Pure Black: An Emerging Consensus Among Some Comrades? Reply

Apparently, there is a new form of anarchism developing that is a hybrid of post-left anarchism and anarchism without adjectives called “black anarchism,” not to be confused with another kind of “black anarchism” associated with African-American anarchists. This tendency has been described to me as “like how you have red anarchists, green anarchists, yellow anarchists, etc. And “black” means just the anarchist part.” Sounds like a move in the right direction, although almost anything is preferable to the Antifa/SJW versions of anarchism (although, ironically, I still consider those to be legitimate versions of anarchism, just misdirected and sometimes malevolent).

Anarchist News

The term “black” anarchist has been thrown around recently in a number of international milieux and journals. Indeed during the last few years of my travels throughout North and South America and Europe I have noted repeated attempts to define, through action and theory, the ideas associated with black anarchy. Following is a brief, incomplete outline of some of the more common aspects of what black anarchists think and do. These tendencies are numbered for convenience, and not to show priority or importance.


Would Libertarianism Make People Fat? 4

In the spirit of Paul LaFargue and Bob Black. This is precisely the kind of libertarianism we need, not bourgeois conservatism or SJW ninnyism. “But freedom will make people lazy and decadent!” Response” “Yeah? What of it?”


Without all the taxes and regulations that force people to continuously generate income to survive, it’s quite possible that many people would be even lazier than they are today. If one could simply build on land or buy it, and had to pay for nothing but repairs and vittles for themselves, many people might find themselves at work two or four hour days and spend the rest of their time watching hentai and drinking beer.

An increase in economic prosperity has led to an increasingly slothful and self-indulgent population in every case I can think of. A large, free trade economy might produce hordes of people for whom survival is so simple as to make effort almost superfluous.

Such an environment would also open the pathway to many low-efficiency lifestyles – the wealthier you are, the more you can indulge cult superstitions, smoke crack and alienate everyone without risk of starving to death. Imagine all the ‘anarcho-primitivists’ with their camping gear shipped into the Amazon by Amazon drones – making a few dollars a day selling pictures of the rain forest to advertising firms.

Calling for Radical Alliances Among Anti Authoritarians Reply

From Ancaps and Ancoms, to Syndicalists and Individualists, Mutualists and Agorists, Voluntaryists and Market Anarchists, Panarchists and Anarchists without Adjectives, and other self-identified radicals – this talk is aimed at those who are against Authoritarianism, Statism, and Oppression in all forms. This talk is aimed at those who recognize the power of the Individual and seek to work together as a whole. On Sunday October 11th Derrick Broze spoke at Libertyfest in NYC about the history of the word Libertarian, the history of alliances between radicals on the left and right, a highlight of the work of Karl Hess and Samuel Konkin III, and the need for less ego and dogma in the interest of building new alliances between radicals across the political spectrum. Radical means taking a direct action approach to your activism.

Why State Provision of Social Services is a Bad Idea, Even in the Context of Corporate Plutocracy Reply

Some interesting comments from “Dick Moore” on Facebook.

I wanted to write a little bit about the question of ‘social services’ provided by the State as alleged ‘alternatives’ to for-profit systems.

To start with I will admit (as more sophisticated libertarians do) that really-existing capitalism and its major appendages – the international joint-stock corporation – benefit in a myriad of ways from state intervention, both direct (subsidy, tariff and government contracts) as well as indirect (the creation of ‘friendly business environments’ in foreign lands through political pressure by the American state, intellectual property, and so forth). Existing corporations, even if they provide really valuable services, are almost certainly far more profitable and extensive that would be possible in a market of free competition and without State control of access to credit and so forth.

Many liberals and socialists demand, as an antidote, that many social services should be provided by the government rather than left to the whims of the corporate oligarchy.

‘Obamacare’ has resulted in the funneling of money into huge insurance companies and a further disconnection between patients and care providers, with no apparent improvement in the cost or availability of medical care. After the failure of Obamacare (which even some leftists admit) the solution usually offered is a single-payer system, that is full state operation of medical services, or at least a system of free state-run hospitals for those who cannot afford private services.

Yet is this really an antidote? The almost entirely state-operated school system provides billions a year to corporations – through construction contracts, purchase of computers, purchase of Microsoft Windows, purchase of internet access through FCC-regulated-and-connected agencies such as Time-Warner. And because of this these corporations are raking in huge sums of money without being responsible, while schools can draw potentially infinite funds without any reference to outcomes.


Social Class and State Power: Exploring an Alternative Radical Tradition Reply

This looks to be quite good. Available at Amazon.Com.

This book explores the idea of social class in the liberal tradition. It collects classical and contemporary texts illustrating and examining the liberal origins of class analysis―often associated with Marxism but actually rooted in the work of liberal theorists. Liberal class analysis emphasizes the constitutive connection between state power and class position. Social Class and State Power documents the rich tradition of liberal class theory, its rediscovery in the twentieth century, and the possibilities it opens up for research in the new millenium.

A Small Revolution Reply

By Jeff Deist

Mises Institute

Dr. Robert Murphy and I enjoyed a robust discussion of the current political landscape this past weekend at the University of Central Florida. A significant percentage of attendees, maybe half, agreed with the proposition that the US is past the point of political solutions. Everyone agreed, regardless of their age and background, that the possibility of America breaking — violently or voluntarily — is very real.

My talk focused on the value of smaller polities. Given the stubborn tendency for governments to emerge and endure in human societies, we should focus our efforts on creating smaller political units that more closely allow for a Misesian vision of democratic self-determination. This may not satisfy libertarians and anarcho-capitalists, but neither will trying to persuade a winning electorate of 70 million Americans to vote for even a reasonably liberty-minded presidential candidate.

Mass democracy, in a decidedly diverse nation of 320 million people, is a recipe for disaster. And we’re seeing that disaster unfold in the cold civil war known as the Trump era. Increasingly federalized state power, combined with our winner-takes-all, top-down rule by DC, creates terrible zero-sum outcomes for millions. Five people on the Supreme Court wield an extra-constitutional power that creates deep and lasting cultural divides. 535 members of Congress have the ability to spend, tax, regulate, inflate, and war us into oblivion.

A few salient points from my presentation:


How to Build a Better Government: Smaller, Consensual, and Decentralized Reply

By Trey Goff

Mises Institute

[Your Next Government?: From the Nation State to Stateless Nations by Tom. W. Bell]

When I first met him, Tom W. Bell seemed more like the successful lawyer/entrepreneur type than he did the type of guy to write an intensely well-sourced book synthesizing information from a variety of fields. On that front, he pleasantly surprised me: this book is an excellent, abundantly well-sourced paean to consent, choice, and competitive governance.

Bell begins the book by explaining how smaller, consent-rich and decentralized government is creating a “bottom-up, peaceful revolution” in the way governance is organized around the world. He cites the usual examples of Chinese special economic zones and SEZs all around the world generally as evidence of this. All of this has been surveyed extensively by other authors as well, but Bell does an excellent jo of succinctly re-presenting it here. However, Bell forays into a field I’ve not seen broached elsewhere by examining previous examples of special jurisdiction-type entities within the United States. Specifically, he details the extensive use of foreign trade zones (FTZs) throughout the United States as an example of special jurisdictions closer to home. These zones exempt the businesses within them from many aspects of US customs, excise taxes, and import taxes. These zones are ubiquitous and play host to a sizeable portion of US foreign trade. He closes this survey of the evidence of special jurisdictions by dedicating a chapter to some interesting examples: Henry Ford’s spectacularly failed attempt to make a massive city in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest (Fordlandia), Honduran ZEDEs, and seasteads.


Against Anarcho-Sectarianism: Why All Forms of Anti-Authoritarianism Should Be Embraced 2

Lately, I’ve been reading Michael Schmidt’s and Lucien van der Walt’s “Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter Power Vol. 1).” A summary of the book is available on Wikipedia, and a PDF version is available from LibCom. The book can be purchased from Amazon. Apparently, Schmidt is now on the outs with the left-wing anarchist milieu for, among other things, having once said good things about yours truly.


A Future Global War between States and Non-State Actors? 1

Bill Lind’s analysis of the emerging world order is absolutely correct. If I were a statist, I would be taking the exact same position as Bill Lind, i.e. that the main threat that states now face is not each other but the rise of  non-state actors and fourth generation warfare forces. The difference is that Bill, being a Hobbesian conservative, is rooting for the statists while I, as an anarchist, am rooting for “the other side.” It is easy enough to envision a future, more radical version of the Non-Aligned Movement of the kind proposed by the International Secessionary Movement, representing a global alliance of startup societies, waging a common insurgency against the emerging global imperial system.

By William S. Lind

Traditional Right

As President Trump knows well, he has not been very successful in getting the measures he wants through Congress.  One way to improve his chances of doing so is to change the context.

Relations with Russia provide an example.  The president knows our hostility towards Russia makes no sense.  Communism has fallen, we have no interests that should lead us to oppose Russia and Russia is resuming her 19th century role as the most conservative of the great powers.  Russia should be our ally, not our enemy. 

The Washington establishment wants a hostile relationship with Russia because it is still thinking in the context of a world of states in conflict.  Any other powerful state (including China) that does not bow to American hegemony must be seen as an enemy.  The purpose of all the clucking and squawking about the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia is to scare the administration away from improving relations with Moscow.  Unfortunately, that trick seems to be working. 

But what if the administration responded by changing the context?  President Trump could easily explain to the American people that the real threat we face is not any other state (except perhaps North Korea) but “terrorism” (really 4GW) from non-state entities, of which ISIS is only one.  To beat the terrorists, we need an alliance with Russia and China, because they are the other two great powers.  In fact, that alliance would only be the beginning.  We should work with Moscow and Beijing to create an alliance of all states against violent non-state entities.  If we want a relatively peaceful, ordered, and safe 21st century, that is what we have to do.    


“Free Association for Me, But Not for Thee” 2

An amusing attack on ATS from an antifa writer named Shane Burley who, in keeping with antifa practice, fails get the point. The ATS position has more in common with the fictional United Federation of Planets from “Star Trek” than it would with 20th century totalitarian ideologies, including the “prime directive” and the Vulcan philosophy of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”.

“For we have agreed that our worlds hold these truths to be self-evident: that all species are created equal, that their citizens are endowed with certain incontrovertible rights, protected by their societies; that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of those states-of-being each individual society holds in greatest esteem…” – Excerpt from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets

Anarchism Without Adjectives & the Moral Landscape 1

This is an interesting critique of the perspective of myself and others who favor a broad interpretation of “anarchism without adjectives.” Basically, the argument comes to “anarchism should be exclusive to leftists only” combined with an “anarcho-Sam Harrisism” approach to moral philosophy.

By Ekklesiagora


enter image description hereI’m generally not fond of the phrase “anarchism without adjectives” anymore because the phrase has begun to be thrown around by people on the far right to mean something quite different from what it originally meant. I like the idea of anarchism without adjectives as it was applied by anarchists in the 1880 through the early 1900s. They wanted to eliminate the in-fighting between collectivists, communists, and mutualists within the anarchist tradition. The various schools of anarchist thought all had a lot in common and it was held that anarchists should work together. There was an implicit faith in direct democracy and the ability of anarchists to reach some sort of consensus at the local level during and after the revolution. There may be differences of opinion among anarchists, but people could gather in general assemblies and discuss their differences and come to an agreement, settling for some arrangement that is mutually acceptable to everyone. The kinds of arrangements that arise under anarchism will be diverse. The general assemblies in various communities might each arrive at slightly different agreements. This is what anarchism without adjectives originally referred to—the notion that there might be room for differences of opinion among anarchists and room for various alternative anarchistic arrangements to co-exist alongside one another.

In more recent times, people like Keith Preston, Mike Shanklin, and William Schnack have been advocating a very different sort of “anarchism without adjectives.” These people have been advocating a sort of separatist tribalism without a democratic basis. In their estimation, various propertarian arrangements are equally as acceptable as democratic anarchism. Thus, pseudo-anarchist ideologies like “anarcho-capitalism,” “anarcho-monarchism,” and “anarcho-feudalism” are acceptable under their “panarchism” or “pan-anarchism.” Instead of identifying anarchism with a lack of rulers and the rejection of unjustified authority, these individuals define their “anarchism” in terms of the lack of a centralized State and the push for decentralization. These modern theorists also tend to be hostile to democracy and tend to favor the privatization of the State. They tend to be okay with all the coercive and unjust aspects of the modern State, so long as those aspects are abstracted from the State itself. Such theorists are often okay with structural racism, sexism, and capitalistic property as long as those institutions are upheld by private police and private courts rather than by any centralized justice system. I reject this new “anarchism without adjectives” in favor of the original anarchism without adjectives. All right-wing ideologies are incompatible with anarchism.


The Revolution Without Specificity; A Critique of Anarchism Without Adjectives 1

An ongoing dispute between myself and some in the anarcho-communist, syndicalist, and platformist camps has to do with the issue of “anarchism without adjectives.” I define anarchism as the historic human struggle against authority that goes back to ancient times, whereas their perspective defines anarchism as sectarian anarcho-communism as it was in the late 19th and early 20th century along. Reading LibCom is often like reading warmed over 1930s Trotskyist material.


The Revolution Without Specificity; A Critique of Anarchism Without Adjectives

A critique of AWA as non-specific sectarianism by Rage Against Capital

Since the rise of things like “Anarcho-capitalism” and the modern mutualist/”Left-Libertarian” movement social Anarchists have had to deal with something calling itself “Anarchism Without Adjectives”. Now this term has some historical relevance in the social Anarchist project, however it has since been disconnected from it’s original meaning and offered up in a kind of vague and moralistic manner. Many people who identify with this label come to the view that making any prescription of how the revolution will or should unfold is “authoritarian”. This leads to platformists and syndicalists like myself being viewed as soft Leninists, or Bolsehviks by said people even though both tenancies broke from the Bolshevik and Leninist line. This has left a lot of room for so called “ancaps” to continue their failed campaigns at hijacking political Anarchism for the far right with many of them cloaking their right wing ideology in a thin veil of pragmatism. They usually say something like “Well, we should probably try both Anarchist/Communism and Anarcho-Capitalism to see what works”. These people take on the label of “Anarchist Without Adjectives” when really they are just glorified ancaps. Anacaps already state that if social Anarchism works for many people then they will “let” it prosper. These people have essentially the same “voluntaryist” methodology as ancaps do and often advocate identical views of the market as sacrosanct.

This all means that AWA as it’s called leads to what Kropotkin might call “authoritarian individualism” where adherents reject any kind of social preparation for a revolutionary change in society and instead posit that the only way to do things that is consistent with Anarchist politics is essentially letting the chips fall where they may. If you cross this absolutist form of individualistic politics you are immediately branded as a “Leninist”, “Marxist”, “Bolshevik”, “authoritarian”, ect..

I want to give some historical context so that we can understand AWA fully which it’s modern day advocates seem not to be able to do.


Anti-Nomianism 2


Instead of a Blog

I do not want the police and courts to engage in activities normally approved of by minarchists and some anarchists – such as protecting private property or prosecuting murderers. This is for several reasons:

  1. Police are not legitimate representatives of the victims. As only a victim has the right to expropriatory or retaliatory force against the criminal (though this is transferable to third parties) the police have no authority to actually detain or prosecute criminals.
  2. The force deployed against a criminal act must be the minimum needed to dissuade or redress the criminal act. Even a violent criminal, who is not actively threatening others, may not be shot out of hand. And non-violent offenders – thieves and cheats – may not have physical force used against them except under circumstances where they are actively resisting duly transferred property made as compensation. Thus, the arrest, detainment and threats that police use in all their routine duties are in fact criminal aggression. The fact that their victim has committed criminal acts in no way counters this. Only an active threat – say a serial killer, or a soldier – may be met with open violence, even if he is attempting to evade capture. The sole exception would be where a capital offense occurs, i.e. a murder, and the victim’s heirs consent to have the criminal executed. In such a situation the outlaw may be slain out of hand by anyone, including third parties.
  3. The police do not actually redress wrongdoing and instead impose further costs on the victims and uninvolved parties. Even if the first and second problem were addressed – if it were somehow determined that the police and courts were representing the interests of the victim and were acting only with appropriate force – it would still be illegitimate to impose the costs of courts and imprisonment onto the general taxpayer. No one has a ‘right’ to justice or law or security – you have to pay for it or administer it yourself, if you want it.
  4. It is undesirable to promote the reliance of the citizenry on the apparatus of the state. The citizens should feel that the state is leaving them defenseless, that it takes from them but provides nothing. People should come to rely on themselves, their personal networks and alternative institutions to provide their protection and dispute arbitration – not agents of the state.
My position seems to make minarchism to be untenable – no tax-funded agency, regardless of its conduct otherwise, could possibly perform the ‘night watchmen’ function. I would also apply all of these considerations to so-called ‘national defense’. Soldiers are not ‘defending our country’, they’re defending the oligarchic ruling class and its tax-farm.

The Historical Failure of Anarchism 1

A critique of anarchism from a one-time anarchist who (I’m told) became a Maoist.


1996 Position paper written by Chris Day that was a part of the final conflict in Love & Rage over orientation and direction. In this piece, he emphasizes what he see as the programmatic weaknesses of anarchism and the need to look beyond it for answers.

In the Spring 1996 issue of Workers Solidarity (journal of Ireland’s Workers Solidarity Movement) there is a review by Conor McLoughlin of Ken Loach’s excellent film on the Spanish Revolution, Land and Freedom. The review concludes that:

“(T)he factors involved in the defeat of the revolution would take an article in themselves to explain, ranging from the military power of the fascists (and their outside aid) to the betrayals by the communists and social democrats, and this is not my purpose here. What is important is that the social revolution did not collapse due to any internal problems or flaws in human nature. It was defeated from without. Anarchism had not failed. Anarchists had proved that ideas which look good in the pages of theory books look even better on the canvas of life.”

This quote neatly sums up the lessons that most anarchists seem to have drawn from the history of the anarchist movement. It also neatly sums up what is wrong with the anarchist movement. It is nothing short of a complete abdication of one of the most basic responsibilities of revolutionaries: the responsibility to subject the defeats and failures of the movement to the most thoroughgoing critical scrutiny. Instead it takes a historical experience that ended in a crushing defeat, makes excuses for that defeat and offers the faithful reassuring platitudes that, all evidence to the contrary, the one true path of anarchism is vindicated by the experience.

When anarchists encounter this sort of thing in other ideologies they never fail to tear it to shreds. Does Communism bear responsibility for the heaping piles of corpses produced by Communist regimes? Is Christianity to be blamed for the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts? Of course. We judge ideologies by their practical results in peoples lives not by their pie-in-the-sky promises. Anarchism in Spain raised the hopes of millions that a classless stateless society could be achieved in the hear and now, lead them to the barricades to make it real, and failed abysmally. The Spanish people were condemned to fourty years of fascist rule because of the failure. And yet while the anarchist movement of the past half century has produced an extensive literature extolling the momentary successes of the Spanish Revolution in the creation of peasant and workers collectives, there has been almost no serious effort to analyze how the anarchist movement contributed to its own defeat. Blaming ones political enemies (fascists, Communists, or social-democrats) for behaving exactly as one would expect them to behave only further confuses matters. Betrayal, after all, is only possible on the part of someone trusted.


Contemporary Anarchism Reply

An interesting discussion of anarchism from a Trotskyist perspective.

By Eric Kerl

International Socialist Review

IN DECEMBER 2008, Time magazine ran the headline, “Could Greece’s Riots Spread to France?”1 The article was accompanied by fiery images of anarchists battling police on the streets of Athens. Four months later, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper fretted that a planned march against the G-20 meetings in London, “could be hijacked by anarchists who are known to create so-called ‘black blocs’—tight, hard-to-break units which can smash through police lines.”2 More recently, student resistance to the economic crisis facing colleges and universities in the United States has sparked debates with anarchists who propose a maximum strategy to “occupy everything” and yet, “demand nothing.”3

Since the advent of the global justice movement of the 1990s, anarchist ideas have had a renaissance, and continue to attract growing numbers of adherents, despite detractors in the mainstream media and political repression from the police. For the social movements of the past decade, the broad ideas of anarchism have defined the political landscape. These ideas express themselves in a multitude of ways: from consensus based decision-making models, activist collectives, spokes councils, and affinity groups to black bloc tactics at demonstrations and targeted property destruction (bank windows, ATMs, Starbucks, parking meters, etc).

While the black-hooded anarchist rioters of global justice demonstrations remain the media’s favorite spectacle, anarchists of all types are currently debating new tactics, political shifts, and reassessments of the anarchist tradition. Importantly, strains of contemporary anarchism have offered convincing critiques of the lifestyle approach to social change, rehabilitated the legacy of syndicalism, reoriented to class struggle, and initiated new ways of relating to the working class and social movements. At the same time, other anarchists have mounted vicious attacks on the organized political left and activism in general.

This article is an attempt to explore these new developments and seek common ground with the best aspects of today’s anarchism. Further, this article will analyze the shared assumptions of these disparate strains of anarchist thought and offer a Marxist critique of anarchism’s historical, as well as present, shortcomings.


Warning: Startup Societies are Disrupting Government Reply

Via The Daily Bell

Startup societies are disrupting the industry called government. New methods of governance are being experimented with that promise to make the old dinosaurs of social control go extinct.

When new governments are formed, people can vote with their feet for the best style of governance.

If people want to join a commune, they can go right ahead, but they won’t be able to force others into the mix with them.



For a New Autism: An Argument for Rugged Individualism Reply

Are the sovereign citizens the true anarchist vanguard?


At least around the borders.

Most of the examples of quasi-libertarian societies in history draw upon barbarian tribes and frontier societies. The individualist, nomad libertarians of Ricardo Duchesne, medieval Iceland and old Ireland are cases in point. But so is frontier California.

Academic libertarianism has had only limited influence upon the Patriot and Sovereign Citizen movements, yet these are by far the most earnest attempts to actually revoke the monopoly on jurisprudence and violence that the American Federal Empire claims. This is not to say that they have been successful, and perhaps their strategies are a bit muddled, but they have at least tried – which is more than one can say for ‘agorists’ and the Cato Institute.

Libertarianism as a material doctrine requires a rough egalitarianism in the means of economy and violence, not an equality between individuals but the presence of enough prosperous individuals with diverse ‘stakes’ that they can combine and oust numerically inferior and wealthier opposition. This means the average person must be self-motivated, ready to change occupation, and willing to move both when pressed and when new opportunities present.

It presumes that individuals feel both entitled and capable of taking the law into their own hands when more routine measures are not at hand. This is tremendously helped if the average person is familiar and comfortable with the use of arms, and that these are actually to hand in unexpected situations.

While the academic system of libertarian law and the anti-nomian sermons of professional libertarians are nothing to be scoffed at, the attainment of a society who really approximates these trends one requires first a decentralized world. For psychological and historical reasons, libertarianism will not become a general creed of mankind. If, by the breakdown of traditional empires a situation presents itself – in which adventurous, skilled, and risk-taking people who feel confident taking their lives and fortunes into their own hands  – perhaps doctrinaire libertarianism could find itself at the axis of that.

The libertarian missionaries need a warrior caste.