By Frank Serpico
Watch the classic film here.
n the opening scene of the 1973 movie “Serpico,” I am shot in the face—or to be more accurate, the character of Frank Serpico, played by Al Pacino, is shot in the face. Even today it’s very difficult for me to watch those scenes, which depict in a very realistic and terrifying way what actually happened to me on Feb. 3, 1971. I had recently been transferred to the Narcotics division of the New York City Police Department, and we were moving in on a drug dealer on the fourth floor of a walk-up tenement in a Hispanic section of Brooklyn. The police officer backing me up instructed me (since I spoke Spanish) to just get the apartment door open “and leave the rest to us.”
I originally posted this nearly five years ago, but I would still stand by every word.
1. I agree with the Augustinian view of the state as a robber band writ large.
2. I agree with the Stirnerite view of political obligation. Why should I obey this guy just because he’s the president, king, mayor, etc.?
3. I agree that democracy is a system where five wolves and sheep vote on what to have for lunch.
4. I agree that the death and destruction perpetrated by states make that of individual criminals look trivial by comparison.
5. I agree with George Bernard Shaw that democracy replaces the rule of the corrupt few with the rule of the incompetent many.
6. I agree that the state exists to monopolize territory and resources, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, expand its own power and subjugate and exploit subjects.
7. I agree with Hayek that the worst gets to the top.
8. I agree that the insights of social psychology show that most people are creatures of the herd.
9. I agree that the herd is the permanent enemy of the superior individual.
10. I agree that values are subjective, that life is ultimately a war of each against all, and that survival of the fittest and the will to power are the only true laws.
While I’m not a fan or supporter of this guy, he may be opening some doors that those of us with a much more radical position can make use of in the future.
By Jack Hunter
The American Conservative
“The Kentucky senator has consistently challenged long-held GOP views on issues like the war on drugs and federal drug sentencing laws by taking positions that once would have been considered almost exclusively left. Paul has introduced legislation ending the practice of civil asset forfeitures—police taking and keeping someone’s property based on nothing more than suspicion—an issue that had previously received little attention in Washington. The libertarian-leaning senator’s well-received address at progressive Berkley last year on the dangers of the surveillance state would have been unthinkable for almost any Republican during the George W. Bush era.”
It’s good to see someone from the “conservative” end of the spectrum finally admit to this:
“The Reagan Doctrine was one of the least impressive parts of Reagan’s record, and it inflicted enormous damage on the countries where it was put into practice. Moreover, it proved to be entirely unnecessary, since the dissolution of the USSR and collapse of communism in Europe underscored just how irrelevant these interventions in Third World civil wars were to the outcome of the Cold War.”
The American Conservative
Anarchists and libertarians, pay attention. This article argues conclusively that taking extremist positions on social issues is a political non-starter, as I have long suggested and as this Gallup poll points out.
“But social issues are rating near the bottom of voter concerns heading into the 2014 election. Abortion and other social issues rarely rate more than a few percentage points above zero when Gallup polls voters on their concerns. It turns out that the Republican implosion on social issues in 2012 was not a prelude to Democratic triumphs on the same.”
This is absolutely required reading for anarchists and libertarians. You cannot understand modern statecraft without understanding James Burnham.
By Daniel McCarthy
The American Conservative
illustration by Michael Hogue
America is badly governed. Congress has dismal approval ratings, sometimes as low as single digits. Presidential elections, settled by popular landslides in most postwar contests, now see margins of less than 5 percent separating winner from loser. Half or more of the country at any time disapproves of the president.
Look for the entire spectrum of the radical right to start embracing some kind of libertarianism, anarchism, decentralism, or secession as its last hope.
“I first really noticed the impact of godless libertarianism in the GOP in this year’s legislative session in Louisiana, when we couldn’t get together a solid opposition to the payday loan industry.
The general feeling seems to be that personal liberty now trumps all other issues. If the government permits everything, maybe they won’t bother us when we homeschool. Maybe we’ll be allowed religious liberty.”
By Rod Dreher
The American Conservative
Ryan Booth is a personal friend and a fellow Christian conservative (he’s a Southern Baptist). He was also a longtime leader in the top echelons of the state Republican Party (read Ryan’s 2010 history of the state GOP for an indication of the level at which he worked). Back in April, though, he said farewell to politics, and announced that he’s going to seminary. He put a comment up on my Wendy Davis thread this morning that deserves its own post. Ryan commented on my statement that, “I no longer believe that politics is capable of addressing the core of our social and cultural problems.”
The American Dream is slipping further away from the vast majority of Americans than it has in a quarter century. Now 90 percent of US households are poorer than they were in 1987, according to both a new study and the head of the Federal Reserve.
This is important stuff regardless of your politics if you’re against the system. It’s an indication of what dissidents from all over the spectrum can expect in the future.
Andy and Colin are joined by Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute to talk about his recent attempt to hold a conference in Budapest against the opposition of the Hungarian state. Among the topics discussed are the possible reasons for the clamp down, Richard’s arrest and time in detention, how the conference went ahead anyway, and the need for an identitarian vision that can transcend the limitations of divisive petty nationalism.
Kevin Carson takes down the Progressive’s favorite economist, though I appreciate Sean’s effort to provide some nuance in his introduction.
By Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society
Paul Krugman, in denouncing the excessive market power of Amazon (“Amazon’s Monopsony is Not OK,” New York Times, October 19), proclaims that the Robber Baron Era ended when “we as a nation” put an end to it.
There’s a powerful story in the book of 2 Samuel about the prophet Nathan confronting King David after he arranged the death of Uriah the Hittite and took his wife Bathsheba for himself. Nathan told David of a rich man, with enormous herds, who had a guest to feed. The man, to spare himself killing one of his own many livestock, instead stole and slaughtered the pet lamb of the poor man next door (which, the Bible says, he fed from his own plate and loved like a daughter). Upon hearing this David became outraged and swore “As the LORD liveth, the man who hath done this thing shall surely die.” And Nathan replied: “Thou art the man.”
If you ignore all of the personal attacks, this is actually a very interesting discussion of libertarian economics from two years ago on the Libertarian Alliance blog featuring Paul Marks, Ian B, Roderick Long, Kevin Carson, Bill Green and others.
Check it out.
Contrary to what many seem to believe the conflict between proprietarian or free market libertarians and communal or socialist libertarians is not new and dates back to (at least) the early to middle nineteenth century. My own “solution” to the conflict is the one suggested by Voltairine de Cleyre, i.e. institutional and territorial separation of those with irreconcilable views on what the optimal form of economic organization would be.
From Lingit Latseen
Today is Free Nations Day.
Free Nations Day is an opportunity to reclaim the idea that nations are voluntary groupings of free individuals, not externally imposed political borders or states. Both geographic localities and identities that transcend space are legitimate entities with the right to decide their own ways of life.
Courtesy of Tlingit Readers Inc.; produced by the late Andrew Hope III
By William T. Hathway
Once again in election season the drums of patriotism are being beaten. Politicians on the stump and their Madison Avenue flacks are exhorting us to rally around the tattered flag. Their drumming sounds feeble and hollow, though, like cheerleaders trying to rouse the fans while our military team goes down to defeat, bringing the economy with it.
The drummers persist because their patriotic noise drowns out the voices of those asking disturbing questions: Why are we playing this losing game to begin with? Why are we bankrupting the country with endless war? How can we love a nation that slaughters millions of our fellow human beings? These questions endanger the game, and the game must go on.
By Ellis Riker Halford
We live in a world full of prejudices and inequality, where racist and sexist parties like Britain First can exist and where people will back these parties. In a world that has these many different types of prejudices, we call the people opposed to them ‘Egalitarians’ or ‘Feminists’ or ‘Humanitarians’, but do they actually fight for true equality?
While misogyny is an unbelievably huge problem, I would argue that misandry is a really big problem too, and one that is not recognised by many people. I was discussing this with a male feminist the other day and he stated “The only people who have a problem with misandry are either those who have experienced it, or those who don’t know it isn’t a problem.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I felt greatly offended by this statement. He first stated that some people are affected by this problem, only to then disregard it completely. I find his reasoning tantamount to claiming that Ebola isn’t a problem as it affects fewer people than cancer. This is a ludicrous statement, but this is just one person’s (foolish) opinion.
By Ruth Padawer
New York Times
Hundreds of young women streamed into Wellesley College on the last Monday of August, many of them trailed by parents lugging suitcases and bins filled with folded towels, decorative pillows and Costco-size jugs of laundry detergent. The banner by the campus entranceway welcoming the Class of 2018 waved in the breeze, as if beckoning the newcomers to discover all that awaited them. All around the campus stood buildings named after women: the Margaret Clapp library, the Betsy Wood Knapp media and technology center, dorms, labs, academic halls, even the parking garage. The message that anything is possible for women was also evident at a fenced-in work site, which bore the sign “Elaine Construction,” after a firm named for one woman and run by another.
It was the first day of orientation, and along the picturesque paths there were cheerful upper-class student leaders providing directions and encouragement. They wore pink T-shirts stamped with this year’s orientation theme: “Free to Explore” — an enticement that could be interpreted myriad ways, perhaps far more than the college intended. One of those T-shirted helpers was a junior named Timothy Boatwright. Like every other matriculating student at Wellesley, which is just west of Boston, Timothy was raised a girl and checked “female” when he applied. Though he had told his high-school friends that he was transgender, he did not reveal that on his application, in part because his mother helped him with it, and he didn’t want her to know. Besides, he told me, “it seemed awkward to write an application essay for a women’s college on why you were not a woman.” Like many trans students, he chose a women’s college because it seemed safer physically and psychologically.
The most sensible analysis of the Obama presidency published yet.
By Bruce Bartlett
The American Conservative
illustration by Michael Hogue
Back in 2008, Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich wrote an article for this magazine making a conservative case for Barack Obama. While much of it was based on disgust with the warmongering and budgetary profligacy of the Republican Party under George W. Bush, which he expected to continue under 2008 Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, Bacevich thought Obama at least represented hope for ending the Iraq War and shrinking the national-security state.
I wrote a piece for the New Republic soon afterward about the Obamacon phenomenon—prominent conservatives and Republicans who were openly supporting Obama. Many saw in him a classic conservative temperament: someone who avoided lofty rhetoric, an ambitious agenda, and a Utopian vision that would conflict with human nature, real-world barriers to radical reform, and the American system of government.
Among the Obamacons were Ken Duberstein, Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff; Charles Fried, Reagan’s solicitor general; Ken Adelman, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency for Reagan; Jeffrey Hart, longtime senior editor of National Review; Colin Powell, Reagan’s national security adviser and secretary of state for George W. Bush; and Scott McClellan, Bush’s press secretary. There were many others as well.
According to exit polls in 2008, Obama ended up with 20 percent of the conservative vote. Even in 2012, after four years of relentless conservative attacks, he still got 17 percent of the conservative vote, with 11 percent of Tea Party supporters saying they cast their ballots for Obama.
They were not wrong. In my opinion, Obama has governed as a moderate conservative—essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today. (Ultra-leftist Noam Chomsky recently called Nixon “the last liberal president.”)
By Kirkpatrick Sale
In the wake of the Scottish “no” vote on secession last month, former presidential contender Ron Paul has declared that this was inspirational for the cause of secession not only around the world but right here in the United States. It is here, he said, that there is a “growing movement” for secession that is “deeply American:” “Americans who embrace secession are acting in the grand American tradition,” most especially the original departure from Great Britain that Scotland failed to emulate.
This has of course upset the usual crowd of knee-jerk patriots who always argue that secession is illegal or unconstitutional or anti-American, and anyway the Civil War settled all that. But Paul is supported by a new survey by Reuters/Ipsos that shows that 24 per cent of Americans believe that secession is not only legal but something they would support in their own states. That’s a quarter of the land—80 million people, almost 15 million more than voted for Obama in the last election.
By Keith Preston
I recently suggested that the next necessary step in the cultivation of the pan-anarchist movement will be the coalescence of the many scattered factions and tendencies within anarchism and overlapping philosophies into a new “Gray” anarchist macro-tribe that maintains its own political and cultural identity in a way that is distinctively independent of the Left and Right or, perhaps more important for domestic U.S. politics, independent of the Red tribe and Blue tribe. At present, far too many anarchists, libertarians, and anti-state radicals retain too great a loyalty to either the Red or Blue, or the Left and Right. While we will continue to draw from both sides of the conventional political and cultural spectrum as our movement continues to grow, the eventually establishment of our own independent identity is a long-term necessity.
If you vote and live in Washington, D.C. consider Eugene Puryear.
For those anarchists and libertarians who might look askance at endorsing a leftist and a socialist like Mr. Puryear, I would suggest taking a look at his track record. He’s on the right page concerning the biggest issues, i.e. the American imperialist empire and the police state. It’s time that radicals stopped pushing their preferred economic system, favorite social issues, and arcane ideological interests at the expense of actually attacking the system and its most pernicious elements.
Within the context of a pan-radical alliance against the system, the political leadership in the Blue zones would likely resemble folks like Mr. Puryear to a great degree, just like the political leadership in the Red Zones might more closely resemble the Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, or fans of Alex Jones.
This how it should be.
Eugene Puryear is a D.C.-based activist and graduate of Howard University. In nearly a decade of social justice activism, he has been involved in the anti-war movement, helping to organize mass opposition to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and has served as a key organizer around police brutality, prisoners’ rights and abuses in the U.S. criminal “justice” system. He was the co-founder of the Jobs Not Jails Coalition in D.C., organizing around the rights of returning citizens. Eugene is the author of the recent book Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America, which analyzes America’s prison system. He is a socialist and serves on the editorial board of Liberation newspaper.