“Anti-Fascist News” has generated another round. Here is my “response to response to response to response.”
The exchange between anarchism and Marxism has been complex and ongoing, yet this idea that Marxism has infiltrated anarchism and that is why it has adopted socially left values is not just bizarre, it has zero basis in fact. Today, Marxist factions, as small and scattered as they are, are continually a socially conservatizing force and several steps behind in these struggles. This has always been true in older periods of Marxism where struggle is centrally set on a united working class along economic lines, not along lines of other oppressed identification.
I would agree that the focus of the Left has shifted over the past half century from a focus on class-based politics of the kind found in traditional Marxism to a focus on cultural politics. No argument there.
The idea is then proposed by neo-facists (sic) that the Frankfurt School completely reshaped all social struggles on every level so that anti-racism and anti-patriarchal struggles would supplement class struggle. The main purpose of this conspiracy theory is to create a narrative where by it is actually Jewish philosophers that have started this process and, therefore, must be only done for Jewish domination.
I would agree that the influence of the Frankfurt School has been very important in the shaping of the modern Left, though I reject the “Jewish conspiracy” explanation for this, or the view that roots of PC can be fully explained by Marxist influences. See here and here.
There are literally no Marxist academics or organizers that would agree with the radical right’s estimation of Marxism as the driving force towards social progress through the Frankfurt School.
See Martin Jay’s “The Dialectical Imagination.”
The KPD, the failed German Revolution, and the position of racism within their party is a history that fails to have a connection to modern anti-fascist organizing since the dynamics of state allied communist parties is past, but it does actually show the degree to which Marxism fails to address issues like racism, patriarchy, and queer liberation.
Ideologically, the anarchist project of modern times owes so little to Marxism in all the ways that most people understand Marxist theory. Marxism does not see the power dynamics that are central to interpersonally identified oppressions, such as race or gender, as foundational. Instead, economic relation act as the base to the larger superstructure by which other forms of oppression can rest alongside disparate pieces of culture. This runs counter to most contemporary anarchist’s conception of oppression, where anything beyond class struggle would have to be secondary.
And yet AFN seems to fall 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.
National Anarchism seeks to build up the idea of the ethnic nation as a viable unit of identity and resistance, but we want to counter that notion with the idea that working class unity and broad community is both more functionally successful in terms of struggle and more inspiring to the human soul.
In the interests of clarity, I should point out that the argument I was making in my previous 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.
The influence of Marxism on anarchism is in much of the critiques of capitalism, which you would see in the work of people like Wayne Price(We are guessing you remember him).
Yes, I am familiar with Wayne Price and his work.
The Marxism that does tend to maintain some types influence in anarchist circles are, ironically, the Marxists that you cited to make your point. There is differing opinions about the work of Negri and Hardt among our editorial collective, especially as it comes to the de-emphasis of the nation state, yet this disagreement is within a particular framework: namely, the discussion of politics leading towards liberation. If anything, anarchism has influenced Marxism more on social issues than the latter as you can see the emergence in most of the ideas in many of the anarchists Preston sites, such as Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman.
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 (with the left-wing of capitalism and the left-wing of the middle class being the dominant players on this 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, environmentalism, etc.) has been co-opted 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 issue Preston takes up is if reactionary counter-cultural movements, from neo-Nazis to Mormon Fundamentalists, can be united to challenge the global hegemony of capitalist power. The reality is that with visions so radically different, as well as analysis about power and oppression so different, they hold little tactical or ideological virtue in each other. Simply put: we don’t want the same things, and even in challenging the state we would engage with it in such radically different ways that we do not hold stake in each other’s success.
Since National-Anarchism seems to be the real sticking point for these folks, here are some examples of how actual N-As describe their philosophy:
On the flags of nations and regions:
“Not participating in this group while they have their flags of the French State in their profiles. Solidarity of NAM of course with the Parisian people not with its state flag.”
“I think in many cases flags, although still official symbols of States, have become symbols of the people in some way, since several of them have been around for a long time and have gone hand in hand with the representation of peoples and their culture, not just the State/government.“
“What about regional flags, like the flags of Brittany, Galicia, Euskal Herria and the like, though? Would they not be considered symbols of the State too? And if so, are there any flags that are genuine symbols of the people?“
” I think the anarchist black flag will do just fine…
“The problem I see with that is that that flag might represent people, but not their individual culture/area. I think that regional flags would do just fine, since they can be more closely related to a community/nation/folk than the national flag (regional/provincial flags will have more symbols referring to the local culture), and their “political meaning” is minimal most times.“
“Some flags can represent a cool story even if it represents a state. Like the flag of Bangladesh, it’s green with a red circle in the middle. The green represents vegetation since it’s a tropical biome. The red represents blood because it’s liberation cost 3 million civilian lives over the course of 9 months.”
“I consider my flag to be the black flag of anarchism, and I consider all the flags of the hyphenated anarchist tendencies to represent the many sects and tribes within anarchism. I also appreciate the way some anarchists will superimpose an anarchist symbol on particular national flags.”
“A nation fighting a nation-state. They are cosmopoltian and not multicultural. They have forged their own culture on top of their traditional culture, and any visitors or residents need to respect that culture or keep moving on to anywhere which tolerates sexual, religious or cultural domination or conflict. House rules are specified on entry, so your culture will be respected IF it adapts to the culture of your host.”
On American gun culture:
“I loathe the gun culture in countries like America, but there is clearly a difference between being a gun-toting psychopath and having a weapon for defence. As the old saying goes, in a society without guns only the criminals will have guns. If I had a button that could instantly make all guns disappear, I would be very tempted to press it. At the same time, if I lived in a place like America then I would feel the need to get a gun for defensive purposes, just to give myself as much of a fighting chance as anyone else. That’s the problem, you see, it’s much like civilisation. People are travelling in a perpetually linear direction – upwards and onwards, never back – that has led them to become slaves to modern society and all the destruction that it brings.
“I really wish gun culture in America wasn’t so entrenched in neocon dogma.”
“I admire the roots of American gun culture, as it has its basis in self-reliance and personal responsibility. Devoid of any community cohesion, however, it becomes misanthropic and borderline psychopathic. Having said that, I would far prefer living amongst an armed populace rather than one which had been disarmed and infantilised by the state “for our own good.”
“Although I don’t support seperatism (sic), it will be a preference of many productive people, and Anarchism not answering that question in the past, resulted in many non-racist people supporting fascists. If the people move forward with what they know, then PC black people should be allowed to have their safe spaces, which would make Martin Luther King turn in his grave, since he fought against such segregation. Since many are still referred to as “you people”, they might find it more comfortable operating in spaces where black people who identify with their experience come together, while the rest remain in multi-ethnic communities. The same would apply to white people, Asians who are still discriminated against, etc. When things stabilise in the absence of these state pressures, people will start coming together more freely.”
“Europe has always identified itself on a ethnic basis, rather then a racial one. “
“To me it seems the purely racial view is more associated with the multiculturalism of the new world. So maybe with the watering down of European individuality because of modern multiculturalism, it only makes sense these ideas find their way here. But to me it presents an alienated idea, that developed in a alienated culture (or rather a lack of culture) to begin with.”
“ I believe that even if someone is mixed they should be proud of who and what they are.“
“What I think is far more important than knowing how many people prefer to live among people of their own ethnical and cultural background is that in N-AM there is mutual respect and open communication between those individuals and groups who choose to live on way or another. In that we are all “equal”. That is something hard to fathom for the anti-N-AM crowd who prefer uniformity on all levels“
“The nation needs anarchism as its only certainty for an equal and just society and economy for its people. Anarchism needs the nation for its its sense of community and to respond to the ever more encroaching globalism.”
“It’s something of a paradoxical question. I get asked about this all the time by leftists who are wondering if N-A really is a form of fascism, white supremacy, KKKism, etc etc etc, and by rightists who want to know the difference between N-A and the leftist/PC/SJW anarchists. I usually respond by saying I can only express my own views and that it’s not my place to speak for N-As as a tendency. I explain that I consider myself a pluralistic or “pan” anarchist, and that I’m interested in all forms of anarchism, libertarianism, decentralism, or anti-statism. I consider N-A to certainly be a legitimate form of anarchism, and one that emphasizes racial, cultural, and ethnic identity, including white or European forms of identity, to be a a preferred form of anarchism, or the most practical form of anarchism, or their individual or their own group’s form of anarchism, depending on the individual and group in question. This concept could just as easily apply to black, brown, red, or yellow anarchists as well as white ones, and among ethno-cultural identities (Irish, Basque, Dutch, Alawite, Ibo, Maori, Hmong, Cherokee, etc) identities as much as the broader racial ones (European, African, Asian, Arab, Native American, etc. and variations among these). But N-A is also non-universalist in that is recognizes the legitimacy of non-European or non-white forms of identitarianism, as well as mixed or multicultural or “liberal” communities or whatever. So N-A ends up overlapping with other philosophies like panarchism, anarchism without adjectives, and anarcho-libertarianism from the anarchist milieu, and concepts like ethno-pluralism, and pan-nationalism from ordinary nationalist or identitarian milieus. The question of actual “racial separatism” comes down to being a matter of individual or group practice, regardless of the race or ethnic group in question, and the question of “racial supremacy” is kind of like the question of whether someone believes their religion is superior to others, i.e. it’s matter of institutional cultural, organizational, community, or individual practice and belief. Do some white or European N-As belief their racial or ethnic group is superior? Perhaps. Just like some Christian N-As might think their Church is the true, or most true, Church, or their preferred economic system is the best one as well.
“Skin color differences doesn’t mean you can’t ever share a national identity or cultural values. Historically and even currently such as in Rojava anarchism with nationalist tendencies didn’t advocate racial separatism.”
“What I like about N.A. is that your nation or tribe is whatever you want. You have more traditional identities like Chinese, Muslim, American, etc. You can have more personal ones too like Jedi, Anime Freak, Skater, Metal-Head, etc. If you have enough people of the same identity, they can be a nation or tribe. That’s what I like most about National Anarchism. There’s more respect from N.A. regarding subcultures as potential tribes than anywhere else. I mean, ¿aren’t all identities articial constructs anyways?”
“I think that defining the Nation by cultural values, rather than by differing ethnicities, is far more fruitful and sensible. This is extremely obvious in Europe, where in many Nations there isn’t and has never been ethnic homogenity (Germany and Finland are prime examples) and the feeling (or disbelief) of unity has been based on cultural and linguistic (among others) similiarity instead. The European invention of Nation in the 19th century also didn’t include racial ideas.“
“Although I would prefer to live in a community of my own folk, I have always accepted that an Anarchist or NA community can be made up of what people you wish to be associated with! For the record I’m not a fan of Racial Nationalists who’s idea of ‘Nationalism’ is to promote the state.“
“As a black man (or whatever term being used these days smile emoticon ), I am not a racial separatist myself but respect the right for others to want to do so. I feel that way strongly due to my personal experiences but my views are just my views. It doesn’t mean it applies to others. What works for me may not work for someone else because personal experience ultimately determines what a person may feel about a particular situation. I have no problem working with National Anarchists of any sort, like the philosophy and consistency, and respect the way they want to live their lives. I have read your books many times and enjoyed them.“
“I would like to see more Black people get involved in National-Anarchism, particularly in light of the great work that has already been done by the likes of Osiris Akkebala, Marcus Garvey, Louis Farrakhan and others. None of them Anarchist, of course, but certainly figures that have taken an enormous amount of pride in their identity and tried to do the best for their people.“
“I would like to see more black people look at National Anarchism also. I think it would be very fruitful. I know people who I think would be open to it once the ideas behind it was delivered clearly and succinctly.”
“In my experience and research, the only people who do not want non-white individuals involved with National-Anarchism are the “Social Justice Warriors” within the politically correct totalitarian humanist authoritarian left circles involved with Antifa and groups like that.”
“No one I’m aware of involved with N-AM has told me that non-white people are forbidden from being involved with National-Anarchism and i think it needs to be emphasized more so that it is our critics who are the ones who seek to prevent non-white people from participating in something that any group of people should be capable of contributing positive development toward.”
“I see National Anarchism as a structure that can work no matter what your belief system is. Dogmas will occur but at the local level. The structure is dogma free. Every man or woman is a star. Every community is a galaxy with its own center be that an ideology or a person or a system.“
“Personally I would prefer not to start off a community with any set economic system in mind. Instead I would like to see my group’s economy develop organically with the community members solving problems as they go. Whether it develops into something that could be considered Communist, Socialist, Distributist, or Capitalist doesn’t really matter to me if it works for the community and does not adversely affect or impose upon other communities.“
“Organic development is the key. Personally, though, my economic perspective owes more to Hoppe, von Mises and Rand than Douglas, Chesterton or Marx. That probably puts me at odds with the majority of folks on here, though.”
“I’d personally like a Distributist model, but economics would need to come second to real-life issues. A self-sufficient community where economics would really be just a means to trade, barter, etc.“
“Considering I believe economic and social relations are the foundation of our current opression, I’m opposed to Capitalism. This because the State exists only to protect the existing social and economic contradictions. For me Capitalism and the State are pretty much the same thing, so I reject both, for the simple reason one cannot survive without the other.”
“i believe we should have a society without a state or capitalism but i believe we should live in self sufficient community with decentralized non profit private organizations to supply certain stuff and do it yourself with the supplies given and instructions sort of thing with very minimal technology with electricity done in very diy way but i agree with… we should have a bit of trade sort of thing again.“
“Agrarian/cottage industries. Craft. Family firms & farms. Co-ops. Profits within reason.“
These comments are hardly consistent with AFN’s claims that “The NA’s themselves focus on racial identity as they are essentially anti-State nationalists, who maintain the same violent racism and misogyny that most neo-Nazis do. ”
One thing that Preston mentions both in his last article and in much of his larger work is a critique of Political Correctness. He often joins in with the narrative that PC culture is the grand leviathan that controls the culture, which is ideologically pre-school in nature. The notion that liberal social norms are somehow equal to capitalism, the church, the communist party, or the corporation in different times and places is ridiculous.
I would actually disagree that PC has of yet achieved the all-encompassing ideological power of the Church in the Middle Ages, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, or the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. But I will argue that it is the guiding ideology of the dominant political coalitions in Western countries.
We want to add, however, that we also oppose things like Political Correctness and call-out culture.
That’s good to hear.
Much of what you lump together with contemporary anarchism or Marxism you bring over from mainstream liberalism, which are exactly many of the points at which the radical left breaks away.
The anarchist wing of the far Left is a like a Plato’s forms version of political correctness as evidenced by, for example, such tactics as “progressive stacking” or the obsession with gender pronouns, or incidents such as the attacks on figures such as Lierre Keith and Kristian Williams, or the skirmish between Crimethinc and Anarchist People of Color, to name but a few examples. It is true that there are forms of political correctness or totalitarian humanism that are more prevalent among liberals than the far Left (such as enthusiasms for gun control, neo-puritan anti-smoking crusades, anti-sex worker feminism, food policing, etc.)
The reality is that racism is real, just as rates of job hiring, incarceration, police violence, and pretty much all areas of social life can be seen as disparate between whites and racial groups of color.
Ironically, I’m often accused by right-wingers of being too critical of the cops, the legal system, and the prison-industrial complex. Take a look at the core documents on the ATS homepage. You will see a link to Lorenzo Ervin’s “Anarchism and the Black Revolution” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.”
I think race issues involve a lot of complexities and competing dynamics on which reasonable people can disagree.
Women are the victim of misogynist violence at rates so systemic that their own home is one of the most dangerous places they can be and pregnant women are more likely to die from homicide than in any other way. Rape, assault, and harassment are daily threats for non-male members of our society
Who besides criminals is actually in favor this?
When you stand with neo-fascist organizations(even though we are sure that you will dispute that description) you empower their revolutionary vision, one that necessitates our failure.
Well, there are about as many ideologies present on the “alternative right” as there are individuals. Ask 10 different people on the alternative right about their position on a single issue and you will get 15 different opinions. In my associations with the alternative right, I’ve encountered traditional conservatives, free market libertarians, economic nationalists, populists, monarchists, anarchists, fascists, Nazis, Strasserites, distributists, right-wing Marxists, national-Bolsheviks, white nationalists, southern nationalists, black conservatives, white nationalist Jews, anti-Semites, self-proclaimed “radical centrists,” self-proclaimed “alternative leftists,” liberal racial realists, anti-immigration feminists, atheists, pagans, heathens, Satanists, Protestant evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Hindus, Muslims, advocates of the nuclear family, advocates of polygamy, gays, persons with varying degrees of Asian, Persian, Arab, Hispanic, or Native American ancestry, Holocaust-deniers, Holocaust-believers, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, pro-European Unionists, anti-European Unionist, city-statists, ethnostatists, proponents of a European Imperium, Eurasianists, anti-Eurasianists, pro-Zionists, anti-Zionists, pro-Putinists, anti-Putinists, pro-Americans, anti-Americans, etc. etc. etc. etc. In fact, it would be impossible to have an alternative right political party because there would be no agreement on common goals or objectives. About the only unifying thread on the alternative right is being “pro-Western” and “anti-PC.”
If anything, ATS is an even broader project than the alternative right because we see the struggle in global terms and not merely in Euro-centric ones, because the many different tactical concepts we promote could theoretically be used by all kinds of resistance movements, and because the pan-decentralist alternatives that we propose to the Empire are broad enough to include an almost infinite variety of communities and identities, and this includes “the Civil Rights Movement, Radical Feminism, Radical Ecology, the anti-nuke movement, Animal Rights, and a whole other range of actual social movements that allowed anarchism this evolution” as much as it includes anything outside of the Left. To repeat, pan-anarchism, pan-secessionism, and pan-decentralism are neither the Southern Baptist Convention or Occupy Wall Street, nor the Frente Nacional or FEMEN, nor Hezbollah or the PKK. What we are advocating for is a kind of meta-political, meta-strategic, and meta-institutional paradigm that is over and above these kinds of particular identities, ideologies, or struggles.