Solid Reasons Not to Vote 1

By Will Schnack

Even if we were to vote, where is the line drawn? We all know that Ralph Nader gave Bush the election, and we know that Bernie and the Greens and Libertarians did the same thing. So, what are we to do? Press that even the exposure of these people is a good thing? That they put pressure on the others to bend their policies a bit, to appeal to more people? Or are we just supposed to run into the pen that the sheepdog leads us into every time we realize that the sheepdog was never going to win in the first place? And if we’re voting for people who aren’t going to win, why aren’t we all just writing in our disparate but favorite candidates, and our friends and neighbors? Where is the line drawn with useless voting?

The working class often votes Right-wing, because some of the working class is composed of the small property-owner or the owner-operator and sole-proprietor of their business, or are working to get there. Others are white trailer trash who see affirmative action and other programs as privileges that they themselves don’t have but are being punished for. Some are just rural folks. There are tons of demographics among the working class, and not all of them white, that supported Donald Trump.

More…

One Cheer — More or Less — For the Green New Deal 3

This seems to be a serious, thoughtful critique of the “Green New Deal” idea from a fairly conventional left-anarchist perspective (although Carson is an individualist/mutualist/AWA, not an an-com).

The ATS theoretical model and strategic paradigm is oriented toward global revolutionary struggle against the new Rome (i.e. the global capitalist empire), with an emphasis on indigenous people everywhere, and bottom-up anti-imperialist struggle. I’d say my own geopolitical outlook approximates that of the Shining Path (minus the Maoist fundamentalism).

What Carson describes here is more or less what I would envision the reformist wing of the left-wing of pan-anarchism in First World countries doing, but it’s only that. Notice that the examples Carson provides are all First World places (“the new municipalist movements in Barcelona, Madrid, Bologna, and Jackson”) I see the ATS vision of global revolutionary struggle as transcending the left/right reformist/radical First World/Third World (core/periphery) dichotomies. A similar analysis could be made of Carson’s ideas on “privilege theory,” which would likewise be appropriate for the social/cultural wing of the left-wing of pan-anarchism in First World countries (in a way that potentially networks with similar tendencies in the Third World).

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

In critiquing and analyzing a state policy proposal like the Green New Deal from an anarchist perspective, I should throw in the usual disclaimers about my working assumptions. I’m not an insurrectionist and I don’t believe the post-capitalist/post-state transition will be primarily what Erik Olin Wright called a “ruptural” process. Although the final transition may involve some ruptural events, it will mostly be the ratification after the fact of a cumulative transformation that’s taken place interstitially.

Most of that transformation will come from the efforts of ordinary people at creating the building blocks of the successor society on the ground, and from those building blocks replicating laterally and coalescing into an ecosystem of counter-institutions that expands until it supplants the previous order.

Some of it will come from political engagement to run interference for the new society developing within the shell of the old, and pressuring the state from outside to behave in more benign ways. Some of it will come from using some parts of the state against other parts, and using the state’s own internal procedural rules to sabotage it.

Some of it will come from attempts to engage friendly forces within the belly of the beast. Individuals here and there on the inside of corporate or state institutions who are friendly to our efforts and willing to engage informally with us can pass along information and take advantage of their inside positions to nudge things in a favorable direction. As was the case with the transition from feudalism and capitalism, some organizational entities — now nominally within state bodies or corporations — will persist in a post-state and post-capitalist society, but with their character fundamentally changed along with their relationship to the surrounding system.  If you want to see some interesting examples of attempts at “belly of the beast” grantsmanship and institutional politics, take a look at the appendices to some of Paul Goodman’s books.

A great deal, I predict, will come from efforts — particularly at the local level — to transform the state in a less statelike direction: a general principle first framed by Saint-Simon as “replacing legislation over people with the administration of things,” and since recycled under a long series of labels ranging from “dissolution of the state within the social body” to “the Wikified State” to “the Partner State.” The primary examples I have in mind today are the new municipalist movements in Barcelona, Madrid, Bologna, and Jackson and the dozens and hundreds of cities replicating that model around the world, as well as particular institutional forms like community land trusts and other commons-based local economic models.

READ MORE

Uniting the Fringe Against the Center 2

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Watching the news lately, you get the impression that the world is being ripped in two by the scourge of the far-right and the far-left. Populism they call it. Warring tribes in a binary war for the soul of the free world. In the US, Our dear orange Pericles is scheming mightily to manipulate the already unconstitutional powers of executive privilege to follow through with his promise to militarize the commons at the boarder. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is in virtual upheaval over how to contain a 5-foot-2 congresswoman for making the “antisemitic” observation that perhaps Israel has too much influence over Washington while the rest of the party keep McCarthyism alive with their own Russophobic “tropes”.

Across Europe and many other parts of the world, you here a similar tale of the populist left and/or the populist right going too far in one direction or the other, many times both simultaneously in an act of sociopolitical fission. You also hear a great collective wail from the established order who still maintain control over the press and the permanent government, lamenting the untimely demise of globalism and an ill-defined sense of pragmatism among the holy Neos, both liberal and conservative. These heavily microphoned scions of the status quo would have you believe that the world was in perfect harmony before the 2008 financial crash that they and their order precipitated with the bipartisan pillage of the world’s financial resources. In times like these the Ivy League appointed intellectual hierarchy of corporate thinktankland like to blow the dust off that old time honored canard of Jean-Pierre Faye’s Horseshoe Theory. The idea that, when push comes to shove, the far-right and the far-left are like two ends of a horseshoe, nearly meeting each other ideologically in the middle.

READ MORE

The United City-States of America, Mapped Reply

The future infrastructure of pan-anarchism? The city-states should only be the meta-structures for thousands of local communities, intentional communites, neighborhoods, districts, and autonomous zones. And why only 100? Ancient Greece was comprised of nearly 1100 autonomous cities. The Holy Roman Empire included hundreds of kingdoms intersecting with many more free cities and territories. 

By Nolan Gray

Medium

From ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy to the Four Asian Tigers, city-states have always punched above their weight. They’ve driven culture forward, facilitated global commerce, and charged ahead of their nation-bound peers.

Indeed, cities — and the metropolitan regions that orbit around them — make sense as a political and economic unit. The key services we depend on government to do, from building infrastructure to ensuring public safety, are mostly handled by cities. And contrary to earlier predictions, the forces of globalization and the rise of the information economy have only made cities more important as economic engines and innovation hubs. It’s no surprise, then, that cities — and their mayors — are increasingly finding their voices in a world previously dominated by nations and international entities.

Unfortunately, the way the United States is structured today undermines this trend by privileging states as the key political entity. State boundaries in these modern times are typically arbitrary and often no longer reflect any meaningful political, cultural, or economic reality. Some U.S. cities, both big and small, manage to straddle state borders (think Texarkana or Bristol) while others run right up to the state edge but sharply hug the border (think Cincinnati or St. Louis). And a number of states are inexplicably fragmented because their seat of government is very different from their most populous town (think New York City/Albany and Chicago/Springfield). This often results in excessive fragmentation, unproductive competition, and a near total lack of regional land-use and transportation planning. We all suffer as a result.

READ MORE

Patagonia Marshal Theatens to Arrest 12 Year Old Publisher of Orange Street News 1

By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Orange Street News

The OSN was working on a story in Patagonia, Arizona when a law enforcement officer threatened the reporter with arrest unless she stopped reporting the news.

The OSN was biking down Roadrunner Lane investigating the tip at about 1:30 pm on February 18th when the reporter was stopped by Patagonia Marshal Joseph Patterson and asked for identification.

The Orange Street News identified herself as a member of the media, including name and phone number.

“I don’t want to hear about any of that freedom of the press stuff,” said Patterson.

The Marshal continued “I’m going to have you arrested and thrown in juvey. “

The Marshal didn’t have his lights on and passed several people who were on the streets without stopping them or questioning them.

“I can have you arrested, do you understand?” the Marshal answered.

Asked what he could arrested for, the officer first said it was for “disobeying his command,” then said it was for riding on the wrong side of the road. Finally, the officer said a Mountain Lion was spotted in the area despite their being other people in the area who were not kicked off the road.

“I’m worried about your safety, the area you were in we were dealing with a mountain lion,” said Patterson.”

“I gave you a lawful order and if you disobey a law enforcement officer….Lying to me and saying you were going to your friends house wasn’t acceptable.”

“If you paste my face on the internet it’s against the law so I’m not giving you permission to use my picture or my face on the internet, do you understand all that?”

Read more at OSN

EDITORIAL FIGHTING YOUTHISM ONE DOLLAR AT A TIME Reply

By Hilde Kate Lysiak
Orange Street News

There is an unspoken menace facing those of us under fifteen years old.

No, it’s not disgustingly low expectations. Or lice (which sucks).

I call it youthism.

You haven’t heard of youthism?

Youthism is the discrimination against a human being for no other reason than being young.

I recently had a first hand experience with youthism while shopping for Christmas presents for my sisters in my downtown. I was at a local Antique shop looking through some CD’s when I felt a bony hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see a kind looking old lady.

“Excuse me dear, but is you Mommy or Daddy with you?”

My face turned bright red with anger.

I knew where this was going.

There was a lot of things I wanted to say.

Read more at OSN

‘Something will crack’: supposed prophecy of Donald Trump goes viral Reply

This is an interesting article from 2016, published immediately after the Trump election, which references some of the criticisms of the Left that were raised by the postmodernist philosopher Richard Rorty in the 1990s. Rorty’s prediction was that by abandoning class politics in favor of cultural politics, the Left would push the working classes to the Right, as the working classes would come to recognize the Left as cultural enemies, and as unwilling to defend their economic interests.

I started noticing the same thing during the 1990s as well. But my “solution” was the polar opposite of Rorty’s. Rorty wanted to turn back the clock to old-fashioned liberalism of the New Deal era. Whereas I, then and now, wanted to move to a much further left position, i.e. a revolutionary left that recognizes neoliberals as the primary enemy, that understands that the “right-wing” represents a dying traditional elite and traditional culture, that rejects the statism of the Marxist Left, and that recognizes PC as a “left-wing of the middle class” ideology that is a fundamentally anti-working class and anti-revolutionary position.

An authentic revolutionary libertarian-left would not be about demanding more favors from the state or creating or more state activities (such as “single-payer healthcare” or “Green New Deal”). Instead, it would be about eliminating all state actions (from the county level to the international level) that undermine the self-determination of the poor and working classes (from zoning laws to the IMF and World Bank). Further, an authentic revolutionary libertarian-left would be unreservedly anti-imperialist (including opposition to so-called “humanitarian intervention” or “human rights imperialism”). The appropriate position on “social issues” for a revolutionary libertarian-left is the traditional anarchist one, i.e. individual sovereignty, free associations, voluntary communities, decentralized pluralism, bottom-up federalism and mutual aid (and not “political correctness,” “cultural Marxism,” “totalitarian humanism,” “progressive stacking,” or other crap.)

Richard Rorty wrote in 1998: ‘The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for.’


Richard Rorty wrote in 1998: ‘The nonsuburban=electorate will decide that the system has failedand start looking around for a strongman to vote for.’ Photograph: Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images

Americans trying to unpick the phenomenon of Donald Trump have turned to a late left-leaning academic, who predicted that old industrializeddemocracies were heading into a Weimar-like period in which populist movements could overturn constitutional governments.

In 1998, the late Stanford philosopher Richard Rorty published a small volume, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, that described a fracturing of the leftwing coalition that rendered the movement so dispirited and cynical that it invited its own collapse.


In the days after Trump’s electoral college victory over Hillary Clinton, passages from Rorty’s book went viral, shared thousands of times on social media. Rorty’s theories were then echoed by the New Yorker editor David Remnick in an interview with Barack Obama and essay on his presidency, and taken up across the internet as an explanation for Trump’s success.
In the book, Rorty predicted that what he called the left would come to give “cultural politics preference over real politics”. This movement would contribute to a tidal wave of resentment, he wrote, that would ricochet back as the kind of rancor that the left had tried to eradicate.
Rorty suggested that so long as “the proles can be distracted from their own despair by media-created pseudo-events, including the brief and bloody war, the super-rich will have little to fear”.
But as democratic institutions began to fail, workers would begin to realize that governments were “not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or jobs from being exported”, Rorty wrote. They would also realize that the middle classes – themselves desperately afraid of being downsized – would not come to their rescue.
“At that point,” Rorty wrote, “something will crack.”

READ MORE

Against Anarcho-Liberalism and the curse of identity politics 12

At last, some anarchists who get it.

Woke Anarchists

Anarchism in the UK is a joke. Once symbolising hard-fought struggles for freedom, the word has been stripped bare to make way for narrow-minded, separatist and hateful identity politics by middle class activists keen to protect their own privileges. We write this leaflet to reclaim anarchism from these identity politicians.

We write as self-identified anarchists who see our roots in the political struggles of the past. We are anti-fascists, anti-racists, feminists. We want to see an end to all oppressions and we take an active part in those fights. Our starting point though is not the dense language of lefty liberal academics, but anarchism and its principles: freedom, cooperation, mutual aid, solidarity and equality for all regardless. Hierarchies of power, however they manifest, are our enemies.

More…

Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality 1

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile In  Happy Valley

Solidarity is the guiding principle for any egalitarian philosophy. The basic idea is that all oppressed people face the same enemy and the only way any of us can defeat our collective oppressor  is with the collective force of a diverse people united against it in all its demonic manifestations. Today they call this principle intersectionality. The uncivil union of big government and big business that calls itself the state murders black people, rapes trans folks, objectifies women, dehumanizes workers, and bombs the third world into, well, the third world. Separated we are weak, impoverished, crippled. But united we are dangerous, we are a force to be reckoned with.

In my mind, the natural objective of solidarity and intersectionality should be anarchy in one form or the other and only the concept of panarchy allows for one form or another to be properly explored. In spite of their once lofty ambitions and their recent rise in trendiness, state socialism and communism don’t destroy the class system, they just replace it. Ultimately the only difference between a bureaucrat and an oligarch is a title. The Bolshevik interpretation of the Marxist Dictatorship of the Proletariat is just asinine.

More…

Which Way for Anarchists? Revolutionary Struggle or Moral Crusading? 10

His Goofiness William Gillis, Chairman of the Central Committee of the People’s Revolutionary Antifascist Transhumanist Party (Market-Anarchist), says building self-determination movements that people all over the world can actually relate to is the wrong way to go. No, what we need is a “Moral Majority of the Left” or a SJW version of the “Legion of Decency” conducting bluenose campaigns to sniff out moral deviance wherever it might arise. Apparently, His Goofiness is paralyzed by fear of the thought that many anarchists and libertarians actually agree with tendencies like ATS and N-AM, but just don’t realize it, or just can’t get past the “liberal” programming they’ve gotten from the “ideas and technology” industries.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, anarchists were the world’s largest revolutionary movement, both in the industrialized (or industrializing) West, in much of the East, and in the colonies, until the rise of Bolshevism, the emergence of the Soviet Union, the achievement of hegemony by Communism, and the rise of fascism as a counterpart to Communism by the revolutionary right.

The question is how can anarchists reclaim their legacy from a century ago. A global revolutionary movement against the global capitalist empire that regards capitalism, communism, and fascism as different points on the same triangle, that embraces the full range of anti-authoritarian philosophies and an infinite variety of “identities,” and that favors decentralized societies based on the principles of voluntary associations, voluntary communities, localism, federalism, and mutual aid would be the way to go.

Chicago 1969: When Black Panthers aligned with Confederate-flag-wielding, working-class whites Reply

This is how it needs to be. One thing this article doesn’t mention is that the Rainbow Coalition was also oriented toward building relationships with Chicago gangs like the Blackstone Rangers. Both the Nixon-Hoover FBI and the Chicago police thought this idea was so dangerous and threatening that they literally assassinated the project’s leaders, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

“In his short time as a Black Panther leader, Fred Hampton wanted to advance the group’s goals by forming a “Rainbow Coalition” of working class and poor people of all races…

Former members of the Chicago Panthers and YPO tell different versions of the same story of how the groups connected: Each attended the other’s organizing meetings and decided to work together on their common issues. Over time, the Black Panthers learned to tolerate Confederate flags as intransigent signs for rebellion. Their only stipulation was that the white Young Patriots denounce racism…

In the end, the Illinois Panthers brought together various elements of the black community, Confederate flag-waving southern white migrants (Young Patriots), Puerto Ricans (Young Lords), poor white ethnic groups (Rising Up Angry, JOIN Community Union, and the Intercommunal Survival Committee), students and the women’s movement. The disparate groups under the coalition’s umbrella pooled resources and shared strategies for providing community services and aid that the government and private sector would not. Initiatives included health clinics, feeding homeless and hungry people, and legal advice for those dealing with unethical landlords and police brutality.”

Interestingly, it only seems to be tendencies like Attack the System and National-Anarchist Movement that have any interest in going this route today.

Recently, this meme was posted on an N-A page:

And these were some of the comments in response by leading N-As:

More…

Maybe It’s Time for America to Split Up 1

Whenever a Republican president is in office, I see articles like this coming from the liberal side, and when a Democrat is in office, I see similar articles coming from conservatives. But these ideas never seem to gain any traction. Too many on the right are attached to nationalism (“USA! USA!”) and imperialism (what is euphemistically called “a strong national defense”). Too many on the left are attached to the idea of a global social democracy and “human rights imperialism,” or simply paralyzed by fear of the idea that some backwoods counties might do something un-progressive.

Sasha Issenberg

New York Mag

The year is 2019. California’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, recently elected on a platform that included support for the creation of a single-payer health-care system, now must figure out how to enact it. A prior nonpartisan analysis priced it at $400 billion per year — twice the state’s current budget. There appears to be no way to finance such a plan without staggering new taxes, making California a magnet for those with chronic illnesses just as its tax rates send younger, healthier Californians house-hunting in Nevada and big tech employers consider leaving the state.

But Newsom is not alone. Other governors have made similar promises, and Newsom calls together the executives of the most ideologically like-minded states — Oregon, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland. What if they banded to create a sole unified single-payer health-care system, spreading risk around a much larger pool of potential patients while creating uniformity across some of the country’s wealthiest states?

READ MORE

We should chop America up into 7 different countries. Seriously. Reply

Only 7? Sounds a bit moderate. It’s interesting how these ideas keep getting circulated but never really catch on beyond the margins. Are that many people really that unhappy with the system? Or are political partisans really just equivalents of sports fans (with “extremists” like the Antifa and Alt-Right merely assuming the role of the football hooligans)?.

By Bonnie Kristian

The Week

Look, we had a good run.

Well, maybe “good” isn’t quite the right word … but certainly it’s been interesting. These United States were a grand experiment. But the experiment has gotten out of hand. It’s time to peacefully dissolve the union.

I know, I know. This is not what good Americans are supposed to suggest. “Four score and seven years ago” and all that. But to borrow a lesser-known phrase from that brief address, it seems to me we have tested whether this nation “can long endure,” and increasingly it is clear it cannot. It’s just not working. Do you really disagree? Do you like the way things are?

More…

Fighting Back Against Globalism Requires An Honest Movement To Decentralize Reply

By Brandon Smith

Alt-Market.Com

Over a decade ago, critics of the liberty movement would often argue that it was not enough to simply point out all the problems plaguing our economy — we needed to also offer solutions. Of course, a common Alinsky tactic is to demand your opponents solve all the world’s ailments before they can earn the right to complain. “If you can’t give us a solution, then stop going on and on about the problem,” they would squawk incessantly like parrots.

I don’t agree that our right to analyze the instabilities of our financial system is predicated on our ability to fix the issue outright. In fact, that sounds rather insane. How can we fix the problem if we don’t educate the public on the problem first? However, I do think that the only people who have the drive and the knowledge to ultimately come up with a solution are those in the liberty movement. Who else is going to try? Who else is even qualified?

I have seen many ideas come and go over the years. The thing about fixing what is broken is that while you might get most people to agree on the problem, getting a majority of them to agree on a solution is a nightmare. Once enough people agree on a solution, you then have to find a way to motivate them to act on it. The masses often want desperately to help themselves, they just don’t like it when a lot of effort or sacrifice is required.

This is why we only tend to see organized activism and a push toward self-sufficiency AFTER a crisis has already struck. Most human beings require obvious incentive before they become motivated. They need immediate gratification. The people that can see the long game, who can see the incentives years or generations down the road, we call “leaders.” The hope is that one day every individual can be educated to the point that they can self-lead; that each individual will become an innovator and problem solver in their own right.

READ MORE

Larry Krasner’s Campaign to End Mass Incarceration Reply

I’m inclined to say “I’ll believe it when I see it” but is this a case of the system actually working?

By Jennifer Gonnerman

The New Yorker

Krasner asked his young prosecutors, “Who here has read Michelle Alexander?”

Photograph by Jeff Brown for The New Yorker

Until Larry Krasner entered the race for District Attorney of Philadelphia last year, he had never prosecuted a case. He began his career as a public defender, and spent three decades as a defense attorney. In the legal world, there is an image, however cartoonish, of prosecutors as conservative and unsparing, and of defense attorneys as righteous and perpetually outraged. Krasner, who had a long ponytail until he was forty, seemed to fit the mold. As he and his colleagues engaged in daily combat with the D.A.’s office, they routinely complained about prosecutors who, they believed, withheld evidence that they were legally required to give to the defense; about police who lied under oath on the witness stand; and about the D.A. Lynne Abraham, a Democrat whose successful prosecutions, over nearly twenty years, sent more people to death row than those of any other D.A. in modern Philadelphia history.

READ MORE

Welcome, New Readers! 1

Recently, AttacktheSystem.Com has generated a surge of traffic due to a range of projects we have been associated with. For those who are unfamiliar with ATS, I would suggest reading our Statement of Purpose, along the following three articles first in order to find out what we’re about.

Anarchism or Anarcho-Social Democracy?

Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Philosophical Anarchism and the Death of Empire

The first article was written circa 2000/2001 during the peak of the anti-globalization movement. The other two were written circa 2003/2004 following the beginning of the Iraq War. While some of the content may be slightly dated, these core ideas remain the foundation of our outlook.

Many of our newer readers are coming to us from the anarchist movement. Let’s just say we offer an alternative perspective to the “anarcho-MSNBC” line that is presently dominant in the North American anarchist milieu. Make up your own mind.

Elections, Power, and the DSA: The Failure of the Left in Power 1

A left-anarchist discusses the limitations of social democracy. Listen here.
.
Illustration of Ocasio-Cortez flanked by DSA fist and image of crowd of workers with firsts united into one large first.

The discussion itself was very good, although I found the intro monologue to be something of a turn off in the sense that it sounded like a barrage of buzzwords and catchphrases (kind of like reciting the Apostles’ Creed in church). The point the guy being interviewed seemed to be making was “We should use grassroots direct action rather than electoral politics to A) get more free ice cream days and B ) oppose things leftists don’t like.” For instance, at one point he actually praises Nixon for creating the EPA and OSHA (“More centralized state bureaucracies! Yay! Vivia de Anarchia!”). He seems to be mostly regurgitating what David Graeber called “small ‘a’ anarchism” or “social movement anarchism.” In fact, he sounds a lot like what my anarchist friends and I would have been talking about 25-30 years ago.

I don’t think his point of view is “wrong” in the same sense that I don’t necessarily think Alexander Reid Ross’ “anarcho-MSNBC” perspective is “wrong” in the sense that it’s fine to have an anarchist tendency that’s merely about opposing Trump, the “far right” or official enemies of the US like Russia or Syria like Reid-Ross’ crowd, and it’s not “wrong” to have anarchist tendencies that are just about “social movement left-activism” like these “DSA anarchists” or whatever they are. But I view anarchist philosophy and politics as much bigger than all that.

More…