Pete invited Bellamy Fitzpatrick to come on the show. Bellamy is a self-described “Green Anarchist” who joins Pete to have a conversation that includes an explanation of what G.A. means to him and to find some common ground among people who realize that, first and foremost, the State is the problem.
The Mindcrime Liberty Show along with Richard Cheimison discusses what is justice and whether it exists in any meaningful sense. Is justice merely power or is it something else. What is the foundation of justice other than whatever the state and its courts/police say?
This is the best critique of the mainstream left-anarchist movement that I have seen to date. Kudos.
By Bellamy Fitzpatrick
“Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it.
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.
-Laozi, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 29
By Bellamy Fitzpatrick
Under different circumstances, I would not have brought this issue up so early in my blog, and perhaps would never have brought it up, but the recent mention of me on The Solecast has made me think it is necessary to lay this issue to rest once and for all. My hope is that I will never have to comment on it again, but will be able to reference this blog entry and the podcast links associated with it to any and all future critics.
I was alerted to the mention of my publication Backwoods in the December 13th, 2019, episode of Solecast entitled “A Conversation about Desert w/ Alfredo of Occupied Southwest Distro” by a frequent correspondent of mine who expressed amusement at the continuing unfolding (over five years now) of subcultural micro-drama over statements I have made related to the ITS/RS (usually translated from Spanish to English as Individualists Tending Toward the Wild/Wild Reaction) phenomena and the way these are usually taken with a total lack of nuance or sympathy.
By Bellamy Fitzpatrick
I have found a new humility.
It was almost four years ago now that I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to this new place I have grown to love. It has been said that urban radical subcultures have a tendency to degenerate into ersatz religious cults or milieux for furnishing an extended adolescence for social misfits and eccentrics, and, from my small experience, that is true. But they are also spaces in which one, if conscientious, can learn quickly. As I moved to the Bay at the age of twenty-five, I was a self-identified anarchist who was passionately committed to living out my values, but I had a terribly naïve and incoherent worldview, in part because I had so few people in my life who could challenge my beliefs with anything other than mainstream boilerplate that I was perfectly capable of deconstructing.
But in the Bay Area, where I lived for three and a half years, I was suddenly around numerous anarchists for the first time in my life. Many were as young and foolish as I was, and many were thinly-veiled communists who would reveal themselves to be ultimately more authoritarian and hateful than normal people; but I was still able to learn from so many who were wrestling with a similar mix of enormously passionate visions, existential angst, and strategic confusion. Moreover, there were older anarchists who had shed many illusions, and, from them, I was able to do what every generation of healthy, pre-postmodernity humans has done: learn from the accumulated wisdom of elders.
This article is 100% spot, at least as far as the local component of the police state is concerned, and far as the “criminal law” aspect of statism is concerned. Of course, even at the local level, we could develop a far more comprehensive critique of statism. The role of zoning in creating localized fiefdoms and oligarchies, licensing laws as a means of creating monopolistic professional guilds, the school system as child prisons, and CPS as a component of the wider nanny state aspects of the police state would be just a few examples.
Recently, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender was interviewed regarding the Council’s latest political move towards abolition of the local police department. The interview left me underwhelmed. She gave no indication that she was familiar with the technical details of what abolishing the police could look like. I am not surprised by this though. The speed with which the City Council acted to signal willingness to change gave them no time to thoroughly think through the implications of, or a set of reasonable steps to take towards, abolishing the police.
The first point to consider is that, much to my dismay, nobody is talking about getting rid of all publicly funded law enforcement in Minneapolis. As it stands, there are a series of overlapping jurisdictions, of which the local police are only one. Park police, transit police, the County Sheriff’s department, State patrol, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and any number of federal law enforcement agencies will still operate as they always have. Many investigations, arrests, and incarcerations will be handled by essentially the same people handling them now.
Don’t worry Minneapolis City Council, we have you covered! Here are a list of steps you should be seriously considering:
The main limitation of most liberal and left critiques of the police state is that these are primarily limited to dubious killings of civilians, racial disparities, and official forms of “police misconduct” as conventionally defined. And usually, these critiques are limited to the municipal police. That’s a start but nowhere near enough. Some further left critics also include the class dynamics that are inherent in the police state. That’s an advancement to the next level but still not nearly enough. We need a critique of the police state that is more in line with the kind of critique we might have of the Third Reich, the USSR, or perhaps contemporary China. I don’t think the US is presently as bad as any of those three but that’s the direction things are headed, not the other direction.
If it’s any consolation, the Paris Commune didn’t turn out so well either.
This is important stuff.
I recently put a couple of questions concerning current events to a well-known intellectual historian, a Jewish man whose parents fled Hungary during the rise of Hitler, and who is a specialist in the history of 20th-century totalitarian movements. His responses confirmed my suspicion that both the bizarre de facto alliance of the far-left, liberals, neocons, and Bush Republicans which has emerged in opposition to the Trumpists, and the seeming acquiescence of the state to both the iconoclasm spree of the far left and the lumpenproletarian insurrection, represents efforts by the capitalist class, the new clerisy, and the Deep State to weaponize both the far left and the insurrectionists against the Trumpists, subsequently purging or co-opting both, while restoring neocon dominance of the military-industrial-intelligence complex. In other words, it’s all about putting the neocons back in charge of US foreign policy. Remember that the neocons started out as Trots, and this is exactly how Bolshies do things.
Peter Zeihan has argued that China may eventually fracture due to its internal instability and fragmentation. If that were to happen, I would consider it to be a major victory for “pan-secessionism” as a revolutionary tactic, as was the overthrow of the USSR and its Eastern European satellites. In addition, the US empire would no longer be able to use the PRC as a whipping boy/bogeyman. As an anarchist, I am for the dissolution of large states everwhere: America, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria…they all need to go. A world of microstates is not pure anarchy, but it is far more tolerable and manageable.
Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN
In a speech on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sun Yat-sen — seen by many as modern China’s founding father — President Xi Jinping pledged to “resolutely oppose” any attempt to divide the country.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I have always been fascinated by secessionist movements. It goes back to my childhood love of maps, flags and geography. I use to spend hours poring over atlases and fixating on the strange autonomous zones that only existed inside fluid borders drawn in dotted lines. Strange places no American ever spoke of, with exotic names like Transnistria, Gaza, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Western Sahara. I would eventually grow into a commie, Third World, war nerd who fastidiously followed and supported these esoteric independence movements from afar.
Fundamental social change involves two intertwined processes. On the one hand, it means shutting down the mechanisms that impose disparities in power and access to resources; on the other hand, it involves creating infrastructures that distribute resources and power according to a different logic, weaving a new social fabric. While the movement for police abolition that burst into the public consciousness a month ago in Minneapolis has set new precedents for resistance, the mutual aid networks that have expanded around the world since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic point the way to a new model for social relations. The following report profiles three groups that coordinate mutual aid efforts in New York City—Woodbine, Take Back the Bronx, and Milk Crate Gardens—exploring their motivations and aspirations as well as the resources and forms of care they circulate.
This is the first installment in a series exploring mutual aid projects across the globe.
An interesting debate between a black leftist and a black conservative.
I would generally agree with Michelle Alexander’s thesis that the police/carceral state and prison-industrial complex is merely the modern version of American black slavery or Jim Crow. But where I would disagree is that I think her analysis is too limited to the race issue in a way that ignores the context of state and class,
The US ruling class response to the black insurgency of the 1950s and 1960s was the standard strategy: co-optation with the left-hand, repression with the right-hand. The creation of the civil rights paradigm, the expansion of the welfare state, race-based policy initiatives, and the “diversity” ideology were intended to co-opt the black middle class, expand its size, and incorporate it into the wider system.
A somewhat interesting interview with a leading black conservative.
I would be inclined to argue that, at present, substantial sectors of the capitalist class (including some major capitalist entities) along with their allies in the new clerisy/new class that dominates the “ideas industries” are fueling anti-racism hysteria in order to deflect attention away from the class-based nature of the insurrection. They do this because a race war is less antithetical to their interests than a class war. However, contra the Marxists and left-anarchists, it doesn’t stop at class either. Even a class war is more co-optable than a direct war against the state itself.
All of this follows an easily identifiable pattern in US history.
“Could we live without the police?”
It isn’t as out there as many seem to think.
As Taoism, Confucianism, and other older beliefs rightfully point out, if a society is good, or rather natural/organic, then customs or dharma is respected therefore a ‘police’ is entirely unneeded.
The more police or laws are needed in a society, it only shows how much further it has strayed from the ‘good’ or organic, which is also harmonious.
Needless to say we are quite far flung from that, a signature of this Age.
Going back a little less far, the 18th century, this is the more probable outcome. There would be regions of the US more ‘tame’ than others. There would be San Francisco or Deadwood, of which had their own loose enforced rules but were quite autonomous, full of vices and ‘dens of inequity’.
But there would also be the more prudent Protestant regions or towns, be it rural or what New England of old was.
The tamer would gravitate to the tamer, the wilder to the wilder, and both would self-regulate in their own ways.
The lumpenproletariat was too scary even for bourgeois radicals like Marx (the son of a Prussian state solicitor, i.e. a district attorney) and Engels (the son of a wealthy industrialist). In 2020, the lumenproletariat of all creeds, colors, genders, and geographies, made its move, however meagerly, against the state and ruling class of the mother country of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful empire in history. Notice that Marx invented the term lumpenproletariat specifically for the purpose of exercising a polemic against Max Stirner, who was the true radical thinker of the early 20th century. In May-June of 2020, the ghost of Stirner walked among us.
Roughly translated as slum workers or the mob, this term identifies the class of outcast, degenerated and submerged elements that make up a section of the population of industrial centers. It includes beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements. In times of prolonged crisis (depression), innumerable young people also, who cannot find an opportunity to enter into the social organism as producers, are pushed into this limbo of the outcast. Here demagogues and fascists of various stripes find some area of the mass base in time of struggle and social breakdown, when the ranks of the Lumpenproletariat are enormously swelled by ruined and declassed elements from all layers of a society in decay.
By Walter Block (responding to Jeff Deist)
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) is an area of several city blocks in Seattle that has been taken over by a group of people unconnected with the government. They have established a police-free zone and are now busily administering this territory.
Is this a voluntary socialist commune? A free enterprise zone? Are the new inhabitants who have seized control of the area legitimate homesteaders or illegal squatters, that is, trespassers? Who are now the proper owners of this acreage, of the buildings, roads, parks, and houses therein?
By Jim Carlton
Wall Street Journal
Several hundred demonstrators are staying in an autonomous area claimed by protesters for racial justice in Seattle, even as its size is shrinking and pressure to shut it down completely is increasing from local businesses and residents, as well as city officials.
The Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, or CHOP, began on June 8 after thousands of protesters moved into a six-block area in the artsy neighborhood. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan ordered police to abandon the local East Precinct police station to help end violent confrontations there following the killing of the African-American George Floyd by a white Minneapolis policeman on May 25.
By Stratton J. Davis
Ever since the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) was created in Seattle, it has been a prominent subject of discussion for many. The question usually being discussed is whether we should support it or not. While those on the left seem to be in support of CHAZ (mostly), among the libertarian right there seems to be ill feelings.
While some writers such as Walter Block have offered their philosophical defense for it, many have found reasons to detest CHAZ. These reasons vary from CHAZ simply being a leftist concoction to how the inner workings of CHAZ do not reflect “true” libertarian values. Sure, some of their inner workings include a warlord who is bent on power and achieves it through force, as well as absurd rules that plunder from one group for the benefit of another (kind of like the government that they claim to hate so much does – ironic).
If recent events are a foreshadowing of events to come, which they may well be, it would seem that the lumpenproletariat faces five primary dangers when it comes to future revolutionary activity.