Why I Am an Anarcho-Pluralist 19

Over the last few days, there’s been an interesting discussion going on over at the blog of left-libertarian philosopher Charles Johnson (also known as “Rad Geek“). I’ve avoided posting there, due to the presence of an individual who has declared themself my mortal enemy (a role I’m happy to assume), but the subject matter of the discussion provides a very good illustration of why any sort of libertarian philosophy that demands a rigid universalism cannot work in practice. A poster called “Soviet Onion” remarks:

It seems that both social anarchism and market libertarianism have respectively come to adopt forms of collectivism typical of either the statist left or right. That’s a result of the perceived cultural affinity they have with those larger groups, and partly also a function of the fact that they appeal to people of different backgrounds, priorities and sentiments (and these two factors tend to reinforce each other in a cyclical way, with new recruits further entrenching the internal movement culture and how it will be perceived by the following generation of recruits).

On the “left” you have generic localists who feel that altruism entails loyalty to the people in immediate proximity (they’ll unusually use the term “organic community” to make it seem more natural and thus unquestionably legitimate). Most of them are former Marxists and social democrats, this is simply a way to recast communitarian obligations and tacitly authoritarian sentiments under the aegis of “community” rather than “state”. This comes as an obvious result of classical anarchism being eclipsed as THE radical socialist alternative by Leninism for most of the twentieth century. Now that it’s once again on the rise, it’s attracting people who would have otherwise been state-socialists, and who carry that baggage with them when they cross over.

On the “right”, it’s a little more straightforward. Libertarians have adopted the conservative “State’s Rights” kind of localism as a holdover from their alliance with conservatives against Communism, to the point that it doesn’t even matter if the quality of freedom under that state is worse than the national average, just so long as it’s not the Federal Government. And with this, any claim to moral universality, or the utilitarian case for decentralism go right out the window. Like true parochialism, it hates the foreign and big just because it is foreign and big.

That’s also one of the reasons why I think there’s a division between “social” and “market” anarchists; they each sense that they come from different political meta-groups and proceed from a different set of priorities; the established gap between right and left feels bigger than the gap between they and statists of their own variety. And the dogmatisms that say “we have to support the welfare state, workplace regulations and environmental laws until capitalism is abolished” or “we should vote Republican to keep taxes down and preserve school choice” are as much after-the-fact rationalizations of this feeling as they are honest attempts at practical assessment.

The problem with left-libertarianism (or with the 21st century rebirth and recasting of 19th century individualism, if you want to imperfectly characterize it that way), is that instead of trying to transcend harmful notions of localism, it simply switches federalism for communitarianism. It does this partially as a attempt to ingratiate itself to social anarchists, and partly because, like social anarchists, it recognize that this idea is superficially more compatible with an anti-state position. But it also neglects the social anarchists’ cultural sensibilities; hence the more lax attitude toward things like National Anarchism.

These are some very insightful comments. And what do they illustrate? That human beings, even professed “anarchists,” are in fact tribal creatures, and by extension follow the norms of either their tribe of origin or their adopted tribe, and generally express more sympathy and feel a stronger sense of identification with others who share their tribal values (racism, anti-racism, feminism, family, homosexuality, homophobia, religion, atheism, middle class values, underclass values, commerce, socialism) than they do with those with whom they share mere abstractions (“anarchy,” “liberty,” “freedom”).

Last year, a survey of world opinion indicated that it is the Chinese who hold their particular society in the highest regard, with 86 percent of Chinese expressing satisfaction with their country. Russians expressed a 54 percent satisfaction rate, and Americans only 23 percent. Observing these numbers, Pat Buchanan remarked:

Yet, China has a regime that punishes dissent, severely restricts freedom, persecutes Christians and all faiths that call for worship of a God higher than the state, brutally represses Tibetans and Uighurs, swamps their native lands with Han Chinese to bury their cultures and threatens Taiwan.”

Of the largest nations on earth, the two that today most satisfy the desires of their peoples are the most authoritarian.”

What are we to make of this? That human beings value security, order, sustenance, prosperity, collective identity, tribal values and national power much more frequently and on a deeper level than they value liberty. Of course, some libertarians will likely drag out hoary Marxist concepts like “false consciousness” or psycho-babble like “Stockholm syndrome” to explain this, but it would be more helpful to simply face the truth: That liberty is something most people simply don’t give a damn about.

The evidence is overwhelming that most people by nature are inclined to be submissive to authority. The exceptions are when the hunger pains start catching up with them and their physical survival is threatened, or when they perceive their immediate reference groups (family, religion, culture, tribe) as being under attack by authority. We see this in the political expressions of America’s contemporary “culture wars.” During the Clinton era, many social or cultural conservatives and religious traditionalists regarded the U.S. regime as a tyranny that merited armed revolt. During the Bush era such rhetoric disappeared from the Right, even though Bush expanded rather than rolled back the police state. Meanwhile, liberals who would denounce Bush as a fascist express polar opposite sentiments towards the Obama regime, even though policies established by Bush administration have largely continued. So how do we respond to this? Soviet Onion offers some suggestions:

The proper position for us, and what could really set us apart from everyone and make us a more unique and consistent voice for individualism in the global Agora, is to recognize all cultures as nothing more than memetic prisons and always champion the unique and nonconforming against the arbitrary limitations that surround them, recognizing their destruction as barriers in the sense of being normative. And to that end there’s the instrumental insight that the free trade, competition, open movement and open communication are forces that pry open closed societies, not by force, but by giving those who chafe under them so many options to run to that they make control obsolete, and thus weaken control’s tenability as a foundation on which societies can reasonably base themselves. Think of it as “cultural Friedmanism”: the tenet that open economies dissolve social authority the same way they render political authority untenable.

THAT’s what left-libertarianism needs to be about, not some half-baked federation of autarkic Southern towns filled with organic farms and worker co-operatives. It can still favor these things, but with a deeper grounding. It doesn’t ignore patriarchy, racism, heterosexism, but opposes them with a different and more consistent understanding of what liberation means.

But how far should our always championing of the “unique and nonconforming” go? If, for instance, a group of renegades happen to show up at the workers’ cooperative one day and commandeer the place, should we simply say, “Hell, yeah, way to go, noncomformists!” As for the question of the “Big Three” among left-wing sins (“racism, sexism and homophobia”), are we to demand that every last person on earth adopt the orthodox liberal position on these issues as defined by the intellectual classes in post-1968 American and Western Europe? Why stop at “patriarchy, racism and heterosexism”? Soviet Onion points out that many “left-wing” anarchists do not stop at that point:

I used to be an anarcho-communist. Actually, I started out as someone who was vaguely sympathetic to mainstream libertarianism but could never fully embrace it due to the perceived economic implications. I eventually drifted to social anarchism thanks to someone who’s name I won’t mention, because it’s too embarrassing.

After hanging around them for a while I realized that, for all their pretenses, most of them were really just state-socialists who wanted to abolish the State by making it smaller and calling it something else. After about a year of hanging around Libcom and the livejournal anarchist community, I encountered people who, under the aegis of “community self-management”, supported

  • smoking and alcohol bans
  • bans on currently illicit drugs
  • bans on caffeinated substances (all drugs are really just preventing you from dealing with problems, you see)
  • censorship of pornography (on feminist grounds)
  • sexual practices like BDSM (same grounds, no matter the gender of the participants or who was in what role)
  • bans on prostitution (same grounds)
  • bans on religion or public religious expression (this included atheist religions like Buddhism, which were the same thing because they were “irrational”)
  • bans on advertisement (which in this context meant any free speech with a commercial twist)
  • bans on eating meat
  • gun control (except for members of the official community-approved militia, which is in no way the same thing as a local police department)
  • mandatory work assignments (ie slavery)
  • the blatant statement, in these exact words, that “Anarchism is not individualist” on no less than twelve separate occasions over the course of seven months. Not everybody in those communities actively agreed with them, but nobody got up and seriously disputed it.
  • that if you don’t like any of these rules, you’re not free to just quit the community, draw a line around your house and choose not to obey while forfeiting any benefits. No, as long as you’re in what they say are the the boundaries (borders?) of “the community”, you’re bound to follow the rules, otherwise you have to move someplace else (“love it or leave it”, as the conservative mantra goes). You’d think for a moment that this conflicts with An-comm property conceptions because they’re effectively exercising power over land that they do not occupy, implying that they own it and making “the community” into One Big Landlord a la Hoppean feudalism 🙂

So I decided that we really didn’t want the same things, and that what they wanted was really some kind of Maoist concentration commune where we all sit in a circle and publicly harass the people who aren’t conforming hard enough. No thanks, comrade.

These left-wing anarchists sound an awful lot like right-wing Christian fundamentalists or Islamic theocrats. Nick Manley adds:

I have encountered an “anarchist” proponent of the draft on a directly democratic communal level.

Of course, we also have to consider all of the many other issues that anarchists and libertarians disagree about: abortion, immigration, property theory, economic arrangements, childrens’ rights, animal rights, environmentalism, just war theory, and much, much else.  We also have to consider that anarchists and libertarians collectively are a very small percentage of humanity. Nick Manley says:

I spend more time around libertarians then left-anarchists — although, I briefly entered “their” world and sort of know some of them around here. I was a left-anarchist at one time, but I no longer feel comfortable with the hardcore communalism associated with the ideology. I don’t really want to go to endless neighborhood meetings where majorities impose their will on minorities. I also would agree with Adam Reed that it’s naive to imagine such communes being free places in today’s world — perhaps, this is less true of New Zealand.

The list of things supported by anarcho-communists posted by Soviet Onion confirms my fears about village fascism posturing as “anti-statism”. I frankly do just want to be left alone in my metaphorical “castle” — I say metaphorical, because I am not an atomist and don’t live as such. I will engage in social activities, but I will not allow someone to garner my support through the use of force or do so to others. Like Charles, I have a strong emotional and intellectually principled revulsion to aiding the cause of statism in any way whatsoever. I’d be much happier being at some risk of death from handguns then in enforcing laws that harm entirely well intentioned peaceful people. This is not a mere political issue for me. I know more than a few people with guns who deserve no prison time whatsoever — one of them has guns affected by the assault weapons ban.

I honestly see a lot of principled parallels between conservative lifestyle tribalism and left-liberal lifestyle tribalism. Oh yes: there are contextual inductive distinctions to be made. A gun is not the same as homosexuality. The collectivist dynamic is still the same. Gun owners become no longer human in sense of rational beings. All of contemporary politics seems to be one thinly veiled civil war between fearful tribalists.

It would appear that tribalism is all that we have. I have been through a long journey on this question. I was a child of the Christian Right, drifted to the radical Left as a young man, then towards mainstream libertarianism, then the militia movement and the populist right, along the way developing the view that the only workable kind of libertarianism would be some kind of pluralistic but anti-universalist, decentralized particularism. Rival tribes who are simply incompatible with one another should simply have their own separatist enclaves. This concept is explained very well in a video series beginning here. Unlike the other kinds of libertarianism, there is actually some precedent for what I’m describing to be found in past cultures. See here and here. As Thomas Naylor remarks:

Conservatives don’t want anyone messing with the distribution of income and wealth. They like things the way they are. Liberals want the government to decide what is fair. Liberals believe in multiculturalism, affirmative action, and minority rights. Conservatives favor states’ rights over minority rights.

What liberals and conservatives have in common is that they are both into having—owning, possessing, controlling, and manipulating money, power, people, material wealth, and things. Having is one of the ways Americans deal with the human condition—separation, meaninglessness, powerlessness, and death. To illustrate how irrelevant the terms “liberal” and “conservative” have become, consider the case of Sweden and Switzerland, two of the most prosperous countries in the world.

Sweden is the stereotypical democratic socialist state with a strong central government, relatively high taxes, a broad social welfare net financed by the State, and a strong social conscience. Switzerland is the most free market country in the world, with the weakest central government, and the most decentralized social welfare system. Both are affluent, clean, green, healthy, well-educated, democratic, nonviolent, politically neutral, and among the most sustainable nations in all of history. By U.S. standards, they are both tiny.

Switzerland and Sweden work, not because of political ideology, but rather because the politics of human scale always trumps the politics of the left and the politics of the right. Under the politics of human scale, a politics that trumps our now-outdated and useless “liberal-versus-conservative” dualistic mindset, there would be but one fundamental question:

“Is it too big?”

It would seem that contemporary America is precisely the place to build a movement for this kind of decentalized particularism, a huge continent wide nation with many different cultures, religions, subcultures, ethnic groups and growing more diverse all the time, and where political and economic polarization is the highest it has been in over a century, and where dissatisfaction with the status quo is almost universal.

My challenge to anarchists, libertarians, communitarians, conservatives, radicals and progressives alike would be to ask yourself what kind of community you would actually want to live in, and where and how you would go about obtaining it. For instance, the geography of the culture war typically breaks down on the basis of counties, towns, precincts, municipalities and congressional districts rather than states or large regions. So why not envision forming a community for yourself and others in some particular locality that is consistent with your own cultural, economic or ideological orientation? The Free State Project, Christian Exodus, Second Vermont Republic, Green Panthers and Twin Oaks Commune are already doing this.

Political victory in the United States is achieved through the assembling of coalitions of narrow interest groups who often have little in common with one another (gun toting rednecks and country club Republicans, homosexuals and traditional working class union Democrats). Imagine if a third force emerged in U.S. politics whose only unifying principle was a common desire to remove one’s self and one’s community from the system. The only thing anyone has to give up is the desire to tell other communities what to do.

Cultural Radicalism Beyond Political Correctness 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…to brutal hate crimes against queer and trans people…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…to eating disorders caused by sexist beauty standards…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so it should be.

Reply to a "Horrified" Leftist Reply

This is in response to something posted about me on The Art of the Possible web site:

Says “Anonymous” (geez, that’s creative):


“This web site is dedicated to hosting a dialogue between libertarians and the left, with the goal of encouraging theoretical synthesis and practical cooperation between the best elements of both perspectives.


If this is the case, why is no one protesting the presence of Kieth Preston, a ‘national anarchist’ who valorises violence and openly collaborates with racists and fascists? Anyone who has any doubt as to the truth of this claim need merely spend a few hours browsing his attackthesystem.com website.


Surely anyone who takes *either* the ideals of social justice *or* the ideals of individualism seriously should be horrified by this!?”


Ugh, another one of those. Here we go:

 

“This web site is dedicated to hosting a dialogue between libertarians and the left, with the goal of encouraging theoretical synthesis and practical cooperation between the best elements of both perspectives.”


You mean like this:


https://attackthesystem.com/capitalism-versus-free-enterprise-a-review-of-kevin-carsons-the-iron-fist-behind-the-invisible-hand/


https://attackthesystem.com/what-would-an-anarcho-socialist-economy-look-like/


https://attackthesystem.com/beyond-conservatism-reclaiming-the-radical-roots-of-libertarianism/

 

“If this is the case, why is no one protesting the presence of Kieth Preston, a ˜national anarchist”™ who valorises violence and openly collaborates with racists and fascists? Anyone who has any doubt as to the truth of this claim need merely spend a few hours browsing his attackthesystem.com website.”


First, if you want to attack me, you could at least bother to spell my name right, which shouldn’t be so hard to do given that you’re such a self-proclaimed expert on my work. I’ll let my previous statements on all of these topics stand.

 

On national-anarchism:


https://attackthesystem.com/national-anarchism-and-the-american-idea/

 

On violence:

 

https://attackthesystem.com/armed-struggle-against-the-state/


On race:


https://attackthesystem.com/a-calm-anarchist-look-at-race-culture-and-immigration/


On fascism:


https://attackthesystem.com/am-i-a-fascist-an-open-letter-to-the-left-wing-anarchist-movement-2/


On my actual political views:


https://attackthesystem.com/american-revolutionary-vanguard-twenty-five-point-program/


https://attackthesystem.com/liberty-and-populism-building-an-effective-resistance-movement-for-north-america/


“Surely anyone who takes *either* the ideals of social justice *or* the ideals of individualism seriously should be horrified by this!?”


On “social justice”:

 

https://attackthesystem.com/the-richmond-city-jail-as-a-component-of-the-american-police-state/

 

https://attackthesystem.com/the-politicial-economy-of-the-war-on-drugs/

 

https://attackthesystem.com/the-last-minority/

 

https://attackthesystem.com/the-other-civil-war/

 

On Individualism:


https://attackthesystem.com/in-defense-of-libertarian-absolutism/


https://attackthesystem.com/why-i-am-not-a-cultural-conservative/

“Anonymous”, have you ever heard of something called open debate and free exchange of ideas? I suggest you cancel your subscription to the SPLC’s “Intelligence Report”, stop wasting time at ARA hoodlum shows, stop throwing rocks through McDonald’s windows, tell your Commie professors to fuck off, and read some actual libertarian and radical left works of quality, like Proudhon, Bakunin, Rothbard, H.L. Mencken, or maybe even that dead white male slave owning scumbag, Thomas Jefferson. And while you’re at it, you might want to actually check out some elite theory, some Austrian economics and maybe even some critics of cultural Marxism like Alain De Benoist, Paul Gottfried or William S. Lind.


https://attackthesystem.com/the-new-totalitarianism/

Beyond Conservatism and Leftism 2

What does it mean that the Vice-Presidential candidate for the ostensibly “conservative” party is a female from a working class background who has the flag of a foreign state associated with a domestic ethnic minority hanging in her governor’s office? What does it mean that the Presidential candidate of the opposition party is a black man with an Islamic name? Essentially, such phenomena demonstrate that the political Left has become entirely status quo and that the core values of the historic Left-cosmopolitanism, internationalism, universalism, liberalism, proletarianism, feminism, anti-racism, anti-anti-Semitism, religious ecumenicalism and anti-xenophobia are more or less mainstream and “normal”. Indeed, such values are very much those of the elite. As Joe Bageant recently observed:

http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2008/08/moving-to-the-c.html

“Elite consensus on the issues of race, sex and role of faith in public life are to the left of public opinion, the only area in which this is the case. Elite opinion is overwhelmingly secular, pro-choice, supportive of gay rights and hostile to overt displays of racism.

Tolerance and liberalism on this front is a very useful tool, since it buys political space to be more conservative on the more important money issues. It also enjoys the advantage of making the right enemies, after all who wants to be on Pat Robertson’s side during weekend dinner parties at the Hamptons.

When social conservative complain about the “Liberal Media” they are not wrong, but only in regard to their issues. The contempt of the American elite for the religious right is quite real. What social conservatives misunderstand is that the hostility against them is not because the threat their ideas represent but only a display of the traditional contempt that the merciless strong have for people they consider to be the feeble minded weak.

The significance of the religious right in our politics is only in the wonderful diversions their issues create. Issues that feed a war between urban educated middle classes against the more numerous, the ever more frustrated lower income fundamentalists on issues that are unsolvable in nature.”

This fact provides a great deal of insight as to why the radical Left is now utterly impotent in resisting the forces of U.S. imperialism, state-capitalism and the expanding police state. Beginning in the 1960s, the Left abandoned its historic position as the party of class struggle, first of the middle classes against the Ancien’ Regime, and then of the proletariat against the old bourgeoisie order. Instead, the Left reinvented itself as the party of cultural politics, shifting its focus to such matters as race, gender, homosexualism, environmentalism, abortion, secularism and so forth. Consequently, we now have a situation where the ostensible “radical Left” maintains essentially the same basic set of cultural values as the “liberal elite”. The more socially conservative poor and working class have subsequently been abandoned to be colonized by the Right.

But what is the Right? If we are to judge by the actions of the Republican Party leadership, we might realize that the so-called “conservatives” really care about only three things. The first of these is the perpetual expansion of the American empire internationally. There must not be a square mile of territory on Earth that the U.S. does not control, or so the policy makers and the jingoist propagandists who dominate the more rightward leaning sectors of the media would have us believe. The second of these is the perpetual advancement of the expansionist interests of Israel. The third is the advancement of the economic interests of those narrow economic sectors that dominate the Republican Party, primarily banking, “Big Oil”, armaments and so forth.

Of course, the Republican leadership has to pretend to be social conservatives so that all of the yahoos, jingos, flag-wavers, Bible-thumpers, “homophobes”, money-grubbers and amateur cops who fill the ranks of their most enthusiastic supporters will still come out and vote for them.  But do they take their social conservatism seriously? Of course not. American society is now more liberal than ever before. Do they care one iota about the right-to-life cause, countering the influence of the gay movement, or restoring prayers in schools? No, they have made zero progress on these matters, while making much progress on the things that really mean something to them, like enriching the corporate fatcats, building a police state and conquering the world. Do they take their rhetoric of fiscal conservatism seriously? Not if the federal deficit and the national debt are any indication.

As contemptible a lot as the Republicans are, the Democrats are equally if not more pathetic. The Demos are struggling with a very thin and narrowing lead in this year’s election in spite of the dismal performance and unpopularity of the incumbent party and President. Ultimately, the Democrats represent the same set of interests as the Republicans. The Demos are beholden to the same kinds of banking, petroleum, armaments, pharmaceutical and communications interests as their rival party. The Demos are likewise firmly in the grip of the Israel Lobby. They are just as committed to the expansion of the empire, though they may prefer slightly more covert methods. Consequently, they have no real alternative to offer. Additionally, the Demos are much more reflective of the social and cultural values of the elite classes than the Republicans, hence their intransigence on these matters and their impotence on virtually everything else. Their best hope is to rally the array of left of center constituents group who share their cultural outlook and anyone else who wants to vote for “Anybody but a Republican”. Meanwhile, the Left will continue crying “racism, sexism, homophobia” (as if these were the most pressing matters in politically correct twenty-first century North America) while the ruling class drives things further down the tubes on matters of political economy, law and foreign policy.

The creation of a new radicalism capable of resisting the forces of State, Capital and Empire requires the development of a genuine “third way” beyond Left’s habit of appealing to traditional outgroups or the Right’s habit of appealing to “traditional values”. Instead, the new dichotomy pits those who are against the system versus those who are for the system. Enemies of the system may come from the extreme Right or the extreme Left, with a common denominator being a desire to attack the system! Pan-secessionism is our methodology, and perhaps some sort of lumpenproletarian-oriented anarcho-pluralist populism is our ideology. Our natural constituents are neither cultural conservatives or cultural leftists per se but enemies of the states wherever and whoever they may be.

Clarifying the Left/Right labels Reply

In response to my statement “Is the Left salvagable? In and of itself, it does not appear to be,”, Jeremy raises some helpful points concerning the defintions of “left” and “right”:

That begs the question: what is this “Left”? If it is merely establishmentarianism with a cultural attachment to civil disobedience and protest, then one wonders whether the term “left” even applies. And so when you characterize the entire Left by its most objectionable qualities, it does give me pause. This is a very broad movement, with a wide variety of personalities.

And at least historically speaking, it seems like the Right has a much more basic need to align with established norms and power than the Left (whether we’re using it in the traditional anti-establishment sense or in the modern, pejorative sense you employ). I’m all for transcending left and right, but not as an alternative to performing a much needed analysis of the current political conditions.

I’m not accusing you of laziness, but merely suggesting that we make sure we qualify our generalizations of convenience as such. There’s no need to turn anybody off by attacking their label of preference, is there? I’ve always liked the tack you’ve seemed to take where you out-left the left, and out-right the right, demonstrating that they lack the conviction of their own principles. This is the way to get serious people to think seriously about their own motivations. We transcend the political poles by not by dispensing with them but by clarifying what they were originally intended to represent.

In strictly historical terms, virtually all people in modern societies (those of the West and others with similar politico-economic systems) are “leftists”. The “right”, properly understood in its historical context, was the ideology of defense of the monarchy, theocracy and aristocracy: “Throne and Altar”. Such sentiments are marginalized to say the least in liberal democracies, particularly the United States, which has no “throne and altar” tradition of its own. In other words, nearly all Americans and most Westerners in general start with the American or French Revolutions and move leftward from there, often considerably leftward. The closest thing the United States has to a “right-wing” is the so-called “religious right”, which is rather liberal by historical and even contemporary world standards. For instance, compare the “religious right” in America versus that in Saudi Arabia.

Most contemporary “right-wing” ideologies are historically on the Left. For instance, the godfather of modern philosophical “conservatism”, Edmund Burke, was a Whig who opposed British imperialism in Ireland, America and even India. American “conservatism” owes much to the classical liberalism of Locke and Adam Smith. The neoconservatives are an outgrowth of either Cold War liberalism or Trotskyism (depending on who you ask or which neoconservative you’re talking about). “Right-wing” libertarianism is really the radical classical liberalism of Herbert Spencer. American “right-wing populism” is distinctively rooted in the American republican tradition and owes very little to European royalism to say the least.

The mainstream Republican-oriented right is really a kind of “right-wing liberalism”, and therefore historically on the left, particularly since the neocon takeover of the right. What is now called “liberalism” in the US is really social democracy, and this is very much a centrist, if not reactionary, position in modern societies. American “liberalism” and European “social democracy” both maintain roughly the same levels of state intervention into the economy, though the European social welfare system is slightly more extensive (and mad possible only by the absence of a large military-industrial complex of the kind found in the USA). This system, whether European or American, is becoming an archaism, given the fiscal difficulties of modern welfare states.

The Left established itself as the party of the welfare state several generations ago. That’s why a distinction was initially made between the Old Left and the New Left. As we all know, the New Left abandoned class politics for a cultural politics that is now relatively status quo. At the same time, as all of this cultural “liberation” has occurred, the grip of political totalitarianism has tightened. The “Campus Progress” group I mentioned in the previous post seemed, from the contents of DeAnna’s review, to represent a wide cross-section of the Left, from the mainstream Democratic-oriented left to The Nation to the radical gay/trans,etc. left to the Weathermen-friendly. Yet I also noticed from the content of that article that most of the issues covered involved the same cultural politics that has defined the Left since the 60s.

The fundamental problem I see with the Left is that not only does it not offer anything new, but does not take many fundamentally anti-establishment positions. Of course, if we wish to define “left” in the historic sense of opposition to the status quo, then it would seem that most of the currents I previously identified as “revolutionary right” would also be the true “left”. This would certainly include the “left-libertarian” tendency that Jeremy leans towards, particularly considering that many liberals and leftists consider libertarianism to be just a variant of fascism. It would certainly include Dylan Waco and Daniel Bein’s “left-conservatism”. Of course, it would include “national-anarchism” or the “national-Maoism” of the Patriotic Workers’ Party.

The problem I see is that most orthodox leftists would consider all of these positions to be heresy. If the “left” is the orthodox left, then are all of these genuine anti-establishment positions on the left, or are they something entirely new, or are they just a “left to the left of the left”? I remember Sam Dolgoff saying once that “there’s the left and then there’s the further left and then the even further left, and then there’s an even further left and that left is me.”

Maybe that’s what we are.

I wrote in the “Liberty and Populism” article that the real struggle in modern times is a continuation of the historic battle between Marxism and Anarchism, with Marxism representing the status quo, whether right-wing liberalism/Trotskyism in the form of the Neocons, centrist totalitarian humanism of the US Democratic Party and the ruling classes of the European nations, the crypto-Stalinist cultural Marxism of the PC Left, the post-Maoism of the Chinese Communist Party, et.al.

I suppose the true left is whatever is resisting all of this. Are religious conservatives standing up to totalitarian humanism by opening home schools leftist or rightists? Are gun nut militias left or right? Are the cultural nationalists of Vlaams Bloc advocating an independent Flanders left or right?

It’s a complicated question.

Is the Left Salvagable? 3

Jeremy raises an interesting question in the Comments section:

I don’t think the Left is so utterly irretrievable as you seem to, but a line must be drawn in the sand when it comes to revolutionary potential. Many on the Left (and Right, no doubt) will be found wanting.

And Mike offers a few important observations as well:

The analysis of today’s “liberalism” as totalitarianism is spot on. I would only add that there is a like tendency of thought from those on the “conservative” side of the political sphere that would likewise recognize no limitation or boundary to the use of state power to create their utopia.

Over at the Ancien’ Regimer page Taki’s Mag Kevin DeAnna has a piece that is highly relevant to this issue:

http://www.takimag.com/blogs/article/rules_for_radicals/

Most of DeAnna’s piece is an attack on the Left, but look at what he says about what passes for the mainstream “Right”:

In contrast, the majority of young CPAC attendees believed the purpose of political action was wearing a suit and preparing for a career. It is the difference between activists and politicos. Many Beltway conservatives are not activists and despise those who engage in protests or think of political alternatives beyond voting for Team Red. A mainstream conservative organization awarding young activists for direct action is simply unconceivable. Conservative organizations systematically funnel them into the dead end of Republican business as usual. Culture is largely ignored. The result is a youth “movement” that is actually less committed and effective than the older conservative grassroots. Campus Progress is building activists and the campus Right is building politicians and politicos.

In other words, the mainstream Republican-oriented “Right” is simply a movement of careerists and opportunists for whom political or party affiliation is simply seen as a career move. Well, duh, who would have ever thought that about Young Republican-types? This gets us to the difference between “conservatives” and a wide body of perspectives that might be called the “revolutionary Right”. What is a “conservative”? Roughly defined, a conservative is someone who wants to conserve a particular status quo (in the tradition of De Maistre) or is suspicious of change, or at least rapid or radical change (in the tradition of Burke). American conservatism also has a classical liberal strand to it, particularly the Lockean emphasis on property rights, though many right-wing histrionics over “property rights” amount to little more than an apology for the state-capitalist status quo (see Kevin Carson).

There is still another branch of “conservative” thinking, and one which I personally adhere to, that does not necessarily commit one to a particular ideological outlook in the political realm. This perspective draws on the realist tradition of Machiavelli and Hobbes and is found in modern thinkers like Carl Schmitt, Ernst Junger, Vilifredo Pareto, Georges Sorel, James Burnham, Lawrence Dennis, Robert Michaels and Gaetano Mosca. This point of view is elitist, anti-egalitarian, pessimist, anti-utopian, social Darwinian (or at least recognizes the inevitability of conflict), anti-humanist, cynical and espouses no small degree of moral skepticism. Unlike other brands of “conservatism”, this outlook does not commit one to the preservation of any particular status quo. One can be a “rightist” in the Machiavellian tradition, as I am, and also be an extreme revolutionary, as I also am.

The bottom line is that most of the American right-wing is a bunch of jingoistic flag-wavers or a bunch of middle-class people whining about taxes. Of course, we should want nothing to do with such people. Instead, we should seek to cultivate a “revolutionary right” that is far outside the mainstream “conservative” milieu. But what about the Left?

Back to Kevin DeAnna’s experience of attending the conference of some lefto-freakazoid outfit called “Campus Progress”. Here’s some of the better gems from DeAnna’s review:

I reported to registration to receive my official totebag, T shirt, and condoms. In the bustle, I was only able to grab three packs, but luckily, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy and NARAL were handing out prophylactics in the display area (unfortunately labeled “Screw the Drug War”). The Campus Progress National Conference had begun.

This is genuinely sad, because the drug war is a serious issue, a foundation of the exponential expansion of the American police state over the past twenty or so years, and a means by which the state has tyrannized millions and brought about all sorts of social wreckage in the process. However, the approach of these folks is to make opposition to the drug war look like just another PC joke issue like demands to change the names of sports teams named after American Indian tribes or the right of men to use women’s restrooms in public buildings.

New Republic editor James Kirchick made an appearance during the panel on gay rights,”his Barack Obama-style flag pin being the only American flag at the entire conference. At CP, Kirchick was the official representative of right-wing extremism in that he argued that gays should become “normal” by gaining entry to bourgeoisie institutions such as marriage and the family and disowning terms like “queer.” This prompted cries of disapproval.

We know we’re in the Twilight Zone when the “conservative” representative at a leftist conference is a neocon homo who did a hit piece on Ron Paul for the center-left New Republic.

Richard Kim of The Nation argued the queer agenda should be about pan-sexual liberation, including liberalizing divorce laws and pushing for acceptance of alternative family models beyond squares like Kirchick and his hypothetical partner. A matronly trans-queer named Mason rumbled in a deep baritone that before openly becoming “trans,” he had “no identity.”

If the purpose of radicalism or activism or whatever we want to call it is simply to promote one big fuck-fest, wouldn’t it be easier to forget about politics altogether and just open an adult film company?

The Young Democratic Socialists handed out a flyer featuring Martin Luther King stating, “We are saying that something is wrong with capitalism, there must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism” which would shock my movement colleagues who tell me every January that MLK was a conservative Republican.

Compared to these folks, MLK was a conservative Republican.

The fact that an organization that has hosted senators, presidents, and the current Democratic nominee shares space with racists, communists, and homosexual activists that consider gay marriage to be reactionary is newsworthy.

Gay marriage is reactionary. The radicals of yesteryear would denounce marriage as a bourgeois institution and burn their marriage certificates, and this was true not only of free-lovers, free-thinkers, anarchists and bohemians but even many old guard socialists of the Fabian ilk. Nowadays, we have gays running out to join the bourgeoisie. Well, actually, we don’t. In Holland and other countries where gay marriage is recognized, only a small number of homosexuals have taken advantage of this “opportunity”.

As Campus Progress also recruits and advertises at the even more radical National Conference on Organized Resistance, which openly promotes force against military recruitment centers, the links between Democratic Party leaders and violent extremists goes well beyond Obama living in the same neighborhood as Bill Ayers.  Campus Progress’s magazine’s feature on the “Lessons of the Weather Underground” is no aberration.

Well, now we might actually be getting somewhere. All Hail Violent Extremists!

It is to Campus Progress that U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison can speak, in his own words, “vanguard to vanguard.” The tendency of attendees to speak of overthrowing the “system” and in the next sentence talking about the upcoming Obama Administration is exactly how activists should think. While participating in Democratic campaigns, Campus Progress and the activists that work with it are building a force independent of partisan efforts, but not irrelevant to it. They understand that the role of activists is to push politicians towards an independently defined agenda rather than serving as cannon fodder.

Hence, a common concern of many activists was how to avoid being “co-opted” by the Democratic establishment, even if that establishment is headed by the most liberal candidate in American history. Similarly, a comment during the civil rights panel about how any movement needs a “militant resistance” was met not with nervous glances but agreement to what all perceived to be an obvious point.

This is an illustration of the split between mainstream liberal totalitarian humanism and the more hard-core PC cultural Marxist Left. I don’t know that there are any significant doctrinal differences, except maybe on a few economic points, e.g., welfare-capitalism vs outright socialism/Marxism. It’s basically the same as the historic divisions between Social Democrats and Commies. How fast do we want to go, and all that.

Is the Left salvagable? In and of itself, it does not appear to be. Instead, it appears to be more along the lines of a demented cult whose counterparts on the Right might be folks like the followers of Rev. John Hagee. But before I get too self-righteous about it all, I should point out that as a pan-secessionist I would welcome the development of both “Campus Progress” lefto-freakazoid secession movements as well as John Hagee Fan Club secession movements. Also, I was an evangelical Christian with views not unlike Hagee’s until I was a teenager and I also participated extensively in lefto-freakazoid activities not unlike these “Campus Progress” loons for a few years when I was in my early twenties.

I basically see both “movement conservatism” and lefto-freakazoidism as useful transitional phases for superior people who will eventually move on to something more concrete. For instance, some of the better people in the paleo milieu – Tom Woods, James Wilson, Joe Sobran – came out of “the conservative movement” (forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing). And many in the “beyond left and right” milieu came out of the Left-myself, Ean Frick and a number of other folks around Attack the System. I think we should look at both movements – conservatism and leftism – as sinking ships that may contain rare individuals actually worthy of being thrown a life preserver or picked up by a rescue boat. Let the rest of them drown.

What do others think about this? Is the Left salvagable?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pan-Secessionist Anti-Universalism Vs. Totalitarian Humanism 4

The primary ideological war of the future will not be between the left and right, or between socialism and capitalism, or even between nationalism and imperialism. The struggle will be between anti-universalism and decentralism on one end and totalitarian humanism on the other.

I first became aware of this sometime during the mid-1990s when I was something of an oddity; a leftwing anarchist participating in the right-wing patriot/militia/survivalist movement. After observing the police state atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and the similarities of these to prior Cointelpro repression against the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement, and noticing the insufficient response of the Left on these matters, I started to understand the need to move past the conventional left/right political model. I was pleased to find many on the far right with many of the same ideas and interests as myself, particularly opposition to the US empire, the corporate ruling class, the federal Leviathan, the internal police/surveillance state and much else. For the first time, I came across contemporary groups advocating secession from the United States. The first of these was the Republic of Texas.

It occurred to me that I had finally found the means of overthrowing the US ruling class,i.e., a tactical alliance of decentralists from the far right (like my militia comrades) and from the far left (like revolutionary anarchists). Observing such tendencies on the far right as the sovereigns, common law courts, militias, neo-secessionists, the land rights movement and county autonomy, and noticing the similarities of these with libertarian municipalism, anarcho-syndicalism, individualist-anarchism, and green decentralism, it seemed like a perfect solution: an alliance of left and right against the ruling class middle. Sure, there were some serious cultural differences, but decentralism seemed to be the solution to all that. Liberal communities like big cities, metro areas, suburbs and culturally mixed neighborhoods would govern themselves according to liberal values while conservative communities like rural counties, small towns, sparsely populated regions and culturally homogenous enclaves would govern themselves according to conservative values. And we would all be free of the superstate that is oppressing us all.

In the ten years I have advocated such an approach, interest in this idea has grown considerably. Dozens of secession groups of varying sizes have emerged in North America and some of these have been featured in major national media outlets. The relative popularity of a maverick presidential candidate like Ron Paul would have been unthinkable ten years ago. At various points, hundreds of US localities and a few states have issued resolutions condemning such excesses as the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. A fairly large movement against the institutions of international capitalism such as the WTO, IMF and World Bank emerged for a time.

Along the way, I have noticed another trend that is less admirable and one that I have written extensively about. I call this trend “totalitarian humanism”. I first started noticing this when I would propose the aforementioned left/right decentralist alliance in some leftist circles. “But they’re anti-abortion, they’re homophobes, they’re racists, they’re nationalists, they go to church, they eat meat and chew tobacco and fuck in the missionary position….” would be the increasingly familiar response. Me: “Yeah, so what, you don’t have to associate with them, you don’t have to live among them and in a decentralist system you don’t even have to share a political roof with them….”

What I found absolutely astounding was the inability of some leftoids to even understand my position. It’s not that they could follow my arguments but simply disagreed. Instead, what I was talking about-a system of decentralized anti-universalism where incompatible cultural groups simply separate themselves from one another-was utterly incomprehensible to them, as though I was trying to explain advanced theoretical physics or infinitesimal calculus to them. A real turning point came with the emergence of an anarchist tendency called “national-anarchism” which basically advocates the formation of ethnically homogenous village communities for the sake of preserving indigenous European racial, ethnic and cultural identity in the face of the increasingly global uniformity that has accompanied the global economy and Americanization of the world. It seemed harmless enough to me, and very similar to what many non-European indigenous peoples’ and traditional religious groups (like the Amish) have advocated in the past.

But the reaction to the “national-anarchists” among many leftists and left-anarchists was similar to what one might expect from a little girl when confronted with a spider or snake. Absolute, sheer hysteria.  I had previously become aware of the therapeutic state through my studies of the ideological underpinnings of the War on Drugs, whereby the imprisoning of millions of people and the creation of a police state in the name of “public health” is considered a legitimate and appropriate governmental activity. The writings of Dr. Thomas Szasz were quite beneficial to me in this regard.

I started noticing a similar phenomenon concerning such matters as race, gender, religion, sexuality and other things. I recall a conversation with a devout liberal who expressed his “outrage” at having attended a Muslim mosque and noticing the gender-segregated seating arrangement. Me: “It’s their mosque, for God’s sake, if you don’t like it, don’t go in there…” The same argument I have made for years to social conservatives who are offended by adult entertainment facilities.

What I eventually came to realize is that many liberals and leftoids simply cannot stand the idea that someone, somewhere, sometime may be practicing “un-liberalism”. For instance, a small private school teaching creationism, a private religious community or house of worship practicing “sexism” or “homophobia”, an isolated village practicing racial/ethnic exclusivity, a single individual hidden away in a broom closet silent thinking politically incorrect thoughts to himself.

What is called “liberalism” in modern times is really totalitarian humanism (some have also called it cultural Marxism). It is a totalitarian movement every bit as much as the totalitarian movements of the 20th century: communism, fascism and national socialism.  It aims to regulate every aspect of life down to the most minute detail including day to day personal habits like diet, language, smoking, family relations, recreational activities and much else. It is 1984, Brave New World and A Clockwork Orange all rolled into one.

Totalitarian humanism is the ideology of the ruling classes of the Western nations.  This ideology has formed the basis of a new Inquisition. Even those with status and positions of high esteem are vulnerable. Notice the fates of Dr. James Watson or Harvard’s Lawrence Summers. Even infant children are not immune:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/education/2261307/Toddlers-who-dislike-spicy-food-racist,-say-report.html

Politically disapproved speech can now land you in jail in many “democratic” countries, in spite of their much-flaunted phony “tolerance”, just as it could in many previously existing communist, fascist or theocratic regimes. Totalitarian Humanism is Robespierre, Mussolini and Mao all over again.

Resistance to this villainy is the defense of liberty and civilization. No compromises or concessions should be made to these cretinous elements.  The governments that these elements now control must ultimately be eradicated. The development of secession movements by regions, communities, towns, cities or by non-territorial groups wishing to defend themselves against increasing attacks by the state should be given every possible means of support and encouragement. All who would resist the forces of totalitarian humanism should be welcomed into our resistance forces, whether they be adherents of some eccentric religious doctrine, some seemingly perverse sexuality, racial separatists, environmental radicals or simply persons with more conventional political views who see danger ahead.

On Being the Leader of Anarcho-Fascism in America Reply

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Defense of the Lost Cause 2

Recently, on another blog, a somewhat well-known figure in the “left-libertarian” milieu attacked the circle around the Ludwig von Mises Institute for their association with so-called “neo-Confederates”. I don’t like to attack other radicals/libertarians/anarchists publicly unless they attack me first (like ChuckO Munson and Daniel Owen), so I’m not going to name any names, but these comments raise some important questions.

You’re right, neo-confederates don’t have to be racists. They just have to be tribalists who care a great deal about their blood-and-soil attachment to a particular mythologised collective of molding ancestors. And they have to be specifically attached to a cultural nationalism which happens to be a particularly patriarchal and conservative, order-and-rank closed society. And in order to do that, they have to hop evasive rings around the hideous and widely publicised historical consequences of that kind of society.”

Most human beings are tribalists of some sort, including cultural leftists. The specific sets of rituals and taboos may be different, but the capacity for herdthink, groupthink and intolerance of the Other is the same. For instance, liberals and leftists frequently speak of poor whites in the same manner as racists speak of blacks.  And what is so wrong with an attachment to “blood and soil”? As opposed to what? Impersonal and remote abstractions like “humanity”, “the world”, “society”, etc.? How are these any more legitimate than “blood and soil”? As for patriarchy, ever spent any time around urban black males, Latino, Arab, or Asian immigrants? The average Joe White Guy is a committed feminist compared to some of these. And what about the “hideous historical consequences” of Lincoln’s war to “save the Union”? Six hundred thousand or so dead, for starters? The end of the federal republic in favor of a centralized nationalist regime, followed by the growth of the American empire, US entry into WW2, Versailles, Nazism, WW2, the Holocaust, the Stalinist seizure of Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the arms race, present day American foreign policy and other minor details of history?

“No, neo-confederatism isn’t essentially about racism- it’s about anti-thinking tribalist romanticism of America’s most closed society in the face of mountains of real-world evidence as to the nature of this kind of culture.”

Yeah, as opposed to the PC hysterics in your typical university sociology department.

 “Some leftists just will not face the reality of atrocities which occur in non-Western cultures, because it affronts a certain naive picture of the world which they wish to believe in disregard of all facts. Neo-Confederates do the same- but without any possibly equivalent excuse of ignorant idealism or good intentions.”

So leftists who gloss over clitoridectomies, honor killings, or, presumably, human sacrifice are merely misguided idealists while southerners who claim pride in their heritage while overlooking the brutality of slavery or the maliciousness of Jim Crow are sinister monsters.

“Why would anyone who believes in the free spirit and the creative original mind ever get involved with this kind of movement? What kind of mentality would you have to adopt in order to feel a deep, fundamental attachment to the legacy of Dixie? What kind of individualist could care this much about any traditional, inherited identity instead of who they might be and ought to be as an individual?”

What about all the supposed freethinking leftoids who idealize Third World tyrants like Castro or Mugabe? What about the leftoid obsession with identity politics?

“And of course, most neo-confederates are in fact racists, and everyone knows this. One obvious reason for this is the brazen fact that slavery and racism were defining structural features of antebellum Southern society, and that anyone who truly holds these evils in the proper horrified contempt would never desire to sanction a movement even partially infected by that kind of taint.”

Why is this any special sin as opposed to, say, Enlightened Liberal Christopher Hitchens’ support for aggressive war, or Black Liberal Charlie Rangel’s support for the draft, or racism-hating but drug war-loving Liberal Democrats Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer?

“In the long run the only cure for racism and other forms of prejudice is to learn to see people as choosing, thinking, independent, individuals. Neo-confederates revolt deeply against a broader American society with at least some respect for this “I” in the name of a particularly nasty “we”; ugly persecution of anyone who won’t go along with maintaining fake self-esteem which is the purpose of that “we” is just a consequence. Deeply racist societies are deeply racist because they are anti-individualist; anyone who tries to romanticise anti-individualist cultures while denying that racism has anything to do with it is either dreaming or just plain lying.”

This is a joke. Individualism is a dirty word to many leftoids and liberals. How are “neo-Confederates” any kind of special offenders?

“Then there’s the practical point: what do you think a revived Confederate States of America would mean for black people. gays and lesbians, women, non-Christians, etc. trapped in the South? An independent South would ban abortion and reinstate state persecution of homosexuals on the second day after independence. I doubt they’d re-establish slavery, but some how I doubt life would improve for human beings of the browner variety.”

What about Enlightened Liberal California with its huge prison industry and where the Prison Guards Union practically runs the state government? Somehow I doubt California’s prison system is filled with Capitalist Pigs and Reactionary Enemies of the Peoples’ Revolution. What about Enlightened Liberal New York with its Rockefeller drug laws? What about the Upholder of our Sacred Constitutional Rights US federal government with its massive police state the components of which are too numerous to list? What about the US empire and the mere million or two people it has killed in Iraq over the last couple decades?

“especially given that an independent South would be one ruled even more thoroughly ruled by the class-based old-boy networks who form the South’s real power structure.”

As opposed to the models of government with integrity that reign in the blue states and in Washington, D.C.?

“The only good thing I can imagine coming out this situation is that it might allow the rest of the United States to recover the institutions of the open society (might, being the key word; the South is far from the only thing devouring the soul of “the land of the free” right now). But it would not justify abandoning every women, queer, young-person, and non-white to the fate which would be in store for them behind the closed doors (or the iron curtain) of the Mason-Dixon line.”

Yes, it’s those damn southern hillbillies who are responsible for turning the federal government into the fascist monstrosity it’s become. And all this time I thought they were busy trying to find a job and feed themselves. And all those black city officials I see here in the capital of the old Confederacy are just an illusion, and the thriving gay counterculture that exists in my city is a figment of my imagination. And I guess it’s just the federal government and the Enlightened Example of the Yankee and West Coast Bolsheviks that keeps all those young female college students who run up and down my block in shorts and halter tops out of the burkhas and veils.

“Neo-confederates, in short, are not white hats. The principles of 1789 and 1968 just do not mix with the mythology of the Lost Cause.”

Yes, those great liberators and anti-authoritarians, the Jacobins and their favorite invention, the guillotine, and the Trotsky, Mao and Castro loving Paris rioters.

Isn’t it amazing that those who talk the loudest about “tolerance” have least amount of it? “Tolerance” Fascists are just the Moral Majority of the Left.

Barack Obama, You Really Blew It!! 6

It seems as if Barack Obama has continued in the tradition of Howard Dean insofar as being unable to resist the impulse to insult the working class. Dean, some will recall, said he wanted to reach out to those folks with Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks, and then turned around and lambasted social conservatives for their supposed obsession with “guns, gays, and God” or something to that effect.

Now, Obama steps in with a similar gaffe, making derisive remarks about working class people and their attachment to guns and religion and their hostility to “those who are different” and to “trade”. Read all about it.

That a politician as otherwise savvy as Obama could fuck up so royally is indicative of the contempt that liberals and leftists secretly (and often not so secretly) hold for working class Americans, particularly those of the infamous “white” species. Some writers have wondered why the Republican scam of combining social populism and plutocracy could have lasted as long as it did (since Kevin Phillips designed Nixon’s “southern strategy” in 1968). In comments like these from the likes of Dean or Obama, we have our answer. The Republican scam works, because the Democratic scam of combining plutocracy and counterculturalism is even more ridiculous.

More…

Lessons of the Ron Paul Campaign? 3

It would appear that Ron Paul’s heroic but quixotic presidential campaign is all but finished. That said, what lessons can be drawn from the Ron Paul experience? To some degree, it would appear that those of us advocating a “third way” beyond left and right have been on the right track. Ron Paul’s support came primarily from the vast culture of the “radical right” (those so far to the Right as to be outside the Republican Party) and from “moderates” or “independents” (the radical middle), blacks (no doubt due to his stands on the Iraq war and the drug war), antiwar sympathizers, young people and “secularists” (who are mostly independently minded, dissident intellectuals). These are precisely the constituents a serious beyond left and right movement would need to capture.

Ron Paul is a good candidate. He is quite solid on the primary issues: the foreign policy agenda of the Neocons and their liberal-internationalist accomplices, sovereignty, the police state and its “root causes” (the drug war, terror war, crime war, etc.) and essential trade, monetary and fiscal matters. That mainstream Republicans in general and “movement conservatives” in general refused to support Ron Paul illustrates their true colors as the “Party of War and Fascism”. RP is a solid family man, a baby doctor, an evangelical Christian, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, anti-gay marriage, anti-income tax and anti-immigration. One would think he would be the ideal conservative candidate, but he was rejected in favor of the warmongering AIPAC/Military-Industrial-Complex stooge McCain, the used car salesman Romney or the televangelist Huckster. This means we can pretty much forget about “conservatives” as reliable allies against Big Brother.

More…

Most Likely to Secede 1

The on-line journal Good Magazine has a very well-done article on the growing secessionist movement in the US:

http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Features/most_likely_to_secede

Some highlights:

“In an October, 2006, poll broadcast on CNN, 71 percent of Americans agree that “our system of government is broken and cannot be fixed.” A Daily Kos poll in April, 2007, asked, “Should states be allowed to secede from the union peaceably?” Sixty-nine percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. All in all, this was, in the words of the chief impresario of the Chattanooga convention, an impish 70-year-old author and activist named Kirkpatrick Sale, “extremely fertile ground into which secessionists can plant their seeds.”

“Of all the western democracies, the United States stands near dead last in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education, highest in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy, abortion, and divorce—a society which, in keeping with its degenerate morals, wreaks one-quarter of the environmental damage on the planet every day.”

“Vermont, you see, is already a separate country. It is the most radical state in the Union in terms of the number and kind of town meetings—direct democracy in action. Its constitution of 1777 made it the first state to outlaw slavery, it was the first to mandate universal suffrage for all men, and is currently one of only two states that allow incarcerated felons to vote. It has no death penalty and virtually no gun-control laws, yet remains one of the least violent jurisdictions in America. It has no big cities, no big businesses, no military bases, no strategic resources, few military contractors. All three members of its Congressional delegation voted against the Iraq War resolution. It is rural and wild, with the highest percentage of unpaved roads in the nation. And those billboards? It was the first state to ban them along its roads. With its strict environmental-impact laws, Vermont fended off the predations of Wal-Mart superstores longer than any other state, and Montpelier today remains the only state capital in America without a McDonald’s restaurant.”

“It was the stratagems of George Kennan, who died in 2005, that ultimately defeated the Soviet Union. Naylor sees this as historical irony, and he takes pleasure in drawing a dark comparison between the Soviet Union and the United States: There is the same far-flung geography. The same corporate socialism that defies free markets. The same spread of influence worldwide through violence, murder, and pillage. The same stunted public discourse. The same electoral sclerosis in the legislature (Congress is almost as stable in membership as the Politburo). “No one in the Soviet Union in 1960 or 1970 or even 1980 found it imaginable that someday it would collapse,” says Naylor. So, too, he says, is our certainty today in the stability of the United States of America.”

These issues were raised in the Comments section:

“Secession is alluring, but I tremble to think of the massive upheavals it might also produce as factions seize power and threats, real or perceived, are leveled at other groups. How do we navigate ourselves into a more hopeful place without the looming danger of massive violence visited back upon us in as recompense for our own hubris and lust? “

The US empire is going to fall one way or the other. It can either be dissolved relatively peacefully in the way the secessionists envision or it can be bloody. Obviously, the former is preferable to the latter. The best way to avoid a future scenario in North America that resembles post-Communist Yugoslavia is to develop a mutually agreed upon plan for dissolving the empire into autonomous units for incompatible groups following the demise of the present imperial system.

“There are many factors that may lead us to conclude that small is better. However, there is a big downside to secession. I’m the senior editor for a group of alternative papers (Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Tampa, Charlotte, Sarasota), and I’ve written a lot on extremist groups — from Christian Reconstruction to white nationalist outfits such as the League of the South. The League puts on a moderate spin when it is utilizing the credibility Naylor and Sale bring. However, the group is intrinsically white nationalist, as a review of the statements and papers of its leaders will confirm.”

This issue is getting a little tiresome. Aside from the fact that all of the major southern secessionist groups deny that they are in favor of restoring Jim Crow, the South now has a huge black population and many southern cities, particularly the larger ones, have black dominated governments. Blacks are influential in public life in the South. There’s no going back to the “old order”. Even most overtly white nationalist groupings reject such an idea. As for Christian fundamentalists, the Left’s favorite scapegoat group, many of them are actually moving leftward in their cultural and theological outlook. Further, many of them wish to be free of the rule of liberal-secular elites who ridicule their beliefs. Yes, some Christian conservatives may wish to outlaw abortion, reinstate sodomy laws, censor pornography, enforce blue laws, etc. but how are they any different from left-liberals who support bans on private firearms, censoring politically incorrect speech, smoking bans, intrusions into private homes by social service agents, instrusive legislation rooted in environmental fanaticism, bans on gambling and prostitution, etc.? Indeed, it is rather apalling to see politically correct types perpetually whining about racism and homophobia, whether real or imaginary, among dissident groups while giving mainstream liberal Democrats who have been instrumental in bringing into being and perpetually expanding the War on Drugs a free pass. The drug war and the accompanying police state and prison industry that have grown out of it are far more menacing to black Americans and marginal populations than anything associated with the League of the South or religious believers who disapprove of homosexuality for theological reasons. It’s time for liberals to get a life when it comes to these questions.

However, there is the issue of regionalist movements that may contain culturally incompatible elements within their own ranks. I would agree, for instance, that in the event of a southern secession, the liberal-cosmopolitan metro areas and those regions with majority black, Hispanic, Cuban or American Indian populations may need autonomy of their own from the wider “red zones” of the rural and small town South. Likewise, there may be similar conflicts between religious conservatives and other groups like gays and lesbians. For instance, the Christian Exodus Project wishes for South Carolina to become an independent Christian state. Yet sympathy for secession has also been expressed by gay South Carolinians:

http://gaycharleston.ccpblogs.com/2007/10/04/talking-bout-a-revolution/

So why not still more separatism? Why not the creation of independent gay city-states with gay marriage, etc. along with independent Christian communities with school prayer and a ban on abortion or pornography? Surely, this is preferable to an infinite Cultural Cold War that leaves everyone dissatisfied, or perhaps still further degeneration into violent conflict and bloodshed?

Stop the Hate–Smash the State–Unity in Diversity! Separatists Unite!

The Next Radicalism: Rightism without Jingoism, Leftism without Political Correctness Reply

Martin Van Creveld’s masterful work “The Rise and Decline of the State” argues that the nation-state system as it has been known since the time of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia is on its way out. As the twenty-first century progresses, conventional states of the kind that began to emerge several centuries ago and fully established themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries will be challenged by regional autonomist movements, transnational federations, separatist breakaway movements and “fourth generation” private armies and sources of authority outside the state.

If this is true, then the next wave of political radicalism will be the precise opposite of the radicalisms that arose in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries-liberalism, socialism and nationalism-all of which aimed towards more concentrated political authority. More than a century and a half since Proudhon first proclaimed himself an anarchist, it is time for anarchism to achieve its moment in the sun. What would a 21st century revolutionary anarchism look like?

1. It would draw on the history of classical anarchism and other pre-existing forms of anarchism, but modify these to make them more compatible with the times.
2. It would attack the Left, i.e., Liberalism and Marxism, as its primary enemies, particularly in North America, given that North America has no historical attachment to the Ancien Regime and the traditional Right. Instead, the enemy to be assaulted is modern bourgeoise liberalism (internationalist, social democratic, corporatist, multiculturalist, therapeutist, managerialist)
3. It would specifically embrace movements, causes and groups ignored by the Left establishment, focusing primarily on the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoise, rural agricultural population and the declasse elements from all class backgrounds.
4. It would crossover to the radical Middle with a populist-decentralist economic outlook standing in opposition to both Big Government and Big Business.
5. It would crossover to the vast culture of right-wing populism recognizing the many economic, foreign policy, civil liberties, decentralist and cultural rights issues raised by these milieus.
6. Its primary strategy would be the creation of alliance of local and regional secession movements spanning the cultural and ideological spectrum but united against the common enemies of State, Capital and Empire.
7. The leadership corps of such movements should ideally be hardline revolutionaries with a committment to radical action and an understanding of the major issues.
8. Aside from a populist-decentralist economic platform, such a movement would assemble coalitions of consituent groups at the local and regional level with grievances against the state and in favor of the decentralization of power.
9. Such a movement would seek to establish alternative infrastructure so as to reduce dependency on state services and to transfer responsibility to non-state services following the demise of the state.
10. Such a movement would recognize the legitimacy of armed self-defense against the ruling class, and so seek to establish private defense forces independently of the state.

So what would the endgame be?

1. Limited, decentralized and federative political institutions and the elimination of the gargantuan states of modernity.
2. Cooperative, decentralist economics outside the modern fiefdoms of State-Capitalism.
3. Non-interventionist foreign policy in opposition to both neoconservative “global democratic revolution” or leftist “human rights internationalism”.
4. Defense of civil liberties and individual freedom across the board, whether on seemingly right-wing populist issues like the right to bear arms or seemingly left-wing counterculture issues like drug decriminalization.
5. An authentically pluralist approach to social and cultural matters, where the basis of social organization is autonomous ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, linguistic, sexual, commercial, aesthetic or other such particularist enclaves.

So how do we get started?

To some degree, we see the beginnings of such a movement in the Ron Paul campaign, a grassroots revolt against the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, Kirkpatrick Sale’s and Michael Hill’s alliance of neo-secessionist factions, the emergence of the New Right as a genuine intellectual challenge to Liberalism and Marxism, the resolutions local communities have issued against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other abominations of the present system, the success of popular referendums in favor of medical marijuana, the rise of the militia movement in defense of the 2nd Amendment in the 1990s, the rise of the anti-globalization movement a few years later, the economic scholarship advanced by Kevin Carson and other contemporary decentralists, and many other things that serve as prototypes for what might be done in the future.

I favor a trickle-down/trickle-up, inside/outside strategy. This means at the top level we need a new generation of scholars to emerge that challenge the hegemony of neoconservatism and reactionary leftism in the cultural and intellectual realms. At the bottom level, we need streetfighting radical activists devoted to the kinds of ideas that have thus far been outlined.
We need those who work on the outside (like citizens militias confronting agents of the state when necessary or feasible) and on the inside (lawyers and lobbyists fighting the system on its own turf like the ACLU or the NRA).

Obviously, there is much work to be done.

Must Anarchists Be Dogmatists? 5

The first time I ever heard the term “anarchist” was in 1983, when I was a senior in high school. My English Lit. textbook included a unit on the British poet Percy Byshe Shelley and the brief biographical synopsis of Shelley mentioned that he had been the son-in-law of William Godwin, an “anarchist”. As a consistent “D” student, I wasn’t much inclined towards textbooks, but I remember being somewhat bemused to discover there were actually people called “anarchists”.

Five years later, much had changed. I had gone from high school stoner (think the Sean Penn character in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) to full blown outlaw to inmate to parolee to college student to dropout and drifter. Along the way, I starting getting interested in radical left-wing politics. Still not sure why. Probably because it was what I was around at the time (thank God it wasn’t the Branch Davidians). Having grown up a good church-going, God-fearing, flag-waving Republican, I probably figured it was a good way to flip off everyone from where I came from. Problem was I really didn’t like most leftists I met all that much. They reminded very much of the uptight Bible-bangers I grew up around. Just a bunch of do-gooders, know-it-alls, moralistic prigs and pharisees. I didn’t like liberals. I didn’t like Commies. I remembered having once heard of anarchists, so I looked them up in the encyclopedia and found entries on classical anarchism, Proudhon, syndicalism, Sacco and Vanzetti, all the rest. So I decided I was an anarchist and have been one ever since. Why am I an anarchist?

1. I agree with the Augustinian view of the state as a robber band writ large.
2. I agree with the Stirnerite view of political obligation. Why should I obey this guy just because he’s the president, king, mayor, etc.?
3. I agree that democracy is a system where five wolves and sheep vote on what to have for lunch.
4. I agree that the death and destruction perpetrated by states make that of individual criminals look trivial by comparison.
5. I agree with George Bernard Shaw that democracy replaces the rule of the corrupt few with the rule of the incompetent many.
6. I agree that the state exists to monopolize territory and resources, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, expand its own power and subjugate and exploit subjects.
7. I agree with Hayek that the worst gets to the top.
8. I agree that the insights of social psychology show that most people are creatures of the herd.
9. I agree that the herd is the permanent enemy of the superior individual.
10. I agree that values are subjective, that life is ultimately a war of each against all, and that survival of the fittest and the will to power are the only true laws.

So, yes, it would certainly seem that I qualify as an anarchist. I admire Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, De Cleyre, Malatesta, Durrutti, Mahkno, Foucault, Chomsky, Tolstoy, Karl Hess, Murray Rothbard, Murray Bookchin, Albert Jay Nock, Voltairine de Cleyre, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, the French Situationists, the Yippies, and a newer tendency called the National-Anarchists.

That being said, I’ve often wondered why so many people who claim to be “anarchists” are such complete and total assholes. Spend any time around anarchists and one of the very first things you will notice is the addiction many of them have to excommunicating heretics from their own ranks. Deviate by two percent from the articles of faith of any particular Church of Anarchy and you will surely experience the wrath of the Inquisition. Anarchists are much like Protestants in this respect.

So how are we going to go about fighting the state? Here’s a few suggestions:

1. Build a strategic alliance of all those seeking to decentralize state power for whatever reason. In recent years, Kirkpatrick Sale has been putting together a federation of those who want their region to secede from the US empire, whether the Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South, the Christian Exodus Project, the Republic of Texas and the Free State Project.

2. Build a coalition of all those who are in agreement about the biggest issues of our time: shutting down the US empire and countering the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, averting eventual economic collapse, rolling back the police state, and shutting down the war on drugs.

3. Develop an economic outlook that moves past the Big Government/Big Business paradigm, attacking them both as part of the system.

4. Build coalitions of interest groups who are under attack by the state but who otherwise have nothing in common into an alliance against the state. This is how the Democrats and Republicans do it. These might include smokers, gun owners, drug users, Confederate flag wavers, tax resisters, anti-NAFTA union members, prisoner advocates, homeless advocates, the mentally ill, blacks fed up with police brutality, whites fed up with affirmative action and victimology, students fed up with tyrannical prison-schools, sex workers, Holocaust-deniers (no, I’m not one of them), civil libertarians, counterculturalists, homeschoolers, religious fundamentalists, the list of enemies of the state goes and on and on.

The triumph of movements composed of such coalitions would have the effect of rolling back the state in ways that would make Goldwater Republicans look like Communists. And the High Priests of Anarchy would oppose such efforts every step of the way.

Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the struggle against the modern Big Brother state will, if it is to ever become successful, take place outside the realm of the particular sects of Anarchy.