The Brilliant: What is Anarchism in 2018 with Bellamy

For those who are interested in the philosophies of anarchism, this is a damn good episode of The Brilliant. Myself and ATS are mentioned at various times as well.

The Brilliant-Episode 90. Listen here.


This is the last episode of 2018. In 2019 along with the Brilliant I’ll be working on a weekly call in show called Anarchy Bang that you should check out on Sundays at noon (PST).

Bellamy and I have another conversation that I’ll release next week about Corrosive Consciousness but for now we discuss anarchism in 2018 ( and text here and where we agree and where BF is wrong (joke!). We discuss whether we are in a third wave of anarchism and what it’s boundary is compared to second wave. Should we fight for the word anarchism, the loyal opposition to anarcho-liberalism, or should we go another direction?

If you haven’t you should check out Bellamy’s article from Backwoods #1 you should. An Invitation to Desertion to understand some of BF’s position in this conversation.

Finally we gossip about Dr. Bones, anarchist nationalism, and spirituality.

Contact us at

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

15 replies »

  1. On the subject of Anarchism, I suggest that people address David Friedman’s “Hard Problem” from his 1973 book, “The Machinery of Freedom”.
    Myself, I was a minarchist libertarian until 1995, because while I was unaware of David Friedman’s existance, or the fact that he had labelled a problem “The Hard Problem”, nevertheless I had been aware of the existence (in general) of the problem.

    In 1995, I described the solution for it.

    • Friedman is an anarcho-capitalist, and the post-left anarchists from The Brilliant apparently don’t recognize either an-caps or national-anarchists as “true” anarchists (at least based on what they’ve said in past podcasts).

      But this program was interesting. Their discussion of how communism, capitalism, and fascism all have much more in common with each other than they do with anarchism is straight out of Antony Sutton, lol. Far too many anarchists have a Marxism fetish, or a pathological obsession with fascism, and the an-cap types are often bourgeois conservatives under another name. A move toward the identification of the “devil’s triangle” of communism, capitalism, and fascism as collective enemies is definitely a positive move for anarchists.

      Their discussion of “decentralist anarchism” vs. “world domination anarchism” was interesting as well. It’s a point I’ve raised many times. Some anarchists envision an anarchist world federation, but how are you going to do that without the state? Even many classical anarchists, like Rudolf Rocker, were weak on this question. I suppose you could have bottom up networks or federations that extend outward or upward on a transnational or even global basis, but how do you keep that from becoming a conventional state? Or you could have polycentrism of the medieval kind on a global level. Not to go anarcho-papist here, but in some ways the Catholic Church is an example of a global organization that is not technically a state, or only peripherally a state (because Vatican City is actually considered a sovereign nation). The Church is essential as non-state global organization whose headquarters has national sovereignty status.

      It’s also interesting how the speakers in the podcast seemed to be disdainful of the influence of Foucault and Judith Butler on many anarchists. I supposed I would be more “left” than The Brilliant on that question because I don’t really have a problem including Foucault and Butler as at least peripheral figures in the anarchist pantheon. I consider both postmodern influenced versions of anarchism and “genderqueer” versions of anarchism to be legitimate tribes or sects within the anarchist paradigm.

      The issues they raise concerning ATS in this podcast are interesting as well. One problem I have always had with my own work is the inability to separate the core ideas of ATS (“pan-anarchism against the state, pan-anarchism against the empire,” etc.) from my own personal views about other topics, or other political affiliations I might have, or the views of various associated of or peripheral figures around ATS that have no precise relationship to the wider ATS project.

      For instance, I’ve written a lot about anti-modern thinkers, but that really has nothing to do with ATS. It’s more of a side project or afterthought. The same is true of the Nietzschean/Stirnerite/Jungerian/Menckenesque philosophical explorations. I think each of those thinkers are within a common philosophical paradigm. But none of them are essential to the core ATS idea.

      I’m probably more well-known for critiquing the PC Left than much of anything else, because a lot of the alt-right types have picked up on that and ran with it, bringing me a large audience in that milieu and simultaneously earning me the ire of the SJW/Antifa types. Because of the alt-right and antifa, I’m probably 100 times more well-known than I would be, but I really see those issues as only peripheral to ATS as well.

      The international “anti-American” media (Russia, Iran, etc) have picked up on my criticisms of US imperialism, and I’ve developed an audience there as well, but once again that’s not really the core purpose of ATS.

      Then there’s all of the academic societies, alternative media outlets, or political organizations that ATS people have been associated with, or the personal views of various participants in the ATS project, many of whom are only casual or peripheral participants.

      • I do have an issue with ANCAPS. I just don’t understand as a pluralist how capitalism can work in a finite territory. I personally believe it would just collapse on itself.

        I personally have no issue with NAM. I know anarchist in Iran whose anarchism reflects that of NAM. I also believe over the next 25 years as new identities begin to form and collectivize that a new type of nationalism will occurs in the United States. The issue with the United States is no one besides native Indians are indigenous to this land and as a result what you are seeing is a rise in identity politics which will probably lead to mass separatist movements in the future.

        • A funny thought I’ve had….

          You mention the Native Americans, the only people who truly “belong” here. And I’ve noticed that, maybe aside from the Dakota Pipeline protests, modern identity politics basically ignore the Native Americans. Until you consider the Hispanics.

          Political correctness appears to be a mostly white phenomenon. Although they claim to speak for “minority” interests, an overwhelming number of social justice warriors are white as mayonnaise. Or at least extremely Eurocentric.

          So I find it kind of funny that the SJWs focus so much on Hispanic rights, while ignoring Native Americans, considering how many Hispanics have largely Native American heritage. And of course, the Eurocentrics oppress the Native identity even further by insisting on the European terminology: Hispanic and Latino.

          But hey, nature constantly breeds new races and species. Yesterday’s invasive is tomorrow’s native. The only constant is change, all that good shit. Darn right I want a wall: around my house and yard.

  2. I Third Wave Anarchism should be the return of Mutualism alongside Individualist Anarchism, and we should make it cool for the newer younger generation, Generation Z

    • The petite bourgeois aspects of mutualism and individualist anarchism would likely appeal to Gen Z as they tend to be more entrepreneurial and tech friendly, and so far they are less enthusiastic about the PC project.

      • What I should think about doing is combining the awesome economic ideas of Kevin Carson with the edginess of Slavoj Zizek. Although I don’t agree with Slavoj Zizek on his Marxism, but he did a great job addressing the BS illiberal nature of Political Correctness.

        • I did a google search, found the Wikipedia article on Kevin Carson.

          I like this:

          “Anarchist without adjectives
          In recent years, Carson has moved away from the “individualist”, “mutualist” and “free market” anarchist labels, not so much because he repudiates any of their major tenets, but because he has come to see them as excessively constraining and to reject any monolithic economic model as the defining template for a post-capitalist society.[11] He now prefers the label “anarchist without adjectives”, counting among his major influences Michel Bauwens and other writers on peer production, autonomist Marxists like Antonio Negri and Nick Dyer-Witheford[12] and Elinor Ostrom’s thought on natural resource commons.[13]”

          But that raises the question: Why do so many seemingly-misguided people want to put adjectives onto “anarchism”?
          Is it just to be edgy, or relevant, or because the underlying philosophies represented by those adjectives have become seen to be nonsense?

  3. Unfortunately, one problem with my understanding of this discussion is that I am by no means familiar with all the various terminologies and names listed above.
    I think of myself as a simple, “let’s have essentially no government” anarchist. (Not a crypto-communist or crypto-socialist, etc.)

    But limited by my understanding, and reading many other comments on many of these subjects, it seems apparent that there is a great deal of what should be called “anarcho-nonsense” subgroups.
    I think Keith Preston has probably said this in much greater detail, and much more frequently, than I would care to try to do.

    And I very rarely see people who call themselves “anarchists” acknowledge and admit that David Friedman was right with his statement of “The Hard Problem”: How can an “anarchistic” region exist in a world that is not yet fully “anarchistic”? The way I see it, if an “anarchist” doesn’t know about “The Hard Problem”, he’s useless as a defender of the concept of anarchism.

    I believe I fixed that problem with my Assassination Politics essay in 1995-96, at least I described what the solution would look like.
    It was that invention that turned me from a “minarchist libertarian” into an “anarchist libertarian”, in 1995. My invention, if you want to call it that, explained how an entire world could be made “anarchist”, and stay that way in a stable fashion.
    Jim Bell

    • But could it though? Would it really be so stable? Is our tech really secure enough for such a….project? In principle, I have no problem with your solution, but I have serious doubts about tech security. While I prefer the “anarchism without adjectives” label, I started out as a primtivist for good reason: our tech is even less trustworthy than we are.

      This “Hard Problem” you speak of has been nagging at me since childhood. After the state collapses, who has the power to keep it from rebuilding? Who has the right? Unfortunately, I see no easy solution. In my opinion, an “anarchist world” is not so much the destination, but a journey. Or a force. Anarchy is inevitable, par the course.

      Here on Earth, life moves like the tide. Wax and wane, ebb and flow, up and down. The cycles of global warming, great winters, overpopulation, mass extinction….We humans are animals too, just another species. Civilization rises and falls. Greeks, Romans….we’re next.

      At heart, we’re ALL anarchists. Just like, as animals, we are ALL primitivists. And our time WILL come. We’ll know not the day nor the hour, but the current state is bound to collapse soon. Probably within my lifetime. We cannot rush it, cannot prevent it, only prepare for it. Regardless of the details, it’ll be messy. The human population will bubble up and burst in a major bottle-necking event. Then we may have anarchy, perhaps even peace.

      Of course, the state will continue to grow. To feed itself. Like anarchy, the lack of authority, authority itself is an inner force. A constant struggle with our instincts. Not emotion, not rationalization, only instinct drives our art, science, religion, and government. Until our species goes extinct, there will be that cycle of authority and anarchy. Within and without us.

      • That’s a matter which should be debated. In July 2018, the combination of Ethereum and Augur produced a death-prediction market. Google ‘ethereum augur assassination’.
        One result is:

        The media is fond of calling this an “assassination market”, but it really isn’t that. For technical reasons it is a rather de-fanged ‘death pool’.

        No, you are right, the technical security of this hasn’t been proven yet.

        • I think our world would be much safer if these technologies were in the hands of….nobody. Without surveillance technology, electronic communications, DNA profiling, etc, these good-hearted servants of the people would be risking much less by disposing of our masters.

  4. The essay about desertion was interesting and I see it aligning with a lot of what you talk about and my own feelings regarding revolutionary potential. I am also working on an essay titled, “Anarchist Exodus” with the premise being that the best case for anarchist revolution is to move away from the capitalist hubs(cities) to more rural areas or the country side and begin building dual power structures and communities. In other words let the state bring the fight to us and let the revolution be televised.

    • I think going off-grid is probably the absolute best solution. For now, at least. Before we fulfill any glorious notions of fighting the state, we need to have our own shit together. Ourselves, our friends, and our families protected and provided for. I feel like so many anarchists forget this, focusing so much on their activism rather than actual daily activities.

    • I wasn’t fucking done yet when I hit the send button….Anyway, we should all totally move out to the country. Rural land is usually cheaper anyway. Build our own walls, clean our own water, grow our own food. Stop feeding the state. If so possible, stay under the radar. Take care of our own people.

      On a related note, we should all quit our jobs. Of course, we can’t be stupid about it though; take inventory of your resources, don’t be a lazy bum, still do something to bring in the bacon. But do it on your own terms. Before they all replace us with robots, so we have a headstart.

      What feeds the government? We the people. We work our asses off, frequently doing jobs we hate, all for nothing. A piece of paper, maybe plastic, or even just a text message informing us that our money is in the bank. No real reward. For thousands of years, we hunted for our damn food, and we built our own houses. We can do it again

      Servitude and dependence. Another cycle, like all this other bullshit. We serve the state, we depend on the state, we’re born in the Vault, we die in the Vault. Or do we? In many places, living off-grid is basically illegal. Tells me a-plenty: the government doesn’t want us to be self-sufficient, because THAT is the biggest threat. Having power over ourselves takes power away from our leaders.

Leave a Reply