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.”
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.