[Update: This assessment of the events in Charlottesville was originally posted on Monday, August 14. As of August 16, I have added some additional comments where indicated.]
[Updated: Additional comments have been added as of August 19.]
I’m still trying to find out more about what happened in Charlottesville on Saturday. But from reviewing news reports on the incident from across the ideological spectrum, and speaking with people on “both sides” who were present at the melee, here are my initial thoughts.
It would appear from the contents of this manifesto that the Alt-Right has gone full National Socialist, which means that the Alt-Right is finished as potential prototype for a serious opposition movement from the Right in the United States. The Alt-Right may well thrive as a right-wing counterpart to the SJWs and Antifa in the future, and consequently create occasional ruckuses at its own rallies, or engage in street fights with leftist opponents. But what is contained in this manifesto is not marketable to a mass audience.
Read the full manifesto by Richard Spencer here.
Additional commentary on the statement from Richard can be found here.
An equally serious issue is raised by this article by Vincent Law on the relationship between the Alt-Right and law enforcement. Clearly, the only critique of the police state that is being offered here is that the police are “not racist enough” (as opposed to the leftist claim that the police are “too racist,”), and are more concerned about protecting the state (i.e. “doing their jobs”) than assisting in the advancement of the Alt-Right cause. The fight against the police state must be a fundamental component of any kind of radicalism worthy of the name in the present day United States. The police are the front line guardians of the soft-totalitarian system (“anarcho-tyranny,” as the late paleconservative writer Sam Francis called it). This fact remains true even if one is not an anarchist or a libertarian.
Regrettably, neither the Left nor the Right has developed anything remotely approacing a comprehensive analysis of the police state and its workings in contemporary society. The Left simply advances a limited critique of the police as “too racist,” which ignores the fact that substantial numbers of law enforcement personnel and other “criminal justice” professionals are in fact people of color, and with the Left usually calling for a strengthening of the presumably “less racist” federal law enforcement in order to counter the presumably “more racist” local enforcement. Meanwhile, the only objection to the police state advanced by the Right appears to be regret that all law enforcement personnel are not more like Bull Connor, or that they are working for a government that is not sufficiently fascist. This is in spite of the fact that police state repression in the US now extends to all ethnic groups and even class positions, and even though most of our Alt-Right friends would be immediately purged by an actual fascist regime (see the fate of Ernst Roehm, Edgar Jung, Gregor Strasser, Ernst Niekisch, etc.).
For a discussion of what a more plausible right-wing opposition movement in the US might look like, check out this piece in the neocon house journal National Review by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry. This article suggests that a Trumpized GOP might be able to position itself as an ostensibly “working class” (lower middle class) party in opposition to the Democrats’ emphasis on the economic and cultural values of the upper middle class in the manner of Marine Le Pen’s Front National. Even this is doubtful given that Trump has in fact pursued a fairly conventional Republican agenda, to the degree that he has an agenda as opposed to haphazard improvisations. A Trumpized Republican Party would essentially be the normal Republican Party, perhaps with a little more lip service given to economic nationalism and immigration restriction with little action in these areas, just as the GOP has retained the loyalty of the religious right for decades using the same the methods of rhetorical overtures and token gestures.
For some reason or other, this man really doesn’t seem to fit the image of a white supremacist.
By Katie Shepherd
Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, 21, perhaps the most recognizable person in the Portland area’s far-right activist circles, was issued a criminal citation for disorderly conduct in the second degree. His nose was bloodied and bruised in a fight with counterprotesters. Despite his cuts, he continued to participate in the protest until it dissolved around 6 pm, when Portland police detained and cited him.
Portland police made the decision not to arrest him on the misdemeanor charge because he needed to go to the hospital to get stitches from his injuries. Christopher Burley, a police spokesman, said the bureau is short on resources and couldn’t send an officer to accompany Toese through his hospital stay.
Poor Spencer Sunshine wants to have an “anti-fascism” theme party and no one wants to come. Maybe this guy needs to ask himself why, out of the 320 million people who live in the United States, it’s only a few thousand leftoidal nutcases that feel the need to get worked up about this stuff.
Read the article at Truthout
In practice, since February, few groups outside of antifascist circles have done national-level, longer-term, nuts-and-bolts organizing on the ground against the organized far-right groups. For example, there has been no new wave of regional anti-far-right groups like those which existed in the 1980s and ’90s. These groups did not engage in militant direct action but did build grassroots opposition to Nazi and Klan groups. But, outside of Redneck Revolt, there is not even a sustained effort to create online counter-propaganda. (Although one of the few initiatives by moderate groups has been to limit the far right’s use of social media and online fundraising platforms.) There have been localized demonstrations — in Portland in June after the murder of two men by an Islamophobic racist, and later in the month against a national day of Islamophobic rallies — but these haven’t gelled into any coherent organization or strategy.
In other words, nobody gives a fuck about this guy and his loopy cause. As Ted Kaczynski reminded us,
Because a few hundred people having an Un-PC theme party in the park threatens civilization, says antifa intellectual Matthew Lyons of the (ironically named) Ford Foundation-supported Political Research Associates. While I agree with much of this analysis, particularly points 2, 3, and 4 (with 1 being plausible and 5 being more often instigated by the antifa), here’s the money quote:
“And even a strong leader wouldn’t necessarily overcome the basic political differences separating Alt Rightists from their conservative fellow travelers. In the long run, if the Alt Right wants to coalesce with system-loyal rightists, it either has to win more people to its dream of right-wing revolution, or abandon it.”
In other words, there will be no right-wing revolution. The Alt-Right will become another Republican interest group, like the religious right before them. Look for the Alt-Right/Alt-Lite configuration to become the xenophobe and white identity politics wing of the Republican Party along side the foreign policy hawks, neocons, economic conservatives, social conservatives, and the religious right. And like the religious right, the right-wing establishment will throw them an occasional rhetorical bone and do nothing for them. As a Facebook commentator has said:
Not sure though why the GOP will ally with guys who largely don’t go to church, are economically left, oppose US intervention, and make for the least loyal Republicans. Ain’t gonna happen.
If the religious right couldn’t even restore school prayer, ban abortion, or prevent homosexual marriage, there is no way the Alt-Right will be successful in halting immigration. As the commentator said, it ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s the money quote from this article:
“There is something not normal about a person who can read a defense of the stateless society and decentralization, secession, and self-determination as means of achieving it and immediately think Nazi because of a reference to the obvious reality of blood and soil.”
By Dan Phillips
The Liberty Conservative
Certain quarters of the libertarian universe are in an absolute tizzy because Mises Institute President Jeff Deist invoked “blood and soil” in a recent speech. In the minds of some PC brain-addled libertarians, this is clearly an indication that the speaker was dog whistling to Nazis. This is both profoundly clueless and shameless PC grandstanding.
The Stark Truth. Listen here.
Robert Stark and co-host Sam Kevorkian talk to Zoltan Istvan about his proposal for a California State Basic Income. Zoltan is a Trans-Humanist and futurist writer, philosopher, and journalist. He was the Transhumanist Party’s candidate for president in 2016, has written for Vice, Newsweek, the Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, was a reporter for the National Geographic Channel, and is the author of The Transhumanist Wager.
Zoltan’s campaign for President
Zoltan’s Run for California Governor as a Libertarian in 2018
Zoltan’s proposal for a California state-wide Basic Income
How Automation and Artificial Intelligence will make a Basic Income Necessary
The estimated proposal of $56k per household in California
Residency restrictions on the Basic Income
How the Basic Income would replace existing social programs
Is monetizing federal land the way to pay for a basic income
The environmental concerns in monetizing Public Lands, how no National Parks would be touched, and the clause that says the land must be maintained
How Gene Editing will impact wildlife conservation in the future
Using drones to track non-violence criminals in lieu of incarceration
Liberty Might Be Better Served by Doing Away with Privacy
The California High Speed Rail and Driverless Cars
From The Washington Post.
I’ve always thought that those were inept analogies for exactly the reasons outlined here. There are some well thought-out arguments coming from the restrictionist side, but those most certainly aren’t amongst them.
By Ilya Somin August 6 at 4:18 PM
If you follow debates over immigration, it is hard to avoid arguments for restrictionism that analogize a nation to a house or a club. Such claims are ubiquitous in public debate, and are sometimes advanced by professional political philosophers as well. The intuition behind these analogies is simple: As a homeowner, I generally have the right to exclude whoever I want from my property. I don’t even have to have a good justification for the exclusion. I can choose to bar you from my home for virtually any reason I want, or even just no reason at all. Similarly, a nation has the right to bar foreigners from its land for almost any reason it wants, or perhaps even for no reason at all. All it is doing is exercising its property rights, much like the homeowner who bars strangers from entering her house. In the words of a leading academic defender of this theory, “My right to freedom of movement does not entitle me to enter your house without your permission… so why think that this right gives me a valid claim to enter a foreign country without that country’s permission?”
Todd Lewis is joined by Keith Preston to analyze whether the thesis of Thaddeus Russell that true freedom is embodied in libertinism.
THE TENTH ANNUAL H.L. MENCKEN CLUB CONFERENCE
THE FUTURE OF THE RIGHT: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
NOVEMBER 3-4, 2017
To register, please click here.
Friday, November 3rd
5:00-7:00 PM – Registration and Reception
7:00-10:00 PM – Banquet
Moderator – James Kalb
Presidential Address: Who Might Succeed the Conservative Establishment? Contenders: The Altright and the Populist Right – Paul Gottfried
Guest Speaker: Liberty and the Deep State- Tom Woods
Saturday, November 4th
9:00-10:30 AM- Panel: The Significance of the Trump Presidency after Almost a Year
Peter Brimelow: The Festering Immigration Problem
Marshall de Rosa: Trump and the Constitution
David Gordon: Does Trump Have a Foreign Policy?
10:45 AM-12:15 PM- Panel: The Altright: Its Appreciable Strengths and Continuing Glaring Weaknesses
John Derbyshire: Where the Altright Has Been Spot On
Keith Preston: The Altright Among Other Rights
Paul Gottfried: The Altright and Its Weakness
12:30-2:00 PM- Lunch: Carl Horowitz: Why Have Corporations Become Bulwarks of the Cultural Marxist Left
2:30-4:30 PM- Panel: The Future of the Grievance Culture
Michael Hart: Partition As A Way Out
Ilana Mercer: Exceeding the Limits of Tolerable Grievances
Robert Weissberg: The Future of the Academic Jungle
Robert Paquette: Fighting Political Correctness on the Frontlines
6:00 PM- Reception and Banquet
Guest Speaker: The Media and The Right- Richard Pollock
A review of “The Unique and Its Property” by Max Stirner. Translated with a new introduction by Wolfi Landstreicher. Underworld Amusements.
By Keith Preston
An apparently controversial publisher has issued a new translation of a controversial book. The original work in question is Max Stirner’s egoist classic, originally published in Germany in 1844 under the title Der Einzige und sein Eigentum. This book was later translated into English by the American individualist-anarchist writer Steven T. Byington, and published in 1907 by Benjamin R. Tucker, the most prominent of the American individualist-anarchists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, under the title The Ego and His Own. All subsequent English editions of Stirner’s work have essentially been reprints of the 1907 translation. However, Underworld Amusements has released a new translation by Wolfi Landstreicher under the title The Unique and Its Property. Landstreicher has also provided an interesting introduction of his own to this new translation that touches on many of the most salient aspects of Stirner’s thought.
By Jason Wilson
Lately on the right, a sense has been developing that the American project is heading for a profound, perhaps bloody crisis. More and more, we hear talk of “civil war” – some say we have already embarked on a “cold” one.
From David Cole Stein:
SJW leftist: “The solution to police violence is to hire MORE MINORITIES as cops! Whites are incurably racist and violent. Get some DIVERSITY on the force, and the senseless killings of civilians will END!”
[Somali Muslim cop sits in his car and blows away an unarmed mom and bride-to-be who was on her own property in her pajamas after calling 911 to report a disturbance behind her house]
White nationalist: “Whites must BAND TOGETHER as brothers against those with whom we are genetically and culturally incompatible! WHITE HOMELAND! All whites unite, as we are ONE!”
[Spends the entire year feuding with and piling hatred upon fellow white nationalists, who he accuses of being pedophiles, homos, race-mixers, Jew-sympathizers, frauds, liars, slanderers, and losers]
SJW: “Hey, white nationalist, is it possible that we’re BOTH fucking idiots with sweeping, nonsensical racial theories that don’t work in the real world?”
White nationalist: “Dang, you know what, I think you’re right! Maybe WE’RE the ones who oughta start our own homeland together!”
SJW: “We’ll call it Moronville!”
White Nationalist: “Buddy, you got a deal!”
By Frances Lee
There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested over time. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter should not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who is trying to figure things out, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:
1. Seeking purity
There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life towards an impossible destination of perfection.
A veteran anarcho-communist questions the Marcusean approach appropriated by the Antifa and SJWs.
By Wayne Price
There has recently been controversy on the Left over “free speech” for right-wingers (not necessarily fascists). Should it be supported or physically opposed? Some leftists have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse on “repressive tolerance” and why it should be opposed. Marcuse’s theory is reviewed and arguments are raised against it from a revolutionary anti-authoritarian perspective.
There has been, recently, controversy on the Left over “free speech.” Should radical leftists and anti-fascists disrupt speeches by right-wingers? Should leftists break up such meetings, charge the stage, and smash windows? Or should the leftists limit themselves to counter-demonstrations, boycotts, protest leaflets, and, perhaps, heckling? The controversy is not so much over public events by fascists—U.S. Nazis or Klan members, for example—but over right wingers who claim to not be fascists but “conservatives” who value free speech.
In working out an approach to this issue, a number of leftist thinkers—anarchists and Marxists—have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse (1969). In 1965 (updated 1968), Marcuse wrote an influential essay, “Repressive Tolerance” (which appeared with essays by two others in the little book, Critique of Pure Tolerance). Marcuse (1898—1979) was one of the most influential Left theorists of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies. A member of the Frankfort School, he was a scholar of Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Marcuse had an enormous impact and following. Given the general ignorance and muddle of much of today’s radical thinking, it is not surprising that there has been an attempt to revive Marcuse’s ideas about free speech and the limits of “pure tolerance.”
By Wayne Price
Center for a Stateless Society
Shawn Wilbur argues that “anarchy” and “democracy” are completely distinct principles—philosophically. Philosophically, there is “no middle ground.” However, in actual living, there is “the likelihood that we might continue to have recourse to practices that we think of as ‘democratic.’ It is difficult to imagine a society in which we are not at times forced to…engage in practices like voting.” How often will these times happen? Perhaps a lot during the “transition” from statism to anarchy.
Shawn seems to want to have his cake and eat it too. He fiercely rejects even the most decentralized, direct, participatory, democracy in the name of anarchism (philosophically). This is combined with a willingness to support actual democratic procedures in solving collective problems (practically).
Let us leave aside philosophical definitions, as well as considerations of what Proudhon and Bakunin really meant (although Bakunin’s anarchist association called itself the Alliance of Socialist Democracy). Does Shawn really disagree with me and other democratic anarchists, in praxis (integrating theory and practice)? He and I are both for as much freedom as possible, both individual and collective—rejecting the state and any other institution of oppression. We both want collective decisions to be as free and uncoerced as is possible. We both accept that there have to be some conflicts in which everyone is not satisfied with the outcome, conflicts which must be managed through democratic procedures of some sort (even if he compares this to cannibalism!). If we can agree on this much, then I am willing to accept that we have differences in philosophy.
Gabriel Amadej also bases her argument on principles developed by Proudhon. Unlike Shawn Wilbur, her solution to collective decisionmaking is not through democratic procedures but through “the market.” But our societies are so intertwined and interconnected, economically and otherwise, that even decentralization will not end the need for working and living together collectively—and making collective decisions in our workplaces and communities—democracy.
By William Gillis
Center for a Stateless Society
Personally, I don’t think “the left” ultimately represents much of anything coherent, but rather constitutes a historically contingent coalition of ideological positions. Bastiat and other free market folks sat on the left of the french assembly, and while we might try to claim that as part of a consistent leftist market tradition, we should be honest that one’s position in that particular revolution — much less revolution in general — is hardly indicative of very much. There are always revolutionaries who desire systems far worse than our own, and similarly there have been many broadly recognized “leftists” whose desires were utterly anathema to liberation.
It’s popular these days to paint the left and right as egalitarian versus hierarchical. But not only is this an imposed read on a far messier historical and sociological reality, but it’s honestly quite philosophically contentless. No one is particularly clear on what egalitarianism means, or even hierarchy, and many interpretations are not only mutually exclusive, they reveal supposedly identical claims as actually deeply antagonistic. Does egalitarianism mean everyone gets precisely the same wealth (however that’s supposed to be measured)? Does it mean mere legal or social equality in the abstract realm of relations before The People or The State’s legal system? Does it mean equal opportunity for economic striving or does it mean equal access to the people’s grain stores? Does equality supersede all other virtues like liberty? Is it better to all be oppressed equally than to have some achieve greater freedom? I’m not being facetious. We paper over these deep issues with “well but common sense” and the wishful assumption that our comrades will come down on the minutia the same way we would, sharing our intuitions on various tradeoffs, but that’s empirically not the case. We constantly differ.
People talk about “collective direct democracy” as if something being the near unanimous will of some social body constitutes an egalitarian condition. And, sure, it does under some definitions. But the moment I see some collective body trying to vote on my life I don’t want to “participate,” I want to chuck a bomb at it. Leftists use both the slogans “power to the people” and “abolish power” — this should be an intense red flag to everyone that completely different conceptual systems and values are at play. It’s delusional in the extreme to suppose that if we sat down and talked about things we’d all end up on the same page. The assumption of pan-leftist solidarity or a shared common goal is a comforting lie.
By Keith Preston
It is fashionable in many of the political circles that I travel in to attribute a range of problems involving international relations, along with other concerns, to “Zionism.” Used in these contexts, Zionism has two meanings, i.e. the state-nationalism of the Israeli regime itself, and the network of Jewish ethno-nationalist supporters of Israel throughout the Jewish diaspora. At times, the critiques of Zionist power represented by these perspectives overlap with traditional anti-Semitic views concerning a supposed “Jewish conspiracy” to undermine civilization by doing all kinds of bad things (The Daily Stormer, Stormfront, and, more articulately, Counter-Currents perspective).