The State of the Resistance Two Years Into the Age of Obama

During the reign of George W. Bush, I generally argued that the foundational issues for the construction of a genuine resistance movement in the USA should be the growth of the police state and the increasingly aggressive nature of American foreign policy, and that the primary method of resistance should be, at least in the long run, secession by regions and communities. I based this view in large part on the fact that over 400 American localities had issued resolutions denouncing both the war in Iraq and the provisions of the Patriot Act. Further, towards the end of the reign of Bush, there was a proliferation of blogs, websites, and local groups oriented towards the prospect of secession. At least three dozen such efforts were in operation at one time.

Two years into the Age of Obama, it appears that such efforts have either stagnated or dried up completely. For instance, a North American secessionist conference was held three years in a row between 2006-2008, but no new conferences have been held since Obama has ascended to power. Likewise, the Second Vermont Republic, by far the best organized of any present regionalist movement, fielded a secessionist gubernatorial candidate in the election of 2010, with their candidate receiving only less than one percent of the vote. Furthermore, the antiwar movement which was already quite pale during the Bush years, has nearly completely disappeared, and the Obama regime has continued the police state policies of the Bush era with very little challenge. As Justin Raimondo observes, the reasons for this shift can be explained in two words: The Left. The antiwar or anti-Patriot Act left was always more motivated by opposition to Bush or opposition to the Republicans than by opposition to imperialism or police statism themselves. As John Whitehead explains:

Unfortunately,even many of those civil libertarians who took Bush to task and vocally criticized his civil liberties abuses have been virtually silent in face of President Obama’s continuation of Bush programs that undermine the Bill of Rights. For example, The Public Record, a nonprofit news organization based in California, asked prominent civil and human rights leaders “to explain their relatively passive position on the renewal of the Patriot Act. Most did not respond. One who did requested that his name not be used because he is still hoping to energize some of the silent voices.” Here’s what he had to say:

Many of my colleagues have just given up on the Patriot Act, either expressly or implicitly (in terms of the mindshare, energy, and resources dedicated to the issue). They don’t seem to understand or recall just how foundational this supposedly ‘emergency’ law was in setting the stage for the infringements that came later. Sheer exhaustion plays a role, but the fact that it’s been nearly a decade means that generational change is even starting to have an impact, as have all the other irons in the fire – so many other traumatizing events have come up to distract and rightfully demand attention (torture, even broader surveillance, illegal war, assassinations), and a corrosive new so-called realism (cynicism, actually) about the politics of terrorism and the complicity of our fear-driven media and political class, combined of course with a reluctance to undermine our first black president and whatever incremental progressive achievements he can make. So the situation’s pretty bleak out there, and will only turn around, in my view, if there is much greater bottom-up, local, and peer-to-peer, community-to-community activism.

In other words, now that the Left has “their guy” is power, they can forget about all this antiwar and civil liberties stuff and get on with the really important business, like repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, expanding the welfare state, or promoting draconian environmental regulations. This likewise explains the stagnation of the secessionist movement, which was clearly fueled in large part by hostility to Bush. Contrary to popular stereotype, the sympathizers for secession during the 2000s were largely drawn from those constituencies that normally lean leftward, as this 2008 Zogby poll indicated. Likewise, because Vermont is one of the bluest of the blue states, the rise of Obama likely explains Dennis Steele’s poor electoral performance as well as anything. At the same time, interest in ideas like nullification have actually grown, and these have of course been fueled by right-wing opposition to certain Obama policies, particularly “Obamacare.” Not surprisingly, nullification seems to right now be the most popular in Idaho, the reddest of red states.

All of this follows a predicable pattern, of course. During the Reagan years of the 1980s, “right-wing” political dissent was virtually unheard of, as the entire array of the Right signed on to Reagan’s Cold War policies. All political opposition in the U.S. in those years came from the Left (I know, I was there). During the Clinton era, the Left really started to become the neo-Victorian bores they are now, while it was the Right that moved into the hard-core opposition camp as evidenced by such phenomenon as the militia movement of the period. During the Bush years, the Left adopted a predictable oppositional stance, and now that Obama is here the pendulum has for obvious reasons swung back in the other direction.

In terms of what this means for the future of U.S. politics, we can safely predict that these patterns will continue. If, for instance, Sarah Palin or some other Republican favorite becomes president in 2012 or 2016, we can be sure that the Left will likely go back to its old ways of calling for resistance to Republican fascism and entertaining thoughts like secession in some instances. Likewise, during the times that the Democrats will be dominant, the Right will assume its present oppositional stance. I have previously explained why the Democrats will be the dominant party in American politics over the next few decades due to generational, cultural, demographic, and economic trends, along with the lessons of past partisan cycles. Therefore, we can expect that “right-wing” opposition will grow more rapidly in the decades ahead as opposed to its counterparts from the Left.

However, two unique situations have arisen in recent years that comprise an anomaly in the standard left/right paradigm.  The first of these is the emergence of a “permanent opposition Right” that opposes the establishment irrespective of what party is in power and fervently rejects so-called “movement conservatism” or the Republican Party. The paleoconservative Right first adopted this stance during the Bush regime with its dominance by the hated neoconservatives, and the paleo movement has since evolved into the far more radical Alternative Right. The second of these is that the number of affiliates of ARV/ATS along with the number of affiliates for allied tendencies have grown significantly since the beginning of the Obama era. Because we are perceived by our enemies and critics as “right-wing,” it might be easy to dismiss this as part of the general growth of opposition from the Right due to the Obama ascendency. However, it is particularly important to note that the growth of our own tendencies has been within the context of the demographics of the Left. Most of the  ARV/ATS,  National-Anarchist, and other affiliates have appeared in areas that are solidly blue, such as New York City, San Francisco, southern California, Ohio, Boston, Ontario, Washington state, Wisconsin, and other places that are conventionally “blue” (i.e. left-leaning) geographical regions. Further, we have experienced growth among conventionally blue  demographics such as African-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Gays/Queers, Muslims, and others not generally thought of as being part of the American right-wing. While this growth is far too embryonic at this point to draw too many solid conclusions, a number of initial observations are in order.

First, this process seems to validate the totalitarian humanism theory. The Left has zero interest in acting as any kind of serious opposition force when the left-liberals are in power. This shows that the Left has largely abandoned its pretenses of opposition to war, militarism, imperialism, capitalism, statism, fascism, etc. and now regards seizing control of the state for the sake of advancing race/gender/gay/eco/welfarist/therapeutist politics as its real agenda.

Second, the rise of a permanent opposition Right, the interest of the mainstream right-wing in ideas like nullification, and the likely future dominance of the Democrats indicates that the majority of opposition politics in future decades will originate from the Right, with increasingly large numbers of adherents of the Right giving up on the System altogether, and adopting a permanent oppositional or even revolutionary stance.

Third, the growth of the most cutting edge forms of contemporary radicalism, such as ARV/ATS, National-Anarchism, third positionism, the most radical forms of libertarianism, alternative anarchism, etc.  generally, and among demographics generally considered “progressive” specifically, indicates that the real foundation of the future resistance to totalitarian humanism and the institutions which it controls will be some kind of yet to be defined libertarian-third position synthesis with its principal base being among genuine dissidents in large American cities, densely populated areas, and nominally “progressive” communities.

Fourth, the growing interest of dissident sectors of the Left in genuinely cutting edge radicalism and in rejection of the left establishment, the expanded interest in the libertarian-third position synthesis among “blue” demographics,the growth of a permanent opposition Right, the likely dominance of the Right in opposition politics generally over the next few decades, and the declining economic fortunes of the middle class would all seem to vindicate the “ten core demographics” theory advanced by this blogsite.

All of this is in line with the stated ARV/ATS strategy of identifying the relevant future political struggles as a kind of intra-Left civil war between the totalitarian humanist establishment and an anarchistic opposition that rejects the left-right paradigm, adopts a populist outlook, organizes among the lumpen elements of urban areas, is primarily though by no means exclusively youth oriented, and is allied politically with more conventionally right-wing populist sectors originating from more conservative or sparsely populated regions, and with revolutionary right-wing elements who have rejected this system in favor of a “post-America” of more decentralized politics and seceded regions. Of course, none of this is going to happen overnight. Hence, my previously outlined “Forty Years in the Wilderness” plan.

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