Libertarianism-An Autopsy? 3

http://networkedblogs.com/p12876300

Libertarianism is hard to define because it means different things depending on where you’re at. In most of the world, especially in Europe, it’s a synonym for anarchism. But that’s the dead opposite of what it means in the USA where your sober libertarians know they need enough government to guard the loot of the few who’ve amassed it in what has become a casino economy.

A good capsule analysis of libertarianism, American-style, comes from Kevin Walsh in his blog:

“Libertarianism is a utopian ideology that is most commonly found among the European-American petit-bourgeoisie and intelligentsia which favors bourgeois property relations with little or no state apparatus to support those relations. Libertarians are opposed to involuntary taxation, military conscription, laws against narcotics, laws against prostitution, professional police forces, laws restricting private ownership of weapons, public education, government social programs, and just about all regulations on business. Libertarians favor privatizing all or nearly all government functions. Many Libertarians even favor privately owned highways, streets and sidewalks.

“Libertarianism is rare outside the USA, and in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, it is virtually unknown. Within the USA, Libertarianism is unusual outside the European-American community. The idea that bourgeois property relations could be maintained without a strong state apparatus justly seems bizarre to most of the world’s people, but in view of the unusual history of the USA, it is understandable that some European-Americans could be led to believe this.”

As Kevin pointed out, class struggle was retarded in America. Workers could just pack up and leave, heading West. That’s why it was important after the Civil War to have the mass immigration occur in order build an industrial working class. But it also developed the class struggle–an event of real life and not an invention of Marx. This class struggle up to the Second World War was one of the bloodiest in the world. See DYNAMITE! by Louis Adamic.

But the drive West became the prevailing ideology for a great many European-Americans. Francis Parker Yockey called it individualistic imperialism; we call it libertarianism today.

It’s also based on a false reading of American history.Americans didn’t open up the West on their own. Rather, it was done by government and the U.S. Army. No invisible hand here.

Another hallmark of libertarianism is hostility to the idea of community, and from there to nationalism & populism. Margaret Thatcher who used libertarian rhetoric when it suited her–like our Republicans when out of office–said there was no such thing as society; just atomized consumers, presumably.

Libertarians are also blind to race. They wouldn’t understand the Kansas-Nebraska wars prior to the Civil War. The history books say it was the old sectional battle of free states vs slave states. And it was up to a point. The free white workers fleeing the factories in the East didn’t want the lands opened up by the Army to be doled out in large plantations to the slaveocracy. But they also didn’t want the presence of large numbers of blacks in the new territories.

Libertarians wouldn’t understand why northern states like Indiana and Ohio, prior to the Civil War, wouldn’t allow in free blacks unless they made a substantial cash deposit which would be refunded when they left.

Finally, libertarianism calls for more changes in human nature than socialism would call for. That’s why we style it utopian.

Libertarianism is also utopian in that it doesn’t come to grips with the hidden history of our times. Hidden history, parapolitics, and deep politics are all terms that describe the complicated intertwining of organized crime, drug trafficking, gun-running, money laundering, covert operations, intelligence collection, strategies of tension, assassinations, coups and other events hidden from public view, democratic oversight and effective accountability by the National Security State and the corporate-dominated media. That’s why on TV “24? was always more realistic than that liberal wetdream/soap opera “The West Wing.”

Updated News Digest September 27, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quote of the Week:

“It is time that Americans reorganize themselves based on their geography and lifestyle choices according to the political outlook that most accurately reflects their views.  For example, if this means Hawaii leaves the Union then Hawaii leaves the Union.  If California has interests inherently at odds with the core beliefs of other States of the United States it is time to say farewell to incompatible political agendas.  If you sympathize with this statement or would like to find out more about the Bay Area National Anarchists feel free to browse the archive of blog posts and visit affiliated websites.  National Anarchists come from many backgrounds and we encourage a diverse range of opinions on political subjects.  Where we stand united is in our belief in the completely unsatisfactory results provided by all levels of the United States government that acts like an abusive codependent relationship is out of control and self destructive.  The solution is to form communities that are resilient against the abuse of authoritarian power.”

                                                                                    –Bay Area National Anarchists

Secession Movement Expands by Dave Montgomery

War, Terrorism and the World State Hans Hermann Hoppe interviewed by Marc Grunert

Secession Is in the Air by William S. Lind

Brzezinski Says U.S. Should Attack Israeli Jets from Tradition and Revolution

The Echoes of War Doug Casey interviewed by Louis James

More Lies, More Deception by Paul Craig Roberts

Things Sean Hannity Would Never Say by Jack Hunter

The Economy is a Lie by Paul Craig Roberts

The United States in Afghanistan: Eight Years Later by Gabriel Kolko

Can America Be Salvaged? by David Michael Green

Inconvenient Truths by Taki Theodoracopulos

Leonard Zeskind is an Idiot by Evan McLaren

The Ruin of His Presidency by Alexander Cockburn

The Prohibitionists’ Manifesto by Fred Gardner

Pot and the Right to Pursue Happiness by Norm Kent

The Two Faces of the Vermont Independence Movement by Thomas N. Naylor

The Afghan Disaster by Lew Rockwell

Deep In the Heart of Texas by Thomas N. Naylor

McChrystal’s Conundrum by Justin Raimondo

The Pentagon is Bankrupting Us by Jacob Hornberger

Weapons of Mass Democracy by Stephen Zunes

America Has Been Here Before by Eric Margolis

Settling for Failure in the Middle East by Stephen Walt

Contempt of Cop by William Norman Grigg

The Most Militaristic State on Earth by Glenn Greenwald

A Cop Does Good (OMG!) by William Norman Grigg

Rot in Hell, Irving Kristol by Justin Raimondo

Was Irving Kristol a CIA Plot? by Richard Spencer

Friendly PIGS at Work by Bill Anderson

Secession! by Lew Rockwell

Beware of Rising Libertarians by Mike Payne

An Unpatriotic Conservative by Jack Hunter

To Lose a War by Pat Buchanan

It is Going to Be a Rocky Road by Chuck Baldwin

The Constitution: The God That Failed by Bill Buppert

PIGS vs Anarchists in Pittsburgh from Infoshop.Org

Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism by Luigi Fabbri

Who Is Barack Obama? by Justin Raimondo

The U.S. Velvet Junta by Jeff Huber

U.S. and Israeli Oppression in Palestine Philip Weiss interviewed by Scott Horton

The Post-9/11 Round-Up of Innocents Jim Bovard interviewed by Scott Horton

Diary of a Teen-Aged Girl in Iraq by Erik Leaver

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

The Myth of Equality by Ian Huyett

Patriots and Tyrants Radio (thanks, Ian!)

(Extra hat tips to Chris Donnellan for the following links)

Liberated Thinkers Against Creation and Evolution

The Beginning of the End of U. S. Hegemony Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project

War Movies and the Human Heart by Clyde Wilson

Eat Like a Human, Feel Like a Human by Jenna Johnson

Indigenous Peoples of the British Isles 

Compulsory Schooling is Not the Way 

At the Heart of Darkness by Samuel Francis (R.I.P.)

Greens Say Immigration Bad for the Environment from The Australian

White, German Al-Qaida Insurgents Found in Afghanistan by Dean Nelson

Thousands March Against G20 in Pittsburgh 

Architecture and Identity by David Morris

Anti-Racist Nationalists 

National-Bolshevik Party U.S.A-Ideology 

Ethnocentric Heathenism 

The Arab Socialist Baath Party

Ten Key Questions in the Health Care Debate from Front Porch Republic

White Guilt Awareness Day from Human Events

Garrett Hardin on Immigration and Standard of Living 

David Horowitz-P. T. Barnum of the Right 

The Realist Party 

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat

Weekly Reading of Scripture

The Death of Politics  by Karl Hess

The Bolshevik Myth by Alexander Berkman

How I Became a Socialist by William Morris

The Kronstadt Rebellion by Alexander Berkman

 

 
TIt is time that Americans reorganize themselves based on their geography and lifestyle choices according to the political outlook that most accurately reflects their views.  For example, if this means Hawaii leaves the Union then Hawaii leaves the Union.  If California has interests inherently at odds with the core beliefs of other States of the United States it is time to say farewell to incompatible political agendas.  If you sympathize with this statement or would like to find out more about the Bay Area National Anarchists feel free to browse the archive of blog posts and visit affiliated websites.  National Anarchists come from many backgrounds and we encourage a diverse range of opinions on political subjects.  Where we stand united is in our belief in the completely unsatisfactory results provided by all levels of the United States government that acts like an abusive codependent relationship is out of control and self destructive.  The solution is to form communities that are resilient against the abuse of authoritarian power.
hThere is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
ere is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
re is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
here is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.

Updated News Digest September 20, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quote of the Week:

“Racist, sexist, homophobe, birth-certificate denier, 9-Eleven denier, moon-landing denier, lookist, logist, and all the rest of the epithets used by the enforcers of political correctness are despicable. As Murray Rothbard said, if someone advocates aggression against the members of some group, or wants to use the state to do so, that is evil, and must be denounced. But running a restricted country club, say, like the Palm Beach one that Bernie Madoff belonged to, is just an exercise of freedom. So is all private discrimination. So is disagreeing with the SPLC or NOW or GLAAD or the ADL. No advocate of free speech should be caught dead using “racist,” etc., against dissenters. Make an argument, buddy. I take no pleasure in seeing one of the demonizers demonized himself. But here is the good news. The state’s little epithet-slingers are losing their power. Once upon a time, such charges ended careers and even lives. Now they merely damage. Someday, and how sweet it will be, they will have no effect at all. Repeat after me, even though Voltaire didn’t say it, I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.”

                                                                                       -Lew Rockwell

What America’s Crisis Means to the Rest of the World by Noam Chomsky

Health Care Deceit by Paul Craig Roberts

Brother Against Brother by Joshua Keating

Demonstrating is Useless by Robert Higgs

America’s Suicide Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

What Price Afghanistan by Justin Raimondo

The Iran Hawks Are Back by Stephen Walt

Palestinian Camps Are Ready to Erupt by Franklin Lamb

Dismantling the Political Spectrum by Tom Malinich

Why Propaganda Trumps Truth by Paul Craig Roberts

Afghanistan: What Are These People Thinking? by Conn Hallinan

American Refuseniks Adam Szyper-Seibert interviewed by Scott Horton

Obama’s Turning Point by Phillip Giraldi

FAIR Takes On the $PLC by Patrick Cleburne

Religion is Not the Primary Motivation of Suicide Bombers by Riaz Hassan

Obama’s Quagmire by Jeffrey Kuhner

The Killing Fields of Afghanistan by Chris Floyd

Colombia: Throwing Bullets at Failed Policies by Benjamin Dangl

Support Your Local Sadist by Will Grigg

The PIGS Can Kill and Maim With Impunity by Will Grigg

At Least the Chinese Allow Smoking in Airports by Lew Rockwell

Bloodsuckers in Blue by Will Grigg

Quietly Building the Totalitarian State by Jack Douglas

The Destruction of the U.S. Empire by Bill Bonner

Women’s Resistance Behind Bars from Infoshop.Org

Dredging Up the Past by Elizabeth Wright

Best of Intentions by Austin Bramwell

The Return of Protectionism by Pat Buchanan

Government Pays by Tom Piatak

Push for Globalism Continues by Chuck Baldwin

Shot in the Back: Murder at the Hands of the PIGS from Rad Geek

Man Beaten and Arrested for Having an Unzipped Jacket by Francois Tremblay

Mask Ordinance Voted Down in Pittsburgh from Infoshop.Org

Your “Honor” by Bill Anderson

A Mother’s Resistance by William Norman Grigg

Hey Kids, Killing and Dying Are Fun! by David Swanson

The Real Lessons of Lehman’s Fall by Mike Whitney

Obama’s Real Record on Guns by Richard Pearson

Helot on Wheels  by William Norman Grigg

Tyranny Every 18 Seconds in America by David Kramer

Full-Time Cops, Part-Time Convicts by William Norman Grigg

War Without End by Philip Giraldi

The Iran Whisperers by Jeff Huber

The Heroic Daniel Ellsberg by Eric Garris

Confessions of a Revolutionist: Law Concerning the Clubs by Pierre Joseph Proudhon

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Why Liberalism is a Sham 1

[Keith: This is the best critique of liberalism I have seen to date. This is the critique I would write.]

by Camille Paglia

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/09/09/healthcare/index.html

Sept. 9, 2009 | What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration’s bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama’s declining national support. 

But this tonic dose of truth-telling may be too little too late. As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration’s strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have — from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama’s plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?) 

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats’ main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP’s facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen. 

This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster — as witness the middle-of-the-night bum’s rush given to “green jobs” czar Van Jones last week — but there’s a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president’s innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to “help” the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare? 

Why did it take so long for Democrats to realize that this year’s tea party and town hall uprisings were a genuine barometer of widespread public discontent and not simply a staged scenario by kooks and conspirators? First of all, too many political analysts still think that network and cable TV chat shows are the central forums of national debate. But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web — both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy — I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows. 

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism. 

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Chimes of Freedom,” made famous by the Byrds? And here’s Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with “Freedom! Freedom!” Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song “A Different Drum,” with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me.” 

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it’s positively pickled. 

Next page: Let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan!

 
Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences — in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy — of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management. 

But dreaming in the 1960s and ’70s had a spiritual dimension that is long gone in our crassly materialistic and status-driven time. Here’s a gorgeous example: Bob Welch’s song “Hypnotized.” which appears on Fleetwood Mac’s 1973 album “Mystery to Me.” (The contemplative young man in this recent video is not Welch.) It’s a peyote dream inspired by Carlos Castaneda’s fictionalized books: “They say there’s a place down in Mexico/ Where a man can fly over mountains and hills/ And he don’t need an airplane or some kind of engine/ And he never will.” This exhilarating shamanistic vision (wonderfully enhanced by Christine McVie’s hymnlike backing vocal) captures the truth-seeking pilgrimages of my generation but also demonstrates the dangerous veering away from mundane social responsibilities. If the left is an incoherent shambles in the U.S., it’s partly because the visionaries lost their bearings on drugs, and only the myopic apparatchiks and feather-preening bourgeois liberals are left. (I addressed the drugs cataclysm in “Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s” in the Winter 2003 issue of Arion.) 

Having said all that about the failures of my own party, I am not about to let Republicans off the hook. What a backbiting mess the GOP is! It lacks even one credible voice of traditional moral values on the national stage and is addicted to sonorous pieties of pharisaical emptiness. Republican politicians sermonize about the sanctity of marriage while racking up divorces and sexual escapades by the truckload. They assail government overreach and yet support interference in women’s control of their own bodies. Advanced whack-a-mole is clearly needed for that yammering smarty-pants Newt Gingrich, who is always so very, very pleased with himself but has yet to produce a single enduring thought. The still inexplicably revered George W. Bush ballooned our national deficits like a drunken sailor and clumsily exacerbated the illegal immigration debate. And bizarrely, the hallucinatory Dick Cheney, a fake-testosterone addict who spooked Bush into a pointless war, continues to be lauded as presidential material. 

Which brings us to Afghanistan: Let’s get the hell out! While I vociferously opposed the incursion into Iraq, I was always strongly in favor of bombing the mountains of Afghanistan to smithereens in our search for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida training camps. But committing our land forces to a long, open-ended mission to reshape the political future of that country has been a fool’s errand from the start. Every invader has been frustrated and eventually defeated by that maze-like mountain terrain, from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union. In a larger sense, outsiders will never be able to fix the fate of the roiling peoples of the Near East and Greater Middle East, who have been disputing territorial borderlines and slaughtering each other for 5,000 years. There is too much lingering ethnic and sectarian acrimony for a tranquil solution to be possible for generations to come. The presence of Western military forces merely inflames and prolongs the process and creates new militias of patriotic young radicals who hate us and want to take the war into our own cities. The technological West is too infatuated with easy fixes. But tribally based peoples think in terms of centuries and millennia. They know how to wait us out. Our presence in Afghanistan is not worth the price of any more American lives or treasure. 

In response to persistent queries, I must repeat: No, I do not have a Facebook page, nor am I a “friend” on anyone else’s Facebook. Nor do I Twitter. This Salon column is my sole Web presence. Whatever doppelgänger Camille Paglias are tripping the light fantastic out there (as in the haunted bus-station episode of “The Twilight Zone”), they aren’t me!

Updated News Digest September 13, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“The high-pitched activist liberals I collided with in college are living out one prolonged shit test that has its own ontological area code. I recall the effect of their overall swagger and posture to be a dare, to anyone who suggested any degree of serious hesitation about gay marriage, mass immigration, racial egalitarianism, or whatever. I wasn’t self-consciously right-wing when I first encountered this but I couldn’t resist the challenge and still can’t. Cocky liberals might intimidate someone with their knowing bluster, but it won’t be me. I was going to call their bluff wherever and whenever I could. My instinctive response was to say, “Look, you don’t have the grasp on truth you pretend to and your moral scruples are exaggerated. You’re not saving any lives or making the world a better place by raging against homophobia and imaginary Nazis. You’re just striking a pose to impress yourself and others. I’m unimpressed.”

                                                                                     –Evan McLaren

Is America Coming Apart? by Pat Buchanan

The American Left: Rebel Without a Cause by Thomas N. Naylor

Indefensible Nation by Paul Craig Roberts

Put Not Your Faith in Princes by Kevin Carson

The Weaponization of Human Rights by Chase Madar

Europe’s Complicity in Evil by Paul Craig Roberts

The Name That Must Not Be Mentioned by Paul Gottfried

Eight Years Later by Stonewall

The Men That Make the Empire Robert Parry interviewed by Scott Horton

Creativity As the Lifeblood of Freedom by Francois Tremblay

Obama’s Big Speech-Give Us a F….ing Break! by Alexander Cockburn

I Am Barack Obama’s Political Prisoner Now by Leonard Peltier

“Repeal the 21st Century” Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

Military Brass Has George Will’s Back by Jack Hunter

How to Fight Deflation by Mike Whitney

The New Segregation by Grant Havers

Watergate and Modern Scandals by Saul Landau

The Conservative “Corruption” Problem by Dylan Hales

Disgraceful Democrats  by Russell Mokhiber

Beware Petraeus: The General Who Would Be King Jeff Huber interviewed by Scott Horton

This Is How Its Done by Kevin DeAnna

The State of U.S. National Security by Brian M Downing

Pat Buchanan and 9-11 by Jack Hunter

Will Obama Seize the Internet? Declan McCullagh interviewed by Scott Horton

Afghan Firefight by Franklin C. Spinney

Pro-Life Demonstrator Murdered in Michigan: Is a Civil War Coming? by Tom Piatak

A Solution to the Health Care Problem by Charles R. Larson

Traficant vs AIPAC by Richard Spencer

The Debtors’ Revolt Begins

Call It the “Peter Brimelow Rule” by Robert Stacy McCain

Israeli Ads Warn Against Marrying Non-Jews by Jonathan Cook

Encountering Gottfried by Ilana Mercer

Norman’s War by Paul Gottfried

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Lie Them by Jack Hunter

Willful Blindness by Richard Spencer

Hate America? Count Me Out! by Chuck Baldwin

Ten Lessons of 9-11 by Sheldon Richman

Obama Equals Bush on Steroids by Bede

Come to Vermont, Help Us Secede, and Escape the Empire by Thomas N. Naylor

Dominique Venner’s Ernst Junger: Another European Destiny by Michael O’Meara

Food Among the Ruins by Mark Dowie

When Satire Becomes Reality  by Justin Raimondo

Ronald Reagan’s Torture by Robert Parry

How Afghanistan Became the Graveyard of the Russian Empire by Dave Crouch

The Evils of Preventive Detention by Glenn Greenwald

The Continual Selling of the Afghan War by William Blum

Let Poppies Grow; Bring Troops Home by Al Neuharth

Obama’s Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

Puff Daddies by Daniel Engber

Commercial Products Before the Drug War

Boston Tea Party 

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf Rocker

On Anarchy by Dyer Lum

The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman by Richard Wall

Tolstoy the Peculiar Christian Anarchist by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos

“The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by Count Leo Tolstoy

Constructive Policy Vs Destructive War by Marie Louise Berneri

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

On Overcoming Race and Class Reductionism in the Anarchist Milieu 1

from Ed D’Angelo (Anytime Now Discussion Forum)

I think racial politics in the anarchist movement derives from the broader American Left, for which race has been a key issue since the abolitionists of the pre-Civil War period. Class based analysis is not common in American politics, especially in the present day. Most Americans view themselves as middle class, which is not entirely inaccurate. The American working class is either invisible or is seen only through the lens of race, as if to be working class can be equated with being a “minority” (ie, non-white or non-native born). Although a class struggle perspective is found in the revolutionary anarchist tradition (Bakunin and the communist anarchists), I think the larger source of class struggle perspectives is the Marxist tradition, which is relatively weak in the USA. Even some Marxist parties, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist Party with roots in SDS and the 60s New Left, is more focused on race (particularly the black race) than class (or confuses the two). In this case, it’s clear that the preoccupation with blacks derives from the Civil Rights struggles of the 50s and 60s. 
 
So, racial reductionism in the anarchist movement is due, I think, to the influence of the larger American Left, and beyond that, American culture in general, on the American anarchist movement. As radical as we might think we are, we are all still products of our cultures.
 
Because the American working class, at least since WW II, has been so conservative –coopted by business unions in the early post-war years and by consumerism, suburban sprawl, etc. — anarchism in the USA has had little appeal to workers. Most anarchists in the USA are bohemians with roots in the (largely, but not exclusively, white) college educated middle class. For them, anarchism is not about their own struggle for liberation and autonomy, but is a moral mission to help the oppressed other. And in mainstream American culture, the face of oppression is black. So it’s not surprising that you would find many white anarchists with a moral concern for racial issues. This tendency in the anarchist movement goes back at least to the 1940s, when anarchists were among the first to participate in the early Civil Rights movement.
 
What can we do? The only way to free yourself from the past, I think, is to become aware of how it continues to shape your views, even when it is past. So we can try to educate ourselves and others about this history, and how circumstances have changed. The same can be said for the influence of mainstream culture. The more we become critically aware of mainstream culture, the more we can free ourselves of it. I think it’s a good idea to turn off the mainstream media, too, because to some extent it’s impossible to immunize yourself against it, no matter how sharp your critical reasoning skills are.
 
We can also educate ourselves about anarchist history. In this respect, I am finding Eugene Lunn’s book, “Prophet of Community: The Romantic Socialism of Gustav Landauer,” to be particularly interesting, because Landauer’s anarchism is a prime example of an anarchism that is not class or race based, that was explicitly formulated in opposition to Marxist currents, and that is based in the individual spirit (understood as a mystical microcosm of the community and volk). Landauer was a pacifist and evolutionary anarchist who believed that the road to anarchism is paved with the construction of voluntary cooperative communties within the interstice so the old, rather than in the violent overthrow of existing structures. Violent revolution, Landauer would have argued, is impossible because authority is sustained by the voluntary servitude of the oppressed who would reconstruct oppressive structures once the old ones were destroyed — as occurred in the Soviet Union. What is needed is a cultural revolution not a political one.

Updated News Digest September 6, 2009

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual trends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator…will do well to encourage that freedom in conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, movies, and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.”

                                                      -Aldous Huxley (Left-Libertarians take note)

“I was once a big advocate of North West Migration back in the eighties when it was referred to as The Northwest Territorial Imperative. This was before I actually visited the Northwest and realized how freaking cold it gets up there. I feel that if people are going to fight, actually kill and die for land, that it should be the most hospitable and fertile land available. Also after living in Asia for a few years, I saw that ethnically homogeneous states have their own assortment of serious problems.

What I see as the biggest fault in these proposals…is the belief that it is possible for an insurrection to force the system to a point where it would be willing to allow secession rather than engage in a bloody and costly counterinsurgency to hold on to Northwest States. This plan fails to acknowledge strategic importance of the region, Wyoming contains the bulk of the nations nuclear arsenal and Montana is sitting on top of one of the largest untapped oil reserves on the planet. There is no way they are going to give up these states. I also believe that Americas perceived failures in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East gives people the false impression the U.S. can be forced to make peace and concessions. I on the other hand, believe that America has always achieved it’s objectives in these conflicts and that if actually forced to, an intact, operational America will kill every man, woman and child on this continent before it allows any part of it to escape it’s control.

I personally believe that partition could only be achieved in conjunction with total systemic collapse. But in the event of such a collapse, I would imagine that free association will lead to a natural, functional and sustainable equilibrium anyway. I predict this would lead to a multiplicity of diversified states, not all based on race. The Mormons are already working towards a religious based state and I assume that other groups will define and segregate themselves along lines of religion, political inclinations, geographical preference, sexual orientation and other lifestyle considerations as well as race. And I hope that there will always be integrated cosmopolitan regions, some minorities within every state and a degree of hospitable travel and exchange between all states. ”

                                                           “Rodney”, Tradition and Revolution Forum

“Although anarchism can take the form of class struggle, it’s not defined by class struggle, it’s defined by opposition to the state or to rulership in general (which may include class rule), to hierarchy, authoritarianism, centralization, bureaucracy, etc…A nationalized health care system, contrary to expectations, would actually increase people’s individual freedom — for instance, by freeing them from dependence on jobs they hate for health care…In that sense, the opponents of nationalized health care also have a claim on the label “anarchist,” so long as they are also opposed to the present system of giant health insurance bureaucracies and employer provided insurance.

(The Left’s) analysis of race is also out of date, at least for the urban coastal areas of the USA like New York, LA, or Miami. American society is now multicultural. Does racism still exist? Sure it does, but it’s much more complex than the classic black/white right/wrong racism of the 50s and 60s. There’s a rainbow of people and racism, or simply hostility towards other cultural or language groups, runs in all directions. You say the “right wing” libertarians are all white? Well so are many left wing anarchist groups. You say white people don’t like to talk about race? But there’s an obvious reason why they don’t: there are severe penalties for saying the “wrong” thing about race, thanks to the politically correct left. Also, for white people, their racial identity has been made into a source of shame, whereas the opposite has occurred for blacks, for whom many benefits and privileges now accrue in the form of affirmative action.”

                                                                                           -Ed D’Angelo

The British State and the British National Party: The Post-Modern Tyranny of “Human Rights” by Sean Gabb

Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the U.S.? by Paul Craig Roberts

If Sarah Palin is the Answer… by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Bay Area National Anarchists: An Interview with Andrew Yeoman, Part 2 from The Occidental Quarterly Online

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan by George F. Will

Is the Antiwar Movement Waking Up? Not Yet. by Justin Raimondo

Continental Drifts: Is a Falling Out Between Europe and America on the Way? by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

70 Years After-Did Hitler Really Want War? by Pat Buchanan

Pol Pot’s Lawyer: A Profile of Jacques Verges  by Stephanie Giry

Americans Income Slump is the Biggest on Record by Laurent Belsie

The Myth of Technological Progress by Scott Locklin

Sorry, But the Constitution Really Doesn’t Mandate Limited Government by Austin Bramwell

How I Became An Anarchist by Gary Chartier

If the Left Doesn’t Organize Them, the Right Will by Bob Morris

Andrew Yeoman of BANA Interviewed by Tomislav Sunic from Voice of Reason Radio

Paul Wolfowitz vs The Realists by Stephen M. Walt

World War II: Unspeakable Horror Now Encrusted in Myths by Robert Higgs

The Good War Wasn’t So Good by Justin Raimondo

The USSA is the Former USSR Mark Ames interviewed by Scott Horton

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Derek Turner

We Need a New Antiwar Coalition: Peace is the #1 Issue John Walsh interviewed by Scott Horton

Holocaust Revisionism by Richard Spencer

Assessing What Ron Paul Has Accomplished by Gary North

Where Are All These Jobs? by Ilana Mercer

Neo-Tribalism Facebook Page 

The Afghan 80s Are Back by Jonathan Steele

These Colors Run Red by Andrew Bacevich

The Corruption of Empire by Philip Giraldi

The Washington Post’s Cheneyite Defense of Torture by Glenn Greenwald

The BBC Could Not Handle a Right-Winger Against the War by Peter Hitchens

Prosecute the Torturers by Jacob Hornberger

Obama’s War by Dave Lindorff

Misunderstanding Terrorism by Jim Harper

The Menace of Gandhism by Murray Rothbard (the rebuttal by George H. Smith)

The Liberals’ War by Gene Healy

Mummar Qaddafi by Eric Margolis

Cheney and Torture by Jeremy Scahill

Does Diversity Make Whites More Opposed to Welfare? by TGGP

The Decline and Fall of Sloanism by Kevin Carson

Rethinking the Good War by Laurence Vance

Why College Costs So Much by John Zmirak

The Rise of Mercenary Armies by Sherwood Ross

The Ghost of September 11, 2001 by Justin Raimondo

The Justice of Pay Discrimination by Mike Tennant

The U.S. Is Deploying Its Vietnam-Iraq Fig Leaf in Afghanistan by Jack Douglas

It’s Groundhog Day at Duke University by William Anderson

Tyranny in Your Front Yard by Butler Shaffer

Obama’s Bogus Peace Plan Eugene Bird interviewed by Scott Horton

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy by Philip Giraldi

Understanding Dictatorships by Jon Basil Utley

The Next New Plan for Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan for Dummies by Ray McGovern

Cheney is Wrong: There is Precedent for Torture Investigation by Steve Sheppard

Obama’s Meaningless War by Robert Scheer

Deficits Are Strangling the Economy to Death by Gary North

The U.S. Economy Has Been Pushed Off a Cliff by Chris Clancy

Say Hello to the Diversity Czar by Bobby Eberle

Support Our Naked Embassy Guards by Laurence Vance

Bay Area National Anarchist White Cross Patrol BANA Video

Jim Traficant Is Free at Last  by Red Phillips

The Right and Wrong Way to be Politically Incorrect by Ray Mangum

John Wilkes Booth: Did He Go to Hell, or Texas? by Martha Deeringer

Leviathan in One Lesson Tom DiLorenzo interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Drug War is Working (for the System) by Wilton Alston

Democracy is a Very Dangerous Form of Government by Mark Crovelli

Pot Prohibition: A Crime Against Humanity by Paul Armentano

The Moral Hazard of Inflation by Theodore Dalrymple

Is Japan Moving Toward Independence? Michael Penn interviewed by Scott Horton

Why Doesn’t Hillary Fire Blackwater? by Jeremy Scahill

Whatever Happened to Gary Cooper? The Need for a Quieter Patriotism by William Astore and Tom Engelhardt

Barack Obama to Cindy Sheehan: Get Lost  by John V. Walsh

Calling Hannah Arendt by Jane Mayer

How Bad Will It Get? by Mike Whitney

Inside Auburn Prison by Marcus Rediker

Deeper Into the Tunnel by Alexander Cockburn

59 Shots: Those Dirty PIGS by Rad Geek

California Is Importing Poverty by Linda Thom

George Will Quits the War Party by Jack Hunter

Prolonging Futility in Afghanistan by Stephen Chapman

Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

The New Babylon by Michael Collins Piper

Churchill Spurred the Decline of the West by Pat Buchanan

Neocon Nutbaggery by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan Is Not Worth It by Joe Galloway

Could George W. Bush End Up Behind Bars? by Jonathan Mann

The Looming Political War Over Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald

Vicious U.S. Militarism by Kirk Tofte

Alexander in Afghanistan by Mark Hackard

The Struggle for Free Speech in Canada by Kevin Michael Grace

A Landmark Victory from Toronto Globe and Mail

End the Witch Hunts from The National Post

Provacateurs Among “Human Rights” Totalitarians by Joseph Brean

Castro Issues Propaganda Piece for U.S. Liberals 

Traficant in 2012? by Red Phillips

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Sam Dolgoff: The Left of the Left of the Left by Paul Berman

Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War footage

An Anarchist Perspective on the Spanish Civil War by Eddie Conlon

The Trial of Leon Czolgosz 

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

A Dissection of Classical Marxism 2

by Keith Preston

Three important works by Karl Marx, written early in his career as a revolutionary theorist, contain the core ideas that would provide the foundation of the vast intellectual system later to be identified with his name. Among these are his conceptions of historical materialism, class theory, the nature of political economy and the historical function of revolutionary struggles as they emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. The later works of Marx (most famously Das Kapital) can be regarded as the accumulation of sophisticated embellishments of these principal theses. 

 

          The first of these works, The German Ideology, produced in collaboration with Friedrich Engels circa 1844, provides the most comprehensive description of the Marxist notion of historical materialism to be found in any of the works of Marx. Written as an attempted rebuttal of the Hegel-influenced Idealist philosophical outlook to be found in German intellectual circles at the time, attacking in particular the views of Bruno Bauer, “Max Stirner” (Johann Caspar Schmidt) and Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach. The thesis of this work can be summarized quite well with the authors’ statement: “Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts.” [Karl Marx, “The German Ideology”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 reprint, p.176] Arguing against the view that ideas are the guiding force of history, Marx and Engels insist that ideas are themselves the product of material conditions found within the context of a given historical epoch. The material conditions of existence are expressed in a particular “mode of production”, i.e., the methodology by which human animals produce their actual subsistence. The mode of production determines not only the relationship between nations but also the domestic social structure of any given nation. The division of labor that is a corollary to a specific mode of production has the effect of grouping individual laborers into specific class categories with these classes in turn having a specific relationship to one another. [Ibid., p. 176]

 

          Human history subsequently unfolds through paradigmatic shifts in mode of production. These shifts can be identified in particular stages. The first of these, “tribal ownership“, involves a limited division of labor and is organize around the extended family, with the primary productive activities including hunting, fishing, the raising of livestock and primitive farming. The second stage includes the emergence of the State and the grouping of tribes into a system of communal ownership of property organized on the basis of the citizen/slave distinction. At this point, the institution of private property is

more clearly delineated. The division of labor grows wider, greater distinctions between economic groupings on a geographical or functional basis can be observed, and a more rigid class structure emerges. The third stage is represented by feudalism. This mode of production extends over a wider geographical area. Feudalism reverses the relationship of city and country found in the second stage and the “directly producing class” shifts from the slaves to peasant serfs. Co-existing with the feudal manors are the small property holders organized into guilds. Out of feudalism there emerges a fourth stage and a new mode of production: capitalism.[Ibid., p. 179]

 

          The relevance of this unfolding process to human intellectual life is reflected in the claim that “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force“. [Ibid., p. 192] Human intellectual life is shaped by the material conditions in which it occurs, and these conditions are not something the individual chooses but are the product of external social forces beyond his/her control. “Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. ” [Ibid., p. 183]”Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of the ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking.[Ibid., p.183]

 

          Marx and Engels further expound upon this theme in The Communist Manifesto, an application of their theory to the political upheavals of their era. They begin with the bold assertion that the “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. [Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.246] The historical evolution of nineteenth century capitalism is summarized. Capitalism grew out of the medieval towns. The rise of the market economy and ever-expanding byways of trade commerce came to eventually challenge the static feudal economy. Technological innovations allowed for a shift away from small-scale production towards the advent of modern industry. This development brought with it a newly emerging class, “the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. [Ibid., p. 247] As the bourgeois has become the dominant class of the capitalist mode of production, the bourgeoisie has obtained political power as well. The bourgeoisie has overthrown feudalism and established republican and parliamentary expressions of the state. These states serve as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie.

 

          Corresponding to the rise of the bourgeoisie has been the rise of urbanization, the centralization of wealth and property (“the means of production‘) and the proletarianization of the peasantry and the small property holder. This has created an unprecedented polarization in class relations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The workers, or proletarians, have become mere slaves to the industrial process lorded over by the bourgeoisie. The workers have no means to life other than through the sale of their labor to the forces of capital. The process of production has become mechanized and militarized, thereby alienating the worker from the product of his labor and subjecting the worker to exploitation. The workers have organized trade unions and political parties for their own defense and the class struggle is underway. Class solidarity by the proletariat is the path to victory. As the proletariat emerges as the revolutionary class, some in the bourgeoisie have joined their ranks including “a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending

 theoretically the historical movement as a whole.[Ibid. p.248-253] This latter statement is likely a reference to the middle-class intellectuals, including Marx and Engels themselves, who are among the leadership of the Communist movement.

 

          The Communists emerge as the intellectual and activist vanguard of the proletarian revolution. The Communists are the most militant and radical of the proletarian forces who aim to build an international revolutionary movement among the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie on a world scale. Just as the French Revolution abolished feudal property relations, so do the Communists wish to abolish bourgeoisie, or capitalist, property relations. Marx and Engels expend much effort in the pamphlet mocking the hypocrisy of the intellectual apologists for the ruling class who defend the present condition of things in the name of “freedom” while reducing the proletariat to destitution and wage slavery. They also attack the subordinate position of women and the exploitation of female labor, child labor, the unavailability of education for the working class, and argue against national patriotism on the part of the working class: “The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.“[Ibid., pp.255-260] In other words, the proletariat should replace national patriotism with class patriotism and strive to become the ruling class.

 

          Marx applies his approach to class theory and political economy further in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, an analysis of the event surrounding the seizure of the French state by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851. He begins with an explanation of how those engaged in contemporary struggles mythologize the past as a means of interpreting the present: “Similarly, at a another stage of development a century earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed speech, passions and illusions from the Old Testament for their bourgeois revolution. When the real aim had been achieved, when the bourgeois transformation of English society had been accomplished, Locke supplanted Habakkuk.“[Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp.330-331]

 

          Marx likewise attempts to explain setbacks in the course of an revolutionary struggle that is alleged to be inevitable and ordained by history. While bourgeois revolutions “storm swiftly from success to success;….proletarian revolutions….criticize themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses, and paltrinesses of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again,” [Ibid., p. 332] Marx raises the question of why the bourgeoisie would welcome a coup against the parliamentary regime by Louis Bonaparte if the parliament itself is the political expression of the bourgeoisie as a class. The bourgeoisie does this because its continued existence is more safely guaranteed if it relinquishes self-rule in favor of rule by an autocrat. Consequently, the bourgeoisie supports the repression of its parliament, “its politicians and its literati, its platform and its press, in order that it might then be able to pursue its private affairs with full confidence in the protection of a strong and unrestricted government. It declared unequivocally that it longed to get rid of its own political rule in order to get rid of the troubles and dangers of ruling.” [Ibid., pp. 335-336] As the politicians and literati are only part of the ideological superstructure of the bourgeoisie, these can be jettisoned without damaging the material base of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, this material basis can be strengthened if an autocrat removes political obstacles to the advancement of trade and commerce and represses proletarian insurgencies. Marx’s analysis of the coup carried out by Louis Bonaparte is remarkably similar to the interpretation later Marxist theoreticians would give to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the twentieth century.

 

          In two lectures presented fifteen years apart, the British Marxist historiographer Eric Hobsbawm attempts to assess the relevant contributions of Marx to the broader study of history. [Eric Hobsbawm, On History, ed. Eric Hobsbawm, “What do Historian Owe to Karl Marx?” and “Marx and History”; New York: New Press, 1997, pp. 141-170]  Hobsbawn begins with an effort to differentiate the actual  thought of Marx from the tendency toward the vulgarization his work (and the tendency of this approach toward crude reductionism) by subsets of later Marxists theoreticians. Hobsbawm regards the principal contribution of Marx to historical studies and the social sciences as derivative of his notion of “base and superstructure”, noting that, conceptually speaking, one need not adhere with particular rigidity to Marx’s application of this idea to recognize its value, further acknowledging that many non-Marxist historians do just that. Marxism also differs from its rivals in the social science in its efforts to explain the process of social evolution. [Ibid., pp. 157-149]

 

           Marxist influence is also credited with the decline of emphasis on political, religious and national histories towards a greater focus on social and economic history and a movement away from the idealist approach to historical interpretation towards a more materialist orientation, or at least one giving greater attention to the role of social forces. Likewise, the impact of Marxism has been to orient, at least implicitly, many historians towards a more teleological view of historical evolution. [Ibid., p. 143] Indeed, Hobsbawm states his own “conviction that Marx’s approach is still the only one which enables us to explain the entire span of human history, and forms the most fruitful starting-point for modern discussion.” (Ibid., p. 155).

 

          This last notion seems problematical. First, the question arises as to whether is it necessary, or even possible, “to explain the entire span of human history” and whether or not the Marxist position has actually done so. Hobsbawm concedes this difficulty, quoting Weber: “That the very Reformation is ascribed to an economic cause, that the length of the Thirty Years War was due to economic causes, the Crusades to feudal land-hunger, the evolution of the family to economic causes, and that Descartes’ view of animals as machines can be brought into relation with the growth of the Manufacturing system.” [Ibid, p. 147]

 

          More difficulties arise from Hobsbawm’s interpretation of the Marxist theory of the state:” The state will normally legitimate the social order by controlling the class conflict within a stable framework of institutions and values, ostensibly standing above and outside them (the remote king as ‘fountain of justice’), and in doing so perpetrate a society which would otherwise be driven asunder by its internal tensions.” [Ibid, p. 154]

But is this theory of the state Marxist in nature? Is not the state, according to Marx, the mere “executive committee” of the ruling class? And are not a “stable framework of institutions and values” mere chimera derived from an ideological superstructure whose function is to legitimize class rule? It would appear that the theory of the state as “standing above and outside” class conflict and the ideological superstructure of those controlling the means of production is more Hobbesian (or, in more recent terms, Schmittian) than Marxist.

 

          Hobsbawm also notes the irony involved in the impact of Marx on historians, given that Marx himself wrote very little on history itself. Marx developed a theory of history, i.e., historical materialism, but was not a historian as such. Hobsbawm observes that the “bulk of Marx’s historical work is thus integrated into his theoretical and political writings.” [Ibid., p. 158] That some major theoretical problems, even outright errors, can be found in Marx’s work is a point conceded by Hobsbawm, noting, for instance, the failure of those societies Marx labeled as “Asiatic” to evolve along the economic lines Marxist theory would predict, a fact that Marx himself acknowledged. [Ibid., p. 164}Does this failure not reduce the Marxist interpretation of economic evolution to a particularist one? Does this not explode the notion of the historical predestination of the proletariat towards inevitable, ultimate victory? 

 

          More than one hundred fifty years after Marx produced these writings, the classical Marxist ideal  of proletarian supremacy has yet to come into being. Instead, the industrial proletariat has been assimilated into the institutional framework of liberal-capitalism and parliamentary democracy with worker organizations like trade unions becoming part of the status quo. The historic working class has been elevated to the status of a de facto middle class and stratified and fragmented by a myriad of sectional interests. Furthermore, the Marxist derision of particularistic attachments like religion, family, nationality, culture, ethnicity and language has proved untenable. Indeed, these kinds of attachments have been most evident among the historic proletariat whom Marxists claim to champion. At the onset of the First World War, the working classes of Europe rallied behind their respective national regimes in opposition to the working classes of other nations. 

 

          Marxist-influenced revolutions in Asian, African and Latin American countries whose economies were still primarily in an agricultural stage have merely replaced their indigenous autocracies, oligarchies and aristocracies with new ones organized on the basis of ideological concepts imported from Europe. To the degree that capitalism has been severely altered or compromised in any industrialized nation it has been on the basis of a nationalistic collectivism (Fascism, National Socialism, Peronism, Ba’athism) or corporatist social-democracy (U.S. corporate liberalism and the welfare states of Western Europe) rather than proletarian socialism.

 

           Marx did accurately predict the eventual globalization of capital and the breaking down of traditional national and cultural boundaries by this process. This is a process that is only now taking place and threatens the middle class workers of the developed world with re-proletarianization as the newly emerging proletariat of the Third World becomes more readily exploitable by international capital.   Traditional nation-states are also in the process of breaking down but this hardly the “withering away of the state” predicted by Marx. Rather, nations are combining into multinational federations, ethno-separatist breakaway states are demanding autonomy, non-state entities (transnational corporations and financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and international bodies like the United Nations) are assuming more responsibilities and non-state militaries are challenging the state’s traditional monopoly on violence. To the degree that the globalization process is being resisted, it is being done by populist-nationalists (like Hugo Chavez) or non-state religious militants (like Osama bin Laden) who appeal to the very particularist sentiments that Marxists vociferously reject. It would appear that the historical legacy of Marxism will be similar that of other interesting, occasionally correct, but severely flawed systems of thought (like Platonism or Calvinism) that have achieved great influence for a time and then declined.