Updated News Digest June 28, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“A century ago, anarchism was a major force within the European revolutionary movement, and the name of Michael Bakunin, its foremost champion and prophet, was as well-known among the workers and radical intellectuals of Europe as that of Karl Marx.”

                                                                           -Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits

Down With the Therapeutic Left and Managerial Right by Mark Wegierski

Obama’s Denial of Reality by Lew Rockwell

Not So Huddled Masses: Multiculturalism and Foreign Policy by Scott McDonnell

The Origins of Fascism by Charles A. Burris

Stay Out of Iran! by Jack Hunter

Gun Control: What’s the Real Agenda? by Paul Craig Roberts

Obama and the Torturers by James Bovard

Mainstreaming Censorship by Harrison Bergeron 2

Ignorance is Strength by Paul Craig Roberts

Free Leonard Peltier by Michael Gaddy

The Four Stages of Revolution, Part One by Bay Area National Anarchists

Neither the U.S. Nor Israel is a Genuine “Party to Peace” by Noam Chomsky

Was 50 Million Deaths Really Necessary? by Anthony Gregory

Is Realism Better Than Idealism? byIvan Eland

Do Iranians Deserve Progressive and Liberal Sympathy? by Mupetblast

Iran: It’s All About US, Or Is It? by Justin Raimondo

Popular Support for Israel Eroding Ira Chernus interviewed by Scott Horton

Ten Days That Shook Iran by Pat Buchanan

Loose Ends by Justin Raimondo

Iran’s Green Revolution: Made in America? by Justin Raimondo

Seeing Through All the Propaganda About Iran by Eric Margolis

Iran Falling to U.S. PSYOPS? by Paul Craig Roberts

Better Load Your .44, This is Civil War by TGGP

The War at Home, Up Close by Kevin Annett

Belief in Government Means Ignoring the Evidence from No Third Solution

Noam Chomsky vs Michel Foucault (thanks, Francois!)

Conceptualizing Political Economy on the Humane Scale by Cato the Younger

What Actually Happened in the Iranian Elections? by Esam Al-Amin

 Stay Out of Iran’s Evolutionary Process by Philip Giraldi

Generation Gap by Steve Sailer

Obama’s Undeclared War Against Pakistan by Jeremy Scahill

The “Neda” Video and the Truth-Revealing Power of Images by Glenn Greenwald

What Iran Means by Stephen Walt

Dumbest Idea on the Planet by Jeff Huber

Intifada in Iran by Robert Fisk

PIG Kills Man at Stoplight by William Norman Grigg

California Is America’s Future by Pat Buchanan

San Diego Jury: PIGS Are Above the Law (of course!) by William Norman Grigg

Michelle Braun and Her Plea Bargain by Tim Worstall

When the Jackbooted Ones Strike… by William Norman Grigg

The Myth of Our Regeneration by Michael O’Meara

The U.S. Government is Evil by Francois Tremblay

Turkish Sex Workers Look to Form Union 

What the Big Banks Have Won by Mike Whitney

Arrest of Gang Intervention Leader Raises Concerns 

Building Fascism by Lew Rockwell

The Government Owns Your Body from theConverted

Parents of Unruly Students to be Jailed 

Debtors’ Prisons Are Making a Comeback by Francois Tremblay

Sicko by Ilana Mercer

Interview with Anarchist People of Color founder Ashanti Alston by Jose Antonio Gutierrez

The Hate Crimes Bill: How Not to Remember Matthew Shepard by Alexander Cockburn

Secession: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Conservative State Worship 8

No matter how pissed off I get at liberals and leftists (a very frequent occurrence, I assure you), I have never been able to bring myself to start calling myself a “conservative.” Some of this is no doubt a reflexive reaction to being raised among right-wing Know-Nothings. But just when I am sometimes starting to think that philosophical conservatives are the ones who really have their act together, I come across something like this post from conservative Catholic philosopher Edward Feser.

Feser was once associated with libertarianism, at least on the periphery, and is now some kind of ultra-reactionary Catholic traditionalist. Predictably, he takes a position on abortion that equates abortion doctors with serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer. I’ve known a number of other people who took such positions (mostly Christian fundamentalists of one type or another), and I really don’t find such views to be interesting enough to bother discussing them. Suffice to say that in an anarchic social order different kinds of communities would likely have different rules and standards concerning enormously controversial issues like abortion. As for my own preference, I’m for legal abortion, at least in the early stages of pregnancy. I’m probably for the legality of late-term abortion also, though I am less sure of this position and would be more accepting of compromise on the question. I don’t know that I really approve of peripheral regulations on abortion either, like parental consent and waiting periods. So, obviously, I’m in the “liberal” camp on this question. But what I find interesting about Feser’s post are comments like this:

On November 28, 1994, notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was murdered in prison by a fellow inmate. Unspeakably heinous though Dahmer’s crimes were, his murder can only be condemned. To be sure, by committing his crimes, Dahmer had forfeited his right to life. By no means can it be said that the injustice he suffered was as grave as what he inflicted upon his victims. But the state alone had the moral authority to execute him, and no private individual can usurp that authority. Vigilantism is itself a grave offense against the moral and social order, and Dahmer’s murderer merited severe punishment.
The recent murder of another notorious serial killer – the late-term abortionist George Tiller – is in most morally relevant respects parallel to the Dahmer case. It is true that Tiller, unlike Dahmer, was not punished by our legal system for his crimes; indeed, most of those crimes, though clearly against the natural moral law, are not against the positive law of either the state or the country in which Tiller resided. That is testimony only to the extreme depravity of contemporary American society, and does not excuse Tiller one iota. Still, as in the Dahmer case, no private citizen has the right to take justice into his own hands, and Tiller’s murderer ought to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
 
One can understand how someone can criticize the killing of Jeffrey Dahmer by another prison inmate. Dahmer had already been arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. But by the logic of Feser, Dr. George Tiller was a serial killer who was even more evil than Dahmer himself, a mass murderer of innocent children, and the state and the law were allowing him to commit his crimes. Let’s think about this for a minute: Suppose the Manson Family started a political lobby, and through the usual process of procuring legislative favors, pushed Congress or the states to enact a law exempting the Manson Family from the laws against mass murder. The Mansonites begin using their new-found freedom to kill other people with legal immunity. So some sensible person or group of persons grab their Glocks and start picking off the Mansonites one by one. Who would criticize them? Not me. I might even join in. At the very least, if the state subsequently arrested the anti-Mansonites for taking out the Mansonites, I might lead civil disobedience at the court house where the anti-Mansonites were being tried for “murder.”

So what’s Feser’s problem? If he really thinks abortion is the mass murder of innocent children that a corrupt state allows to legally take place, then why does he not praise the heroism of someone who places himself in grave danger in order to eliminate the killer and prevent him from killing more children in the future? Would Feser object to the killing of a wild animal that repeatedly attacked and killed human beings but could not be killed legally because of “animal rights” laws? Maybe, but I’d be surprised if he did.

Frequently, I have heard hard-core pro-lifers refer to abortionists as serial killers but then object to those who assassinate an abortion doctor. I suspect there are two reasons for this. One, whatever they think they believe outwardly, they really do not believe inwardly that abortion is the equivalent of mass murder. This is reflected in the fact that many pro-lifers do not believe there should be criminal penalties for women who obtain illegal abortions, only for the doctor. But whoever heard of the idea that being an accomplice to the murder of a child is not a crime? This perspective makes no sense at all. Many cult members and adherents of fanatical religions will betray their supposed beliefs in private moments and unguarded moments, often without the realization that they are doing so. In their heart of hearts, they really don’t believe in all the bullshit they claim to believe in.

But there’s another issue involved here as well, and that’s the state worship found among many conservatives. While many other conservatives are anti-statists with varying degrees of consistency or sincerity, “moralist” conservatives often express views not unlike Feser’s. Let’s look at Feser’s words once again. This is the key passage:

“But the state alone had the moral authority to execute him, and no private individual can usurp that authority. Vigilantism is itself a grave offense against the moral and social order, and Dahmer’s murderer merited severe punishment.”

And this:

“Still, as in the Dahmer case, no private citizen has the right to take justice into his own hands, and Tiller’s murderer ought to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

What the hell is this crap about “the moral authority” of the state? What’s so special about the state? Would this be the same institution that killed two hundred million subjects during the 20th century alone? And how exactly is “vigilantism” such a “grave offense against the moral and social order”? The arguments against vigilantism are these:

1) Protection of the innocent. The accused should not be subject to the arbitrary accusations and retaliation of others. Instead, there needs to be a process of determining innocence or guilt according to objectives rules of evidence judged by neutral third parties.

2) Proportionality. One should not be able to arbitrarily execute someone they feel has wronged them. Instead, the punishment should “fit the crime” and be imposed by a neutral third party.

3) Civil order. If everyone “took the law into his own hands,” would this not lead to a breakdown of civil society and the emergence of a free-for-all?

These arguments might make sense in a functional society with a functional legal system, even one that performs erratically much of the time. But that would not seem to apply in a society that has formally legalized mass murder, which is what Feser thinks America has done with legalized abortion. Would a sensible person condemn Cambodian persons who armed themselves circa 1976 and starting taking out Khmer Rouge operatives? A Russian circa 1935 who did the same to Stalinist agents? A German who engaged in such actions against Gestapo agents in 1943? Of course not.

Aside from the fact that Feser does not really believe in his Catholic fundamentalist anti-abortion ideology beyond the surface, conscious level, he also exhibits the emotional and intellectual cowardice that comes with an inability to reject the state. If Feser had been born in North Korea, he would have been one of the North Korean soldiers I saw in television footage after Kim Il-Sung’s death hugging a statue of the Great Leader and weeping: “He took care of me since I was a baby!”

I’ve undergone de-conversion from three cults in my own lifetime: Christianity, statism, and egalitarianism. So maybe there’s still hope for Edward Feser. This brings me to another issue. The owner of the “Debunking Christianity” blog, John W. Loftus, has called for Feser to be fired from his teaching post at a community college because of his statements comparing the assassinated abortion doctor to Jeffrey Dahmer. Says Loftus:

“We’ve heard about the murder of George Tiller, an abortionist doctor. But did you know that in this blog post Edward Feser compares Tiller to Jeffrey Dahmer who killed, dismembered and ate 17 men and boys. Feser claims that “Tiller was almost certainly a more evil man than Dahmer was.” No wonder I won’t bother reading his book length diatribe against the new atheists, “The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.””

Feser teaches for Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California which is a community college. I call upon that college to fire him for this highly inflamed rhetoric which will probably bring on more murders of abortion doctors. And I ask others to do likewise. No professor should use such inflammatory rhetoric or be so ignorant about some crucial distinctions.

 Umm, excuse me, but didn’t Feser condemn the shooting of the abortion doctor and say the perpetrator should be “punished to the full extent of the law”? So it’s not like Feser is advocating the actual killing of abortion doctors. In fact, he’s criticizing such actions. What does Loftus expect? That no professor should ever express moral revulsion concerning abortion or those who practice it, even if they don’t engage in or advocate violence in retaliation against abortionists? That no one should ever insult abortion doctors? Sounds a little wacky to me.

This is the deal. Loftus is a former fundamentalist Christian apologist and pastor who converted to atheism. His writings on atheism and debunking Christianity are some of the best on these topics around. But Loftus seems to have fallen into the trap of many former religious people who replace one form of moralistic zealotry with another. Loftus say he used to lead boycotts against video stores that sold adult videos during his time as a Christian. Now he wants to lead crusades against un-PC college professors. I for one would like to see more un-PC college professors, given left-liberal dominance in much of academia.

I’ve been there. Over twenty years ago, I used to do presentations for high school and college students on the dangers of “racism and fascism” using materials from groups like the $PLC and the Berletoids (I know, I know, but forgive me for I knew not what I was doing). I used to belong to all of the official anti-Christian sects like People for the American Way until I realized that liberals are just as authoritarian and moralistic as any of their religious counterparts. I learned better as I went along. Eventually, I realized that values are simply the subjective emotions and opinions of individuals, and that life is simply a brute struggle of each against all for survival of the fittest. The only thing that matters is how one chooses to wage the war of life. What a liberating realization! May others come to such enlightenment as well.

Program for a fictional ARV-ATS Scholars Conference 5

Recently at the No Treason site, Josh Rhodes made the following point concerning the recent rhetorical warfare between myself and some in the “left-libertarian” community:

As someone who has read quite a bit of Keith’s work and corresponded with him extensively, I can assure you that he is not by any stretch of the imagination some kind of queer-bashing neo-nazi. That many people consider him to be so is more indicative of the sorry intellectual state of much of contemporary anarchism and libertarianism than anything Keith’s actually written.

Reflecting a bit on Josh’s observations about “the sorry intellectual state of much of contemporary anarchism and libertarianism” and watching the video records of the latest conference of the Property and Freedom Society, I came up the with this fictional program for what an American Revolutionary Vanguard-Attack the System conference of scholars and activists might look like. Just for the purpose of amusement , here ’tis:

Day One: The Incorrigible Nature of the State

9 am-‘The Advancement of the Anarchist Struggle in the Twenty-First Century“-Welcome by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Political Theory of Anarchism” –Dr. April Carter lectures on traditional anarchism

10:30 am-“The State as Augustine’s Robber Band Writ Large” -an Augustinian monk and scholar presents Saint Augustine’s views on the State

11:15 am-“The Rothbardian View of the State“-the thought of Rothbard described by Justin Raimondo

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Historical Overview of the Classical Anarchist Movement“-Phd student presents his scholarly research

1:45 pm-“The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War“-94 yr old Spanish Civil War veteran relates his experiences

2:30 pm-“Comparison and Contrast of Classical Liberalism, Classical Anarchism and Modern Libertarianism“-political scientist and professor of political philosophy expounds on these systems of thought and their relationship

3:15 pm-“The Virtue of Human Scale Institutions“-by Dr. Kirkpatrick Sale

4:00 pm-“The Case for National-Anarchism“-by Troy Southgate

Break

7 pm-viewing of rare newsreel footage of classical anarchist figures

7:30 pm-“The Rise and Decline of the State“-evening dinner lecture by Professor Martin Van Creveld

Day Two: The Economics of Anarchism and Anti-Statism

9 am-“The Contending Schools of Libertarian Economic Thought“-by Keith Preston

9:45-“Libertarian and Marxist Theories of the Ruling Class Compared“-by Dr. Sean Gabb

10:30 am-“Reconciling Property Rights with Collective Bargaining Rights“-a joint presentation by an anarcho-syndicalist and anarcho-capitalist

11:15 am-“The Case for Geoanarchism” by Dr. Fred Foldvary

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Statement to the Convention by Kevin Carson“-read by Keith Preston

1:30 pm-“The Legitimate Foundations of Ownership Rights“-panel discussion featuring a Lockean, mutualist, syndicalist, distributist, Georgist and anarcho-communist, with questions from the audience

2 pm-“Cooperative Economics in Action“-lecture by a member of the Mondragon Cooperative Federation

2:30 pm-“Anarchic Socialism or Cutting Edge Capitalism?”-lecture from heterodox businessman Ricardo Semler

3 pm-“Land Rights Struggles for Indigenous Peoples“-indigenous person from Latin American country gives an overview

3:30 pm-“I Was a Teen-Aged Anarcho-Communist“-person raised on an Israeli kibbutz gives a first-hand report

4 pm-“The Case for Competing Currencies“-an economist makes an argument

4:30 pm-“The Prussian Militarist Origins of the Welfare State“-by Richard Ebeling

Break

7 pm-Film presentation on Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War

8 pm-“The Future of the World Economy“-noted trends researcher Gerald Celente outlines his predictions in evening dinner lecture

Day Three: The American Empire

9 am-“The Costs of the Empire to America“-by Dr. Robert Higgs

9:45 am-“The Costs of the Empire to the World“-by William Blum

10:30 am-“How I Went to Iraq and Saw the Light“-U.S. military veteran speaks

11 am-“What Happened to My Country Because of the U.S. Invasion“-an Iraqi refugee speaks

11:30 am-“How the U.S. Imperialists Crushed the Indigenous South Vietnamese Resistance and Allowed My Country to Fall to Communism“-a former South Vietnamese Buddhist militiaman speaks

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“George W. Bush and Cronies Belong on Death Row“-by Vincent Bugliosi

2 pm-“Life in the Occupied Territories“-a Palestinian refugee speaks

2:30 pm-“The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty“-a survivor speaks

3 pm-“The Human Costs of the U.S. War Against Central America in the 1980s“-presentation by a former refugee from the civil war in El Salvador

3:30 pm-“Zionist Influence On American Foreign Policy“-by Dr. James Petras

4 pm-“Combating Zionist Influence in Domestic American Politics“-panel discussion with questions from the audience

Break

7 pm-film presentation of John Pilger’s early documentary on the role of the U.S. in the coming to power of the Pol Pot regime of Cambodia, and U.S. support for the Khmer Rouge after the Vietnamese invasion in 1979

8 pm-“On Resisting Imperialism“-evening dinner lecture by Alexander Cockburn

Day Four: Political Correctness

9 am-“Classical Anarchist and Classical Liberal Critiques of Marxism and the Historic Rivalry between Anarchists and Communists: Proudon, Bakunin, Goldman, Berkman, Mill, Russell, Kronstadt and Barcelona“-by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Communist Origins of Political Correctness“-by William S. Lind

10:30 am-“What I Experienced in China During the Cultural Revolution“-a survivor compares Western political correctness with Maoism

11:00 am-“My Imprisonment in Sweden“-a Christian pastor tells of his persecution under European PC laws

11:30 am-“Political Prisoners in Europe“-a European lawyer gives an overview

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“American Progressives’ Contributions to Political Correctness“-by Paul Gottfried

1:45 pm-“Judeo-Christian Roots of Political Correctness“-by Tomislav Sunic

2:30 pm-“The Emerging Totalitarian Humanism”-by Keith Preston

3:15 pm-“Political Correctness on American University Campuses“- a student activist speaks

4 pm-“How to Combat Political Correctness“-panel discussion with audience questions

Break

7 pm-“The Trial”-film adaption of the classic Kafka novel featuring Orson Welles

8:30 pm-“The Therapeutic State“-evening dinner lecture by Dr. Thomas Szasz

Day Five: Culture and Philosophy

9 am-“Peace Through Separatism: An Alternative to the Culture Wars“-by Keith Preston

9:30 am-“America’s Cultural Legacy of Anti-Statism“-by Thomas Woods

10:15 am-“The American Radical Tradition“-by Bill Kauffman 

11 am-“Has Brave New World Won Out Over 1984?”-discussion of the dystopian literary classics

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Where the Gay Rights Movement Goes Wrong“-by Justin Raimondo

1:30 pm-“Women and the State”-presentation and panel discussion from anarcha-feminists, libertarian-feminists, individualist feminists, sex-positive feminists and anti-feminist female anarchists and libertarians

2:30–“Race-Realists Are Not the Devil“-lecture by Jared Taylor

3 pm-“The Nationalities Question“-presentations by members of the Nation of Islam, Lakota Republic, Atzlan, Puerto Rico independence and Hawaiian and Alaskan people’s movements

4:30 pm-“The Americans for Self-Determination Plan“-by Jeff Anderson

Break

 7 pm-“-“Rescuing the Conservative Revolution from the Legacy of Nazism“-presentation from a historian of Weimar intellectual history

8 pm-“The Big Sort“-evening dinner lecture from Bill Bishop

Day Six: Taking It to the Streets

9 am-“Building an Active Anarchist Local Community“-presentation from members of Bay Area National Anarchists

9:30 am-“Making Use of Alternative Media“-panel discussion with alternative radio operators, bloggers, ‘zine publishers, public access TV broadcasters, and podcasters

10:15 am-“Neither Cops Nor Criminals“-joint presentation by members of neighborhood watch and copwatch programs

10:45 am-“Social Services without the State“-scholarly presentation on  historic and contemporary non-state social service systems

11:15 am-“Putting It Into Action“-representatives of non-state assistance programs for the homeless, mentally ill, orphans, battered women, hospices, drug treatment programs, the elderly and the disabled

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“What Elite Theory Tells Us About Anarchist Political Organization“-by Keith Preston

1:30-“The Role of Zoning Laws in Class Oppression“-presentation from a critic

2 pm-“Organizing for the Class Struggle“-panel discussion featuring representatives of labor, consumers, tenants, claimants, and students rights organizations

2:45 pm-“Forming Alternative Schools“-presentation from a critic

3:15 pm-“The Oppression of Youth“-panel discussion on drinking ages, compulsory school attendance, treatment of students by schools, the rights of runaways, curfews, alternatives to both abusive parents and statist institutions, squatting and discrimination against alternative youth cultures

4 pm-“Alternatives to Both Prisons and Capital Punishment“-discussion of possibilities such as restitution, penal colonies and exile

7 pm-“Are HIV Skeptics On to Something?”-debate between an orthodox scientist and a heretic

8 pm-“Global Warming: Dangerous Reality or Political Scam?”-a believer and unbeliever debate during dinner

Day Seven: Defending the Undefendable

9 am-“Overview of the U.S. Prison-Industrial Complex“-presentation from American Civil Liberties Union representative

9:45 am-“The National Socialist German and Contemporary American Police States Compared“-by Richard Lawrence Miller

10:30 am-“The Militarization of U.S. Law Enforcement’-by William Norman Grigg

11:15 am-“Resisting the War on Drugs“-presentation from November Coalition

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Prisoner Medical Neglect“-presentation from Wrongful Death Institute

1:30 pm-“The War Against Patients’ Rights and Medical Freedom“-a victim tells their story

2 pm-“The Persecution of the Homeless“-presentation from homeless advocacy group

2:30 pm-“What It’s Really Like on the Inside“-former prison inmates tell their stories

3 pm-“Fathers Are People, Too“-overview of the fathers’ rights movement

3:30 pm-“The Nature of Psychiatric Coercion“-lecture from a dissident psychiatrist

4 pm-“The Last Minority: Prostitutes and Other Sex Workers“-presentation on sex worker rights

4:30 pm-“I Was a Crip: What the Street Life is Really Like“-current and former gang members tell their stories

Break

7 pm-“The State’s War on Self-Defense“-presentation from Gun Owners of America

8 pm-“Stateless Legal Systems“-evening dinner lecture from Edward Stringham

Day Eight: Getting There From Here

9 am-“Historic Anarchic Communities: An Overview” by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Ups and Downs of Electoral Action“-presentation by a veteran of the Ron Paul campaign

10:30 am-“My Dad’s Maverick Campaign for Mayor of New York City“-by John Buffalo Mailer

11:15 am-“Lessons of the 1990s Militia Movement“-a former militiaman speaks

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Political Alignments and Re-Alignments in American Political History“-by Keith Preston

1:45 pm-‘The Legitimacy of Secession“-by Thomas DiLorenzo

2:30 pm–“The Case for a Secessionist Strategy” by Dr. Kirpatrick Sale

3:15 pm-“Lessons of the Indian Independence Movement and the Partitioning of India and Pakistan“-joint presentation from a Ghandi scholar and a historian of South Asia

4 pm-“Global Guerrillas: The Rise of Fourth Generation Warfare” by John Robb

Break

7 pm-viewing of documentary about Hezbollah militia in Lebanon

8:30 pm-“Blow It Out Your Ass, Uncle Sam!”-keynote address by Commander Marcos of the EZLN

Updated News Digest June 21, 2009 3

Quotes of the Week:

“No doubt in the days since we last gathered together as APOC (Autonomous / Anarchist / Anti-Authoritarian People of Color), much has changed for each of us. We’ve each experienced new joys and grieves, up and downs. Across the vastness of this metropolitan wasteland, new bonds have been built, old bonds strengthened. In surviving, even thriving against the transgressions perpetrated by those who would see us torn apart, we’ve developed both as individuals and as a movement. Still problems persist. Despite our best efforts, our most spirited resistance, we remain oppressed. Native land remains occupied, its people marginalized, their culture appropriated and left to die. Zionists, backed by other Western powers, continue their genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. Gentrification continues to invade our neighborhoods. Police, ever vigilant in their protection of the ruling class, remain a brutal force separating us from our freedom. The rich still control the means of production, while the rest are exploited, forced into wage-slavery, prisons, and graves. The all-pervasive system of patriarchy still looms over and surrounds womyn, while their bodies remain battle grounds. Queers and transfolk still face violence, bashings and murders in a world hostile to all but the established norms. Billions of animals remain enslaved in chains, tanks, cages, and barns, subject to all manner of exploitation. This year, as before, the struggle continues.

Revolution, if it is to succeed, requires a coordinated, comprehensive network of dedicated revolutionaries. Of course, APOC has existed for some time now. However, we have not thus far been able to create and maintain a form suitable to our needs. Many times have we converged, many times have we expressed a desire for something more consistent. It is clear to many that what we need is an autonomous organization of sorts, perhaps many. Our intention is to make this happen.”

                               -Philadelphia Anarchist People of Color Mission Statement

“I see nothing here that is contrary to the positions and values of National-Anarchists. However, because some National-Anarchists are Anglo-Saxons, we are still labelled “racists.” We are all exploited and oppressed by the ruling elite. I am just as much a victim of capitalism as any black or Hispanic worker. There are black people, Jewish people, homosexual people and every other so-called “minority” that make up the ruling class all anarchists oppose; yet you scapegoat “whites” as the stereotypical enemy.”

                                                                                                   -AnarchoNation

Divided We Stand by Paul Starobin

On Rejecting Keith Preston by Dixie Flatline

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Empire! by Laurence Vance

Book Review-Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory by Sean Gabb

A Conversation About Racefilm by Craig Bodeker (hat tip to AnarchoNation)

Why America is a Bank-Owned State by Samah El-Shahat

How Obama Will Outspend Reagan on Defense by Winslow T. Wheeler

Iran’s Election: None of America’s Business by Justin Raimondo

Today’s Right-Wing Youth Are More Radical Than Their Elders (thank God!) by Charles Coulombe

The World As We Presently Know It by Ean Frick

Why “the Fascists” Are Winning in Europe by Mark Steyn

Are You Ready for War with Demonized Iran? by Paul Craig Roberts

Lenin’s The State and Revolution: An Anarchist Viewpoint by Larry Gambone

Iranian Elections: The “Stolen Elections” Hoax by James Petras

Is Israel Really a Beacon of the West? Phillip Weiss interviewed by Scott Horton

Iran’s Green Revolution by Justin Raimondo

Consumerism is Too Important to be Left to the Consumers by Ray Mangum

Don’t Trust Police  from AnarchoNation

Neocon Serial Killers by Glenn Greenwald

Obama Targets Antiwar Democrats by Norman Solomon

How to Deal with the Pork in Blue from Assata Shakur

Why U.S. Neocons Want Ahmadinejab to Win by Stephen Zunes

The Truth is No Defense-In Canada by Grant Havers

 Iran Faces Greater Risks Than It Knows by Paul Craig Roberts

Confessions of a Public Servant by Mr. X

How the Recession is Wrecking Friendships Across the Land by Emily Bazelon

U.S. Anarchism, Movement Building and the Racial Order by Joel Olson

The Waning Power of Truth by Paul Craig Roberts

Neocons for Ahmadinejad by Jack Hunter

On Iran, Democracy and Nuclear Weapons by Stephen Walt

Sadism is Sexual by Fred Reed

Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War review by Robert Higgs

Iran’s Tiananmen Moment by Pat Buchanan

Who Will Control Iraq’s Oil? by Patrick Cockburn

Anarchist Voices 

The Obama Siren Song to the Skeptical Muslim World by Eric Margolis

Workers Rights: No Balls, No Chains by Joe Bageant

The Case for Home Education by Sean Gabb

Farmland: The Best Investment of Our Time Jim Rogers and George Soros

Beat the Rising Cost of Health Care by Amanda Gengler

Life is Destroying the Planet! by Butler Shaffer

From Smash the Church to Going to Chapel by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Outlasting the Ayatollahs by Pat Buchanan

Strip Club Depression by Doug French

I Become an American by Alexander Cockburn

The Extreme Right by Jack Hunter

These Are Obama’s Wars Now by Joshua Frank

PIG Assaults EMT by William Norman Grigg

Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship by Francois Tremblay

Torture: An American Legacy by Carl Boggs

Lessons Learned from the Battlefield by Michael Gaddy

The American Empire is Bankrupt by Chris Hedges

String Up the Barbed Wire and Break Out the Guillotine by William Norman Grigg

The Faileocons by Paul Gottfried

Answering Some Well-Asked Questions About Self-Defense by Massad Ayoob

A  Tale of  Two Killings by S. M. Oliva

Fighting Tyranny Should Start at Home by Ilana Mercer

Another U.S.-Orchestrated “Color Revolution”? by Paul Craig Roberts

Anarchism’s Promise for Anti-Capitalist Resistance 

The Narcissism Revolution by Richard Spencer

Road Blockade in Solidarity with Mohawk Nation 

Some Things Are Acceptable in Different Cultures by TGGP

How Big of an Asshole is Keith Preston?

Charles Manson and Me by David Macaray

Sasha Grey Likes Gang Bangs-Live With It by Lily Quateman

Arlinton, Virginia: Hell on Earth

Lydia Guevara posing on the set of her PETA photo shoot.

Viva Che!

Lydia Guevara posing on the set of her PETA photo shoot

America’s Left-Conservative Heritage 2

Recent dialogue between Kevin R.C. Gutzman, Christian Kopff and Tom Piatak concerning the tension between classical liberal-libertarians and traditionalist conservatives reminded me of an observation from my Portuguese “national-anarchist” colleague Flavio Goncalves concerning  the clarion call issued by Chuck Norris a while back: “Seems like the US Right is as revolutionary as the South American Left? Your country confuses me.”

It does indeed seem that most of the serious dissidents in America are on the Right nowadays, and I think this can be understood in terms of America’s unique political heritage. American rightists typically regard themselves as upholders and defenders of American traditions, while American liberals tend to admire the socialism and cultural leftism of the European elites. However, the republican political philosophy derived from the thought of Locke, Montesquieu and Jefferson that found its expression in such definitive American documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and of which modern neo-classical liberalism and libertarianism are outgrowths, is historically located to the left of European socialism.

A variety of thinkers from all over the spectrum have recognized this. For instance, Russell Kirk somewhat famously remarked that conservatives and socialists had more in common with one another that either had with libertarians. Murray Rothbard observed that “conservatism was the polar opposite of liberty; and socialism, while to the “left” of conservatism, was essentially a confused, middle-of-the-road movement. It was, and still is, middle-of-the-road because it tries to achieve liberal ends by the use of conservative means.” Seymour Martin Lipset affirmed Rothbard’s thesis:

“Given that the national conservative tradition in many other countries was statist, the socialists arose within this value system and were much more legitimate than they could be in America…Until the depression of the 1930s and the introduction of welfare objectives by President Roosevelt and the New Deal, the AFL was against minimum wage legislation and old age pensions. The position taken by (Samuel) Gompers and others was, what the state gives, the state can take away; the workers can depend only on themselves and their own institutions…Hence, the socialists in America were operating against the fact that there was no legitimate tradition of state intervention, of welfarism. In Europe, there was a legitimate conservative tradition of statism and welfarism. I would suggest that the appropriate American radicalism, therefore, is much more anarchist than socialist.

Back in 1912, when the German Social Democrats won 112 seats in the Reichstag and one-third of the vote, Kaiser Wilhelm II wrote a letter to a friend in which he said that he really welcomed the rise of the socialists because their statist positions were much to be preferred to the liberal bourgeoisie, whose antistatism he did not like. The Kaiser went on to say that, if the socialists would only drop antipatriotism and antimilitarism, he could be one of them. The socialists wanted a strong Prussian-German state which was welfare oriented, and the Kaiser also wanted a strong state. It was the pacifism and the internationalism of the socialists that bothered him, not their socialism. In the American context, the “conservative” in recent decades has come to connote an extreme form of liberalism; that is, antistatism. In its purest forms, I think of Robert Nozick philosophically, of Milton Friedman economically, and of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater politically.”

Thomas Sowell has provided some interesting insights into what separates the Left and Right in contemporary American discourse. Both Left and Right are derivatives of eighteenth century radicalism, with the Left being a descendent of the French Revolution and the Right being a descendent of the American Revolution. What separates the legacies of these two revolutions is not their radicalism or departure from throne-and-altar traditionalism, but their differing views on human nature, the nature of human society, and the nature of politics. Both revolutions did much to undermine traditional systems of privileged hierarchy. After all, how “traditional” were the American revolutionaries who abolished the monarchy, disestablished the Church, constitutionally prohibited the issuance of titles of nobility, constitutionally required a republican form of government for the individual states and added a bill of rights as a postscript to the nation’s charter document? One can point to the Protestant influences on the American founding that coincide with the Enlightenment influences, but how “traditional” is Protestantism itself? Is not Protestantism the product of a rebellion against established religious authorities that serves as a kind of prelude to a latter rebellion to established political authorities?

I would maintain that what separates the modern Right and Left is not traditionalism versus radicalism, but meritocracy versus egalitarianism. For the modern Left, equality is considered to be a value in its own right, irrespective of merit, whether individual or collective in nature.  The radical provisions of the U.S. Constitution, for instance, aimed at eliminating systems of artificial privilege. No longer would heads of state, clerics, or aristocrats receive their position simply by virtue of inheritance, patronage or nepotism, but by virtue of individual ability and achievement. No longer would an institution such as the Church sustain itself through political privilege, but through the soundness of its own internal dynamics. To be sure, these ideals have been applied inconsistently throughout American history, and all societies are a synthesis of varying cultural and ideological currents. For instance, it is clear that nepotism remains to some degree. How else could the likes of George W. Bush ever become head of state?

Yet, for the Left, equality overrides merit. With regards to race, gender or social relations, for example, it is not sufficient to simply remove barriers designed to keep ethnic minorities, women or homosexuals down regardless of their individual abilities or potential contributions to society. Instead, equality must be granted regardless of any previous individual or collective achievement to the point of lowering academic or professional standards for the sake of achieving such equality. This kind of egalitarian absolutism is also apparent with regards to issues like the use of women in military combat or the adoption of children by same-sex couples. The Left often frames these issues not in terms of whether the use of female soldiers is best in terms of military standards (perhaps it is) or what is best for the children involved or whether the parenting skills of same-sex couples is on par with those of heterosexual couples (perhaps they are), but in terms of whether women should simply have the “right” to a military career or whether same-sex couples should simply have “equal rights” to adopt children, apparently with such concerns as military efficiency, child welfare and parental competence being dismissed as irrelevant.

To frame the debate in terms of tradition versus radicalism would seem to be setting up a false dichotomy. Edmund Burke, the fierce critic of the French Revolution considered by many to be the godfather of modern conservatism, was actually on the left-wing of the British politics of his time. For instance, he favored the independence of Ireland and the American colonies and even defended India against imperial interests. A deep dig into Burke’s writings reveals him to have been something of a philosophical anarchist. His opposition to the French Revolution was not simply because it was a revolution or because it was radical, but because of the specific content of the ideology of the revolutionaries who aimed to level and reconstruct French society along prescriptive lines. The American Revolution was carried out by those with an appreciation for the limits of politics and the limitations imposed by human nature, while the French Revolution was the prototype for the modern totalitarian revolutions carried out by the Bolsheviks, Nazis (whom Alain De Benoist has characterized as “Brown Jacobins”), Maoists , Kim Il-Sung and the Khmer Rouge.

One can certainly reject the hyper-egalitarianism championed by the Left and still favor far-reaching political or social change. It would be hard to mistake Ernst Junger for an egalitarian, yet he was contemptuous of the Wilhelmine German military’s practice of selecting officers on the basis of their class position, family status or political patronage rather than on their combat experience. He preferred a military hierarchy ordered on the basis of merit rather than ascribed status. Junger’s Weimar-era writings are filled with a loathing for the social democratic regime, yet he called for an elitist worker-soldier “conservative revolution” rather than a return to the monarchy.

Nor does political radicalism imply the abandonment of historic traditions. I, for one, advocate many things that are quite radical by conventional standards. Yet I am extremely uncomfortable with left-wing pet projects such as the elimination of “offensive” symbols like the Confederate flag; the alteration of the calendar along PC lines (C.E. and B.C.E instead of A.D. and B.C); the attacks on traditional holidays like Christmas or Columbus Day; a rigidly secular interpretation of the First Amendment (and I’m an atheist!); and the attempted reconstruction of language along egalitarian lines (making words like “crippled” or “retarded” into swear words or the mandatory gender neutralization of pronouns). All of these things seem like a rookie league version of Rosseauan/Jacobin/Pol Potian “year zero” cultural destructionism. Nor do I wish to do away with baseball, Fourth of July fireworks displays, Civil War re-enactors or the works of Edgar Allan Poe. I am also somewhat appalled that one can receive a high school diploma or even a university degree without ever having taken a single course on the history of Western philosophy. It is not uncommon to find undergraduates who have never heard of Aristotle. If they have, they are most likely to simply dismiss him as a sexist and defender of slavery. I’ve met graduate level sociology students who can tell you all about “the social construction of gender” but have no idea who Pareto was.

The principal evil of the Cultural Marxism of present day liberalism is its fanatical egalitarianism. Unlike historic Marxists, who simply sought equality of wealth, cultural Marxists seek equality of everything, including not only class, race, or gender, but sexuality, age, looks, weight, ability, intelligence, handicap, competence, health, behavior or even species. I’ve heard leftists engage in serious discussion about the evils of “accentism.” Such equality does not exist in nature. It can only be imposed artificially, which in turn requires tyranny of the most extreme sort. The end result can only be universal enslavement in the name of universal equality. For this reason, the egalitarian Left is a profoundly reactionary outlook, as it seeks a de facto return to the societies organized on the basis of static caste systems and ascribed status that existed prior to the meritocratic revolution initiated by the Anglo-American Enlightenment.

Perhaps just as dreadful is the anti-intellectualism of Political Correctness. In many liberal and no-so-liberal circles, the mere pointing out of facts like, for instance, the extraordinarily high numbers of homicides perpetrated by African-Americans is considered a moral and ideological offense. If one of the most eminent scientists of our time, Dr. James Watson, is not immune from the sanctions imposed by the arbiters of political correctness, then who would be? Are such things not a grotesque betrayal of the intellectual, scientific and political revolution manifested in Jeffersonian ideals? Is not Political Correctness simply an effort to bring back heresy trials and inquisitors under the guise of a secularized, egalitarian, fake humanitarian ideology? The American radical tradition represents a vital “left-conservative” heritage that elevates meritocracy over both an emphasis on ascribed status from the traditional Right and egalitarianism from the Left. It is a tradition worth defending.

Updated News Digest June 14, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“I participated in a forum on state sovereignty at Drexel University a short while ago where the subject of secession came up (naturally). A Pennsylvania state legislator was the other speaker, and while he did not dismiss the possibility of secession he said that it was important to first exhaust all other possibilities, such as writing and calling your congressional representative.

A student in the audience asked him this question in response (paraphrasing): ‘If a burglar broke in to your home and stole your valuables over and over again, do you think it would be effective to write the burglar a letter asking him to stop it?’

How refreshing to meet a college student who understands the ancient truth that government is just another criminal gang.”

                                                                                                           -Tom DiLorenzo

Getting to the Truth About World War Two by Eric Margolis

Fear is Eroding American Rights by Paul Craig Roberts

Liberal Imperialism in Afghanistan Bill Kelsey interviewed by Scott Horton

The Case Against the Federal Reserve by Murray Rothbard

Review of Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective by Larry Gambone

Is Secession Treason? by Tim Case

Let’s Make the Youth of America More Stupid! by Childs Walker

The Case for Secession by Gary Barnett

The Rosetta Stone of Revolution: Countering Counter-Insurgency by John Robb

The Latest Torture Cover-Up Scam by James Bovard

Decentralized Craft Industry by Kevin Carson

Civil Liberties and the “Winds of Change” by Justin Raimondo

The Normalization of Violence, Torture and Annihlation by Arthur Silber

Whoever Wishes Peace Must Fight Statism Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

“Global Warming Tax” to be Levied on International Air Travel? by John Vidal

Is Hyper-Inflation Around the Corner? by Mike Whitney

Don’t Trust Police from Anarcho-Nation

Anti-Americanism in Israel by Justin Raimondo

The USS Liberty: America’s Most Shameful Secret by Eric Margolis

Taking On the Corrections Corporation of America by Paul Wright

The Coming U.S. Default Interview with Peter Schiff

The Dairy Oligarchy by Jim Goodman

Ron Paul on Foreign Policy by Kathleen Wells

Obama: Committing the U.S. to “World Order” by Chuck Baldwin

The Few, the Proud, the Pimps 

7 in 10 Potential Military Recruits Are Unfit

Sweden’s Pirate Party Captures Euro Seat by Vernonica Ek

Remembering the Persecution of Hans-Hermann Hoppe by Vin Suprynowicz

What Global Warming? by Ron Paul

Police Insurance by Clement M. Hammond

Righteous Zeal and the Killing of George Tiller by Paul Gottfried

America’s Soft Despotism by David Gordon

Tasered While Black

Stop Collateral Damage in the War on Drugs by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Europe Swings Right as Depression Deepens by Ambrose Evans Pritchard

Exposing the Wall Street Journal by Matt Taibbi

And We, Like Sheep… by William Norman Grigg

Leave China Alone by Justin Raimondo

Lebanon’s Odd Couple by Nicolas Dot-Pouillard

Bush is Gone, But Halliburton Rolls On by Pratap Chatterjee

Israeli Spy Fined, Scolded, Released

Richard Nixon: Liberal/Moderate Republican by TGGP

Community Kitchens by Julia Levitt

Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

Jack Ross is Back! by TGGP

Opposing the Liberal State Without Becoming Statist by David Bromwich

Anarchism and Crime from Direct Action

Becoming Barbarians by Rod Dreher

Some Dare Call It Torture by Wendy McElroy

The American Dream and the Anarchist Dream by Jake Carman

To Die for a Mystique by Andrew Bacevich

They Thought They Were Free from Murphy’s Bye-Laws

Not Good as Gold by David Gordon

The Streets Belong to the People by Jesse Walker

The Internet Lynching of Marcus Epstein by Bay Buchanan

Beyond the Paleos by W. James Antle

England: The Peasants Are Revolting by Sean Gabb

Saving Israel from Itself by John J. Mearsheimer

Ennabling the Surveillance State from No Third Solution

Peer Money by Kevin Carson

AIPAC Walls Beginning to Crack by Ira Chernus

How Civilized, Law-Abiding Countries Imprison Terrorists by Glenn Greenwald

Is the Israel Lobby Getting Weaker? by Stephen Walt

Ludicrous Albion by Austin Bramwell

The Benefits of Smoking  by N

Big Tobacco Vindicates Gabriel Kolko from Austro-Athenian Empire

“I Don’t Get the Whole Peak Oil Thing” from Back to the Drawing Board

PIGS Will Be PIGS from Rad Geek

Anarchist Summer Camp in Virginia from Infoshop.Org

The Italian Mafia: A Distorted Masonic Lodge from Mindhacks.Com

Dutch Journalist Raped but Respected by the Taliban by Thomas Landen

Somali Fisherman Says Foreigners Are the Real Pirates from Infoshop.Org

Black People Love US

The Inside Story of the Red Army Faction by Stefan Aust

2009 Northeast Anarchist People of Color Mission Statement 

Homosexuals Are By Nature of the Right by James O’Meara

Who Needs Yesterday’s Papers? by Alexander Cockburn

Fordlandia by Stuart Ferguson

Elmer Fudd Nation by Mark Ames

Bureaucrack-up by Ray Mangum

Carter in Lebanon  by Franklin Lamb

20,000 Nations Above the Sea by Brian Doherty

“People Who Lived Under King Saint Louis IX of France Were Freer Than We Are Now in America” by Brother Andre Marie

Italy’s Black Northern League Mayor by Michael Day

Gods Come Cheap These Days by Chuck Baldwin

The Right Way to Brussels by Derek Turner

Miss Affirmative Action, 2009 by Pat Buchanan

Hypocritical, Censoring Leftists by Stephan Kinsella

We Get It: Museum Shooter Was a Hateful Honkie by Ilana Mercer

Time to Start Filling the Gulag by William Norman Grigg

Got Property? by Peter Schiff

Bankers Are Scared, Are You? by Gary North

The War on Your Racism by Jack Hunter

Look Who’s Shopping Goodwill by Ruth La Ferla

Von Brunn and National Socialism by Dylan Hales

James W. Von Brunn by Anthony Gregory

Are We All Liberals Now? by Tom Piatak

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat 14

For some time now, I have argued for an alliance of left-wing anarchism and right-wing populism against the common enemies of imperialism and Big Brother statism. I have argued that the strategic application of such an alliance would be a pan-secessionist movement rooted in the traditions of the American Revolution and the later Southern War of Independence. Secessionism is often associated with political conservatism, given the greater regard of conservatives for American traditions like states’ rights and the conservative nature of the Southern secession of 1861. Indeed, pro-secessionist rumblings have emerged in the mainstream Right recently. Such developments are a welcome thing, of course, and no doubt a future pan-secessionist movement would have a strong right-wing and radical center constituency behind it. As the middle class continues to sink into the ranks of the underclass, and as the vast array of cultural groups associated with right-wing populism continue to come under attack by the forces of political correctness, no doubt an increasing number of people, including many former jingoists, members of the religious right and one-time neocon sympathizers, will realize that the centralized liberal-managerial regime is their enemy, and decide that a political exodus is their best bet. Certainly, a mass army of secessionists in the rural areas, small towns and red states will be a welcome addition to our cause.

However, I do not think that it is on the Right that the crucial political battles will be fought. The Right represents an agglomeration of political, cultural and demographic factions that are losing power and shrinking in size. Instead, the crucial battles will be fought on the Left. The dominant center-left that is now consolidating its position is a liberal Left that espouses liberal internationalism, universalism, humanism and human rights imperialism, and expresses itself in the form of the therapeutic-managerial-welfare state. However, there is an emerging radical Left that is oriented towards pluralism, postmodernism, cultural relativism, pro-Third Worldism and anti-Zionism. Eventually, there will be a sharp split between these two lefts, as the former is capable of cooptation by state-capitalism, but the latter is not. Take a look at these photos:

http://zombietime.com/gaza_war_protest/

Can a radical Left that is fervently anti-Israel and pro-Third World nationalism ever be reconciled with the American ruling class? It is highly unlikely. Furthermore, the spectacle of conservative Muslims, feminists, gays, transgendereds, Marxists, anarchists, leftists, nationalists, national-anarchists, Jews, anti-Semites, racialists, anti-racists, peaceniks and Hamas sympathizers marching against Zionism and U.S. imperialism is not only a potential ruling class nightmare,  but a manifestation of the kind of pluralistic, culturally relativist, cross-ideological alliances against the System that I have been arguing for in the past.

The legitimizing ideological superstructure of the present regime and ruling class, i.e., liberalism, is antithetical to both paleoconservatism from the Right and cultural relativism from the Left, but there is sufficient enough overlap between these latter two as to make strategic alliances possible. We see the beginnings of this in the current alliance between bioregionalist and Green decentralist left-wing secessionists and conservative Christian right-wing secessionists. As left-liberalism continues to become an increasingly status quo and upper middle class ideology, the radical Left will find itself increasingly alienated from liberalism. The more deeply entrenched political correctness becomes, the more it will alienate even many of its former sympathizers.

The real political war of the future will be between not only the liberal-left and the postmodern left, but between the totalitarian and anarchistic left, and the New Class and the underclass. Just as the U.S. Civil War sometimes found members of the same family on different sides of the fence, so will the future political war find members of constituent groups from the contemporary Right and contemporary Left on both sides. If the battle is between liberal universalism and relativist pluralism at the intellectual level, then the natural political expression of the latter would be some kind of decentralized anarcho-pluralism, with its popular form resembling something like left-conservatism or pan-secessionism.

Although most of the actual secessionist movements at present are rooted in the red states or the more maverick blue states like Vermont and New Hampshire, a serious pan-secessionist movement will need to be first and foremost oriented towards the large metropolitan areas. This is where the majority of the U.S. population resides. It is where the plutocratic elites, state bureaucracies and New Class managerialists are located, and it is also where the lumpenproletarian masses are located. The large cities are where the paramilitary police forces are located and they are where most of the residents of the prison-industrial complex originate from.

The goal of a serious pan-secessionist movement whose aim is to overthrow the empire for real should be to obtain political preeminence in large cities as a first order of business. Cities tend to be dominated by the aforementioned plutocratic elites, and by landlords, developers, and well-heeled civic and business interests. These elements are for the most part bought into the System, and can therefore never be converted to our side. So strategically speaking, an urban secessionist strategy will generally have the flavor of plutocratic/bureaucratic elites vs Everyone Else. Recognition of this fact implies the necessity of a class-based radical movement rooted in the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoisie, lower respectable poor, lower middle class, bohemians and de classe elements. The goal is to obtain a political majority capable of seizing power at the municipal level in large metro areas. Once political preeminence was obtained in a fair number of cities, a formal alliance of municipal secessionist movements could be formed, and these could form a wider alliance with secessionists among the Red Staters, Greens, indigenous people and so forth. In “Liberty and Populism” I wrote:

We need to abandon the bourgeoise identity politics that have grown out of the new left. The legacy of this has been to create a constituency for the left-wing of capital among elite members of traditional minority groups including educated professionals among blacks, feminists and homosexuals, middle-class ecology enthusiasts and animal-lovers and so on. The best approach here would be to attempt to pull the rank-and-file elements of the traditional minorities out from under their bourgeoise leadership. This means that anarchist revolutionaries such as ourselves would need to seek out common ground with nationalist and separatist elements among the non-white ethnic groups against the black bourgeoise of the NAACP, poor and working class women against the upper-middle class feminist groups like NOW and the gay counter-culture (complete with its transsexual, hermaphrodite and “transgendered” elements) against the more establishment-friendly gay middle-class.

Indeed, we have not even begun to touch on the possibilities for building a radical movement rooted in part in marginalized social groups ignored, despised or persecuted by the establishment. These elements include the handicapped, the mentally ill, students, youth, prostitutes and other sex workers, prisoners, prisoner’s rights activists, advocates for the rights of the criminally accused, the homeless and homeless activists, anti-police activists, advocates of alternative medicine, drug users, the families of drug war prisoners, immigrants, lumpen economic elements (jitney cab drivers, peddlers, street vendors), gang members and many others too numerous to name. On these and other similar issues, our positions should be to the left of the ACLU. Adopting this approach will bring with it the opportunity to politically penetrate the rather large lumpenproletarian class that exists in the US with little or no political representation. At the same time, the last thing we should wish to do is emulate the mistakes of the new left by adopting an ideology of victimology and positioning ourselves as antagonists of the broader working masses. Nothing could be more self-defeating. The defense of marginal populations way beyond any efforts in this area offered by the left establishment should be part of our program, but only part. Our main focus should be on the working class itself, the kinds of folks who work in the vast array of service industries that comprise the bulk of the US economy.

There are several reasons for these positions. The first is rooted in recognition that as the Left has abandoned class-based politics in favor of the cultural politics of the left-wing of the upper middle class, it is only natural that we should step in to fill the void. The second is rooted in recognition of a wide assortment of outgroups that have never made it into the Left’s pantheon of the oppressed/victimological coalition, and the possibility of recruiting from these groups in order to increase our own numbers. The third is to undermine liberalism’s claimed monopoly on do-gooderism. A pan-secessionist movement that is seen as the simultaneous champion of the ordinary working poor and the marginalized and persecuted such as the homeless, punk rock squatter kids, mental patients, drug addicts, prisoners, et.al. will have a much easier time of deflecting the “fascism and racism” labels that will ultimately be thrown in our direction. The fourth is to undermine liberalism by splintering its constituent groups.

Note that I am not implying anything politically correct here. For instance, while we might uphold the legitimate rights of gay organizations, businesses or individuals that come under attack by the state, and practice non-discrimination within the context  of our own alternative infrastructure radical organizations, this does not mean that we will allow “gay rights” organizations allied with the liberal enemy to dictate who can or cannot be a part of our own movement. Being a primarily lower class movement, it is only natural that many people with conservative views on sex, morality, religion and the like will also be included within our ranks. Likewise, we may support organizational efforts set up to provide genuine assistance to transgendered people (even the Iranians do this), drug addicts, the handicapped, people with AIDS or other special populations, but we do not insist on the universalization of liberalism. For instance, we might also be just as supportive of skinhead squatters as leftist punk rock squatters, national-anarchists as leftist-anarchists, separatist tendencies among redneck white communities along with black separatists. More broadly, the radical movement would vehemently defend all victims of political correctness wherever they can be found just as strongly as we might defend victims of police brutality. We would defend students harassed by school authorities for carrying Bibles or other religious artifacts just as quickly as we would defend students harassed in a similar fashion for wearing “Goth” clothing. While in urban areas at least, we would take an liberal-left-libertarian, ACLU-like approach to cultural and social matters, with some exceptions like our own defense of the right to bear arms, unlike left-liberals we would recognize that controversial social questions like abortion and gay marriage are best handled at the local level according to community standards. While our own worker, tenants, squatter, and prisoner defense organizations would out of necessity be inclusive of both natives and immigrants, even illegal immigrants in some instances, this does not mean we would necessarily accept carte blanche immigration as a matter of principle.

The question of race is a particularly interesting and challenging one. African-American anarchist Mark Gillespie offered this assessment:

Whether you are a homo-leftist-anarcho-syndicalist-voluntary-eco-feminist or a racist-ultra right-wing-neo-conservative-constitutionalist-patriot, both agree that the State, in its current form, is detrimental to their views and lifestyles. In this “society”, these groups are kept from uniting by the activity of the state and its media. However, we know that in anarchy, diversity of views is a strength, not a weakness. We have allowed the State to divide us based upon the most trivial things.

The fact is that, under anarchy, all of these different groups may “have it their way”. If the an-caps want a completely free market economy for themselves and the an-socs want to combine in communes, they can do this better under anarchy than they can now. If the Homo-an-syn-fem (hell of a moniker, yes?) wants to separate from the Neo-con-con-pat or vice versa, they can and do it more peaceably than they can under statism. This is the best weapon of an anarchist vanguard. We can and should embrace the different elements that make up this country. Think about this. If we can embrace just two major groups under the anarchist banner, we could send the statists home, without a shot. The major ethnic groups in this country are the New Worlders (Aboriginal Americans, Blacks and Spanish/Aboriginals) and the Old Worlders (people of mostly European descent). These groups are kept at each other’s throats and socially separated by negative media reports and by institutionalized racism. Reports of rampant crime, lack of morals and mob violence send shivers down the spines of the average, patriotic, “law-abiding”, traditionalist citizens, amongst the Old Worlders. Historic wrongs, appeals to end needed restorative services in the community and a envy for those who seem to do better than them, keeps New Worlders in the grip of a fear that the statists work hard to instill. Neither one of these groups are necessarily wrong, but, their fears and hatred, spread and protected by the weapons of the state, virtually ensures that these two major groups will meet together, only when they are pointing guns at each other.

The New Worlders make up a combined 25.7 percent of the nation’s population (approximately 72 million people). Let’s assume that the mostly Old Worlder patriot movement makes up about 3 percent of the white population (approximately 6.5 million). With these numbers, and a properly educated and motivated anarchist vanguard, there are at least 32 different states that are immediately vulnerable to a takeover and disbanding of the state government (based upon a population of less than 5 million/state) and any state in the union is vulnerable to a gradual takeover.

Something like 32 states and maybe 50 major cities sounds about right. I’m also inclined towards the view that an anti-state, pan-secessionist revolutionary movement would actually have a disproportionately high number of racial and ethnic minorities. Of course, even this would not stop our enemies from throwing the “racist and fascist” label in our direction. Of course, the proper response to such accusations would not be persistent denial and attempts at clarification but a simple middle finger. But while we should not treat the politically correct classes with anything but contempt, it does seem natural that a pan-secessionist alliance would indeed include many ethnic sub-tendencies, for instance, blacks in inner-cities, indigenous people in Hawaii, Alaska, the western plains or on reservations, Puerto Ricans independencias, Muslim or Arab enclaves in Michigan, Hasidic, Asian neighborhoods in large cities, or Indian Quebecois separatists, majority Aztlan local communities in the Southwest,  and perhaps even revolutionary organizations within Mexico itself.  Indeed, the pan-secessionist revolutionary organizations might even form tactical alliances with insurgent forces in Central and South American countries or in the Middle East such as Hezbollah or the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. After all, it is the empire that is our common enemy. None of this is inconsistent with our insistence on the sovereignty of nations against imperialism, communities against statism, and individuals within the context of freedom of association.

An urban, lumpenproletarian revolutionary movement would be unlike anything that has come before. It would be socially conscious out of the recognition of the economic circumstances of the lower classes and the social conditions of a wide array of marginal population groups. Yet it would shun the political correctness of the liberal upper-middle class and cultural and intellectual elites, and no doubt have a conservative and libertarian as well as progressive dimension to its character.

Why You Conservatives Should Give Us Anarchists a Chance: A Reply to Paul Gottfried 2

A recent exchange at Taki’s Magazine between two of my favorite writers, Justin Raimondo and Paul Gottfried, prompted me to consider ways in which the thought of anarcho-libertarians and traditional conservatives might be reconciled or at least overlap. For many years, I was involved in the left-wing anarchist milieu, and I still consider Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Goodman, Bookchin, et.al. to be among my primary influences. Yet over time, I developed a strong appreciation for writers and thinkers of the traditional and not-so-traditional Right as well, including Rothbard, Mencken, Nisbet, Kirk, Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Pareto, Junger, De Benoist and others. I’ve also come to strongly admire the American populist tradition beginning with Jefferson and extending through contemporary paleocons and alternative Rightists. Consequently, my ideological leanings have come to be an eccentric “left-anarcho-libertarian, populist-nationalist, decentralist-pluralism.” Odd? Perhaps, though I suspect the fact that Kropotkin’s daughter Alexandra was a Goldwater Republican indicates more continuity than radical departure within the context of her family’s ideological heritage.

Because the source of the disagreement between Gottfried and Raimondo was an earlier piece by Jared Taylor, and because the majority of the persons within the left-anarchist milieu from whence I came are known for their hysterical “anti-racism,” I should probably note that while I agreed in part with Raimondo’s criticisms of Taylor, I also recognize Taylor as someone who dares to ask provocative questions that ought to be given a fair hearing, but are forbidden by the self-appointed censors of political correctness. Surely, libertarians can do better than that. Furthermore, Taylor has publicly advocated only two policies: complete freedom of association in racial, ethnic, religious and cultural matters; and a moratorium on Third World immigration. Contrary to what many of my anarchist compatriots, themselves in the grip of political correctness, would have us believe, neither of Taylor’s proposals are in violation of traditional anarchist articles of faith. In fact, the Webster’s dictionary defines anarchism in part as “advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.” Historically, anarchists have opposed the monopolization of power, wealth, land and resources by states or by state-connected plutocratic elites, and have argued for self-managed communities and a wider dispersion of ownership. But ownership implies the right of exclusion. Whether one is a leftist-syndicalist-communitarian anarchist or a rightist-proprietarian anarchist, it certainly does not follow that either collectively owned communes or associations of private property owners are obligated to admit all comers, regardless of beliefs, behavior, or individual contributions. Consequently, immigrants do not have any “right” to immigrate into the communities or proprietary associations of others, and while public areas (streets, lands, amenities) might consitute a kind of commons where individual citizens (such as street vendors or skateboarders) should not be arbitrarily excluded for the gratification of others, it does not follow that those from elsewhere have a “right” to enter or squat on such properties.

But what is even more interesting is Gottfried’s dissection of Raimondo’s Rothbardian “anarcho-capitalist” ideology. Says Gottfried:

The real source of Justin’s outrage lies in the contradiction between his ideology and Jared’s emphasis on cultural and biological specificity. The world as conceived by Justin is a collection of self-determining individuals, who should be free to work out their social and economic affairs, providing they do no physical harm to anyone else. In this ideal society, all humans, at least adults, however one defines them chronologically, will be free to develop themselves on the basis of their feelings and self-interests. Personally I couldn’t imagine how such a chimerical society could come into existence, let alone sustain itself, except in the minds of libertarian intellectuals or on a very provisional basis among likeminded ideologues. Such ideas are the modern counterparts of nineteenth-century utopian communities, all of which were attempts to restore a natural human condition that as far as I can tell never existed.

Historically, there have been more anarchist communities than many recognize, and while it is true some of these have lasted only for a few decades, or even a few years, others, such as the Icelandic Commonwealth and Gaelic Ireland, have lasted longer than the United States has been in existence.

Without authority structures, whether created by traditional hierarchies or by the modern managerial state, human beings have never lived together for any length of time. This generalization would apply to, among other societies, early America, which was a stratified and family-focused place.

I would dissent from the claim that political libertarianism necessarily implies either a radically egalitarian society or some kind of alteration of human nature from what it is at present. Certainly that is not the case for someone like myself, whose views on political science and social science are heavily influenced by the likes of Lawrence Dennis and James Burnham. Indeed, some of the most essential insights of elite theory like Michels‘ “iron law of oligarchy” and Pareto‘s “80/20” principle tell us that human organizations of any size will be dominated by the few rather than the many, and with a natural ranking of persons in even the most liberal circumstances. These principles are no less true for, say, an anarcho-syndicalist labor federation or an anarcho-capitalist private defense agency than for a conventional business firm or university. Nor does libertarianism, even in its more anarchistic forms, imply doing away with non-state social institutions such as family, religion, community, education, commerce, charity, or professional, cultural, and fraternal associations. Indeed, the elimination or massive reduction of dependency on the state should actually serve to strengthen such institutions.

Our sharp difference of views is reflected in the divergent ways in which Justin and I define the American Old Right. From his perspective, that American Right, about which he wrote an entire book, featured radical individualists resisting societal pressures and state authority. On my reading the interwar Right stood for a small-town and predominantly Protestant America faced by bureaucratic centralization and the rise of the modern culture industry.

Is it really a case of either/or? Surely, it would not be wholly counterfactual to suggest that Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, H.L. Mencken, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Jay Nock, or Lawrence Dennis were indeed “radical individualists resisting societal pressures and state authority,” particularly Dennis, who was placed on trial for sedition by the sinister Roosevelt regime. However, there is certainly no denying that the  American Right, whether in its “old” or “new” forms, has traditionally “stood for a small-town and predominantly Protestant America faced by bureaucratic centralization and the rise of the modern culture industry,” at least at the rank and file level.

Are libertarian-individualist anti-statism and rural, small-town, Protestant conservatism really all that incompatible? Not that I can tell. As one who wants to see government stripped down to the level of city-states, counties, communities, and neighborhoods, it would seem to me that some kind of libertarian-anarchism would potentially be the political salvation of the entire spectrum of the authentic political and cultural Right, whether cultural conservatives, moral traditionalists, religious fundamentalists, ethnic preservationists, immigration restrictionists, family advocates, racial separatists, property owners, firearms owners, homeschoolers, tax resisters or hard money advocates. It is these forces that are the most under attack by the centralized, managerial-therapeutic-multicultural-welfare state. Surely, the death of the state is at least the partial victory of social and cultural forces such as these. Surely, those most under attack by the heavy hand of totalitarian liberalism will have more to gain through the obtainment of sovereignty for their own communities and institutions than through the perpetual expansion of the state.

Now, to be honest, I would make the same argument to the Left as well. I have long believed that the ultimate settlement to the culture wars will have to be some kind of Peace of Augsburg rooted in pan-separatism. Surely, the blue counties could have all the single-payer health care, affirmative action, gun control, same-sex marriages, smoking bans, publicly subsidized transgender surgeries, institutionalized animal rights and wacky environmental laws they wished if only they did not have to share a political roof with those nasty, fascist conservatives, Nazi Republicans and Christian Talibanists! Traditionally, conservatives have argued for such principles as states’ rights, local sovereignty and community standards with regard to social and cultural matters. I agree with them. So it would seem that the demise of the state would essentially solve many of these conflicts, as the various sides would simply go their own way. To some degree, everyone would win, especially those who are most likely to suffer escalating attacks as political correctness becomes ever more deeply entrenched in state and state-connected institutions.

The Concept of the Vanguard 1

Recently a reader of Attack the System wrote:

Keith Preston, in his Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement in North America, writes of “anarchist” “city-states”, “anarcho-papis[m]“, and “anarcho-monarchis[m]“! In the same essay he writes that most anarchists favor the “town meeting” approach of “direct democracy”. To decide what? Whose fate???! It makes me nervous to think it might ever be mine.

Is the system or systems, method or methods, advocated by anarchists truly any better, any more supportive of individual freedom, than libertarian minarchy, or are there patterns of, and tendencies toward, oppression, injustice, AND AGGRESSION, that are camouflaged by abstruse, academic, anarchist theories, and bold and heroic slogans? Is the anarchist “intellectual class” or “vanguard” Keith Preston calls for in the aforementioned work, our wise and learned advisor, or latter-day Napoleans, leading us trusting lumpen-proletariat, anarcho-foot-soldiers to our brave new Animal Farm?

To many anarchists, the word “vanguard” is a cuss word because of its association with the traditional Leninist concept of a “vanguard party” that seizes power for the purpose of setting up a totalitarian state, military dictatorship, command economy and rule by a bureaucratic elite.  I recall when in 1998 I told some anarchist associates the name of my latest project, American Revolutionary Vanguard, one of them replied in horror, “That sounds Communist!!” Today, the memory of an anarchist calling me a “communist” is somewhat amusing, given that the mainstream of the “anarchist” movement persistently labels me a “fascist.”

The title “American Revolutionary Vanguard” was suggested to me by an associate who was an NRA/survivalist/militia type. Having been both a traditional anarcho-syndicalist and a participant in the right-wing patriot movement of the 1990s, I was plotting the formation of a new movement that would synthesize left-wing anarchism and right-wing populism into a new “left-anarcho-libertarian populist nationalism” that would counter both the political correctness of the left and the jingoism of the right. I wanted a name for the project that would identify itself with both the populist tradition of the American Revolution and represent a casting off the conventional left/right labels. I recalled having once heard of a neo-nazi group in the Portland area called “National Socialist Vanguard” and being amused by the name, given the association of the term “vanguard” with Communism, and the bitter rivalry between Communism and Nazism. My associate suggested the title “American Revolutionary Vanguard.” It was perfect.

As for the reader’s questions:

Keith Preston…writes of “anarchist” “city-states”, “anarcho-papis[m]“, and “anarcho-monarchis[m]“

These are tendencies that already exist, not anything that I personally invented. See here, for a piece by anarcho-city-statist Murray Bookchin, here for an anarcho-papist, and here for a discussion of anarcho-monarchism. What I have argued for in the past is a decentralized political system that allows for many different kinds of anarchist tendencies, and as well related ideologies and even non-anarchists, to form their own intentional communities or intentional states organized according to their preferred set of principles or ways of life.

In the same essay he writes that most anarchists favor the “town meeting” approach of “direct democracy”.

Indeed they do.  

To decide what? Whose fate???! It makes me nervous to think it might ever be mine.

Frankly, this is a concern that I share, which is why I’ve long been critical of those who deify democracy as some noble end unto itself.  In fact, most serious anarchist thinkers since Proudhon have been highly critical of the unchallenged acceptance of democracy. The pioneer feminist-anarchist Emma Goldman even expressed skepticism of woman suffrage, believing that middle-class liberal and socialist women would use the vote to expand the state, particularly in the area of “victimless crimes” that libertarians are so opposed to. The role of the newly instituted female vote in bringing about alcohol Prohibition would seem to vindicate her. Speaking only for myself, I place a much higher value on limited government that on popular government, on civil liberty than on voting rights, and on local sovereignty over mass democracy.

Is the system or systems, method or methods, advocated by anarchists truly any better, any more supportive of individual freedom, than libertarian minarchy, or are there patterns of, and tendencies toward, oppression, injustice, AND AGGRESSION, that are camouflaged by abstruse, academic, anarchist theories, and bold and heroic slogans?

I don’t know that the debate between anarchists and minarchists is as important as some make it out to be, given that most proposals for an anarchist system look remarkably like some alternative form of state. As Bob Black says:

The trouble with anarchists is that they think they have agreed on what they all oppose — the state — whereas all they have agreed on is what to call it. You could make a good case that the greatest anarchists were nothing of the sort. Godwin wanted the state to wither away, but gradually, and not before the progress of enlightenment prepared people to do without it. Which seems to legitimate really existing statism and culminate in the banality that if things were different they would not be the same. Proudhon, who served in the French national legislature, in the end arrived at a theory of “federalism” which is nothing but the devolution of most state power on local governments. Kropotkin’s free communes may not be nation-states but they sure sound like city-states. Certainly no historian would regard as anything but ludicrous Kropotkin’s claim that medieval cities were anarchist.

If some of the greatest anarchists, upon inspection, appear to fall somewhat short of consistency on even the defining principle of anarchism itself — the abolition of the state — it is not too surprising if some of the lesser lights are likewise dim bulbs. The One Big Union of the syndicalists, who also uphold the duty to work, is one big state to everybody else, and totalitarian to boot. Some “anarcha”-feminists are book-burners. Dean Murray Bookchin espouses third-party politics and municipal statism, eerily parallel to the borderline fascist militia/Posse Comitatus movement which would abolish all government above the county level. And Bakunin’s “invisible government” of anarchist militants is, at best, a poor choice of words, especially on the lips of a Freemason.

My own concept of a “vanguard” is rooted in Bakunin’s idea of “principled militants”, that is, hard-core revolutionaries who assume the natural leadership roles in larger radical organizations, because of their greater level of experience, knowledge, commitment, talent, etc., and nothing more. This idea has nothing to do with particular ideological objectives as much as it is rooted in a recognition of how human organizations actually work and an application of the principles of social science and social psychology.

Is the anarchist “intellectual class” or “vanguard” Keith Preston calls for in the aforementioned work, our wise and learned advisor, or latter-day Napoleans, leading us trusting lumpen-proletariat, anarcho-foot-soldiers to our brave new Animal Farm?

Well, here’s an example of what such a “vanguard” might actually do. Some might engage in secessionist or decentralist political campaigns of the Norman Mailer variety. Others might work to unite separatist groups, as Kirkpatrick Sale is now doing. Still others might be journalists or writers who serve as the radical movement’s theoretical or propagandistic arm. Some might have leadership positions in large anti-government organizations or coalitions. One of the best descriptions I ever encountered of this concept of a “vanguard” was from an African-American anarchist by the name of Mark Gillespie:

As mediators and vision-holders, we can help each group to see that uniting for the common goal of freedom, trumps their own agendas. After all, once the government is gone, no one will care if you set up an all-black, all-white, all-Jew, all-Muslim, all-socialist, all-capitalist community. We should pick up the torch of unity and educate people into respecting the diverse views of others. I may not like what you’re doing, saying, being, etc, but I will defend to the death, your right to do, say or be it.

Because we anarchists reject statism does not mean that we should reject leadership and organization altogether. In fact, doing so is dangerous because it will lead to power vacuums that can easily be filled by our enemies.

Updated News Digest June 7, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“We can tolerate intolerance and we can tolerate intolerance of intolerance.”  -TGGP

“Avrich does not shy away from controversy in his books, treating the anarchist acts of violence honestly and in the context of the time. He does not condone the violence of Berkman, but says he still admires his decision, considering how brutal Frick acted toward striking workers. But Avrich does not have the same patience for some contemporary anarchists, who choose to destroy property and who, he says, come mainly from educated and middle-class backgrounds. “I’m not so crazy about anarchists these days,” he says. Anarchism means that you leave other people alone and you don’t force people to do anything.” He says he is sad that the old-timers are not around to guide the resurgent movement. “They were nicer people –much nicer people.”    

                                  -Susan Phillips on the late anarchist historian, Paul Avrich

“We have lost the battle for our country. This does not necessarily mean we have lost the war. There is a chance—however remote—that we can overturn the existing order of things. All we must do is genuinely want to be a free people again, living in an independent country. On this definition, our allies can be everywhere. They can have nipple rings or green hair. They can be homosexuals or transsexuals or drug users. They can want to live in racially exclusive enclaves. They can be Catholics or Moslems or atheists. Whoever wants to be left alone in his own life, and whoever wants this country to be governed from within this country, is a conservative for the present century. Whoever will raise a finger towards this object I will count among my friends.”

                                                                                                         -Dr. Sean Gabb

 

On Revolutionary Discipline by Nestor Makhno

As the Dollar Falls Off the Cliff… by Paul Craig Roberts

The Empire’s Aggressions by Karen Kwiatkowski

U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level  by Chen Shiyin and Bernard Lo

World War Two Was an Unnecessary War by Laurence Vance

Frail, Cowardly Winston Saved Us by Robert Harris

Don’t Commit Acts of War Against North Korea by Eric Margolis

Stop Letting Cheney Frame the Torture Debate by William S. Lind

Obama’s Speech by Paul Craig Roberts

War With Iran: Has It Already Begun? by Justin Raimondo

Obama: Low Words, High Truths by Alexander Cockburn

Essay on Kropotkin and Qadhafi by Said Gafourov

The War Party Returns by Justin Raimondo

Is the GOP Dead? discussion with Jack Hunter, Richard Spencer and James Antle

Obama in Cairo: Words, Words, Words by Justin Raimondo

Is Peak Oil the Solution to Global Warming? by Kevin Carson

The New Totalitarianism by Larry Gambone

The Iranian “Threat” by William Blum

The Silencing of Political Prisoners Will Potter interviewed by Scott Horton

Homeless Under Attack in L.A. by Christopher Goffard and Corina Knoll

Neocons for Ahmadinejad by Daniel Luban

Armed and Free by Charley Reese

Pot Home Invasions: Bud and Blow Torches by Tim Stelloh

The Health Plan’s Devilish Principles by Murray Rothbard

The Future of Israel and the Decline of the American Empire by Arno J. Mayer

The Netherlands is Closing Prisons

War Is Sin by Chris Hedges

Roger Waters vs Zionism

Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail  by Lew Rockwell

Life in Gaza by Jordan Flaherty

Why I Chose Streets Over Shelter by Shannon Moriarty

Is Interracial Marriage Legal? by Gavin McInnes

Yea, I’m Declared a Commie Again by Francois Tremblay

Is America Unconservative? by E. Christian Kopff

PIG Goes on Trial for Murder

But You Didn’t Even Give Obama’s Perestroika a Chance! from Social Memory Complex

America’s Descent Into Marxism by Stanislav Mishin

The Myth of the Rule of Law by John Hasnas

What Do White Nationalists Want? by Jared Taylor

Public Education’s Role in Sprawl and Exclusion by Murray Rothbard

The Quota Queen by Pat Buchanan

The Fiscal Crisis of the State from Stumbling and Mumbling

Race, Christianity and Anarcho-Capitalism by Paul Gottfried

PC Thugs Go to Court  by Harrison Bergeron 2

Liberals and Illiberals by Grant Havers

Putting Manners on the Police from Infoshop.Org

Did George Tiller Deserve to Die? by Richard Spencer

Obama and Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal by Gideon Spiro

White Nationalism and White People by Richard Spencer

U.S.-Cuba Policy: Still Stuck in the Past by Roger Burbach

The Trouble With Sonia by Jack Hunter

The Sotomayor Scandal: What Does It Mean for America? by Steve Sailer

Nixon’s Revenge by TGGP

The Economic Impact of Immigration by Peter Brimelow

Defending the Undefendable: Michael Vick by Todd Steinberg

The Gun Industry is Booming-Thank God! by Louis Navellier

Agriculture is the Future by Gary Whit

Yet Another Reason to Secede by Stewart Doan

Whence the Terror Hysteria? Follow the Money by Philip Giraldi

At War with the U.S. Drug War by Jeremy Hainworth

Empire of Dread by Alan Bock

Reagan Did What? by William Anderson

Obama Must Wholly Reject Bush’s Dictator Policies by Matt Taibbi

Governments Are the Villians by Robert Higgs

Loving Freedom While Destroying It by Jacob Hornberger

Zoning: This Ain’t No Roadside Picnic by Ray Mangum

The U.S. Fascist Revolution by Fred Reed

Most Arabs Know Obama’s Speech Will Make Little Difference by Robert Fisk

The Rape of Gaza by Roane Carey

Israel Lobby Challenged Isaac Luria interviewed by Scott Horton

Exploding Debt Threatens America by John Taylor

Muslim Attitudes Towards Polygyny by Country by TGGP

The Sociology of Conspiracy Theories by Ray Mangum

Who is an Anti-Semite? by Tom Sunic

Jewish and Black Attitudes Towards Intermarriage by TGGP

Breaking Bibi by Pat Buchanan

Papers of the Libertarian Left, #1 by Chris Lempa

Why the Chinese Laughed at Geithner by Paul Craig Roberts

Triumph of Killdozer by Francois Tremblay

The American Conservative Movement’s Missing Second Act by Peter Brimelow

Lincoln as Hitler by Jack Hunter

Report from Squatting Festival in Sweden

The 10th Amendment Movement Spreads by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Tangled Threads of Revolution by James Pendlebury

Leftist Tit for Tat by Grant Havers

The Evolving Non-Major Parties: Schiff Challenges Libertarians to Change by Patroon

Leftwing America by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

America First, Of Course! by Tom Piatak

Who Will Tell the People? by Karen De Coster

Obama Vs Osama by Ivan Eland

U.S. Admits But Still Defends Afghan Civilian Slaughter by Jeremy Scahill

Laurence Vance on Christianity and War

Another Club Gitmo Guest Kills Himself by Glenn Greenwald

Obama, Like Bush, Just Doesn’t Get It by Jacob Hornberger

Obama Lies Revealed by Thomas Eddlem

Pull Out of the War on Terror by Jonathan Clarke and Amy Zalman

It’s the End of the Economic World as we Know It! Gerald Celente interviewed by Terry Easton

The Truth About Tiananmen Square by Justin Raimondo

Wrongfully Convicted Man Freed by Wendy McElroy

A Former President’s Genocidal Son by William Norman Grigg

Use a Cell Phone in School, Get Electro-Shocked by the PIGS by William Norman Grigg

PIG Attacks Elderly Woman by Kerri Bellacosa

Random Subversive Thoughts by Ray Mangum

Obama as a Modern Pharaoh by Kevin MacDonald

Indigenous Protestors Murdered by Peruvian PIGS 

Christianity and War by Laurence Vance interviewed by Scott Horton

“Keith Preston, You’re on Notice!” (scroll down)-thanks, Francois!

Shrinking the Prison System 3

TGGP of the “Entitled to an Opinion” blog has an interesting post up on the prison-industrial complex, and he’s asked for some of my views on how to shrink the prison system in the near term. I have an extended essay on dealing with crime in a stateless social order, but obviously something like that is a good ways off, if it ever comes at all. In the meantime, what can be done to alter incarceration rates in the U.S.?

This is a serious matter, given that while the U.S. has only five percent of the world’s population, it has twenty five percent of the world’s prisoners. There can be only two possible explanations for this situation; either Americans are uniquely criminally inclined (a possibility that cannot automatically be ruled out, remember that Americans were the first to invent and use nuclear weapons), or American society suffers from gross overcriminalization.

When addressing the question of rates of imprisonment, the first question that ought to be asked is: What are the actual justifications for putting people in prison? The standard justifications are deterrence, or creating the threat of prison as an incentive for individuals to abstain from criminality; incapacitation, or restraining an individual so that they are incapable of committing more crimes, at least more crimes against the public at-large; retribution, or giving an individual their “just deserts” for past criminal behavior; and, lastly, rehabilitation, or re-training an individual to avoid criminality in the future.

Certainly, there are some crimes that are severe enough to justify removing an individual from society-at-large, for instance, heads of state that initiate aggressive war under false pretenses. Most people recognize that murder, maiming, robbery, rape, arson, kidnapping, home burglary and other comparable offenses justify segregating an individual from others. In my view, the primary justification for such segregation is not that criminals are “immoral” in some abstract sense, but simply on the pragmatic grounds that such people are immediately dangerous to other people. Virtually all states, even the most ruthlessly totalitarian ones, maintain prohibitions of private criminality of this type.  However, it is also true that states first and foremost use their monopoly over law and violence to uphold and enforce the ideological superstructure of the state. For example, in a theocratic society, ordinary criminal offenses of the common type are joined together with blasphemy, heresy, sacrilege, apostasy, etc. as offenses against the state.  Likewise, in an overtly totalitarian state, ideological and political offenses are treated in the same manner as common crimes and political dissidents are often regarded as being on par with common thieves and robbers.

While “liberal democracy” and state-capitalism of the kind that exists in the industrialized countries is often considered synonymous with “freedom,” the reality is that these states are no less ideological than their theocratic or totalitarian counterparts. Dr. Thomas Szasz has argued that just as medieval Christian or contemporary Islamic states are theocratic in nature, so are contemporary liberal states are “therapeutic” in nature. By the standards of the laws of the therapeutic state, the most egregious offense against the state is the use of psychoactive drugs outside the approval of the “white coat priesthood” or the medical-industrial-complex. Consequently, the annual number of arrests for marijuana offenses is greater than the number of arrests for all violent crimes combined.

It would seem that the first order of business in reducing rates of imprisonment would be drug decriminalization along the lines of the Portuguese model that Glenn Greenwald discusses here. Similar decriminalization might also be applied to other “consensual crimes.” Still another measure might be to pursue alternative means of handling crimes of lesser severity. While most people agree that carjackers, holdup men, rapists, child molesters, and home burglars are necessarily incarcerated, can the same really be said of shoplifters, persons convicted of traffic offenses like driving without a permit, tax evaders, check forgers, larceny of relatively small amounts of money or property, vagrants, embezzlers and trespassers? Are such people really dangerous enough to warrant keeping them under lock and key 24/7?  Could not such matters be handled in the same manner as civil offenses like those involving liability or default on incurred debts? It might also be a good idea to stop incarcerating people for self-defense, whether against ordinary criminals or against PIGS.

Beyond that, however, is the need for a total re-thinking of how so-called “criminal justice” is actually done. Paul Craig Roberts has written extensively on the sham that the police state, prison-industrial complex and legal racket have become. This is an issue where both “law and order” conservatives and left-liberals miss the boat. Conservatives idealize agents of  the “criminal justice system” as real-life Batmans who are only out to defend innocent crime victims, with no self-interest or ulterior motives of their own. The Left views the “criminal justice system” merely as a tool of racist, classist, sexist, fascist, et.al oppression, ignoring the fact that statist oppression transcends boundaries of race, class, religion and culture. This is what I have written concerning the issues of crime and statism elsewhere:

On crime, I propose the following approach: We should be tough on crime, but equally tough on cops, courts and laws. On the issues of legal restrictions on the investigative and arrest powers of the police, the powers of the courts to prosecute the accused and impose sentences, and the powers of penal institutions to hold incarcerated persons and the conditions they are held under, we should take positions as “liberal” as those of the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild and beyond. However, when it comes to the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms, to use them in defense against criminals and to form private organizations (neighborhood watches, militias, posses, private security guard services, vigilance committees and common law courts) for the purpose of mutual self-protection against crime (including government crime), we should take positions as “conservative” as the Gun Owners of America, the Michigan Militia and beyond.

And on the prison-industrial complex:

It is well-known that the United States maintains the world’s largest prison population. More than one quarter of all the world’s prisoners reside in US prisons. A grossly disproportionate number of these are blacks or other minorities. A comprehensive amnesty program is essential to any serious effort to dismantle the US Leviathan state. As a model for amnesty, we might look to that implemented by Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, prior to the commencement of the current war. Most prisoners were given full amnesty, foreign spies excepted. Thieves were pardoned on the condition of victim restitution. Even violent criminals had their sentences communted if the victim or the victim’s mother agreed to a pardon. If this was good enough for Saddam Hussein, it ought to be good enough for anti-state radicals in North America. Under such a general amnesty, the only remaining prisoners would be those who refused to compensate victims or whose crimes were serious enough to discourage the victim from granting a pardon. The rest of the prison population, from tax evaders to drug vendors to owners of “illegal” firearms to those convicted of violations of arcane regulatory statutes, would simply be cleared out. Likewise, those imprisoned for self-defense, whether against common criminals or the government (for example, Leonard Peltier, the surviving Branch Davidians or those resisting “no-knock” raids) should also be granted amnesty. Additionally, panels of legal experts should be commissioned to review the cases of those convicted of even the most serious crimes. Given the notorious incompetence of the US legal system, it is likely a significant number of these are innocent.

Property and Freedom Society Conference in Bodrum, Turkey Reply

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Property and Freedom Society held its annual conference in Bodrum, Turkey on May 21-25. The Property and Freedom Society is arguably the most radical gathering of anti-state scholars and intellectuals anywhere in the world, as an examination of their program will indicate. Dr. Hoppe’s introductory remarks are currently available here. The text of a paper presented by Dr. Sean Gabb of the U.K.’s Libertarian Alliance is also available. If any Attack the System readers were present at this conference and wish to submit a review, summary or critique of the event, please contact me here .