Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States Reply

A contemporary scholarly masterpiece that completely debunks the state. Available at Amazon.

Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.

Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.

Alexander Berkman said it in 1929 Reply

Given that the “Who CARES? Act” is the Burgfriendenspolitik of the modern US economy, Alexander Berkman’s characterization of social democrats from 1929 has relevance. The present ruling class action is a mere looting spree and mass theft, as opposed to outright mass murder as was the case in 1914, and Berkman was writing within a different cultural context. The old bourgeois culture he’s describing has long been replaced by the culture of the technocratic managerial elite. But the analogy between now and 1914 otherwise holds.

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Could an Anarchist Society Defend Itself? 1

In my view, the only valid argument against the anarchist position is the one David Friedman called “the hard problem,” i.e. the question of whether a stateless territory could potentially defend itself against external invasions by states. All the other arguments are merely special pleading on behalf of various political, cultural, or economic special interests, or based on a misunderstanding of the anarchist position. While I have certain disagreements with the speakers in this video, this is a great discussion.

Read a Ph.D. dissertation on the military defense of an anarchist society here.

Anarchist Writings on Coronavirus Reply

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A Reminder of Why I am an Anarchist 1

The current public health/economic crisis is definitely a reminder of why I am an anarchist. Thus far, the responses to the situation by the various factions of the state/ruling class/power elite have been as follows:

Republicans: “The ruling class is suffering. Let’s bail them out! Maybe give a little bit of stuff to the peasants as well so they don’t pitchfork us.”

Neoliberals: “Let’s see if we can be even bigger scumbags that the Republicans! Aim high!”

Conventional Democrats: “We can use this bailout thing to get some more loot for our preferred categories of parasites!”

Libertarians: “Do nothing! Let the state-corporate economy take care of it. That’s how the free market works!

Leftists: “Expand the welfare state! Nationalize the means of production! New Class Uber Alles!”

As I have said before, the appropriate anarchist response to this situation is to initiate a debt strike (i.e. no more payments to state-supported institutions, e.g. banks, corporations, landlords, universities, utility companies, medical-industrial-complex, etc.) and demand reparations from the state/ruling class (i.e. reclamation/liberation of previously looted resources).

And we don’t want just forty acres and a mule. We want the whole damn plantation.

Anarchy in Albion: Building utopia in the heart of Yorkshire Reply

Freedom News

I often seek solace at the Brotherhood Church.

This may sound like an odd statement for an anarchist, but — despite its name — I am not referring to some religious cult or new-age retreat. I am talking about a Tolstoy-inspired, anarchist commune which has stood in defiance of authoritarianism, ecological decline and warfare for the best part of 100 years. It is an incredibly diverse ecological paradise, which meets the needs of people and wildlife alike. As an urban farmer, it never fails to inspire and enlighten me.

Remains of the Peace Pledge Union Film Van

The Brotherhood Church lies in the pastoral village of Stapleton, North Yorkshire, but its story begins 300 miles away in the Northern Irish market town of Limavady. Inspired by the political views expressed in Henry George’s 1879 treatise Progress and Poverty, the well-formed utopian vision of Edward Bellamy, and the spiritual teachings of Leo Tolstoy, a young Congretionalist minister named J. Bruce Wallace began to produce a weekly publication called The Brotherhood. First published in 1887, a year after Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson stated Freedom, Wallace’s publication celebrated a range of anarchist, socialist, communist and Christian socio-economic philosophies. The Brotherhood would be the first British publication to serialise Edward Bellamy’s utopian science fiction novel Looking Backwards: 2000-1887; the book which is directly credited with inspiring Sir Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City movement.

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1919: When the Bolsheviks Turned on the Workers Reply

Crimethinc

One hundred years ago in Russia, thousands of workers were on strike in the city of Astrakhan and at the Putilov factory in Petrograd, the capital of the revolution. Strikes at the Putilov factory had been one of the principal sparks that set off the February Revolution in 1917, ending the tsarist regime. Now, the bosses were party bureaucrats, and the workers were striking against a socialist government. How would the dictatorship of the proletariat respond?

Following up on our book about the Bolshevik seizure of power, The Russian Counterrevolution, we look back a hundred years to observe the anniversary of the Bolshevik slaughter of the Putilov factory workers who had helped to bring them to power. Today, when many people who did not live through actually existing socialism are propagating a sanitized version of events, it is essential to understand that the Bolsheviks meted out some of their bloodiest repression not to capitalist counterrevolutionaries, but to striking workers, anarchists, and fellow socialists. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

If you find any of this difficult to believe, please, by all means, check our citations, consult the bibliography at the end, and investigate for yourself.

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What to do About the Corona Crisis? Reply

Image may contain: possible text that says 'WHAT ΤΟ DO ABOUT THE CORONA CRISIS? GENERAL KNOWLEDGE IN HISTORY, SOCIOLOGY AND THE FUNCTIONS OF CAPITALIST AND STATIST INSTITUTIONS COMES IN HANDY. SYSTEMATIC SCAREMONGERING (OFFICIAL STATISTICS, PICTURES OF "INFECTED" ETC.) HAPPENED BEFORE AND ALL TOO OFTEN, THEY WERE SUBSEQUENTLY EXPOSED AS EXAGGERATED AND EVEN AS LIES. DON'T FALL EVERYTHING AND KEEP YOUR INDEPENDENT THINKING AND ABOVE ALL: READ HISTORY NON-FICTION LITERATURE ABOUT SCAREMONGERINGI THEY CAN HELP YOU ENORMOUSLY JUDGE EVERYTHING BET TER MORE SOBERLY. Anarchy Man'

One crisis chases the next. We are constantly being confronted with new threat scenarios. In our pursuit of security, we accept restrictions on our freedom all too easily and enable state and capitalist monitors to control and examine every aspect of our everyday life. Most people believe everything they read on the internet or see on TV way to easily. And “that fear pays off is an age-old knowledge” was already stated by Professor of Sociology Jörg Schindler in his book “Panikmaking”. Even the state philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli advised the powerful to spread fear rather than benefits – it was “much safer to be feared than to be loved”. A recommendation that not only the rulers follow. Too much money can be made by unsecuring the masses. Food and pharmaceutical corporations, as well as insurance companies are currently recording astronomical profits, while dozens of medium-sized and small companies have to introduce short-time work or even close it. More…

Don’t Let Panic Force You to Support a Growing Fascist Police State Reply

By Ahjamu Umi

Picture

Its important to contextualize what’s happening throughout the world today with the challenges facing us from the potential  growth of COVID 19.  If what we are learning is true, this virus has devastating capacity.  Even if you are healthy and strong, you can hold the virus, without knowing it, for up to a fourteen day incubation period.  During that time, you can unknowingly pass the virus on to countless people who do not have the benefit of a strong immunity system.  This is an unprecedented element that forced me to start thinking isolation, despite the fact I’m really not concerned about the virus as it relates to impacting my body.

Those are obviously real concerns.  Its also worth repeating that millions of colonized and oppressed people across the world are forced daily to live under martial law conditions.  Empty shelves at stores.  Restricted movement.  Lack of food and healthcare resources.  In countries like Zimbabwe, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela, these stark conditions result in large part due to U.S. led capitalist economic sanctions against them for refusing to tow capitalism’s line.  In other parts of the world the exploitative nature of capitalist dominated production of goods and services continues to maintain this system of very few haves, and millions of have nots. 

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Josiah Warren, the Most Practical Anarchist Reply

It’s time for anarchists to stop wasting time arguing over the capitalism/socialism false dichotomy. “Neither statism nor corporatism” should be our economic battle cry. The real divide is between order-givers and order-takers, and between the power elite and those who are subordinated to the power elite.

By David S. D’Amato

Libertarianism.Org

Defying categorization as a socialist or capitalist thinker, Josiah Warren was staunchly individualist—distrustful of institutions like states that subsumed individuals into “combinations.”

Josiah Warren was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1798. His biographer, the anarchist writer William Bailie, notes that he was “of historically famous Puritan stock”—a relative of General Joseph Warren, one of the heroes of the Battle of Bunker Hill. Historian James J. Martin states that this relation “appears to be a romanticism unfounded on available sources Warren’s own son, George, leaves mention of any such relation out of his account. In any case, Warren became deservedly famous in his own right, as we shall see. Warren was “our most practical anarchist,”1 “a genuinely universal man” whose “philosophy had always been that the best way to understand a process was to learn to do it.”2 He was a talented professional musician, a successful inventor, a teacher, an entrepreneur, and a social theorist and experimenter. Often credited as the first American anarchist, Warren articulated a libertarian vision that married his arch-individualism to what he called “equitable commerce,” in which smallholders and craftspeople would exchange equal values—those values being defined by the amount of labor time invested.

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An Anarchist Programme Reply

A classical anarchist manifesto from 1920.

By Errico Malatesta

Anarchist Library

1. Aims and Objectives

We believe that most of the ills that afflict mankind stem from a bad social organisation; and that Man could destroy them if he wished and knew how.

Present society is the result of age-long struggles of man against man. Not understanding the advantages that could accrue for all by cooperation and solidarity; seeing in every other man (with the possible exception of those closest to them by blood ties) a competitor and an enemy, each one of them sought to secure for himself, the greatest number of advantages possible without giving a thought to the interests of others.

In such a struggle, obviously the strongest or more fortunate were bound to win, and in one way or another subject and oppress the losers.

So long as Man was unable to produce more than was strictly needed to keep alive, the conquerors could do no more than put to flight or massacre their victims, and seize the food they had gathered.

Then when with the discovery of grazing and agriculture a man could produce more, than what he needed to live, the conquerors found it more profitable to reduce the conquered to a state of slavery, and put them to work for their advantage.

Later, the conquerors realised that it was more convenient, more profitable and certain to exploit the labour of others by other means: to retain for themselves the exclusive right to the land and working implements, and set free the disinherited who, finding themselves without the means of life, were obliged to have recourse to the landowners and work for them, on their terms.

Thus, step by step through a most complicated series of struggles of every description, of invasions, wars, rebellions, repressions, concessions won by struggle, associations of the oppressed united for defence, and of the conquerors for attack, we have arrived at the present state of society, in which some have inherited the land and all social wealth, while the mass of the people, disinherited in all respects, is exploited and oppressed by a small possessing class.

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Gordon Brown calls for global government to tackle coronavirus Reply

The cockroaches are coming out of the baseboards.

By Larry Elliot

The Guardian

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has urged world leaders to create a temporary form of global government to tackle the twin medical and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The former Labour prime minister, who was at the centre of the international efforts to tackle the impact of the near-meltdown of the banks in 2008, said there was a need for a taskforce involving world leaders, health experts and the heads of the international organisations that would have executive powers to coordinate the response.

A virtual meeting of the G20 group of developed and developing countries, chaired by Saudi Arabia, will be held on Thursday, but Brown said it would have been preferable to have also included the UN security council.

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When Disease Comes, Rulers Grab More Power Reply

The state is grabbing more power, the ruling class has gone looting, and the sheeple are going along with it, as usual.

By Anne Applebaum

The Atlantic

On March 13—Friday the 13th, as it happened—my husband was driving down a Polish highway when he turned on the news and learned that the country’s borders would shut down in 24 hours. He pulled over and called me. I bought a ticket from London to Warsaw minutes later. I don’t live there all of the time, but my husband is Polish, the only house I own is in rural Poland, and I wanted to be in it. The next morning, Heathrow Airport was spookily empty except for the Warsaw flight, which was packed with people trying to get one of the last commercial trips back into their country. During check-in, agents were refusing to board passengers without a Polish passport (I have one) or residency documents. Then someone realized that the new rules went into effect only at midnight, and so I witnessed a conversation between one of the stewards and two non-Polish passengers: “You realize that you might not be able to fly out again. You realize that you may be in Warsaw for a very long time …”

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The Great Purge: The Deformation of the Conservative Movement Reply

I have a chapter in this book where I argued that the postwar conservative movement was nothing other than a front for the military-industrial complex and right-wing of the US ruling class (the Sunbelt industries that were in conflict with the “northeastern establishment”). The other authors were all veterans of the conservative movement who realized that William F. Buckley functioned as a gatekeeper whose purpose was to ensure that the actual US right-wing did not interfere with corporate and CIA objectives, leading to the eventual alliance between the Buckleyites and neoconservatives (right-wing social democrats/Trotskyists). The thrust of my argument is that the anti-“big government” rhetoric of what the paleocons called “Conservativism, Inc.” was never anything more than a ruse whose purpose was to recruit the old bourgeoisie, the petite bourgeoisie, and what Sam Francis calls the “post-bourgeois proletariat” as useful idiots for the Empire. An earlier draft of my contribution is available here. Another article where I make essentially the same argument is available here. As I concluded the latter article:

“Indeed, given the phenomenal success of the ‘conservatives’ in expanding military spending and military interventionism, and their phenomenal failure everything else, one might be tempted to argue that the former was the only issue that ever really mattered all along, and that the grassroots economic, fiscal, social, cultural, religious and patriotic conservatives who comprised the activist base and key voting blocks were, to use an ironic Leninist term, nothing more than “useful idiots.”

Available at Amazon.

A central crucible in the evolution of the American Right has been “the purge”-that is, the expulsion, often in an explicit fashion, of views or individuals deemed outside the bounds of “respectability.” Victims include the John Birch Society, Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, Sam Francis, Revilo P. Oliver, Murray Rothbard, foreign-policy makers deemed “isolationists,” immigration reformers, and many others. This essay collection is an attempt to better understand conservative ideology (often euphemized as “timeless principles”) and how it functioned within its historic context and responded to power, shifting conceptions of authority, and societal changes. Through the purges, we can glimpse what conservatism is not, those aspects of itself it has attempted to deny, mask, leave behind, and forget, and the ways in which memories can be reconstructed around new orthodoxies. Contributors include Peter Brimelow, Lee Congdon, John Derbyshire, Samuel T. Francis, Paul Gottfried, James Kalb, Keith Preston, William Regnery, and Richard Spencer.

 

Italian Anarchist Federation : #Coronavirus and emergency – We do not forget which side of the barricade we are on Reply

Communique by the Correspondence Commission of the Italian Anarchist Federation about the coronavirus and the state of emergency.

Originally published by the Italian Anarchist Federation. Translated by Enough 14.

In the face of this crisis, state and capital are showing, with unprecedented evidence, their immense limitations and their structural inability to take account of people’s needs and health.

In Italy, the political choices of governments have constantly cut public health (more than public, state). Some of the few resources have been diverted to private healthcare, even during the current emergency. The contemporary “regionalization”, according to a corporate-capitalist model, has then made this service, which in theory should be universal, strongly differentiated between regions and regions, between rich and poor regions.

Patients have become customers and care services monetized in a general framework of competition and profit.

This approach to the health service reveals its real face in this dramatic moment, leaving us all at the mercy of its philosophy, which is certainly not that of human compassion and recognition of the other as our fellow human beings, but that of calculating the minimum material requirements for maximum profit, which is now translated into the lack of equipped facilities, hired staff and consumption material in warehouses.

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From mutual aid to dual power in the state of emergency Reply

Rest assured, governments around the world will use/are using the current public health crisis as a pretext for a permanent power grab. Because that’s what governments do. We need to be prepared with a bottom-up response to ruling class shenanigans that are intended to strengthen class subjugation.

By Woodbine

ROARMag

With the shutdown of businesses, schools and countless other institutions, millions of people are facing loss of income, housing and access to basic survival resources, including food. Confronted by popular pressure and the specter of civil unrest, states have begun to undertake a “disaster socialism” of uneven and often contradictory aid measures. Still, conditions of emergency are intensifying by the hour and the current biopolitical regime faces an existential crisis.

Under such circumstances, the need for self-organized infrastructures of mutual aid, care and resilience could not be clearer. In the coming weeks and months, rent strikes and other acts of collective refusal are on the horizon. How could these works of mutual aid flow into the construction of a dual power situation? As the system collapses, can physical bases of autonomy and solidarity transform our relationship to the state?

At Woodbine, an autonomous space and organizing framework maintained in New York City since 2014, this is what we have been preparing for — to mobilize our networks, skills, knowledges and energy to coordinate and provide for each other, while simultaneously building the longer-term capacity to face an uncertain future.

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