Are We on the Verge of Another Civil War? Reply

By Richard Kreitner

The Nation

milo protest

A decade ago, when David Armitage began working on his new book, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas, published this week by Knopf, he had no idea how relevant the subject would become. These days, it’s hard to avoid concluding that American society is tearing itself apart. Several observations and arguments in the book can be harrowing to read—that the nations mostly likely to devolve into civil wars are those that have suffered such conflicts before; that civil wars are most likely when the government is divided against itself; that politics is civil war by other means. Civil Wars ranges over more than two millennia of history, law, and philosophy, but it feels as urgent as the latest shock, as fresh as tomorrow’s news.

I recently spoke with Armitage about his book. The conversation has been lightly edited.

—Richard Kreitner

You write in the book that you began working on it after you “found the past rhyming with the present.” What were some of those rhymes that you saw, and what questions were you trying to answer?

I was on academic leave in that period when the Second Gulf War was at the height of its violence, around December 2006 and early 2007. I was in residence during that period at Huntington Library in Southern California, which holds the papers of Francis Lieber, whose name was popping up in the media discussion about Iraq around the same time. Even though he was a 19th-century Prussian, he became newly relevant because he produced the first codification of laws of war and debates about treatment of enemy combatants, subjects very much at issue at the time I was encountering his work.

Among his papers at the Huntington Library was correspondence with his boss, Henry Hallek, a Union general, about the code and, in particular, about the absence of discussion of civil war in it—a strange omission for a code of the laws of war in the midst of the what became known as the US Civil War. There was no legal definition available to him, so he had to describe and define civil war in legal terms that exactly coincided with highly ideological debates in the media and in Congress about whether or not the violence in Iraq should be considered a civil war, or instead a rebellion or an insurgency or an insurrection. As I was reading this mid-19th-century correspondence I was hearing in the news and in the papers about how hard it still was to define a civil war. That’s one of those moments when, as Mark Twain said, history rhymes. I realized that these were two data points—one from the 1860s, and one from the 2000s—which were part of a longer history of civil war that needed reconstructing.

This book is a story of paradox, from the first page to the last. Can you explain why the very idea of “civil war,” beginning with the Romans, is a bundle of contradiction?

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A New (Left) Low for National LP Chair Nick Sarwark 1

By Ryan Ramsey

Recent riots in Berkley, California have brought increasing attention to the global left wing terrorist organizations known collectively as ANTIFA. They justify their violence based on the idea they are fighting fascism.  Who is not against fascism, right? Thus, the riots and murders are understandable. This logic holds about as much water as the idea the Patriot act was patriotic because patriot was in the name. You can paint a turd any color, it doesn’t change the taste. Antifa are violent thugs, and the patriot act raped a number of our civil liberties in a very UN-patriotic manner. In the words of John Adams, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

This immutable law of nature is a source of neverending irritation to the leftists attempting to hold back the Libertarian Party from its  destiny to shift the paradigm of American politics. That destiny is to create a force edging us towards freedom with  each election cycle, rather than a constant inch toward Marxism. Nick Sarwark, National Chairman of the Libertarian Party, is the poster boy for the Cultural Marxist idiocy that keeps us relegated to single digit election returns in a country where 25% or more of the population supports our policies. If we took the national platform and removed all the items.

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My Take on the “Muslim Travel Ban” Reply

A number of people have for my views on the so-called “Muslim travel ban” imposed by the Trump administration. Here goes:

Statistically, the evidence shows that right-wing terrorists have been slightly more violent in the years since 9-11 than Islamists, at least in the US obviously. But the meaning I take from this data is that the neocons and other hawks are blowing the Islamic terrorism threat way out of proportion, while liberals and the Left blow the right-wing terrorism threat out of proportion. Both groups need these false narratives to be true for ideological reasons.

The neocons and other hawks want a permanent war against Islam and the Left wants a permanent war against whitey, so there always has to be some looming threat on the horizon. The real violence is the US comes mostly from inner city gangs that murder each other over drug dealing disputes, from fights and domestic violence that spirals out of control, and from the mentally ill or lone nuts like Adam Lanza, Dylan Roof, or Omar Mateen.

September 11, 2001 was a singular but spectacular incident that has predictably kept plenty of people up in arms ever since. The OKC bombing in ’95, which killed about 150, had the same impact on the Left. I remember how after OKC the Left was saying many more such acts were just around the corner. But over 20 years later there’s been no such thing. The same thing happened with 9-11. I remember people talking about how there was going to be nuclear destruction of US cities and terrorism with bioweapons and all kinds of stuff. But 15 years later there’s only been a handful of incidents like Orlando, San Bernardino, and Ft. Hood that were perpetrated by lone nuts or small groups of friends acting as freelancers.

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Chicago 1969: When Black Panthers aligned with Confederate-flag-wielding, working-class whites Reply

By Colette Gaiter

The Conversation

In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump won the white vote across all demographics except for college-educated white women. He did especially well among working class white voters: 67 percent of whites without a college degree voted for him.

Some post-election analysis marveled at how the white working class could vote against its own interests by supporting a billionaire businessman who is likely to support policies that cut taxes for the rich and weaken the country’s social safety net. Since the New Deal, the Democratic Party has been seen as the party of working people, while Republicans were considered the party of the elites. Donald Trump was able to flip this narrative to his advantage. Election 2016 balkanized issues and made it seem impossible to work on racism, sexism, poverty and economic issues all at once. A core question moving forward for social justice advocates and the Democratic Party is how they can move beyond identity politics and attract working-class voters of all races, building stronger coalitions among disparate groups.

One place to look for inspiration and instruction might be 1960s social movements that understood the power of alliances across identities and issues. During this period, a radical coalition formed that might seem impossible today: A group of migrant southerners and working-class white activists called the Young Patriots joined forces with the Black Panthers in Chicago to fight systemic class oppression.

So how did this alliance form? And how can its lessons be applied to today’s political moment?

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Climate change: Fact or fiction? 1

Some scientists say the earth’s climate changes constantly and naturally, but the vast majority of them believe the current rise in global temperature is man-made, and could be catastrophic for the planet. But is all this but a case of extreme ‘climate alarmism’? Climate change sceptic Richard Lindzen is challenged on his view that concern about global warming is alarmist nonsense.

Keith Preston: US government subjecting Native Americans to oppression 1

Press TV. Listen here.

Native Americans have been oppressed by the US government for centuries, an analyst in Virginia says, pointing to the ongoing pipeline protests in North Dakota as an example.

Keith Preston, director of attackthesystem.com, said the months-long protests by activists and various Native American tribes against the construction of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) was giving way to a much-needed “solidarity” against Washington.

Thousands of US military veterans announced over the weekend that they would protect the Standing Rock Sioux and many other Native American tribes in their quest to stop the project.

The protesters say that Energy Transfer, the company behind the DAPL, needs to reroute it because it would harm their drinking water and sacred sites.

“First of all, it is important to remember that the Native American people, or the American Indians, have been living under the occupation of the United States for centuries and they remain the most oppressed ethnic group in American society today,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday.

The ongoing oppression, according to Preston, has plunged the minority group’s quality of life to the lowest levels.

Amid the unfair treatment, this $3.8 billion pipeline project would not help the Native Americans at all, he noted.

“In fact the opposite is true,” Preston argued. “It is certainly a cultural upfront to the Native Americans given the fact that it is being built in their sacred territories.”

“Also on a practical level, it is a health hazard, since there is evidence it is going to be hazardous for drinking water and things like that,” Preston continued, adding that the pipeline does not seem to economically profit the tribal groups either.

“So this is a pipeline that is going to benefit outside interests almost entirely and do harm to those who are being the most directly impacted by it,” the analyst said.

He said the move by veterans to support the protesters indicated “the kind of solidarity against the power elite in the United States that we need to see more of.”

According to Preston, there needs to be more similar movements against the ruling system within different ranks of the US military as well as police and other law enforcement agencies.

POLITICS ARE THE REAL ‘SPORTSBALL’: ELECTION AS PSY-OP Reply

Trump1

Andy Nowicki grabs himself a front-row seat at the Circus Maximus. I sure hope popcorn isn’t part of the psy-op!

~MRDA~


Three Presidential elections ago, I wrote an article for The Last Ditch entitled “I Loathe Democracy.”

In that piece, composed just days prior to the W. vs. Kerry throw-down of ’04, I noted the “elementary error in logic in the very notion of trusting the majority,” which is after all the principle upon which democracy is predicated. But, I added, the dimensions of my vitriol wasn’t limited to a mere quibble over an unsound calculation:

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The Need for a New Revolutionary Framework Pitting Liberty Against Power 1

Some thoughts on what it would take for “anarchist success” to be achieved.

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A good point of reference is the history of revolutions.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a wave of revolutions (American, French, 1848, etc) that essentially pitted the Enlightenment against the Ancient Regime, resulting in the growth of democratic republics and science-driven industrial capitalist societies.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the major conflict was between industrial capitalists and proletarian labor, resulting in the eventual growth of modern welfare-managerial states, and the incorporation of the labor parties and trade unions into the system, along with the expansion of the middle class.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the basis of conflict became the traditional in-groups vs traditional out-groups (minorities, women, gays, students, youth, etc). Much of that has subsequently been institutionalized as well with the bourgeois bohemians, newly rich, new class, minority middle class, political correctness, gay marriage, etc.

It seems like that what it would take for anarchists, libertarians, anti-statists, ant-authoritiarians, etc to get their moment in the sun would be a political alignment along the lines of liberty vs. power. Regrettably, things instead seem to be going in the direction of nativism vs globalism (hence, Trump, Farage, Le Pen, etc). More often than not nativism represents state-centric nationalism than anything to do with anarchism, though I agree it’s a double-edged sword. Back in the 1990s I started realizing that right-wing populist nationalism was going to be important in the future as a response to globalization, and I started indicating to anarchists that finding common group with the populist right might be a good idea. However, the majority of anarchists have generally seemed resolutely opposed to this approach. The anarchists of the left for example have generally identified social conservatism rather than the state as their primary enemy. And the right has responded to the growing SJW phenomenon with identity politics of its own. The problem is that the identity politics of the left and right is all there seems to be. All of the different types of anarchists and libertarians argue about that stuff as must as Democrats and Republicans do, and often more intensely so.

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Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Strike Began Today 2

In honor of the September 9, 1971 Attica prisoner uprising, a nationally coordinated prisoner work stoppage has begun today. Reports say that a full work stoppage has occurred at Holman prison in Alabama. Chelsea Manning has also begun a hunger strike. Other strikes and actions have been reported in prisons in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kansas, New York, California, Virginia, Florida and Guantanamo. The Nation has reported that this may turn into the largest prison strike in US history.

Organizers have called this strike to end the slave conditions in US prisons, saying:

They may have replaced the whip with pepper spray, but many of the other torments remain: isolation, restraint positions, stripping off our clothes and investigating our bodies as though we are animals.

The full call to action is republished below.


Prisoners from across the United States have just released this call to action for a nationally coordinated prisoner workstoppage against prison slavery to take place on September 9th, 2016.

Get it as a zine PDF. En Espanol or mailroom friendly

This is a Call to Action Against Slavery in America

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New Class War Reply

A must read for anyone that wants to understand present day political, cultural, and class conflict.

By Daniel McCarthy

The American Conservative

Michael Hogue

Michael Hogue

Shock gave way to relief this summer as America’s political establishment—rattled by Donald Trump’s success in winning the Republican nomination—reassured itself of his inevitable defeat come November. For a moment Trump seemed to have created a new style of politics, one that threatened to mobilize working-class voters against the establishment in both parties. But in the weeks following the Democratic National Convention, as Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers remained comfortably ahead of Trump’s, pundits discounted the risk of class war.

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Poll: Fear, not excitement, driving Clinton and Trump supporters Reply

U.S. electoral politics is primarily driven by fear of the Other. The U.S. is descending into total tribalism.

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By Susan Page

USA Today

Not even their own supporters are all that excited about winning.

A nationwide USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll, taken as Labor Day launches the final sprint toward the election, finds supporters of both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump more motivated by fear about the other side claiming the White House than they are by excitement about their own candidate prevailing.

Clinton holds a 7-percentage-point lead over Trump,  48%-41%, close to the 6-point lead she held two months ago in the survey. But the proportion of undecided voters is chipping away, now below 10%. And in a four-way ballot, support for third-party contenders has ticked up, to 9% for Libertarian Gary Johnson and 4% for Jill Stein of the Green Party.

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Thick Libertarians Reply

This is a pretty good summary of why the libertarian movement has failed to provide a viable alternative in the U.S., i.e. it’s just a microcosm representation of the wider established paradigm, and not an alternative paradigm. This author identifies 8 major libertarian factions, ranging from far left to far right: neo-libertarians, paleo-libertarians, neo-reactionary libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, left-libertarians, liberaltarians, and left-market-anarchist libertarians. Clearly, libertarians need an overarching paradigmatic framework and strategic formulata, like pan-decentralization, pan-secessionism, and the city-state system.

By Todd Seavey

I resolve to stay “thin” this year. That’s the term from moral philosophy borrowed by libertarians to refer to a formulation of libertarianism that, roughly speaking, comes with no cultural baggage. If you can refrain from violating property rights, you’re good vis-à-vis libertarian rules, end of story.

That’s not to say there aren’t all kinds of moral and psychological suggestions we can make to each other simply as human beings—roughly speaking, “thick” conceptions of morality—just that they’re outside the scope of libertarianism proper (and deal with topics like art, music, etiquette, etc.). The temptation to get thick is immense, since property rights on their own seem dry and abstract, floating somewhere in space without moorings. I fully agree property rights-adherence isn’t something that just happens out of the blue, without people being reared in the habit and given cultural reinforcement.

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Message from an Outraged Neocon 3

One of the most complimentary messages I have received in while. I must be doing something right.

“I don’t know how someone could live their lives in the United States and end up with such a polluted view of our country. A country that’s not perfect but is certainly nothing like you present it to be.

I just saw your ridiculous interview on PressTV, a propaganda media arm of the Iranian govt. A nation who welcomes your anti-American tripe for their propaganda efforts.

The question begs: why do you choose to live in a country you hate? I wouldn’t.

Perhaps Iran would be a good place for you. Perhaps you’d feel less oppressed there?

BTW, how much income do you generate from throwing the United States under the bus?

Judging by what you write and the topics you choose I’d say that you are possessed by a singular purpose, that of expressing yourself against all things American. And by adopting such a narrative you’ve created an identity for yourself, i.e., purpose in life.
While others may take up chess or astronomy or something else as their purpose in life, you’ve instead taken up the purpose to attack an entire country. It’s not much different than a child rebelling against his parents or a spoiled brat with an anti-authority complex.  The US is an easy target and you’re safe to accuse it of all sorts of evil deeds while you live in it.  Imagine that?
It is your right to criticize and promote the overthrow of society and the United States, to impose your warped sense of anarchical/tyrannical rule.  You are free to do that up to the point of taking action against the state…then you break the law. Boo hoo!
But I doubt you have the guts or courage to lead the charge from your headquarters in your mother’s basement. Words are your weapon. It cloaks and makes you feel wonderful in your dreams.
Viva Che Guevara!”

The Psychology of Political Polarization in the U.S. 1

The best analysis of political polarization in the US (Red Tribe vs. Blue Tribe) that I have seen to date. Jonathan Haidt argues that political ideology and party affiliation are the major dividing lines in American politics, with race and class being a distant second, and religion and gender being an ever further distant third.

Featuring Jonathan Haidt, PhD, New York University, “What Is Happening to Our Country? How Psychology Can Respond to Political Polarization, Incivility and Intolerance”

Our political parties are based more and more on absurd tribalism Reply

By Matthew Gagnon

Pine Tree Politics

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire is a fascinating moment in world history. Yet, the Roman Empire did not cease to exist in 476 as most people believe. Rome had long before been split into two administrative divisions — a Western, Latin Empire and an Eastern, Greek Empire.

Rome’s obliteration as we think of it today was, in reality, an event that occurred only in the west. The Eastern Empire lived on, and became what we today call the Byzantine Empire, though its government and citizens continued to call themselves Romans. That empire survived in some form for another thousand years.

The greatest Byzantine Emperor was Justinian I, who undertook a mission to reconstitute the full Roman Empire once more. He succeeded in recapturing much of Rome’s former territory, which had been lost in the preceding decades.

Justinian’s time — particularly his early reign — was an interesting one. The Empire he led could not be called a democracy, yet in the capital city of Constantinople — today known as Istanbul — an interesting brand of factional mass politics had developed, which organized citizens of the city into powerful mobs that stood in opposition to one another.

These factions, however, were not organized around politics, but around sporting events, particularly the Roman passion that was chariot racing.

I won’t bore you with the particulars of Byzantine sport fandom, but essentially, competitors in sporting events were organized into four teams represented by the color uniform they wore: Green, Blue, Red and White.

These teams each had mass support from major portions of Constantinople’s citizenry, creating large factions. The supporters of each of these teams would themselves wear the same colors.

By Justinian’s time, the Reds and the Whites had lost nearly all of their influence, and sport was dominated by Greens and Blues, creating a bipolar universe of tribal affiliation.

The Greens and Blues became, however, an expression of more than sports fandom. Lacking any kind of democratic power or outlet for mass opinion, these factions grew to dominate civic life as well, organizing around social and political issues. They exerted control over local governance of neighborhoods, religious disputes, and the distribution of food. They even involved themselves in disputes over claimants to the throne.

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Twitter Bans Milo Yiannopoulos, Initiates Major Internet Free Speech War Reply

It’s interesting how when a Christian bakery refuses to bake a gay wedding cake, the Left calls for compulsory association in the name of equality. When a private media company denies it own services to outspoken conservatives, the Right calls for compulsory association in the name of free speech. Of course, neither side really cares one damn bit about free speech, freedom of religion, equal rights, or free association. They just want their tribe to always win. The Blue Tribe and the Red Tribe are rapidly becoming to North America what the Sunni and Shiites are to Iraq or what the Protestants and Catholics are to Northern Ireland.

By Robbie Soave

Reason

Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart tech editor and Trump-loving alt-right superstar, has been permanently banned from Twitter following accusations that he directed his followers to send abusive comments toward actress Leslie Jones. But while Yiannopoulos certainly straddles the line between being a free speech provocateur and merely a serial violator of Twitter’s terms of service, these sanctions are likely to increase the perception that Twitter is no place for conservative voices.

Yiannopoulos’s brawl with Jones stems from her role in the new Ghostbusters movie, which features an all-female cast. The movie has taken on a culture war context: opponents of the film think its characters were made female in order to appease the dictates of political correctness. Yiannopoulos gave the movie a negative review, and soon thereafter got into a public Twitter fight with Jones.

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