Libertarian Alliance (UK) Review of 2015 5

by Keir Martland

Another year is over and as exactly one year ago to this day I wrote a review of 2014[1], I shall do the same today for 2015.

The General Election

The first political event to spring to mind is of course the May 2015 General Election. A longer campaign than usual, it was perhaps more overtly leftist in its tone than any of the twenty first century. UKIP, itself having veered to the left to accommodate new Old Labour members, proved no counter-weight to the leftism of the other parties.


Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change. Reply

By Jordan Michael Smith

Boston Globe

The voters who put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.



Keith Preston: US aid to Israel ‘continues unabated’ under Obama Reply

Press TV. Listen here:

“Israel continues to be by far the largest recipient of American foreign aid, American military aid and American weapons,” says Preston.

US military and foreign assistance to Israel has “continued unabated” under President Barack Obama, despite disagreements on a number of issues, says a political analyst in Virginia.

“Israel continues to be by far the largest recipient of American foreign aid, American military aid and American weapons. That has continued unabated under the leadership of President Obama for seven years now,” said Keith Preston, chief editor and director of

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Obama maintained surveillance of certain allies, chief among them Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The White House was particularly concerned that Israel might be monitoring the negotiations with Iran in order to derail efforts to reach an accord on Tehran’s nuclear program, US officials said.

The news drew criticism from members of Congress, Republican presidential candidates and Israeli officials.

GOP candidate Ben Carson accused Obama of treating Israel as “his real enemy.”

“It is truly disgraceful that the Obama administration has spied on Prime Minister Netanyahu, his colleagues and pro-Israel lawmakers in Congress,” the retired neurosurgeon said in a statement on Wednesday.

Preston said, “There is nothing particularly surprising about the fact that the National Security Agency was conducting surveillance of [Israel].”

“This is something that the American intelligence services have always done even before the modern surveillance technology that currently exists came into being,” he added.

Preston dismissed as “nonsense” Carson’s assertion that Obama is being unfriendly with Israel.

The GOP in the Desert Reply

This looks to be an interesting book.

In the past I have attempted to outline fairly meticulously calculated strategies concerning how to go about forming a constituency or coalition for the pan-anarchist, pan-secessionist, and pan-decentralist ideas we promote at ATS. However, given the growing fractiousness of US politics and society, and the growing failure and ineptitude of establishment institutions, I’m increasingly being drawn to the view that the idea should be to simply “get the word out,” meaning we should simply try to publicize these ideas far and wide to the greatest degree possible, without worrying about any specific demographic and constituency-based considerations. Instead, the audience will come from wherever as the word spreads.

The Wilderness: Deep Inside the Republican Party’s Combative, Contentious, Chaotic Quest to Take Back the White House, McKay Coppins, Little Brown, 383 pages

Reviewed by Lloyd Green

The American Conservative

Hachette Book Group

With just weeks to go until the Iowa Caucuses, McKay Coppins’ The Wilderness is a welcome Baedeker to the personas that populate the 2016 Republican contest. Written months before the primary season, the author looks at top-tier GOP contenders Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, the disappearing Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, flameout Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan, a man better suited to be Speaker of the House than President. The book reminds the reader that the candidates are avatars of the GOP’s warring factions, while delving into who these presidential aspirants actually are.

Although The Wilderness is easy on policy, Coppins catches his subjects and their inner circles saying the darndest things. The author’s portraits are light-handed, but withering. Florida’s Rubio comes across as boy with man-sized ambitions, and a tropism for other peoples’ money. Coppins rehashes the senator’s credit card problems, but also nails Marco pinching himself over his own good fortune. In the book’s telling, Rubio exclaimed to a friend, “It’s amazing … I can call up a lobbyist at four in the morning, and he’ll meet me anywhere with a bag of forty thousand dollars in cash.” Talk about candor.


Whither the American Right: Cruz And “Movement Conservatism”—Or Trump And National Conservatism? Reply

An interesting article by James Kirkpatrick on the divisions that Trump is causing in the Republican Party.

From a strategic perspective, I consider the destruction of the Republican Party as a competitive force in U.S. politics to be the most important objective at the present time. The GOP in its present form is a coalition of the Sunbelt insurgency that formed the original basis of “movement conservatism” when it emerged in the 1950s, the neoconservatives that took over the leadership of the GOP in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Christian Zionists who serve as the party’s “base” (i.e. useful idiots). Noam Chomsky discussed the real nature of U.S. “conservatism” here.

Trump’s populist-nationalism is challenging this coalition from the top just as the “alternative right” is challenging “movement conservatism” from the margins. Some neocons have even threatened to form a third party if Trump gains the GOP nomination. While I’m not convinced that would actually happen, the splintering of the GOP into two parties, one populist-nationalist party (similar to the parties of this kind in Europe) and one party reflecting the neoconservative/plutocrat/evangelical alliance would be wonderful from our own revolutionary anarchist perspective, because it would essentially render the right-wing incapable of achieving electoral victory on a national level in the United States, or at least forming a stable coalition that could remain competitive for very long. This would in turn mean that the totalitarian humanist coalition represented by the Democrats would unquestionably be the dominant political force in US politics.

The inability to achieve electoral ability and the tightening of the grip of totalitarian humanism would lead to growing frustration and disaffection on the Right, and an increase in sympathy for more radical ideas like secession. Meanwhile, the totalitarian humanists’ persistent use of the Right as a bogeyman would become ever less credible the more the right-wing continued to lose power on a national level. Cleavages on the Left would increasingly begin to emerge (“cracks in the PC coalition,” as I call them), and a growing split would likely develop between the more establishment-friendly statist-progressive Democratic Party-oriented branch of totalitarian humanism, and the more extremist “social justice warrior” branch of totalitarian humanism found in academia and in left-wing ghettos. The ultimate goal, of course, is for so much political fractiousness to develop that the state collapses altogether.

By James Kirkpatrick



Admit It. You Just Want Your Own Dictator Reply

By David Harsanyi

The Federalist

This incessant clamoring by voters and punditry for better “leaders” and more “leadership” is one of the most unsavory, dangerous, and un-American tendencies in political discourse.

When Donald Trump was asked last week by Joe Scarborough what he made of an endorsement from Vladimir Putin—a thug who’s probably murdered journalists and political opponents, and more—the GOP frontrunner responded: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” before offering an incredibly dumb moral equivalency about the United States also doing “plenty of killing.”

There was plenty of well-earned criticism directed at Trump’s comments. Most commenters weren’t offended because the Russians are being aggressively “led,” mind you, but that Putin does things we don’t approve of. Perhaps if the Russian strongman had used his muscle to tackle global warming, like the Chinese communists are pretending to do, The New York Times editorial page would praise him for his forethought and willingness to act. If Putin banned protests aimed at abortion clinics instead of Pussy Riot, how many progressives would cheer him?

In contemporary American parlance, and maybe it’s always been this way, a “leader” typically describes someone who will aggressively push your preferred policies. How much do Americans really care what this aggressiveness entails?


Donald Trump: We’ve Seen It All Before 5

The original Donald Trump.

BBC News

Silvio Berlusconi addressing supporters in Rome, 27 November

After years of successfully brushing off sex scandals, allegations of corruption and political setbacks, Silvio Berlusconi’s luck finally out when he was convicted of tax fraud in 2013.

Berlusconi, 77, was sentenced to four years in prison and ejected from his seat in the Senate.

That prison term was converted into a year of community service, which he is serving at a care home near Milan, because of his age.

And he has been sentenced separately to seven years for having sex with an under-age prostitute and abuse of power. This is currently being appealed.

Before the Senate vote, Berlusconi’s political career took a hard knock when his centre-right People of Freedom (PDL) party split over support for the coalition government led by centre-left Prime Minister Enrico Letta, and he opted to move into opposition.

It is a rum predicament for a man who, many Italians had come to think, was untouchable.


Inequality Isn’t Something That Just “Happens” Reply

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

A think piece by Walter Frick at Harvard Business Review (“Understanding the Debate Over Inequality, Skills, and the Rise of the 1%,” Dec. 21) draws a line in the inequality debate between those (mostly CEOs and other corporate apologists) who see it as resulting from a mismatch between the supply and demand for certain skills, and those who frame the issue in terms of “institutions, rules, and political power.” The former position can be stated this way:


More Than 1 In 4 Americans Now Believe the U.S. Government is the Enemy of the People 1

Opinion polls show these numbers pretty consistently. The question is how do we awaken this sleeping giant?

Countercurrents News


A startling new study reveals that more than 1 in 4 Americans now believes that the government is the enemy of its very citizens.

The Pew Research Center concluded that 27 percent of all registered voters describe the U.S. government as the “enemy” of the people. That percentage is thought to be lower than the overall average, as many non-voters are assumed to have an extremely negative or despondent view of the government as well.

This is up 8 points since the same survey was done in 1996.

This poll specifically looked at general public opinion regarding the federal government and its relationship to U.S. citizens.

But it isn’t just those 27% who the government should be worried about. A full 57% of voters say they feel frustrated with the government, with another 22% feel angry and only 18% feeling “basically content.”

That means 82% of U.S. citizens is in some way pretty upset with the State. Those 22% who are angry could easily sway into the group that the 27% are in – who describe the government as their “enemy.”

A full 59% surveyed say that the government needs “very major reform.” That’s huge when you consider that only 37 percent of voters felt that way in 1997.

Lest you fall into the partisan trap of thinking that this is skewed by anti-Obama hatred on the right, 35% of Republicans say that they believe the federal government is the enemy, while 34% of Independents say the same thing.

There are also 12% of Democrats who say that they would outrightly describe the government as the “enemy” of the people.

Only half of Democrats had an overall favorable view of the government as the “friend” of the people. When we consider what the mainstream media sells us about partisan opinions on this matter, that is an extremely high rate of discontent and distrust of the government from the left.

A full 75% of all registered voters acknowledges that the government is essentially “run by a few big interests” and not is not representative of the people.

What do you think about these findings? Do you think the government is representative of its citizens, or is the actual “enemy” of the people?

(Article by M. David)

Keith Preston: US police brutality is not about black people or homicide Reply

This headline is a bit goofy and misleading, but I actually cover a lot of important ground in the audio interview.

Press TV. Listen here:

Police brutality in the United States is not necessarily about “homicide” committed by American cops or even “racial disparity” but has deeper roots in the country, says a political activist based in Virginia.

Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of made the remarks to Press TV on Monday, while commenting on a Washington Post report on the number of those fatally shot by police in 2015.

According to the report, nearly 1,000 people died at the hands of police in 2015, of which 90 percent were unarmed.

Preston noted that there are more significant aspects to the issue than this.

“It’s a mistake to merely look at homicides that are carried out by police officers,” he said. “A much more serious or pervasive problem is police brutality that does not result in an actual homicide.”

Being subject to “assault” or “robbery” in the hands of police or evidence “planted” by them against innocent people are more “common than actual murders carried out by police.”

The issue is not even limited to that, Preston said, warning over police militarization in the country.

“For example, we have this paramilitary SWAT teams that conduct tens of thousands of raids on private homes on an annual basis” he said, asserting that police brutality particularly drew attention over racial disparity.

“The issues that are covered the most are not necessarily the main issues that need to be examined. The issue never started to get any attention until people started noticing the racial disparity involved.”

The brutality “cuts across” racial and other boundaries, the analyst argued, suggesting that conservatives and liberals in the US both approach the matter for their own benefit.

“The issue is framed in a way that is not entirely appropriate. On the one hand, we have the left that tries to make this into a race issue and on the other, we have the right that tries to make it into either support-your-local-police issues… or a pro-gun one,” Preston said.

The brutality has been “building up” since early 1980s but “started to get more attention in recent years in part because of racial disparity.”

Tim Wise vs. Jared Taylor: The Merits of Racial Diversity Reply

This is an interesting debate between leftist anti-racist Tim Wise and race-realist/white nationalist Jared Taylor. This discussion covers most of the standard issues and arguments involved in these kinds of debates.

I would suggest that these questions are largely irrelevant to the question of anarchist political theory generally, or the pan-anarchist, pan-secessionist, and pan-decentralist approach to anarchist that is advanced by ATS. Regardless of what one’s views on the science or sociology of race actually are, there is nothing in anarchist political theory that would justify racial oppression irrespective of claims of IQ or other differences among racial and ethnic groups, nor is there anything in anarchist political theory that would justify abrogating liberal Enlightenment principles in the name of anti-racist ideologies.

An analogy might be made to religion. Whatever one’s theological views, there is nothing in anarchist political theory that would legitimize a political theocracy in the vein of Saudi Arabia, nor is there anything that would justify a Jacobin-like or Communist-like persecution of religion.

Robert Stark interviews Sean Gabb Reply

Listen Here!

Sean Gabb is the director of the Libertarian Alliance in the UK

Topics include:

The objectives of the Libertarian Alliance
The divide between establishment libertarians and traditionalist leaning libertarians
How there were originally laws against the publication of pornography under the Obscene Publications Act but there were no laws about possession
How today the publication of pornography has become widespread but there are strict laws about possession such as the Extreme Pornography Act
How laws dealing with possession give enormous power to the police state
Hate speech laws in the UK
The case of Joshua Bonehill-Paine who planned an anti-Jewish rally and was sentenced to three years in prison
How the BNP membership was leaked and how many of it’s members who were government employees were sacked
Sean Gabb – Enoch Powell. The Man and His Politics
How the Labor Party imported a new electorate
How a balkanized country makes it more difficult to cooperate against the state
Whether only Europeans can create free societies
The Basic Income
The debate about whether wealth used to corrupt politics and generated by crony capitalism should be confiscated
Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost Lost England and How to Get It
Double Jeopardy laws in the UK and how they were dumped after the Murder of Stephen Lawrence
Police Brutality in the UK
The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher
His historical fiction written under the pen name Richard Blake and his most recent book Game of Empires
His interest in the Byzantine Empire which is the setting of many of his novels
How the Byzantine Empire was a much more free and humane society than the Roman Empire

ISIS Attacks are Excuses for Censorship and Disarmament Reply

Truth Axis

The Paris terrorist attacks and San Bernardino shootings have ushered in a new era of urban terror. The combined death toll of both attacks was 146 dead with hundreds wounded. The response from American politicians, law enforcement and intelligence departments has varied, but is unified in their calls for expansion of government power to fight a terrorist threat that the the US had a hand in creating. Together, mass shootings and the threat of terrorism have been the primary fears upon which the ruling elite has played upon to legitimize their mass surveillance programs, mass disarmament plans, and expansion of their wars for global hegemony. Here is how they are doing it.

Democrats want you to support expanded gun control.

An editorial in the New York Times said that rifles were “marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection” and said that politicians “reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing”. It is clear that the left wing of the global plutocracy wants us to fear and even hate armed civilians, though it remains entirely uncertain that gun ownership rates have anything to do with recent reductions in violent crime and homicide rates. Furthermore, mass shooting deaths accounted for only .09% of homicides from 1984 to 2014. Most recently, President Obama is pushing for an executive order to expand background checks and close the so-called “gun show loophole” that allows people to buy weapons without a background check at gun shows. Though, again, it is unclear if such measures would have prevented any recent terrorist attack or mass shooting. In fact, it is believed and almost assured that the Paris terrorist attacks were carried out with weapons smuggled in from the Balkans and other European nations with a thriving black market in firearms. How are measures designed to keep guns out of the hands of citizens supposed to stop terrorists? One can only conclude that they are not supposed to stop terrorists, only stop people with intentions of so called “macho vigilantism” and “insurrection,” also known as US citizens.

Reading Through An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States: Multiculturalism 1

Originally posted at Lingit Latseen


An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Photo: Vince Rinehart

I’ve finally picked up Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. The book is an attack on the legitimizing ideology and narrative of the United States’s subjugation of the indigenous people of North America. Though I have only just begun reading it, I am familiar with indigenous decolonization efforts and thought. Even in the little I’ve read so far, I am more than impressed with Dunbar-Ortiz’s critique of the founding myths of the US, which attempt to erase the deep and rich history of this continent and the Native peoples who have lived on it for millennia.

As I read through I will be recording some of my thoughts and highlights from the book, both as a way to remember and to analyze what I’ve read. Maybe you’ll find this useful, or maybe it will just be a series of articles that I may reflect on myself. More…

What, Exactly, is the ‘Alternative Right?’ Reply

This is a really shabbily written article on the “alternative right” from The Weekly Standard. But if the alternative right is getting a mention in one of the neocons’ in-house journals, it must be really growing in influence. I’ve heard the alternative right actually got a mention on Limbaugh’s program as well. My relationship with the alternative right is well-known, and I’ve spoken at a number of their conferences, written for a number of their web journals, and appeared on a number of their interview programs.

I am sometimes asked how an anarchist like myself could end up having so many dealings with far right (just as I am asked how I could have similar dealings with the Iranians and the Russians). Basically, it comes down to four things: 1) the alternative right holds infinitely superior views to the mainstream Republican-oriented conservatives on foreign policy and economics, the foreign policy non-interventionism and/or realism of the alt right is much, much superior to the radical imperialism of the Republicans or the liberal internationalism of the Democrats, and the economic nationalism of the alternative right is superior to the supply side fanaticism of the GOP or the neoliberalism of the Democrats; 2) the alternative right is a genuine voice against totalitarian humanism of the kind that is becoming increasingly entrenched in institutions. I don’t agree with many of the standard alternative right views on “social issues” (see here), but they provide a necessary counter-voice to the growing extremism and fanaticism on “the other side,” 3) the alternative right, or tendencies within it, might well be a constituency for secessionism and pan-decentralism at some point in the future, and 4) I share a common interest with many alternative rightists in various European intellectuals that emerged in the 20th century as critics of liberal capitalism and mass democracy. These systems are under criticized in my view, so I have an interest in thinkers of that type, although for different reasons than most on the alternative.

By Benjamin Welton

The Weekly Standard

Glenn Beck spoke recently with Fox News about his vision of a doomsday scenario. No, this apocalypse had nothing to do with Islamists capturing Megiddo and starting a world war with Rome and Jerusalem, nor did this Armageddon include either Rosemary’s progeny or the trial lawyer Al Pacino. Beck’s revelation of catastrophe was instead based on this great nightmare: a 2016 presidential election pitting Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. If this comes to pass, Beck warned, the Republican party will lose forty-nine states, thus spelling the end of the Grand Old Party. (He neglected to mention which state would remain immune Mrs. Clinton’s “charms.”)

First of all, as someone who hasn’t even touched thirty yet, I’ve already become immune to prognostications about the death of the Republican party. I heard it in 2004, when everyone was so sure that a milquetoast millionaire from Massachusetts would thump the Texas cowboy, then I heard it again during the midterm elections of 2006, when most people with an “R” beside their name were given their walking papers. Even during non-election years, we constantly hear folks harping about America’s changing demographics and how millions of new immigrants from Latin America and Asia will give the Democrats an unbeatable monopoly.


Keith Preston: Leader’s Letter Addresses Westerners’ Misconceptions about Islam Reply

My recent interview with the Tasnim News Agency.


TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the second letter penned by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to Western youth aims to inform the younger generation of Westerners’ misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.

“The letter addresses many misconceptions that Westerners, particularly Americans, have about Islam, and its history, culture, and traditions. The letter also addresses many misunderstandings concerning Islamic nations that are commonly held in the West,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of, told Tasnim.

Following is the full text of the interview.

Q: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has penned a new letter to the young people of the West. What’s your perspective on the message?

A: The letter expresses very well the criticisms that many in the Muslim world have of the Western powers. Ayatollah Khamenei is attempting to convey these criticisms to Western young people whom I believe he hopes will be a force for political change as they grown older and become the dominant generation. The letter addresses many misconceptions that Westerners, particularly Americans, have about Islam, and its history, culture, and traditions. The letter also addresses many misunderstandings concerning Islamic nations that are commonly held in the West. Ayatollah Khamenei is attempting to explain to Western young people that the terrorist actions carried out in Paris are not representative of Islam as a whole, or approved by authentic Islamic teaching, just as no Westerner holding to an honest or reasonable interpretation of Christianity would advocate such actions. The letter points out that the Daesh represents a deviant heresy from Islam, and that the extremism of the Daesh is actually supported by the [Persian] Gulf states that are allies of the West. The letter also acknowledges efforts by the Western powers to cultivate extremists of these kinds as weapons against Middle Eastern nations to whom the Western powers are opposed. Another important aspect of the letter is that it points out that the terrorism that the West has experienced in recent years pales in comparison to what people in Islamic countries such as Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Lebanon, and elsewhere have experienced on a much more massive scale, and that persistent Western intervention in the Middle East is a principal contributing factor to this.


The New Anarchist Movement is Growing 2

In recent years, I have noticed that the number of people accepting the label of “anarchist” for their political identity has grown considerably. Equally important is that I have also noticed that an increasing number of people who identify as anarchists are beginning to reject the leftist fanaticism that has dominated much of the anarchist milieu for decades.

Of course, sectarian left-anarchism or anarcho-communism is not the only form of anarchist sectarianism. Anarcho-capitalists, the left-libertarian mutualists, primitivists, “lifestyle” anarchists and others can and do embrace doctrinaire and exclusionary positions at times. However, even sectarians in these camps have the collective impact of diluting the sectarian leftist tendencies or undermining their general level of influence.

This is a necessary transitional development to a more effective form of anarchism. Because I am known for being highly critical of the anarchist milieu in many ways, I am occasionally asked what I think an ideal anarchist movement would look like. Of course, I have written a voluminous amount of material outlining my views on this question (and even then what I have written thus far is complete). But I have also found that the heterodox and eclectic approach that I take to anarchist theory and strategy is overly confusing or complicated for many casual readers.

So here are the basics of my approach in a nutshell.

The new anarchist movement would embrace the many scattered tribes and sects of anarchism (all of the hyphenated tendencies that you can read about in a standard book or Wikipedia article about anarchism). This would include both left and right, as well as “neither fish nor fowl.” tendencies among anarchists. All of the many anarchist tendencies would continue to emphasize projects related to their primary social issues, identity groups, or preferred economic systems, but with the overarching goal of created decentralized societies with diverse and self-managed communities.

The new anarchist movement would generally  shun insisting that all anarchists and other radicals adopt the most fanatically leftist views possible on topical issues. Instead, the new anarchist movement would recognize that issues involving standard public controversies such as the environment, race, gender, religion, immigration, economics, guns, sex, abortion, animal rights, euthanasia, etc. etc. etc. are complicated issues on which reasonable, honest, and well-intentioned people can disagree. In the spirit of Voltaire, the new anarchist movement would encourage open and honest debate on such questions with a fair hearing for all contending points of view.


McDonaldization of Education and the Civil Religion of the Left 2

By Aleksey Bashtavenko


As I neared completion of my academic program in 2009, I was surrounded by professors who ascribed the economic crisis to “unfettered capitalism”. One of my instructors lamented “if only we had the state sponsor all of our classes, we ought to treat students as intellects rather than as clients”, implying that if only the universities had more influence over public policy, the disaster could have been averted.


Quote of the Day Reply

From an article on “Anti-Fascist News” called “Why We Fight: What is the Real Threat of Fascist Organizing?” It sounds like they almost get it.

“The far right has staked much of its claims to the left’s demise on things like political correctness, personal anecdotes of bigotry disconnected from a larger narrative, and “call out culture.” These are some of the easiest points at which they attempt to discredit the left because they show the largest amount of error and the least bit of connection to a revolutionary politic. Political correctness, in general, refers to the focus on correct language and behavior that is not deemed offensive to those with oppressed identities. While this is a good barometer to consider when considering what language to use, it is by no means the endgame of a radical left political analysis. Larger stories dealing with the political correctness narrative often come from people outside of radical left or organizing circles, and these stories certainly lack the ability to tie this momentary lapse in liberal judgment with the larger issues of systemic white supremacy, patriarchy, and other forms of oppression. These also create some of the more embarrassing forms of movement infighting, as well as incredibly toxic online debate culture. The issues of interpersonal politics are not the most structurally sound elements associated with the left, and are easy to draw up reactionary fervor around because they lack accountability. Simply put, it is easy to create a right wing backlash when your example of the radical left is people arguing about who spoke over who in your reading group.”

There are some other insightful comments in this as well.

“Liberals who support a liberal state can expect that the state will generally suppress these far right movements. This has essentially been the focus of much of the liberal anti-fascist movement, with organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center providing training and information to law enforcement on how to combat the threat. For those who actually counter the legitimacy of the bourgeois state, this creates an issue since we need to also create a comprehensive anti-fascism within radical circles.”


“There are a lot of reasons while fascist ideas have been provided an open space or any legitimacy to fill these ideological spaces. One of them is the left’s position within the current order of things. The first thing in this discussion that needs to be acknowledged is the success the historic left has had on reshaping the values in America. While avoiding an actual egalitarian society, we have crafted an almost universal value set that instinctually supports ideas like equality, democracy, individual freedoms, and diversity. These ideas are shared openly and must have lip service paid to them by everyone in polite society if they are to be seen as decent. This does not mean, however, that they have to then act on those ideas in meaningful ways, but that those are the moral ideas that have come to dominate the general social fabric. This actually presents an issue for the revolutionary left in that they still need to see themselves as being in opposition to fundamental aspects of the current order. When fascist ideas are presented by far right organizations, they immediately present their key ideas as being anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, and anti-diversity. In essence, they are in opposition to the key moral arguments of the current order.”