Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat 14

For some time now, I have argued for an alliance of left-wing anarchism and right-wing populism against the common enemies of imperialism and Big Brother statism. I have argued that the strategic application of such an alliance would be a pan-secessionist movement rooted in the traditions of the American Revolution and the later Southern War of Independence. Secessionism is often associated with political conservatism, given the greater regard of conservatives for American traditions like states’ rights and the conservative nature of the Southern secession of 1861. Indeed, pro-secessionist rumblings have emerged in the mainstream Right recently. Such developments are a welcome thing, of course, and no doubt a future pan-secessionist movement would have a strong right-wing and radical center constituency behind it. As the middle class continues to sink into the ranks of the underclass, and as the vast array of cultural groups associated with right-wing populism continue to come under attack by the forces of political correctness, no doubt an increasing number of people, including many former jingoists, members of the religious right and one-time neocon sympathizers, will realize that the centralized liberal-managerial regime is their enemy, and decide that a political exodus is their best bet. Certainly, a mass army of secessionists in the rural areas, small towns and red states will be a welcome addition to our cause.

However, I do not think that it is on the Right that the crucial political battles will be fought. The Right represents an agglomeration of political, cultural and demographic factions that are losing power and shrinking in size. Instead, the crucial battles will be fought on the Left. The dominant center-left that is now consolidating its position is a liberal Left that espouses liberal internationalism, universalism, humanism and human rights imperialism, and expresses itself in the form of the therapeutic-managerial-welfare state. However, there is an emerging radical Left that is oriented towards pluralism, postmodernism, cultural relativism, pro-Third Worldism and anti-Zionism. Eventually, there will be a sharp split between these two lefts, as the former is capable of cooptation by state-capitalism, but the latter is not. Take a look at these photos:

http://zombietime.com/gaza_war_protest/

Can a radical Left that is fervently anti-Israel and pro-Third World nationalism ever be reconciled with the American ruling class? It is highly unlikely. Furthermore, the spectacle of conservative Muslims, feminists, gays, transgendereds, Marxists, anarchists, leftists, nationalists, national-anarchists, Jews, anti-Semites, racialists, anti-racists, peaceniks and Hamas sympathizers marching against Zionism and U.S. imperialism is not only a potential ruling class nightmare,  but a manifestation of the kind of pluralistic, culturally relativist, cross-ideological alliances against the System that I have been arguing for in the past.

The legitimizing ideological superstructure of the present regime and ruling class, i.e., liberalism, is antithetical to both paleoconservatism from the Right and cultural relativism from the Left, but there is sufficient enough overlap between these latter two as to make strategic alliances possible. We see the beginnings of this in the current alliance between bioregionalist and Green decentralist left-wing secessionists and conservative Christian right-wing secessionists. As left-liberalism continues to become an increasingly status quo and upper middle class ideology, the radical Left will find itself increasingly alienated from liberalism. The more deeply entrenched political correctness becomes, the more it will alienate even many of its former sympathizers.

The real political war of the future will be between not only the liberal-left and the postmodern left, but between the totalitarian and anarchistic left, and the New Class and the underclass. Just as the U.S. Civil War sometimes found members of the same family on different sides of the fence, so will the future political war find members of constituent groups from the contemporary Right and contemporary Left on both sides. If the battle is between liberal universalism and relativist pluralism at the intellectual level, then the natural political expression of the latter would be some kind of decentralized anarcho-pluralism, with its popular form resembling something like left-conservatism or pan-secessionism.

Although most of the actual secessionist movements at present are rooted in the red states or the more maverick blue states like Vermont and New Hampshire, a serious pan-secessionist movement will need to be first and foremost oriented towards the large metropolitan areas. This is where the majority of the U.S. population resides. It is where the plutocratic elites, state bureaucracies and New Class managerialists are located, and it is also where the lumpenproletarian masses are located. The large cities are where the paramilitary police forces are located and they are where most of the residents of the prison-industrial complex originate from.

The goal of a serious pan-secessionist movement whose aim is to overthrow the empire for real should be to obtain political preeminence in large cities as a first order of business. Cities tend to be dominated by the aforementioned plutocratic elites, and by landlords, developers, and well-heeled civic and business interests. These elements are for the most part bought into the System, and can therefore never be converted to our side. So strategically speaking, an urban secessionist strategy will generally have the flavor of plutocratic/bureaucratic elites vs Everyone Else. Recognition of this fact implies the necessity of a class-based radical movement rooted in the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoisie, lower respectable poor, lower middle class, bohemians and de classe elements. The goal is to obtain a political majority capable of seizing power at the municipal level in large metro areas. Once political preeminence was obtained in a fair number of cities, a formal alliance of municipal secessionist movements could be formed, and these could form a wider alliance with secessionists among the Red Staters, Greens, indigenous people and so forth. In “Liberty and Populism” I wrote:

We need to abandon the bourgeoise identity politics that have grown out of the new left. The legacy of this has been to create a constituency for the left-wing of capital among elite members of traditional minority groups including educated professionals among blacks, feminists and homosexuals, middle-class ecology enthusiasts and animal-lovers and so on. The best approach here would be to attempt to pull the rank-and-file elements of the traditional minorities out from under their bourgeoise leadership. This means that anarchist revolutionaries such as ourselves would need to seek out common ground with nationalist and separatist elements among the non-white ethnic groups against the black bourgeoise of the NAACP, poor and working class women against the upper-middle class feminist groups like NOW and the gay counter-culture (complete with its transsexual, hermaphrodite and “transgendered” elements) against the more establishment-friendly gay middle-class.

Indeed, we have not even begun to touch on the possibilities for building a radical movement rooted in part in marginalized social groups ignored, despised or persecuted by the establishment. These elements include the handicapped, the mentally ill, students, youth, prostitutes and other sex workers, prisoners, prisoner’s rights activists, advocates for the rights of the criminally accused, the homeless and homeless activists, anti-police activists, advocates of alternative medicine, drug users, the families of drug war prisoners, immigrants, lumpen economic elements (jitney cab drivers, peddlers, street vendors), gang members and many others too numerous to name. On these and other similar issues, our positions should be to the left of the ACLU. Adopting this approach will bring with it the opportunity to politically penetrate the rather large lumpenproletarian class that exists in the US with little or no political representation. At the same time, the last thing we should wish to do is emulate the mistakes of the new left by adopting an ideology of victimology and positioning ourselves as antagonists of the broader working masses. Nothing could be more self-defeating. The defense of marginal populations way beyond any efforts in this area offered by the left establishment should be part of our program, but only part. Our main focus should be on the working class itself, the kinds of folks who work in the vast array of service industries that comprise the bulk of the US economy.

There are several reasons for these positions. The first is rooted in recognition that as the Left has abandoned class-based politics in favor of the cultural politics of the left-wing of the upper middle class, it is only natural that we should step in to fill the void. The second is rooted in recognition of a wide assortment of outgroups that have never made it into the Left’s pantheon of the oppressed/victimological coalition, and the possibility of recruiting from these groups in order to increase our own numbers. The third is to undermine liberalism’s claimed monopoly on do-gooderism. A pan-secessionist movement that is seen as the simultaneous champion of the ordinary working poor and the marginalized and persecuted such as the homeless, punk rock squatter kids, mental patients, drug addicts, prisoners, et.al. will have a much easier time of deflecting the “fascism and racism” labels that will ultimately be thrown in our direction. The fourth is to undermine liberalism by splintering its constituent groups.

Note that I am not implying anything politically correct here. For instance, while we might uphold the legitimate rights of gay organizations, businesses or individuals that come under attack by the state, and practice non-discrimination within the context  of our own alternative infrastructure radical organizations, this does not mean that we will allow “gay rights” organizations allied with the liberal enemy to dictate who can or cannot be a part of our own movement. Being a primarily lower class movement, it is only natural that many people with conservative views on sex, morality, religion and the like will also be included within our ranks. Likewise, we may support organizational efforts set up to provide genuine assistance to transgendered people (even the Iranians do this), drug addicts, the handicapped, people with AIDS or other special populations, but we do not insist on the universalization of liberalism. For instance, we might also be just as supportive of skinhead squatters as leftist punk rock squatters, national-anarchists as leftist-anarchists, separatist tendencies among redneck white communities along with black separatists. More broadly, the radical movement would vehemently defend all victims of political correctness wherever they can be found just as strongly as we might defend victims of police brutality. We would defend students harassed by school authorities for carrying Bibles or other religious artifacts just as quickly as we would defend students harassed in a similar fashion for wearing “Goth” clothing. While in urban areas at least, we would take an liberal-left-libertarian, ACLU-like approach to cultural and social matters, with some exceptions like our own defense of the right to bear arms, unlike left-liberals we would recognize that controversial social questions like abortion and gay marriage are best handled at the local level according to community standards. While our own worker, tenants, squatter, and prisoner defense organizations would out of necessity be inclusive of both natives and immigrants, even illegal immigrants in some instances, this does not mean we would necessarily accept carte blanche immigration as a matter of principle.

The question of race is a particularly interesting and challenging one. African-American anarchist Mark Gillespie offered this assessment:

Whether you are a homo-leftist-anarcho-syndicalist-voluntary-eco-feminist or a racist-ultra right-wing-neo-conservative-constitutionalist-patriot, both agree that the State, in its current form, is detrimental to their views and lifestyles. In this “society”, these groups are kept from uniting by the activity of the state and its media. However, we know that in anarchy, diversity of views is a strength, not a weakness. We have allowed the State to divide us based upon the most trivial things.

The fact is that, under anarchy, all of these different groups may “have it their way”. If the an-caps want a completely free market economy for themselves and the an-socs want to combine in communes, they can do this better under anarchy than they can now. If the Homo-an-syn-fem (hell of a moniker, yes?) wants to separate from the Neo-con-con-pat or vice versa, they can and do it more peaceably than they can under statism. This is the best weapon of an anarchist vanguard. We can and should embrace the different elements that make up this country. Think about this. If we can embrace just two major groups under the anarchist banner, we could send the statists home, without a shot. The major ethnic groups in this country are the New Worlders (Aboriginal Americans, Blacks and Spanish/Aboriginals) and the Old Worlders (people of mostly European descent). These groups are kept at each other’s throats and socially separated by negative media reports and by institutionalized racism. Reports of rampant crime, lack of morals and mob violence send shivers down the spines of the average, patriotic, “law-abiding”, traditionalist citizens, amongst the Old Worlders. Historic wrongs, appeals to end needed restorative services in the community and a envy for those who seem to do better than them, keeps New Worlders in the grip of a fear that the statists work hard to instill. Neither one of these groups are necessarily wrong, but, their fears and hatred, spread and protected by the weapons of the state, virtually ensures that these two major groups will meet together, only when they are pointing guns at each other.

The New Worlders make up a combined 25.7 percent of the nation’s population (approximately 72 million people). Let’s assume that the mostly Old Worlder patriot movement makes up about 3 percent of the white population (approximately 6.5 million). With these numbers, and a properly educated and motivated anarchist vanguard, there are at least 32 different states that are immediately vulnerable to a takeover and disbanding of the state government (based upon a population of less than 5 million/state) and any state in the union is vulnerable to a gradual takeover.

Something like 32 states and maybe 50 major cities sounds about right. I’m also inclined towards the view that an anti-state, pan-secessionist revolutionary movement would actually have a disproportionately high number of racial and ethnic minorities. Of course, even this would not stop our enemies from throwing the “racist and fascist” label in our direction. Of course, the proper response to such accusations would not be persistent denial and attempts at clarification but a simple middle finger. But while we should not treat the politically correct classes with anything but contempt, it does seem natural that a pan-secessionist alliance would indeed include many ethnic sub-tendencies, for instance, blacks in inner-cities, indigenous people in Hawaii, Alaska, the western plains or on reservations, Puerto Ricans independencias, Muslim or Arab enclaves in Michigan, Hasidic, Asian neighborhoods in large cities, or Indian Quebecois separatists, majority Aztlan local communities in the Southwest,  and perhaps even revolutionary organizations within Mexico itself.  Indeed, the pan-secessionist revolutionary organizations might even form tactical alliances with insurgent forces in Central and South American countries or in the Middle East such as Hezbollah or the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. After all, it is the empire that is our common enemy. None of this is inconsistent with our insistence on the sovereignty of nations against imperialism, communities against statism, and individuals within the context of freedom of association.

An urban, lumpenproletarian revolutionary movement would be unlike anything that has come before. It would be socially conscious out of the recognition of the economic circumstances of the lower classes and the social conditions of a wide array of marginal population groups. Yet it would shun the political correctness of the liberal upper-middle class and cultural and intellectual elites, and no doubt have a conservative and libertarian as well as progressive dimension to its character.

Why You Conservatives Should Give Us Anarchists a Chance: A Reply to Paul Gottfried 2

A recent exchange at Taki’s Magazine between two of my favorite writers, Justin Raimondo and Paul Gottfried, prompted me to consider ways in which the thought of anarcho-libertarians and traditional conservatives might be reconciled or at least overlap. For many years, I was involved in the left-wing anarchist milieu, and I still consider Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Chomsky, Goodman, Bookchin, et.al. to be among my primary influences. Yet over time, I developed a strong appreciation for writers and thinkers of the traditional and not-so-traditional Right as well, including Rothbard, Mencken, Nisbet, Kirk, Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Pareto, Junger, De Benoist and others. I’ve also come to strongly admire the American populist tradition beginning with Jefferson and extending through contemporary paleocons and alternative Rightists. Consequently, my ideological leanings have come to be an eccentric “left-anarcho-libertarian, populist-nationalist, decentralist-pluralism.” Odd? Perhaps, though I suspect the fact that Kropotkin’s daughter Alexandra was a Goldwater Republican indicates more continuity than radical departure within the context of her family’s ideological heritage.

Because the source of the disagreement between Gottfried and Raimondo was an earlier piece by Jared Taylor, and because the majority of the persons within the left-anarchist milieu from whence I came are known for their hysterical “anti-racism,” I should probably note that while I agreed in part with Raimondo’s criticisms of Taylor, I also recognize Taylor as someone who dares to ask provocative questions that ought to be given a fair hearing, but are forbidden by the self-appointed censors of political correctness. Surely, libertarians can do better than that. Furthermore, Taylor has publicly advocated only two policies: complete freedom of association in racial, ethnic, religious and cultural matters; and a moratorium on Third World immigration. Contrary to what many of my anarchist compatriots, themselves in the grip of political correctness, would have us believe, neither of Taylor’s proposals are in violation of traditional anarchist articles of faith. In fact, the Webster’s dictionary defines anarchism in part as “advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups.” Historically, anarchists have opposed the monopolization of power, wealth, land and resources by states or by state-connected plutocratic elites, and have argued for self-managed communities and a wider dispersion of ownership. But ownership implies the right of exclusion. Whether one is a leftist-syndicalist-communitarian anarchist or a rightist-proprietarian anarchist, it certainly does not follow that either collectively owned communes or associations of private property owners are obligated to admit all comers, regardless of beliefs, behavior, or individual contributions. Consequently, immigrants do not have any “right” to immigrate into the communities or proprietary associations of others, and while public areas (streets, lands, amenities) might consitute a kind of commons where individual citizens (such as street vendors or skateboarders) should not be arbitrarily excluded for the gratification of others, it does not follow that those from elsewhere have a “right” to enter or squat on such properties.

But what is even more interesting is Gottfried’s dissection of Raimondo’s Rothbardian “anarcho-capitalist” ideology. Says Gottfried:

The real source of Justin’s outrage lies in the contradiction between his ideology and Jared’s emphasis on cultural and biological specificity. The world as conceived by Justin is a collection of self-determining individuals, who should be free to work out their social and economic affairs, providing they do no physical harm to anyone else. In this ideal society, all humans, at least adults, however one defines them chronologically, will be free to develop themselves on the basis of their feelings and self-interests. Personally I couldn’t imagine how such a chimerical society could come into existence, let alone sustain itself, except in the minds of libertarian intellectuals or on a very provisional basis among likeminded ideologues. Such ideas are the modern counterparts of nineteenth-century utopian communities, all of which were attempts to restore a natural human condition that as far as I can tell never existed.

Historically, there have been more anarchist communities than many recognize, and while it is true some of these have lasted only for a few decades, or even a few years, others, such as the Icelandic Commonwealth and Gaelic Ireland, have lasted longer than the United States has been in existence.

Without authority structures, whether created by traditional hierarchies or by the modern managerial state, human beings have never lived together for any length of time. This generalization would apply to, among other societies, early America, which was a stratified and family-focused place.

I would dissent from the claim that political libertarianism necessarily implies either a radically egalitarian society or some kind of alteration of human nature from what it is at present. Certainly that is not the case for someone like myself, whose views on political science and social science are heavily influenced by the likes of Lawrence Dennis and James Burnham. Indeed, some of the most essential insights of elite theory like Michels‘ “iron law of oligarchy” and Pareto‘s “80/20” principle tell us that human organizations of any size will be dominated by the few rather than the many, and with a natural ranking of persons in even the most liberal circumstances. These principles are no less true for, say, an anarcho-syndicalist labor federation or an anarcho-capitalist private defense agency than for a conventional business firm or university. Nor does libertarianism, even in its more anarchistic forms, imply doing away with non-state social institutions such as family, religion, community, education, commerce, charity, or professional, cultural, and fraternal associations. Indeed, the elimination or massive reduction of dependency on the state should actually serve to strengthen such institutions.

Our sharp difference of views is reflected in the divergent ways in which Justin and I define the American Old Right. From his perspective, that American Right, about which he wrote an entire book, featured radical individualists resisting societal pressures and state authority. On my reading the interwar Right stood for a small-town and predominantly Protestant America faced by bureaucratic centralization and the rise of the modern culture industry.

Is it really a case of either/or? Surely, it would not be wholly counterfactual to suggest that Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, H.L. Mencken, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Jay Nock, or Lawrence Dennis were indeed “radical individualists resisting societal pressures and state authority,” particularly Dennis, who was placed on trial for sedition by the sinister Roosevelt regime. However, there is certainly no denying that the  American Right, whether in its “old” or “new” forms, has traditionally “stood for a small-town and predominantly Protestant America faced by bureaucratic centralization and the rise of the modern culture industry,” at least at the rank and file level.

Are libertarian-individualist anti-statism and rural, small-town, Protestant conservatism really all that incompatible? Not that I can tell. As one who wants to see government stripped down to the level of city-states, counties, communities, and neighborhoods, it would seem to me that some kind of libertarian-anarchism would potentially be the political salvation of the entire spectrum of the authentic political and cultural Right, whether cultural conservatives, moral traditionalists, religious fundamentalists, ethnic preservationists, immigration restrictionists, family advocates, racial separatists, property owners, firearms owners, homeschoolers, tax resisters or hard money advocates. It is these forces that are the most under attack by the centralized, managerial-therapeutic-multicultural-welfare state. Surely, the death of the state is at least the partial victory of social and cultural forces such as these. Surely, those most under attack by the heavy hand of totalitarian liberalism will have more to gain through the obtainment of sovereignty for their own communities and institutions than through the perpetual expansion of the state.

Now, to be honest, I would make the same argument to the Left as well. I have long believed that the ultimate settlement to the culture wars will have to be some kind of Peace of Augsburg rooted in pan-separatism. Surely, the blue counties could have all the single-payer health care, affirmative action, gun control, same-sex marriages, smoking bans, publicly subsidized transgender surgeries, institutionalized animal rights and wacky environmental laws they wished if only they did not have to share a political roof with those nasty, fascist conservatives, Nazi Republicans and Christian Talibanists! Traditionally, conservatives have argued for such principles as states’ rights, local sovereignty and community standards with regard to social and cultural matters. I agree with them. So it would seem that the demise of the state would essentially solve many of these conflicts, as the various sides would simply go their own way. To some degree, everyone would win, especially those who are most likely to suffer escalating attacks as political correctness becomes ever more deeply entrenched in state and state-connected institutions.

You Musn’t Forget S-L-A-V-E-R-Y!!!!!! 1

In contemporary American political discourse, we often hear talk of “the legacy of slavery,” primarily in discussions of racial issues. To be sure, the “legacy of slavery” has had a damaging impact on American race relations (it wasn’t so wonderful for the actual slaves, either). Many of the rather severe social problems found among certain sectors of Americans of African ancestry today are often attributed to this legacy. I tend to think such claims are often overstated. For one thing, the overwhelming majority of American blacks are far from being the social or economic basket cases many people imagine them to be. As the black economist Dr. Walter Williams puts it:

If one totaled black earnings, and consider blacks a separate nation, he would have found that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world’s 16th richest nation. That’s just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans have been chief executives of some of the world’s largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, headed the world’s mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black. A few black Americans are among the world’s richest people and many are some of the world’s most famous personalities. These gains, over many difficult hurdles, speak well not only of the intestinal fortitude of a people but of a nation in which these gains were possible. They could not have been achieved anywhere else.

Of course, there is another side to this question, primarily the ongoing gap in accumulated wealth between whites and blacks, and the even more serious problem of the enormous black “underclass.” I’m inclined to think these latter problems have broader and more recent causes, such as ongoing patterns of class conflict, repression, politically imposed hinderances to the economic self-advancement of blacks, and attacks on the organic community life of the lower classes by the state. Still, there’s no doubt the “legacy of slavery” contributes to the disproportional representation of blacks among the lower classes that are impacted most heavily by such things.

There’s still another way in which the “legacy of slavery” has damaged American politics, and that is the persistent identification of ideas like local sovereignty, community autonomy or political decentralization as code words for slavery or compulsory racial segregation of the kind associated with Jim Crow. For instance, in much of American higher education, the classical American republican doctrine of “states’ rights” is simply dismissed as an anachronism that never had any purpose other than to defend the interests of slave-holders. Having studied American history in an advanced academic setting, I’ve noticed the general tendency is to present the unfolding of American history as an evolutionary struggle towards the achievement of “progress,” meaning overcoming reactionary ideas like states’ rights, limited government and other impediments to the glorious victory of the federal welfare state and centralized micromanagement of local race relations. Joe Stromberg’s parody of a modern course in what used to be called Western Civilization, which can be viewed here, is only a slight exaggeration.

The obsession with slavery has corrupted not only political discourse in elite academic circles, and among mainstream “progressive” thinkers, but also among fringe radicals as well. For this reason, my Number One Fan Aster feels it necessary to place this item in the proposed constitution for her rendition of Utopia:

The principle applies to places not subject to the jurisdiction of the County of Bohemia too, but this isn’t an excuse to bomb foreigners and take their stuff. Or to get other foreigners to ruin their livelihoods so they have to work in your sweatshops for virtually nothing. It even applies to BROWN people, believe it or not- and the fact that it took you this long to figure that out means you suck.

Section VII. Aster shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Actually, anyone who wants to stop a slavery situation should feel empowered to do it. Figuring out the enforcement and incentive structures will be a bitch, though- but that’s not an excuse for giving up and just letting slavery happen, Keith.

Soviet Onion:

Aster has written some unwarranted misrepresentations of Keith (I prefer to think he enables fascists rather than being one himself) and even more of Jeremy, but this isn’t one of them. Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

So should we “just let slavery happen”? First of all, where does contemporary slavery actually take place? Mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. You know, the places where all of those supremely virtuous “people of color” tend to be found and who would have remained in the Garden of Eden if only those evil white European snake-devils hadn’t come along and fucked up their otherwise idyllic world. If only those evil white-devil slave traders hadn’t brought Africans to the Western hemisphere as slaves, perhaps their current descendents could enjoy living in the paradise of Nigeria, where seven percent of the population are still enslaved. Maybe the prosperous members of America’s black middle class (roughly seventy-five percent of American blacks) could even be in the oasis of Mauritania, where twenty percent of the population are still slaves. Of course, to their credit, the Mauritanians did pass an anti-slavery law in 2007. Who says they’re not progressive?

Do we need to “just let slavery happen?” No, a coalition of nations could invade the African continent and force the locals to free their slaves, in the style of U.S. Grant, Bill Sherman and Phil Sheridan. However, the only nations with the level of wealth and/or military power to even attempt such an effort (disaster though it would be) would be those of North America, Europe and Russia (plus the wild card of China). Problem is it’s mostly white folks who live in those nations. So a liberatory invasion of Africa and other slavery hotbeds seems to be off the table. Otherwise, we might be practicing European colonialism, or even white supremacy. Plus, it’s been done already. Wasn’t decolonialization supposed to be a “progressive” thing? So, yes, it looks like we do indeed need to “just let slavery happen.” Anything else might even be racist or white supremacist. Of course, we could assist those actual groups who really are doing something to oppose slavery in place like Africa. For instance, those groups who have actually purchased the freedom of Sudanese slaves. Problem is a lot these actually effective anti-slavery groups seem to be Christian in orientation, and we couldn’t endorse that, given that they are all no doubt frothing-at-the-mouth homophobes who express skepticism as to whether anal sodomy and/or rimming ought to be elevated to the level of sacramental rites, right along with eucharist, baptism and the last rites.

Actually, I don’t think we should be that hard on the African slave-holders. After all, they’re not so different from us white Americans of a mere 150 years ago. Plus, the slave-holders in places like Nigeria or the Sudan never got to go to U.S. or Western European public schools, receive multicultural education, or participate in “teaching tolerance” programs whose curriculum was designed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. So give them a break.

Of course, it is sometimes argued, though usually not by sensible people, that American-style antebellum slavery was of a particularly nasty variety, unlike the sunny and hedonistic kinds that existed in places like South America, Africa, China or the Islamic world. And while we would not want to impose Eurocentric Western values like slavery abolition on places like Africa (to do so would be racist), surely the recent ancestors of us white Americans, at least the enlightened ones from up North, should not have “just let slavery happen” in the states of the Old Confederacy? Africans enslaving Africans, Chinese enslaving Chinese, or Arabs enslaving Arabs might be something we can tolerate because, well, it just couldn’t be all that bad if “people of color” are doing it, but the idea of white American Southerners (and Christians, no less) enslaving Africans, well, that’s just, well, worse than awful, for some reason or another.

I reject the claims of modern day Confederate patriots that the U.S. Civil War had nothing to do with slavery and that it was all about tariffs, agriculture and states’ rights. However, I agree that the motivation of the Union was self-preservation rather than slavery abolition because, well, the President of the Union said so. Still, wasn’t the victory of the Union a victory for liberty? Yes, if we want to overlook the imposition of the draft in both the North and South during the course of the war, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, and the maiming or displacement of millions more. Well, wasn’t it at least a victory for “anti-racism”? Well, not really, considering the next major military effort after the defeat of the Confederacy was the conquest of the Indian territories in the West. There’s also the thorny question of the fact that there were both Indians and blacks on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Then there’s the question of the impact of the Civil War on the future of American politics. The war marked the death of the old confederal republic and the creation of a centralized, Jacobin, nationalist regime and continental empire. If America had been split into two republics in the 1860s, the Wilson regime might not have entered World War One a half century later. It was American involvement in that war that led to the total destruction of Germany, the subsequent rise of Nazism, World War Two, the genocides that transpired during the war, the invention of atomic weapons, the Stalinist occupation of Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, the brush wars in Asia, the present day American world empire and other not-so-nice things. Indeed, the war for slavery abolition advocated by many of Lincoln’s abolitionist supporters would seem to be an example of the “armed doctrine” that Edmund Burke warned against. Of course, that does not mean that an actual guerrilla war against the Southern slaveholders of the kind advocated by the anarchist Lysander Spooner would not have been justified.

So back to Soviet Onion’s comments:

Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

Aside from the fact that comparing “authoritarian” parenting, compulsory school attendance and marriage to chattel slavery does little except make others think that anarchism is a philosophy not suitable for anyone over the age of fifteen, there are certain significant qualifications that would need to be added for this to be an accurate description of my actual views. I am for the dissolution of the American regime into smaller, more manageable units. Presumably, America’s international empire would no longer be able to sustain itself. Those nations are that are now colonies, vassalages, or client-states of the U.S. would achieve their full independence. However they choose to organize themselves upon achieving independence is none of my business. If the Italians elect a representative of the fascist Italian Social Movement as mayor of Rome, or if the Venezuelans prefer Chavez as their leader, or if the Cubans fail to rise up against Castro as the Romanians did to Nicolae Ceausescu, then that’s none of Keith’s goddamn business.

The question of what political factions or ideologies, if any, should be excluded from a pan-secessionist alliance in North America is indeed an interesting one. While ideologies like Nazism and Stalinism are too alien to American political culture to ever become mass movements, it is possible small bands of such groups could carve out separatist enclaves for themselves. There could theoretically be autonomous urban neighborhoods run by skinheads, or rural compounds of neo-nazi survivalists, or communes organized by Stalinist or Maoist groups. Groups of this type could even hold fairly large tracts of land that would be their de facto private property. If such communities are entirely voluntary in their membership, then there can be no political objection to them on libertarian grounds. Of course, others might have aesthetic, moral or cultural objections. But that’s too bad.

In a case where, say, a Neo-Nazi or hard-core Communist group were to seize a wider city or town, I would say the degree to which such an effort should be challenged or recognized should depend on the circumstances. At bare minimum, I would want those who wished to leave to be given the chance to do so on a model similar to, say, the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. If such requests were refused, should surrounding communities engage in military action against the offending community? Perhaps, or perhaps not, depending on the circumstances, potential costs of such an action, the degree of severity of the offense given, and the probably of victory by the self-appointed policemen.

Ironically, this debate has relevance to an issue that I have raised with anarchists and libertarians in the past, and it is an issue where I have never received a satisfactory answer. What about a scenario where a libertarian or relatively libertarian society, or a federation of anarchies, was threatened by domestic political movements of an authoritarian or totalitarian nature? The classic example of this is the Weimar liberal republic, where the center collapsed and the two largest political parties were Hitler’s NSDAP and the Stalinist KPD, with each of these maintaining their own private armies, and engaging in routine, violent streetfighting with each other. To what degree do such groups cease to be mere political organizations using their rights of association, free speech and right to bear arms and become outright domestic invaders? Would the broader alliance of citizen militias, mercenaries, guerrillas, paramilitaries, posses, gangs or whatever that would comprise the defense forces of an anarchist federation ever be justified in suppressing the activities of a group like the NSDAP or the KPD? I believe they would, if such groups grew large enough, powerful enough, disruptive enough or violent enough to pose a “clear and present danger” to the survival of the anarchist federation. There is no reason why a confederacy of anarchies should tolerate an insurgency by a Khmer Rouge or a Shining Path.

I’ve even made similar arguments concerning immigration. To what degree should a host society allow or tolerate immigration by persons demonstrating values or originating from societies whose values are hostile to those of the host society? What constitutes a legitimate demographic threat? Should a billion Chinese be able to migrate to the U.S. tomorrow if they so choose, irrespective of the wishes of the natives? Should liberal-Enlightenment or Greco-Roman Western nations accept immigration from theocratic Islamic societies unconditionally? I think not.  It would seem that political, economic and civilizational survival would be an issue that trumps the migratory rights of immigrants.

These are difficult questions, and appeals to rigid ideological formulations and overblown juvenalia do not help to answer them.

Cultural Radicalism Beyond Political Correctness 2

I’ve written rather critically of the cultural Left in the past. I do this for two primary reasons: 1) my view that left-wing concerns about matters like oppression of racial minorities, women, homosexuals, et al, while rooted in legitimate concerns and historical realities, have metamorphed into a new kind of authoritarianism, intolerance, and dogmatic fanaticism that is only now starting to become prevalent and will likely become more predatory in the future; and 2) my view that the contemporary emphasis on cultural politics from the Left has proven to be extremely destructive to the broader struggles against the forces of State, Capital and Empire.

I have had many brickbats thrown at me because I hold these positions. Some of the criticism on these matters I have received is rooted in simple disagreement or honest misunderstanding. Yet, much of the more vociferous hostility I have encountered seems to be rooted in dishonesty, mendacity, and hysteria, thereby proving my point.  I’m going to outline what I consider to be  the “proper” positions on cultural politics for libertarian radicals in the contemporary era. I say “proper,” in the sense of conformity to actual, tangible facts, relevance to the types of societies we find ourselves in, and the relationship of such questions to broader issues.

In looking around for examples of how the cultural Left typically thinks, an excellent example is a pamphlet in my possession published by a left-wing anarchist “collective” in my local community in 2002. I’m going to quote extensively from this pamphlet, and offer my own thoughts in response. The folks associated with this collective are very good people, some of whom I’ve known for over ten years, who have supported various projects of my own, whom I’ve appeared on television with, and who do very good work on many issues. In no way is any criticism I offer meant to convey hostility or personal attacks.  The first point of this left-wing anarchist manifesto calls “For An End to White Supremacy”:

We live in a culture that was founded upon the slavery of Africans, the genocide of indigenous people, and the brutal exploitation of people of color.

No disagreement so far, though there was plenty of “brutal exploitation” of white labor during early American history as well.

Since our culture has not come to terms with its white supremacist past we continue to live in a white supremacist present based upon the unrelenting economic exploitation of people of color, the mass imprisonment of black and Latino youth, and the privileging of white people and their value systems. Behind the creation and perpetuation of this white Euro-centric status quo is the drive to create profitable capitalist empire.

I thoroughly disagree that we are in a “white supremacist present” in the contemporary United States, at least as far as historic American “white supremacy” is concerned. If that were the case, a black man could not be elected President, people would not lose their jobs or public figures would not be subject to relentless opprobrium for perceived racist utterances. Nor would features such as affirmative action or sensitivity training be the institutional norms that they have become. Are people of color really subject to “unrelenting economic exploitation”? The urban underclass, which is mostly black and Hispanic, falls into this category, but so does the rural white lumenproletariat. What about the black middle class? What about the black professional class or wealthy, upper class blacks?

White people need to know that allowing people of color marginal participation in the dominant white culture is not true freedom.

The problem with a statement like this is that it ignores demographic realities. Blacks are only 12.5% of the U.S. population, so it is unlikely that blacks are ever going to be dominant or a numerical majority in institutions or social organizations. The exception would be those geographical areas where blacks are a demographic majority, and in large American cities where that is the case, black dominated local governments are quite frequently found.

People of color in North America have historically resisted their oppression and colonization by any and all means necessary. From slave revolts to riots against the police to union organizing to movements for control of their own destinies they have resisted their oppressors. The white status quo has historically conceded only what was necessary  to preserve their power and prevent the emergence of a revolutionary mass movement against white domination.

There’s no mention of what a “revolutionary mass movement against white domination” would actually involve.  So long as whites are a demographic majority, there’s only three possible ways to avoid “white domination.” One would simply be to import large numbers of non-white immigrants to such a degree that whites would no longer be a majority. Indeed, this seems to be one of the reason why the Left is rather enthusiastic about mass immigration. Yet, the consequences of such an action are likely to be quite severe. Historically, genuinely multicultural/multiethnic societies tend to be rather unstable and prone to outbursts of intercommunal violence. Oppression of minorities by majorities becomes less of an issue than persistent strife and even bloodshed between contending racial/ethnic power groups attempting to get the political upperhand. Another method might be to grant minorities political and economic privileges and power beyond that of their actual numbers. This has been done through such measures as antidiscrimination laws, affirmative action, electoral redistricting so as to guarantee a certain number of minority legislators, quotas and set asides, school “busing” policies, and many other such measures that are too numerous to mention. Yet, in spite of all of this, minority and/or left-wing claims of inequality still persist.

The third alternative may well prove to be the most satisfactory one. Towards the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was apparently moving towards the idea of an independent black nation in North America, for the sake of achieving economic parity with the wider white society. Indeed, the level of wealth in the black community is already such that if black Americans were an independent nation, they would be one of the world’s more prosperous nations, comparable to many European or the more advanced Asian nations. Perhaps black sovereignty, and reparations for that purpose, will be the next phase of the movement for civil rights. The relative prosperity of black Americans may well be an obstacle to white embracement of reparations, as no living Americans ever owned slaves, and many were not even born when Jim Crow when still in effect. Still, there’s no denying that such past policies have prevented black prosperity of today from being what it otherwise would have been. If reparations were combined with elimination of statist social engineering policies concerning race relations, perhaps whites would not be as resistant.

We wholeheartedly support the needs and desires of people of color to organize in their own communities and workplaces free from the intrusion of the guilt-ridden consciences of white radicals. We recognize the ability of people of color to self determine their course in the world. People within the — — Collective who have white skin privileges will stand as allies and work in coalitions with people of color, when and only if, the people of color involved so desire.

Absolutely. I think the key phrase here is “when and only if, the people of color involved so desire.” Most radical groups in North American are predominately white, often exclusively so. The more rhetorically “anti-racist” they are the more all-white they seem to be. Racial minorities in North America who are politically motivated typically tend to prefer their own, separate political organizations. Some of these are obviously more about getting a bigger piece of the System, rather than overthrowing the System. But others aren’t, and it would seem the proper course of action would be to simply recognize and, when feasible, collaborate with black nationalists and related tendencies when mutually beneficial, with everyone otherwise going their own way. The emergence of groups such as Anarchist People of Color, the Lakota Republic, or the Pan-African International Movement would seem to be a positive development along these lines.

Another plank in my anarchist friends’ manifesto reads “For An End to All the Tentacles of the Patriarchy”:

We aim to shape a society based on equality, mutual respect, celebration of difference, and freedom from dominant patriarchal values and behaviors. Our society places value on labor, politics, and culture that benefits men, heterosexuals, and people who don’t bend the gender they were assigned at birth. Women, transgendered people…transvestites…transexuals…butch women…and feminine males..intersexed people… and sexual minorities (gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, etc. are in different ways oppressed by a patriarchal system that privilges the masculine, the “normative” heterosexual, and the “appropriately” gendered.

I think some qualification is in order here. As Justin Raimondo points out, certain sectors of the homosexual population are quite successful and prosperous. It’s also true that some within the “gay rights” movement have an authoritarian and destructive agenda of their own. Still, if freedom or liberty or anarchy means anything, it ought to mean the right to be different or to be a non-conformist, and there are some people who would not give a “sexual minority” a fair shake no matter what. While there’s always going to be a certain price attached to being “different,” as that’s the way human nature and human societies actually work, it is true that oppressions of this type have long been overlooked. There are religious non-conformists that have been persecuted in American history to various degrees-Quakers, Antinomians, Mormons, “witches,” Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, Branch Davidians. There exists such groups today on the cultural level (drug users, for instance).  No reason exists why the oppression of sexual /gender outgroups cannot be opposed with the same vigor with which one might oppose religious persecution.

The patriarchy manifests itself in many visible ways; from the disparity of earning power between women and men…

There are reasons for this besides rank misogyny but there’s no identifiable reason why there cannot be a meritocracy whereby individual recognition is based on personal achievement and ability rather than group characteristics like gender. One of my favorite examples of such are the resistance movements in Latin America. Twenty percent of the FMLN of El Salvador’s fighting forces in the 1980s were females, and there were even all-female military units. At times, one third of the FARC of Colombia’s forces have been teenaged girls, and when it comes to leadership roles, there’s no denying the place of leaders like Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman or Voltairine de Cleyre in the anarchist pantheon. Some of the most ferocious fighters in China’s Tai Ping rebellion in the 19th century were female warriors.

…to brutal hate crimes against queer and trans people…

Certainly, such crimes are despicable, yet they are only a very small portion of all the violent crime that occurs in America. The people who perpetrate such actions are not honored by society. Such actions often become national scandals and the perpetrators subject to arrest and lengthy terms of imprisonment. However, just as some people commit other acts of murder, robbery or rape inspite of laws, arrests and prosecutions ostensibly designed to prevent such behavior, “sexual minorities” continue to be victimized in such ways at times as well. Perhaps the Pink Pistols are the solution?

…to the inaccessibility of hormones and surgery for transsexual people…

Very few people today realize that the polio vaccine was developed without state funding. Instead, it was developed through a private foundation founded by FDR, with funds provided by the March of Dimes. Perhaps there could also be a “March of Dollars” to generate funding for gender reassignment surgery for trans people?

…to the constant fear of violence that many women feel on the streets…

The obvious solution here is more women who are skilled and trained in the use of weapons, including firearms, for self-defense, and the repeal of laws restricting self-defense. This should be an issue where anti-rape and anti-sex crime feminists and conservative gun rights activists can find common ground.

Simultaneously, the patriarchy operates in many “invisible” ways; from the way that we speak and interact intimately…

Sorry, but “intimate” relationships are a matter of interpersonal relations, whatever the issues that arise, not political matters.

…to the self loathing that many queer, intersexed people, transgendered people and women feel…

Psychological peace has to come from within. If you look to others or to society to provide it, you’ll be waiting a long time. It’s as simple as that.

…to eating disorders caused by sexist beauty standards…

Again, self-acceptance comes from within, not from without. All societies have “beauty standards” of some sort. An acquaintance of mine who is a specialist in Latin American history tells me the Mayans thought crossed-eyes were attractive. In some cultures, “plump” women are considered attractive. Such variations we will always have with us.

…to the feeling of entitlement that people socialized as male often feel…

And not just “people socialized as male.” The assholes ye shall always have with you.

As a first order of business, cultural radicals need to get past their tendency to act with reflexive hysteria whenever “conservative” social views or opinions not in line with left-wing orthodoxy are presented or expressed. The dichotomy between “change” and “tradition” or “reactionary” and “progressive” will always exist on some level. Any genuine libertarian philosophy must have freedom of thought, opinion, speech and honest and open debate as a foremost principle. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance describes the intellectual atmosphere of Hans Hoppe’s annual gathering of the Property and Freedom Society in Bodrum, Turkey:

These conferences provide a time and a place where nothing is off limits. There are no forbidden subjects, no polite suggestions that whatever is being loudly debated over dinner by the swimming pool might be “inappropriate”. The only rule is the obvious one—that you listen to the other side before making reply.

These are conferences where social conservatives sit down with anarcho-libertarians, where Czechs and Chinese discuss where history went wrong, where English is the preferred language, but a knowledge of half a dozen other languages will frequently come in handy.

They are also conferences useful for what everyone nowadays describes blandly as networking, but what the old Marxists, with a more sinister and accurate turn of phrase, called “cadre building”. It is in Bodrum, every May, that the connections and ideas that will be the future of the libertarian movement are first to be perceived.

And so it should be.

For a Revolutionary Right That Out-left’s the Left 2

What does it mean when the Right is becoming more revolutionary minded than the Left? Nowadays, there are “left-conservatives”, “left-libertarians”, “left-secessionists”, “conservative revolutionaries”, “left-nationalists”, “national-syndicalists”, “national-anarchists”, “national-bolsheviks”, “national-maoists”, “left-populists”, “left-decentralists”, “national-communists” and lots of other labels that defy the left/right stereotype. What does is mean that the official Left has become a haven of moribund predictability regurgitating the most superficial cliches’?

What if a revolutionary Right emerged that was able to outmaneuver the totalitarian humanists of the Left by maintaining a more revolutionary position, absorbing untapped social energies ignored by the Left, undercutting the Left’s support base, and operating within a general populist framework?

There are a wide variety of lumpen elements and outgroups that are ignored or despised by the Left, despite the leftoids claim to be the champion of the oppressed and downtrodden? What about the handicapped, the mentally ill, students, youth, prostitutes and other sex workers, prisoners, prisoner’s rights activists, advocates for the rights of the criminally accused, the homeless and homeless activists, anti-police activists, advocates of alternative medicine, drug users, the families of drug war prisoners, immigrants, lumpen economic elements (jitney cab drivers, peddlers, street vendors), gang members and many others too numerous to name?

Who is it that stands for the workers and the poor? Is it the Left with its commitment to New Class managerial bureaucratic welfarism? Who stands for the people of rural American farming communities? Is is the cosmopolitan Left with its hostility to all things traditional? Who stands for the environment? Is it the middle class do-gooders of the Sierra Club? Or is it the ecological revolutionaries of the Earth Liberation Front?

What kind of economic outlook is more revolutionary? A Left offering more welfare statism or a revolutionary Right offering a negative income tax that by passes the bureaucratic middlemen of the welfare state, cutting taxes and regulation from the bottom up and eliminating corporate, bank and military welfare from the top down, and developing worker cooperatives, mutual banks, community development corporations, land trusts, kibbutzim and anarcho-syndicalist unions.

In the area of race relations, which is more revolutionary? More affirmative action, welfare, coercive intergrationism and multiculturalist propaganda? Or a system of reparations to America’s minority nationalities, political autonomy, cultural self-determination, economic development and self-sufficiency?

In foreign policy, what is more radical? “Human rights internationalism” or shutting down the American empire, dismantling the standing army and replacing the military-industrial complex with a decentralized militia confederation?

In criminal law, who has the more radical position? Liberals advocating civilian review boards and drug courts or revolutionaries favoring shutting down the police state and prison-industrial complex altogether along comprehensive prisoner amnesty?

As we build a movement towards such ends, look for the Left to attempt to obstruct our efforts at every turn.

On Being the Leader of Anarcho-Fascism in America Reply

Saith the Lefto-Totalitarian aspiring Stasi at Libcom.org:

I’m particularly bothered by these so-called “anarcho”-nationalists that are trying to take advantage of the increase in interest in anarchism. The leaders of this fake “anarchism” are Keith Preston (USA), Troy Southgate (UK), Richard Hunt (UK), Peter Topfer (Germany), Hans Cany (France), and Flavio Goncalves (Portugal). What is worrying is that Keith Preston at least is trying to give his ideas legitimacy by hooking up to the tendency to bridge the gap between the libertarian “right” and “left” (as Kevin Carson is trying to do). It’s all very fishy. Websites trying to link Bakunin and Julius Evola, Proudhon and Alain de Benoist, Kropotkin and Otto Strasser. Strange shit.

Any thoughts? It seems to have grown out of hippy-dippy “anarchism”, at least in the UK – Richard Hunt, Southgate’s comrade-in-arms, was part of that “Green Anarchist” scene. But elsewhere…? Where the hell does this crap come from?

So I am the leader of “anarcho-fascism in the USA”? Hmm. I’m actually more “liberal” on most social/cultural questions than most liberals. For instance, I’m pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, anti-death penalty (though not for the usual reasons), pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights, pro-sex worker rights, pro-prison abolition, pro-homeless, pro-disabled peoples’ rights, pro-indigenous peoples’ rights, pro-rights of the mentally ill, anti-drinking age, anti-compulsory schooling, anti-censorship and I’d put more strident limits on the powers of the police than the ACLU would. I’m also interested in anarcho-syndicalist or “libertarian socialist” economics. This is far more left than most liberals and even many hard leftists. I’m not a carte blanche liberal. For instance, I agree with the far right on the right to bear arms. I’m more moderate on immigration and I despise political correctness. Like many conservatives, libertarians and other right-wingers who profess opposition to statism, I oppose the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, income taxes, the public school system, welfare, affirmative action, antidiscrimination laws, the Environmental Protection Agency, “hate crimes” (really thought crimes) legislation, public housing, campus speech codes, zoning ordinances, social security, and many other forms of statism and authoritarianism typically championed by “the Left.”

Of course, what really seems to set these Totalitarian Humanist types off the most is my upholding the rights of free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association (or not to associate). This is why, unlike anarchists of the leftoid persuasion, I welcome national-anarchists, third-positionists, members of the European New Right, conservative Christians, black separatists, white separatists, Jewish separatists, survivalists, paleoconservatives, “right-wing” libertarians, and other decentralists or anti-statists with non-leftist cultural views into the ranks of the anti-System movement.

If this doesn’t jibe with these self-styled “anti-fascist” or “anti-racist” cretins, then too damn bad. As Aidan Rankin has observed, so-called “anti-fascism” is merely a new kind of fascism with a leftist outward appearance. It will be interesting to observe how these leftoid-totalitarian humanist-antifascist creatures evolve in the future. As Cultural Marxism becomes ever more deeply entrenched and absorbed by the establishment, these gutter creeps are likely to abandon their pretended anti-establishment and anti-American stances, and simply become jingoists, upholding the police state and imperialist war in the name of waging the holy jihad against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, speciesism, weightism, lookism, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, fart, fart, fart…

They certainly have a prototype in the Commies/Trots-turned-Know Nothings in the Neocons.

The State and Immigration 2

Some months ago I wrote an article for LewRockwell.Com discussing the role of the state with regards to immigration. You can read the full article here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/preston7.html

Joshua Holmes offers a rebuttal here: http://noonefreer.blogspot.com/2008/01/another-terrible-argument-against.html

Joshua hasn’t converted me, but he makes some points worth addressing. First, he addresses the class issue:

“1. “Immigration is class warfare!” Basically, mass immigration is a way for the rich to exploit the poor.

The problem is that keeping desperately poor people from working in the world’s largest economy is, itself, the worst economic exploitation around. Forcing people to scratch out a living in a rural Mexican village or in a war-torn hellhole like the Sudan is the worst sort of class warfare in existence. You can’t call yourself a friend of the workers if you’re stopping them from the richest job market in history.”

Well, first of all, I am not a universalist. Naturally, I am more concerned about the working class from which I come and the indigenous American working class to which I am most closely connected than I am with workers anywhere just as I am more concerned about my own circle of family, friends and peers than I am with “humanity” as a whole. Mass immigration is harmful to the indigenous American working class (of any color). That said, I’m all for the self-advancement of workers in the Sudan and Mexico, which is part of the reason why I’ve been a committed anti-imperialist my entire adult life. I want people in these places to be sovereign in their own homelands, communities and cultures and in control of their own economies and natural resources so that they may develop in their own way and at their own pace. Good luck to them.

“Libertarians say that, if the world is set to rights, there’s nothing wrong with the existence of the rich and the poor. And if the poor choose to work for the rich, that’s a private matter and no one else’s business. Preston nowhere mentions or addresses this argument, even though it’s the fundamental libertarian complaint against state interference in labor-management relations.”

This is such a naive view of political economy it’s barely worth discussing. I’ll simply say, “Joshua, read some Kevin Carson and then we can discuss this further.” You can start here: http://mutualist.org/id4.html

“But even as Preston laments the fate of the workers, he betrays them. Why else would he say, “There are going to be a lot of very wealthy people, and a lot of peons who are going to live in the barrios.” Why use the Spanish word? The reason is ugly but simple; Preston is saying, “I don’t want to live in a country full of Mexicans.” Fair enough, but why should his preferences get enacted into law? There’s nothing libertarian about that.”

I’d rather live in country full of Mexicans than in a country full of white yuppies and megachurch Jesus freaks. The bottom line is that if you move the Third World into the West, you will lower the overall quality of life in the West to Third World levels, rather than vice versa. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn made the argument that the effect of “free, universal and compulsory” education has been not to raise the educational standards of the stupid but to dumb down the smart. Immigration has a similar effect.

“(There also considerable market-oriented literature about the barrios as a creation of unjust legal systems, but that’s not a problem with immigration.)”

Indeed they are, and so are black ghettos.

The bulk of Joshua’s arguments concern a passage from my article he finds particularly objectionable:

“I’m in favor of private property, not just for individuals as the Lockeans are, but also for families (as illustrated by the law of inheritance), communities (“the commons”), property rooted in ancestral traditions (for instance, the recognition of the prerogative of indigenous peoples’ to their sacred burial grounds), the property of tribes and ethnic groups (their historical homelands), and of nations (their generations long established domain). However, I’m also in favor of alternative business models like cooperatives and works councils. Whatever the particular approach to property theory one adheres to, or whatever model of business/labor/economic organization one finds to be most optimal or just, it is unlikely that there can ever be a system of ownership, whether individual or collective, that places no barriers to entry whatsoever. Is an anarcho-leftist commune going to accept all comers, irrespective of beliefs, behavior or economic output? Republicans? Religious fundamentalists? Meat-eaters? Skinheads? And is enforcement of rules pertaining to immigration visas or border crossing inherently any more authoritarian than the enforcement of laws against trespassing or the restriction of entry to private facilities such as school campuses, shopping centers or office buildings? Both involve forcible expulsion of those uninvited persons who refuse to exit on their own initiative and not necessarily anything more.”

Says Joshua, in response to this passage:

“That this passage appears on a libertarian site is breathtaking, because Preston is implicitly arguing that the state is the representative of or embodiment of one of those listed groups. Wasn’t Preston just arguing about the awfulness of class warfare a few paragraphs beforehand, and now he’s arguing that the state is the embodiment of some rights-bearing group? He argues that the elites are using the state to create mass immigration, then argues that the state is the father of us all? Well, which is it?”

I’ve made no such argument at all. I’ve merely argued in favor of property rights beyond the merely individual level, not that the state is the embodiment of families, communities, indigenous peoples, ethnic groups or tribes or even nations. In fact, I regard the state as a parasite on all of these entities and institutions, including their property rights.

“But to answer his question, the difference between the state’s borders and the individual’s borders is “rights”. The state has no right to the borders because it is not a rights-bearing group or its representative. Keep as many folks off your property as you like, but you don’t get to tell me who I allow access. Preston’s argument is akin to an assault defendant saying that it’s perfectly okay to punch people in a boxing match.”

I regard rights as conventions rooted in historic tradition and experience, and relative to the particulars of specific cultures, and not as decrees from On High. Beyond that, I don’t trust the state to uphold “rights” of any kind. Down with the INS, all hail the Minutemen!

“Once again, the LRC folks flail about but can’t answer the serious libertarian argument at the heart of our open borders stance: who I allow onto my property, who I hire and fire, is not the business of anyone else, including the state. “

I would agree with this when it comes to individual property owners, small businesses, genuinely private associations, etc. I don’t agree when it comes to mass corporations and crony-capitalist institutions connected to the state. For instance, while I think private neighborhoods, private schools, private clubs, genuinely private businesses, etc. should be allowed to discriminate all they want, even on grounds liberals find taboo like race, gender, et al, I wouldn’t have a problem with a rule that said McDonald’s, Walmart, General Motors or Microsoft cannot simply refuse to hire blacks, or Mormons or gays simply because they are blacks, Mormons or gays. But I would also have no problem with a rule that Big Capital cannot displace indigenous workers out of desire to exploit immigrant labor. Corporate feudalism really isn’t my idea of liberty.

Beyond that, libertarianism is not the end-all of human existence. It’s not a religion or something that can answer all the world’s problems. I consider liberty to be the highest political value (as opposed to equality or throne and altar or the glory of the fatherland), but sectarian versions of libertarianism are hardly important enough to justify political, economic and cultural suicide, which is what will happen if we Westerners allow our societies to be overrun by immigration. That said, I very much favor standing with Third World nations against imperialism and exploitation by international capitalism. I favor practicing class solidarity with domestic workers, including immigrant workers, even illegals. For instance, I’m a big fan of Caesar Chavez. I favor practicing solidarity with all prisoners, even those on death row, and, yes, even those in immigrant detention camps.

I do not favor creating any new laws whatsoever for the purpose of curbing immigration. I’m simply for ending all state subsidies and entitlements that create incentives for immigration, ending birth citizenship (a privilege, not a right),  decentralizing the naturalization process to the community level according to community standards, repealing laws prohibiting private discrimination, deporting immigrants convicted of violent crimes, forming citizen militias to patrol entry points, creating worker-run enterprises to discourage the employment of cheap immigrant labor, organizing boycotts of employers who do engage in such practices, and outright syndicalist seizure of state-connected industries who displace indigenous labor with immigrant labor.

There’s a such thing as a society becoming so “tolerant” that it leads to self-destruction. For instance, the Weimar Republic did not act to save itself even in the face of imminent Nazi or Communist seizure of power. The same thing is going on in Europe today with regards to unqualified Islamic immigration in the name of multiculturalist ideology. And in America, the indigenous working class is being sold out in the name of trendy liberal notions of “diversity”.

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/

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.