Sargon vs the techno-oligarchs.
Sargon vs the techno-oligarchs.
“In episode 13 of Unraveling Political Theory, Tim and Keith will be discussing 5 different political debates that are false dichotomies. To understand the world of politics and change it for the better, it’s paramount that people begin to study political theory and the ways in which it has manifest throughout history up into the present day. By bringing light to the origins of political and philosophical thought, the present day becomes all the more explainable because one is now able to see the logical progression of such manifestations.”
By R.J. Jacob
Last week on KTP, Keith and I discussed data from a new study by an independent group of researchers showing that 80 percent of Americans see themselves as against political correctness. Shouldn’t surprise you. Most people don’t even pretend to act “shocked” when someone acts racist or sexist in public. It’s the phony rich people on TV who act like we’re supposed to care about another douchebag and his poetic justice or the next racial/gender/sexual/animal equality BS or whatever it is that we’re supposed to care about this time.
I think one of the main reasons why so many Americans dislike PC is because most Americans aren’t that naive and already know that our news broadcasts are full of shit. In fact, the very notion of talking about what the “political people” on TV are talking about has become a hobby for the more educated and comfortable classes. Most people I know are worried about their bread and butter first and foremost followed by their families. The average person who gives way to the daily grind of “succeeding at life” spends most of his free time drinking, going to the bar, talking to girls, or working out at the gym; and worries about things like family, work, sex, love, depression, trying to save money, and Facebook.
I think “progressive activists” who push PC as a central political social religion have too much free time on their hands. PC anxiety is a luxury for sure. The only people I know who act PC in real life are either lawyers or tech experts with upper-middle-class lifestyles with progressive globalist views or graduate students whose current living situation is comfortable enough to allow them to take up PC as an outward feel-good social hobby while other middle-class progressives mimic the upper-middle-class elite by watching their Real Time with Bill Maher/Anderson Cooper/Colbert Report for rich bitches while the rest of the country doesn’t really give a shit.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
When I first learned that I had been published on Attack the System, a site notorious for being something of a safe space for national anarchists, I was both confused and intrigued. Intrigued because the national anarchists have a rather unsavory rep among their fellow anti-statists as being a kooky breed of quasi white supremacists. And confused because I happen to be an aggressively queer Marxian syndicalist. But also being a hard-luck, technologically challenged, writer who’s shit is often too radical even for the fringe, I decided I could hardly look a gift horse in the mouth. So I said fuck it, why not?
Then something very strange happened. The national anarchists turned out to be human beings and they seemed to legitimately dig my shit. So I put them to the test. I sent them all of my posts, not just the ones I thought wouldn’t offend their traditionalist sensibilities. I sent them candid posts about my own complex gender identity. I sent them posts referencing my past dalliances with communism and my continued admiration for the Black Panthers. I sent them posts in which I openly and gleefully derided the very notions of biological race and gender. I didn’t write these posts with the national anarchists in mind, it just happened to be the kind of shit I write about and I made zero attempt to shield my new audience from it. To my surprise, not only did every single one of those posts get published, they were a hit. Attack the System even went so far as to make me an editor, which was particularly kind considering that I can barely edit my own work, let alone anyone else’s.
The research that is cited in this article, along with the “Hidden Tribes” report that came out recently, seems to confirm what I have long suspected, i.e. that “political correctness” is the ideology of the mostly white, educated, affluent, left-wing of the upper middle class. This is probably one of the more interesting parts of this article:
“In fact, white liberals are well to the left of the black electorate on some racial issues.
Take the issue of discrimination as a factor holding back African-American advancement. White liberals are to the left of black Democrats, placing a much stronger emphasis than African-Americans on the role of discrimination and much less emphasis on the importance of individual effort.
Among white liberals, according to Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent agreed that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” 18.8 percent agreed that “blacks who can’t get ahead in this country are mostly responsible for their own condition,” a 60.4 point difference, according to a detailed analysis of the Pew data provided the Times by Zach Goldberg, a doctoral candidate in political science at Georgia State University.
Among blacks, 59.9 percent identified discrimination as the main deterrent to upward mobility for African-Americans, and 32.0 percent said blacks were responsible for their condition — in other words, blacks are more conservative than white liberals on this issue.?”
By Thomas B. Edsall
New York Times
It seems that the “exhausted majority” would be the natural constituency for ATS…if only the “exhausted majority” had any kind of critique of the state and/or capitalism (and, yes, I’m fine the Karl Hess version of capitalism).
By Michael Sean Winters
National Catholic Reporter
A column by David Brooks this week pointed to an interesting new survey undertaken by the group More in Common. Titled “Hidden Tribes,” the report, as Brooks rightly notes, “understands that American politics is no longer about what health care plan you support. It’s about identity, psychology, moral foundations and the dynamics of tribal resentment.”
Brooks’ central conclusion is correct: He thinks the core problem with American politics is that it is dominated by the two sets of rich white people who inhabit the ideological extremes, groups the report dubs “Progressive Activists” and “Devoted Conservatives.” Unfortunately for those of us on the left, the first group is only 8 percent of the population and while the second group is but 6 percent, the next closest group, “Traditional Conservatives” identifies 19 percent of the nation’s population and tends to side with the “Devoted Conservatives” on almost all issues. These are the “Wings” that set the tone and the parameters of public debate.
The recently released study indicating the deep unpopularity of political correctness, as well as the marginal nature of both PC partisans and the hard right, carries certain implications for the ATS strategy and program. First, there is no need whatsoever to capitulate or kowtow to PC, and that the strategy that I have been pursing for years now of bashing PC to the max is a winning strategy (in fact, it’s probably brought me a larger audience than anything else I have ever done). However, a second implication is that the far left and far right are only peripheral and unpopular elements that are soundly rejected by most Americans. But the catch is that the rival ruling class factions attempt to build a loyal base for themselves by pandering to far left and far right extremists. Therefore, those of use who are committed to an authentically revolutionary perspective must necessarily position ourselves as a radical center that not only rejects the ruling class in its entirety, but also rejects the marginal right and marginal left with equal fervor. When it comes to the Antifa, “anarcho”-Marxists, neo-Commies, PC progressives, Alt-Right/Lite, WN/NS, neo-fascists, or religious theocrats, our attitude should simply be, “Fuck ’em. We don’t ’em.” Instead, our target audience should be the “exhausted majority” who are tired of both ruling class malfeasance, and the crap on the margins.
Kyle Kulinski offers a good critique of why right-wing critics of the Left typically fail, but regrettably Kyle merely wants to steer the conversation toward his own Berniebro/neo-Rooseveltian perspective.
These Tucker Carlson-types are pretty good at criticizing the Left. But they regrettably use their critique to steer their audience toward the Republican-oriented right-wing. It’s possible to hate Bolsheviks without wanting to preserve the Tsar.
As I have long suspected, PC is primarily the domain of the left-wing of the upper middle class (roughly the same socioeconomic demographic that Jacobinism and Communism came from).
By Yascha Mounk
On social media, the country seems to divide into two neat camps: Call them the woke and the resentful. Team Resentment is manned—pun very much intended—by people who are predominantly old and almost exclusively white. Team Woke is young, likely to be female, and predominantly black, brown, or Asian (though white “allies” do their dutiful part). These teams are roughly equal in number, and they disagree most vehemently, as well as most routinely, about the catchall known as political correctness.
Reality is nothing like this. As scholars Stephen Hawkins, Daniel Yudkin, Miriam Juan-Torres, and Tim Dixon argue in a report published Wednesday, “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape,” most Americans don’t fit into either of these camps. They also share more common ground than the daily fights on social media might suggest—including a general aversion to PC culture.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I’ve always found it absurd that white nationalists bitch the loudest about identity politics when they’re the winy snowflakes who fucking invented the goddamn concept. White isn’t even a race for Christ sake. There is no Whitestan. There is no traditional white tribe. It’s a class concept designed to justify an oligarchy without a royal bloodline. I’m pretty sure that the first “white” guys were just a bunch of slave owners who settled on the superiority of their lack of melanin after they finished taking inventory on eye color and penis size and came to the conclusion that skin was the one thing they had in common that the field hands couldn’t lay claim to. In today’s divided states of America identity politics are mostly used to keep different genres of poor people at each others throats while the one percent rapes their wives (often literally) and pollutes their land.
Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk has a pretty good critique of Tucker Carlson, and Trumpism generally, that I think is largely accurate, although I disagree with Kulinski’s embrace of Bernie Sanders’ neo-Rooseveltian perspective as the fallback position, and Kulinski clearly does not criticize the Left strongly enough, and is too dismissive of immigration critics, which involves issues that are far more complicated than what he recognizes.
The best take on the Kavanaugh mess I’ve seen to date.
By Avens O’Brien
I haven’t commented much on the whole Kavanaugh issue. I have so many thoughts, and they aren’t perfectly organized or suitable for an article. I wrote this rant out last night while really exhausted, I made minor edits this afternoon and I’m just posting it, because it’s burning a hole in my mind and I’m actually like… angry/sad/disappointed, which isn’t very common for me. And yeah, I’m bothered by his confirmation, but more so about the entire process. About how we got here.
In episode 10 of Unraveling Political Theory, Tim Bryant and Keith Preston will be discussing Progressivism. Coming to terms with different political movements and what they represent is at the core of what this podcast is all about. To understand the world of politics and change it for the better, it’s paramount that people begin to study political theory and the ways in which it has manifest throughout history up into the present day. By bringing light to the origins of political and philosophical thought, the present day becomes all the more explainable because one is now able to see the logical progression of such manifestations.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
I haven’t always been an anarchist but I’ve always been a radical. After being raised in the pro-life movement I discovered the Communist Manifesto as a 14 year old lapsed malcontent. I didn’t understand every word of it but the inflammatory anti-clerical rhetoric lit a fire in me that never went out. After spending several years as a teenage anarchist, influenced in equal measure by Subcomandante Marcos and Johnny Rotten, I turned to state socialism, inspired by the bold anti-imperialist antics of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution. It was also around this time that I became enamored by tales of the Bolsheviks, Che Guevara, and those dastardly Castro brothers. Marxist-Leninism and Democratic Centralism made sense to a twenty-something closeted agoraphobic. Like my life it felt preserved in formaldehyde. It felt safe.
But there’s nothing radical about safe and when I came out of the closet to take my life back from mental illness and gender tyranny, I was ready to dream dangerously again. The suspiciously early demise of Hugo Chavez followed shortly by the cataclysmic failure of his signature revolution was the final straw. Chavez did everything right but when he dropped dead the revolution dropped dead with him. For me, that was the last nail in the coffin for state socialism or state anything for that matter. I was drawn back to anarchism by the unexpected triumph of the Rojava Revolution in Northern Syria and the prison writings of the man who inspired it, another post-Marxist anti-statist named Abdullah Ocalan. But I’ve remained both conscious and unapologetic of my tangled radical roots and my objectives have always remained the same, the creation of a classless post-capitalist society.
The discussion itself was very good, although I found the intro monologue to be something of a turn off in the sense that it sounded like a barrage of buzzwords and catchphrases (kind of like reciting the Apostles’ Creed in church). The point the guy being interviewed seemed to be making was “We should use grassroots direct action rather than electoral politics to A) get more free ice cream days and B ) oppose things leftists don’t like.” For instance, at one point he actually praises Nixon for creating the EPA and OSHA (“More centralized state bureaucracies! Yay! Vivia de Anarchia!”). He seems to be mostly regurgitating what David Graeber called “small ‘a’ anarchism” or “social movement anarchism.” In fact, he sounds a lot like what my anarchist friends and I would have been talking about 25-30 years ago.
I don’t think his point of view is “wrong” in the same sense that I don’t necessarily think Alexander Reid Ross’ “anarcho-MSNBC” perspective is “wrong” in the sense that it’s fine to have an anarchist tendency that’s merely about opposing Trump, the “far right” or official enemies of the US like Russia or Syria like Reid-Ross’ crowd, and it’s not “wrong” to have anarchist tendencies that are just about “social movement left-activism” like these “DSA anarchists” or whatever they are. But I view anarchist philosophy and politics as much bigger than all that.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Land
Political correctness is a fucking bust. It may have started with the best of intentions but so was the Russian Revolution and both ended in bourgeois tyranny. Political correctness has been more or less the law of the zeitgeist since the early Eighties when the radical feminists teamed up with the puritanical Reaganites to poop the raucous party of the Seventies, after the CIA unleashed AIDS to kill all the fun faggots (I’m only half-kidding). And in the proceeding decades the PC revolution has achieved absolutely nothing. Black and brown people are still poor as dirt. Women and femmes are still roundly violated on a daily basis. And the prison state has never been stronger.
The only thing political correctness really achieved was making it easier for bigots to hide behind the facade of good manners. Based on policy alone, the Clintonian Democrats clearly despise brown and queer people as much as those knuckle-draggers in the alt-right, they just know how to cover their ass with careful newspeak like “super-predators” and empty gestures to people who disgusted them three weeks ago when they weren’t politically viable. Personally, I’ll take an open bigot like David Duke over some squishy closet-basher like Alec Baldwin any day of the week. At least that silicone supremacist will call me faggot to my face.
So the current backlash against the malign influence of political correctness in not only totally natural, it’s also totally necessary. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a fucking dick. The reality is that marginalized individuals such as myself do have plenty of reasons to be pissed off and straight white cis-folk could strongly benefit from learning why and realizing that their mainstream cache does afford them some privileges that the rest of us don’t have. I’m willing to bet that most of you can enter a public restroom without having to seriously consider the possibility that somebody might set you on fire for having the wrong genitalia. But nothing gets solved without conversation, so I’ve decided to put together a few suggestions on how to be politically incorrect without being a total dick.
By Caleb Maupin
In being defined merely by its opponents and fixating on a fear of Russia, a large chunk of the far-left has usurped the role held by the far-right during the Cold War.
In 1963, folk singer Bob Dylan, whose left-leaning lyrics seemed to define the liberal politics of the era, composed a song which was a mockery of the right-wing anti-Communist organization known as the John Birch Society. He wrote:
Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do
Them Communists they was comin’ around
They was in the air
They was on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace
The Russians are coming!
An amusing and at times interesting presentation from the Left-Birchers, featuring some of the usual suspects. Watch this video, and then watch the video at the bottom of this post featuring an interview with Dr. Fred Schwarz of the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade from William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line” in 1967. Notice the similarities. The Russians are coming!
Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Third Place Books Alexander Reid Ross, Eva Cherniavsky, Shane Burley, Charu Charusheela, Philip Wohlstetter (moderator) Secession–the founding of a new community by breaking off from an existing state–is an idea that comes both in a Left version (anarcho-commune) and a Right version (white identity state). Under neoliberalism, the state itself has been seceding from its former functions like funding public works and providing a social safety net. How will these opposing forces interact both globally and in the future? What kind of strategies are open to the Left? Join Alexander Reid Ross (Against the Fascist Creep, AK Press); Eva Cherniavsky (Neocitizenship: Political Life After Democracy, NYU Press); Shane Burley (Fascism: What It Is and How to End It, AK Press) and Charu Charusheela (Rethinking Marxism) as they tease out the answers.
Tom Woods interviews Joshua Smith on the libertarian capitalist vs libertarian socialist conflict in the Libertarian Party. Listen here.
Joshua Smith, who secured a spot on the Libertarian National Committee at the party’s recent convention, joins me to discuss the party’s present and future, the controversy with “libertarian socialists,” and much more.
By Andrew Sullivan
The politics of Britain and the U.S. can have a strange, synchronized rhythm to them. Margaret Thatcher was a harbinger of Ronald Reagan as both countries veered suddenly rightward in the 1980s. Prime Minister John Major emerged as Thatcher’s moderate successor as George H.W. Bush became Reagan’s, cementing the conservative trans-Atlantic shift. The “New Democrats” and the Clintons were then mirrored by “New Labour” and the Blairs, adapting the policies of the center-left to the emerging consensus of market capitalism. Even Barack Obama and David Cameron were not too dissimilar — social liberals, unflappable pragmatists — until the legacies of both were swept aside by right-populist revolts. The sudden summer squall of Brexit in 2016 and the triumph of Trump a few months later revealed how similarly the Tories and the Republicans had drifted into nationalist, isolationist fantasies.
But what of the parallels on the left? What’s generating activist energy and intellectual ferment in both countries is an increasingly disinhibited and ambitious socialism. Bernie Sanders’s strength in the Democratic Party primaries two years ago was a prelude to a new wave of candidates who’ve struck unabashedly left-populist notes this year, calling for “Medicare for all” and the end of ICE, alongside a more social-justice-oriented cultural message. Some, like the charismatic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have achieved national visibility as an uncomplicated socialism has found more converts, especially among the young. Moderate Democrats have not disappeared, but they are on the defensive. A fight really is brewing for the soul of the Democrats.
It’s interesting to see people from the Communist Left like Caleb Maupin and Jason Unruhe saying the things that I have been saying for 20 years, e.g. that progressive liberalism is simply the self-legitimating ideology of imperialism, that “social justice” activists are just middle class and college student hobbyists, that the “Left” in its present incarnation views the traditional working class as its primary enemy, that the “far right” comes closer to being an actual opposition force, that the working class is being reproletarianized, that the “anti-fascist” left has become the new McCarthyites, that the antifa and anarcho-leftoids are the shock troops of the liberal establishment, etc etc.