Why Pan-Secessionism? 4

Most Americans agree that the political system in the United States is incompetent, corrupt and not likely to be reformed in any meaningful way. More and more Americans are getting fed up with the Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum so-called “electoral process”. The problem is that while Americans frequently agree that “the system” is no good, there is virtually no agreement as to what should be done about it or what an alternative system might be. Enter the idea of pan-secessionism.

Secession, of course, involves the idea of regions or localities separating themselves from larger political units, such as the secession of the thirteen American colonies from the British empire in 1776, the secession of the Confederate states from the Union in 1861, the secession of Norway from Sweden in the early twentieth century, or the secession of the various Warsaw Pact nations or Soviet republics from the Soviet empire in the late 1980s.

As the American economy continues to decline due to America’s massive trade deficits, falling currency, rising fuel costs, unemployment, fiscal extravagance, military overstretch, mass immigration, rising health care and housing costs, American society and American politics will become increasingly polarized along the lines of social class, as is the case in many Latin American or Middle Eastern nations, and as was the case in Europe prior to the mid-20th century.

Americans are divided among themselves along cultural, regional, religious, racial, ethnic and political lines. Yet most Americans agree that the system as it stands is no good. And all Americans have a stake in resisting the corporate oligarchy that presently runs the system.  Pan-secessionism provides a way for all Americans to unite against the common enemy (“the system”) and manage their differences at the same time. Simply put, we should all work together to attack our common enemy, and then go our separate ways.

Pan-secessionism provides the framework whereby social conservatives and counterculturalists, religious fundamentalists and feminists or gays, blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, conservatives and liberals, anarchists and socialists, communists and fascists, libertarians and communitarians, family values advocates and proponents of alternative lifestyles, yuppies and punk rockers, homeschoolers and drug users, militiamen and gangbangers, skinheads and illegal immigrants, vegetarians and pro-lifers can all achieve self-determination for themselves within the context of communities specifically designed to meet their own cultural or philosophical standards or desires. The “system” uses these differences as a means of dividing and conquering all of us who are under their boot. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once remarked, “If we can’t get along, then we need to separate.”

Already there are over three dozen secessionist organizations in North America. Imagine if they all grew to where they had thousands of members and then tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then entire towns, counties, cities, metro areas, states and regions started declaring their independence from Washington, D.C., and began creating their own intentional communities and intentional states with their own schools, health care systems, businesses, labor organizations, social services, cultural organizations, protection services, courts and militias. Dissenting political forces have done just this in many other countries, and we can do it in America as well. So let’s get to it.

Paradoxically, Ron Paul’s Success Proving Irrelevance of (Establishment) Libertarianism 2

British emigre and paleoconservative John Derbyshire has an interesting discussion of Ron Paul, Libertarian and Classical Anarchism on today’s VDARE.com:

http://www.vdare.com

Some responses to Mr. Derbyshire’s critique:

“The libertarian Establishment has disdain for Ron Paul‘s presidential campaign. The geeky idealists of Reason and the Cato Institute failed to warm to him; or, having warmed to him, have quickly cooled again, finding that he fails to meet their standards of ideological purity. “

Agreed, and this is a shameful blight on substantial sectors of the libertarian milieu.

“Not only does Paul want to defend the America’s borders, he has been running TV ads against birthright citizenship!—as if a genuine libertarian gives a fig for such antique concepts as “citizenship”. He is also willing to let the welfare state wind down, fulfilling its current commitments to senior citizens. “

The idea behind traditional anarchism was to replace the state with voluntary communities. Presumably, each of these would maintain their own standards of citizenship which prospective members would be free to accept or reject. An Anarchist federation might well include many different kinds of communities with widely divergent standards of citizenship.

On the welfare state question, as the man is who by far the leading Anarchist economist suggests, it is important to eliminate the state’s functions in the right order, beginning with the apparatus of imperialism, and the corporate state. As the wider welfare state becomes superfluous, it can be phased out.

http://www.attackthesystem.com/ppa.html

“Worse yet, Paul seems to have associated with people, fifteen or twenty years ago, who thought that we were all better off when homosexuals had to be discreet, and that black Americans are prone to civil disorder, and that Martin Luther King was a philandering plagiarist, and that the Confederacy had a right to secede from the Union, and that the Korean storekeepers of Los Angeles behaved in true American spirit when they defended their property with guns against rioters. “

Well, I would consider myself to be pro-gay rights in the sense of believing gay people should be free of persecution by the state or from private vigilantes but opposed to the totalitarian PC agenda of the modern “gay rights” movement. I’m pro-black rights in the sense of favoring reparations for previous generations of unpaid labor, establishing self-governing black separatist states, amnesty for black prisoners, but I oppose the abridgement of freedom of association generated by coercive integration policies and affirmative action. I could care less whether King was a philanderer or plagiarist. I respect him as a critic of Jim Crow and the Vietnam War, but view him as irrelevant to the anarchist struggle given his affinities for coercive integration and state-socialism. I agree the Southern secession was legitimate. In fact, I wish they would secede again. And I’m certainly pro-right to bear arms and pro-self-defense.

“There is of course a difference of sensibility between the anarchist and the libertarian, resting mainly in the anarchist being hostile to money, private property, and markets, while the libertarian does not object to those things, but only wants them freed from state interference. Your anarchist believes that private property is the enemy of liberty; your libertarian, that it is liberty’s guarantor.

I’m in the middle on this. I’m for property and markets, but against corporatism and state-capitalism. For the peaceful co-existence of anarcho-syndicalist unions, cooperatives, municipal enterprises, land trusts, mutual banks, kibbutzes, individual and family proprieterships, and partnerships!

“Going down a level, anarchism belongs on the Left because it posits human perfectibility—the notion that if only the human personality were not deformed by the need to submit to authority, and to practice acquisitiveness for survival, it would be nothing but sweetness and light, nothing but selfless forbearance and a willingness to cooperate with others.”

I’m actually a cynic. I agree with Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy”, Pareto’s 80/20 principle and Mosca’s theory of the circulation of elites.

“Or check in with the open-borders über-libertarians at The Wall Street Journal. Borders? Nation-states? Race? Ethnicity? Tribe? Faith? Pfui! Just open up those borders and let economics work its magic! We’ll all get on just fine!—like, you know, Hutus and Tutsis, Sunnis and Shias, Prods and Taigs. Right. These guys make Prince Kropotkin look like a hard-boiled cynic.”

I suppose I could be called an anarcho-tribalist. I’m in favor of devolving the state in organic communities organized on the basis of cultural, religious, ethnic, linguistic, commercial, sexual or aesthetic identity with their own indigenous natural aristocracy.

“And yet, of course, both anarchists and libertarians have got hold of an essential truth: too much government is bad for ya. It is only that they have put that truth in the service of false ideas about human nature.”

Agreed. I’m one of the anarchists who is trying to correct for this.

“Both groups are disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau – all-time winner, in my opinion, of the title “Person We Should Most Wish Had Been Strangled In His Cradle.”

You won’t get any argument from me on that one.

“And so libertarianism marches forward with its band playing (“Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart,” perhaps) and its banners held high, all blazoned with images of Reason’s heroes—Larry Flynt! Madonna! Dennis Rodman! —and affirmations of undying political correctness… straight into the Swamp of Irrelevance, just like the anarchists of old.”

The war against the state will no doubt have to be waged by those outside the official Libertarian or official Anarchist milieus. But, Mr. Derbyshire, we are not all alike. Some of us may surprise you:

http://rosenoire.org
http://revolutioninternational.blogspot.com
http://radian-born.blogspot.com
http://www.newrightausnz.com/

The Wisdom of Paul Avrich Reply

http://www.deadanarchists.org/avrich.html

The late Anarchist historian Paul Avrich probably met and got to know more people from the original anarchist movement than anyone who was young enough to be alive at the beginning of the 21st century. He was acquainted with the sons of Johann Most and Rudolph Rocker, and the daughters of Benjamin R. Tucker and Peter Kropotkin and with those who had been personal friends of Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Sacco and Vanzetti and Voltairine de Cleyre. What did he have to say about the old anarchists?

“I’ve known thousands of anarchists and the percentage of them I didn’t like is very small,” says Avrich. At his sparsely furnished Upper West Side apartment, overlooking the Hudson River, Avrich speaks quickly and passionately about the people and the movement he spent a lifetime chronicling. “I loved these people,” he says, leaning forward with his hand clutching his heart. “I think about them every day.”

Now what did the distinguished historian have to say about what passes for “anarchism” today?

“Avrich does not shy away from controversy in his books, treating the anarchist acts of violence honestly and in the context of the time. He does not condone the violence of Berkman, but says he still admires his decision, considering how brutal Frick acted toward striking workers. But Avrich does not have the same patience for some contemporary anarchists, who choose to destroy property and who, he says, come mainly from educated and middle-class backgrounds. “I’m not so crazy about anarchists these days,” he says. “Anarchism means that you leave other people alone and you don’t force people to do anything.”
He says he is sad that the old-timers are not around to guide the resurgent movement. “They were nicer people – much nicer people.””

Of course, not a few of today’s “anarchists” are really nothing more than brownshirts for the new Totalitarian Humanism. To hell with ’em.

The Next Radicalism: Rightism without Jingoism, Leftism without Political Correctness Reply

Martin Van Creveld’s masterful work “The Rise and Decline of the State” argues that the nation-state system as it has been known since the time of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia is on its way out. As the twenty-first century progresses, conventional states of the kind that began to emerge several centuries ago and fully established themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries will be challenged by regional autonomist movements, transnational federations, separatist breakaway movements and “fourth generation” private armies and sources of authority outside the state.

If this is true, then the next wave of political radicalism will be the precise opposite of the radicalisms that arose in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries-liberalism, socialism and nationalism-all of which aimed towards more concentrated political authority. More than a century and a half since Proudhon first proclaimed himself an anarchist, it is time for anarchism to achieve its moment in the sun. What would a 21st century revolutionary anarchism look like?

1. It would draw on the history of classical anarchism and other pre-existing forms of anarchism, but modify these to make them more compatible with the times.
2. It would attack the Left, i.e., Liberalism and Marxism, as its primary enemies, particularly in North America, given that North America has no historical attachment to the Ancien Regime and the traditional Right. Instead, the enemy to be assaulted is modern bourgeoise liberalism (internationalist, social democratic, corporatist, multiculturalist, therapeutist, managerialist)
3. It would specifically embrace movements, causes and groups ignored by the Left establishment, focusing primarily on the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoise, rural agricultural population and the declasse elements from all class backgrounds.
4. It would crossover to the radical Middle with a populist-decentralist economic outlook standing in opposition to both Big Government and Big Business.
5. It would crossover to the vast culture of right-wing populism recognizing the many economic, foreign policy, civil liberties, decentralist and cultural rights issues raised by these milieus.
6. Its primary strategy would be the creation of alliance of local and regional secession movements spanning the cultural and ideological spectrum but united against the common enemies of State, Capital and Empire.
7. The leadership corps of such movements should ideally be hardline revolutionaries with a committment to radical action and an understanding of the major issues.
8. Aside from a populist-decentralist economic platform, such a movement would assemble coalitions of consituent groups at the local and regional level with grievances against the state and in favor of the decentralization of power.
9. Such a movement would seek to establish alternative infrastructure so as to reduce dependency on state services and to transfer responsibility to non-state services following the demise of the state.
10. Such a movement would recognize the legitimacy of armed self-defense against the ruling class, and so seek to establish private defense forces independently of the state.

So what would the endgame be?

1. Limited, decentralized and federative political institutions and the elimination of the gargantuan states of modernity.
2. Cooperative, decentralist economics outside the modern fiefdoms of State-Capitalism.
3. Non-interventionist foreign policy in opposition to both neoconservative “global democratic revolution” or leftist “human rights internationalism”.
4. Defense of civil liberties and individual freedom across the board, whether on seemingly right-wing populist issues like the right to bear arms or seemingly left-wing counterculture issues like drug decriminalization.
5. An authentically pluralist approach to social and cultural matters, where the basis of social organization is autonomous ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, linguistic, sexual, commercial, aesthetic or other such particularist enclaves.

So how do we get started?

To some degree, we see the beginnings of such a movement in the Ron Paul campaign, a grassroots revolt against the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, Kirkpatrick Sale’s and Michael Hill’s alliance of neo-secessionist factions, the emergence of the New Right as a genuine intellectual challenge to Liberalism and Marxism, the resolutions local communities have issued against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other abominations of the present system, the success of popular referendums in favor of medical marijuana, the rise of the militia movement in defense of the 2nd Amendment in the 1990s, the rise of the anti-globalization movement a few years later, the economic scholarship advanced by Kevin Carson and other contemporary decentralists, and many other things that serve as prototypes for what might be done in the future.

I favor a trickle-down/trickle-up, inside/outside strategy. This means at the top level we need a new generation of scholars to emerge that challenge the hegemony of neoconservatism and reactionary leftism in the cultural and intellectual realms. At the bottom level, we need streetfighting radical activists devoted to the kinds of ideas that have thus far been outlined.
We need those who work on the outside (like citizens militias confronting agents of the state when necessary or feasible) and on the inside (lawyers and lobbyists fighting the system on its own turf like the ACLU or the NRA).

Obviously, there is much work to be done.

Must Anarchists Be Dogmatists? 5

The first time I ever heard the term “anarchist” was in 1983, when I was a senior in high school. My English Lit. textbook included a unit on the British poet Percy Byshe Shelley and the brief biographical synopsis of Shelley mentioned that he had been the son-in-law of William Godwin, an “anarchist”. As a consistent “D” student, I wasn’t much inclined towards textbooks, but I remember being somewhat bemused to discover there were actually people called “anarchists”.

Five years later, much had changed. I had gone from high school stoner (think the Sean Penn character in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) to full blown outlaw to inmate to parolee to college student to dropout and drifter. Along the way, I starting getting interested in radical left-wing politics. Still not sure why. Probably because it was what I was around at the time (thank God it wasn’t the Branch Davidians). Having grown up a good church-going, God-fearing, flag-waving Republican, I probably figured it was a good way to flip off everyone from where I came from. Problem was I really didn’t like most leftists I met all that much. They reminded very much of the uptight Bible-bangers I grew up around. Just a bunch of do-gooders, know-it-alls, moralistic prigs and pharisees. I didn’t like liberals. I didn’t like Commies. I remembered having once heard of anarchists, so I looked them up in the encyclopedia and found entries on classical anarchism, Proudhon, syndicalism, Sacco and Vanzetti, all the rest. So I decided I was an anarchist and have been one ever since. Why am I an anarchist?

1. I agree with the Augustinian view of the state as a robber band writ large.
2. I agree with the Stirnerite view of political obligation. Why should I obey this guy just because he’s the president, king, mayor, etc.?
3. I agree that democracy is a system where five wolves and sheep vote on what to have for lunch.
4. I agree that the death and destruction perpetrated by states make that of individual criminals look trivial by comparison.
5. I agree with George Bernard Shaw that democracy replaces the rule of the corrupt few with the rule of the incompetent many.
6. I agree that the state exists to monopolize territory and resources, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, expand its own power and subjugate and exploit subjects.
7. I agree with Hayek that the worst gets to the top.
8. I agree that the insights of social psychology show that most people are creatures of the herd.
9. I agree that the herd is the permanent enemy of the superior individual.
10. I agree that values are subjective, that life is ultimately a war of each against all, and that survival of the fittest and the will to power are the only true laws.

So, yes, it would certainly seem that I qualify as an anarchist. I admire Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, De Cleyre, Malatesta, Durrutti, Mahkno, Foucault, Chomsky, Tolstoy, Karl Hess, Murray Rothbard, Murray Bookchin, Albert Jay Nock, Voltairine de Cleyre, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, the French Situationists, the Yippies, and a newer tendency called the National-Anarchists.

That being said, I’ve often wondered why so many people who claim to be “anarchists” are such complete and total assholes. Spend any time around anarchists and one of the very first things you will notice is the addiction many of them have to excommunicating heretics from their own ranks. Deviate by two percent from the articles of faith of any particular Church of Anarchy and you will surely experience the wrath of the Inquisition. Anarchists are much like Protestants in this respect.

So how are we going to go about fighting the state? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Build a strategic alliance of all those seeking to decentralize state power for whatever reason. In recent years, Kirkpatrick Sale has been putting together a federation of those who want their region to secede from the US empire, whether the Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South, the Christian Exodus Project, the Republic of Texas and the Free State Project.

2. Build a coalition of all those who are in agreement about the biggest issues of our time: shutting down the US empire and countering the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, averting eventual economic collapse, rolling back the police state, and shutting down the war on drugs.

3. Develop an economic outlook that moves past the Big Government/Big Business paradigm, attacking them both as part of the system.

4. Build coalitions of interest groups who are under attack by the state but who otherwise have nothing in common into an alliance against the state. This is how the Democrats and Republicans do it. These might include smokers, gun owners, drug users, Confederate flag wavers, tax resisters, anti-NAFTA union members, prisoner advocates, homeless advocates, the mentally ill, blacks fed up with police brutality, whites fed up with affirmative action and victimology, students fed up with tyrannical prison-schools, sex workers, Holocaust-deniers (no, I’m not one of them), civil libertarians, counterculturalists, homeschoolers, religious fundamentalists, the list of enemies of the state goes and on and on.

The triumph of movements composed of such coalitions would have the effect of rolling back the state in ways that would make Goldwater Republicans look like Communists. And the High Priests of Anarchy would oppose such efforts every step of the way.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the struggle against the modern Big Brother state will, if it is to ever become successful, take place outside the realm of the particular sects of Anarchy.