Great new graphic from Adam Ormes!
Great new graphic from Adam Ormes!
The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. This difference was acknowledged by Friedrich Engels.
“The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletariat revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But after its victory the sole organization which the proletariat finds already in existence is precisely the state. This state may require very considerable alterations before it can fulfill its new functions. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and in a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris Commune.”
– Frederick Engels, “Engels to Philipp Van Patten in New York,” London, April 18, 1883.
Guerrilla ideology reduces all revolutionary questions to quantitative problems of military force. Nothing could be more disastrous. – James Carr,
Power does not come any more from the barrel of a gun than it comes from a ballot box. No revolution is peaceful, but its “military” dimension is never central. The question is not whether the proles finally decide to break into the armouries, but whether they unleash what they are: commodified beings who no longer can and no longer want to exist as commodities, and whose revolt explodes capitalist logic. Barricades and machine guns flow from this “weapon”.
The greater the change in social life, the less guns will be needed, and the less casualties there will be. A communist revolution will never resemble a slaughter: not from any nonviolent principle, but because revolution subverts more (soldiers included) than it actually destroys.
To imagine a proletarian front facing off a bourgeois front is to conceive the proletariat in bourgeois terms, on the model of a political revolution or a war (seizing someone’s power, occupying their territory). In so doing, one reintroduces everything that the insurrectionary movement had overwhelmed: hierarchy, a respect for specialists, for knowledge that Knows, and for techniques to solve problems — in short for everything that plays down the role of the common man. – Gilles Dauve, When Insurrections Die
I can’t say I agree with this, but I’m always amazed at the diversity of anarchist thought.
By Paddy Vipond
Trouble and Squeak
As election fever reaches its sweaty, unbearable heights in both the UK with the coming General Election, and in the US as Hilary Clinton officially announces her campaign to run for Presidency, we are faced with the age old anarchist dilemma: To vote or not to vote.
I do not expect this article to answer this question once and for all, but I do expect it to change a few people’s perceptions on the issue. As anarchists it is our duty to question everything, even our own decisions, and as with any set of political beliefs if they remain unchallenged they become dogma.
As I grew up and discovered the principles and key thinkers of anarchism I slowly began to turn my back on mainstream politics and their parties. Once I had read what I had, the seed had been planted, and it was a seed that did not need chemical fertiliser in the form of propaganda in order to develop. It grew naturally because what I had read and discovered made sense. I did not need to be coerced and persuaded, or attacked and threatened. Quite simply, anarchy was logical.
Within this logic, time and again I encountered one moot point. It was a point that every anarchist had written about, and it was a point that was at odds with the logic inherent in anarchism. What frustrated me about it was that rather than question it, as we are told to do with every other belief and system, we must instead accept it. An anarchist has no place voting in an election.
Great writers and thinkers of the past have argued it, posters plastered on the walls of buildings around Brighton were stating it, and fellow anarchists online were writing about it. Anarchists should not vote, and they should be proud of not doing so.
As you may have guessed by the title of this article, I disagree. It has taken me a few years to reach this decision, but now that I am here I am wondering why I ever opposed the idea. Voting in elections is not only a duty of anarchists, it is the single easiest weapon at our disposal.
Before I continue discussing why voting is beneficial for anarchists, let’s challenge the arguments as to why we should oppose it.
By Nick Pugh
When we are thinking of politics, anarchy is often not the first word that comes to mind in a positive way. For the most part, we think, the political system is put in place to avoid anarchy. But is there more to the idea of anarchy than we are aware of?
In fact, there are many groups that are pro-anarchy. These groups believe that the system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. Here are three roles that anarchy plays in modern politics.
Some of the most well-known anarchist movements are social movements, not political ones. Although there are political repercussions, the focus is more on social liberties than on political ones. In the United States, these have included the labor movement (including the International Workers of the World), some parts of the Civil Rights Movement, and more the recent Occupy Wall Street. The idea is to change the existing political system to one that is freer for all the people involved, putting a higher emphasis on liberty than on faith in a federal government.
Because we’re a nation of aging, overweight slobs.
By Sam Harris
This post from Sam Harris, an entrepreneur, engineer, and former data scientist at the U.S. Air Force, originally appeared on Quora as an answer to the question, “Is the United States on the brink of a political revolution?“
No. We don’t have enough teenagers.
When I was an officer in the Air Force, I was a data scientist, and at one point we were tasked with determining what level of violence in Iraq could be considered “normal” so that we could declare victory and leave with dignity.
Obviously, the base level of violence in Iraq would be higher than in Sweden, but precisely how much higher and why? These were the questions.
We did analysis on hundreds of factors across centuries worth of data from hundreds of countries to determine what drove the levels of violence in a society. The worst violence levels are obviously during civil wars and government collapse.
We looked at wealth inequality, famine, disease, number of children per woman, infant mortality, median GDP, average GDP … literally hundreds of factors and their cross-dependencies that numbered in the quadrillions — think average GDP combined with median life expectancy combined with infant mortality combined with … you get the idea.
What we found was that the most significant factor was the number of individuals aged 13–19 relative to the number of individuals aged over 35. If the teenage group ever exceeded the over 35 group, violence increased to the point there was a very high chance of civil war. Furthermore, the opposite was true. If the 35+ year-olds outnumbered the teenagers, there was no chance of civil war.
On March 8, 2017, authors and activists Derrick Broze and Chase Rachels debated the proposition of a call for a “libertarian-right alliance.”
This is a great discussion. Both of these guys are very knowledgeable and articulate.
Right now is an ideal time for the promotion and cultivation of ATS ideas. Thanks to the bizarre nature of the US electoral system, a perceived “fascist” party is the ruling party, with control over the entire federal government and most of the states, and in opposition to the centrist to center-left cultural and political majority. Meanwhile, the “liberal” opposition party is increasingly being recognized as a band of incompetent crooks even as the wider culture continues to move leftward. The left continues to become more radical, and alienated from the liberal establishment, while the right is moving further rightward after having kicked the neocons and GOP country clubbers to the curb. Probably the ideal future would be for the GOP to maintain control of the state while the culture continues to move leftward and the left becomes more extreme, thereby creating a polarization between the political majority and the state. Hopefully, Trump will be a disappointed to the radical right as well, having the effect of pushing the right in an even more radical direction as well.
By Shaun King
New York Daily News
A troubling new poll was just released showing that the Democratic Party is significantly less popular than both Donald Trump and Mike Pence. My gut tells me that Democrats will ignore this poll, or blame it on bad polling, and continue down the same course they are currently on: being funded by lobbyists and the 1%, straddling the fence or outright ignoring many of most inspirational issues of the time, and blaming Bernie Sanders for why they aren’t in power right now.
As a general rule the Democratic Party doesn’t listen well and struggles to hear the truth about itself.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Republicans now control the House, the Senate, the presidency, and the overwhelming majority of state legislatures and governorships. This new poll from Suffolk University illustrates just how that’s possible. Here are the base results of the poll with favorable/unfavorable ratings.
My long range vision for ARV-ATS has always been to develop an anarchist-led revolutionary Left that works with the radical Right for the purpose of dismantling the American empire (Rome on the Potomac). Now that Donald Trump has taken the throne as the latest clown-emperor, it would appear that substantial sectors of the Left are starting to realize the merits of the ARV-ATS position. This latest article in The New Republic is one of multiple articles of this kind that has appeared in era of Trump, not to mention the emergence of Calexit. See here, here, here, and here. And influential figures on the radical Right appear to be prepared to embrace the ATS position in at least a moderate form. I was hoping Trump would have this effect on the Left.
By Kevin Baker
The New Republic
Dear Red-State Trump Voter,
Let’s face it, guys: We’re done.
For more than 80 years now, we—the residents of what some people like to call Blue America, but which I prefer to think of as the United States of We Pay Our Own Damn Way—have shelled out far more in federal tax monies than we took in. We have funded massive infrastructure projects in your rural counties, subsidized your schools and your power plants and your nursing homes, sent you entire industries, and simultaneously absorbed the most destitute, unskilled, and oppressed portions of your populations, white and black alike.
All of which, it turns out, only left you more bitter, white, and alt-right than ever.
Some folks here in self-supporting America like to believe that there must be a way to bring you back to your senses and to restore rational government, if not liberal ideals, sometime in the foreseeable future. Everyone seems to have an answer for how to do this. Every day another earnest little homily finds its way to me over my internet transom: “Think locally, act globally,” or “Make art and fight the power,” or the old Joe Hill standby—“Don’t mourn. Organize.”
To which I say: Don’t organize. Pack.
Banking: Nationalization of the Federal Reserve, and mandate the Fed grant interest free loans. Support for a public infrastructure bank to fund public works projects, and interest free loans for businesses and mortgages.
Debt: Complete Dept Forgiveness for student loans and mortgages.
Taxation: Greatly reduce taxation on labor for the middle class and small businesses. Support for a Tobin Tax on Financial Speculation, and tax on pollution, an income CAP at $100 Million in assets and $1 Million in revenue, with the exception for inventors. Allow Shareholders to vote on Corporate CEO pay. Child Care Tax Credit Reductions.
Trade: Fair Trade over Free Trade. Strict environmental and worker protections must be taken into account. Enforce Tariffs on unbalanced trade.
Social Media: Nationalize Social Media to Mandate Free Speech.
Basic Income: A Basic income for all adult US citizens of at least $1000 per month. Increased income based on voluntary IQ Test, and for artist, writers, and scientist. Income revenue generated from treasury rather than from Taxation, and would replace the existing welfare state.
Automation: Use automation and an alternative to low skilled cheap foreign labor. Mandate that revenue generated from automation go to the public fund and not private corporate interest.
Healthcare: Replace for profit Health Insurance with public utilities, and free healthcare for those who cannot afford it. Mandate pharmaceutical companies provide drugs at low cost, and allow for nurses to provide basic healthcare duties at reduce cost. Break up patent monopolies to reduce cost.
By Stephen Yearwood
I saw two maps shown by John King on CNN when he was analyzing the 2012 election. They illustrated with striking clarity the political divide in this nation. Those maps pointed towards a possible path liberals could take to reasert their importance in the political system.
The first map showed the states, colored red or blue, depending on which presidential candidate won a majority in each one. In that election they were pretty evenly divided.
Then he showed a map of each of the individual counties in the nation colored red or blue. On the second map the country was a sea of red, with tiny islands of blue—atolls, really—scattered here and there.
Bill Lind has a proposal that is very similar to certain ATS positions.
By William S. Lind
Low-level Fourth Generation war has been underway in the U.S. for some time, largely in the form of gang activities. That is likely to continue, as will occasional terrorist incidents. This low-level warfare is a problem, but it does not threaten the state.
However, the Left’s reaction to the election of Donald Trump as president points to a far more dangerous kind of 4GW on our own soil. Trump’s election signified, among other things, a direct rejection of the Left’s ideology of cultural Marxism, which condemns Whites, men, family-oriented women, conservative blacks, straights, etc. as inherently evil. Not surprisingly, those people finally rebelled against political correctness and elected someone who represents them.
By Ryan Ramsey
Recent riots in Berkley, California have brought increasing attention to the global left wing terrorist organizations known collectively as ANTIFA. They justify their violence based on the idea they are fighting fascism. Who is not against fascism, right? Thus, the riots and murders are understandable. This logic holds about as much water as the idea the Patriot act was patriotic because patriot was in the name. You can paint a turd any color, it doesn’t change the taste. Antifa are violent thugs, and the patriot act raped a number of our civil liberties in a very UN-patriotic manner. In the words of John Adams, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
This immutable law of nature is a source of neverending irritation to the leftists attempting to hold back the Libertarian Party from its destiny to shift the paradigm of American politics. That destiny is to create a force edging us towards freedom with each election cycle, rather than a constant inch toward Marxism. Nick Sarwark, National Chairman of the Libertarian Party, is the poster boy for the Cultural Marxist idiocy that keeps us relegated to single digit election returns in a country where 25% or more of the population supports our policies. If we took the national platform and removed all the items.
An interesting interview with an “anti-fascist” that references the concept of pan-secessionism. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
Without understanding the way that those ambiguous ideas are applied in different milieus, like with national anarchism and autonomous nationalism and those sorts of things, radicals can fall for easy platitudes. Pan-secessionism is another great example. When radicals start talking about the need for separatism without a clear, cosmopolitan follow-up strategy, they leave ourselves wide open to their influence and the insinuation of fascism and the ability for fascist ideas and movements to gain ground in the radical milieu and also in the broader subcultures and in mainstream cultures. When they start talking about ethnic separatism—particularly white separatism, whether de jure or de facto—they’ve basically given up the field.
I think that people in the radical milieu are very disconnected from the impact and effect that they have and their ideas actually have on the mainstream. People often look to radicals to get a sense of direction, particularly vis-a-vis subcultures, so if fascists are given a pass to influence subcultures then the mainstream is far more likely to accept them piecemeal on the basis of accepted ideas and attitudes which are very deleterious. For example, you’ve probably heard of people who you might have thought of as a left wing or a radical saying things like “I don’t believe in equality” or “equality is nonsense” or “I don’t believe in freedom,” or that kind of thing. These kinds of statements seem geared to impress people or shock them or both, but does all that really work for us?
While pan-secessionism is a tactical concept, not an ideology, and has nothing to do with either fascism or anarchism or even national-anarchism per se, it is interesting to observe how these “anti-fascism” hysterics actually help to build the wider ARV-ATS program, largely by serving as the de facto promotional division for our tendency. We’re easily ten times more “famous” because of these people than we would be without them and, as they say in the entertainment business, “there ain’t no such thing as bad publicity.” These guys are the satanic rock protestors of the present era.
These folks are mostly oriented towards the jihad against “straight white cisgendered Christian male” hegemony, or whatever the latest rendition of this perspective includes while ATS is oriented towards the actual overthrow of states, ruling classes, and empires. However, I am for the building and expansion of all forms of anarchism, and oppositional subcultures generally, including the ones that are non-ATS affiliated and which may even be vehemently anti-ATS. To the degree that these guys are contributing to the delegitimization and fracturing of the system generally, they are contributing to our cause.
I can’t say I have any problem with any of this either. Much of this article is predictable anti-Trump hysteria. Last night, I asked a long time friend of mine, a lifelong Communist from France in his 60s, what he makes of the US Left’s “Trump is a fascist” hysteria. His response was, “They don’t know what their talking about.” Pretty much. But notion of “Trump as a fascist” may be a useful Sorelian myth or Platonic “noble lie” if it motivates the liberal-Left coalition to go into full oppositional mode on the liberal end and create chaos in the streets on the far left end. Fracture, fracture, fracture…
By Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society
In movements like the struggle for economic justice or against the authoritarian state (Occupy, Black Lives Matter, etc.), we usually see arguments for “diversity of tactics” made by radicals against liberal criticism of black block tactics like smashing windows and things of that sort. There’s still a lot of that kind of criticism, obviously — for example liberal reactions to the smashing of Bank of America windows, torching of limosines and whaling the almighty tar out of neo-Nazi celebrity Richard Spencer. But lately, since Trump’s election, I think there’s been at least as much criticism — much of it quite contemptuous — from Leftists dismissing liberal tactics like peaceful marches, factual corrections of Trump’s lies, denials of legitimacy, etc., as ineffectual (“This is not how you beat fascism”). And I think appeals to diversity of tactics apply just as much to the latter case as to the former.
I can’t say I have any particular problem with this. While there’s nothing particularly radical or revolutionary about what is being described in this article (it’s just standard left-liberal, social-democratic reformism with predictably cliched stances on every issue), I’m all for the blue tribe developing a stronger presence in the red zones, just as I am for the development of a stronger red tribe presence in the blue zones, not too mention an insurgency by the urban lumenproletariat against the localized manifestations of the system. Fracture, fracture, fracture…
By Spencer Sunshine
Everyone is familiar with the election map that shows the two Americas: a vast swath of red stretching across the country with a few blue patches clinging mostly to the coasts. This unbroken red block has been the cornerstone of what’s looking like a catastrophic political future for people of color, LGBTQ folks, immigrants, health care, reproductive rights, civil liberties, Social Security, the environment, and the list goes on.
So its no surprise that debate is raging among progressives about the White working class people who voted for Trump. Should these voters be uniformly dismissed as racist deplorables or should progressives try to appeal to them with populism?
By Alden Braddock
Peoples Post Modernist
Reject liberal(isms). Embrace your will to power.
The Left (even in radical circles)in many respects has failed as a movement. Race baiting, class politics, compromise on top of compromise and a clumsy at best praxis to achieving the ends we strive for are what we have now and accepting this reality is the only what we can now move past it. The old God is dead and we shall lay the groundwork of our stronghold on His grave. In order to do this we must be willing to embrace some new ideas;
1. We must stop pandering to identity politics. Treating people as collectives or even worse as sociological concepts trips individual action of any meaning and obfuscates our shared goal of fostering a world of self sufficiency, unshackled creative expression and freedom from imposed conditions. Yes, we can see the grave injustices levied against minorities by the state but recent events have made it clear that our cure is far worse than the disease. Arguing over who oppresses who, supporting language policing in an effort to hide from open dialogue and stick to our safe spaces have done us all a great disservice. Revolution never happens within a person’ comfort zone.
2. We must be willing to do what the right has done; collaborate with a wide variety of anti-state affinity groups (hard greens, third world nationalists, agorists, gender-nihilist/queer organizations, ext.) in order to crush our opposition and while we’re at it crush everybody’s enemy the neo-liberal/globalist.
3. We must be ruthless but use violence with tact and be willing to organize. Providing aid, organization/mobilization to and radicalizing groups like BLM and focusing on the core idea which motivate dissent (opposition to police brutality)instead of race and gender baiting will take us much further in achieving our long term goals
By Colette Gaiter
In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won the white vote across all demographics except for college-educated white women. He did especially well among working class white voters: 67 percent of whites without a college degree voted for him.
Some post-election analysis marveled at how the white working class could vote against its own interests by supporting a billionaire businessman who is likely to support policies that cut taxes for the rich and weaken the country’s social safety net. Since the New Deal, the Democratic Party has been seen as the party of working people, while Republicans were considered the party of the elites. Donald Trump was able to flip this narrative to his advantage. Election 2016 balkanized issues and made it seem impossible to work on racism, sexism, poverty and economic issues all at once. A core question moving forward for social justice advocates and the Democratic Party is how they can move beyond identity politics and attract working-class voters of all races, building stronger coalitions among disparate groups.
One place to look for inspiration and instruction might be 1960s social movements that understood the power of alliances across identities and issues. During this period, a radical coalition formed that might seem impossible today: A group of migrant southerners and working-class white activists called the Young Patriots joined forces with the Black Panthers in Chicago to fight systemic class oppression.
So how did this alliance form? And how can its lessons be applied to today’s political moment?
These ideas might be particularly relevant to the United States where the two-party duopoly is particularly difficult to crack.
By David Bollier
It’s an open secret that political parties and “democratic” governments around the world have become entrenched insider clubs, dedicated to protecting powerful elites and neutralizing popular demands for system change. How refreshing to learn about Ahora Madrid and other local political parties in Spain! Could they be a new archetype for the reinvention of politics and government itself?
Instead of trying to use the hierarchical structures of parties and government in the usual ways to “represent” the people, the new local parties in Spain are trying to transform government itself and political norms. Inspired by Occupy-style movements working from the bottom up, local municipal parties want to make all governance more transparent, horizontal, and accessible to newcomers. They want to make politics less closed and proprietary, and more of an enactment of open source principles. It’s all about keeping it real.
With Trump in the White House and GOP majorities in the House and Senate, we must look to cities to protect civil liberties and build progressive alternatives from the bottom up.
“I want New Yorkers to know: we have a lot of tools at our disposal; we’re going to use them. And we’re not going to take anything lying down.” On the morning after Donald Trump was declared the victor in the US presidential election, Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, wasted no time in signaling his intention to use the city government as a bulwark against the policy agenda of the President-Elect. The move made one thing very clear; with the Republican Party holding the House and Senate, and at least one Supreme Court nomination in the pipeline, it will fall to America’s cities and local leaders to act as the institutional frontline of resistance against the Trump administration.
However, cities can be more than just a last line of defense against the worst excesses of an authoritarian central government; they have huge, positive potential as spaces from which to radicalize democracy and build alternatives to the neoliberal economic model. The urgent questions that progressive activists in the States are now asking themselves are, not just how to fight back against Trump, but also how to harness the momentum of Bernie Sanders’ primary run to fight for the change he promised. As we consider potential strategies going forward, a look at the global context suggests that local politics may be the best place to start.
The election of Trump has not occurred in a vacuum. Across the West, we are witnessing a wholesale breakdown of the existing political order; the neoliberal project is broken, the center-left is vanishing, and the old left is at a loss for what to do. In many countries, it is the far right that is most successful in harnessing people’s desire to regain a sense of control over their lives. Where progressives have tried to beat the right at its own game by competing on the battleground of the nation state, they have fared extremely poorly, as recent elections and referenda across Europe have shown. Even where a progressive force has managed to win national office, as happened in Greece in 2015, the limits of this strategy have become abundantly clear, with global markets and transnational institutions quickly bullying the Syriza government into compliance.