Insurgent Supremacists – a new book about the U.S. far right

This looks to be an interesting new book from a leading antifascist writer (and critic of yours truly).

Cover of Insurgent Supremacists: The U.S. Far Right's Challenge to State and Empire, by Matthew N. Lyons

A few of the comments in the description of this book highlight the basis of the ongoing conflict between myself and the anarcho-left/antifa milieu.

Disloyalty to the state is a key dividing line within the U.S. right…That includes white nationalists who advocate replacing the United States with one or more racially defined “ethno-states.” But it also includes the hardline wing of the Christian right, which wants to replace secular forms of government with a full-blown theocracy; Patriot movement activists who reject the federal government’s legitimacy based on conspiracy theories and a kind of militant libertarianism; and some smaller ideological currents.

For example: because of the history of fascism in the 1930s and 40s, we tend to identify far right politics with glorification of the strong state and highly centralized political organizations. Some far rightists, such as the Lyndon LaRouche network, still hold to that approach, but most of them have actually abandoned it in favor of various kinds of political decentralism, from neonazis who call for “leaderless resistance” and want to carve regional white homelands out of the United States to “sovereign citizens” and county supremacists, from self-described National-Anarchists to Christian Reconstructionists who advocate a theocracy based on small-scale institutions such as local government, churches, and individual families.

As a lifelong anti-imperialist anarchist, my objectives have been both the overthrow of the genocidal international U.S. empire, and the domestic U.S. regime which is consistently moving toward totalitarianism. During the 1990s, I began to notice that some “far right tendencies” were indeed making the transition to “anti-Americanism” and political decentralism. I came to regard some of these tendencies at potential pressure points that might have an impact of weakening the domestic regime.

One of the lessons here is that opposing centralized authority isn’t necessarily liberatory at all, because repression and oppression can operate on a small scale just as well as on a large scale.

This comment gets to the heart of my disagreement with the Western Left. Ultimately, these folks are too comfortable with the system, otherwise they wouldn’t conflate the killing of millions of people overseas or the mass incarceration millions domestically with narrow-mindedness, localized exclusion, social discrimination, private crime or even terrorism by non-state actors. As an illustration, the author of this book once said this in criticism of yours truly: “Authoritarianism doesn’t require a large centralized state, but can operate on any scale, such as a region, a neighborhood, or a family.” And as I said in response:

Once again, comparing the narrow-mindedness common to small towns, a snobby and exclusionary suburban community, a neighborhood populated by racist rednecks with green teeth, a dogmatic church or strict parents with what the U.S. empire has done in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indochina, Indonesia, Central America, the Philippines and many other places is an absurdity that merits mention only for the sake of pointing out what the Left has degenerated into.

It is at least theoretically possible, maybe even probable, that anarcho-pluralism might result in believers in Christian Identity coming to dominate scattered clusters of backwoods counties where most of the locals already share many of their views anyway. While there is zero possibility of reviving the Confederacy (as even Jared Taylor has acknowledged), it is possible that the League of the South could achieve political preeminence in an occasional enclave in the southern states. And it is also possible that Christian Exodus or comparable groups might come to dominate some of the reddest parts of the reddest states. The politically incorrect response to this question is: “So what if they do?” It is likewise possible that believers in the Nation of Islam might come to dominate some urban sectors with large African-American populations or that enclaves of believers in traditional Islam would emerge that reflect that faith’s brand of “cultural conservatism.” Given the realities of immigration, it is also likely that communities of Hmong, Somali, Pakistani, Iraqi, or Chinese ethnics would develop, and that the guiding mores of these communities might be rather un-PC in many ways.

Of course, this does not mean that any one set of mores would necessarily be frozen in place for all time. It is certainly conceivable that a civilization where the dominant principles of political philosophy resembled something like anarcho-pluralism might over time see the development of a feminist or homosexual opposition movement in the conservative Christian or Islamic traditionalist communities, or a gun rights movement in the liberal communities, or a socialist movement in the libertarian communities, or a libertarian movement in the communist communities.

This comment is also interesting.

But three way fight politics also challenges the common liberal view that in the face of a rising far right threat we need to “defend democracy” and subordinate systemic change to a broad-based antifascism. Among other huge problems with this approach, if leftists throw our support behind the existing order we play directly into the hands of the far right, because we allow them to present themselves as the only real oppositional force, the only ones committed to real change.

Yes, exactly. But with the happy exception of the seriously anti-imperialist Left in the US (the ones whom antifacists are constantly accusing of facilitating “red-brown alliances”), the Left’s efforts have indeed been to “subordinate systemic change to a broad-based antifascism” and for this reason the Left shouldn’t be surprised that they “play directly into the hands of the far right.” The Left’s adoption of the Democratic National Committee line on virtually every issue of substance has indeed allowed the far right to “present themselves as the only real oppositional force, the only ones committed to real change.”


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4 replies »

  1. This is an interview with another leading antifascist that provides an interesting illustration of how these people think: http://www.hamptoninstitution.org/fascism-usa-shane-burley-interview.html#.Ws4yo5cpDcs

    “BR: With that in mind, you also had a mistake in the book you wanted to mention.

    SB: Yes. I have made a big error of my own, and it is one that I want to openly take responsibility for. At two points in the book I use the phrase “transgendered people” rather than the correct “transgender people.” The first phrasing turns transgender into a verb, this is an incorrect way to phrase this and is both antiquated and offensive. It is my responsibility to ensure that I am not erasing trans experiences when discussing these issues, and I should have checked the work to make sure that the phrasing was correct and did not perpetuate harmful language. The instances will be corrected in the next printing of the book.”

    This kind of polymorphous pettiness is ultimately what matters to these people. I doubt Fred Hampton would have been much impressed.

    • Here is a statement from Alexander Reid Ross on Syria that provides another interesting illustration of where the antifascists are heading:

      Of course the syncretic parts of the left are again joining with the right in saying (or implying) that the chemical attack in Douma was a “false flag” designed to draw Trump back into the Syrian conflict. Funny that many of the same people were saying only five days ago that Trump wasn’t actually going to leave Syria (per the Patrick Cockburn article below). The entire conspiracy-theory narrative of this being “convenient timing” is in contradiction with what was being said less than a week ago.

      Some truly believe it is highly likely that rebels (or Israelis, or both?) flew a helicopter through Russia-controlled airspace over a heavily monitored and shelled suburb of Damascus in order to drop a barrel bomb with a chemical weapon approximate to the one used a year ago in what the UN’s independent inquiry concluded was an Assad-regime attack.

      Since 2013, the Assad regime has carried out dozens of chemical weapons attacks, according to Human Rights Watch, many of which have been confirmed by the UN. These attacks have all been adamantly denied, against strong evidence and witnesses and international expert conclusions, by the informed twitter audiences of RT, Sputnik, and Infowars.

      That the impulse to affirm conspiracy theories and place the burden of doubt on the victims that they did not, in fact, bomb themselves, indicates the heartlessness of a tendency to cast doubt even on their suffering. The Kremlin, for instance, is denying that a chemical weapons attack even took place (apparently the dead simply suffocated themselves with carbon monoxide or something).

      The story that I’ve heard—that Russia was pushing a peace treaty that enabled rebels to stay as police, which Assad refused, leading him to gas the rebels into submission—seems far less far fetched than a “false flag” conspiracy theory. Indeed, why would the rebels gas their own population and then surrender immediately thereafter?

      Lastly, we have seen cascading conspiracy theories regarding Syria dissipate into thin air over the years, so why should we continue to cut this tendency slack? First it was that Assad didn’t even have any chemical weapons; then he supposedly handed in or destroyed them all; then he never used any chemical weapons at all, it was the rebels against themselves; then the rebels poured gasoline in the Damascus water supply (it was really the regime’s bombing of the area); then the claims of the regime barrel bombing a UN humanitarian convoy were fabrications (nope, all true)… Most recently, the presence of Iranians on the recently struck airbase was denied before being confirmed by the Iranian government, itself.

      The conspiracy theorists will conveniently find Israel at the center of everything, because they hate Israelis. And now everything will return to “Israel did it, because they are bad,” and we won’t really need evidence; we won’t really care about all the UN and HRW investigations that have found human rights violations by the Assad government. We found the deus ex machina, and its name is Israel.

      Stop believing these reflexive denials from 9/11 Truthers and those who carry water for the Kremlin’s propaganda machine. Stop turning the plight of a civilian population facing rampant warcrimes into a playground for the reveries of conspiracy theorists. Enough giving the benefit of the doubt to authoritarian regimes over humanitarian observers and victims. Find your heart and follow it!

      The key part of this statement would seem to be this:

      The conspiracy theorists will conveniently find Israel at the center of everything, because they hate Israelis. And now everything will return to “Israel did it, because they are bad,” and we won’t really need evidence; we won’t really care about all the UN and HRW investigations that have found human rights violations by the Assad government. We found the deus ex machina, and its name is Israel.

      It seems that Alexander Reid-Ross is starting to sound a bit like Samantha Power if not Norman Podhoretz.

      It’s also interesting how the antifascists are accusing the anti-imperialists of carrying water for the Kremlin while the anti-imperialists are accusing the antifascists of carrying water for the US/NATO/Israeli/Saudi empire.

      As for my own perspective, I generally favor mutipolarity over unipolarity, and welcome the rise of the Eastern axis as counterpower to the Western axis. As was the case during the Cold War, an armed peace between East and West is probably as good as it is going to get. However, I do not see the Eastern axis as anti-imperialist per se as much as counter-imperialist, in the sense of trying to co-opt anti-imperialism for the sake of establishing a hegemony of their own. Instead, I am for a bottom up global struggle against imperialism through the formation of independent blocks of nations (like Tito’s and Nehru’s old Non-Aligned Movement), the proliferation of regional independence movements worldwide (pan-secessionism), the proliferation of independent startup societies, and, of course, the development of revolutionary anarchist movements that are independent of the baggage carried by the Western Left.

      As for Syria, it seems there is at present only two viable options there, i.e. a secular regime like Assad, or a Salafist regime of some kind. I suspect the US wants to make Syria into another Saudi Arabia, which means Assad is probably the best available option at present. I don’t know what happened with the recent chemical attack though the timing is a bit odd, and it’s obvious Western sources can’t be trusted when it comes to claims about Syria (or Iraq or Iran or virtually anywhere in the East). My first guess would be that the chemical attack was carried out by a jihadi group, possibly with the assent of the CIA and Mossad as a means of ensuring the US continues to get bogged down in Syria, and that Trump gives up any thoughts he might have about withdrawing from Syria.

  2. Conspiracy is a legal term. Israel is the center of foreign policy. When the PM of Israel addresses Congress it looks like the Soviet Union. All the crooks clap and clap. AIPAC bribes EVERYBODY. Congressmen lose their seats just by pointing it out.
    Syria is no threat to Americans. Its a threat to Israel, the bankers and global hegemony though. Syria is one of three countries WITHOUT A ROTHSCHILD BANK. Iran, Syria and North Korea are those three. Bush jr’s Axle of Ebil.
    Russia is there to stop a pipeline being built by Halliburton (Cheney’s old digs). It is to “disrupt” the Gazprom of Russia. Russia threatens the “American Century” Global Hegemony Plan. Mr. Putin is about to spike the neocons in Syria as a result. Those hypersonic missiles he developed may sink some of those garbage scows built by the lowest bidder and manned with “diversity”.
    The South China Sea is not any of OUR business. China has monetized the Yuan in OIL. The Renminbi is now a REAL COMPETITOR to the petrodollar and Bretton Woods.

    Follow the Money. Money changes everything.

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