Anti-Micronationalist Micronationalism

William “Goofy” Gillis is something of a minor league Alexander Reid-Ross. While Reid-Ross promotes the standard neoliberal Hillary Clinton/Samantha Power/MSNBC/SPLC line on both foreign policy (“The Russians are coming!” and domestic policy (” The deplorables are coming!”), Gillis tends to focus on conspiracies by “micronationalists” and “reactionaries” to subvert the anarchist space and bend it toward “fascism.” Here he presents a caricature of the views of myself and others who hold similar outlooks, e.g. panarchists, an-caps, exitarians, NRx patchworkers, bolo’bolo enthusiasts, national-anarchists, municipalists, eco-villagers, and others.

It is certainly true that there are “anarcho-monarchists” and others with similar views who envision a federation of Lichtenstein-like principalities as part of a post-globalization, post-“New World Order” world. And something like that could certainly exist in the absence of a world dominated by Leviathan states.

However, pan-anarchism in practice would more likely look like the present model of separation of church and state. It used to be that the Catholic Church was everything, the equivalent of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. However, the end of theocracy did not mean the end of religion. It merely meant religion became a largely voluntary, decentralized institution. Even global religious institutions like the World Council of Churches and the modern Catholic Church (headquartered in its own micronation of Vatican City) are really just federations of voluntary associations (local parishes and congregations). Politics would be the same way if politics were separated from the state (i.e. anarchism).

The claim that “anarchism is not mere anti-statism” is usually the first banner that is raised by anarchist special pleaders of one kind or another. Maybe so, maybe not, depending on which hyphenated sect or tribe of anarchism one adheres to, but anti-statism is what separates anarchism from other political ideologies. Plenty of state-socialists may also favor communes or workers’ councils, and plenty of neoliberals may also oppose “racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia,” etc. just as plenty of Republicans may also oppose guns laws and support “tax cuts and regulation.” None of these things have anything to do with anarchism per se, although anarchists can certainly embrace these ideas as well.

Anarchists need to avoid one-dimensional thinking and adopt multi-dimensional thinking. A reviewer of one of my books once described me as “as at home with Joe Sobran, Paul Gottfried, and Max Stirner as he is with Emma Goldman, Dorothy Day, and Noam Chomsky.” Similarly, anarchists need to abandon the false dichotomy of “progressive” and “reactionary” which is rooted in dualistic concepts derived from ancient religions (read your Nietzsche, folks). To paraphrase Stirner, “Our anarchists are very pious people.” A little less piety, please.

Ironically, there is certainly room in the pan-anarchist/pan-secessionist paradigm for the likes of William Gillis and Alexander Reid-Ross. There can be national-anarchist communities for anti-national-anarchists, and micronations for anti-micronationalists. After all, “Left-Wing Market-Anarchist Transhumanistland” is just as legitimate as Ancapistan, and Russophobe-bolo is just as legitimate as Bookchinville.

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