Understanding Trumpist Foreign Policy Reply

The statement below from a social media post illustrates a problem that many people have when it comes to understanding the Trump regime’s approach to foreign policy.

I wonder if Greenwald and the rest of the “Trump’s not as bad” galaxy brains remember his “fire and fury” nuclear dick-waving with Kim Jong-un, or what happened with Iran in January of this year.
Trump’s probably not as likely as a Democrat is to get into a calculated and premeditated war with Iran, based on what the liberal wonks and beard-strokers at Center for American Progress call “American interests.” But he’s a LOT more likely to incinerate Iran or Venezuela without warning because he woke up with a bug up his ass, or he wants to get his base worked up.
Trump’s fans regard him as a closet non-interventionist who is unfortunately being held back by the “deep state,” and his critics think he’s a fascist madman who is fortunately being held back by the deep state.

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Dear Orange Man Bad: An Open Letter From the Enemy of Your Enemy Reply

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Well, winter is coming with a vengeance and I’m guessing that you’re feeling pretty bummed. I’ve noticed the dayglo orange has drained from your cheeks and your once histrionic tirades have taken on all the petty melodrama of a garden variety adolescent hissy fit. And who could blame you? After months of some of the finest race baiting since Willie Horton danced with the devil in the pale moonlight, after what felt like years of a vast Soros funded conspiracy of Black lesbian Bolsheviks and fire breathing Mau Mau flag desecrators coming to put their filthy Marxist fingers all over a daughter near you, even the excitable suburban soccer moms have agreed that they’d rather spend the next four years with a disintegrating fossil like Biden than the next four minutes with you. Tough blow motherfucker! And usually that would be all I have left to say to a glorified chatroom troll getting his comeuppance but, believe it or not, the two of us have something in common and I think it might just be something worth looking into.

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Oligarchic Imperialism Is The New Dominant World Religion Reply

A fantastic piece from Caitlin.

By Caitlin Johnstone

I was just watching a gaggle of blue-checkmarked narrative managers attack progressive commentators Katie Halper and Briahna Joy Gray on Twitter for platforming antiwar journalist Rania Khalek on the grounds that Khalek is an “Assadist”, which is imperialist for “someone who opposes western imperialism in Syria”.

At no point do any of these narrative managers bother to address the actual things these women were discussing together or why anything Khalek was saying in their video conference was wrong. They do not feel the need to do such a thing, because they have this label, “Assadist”, which they can pin on one of the speakers and thereby reject one hundred percent of her work and one hundred percent of the people who give her a platform from which to speak. They feel no need to address the arguments, because they have a label which they all agree means they can completely un-person someone who opposes western regime change agendas in a specific region.

There are many such labels that are used to exclude people from positions of influence and power for simply disagreeing with the official doctrine of status quo oligarchic imperialism in any way. “Assadist” is one of them; it allows someone to be completely marginalized from platforms of significant influence without anyone ever needing to admit that they’re simply depriving anyone of a platform who criticized the way the US power alliance used proxy armies and propaganda campaigns in a campaign to topple Damascus. “Kremlin asset” is another, as are “conspiracy theorist”, “tankie”, or “[insert imperialism-targeted leader] apologist”.

In reality, these labels are interchangeable with the word “heretic”. They mean “Someone who disagrees with the mainstream consensus religion of oligarchic imperialism”.

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Operational Anarchism? Reply

My general approach to politics is modeled on what Lawrence Dennis called “operational thinking” which essentially means an empirical, evidence-based approach as opposed to an approach driven by pre-conceived ideological presumptions that require bending the corners of reality into some kind of ideological box. I try to approach political analysis the same way I would approach being a sportscaster (“this is what is actually happening”). When discussing different political groups, I am unusually writing as an ethnographer (“this is what they are”) rather than as an advocate, although I certainly ridicule their illness in many instances (the same way I might ridicule snake handlers if I were writing about religion rather than politics). When it comes to possible future outcomes, I generally prefer a predictive rather than prescriptive approach (“this is what is likely to happen” rather than “this is what I want to happen” or “this is what some ideological principle says should happen”).

As to how this relates to my anarchist viewpoint, I generally agree with the evidence-based examination of the origins of the state and critique of concentrated power developed by a wide range of anarchist, libertarian, decentralist, classical liberal, and even some socialist or conservative scholars. James Scott’s work in anthropology is currently the state of the field on these questions, IMO. I generally agree with the narrative concerning the history of anti-authoritarian thought outlined by Peter Marshall (although I could expand upon Marshall and offer additional branches or depth to this trajectory).

The concept of pan-secession is based on an effort to answer the question of “If you really want to abolish the state, centralize power, overreaching hierarchy or authority, etc., what is the most viable route that is likely to yield at least some degree of probable success?’  The concept of pan-anarchism (anarcho-pluralism, anarcho-ecumenicalism, etc) is based on an effort to answer the question of “If all governments everywhere in the world stepped aside and told the people they were on their own, what would happen?” with the outcome containing the greatest amount of combined probability and optimality being a world of a million Lichtensteins reflecting an infinite array of microcultures, some of which might not even look like the same species when compared with others.

Colorado County Refuses to Enforce Lockdowns as Civil Disobedience Spreads Across America Reply

“Pan-secessionism” seems to be increasingly common in practice. Examples include 2nd Amendment counties, sanctuary cities, autonomous zones, federal drug law nullification, refusal of lockdown orders, etc. As well as other forms of more serious “direct action” like torching enemy military outposts and star chambers, or looting corporate feudal plantations.

I could conceive of some kind of public health emergency where dramatic quarantine measures or some other far-reaching response would be justifiable based on a pragmatic assessment of the circumstances. I approved of Obama’s banning flights from African countries where the Ebola outbreak occurred in 2014. Ditto Trump’s ban on flights from China. Shutting down or restricting transportation systems with lots of people packed together during a pandemic might be justifiable, or large gatherings like stadiums. But generally speaking, I think people should individually look out for their own health, and groups should practice freedom of association. For example, if a restaurant wants to require masks or take peoples’ temperatures before they enter, fine. If people don’t want to wear a mask or have their temperature taken, they can go elsewhere. And other folks can also refuse to patronize businesses that don’t implement health guidelines.

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Penguin Random House staffers broke down in tears over release of Jordan Peterson book Reply

Those who make the cliched claim that “all human life has value” obviously never met these folks. And I’m no fan of Jordan Peterson whatsoever.

Review: Setting Sights Reply

It’s rather amusing that Carson can’t even write a review of a left-wing pro-gun rights book without turning half the article into a culture war broadside. Although this sounds like a very good book.
By Kevin Carson, Center for a Stateless Society
Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self-Defense. Edited by Scott Crow, with Foreword by Ward Churchill (Oakland: PM Press, 2018).

I often have difficulty expressing an opinion on the gun rights movement, because my views are so ambivalent.

Principled arguments for gun rights based on resistance to unjust authority resonate strongly with me. I’m very aware of the historic association of limitations on gun ownership with issues of social control of the working class, going back to the Game Laws in Britain, to racial policing in the American South under slavery and Jim Crow to the present, and the role of armed worker self-defense in a host of confrontations with cops, soldiers, and Pinkertons. I acknowledge the role that armed self-defense has played in situations ranging from the workers’ militias that thwarted Franco’s July 19 coup in half of Spain, to Robert William’s defense of the NAACP in Monroe, NC, to the Pink Pistols today.

Unfortunately, such cases are almost totally obscured in mainstream U.S. culture. The groups that scream the loudest about government tyranny are, objectively, the most privileged, and have the least reason to complain.  They are, overwhelmingly, white dudes who think they’re being “oppressed” because they have to see women in hijabs, people of the same sex holding hands, people speaking Spanish, etc., in public places, and aren’t allowed to kill them. Hence the politics of “Take America Back.”

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This is my message to the Western world – your civilisation is killing life on Earth Reply

Nemonte Nenquimo, The Guardian

Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo shows evidence of crude oil contamination in the northern Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest.

Dear presidents of the nine Amazonian countries and to all world leaders that share responsibility for the plundering of our rainforest.

My name is Nemonte Nenquimo. I am a Waorani woman, a mother, and a leader of my people. The Amazon rainforest is my home. I am writing you this letter because the fires are raging still. Because the corporations are spilling oil in our rivers. Because the miners are stealing gold (as they have been for 500 years), and leaving behind open pits and toxins. Because the land grabbers are cutting down primary forest so that the cattle can graze, plantations can be grown and the white man can eat. Because our elders are dying from coronavirus, while you are planning your next moves to cut up our lands to stimulate an economy that has never benefited us. Because, as Indigenous peoples, we are fighting to protect what we love – our way of life, our rivers, the animals, our forests, life on Earth – and it’s time that you listened to us.

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The ‘two-spirit’ people of indigenous North Americans Reply

By Walter L. Williams, The Guardian

Native Americans have often held intersex, androgynous people, feminine males and masculine females in high respect. The most common term to define such persons today is to refer to them as “two-spirit” people, but in the past feminine males were sometimes referred to as “berdache” by early French explorers in North America, who adapted a Persian word “bardaj”, meaning an intimate male friend. Because these androgynous males were commonly married to a masculine man, or had sex with men, and the masculine females had feminine women as wives, the term berdache had a clear homosexual connotation. Both the Spanish settlers in Latin America and the English colonists in North America condemned them as “sodomites”.

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Conservative Cancel Culture Reply

Leftists: “Conservatives have their cancel culture, too!” Palecons: “We know.”

Areo

It’s been said that when Germany invaded Russia in June 1941, the Soviet military elite had been so hollowed out by Stalin’s purges that the Red Army had trouble mounting an initial counter-offensive. According to a new book, a similar thing has happened to the American conservative movement.

The Vanishing Tradition: Perspectives on American Conservatism is an anthology of essays curated by Paul E. Gottfried, one of America’s longest standing conservative critics of the right-wing establishment. Several of the essays call out the Beltway right for what the writers see as the blatant hypocrisy of their criticism of left-wing cancel culture. Cancel culture, the essayists contend, is at least as prevalent on the right and, more importantly, probably had a serious impact on conservatism’s ability to effectively oppose the left—so serious, perhaps, that it can even be blamed for many of the woke excesses of today.

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Postmodernism Debate: Russell v. Rectenwald Reply

As much lambasting as both the Frankfurt School and postmodernism get for supposedly having created “cultural Marxism,” both schools of thought are actually quite interesting. The Frankfurt School’s critique of scientism and the culture industry is essential to understanding modern societies, particularly the fusion of capitalism and totalitarian humanism.  Foucault is essential for understanding the modern therapeutic-carceral state (along with Thomas Szasz, a classical liberal). Listen to Tom Woods host the debate here.

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Two academics known for their positions on postmodernism, Thaddeus Russell and Michael Rectenwald, join me to hash it out.

David Stockman vs. Walter Block on Libertarian Electoral Strategy Reply

I’m not convinced there needs to be a “libertarian electoral strategy.” I generally support third parties, from libertarians to greens to communists to transhumanists, as chaos agents but that’s the only real value I see in them.

Listen to Tom Woods host the debate here.

David Stockman, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan, strongly opposed the re-election of Donald Trump — not on NeverTrump grounds, but because Stockman favors sound money and fiscal rectitude. Walter Block, probably the most prolific academic libertarian in the world, thinks Trump needs to be compared to the likely alternative. Today they hash it out.

A Question for the Left-Libertarians Reply

A reader writes:

I wonder if Chomsky, Carson, and Gillis would approve of the Waco assault by federal government forces? The ATF was probably doing it for “women’s rights” or “to get the kids in public education.” After all, they are probably on the pipeline to becoming fashes anyway so get it done early with a preemptive strike.

I have to wonder about this myself. Chomsky probably influenced my thinking on international relations more than anyone else. Carson probably influenced my thinking on economics more than anyone else. And whatever I think of Gillis personally (i.e. that he’s a retarded goofball), Center for a Stateless Society is actually a great resource. But still, I have to wonder…

The FBI Agent Who Can't Stop Thinking About Waco – Texas Monthly

Survivors of 1993 Waco siege describe what happened in fire that ended the  51-day standoff - ABC News

Portland mayor says homeless camp sweeps are a ‘humane response,’ key to his strategy Reply

Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area epitomize nascent totalitarian humanism (“socially liberal, economically feudal”).

City contractors on Tuesday removed the final remnants of a sprawling encampment along the outskirts of Laurelhurst Park, where about 100 people lived for months among a cluster of tents and other makeshift dwellings that had incensed some nearby residents.

Mayor Ted Wheeler touted the sweep through the wealthy Southeast Portland neighborhood as a model he aims to replicate across the city, despite Oregon’s current record-breaking coronavirus surge and large protests organized against the practice.

“Right now, we have to address the reality that we have hundreds, if not thousands, of tents choking virtually every public space in this city and that does not comport with the public’s expectations of what a humane response should be,” Wheeler said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.

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Kin, Tribes, and the Dark Side of Identity Reply

By Robert Lynch, Quillette

“Much of the glue holding modern societies together is alarmingly fragile, and triggers like September 11th can shatter this facade with devastating consequences that we are only just beginning to understand. As the evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson wrote in his 2012 book The Social Conquest of Earth, “We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.” Although kin psychology lies at the foundation of genetic ingroups, humans form factions around anything and simply being a member of a group is usually enough. This is called the “minimal group paradigm” and it is one of the most well-established findings in social psychology—research has shown that even beliefs about whether hotdogs are sandwiches can generate discrimination. Our instinct to assemble and join groups is so ancient and powerful that it is unlikely we will ever arrest it, and despite the more sinister ramifications that result from forming coalitions, we probably wouldn’t want to even if we could.”

“We should poison their water holes!” This was the first thing my father said when I called him after planes hit the World Trade Center where I worked. My dad was a 1960s cultural liberal and pacifist, who had opposed every war our country had fought. The moment he felt that my life was in danger, however, he discarded these superficial notions and embraced a much deeper and far more savage psychology forged by natural selection that governs how we think and feel about our relatives.

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A History of Fascism, 1914–1945 Reply

Given that virtually everything is labeled as “fascism” nowadays (echoing tendencies from the past), self-education on what fascism actually was might be helpful. Stanley Payne’s work on the history of fascism is some of the best there is. The Wikipedia entry on Payne summarizes some of his basic views.  The key feature of fascism that separates it from other forms of “right-wing authoritarianism” is that it is a revolutionary, anti-bourgeois, anti-capitalist outlook from the far-right. There is literally nothing resembling fascism that has any influence whatsoever in the Western world today. The one exception might be Greece’s Golden Dawn, which the Greek state considers to be the equivalent of the mafia.

The US Republicans are not fascists but mega-capitalists as is Donald Trump. The authoritarian danger in today’s world comes from global technocratic mega-capitalism from the “right” (which is not fascism) and totalitarian humanism from the “left” (which is not socialism or communism). The main danger from more traditional forms of authoritarianism comes from Islamism, which has been made possible by imperialism and regimes within the infrastructure of imperialism.

A History of Fascism, 1914–1945: Payne, Stanley G.: 9780299148744:  Amazon.com: Books

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Counterpower, Participatory Democracy, Revolutionary Defence” (anarchism, Marxism) Reply

By Lucien van der Walt

This article responds to criticisms of the broad anarchist tradition in International Socialism, an International Socialist Tendency (IST) journal. I will discuss topics such as the use of sources, defending revolutions and freedom, the Spanish anarchists, anarchism and democracy, the historical role of Marxism, and the Russian Revolution. The articles I am engaging with are marked by commendable goodwill; I strive for the same. Paul Blackledge’s article rejects “caricatured non-debate”. Ian Birchall stresses that “lines between anarchism and Marxism are often blurred”. Leo Zeilig praises Michael Schmidt’sand my book, Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, as “a fascinating account”.
It is important to note where we converge. The IST states it is for socialism from below through revolution. If Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky are invoked here, it is because the “essence” of their works is taken to be“working-class self-emancipation”. The term “dictatorship of the proletariat”, Leo insists, means merely “the democratic defense of working-class power” through “organs of self-organization; councils, trade unions, communes, etc”.

From Racist, to Police. The Unrealized War on Free Speech Reply

By Anthony Bernabei, Vanguard Sentinel

I once had a conversation with a young woman who said: ” The Constitution and it’s rights only apply to Americans”. This disregardful claim not only damages the perceived integrity of natural rights, which all men are born with, but displays a misunderstanding about how freedom is viewed in the eyes of the modern-free man.

The Declaration of Independence states clearly that, ” …all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”, and so when people believe that “rights” are simply a permission granted to them by their government, they have no anger or distaste in their souls when their rights are trampled on as well. The most dangerous thing about this defeatist belief is that if you think your rights were given to you, you’ll also believe they are so ambiguous that they can be taken away. They cannot by definition. So I will continue this article with a comprehensive and basic understanding of where your rights “come from” or originate from in this matter.

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