There seems to be somewhat of a confusion amongst my fellow Market Anarchist bloggers regarding the status of corporations in Market Anarchist theory. The trouble with Market Anarchy is that most of us come from libertarianism, and libertarians tend to support capitalism and corporations a great deal.
As Anarchists, we have to get rid of that unfortunate tendancy and realize that corporations are part of the State. They receive stolen money, stolen land, the favour of new laws designed to crush their smaller competition, corrupt contracts and war profiteering, and all sorts of other advantages. They are part of the system of exploitation of the working class. But just in case you think I’m being “leftie” by saying that, I will remind you that unions, with their coercion and hierarchical dominance of the worker, are also part of the State’s exploitation system. All hierarchies, no matter what side they pretend to be on, must be eliminated.
Because corporations are part of the State, the concept of the corporation must be eliminated and replaced with that of the self-managed business. Our position is that we must be given back what belongs to us, and these businesses are included. After all, who has homesteaded these businesses but the workers? Therefore these businesses should be managed by the workers themsleves in a system of self-management. This both restores proper ownership and eliminates all hierarchies (why do you need bosses or unions when you decide things yourself and set your own wages?).
Agents of the State are not allowed to own anything in its name because the State is an illegitimate entity and thus cannot own anything. Of course there are small business owners who do not receive any help from the State. These people should be allowed to retain ownership of their business, since they actually do own it and are not part of the State. But these will be rare, and in time will disappear.
For those of you interested in more on this subject, I recently made a new episode of Machinery of Freedom devoted to it (episode 23).