Left Gun Nuts 32

Rarely have I encountered an article that so vividly illustrates why the bulk of the “progressive” and “social democratic” Left is utterly worthless.

The last sentence of this article is telling: “Only then can the Left shift the terrain of struggle away from apocalyptic fantasies of armed insurrection to areas where it has historically drawn strength, such as cultural politics.” In other words, let‘s just forget about the revolution and focus on criticizing gun toting rednecks and “cultural politics” (let me guess: more “LGBTQI” stuff, right?) That pretty much defines the Left in its present form.

All sorts of Lefties—anarchists, socialists, Black and Latino nationalists, and even quite a few Democratic Party-voting liberals—cling to guns just as tightly as the far Right.” Not coincidentally, those are the only factions of the Left that are worth anything. The rest are either full on totalitarian humanists or lame ass social justards.

This guy is some sort of university professor. That’s all the Left is today: the left-wing of the middle class, i.e. academics, journalists, students, professionals, public sector workers, etc. As an anarchist, I see this crap as our primary enemy. These folks are the contemporary equivalent of our historic archenemies, the Communists. These days, I’d see these “progressive” and social democratic douchebags as merely the left-wing of the establishment with the neocons being the right-wing of the establishment. The “populist nationalists” like the Eurosceptic parties, the TAC “conservatives,” and many libertarians are now to the left of the Left. And serious anarchists are to the left of that, of course.

By Andrew Culp and Darwin Bond-Graham

Counterpunch.Org

In the aftermath of the Isla Vista massacre, we can expect the far Right to vehemently oppose any renewed call for gun control. They will tout the supposedly Constitutional right of Americans to keep and bear arms. The Right will summon up the specter of a tyrannical government waiting to oppress us but for our wood stocks and blued steel. We will be told yet again that gun control leaves citizens to the mercy of criminals who simply ignore the law. And we’ll hear about how guns are as American as apple pie, John Wayne, and sports. The gun lobby, its main financial backers being the firearms manufacturing industry, and its most vociferous lobbyists, the 5 million members of the NRA (only about two percent of the U.S. population), are going to mobilize in the media, the halls of Congress, and California’s state capital Sacramento to kill any bill that might restrict the ability of people like Elliot Rodger from getting their hands on a gun.

But there is another quarter from which we are already hearing rote objections to gun control: the Left. All sorts of Lefties—anarchists, socialists, Black and Latino nationalists, and even quite a few Democratic Party-voting liberals—cling to guns just as tightly as the far Right. They use surprisingly similar language to justify their objections to gun control proposals. They either sit on the sidelines after each new massacre and wring their hands about the daily slaughter, or worse still, they actively oppose gun control. Here are a few reasons why some on the Left oppose gun control and reasons why they are wrong.

The people need to defend themselves against the government. 

The more radical variant of this argument is that “the people” need guns to wage an eventual revolution and liberate themselves from the shackles of the state and corporate America.

Gun control need not dampen the spirit of those still hoping for a revolution, even if such a revolution is highly unlikely to happen in our lifetimes. What stands in the way of such leftist dreams are the vast majority of current gun owners. Over-represented among current gun owners are white reactionary men, the types who regularly expresses their desire to shoot on sight the “Muslim socialist” president of the United States, and who “muster” along the U.S.-Mexico boarder with their weaponry to defend the nation against “alien” immigrants. As it stands, toxic gun culture would coopt any new American revolution with a lethal cocktail of supercharged masculinity, racism, and provincialism fantasized about in post-apocalyptic scenes. If the United States ever comes to another civil war, the first thing to die under a barrage of lead will be our hope for a more just and democratic society; guns would empower warlords with petty political agendas, not egalitarian-minded freedom fighters.

The most likely cultural shift away from reactionary gun ownership will not happen in cooperation with the Right and their politics, but against it. Gun control is the best place to start. Disarming the Right will do more to advance goals toward a revolutionary democratic transformation of America than trying to beat the Right-wingers (and the U.S. government!) in an arms race.

Of course Left insurrectionists who advocate the right to bear arms are more focused on the U.S. Government as the singular impediment to their variant of utopia. This dream is sadly a classic example of radical posturing done in the name of some distant hypothetical moment, and it ignores the actual harm that guns cause each and every day. In the real world, guns kill upwards of 30,000 Americans every year, virtually all of these deaths serving absolutely no political purpose in the fight for a more democratic society. Most of these deaths are just tragic accidents or suicides, many of which would not end in death if guns were not in the mix. Left fantasies about armed struggle are the same half-baked ideas as those held by the secessionist Right. What varies for Leftists is the template of decolonial struggles; yet a leftist revolution in the United States would not kick out a small minority of foreign occupiers, as happened in India and Vietnam, but would be a fight amongst settler colonialists for political authority. This is why the worn “Zapatistas defense” touted by the radical left is a bad analogy for the United States context – the Zapatistas started a peasant rebellion that kicked outsiders off their landbase, a task for which wooden cutouts of guns turned out to be more effective than the real thing.

The cops should be disarmed, not the people.

Yes, the police should be disarmed. Police violence is intolerable and oppressive, particularly for communities of color. But here, quite a few Leftists extend their critique against police brutality to claim that “the people” can defend themselves against the police with guns. The Black Panthers’ armed patrols shadowing police in the 1960s is the most common example trotted out to demonstrate how armed communities defended themselves against unaccountable cops. Groups like the Deacons for Defense, or revolutionaries like Malcolm X and Robert Williams are also also mentioned as proof that guns help the democratic Left fight the power, and that without guns we will be increasingly victimized by the police.

But guns hardly keep away the police or help communities fight back against the cops. In fact, the proliferation of guns in America has provided an excuse for police to further intrude in our lives. The police use the ubiquity of guns in America to justify their brutality, seen especially clearly in the extrajudicial killings they commit. It is difficult to see how arming communities translates into a reduced police presence. Furthermore, carrying a weapon certainly would not have assisted victims of recent lethal police violence, and would have instead have worked in the favor of officers under official review.

American police militarizing themselves with tanks, drones, SWAT teams, and mass surveillance systems say that they have to do so because the American public has access to super deadly types of guns and ammunition. Aggressive new police policies treat nearly everyone as a gun owner (armed or not), leading to the pervasive use of SWAT raids, ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ no-knock warrant searches, invasive automobile searches, stop and frisk, excessive use of force, and the implementation of ever-more powerful surveillance systems. In sum, an armed citizenry only encourages the police to arm themselves more heavily.

It is true that radicals, especially African American revolutionaries, have used guns to symbolically protest power in America and call out the hypocrisy of white supremacy and lax gun laws that selectively apply to dominant social groups. Yet the power of armed protest is only enhanced by laws that restrict ownership of assault rifles, special ammunition, and even handguns, and should not be confused for revolutionary violence, of which there are scant encouraging examples of in recent United States history.

Finally, it is necessary to note that America’s most oppressed communities are already flooded with guns, especially pistols and assault weapons designed for close quarter combat. The ready availability of these weapons has in no way empowered these communities to fight back against the cops, at least not in any obvious way. The prevalence of firearms has instead magnified America’s radicalized inequality, poverty, and structural violence to produce an epidemic level of shootings among youth of color in places like Chicago, Oakland, Detroit, and Newark. Guns hurt working-class communities of color. The gun industry, weakly regulated as it is, has long prospered off the illegal market for firearms in inner cities.

Should we also ban knives and cars and bombs and bleach and acid?

Some pro-gun Lefties sideline the obvious merits of gun control and argue that supposedly “deeper” systemic issues should be our true focus.

With the Isla Vista massacre, we are already hearing that guns are not inherently linked to violent modes of masculinity, and that guns are only dangerous in the hands of someone as misogynist or “crazy” as Elliot Rodger. Pro-gun Lefties say Rodger would have killed and maimed anyway—indeed he did kill at least three people with a knife and wounded others by plowing into them with his car. We are asked then, sardonically, should the Left also ban knives and cars?

First off, no, of course we should not ban knives and cars. Knives and cars are really useful, and are unlike assault weapons and pistols, whose sole purpose is to kill other human beings. But regulating knives and cars is not a bad idea – that is why both are highly regulated. Just about everything is regulated, and usually to our benefit. Breakfast cereals, infant formula, dog and cat food, cleaning supplies, household appliances, furniture, cell phones, house paint, lipstick, toothpaste, and thousands of other consumer products are regulated and controlled because safety is a low priority for manufacturers, and experience shows that government intervention and oversight over capitalist enterprise saves lives. Experience also shows that regulation works, at least until regulatory agencies are captured by the industries they are supposed to watch over.

Successful examples of regulation abound though: we tackled the tobacco companies and saved millions of lives by purposefully reducing their ability to market and sell cigarettes. We regulate drugs, cosmetics, and foods, which prevents countless deaths. Far from representing “state power” over our lives, federal regulations often represent democratic rejection of the capitalist profit motive for the public good. Regulations of consumer products, especially health and safety and environmental regulations were born out of social movements fighting back against exploitation.

Cars are a great example of how regulation reduces harm while creating a more equal society. Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, catalytic converters, unleaded gasoline, seat belts, airbags, and other “car control” measures benefit public health and the environment. The automobile industry is highly regulated, thank goodness. The gun industry, in contrast, has some of the weakest regulations in America, and not by accident. The corporations that manufacture most of the guns and the gun dealers who profit from the American arms trade have successfully fought against meaningful regulation. We should regulate guns at least as much as we regulate cars.

As for the crux the matter: guns are an embodiment of patriarchal values. Perhaps antique gun collectors treat them as relics and farmers use them as tools. The majority of guns are however owned to aggressively threaten, control, and hurt people; and more often than not, women bear the brunt of that aggression. This is a country where men still exert power over women in virtually every context, causing street harassment, acquaintance rape, family and partner abuse, employment discrimination, and assaults on women’s health. The NRA says that all women would be safer if they carried a pistol in their purse, but we know that guns cannot be the solution to the very problem that they create: a climate of fear, anxiety, and violence essential to society’s devaluation of women.

Looking at the realities behind the fictions of vigilante justice shared by the Left and Right, guns are the common denominator. Over two thirds of all homicides in the United States in 2010 were caused by a firearm; and of them, only about five percent were ruled to be justified. Stepping back from the Isla Vista massacre and looking more broadly at gun violence we might note that many victims of firearm homicides are poor and marginalized urban and rural Americans. African American men are particularly susceptible to dying by gun. So what is the deeper problem here? Inequality? Structural racism and poverty?

Of course gun control will not eliminate America’s patriarchal power structure, or pacify the culture of violence, or undo racism. But gun control can do one thing very effectively: reduce the lethality of violent acts that stem from patriarchy, racism, and inequality. Instead of dying in a hail of bullets, victims will be survivors and can more effectively fight back. Indeed, in our present political context, gun control is fighting back against patriarchy and other forms of oppression.

The government should not have a legitimate monopoly on the use of force.

Some Lefties oppose gun control on the grounds that the state’s violence is illegitimate, and they argue that it is a question of power – that “the people” should never cede power to the state.

Of course government violence is never legitimate, even if it is popular and sanctioned by many of its citizens. Wars, executions, and structural violence such as starving children or denying million basic healthcare are but a sliver of the illegitimate violence for which the American government is responsible. But is opposing gun control an effective way to challenge the violence of the American state? Does anyone honestly think that the abstract notion of gun rights is what keeps alive dreams of an armed struggle toward democratic emancipation, or imparts those who own guns with some mystical quality of “autonomy” or “power”? In what world does gun ownership delegitimize or even reduce the state’s use of violence? And how would such a place be less authoritarian and violent? The relationship between guns and American government at the present moment is clear: our lax gun laws buttress state violence.

The political economy of guns shows how weapons manufacturing is an important part of American corporate and political power. This is because the military industrial complex serves as an engine for the national economy. The firearms industry employs few workers, but it is part of a larger arms manufacturing sector responsible for over 1 million jobs. As “defense” manufacturers, the gun industry’s political interests lie in arming the police at home and fighting imperialist wars abroad. The same gun companies that benefit from the American government’s hunger for small arms and ammo, which it sprays both here and in foreign lands, benefit doubly from the lack of laws restricting gun ownership. On the other side of the equation, the American military has reciprocally benefitted from popular gun ownership. The NRA, after all, was considered a boon to the U.S. military in its early history, as it provided the Army with enlistees already familiar with firearms. Just prior to World War I, the NRA even partnered with the federal government to give guns to the population and to sponsor shooting contests.

On a structural level, the federal budget is often decided through “guns versus butter” tradeoffs whereby every dollar of military spending is taken from the mouths of the needy. The Reagan administration, for instance, slashed child food programs, Medicaid, family welfare, food stamps, and low-income energy assistance to feed the military industrial complex. Confronting the gun industry on the national stage could be part of a larger strategy of opposing the war industry as a whole, which produces nothing of consumable value and whose political interests directly oppose the Left. Only then can the Left shift the terrain of struggle away from apocalyptic fantasies of armed insurrection to areas where it has historically drawn strength, such as cultural politics.

Andrew Culp is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric Studies at Whitman College. He specializes in cultural-communicative theories of power, the politics of emerging media, and gendered responses to urbanization. In his current project, Escape, he explores the apathy, distraction, and cultural exhaustion born from the 24/7 demands of an ‘always-on’ media-driven society. http://www.andrewculp.org

Darwin Bond-Graham is a sociologist and investigative journalist. He is a contributing editor to Counterpunch. His writing appears in the East Bay Express, Village Voice, LA Weekly and other newspapers. He blogs about the political economy of California at http://darwinbondgraham.wordpress.com/.

 

32 comments

  1. Gun control is about Jewish supremacism.

    Jews are 2% of the population but the ruling elites of the country. So, they wanna take away out guns and monopolize the use of guns in the institutions that they control. Jews, after all, control the government and elite institutions.

    Now, suppose the ruling elites of America were Iranian-Americans and Mormon-Americans and suppose Jews compromised 90% of the American population.
    Would Jews give up their guns so that the the non-Jewish minority elites will get to monopolize the use of guns?

    No way. This gun stuff is all about their Jews and their goy puppets.

  2. Nah, this is all about people that feel they have to be respected just because they were born and a$$holes who think that way of thinking is “revolutionary” or “progressive” when it’s not.

  3. This article is horrendous. But in a lot of ways it mirrors the “shore up the system before we abolish it,” “Augustinian” anarchism of Chomsky. The idea of conflating private arms sales with the military industrial complex at large… I mean, jeez, that’s about as mendacious an argument as I’ve ever heard.

    Anybody who trusts the state and its institutions more than the people are the ultimate corruption of leftist values. They must not be allowed to speak for the Left.

    • It’s the same thinking at work here. We have got to advance the argument that, no matter what other disagreements folks may have with the Left about egalitarianism and what-not, capturing authoritarian institutions is NOT the answer.

  4. Found this on my desktop this morning, I must have composed it in a drunken fury last night. I have no idea what it means, but that is some high quality cursing right there.

    Once again Keith, just like in the of Carson, what did you expect? This is textbook leftist bullshit which exactly corresponds with the analysis which says “the radical left” is just cheap Bakelite radicalism. “Fuck yeah revolution! Smash the System! Death to the Oppressor! (But put the stick down in case they think we are serious, errrm I mean offend a person of colour somehow).”

    “Left of the left” is getting to be a catchphrase of yours, but you know that “the right” has been “left” since the get go. It wasn’t called the national socialist German workers party for nothing. Mussolini wasn’t Lenin’s favorite Italian because he admired El Duce’s taste in hats. Nationalism was a “left” concept under the original Revolutionary alliance, “Liberty storming the barricades” and all that (yeah I know that was ’30 but close enough). Distributionism was the official economic policy of the British National Party in the noughties, that’s anarcho-syndicalism in drag as you know.

    Meanwhile the “left” has always been “right”, it is inherently an elitist vanguardist concept. All the rhetoric about equality means absolute shit when the world is divided into the Enlightened and the much bigger group of “needing to be Enlightened”. If that is how you see the world then you’re inevitably going to end up as a de facto elitist who acts like an elitist however much they rail against that concept. More to the point, however much they whine about authoritarianism and totalitarianism if you want everyone to change their beliefs about everything……..

    I’ve been trying to write an essay for years trying to concisely define the essence of the right/left paradigm. As far as I can see (to evoke Reznor) it comes down to this; the original right/left fight was over the Revolution; the left thought it was a good idea (or necessary at least), the right didn’t. Nothing has ever changed other than after the debate the Revolution WAS the system.

    If we define the right in those terms, as pure reaction. Then we have at least a workable narrative. The right concede modernity is a thing after WWI, because that was QED at that point. Then they try and turn modernity on itself or the left turn the right into them depending on your view, hence the fuckeries of the mid twentieth. Then you have the fight between the USSR and the USA about what is the most efficient form of modernity, there’s no right in the cold war.

    Today, well now we know Wordsworth and Blake were correct. The whole project of modernity has turned out to be fucking horrible, bringing back the worst aspects of the Medieval in massive ignorance, senseless barbarism and extreme stratification plus a theocratic insanity without even having the class of the good old dayz. (OK so they sorted the Black Death, so no chance of a massive re-balancing of capital Vs labour via that method then).

    The problem is modernity has failed, and everyone knows it, but there is no alternative. The “right” isn’t the “right”; it’s the dregs of the anti-Semitic left (summary “this isn’t working, even though it’s awesome and we are totally the master race, because of Joooooos. Also that’s why we’re poor”. The so-called radical right is just the dumbfuck left Karl Marx was trying to slap down with “on the Jewish Question” (“don’t you say another fucking work Fredrick” – KM).

    I think we need to face up to the fact that there is absolutely no hope of the left becoming anything even remotely revolutionary, they don’t want to attack the system, they want more system. That is more or less the definition of the left. As Orwell said “if any hope remains it lies with the proles”; i.e. those stupid bastards too moronic to get the subtle snobbish ecstasy offered by progressivism. Now shit, that’s not good news, ’cause it means trying to reset Counter Currents and I’ve tried and it’s really hard,

    But! Those slags are desperate now, maybe desperate enough to look reality in the face (and that is the act of a desperate man). Maybe, and it is as they say a long shot, it might be possible to evict the tards from the “right pole”. If that could be done, given the pathetic state of the left and the manifest bankruptcy of everything it has ever argued; well then “all bets are off”.

    I think it would be a far better use of your time to engage in the ferment of the radical right rather than trawl the stagnant wastes of the left looking for survivors of the zombie plague of progressivism. Maybe there are a few, cowering in their holes shell shocked by the sickening self righteous orgy of jarringly inconsistent group think. However, you know, fuck those guys. Time is coming when deserters from the left will be so implicated in the abhorrent crimes of their tendency that mercy can not be justified. When their judgement has proved to be so fallible that they can not be considered anything other than liabilities in any case.

    However dumb the radical right is, and it is really, really dumb, then at least it is open to suggestion. Compare Carson’s attitude of contemptuous dismissal for merely going slightly off message to the relatively fair and respectful hearing ATS has been given by Altright and co. (The left loves the word tolerance, but doesn’t seem to understand its meaning; just like “diversity” and “liberty”). Call the left out, and I don’t mean analyse progressivism as totalitarian humanism in a measured tone, and the radical right will worship you as a God. After all, you can fill 2000 words on Codreanu or Chesterton and they just love that shit.

    The resistance in the 21st century is going to be from the right. The political term right is already in the process of coming to re-assume its proper meaning once again, that is “opposed to the Revolution”. It doesn’t actually matter any more how any particular belief fits into the 20th century taxonomy of political thought, you might have been an anarchist in 1972 but the same beliefs today makes you a “fascist”. Any dissent at all on the subject of dogma makes you a heretic; a crypto nazi at the very least.

    The question is “when in 2050 someone talks about “the right” what will they mean?” That future right could be anything from something more or less indistinguishable from traditional anarchism to BS Joo spaz national socialism. The only game in town is fighting for that “pole” because whatever it becomes is what is going to replace the system if anything does.

  5. I think that translates in English as “I think ATS should declare itself the authentic right because (it totally fucking is) and that would be a good strategic move and because; well what the fuck? It’s not like the cultists of progressivism’s digital mindset can handle the kind of subtlety ATS has hitherto dealt in anyway”

    Armed with the simple sword of vague plausibility ATS stands a good chance of having a significant impact on the right given that no-one else out there has so much as the letter opener of a million to one BS.

    • “The true Left is the Right, and the true Right is ATS!”

      That would make for an interesting slogan.

      I’ve looked around for other movements, past or present, that somewhat resemble what we’re trying to do with ATS, and the one I keep coming back to is Nicaragua’s opposition movement in the late 80s/early 90s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Opposition_Union

      I was in the movement to oppose the Reaganauts’ contra war in Nicaragua in those days, and I was probably the only person in the antiwar movement that supported UNO in the 1990 election. Nearly everyone in the movement was a hard leftist (either a Marxist or a “liberation theology” left-wing Christian, plus some left-anarchist gatecrashers, an occasional antiwar libertarian, and scattered liberals). People in the movement tended to revered the FSLN as heroic rebels against US imperialism, but they really just practiced a kind of “national capitalism” that repressed labor unions, opposition parties, Protestant churches, and indigenous people and suspended civil liberties by declaring a state of emergency. Meanwhile, the US fueled this by funding and organizing the contra terrorist war against the civilian population of Nicaragua. There were actually a number of Contra groups, about seven, but the one supported by the US were former members of Somoza’s National Guard that had been organized by the CIA.

      When the 1990 election came, I wanted UNO to win because then the US could not longer justify its war, and the FSLN would be out of power and the new state would not be able to justify further repression.

      Anyway, the point is that UNO was a collection of parties ranging from far right to far left, primarily right-wing and centrist parties, plus those leftists that fell out of favor with the FSLN.

      Over the years, ATS seems to have developed along similar lines. We’ve achieved a fairly large audience from the radical right and the center-right, plus a lot of different strands of maverick leftists that don’t fit into the contemporary progressive paradigm: e.g. some left anarchists, some ethnic minority autonomists, some environmentalist or bioregionalist types, some adherents of neither fish nor fowl philosophies, some former Marxists, some genuinely antiwar people, some left-libertarians, etc. That’s probably how it will continue to develop in the future, and it’s compatible with the “10 core demographic theory” I’ve outlined in the past.

      • The comment starting “lol” was in response to Vince’s comment rather than Keith’s. Obviously some people have nothing better to do than ferment revolution on a Sunday afternoon.

        Here’s the thing though Keith, ATS is not a start up project. The kind of ideas we promote are round and about, and have been for at least a decade. We can see, or we should be able to, that some groups seem to be more susceptible than others. And the most susceptible, by far, has been the radical right.

        The situation now is that pan secessionism is the dominant “strategy” of the radical right in the anglosphere. That is a totally significant development. You can not sensibly compare a few renegade mavericks from other traditions with that development. It requires some kind of reaction both because it is an opportunity but mainly because it is a dire threat.

        I just like to add that the adoption of pan secessionism by the radical right is not solely the result of ATS’s effort. These guys may be dumb but not so much that they don’t know which way is up. The concept is emergent wherever someone asks themselves “WTF can we do about this?”. ATS is, as far as I know, the premiere place to find the set of ideas worked out to the currently most advanced state they exist anywhere. Which is some considerable accomplishment but not sufficient in itself.

        The point is that people who are inclined to consider the concepts we propose are free thinkers, unconstrained by dogmatic demands. Anyone who balks because ATS has had to engage the radical right by declaring itself the actual right is hardly likely to be able to make the intellectual maneuvers necessary to get what we are talking about. God knows that isn’t exactly difficult, but for most……

        And in any case the kind of Nietzschean relativism which is implicit to the theory of pan secessionism, not to mention the inherent Darwinism of it as a practical proposition is about as right as you can get. if not more so. To blithely state that ATS is agnostic on the whole right left thing, while it might be true on a cultural level, is an outright lie on a philosophic. Let’s be honest Keith (;)).

  6. Lol. I think ATS has been pretty clear that is targeting everyone so far. Not that the binary mindset of most of the radical left or right can comprehend that. The idea that people would be willing to arm anyone with viable strategies and concepts because they opposed to the system rather than because they wanted X or Y to replace it is literally incomprehensible to conventional radicals.

    The point is that, after years of propagating the message, it is becoming increasingly clear that the overwhelming bulk of “the left” just doesn’t care. They are in no way interested in the kind of political engineering solutions ATS advocates. What they are interested in is the state of our collective souls. This is because they are not serious, they don’t want to change anything significant. All they want to do is posture as the most pious progressives in existence at any given moment.

    By contrast the “Right” are interested because they absolutely need some kind of effective strategic model in the face of the terrible beating they are taking on every front.

    Problem is that they are, for the most part, flat out fucktards. If these assholes actually took up secessionist ideas, which they absolutely are, then the effect with be disastrous. Because the one thing they will insist on will be their Kevin MacDonald narrative (at best) which every sane person can see is just utter BS,and deeply fucked BS at that. Pan secessionism will come to be associated with retardation as a result.

    The paranoid would say that would be the ideal solution to the threat from the perspective of the establishment. Drowning good solid ideas in the cess pool of the anti Semitic right is their most reliable prophylactic counter measure.

    How can ATS react to that? The only solution to declare ourselves the stone cold sons of Nietzsche (and isn’t that true?), the true authentic right straight out of the nineteenth century; resurrected by the berserk shade of Byron to deliver the West, the people and hope itself. Also any other cool sounding shit we can think up. And, here’s the killer, it would all be true.

    Ultimately I’m really sick of trying to teach instinctive fascist cockhandlers how to take the fucking safety off only to watch them take pan secessionism and use it as a prop to make themselves look serious while they “Name the Joo” on Altright’s comment section. The only alternative is to call these chimps out and take the right itself. Not to recruit said chimps, but to turn the generations of the right to come, who are otherwise going to be chimpified, into what they need to be.

    I can’t see any problem with this, all we need do is make a few podcasts on the implicit pan seccessionism of say Star Wars or Ghostbusters or some such shit and bang, we’re the new intellectual elite of the radical right. Practice your French accent Vince and we’ll start next week.

    • So if I understand your argument correctly, you’re saying that we should basically forget about trying to recruit from the Left (because they’re a waste of time) and focus on claiming the mantle of the radical Right before pan-secessionism gets co-opted by the fascists (the kinds of folks whom Ernst Junger described as thinking nationalism means eating three Jews for breakfast). Is that correct?

      If we were to create an updated model of the Left/Right spectrum where “right” represents the status quo and “left” represents enemies of the status quo (which is what left and right really meant when these labels came into use during the French Revolution as we know), I’d say the “right” at present would be neoconservatives and neoliberals. To the left of that social democrats and center-leftists. To the left of that reform Communists, revisionist Marxists, and anarcho-Marxists. To the left of that the “radical right” in its myriad of manifestation. The only things that might be considered “left” of the “radical right” in this context would be the “uber-left” like genuinely anti-imperialist communists (like Maoists in India), genuinely insurgent anarchists like Armed Revolutionary Nuclei in Greece, serious separatists/nationalists/autonomists among the ethnic minorities in the West (like the Peoples Democratic Uhuru Movement) and some eco-radical/animal liberation/neo-Luddite types.

      Not coincidentally, I’ve found that the majority of my audience comes from the “radical right” with the “Left” portion of my audience coming from the “uber-left” categories I just mentioned.

      • Despite my stylistic inadequacies you seem to have pretty much got what I’m trying to argue.

        I’ve introduced a lot of issues here, all of which I think are important. Such as:

        The essential “right” nature of pan secessionism/radical decentralism.

        The strategic necessity of ATS categorising itself as “radical right”

        The serious danger of co-option of pan secessionism by “old right” tendencies.

        The fundamental incompatibility of left mindsets and doctrines with pan secessionism.

        The problems and incoherence of the conventionally understood political spectrum.

        All of which are issues which deserve serious consideration by someone who can properly structure an argument and render it in comprehensible language.

        However, since I haven’t got such a person handy let me attempt to make a couple of points on some of these issues.

        You note yourself that most of your supporters come from the radical right plus what you describe as the “uber left”. I would suggest that the small elements of these fringe leftists tendencies which have been receptive to the ATS concept can in no way be compared to the fairly widespread adoption of decentralist ideas by the radical right.

        The radical right is probably the most popular dissident tendency in the West. Moreover since progressivism is now totally dominant almost all dissidence is, or will be, categorised as radical right regardless of its particular nature.

        ATS is already widely identified as part of the radical right, maybe the alternative right or new right but the radical right just the same.

        As for my suggestion of “fascist co-option”. I’m not really talking about low temperature Jew baiting anti-Semites, I’m more talking about the more sophisticated versions of that tradition. I oppose that tradition not because I love Jews or I am desperately fearful of a new holocaust but because it’s incorrect. Anti-Semitism is the disease of the radical right, the nationalism of fools, not because it is immoral but because it allows the radical right to excuse the actual causes of late modern Western dysfunction; rogue capitalism, social dislocation as the result of industrialisation, intellectual degradation generated by modernity’s contradictions, the corrosive effects of centralised state on society, the tendency of whitey to go collectively berserk etc.

        My point is this, in the future, in fact probably now, the radical right is going to be the only authentic dissident tendency worthy of the name. ATS, and yourself, are already regarded as being part of it anyway. It has proven receptive to the kind of things which interest us at ATS. So we have a massive interest in influencing its development if we can.

        We can’t do that if we maintain our ecumenical tolerant approach which precludes us from making judgements of the merits of any particular aspect of any group; laudable as that attitude surely is. A declaration of our position as a faction within the radical right milieu would allow us to criticise aspects and tendencies within it which we regard as, let’s say, unhelpful or counterproductive while allowing us to remain completely agnostic on any other groups beliefs. Other than the orthodoxy of the elite, progressivism or totalitarian humanism, of which ATS is already an established critic.

        And that’s all it would take, ATS has already taken up positions which would, and have, allow it to be categorised as radical right by many in any case. I’m not suggesting any doctrinal innovation at all. If anything a self identification as an element of the radical right would allow ATS to take up a less tolerant position of fascists.

        I fully realise that many within the ATS community would regard my suggestion as horrific, and I completely understand why. However I would respectfully ask that instinctive reaction be postponed while you consider the points I have made. I don’t suggest this because I want to be “the man who recruited Preston and ATS to the radical right” but because I believe it to be an absolute strategic imperative and a tactical manoeuvre which would allow all of us to engage what I am confident we all regard as ……… undesirable attitudes.

        Think of it this way, the leftist antifa are not particularly effective or attractive (they act like Nazis because they are), isn’t it about time there was a better antifa, a smarter antifa, a consistent and thoughtful antifa, to put it another way a dissident antifa rather than an progressive establishment one? I mean, do you guys want another holocaust or what? (warning, even having read this comment means you’re top of the list if there is).

          • Precisely.

            Actual fascists are not our friends, they are now our primary competitors for dominance of the radical right and the grail of the pole. These guys are statist socialists whose activities impede dissidence of all types, nihilistic commies with no sense of style. If anyone deserves our condemnation it is these people, who are in a very real sense auxiliaries of the establishment and trolls of radicalism.

            I sense that you doubt that there is a radical right which is not inclined towards fascism. I think there is, and even if there were not our primary mission would be to make one.

            Didn’t you once say it was your childhood ambition to be an extreme extremist? I’m no expert but I would think that principle figure in the establishment of a radical right antifa, waaay out on the extremes of the most extreme dissident tendency there is, well that’s gotta check that box surely?

            • Well, as an anarchist I certainly recognize that fascism is a historic archenemy of anarchism. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries anarchism was the dominant radical force until it was later overrun by Marxism from the Left and fascism from the Right. I’ve told these antifa people in the past that when they take their anti-Marxism as seriously as they take their anti-fascism, I might give them some minimal level of respect. A major criticism I have of the left-anarchists is that they seem to give Commies a free pass by frequently collaborating with them or marching along side them, while exaggerating “the fascist threat” to the point of unreasoning hysteria, and defining “fascism” so broadly as to make the term basically meaningless. For instance, whatever the limitations of pop culture “conservative” figures in the US like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck, they’re hardly “fascists.”

              The reason I criticize PC as vehemently as I do is because of two things. First, it completely dominates the left-anarchist milieu, and substantial sectors of libertarianism, in a way that prevents these tendencies from developing into more effective anti-system forces. Second, it is a rising force in the wider society that has much sympathy among elites and is becoming embedded in the state. It is becoming incorporated into the state’s ideological superstructure. I also consider PC to be the contemporary equivalent of the authoritarian leftist tradition associated with Jacobinism and Marxism.

              However ideologically objectionable the fascists may be, they aren’t really doing any of these things. They have zero influence in the anarchist and libertarian milieus, no influence within the context of established institutions, and are generally regarded as moral lepers by much of the wider society. They represent declining rather than rising forces. For instance, a significant number of university professors openly give their allegiance to the radical Left or neo-Marxism, but an openly fascist university professor might well become unemployed.

              I suppose we could say all of the above generalities are not applicable to ATS because ATS is a tendency that does do outreach to the radical right, and has associates and sympathizers from the radical right. Therefore, we are in a unique position to be colonized by the fascists on one hand and condemned as fascists by critics and opponents on the other hand. Considered from that angle, a Marine Le Pen-like effort by ATS to exclude genuine fascists from our midst while rhetorically distancing ourselves from them as well might make some strategic as well as practical sense.

              In fact, the National-Anarchists have been doing this. Troy Southgate has been going out of his way in recent times to distance N-A from fascism, and he doesn’t allow fascists and NS to participate in his online forums and other projects. NATA-NY is probably the group that most closely resembles ATS in North America, and they recently issued this statement, which I agree with: http://nata-ny.blogspot.com/2014/05/nata-nys-anti-racism.html

              This complements NATA-NY’s earlier statement on racial separatism: http://nata-ny.blogspot.com/2011/01/note-on-racial-separatism.html

              My own participation in the “alternative right” milieu in the US has diminished in direct proportion to the degree to which that milieu has drifted away from libertarianism or the ENR towards WN and neo-fascism.

              At the same time, if we’re going to have a specifically defined anti-fascist line, we need to have a specific definition of what fascism actually is. As we know, “fascism” gets defined in all sorts of sloppy ways. The Left defines any and all kinds of “conservatism” as fascism. For instance, being insufficiently zealous for gay marriage constitutes fascism. Criticizing mass immigration constitutes fascism. Holding conservative economic views constitutes fascism. Being anti-abortion is fascist. “Climate change denial” is fascist. A lot of these “anti-fascist” people think the radical decentralist sovereign citiizen movement is “fascist” because many of them are social conservatives. Obviously, that’s not something we want to kowtow to.

              If we define fascism as right-wing authoritarian statism or totalitarianism (or merely with crude racism), then yes, of course, we should be hardline “anti-fascists.” But I don’t think that’s what the “anti-fascists” mean by fascism. For them, “fascism” is simply a euphemism for any social of conservatism, or simply not giving privilege to left-wing pet causes (like the whole “LGBT” thing),

              So in light of what you are suggesting, how do we make these distinctions in a way that’s coherent? It’s not like it’s going to matter to the Left one way or the other.

      • That was pretty cool. The lesson of Star Wars in everyone sucks and the main objective any reasonable person is to make sure none of these bastards win? That’s kinda why I’m attracted to pan secessionism. I makes the total victory of anyone more or less impossible.

        I was making a sort of insider joke, Altright or countercurrents or Radix, I forget which, has done a whole series of podcasts about “right wing cinema” in which they consider the political implications of various pop cult films. Star Wars was one, I think the decided Luke should have joined the dark side in ESB IIRC.

        • I think I saw some articles from Countercurrents probably around the same time that discussed the fascism in Fight Club and Dark Knight or something like that. That sort of stuff works, for better or for worse.

          • Oh yeah, they were great podcasts, they did The Shinning, The Matrix, Fight Club, Watchmen (which I thought was shit) some old timey stuff. I think a lot of it got flushed when Spence blew Altright up.

            I think LoTR has some serious right-anarchist undercurrents, actually maybe overcurrents. The good guys never order anyone to fight for them; Its all contracts and persuasion, then there is the thing with the ring, which is obviously a metaphor for the power of the state, and so on.

            Still I think we could go one better and do the political subtext of gaming; halo as a critique of state power for example. The revolutionary connotations of Assassin’s Creed; yeah Nowicki, better get yourself a PS4 and book a year off work.

    • This brings up something I wanted to mention in a previous conversation: what left and right actually mean. They are relative, not absolute, positions to my mind. What ATS is trying to do is not “become the left” or “become the right” except perhaps relative to the current status quo. What I see us doing is moving the window of debate, and that window will always have a left and right. I’ll always be on the left side of ATS, and you the right, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a common interest in a different window of political concerns than what is currently popular.

      ATS should be neither left nor right, IMHO, but about moving the primary topic of conversation away from reforming the central nation state.

      • To expand upon this just a bit, let’s take an example that I’ve given a great deal of thought to recently: mass surveillance.

        The conventional right wing critique of mass surveillance is that it violates precious enumerated rights. The conventional left wing critique is that it makes society less civil and breaks the internet. But both wings agree that, other than this surveillance thing, the general systems and institutions in place are pretty much ok. Mass surveillance is the system not working as it should, or at least a result of the empire expanding its logic in a way we should not accept.

        The anarchist critique that I’ve articulated is that surveillance is the natural result of an imperial orientation, something that naturally coexists with an interventionist government. Mass surveillance is the system working as it should. Any system would do what the US empire is doing were it in the US’s shoes, and reforms that don’t address the key institutional objectives of the system cannot provide anything but a palliative.

        Abolition, rather than reform, of institutions is not unheard of even in mainstream policy conversations, but it takes a while to move the window of acceptable debate there. This should be our guiding light when entering into policy discussions: to establish abolition of key imperial institutions as an acceptable policy position in the current debate. Move the window, and suddenly left and right can pull in their separate directions on turf we’ve chosen.

      • I totally agree Jeremy. The whole concept of “right” and “left” means nothing. It is surely impossible to meaningfully envision all possible political/social/economic/cultural thought on a one dimensional axis, that axis describing nothing other than purely cultural perception.

        Even the most cursory look at history shows us that “right” and “left” have been all sorts of things over time, in some cases the same thing has represented both “poles” at one time or another, nationalism for example.

        However, I would suggest the most effective way of “shifting the spectrum” is to occupy one or other “pole”. Doesn’t really matter which one. I suggest the right would be easier because that is currently in a state of flux, whereas the left see themselves as “winning” and are consequently not inclined to change the formula.

        I doubt we have to many substantive differences, I’d rather not my own people be wiped from the face of the earth, but no more than I’d rather not see any people suffer the same. However, if that is their choice then I must respect that, who am I to say otherwise? I can’t see how anyone could object to that attitude. Other than that I advocate self determination for nations via self determination for individuals. As a nazi, or even a conventional rightest, well I guess I’m just not very good.

        • The way I’m reading this it sounds more or less like you think ATS should emulate the populist-nationalist movements in Europe. On one hand, these have made certain strides towards filling the void that’s been created as the Left has gotten cozy with the establishment. On the other hand, many of them have made a concentrated effort to distance themselves from the liabilities on the Right. (Correct me if I’m misreading your arguments here.)

          A problem is that we don’t really have much of a “right” in the US. What we have is this “movement conservatism” which is really just a faux populism that serves as the grassroots activist arm for the right-wing of the ruling class. These are the folks who think Obama is somehow an Islamist who wants homosexuals to get married, and a Communist who is bankrolled by Goldman-Sachs. The “alternative right” is more of a collection of individuals and tiny organizations than an actual movement, and includes every idea under the sun with opposing the Left being the only common theme. The “fascists” in the US are not numerous enough or influential enough to have any actual influence, so they’re really not worth the effort to criticize them, particularly when doing so has become a big business for hucksters.

          To continue to move in the same direction I’ve done with the alternative right, I’d have to orient myself towards the European right, and mostly forget the American “right,” if I really wanted to expand my audience. If I were to try to expand my audience among the American right, I’d have to orient myself towards these “Tea Party” types. Many of those, honestly, are just not very bright, and their reflexive patriotism (“USA! USA!”) precludes them from ever embracing a truly subversive outlook. These folks will bitch and moan all day about states rights and big government and all that. Then they’ll get a hard on when they see Old Glory whipping in the wind, and express their regret that America still doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq.

          • “The way I’m reading this it sounds more or less like you think ATS should emulate the populist-nationalist movements in Europe.”

            Not really, I think you may have a slightly over optimistic view of the populist nationalists of Europe. They might be slightly culturally distinct but essentially we are talking about the Euro-tea party which have all the problems you identify of their American counter parts.

            I think where we differ on this is on strategic methodology. I think that PS could “go mainstream” from the point we are now extremely rapidly and that if it did it would be intensively difficult to counter.

            You have discussed how you see PS becoming the dominant dissident strategy by a kind of trickle down effect on the lines of something like protestantism in the late Medieval. To some extent I agree, however I believe that this process is already fairly advanced. This is disguised somewhat by the fact that the contemporary intelligentsia is more or less totally bought and paid for and can not be a vector for the propagation of subversive ideas.

            However PS ideas, which are emergent as a strategy wherever people need a solution, have by-passed that impediment. Islamic radicals in the UK have been effectively working on PS principles for a decade for example. Most especially the radical right has adopted a crude form of these concepts because they have to.

            I believe that the situation is that the establishment are no where near as capable and strong as they appear and their dominance is the result of the tactical idiocy of their opponents rather than the systems inherent strength.

            I think it not impossible that the radical right in particular could enact a primitive and highly localised version of PS in the very near term. If that happens and they do it right it could revolutionize (excuse the pun) the tactical model of every dissident tendency. It would be like the invention of the flintlock (long bow would be a better analogy but for the sake of popular cultural history) where the establishment are still armed with pikes. Which is to say that this could all be over real quick.

            If that is the case then our primary concern is these initial scale model deployments of PS tactics are framed within the developed PS doctrine we, or rather you, have devised at ATS. Also that our radical right pioneers don’t burn down any synagogs or make any similarly poor PR decisions.

            Which is why I’m advocating for ATS to take a more active role in the leadership of the radical right. I’m sorry to have to say this guys but I really think we need to go full Bolshevik on this one.

            (PS. I’m lagging on this conversation because making difficult arguments takes some thought, I’ll catch up I promise)

            (PPS, I’ve posted a piece I wrote on my view of the potential for near term PS revolution on the main page entitled “retconning the revolution”. I didn’t really like the style but it seems relevant to this discussion, plus there is a really cool link to a luchadore charging a police line on a Harley. Yeah, NOW you wanna read it).

            • Oh I forgot, and I’m missing Spain Vs Netherlands for this this so don’t say I never make sacrifices for the revolution.

              Another reason I think it would be useful if the radical right went full PS is because they are considered the most “extreme” and being that culturally defined extreme is actually quite useful as it means at least half the “political spectrum” have to define themselves in relation to your position. At the very least this gets you a lot of intellectual air time, at best if people can’t find a reasonable reason to reject the concept then they will adopt it (eventually). Since I can’t think of any reasonable objections to PS I think this might work out quite useful for us.

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