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

A left-anarchist discusses the limitations of social democracy. Listen here.
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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.

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The Present and Future of the LP (and the Problem of “Libertarian Socialism”) Reply

Tom Woods interviews Joshua Smith on the libertarian capitalist vs libertarian socialist conflict in the Libertarian Party. Listen here.

Joshua Smith, who secured a spot on the Libertarian National Committee at the party’s recent convention, joins me to discuss the party’s present and future, the controversy with “libertarian socialists,” and much more.

Political Naïveté (or what are we to do about Maoism) 4

By Aragorn

Anarchist Library

One of the reasons that anarchism has become a popular political perspective is because in many contexts (for instance mass mobilizations or broad direct action campaigns) we seem open, friendly, and nonsectarian. This is in great contrast to visible (and visibly) Marxist or Leftist organizations, which either seem like newspaper-selling robots or ancient thorny creatures entirely out of touch with the ambivalence of the modern political atmosphere. Anarchists seem to get that ambivalence and contest it with hope and enthusiasm rather than finger-wagging.

The public face of anarchism tends towards approachability and youth: kids being pepper-sprayed, the general assemblies of the occupy movement, and drum circles. These are the images of the past five years that stand in contrast to the image of anarchists as athletic black clad window breakers. Both are true (or as true as an image can be) and both demonstrate why a criticism of anarchists continues to be that (even at our best) we are politically naïve.

Of course very few window breakers believe that breaking windows means much beyond the scope of an insurance form or a janitorial task, but that is beside the point. What matters is that the politics of no demands makes the impossible task of intelligent political discourse in America even more complicated (by assuming that discourse is a Pyhrric act). To put the issue differently, the dialectical binary of both engaging in the social, dialogic, compromising act of public politics while asserting that there is no request of those-in-power worth stating or compromising on isn’t possible. It is cake-and-eat-it thinking that is exactly why Anarchists must do what Anarchist must do[1].

This rejection of how the game is played while participating in it hasn’t shown itself to be a long term strategy– impossible never is. For lessons on playing the game we have to turn to the winners of politics and revolution: neoliberalists, sure, but also statist Marxists, reactionaries (from racist populists to nationalist Know Nothings or their descendants in the Tea Party), and what remnants exist of the old and new Left. Just to make the point crystal clear I’ll restate it. On the one hand you have the ridiculous non- or even anti-strategy of anarchist political theater that cannot achieve the impossible goal of everything for everybody forever. On the other hand you have realpolitik: the pragmatic application of power in the political sphere. This simplistic dualism is why most intelligent people abandon politics altogether and retreat to NIMBYism (at best) or the quiet solitude of screaming at a television screen as the only expression of engagement with the outside world.

In this light, a discussion about maoism might seem outrageous and it is! Maoism isn’t a relevant political tendency or movement in America. It isn’t leading guerrilla forces in the hills, it has no leaders-in-waiting just outside the border (unless you count Avakian which you should in no way do), but it isn’t further from the mainstream of American political thought than Anarchism is (anarchist big tent populists to the contrary) and is arguably much closer (in an often cited example, the mayor of Oakland, Jean Quan, is a former Maoist). More pointedly, Maoism and Anarchism have been cross-pollinating for decades. Our task here is to shine a light on that history and challenge what benefits anarchists have garnered from this little-discussed pollination.

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The Saint Max Option: Why Libertarian Activism Fails 1

A Facebook friend sums up why “the libertarian moment” passed with a succinct critique of conventional libertarianism (and I would include virtually the entire anarchist and anti-state milieu in this as well).

“The Libertarian Party is utterly useless. It may have once had some utility as a ‘forum’, but for a long time it’s been a scam to get donors to support the wonkery and time-wasting of party bureaucrats. The Tom Woods show has accomplished more than the LP ever has. The similar (though Republican-branded) Ron Paul Presidential runs are about the same thing. Millions of dollars blown to accomplish ‘outreach’? Most of the people it reached have apparently become SJWs, Bernouts or Trumpkins, anyway. Which just goes to show you that the problem isn’t ignorance, oppression, or government schools. The problem is that normal people are dumb, herdish, gullible, and just not libertarian. This is largely genetic, and also a product of enormous social inertias that are not subject to rational disputation. I generally think most ‘activism’ is a waste of time, especially if it’s activism for anything that makes sense: people have deep-seated, sub-rational reasons for rejecting this stuff.

“But I used to be a Nazi-Communist until I saw the Ron Paul campaign!” someone will say. Anecdotal stuff like this does not move me. Most people who call themselves ‘libertarians’ are useless, and still cowardly middle-classers who don’t dare actually break the law or approve of violence against the police. The Crips do more to actually subvert the law than most ‘libertarians’, because they’re not fat sissies. It’s not just that they’re afraid to declare Jihad on Washington and start selling meth out of their pickup truck, it’s that they’re afraid to even say that this is okay and maybe, just maybe, American soldiers who invade foreign countries deserve to die. This bourgoisie fetish for not offending people and being ‘respectable’ is a disease of the entire culture. This is one reason I’m not as big a fan of the middle class as the PaleoLib, types. They’re the people who gave us the nation-state and the state churches. You may think it is impractical to take on the FBI with your semi-automatic AR15. Fair enough. But the instinctive, herd-like fear of even acknowledging that the FBI would have it coming, tactical efficacy aside, is why American libertarians are weak sauce. I have much more respect for the Sovereign Citizens. I have more respect for the Shining Path and the Mafia than I do for the LP. They might be Commie lunatics and gangsters, but at least they’re not fat pussies begging their slave master for better food.

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A Review of Tribes: The National-Anarchist Magazine 3

Issue #1 July 2018. Now available. Order here.

By Juleigh Howard-Hobson

With an unaffected sense of balance and variance, Tribes is more than a mere issue of a magazine. It is a thoughtful compendium of many facets of National-Anarchism. None steal center stage. None erase or confute. Even while each article is quite firmly individual, this is a cohesive publication that both explores and presents ideas about and of National-Anarchy.

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“Tribes” Magazine Now Available! 5

The new magazine of the National-Anarchist Movement, “Tribes,” is now available. Please contact me through this website’s contact page or via Facebook for inquiries about orders. Complimentary copies will be provided on a selective basis to reviewers, publishers, academics and journalists.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and text

Contents

Editorial by Troy Southgate

The Challenge of National-Anarchism by Adam Ormes

Birth Against the Modern World by Hildr Jorgensen

Deep Roots Are Not Reached by the Frost by Linda Hext

Anarchy Against Politics by Kostas Exarchos

Autonomy and Introspection by Mary Kate Morris

Ecology and the Ethnosphere by Thom Forester

From the Streets in Black to a Field in a Wide-Brimmed Hat: A Left-Anarchist’s Journey to N-AM by Gregor Eugen Elliott

Tribe-Race-Ethnicity by Piercarlo-Bormida

Eonorenesis Ethnogenesis by Alexander Storrsson

Anarchism Without Adjectives: National-Anarchism and the Diversity of Communities by Sean Jobst

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What’s the Point of this Pan-Anarchist Revolution Thing, Anyway? 12

A reader on Facebook offers the following comments, and asks the following questions.

I’m not so sure how realistic sustained statelessness is without severe technological regression and economic collapse, but the obvious answer is that the vast majority of people would rather bask in the lazy comforts of delegated responsibility than take on the burdens and risks of freedom. The mantle of anarchism is often taken up as an immature pose that is rationalized after the fact, usually quite badly, before being discarded with age for whatever underlying tribal affiliation existed in the first place. It’s a knee-jerk rebellion against constraints on the self, for good or ill, and a justification for engaging in unreasonable or criminal behaviors whose motives are ultimately more personal than political.

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Where is the Anarchist Vanguard Standing for “Anarchy First”? Reply

It has been interesting to see how many predictions I made years ago have come into being.

I predicted that the Eastern powers and “rogue states” would eventually rise to form an axis of resistance to the hegemony of the American empire.

I predicted that populist-nationalist movements would continue to grow in Europe in opposition to the hegemony of neoliberalism.

I predicted that as the right-wing in the United States continued to lose ground politically, culturally, and demographically, it would adopt a more militant stance than what has previously been observed among “normal” conservatives. This has also happened in the form of the rise of Trumpism in the mainstream, the Alt-Right on the far fringes, and the Alt-Lite as a middle of the road position between the two.

I predicted that the right-wing would fail in its efforts to counteract the hegemony of neoliberalism and the cultural Left. This has happened by means of the cooptation of Trumpism by the Republican Party establishment, the cooptation of the Alt-Lite by Trumpism, and the internal implosion and marginalization of the Alt-Right.

I predicted that as totalitarian humanism continues to be a rising force in Western societies that opposition would emerge in response, not only from the right-wing, but also from centrist liberals, dissenters on the Left, minorities, and those on the Left mostly concerned about anti-imperialist, antiwar, economic, or civil libertarian issues as opposed to identity politics. Visible opposition to totalitarian humanism is now emerging in all of these corners.

I predicted that as class divisions continued to widen that class-based politics would make a return.

I predicted that as traditional minorities became increasingly integrated, and as class divisions continues to widen among minority communities, that minority conservatives would grow in number.

I predicted that individual cities and states might engage in resistance to the federal government’s policies in numerous areas.

Many other examples could be identified. See here and here. Some of these things have happened more rapidly than I thought they would.

However, one thing that I not so much predicted as much as called for was the formation of an “anarchist vanguard” that would be the foundation of anti-state front oriented towards the principles of “Anarchy First.”

As I wrote in the mid-2000s:

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Free Speech: What It Is and Why It Matters Reply

 

Aleksey Bashtavenko


Academic Composition

“However unwilling a person who has a strong opinion may be to admit that his opinion might be false, he ought to be moved by this thought: however true it may be, if it isn’t fully, frequently and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma rather than as a living truth. ”

John Stuart Mill

The First Amendment guarantees that the “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble”. This provision clarifies the point that the government cannot pass a law criminalizing the act of free expression. However, certain spoken statements could constitute an act of violence, provided they can be regarded as a root cause of violence against others.

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The Bankruptcy of the American Left 2

Kudos to Chris Hedges. This is as good an analysis as I would ever expect from someone on the Left. This is a fairly straightforward Marxist analysis within a social democratic ideological framework. But he knows who the real enemy is.

By Chris Hedges

Truthdig

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