A Call For Left/Right Anarchist Unity

I believe that “left anarchists” (anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, green anarchists, etc.) and “right anarchists” (anarcho-capitalists, market anarchists, libertarian anarchists, etc.) have more than enough common ground for a real basis of unity that can be used not only for theoretical development and the growth of knowledge, but also for common strategies and projects against The System.

What is the common ground between the camps? Well, the most obvious example is – we’re all against the State, against ALL States. Other things that both sides generally are against – war, police, intellectual property, theft, extortion, the mafia, religion, racism, sexism, homophobia, conformity, mainstream society, militarism, obedience, coercive psychiatry, the institution of marriage, taxation, statists, rulers, would-be rulers, politicians, political parties, the electoral system, aristocracy, theocracy, determinism, blind faith, imperialism, mercantilism, Marxism, Fascism, political economy, world government, the military-industrial complex, the police state, prisons, and the Corporate State.

We also share common values – free association, non-aggression, individual liberty, secessionism, free speech, the right to bear arms, women’s right to abortion, decentralization, individual initiative, self-governance, autonomy, self-sovereignty, voluntary cooperation, voluntary association, rational thought, independent thought, and diversity.

This is a lot of common ground! So much so, that I think that one would be hard-pressed to find another group that “regular anarchists” have so much in common with! With this being the case, why not unify? Why not work together against our common enemies? The obstacles that we need to overcome are enormous, and we need all the help we can get. And right anarchists make a good ally in this struggle, because unlike the various kinds of Marxists and statist leftists, we all know that they are not after State power for themselves, but instead seek the complete abolition of it. There is no other group of people out there that you can trust in this respect. Need I remind you of past revolutions where anarchists worked together with the statist left? Each group holds negative prejudices, stereotypes, and gross misunderstandings about the other. Left anarchists tend to mistakenly believe that right anarchists want more of what we have now – imperialism, mercantilism and a Corporate State, instead of wanting no government whatsoever. The right anarchists tend to mistakenly see the left anarchists as being a new form of Leninist or as wanting a conformist tyranny-of-the-majority Borg. All this misinformation needs to be cleared up and overcome in order for any REAL mutual understanding to come about.

Another obstacle in the way of left/right anarchist unity is the tendency for knee-jerk reactions, stubbornness and uncritical hostility towards the other camp and to anyone who proposes unity with them. A calm, thoughtful, and open-minded approach to this is needed in both camps. If we enter this thinking that the other group is scum, will always be scum, and is just out there to screw us over, then chances are that we will be provoking the other group to such defensiveness that they will appear to us to be living up to our expectations. I’m not saying there aren’t substantial differences between the two groups – there certainly are. Every anarchist faction has its own different and unique characteristics – that’s what makes it its own faction. I don’t see how these differences are irreconcilable or insurmountable – worse comes to worse, in an anarchist society the right anarchists will have their little territories where they live and do their thing, and the left anarchists will have their little territories where they live and do their thing. As long as each side leaves the other alone and promises not to go invade the other side, things will be cool.

Let’s start learning from each other, gaining positive things from the other camp’s world-view and analysis. Let’s come up with common strategies that will present a real threat to The System. And most importantly, let’s follow through with this strategy and work together to bring this vile system down to it’s knees.

40 replies »

  1. I agree, I’m pretty new to anarchism (less than a year) and I like ideas from both anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-syndicalists, the first which got me into the anarchism, the latter which pushed me towards thinking about the workers struggle in a way I never imagined. The main reason I believe I can look at both and learn and explore their sepparate benefits and consequences is because in either case, they will not use the state or any entity like it to impose its will on me. Would it not be better to be anarchist first and debate strains after the common enemy has been rid of? Neither left or right anarchism seems to have all the answers, both have risks of devolving into their statist pasts, and honestly I would venture to assert that focussing too much on strains of anarchism leads to easier justification for doing so. Anarchy first, and above all else, if that is forgotten then what’s the point?

    • I couldn’t agree more. Who cares if one town is ancap while another town is ancomm? We can coexist, its live and let live isn’t it? Anarchist unit might allow us to create a strong enough political movement to matter.

  2. Being on the so called ‘right’, I have heard hostility from the so called ‘left’. I remember hearing the words Mises to pieces and property is theft when I was first reading Rothbard. I thought the left had no ideology and were to blame for our failure in general. However, as I grew and grow in confidence, I want to “rid myself of any inaction and lack of dynamicism” I want to put aside any rigid difference and seek to learn from the left. As I grow I see all their attacks as words to carefully listen to and perhaps pointers in areas into which to grow.
    For starters the new society that we are seeking will be very much similar to the one we have today. How so? It will be about property and property rights. It will be about democracy. However not the type of democracy libertarians hate, but about consensus. As self owners, that is; free people, we have the right to the fruits of our production. This is our nature as people so no non violent person can take it away. We must advocate it and teach this truth which is undeniable! Yes we own our effort!! Yet in principle it might be advantageous for us to share our labor and the fruits of our labor with our coworkers. Sharing our property can increase our freedom and our space. Freedom will increase when we have genuine consensus with our Dunbars number.
    These ideas are basic and simple. As a liberty people, we must always Strike the Root. Why? Our ideas are our strength and foundation upon which we must build.
    Once I start reading the so called ‘left wing’ literature and publications, like Monthly Review, I start to open myself up to a whole world that I had been missing.
    After I begin to rethink and summarize my criticisms of our current society and my vision for a new society I can plan action toward creating that society

    To me the central issue is the lack of community that big government creates. They are trying to brainwash us that an anarcho-sharing society is impossible because there are to many people. Big government is necessary to manage society. We see that small groups of people have always joined together to manage unowned areas i.e the commons. Perhaps we can devolve back to communities that bring us fulfillment . Instead of arguing and bickering we can make the change that we want to see by living it.

  3. I almost don’t even care about actual politics. I mean, if it’s not going to change my tax rates who gives a damn? There is a very low material reward to political activism if you’re not in a winning coalition of status-weeking college kids and their priestly leaders. I just don’t see it ever happening soon enough to matter to me, and if it does – well, it will most likely happen without me. History is overdetermined, individuals are far more likely to have minimal effect on social orders, and most people are stupid, boring losers who deserve everything that happens to them.

    • Of course I can’t agree, that’s so self entitled, people is stupid mass and you? And also what’s a loser? An exploited worker? A miner? People that produce without a fair share? They deserve it?

  4. I loathe the left and the right pretty much equally. Throwing on some theoretical agreement about a situation which will never happen in my lifetime (anarchism or pan-secessionism) does not make them more appealing. I guess I just can’t get into the herd-feeling enough to believe that being part of some inconsequential ‘movement’ is a reason to be ecumenical with moraltards and greenazis. I’m not going to work with people I loathe to accomplish something with no chance of success (at least for me, the sole relevant person).

    This anarchisty stuff has an appeal to me in the sense of ‘let’s tell everyone why they’re retarded’ and ‘hey, look at this cool sociology’, but as far as ‘movements’ and all this activist shit – I’d rather sleep or jerk off. A thousand times more productive, and I don’t need to hang out with lefty faggots to do it.

  5. Been saying this for awhile whenever I get into discussions with holier than thou anarchists or libertarians. I just don’t get attacking someone with whom you agree with on over 90% of the issues.

  6. I personally think this is the only true way to pose a legitimate threat to the state. At the time being, anarchists are very much so divided on petty differences, which I find to be mostly of an economic nature. However, what many anarchists seem to forget is that differences are beautiful things, given that force is not used between the differing positions. While I myself am an Anarcho-Capitalist, I see no issue in coexistence between the different anarchist ideologies in a free society. Because really, if I decide to live in a capitalist society, and seek to further commerce and happiness through a free market, what problem should I have with those who decide they would like to live in a communal society? And of course, a free society would allow the best way of life to show itself to be exactly that. Who knows, maybe in this free world, I may see more merit in communist thinking, and decide to leave a capitalist society in search of a commune. Once the force of the state is removed, ideas will then be able to reach their full potential, without destructive conflict with any other ideas.

  7. i think you are over exaggerating the areas of agreement between the two view points. but i agree with your main point. i dont think the communities are prepared for that though. how many of the ancaps are willing to read proudhon books and etc? they would rather equate ancoms with state-communists. no time to research anti-authoritarian collectivism.
    how many of the ancoms are willing to read in depth on austrian economics and ancap analysis of how the state affects markets? they would rather ascribe us with fascists, corporatists.
    the cartoonish misrepresentations of each others viewpoints is ubiquitous, and judging by facebook, non-violent communication and curiosity are both completely lacking.
    all these clowns running facebook pages need to stop baiting the animosity and try to expose the core of disagreement: theories of property rights and their implications…..

  8. How about joining with another “ace” group – atheists? I would love to see our structures dismantled so that we can organize ourselves organically and diversely which is what happens when organisms are left to their own devices. I’m not sure what kind of anarchist I am (I didn’t realize there were factions because anarchists believe in no over-ruling entities) however atheists are also a rapidly growing group.

  9. I back a bit of what Zack Andrew Plez up there had to say. Though I suppose I’m a bit more optimistic. There are a lot out there who’re interested in wholesale Anarchist solidarity. Some have taken to calling themselves abolitionists, some just dropped any adjectives (including ‘without-adjectives’) and ascribe to a common ‘Anarchist’ label, and a very precious few have indeed read opposing view points critically and absorbed what they had to say. It might not have changed their stance but they have some respect for the other ‘faction’.

    Perhaps I’m an idealist, but I do like to believe Anarchism, that is to say all Anarchist branches, have a future in this world together without the spectre of militaristic centralization wafting overhead.

  10. I’m an Anarcho-Transhumanist, if you don’t know what we are, we believe that technology is liberating, we support technological unemployment, full automation of jobs, and the abolition of money, as well as the freedom for people to use radical emerging technologies to free themselves of their biological limitations. It’s not just the state we are a slave to, but biology as well and it’s in our best interest to become free from both. personally I agree with this post though, though I should mention that the ONLY problem I personally have with other types of anarchism is, from my Futurist perspective, their irrational hold on the past and primitivism(not all, but from my experience, enough) instead of looking at the possibilities of the future. I associate with several different flavors of anarchy, I am hoping to do some anarchist sailing for awhile, and me and a few friends are working on building an Earthship Eco Village anarchist commune

  11. My experience is bad with both sides. I have been on both sides, so I know. The truth though their differences are not that great. I believe that each side can benefit by listening and learning from the other side. I am happy that I went on my journey which is not finished. How many ancaps read Kropotkin? Each day I feel more liberated as I explore the anarcho-communist position. Frankly I feel the whole split is silly. Both Kropotkin and Rothbard are libertarian through and through. I think it is vulgar that ancaps can not understand the communist positions. I often feel like I want to write a book on the subject. I agree we Anarchist-without-hyphens are always frustrated by this split. If I believe in your right to hold onto your property and live alone the ancom has a problem with me and says I am not an ancom, even though I am. I for one believe that markets will exist alongside with the hopefully larger gift economy in the form of freed markets. I also believes communes and ecovillages need to re-emerge as centers of mutual aid, resource control, sustainability, community, and production.
    Since I have started to be active in facebook I can throw up my hands at the contempt I receive for defending the ancom position. Everything you say is true. However, mature libertarians like John Bush would never act like these school children. Also I see that the Voluntaryist are more more open to Lib Com point of view. Also listen to Jeff Riggenbach Mutual Aid: The Anarchism of Peter Kropotkin http://mises.org/daily/5071/ a good audio for ancaps (even though I do not agree with a couple of Jeff’s comments).

    • You say that it’s vulgar that the AnCaps don’t understand the communist position, and I agree that AnCaps do need to study AnCom’s positions. At the very leasts so that they can effectively argue with AnComs.

      I wouldn’t put all the blame on the Capitalists, because I thing the Communists’ misunderstanding of money is an even larger error. Money is not the enemy, just like guns aren’t the enemy: the people who wield guns and or money for the exploitation of others are the ones we should be focused on.

  12. I think we need more apolitical anarchists. Those who believe that once you are free no one is going to tell you what your rights are.

  13. I enjoyed this piece their is just a few items that I disagree with, but that is my human right to disagree.

  14. Well, mot of the movement is on the right, cutting welfare for the poor, cutting taxes with the koch brothers, helping big oil. Few ideas from the left on cutting down on the state like mutalism or radically cutting down taxes for the middle class and poor and slighly rising them on the Koch brothers. In fact the state of New Hempshire or the small states where you can do things more locally are rarely promoted its usually Texas with a high property tax and lots of inequality between whites and Hispanics or the south. The religious right still plays too big a role. Small State yes, South and Texas with Neo-cons and Rand Pauls no.

  15. No matter how much you want to believe, there is always a state. Private Property is a creation of the state. Wealth is a function of the state. If I created a militia like the Church did in the 700’s to convert pagan tribalists and force conversion to Celtic Paganism to the white people of those communities or face death, the state would come to the aid of the these rural communities. Liberalism is based on hedonism. America was invented by hedonists with Ben Franklin being the idealized version of American. As time has gone on, these hedonistic urges have spread and bourgeois individualism has spread to every sub-culture giving them “liberty”. This kind of modernism may seem awful, but it is a truth of liberalism and its decadent cohorts that created this country. Whether you like it or not, you are a decadent hedonist.

    • “Private Property is a creation of the state. Wealth is a function of the state. ”

      If that were the case, neither could exist in a stateless society—northern Somalia (Somaliland), say, prior to the creation of the nation of Somalia. Yet both did. The same is true for the Commanche and all other stateless societies I am aware of. Societies differ in what things are private property—in some, for instance, land is a commons. But I cannot think of any society in which nothing was.

  16. I think you somewhat overstate the amount of overlap. In particular:

    Intellectual property. My impression is that a majority of anarcho-capitalists are opposed to it, but not all. The libertarian movement more generally seems divided between those who regard IP as the least defensible sort of property and those who regard it as the most defensible sort of property.

    Marriage: I don’t think anarcho-capitalists in general are opposed to the institution, which has existed in stateless societies in the past.

    Religion: I expect a considerable fraction of anarcho-capitalists are atheists, as I am. But that doesn’t mean that they are opposed to religion, merely that they don’t believe in it. And there are people who are both anarchists and religious believers, on both ends of the anarchist spectrum.

  17. Anyone who think anarchists should work with neo-liberals is a fucking moron. If you’re too incapable to think, you shouldn’t be an anarchist. Pack it in and go back to drinking champagne with your college friends. Fuck you

  18. Im a mutualist ( still in the left spectrum )

    And im bussy with it , trying to connector with libertarians. Something ancoms reject

    One thing i noticed, is that in the basis, there are good People among them. They do have the right intentions, the right scences, but they have some misconceptions towards anarchism, history, and capitalism. They do not get the bigger picture. I gave them the advise to Read Proudhon etc. They dont know any anarchist writers. Its All about the NAP, and if this isnt the case, than you are Hitler, in their perception. After we teached them, they can decide for themselves what is truth

    We must teach them the practical sides of left anarchism. The things you can, and cant, the history, difference between materialism and idealism. How spain was runned etc. When they get it they can decide what to do

    They think we are marxists. We should counter the propaganda that is made against us

    All the while we should not fight in our own ranks . ancoms, collectivists and mutualists should be brothers and sisters

    Also, identity politics must stop creating sectarian micro spaces, of unsave safety.

    Lets try it, cure the poor sheep

  19. Since they stole anarchism, we Should troll all their sites etc, debunking their shit, to informam potential new people

    This should be the respons on them infecting libertarianism

    Show their inconsistency on their own Channels

    Lets do this with a thousand real anarchist s

  20. The ultimate unity is freedom! The aspect we can agree upon is a corrupt state does not deserve to stand. If you cannot take arms with someone who does not believe in everything you do, their is no “movement,” much less “revolution!” And how hypocritical to fight for your right to uphold your own beliefs, but those that you don’t agree with are unworthy to fight with you!?. People tend to lash out in aggression and never think through the ramifications of their actions. Say it all worked…the “Man” is dead…the state is fallen…and now your are left with forming some manner of society accepting of all those who survived or else they and yourselves are the next “enemy” brought under each other’s cross-hairs. Freedom is the universal ambition that can unit. Justice is the inevitable necessity to determine the intersection of exercising those freedoms. Your use of freedom does not undermine my own. You cannot say your right to roam wheresoever you like may travel upon my property unannounced, or your lack of resources warrants the theft of my property. There will always be the need for some manner of “State;” other wise you are left with lynch mob-rule for any suspected offense. And you may be able to hold your ground against any singular threat or limited force, but what of an army of those poised against you…then the only way to protect you and yours is to form a mob of your own. Freedom. My right to say and do and believe as I wish, and for you as well! If we happen to be in agreement, wonderful. And if not we can still part in peace and have little to do with one another. If you will not act and fight under these terms, even if you could win…to what end?

  21. This is such a great document. It reminds me of that short by Emile Armand in which he talks about the various kinds of anarchists and how they should all pursue freedom mutually. It think it was in ‘What We Are, and What We Must Become’ but I might be wrong.

  22. Edit: Not only did I get the name wrong (should say ‘What We Have Been, We Still Remain’) but it’s the wrong document anyway. I was thinking of ‘Is the Illegalist Anarchist our Comrade?’ which ends with the passage:

    “In the current social milieu anarchism extends from Tolstoy to Bonnot: Warren, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Ravachol, Caserio, Louise Michel, Libertad, Pierre Chardon, Tchorny, the tendencies they represent or that are represented by certain living animators or inspirations whose names are of little importance, are like the nuances of a rainbow where each individual chooses the tint that most pleases his vision.”

  23. None of you are actually anarchists. You keep adding a government type suffix to a none governmental ideology. You might as well say christian-atheist.

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