The Rebel Left Has Vanished—and Diversity of Thought Has Vanished With It Reply

The Left as it should be.

In many ways it is defamatory of the historic Left to refer to the trash that passes for “leftism” today as actual “leftism.” Today’s “left” consists of two basic wings. One is the mainstream Democratic Party center-left. This “left” is rooted in late 19th/early 20th century “progressivism” (i.e. the public administration state and scientism). Let’s not forget that it was these folks that brought about such “genius” ideas as eugenics and Prohibition. It’s historic figures are Woodrow Wilson (of WW1, Red Scare, Jim Crow, and labor suppression fame), Franklin D. Roosevelt (who placed Japanese-Americans in concentration camps), Harry Truman (incinerator of cities), and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vietnam War). Fuck all that. The “radical left” of today consists of “identity politics” (tribalism), “no platforming” (mob action against unpopular people), and a Church lady-like phobia that someone, somewhere might be saying bad words or promoting bad ideas. Precisely the same characteristics that are traditionally identified with right-wing authoritarian states and movements. To concede the label of “left” to these cretins is really to dishonor the legacy and achievements of the historic Left.

The antiwar Left in the US is essentially non-existent with the exception of a handful of individuals, groups, and outlets such as Medea Benjamin, Counterpunch, the Greens, the old guard commie anti-imperialists, and journalists associated with foreign media outlets. The labor Left barely exists. Union membership is at an all-time low. The economic Left amounts to little more than “single payer health care.” The civil liberties Left seems to be very marginal. The “left” today is basically technocratic centrist progressivism and neoliberal economics in the mainstream, environmentalism and veganism, and these “left-fascist” tendencies on the margins.“Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”– Ennio Flaiano.

We very much need a “new New Left” in the spirit of folks like Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, and Hunter S. Thompson, i..e a party of outlaws and heretics, not do-gooders.

By Ryan Blacketter

The Observer

I occasionally despair of the loss of the 1960s rebellious left in American life. Many 60s writers refused a total allegiance to their politics. They found singular voices through dissonance, ambiguity, and contradiction—as individuals often do. It’s not surprising that Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, and Hunter S. Thompson explored free expression on so many of their pages.

What made these authors so attractive was their willingness to embrace ideology only so far. They kept plenty of room in their minds to pursue other beliefs. Also, they rejected certain ideas on the left, as they saw fit—and without drastic consequence. Outside of extreme cases, the 60s alternative culture allowed for such diversity of thought.

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Shane Burley & Mark Bray on Fascism Today and Antifa Reply

What’s most interesting about this presentation is that these guys admit that “fascism” is a very small, marginal, and unpopular tendency in mainstream society. And yet it’s somehow a grave threat to civilization. Being an “anti-fascist” in 21st century Western civilization is about as sensible as being a McCarthyite (although the mainstream center-left is trying to bring that back as well with the “Russia-gate” hysteria). These guys might as well be Civil War reenactors. If folks like this would put as much energy into fighting the state that we actually have with it’s worldwide massacres of brown people, and its domestic police-prosecutorial-prison state, they might actually have something. What a joke.

“Authors Mark Bray (Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook) and Shane Burley (Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It) will be discussing the rise of fascist politics in the U.S. and the movement’s that are fighting it. In ANTIFA: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, organizer and historian Mark Bray provides a compelling, meticulous history that details the early days of the movement — when it was formed almost simultaneously with fascism itself, to fight Hitler and Mussolini — up to the present day. The book also acts as a handbook to tactics and strategies, key organizations and the core philosophies of the movement, suggesting what role citizens can play today in combating the rise of the far right. Fascism Today looks at the changing world of the far right in Donald Trump’s America. Examining the modern fascist movement’s various strains, Shane Burley has written an accessible primer about what its adherents believe, how they organize, and what future they have in the United States. The ascension of Trump has introduced a whole new vocabulary into our political lexicon—white nationalism, race realism, Identitarianism, and a slew of others. Burley breaks it all down. From the tech-savvy trolls of the alt-right to esoteric Aryan mystics, from full-fledged Nazis to well-groomed neofascists like Richard Spencer, he shows how these racists and authoritarians have reinvented themselves in order to recruit new members and grow. Just as importantly, Fascism Today shows how they can be fought and beaten. It highlights groups that have successfully opposed these twisted forces and outlines the elements needed to build powerful mass movements to confront the institutionalization of fascist ideas, protect marginalized communities, and ultimately stop the fascist threat.” ‘Fascism Today: What It Is and How to End It’ book by Shane Burley: https://www.amazon.com/Fascism-Today-… ‘Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook’ book by Mark Bray: https://www.amazon.com/Antifa-Anti-Fa…

Calling for Radical Alliances Among Anti Authoritarians Reply

From Ancaps and Ancoms, to Syndicalists and Individualists, Mutualists and Agorists, Voluntaryists and Market Anarchists, Panarchists and Anarchists without Adjectives, and other self-identified radicals – this talk is aimed at those who are against Authoritarianism, Statism, and Oppression in all forms. This talk is aimed at those who recognize the power of the Individual and seek to work together as a whole. On Sunday October 11th Derrick Broze spoke at Libertyfest in NYC about the history of the word Libertarian, the history of alliances between radicals on the left and right, a highlight of the work of Karl Hess and Samuel Konkin III, and the need for less ego and dogma in the interest of building new alliances between radicals across the political spectrum. Radical means taking a direct action approach to your activism.
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Dave Rubin on the Left’s Drift, and Striking Out on His Own Reply

Dave Rubin is interviewed by Tom Woods. Listen here.

Rubin talks about how the Left has become a totalitarian monolith, while conservatives and libertarians are now the free speech/diversity of ideas camp. I’d argue that this is because the Left is an ascendant force, and the Right is shrinking demographically, culturally, and generationally. The groups who are out of power are usually the ones who are the most pro-freedom. During the period between the 1950s and 1980s, it was the Left that tended to be the pro-freedom forces. That started to change with the ascendancy of neoliberalism in the 1990s, and the rise of PC on the Left during the same period.

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Dave Rubin, host of the hugely successful Rubin Report, alienated former colleagues (e.g., at The Young Turks Network, where he had been an on-air host) when he openly disapproved of what he saw as an authoritarian, anti-free-speech drift among the Left. Today his YouTube channel has nearly 567,000 subscribers and his show reaches an enormous audience.

President Trump’s 2017 Report Card (first draft) Reply

When Trump was running for President, I predicted that he would govern about like a moderate Republican in the Nixon-Rockefeller tradition, or as a centrist Democrat in the style of Bill Clinton. Apparently, I was right. It’s rather embarrassing that so many in the various “anarchist” camps have bought into the anti-Trump hysteria. Trumpism is an enemy, but only a peripheral one. The real enemy is the establishment center. Serious anarchists should be just as opposed to neoliberal and progressive Democrats as they are to conservative or populist Republicans.

By Scott Adams

As we approach the holiday season there will be much debate on how President Trump has performed for his first calendar year. As a populist president, I think the best way to judge his performance is by focusing on the issues voters say are their top priorities. Pew Research polled voters to determine their political priorities for 2017. Let’s see how President Trump is doing so far on the top ten priorities according to the public.

Terrorism (76% rated top priority)

ISIS is on the run, thanks in part to President Trump’s loosening of the rules of military engagement, as well as pivoting from a Whack-a-Mole strategy to a total annihilation strategy with no withdrawal date. Both moves are good persuasion. And while President Trump’s “extreme vetting” is unpopular with many citizens, it has probably reduced risk to the homeland. And General Mattis is widely considered to be a strong hire.

     Grade: A

Economy (73% rated top priority)

I’ll give President Obama 75% credit for the strong economy. But I think consumer confidence and the stock market tell us there is optimism about the current administration. That confidence is buoyed by Trump’s reduction in regulations via executive orders, his tough talk on trade, and his persuasion toward a higher GDP that is already becoming self-fulfilling. If people believe the economy will be better next year than this year, they invest this year, thus making next year better. We might see something good come out of tax reform, but I don’t think it will matter as much as people assume.

     Grade: A

 

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8 numbers out of Alabama that should terrify Republicans Reply

This is an interesting analysis of Roy Moore’s defeat from CNN.

Some of this polling data would seem to bear out what I have been saying for quite some time. For around 15 years, I have been arguing that conventional “right-wing” politics of the kind associated with racism, religious fundamentalism, social conservatism, Chamber of Commerce types, or traditional WASP social norms is slowly being killed off by cultural, demographic, and generational changes. Instead, this older form of “conservatism” is being replaced by a new kind of “conservatism” rooted in newer, high-tech industries and a rising upper middle class that is ostensibly “liberal” or cosmopolitan in its cultural outlook but no less to committed imperialism, statism, and capitalism than its “right-wing” predecessors. Obviously, this rising class of New Elites is already dominant in the Blue Zones. However, the influence of the Blue Tribe continues to expand, even in surprising ways. My own state of Virginia was once one of the reddest of the Red Zones, but has now turned Blue.

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The Racist Right Looks Left 2

I get an honorable mention in this, although I am incorrectly identified as a “white nationalist.” If I am being denounced by The Nation and Breitbart within a few days of each other I must be doing something right. I used to think that leftist articles that mistakenly describe me as WN were just a matter of sloppy thinking and lazy research. But increasingly I am seeing people of color, including friends of mine, being attacked at WN as well. It just seems like WN is an all-encompassing smear word that’s used nowadays, now that “communist” and even “terrorist” have lost their bite. There always has to be some category of “official bad people” that dissidents can be relegated to.

By Donna Minkowitz

The Nation

In the way to Richard Spencer’s top-secret white-supremacist conference on November 19, a young African-American woman drove me in her Uber from Washington, DC, to the rolling hills of Maryland horse country. On the peaceful drive past large, beautiful estates, she told me how she’d had to work three jobs—as a DHL courier, Amazon-warehouse deliverywoman, and Uber driver—just to continue to live in ever-more-expensive DC, where she’d grown up. When we finally got to the winery that Spencer’s National Policy Institute had booked, Mike Enoch of the Daily Shoah podcast, who promulgated the slur “dindu nuffins” for African Americans, was holding forth on the horrors of “corporate neoliberalism.”

Then Eli Mosley of the campus group Identity Evropa, who calls Jews “oven-dodging…kikes,” took Enoch one further: “We need to be explicitly anti-capitalist. There’s no other way forward for our movement.” As 60 mostly young, male racists gathered around him, Mosley, whose real name is Elliott Kline, confidently predicted, “Twenty eighteen is going to be the year of leftists joining the white-nationalist movement!”

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Cultural Marxism: One of Those Legitimising Ideologies that Come and Go Reply

Totalitarian humanism is only the latest manifestation of a more traditional enemy. Ultimately, our enemy is not any one ideology but the state itself, as Albert Jay Nock pointed out.

By Sean Gabb

Last month, I wrote a defence of Charlie Elphicke, my Member of Parliament. He had been suspended from the Conservative Party while the Police investigated him for an alleged sexual assault. He has still not been arrested or charged. He has still not been told the nature of the complaint against him. It may be that he is about to be unmasked as a serial sex-murderer. More likely, the sinister clowns who direct law enforcement in this country have found nothing that even they regard as an assault worth prosecuting. But, if the former of these possibilities might embarrass me, the general reflections I made on his case stand by themselves. What I wish now to do is to elaborate on these reflections.

I begin by granting that ideologies are in themselves important. They are sets of propositions about the world that are true or false in much the same way as a scientific hypothesis is true or false. They are true or false regardless of what motives people may have for adopting them. This being granted, every person is born with a set of dispositions that draws him to accepting a particular ideology. Some of us are born with a dislike of pushing others around. This will not invariably make us into free market libertarians. But it will incline us to less intrusive formulations of whatever ideology is accepted. There are liberal Catholics and liberal Moslems. There have even been liberal Marxists. Others are born with a will to dominate. These will gather round the most fashionable intolerant ideology on offer.

Last month, I used the examples of Calvinism and Cultural Marxism. These were and are legitimising ideologies. Each has different formal propositions. Each has different enemies. Each has different effects on the character. But their essential function, so far as they can be made hegemonic, is to justify the gaining and use of power by an authoritarian élite – or by “The Puritans.”

If you want to see this case made at greater length, I refer you to my earlier essay. The case briefly stated, I turn to what may follow from it.

This is to suggest that direct argument with the Puritans is of limited value. Our own Puritans are Cultural Marxists for reasons other than the truth or falsehood of Cultural Marxism. Because its surface claims about treating people as individuals, and not being rude to them, are broadly in line with public opinion, it is an ideal legitimising ideology. If our Puritans had, after about 1970, taken up traditional Calvinism, or Orthodox Marxism-Leninism, or National Socialism, they would have got nowhere. The social liberalism of the previous two decades would have rolled straight over them. Instead, there was the combination, in Britain and America, of a large cohort of those inclined to Puritanism and an ideology, or set of ideologies, that could be shaped into a powerful legitimising ideology. It may be that the universe as a whole is locked into a rigid scheme of cause and effect. In this case, what happened was inevitable. But looking only at those parts of the universe we can understand and control, I think there was an element of contingency here. We are where we are because of a largely accidental discovery by the Puritans of a legitimising ideology that worked for them.

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The 21st Century is the 19th Revisited: The Contemporary Political Spectrum 4

19th Century                          21st Century

“Throne and Altar” =Traditional capitalist elites (big oil, agriculture, manufacturing)

Pro-royalist peasants=Populist nationalists (Trumpists, Le Penists, UKIP)

Rising bourgeoisie=techno-oligarchs, professional/managerial class

information/knowledge class, elites among traditional outgroups

Social Democrats (Bernstein)=Berniebros, Green Party

Communists (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky)=Antifa/SJWs/Neo-Communists

Establishment Classical Liberals (Spencer, Sumner)=Kochs, CATO Institute

Radical Classical Liberals (Bastiat, Molinari)=Mises Institute

Eugenicists/Racists (Galton, Chamberlain)=Alt-Right/White nationalists

Anarcho-Communists/Syndicalists=Left-Anarchists (LibCom, Anarkismo, AK Press, C4SS)

The remaining question is the issue of how to classify those of us who are attempting to formulate some kind of anarchist or radical tendency that is independent of the Left paradigm, e.g. post-leftists, agorists, primitivists, egoists, transhumanists, Zeitgeist/Venus Project, radical an-caps, startup societies, neo-tribalists, eco-villagers, national-anarchists, panarchists, neo-mutualists, neo-Georgists, etc. I’m inclined to think that the closest analogy would be to the utopian colonies, religious communes, early anarchists (Godwin, Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tolstoy), early socialists, and radical utopian thinkers from the 19th century (some of whose works read more like science fiction than political theory). In fact, ideas of this kind often defined the Left of the 19th century before leftism came to be identified with either reformist parliamentary social democracy or revolutionary Marxism (which many an-coms and an-syns also veered towards).

 

“Free Association for Me, But Not for Thee” 2

An amusing attack on ATS from an antifa writer named Shane Burley who, in keeping with antifa practice, fails get the point. The ATS position has more in common with the fictional United Federation of Planets from “Star Trek” than it would with 20th century totalitarian ideologies, including the “prime directive” and the Vulcan philosophy of “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”.

“For we have agreed that our worlds hold these truths to be self-evident: that all species are created equal, that their citizens are endowed with certain incontrovertible rights, protected by their societies; that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of those states-of-being each individual society holds in greatest esteem…” – Excerpt from the Preamble to the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets

The Historical Failure of Anarchism 1

A critique of anarchism from a one-time anarchist who (I’m told) became a Maoist.

LibCom.Org

1996 Position paper written by Chris Day that was a part of the final conflict in Love & Rage over orientation and direction. In this piece, he emphasizes what he see as the programmatic weaknesses of anarchism and the need to look beyond it for answers.

In the Spring 1996 issue of Workers Solidarity (journal of Ireland’s Workers Solidarity Movement) there is a review by Conor McLoughlin of Ken Loach’s excellent film on the Spanish Revolution, Land and Freedom. The review concludes that:

“(T)he factors involved in the defeat of the revolution would take an article in themselves to explain, ranging from the military power of the fascists (and their outside aid) to the betrayals by the communists and social democrats, and this is not my purpose here. What is important is that the social revolution did not collapse due to any internal problems or flaws in human nature. It was defeated from without. Anarchism had not failed. Anarchists had proved that ideas which look good in the pages of theory books look even better on the canvas of life.”

This quote neatly sums up the lessons that most anarchists seem to have drawn from the history of the anarchist movement. It also neatly sums up what is wrong with the anarchist movement. It is nothing short of a complete abdication of one of the most basic responsibilities of revolutionaries: the responsibility to subject the defeats and failures of the movement to the most thoroughgoing critical scrutiny. Instead it takes a historical experience that ended in a crushing defeat, makes excuses for that defeat and offers the faithful reassuring platitudes that, all evidence to the contrary, the one true path of anarchism is vindicated by the experience.

When anarchists encounter this sort of thing in other ideologies they never fail to tear it to shreds. Does Communism bear responsibility for the heaping piles of corpses produced by Communist regimes? Is Christianity to be blamed for the Crusades, the Inquisition and the Witch Hunts? Of course. We judge ideologies by their practical results in peoples lives not by their pie-in-the-sky promises. Anarchism in Spain raised the hopes of millions that a classless stateless society could be achieved in the hear and now, lead them to the barricades to make it real, and failed abysmally. The Spanish people were condemned to fourty years of fascist rule because of the failure. And yet while the anarchist movement of the past half century has produced an extensive literature extolling the momentary successes of the Spanish Revolution in the creation of peasant and workers collectives, there has been almost no serious effort to analyze how the anarchist movement contributed to its own defeat. Blaming ones political enemies (fascists, Communists, or social-democrats) for behaving exactly as one would expect them to behave only further confuses matters. Betrayal, after all, is only possible on the part of someone trusted.

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Contemporary Anarchism Reply

An interesting discussion of anarchism from a Trotskyist perspective.

By Eric Kerl

International Socialist Review

IN DECEMBER 2008, Time magazine ran the headline, “Could Greece’s Riots Spread to France?”1 The article was accompanied by fiery images of anarchists battling police on the streets of Athens. Four months later, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper fretted that a planned march against the G-20 meetings in London, “could be hijacked by anarchists who are known to create so-called ‘black blocs’—tight, hard-to-break units which can smash through police lines.”2 More recently, student resistance to the economic crisis facing colleges and universities in the United States has sparked debates with anarchists who propose a maximum strategy to “occupy everything” and yet, “demand nothing.”3

Since the advent of the global justice movement of the 1990s, anarchist ideas have had a renaissance, and continue to attract growing numbers of adherents, despite detractors in the mainstream media and political repression from the police. For the social movements of the past decade, the broad ideas of anarchism have defined the political landscape. These ideas express themselves in a multitude of ways: from consensus based decision-making models, activist collectives, spokes councils, and affinity groups to black bloc tactics at demonstrations and targeted property destruction (bank windows, ATMs, Starbucks, parking meters, etc).

While the black-hooded anarchist rioters of global justice demonstrations remain the media’s favorite spectacle, anarchists of all types are currently debating new tactics, political shifts, and reassessments of the anarchist tradition. Importantly, strains of contemporary anarchism have offered convincing critiques of the lifestyle approach to social change, rehabilitated the legacy of syndicalism, reoriented to class struggle, and initiated new ways of relating to the working class and social movements. At the same time, other anarchists have mounted vicious attacks on the organized political left and activism in general.

This article is an attempt to explore these new developments and seek common ground with the best aspects of today’s anarchism. Further, this article will analyze the shared assumptions of these disparate strains of anarchist thought and offer a Marxist critique of anarchism’s historical, as well as present, shortcomings.

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Fascism: The Career of a Concept Reply

Available at Amazon. Reviewed by David Gordon here. Listen to an interview with Dr. Gottfried here.

What does it mean to label someone a fascist? Today, it is equated with denouncing him or her as a Nazi. But as intellectual historian Paul E. Gottfried writes in this provocative yet even-handed study, the term’s meaning has evolved over the years. Gottfried examines the semantic twists and turns the term has endured since the 1930s and traces the word’s polemical function within the context of present ideological struggles. Like “conservatism,” “liberalism,” and other words whose meanings have changed with time, “fascism” has been used arbitrarily over the years and now stands for a host of iniquities that progressives, multiculturalists, and libertarians oppose, even if they offer no single, coherent account of the historic evil they condemn.

Certain factors have contributed to the term’s imprecise usage, Gottfried writes, including the equation of all fascisms with Nazism and Hitler, as well as the rise of a post-Marxist left that expresses predominantly cultural opposition to bourgeois society and its Christian and/or national components. Those who stand in the way of social change are dismissed as “fascist,” he contends, an epithet that is no longer associated with state corporatism and other features of fascism that were once essential but are now widely ignored. Gottfried outlines the specific historical meaning of the term and argues that it should not be used indiscriminately to describe those who hold unpopular opinions. His important study will appeal to political scientists, intellectual historians, and general readers interested in politics and history.

 

A History of Fascism, 1914-1945 Reply

Given the tendency to call anything and everything “fascist” nowadays, it might be helpful to understand what historical fascism actually was.

Available at Amazon.

A History of Fascism is an invaluable sourcebook, offering a rare combination of detailed information and thoughtful analysis. It is a masterpiece of comparative history, for the comparisons enhance our understanding of each part of the whole. The term ‘fascist,’ used so freely these days as a pejorative epithet that has nearly lost its meaning, is precisely defined, carefully applied and skillfully explained. The analysis effectively restores the dimension of evil.”—Susan Zuccotti, The Nation

“A magisterial, wholly accessible, engaging study. . . . Payne defines fascism as a form of ultranationalism espousing a myth of national rebirth and marked by extreme elitism, mobilization of the masses, exaltation of hierarchy and subordination, oppression of women and an embrace of violence and war as virtues.”—Publishers Weekly

Speaking Heresy: Fascism Wasn’t That Bad? 1

Anarcho-Dictator
Instead of a Blog

For an interwar government, the Fascist Italy under Mussolini wasn’t too bad – they were pretty mild and not too crazy or controlling. The worst move that Mussolini made was joining up with Hitler, and the second worst was invading Ethiopia – but the USA allied with Stalin and invaded like 50 countries, so big deal.

 

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The Left’s Abandonment of Liberalism and the Hypocrisy of Antifa (Brendan O’Neill Pt. 1) Reply

Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss issues surrounding the threat to free speech, free speech in relation to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, how the left has abandoned liberalism and shifted towards identity politics, the lefts movement against working class people, the hypocrisy of Antifa, finding allies on the right, and more.

What is a Marxist Libertarian? (Brendan O’Neill Pt. 2) Reply

Brendan O’Neill (Editor of Spiked Online) joins Dave to discuss why he defines himself as a ‘Marxist Libertarian,’ his views on the pursuit of happiness, self censorship in the U.S., the issue with Bill of Rights only existing in writing and not in the hearts of Americans, the debate surrounding tearing down monuments, and more.