Elections, Power, and the DSA: The Failure of the Left in Power

A left-anarchist discusses the limitations of social democracy. Listen here.
Illustration of Ocasio-Cortez flanked by DSA fist and image of crowd of workers with firsts united into one large first.

The discussion itself was very good, although I found the intro monologue to be something of a turn off in the sense that it sounded like a barrage of buzzwords and catchphrases (kind of like reciting the Apostles’ Creed in church). The point the guy being interviewed seemed to be making was “We should use grassroots direct action rather than electoral politics to A) get more free ice cream days and B ) oppose things leftists don’t like.” For instance, at one point he actually praises Nixon for creating the EPA and OSHA (“More centralized state bureaucracies! Yay! Vivia de Anarchia!”). He seems to be mostly regurgitating what David Graeber called “small ‘a’ anarchism” or “social movement anarchism.” In fact, he sounds a lot like what my anarchist friends and I would have been talking about 25-30 years ago.

I don’t think his point of view is “wrong” in the same sense that I don’t necessarily think Alexander Reid Ross’ “anarcho-MSNBC” perspective is “wrong” in the sense that it’s fine to have an anarchist tendency that’s merely about opposing Trump, the “far right” or official enemies of the US like Russia or Syria like Reid-Ross’ crowd, and it’s not “wrong” to have anarchist tendencies that are just about “social movement left-activism” like these “DSA anarchists” or whatever they are. But I view anarchist philosophy and politics as much bigger than all that.

As a friend of mine said recently, “the government is worse than the mafia, the army is worse than terrorists, and cops are worse than criminals.” Or as I wrote in a recent blog post, the “international community” is just an agglomeration of crime families writ large. Those seem to me to be the points that anarchists need to be continually emphasizing, rather than all this do-gooder stuff like “The government should raise the minimum wage and give us free healthcare!” Maybe they should, and maybe they shouldn’t but, at best, it would seem to me that “social activism” should only be a bridge to challenging the legitimacy of the state/ruling class itself. It’s the same way a lot of right-libertarians/an-caps only want everything to be about guns, taxes, and bitcoins.


The approach of someone like James Corbett is more to my liking. He’s never met a conspiracy theorist he didn’t immediately love, but he does “attack the system” as a whole rather than embracing the usual left/right capitalism/socialism red team/blue team East/West fascist/communist dichotomies, and he does so without promoting racism, religion, anti-Semitism, SJWism, privilege theory, critical theory, etc in the process.

Corbett has some pretty good discussions of anarchism as well:

1 reply »

  1. The modern left is too much don’t do this or that. This is why statisim appeals to them. For example, they support banning straws.

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