If you’ve ever heard the words Agorism or Counter-Economics, then you might know that these revolutionary anarcho-libertarian concepts were the brainchild of Samuel Edward Konkin III. I’m Victor Koman, Sam’s friend and ally from 1974 until his unexpected death in 2004. I’m a Prometheus Award-winning novelist with a doctorate in Information Assurance & Security, but what you may not know is that I am also publisher and archivist for the late, great originator of Agorist theory, known by his tetragram SEK3.
Sam and I were part of an incredible concentration of libertarian anarchist thinkers in a Long Beach apartment complex, nicknamed The AnarchoVillage,
from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. Together with other denizens — including fellow Prometheus-winner J. Neil Schulman — we produced 101 issues of New Libertarian Weekly, 19 issues of the magazine New Libertarian,
ran the Vote For Nobody CounterCampaign, issued pamphlets, wrote articles and books, published New Libertarian Manifesto and An Agorist Primer, and witnessed Sam lay the groundwork for Counter-Economic theory. As one of the founders of The Agorist Institute in 1984,
I assisted SEK3 in the birth of the Agorist movement. And I possess the most complete collection of Sam’s prodigious output in the Known Universe.
What is Agorism?
If you stumbled upon this GoFundMe page and don’t know what, exactly, Agorism and Counter-Economics are, Sam — in his 1986 book An Agorist Primer — defined Agorism simply as “thought and action that is consistent with freedom.” In his 1995 article “The Last, Whole Introduction to Agorism” — published in The Agorist Quarterly —
Konkin defined Counter-Economics as “the study and practice of ... human action in the Counter-Economy. The Counter-Economy is all human action not sanctioned by the State.” Some have used the term Anarcho-Capitalism or AnCap to differentiate pro-freedom, pro-individual, pro-property Agorism from the violent nihilist rioters currently burning our cities, whom the press and politicians have repeatedly mislabeled as “anarchists”, either out of ignorance or a desire to misdirect blame away from radical revolutionary socialists. Universal access to The Agorist Archives will help correct this vicious slur.
Who Was Samuel Edward Konkin III?
Samuel Edward Konkin III (on the left) (or, as he defined himself, extreme left) was a Canadian-born libertarian activist and prolific writer on the subject of Agorism, and not just in his own publications. He proselytized for Libertarianism, Counter-Economics, and Agorism through articles and letters in other publications as well, such as L.A. Weekly, Against the Wall, Claustrophobia, Individual Liberty, Libertarian Review, Nomos, Option, Rip-Off Resistance, The Village Voice, and Southern Libertarian Review.
He kept voluminous files of his research and past publications, but circumstances have already robbed posterity of a large part of his intellectual legacy. In one stunning occurrence, a major portion of his files and back issues of New Libertarian were lost when he was unable to pay rent on a storage locker in the 1990s. I didn’t know that had happened or I would have bid — Storage Wars-style — to retrieve all that irreplaceable movement history.
What Remains, Then, of The Agorist Archives?
I came into possession of much of Sam’s letters and records when he moved out of the AnarchoVillage in the mid-1980s. I had a garage there storing a lot of his stuff, which he said I could keep. Then once more — when he moved out of another apartment building in Culver City (which he dubbed The AnarchoVilla) — I was given leave to take more personal papers as well as his geriatric Macs (a PowerBook 150 and Powerbook 1400c) and a spindle of his backup data DVDs. All of these are a treasure trove of emails, articles, research, and original PageMaker documents that trace the development of Agorist theory, with lively exchanges between Sam and such luminaries as Murray Rothbard, Bob Kephart, Tibor Machan, Sharon Presley, David Nolan, Wendy McElroy, Lew Rockwell, James J. Martin, Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, and many others.
What Will This GoFundMe Project Accomplish?
Sam was found dead of natural causes in his apartment 17 years ago, on the appropriately Discordian date of 23 February, 2004 (hence the goal of $23,204). Since then, I have stored multiple copies of his publications and box upon box of his personal papers, letters and emails to and from libertarians (famous, infamous, and obscure), calendars, planners, and notes written in his nearly indecipherable longhand. I've also published several of his most important works in hardcover and paperback editions.
I think these are of profound importance to the Agorist movement and Libertarianism in general, and my GoFundMe goal is to digitize every existing issue of the various incarnations of Sam’s New Libertarian publications, as well as his personal papers, articles in other publications, and fanzines — and make them available on a single website to researchers, activists, entrepreneurs, and the generally curious.
Publications & Letters to Digitize
By my estimate, there are over 2600 pages just of Sam’s publications that need to be scanned in at the high resolution of at least 600 DPI. That would take a month or more of 8-hour days, and three times as many months to proofread and correct the OCR text conversion. That’s not even counting his handwritten personal papers, which might take triple that amount of time (his handwriting is such a scrawl, he should have been a doctor)!
Audio & Video, Too!
In addition, I possess the original videotapes and audiotapes that I recorded for courses he taught at The Agorist Institute and speeches he gave elsewhere in the late 1980s, which need to be converted from VHS and audiocassette to digital video and lossless digital audio formats.
The videos have to be converted and cleaned up and the sound quality improved. In some cases, I have both a videotape and a simultaneous audiotape with much better sound than the VHS tape has. Some mixing will have to be done. Thankfully, I had to upgrade my laptop to a MacBook Pro in early 2019 and bought Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro X in anticipation of the possibility of doing all this work.
But I can’t do it on my own, in my spare time, as a hobby, while I work at a regular job. The clock is ticking as inevitable mortality takes its toll on the O.G. Agorists. Sam died in 2004. His friends and allies J. Neil Schulman and Brad Linaweaver died in 2019. New Libertarian contributors such as Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, Kerry Thornley, Chris Tame, Bill Patterson, and Butler Shaffer are all dead. And I’m no spring chicken, so — with the realization that we have No Enemy But Time (and The State) — I want to make The Agorist Archives my primary focus for 2021.
That’s where you come in. Your donation to this GoFundMe project — Help Save the Agorist Archives of Samuel Edward Konkin III — will enable me to devote the major portion of my workdays to digitizing these aging — and in some cases, fragile, nearly half-century-old — documents as well as digitizing the video and audio before the tapes become brittle and unreadable. I’ve tried to store everything as best I could, looking forward to the day when they can be made available to the world. That time, with your help, can be now!
- Matthew Pearl
- Nate the Voluntaryist
- Joe Buchman
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