My Decades Long Conspiracy to Subvert an Irrelevant Fringe Subculture

Apparently, the C4SS crowd is now being attacked by rival leftists for being associated with “fascists,” with yours truly being among the primary exhibits in favor of the prosecution. And the accuser is none less than Max Blumenthal, son of former Bill Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal. I have no clue at to what this is about. It looks like it has something to do with Russia. Gillis’ equally goofy but less entertaining friend Alexander Reid Ross is a major Russophobe, and apparently Blumenthal is an impeccably otherwise PC but not quite as Russophobic rival to ARR. Or maybe not. Who knows with these lunatics.

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  1. Geez, people focus WAY too much on racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. These things may be problems, but they are only symptoms of a greater cause. And there is rarely any true “racism” or “sexism” here at Attack The System. In fact, I would consider this site a bastion of anti-authoritarian tolerance.

    • Well said, Edith. I think its time for Left-libertarianism alongside Individualist Anarchism to make serious improvements and make it appealing to the newer younger generation, Gen Z a.k.a. Zoomers.

      • Zoomers….Huh….I guess Generation Zoomer is better than Generation Zombie, eh?

        My husband and I are on that imaginary Y/Z Millennial/Zoomer boundary, which is incredibly disheartening at times. Compared to our mothers in their early 60s, both of whom are moderate left-authoritarians, we’re a bit more conservative, isolationist, and generally anti-authoritarian.

        We also tend more toward the primitivist/survivalist type, whereas our mothers have become totally dependent on smartphones within less than a decade. Not that we’re less tech-savvy than our parents, quite the opposite; we simply choose to limit and/or more closely examine our relationship with modern technology. I just find it odd that 60-somethings are on Facebook more than 20-somethings….

        I wonder, are more of these “Zoomers” and younger Millennials rebelling against the eusocial, globalist, technocratic policies of the previous generations….?

        If so, appeal to our instincts. Don’t appeal to our “greater good” or some humanitarian ideal, appeal to our basic animal instincts as Homo Sapiens. Answer questions like:

        What will being an anarchist do for ME?

        How will revolting against the government help ME or MY family?

        Isn’t insurrection, revolution, civil unrest, and government retaliation dangerous or unhealthy?

        How can I be an anarchist while protecting the health, safety, and privacy of myself or my family?

        How can I revolt against the government and still have a roof over my head? Or a bed to sleep on? Hot water? Food on the table? Medicine for my illness or injury? Nice warm teats or rump to snuggle up to at night?

        If my husband and I are an example of our generation, the younger Millennials/older Zoomers might be a bit….back to basics. Driven by threats to personal privacy, home security, food supply, medical freedom, sexual liberty, etc. We oppose big business and big government to protect ourselves.

        Our mates.

        Our pack

        Our food.

        Our nest.

        Our den.

        Our home.

        We don’t fight some great evil to make the world a better place, we don’t prepare for some impending apocalypse, nor do we adhere to any philosophy besides Our Family and Our Land. We are anarchists because millions of people, if not billions, are already experiencing their own apocalypse. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and the utopia of the state is our personal dystopia.

        Appeal to that?

        • I think it seems to me that the Libertarian Left is sure in need of some kind of a reset button. Especially since we might have to in order to make Mutualism alongside Individualist Anarchism appealing to the Zoomers

    • I don’t think he’s a state operative or unintelligent. He’s just an ideological fanatic who probably has a range of personality disorders and psychological problems. From what he’s said of his early life, he seems to come from a pretty dysfunctional background as well.

      • My entire basis for that either/or is the internal dynamic at C4SS, where he invariably took the position mostly likely to destroy (and eventually culminating in the destruction of) that organization as an effective anarchist institution.

          • I left C4SS … wow, about four years ago, I guess … so I’m not privy to the current internal politics there. I do think highly of Jason’s writing in general, and it would be hard to bring to mind anyone LESS well-suited to a key organizational role than Gillis, so I’m sure he’d be an improvement 🙂

            Interestingly, one of the internal debates back when had to do with Keith/ATS.

            While I favored an “external” focus of getting anarchist material published in the mainstream media and non-anarchist political publications versus “inside movement baseball” stuff, this particular debate was on the “inside baseball” side of things (e.g. “mutual exchanges” between writers of various anarchist and/or libertarian tendencies) and basically amounted to Gillis shrieking that ATS/Preston must never be engaged. “Only mention if absolutely necessary, and then only to attack,” basically.

            I didn’t and don’t dig “national anarchism” etc., but I figured if the goal was debates over anarchism, have debates over anarchism, not just little friendly contests to see who could gin up the biggest and most incoherent pile of pomo buzzwordery.

            Hopefully C4SS still has sturdy enough bones to hang a comeback on if the wrecker can be deposed.

  2. I never got along with the C4SS crowd. There’s a backstory to all that which is at least a decade old. The big issue is that they wanted everything to be specifically “left-wing” while I was interested in moving past the left/right paradigm and doing outreach everywhere. Plus, they wanted to adopt the standard PC paradigm as part of their party line, whereas as I see PC as part of the problem, i.e a “progressive” version of social conservatism that is being incorporated into the ruling class/state’s ideological superstructure and becoming the foundation of a new form of authoritarianism.

    They want to exclude everyone they find insufficiently “progressive” from anarchism/libertarianism/whatever. I’m more about meeting people where they are at. For instance, as much as I oppose US foreign policy, there are still people with neoconnish/neoliberal views of international relations that have good ideas on other topics.Tim Starr’s “anarcho-neocon” outlook is polar opposite of mine, but that doesn’t mean I don’t agree with him on other things. The CATO Institute does a lot of good work on many issues even if their “libertarian neoliberalism” on economics sucks. The American Conservative is great on international relations even if their Catholic/Orthodox traditionalism is a bore. The anarcho-left was generally on the right track with anti-globalization, anti-Iraq War, and Occupy (even if limited in many ways) though I draw the line at this antifa stuff.

    • “The big issue is that they wanted everything to be specifically ‘left-wing’ while I was interested in moving past the left/right paradigm and doing outreach everywhere.”

      That’s just a division of labor matter. Some people want to be general grocers, some want to sell bespoke organic muffins.

      Part of the underlying rationale for C4SS in the first place was “there are all these libertarian think tanks and media centers addressing their content to the center-right; there needs to be outreach to the left as well.”

      And it worked to a degree. One Massachusetts newspaper which carried our material did an editorial on its content mix, referring to the Ayn Rand Center as the libertarian “right,” Cato as the libertarian “center,” and C4SS as the libertarian “left” position.

      Which, as the Center’s media coordinator, was exactly the niche I was trying to get us into. National Review carries Cato material. Back when C4SS wasn’t producing crap, CounterPunch carried C4SS material.

      As you put it yourself, we were “meeting people where they were at.”

      “Plus, they wanted to adopt the standard PC paradigm as part of their party line”

      Not a decade ago, they didn’t. Or at least not visibly so. That was an internal argument that took place over about 3 years or so, 2012-2015 (and perhaps it went on even after I finally threw up my hands and left).

      And it wasn’t exactly the “standard PC paradigm” that they moved toward. It was that paradigm’s more virulent 21st century successor.

      • Well, I actually split from that scene before C4SS was formed so I may be getting the trajectory wrong. I was around the same “left-libertarian” circle that Carson was a part of in the early to middle 2000s. In the late 2000s, it seemed to be increasingly dominated by “male feminist” Dworkinite types, Judith Butleresque “queer theory” types, plus agorists, Rotbhard/Hess New Left libertarians, antifa sympathizers, Gillis’ “left-wing market anarchism,”etc. Many of those same people later became the basis of C4SS maybe a year or two later.

        The conflict I had with them was that aside from my association with national-anarchism (which they seemed to have an allergic reaction to), I was big on outreach to the populist right in those days, which was carryover from the anti-Clinton militia movement in the 90s and the anti-Bush paleocons in the early 2000s. The “left-libertarians” considered all that stuff to be toxic waste. After that, I became associated with the alt-right for a time, back when it was more of a refined intellectual movement, like the paleocons or European New Right, and before the alt-right became a complete white nationalist freakshow and basket case.

        • I was a 1990s militia bubba myself.

          By the time of C4SS, I’ll plead guilty to being Konkinite/Hessian/(somewhat)Rothbardian.

          The Dworkinite/queer theory stuff was certainly present in the background at times, but it didn’t start becoming part of the C4SS “line” until well into the Obama era.

          My view was that our function was to sell libertarianism to leftists, not to play masturbatory internal lefty games with ourselves. But my view lost the argument.

          That’s not to say there isn’t still occasionally good content coming out of C4SS. But these days it mostly looks a lot more like a pomo “writing” circle trying to be edgy by name-checking libertarianism/anarchism than like a libertarian/anarchist outfit trying to reach the left.

  3. I find a that much anti-left-libertarian claims are strawmen, coming from the Rockwell crowd generally and the Hoppeans (Though not necessarily Hoppe himself) in particular. For example there is a tendency to conflate thickism with the C4SS variant of PC. Even though they would never describe themselves that way, Christopher Chase-Rachels and Rik Storey are thickists too. For them “pro-white” christianity and Catholic Traditional Law respectively take the place of shrill PC moralism.

    Another major difficulty for the Hoppeans, is that the issue of property rights is not only “settled,” but for them it is essence of Libertarianism. They did not attempt to understand mutualist property norms, like Roderick long did in the JLS issue on Carson. For Hoppean neoreactionaries, Non-proviso Lockeanism is not only the correct libertarian position on property, but the defining libertarian position generally, even more important than the sacred NAP. Everyone else is a statist. I’m not sure if this issue is still being debated at C4SS, but it’s something that terrifies the hoppean wing of the austro-libertarian right.

    Attack the System is the only anarchist/libertarian site that has dealt with C4SS honestly from day one.

    I don’t consider myself a “left-libertarian” at all, though our venn diagrams definitely overlap. I’m basically an extreme aesthete in all areas of life, including politics. Leftism (the Feminism and the LGBTQ cult in particular) and vulgar libertarianism are just hideous. I like mid-highbrow pagan euro-nationalism, non-leftarded black nationalists, localists like EF Schumaker and Kirkpatrick Sale, and genuinely radical ecologists, because they’re interested in preserving or creating beauty. I’m quite sympathetic to national anarchists, but as is often the case with anarchists, Southgate is much too sympathetic to marxists for my tastes. I just dislike the often willful misunderstanding of real left-libertarianism, put forward by christian neoreactionaries.

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