Against the “Anti-Fascist” Creeps Reply

A Review of Alexander Reid-Ross’ “Against the Fascist Creep”

by Keith Preston

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Academic Gloss for the Antifa

For decades, a minor cottage industry of professional “anti-racists” and “anti-fascists” has existed for the purpose of perpetually sounding the alarm about the imminent threat posed by supposed “far right extremists.” The most well-known and influential of these is the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has raked in millions of dollars largely by frightening elderly liberals and Jews old enough to remember the Holocaust with hobgoblin tales about the supposedly persistent rise of neo-Nazism in America. The fundraising tactics of the SPLC are nearly identical to those of televangelists soliciting funds from elderly Christians by spinning tales about the supposed infiltration of the public schools by gay pedophiles. If one reads the literature of the SPLC and, for example, the publications of religious right organizations such as Focus on the Family and Coral Ridge Ministries, parallel themes will soon become noticeable. While the SPLC and a similar organization, the Anti-Defamation League, are the major league players in the “anti-fascism” industry, there are a number of minor league players as well ranging from the Ford Foundation-funded (how is that for irony?) Political Research Associates to AK Press, a small publisher oriented towards the “antifa” sector of the wider “anarchist” milieu.

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Mutualism: The Philosophy of Anarchy Reply

By Will Schnack

Evolution of Consent

This was composed for a speech given to the East Texas Freethinkers
on February 18th, 2017 in Tyler, Texas.
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Mutualism is an anarchist social philosophy first established in print by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. While often considered to be the father of mutualism (something I have repeated and am apt to do again), Proudhon was actually more of its first philosopher, because mutualism already existed to some degree, long before Proudhon would write about it in his works. Proudhon had spent time among the workman’s associations in Lyon, France, where he witnessed fraternal organizations and guilds functioning in mutualistic manners, involving member control from voluntary participants. When he wrote in favor of mutualism, he probably had these cooperative associations in mind. Nonetheless, Proudhon can be considered to be the first philosophical exponent of mutualism as a school of thought.

Along with being the first philosophical proponent of mutualism, Proudhon is the first to call himself an anarchist. Yet, again, the sentiment against government and the state long preceded Proudhon. Some have traced it back to Ancient Greek or Chinese thinkers, such as Zeno or Lao Tzu. Others suggest that others much closer to Proudhon’s time were the first, such as William Godwin or Josiah Warren. Proudhon maintains the title of the first anarchist simply for being the first to call himself such on record.

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When Government Acts, “Unintended Consequences” Follow Reply

By J P Cortez

In 1850, French economist Frédéric Bastiat published an essay that is misunderstood, or more often, unread, titled, “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.” Bastiat brilliantly introduced the idea of opportunity cost and, through the parable of the broken window, illustrated the destructive effects of unintended consequences.

Unfortunately, because of misplaced belief in government benevolence, even the most powerful and successful members of the American citizenry often miss the point.

According to Reuters, Ramin Arani, a co-portfolio manager of the $25 billion Fidelity Puritan fund, said while discussing his current bullish stance of gold, “In terms of unpredictability, there is a tail risk with this administration that did not exist with the prior…There is a small but present possibility that government action is going to lead to unintended consequences.”

Arani’s overall bullish stance on gold is sound. Given the political climate, gold is an attractive “insurance” for equity exposure. The problem doesn’t lie in his financial analysis, but rather in the seemingly innocuous comment that followed.

“There is a small but present possibility that government action is going to lead to unintended consequences.”

To suggest the chances of unintended consequences are merely “small” is extremely naïve.

Notwithstanding myriad examples of government action leading to unintended consequences, including, but certainly not limited to, minimum wage laws, rent control, social security, and the disastrous war on drugs, there are countless examples of unintended consequences brought on by government action that should resonate with a multi-billion-dollar portfolio manager. Yet they seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

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The Maoist Infiltration into Anarchism Reply

By Aragorn

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.

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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 do1.

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Why Anarchists and Libertarians are just a Microcosm of the System Reply

Some interesting thoughts from an anarchist on Facebook.

“My fear was that jokes about helicopter rides would be escalated into calls for outright genocide, which is actually starting to happen.

Some “anarchists” or “alt-right” have begun the dehumanization process of a group of people by generalizing them all as “degenerates.”

If anyone is familiar with history, this is the same thing Hitler started doing to the Jews, except he based his dehumanization tactics on an ethnic\religious group rather than a political group.

This mentality shakes me to the core, because I have maintained the idea that anarchists could keep their perspective and dignity—and that their beliefs were the opposite of murder and mayhem. But it seems like their dignity and decency has been perturbed by recent and apparent culture wars.

With that said, this is not to justify people on the economic left who choose to vandalize or destroy property. It is not to condone this childish, aggressive behavior. Indeed, I rail against this aggression and weakness of philosophy as well. However, I honestly had higher expectations of people who promote modern, libertarian anarchism. I thought they knew the dangers of dehumanizing others and trumpeting violence against economic groups as the answer. I thought they could move beyond this urgency to shed blood.

It turns out they were weak minded and desirous of warfare. Turns out they were not really freedom lovers, but hate mongers hellbent on tasting the blood of their enemies.

So I will ask any “anarchist” who have these Freudian murder fantasies a few questions: what can you do for peace instead? How can you deescalate an increasingly volatile situation without stoking the fire? How can you reign in your growing desire to hurt others? How can you better relate to others even if they are unhinged and ready for violence? How can this be resolved?

My hope is that these people talking loosely and non-jokingly about extermination can come to terms with their impulses, and we can find better ways to solve the current cultural crises.

I don’t want to see this escalate anymore.”

And my response:

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Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Confederate Sympathizer; Mikhail Bakunin, Right-Wing Populist Reply

So says a commie critic of anarchism.

ANOTHER RADICAL doctrine developed during the period of the 1830s– anarchism. Anarchism is often considered to represent current of radical thought that is truly democratic and libertarian. It is hailed in some quarters as the only true political philosophy freedom. The reality is quite different. From its inception anarchism has been a profoundly anti-democratic doctrine. Indeed the two most important founders of anarchism, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Michael Bakunin, developed theories that were elitist and authoritarian to the core. While later anarchists may have abandoned some of the excesses’ of their founding fathers their philosophy remains hostile to ideas of mass democracy and workers’ power.

It is certainly true that anarchism developed in opposition to the growth of capitalist society. What’s more, anarchist hostility to capitalism centered on defence of the liberty of the individual. But the liberty defended by the anarchists was not the freedom of the working class to make collectively a new society. Rather, anarchism defended the freedom of the small property owner–the shopkeeper, artisan and tradesman–against the encroachments of large-scale capitalist enterprise. Anarchism represented the anguished cry of the small property owner against the inevitable advance of capitalism. For that reason, it glorified values from the past: individual property, the patriarchal family, racism.

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A Free World Would Allow for Many Diverse and Dissimilar Communities Reply

By Parrish Miller

As a libertarian of the anarchist persuasion (one who advocates the complete and total abolition of the state), I often find myself in discussions of how a truly “free” world might look. The truth, though, is that a free world would allow for the development of many diverse and dissimilar communities that bear little resemblance to each other. While some might be thoroughly modern, capitalistic communities where trade and commerce were central to human interaction, others might be nearly the opposite.

I am not attracted to the supposed allure of socialism and communism as typically portrayed because (among other reasons) I like my stuff and I have no desire to share it with a collective. I find the mantra of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” to be entirely incompatible with normal human motivation and a recipe for widespread sloth and indolence.

All that said, I’m just one individual with a worldview informed largely by my own experiences. I know people who despise the corporate environment and who would happily trade it for a simple life in a beach commune somewhere. How long they would last in that environment is perhaps debatable, but their willingness to give it a try is what is relevant to the discussion of what communities might form in a free world.

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The Civil Society/State Dichotomy Reply

By Chris Shaw

Gramsci rightly identifies that in the modern political environment, simply recognising actors as either public or private, in the realm of states or markets respectively, is problematic. Unfortunately the crux of international political economy has accepted this modernist doctrine, tacitly deifying the rationalist discourses of action and modernity which underlie such conceptions. For a large bulk of IPE, as well as other social sciences such as economics and political science, this is the held belief. Rationalism guides human action, which inevitably means a continuous desire for capital accumulation, the expansion of capitalist cultural doctrines, and the belief that the individual is entirely the scope of investigation.

But of course this public/private discourse is far too simplistic to truly understand the extent of social relations and arrangements which provide governance and institutionalisation. Gramsci noted that in the public sphere, there exists a dialectic of civil society (the collection of organic institutions that range from the mannerisms of society to the voluntary governance arrangements such as townhalls and churches) and the state (which is perceived as the mechanism of implementation, mainly reliant on coercion and top-down infrastructure). The way a functioning public government works is by reconciling these two (seemingly non-reconcilable) sides. Thus most modern states, particularly those in the Global North, rely on the combination of a coercive state framework and a civil society infrastructure which legitimises the coercive practices and top-down authority. Thus states, to a large degree, rely on not just pure monopolised violence, but also on legitimising ideologies which allow it to create discourses and frameworks that may well have been rejected by civil society in its capacity to be a separate sphere of public government.

Equally, the private side of this dialectical equation is in many ways constructed by these statist and domineering discourses. The development of a capitalist mechanism of accumulation, grounded in private property and the control of the means of production, came almost entirely from the state’s mandate of it. Large scale ownership of production outlets and the relations of wage labour, where artificial economic classes were created, are entirely developments of the state in its accumulation of land during the enclosures, its encouragement of state credit through the development of central banking, and its destruction of the organic feudal relations which preceded this capitalist construction. This is not to say that private property relations cannot exist without the state. A multitude of tribal forms of property as well as elements in the feudal system proves this to be false. However, the extent to which private property relations inform modern society, and the importance this is given, is a creation of statist dynamics, which is justified both through coercion (as seen in the enclosures) and the development of a justificatory doctrine (modernist concepts of rational human action and the deification of a business class) which brings civil society onside.

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“Anarcho-Fascism”: An Overview of Right-Wing Anarchist Thought 12

This is the text of a lecture delivered to the H.L. Mencken Club on November 5, 2016.

The topic that I was given for this presentation is “Anarcho-Fascism” which I am sure on the surface sounds like a contradiction in terms. In popular language, the term “fascism” is normally used as a synonym for the totalitarian state. Indeed, in a speech to the Italian Chamber of Deputies on December 9, 1928 Mussolini describe totalitarianism as an ideology that was characterized by the principle of “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

However, the most commonly recognized ideological meaning of the term “anarchism” implies the abolition of the state, and the term “anarchy” can either be used in the idealistic sense of total freedom, or in the pejorative sense of chaos and disorder.

Anarchism and fascism are both ideologies that I began to develop an interest in about thirty years ago, when I was a young anarchist militant who spent a great deal of time in the university library reading about the history of classical anarchism. It was during this time that I also became interested in understanding the ideology of fascism, mostly from my readings on the Spanish Civil War, including the works of Dr. Payne, whom I am honored to be on this panel with. And I have also looked into some of these ideas a little more since then. One of the things that I find to be the most fascinating about anarchism as a body of political philosophy is the diversity of anarchist thought. And the more that I have studied right-wing political thought, the more I am amazed by the diversity of opinion to be found there as well. It is consequently very interesting to consider the ways in which anarchism and right-wing political ideologies might intersect.

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The Black Flag of Captain Nemo Reply

Towards a Dark Anarchism of the Empyrean

Jules Verne, the famous science fiction and fantasy writer, has been described as a ‘conservative anarchist’ in respect to his political leanings. His fictional character of Captain Nemo is seen at the end of the novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, unfolding a black flag – the popular symbol of anarchism – at the South Pole, with the letter ‘N’ in gold at its centre.

An icon of steampunk and perhaps a prophet of the eco-futurist ‘solar punk’ paradigm, the esoteric historian Michel Lamy portrays Verne as having completely rejected the materialist and reductionist ethos of Marxism in his book, The Secret Message of Jules Verne: Decoding his Masonic, Rosicrucian, and Occult Writings (Destiny Books, 2007). In his fantasy writings, Verne attempted to develop characters such as Captain Nemo, and Kaw-Djer in The Survivors of the Jonathan, to depict the mystical concept of the ‘Anark’, a gothic synthesis of aristocratic principles with Catholic personalism, blending both magic realism with mythical perennialism. This is symbolized in the submarine Nautilus with its motto, ‘moving amidst mobility’, the sea being the mother waters of divine creation.

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A Native American White Nationalist? 2

Lingit Latseen

Anti-Fascist News has been engaging in some lazy investigative journalism about me; either that or they’re running a deliberate disinformation campaign. Given Antifa’s track record of cultish, conspiracy-theory behavior, either or both could be true.

For the uniformed, Antifa is a network of Communists and anarcho-communists who are self proclaimed anti-racists and antifascists. While they hope to prevent the second coming of Adolf Hitler and Nazism, they tend to have a hard time finding actual fascists and spend a great deal of time policing leftwing political groups and movements, where they attempt to expel anyone and everyone who doesn’t adopt their particular brand of anarcho-communism. The predictable results of their demands for ideological purity on the left are fractured political movements full of suspicion and paranoia. A very brief overview of the authoritarian left and its history will show you little but petty infighting, expulsions, fracturing, and splintering, which will leave you wondering to what degree their movements are run by Cointelpro. They are the McCarthyists of the left, checking under the bed for fascists and monitoring their supposed friends and allies for any signs that they don’t toe the line and agree with their narrow set of views.

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How ISIS Resembles Yesterday’s Anarchists Reply

By Katrina Gulliver

The American Conservative

Then as now, revolutionary violence sparks calls for immigration restrictions.

Today, revolutionary anarchists seem archaic, almost quaint. But for around 50 years, from the 1880s to the 1930s, anarchists carried out terror attacks all over the world. Buildings blew up; world leaders and random civilians alike were killed.

The parallels between then and now, when we face the threat of ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups, are many. During the decades of anarchist terrorism, it seemed like each week we heard of another incident carried out by an immigrant from a politically unstable region of the globe, and some prominent public figures called for banning all immigration from these regions. Anarchists were decentralized and self-defined (“self-radicalized” as the media puts it today). Also like ISIS—and unlike nationalist terror groups—anarchists did not have a clear political goal that could be a starting point for negotiations. This is what makes decentralized terror groups particularly dangerous: they have no demands with which we could comply or offer to discuss, even if we wanted to.

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Spain: A Country With No Government 3

In keeping with the Spanish anarchist tradition.

By Martin Caparros

New York Times

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Credit Valero Doval

MADRID — On Jan. 2, 1492, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon — known as the Catholic Monarchs — occupied Granada, completing their conquest of Moorish Spain. Ever since, Spain has always had a government — and occasionally two, when Napoleon invaded in 1808, and during the 1936 to 1939 civil war that split it. But never during those more than five centuries was it ever without any. That is, until Dec. 20 last year, when elections failed to give any party the majority needed to form a government and all attempts at a coalition failed.

For those of us accustomed to more direct suffrage, it is not easy to understand how democratic representation works in Spain. A Spaniard votes for “diputados,” who elect the prime minister. With a parliamentary majority, the winning party proclaims its leader; without a majority, it needs to negotiate. This means that a voter may end up supporting positions he normally never would. Nowadays, for example, voting for the Socialist Party can mean a leftist coalition between the Socialists and Podemos, the anti-establishment party, or a center-right one among the Socialists, the center right Ciudadanos and Partido Popular; a vote for Ciudadanos may yield a right-wing alliance with the P.P. or a centrist one with the Socialists. In the parliamentary system the vote is a blank check But Spanish politicians cannot manage to rule even with that.

Elections had to be repeated; the second attempt, on June 26, ended with very similar results, hence the continuing uncertainty. Negotiations carry on, without much hope. For exactly 253 days Spain has been unable to elect a new government and, as time goes by, more people wonder if it really is that serious.

Obviously, a provisional, “caretaker” government is in place; but it has limitations. For instance, it cannot appoint new ministers. From its original 13-member cabinet, 10 are left: Its minister of development is heading Congress, the minister of health is now a candidate for the local Parliament in the Basque Country, and the minister of industry is busy explaining his Panamanian bank accounts. The caretaker government has no authority to approve next year’s budget, a basic tool for governing that should be in place this October; experts are poring over legal texts in search of a line that suggests authority. The government takes advantage, however, of the (most likely unconstitutional) opinion that acting government ministers are not subjected to parliamentary control. It has been nine months since Parliament enacted any laws: Its members are too busy campaigning and negotiating.

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The Uselessness of Isms Reply

By Chris Shaw

The constant need to define one’s philosophical and ideological beliefs through a convenient form of superstructure is something that can be found amongst all philosophies. The multiple libertarian ideologies are no different in this regard. Whether it be anarchism, left-libertarianism, classical liberalism or any other clique, fad or ism, they all share a common vapidity and a petty tribalism, which rather than allowing for a fluid, pluralistic movement which is open and understanding, prefers exclusiveness and minoritarianism.

Going into the socio-economic beliefs of these particular libertarian ideologies, we begin to see a general split into two particular isms, that of socialism and of capitalism. These are the two most useless isms that can possibly be introduced into these debates and ideological wranglings. Neither means very much in any particular way. Capitalism can be seen either as the private ownership of the means of production or as the dominance of the classes of capital over the dynamic efforts of the working classes and the potentialities of the entrepreneuriat. Personally I take the view that both of these are true as a pure socio-economic definition, and I see the state as the engine of this dominance of particular industrial and mercantile elites within markets and economies.

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Can We Please Get Rid of the Pledge? Reply

By Mike Whitney

Counterpunch

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The Pledge of Allegiance is not an expression of patriotism. It is a loyalty oath that one normally associates with totalitarian regimes. People who love freedom, should be appalled by the idea our children are being coerced to stand and declare their support for the state. This is the worst form of indoctrination and it is completely anathema to the principals articulated in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I cannot imagine outspoken libertarians like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ever proclaiming their loyalty to the state when they correctly saw the state as the greatest threat to individual freedom. Which it is.

Now I know that many people think the Pledge is simply an affirmation of their respect for the flag, their love for the country, and their gratitude to the men and women who fought in America’s wars. But that’s not what it is. The Pledge is an attempt to impose conformity on the masses and compel them to click their heels and proclaim their devotion to the Fatherland. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in a democracy. In a democracy, the representatives of the state are supposed to pledge their loyalty to the people and to the laws that protect them. That’s the correct relationship between the state and the people. The Pledge turns that whole concept on its head.

Now I’d have no problem if our schoolchildren recited the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence before class every day:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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