Black Bloc Anarchists and State Terrorism Reply

By Rob Urie

Renewed criticism of Black Bloc anarchists (link) ties in a tangential way to the arrest on terrorism charges of three youths in Chicago prior to recent anti-NATO protests. The anarchists raise the question of the legitimate use of violence to achieve political ends. The arrest of the youths on trumped-up charges with what credible sources (National Lawyers Guild) believe is manufactured evidence suggests that as far as the state is concerned, they’re going to make up charges anyway. So what is the difference?

Terrorism charges have long been used for political repression because they are premised on the legitimacy of state violence versus the illegitimacy of non-state violence. But the question of legitimacy was in fair measure the reason why anti-NATO protesters were in Chicago. Member states claim the right, through NATO, to commit political violence at will. The protesters, rightly in my view, counter that (1) the reasons given by NATO for committing violence are lies intended to deceive populations into supporting armed aggression and (2) were the real reasons for NATO violence given they would be deemed illegitimate and therefore the violence itself is illegitimate.

Criticism of Black Bloc tends to center around public relations– the fear the media will focus on property damage to the exclusion of the protesters’ broader message. But the dominant media in the U.S. are corporations that have demonstrated that they will promote a broad corporatist agenda at all costs. The Chicago Police Department and the coordinated state “security” apparatus understand this and they are using terrorism charges as propaganda to try to draw a line between protesters and the growing millions of disenfranchised citizens.

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Talking With Chomsky: On OWS, Anarchism, Labor, Racism, Corporate Power and the Class War Reply

By Laura Flanders

Noam Chomsky has not just been watching the Occupy movement. A veteran of the civil rights, anti-war, and anti-intervention movements of the 1960s through the 1980s, he’s given lectures at Occupy Boston and talked with occupiers across the US.  A new publication from theOccupied Media Pamphlet Series brings together several of those lectures, a speech on “occupying foreign policy” and a brief tribute to his friend and co-agitator Howard Zinn.

From his speeches, and in this conversation, it’s clear that the emeritus MIT professor and author is as impressed by the spontaneous, cooperative communities some Occupy encampments created, as he is by the movement’s political impact.

We’re a nation whose leaders are pursuing policies that amount to economic “suicide” Chomsky says. But there are glimmers of possibility – in worker co-operatives, and other spaces where people get a taste of a different way of living.

We talked in his office, for Free Speech TV on April 24.

LF: Let’s start with the big picture. How do you describe the situation we’re in, historically?

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Why Corporate Capitalism is Unsustainable Reply

By Kevin Carson

I’m not a Marxist, but I find a lot of Marx’s ideas useful. Old Karl certainly had a gift for turning a phrase. Nobody who could come up with something as Proudhonian as “the associated producers” could be all bad. One of his best in my opinion was that new productive forces eventually “become incompatible with their capitalist integument,” at which point “the integument is burst asunder.”

Another source of vivid imagery is the Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World. Consider this:  “… we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.”

These two phrases brilliantly describe the predicament of state-fostered corporate capitalism. Capitalism as an historic system is five hundred or more years old, and the state was intimately involved in its formation and its ongoing preservation from the very beginning. But the state has been far more involved, if such a thing is possible, in the model of corporate capitalism that’s prevailed over the past 150 years. The corporate titans that dominate our economic and political life could hardly survive for a year without the continuing intervention of the state in the market to sustain them through subsidies and monopoly protections.

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Brave New World, Brave New Majority Reply

By Alexander Cockburn

The news is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 of all births  in the year ending July,  2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent.

I felt lonely and went out on the porch and hollered for my neighbor, a white German-American.  Nothing stirred. I went back to my computer. At least someone is thinking constructively. The World Wildlife Fund says we need two planets.  The rationale is that we create too much waste for one, but the roots of American environmentalism were always nourished by dislike of  “those of mixed race”, and some over there at WWF has got their thinking cap on.

Is whitey ready for a fresh start? Face it, we may be a minority, but we got the firepower.

Where did we go wrong? Too much atonal music, maybe. Richard Pryor probably put his finger on it. Pryor to a white audience:

“What the matter, y’all stop fuckin’?  There will be no shortage of niggers.  Niggers is fuckin’.”

I began to sort things out for the big move to Planet 2.  What a mess whitey had made of things! One horrible move after another. What will we Americans handing on to the new majority?  The news is not good.  At almost exactly the moment we yielded majority status, we – not the people to be sure – but our president and our Congress were putting the finishing touches to our modern system of government, known as fascism.

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American Empire and the Future Reply

By Paul Atwood

The Great Recession is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and, like the aftermath of Katrina, or the BP calamity, or the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a man-made disaster. Many signs point to worse tidings. Many of us who live in this the most advanced capitalist country are indoctrinated at an early age to believe our system is by far the most efficient and best ever created, especially if we are affluent and live well. We tend to believe it obeyed the laws of evolution toward ever higher form, more or less as we imagine the human species itself. We go to lengths to ignore the fact that our system began as the brainchild of a minority that imposed its will by brute force against others who had good reason to oppose it. It is impossible to separate our republican form of government from our economic system. As former Secretary of State John Hay put matters as far back as the 19th Century: “This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is government of corporations by corporations.”  It has been the case since the American Revolution, and remains the case, that the American government has been owned and operated by the financial and corporate elites and government policies, and most definitely foreign policy, are largely their agendas set out for their interests. Bankers and immense industrial corporations largely run the global show, backed by the Executive, Congress and the Supreme Court, America’s gargantuan military power and the connivance of corporate media.

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Bet on Collapse Reply

By Paul Craig Roberts

The US financial system and, probably, the financial system of Europe, like the police, no longer serves a useful social purpose.

In the US the police have proven themselves to be a greater threat to public safety than private sector criminals.  I just googled “police brutality” and up came 183,000,000 results.

The cost to society of the private financial system is even higher. Writing in CounterPunch (May 18), Rob Urie reports that two years ago Andrew Haldane, executive Director for Financial Stability at the Bank of England (the UK’s version of the Federal Reserve) said that the financial crisis, now four years old, will in the end cost the world economy between $60 trillion and $200 trillion in lost GDP. If Urie’s report is correct, this is an astonishing admission from a member of the ruling elite. Try to get your mind around these figures.  The US GDP, the largest in the world, is about 15 trillion. What Haldane is telling us is that the financial crisis will end up costing the world lost real income between 4 and 13 times the size of the current Gross Domestic Product of the United States.  This could turn out to be an optimistic forecast.

In the end, the financial crisis could destroy Western civilization.

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Occupy: Nucleus of the New Society? Reply

By Kevin Carson

Many Occupy supporters on the Left express concern that it could be coopted by the mainstream institutional Left and harnessed to a political agenda of NPR liberalism. The recent prominence of Van Johnson’s Rebuild the Dream and MoveOn.org seems to provide at least superficial justification for such fears. But those fears are groundless — mainly because there’s no official Occupy “movement” to be coopted.

Sure, liberals are free to use the Occupy label to promote their agenda. That is, after all, what Occupy’s all about: A brand, or platform, ready-made for adoption on a modular basis by anyone who sees fit to use it. The more different groups using the Occupy brand, each with its own anti-corporate agenda, the better. It’s not a zero sum game.

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The State and Capital: A Love Affair Reply

By David D’Amato

“President Barack Obama,” Fox News reports, “says the big trading loss at JPMorgan Chase shows the need for Congress to put more teeth into Wall Street reforms.” Touting the new rules, the President stated that the goal is to “discourage big banks and financial institutions from making risky bets with taxpayer-insured money.”

In American political dialogue, it’s common to hear left-leaning talking heads paint a picture of the 2008 financial crisis as the free market gone awry. Rightly condemning the major banks, they reason that a lack of state oversight and regulation of the financial sector led to a high-risk environment that allowed ordinary people to be taken advantage of.

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Rob Reiner: Funny as Ever Reply

By Kevin Carson

Rob Reiner, in a recent interview with Chris Matthews, showed that while he may have moved on to directing and producing, he’s still a comedic actor at heart. Reiner, best known as Archie’s son-in-law “Meathead” on “All in the Family,” told Matthews — with a straight face — that “the Hollywood community is the only donor base … that has no quid pro quo. … We don’t … support a candidate because … he might be able to do something for us.” Oh, Rob — you’ve still got it!

But on the off chance that this was really intended as a serious factual claim, rather than a liberal version of Stephen Colbert’s shtik, I’d like to point out a few things: Digital Millennium Copyright Act. SOPA. ACTA. The FBI seizing dozens upon dozens of torrent download sites and issuing press releases from Disney headquarters. There, that should do it.

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The Government Lying to Us — What Else is New? Reply

By Kevin Carson

A Twitter friend of mine recently recounted a conversation with another friend — not a self-described anarchist — who spontaneously concluded that voting was useless. “I think it’s insane to think that people who are in the kind of power that only government and capitalism provide would willingly allow their stability to be up to CHANCE.”

Exactly! You might be forgiven for thinking “the enemy” our ruling circles always talk about is somebody with a strange language and religion on the other side of the world. But in fact “the enemy,” for the ruling class, is anyone capable of disrupting its goals or undermining its power — including us. The American people are potentially a far greater threat to their power than any foreign government.

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Burger and chips off the menu: Fast food crackdown as council limits take-aways in poor areas ‘to increase life expectancy’ Reply

Fast food outlets such as KFC could soon be a far less common sight on the high streets of Haringey, north London

From the Mail.

Looks like the Healthstapo are invading the London Borough of Haringey…

_______________________

By Tom Goodenough

They have long been linked with an unhealthy lifestyle and causing damage to people’s health.

But now one London council is taking drastic measures to try and stop its residents from indulging in fast food.

Haringey Council is set to become the first in the country to limit the number of pizza, burger and kebab shops on its streets in an attempt to improve the health of its poorest residents.

It is hoped the scheme could even help to increase life expectancy in the area – with research suggesting that those living in a neighbouring area of London with less junk food outlets could live up to nine years longer.

In Tottenham Green where there are 14 fast food takeaways life expectancy is 72.5 years while in Fortis Green there are just three and life expectancy is 81.5.

A draft scheme is in place for the restrictions which would see planning applications for venues considered alongside the need to keep the number of takeaway’s strictly limited.

New outlets could also be banned from within 400 metres of schools, youth clubs, or parks.

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Has the Bell Begun to Toll for the GOP? Reply

Note: If anarchists and libertarians are serious about attacking and destroying the U.S. state, then we need to begin targeting the center-left establishment given that it will be the ruling party in the decades ahead as the Republicans begin to go the way of the Whigs.

By Pat Buchanan

Among the more controversial chapters in Suicide of a Superpower, my book published last fall, was the one titled, “The End of White America.”

It dealt with the demographic decline of the white majority and what it portends for education, the U.S. economy, politics and national unity.

That book and chapter proved the proximate cause of my departure from MSNBC, where the network president declared that subjects such as these are inappropriate for “the national dialogue.”

Apparently, the mainstream media are reassessing that.

For, in rare unanimity, The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today all led yesterday with the same story.

“Whites Account for Under Half of Births in U.S.,” blared the Times headline. “Minority Babies Majority in U.S.,” echoed the Post. “Minorities Are Now a Majority of Births,” proclaimed USA Today.

The USA Today story continued, “The nation’s growing diversity has huge implications for education, economics and politics.”

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The Administrative State vs. the Social Insurance State Reply

By Jason Brennan

In Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know, I examine the question of which country is the most libertarian. I argue briefly that while the United States has the highest percentage of self-identified libertarians and uses the most libertarian rhetoric, it is not the most libertarian country in terms of its actual policies. Switzerland, Australia, Canada, and some others are much more libertarian (especially classical liberal-libertarian) than the United States.

Here’s a brief excerpt from an earlier draft:

The Wall Street Journal and Heritage Foundation produce an annual Index of Economic Freedom. They rate countries for their respect for property rights, freedom from corruption, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom, fiscal freedom, and government spending. Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, and Ireland have higher scores than the United States. The United States ranks only 10th overall.

This index may understate how anti-libertarian the United States is. After all, the index penalizes countries if their governments spend large amounts on social insurance. Yet classical liberals and neoclassical liberals are not in principle opposed to government social insurance. [That is, they will accept it under certain conditions.]

Thus, suppose we separate the idea of the administrative state—which tries to control, regulate, manipulate, and manage the economy—from the social insurance state—which provides tax-financed education, healthcare, or unemployment insurance. On the Index of Economic Freedom, many countries that rank lower than the US have far less extensive administrative states than the US. For instance, Denmark ranks much higher than the United States on property rights, freedom from corruption, business freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and many other countries beat the US on these measures as well. Thus, many other European countries might reasonably be considered more economically libertarian than the US.

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Occupy: Nucleus of the New Society? Reply

By Kevin Carson

Many Occupy supporters on the Left express concern that it could be coopted by the mainstream institutional Left and harnessed to a political agenda of NPR liberalism. The recent prominence of Van Johnson’s Rebuild the Dream and MoveOn.org seems to provide at least superficial justification for such fears. But those fears are groundless — mainly because there’s no official Occupy “movement” to be coopted.

Sure, liberals are free to use the Occupy label to promote their agenda. That is, after all, what Occupy’s all about: A brand, or platform, ready-made for adoption on a modular basis by anyone who sees fit to use it. The more different groups using the Occupy brand, each with its own anti-corporate agenda, the better. It’s not a zero sum game.

The beauty of Occupy is that its module/platform architecture, and its openness to anyone who wants to create a new node for their own purposes, make it an ideal laboratory for experimentation in revolutionary praxis. Any local node is free to try out new ways of doing things, and to share its experience with others; the new techniques are freely available to any other node in the network that finds them useful. No permission, no administrative coordination to make sure everybody’s on the same page, is needed at any step in the process.

It’s the same kind of stigmergic platform as Wikipedia, a Linux developer group … or Al Qaeda Iraq. Self-selected individuals and local groups make contributions to praxis entirely on their own initiative, the smallest contribution can be leveraged with no transaction cost, and all contributions immediately become the common property of the entire movement.

I’ve hoped for some time that Occupy would cease to be mainly a protest movement and instead become mainly a school of living. That is, that — like the neighborhood assemblies in Argentina ten years ago — it would become a venue for local communities to disseminate the skills and technologies for building counter-institutions and a counter-economy that could flourish outside the decaying neoliberal system.

Some early signs in this direction were teach-ins like those of Juliet Schor (author of Plenitude) and Michel Bauwens of the Foundation for P2P Alternatives. Another was the “Occupy Our Homes” campaign, which offered some promise of evolving into a nationwide squatter movement to reclaim vacant housing. The term for things like this is “prefigurative politics”: That is, rather than attempting to pressure the power structure of the existing society for reforms, they exemplify the successor society in formation.

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Paul Craig Roberts: The Elite Are Digging Their Own Grave Reply

Infowars.com
Thursday, May 17, 2012

Alex welcomes long-time returning guest and contributing writer Dr. Paul Craig Roberts to discuss the impact of the Euro’s instability on world markets amidst looming fears of Greece’s departure. They’ll also touch on why governments feel compelled to blame events like 9/11, the Euro decline, and other manufactured crises on scapegoats.

Why America is Doomed to One Disaster After Another 1

By Gabriel Kolko

Both Europe and the United States confront great crises; while they are different in certain regards they have important similarities too.  America’s crisis is both military and economic; they are interrelated because America has a huge deficit, in large part because it has the chimerical ambition to be the world’s dominating military power, which costs it immense sums of money, which its deficit spending largely funds.  At the same time it has lost most of its major conflicts militarily, politically—or both. Europe is at the threshold of crucial economic decisions, and they also have grave political implications, whose effects are likely to last for many years. In essence, in Europe the question is whether or not German power or domination of the continental economy will be revived under the guise of pan-Europeanism.

The United States has been on the wrong track in terms of what it can attain. It still regards itself as having abilities which the events of the past century–wars, political crisis, and the like— have shown are beyond its or any country’s– power to control. America is having a very hard time being a “normal” nation that recognizes the limits and nature of its power.  It is spending immense sums of money to be able to attain goals beyond its capacity.  The German government under Angela Merkel is using pan-European methods to resurrect German power, but in ways that is developing important resistance.  In their own ways both the United States and most of Europe are at important turning points—and they will affect each other.

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European Nationalism: Golden Dawn or Old and Gone? Reply

By Jim Goad

Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, seems destined to become either the West’s coffin or the site of its rebirth. The nation’s debt crisis, combined with the fact that it’s a primary entry point for illegal immigration into Europe—in 2010, nine of every ten “migrant” outlaws sashayed into the EU zone through Greece—have helped fuel violent street clashes between far-left (i.e., internationalist) and far-right (i.e., nationalist) factions for years.

Last week’s elections were largely a repudiation of the political center, specifically the EU’s financial stranglehold on Greece. Although unashamedly pro-communist parties won a far higher quotient of the votes, most media outrage was predictably focused on the fact that the nationalist party Golden Dawn received 7% of the total. Pundits referred to Golden Dawn’s minor victory as “absurd and repugnant,” “a dark day for Greece,” “a scary development,” “a political horror,” and all the other histrionic scare terms typically spewed by compliant media lapdogs trained to establish an immediate—although immediately fallacious—connection between the merest squib of nationalist sentiment and the Holocaust.

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The Life of Julia Under Anarchy Reply

By Kevin Carson

As a toddler Julia will begin a twenty-odd-year sentence in institutions designed to process her into a “human resource”: Someone encultured to view the existing institutional framework and power structure as natural and inevitable, who trusts and obeys the state and takes its self-justifications at face value. Someone who takes orders from authority figures behind desks, and has been trained — at taxpayer expense — in the skills employers want in their human resources. Both Obama and Romney enthusiastically support the need for this school-to-HR treadmill to “maintain global competitiveness.”

Once Julia comes off the human resources assembly line, she’ll look for work in an economy where most employment opportunities are controlled by hierarchical, authoritarian institutions. She’ll spend her work life selling her labor in a system designed to minimize the competition employers face from self-employment — in which the state’s avowed macroeconomic policy is to keep the bargaining power of labor (aka “inflationary pressure”) within manageable bounds.

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Dump the Statist Monkey Off Your Back Reply

By Kevin Carson

The state’s main function has always been to set up tollgates between labor and consumption, between our skills and the ability to transform them into use-value for ourselves, so that a privileged minority could live off the rents on artificial scarcity. Under chattel slavery, that meant “owning” the actual producers themselves with legal title to all their labor, and providing them with bare subsistence out of their labor product, while their owners appropriated the surplus.

Over time the privileged classes have experimented with various expedients for determining the share of the product left to the laborer in order to maximize the rentiers’ total income in absolute terms. They’ve been quite willing, for the most part, to increase the producers’ relative share and with it the incentives for making a larger pie — so long as the absolute size of the slice appropriated by the rentiers didn’t decline. But when increasing the size of the pie has meant a smaller slice for them, they’ve never wavered in choosing productive inefficiency as a condition of efficient exploitation.

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Rochdale, We Have a Problem! Reply

Defendants in Rochdale grooming trial

The folks at Spiked weigh in on the Rochdale sex slavers.

First, Brendan O’Neill

Indeed, it seems it is now virtually impossible to have a serious discussion about problematic cultural attitudes, because to do so would apparently offend minorities and, even worse, stir up the passions of the latently racist white masses. And so, in the name of protecting Muslim communities’ sensitivities and dampening down white working-class people’s alleged savagery, we keep quiet about certain things; we gag ourselves.

The truth is that there is something specific going on here, something which is more prevalent among Asian communities, particularly Muslim ones, than among other communities. For a variety of reasons – mainly because the attitudes and behaviour of white working-class women are so profoundly at odds with the outlook of conservative Muslim communities – there is a tendency among many Muslims to look upon such women as inferior, as “sluts”.

…and then, Tim Black

So while there is definitely a specific problem in specific areas in specific communities, is it really a problem common to British Pakistani culture as a whole? Yes, some Pakistani men – in Rochdale or Burnley or Derby or wherever – no doubt do view British white women through the prism of their particular culture, one still dominated by conservative traditions. And given the enthusiasm with which sections of the British establishment have used Islam to denigrate native British culture (including the Tory MPs who once wrote to the Spectator claiming to agree with an Islamist’s claim that Britain was decadent), no doubt a fair few Muslim men do feel superior to white Brits. But the moment the crimes of individuals are translated into the crimes of a culture, in which every person is then rendered suspect, all perspective is lost.

Yet perspective is the one thing that is difficult to obtain when it comes to viewing a crime that, in its specifics, does seem to have an ethno-cultural dimension. And the reason for this is that the real object of fear, the white working-class Brit, obscures the view. Here we come to the second flight of fancy. Because to state baldly that a racial demographic is present in this peculiar type of sex crime is seen as too risky, too inflammatory. It could, in short, turn a white Brit racist.

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Free Markets vs.Capitalism 1

By Jamie O’Hara and Craig Fitzgerald.

National Anarchist Tribal Alliance – NY
Anarchists with socialist leanings associate the terms “free market” and “capitalism” with oppression and exploitation.  To anarcho-capitalists, the absence of state intervention in the market is the ultimate form of liberty.  In both the underground and mainstream political worlds, free enterprise is virtually synonymous with capitalism.  But these expressions are not one and the same.  The etymology of the word “capitalism” reveals characteristics that are completely antithetical to the concept of a free market, as well as the philosophy of anarchism.
In English, the word “capital” dates back to the thirteenth century, when it was used to mean “primary,” “chief,” or “head.”  These words all necessarily imply the existence of hierarchy; “capitalism” as an organized economic system is inherently hierarchical.  Rather than describe free markets, the word is synonymous with plutocracy, which comes from the Greek for “rule or power of the wealthy or of wealth.”  When “capital” received its financial definition in the sixteenth century, its now double meaning—“money” and “head”—began to solidify this comparison to plutocracy.  No evidence exists of the word “capitalism” until 1854 when it meant the “condition of having capital.”  In 1861, French anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon coined the word “capitalism” and described it as a plutocratic economic system.

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