Keith Preston: US, Russia agreed to Syria ceasefire to avoid war Reply

Press TV. Listen here: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/02/27/452613/US-Russia-ceasefire-Syria-war

“The two nations both understand that a serious confrontation between Russia and the United States would not be in the interest of either country,” Preston said.

The United States and Russia are attempting to de-escalate the growing tensions over Syria, knowing that any further escalation could lead to a military confrontation between the two countries, a political analyst in Virginia says.

“What appears to be happening here is that the Americans and the Russians are attempting to prevent an escalation of conflict with one another,” Keith Preston, chief editor and director of AttacktheSystem.com said in an interview.

A landmark two-week ceasefire, taking effect on February 27, urges the “cessation of hostilities” by the warring sides of the years-long conflict in Syria.

The truce deal was announced Monday following negotiations between Russia and the US, both of which been conducting airstrikes in the Arab country.

“I think the two nations both understand that a serious confrontation between Russia and the United States would not be in the interest of either country, certainly if such a conflict were to escalate to the point where an actual war would break out,” Preston said.

“The problem is that in Syria the two countries have essentially been fighting on different sides; the Russians have been attacking what the Americans call the ‘moderate opposition,’ that is something of an oxymoron,” he continued.

“Meanwhile, the Russians have intervened on behalf of President Assad and the Americans have as their primary objective the removal of President Assad,” he noted.

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Robert Stark interviews Keith Preston about Trump & Sanders 1

Listen Here!

Trump-Sanders

 

Topics include:

How Keith is a non voter but is interested in the election as a political scientist, historian, and sociologist
How this election is the first where two major candidates are political independents
Bernie Sanders’s Democratic Socialism and Donald Trump’s National Populism
How Trump does not fit into the traditional GOP coalition of business interest, evangelicals, and foreign policy hawks
Trump as a Radical Centrist
How the key differences between Trump and Sanders supporters are cultural but are both responding to the economic decimation of the middle class
The divide between Sanders supporters who care about economic issues and Clinton’s about identity politics
How we now have the widest class divide in modern history
Could Trump Provoke a Political Realignment?

How the establishment views both Trump and Sanders as a significant threats
How Trump and Sanders could set a precedent for more dissident candidates in the future
The End of Rand Paul…and Libertarian Populism?
The Libertarian Moment That Never Was
Libertarian Jeffrey Tucker‘s article Two Flavors of Tyranny: Red? Or Brown?
Weimar America.
A 2016 Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy Report Card
How Trump foreign policy outlook is closer to Realism than the dominant outlooks of Neoconservatism and Liberal Internationalism
Why the Neoconservatives despise Trump
How Trump’s main flaw is his civil liberties stances

A 2016 Foreign Policy Report Card Reply

An interesting graphic from The American Conservative.

hawishness-scorecard-revised4

Presidents have more latitude in foreign affairs than in domestic policy, and the trend over the past two administrations has been for presidents to be more hawkish than their campaign pledges led voters to expect. George W. Bush promised a “humble foreign policy.” Instead, he gave us the Iraq War. Barack Obama was elected in part to end Bush’s wars. But he too pursued regime change, with Pyrrhic success in Libya and abortively in Syria.

These examples are alarming precedents for the next administration. The Democrats and Republicans vying for their parties’ nominations have staked out a range of positions on the wars in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, as well as on the nuclear deal with Iran and relations with Russia in light of Vladimir Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine. The different magnitudes of U.S. military spending the contenders propose also suggest something about how interventionist each will prove to be. Campaign statements are not, however, a sure guide to what anyone will do in office.

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Mr. Parrott, Tear Down this Wall 14

I don’t personally have a horse in this race as I am neither a Christian nor a white nationalist, or even a rightist in any conventional sense, but as one interested in ideologies I think this would still make for an interesting debate.

By Brock Bellerive

In Praise of Folly

“Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth!”

– Rudyard Kipling, The Ballad of East and West

My name is Brock Bellerive, editor of Praise of Folly, and you’ve never heard of me. That’s by design. I tend to shy away from the recurring brawls of the blogosphere, partly due to my innate non-confrontational nature and partly due to my lack of interest in many of the topics that frequently enflame the masses. I am not extraordinary in any field, though I try. However, it is not inconceivable for me to see myself lobbing a few bombs at those who sit too comfortably among their ideological rank-and-file, especially when I have obtained certitude that I am right to do so. This would be one of those moments.

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Surprise! Controversial Patriot Act power now overwhelmingly used in drug investigations 1

By Radley Balko

Washington Post

One of the more controversial provisions of the Patriot Act was to broaden the “sneak-and-peek” power for federal law enforcement officials. The provision allows investigators to conduct searches without informing the target of the search. We were assured at the time that this was an essential law enforcement tool that would be used only to protect the country from terrorism. Supporters argued that it was critical that investigators be allowed to look into the lives and finances of suspected terrorists without tipping off those terrorists to the fact that they were under investigation.

Civil libertarian critics warned that the federal government already had this power for national security investigations. The Patriot Act provision was far too broad and would almost certainly become a common tactic in cases that have nothing to do with national security.

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Robert Stark interviews Ray Sawhill Reply

Listen Here!

 

Ray Sawhill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Sawhill worked as an arts and culture reporter for Newsweek. He has also written for Salon.com and blogs at Uncouth Reflections as Paleo Retiree. He splits his time between New York and Santa Barbara.

Topics include:

How Robert and Ray both have personal connections to Santa Barbara and how the city is almost to idyllic
Crime Fiction Novelist Ross Macdonald who’s work captures Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara as a place with strict zoning laws that was modeled after Andalusia  in Spain

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How Not to Do It Reply

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

oregon

The protestors who took over the aptly-named Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon have garnered a fair amount of conservative empathy. Their issue, the Federal government’s ownership of vast tracts of western land, is a legitimate one. As a story in the January 29 New York Times, “And Then There Were Five, or Four, Occupiers”, put it, “the standoff did put into sharp relief a question raised time and again in American politics: Is the government us, or is it them?” Most conservatives know the answer is “them”.

None of that changes the fact that the occupiers offer a wonderful example of how not to fight the federal government. They blew it on every level: physical, mental, and moral.

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Failure as a Way of Life Reply

By William S. Lind

The American Conservative

10 FACE/Shutterstock

The fault line in American politics is no longer Republican vs. Democrat nor conservative vs. liberal but establishment vs. anti-establishment. This is an inevitable result of serial failure in establishment policies. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the establishment’s repeated military interventions abroad in wars against non-state opponents. When such interventions fail in one place—first Somalia, then Iraq, then Afghanistan, then Libya, now Syria—it does the same thing again somewhere else, with the same result.

Why has the establishment allowed itself to be trapped in serial failure? Once we understand how it works, the answer is plain: it cannot do otherwise. On Capitol Hill, the legalization of bribery—“campaign contributions”—means money rules.

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Keith Preston: U.S., Turkey Have “a Conflict of Interest” Reply

Press TV. Listen here: http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2016/02/14/450245/US-Turkey-kurds-ISIL-DAESH

The United States has long viewed the Kurds as allies, while Turkey has viewed them as a threat, says Preston.

There is ‘a conflict of interest’ between the United States and Turkey over the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the affiliated forces, says an analyst.

On Saturday, the US called on Turkey to halt military strikes on YPG and the Syrian Army in the northern province of Aleppo.

“We are concerned about the situation north of Aleppo and are working to de-escalate tensions on all sides,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

“W‎e have urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory,” Kirby said.

‎”We have also seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and urged Turkey to cease such fires,‎” he added.

“There is a conflict of interest when it comes to this question of the Kurds, because the Kurds have long been in conflict with Turkey,” Keith Preston, Chief Editor and Director of AttacktheSystem.com, told Press TV on Sunday.

“Due to the desolation and disorder that’s developed in the region, that’s given the Kurdish people a unique opportunity to go about fighting for their independence,” he noted.

“This obviously is viewed as a threat by the Turkish government, who considers the Kurdish independence movement to be a terrorist movement,” he added.

“At the same time, that creates a conflict between Turkey and the United States because the United States has long viewed the Kurds as allies” who fought against Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein and now “are directly involved in conflicts with the Daesh (ISIL or ISIS).”

Preston said the United States “is working both for and against” the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.

“On one hand, they do not want ISIS to spread behind a certain point, they don’t want ISIS to spread into Iraq…they don’t want the Daesh to attack Israel or Saudi Arabia or any other nations that are US allies in the region, but they do want to use the Daesh as a weapon against” President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

“Americans also view other forces in the region as a means of controlling the Daesh to a point that they are not able to expand into region where the Americans do not want them to go and Kurdistan is one of those,” Preston stated.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the US that it has to choose between Ankara and the Syrian Kurds.

The US and some regional players, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been financing and arming various militant groups, including Daesh and al-Qaeda, in Syria.

The foreign-sponsored conflict, which flared up in March 2011, has reportedly killed some 470,000 people and displaced nearly half of the population, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

 

Keith Preston: GOP’s Call on Iran to Delay Prisoner Swap Aimed to Sabotage US Election Reply

Tasnim News Agency

پرتسون

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the US Republican party’s recent call on Tehran to stall a prisoner swap with Washington was probably an attempt to sabotage the forthcoming US presidential election.

“It would not be at all surprising if the Republican Party of the United States were to attempt to exercise pressure against Iran to avoid releasing American nationals held in Iranian penal institutions until after the 2016 election,” Keith Preston wrote in an article for the Tasnim News Agency on Saturday after Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said a recent prisoner exchange between Iran and the US went ahead as planned despite calls by Republicans for a delay until US presidential elections.

“In the course of the talks for exchanging prisoners, the Republican rivals of the current US administration who claim to be humanitarians and advocates of human rights sent a message telling us not to release these people (American prisoners) and continue this process (of talks) until the eve of US presidential elections,” Shamkhani said Thursday in an address to a rally held in the central city of Yazd to mark the 37th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s victory.

“However” he said, “we acted upon our independent resolve and moved the process forward.”

Following is Preston’s piece for Tasnim:
Did the Republican Party Try to Use the Prisoner Exchanger to Sabotage the US Election?

It would not be at all surprising if the Republican Party of the United States were to attempt to exercise pressure against Iran to avoid releasing American nationals held in Iranian penal institutions until after the 2016 election. There is actually a precedent for this.

It has long been believed by a wide range of knowledgeable people that in 1980 the Republican Party attempted to influence Iran to avoid the release of American embassy personnel that were being held in Iran at the time. The allegation is that the Republican Party was concerned that if then US President Jimmy Carter were to successfully negotiate a deal for the release of the embassy personnel with Iran his chances of reelection to the presidency in the 1980 election would have been assured. The Republican Party’s candidate, future President Ronald Reagan, was campaigning in part on a platform which insisted that the Carter administration was ineffective on foreign policy. If Carter had successfully negotiated the release of the embassy personnel his credibility on foreign policy would have been strengthened significantly. A number of officials from both the American and Iranian governments from that time period have confirmed that the Republican Party sought to sabotage President Carter’s efforts to secure the release of the embassy personnel in order to boost Reagan’s chances to win the US presidency in the 1980 election.

If indeed the Republican Party has sought to prevent the release of American citizens held in Iran presently, this would only be the latest episode in what is likely a long history of the Republican Party engaging in such subterfuge.

Where microaggressions really come from: A sociological account Reply

“I just read the most extraordinary paper by two sociologists — Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning — explaining why concerns about microaggressions have erupted on many American college campuses in just the past few years. In brief: We’re beginning a second transition of moral cultures. The first major transition happened in the 18th and 19th centuries when most Western societies moved away from cultures of honor (where people must earn honor and must therefore avenge insults on their own) to cultures of dignity in which people are assumed to have dignity and don’t need to earn it. They foreswear violence, turn to courts or administrative bodies to respond to major transgressions, and for minor transgressions they either ignore them or attempt to resolve them by social means. There’s no more dueling.

Campbell and Manning describe how this culture of dignity is now giving way to a new culture of victimhood in which people are encouraged to respond to even the slightest unintentional offense, as in an honor culture. But they must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others or administrative bodies, to whom they must make the case that they have been victimized.”

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Keith Preston on Neoconservatism and Totalitarian Humanism 1

Listen here.

KMO talks to Keith Preston of Attack the System about the historical trajectory of the Neocons and why they’re likely to be moving back to the Democratic party if and when the current Republican coalition fractures. Keith also describes the roll of “useful idiots” on both the left and the right and how they empower elites who only pretend to share the values and interests of their constituents.

Keith Preston

San Diego Banishes References to “Founding Fathers” 1

This article from World Nut Daily raises an interesting question.

It would appear that in regions of the U.S. where the Blue Tribe is especially dominant, there is an effort to fully eradicate references to the traditional American past. Even in the conservative South, there have efforts to remove references to the Confederacy, which is somewhat understandable from a “pro-American” perspective given that, after all, the Confederacy was a separatist revolutionary movement (and good for them), and from a civil rights perspective given that the Confederacy was a slavocracy. However, there have  also been efforts to remove references to Christopher Columbus (for obvious anti-racist or anti-colonial reasons), and increasingly I come across reports on attacks against the “founding fathers” of the United States as well (which also makes sense from a leftist perspective given their rather un-PC views on many things). However, the sum total of this is to essentially delegitimize the traditional American nationalism. If you dismiss America’s “founding fathers” as racist, sexist, classist, homophobic whatevers, then obviously there’s not much case for the traditional American patriotism.

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Two Flavors of Tyranny: Red? Or Brown? Reply

This article by Jeffrey Tucker is a similar to this piece I did about a decade ago.

By Jeffrey Tucker

Foundation of Economic Education

Maybe you have noticed the strangely implausible similarities between the cobbled-together platforms of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. On the surface, they represent opposite extremes. But in their celebration of the nation state as the people’s salvation — their burning calls to overthrow the existing elites and replace them with a more intense form of top-down rule — they have much in common.

Remember that the Nazis and Communists hated each other in the interwar period and, of course, fought each other to the bloody end in the war itself. After the Nazis lost control of the nations they conquered, the Communists swept in, trading one tyranny for another.

To imagine that these systems somehow represent polar opposites is bizarre. Both systems extolled the primacy of the state. Both practiced economic central planning. Both upheld the nation over the individual. Both created a cult of leadership. Both experiments in top-down social order ended in calamity and massive violations of human rights.

How could these two systems, so similar in operation, be so antagonistic? I guess you had to be there.

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In U.S., New Record 43% Are Political Independents Reply

Are the growing ranks of independents the future demographic base of the Grey Tribe?

By Jeffrey Jones

Gallup.Com

  • Record 43% of Americans are political independents
  • Democrats maintain edge among those with a party preference
  • Democratic advantage smaller in 2014 than in 2013

PRINCETON, N.J. — An average 43% of Americans identified politically as independents in 2014, establishing a new high in Gallup telephone poll trends back to 1988. In terms of national identification with the two major parties, Democrats continued to hold a modest edge over Republicans, 30% to 26%.

U.S. Party Identification, Yearly Averages, 1988-2014

Since 2008, the percentage of political independents — those who identify as such before their leanings to the two major parties are taken into account — has steadily climbed from 35% to the current 43%, exceeding 40% each of the last four years. Prior to 2011, the high in independent identification was 39% in 1995 and 1999.

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Sanders and Trump in Very Late Capitalism Reply

This is an interesting piece from Scott McConnell. While Team Red and Team Blue are still at each others’ throats, both are increasingly divided internally along class lines, and the insurgents are gaining.

By Scott McConnell

The American Conservative

goldenalcoff / Flickr

goldenalcoff / Flickr

It has been snowing since Monday morning, and I’ve learned from experience my car can’t handle it. Next time in New Hampshire, rent a Jeep. But I did go to a Bernie Sanders rally at a small college in Nashua yesterday morning. From the perspective of a campaign effectively using its resources, the event wasn’t particularly well conceived.

There were a few hundred people there, mostly young. And more guys than girls; that part of the “Berniebros” thing is true. The gender imbalance at Clinton events is more pronounced. Two dozen young people, staffers or volunteers with Bernie placards, sit behind the stage. For the size of the rally (maybe 500) and the staff effort involved, with journalists and TV crews from all over the world, I thought the Sanders camp would have done better to have had his workers out canvassing, making sure that they contact every marginal or irregular voter in the state, and get them all to the polls.

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Keith Preston: US lauds Saudi offer of troops in Syria Reply

Press TV. Listen here: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/02/05/448776/US-hails-Saudi-troops-Syria

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon January 28, 2016 in Arlington, Virginia. (AFP)

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter hails Saudi Arabia’s offer of troop deployment to war-weary Syria, commending Riyadh’s willingness to ‘combat’ Daesh (ISIL) terrorists.

Carter welcomed on Thursday the Saudi offer to participate in any ground operations in Syria, launched by the so-called US-led coalition there.

He said increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the United States to accelerate its fight against ISIL.

“That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters while on a visit to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

The so-called US-led coalition against Daesh has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014, but it is accused of lacking seriousness in its campaign.

Damascus accuses Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar of funding and arming anti-Syria terrorist groups including Daesh.

The Pentagon chief said he looked forward to discussing the offer with the Saudi defense minister in Belgium next week.

Carter said he planned to use next week’s meetings in Brussels to help encourage more broad-based support for the fight.

Now Keith Preston, chief editor and director of AttacktheSystem.com, has called such new coalition “farcical,” saying the terror group stems from the Saudis’ own Wahhabism and radical principles.

“The Americans obviously are going to welcome this because what they want to do is to use the Saudi army as a proxy army in this process,” Preston told Press TV on Friday.

But the main thing the Americans seek to do is to eliminate regimes that are non-aligned with US policies, the analyst added.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon chief said the United States was also watching events in Libya very carefully but had made no decision on expanding its role there.

“The concern there is that Libya not get on a glide slope to the kind of situation that we find elsewhere, where (ISIL), in a politically disrupted environment, seizes a foothold, gathers a piece of territory from which it is able to tyrannize people, and plot operations elsewhere,” Carter said.

ISIL forces recently attacked Libya’s oil infrastructure and established a foothold in the city of Sirte, exploiting a power vacuum in the country where two rival governments have been battling for supremacy.

Keith Preston: US can’t stand an independent N Korea Reply

Press TV. Listen here: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/02/07/449041/US-north-korea-rocket-China-South-korea

An analyst says the US problem with North Korea is that it still defies “being incorporated into the global system in which the United States has hegemony.”

The United States’ problem with North Korea is that the East Asian country does not want to be under US hegemony, says a political analyst.

Keith Preston made the comments in an interview with Press TV on Sunday when asked about US condemnation of North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket.

North Korea launched the rocket on Sunday at around 0030 GMT despite warnings by a number of neighbors and world powers.

White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a statement that the rocket launch “represents yet another destabilizing and provocative action and is a flagrant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions.”

Preston said, “the principal problem that the United States has with the North Koreans is not that the North Koreans are an aggressive power or even that they are a nuclear-armed power per se as much as the fact that North Korea continues to defy being incorporated into the global system in which the United States has hegemony.”

“We have to remember that back in the early 1950s, the United States was involved in a war on the Korean peninsula, the United States and South Korea were on one side and the north Koreans and the Chinese” were on the other side, he said, adding “that war produced a stalemate, that’s why North Korea is divided even today over sixty years later, that’s why tens of thousands of American troops are still stationed in South Korea.”

“North Korea poses no credible threat to American national security whatsoever; rather the conflict between the United States and North Korea is a legacy of the Korean war,” added Preston, the chief editor and director of AttacktheSystem.com.

He also said that Pyongyang does not want to “open up its borders to trade and investment by American corporations and so forth.”

Pyongyang says the rocket it lunched was carrying an earth observation satellite. However, some believe the test is a cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The missile is thought to have a range of over 10,000 kilometers, putting it in range of US mainland.

Rice said Sunday that “North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs represent serious threats to our interests — including the security of some of our closest allies — and undermine peace and security in the broader region.”

South Korea and Japan have threatened to shoot the rocket down if its trajectory passes over their territories.

The Libertarian Moment That Never Was 2

I’ve always argue that the last thing libertarians who want to achieve political success should ever do is position themselves as just another branch of “free market conservatives” preaching bourgeois economics. The failure Rand Paul indicates that, for better or worse, I was probably right. Case in point:

“Libertarians, however, can take heart from the fact that political sentiment is moving their way in some areas. Gay rights, drug decriminalization, increasing outrage over heavy-handed police tactics, growing concern over an unjust legal system, disgust over crony capitalism, and opposition to military deployments abroad all suggest that libertarian arguments can have political force. But just because people buy libertarian arguments when it comes to civil liberties or foreign policy does not mean they are more likely to buy them on taxes, spending, or regulation. If they were, then Bernie Sanders Democrats would be Rand Paul Republicans.”

The thing is “civil liberties and foreign policy” is what matters about libertarianism. We’ve got conventional Republicans for the other stuff.

By Jerry Taylor

Niskanen Center

The libertarian moment in American politics—foretold just last year in the New York Times Magazine—is like the horizon; always retreating as we advance upon it.

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Why Socialists Can’t Wait for Bernie to Lose Reply

What actual socialists think of New Dealer Bernie Sanders.

Bill Scher

Politico.Com

erhaps the most astonishing aspect of the 2016 presidential race is that Bernie Sanders, somehow, has made “socialism” a safe word in American politics. Nearly 100 years ago Socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs had to campaign from prison; today, Sanders campaigns on socialism in broad daylight. For eight years, Democrats winced when Republicans hurled the “socialist” slur at President Barack Obama; now, 43 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus participants, many inspired by Sanders, embrace the label.

But the real socialists? They can’t wait for him to lose.

If you think Sanders’s candidacy has divided the Democratic party, that’s nothing compared to what he’s done to American socialists, a complex network of rival fringe parties united by a belief in overturning the economic order, but divided by almost everything else: strategy, personality, and what they think of their suddenly famous associate.

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Anarchism, justice and a vision for the future Reply

An interesting reply to an earlier article by yours truly.

By Neil Lock

Libertarian Alliance

This essay began as a comment on Keith Preston’s “The New Anarchist Movement is Growing,” published here[1]. Soon, though, as I explored some of the ideas of various anarchist sects, it turned into something much wider. It became an attempt to answer, from my own highly individual perspective, four questions:

  1. In what sense or senses am I an anarchist?
  2. Which anarchist groups could I comfortably work with?
  3. Is the idea of an anarchist movement a sensible one?
  4. What might the world look like, if anarchist ideas were to be put into practice?

Am I an anarchist? – Part One

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