What Scottish Independence Means for Anarchism Reply

By Daniel Hawkins

The Art of Not Being Governed

Something earth-shattering is about to happen.

Tomorrow, the British-ruled country known as Scotland will vote for their independence.

The news has been focusing almost entirely on what this will mean for the UK and Europe. Most people have been completely preoccupied with what this will mean for the area economically. But that isn’t half the story; the trivialization of the matter should not be surprising. In all likelihood, if you’re an American reader, you probably hadn’t even heard of the Scottish independence referendum until the last week or two. But don’t be fooled; this is a momentous and historic event. This vote has the power to change the world forever. This may seem like a long-winded article, but I beg you to stay with it, and watch for the results of what may be the most important vote in history.

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Should Large Nations Split into Small Nations? Reply

By David Morris

Alternet

Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180.  The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up of the Soviet Union. If Scotland votes for independence it may ignite a third wave  Dozens of would-be nations are waiting in the wings:  Wales, Catalonia, Flanders, Brittany, the list is long.

In 1957 in his classic book The Breakdown of Nations economist and political scientist Leopold Kohr persuasively and rigorously argued that small nations are the natural order having been throughout history the engines for enlightenment, innovation, mutual aid and the arts.  The large nation state, he argued is not a reflection of improved efficiency but of superior force.

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Humans Naturally Follow Crowd Behavior Reply

Wall Street Journal

Luci Gutiérrez

It happened last Sunday at football stadiums around the country. Suddenly, 50,000 individuals became a single unit, almost a single mind, focused intently on what was happening on the field—that particular touchdown grab or dive into the end zone. Somehow, virtually simultaneously, each of those 50,000 people tuned into what the other 49,999 were looking at.

Becoming part of a crowd can be exhilarating or terrifying: The same mechanisms that make people fans can just as easily make them fanatics. And throughout human history we have constructed institutions that provide that dangerous, enthralling thrill. The Coliseum that hosts my local Oakland Raiders is, after all, just a modern knockoff of the massive theater that housed Roman crowds cheering their favorite gladiators 2,000 years ago.

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Resistance is Futile: The Violent Cost of Challenging the American Police State 1

This is, along with foreign policy and international geopolitics, is the issue that anarchists, libertarians, and anti-statists of all types should be focused on, rather than arcane economic theories or sectarian tribal/cultural rivalries.

By John W. Whitehead

Rutherford Institute

“Police are specialists in violence. They are armed, trained, and authorized to use force. With varying degrees of subtlety, this colors their every action. Like the possibility of arrest, the threat of violence is implicit in every police encounter. Violence, as well as the law, is what they represent.”—Kristian Williams, activist and author

If you don’t want to get probed, poked, pinched, tasered, tackled, searched, seized, stripped, manhandled, arrested, shot, or killed, don’t say, do or even suggest anything that even hints of noncompliance. This is the new “thin blue line” over which you must not cross in interactions with police if you want to walk away with your life and freedoms intact.

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Secession, Northern Leftists & Southern nationalists Reply

A very important piece illustrating how pan-secessionism is not just for leftists or rightists, but for everyone who genuinely opposes the system, or who simply wants self-determination for their own community or culture.

By Michael Cushman

Southern Nationalist Network

Red New England flag

Some Northern Leftists in the United States are willing to explore the idea of secession, as Robert Kuttner‘s latest article for the Huffington Post reminds readers. His title, ‘Free Scotland, Free New England!’ makes that point. Kuttner finds a sense of common cause with the Scottish secessionists who are now leading in the polls with less than two weeks to go until the independence referendum. Kuttner notes:

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“Taking the game away from the left” 4

I’m sure we’ll get honorable mention at this conference.

Nobody is taking the game away from the Left. Instead, the Left is giving the game away. The Left is now the center, and unfortunately some anarchists have failed to adapt to the 21st century. The would prefer to be dragged along by the reactionary Left. As Murray Rothbard pointed out, anarchism and libertarianism are historically to the left of socialism and Marxism. Some anarchists continue to function as an appendage of Marxism, and others among us are breaking new ground and sailing into uncharted territory.

Anarchist Dot News

On September 13th The TORCH antifascist network is holding their first annual conference in Chicago via south side Chicago ARA. This conference has 2 parts; a private portion for those within the TORCH network and a public portion open to all antifascists. The public day is going to be on September 13th and will consist of workshops/speakers followed by an antifascist show. We are inviting any and all antifascists to come out and network, see speakers, see bands, and grab literature. There will be also be tons of free antifascist merchandise (shirts, CD’s etc.) for those who come out. This will be a benefit for antifascist prisoners. Below is a detailed schedule with all the necessary info for our public day.

5pm – speakers/workshops- This portion of our public day will be donation based. No one turned away.

Speakers and their workshop descriptions:

*Matthew N Lyons
from the Three way fight blog
http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/

“Taking the game away from the left”

One of fascism’s most dangerous features is its ability to present itself as radical or even revolutionary. From Third Position anti-capitalism to Nazi ecology, from National-Anarchism to the slogan “Women’s Power as well as White Power,” far rightists have embraced many leftist ideas in distorted form. What are some leading examples of this dynamic today and where do they come from? To what extent is this empty posturing, and to what extent does it reflect real conflict between fascism and the established order? What kind of challenges does it pose for antifascist work?

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Philadelphia Is About To Be America’s Largest City To Decriminalize Marijuana Reply

This is an example of why I have suggested in past that anarchists, libertarians, and allied others attempt to gain political preeminence at the local and municipal level, even within the context of the overarching state system. This was a strategy pursued by the Spanish anarchists, and later suggested by Murray Bookchin as well.

Huffington Post

File photo.

Pretty soon, you won’t be considered a criminal for carrying around a little weed in Philadelphia.

Philly Mayor Michael Nutter confirmed Monday that he will sign a bill into law that will make his city the largest in America to decriminalize marijuana possession, Philly Mag reports. Essentially it softens the penalty for such an offense from possible jail time to a $25 fine.

Nutter wasn’t a fan of the bill in the past, but he told KYW Newsradio that he agreed to sign the bill — with a caveat — because he’s seen too many of his citizens slapped with charges for small amounts of pot.

“So I think the agreement ends up putting the city and our citizens in a much better place,” Nutter told CBS News, noting that signing the bill won’t be the same as condoning marijuana use.
 

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‘Legalize heroin & cocaine': World leaders call for end to War on Drugs Reply

Resistance is growing.

Russia Today

Reuters / Yannis Behrakis

Reuters / Yannis Behrakis

A panel of top global narcotics experts fronted by prominent public figures including Kofi Annan, Richard Branson and eight ex-national presidents, is strongly urging that drugs be a matter for health professionals, not the police, in a new report.

“Overwhelming evidence points to not just the failure of the drug control regime to attain its stated goals but also the horrific unintended consequences of punitive and prohibitionist laws and policies,” states the study, published by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) this week.

“A new and improved global drug control regime is needed that better protects the health and safety of individuals and communities around the world,”
the report says. “Harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies must be replaced by more humane and effective policies shaped by scientific evidence, public health principles and human rights standards.”

GCDP's view of the current drug control policies

GCDP’s view of the current drug control policies

 

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Is the Next Generation of Hispanic Voters Shifting Libertarian? Reply

This is interesting. Look for the GOP to attempt to co-opt this in the future by adopting something akin to a “Brown strategy” in the style of the “Southern strategy” they adopted during the Nixon era, and that sustained them until 2008. The GOP is already trying to co-opt libertarianism generally, and is also trying to bring economically and/or socially conservative minorities into their party, with a primary emphasis on Hispanics. In fact, this is also what the Left fears as far as a possible Republican resurgence is concerned.

As I have said previously, trends research indicates the Democrats and the center-left will be the dominant party for some time to come, and what will end that is when the Left’s constituent groups start to turn on each other. Hispanics are the major wild card given their rapidly growing population in the US. It could be that a large bloc Hispanics motivated by either libertarian or ethno-nationalist values, class conflict, or some combination of these, will break away from the center-left coalition and this will be what ends the hegemony of center-left progressive/reform liberalism.

The good news for pan-secessionists is that a growing minority population with strong libertarian, ethno-nationalist, or class conscious values will be antithetical to the interests of both the center-left’s objective of maintaining political hegemony, and the emphasis of “conservatives” on preserving the American empire.

The Blaze

Despite traditionally identifying with Democrats, Hispanics are calling themselves libertarian at just about the same rate as whites, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.

 

(AP Photo)

APThe number has sparked optimism from conservative and libertarian media outlets, which credit a younger generation in a demographic that’s been increasing steadily in the United States.

The Pew survey found that a total of 11 percent of Americans call themselves libertarian. Among whites, that increases to 12 percent, closely followed by Hispanics, 11 percent of whom said the term describes them. Just 3 percent of blacks said they were libertarians.

Townhall columnist Rachel Burger wrote that 65 percent of American Hispanics are between the ages of 22 and 35, the age group most likely to be libertarian.

“Since immigration from Mexico has all but reversed due to America’s poor economy, most of the Hispanic population growth in the U.S. comes from second- and third-wave Hispanic Americans,” Burger wrote. “In other words, millennial Hispanics, unlike their parents, grew up as native-born Americans.”

Further, younger Hispanics — as is the case with younger people in other demographics — are more likely to support legalizing marijuana and gay marriage.

Split along gender lines, American men are more than twice as likely as women to be libertarians at 15 percent to 7 percent.

College graduates are also more than twice as likely to be libertarians than people who only graduated from high school, 15 percent to 7 percent. A 2012 Pew survey found that Hispanics have the highest college enrollment of any minority group in the United States.

Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed to previous polling that found that Hispanic millennials are far more likely to identify themselves as political independents and slightly more likely to identify themselves as Republican than Hispanics who are 65 or older.

“None of this necessarily means millennial Hispanics are more likely to identify libertarian than older Hispanics,” she wrote. “While it certainly seems plausible that they’re driving the trend, there’s no hard evidence in either the Pew study or Burger’s piece to back this up. The Pew study did note that millennials in general were slightly more likely than older cohorts to identify as libertarian.”

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All We Need to Know About the 2-Party System 1

Dr. Strangelove meets the Dragon Lady.

Slate.Com

rtxz70u
Hillary and Henry.

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Hillary Clinton has written a review of Henry Kissinger’s new book World Order for the Washington Post; it’s mostly boilerplate, but there are a few interesting lines:

Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past, what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.

Clinton also approvingly quotes a passage in Kissinger’s book about “respecting national sovereignty” and “adopting participatory and democratic systems of governance.”

Biographer Walter Isaacson and former Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens are among those who have written that Kissinger leaked information about duly elected President Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam peace talks to presidential candidate Richard Nixon, who sabotaged the talks in an effort to improve his chances of winning the election. Kissinger is also infamous for advocating and planning the overthrow of democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende. There’s also the fact that the president with whom Kissinger worked most closely—Nixon—is the only president in the 238-year history of our country to have resigned in shame after being caught urinating on the Constitution. And Clinton wants us to know that this is someone whose conception of democracy she shares!

The System is the Enemy. Period. Reply

Good words from Navid Nasr:

“I see that a lot of people, a lot of activists are upset with the oh-so “progressive” Elizabeth Warren due to the fact that she finally said something about Palestine and Palestinians and that something turned out to be a reiteration of AIPAC talking points. They want to “hold her feet to the fire” or something so that *when* they vote for her they’ll be able to do so with something resembling a clear conscience. Yeah, good luck with that.

If Keith Ellison isn’t going to say anything about Palestine that differs markedly from the AIPAC line (although he *does* propagandize and fundraise for the Syrian “revolutionaries”) what makes anyone think that Warren will?

The people who are engaged in this kind of activism are either willfully, or actually, naive, or they’re deliberately misleading and misinforming their followers. In other words they’re either simpletons who believe in all the fairy tales the system disseminates about itself, or else they know better but they’ve decided to shut off their critical thinking faculties, or they’re practicising dissemblance.

There are certain things that are embedded within the very fabric of this system, and this is one of them. The only politicians or public figures who go public with a different point of view are the ones who are quickly relegated to the fringe nutjob category and are rendered “unelectable.”

It’s not about saying the right things to sway public opinion a by a few percentage points. This system has a “logic” all its own and imperialism and zionism are embedded deep in its very makeup. Holding any of these people’s “feet to the fire” is fantasy and delusion on a grand scale. You won’t succeed in appealing to the better angels of these soulless creatures.

The system goes, *they* go, zionism and imperialism goes.”

 

 

Organized Resistance, Not Suicide by Cop 1

Good words from former Black Panther Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin. There’s a great deal of very interesting information on this fellow’s Facebook page. This guy is a genuine veteran of the struggle against the system.

“Though many want to follow in the example of the original Black Panther Party and pick up the gun, do not forget that the BPP were a group of revolutionary community organizers, and even they expanded their politics after the first year to go beyond just being a mere self-defense organization, to becoming a revolutionary political front with a popular program. Especially understand that it is not the gun that is our most important and deadly weapon, it is the people, because it is the people who make the revolution, not small sects of armed individuals or gun clubs alone, important as they are to inspire the people and show our resolve.”

Points to Consider 7

One of our readers, “Julius Ebola,” offered these thoughts in a recent comments thread. I think these are points that are well worth considering. Thoughts on some of these ideas anyone?

“Sectarianism and opportunism are useful as general political concepts, and that seems to be how Rothbard understood them. This did not save the Libertarian party from becoming a textbook example of sectarianism, or the Cato institute from becoming a textbook example of opportunism, unfortunately.

Despite the widespread victory of at least some Libertarian ideas, the party remains completely hopeless as a political vehicle, and the idea of it ever coming into real power is absurd. In the popular mind it is synonymous with half-baked cranks, racist idiots, UFO believers, and conspiracy theorists. Not even Libertarians take it seriously.

Cato has more prestige and influence, but only so long as it focuses on Republican-friendly issues (mainly lower taxes for the ruling class, of course). At best it is a reformist organization that has safely nested itself within the ecosystem of think-tanks and special interest groups that lobby the state. Expecting anything revolutionary from it is just as absurd.

(Let us not forget how many Cato and Reason type “libertarians” supported the Bush administration and the war with Iraq, until it became unfashionable.)

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Koch Brothers Take On Camo-Wearing Cops Reply

It looks like some more “right-opportunism” is on the way. The upside is that this opens the door for those with more radical views to come in.

The Daily Beast

Democrats have long loathed the conservative billionaires, but they’re united on one topic, at least: militarized police. How the Kochs are working to prevent the next Ferguson.

The convergence of the progressive left and libertarian right over police demilitarization is yielding a liberal-tarian moment—and it’s brought to you by the Koch brothers.

Groups on the left have been among the loudest voices condemning police actions in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown this month. But the Koch brothers, boogeymen of national Democrats, have long funded libertarian groups that laid the intellectual groundwork for opposing police militarization, a phenomenon that now has been discussed and denounced much more widely.

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The Limitations of “System Libertarianism” 6

These two guys, who headed the Libertarian Party ticket in 2012, are perfect illustrations of what I call “system libertarians.” By “system libertarians,” I don’t mean “right-opportunists” who are simply trying to hijack libertarianism towards other ends like Rand Paul, Bob Barr, the Kochs, etc. By all accounts, these two are sincere libertarians so far as one can be within a pro-system framework. When Johnson was governor of New Mexico, he was a fairly outspoken and maverick critic of the war on drugs. I have no reason to doubt his sincerity, BUT he explicitly rejected the use of executive pardon to release drug war prisoners on grounds that doing so would be “un-democratic.” In other words, his libertarian values are subordinated to his democratist values.

Gray is a former prosecutor and judge who is also a maverick judicial critic of the war on drugs. Yet in his otherwise excellent book on the drug war, he strongly criticized the use of jury nullification to obstruct drug war prosecutions on the grounds that doing so would undermine the legal system and the “rule of law.” In other words, his legal positivist values take priority over his libertarian values.

I have nothing against these guys personally. They fill a necessary role. But they illustrate the difficulties associated with individuals who claim the mantle of “libertarian” without fully rejecting the system. This is one of the reasons why I have always preferred to call myself an “anarchist” rather than a “libertarian.” The label of “anarchist” is one that most people are uncomfortable adopting. But the importance of accepting this label is that it signifies one’s willingness to completely turn one’s back on the system, and adopt an explicitly revolutionary stance, which “system libertarians” won’t do.

By Alan Pyeatt

This past weekend, the Libertarian Party celebrated its 40th birthday by choosing its candidates for President and Vice President.   The Libertarians selected former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson for President, and retired judge James Gray of California for Vice President.   The convention was broadcast nationally on C-SPAN, and received coverage on National Public Radio.

What are these candidates like, and how do they compare to their opponents?

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Why taxation should be voluntary Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Random Meanderings

The Republicans and the Democrats disagree about the role that the government should play in providing social services. The former insist that it should be smaller and intervene less in the economy. In contradistinction, the latter maintain that the public interest would be better served by a higher degree of government involvement in our institutions.
The Republicans are more likely to excoriate politicians who pioneer inefficient government programs than the Democrats, but they stop far short from conceding that all forms of taxation constitute theft.
Even the most intransigent conservatives will staunchly assert that taxation for some government services is legitimate. Who could argue that the government perpetrates theft by taxing all citizens to build schools, roads and police departments?
The problem with this rationale is it involves an element of coercion that could be construed as a violation of individual rights. This engenders a peculiar asymmetry in our moral outlook that creates a double-standard. Both orthodox schools of political thought prohibit individuals from coercing each other in such a manner but allow the government to do so.

Suppose you’re back in school and I discover that you have several college papers to write. When I solicit you offering my services, you promptly turn me down because you do not need my help. Instead of respecting your wishes, I employ hackers to gain access to all of your virtual accounts and complete several assignments for you. In return, I’ll withdraw twice as much money from your bank account as was necessary to cover the market fee for the service I’ve rendered. Since I now know that I will always have you as a client, I’ll have no incentive to meet your deadlines or make an honest effort to fully maximize the quality of my work. In this case, you would be justifiably aggrieved, yet this still seems insufficient to show that the government is culpable of the same moral transgression.

Prima facie, it appears that I am making a category mistake. It is clear that you never authorized me to render a service to you, but all citizens entered an implicit social contract with the government that grants them such an authorization. That’s quite a questionable counter-argument because most citizens do not understand what the contract is about and certainly did not consciously acquiesce to it.
In effect, the argument you would be espousing is an off-shoot of Rousseau’s General Will that can be summarized as follows. The government should provide the public not with the services they vocally demand but with those that reflect their true general will. In other words, the government should analyze the cultural values, attitudes and the general ethos of the nation’s collective consciousness in order to determine what their unspoken “General Will” is. History is replete with examples of how such political philosophy gave rise to totalitarianism on the left and the right and there is no need for me to go into them here.
 

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A Short Primer on US Party Politics of the Past 25 Years Reply

I agree with the analysis in this piece by Robert Lindsay if we stick to defining the Left as “advocating state intervention in the economy on behalf of objectives sought by reform liberals, progressives, and socialists.” Over the past thirty years, US economic policy has mostly been about dismantling the New Deal/Vital Center compact in favor of neoliberalism, and the resulting growth of class divisions and poverty. I would agree that the Democratic Party is a center-right neoliberal party on economic questions.

But if we define “conservatism” in the popular American sense of “limited government,” then government has continued to grow even in the face of neoliberal hegemony, although I would attribute this to the perpetual expansion of the military-industrial complex, bureaucratic profligacy, and fiscal hemorrhaging generally rather than “socialism” (as “conservatives” claim).

Also, I’d really have to disagree that the reactionary-populist, “movement conservative” Republican “base” represents either the mainstream society or the political establishment. It’s true that this sector of the Right has gotten more militant and adopted ever more shrill rhetoric over the years, but this is largely due to its desperation driven by its ongoing marginalization and dwindling numbers. It represents a perspective that was arguably mainstream forty years ago, and now seems extremist only because the wider society has moved so far leftward (in a cultural sense) in the meantime. For instance, same-sex marriage would have been considered a fringe issue only a decade ago, but it’s now well on its way to becoming normalized.

What we have is a situation where U.S. politics has moved towards ever greater corporatism, militarism, and statism for decades, even as the culture itself has made a dramatic leftward shift. Much of the responsibility for this can be laid at the feet of the Left who somewhere along the line decided that class-based, anti-imperialist, or civil libertarian politics was no longer worth the bother or at least needed to take a backseat to cultural extremism to the point that transexuality is rapidly becoming the Left’s flagship issue.

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Growing National Unrest Has Many Worried, Even Capitalists 1

A principal difficulty with the Randian “let them eat cake” model of libertarianism is that extreme inequality of wealth, whatever one thinks of it from the perspective of “social justice,” normally produces abhorrent political outcomes. It invites either the ascension of the demagogue promising to uplift the poor, or the rule of the elite through sheer brute force and repression. Historically, anarchists have debating the relative merits of laissez-faire and individualism versus non-state socialism and anarcho-communism, and that debate should continue, but the plutocratic apology that mainstream libertarianism often falls into is a non-starter.

By Jeffrey Cavanaugh

Mint Press News

Police Shooting Missouri

A few days before the dramatic events in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrated so dramatically what decades of institutionalized inequality can do to a population, the economists at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Servicesissued a report highlighting the dangers growing inequality holds for America’s long-term economic growth.

More a research note summarizing findings on the topic than the presentation of new scholarship, the economists working for one of the premier institutions of American financial capitalism undoubtedly state that inequality is a clear and present danger to both the health of American society and the U.S. economy.

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