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Why I’m a Liberal and Hate Most of the Far Left Anyway

Article by Dan Seitz.
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When I wrote an article about Free Republic and the dolts who frequent the site, a lot of the sulky feedback from conservatives wasn’t “We’re not all like this” or “This is only a very narrow subset of conservative thought” (both of which are completely accurate); it was “You’d never do an article like this about Democratic Underground!” Which, you know, you’d think you’d want to emphasize that Freepers were all loons like we did in our article, but whatever.

So, I tried, I really did. But I failed, because I know far-left douchebags way too well and thus my satire meter is broken. I’m a victim of Poe’s Law; some of Democratic Underground may be satire by conservative trolls, but it’s all seemingly legit to me.

I spent my teenage years in and around a small town in Vermont that was literally crawling with organic-food-munching Phish-listening douchebags that would make Abbie Hoffman cry with their failure. Eight years around these kinds of people quickly teaches you something important: there’s no practical difference between a far-right douchebag and a far-left douchebag. They want the same thing: to be absolutely, incontrovertibly right, even when they’re not, and for you to obey every word that drops from their god-like lips.

In short, they’re bullies. And worse, they’re stupid.

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4 replies »

  1. Yes, I’m aware of that situation. I have but one goal in my intellectual career as an anarchist, and that’s to break this totalitarian leftist mindset that currently holds so much of the anarchist milieu in its grip, and the replacement of this paradigm with something more like what Chris George’s recent blogpost outlines: http://www.newkindofmind.com/2011/04/wisdom-and-vision.html

    When that day comes, most of our other problems will start to take care of themselves. For instance, without the left-sectarianism anarchists will likely be much more open to pragmatic strategic considerations like the idea of pan-secessionism, and we will possess a mindset that allows us to form stronger and more amiable relations with overlapping or parallel movement. From there, our numbers will begin to grow.

  2. “For instance, without the left-sectarianism anarchists will likely be much more open to pragmatic strategic considerations like the idea of pan-secessionism, and we will possess a mindset that allows us to form stronger and more amiable relations with overlapping or parallel movement.”

    Keith, how do you think that left-anarchists are going to leave behind ultra-leftism? I ask this, because they are unfortunately not only the majority, but outside of USA, which has developed forms of non-left anarchism, the only ‘official’ face of the anarchist movement.

    As for the facebook page, I don’t think that all anarcho-socialists are that dogmatic, or even true Marxists. The problem is that the leadership of the anarcho-communist movement (a lot of whom are ex-Stalinists), in order to streamline the movement with the radical and even the mainstream left, has tolerated and promoted behaviours that harm the anarchist cause. Everybody now thinks that anarchist equals Stalinist without Communist party discipline. Thanks also to the Internet we have a huge supply of basement-dwelling anry teenagers and dogmatic intellectuals and keyboard crusaders and stuff, which helps create situations like the incident at the anarchist page.

  3. You’ve brought up some very good points. I’ve noticed that the anarchist milieu offline is often more sensible than what is found online, for the reasons you mentioned. I know left-anarchists, for instance, who are serious community organizers and have barely heard of Infoshop and stuff like that. For decades, I’ve also noticed the presence of ex-Commies in the movement who are often the ones giving it the left-sectarian rhetorical edge and organizational tactics. I first starting noticing this tendency around 1989 and I’ve battle against it ever since.

    I wouldn’t expect anarchists to abandon “ultra-leftism” per se. Anarchists have always been on the cutting edge of all kinds of social movements and I generally think that’s a good thing and wouldn’t want it to change. One thing they often don’t seem to understand in their polemical battles with me is that I’m not asking them to change their actual views, as much as I’m asking them to simply shift focus a bit and stop holing themselves up in an ideological ghetto. For instance, I’d like to see an anarchist movement that included both atheists and religious believers, pro and anti immigration people, pro and anti abortion people, fans of John Zerzan, Murray Rothbard, Lorenzo Ervin, and Troy Southgate who were capable of organizing around the common issues like state abolitionism in spite of other differences. This doesn’t mean anarchists cannot or should not do all the other things they do like tree spiking, squatting, punk rock music shows, anti-globalization protests, Food Not Bombs, IWW, etc. I’m all for that kind of stuff. I also agree with them on their social issues more than they seem to realize. For instance, on police brutality, prison-industrial complex, repression of the homeless, youth culture rights, drug and sex worker rights, etc. I’m on the same page with them. I just don’t think an anarchist movement with a chance of achieving real influence can be just about these kinds of things, that’s all. And I don’t think a viable anti-state movement can have a “leftists and counterculturalists only” policy if it wants any chance of eventual victory. Also, there are a lot of anti-state issues out there besides the ones that the libertarian-left typically recognizes. Addressing some of these issues opens the door to whole new constituent groups.

    I think the key question on how the break the grip that PC has on anarchism at present involves the question of credibility. As PC becomes more deeply entrenched in institutions, it will be difficult for anarchists to keep up this kind of rhetorical or ideological stance without being seen as shills for the establishment. I think you’re right that alternative forms of anarchism have seen the greatest growth in the US: anarcho-capitalism, primitivism, national-anarchism, etc. It’s not so much that I want the left-anarchists to convert to these kinds of anarchism as much as to simply recognize them as legitimate branches of anarchism. That would go a long way so far as developing a more viable anti-state movement. I’ve often thought that America would be the ideal country historically speaking for the first enduring anarchist revolution. Perhaps the greater popularity of these other kinds of anarchism in the US is indicative of that.

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