Recently an article on Medium attacked the National-Anarchist Movement, whose second annual conference was recently held in London. Read the original article here. This was my response:
Some of the comments in this article are extraordinarily misinformed. National-Anarchism is very similar to older ecumenical anarchist tendencies like panarchism, synthesism, or anarchism without adjectives, plus some other ideas like neo-tribalism and ecology. Recently, this meme was posted on an N-A page:
And these were some of the comments in response by leading N-As:
“This chart would be an overview of interaction between various N-AM communities, which serves as an umbrella for, sometimes mutually exclusive, ways of life.”
“I agree, but I doubt whether some of these variations would be quite as tolerant as we are. Agreeing to disagree is one thing, but true Anarchism should never venture into the realms of coercion. In other words, the squares to avoid should never become squares upon which to impose your own views.”
“The chart is also very atheistic/materialistic in that it leaves out a vast multitude of Anarchist variations centred on spirituality. Think of all the Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Occult groups, for example. And there is always room for thematic Anarchists, too, who may base their communities on sexual (beyond homosexuality), musical, dietary, historical, fictional or cinematic themes. The list is endless and the N-AM is the only movement on the planet that caters for such diversity.”
Obviously, the ideas expressed above have nothing to do with either fascist totalitarianism nor neo-Nazi terrorism.
My recent presentation to the National-Anarchist Movement in England.
Keith Preston’s Speech – Anarchist Communities: Past,Present and Future @ Second International N-AM Conference in UK, June 23-24 2018.
The new magazine of the National-Anarchist Movement, “Tribes,” is now available. Please contact me through this website’s contact page or via Facebook for inquiries about orders. Complimentary copies will be provided on a selective basis to reviewers, publishers, academics and journalists.
Editorial by Troy Southgate
The Challenge of National-Anarchism by Adam Ormes
Birth Against the Modern World by Hildr Jorgensen
Deep Roots Are Not Reached by the Frost by Linda Hext
Anarchy Against Politics by Kostas Exarchos
Autonomy and Introspection by Mary Kate Morris
Ecology and the Ethnosphere by Thom Forester
From the Streets in Black to a Field in a Wide-Brimmed Hat: A Left-Anarchist’s Journey to N-AM by Gregor Eugen Elliott
Tribe-Race-Ethnicity by Piercarlo-Bormida
Eonorenesis Ethnogenesis by Alexander Storrsson
Anarchism Without Adjectives: National-Anarchism and the Diversity of Communities by Sean Jobst
Guide to anyone confused (left to right, top row):
– Anarchists Without Adjectives
“This chart would be an overview of interaction between various N-AM communities, which serves as an umbrella for, sometimes mutually exclusive, ways of life.“- Zbigniew Boguslawski
“The chart is also very atheistic/materialistic in that it leaves out a vast multitude of Anarchist variations centred on spirituality. Think of all the Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Occult groups, for example. And there is always room for thematic Anarchists, too, who may base their communities on sexual (beyond homosexuality), musical, dietary, historical, fictional or cinematic themes. The list is endless and the N-AM is the only movement on the planet that caters for such diversity.” -Troy Southgate
Anarcho-capitalism (AKA actually believing that absentee property exists without a state despite having 0 historical examples of this)
Anarchism without adjectives (AKA the radical centrism of the libertarian left)
By Kevin Carson
Center for a Stateless Society
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London and New York: Verso, 2015, 2016).
I approached this book with considerable eagerness and predisposed to like it. It belongs to a broad milieu of -isms for which I have strong sympathies (postcapitalism, autonomism, left-accelerationism, “fully automated luxury communism,” etc.). So I was dismayed by how quickly my eager anticipation turned to anger when I started reading it. Through the first third of the book, I fully expected to open my review with “I read this book so you don’t have to.” But having read through all of it, I actually want you to read it.
There is a great deal of value in the book, once you get past all the strawman ranting about “folk politics” in the first part. There is a lot to appreciate in the rest of the book if you can ignore the recurring gratuitous gibes at horizontalism and localism along the way. The only other author I can think of who similarly combines brilliant analysis with bad faith caricatures of his perceived adversaries is Murray Bookchin.
I quote at length from their discussion of folk politics:
Anand Venigalla interviews Keith Preston.
This union is a free and voluntary agreement, and each individual or group will continue to operate independently in addition to being in the union
By Vince Rinehart
What legitimizes a ruler or ruling class hasn’t changed a whole lot over time. In antiquity the emperor was supposed to be God on earth. And he was supported by true believers and those that he could bribe into following him in a mutually beneficial relationship. Any internal dissent was murdered or politically repressed and any external threats were fought off or eliminated.
Under feudalism the King was God’s representative on earth. He was supported by true believers and those he could bribe into following him in a mutually beneficial relationship. Any internal dissent was murdered or politically repressed into submission and any external threats were fought off or eliminated.
Under modern nation states there are variations on the same theme. The state claims to represent “the people” whether it’s the revolutionary parties of communist states or the elected figure heads of capitalist democracies. This rule is supported by true believers and those that are bribed into following the system in a mutually beneficial relationship. Any internal dissenters are murdered or politically repressed and external threats are fought off or eliminated. Put a conservative-approved Trump as the figurehead, or a liberal-approved Obama. Whichever maintains power the most effectively will be chosen.
A reader on Facebook offers the following comments, and asks the following questions.
I’m not so sure how realistic sustained statelessness is without severe technological regression and economic collapse, but the obvious answer is that the vast majority of people would rather bask in the lazy comforts of delegated responsibility than take on the burdens and risks of freedom. The mantle of anarchism is often taken up as an immature pose that is rationalized after the fact, usually quite badly, before being discarded with age for whatever underlying tribal affiliation existed in the first place. It’s a knee-jerk rebellion against constraints on the self, for good or ill, and a justification for engaging in unreasonable or criminal behaviors whose motives are ultimately more personal than political.
It has been interesting to see how many predictions I made years ago have come into being.
I predicted that the Eastern powers and “rogue states” would eventually rise to form an axis of resistance to the hegemony of the American empire.
I predicted that populist-nationalist movements would continue to grow in Europe in opposition to the hegemony of neoliberalism.
I predicted that as the right-wing in the United States continued to lose ground politically, culturally, and demographically, it would adopt a more militant stance than what has previously been observed among “normal” conservatives. This has also happened in the form of the rise of Trumpism in the mainstream, the Alt-Right on the far fringes, and the Alt-Lite as a middle of the road position between the two.
I predicted that the right-wing would fail in its efforts to counteract the hegemony of neoliberalism and the cultural Left. This has happened by means of the cooptation of Trumpism by the Republican Party establishment, the cooptation of the Alt-Lite by Trumpism, and the internal implosion and marginalization of the Alt-Right.
I predicted that as totalitarian humanism continues to be a rising force in Western societies that opposition would emerge in response, not only from the right-wing, but also from centrist liberals, dissenters on the Left, minorities, and those on the Left mostly concerned about anti-imperialist, antiwar, economic, or civil libertarian issues as opposed to identity politics. Visible opposition to totalitarian humanism is now emerging in all of these corners.
I predicted that as class divisions continued to widen that class-based politics would make a return.
I predicted that as traditional minorities became increasingly integrated, and as class divisions continues to widen among minority communities, that minority conservatives would grow in number.
I predicted that individual cities and states might engage in resistance to the federal government’s policies in numerous areas.
However, one thing that I not so much predicted as much as called for was the formation of an “anarchist vanguard” that would be the foundation of anti-state front oriented towards the principles of “Anarchy First.”
As I wrote in the mid-2000s:
This statement originally appeared on Facebook. I am re-posting it here along with my original comments in response.
Here is my response:
On Scottish Liberty Podcast episode 83 with Antony Sammeroff and Tom Laird. Two Scottish Libertarians talk to Keith Preston of http://www.attackthesystem.com about really existing examples of anarchism in practice including anarchic Ireland, anarchy in Iceland, the American West, the Spanish Civil War, Somalia, Marinaleda, Christiania, Monaco, Lichtenstein, Liberland and more.
Todd is joined by David Friedman to discuss difficulties involved in Privatizing National Defense.
This is a great episode.
In this season three opener we review what the intention is for the 2018 season. This initial set of four conversations (of which this first is more of a presentation) cover four themes. Second Wave Anarchy, Indigenous anarchism, the (im)possibility of social change, and Earth centeredness. This is to set the stage for an anarchism without limits, without the left, and without sounding so doom & gloom.
For further information on these themes
Much ado has been made in the centrist liberal press regarding the supposed decline of liberal democracy and the rise of supposed nationalist strongmen such as Trump, Putin, Duterte, Modi, Erdogan, Xi (who recently declared himself president for life) or, after the recent elections in Italy, Salvini. This supposed rise of strongmen is alleged to be accompanied by the growth of right-wing populist movements motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and opposition to All Good Things. Not only the Left but even many mainstream conservatives have engaged in considerable hand-wringing over these trends.
A more realistic view recognizes that the rise of populism and nationalism represents a backlash against the centralization of wealth and political power on an international scale, and on an unprecedented level, and the fact that the political classes of most nations have been complicit in this. Additionally, societies around the world are experiencing unprecedented levels of cultural, social, and demographic change due to technological advancements and the emergence of the global economy. Naturally, when periods of rapid change emerge, a predictable and parallel opposition to such change develops as well. For example, the anti-immigration movements of the West are acting in response to the radical and unprecedented demographic change that is taking place in Western societies. The rise of populist and/or nationalist leaders in other regions of the world is a response to the hegemony of neoliberalism. That most of these leaders are actually accomplices to the global plutocratic class is less significant than the perception of these as somehow being mavericks defying globalist elites. That some of these figures have cultivated a strongman image for themselves reflects an effort to play to popular frustration with the inertia of the centrist political classes.
By John Zube
All individual rights & liberties, clearly declared and widely appreciated and respected vs. governmental bills of rights, human rights declarations like that of the UN, including wrongful but legalized claims against others, in “Welfare States”, as if they were basic rights or liberties.
All individual rights and liberties for all peaceful volunteers, all practiced to any freely chosen extent vs. any imposed territorial uniformity and obedience to majority supported territorial legislation, regulations and institutions, government orders, programs, methods and actions, all at best somewhat restrained through government legislation and court decisions and its bill of rights, including many mere claims against other people as if they were genuine rights.
Bottoms up organizations vs. top down organizations. However, volunteers might also organize themselves – not others – in totalitarian ways. Compare the restrictions monks and nuns imposed upon their lives.
Choosing and freely doing the own things vs. being under the orders and threats of others, mostly power addicts, their legislation and institutions, commands and penalties for disobedience, i.e. enforced obedience to others and their preferences, as tax slaves, forced laborers or conscripts.
An interesting application of Stirnerite principles.
Instead of a Blog
I do not believe in objective standards, norms, ends, means or values; but I have a strong preference for the combination of hardass and self-indulgent traits one finds in the mercenary reaver cultures of places like medieval Burgundy. Essentially, I care about what I care about and consider anything else a means to that end. But I don’t really believe in ‘muhTroof’ or anything; I do not (for example) believe in ‘natural law’, I just believe in shooting thieves on sight. But if you can get away with stealing from defenseless peasants or the fat-asses of the power elite, good for you.
I have a lot in common with LaVeyan Satanism, but more through a sympathy of attitude than any fake-occultist stuff. I tend to favor the most extreme and materialistic aspects of civilization and barbarism, my ‘ideal society’ would be a bunch of heavily armed autistic stock jobbers who obey and disobey the law entirely based on sociopathic cost-benefit analysis.
“Certitude belongs exclusively to those who only own one encyclopedia.” ― Robert Anton Wilson
I can think of no better term to describe my political philosophy than anti-authoritarian. That simple term encapsulates my most consistently held beliefs concerning the nature of relations between individual, society and state. That I above all oppose authoritarian policies, aggressions and values is the firm bedrock from which I evaluate any and all action. That I favor liberty over tyranny is an absolute principle.
There are many factions of formal and loose-knit tribes of anti-authoritarians. I sympathize in varying degrees with all of them. On the other hand, I have found that the very moment I’ve identified myself with a specific subset of anti-authoritarianism, I begin talking myself out of such a commitment.