A somewhat interesting interview with a veteran anarcho-communist.
By Kent Worchester
Wayne Price is a longtime anti-authoritarian political activist. He was drawn toward pacifism and anarchism as a teenager in the 1950s, and he participated in the anti-Vietnam War movement during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the end of the sixties he became a teacher in the New York City public school system, and he remained active in teacher union politics from the seventies through his retirement. In recent years he has helped educate some members of a new generation of radicals through his articles, lectures, and books. He is currently a member of Bronx Climate Justice North, a grassroots climate justice group based in the north Bronx, and the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council in New York City.
By Scotty Hendricks
When most people hear the word “anarchy”, they think of chaos. It brings to mind images of gangs fighting in the streets, looting and rioting, without a police force to help end the madness. It can be hard to grasp why anybody would ever declare themselves to be an “anarchist.” After all, most of the news about anarchists in the United States focuses on their violent demonstrations.
During the Spanish civil war, a brutal conflict between Franco’s Nationalists and the Republicans, eight million people in Catalonia engaged in their own revolution. Based on anarcho-syndicalism, organized by trade unionists, and briefly very successful, the revolutionaries offer us a possible image of what happens when anarchy reigns.
Wayne Price, a veteran anarcho-communist, has made the following observation about the ideas of the classical anarchist Errico Malatesta:
“Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta (comrade of Bakunin and Kropotkin)…wrote that he did not expect a post-revolutionary period to be simply dominated by anarchist-communists (he preferred to call himself an anarchist-socialist). The revolution was likely to have been made by a united front of radical groupings and tendencies. It would be necessary for anarchists to work with others, to develop as much of an anarchist process as possible, while promoting experimentation and flexible pluralism.”
I would argue that this framework has been fundamental to the ATS position, with the modification that anarchism in the 21st century is not merely a reworking of late 19th-century socialism, a time when the “labor question” was at the center of virtually all political struggles.
The cop-free zone is not the particular block or traffic circle or park. It is the shared commitment to defending a space and eliminating the dynamics of policing and white supremacy. In the following collection, we explore some people’s experiences attempting to create police-free autonomous zones in different parts of the United States.
Yesterday, Seattle police evicted the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), ending an experiment in autonomy that had extended over three weeks of inspiring creativity and heartbreaking tragedies. Yet the legend of this space has spread around the world, inspiring solidarity actions as far away as Tokyo and attempts to emulate it from Portland to New York City and Washington, DC. For an overview of the story of the occupation in Seattle, you could start here.
Only on Attack the System will you find articles from Chronicles and It’s Going Down side-by-side.
“Nietzsche was not a social theorist but a poet, a rebel and innovator. His aristocracy was neither of birth nor of purse; it was of the spirit. In that respect Nietzsche was an anarchist, and all true anarchists were aristocrats, I said” – Emma Goldman
What the map of the world looked like before the rise of imperial states although a lot of groups are obviously missing as this is a map of the groups that survive to the present. My vision of the future is a world of millions of micro-cultures, ranging from reclaimed ancient identities to newly invented ones spread across all continents, with colonies in the Arctic, in the subterranean, on the oceans, and in space.
Keith Preston and Todd Lewis interview Agir Cudi a Kurdish anarchist and pacifist who has resists the tyranny of the Turkish regime.
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
The recent kerfuffle over the Bernie Sanders campaign field organizer defending gulags, coerced ideological reeducation, and mass executions in the name of revolution caught my attention last week. I do not find the way it will be used as a scandal in the political horse race either very interesting myself nor particularly important for radicals in general, but I do think the event is highly relevant for anarchists in terms of conceptualizing just what victory precisely looks like to us and just what means are both conceivable and righteous for getting there.
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.