acres. But even that’s not completely necessary. Growing wheat to make all of your own bread is a hassle. But why not supplement your diet with homegrown fruit and veggies? You could even raise chickens with a pretty small yard. Once again, going green is fine, but if it’s also cheaper, tastier, healthier, and allows you to stick it to “the man”, what reason do you have not to go do it? Team up with your friends and neighbors in your community. Someone could grow fruit trees and berries; another house could grow lettuce and tomatoes; a third house might want to handle squash and potatoes. Of course someone also has to plant the hops and barley for authentic home-grown beer. Once harvest time comes around, everyone can get together and trade their fruits and veggies with each other. If everyone is interested but only a few people have a green thumb, maybe you could all come to an agreement to let the gardeners among you maintain everyone’s crops full-time. The possibilities are endless! And the best part is, since growing too much food is borderline illegal, this spreads out the burden over many households and makes it harder for the State to come after you.
Alternative fuels- In my state, California, the car culture is huge. Things are spread out so far that it’s impossible to get around without a car. I have to drive for 20 minutes on the freeway to get to work, family/friend’s houses, and even some stores. In addition to that, I love cars and motorcycles. I’m one of those people who will always have a car no matter what. If you live in a community that is less spread out, and are so inclined, riding a bike or walking is a good way to save gobs and gobs of cash and also stop supporting the State. But for the rest of us, alternative fuels may be an option. If your car runs on diesel fuel, you might want to consider filling it up with biodiesel or waste veggie oil. The best part is that in warmer climates you can do this with little or no modification to your car. In colder climates, it will be necessary to install equipment to keep the oil warm so it doesn’t get too thick in the lines. But, like solar panels, it is an investment that will end up paying for itself very quickly. While we’re on the subject, I’ve always thought it would be fun to make something like this. It’s video on how to convert a motorcycle into an electric bike. It has a very post-apocalyptic, Fallout3 feel to it, which I like.
Alternative Currency - The monetary system is probably the biggest way in which government screws us over. The dollar is a fiat currency which is based on nothing of value. Even worse, the government has the power to print more of it whenever they want which causes inflation. This means that your savings are worth less and less every year. Meanwhile, the government gets to spend the newly printed money first, before it is devalued. As I said before though, this system is so ingrained in our society that it would be nearly impossible to stop participating in it all together. But, like in the section about working under the table, there are many alternatives which you can use on the side to supplement your savings. If you have some money in the bank which you plan to hold on to for a long time, consider converting some of it into something which holds its value like silver or gold. It’s hard to find people who accept silver or gold as payment for goods and services in every day life but if you can find such a person, so much the better. If you’re not interested in that, there are still many more alternatives. You could barter for the things you need. This has the added benefit of keeping the level of clutter in your home to a minimum. But you might also want to consider trading your labor for goods and services. Another interesting and fairly new option available to you is the Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a decentralized virtual p2p currency that seems to be taking the internet by storm. There are websites and stores where you can buy almost anything with Bitcoins. You can even exchange it for U.S. money if you want. It’s completely anonymous and decentralized which is perfect for Agorists. Many people’s initial reactions to the idea of bartering, trading labor, and alternative currencies is something like this, “But if I get paid in food, I won’t be making as much money!” But that’s the whole point. What would you have spent your money on? A good chunk of it would have been spent on food anyway. Now you don’t need as much money. Not everything is about dollars. The time and energy you spend in the office so that you can afford to buy food could be used to just grow food for yourself. It cuts out the middle-man, namely, the government.