The Need for a New Revolutionary Framework Pitting Liberty Against Power

Some thoughts on what it would take for “anarchist success” to be achieved.


A good point of reference is the history of revolutions.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a wave of revolutions (American, French, 1848, etc) that essentially pitted the Enlightenment against the Ancient Regime, resulting in the growth of democratic republics and science-driven industrial capitalist societies.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the major conflict was between industrial capitalists and proletarian labor, resulting in the eventual growth of modern welfare-managerial states, and the incorporation of the labor parties and trade unions into the system, along with the expansion of the middle class.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the basis of conflict became the traditional in-groups vs traditional out-groups (minorities, women, gays, students, youth, etc). Much of that has subsequently been institutionalized as well with the bourgeois bohemians, newly rich, new class, minority middle class, political correctness, gay marriage, etc.

It seems like that what it would take for anarchists, libertarians, anti-statists, ant-authoritiarians, etc to get their moment in the sun would be a political alignment along the lines of liberty vs. power. Regrettably, things instead seem to be going in the direction of nativism vs globalism (hence, Trump, Farage, Le Pen, etc). More often than not nativism represents state-centric nationalism than anything to do with anarchism, though I agree it’s a double-edged sword. Back in the 1990s I started realizing that right-wing populist nationalism was going to be important in the future as a response to globalization, and I started indicating to anarchists that finding common group with the populist right might be a good idea. However, the majority of anarchists have generally seemed resolutely opposed to this approach. The anarchists of the left for example have generally identified social conservatism rather than the state as their primary enemy. And the right has responded to the growing SJW phenomenon with identity politics of its own. The problem is that the identity politics of the left and right is all there seems to be. All of the different types of anarchists and libertarians argue about that stuff as must as Democrats and Republicans do, and often more intensely so.

Libertarians and anarchists are now divided into neo-libertarians, paleo-libertarians, neo-reactionary libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, left-libertarians, liberaltarians, left-market-anarchist libertarians, primitivists and transhumanists, national-anarchists and antifa anarchists, an-caps and an-coms, anarcha-feminists and MRA anarchists, pacifists and insurrenctionists, religious and atheist, etc. The main problem I see is that freedom, liberty, opposition to authority, etc are just not primary values for most people. For many people, these are not values at all, and for many others they are only peripheral values. Even those who claim such values often do so selectively, and with widely divergent focuses and emphases. I don’t know that it would be possible to have a mass movement whose unifying principle was opposition to the state with little or no agreement on anything else, and even anti-statism seems to be a secondary issue with many anarchists.

Anarchism seems to appeal to youthful rebelliousness or idealism, but it seems difficult to sustain as people get older and get more settled into life. Instead, most anarchists just drift towards whatever conventional form of politics suits their preferred hyphen, i.e. an-caps become “free market conservatives,” an-coms become social democrats, etc. My own participation in various “far right” camps has largely been about pushing the argument that says “Okay, if you folks don’t like the prevailing liberal cosmopolitan values of the globalized elite and the related radical demographic change, the decentralist quasi-anarchist enclaves are your most viable option.” (Plus, the far right is the only camp where you can be anti-PC and “anti-American” at the same time.) Of course, many anarchists freak out over that because as I said above many of them regard social conservatism or “reactionaries” to be a greater enemy that the state itself, capitalism, imperialism, the global elite, etc. Of course, I have made comparable arguments to the Left as well.

These two videos by Sargon of Akkad summarize the most problematic issues concerning both the Alt-Right and the Progressive Left.

1 reply »

  1. Yeah, and the Libertarians with Johnson/Weld are only tax cutting Libertarians they are liberals on guns and association. In some ways Trump is more libertarian than Johnson. Also, Johnson attracts slightly more Dems and I was called Conservative Trash by one of them.

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