Excommunicate Me from the Church of Social Justice Reply

By Frances Lee

By Autostraddle

There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested over time. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter should not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who is trying to figure things out, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:

1. Seeking purity

There is an underlying current of fear in my activist communities, and it is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, eviction, discrimination, and street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure. Social death follows when being labeled a “bad” activist or simply “problematic” enough times. I’ve had countless hushed conversations with friends about this anxiety, and how it has led us to refrain from participation in activist events, conversations, and spaces because we feel inadequately radical. I actually don’t prefer to call myself an activist, because I don’t fit the traditional mold of the public figure marching in the streets and interrupting business as usual. When I was a Christian, all I could think about was being good, showing goodness, and proving to my parents and my spiritual leaders that I was on the right path to God. All the while, I believed I would never be good enough, so I had to strain for the rest of my life towards an impossible destination of perfection.

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Free Speech, Democracy, and “Repressive Tolerance” 1

A veteran anarcho-communist questions the Marcusean approach appropriated by the Antifa and SJWs.

By Wayne Price

Arkismo.Net

There has recently been controversy on the Left over “free speech” for right-wingers (not necessarily fascists). Should it be supported or physically opposed? Some leftists have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse on “repressive tolerance” and why it should be opposed. Marcuse’s theory is reviewed and arguments are raised against it from a revolutionary anti-authoritarian perspective.

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There has been, recently, controversy on the Left over “free speech.” Should radical leftists and anti-fascists disrupt speeches by right-wingers? Should leftists break up such meetings, charge the stage, and smash windows? Or should the leftists limit themselves to counter-demonstrations, boycotts, protest leaflets, and, perhaps, heckling? The controversy is not so much over public events by fascists—U.S. Nazis or Klan members, for example—but over right wingers who claim to not be fascists but “conservatives” who value free speech.

In working out an approach to this issue, a number of leftist thinkers—anarchists and Marxists—have revived interest in the ideas of Herbert Marcuse (1969). In 1965 (updated 1968), Marcuse wrote an influential essay, “Repressive Tolerance” (which appeared with essays by two others in the little book, Critique of Pure Tolerance). Marcuse (1898—1979) was one of the most influential Left theorists of the ‘sixties and ‘seventies. A member of the Frankfort School, he was a scholar of Marx, Hegel, and Freud. Marcuse had an enormous impact and following. Given the general ignorance and muddle of much of today’s radical thinking, it is not surprising that there has been an attempt to revive Marcuse’s ideas about free speech and the limits of “pure tolerance.”

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National-Anarchist Movement Conference 2017: A Summary Reply

Image result for national anarchist movement

By Keith Preston

Special thanks to Peter Topfer, Adam Ormes, Thom Forester, and Sean Jobst for their assistance in the writing of this summary.

On June 17 and 18, the first ever conference of the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) took place in Madrid. The process of arranging this conference was certainly not without its difficulties, and the organizers deserve much praise for their diligence in this regard. Originally, the conference was supposed to be hosted by the Madrid section of N-AM, who dropped out of the project shortly (and out of N-AM altogether) before the conference took place. This led to the irony of a conference being held in Spain where no actual Spanish people were among the attendees. Because National-Anarchists are widely despised by leftists who mistakenly regard N-A as a “fascist” tendency, security was a paramount concern.

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The Lumpenproletariat as Class Vanguard: Why Anarchists Must Attack the Left from the Left 9

The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. This difference was acknowledged by Friedrich Engels.

“The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletariat revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But after its victory the sole organization which the proletariat finds already in existence is precisely the state. This state may require very considerable alterations before it can fulfill its new functions. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and in a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris Commune.”

– Frederick Engels, “Engels to Philipp Van Patten in New York,” London, April 18, 1883.

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Boston Free Speech Rally – A Brief History of ANTIFA with Gabriel Brown (May 13th, 2017) Reply

Boston Free Speech Rally
Boston Commons, Boston, Massachusetts
May 13th, 2017

Gabriel Brown explains a brief history on the origins of the Anti-Fascist Action (Antifa) as well as their sponsors in the Ford Foundation and the Southern Poverty Law Center with Steven J. Baldassari. Steven was not certain what to make of the Anarchist position during the discussion but he came to the agreement that we shared much more in common than we had disagreements so this discussion and interview resulted in a positive conclusion.

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Dave Rubin on Political Islam, Sharia Law, and “Islamophobia” Reply

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Human Rights Activist) joins Dave Rubin to discuss the preaching of Islam, the left’s alliance with Islamists, the dangers of political Islam, Sharia law, “Islamophobia”, her serious fight against the practice of female genital mutilation as well as, her political and idealogical awakening, her foundation and activism, and much more. *This episode was filmed on location, not in The Rubin Report studio.

Funding the Enemy: War and Welfare Reply

martel-2

From March last year: Ann Sterzinger’s libertarian solution to the Islamist problem.


The welfare state is a gravy train for ISIS.

If the welfare state doesn’t end in Europe, the welfare state will end Europe. And future historians will look back on the way the West ended and think we were all out of our goddamn minds.

As the dust is still clearing in Brussels and Pakistan (killing kids on Easter… stay classy, ISIS) and wherever else the nut jobs hit before this goes to press—as the Left signals their concern that all these dead bodies and raped orificia might feed an irrational fear of suicide bombers and rapists—the press is busy lecturing European security agencies about their incompetence. They could have stopped all these attacks somehow, if only they knew how to do their jobs!

You know what? I feel sorry for the security agencies, bumbling though they may allegedly be. From where I’m sitting, their job looks freakin’ impossible. According to Pew, over a third of French Muslims think suicide bombing is at least on occasion acceptable (and among the 18-30 crowd, it’s an eye-watering 42 percent).

How would you like it to be your job to root out terrorists when a third of the base population—of whose diversity and feelings you must always be respectful—would be happy to house and hide the assholes you’re looking for?

Meanwhile the media have kept stumping for not just bringing more of the terrorist-supporting population in, but feeding and housing them at the expense of the very government budget that must also fund security operations.

I know, only a bad person would ever suggest that you end welfare, and no educated European wants to be a bad person. But what you are accomplishing by being too nice is very bad indeed, Europe. Because if you do not end the welfare state, you’re going to have a violent genocide, one way or another.

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It’s Time Us Left-Wingers Stood Up to PC Reply

By Andrew Doyle

Spiked Online

any of us on the left are tired of playing a losing game. Too often we are unhorsed by the worst excesses of our own side, in particular the mindless peddling of identity politics as a substitute for rigorous debate. Each week brings with it a fresh litany of petitions, articles and social-media posts, all contributing to the impression that the left has turned into a coterie of preening killjoys, unschooled in the art of self-awareness.

Recent low points include calls for Doctor Who to regenerate as a black woman in an effort better to reflect the diversity of the Time Lord community; Caitlin Moran’s advice to young girls that they should avoid reading books by male authors; and Lincoln University Students’ Union’s banning its conservative society from using its social media account for the crime of highlighting restrictions on free speech. Irony, it seems, is not a strong point among these guardians of social rectitude.

More recently, a British artist has called for the destruction of a painting currently being displayed at the Whitney Biennial exhibition in New York because its theme – the murder of an African-American child in Mississippi in 1955 – is not appropriate material to be tackled by a white artist. Apparently, ‘white free speech and white creative freedom have been founded on the constraint of others, and are not natural rights’. Many of us find the destruction of artwork and the curtailing of free expression to be troubling phenomena. The historically illiterate have no such misgivings.

It’s unhelpful to describe this trend as ‘political correctness gone mad’. The phrase has become predictable right-wing boilerplate; one associates it with the screeds of Richard Littlejohn, or the reactionary paranoia of Jon Gaunt, who believes that it ‘will soon be a crime to be a heterosexual married parent’. In any case, ‘political correctness gone mad’ has become a cliché, and all writers worth their salt avoid clichés like the plague.

The sledgehammer tactics of contemporary identity politics have little to do with political correctness as traditionally understood. Tacit social contracts concerning polite forms of discourse in the workplace, schools or public spaces are hardly a controversial notion. We all adhere to such principles in one form or another, albeit with some inevitable sticking points and disagreements along the way. We are facing something far more sinister: a mutated form of political correctness that seeks to police language and thought alike. It’s an authoritarian movement spearheaded by well-intentioned activists who are seemingly blind to their own bigotry.

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The Central Metaphors of the PC Left Reply

By Aleksey Bashtavenko of Academic Composition 

Politicians, scholars and political pundits are almost unanimous in their belief that their political views are entirely objective. As such, they often maintain that those who disagree with them are either misguided, ignorant, plain obtuse or worse. They are entirely oblivious to the fact that much of their political reasoning is motivated by the subconscious biases that shape their temperament. In light of this premise, George Lakoff argued that our political attitudes are defined by the “central metaphors”, which are shaped by the process of socialization. Hence, our earliest interactions with family members tend to define the core attitudes that constitute our political temperament.

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The Faux Individualism of Social Justice Warriors 1

By Aleksey Bashtavenko with Academic Composition

Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is widely regarded as one of the best self-help books of the 20th century. Indeed, Carnegie’s work is deservedly known as a modern classic because it is founded on powerful insights about social psychology. Today, there is no shortage of seminars and business classes teaching people to embrace the potent lessons of human nature that he has uncovered. Among these notions is the idea that “nobody wants to be told what to do” and that it is necessary to make people “glad to do what you want them to do”. It is difficult to appreciate this idea without fully understanding its subtlety and the many ways in which it can become enormously effective across all social contexts.

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Political Correctness is All about Slave Morality 1

I can’t believe this article actually appeared on the Psychology Today website.

By Gregg Henriques

Psychology Today

This past academic year we have seen a number of examples of political correctness “gone mad” on college campuses. We have seen many conservative speakers having to cancel their talks, we have seen Ivy League students becoming hysterical about some benign comments about Halloween costumes, and we have seen Emory students freaking out and protesting to the university president because someone scrawled Trump 2016 in chalk on the campus grounds.

As a psychologist who has a long standing record of concern about patriarchy, racism and social justice issues, I certainly am not someone who dismisses “political correctness” in its entirety. We should indeed be attentive to issues of power and privilege approach these issues with reflection. However, over the past decade, I have found myself increasingly concerned with political correctness evolving into an oppressive righteousness that are in many ways deeply misguided and incomplete and there is definitely a need to push back against it when it spills over into absurdity.

WikiCommons

Frederick Nietzsche

Source: WikiCommons

I recently (re)discovered a wonderful frame that allowed me to crisply state what is wrong with modern academic leftist “political correctness” from none other than the eminent philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche. I was reintroduced to these ideas in the context of a course I was taking on Existentialism. After detailed study of many cultures, historical contexts, and various philosophies, Nietzsche articulated the view that there are two broad moral views or moral frames of mind, that of master morality and of slave morality. Slave morality is concerned with issues of justice, fairness and protection of the weak. It is called slave morality because its emphasis and focus is on those who are powerless, controlled or in positions of minority. From my unified perspective, especially that of the Influence Matrix (see below), slave morality can really be thought of as “horizontal”, red line, or affiliative-love morality. The emphasis is on placed on equality, sensitivity and connection.

Gregg Henriques

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Richard Spencer and the Alt Right: Stepping beyond the Bounds of Decency Reply

By Philip Francis

Together with Paul Gottfried, Richard Spencer is one of the founders of the Alternative Right – this being a loose coalition of non-leftists, brought together by a common dislike of the cultural left, and by a common hatred from the cultural left. How much he did to assist the election of Donald Trump last month I leave to the historians, though I suspect his help was considerable. For obvious reasons, he is unusually hated by the cultural left.

In writing this article, I could play safe and emphasise how little I agree with Richard. He does, after all, view the world through very racial eyes. He even wants to break up the United States, making its north-west into a white ethno-state. For the record, I have no opinion regarding the dissolution of the United States along racial lines, but would fiercely resist similar calls for the dissolution of my own country. It would, however, be dishonest to play entirely safe. I first met Richard in 2008, at the third conference, held in Bodrum, of the Property and Freedom Society. We next met in London in 2012, and there again in 2013. He has republished me a few times. We have occasionally corresponded. This may or may not make us friends. But it does allow me to say that I have always found him both approachable and charming. I do not recognise in the man I know the monster frequently described by his opponents.

Even so, he is hated by the cultural leftists, and they see no distinction between political debate and personal attacks. He is himself fireproof. He lives in a country where political censorship is not formally allowed. He has no job from which he can be hounded. He has long been excluded from every media outlet that is open to being scared. As for actual debate, the leftists are astonishingly shy when it comes to entering any forum in which they might be asked to provide a rational exposition and defence of what they claim to believe. Therefore Richard felt safe to plug away, all through the Presidential campaign in America, saying exactly what he believed to anyone who would listen. I repeat, its effect may have been considerable.

But, if he is fireproof, his mother is not. Mrs Spencer owns commercial premises in Whitefish, Montana. She built these with her own money, and is the sole owner. On the 22nd November this year, she claims that she was approached by Tanya Gersh, a local estate agent, and told that, unless she sold her building, and donated some of the proceeds of sale to the Montana Human Rights Network, two hundred demonstrators would turn up outside, and reduce its sale value.

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The Neocons: A Political Correctness of Their Own 1

Sponsored by none other than former Stalinist turned jingoist David Horowitz.

By Sophia A. McClennon

Slate

Academic witch hunts are back: The new McCarthyism, a sign of the stupidity of the post-truth era(Credit: AP/Phelan M. Ebenhack/William J. Smith)

In late November three blocks from the White House, a group of leaders from the so-called alt-right, who many consider to simply be white supremacists, gathered for an annual conference called the National Policy Institute.  Their goal was to discuss and debate the opportunities offered by a Donald Trump presidency for their white nationalist plans. In the wake of a rise in hate crimes, the meeting sent a chill throughout the nation.

But making America whiter “again” is not the only thing we need to fear with a Trump administration. Only two days after the alt-right convention in D.C., Turning Point USA launched Professor Watchlist, a website designed to call out college professors who “discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

As Rebecca Schuman wrote for Slate, in other circumstances, these might be two unrelated events, but “as the president-elect’s surrogates cite Japanese internment as a ‘precedent’ for what may come, any ‘watch list’ of any sort is worrying.”

Trump’s inability to handle any sort of critique and his bullying of reporters and the media all suggest that we are about to enter an era of censorship, threats to free speech and other forms of suppressing dissent. When the “liberal” media come under attack it generally isn’t long before the “tenured radicals” come under fire, too.

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Defining “Political Correctness” 2

A FB friend recently asked me to provide a definition of “political correctness.” Here’s the definition I would use…

I would define “political correctness” as the common term for the institutionalization and enculturation of progressive moral norms in such a way that their transgression generates ridicule, disproportional feelings of outrage or indignation, ostracism of the supposed offending party, an inclination towards persecution on the part of the offended, and the possible imposition of social, economic, professional, institutional, or legal sanctions against the alleged offender, perhaps accompanied by mendacity, dishonesty, hypocrisy, or double standards on the part of the offended.”

This article from the Guardian tries to claim that PC is merely a “phantom” that doesn’t really exist. I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with this article. It’s basically just a regurgitation of the standard liberal-left line that criticisms of political correctness are merely a case of right-wingers protecting their vested interests by spinning tall tales in order to divide the commoners and distract them from their supposed true interests (meaning liberalism or socialism). In fact, this is the standard response that the Left has always offered to ANY criticisms of leftist authoritarianism (e..g anti-Communists were really just apologists for Western imperialism and capitalist vested interests).

Reasonable people can disagree on how pervasive PC actually is when compared to competing philosophies (like neoconservatism, Christian fundamentalism, the alt-right or whatever). But it’s clear that PC has a very commanding presence in many institutions, particularly academia, most the mainstream media, self-style progressive corporations like Mozilla or Starbucks, mainline religion, etc. Of course, there’s also hard PC (the kind you find among lunatic SJWs on campuses) and soft PC (the kind Joe Biden or Tim Kaine probably believe in).

As a reviewer of my book on this topic recently said:
“Mr. Preston prefers the term “totalitarian humanism” over “political correctness,” though he explains it is not original to him. Its totalitarian nature is clear to anyone who, because of it, has had to face a threat to his job or a demand by a homeowners’ association to remove a Christmas tree, or certainly to anyone who has ever refused to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding.”

We could add to this many other examples such as the treatment of James Watson, Lawrence Summers, Kevin MacDonald, Norman Finkelstein, Brendan Eich, Tim Hunt, Ayaan Hirsa Ali, etc, etc. as well as the fact that alt right groups have to meet in public facilities under police protection. Or the banning of Chick-fil-A in Boston (an irony given the historic meaning of the phrase “Banned in Boston”). Not to mention actual violence carried out by antifa groups.

All of this is not equivalent to Stalinist or Nazi repression, but it’s an indication PC actually exists.

I agree with that in order to criticize something, it’s a good plan to at least define what it is first. I’d argue that PC is identifiable and defining, and that denying PC really exists is pretty foolish. However, a better question involves the issue of how influential the general PC paradigm actually is when compared other perspectives. I’d argue first that there are different levels of PC as I said in an above post just like there are different degrees of fanaticism found among racists or religious fundamentalists.

On one end, there are the violent antifa groups that physically assault people whose politics they disagree with. Then there’s the non-violent but simply loopy college students obsessed with safe spaces, microagressions, and playdoh therapy. Then there’s leftist professors who make their classes into an equivalent of a leftist Sunday School. Then there’s university administrations that attempt to eliminate staff and faculty with non-PC opinions. Then there are media figures who, for example, balk at mentioning the race of a criminal because they don’t want to fuel racism. There’s progressive corporations that fire executives like Brendan Eich for having privately opposed gay marriage years earlier, or universities like Brandeis that rescind an honorary degree to someone like Ayaan Hirsa Ali on the grounds of “Islamophobia.” Then there’s the centrist liberals who flaunt their commitment to diversity as a means of virtue signaling.Then there are the corporate diversity and sensitivity training programs that teach employees how to mind the manners of PC because “Shh! Quiet or we might get sued.” The far right end of PC might be something like this, i.e. a general in the Army claiming not having “diversity” in the service would be a greater tragedy than mass murder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O8EITu5ZYo8

I’d argue what I described above defines the center-left to far-left end of the political spectrum, i.e. from the Democratic Party to the neo-Marxists, from the left-wing of capitalism at the corporate level to the anarcho-leftoids on the margins.The question is to what degree is the Left more or less influential than the Right. The center-left controls most of the media, the academic world, mainline religion. Given that Hillary won the popular vote, maybe the center-left reflects the majority of public opinion as well (although the half of eligible voters who didn’t participate, of which I am one, need to be figured into the equation somehow). The business world, religion generally, the military, the Republican Party, and other more traditionally conservative institutions seem to be more of a mixed bag.

It’s certainly true that there is large right-wing subculture as well that’s pervasive in smaller towns, rural areas, “flyover country,” and which is reflected (or at least played to) by FOX News, “conservative” talk radio, Donald Trump, Republican politicians, mega church pastors, etc. This article from Alternet describes that subculture pretty well.

However, the subculture described in that article does not reflect the values of the majority of the elite, the majority of the educated classes, a majority of the poor and working class taken in their sum total, a super majority of racial and religious minorities, a super majority of young people, most of the media, most of the educational system, most of mainline religion and other institutions that disseminate values and ideas. It also reflect a culture of older white people primarily, a culture that is shrinking demographically, declining economically, and dying out physically. For example, the fastest growing religious perspective in the US is non-religion. Meanwhile, PC is a rising force that is influential among the educated classes and professional classes, and also seems to become more extreme the more powerful and pervasive it gets.

This is an argument I get from folks on the Left all the time:

“PC authoritarianism doesn’t really exist, or if it does exist it’s justified, or if it’s not justified it’s merely localized, or if it’s actually pretty pervasive then it’s just an unfortunate backlash against past injustices perpetrated by well-meaning people who are perhaps overzealous in fighting oppression, or maybe PC is even godawful and far reaching but the right-wing is still more threatening because racism, capitalism, sexism, fascism…”

The reason I first starting criticizing PC was because of the grip it had on the wider anarchist milieu which I thought was getting in the way of other things. Then I noticed PC was increasingly working its way into the mainstream society and even the state. So I ramped up the criticism.

I would criticize other perspectives more if they had more influence. For example, I used to be a strong critic of the religious right back when that had more influence. If this were the 1950s or 1960s I’m sure I would be on the far left end of things when it comes to race, gender, gays, etc. The more influential the alt-right becomes the more critical of it I will probably be. I’ve criticized strands within organized atheism as fundamentalism for non-believers.