I saw the trailer for the movie, The Engines of Domination, and I couldn’t wait for its debut. And thankfully, Mark Corske and Justin Jezewski released their collaborative masterpiece freely on the Internet. Here is the Youtube link:

…but you can find all of the related films on the Engines of Domination website, including the raw formats for download!

After shutting out all distractions in September of 2015 (headphones, my smartphone, and a cappuccino at my favorite coffee house), I sat down and consumed the entire thing. A feast for the mind! Shortly afterwards, I contacted Mark on Facebook messenger to discuss his and Justin’s excellent work. He agreed that we should make this interview public.

As a side note, Mark wrote a book called Engines of Domination (find the book on Amazon by clicking on the link), and Justin turned the book into a movie masterpiece.

Here is the interview:

R. Douglas Barbieri
I finally watched your Engines of Domination film yesterday. Took the hour and tuned everything else out. I don’t know what to say except you nailed it on the head. Stefan Molyeux called what we live in as a series of “tax farms.” But I think you gave the idea far more clarity. Excellent movie!

Mark Corske
Thank you very much, and thanks for letting me know!

RDB
If you haven’t seen this video yet, this is probably the single best video Molyneux has ever made. And it has millions of views!

MC
Thanks, I’ve heard of it but never watched, will sometime when I’m not concentrating so hard on my own work. You might want to know, Justin and I are producing a new film about the Provo anarchist movement in Amsterdam (1965-67), here’s a teaser:

MC
Well, I just watched the Molyneaux vid. I see the parallels, but also profound differences and many disagreements. My book details the historic development of Domination and comes to very different conclusions, not to mention the dynamics of the mechanism of domination itself and its origins.

RDB
Very good, now I’ll have to watch his video again and catch the differences.
Provo looks good.

MC
Thanks, it’s an incredible story that almost no one outside Europe knows, very inspiring, and also hilarious at times how this small movement challenged the Dutch authorities and started the trends that made the Netherlands such a haven of tolerance (for a while).

RDB
I like seeing stuff like this. I am challenged all the time by, “anarchy has never been tried,” as if that’s any kind of good argument against it. Electric light wasn’t tried for millennia, but we use it today anyway. I once asked Tom Woods if he could do more work on Anarchic societies of the past, and he dismissed me very quickly, saying “there isn’t enough written about it. That’s the point–if people would write more, there would be more literature!

MC
Good point. But if anarchy means the absence of armed central authority controlled by privileged elites, it’s how most of humanity has lived for most of our existence.
There are fine recent examples too, such as the Spanish Revolution before WW2 and Rojava today in Syria.

RDB
Yes, and that is a great example.

Here are other examples. I think people are looking for “modern” examples when they demand to see “anarchy in action.”
http://v.i4031.net/Books/AnarchyNeverTried

As you say, anarchy is really just the absence of the engines of domination. The tools that make it possible, as it were.

Even I’ll point out that Medieval Ireland was an anarchic society for 1000 years. Or even Zomia today. But that’s just not good enough. People want to see a first world society without the state. That just cannot be done, and then they claim “victory!” Talk about shifting the goal posts. smile emoticon

MC
Yes, and it’s hard for people accustomed to the ravages of Domination to have enough faith in human nature to imagine that people could create vastly better ways to live, given the chance.

RDB
Indeed. I remind them that society would look very different from what we have today absent the tools of domination.

MC
And my argument for anarchism is that Domination is unsustainable and lethal, so it must be abolished, not that I know an alternative “system” that should replace it. As the vid says, “that’s for the people of the world to decide.”

RDB
The analogy I’ve heard is that the state is the sickness, and the cure is…well, not having the state.

MC
I’m reluctant to limit it to the state. The institutions of Domination today are largely corporate. I believe you can have Domination with no state, and even possibly a state with little or no Domination, at least on a very small scale.

That’s one crucial difference between me and many anarchists such as Molyneaux.

It’s the fundamental human relation of subjugator/subject empowered by institutions that must be opposed in ANY AND EVERY POSSIBLE form.

RDB
So what sort of institutions do you consider an engine of domination? Besides the state?

MC
Any system that embodies the components of the engine. The state could be privatized under a purely corporate tyranny — landholding by private militias, an executive command structure regulated by private tribunals, etc. Bear in mind that the modern state is less than 400 years old, the first systems of domination functioned differently.

RDB
What you’ve described sounds like the state to me, though. For example. in order to have a corporation (like they are today), you have to have a state to pass out the corporate charter, then to monopolize the legal system to impose the limit to the liability a corp enjoys. Basically, the state, via coercion, creates an artificial person.

Without the coercion the state uses, how could you have a corporation, at least as we know them today?

The presence of private tribunals, to me, insinuates there is a power structure, founded on authority, imposed by violence on the populace. That sounds like a state to me.

I do agree that we need to dispense with the current land ownership system, where the state monopolizes land titles, and conquers land by force. But what is your position on competing, decentralized title systems that aren’t backed by violent institutions? Do you suppose that would be possible? Proudhon had the idea of a Land Bank.

MC
It would function much like a state, of course, but by internalizing all the coercive power of the present state, and removing any vestige of accountability to the populace it subjugates.

RDB
Keep in mind that the present state enjoys power from the populace in the form of taxes, as you pointed out in your video. Without that structure, I think power systems would be less likely to form. Violence is expensive, and that’s why the powerful want to externalize the costs of violence onto the tax cattle.

MC
I think land control is the central issue behind political power. I like Proudhon’s idea, but really have no idea how land could be best manged. That’s the crucial issue to solve, ultimately. I’m doubtful about any systems of private land ownership that allow the owners arbitrary control and use, since everything comes from the land and the land’s well-being is essential to human well-being. It seems to me that the more democratically (in the sense of under common control) the land is organized, the better.

RDB
One principle I have, and this is where I break from many Voluntaryists and AnCaps, is that I don’t believe violence should ever be used except in extreme circumstances of self-defense or defense of others. I don’t agree that anyone has the right to shoot a trespasser. I believe that title disputes should only ever be dealt with voluntarily. Or at least, non-violently.

MC
I absolutely agree. The example of the medieval commons shows how well such systems can work. Philosophies that base anarchism on property rights seem dangerous to me, partly because they tend to that kind of “retaliatory” violence. If the land isn’t held by violence, why should violence be necessary to manage its use? Cooperative problem-solving is much more in our nature, and very powerful.

It’s just been bred out of our culture by the dominant institutions — but not out of our nature.

To me, the common idea of private land ownership just “miniaturizes” the state, the owner is the monarch. No concept of responsibility to go with the privilege of ownership.

RDB
Yes, and I get fought really hard over that. I believe that disputes could be dealt with cooperatively. I do think people need to have their own space, and if you are going to build something, the factory or whatever does require private ownership of some kind. But not the kind the state offers.

But look, my mind is open to better systems. As my left-libertarian friends have often pointed out, a truly free society would look a lot different than what we have today. I imagine we would see the end of massive corporations, and huge companies in general. We would likely see cooperative and democratic companies (like Semco in Brazil, or Valve Software in the Silicon Valley).

You say in your video that it will be “trial and error.”

MC
Absolutely! And won’t it be a great day when we can actually carry out the experiment!

RDB
You know, I think that day is closer than you think. Unlike many of my anarchist brethren, I’m an optimist.

MC
So am I at times, I have to go with the mood swings. There’s certainly a wave of anger and resentment building now like there’s never been before, and a vastly better understanding of the problem of power than in the 60s. And the atrocities and destruction surpass anything previously, which is creating a feedback loop that could topple the damn thing.

Until Engines was released, I worked in complete isolation. Since then (almost a year now), I’ve been greatly encouraged to see the variety of anarchist thinking, and the worldwide quest for a better way of life in so many forms.

RDB
Also, we have the Internet. Without it, I would never have become a Voluntaryist in the first place. Without it I would never have seen your excellent film.

MC
Oh yes, that’s essential to these promising developments, a factor unlike any that’s ever existed in the struggle against power.

RDB
Yes, I feel there is a sense of building going on. The elite are about to self-destruct the currency system (either intentionally or unintentionally). I think we are in for massive upheaval. But this time, the destruction of the current domination engine might be in our favor. Look at how many people have watched Molyneux vid, for example. I know that you don’t agree with everything in it, but really, how many people do you know that actually view states and farms for the subjugated? That number is growing.

When I first started talking like this, I was shamed by most of the people I know. But lately, some of the people I’ve argued with the most are starting to be a little bit sympathetic to what I’m saying.

So I’ve shared your video with the hopes of getting it to millions of views as well. One share at a time. Hopefully it catches on!

MC
The number sure is growing. And outside these anarchist circles, my friends in Europe (especially Greece and Romania) describe powerful anarchist movements building there.

Thanks again for getting in touch, and for the share! It has over 54K views now including the translations. I think that’s a small fraction of its potential audience.

It’s not that I think I’m “right,” but I know the vid has the potential to make people think in a new way, whether it’s mine or something better, and to reinforce their belief if they already agree to some extent.

RDB
FANTASTIC! I’m glad to hear there is more and more push for anarchic solutions. And I’m pleased you are getting so many shares!!!!

What you’ve done is, you’ve given us a tool, interestingly enough. This tool is a lens, and we can actually view the elephant in the room with it. Or maybe it’s a tool on “how to remove the blinders” so you can actually see the elephant. But the point is, I’ve never heard anyone put it together like you did.

MC
That’s really wonderful to hear, very gratifying, thank you very much again.

RDB
You are quite welcome. I’ve enjoyed talking to you, and I look forward to your next video!

MC
Sometime next year, with a little luck. My pleasure talking!

Mark Corske’s Engines of Domination