Ignoring the Elephant in the Room

Anti-Fascist News“replies to my reply (in typical anarchist fashion, as our rivals point out).

I get the feeling that website is probably just one person, as all the posts have the same writing style and tone, and use the byline of “Anti-Fascist Front.” Probably some college kid writing “anti-fascist” screeds in-between bong hits. But here goes.

The bulk of AFN’s latest screed against ATS is merely a diatribe against anarcho-capitalism and national-anarchism. It‘s odd is that so much energy would be devoted to an attack on anarcho-capitalism, which is a position I don’t personally hold to, and we’ve had plenty of articles, including feature material, posted on ATS criticizing anarcho-capitalists and orthodox right-libertarians. We do have Rothbardians and other an-caps that have written for us as well. But that’s hardly a principal focus of ATS. There are plenty of right-libertarians and conventional “free market conservatives” who consider us to be Marxists. I even wrote an award-winning essay some years ago taking orthodox right-libertarians to task. Anarcho-capitalists are a mixed bag. Some are just good Lysander Spooner/Benjamin Tucker individualist-anarchists at heart. Some are really just mutualists or agorists. But others are Ayn Rand-loving corporate apologists. As is sometimes said, take what you can use and discard the rest.

AFN offers a similar tirade against national-anarchism, but offers little in the way of substance with regards to actually critiquing N-A. Instead, AFN merely regurgitates Spencer Sunshine’s (not “Sam” Sunshine, at least get the name of authors you are quoting right, for god’s sake) conspiracy theory about N-A supposedly being some kind of neo-Nazi subterfuge contrived for the purpose of taking over the anarchist movement. It’s not exactly clear why neo-Nazis would even want to do such a thing given that neo-Nazis are trailed only by left-wing anarchism as the least influential ideologies on the political horizon.

To repeat the points I made in my earlier reply.

ATS exists to forge a pan-anarchist consensus for the purpose of developing a more effective united revolutionary front against the state. In this regard, ATS is merely a continuation of similar tendencies from the past like synthesist-anarchism or anarchism-without-adjectives.

Pan-secessionism is a tactical concept and strategic position, not an ideology. The ambition is to develop a consensus among all decentralist political tendencies towards the development of a popular front against the premiere institutions of international capitalism, such as the American federal government, American imperialism, the Anglo-American-Zionist-Wahhabist axis (the dominant wing of the international power elite), the European Union, and what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri referred to as the “Empire,” an international capitalist agglomeration centered around global financial and political institutions such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations, and various appendages. Pan-secessionism could be compared to older anarchist tactical concepts like the notion of the general strike.

ATS also favors the development of a society-wide pan-decentralist consensus as a practical alternative to imperialism, centralism, statism, and plutocracy. Hence, the emphasis on culturally diverse localized polities. A pan-anarchist organized pan-secessionist action for the purpose of achieving pan-decentralism would not look like the Tea Parties, the Mormon Church, or the National Rifle Association, nor would it look like Occupy Wall Street, GLAAD, or Black Lives Matter. What we promote at ATS is a concept that is over and above these kinds of cultural variances.

Regarding identity politics, AFN says:

The point here is that this identity means something in that the identity is a point of resistance to oppression, not identity for identity’s sake.  This “identity politics” (though it is clear he does not understand what identity politics are and why most anarchists oppose them) is something that the radical right often highlights since they want to compare their “white nationalism” with “black nationalism” as if they are both equally movements towards racial identity and the advocacy of an ethnic identity.  The difference is that black nationalism is a response to white oppression and an identity use only as a tool to resist that historic oppression.  For white nationalists to say that they are the same project is to deny the fact that the purpose is fundamentally different.  White nationalists seek to double down on their perceived identity, essentializing their racial characteristics.  This is fundamentally a different project, for a different purpose, and a radically different politic.  Preston goes on to identity feminists in his list, which he has to understand is not an “identity” as much as a movement to overhaul society and dethrone patriarchy.  To list this as an “identity” is again a sign that he doesn’t clearly understand why identities are used in anti-oppression politics.

It is not that “identity” is something that the left wants to create dividing lines around, but instead, for some people, a piece of their lives through which they have been oppressed, and therefore need to create solidarity with others who share the same background of oppression.  To say that white people are in the same boat as people of color in terms of racially defined oppression is offensive right from the start.

This statement completely ignores a central argument I made in my previous response.

The most common objection that is raised to this perspective by the Left is the claim that many in the former category of social groups represents oppressed or subordinated classes of people, while many in the latter category represents hegemonic or “privileged” categories. Obviously, there is a considerable degree of truth to some of these claims in a historical sense, depending on the group in question and the specific historical context, but such claims are increasingly dubious within the context of contemporary demographic, cultural, generational, socioeconomic, and political realities. Sorry folks, but Barack Obama’s America is not the America of Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan, let alone Andrew Jackson, and this will be increasingly true in the years and decades ahead, particularly as WASPs lose their historic demographic majority in the United States, and become just another minority group like everyone else (and therefore reasonably entitled to an identity politics of their own).

The Western civilization of 2015 is hardly the Western civilization of the nineteenth century or even the mid-twentieth century. The bottom line is that AFN has failed to update its ideology in order to recognize the nature contemporary Western liberal democratic capitalist societies as they actually are in their present manifestation. As I previously stated:

I have thoroughly documented how what I call “totalitarian humanism” is the self-legitimating ideological superstructure of contemporary Western liberal democratic capitalist regimes. In trying to trace the origins of PC, it seems to represent the convergence and cumulative effect of a range of historical, cultural, and ideological forces. There is the legacy of Christian “slave morality” (see Nietzsche), Protestant pietism and Puritanism (see Rothbard), Enlightenment universalism and egalitarianism, Marxist eschatology and dualism, progressive Christian revisionism (the “social gospel,” see Paul Gottfried), critical theory (see Lind on the Frankfurt School), Gramscianism, black Marxism (DuBois), American Stalinism (Allen and Ignatiev), Western Maoism (Weather Underground), a general backlash against the legacy of European colonialism, the American and South African racial caste systems, and Nazism, WW2, and the Holocaust, the growth of therapeutic, consumer culture within the context of a post-scarcity managerial society, and the rise of a left-wing capitalist class from outside of the traditional Western elites, which includes the newly rich generated by newer high-tech industries (like media and computers), the coming to power of elites among traditional outgroups (racial minorities, women, homosexuals), and the hijacking of all of these by the state as a means of creating a self-legitimating ideological superstructure and moralistic posture to mask imperial hegemony (see Chomsky on “military humanism”) in the tradition of liberal imperialism.

Let’s take a look at some more claims from AFN.

Preston often likes to cite obscure pseudo-anarchists from history, while ignoring ninety-five percent of anarchist history and theory.

What??? Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Duhring, Spanish anarchism, Tucker, Faure, Rocker, Tolstoy, Day, Goldman, Landauer and the IWW are “obscure pseudo-anarchists from history”?

The best example of anarchist social organization existed in response to the rise of the Fallange fascist party in Catalonia, and were eventually crushed fighting for survival against the Catholic nationalists.  Anarchists rose up as primary actors in fighting the fascist party machine in Italy, Romania, Austria, and Germany, all of which show the history of the radical right as being the direct inverse of anarchism and dedicated to its destruction.  As you prance around the National Policy Institute and promote your Americanized pan-libertarianism, you are celebrating the forces that have been the historic enemy of the anarchist movement and who have murdered anarchists by the thousands.

Well, this is a rather interesting accusation given its source. What are the roots of the “antifa” anyway? As a friend states:

“The Antifascist Action the antifa claims claims as their legacy today was originally a highly nationalist and authoritarian branch of the German Communist Party (KPD). It was the follower of the Rötkampfer Bund, the paramilitary branch of the KPD, which was banned in 1932 by the German government.

It would be pretty much the the same as NA claiming the Swatsika as a symbol for anarchism. The historic ignorance of the Antifa/AFA is pretty stunning, considering the nationalist and even ‘antisemitic’ (the KPD reached out to the same crowd as the NSDAP and thus used the same anti-Jewish sentiments) past of their symbol (the one “Anti-Fascist News” uses) and name.”

Marten van Loon's photo.
Where exactly did the present day leftist-Marxist “anarchist” movement originate from? In the 60s and 70s, Communism was the general thrust of the radical left, and anarchists were considered a tiny, freakish sideshow. But during the 80s when it was becoming obvious that the Soviet Union was on its way to becoming a failed state, and that Communism was just another tyrannical bureaucracy, many Marxists started reinventing themselves as Anarchists. There was some of that in the 60s but I think this trend started to grow in a big way in the 80s, which was the time when I first became involved in left-anarchism. I remember a veteran leftist telling me at the time that Anarchism had finally surpassed Communism as the dominant ideology of “radial progressives.” So it seems as though what happened is that as the PC Left that came out of the 60s with all of its privilege theory, critical theory, etc became increasingly institutionalized, a lot of these people started claiming the Anarchist label to differentiate themselves from Soviet-style Communism, even if they retained all of the underlying neo-Marxist presumptions. Hence, the failure of Communism meant that Marxists merely refashioned themselves as Anarchists.
I see the work of tendencies like ATS and NAM as a necessary corrective to anarchism having gotten off course due to Marxist infiltration. Also, ATS and NAM actually have a workable theory of anarchism based on decentralized, pluralistic, particularism that recognizes the legitimacy of identities such as ethnicity, culture, religion, nationality, race, language, history, tradition, regionalism, local community, in addition to preferred economic arrangements, abstract political ideologies, and subcultural variations. These are what most people identify with anyway rather than some kind of One World utopia or arcane economic theories that most people don’t even understand.
Historically, there has been just as much repression of anarchists by authoritarian regimes and movements of the Left as there has been from the Right. I might take the “antifa” seriously when their anti-communism becomes as virulent as their “anti-fascism.”
Preston himself now has zero connection to larger anarchist movements and seems to have been deemed persona non grata from all political arenas except the far-right.
The “far right” is presently the only milieu where a comprehensive critique of imperialism as it actually exists in its present form can be presented. The “center-right/center  left” mainstream paradigm is fully committed to neo-liberalism. While strands 🙂 of the “far left” profess opposition to imperialism and capitalism, the Left utterly fails to critique or even recognize neo-liberalism’s legitimating ideological superstructure of totalitarian humanism because the bulk of the Left shares the same fundamental ideological and cultural presumptions as neo-liberalism on these questions such as globalism, multiculturalism, uncritical acceptance of mass immigration, therapeutic culture, the managerial state, victimology, “political correctness,” and military humanism. It is forbidden to criticize many of these things on the “far left.” In addition, the bulk of the “far left” has degenerated into outright silliness as demonstrated by its fixation on trigger warnings, safe spaces, so-called “call out culture,” and the ongoing sectarian wars between feminists and transexuals, transexuals and transvestites, vegans and vegetarians, anti-anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, white anarchist youth and anarchist people of color, gender feminists and sex workers, anti-BDSM and pro-BDSM, gays and socially conservative immigrants, Muslims and feminists, etc. etc. etc. etc. In other words, the Left has become utterly worthless as any kind of authentic opposition force The “far right” is the only place where my own anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-statist, “anti-American,” and anti-totalitarian humanist perspective can be heard at the present time.
Sorry folks, but that’s how it is.
For the sake of curiosity, here is the full text of what I actually said at the National Policy Institute.

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6 replies »

  1. All you anarchists and libertarians have had it so easy here in the Western World you do not quite understand the implications of your ideology if you were to actually receive what you ask for. The caution be careful what you wish for you may get it should give you pause.
    here is a thought experiment to illustrate my point. You are a lone homeowner living in a community, and you are attacked or threatened by a gang of blacks or coloreds demanding your property and access to your women for sexual purposes. There are no police and no one is actually obliged to assist you as there is no law structure. What can you do when obviously outnumbered?
    White Nationalists are responding to the racial agitation by groups such as blacks, Mexicans and Muslims who invariably form mobs and violent mobs at that to get their way. They see the benefits and political advantage of racial groupings and resist the idiotic excuses of fabricated past false histories that would prevent them from utilizing the strategies of those who are their enemies. You may disagree with their methods but you do not even consider the dangers or acknowledge the weaknesses in your anti-collective individualistic view when faced with ethnic, religious and racial mobs.

    • Are you replying to the author? Because I think he is aware of what you’re saying. I think if I may; his view is that the “state” as its currently configured is not only set to disallow whites to form collectives but uses its power to actively oppose such collectives from acting on their own racial interests. The police will not protect us from violence of the mob, the police will persecute us if we form mutual defense collectives to protect our communities from the lumpen predators and grievance agitators.

  2. In the interests of clarity, I should point out that the argument I was making in the above reply to “Anti-Fascist News” wasn’t about taking anyone’s side in the “Who’s most oppressed?” pissing contest as much as it was to point out the limitations of the approach to political theory and social criticism offered by the contemporary Left.

    “Anti-Fascist News” seems to represent a hybrid of sectarian 1930s model anarcho-communism (“workerism”) and Communist-inspired “anti-fascist” movements from the same period. AFN hypocritically waxes hysterical about National-Anarchism, or supposed rightist influences on ATS, while glossing over the legacy of Communist repression of anarchists. In other words, AFN is engaged in special pleading, which is often the case with these hyper-leftist people.

    I am essentially a hard leftist at heart myself. I generally agree, for example, with the critique of the international capitalist system generated by globalization that Hardt and Negri outlined in “Empire,” though I would argued that the Anglo-American-Zionist-Wahhabist axis is the dominant coalition within the “Empire.” I generally agree with the “power elite” critique of domestic American politics offered by C. Wright Mills (plus the “four networks” modification of Mills original theory offered by William Domhoff). However, I would argue that totalitarian humanism is the dominant coalition within the U.S. system at present.

    The problem with folks like AFN is that they are simply unable to recognize the degree to which the narrative of the cultural Left (privilege theory, critical theory, therapeutic culture, victimology, anti-racism, feminism, gay liberation, etc) has been coopted by and incorporated into the system.

    My position is actually very similar to the position the Left faced in the 1960s when conventional blue collar workers and union types had largely been incorporated into the middle class, and maintained a pro-imperialist position on Vietnam, so the Left had to look elsewhere to build the antiwar movement.

    • The most pertinent point you make imo is that at the current time the only genuine critique of globalism, which is sort of imperialist hegemony, is only emanating from the nominal “right”. The left is wholly engaged in an obsolete critique of the power configuration as it stands, and is enamored of its own dogmatic and counterproductive posturing. They enforce the status quo both rhetorically and tactically. I have come to tge conclusion that some sort of nationalism may be the only fight back to the globalist schemata. This is coming from a former left anarchist, former post left anarchist.

  3. “Anti-Fascist News” has yet another “anti-me” tirade up now.


    They seem to be falling back on a “workerist” position which is arguably even more self-defeating that the normal “race/gender/gay” paradigm of the left-anarchists given that membership in unions is at an all-time low in the US (maybe AFN is not in the US), the transient nature of employment in a service industry-driven economy, and the fact that the few influential unions that are left are largely public sector unions whose employment interests are directly connected to the state.

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