Why True Conservatism Means Anarchy 5

This article is an important illustration of why a pan-anarchist movement, committed to global revolutionary struggle, needs to transcend the left/right paradigm. These romantic medievalist anarchists are people that we need as part of cultivating a mass audience for the project of state/ruling class/empire abolitionism.

By Alexander William Salter

The American Conservative

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.” These words are Patrick Henry’s, uttered in the course of his famous oration known for its powerful closing words “give me liberty or give me death.” Although Henry probably did not intend it as a sociopolitical axiom, the Anglo-American conservative tradition has adopted it as such. Conservatives rightly look to the past to influence their views of the future. Change in the basic structure of society’s institutions is inherently perilous, and must be guided by the “lamp of experience” lest reform lose its way.

But experience accumulates as time marches on. Proposed changes to public life that seem radical and dangerous in one era can embody wisdom and stewardship in another. Applied conservatism is nothing less than continual constitutional craftsmanship. And in that context, “constitution” refers not to whatever is formally drawn up in a document, but the actual procedures and practices that comprise a society’s public sphere.

In this spirit, I propose a position that seems extraordinary, but I am convinced is vindicated by historical experience: the state is a fundamentally anti-conservative force, and in order to preserve the good, true, and beautiful things in society, it’s got to go. In short, I argue that conservatives should seriously consider anarchism.

I realize such a position seems absurd, at least on its surface. Conservatism has long held that the existing political order deserves respect precisely because it is the result of custom, habit, and experience. Massive changes in basic social institutions almost always create chaos. How then can one be both conservative and anarchist?

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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.

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What is “Socialism,” Anyway? 2

The word “socialism” is constantly being thrown about by supposed supporters and detractors alike, most of whom are people who have no clue as to what socialism actually is.

I am opposed to conventional socialism, which I actually consider to be a conservative philosophy (see Murray Rothbard’s essay “Left and Right” on this). Historically, socialist societies have been very conservative. There is no developed, “First World” country that practices socialism, and there never has been. The supposed “socialist” countries in Northern Europe practice a kind of “welfare capitalism” that is often more “free market” than the United States (where the market is subordinated to a kind of corporatist-financier-plutocratic-military-command economy, like an industrial-technological version of the economy of the Roman Empire).

Historically, socialism has appealed primarily to middle-class intellectuals and professionals in colonial societies and feudal countries whose national, political or class ambitions were being frustrated by either external colonialist/imperialist powers, or their own entrenched/inert ruling classes. Socialism was regarded as means of seizing the wealth of external colonial overlords, their colonial puppet rulers, and feudal elites, and utilizing this wealth for internal development (which is why Western colonial powers have been so opposed to socialism). Most of these countries eventually convert to capitalism (or simply stagnate or fall apart).

This Wikipedia entry listing socialist countries that have actually existed is pretty thorough. Notice that not a one of them is or has even been a Westernized industrial democracy. The “socialism” of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, etc is standard welfare capitalism of the kind that developed in the late 19th and early 20th century through philosophies like progressivism, Fabianism, social democracy and reform liberalism.

Modern industrial economies are hybrids of market relations, and bureaucratic-managerial-administrative systems, with interlocking public, private, and independent sectors. Check out James Burnham’s work on the “managerial revolution” from the 1940s. He was an early observer of how classical bourgeois capitalism was being replaced with the modern, corporate, administrative kind. In a historical context socialism means either a nationalized economy that is directed by the state, or a worker run cooperative/syndicalist system, or some kind of New Harmony like utopian commune. However, the latter two examples are a fringe tendency within socialism (or have been during the past century), were denounced by Lenin as an “infantile disorder,” and are not what most people think  of when they think of socialism.

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The First World Left vs. Anti-Imperialism, Third Worldism, Pro-Indigenous, and Lumpenproletarianism 1

The problem I have with figures like Bernie and Alexandria is that they’re not radicals. They’re simply representatives of the left-wing of the First World middle/upper middle class, pushing issues that are important that socioeconomic demographic. Unlike the traditional American middle class (now the right-wing of the middle class) they don’t necessarily see the state as impeding their upward mobility by means of taxes, business regulations, etc. Instead, the left-wing of the middle class represents upwardly mobile members of traditional outgroups like ethnic minorities, feminist women, gays, etc (hence, the fanatical emphasis on idpol), their aesthetic interests (hence, their interest in environmentalism), their desire to be protected from the “dangerous classes” (hence, their fanatical emphasis on gun control, and their fear of guns in the hands of icky rural rednecks and inner-city brothas). They see the state as a means of upward mobility by means of public sector employment, social security, free schools and healthcare, anti-discrimination laws, etc.

I have no time for any of this. I am (generally speaking) anti-imperialist, Third Worldist, and pro-indigenous in international relations, and pro-lumpenproletarian in First World class relations. Historically, the Right was the party of the traditional elite, the Center was the party of the middle class, the Left was the party of the respectable working class, and the Anarchists were the party of the lumpenproletariat. I stand with the latter.

‘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.”

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Anarchy Bang: Episode Four – Capitalism 2

Aragorn Bang’s podcast. Also, check out Little Black Cart.

A great program discussing many pertinent issues.

Listen here.

Anarchists have largely agreed on the big two. Central to our politics is opposition to the State, or as we discussed last week the monopoly on violence (or corrected by some as the monopoly on the legitament use of violece) and opposition to Capitalism. This week let’s discuss what that means. Unlike the State, that we can largely ignore outside of paying taxes, being corraled at protests, and a brief hesitation prior to committing murder and the like, capitalism is largely something we “do” or at least experience every single day. So we both despise and participate in this system of organizing exchange relationships.

What does this mean for anarchists? Largely it means that we sound crazy when we discuss alternatives to the existing order. Being in this world and of another means that we discuss moral, ethical, and philosophical topics rather than practical or “reasonable” ones. We have very little to say, and less to offer, poor people. We argue the destiny that we are sure of like lunatics and mostly argue these points with some of the only other people who identify as anarchists who we insist are not.

And our natural allies are among the largest mass murderers of the twentieth century in Russia, China, and Vietnam. For some reason that has something to do with marketing and the way that the Internet makes people either lose their mind or forget the past Old Fashion Red Communism has come back into some sort of vogue. And closer to home one of the largest leaks in this little rowboat we call Anarchism is the even more obscure communisms of Pannekok, Luxemburg, and Theory Communiste from Holland, Germany, and France respectively. Europe is back baby as if it every went away.

This week our challenge is to stake our position on Capitalism. Great oppositional system against human self-expression and self-worth or greatest system? Call in and let us discuss capitalism, it’s strength’s, which are many, and its weaknesses.

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.

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Alexander Reid-Ross-Podhoretz-Kristol: State Department Anarchist 10

Mr. Antifa Intellectual serves up the “Anarcho-MSNBC” line. This kind of stuff is why I started attacking anarcho-social democrats and totalitarian humanists so vehemently 20 years ago. Regrettably, a substantial tendency has developed among “anarchists” that opposes regional or localized illiberalism more than it opposes imperialism, opposes marginal right-wing extremists more than it opposes the power elite, opposes redneck ruckus makers like the Bundys more than it opposes the FBI and ATF, opposes social conservatives more than it opposes the state itself, and (probably) opposes the reality show president more than it opposes the actual national security state.

I suppose they’re entitled to their opinion. Unlike many anarchists, I consider freedom of opinion and freedom of association to be paramount. But, seriously, how are these kinds of folks any different from the Democratic Party?

 

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.

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The Brilliant: What is Anarchism in 2018 with Bellamy 15

For those who are interested in the philosophies of anarchism, this is a damn good episode of The Brilliant. Myself and ATS are mentioned at various times as well.

The Brilliant-Episode 90. Listen here.

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This is the last episode of 2018. In 2019 along with the Brilliant I’ll be working on a weekly call in show called Anarchy Bang that you should check out on Sundays at noon (PST).

Bellamy and I have another conversation that I’ll release next week about Corrosive Consciousness but for now we discuss anarchism in 2018 (http://thebrilliant.org/podcast/episode-65-what-is-anarchism-in-2018/ and text here http://thebrilliant.org/2018/11/19/season-3-of-the-brilliant/) and where we agree and where BF is wrong (joke!). We discuss whether we are in a third wave of anarchism and what it’s boundary is compared to second wave. Should we fight for the word anarchism, the loyal opposition to anarcho-liberalism, or should we go another direction?

If you haven’t you should check out Bellamy’s article from Backwoods #1 you should. An Invitation to Desertion to understand some of BF’s position in this conversation.

Finally we gossip about Dr. Bones, anarchist nationalism, and spirituality.

Contact us at thebrilliant@thebrilliant.org

Anarchism and the Mentally Ill 1

By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit

Exile in Happy Valley

Like many of my posts, I’m writing this piece from the clerical unit of my local psych rehab. There are all kinds of people here around me; black, white, old, young. But the one thing we all have in common, the one thing that brings us all together here, is that, for lack of a better word, we’re all fucking nuts. Schizophrenia, bipolar, a vast rainbow across the autism spectrum, I personally enjoy a zesty melange of depression, social anxiety, gender dysphoria, and agoraphobia that have plagued me for most of my life and my family for generations. We come here for a lot of reasons, for work, for recovery, but mostly we come here to belong. Because it’s the one place where we can be who we are without fear of being censured by a society that has deemed us defective.

I am mentally ill, dearest motherfuckers. But what does that really mean in this day and age. In the modern world, a mentally ill person is essentially someone who is pathologically ill equipped to take part in society. But considering the state of society, is that really a disability? We live in a country that prizes mindless obedience to authority and no holds barred consumption to the point of ecological genocide. If you ask me, the people who aren’t freaked out are the fucking sickos.

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