Activism

Is Market Anarchism eclipsing Anarcho-Marxism?

It seems to me that in the last couple of years “free market anarchism” in its various forms has grown to the point where it’s now starting to eclipse or even surpass the “anarcho-Marxists” in terms of size and influence. I base this observation on the number of public events sponsored by both, and the online presence of both. Am I right or wrong in this perception?

I ask not because I think either the anarcho-Marxists or the mainstreams libertarians are genuinely radical or revolutionary movements for the most parts, but because I’m interested in what the prevailing ideological currents are at present. It seems to me the anarcho-Marxists are in the process of self-destructing. It’s getting to where every time they hold a public meeting a fight breaks out between rival PC factions which, ironically, results in the cops often being called. I don’t see a movement like that ever growing or sustaining itself because it’s so ineffective at organizing, maintaining present participants, or recruiting new ones. In my view, the anarcho-Marxists cannot self-destruct soon enough. I say that for functional and strategic reasons rather than ideological ones. They’re a collection of dysfunctional overgrown 12 year olds who are a barrier to the development of a more genuinely radical movement with an anarchist orientation.  If “free market anarchism” were to eclipse them, it would simply be a matter of eliminating one obstacle that’s presently in the way.

This is not to say that there are not also many problems within libertarianism/market anarchism. With the growth of libertarianism in recent years, it seems like it’s being pulled towards efforts at co-optation from two main directions. One of these is obviously the corporate-oriented right wing, e.g. Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, etc. The other is the PC Left, e.g. C4SS, BHL, Reisenwitz, etc. All that is to be expected. Much of libertarianism is just a microcosm of the wider society. The left wing of libertarianism are Democrats under another name, and the right wing of libertarianism are Republicans under another name.  Indeed, at present there seems to be civil war going on among libertarians/market anarchists between the brutalists and the bleeding hearts is a way that’s reflective of the mainstream “culture wars” that represent rivalries among elite and/or middle class factions, and that are irrelevant to actual revolutionary struggle.

Opposition to US imperialism has to be the flagship issue of any serious radical movement in North America, and not arguing about mainstream issues. Anyone who wants to soft pedal that or water it down, much less compromise with the empire, is out of the game before it begins. Whenever I encounter any purported “radical” movement, organization, or individual, the first thing I usually ask is how do they feel about breaking up the USA into smaller political units. If they express opposition, then I know they’re already out of the game. I’ll then ask how they would feel about achieving such through capital “R” Revolutionary action. If they don’t recoil in horror, then I’ll assume maybe they have some potential.

26 replies »

  1. I agree with most of what you said, and I’m an “anarcho-Marxist”. Although I’ve been involved with left anarchist organizations that were functional and didn’t get the cops called, except by the campus food distributor, who were irate that we were giving out free food. But organizing anarchists is like herding cats.

  2. I’ve never understood this “hyphenated anarchism”, since a commitment to anarchist principles necessarily means renouncing any claim to impose any other philosophy on anyone. OK so the secondary term might say something about what an individual would like to do within an anarchist society, but that’s not really of the same order of significance.

    As for the term “anarcho-Marxist”, I don’t understand what that could possibly mean unless it’s merely a generalized term of abuse similar to the conventional use of “fascist” to mean anyone dissenting in any way from progressive orthodoxy, It’s gonna be quite difficult to organize a dictatorship of the proles without a state.

    However this organization thing does smack of Marxist thinking. I think anarchists, and just about every other dissident movement, are crippled by their monomaniacal obsession with forming large groups, preferably on a national or even international scale. If the system can be challenged it can only be by something which is not like itself. You can’t out organize and you can’t outgun the state, However it might be vulnerable to “swarm” tactics. Its capabilities are optomised to take on large monolithic centralized organizations, not dozens of autonomous groups and individuals operating different tactics with different objectives. Anarchists which acted like anarchists are more likely to present a threat to the state than any other force I can imagine.

  3. I think that by “anarcho-Marxism” Keith means the original anarchism that was espoused by people like Mikhail Bakunin, who had been a member of the first international before Marx expelled him for differences on strategy. I am skeptical of “market anarchism” and opposed to “anarcho-capitalism” because I believe it would turn into feudalism. I do not believe that all political philosophies that claim to be anarchist actually are. “Anarcho-capitalism” should just be called feudalism.

  4. By “anarcho-Marxism,” I am not referring to classical anarchism of the 19th and early 20th century. That movement more or less died out after the Spanish Civil War and WW2. Instead, I am referring to the variety of anarchism that emerged from the New Left in the 1960s and has dominated the mainstream of anarchism since then. A lot of New Left thinkers and activists were dismayed by the Stalinist expressions of Marxism, but accepted the general foundations of Marxism. So they began looking for alternatives. Some embraced Third Wold nationalist versions of Marxism like Maoism, Castroism, etc. But others started borrowing from anarchism, the early utopian writers, the “young Marx,” ant-Stalinist leftists and, of course, critical theory and created a kind of neo-Marxism that had some anarchistic ideas superimposed on it. That’s more or less what today’s left-wing anarchism is: the New Left plus innovations since then like the punk subculture and queer theory.

    I actually consider myself to be a Bakuninist in many ways, particularly with regards to his critique of state socialism. In fact, I consider my own critique of what I call “totalitarian humanism” to be within the tradition of Bakunin’s opposition to state-centric leftism. I also consider anarchists and Communists to be historic archenemies every bit as much as fascism has been an enemy of anarchism. In fact, I’ve told these antifa people that I’ll take them seriously when they take their anti-Bolshevism as seriously as they take their anti-fascism.

    I have in the past criticized anarcho-capitalism as having the potential to degenerate into feudalism, but there’s also the danger of anarcho-communism becoming “capital C” communism or syndicalism becoming an ossified, institutionalized bureaucracy. While I’m a pan-anarchist, I generally endorse happy mediums on the economic questions like mutualism, social credit, cooperativism, and distributism

    • I’m by no means an expert on Marx or his thinking, but it seems to me that his influence on what were termed “Marxists” even in his day was kinda limited. Which is why, I presume, he said “All I know is that I am not a Marxist.”

      If that was the case then then today the situation is much worse. The label “Marxist”, as far as I can tell, seems to be slapped on any kind of lefty. Usually in an attempt to associate those views with the USSR regime. Some times as an attempt at justification for this deliberate misdescription the Frankfurt School is invoked as a step between actual Marxism and the totally unrelated values of contemporary progressives.

      I hate this kind of shit. It is a major contributor to the BS state of Late Modern cultural politics whereby everyone is assigned a “fascist” or a “Marxist” and then are invited to beat up the opposing strawman. We will have made a major step forward when we can correctly and intelligibly described our own positions and those we oppose.

      I’m not all that familiar with the radical Left today but if it is, as I suspect, a mirror of the Right where even people who describe themselves as “national socialists” or “fascists” don’t have any idea wtf they are talking about then I would treat even a self description as a Marxist, Maoist Trotskyite as dubious. This is why, on the RR, holocaust “revisionism” is so common, if people actually did support NS then they would be able to accept the Final Solution as a necessary and appropriate step, that they can’t indicates they are just wannabe pussies projecting their own beliefs onto some historical movement.

      As for the justified by largely absent enmity between anarchists and marxists, I’ve come to the conclusion swapping the positions of fascism and anarchism on the political spectrum would do much to clarify the situation.

      BTW I think you both might have an optimistic view of An-Caps, I can’t see any other way that proposal could end other than with Walmart/Blackwater merger replacing the state. That’s the kind of vision that might make even myself consider the merits of state socialism of any variety.

      • I think the enmity between anarchists and communists makes since in light of the two dimensional political spectrum, as does their placement on the spectrum.

        • The problem isn’t the enmity between Marxists and anarchists but the lack of it. These are political philosophies which are diametrically opposed at a fundamental level, one sees the state as the essential tool of social transformation the other opposes the state as its only objective (or at least it damn well should do if it was taken seriously by its own supposed adherents ).

          The sole reason these two ideologies, which should in any sensible universe, entertain an intense mutual hostility, is the conception of the political spectrum which sees both as allied simply because they both dislike fascists. This is all the more absurd since fascism is actually a variant of radical socialism, a half sister of communism at the very most removed.

          Which is why I suggest that fascism should be transposed with anarchism on the spectrum, this would put fascism right next to communism, where it belongs on any reasonable assessment, and anarchism as violently opposed to both representing an entirely different ethos.

          In a world governed by any kind of rationality this should be an autistic OCD argument because it should make no difference to how things actually worked out. In this one however it would make a huge difference because most of the radical left actually seem to believe that communism and anarchism are interchangeable concepts.

          • I would say that you have summarized the question of the relationship between communism and anarchism perfectly. The Commies are our historic archenemies, since the era of Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin, Marx, and Engels themselves, about eighty years before classical fascism was even invented.

            • Well yeah, I wouldn’t have thought that my proposition of shifting the furniture around the spectrum with regard to fascism and anarchism would be opposed by any thinking person. The question is on our newly fixed spectrum who else is out on “the right”?

              Because if a lot of commies and anarchists have been confused by the implication of “the spectrum” so have a hell of a lot of the right. Just as most anarchists assume they are allies of the commies and visa versa so have almost the entire right been convinced that they are allies of fascists. When in fact, just as the Spanish civil war proved that the anarchists and commies are not simply adversaries in principle but in actual practice, WW2 kinda suggests that nationalists aren’t really on the team of national socialism.

              That gap between anarchism as the new “right poll” and the “establishment centre” is vast comprising about 80% of the space on that spectrum. But it is by no means empty.

              • I don’t think you have to change the spectrum at all if you see it as at least two dimensional. Politicaltest.net actually has a three dimensional spectrum, with the third spectrum being between cosmopolitanism and nationalism. That would explain enigmas like the national anarchists.

                • I took that test. Some folks would likely be surprised to see the results:

                  “You are a cosmopolitan Social Democrat. 13 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 29 percent are more extremist than you.”

                  Of course, one thing that skews the results is that the answers I would give to a lot of the questions are dependent upon context and how terms are defined.

                • “You are a patriotic Social Democrat. 3 percent of the test participators are in the same category and 57 percent are more extremist than you.”

                  No, no they most definitely aren’t.

                  (only one of the measures lent even slightly to the right, nationalist vs cosmopolitan +15%, I mean I am the living avatar of the right and its foremost exponent on this planet, the literal gold standard of rightitude ffs)

                  I like this test, it’s another step forward on the political compass that used to be popular. But like all the rest it can’t distinguish between critical concepts and casual beliefs, and its loaded with assumptions. “Do you think the state should do X?” with the assumption being then you must think it should do Y rather than be destroyed. Likewise it assumes that if you answer that the state shouldn’t limit the power of private enterprises the assumption is that you want to empower those enterprises rather than see a mob blow their shit all up if they act against the community.

                  And while I like this stuff its all subjective on how you choose to label the axes. Moreover, the point is that the traditional right/left spectrum isn’t measuring anything on its axis other than cultural perception. This at once makes it BS and critically important. My proposal wasn’t so much serious in that I expect it to happen, because that would require the general population to gain an elementary understanding of political philosophy and that ain’t ever happening. It’s more of a thought experiment for the relatively politically sophisticated which helps them, you know, like recognize an important but counter intuitive reality.

      • “BTW I think you both might have an optimistic view of An-Caps, I can’t see any other way that proposal could end other than with Walmart/Blackwater merger replacing the state. That’s the kind of vision that might make even myself consider the merits of state socialism of any variety.”

        Well, ever since I first heard of anarcho-capitalism about 25 years ago, I have shared your concerns. I’ve never considered myself a part of the mainstream libertarian movement in the US because in my view too many US libertarians are just Republicans with leftist views on issues like abortion and gay rights. But I do think Murray Rothbard’s version of anarcho-capitalism is of a somewhat different breed. I don’t think “capitalism” as currently practiced would be recognizable without central banking, patent laws, and corporate welfare, all of which Rothbard wished to completely abolish. Most importantly, Rothbard was a staunch anti-militarist above all else, and I certainly don’t think US capitalism would be recognizable without the military-industrial complex. In other words, theoretical differences about abstract economic questions aside, I think Rothbard was actually closer to some of the classical anarchists like Tucker or even Proudhon than “libertarian” mouthpieces for neoliberalism.

        • I don’t really understand the subtleties of the whole An-Cap thing. However from what I’ve read they are kinda relying on a benevolent small scale capitalism to replace MegaCorp Inc. As I understand it these SMEs are supposed to take down Microsoft because without being able to use the state to secure advantageous conditions such behemoths would be out competed by the “natural advantages” of SMEs.

          That kinda sounds like the BS leftist “anarchist” idea that without the state everyone would be magically transformed into good progressives.

          In practice without the state there is nothing to stop the “military industrial” complex simply going into business themselves and anyone who can pay for their services.

          Of course, there is nothing to stop the SMEs from doing the same. So what we would have is this competition between MegaCorp and the Mom and Pop Alliance played out with AK 47s Vs MLRS. I mean that would be real interesting in establishing if Kohl was right about the advantages of small scale Vs large in a real definitive destruction test. And while I’m kinda cool about that whole prospect of working out the validity of our societies beliefs and their sustainability through, well, massive organised violence I doubt the Utopian An Caps are.

          After all its not like there are not alternative methods of securing the advantages and benefits currently obtained by “central banking, patent laws, and corporate welfare”. Simple extortion at gun point seems to work fairly well, that’s the business model of the state after all, all we are talking about is removing the intermediary.

          • Well, as Mao said, “All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.” So no real disagreement here. Presumably, Rothbard’s petite bourgeois capitalism was to be enforced by “private defense agencies” (his term). But isn’t that true of all systems, even supposed anarchistic ones? The Spanish anarchists weren’t shy about using guns to defend their turf against rivals, left or right. If someone decided to start importing SUVs and industrial machinery into the anarcho-primitivist homeland wouldn’t they need to be met with a barrage of rocks, spears, arrows (and discharges from mortars and M-16s that were kept on hand for emergencies) if the primitivist community was going to survive?

            All systems are ultimately maintained at gunpoint, but there are many different kinds of systems. American capitalism isn’t Swedish social democracy and the Saudi monarchy isn’t North Korean communism.

            • Obviously. But the recognition of that reality is what separates people like us from the average radical who believes if only X then everything will be awesome, forever. I don’t doubt that an anarchist/pan secessionist society would feature a fair degree of inter communal violence. Much as Ancient Greece did. However the way I see it war is not necessarily all bad, the “war of the roses” for example was fucking brilliant with about 2/3rds of the aristocracy wiping each other out and putting on a hell of a show at the same time while civilian causalities were “acceptable”.

              The average radical would shit his pants at such a prospect. But however evil such an outcome might appear it is absolutely nothing compared to what happens when centralized states go for their guns. Continual low level violence is to be infinitely preferred to Verdun or Stalingrad.

              But that’s why I consider myself of the right rather than the left. I’ll take better rather than hold out for perfect.

  5. Regarding the hyphenated versions of anarchism, the first problem is that anarchists don’t really even agree on what it is they’re opposing. Some say the enemy is that the state, and others say capitalism, religion, technology, patriarchy, violence, anti-religion, anti-violence, socialism, civilization itself, racism, some combination of these, or something else altogether. And most anarchists are really more into their respective hyphens than the “anarcho” part. Meaning socialist-anarchists are socialists first, anarcho-capitalists are capitalists first, eco-anarchists are environmentalists first, etc. Obviously, they don’t agree on what they’re ideal version of anarchy would be.

    All of this is one reason why I take a pan-anarchist position, i.e. separate movements, organizations, institutions, communities, regions, and, if necessary, countries for different kinds of anarchists. Plus, anarchists have a lot of cousins in other movements, and anarchists and their cousins will always have to share space on the planet with other philosophies and value systems.

    “However this organization thing does smack of Marxist thinking. I think anarchists, and just about every other dissident movement, are crippled by their monomaniacal obsession with forming large groups, preferably on a national or even international scale. If the system can be challenged it can only be by something which is not like itself. You can’t out organize and you can’t outgun the state, However it might be vulnerable to “swarm” tactics. Its capabilities are optomised to take on large monolithic centralized organizations, not dozens of autonomous groups and individuals operating different tactics with different objectives. Anarchists which acted like anarchists are more likely to present a threat to the state than any other force I can imagine.”

    I agree with that paragraph half way. Swarm tactics are best on the ground, but at some point you have to move past the level of mere resistance, and become proactive towards organizing new institutions, and resisting those who would step in to fill the power vacuum. I generally favor federated alliances for that purpose.

  6. I’d argue that you just can’t hyphenate anarchism. You can’t say everyone has the right to autonomy and self determination, but within X limits. Partly because that’s contradicting yourself but mainly because without a state to impose those limits the point is moot. If someone is “an anarchist second” then they just ain’t an anarchist.

    As for the idea of “federated” movements. This area of actual practical implementation is what really interests me. During my time in the BNP I noted the extreme effectiveness of the establishment counter measures, particularly in infiltration and subversion and in propaganda. Both techniques were effective only because of the “centralized” structures of the organisation of the BNP. Griffin, who IMO was most likely an agent of the state, was able to systematically cripple the movement by making disastrous management decisions and by making ludicrous public statements. The propaganda of the establishment worked by “guilt by association” which worked only because we were all tied together under the same banner. Hit one, hit them all.

    Any benefit of co-ordination is totally negated by these drawbacks and then some. The fact is that central co-ordination was totally unnecessary and the most effective examples of concentration and of mutual support of all forms was under taken at an informal level by networks of individuals.

    Compartmentalization in order to limit damage from any source (including incompetence) is an absolute necessity for any dissident movement.

    I like to use the example of the A-10 Warthog’s design ethos as an analogy when discussing these issues. The plane is designed to be shot to bits and still keep coming through multiple redundancy of all critical system, including wings in this case. Likewise any radical movement must be designed to tolerate massive damage while retaining its offensive capability as much as possible.

    I would recommend the adoption of multi-layered autonomous units operating within an informal network which would contain multiple redundant “nodes” and elements. Such an arrangement would be incredibly difficult to “degrade” via the establishments’ favored technique of “decapitation” and targeted destruction of critical elements.

    This is, of course, the organisational structure developed by the practitioners of 4th Gen warfare because nothing else works in the face of the system’s power.

    As well as resilience such an arrangement would, IMO, offer considerable advantages in mitigating internal tensions (no formal or even informal connection between otherwise mutually antagonistic elements). It would promote tactical and strategic innovation by giving latitude to components of the movement. It would create a competitive culture within such a network which was outward looking rather than inward as those components struggle for control of the infrastructure of the movement. And so on.

    And, of course, such a movement would actually reflect perfectly the values of an anarchist/pan-secessionist paradigm, you might even call it fractal. To the extent that the movement would not just be fighting for a new system, it would be that system in the process of emerging.

  7. Lol. I’m just trying to think of how such a situation might have arisen and the consequences of it. Monty Python stuff for sure.

    But if it somehow had! I would have instituted a six month program with the aim of transitioning the organisation into something the likes of which had never been seen before in British politics.

    The strength of the BNP was a tiny element of its activist base. These guys were responsible for achieving unbelievable things in the face of incredible levels of opposition. I remember talking to one guy who was living in a house in the middle of a Pakistani community which had effectively been placed under permanent siege with the tacit approval of the police and the active support of the local Labour party.

    That kind of shit was routine; police harassment, violent opposition usually instigated by establishment local politicians, people losing their jobs etc.

    Never the less these people went out into these incredibly hostile environments knowing they were going to be made to suffer for it one way or the other and managed to rally populations which had been cowed for decades. They achieved electoral victories at a local level which while in themselves were not of any significance what so ever had enormous symbolic importance. It was those guys whose achievements forced the establishment media to even take any note of the party and which culminated in the disastrous and infamous Griffin appearance on Question Time. Griffin had that opportunity not because of anything he did himself but in spite of everything he ever said or did.

    What could those guys have achieved, and we are talking about maybe a hundred people at most, had they been placed within a system that protected them from the propaganda machine of the opposition? If they had been taught how to operate in informal networks? Jesus if they had just been given some basic electoral techniques?

    The most advanced and innovative had already started to do this kind of stuff, frequently having to hide their activities from the party leadership since they took a dim view of any unauthorized unsupervised inter unit communication. To the extent that they deliberately suppressed their own internet forum in order to the prevent the potential for people organizing against them.

    Seriously, that was the kind of fuckeries Griffin used to go in for, he was notorious for purging the most effective group leaders and in some cases entire groups themselves, Usually this was seen as removing potential rivals by the rest of the party but I can’t believe it was anything other than deliberate sabotage. On one occasion he, through a proxy admittedly, accused Johnathon Bowden, of some heinous crime or other. That would be about the same order of insanity as the pope kicking Mother Theresa in the tits.

    I’d have tried to remake the organisation in such a way as to support and facilitate this core activist group’s potential.

    These guys weren’t usually particularly ideologically savvy, although they rarely went in for the Nazi BS a lot of the hangers on liked to indulge in. That was a huge problem because lack of any kind of sophisticated ideology or analysis forced them to engage in none productive activities, like fighting election campaigns on no other basis than offering the electorate an act of symbolic resistance.

    If they had been operating within a pan secessionist framework advocating local autonomy, through which they could have addressed their concerns, then they could have had a workable proposition and an attainable objective. I advocated the establishment of informal direct democracies at ward level as part of this strategy. This had, apart from any other advantage, the ability to make otherwise meaningless isolated victories meaningful. (Since like all other aspects of British “democracy” id you don’t control the majority of seats on the local government you don’t control anything)

    I would have encouraged the development of informal horizontal networks of mutual support, which would include not only groups fundraising, offering tactical training, remotely producing propaganda, remote social media and other internet based support and anything else useful anyone could think of but actual leadership “nodes”. These elements could have competed to deliver “broadcast” mass scale communication as well as to direct projects. A system much like that which is now employed by Anonymous.

    The result would have been a nebulous network of actors massively resistant to establishment counter measures as well as able to adapt to local conditions with ease. Basically something which would have looked a lot like a political version of Al-Qaeda. Which among its other attributes is the ability to look a lot bigger and scarier than it actually is.

    I then would have dissolved the BNP. Probably pointing out that the whole organisation had been built on a none functional blueprint from the nineteenth century and that its demolition had made way for the first political organisation in the UK designed specifically to operate in the 21st century.

    I was talking like that, and the whole “its not the fucking Jews” thing, which absolutely ensured that I would have been the very last person in the party invited to restructure it.

    • One possible option I’ve suggested for North America in the past is the creation of a federation of dissident political parties and regionalist movements, with the ideological, cultural, and economic details left to local communities and local activists. A kind of meta-party with many constituent parties representing many kinds of interests, some of them otherwise opposed to each other. The agreement would be to stay out of each others’ backyards. Meanwhile, the leadership and hard core activist base would be comprised of smaller and much more informal networks of the kind you suggest.

      What do you think of this concept?

  8. I’ve heard it said:

    “perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away…”

    What advantage would any formal federation offer?

    Sure, we need an ethos by which dissidents recognize their opponents and allies and act accordingly. But having some kind of forum where groups could fight over territory and ideology doesn’t seem like something which might be very productive.

    We need to change attitudes, not construct superstructures which would be no more than barn door targets whose destruction would impair every one associated with it.

    if we were aiming to take over a state then sure we couldn’t dispense with some kind of national scale mass coordinating authority. But pan secessionism removes that requirement.

    • This gets to your observation about the military-industrial complex in the comment above:

      “In practice without the state there is nothing to stop the “military industrial” complex simply going into business themselves and anyone who can pay for their services.”

      In my view, the biggest obstacle a pan-secessionist radical alliance would ultimately face is a military industrial complex that has no intention of stepping down without a fight. Even when the USSR was collapsing, the military and the KGB nearly instigated a civil war to save their own asses. I think this would be the case in any country with a powerful military, e.g. Russia, China, India, America, not sure about the EU countries. Not to mention that in the US we have a massive police state in the civilian sector as well, e.g. the federal alphabet soup agencies, the state police forces, the municipal police and SWAT teams, etc.

      For me, the biggest question is how do we defeat this? Does everything depend on it simply collapsing and dissolving itself? Massive defections among its personnel? The political victory of a radical movement that shuts off its funding? A guerrilla war that grinds it down through attrition? All of these combined?

      As I see it, a coordinated federation would not be about taking over the state as much as forming a defensive alliance when the state acts against the insurgents.

      Maybe my American cultural biases are showing here, but I tend to envision pan-secession as being a modern version of the 13 colonies secession from George III or the Confederacy’s attempted secession from the Lincoln regime, i.e. the secessionists first gain local political preeminence over a large enough collection of territories to make pan-secession viable, and prepare themselves for the onslaught once secession happens. The pan-secessionist alliance would exist for mutual defense and to prevent civil war among the radicals and secessionists.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like an informal organization. For instance, ATS has no formal members, membership cards, dues, elected officers, etc. and I don’t want to add any of that if it can be avoided. I like the “leaderless resistance” model. But I’m inclined to think that can only work on a certain level. Hezbollah is a good example. Yeah, they’re a prototypical fourth generation force, but they still have an organized militia, social infrastructure, and even a political party apparatus even if all these operate independently of the state or in lieu of the state.

  9. I was set off on my career as an active dissident radical by what I saw when I took a job working for the DoD in Iraq back in 2003/4. I remember on one occasion going to pick some stuff from a Kuwaiti port called Doha, I stood on the roof of my truck cab and as far as I could see in any direction were US Army military vehicles lined up in ranks literally miles deep.

    Fighting that is not an option. Well it is, if you really have to, and a lot of people now know how to do it, but if it can possibly be avoided then avoid it. Because that kind of war is horrible beyond description, it involves provoking the other side to massacres, it involves instilling fear in the superior enemy by torturing their fuckwitted soldiers to death, it involves wearing them down by bleeding their money by forcing them to over react for years and decades. That’s 4GW on the actual battlefield. If you have to then you have to, but if you do expect to die because you probably will.

    But I don’t think there is any reason to think that we would have to do any of that. Maybe I’m biased my my cultures history but when even my own elite, a bigger gang of thieving vicious cunts the world has not seen since the days of the Khans, saw the game was up didn’t do an Adolf and decide to go out in a Götterdämmerung. rather they actually became rather reasonable about the whole thing. Same is true of the Russian elites who, in the end, gave in fairly gracefully compared to how in might have gone down. And in that case we might not be having this discussion right now.

    The way I see it this can go either of two ways. I believe the impulse towards decentralization of power is inevitable for lots of reasons whether or not there is an economic collapse, of either the fast or slow variety. If the decentralists use violence then the state/system will deploy whatever resources it has left against that and the result will be decades of hideous conflict. Call it the IRA model.

    Or we can smile nicely and incrementally advance the cause in a reasonable fashion. This is how the Roman Empire went down. As the central authority rotted away provincial Governors were all like, “hey, I’ll totally deal with taxation and defense while you sort that shit out in Rome, SPQR rulz!”. Those governors took the title of Duke, and those guys are still around while the Empire is conspicuously not.

    If we are smart then the advance of pan secessionism wouldn’t be marked by armoured divisions backed with Apache gunships (those things are fucking evil) putting down uprisings over and over again. It would be marked by the co-option of local governments by groups who opposed the system within the permitted limits of political activity.

    To give a practical example. I did the whole entryist thing with a local group of independent local politicians. I’d didn’t say to them, “fuck this lets just declare UDI and blow the bridges”. I said “look, we need more control over what is going on, we need to take power from the next level of government by demanding the powers of that level (I invoked the fact that the community used to have them before they were transferred to the county in 1974). I argued that the town should have the authority granted to it by its charter (signed by Henry 8). I suggested we should just go further than merely administering diktats from London and start establishing all kinds of projects designed to help the community (we’d call them parallel structures but I didn’t think that was worth mentioning).

    The idea was to create a local conscious of their communities legitimate autonomy, by any means necessary. If it had worked then the elite might not have liked it but they could hardly have sent in the paras.

    In short, let’s go Gandhi because Che is just not an option. I mean, look what happened to Che. To do that we don’t need to be Hezbollah we need something more like a radicalized version of transition towns. And since those guys are already pan secessionist in practice that shouldn’t be too hard.

    We need to be able to offer techniques, ideological justification and motivation, not C4. Which is just as well because we haven’t got any C4.

  10. I can’t say I really disagree with anything you’ve said, except to point out that things didn’t really turn out any better for Gandhi than they did for Che. 🙂

  11. That seems a counter intuitive proposition. Gandhi is generally considered to have succeeded, although his ideal India isn’t the one that exists today and the whole participation thing wasn’t in the plan. And he did get to die in his bed.

    Che might have done OK, all-be-it in a supporting role in Cuba, but Congo and Bolivia didn’t work out and then he got wasted in a shed by the CIA.

    Even if we were to reject the pussy notion that Gandhi achieved something by avoiding a way cool death like Che didn’t, well then the Big G still seems to have been the more successful revolutionary.

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