You Musn’t Forget S-L-A-V-E-R-Y!!!!!! 1

In contemporary American political discourse, we often hear talk of “the legacy of slavery,” primarily in discussions of racial issues. To be sure, the “legacy of slavery” has had a damaging impact on American race relations (it wasn’t so wonderful for the actual slaves, either). Many of the rather severe social problems found among certain sectors of Americans of African ancestry today are often attributed to this legacy. I tend to think such claims are often overstated. For one thing, the overwhelming majority of American blacks are far from being the social or economic basket cases many people imagine them to be. As the black economist Dr. Walter Williams puts it:

If one totaled black earnings, and consider blacks a separate nation, he would have found that in 2005 black Americans earned $644 billion, making them the world’s 16th richest nation. That’s just behind Australia but ahead of Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. Black Americans have been chief executives of some of the world’s largest and richest cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Gen. Colin Powell, appointed Joint Chief of Staff in October 1989, headed the world’s mightiest military and later became U.S. Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Condoleezza Rice, another black. A few black Americans are among the world’s richest people and many are some of the world’s most famous personalities. These gains, over many difficult hurdles, speak well not only of the intestinal fortitude of a people but of a nation in which these gains were possible. They could not have been achieved anywhere else.

Of course, there is another side to this question, primarily the ongoing gap in accumulated wealth between whites and blacks, and the even more serious problem of the enormous black “underclass.” I’m inclined to think these latter problems have broader and more recent causes, such as ongoing patterns of class conflict, repression, politically imposed hinderances to the economic self-advancement of blacks, and attacks on the organic community life of the lower classes by the state. Still, there’s no doubt the “legacy of slavery” contributes to the disproportional representation of blacks among the lower classes that are impacted most heavily by such things.

There’s still another way in which the “legacy of slavery” has damaged American politics, and that is the persistent identification of ideas like local sovereignty, community autonomy or political decentralization as code words for slavery or compulsory racial segregation of the kind associated with Jim Crow. For instance, in much of American higher education, the classical American republican doctrine of “states’ rights” is simply dismissed as an anachronism that never had any purpose other than to defend the interests of slave-holders. Having studied American history in an advanced academic setting, I’ve noticed the general tendency is to present the unfolding of American history as an evolutionary struggle towards the achievement of “progress,” meaning overcoming reactionary ideas like states’ rights, limited government and other impediments to the glorious victory of the federal welfare state and centralized micromanagement of local race relations. Joe Stromberg’s parody of a modern course in what used to be called Western Civilization, which can be viewed here, is only a slight exaggeration.

The obsession with slavery has corrupted not only political discourse in elite academic circles, and among mainstream “progressive” thinkers, but also among fringe radicals as well. For this reason, my Number One Fan Aster feels it necessary to place this item in the proposed constitution for her rendition of Utopia:

The principle applies to places not subject to the jurisdiction of the County of Bohemia too, but this isn’t an excuse to bomb foreigners and take their stuff. Or to get other foreigners to ruin their livelihoods so they have to work in your sweatshops for virtually nothing. It even applies to BROWN people, believe it or not- and the fact that it took you this long to figure that out means you suck.

Section VII. Aster shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Actually, anyone who wants to stop a slavery situation should feel empowered to do it. Figuring out the enforcement and incentive structures will be a bitch, though- but that’s not an excuse for giving up and just letting slavery happen, Keith.

Soviet Onion:

Aster has written some unwarranted misrepresentations of Keith (I prefer to think he enables fascists rather than being one himself) and even more of Jeremy, but this isn’t one of them. Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

So should we “just let slavery happen”? First of all, where does contemporary slavery actually take place? Mostly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. You know, the places where all of those supremely virtuous “people of color” tend to be found and who would have remained in the Garden of Eden if only those evil white European snake-devils hadn’t come along and fucked up their otherwise idyllic world. If only those evil white-devil slave traders hadn’t brought Africans to the Western hemisphere as slaves, perhaps their current descendents could enjoy living in the paradise of Nigeria, where seven percent of the population are still enslaved. Maybe the prosperous members of America’s black middle class (roughly seventy-five percent of American blacks) could even be in the oasis of Mauritania, where twenty percent of the population are still slaves. Of course, to their credit, the Mauritanians did pass an anti-slavery law in 2007. Who says they’re not progressive?

Do we need to “just let slavery happen?” No, a coalition of nations could invade the African continent and force the locals to free their slaves, in the style of U.S. Grant, Bill Sherman and Phil Sheridan. However, the only nations with the level of wealth and/or military power to even attempt such an effort (disaster though it would be) would be those of North America, Europe and Russia (plus the wild card of China). Problem is it’s mostly white folks who live in those nations. So a liberatory invasion of Africa and other slavery hotbeds seems to be off the table. Otherwise, we might be practicing European colonialism, or even white supremacy. Plus, it’s been done already. Wasn’t decolonialization supposed to be a “progressive” thing? So, yes, it looks like we do indeed need to “just let slavery happen.” Anything else might even be racist or white supremacist. Of course, we could assist those actual groups who really are doing something to oppose slavery in place like Africa. For instance, those groups who have actually purchased the freedom of Sudanese slaves. Problem is a lot these actually effective anti-slavery groups seem to be Christian in orientation, and we couldn’t endorse that, given that they are all no doubt frothing-at-the-mouth homophobes who express skepticism as to whether anal sodomy and/or rimming ought to be elevated to the level of sacramental rites, right along with eucharist, baptism and the last rites.

Actually, I don’t think we should be that hard on the African slave-holders. After all, they’re not so different from us white Americans of a mere 150 years ago. Plus, the slave-holders in places like Nigeria or the Sudan never got to go to U.S. or Western European public schools, receive multicultural education, or participate in “teaching tolerance” programs whose curriculum was designed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. So give them a break.

Of course, it is sometimes argued, though usually not by sensible people, that American-style antebellum slavery was of a particularly nasty variety, unlike the sunny and hedonistic kinds that existed in places like South America, Africa, China or the Islamic world. And while we would not want to impose Eurocentric Western values like slavery abolition on places like Africa (to do so would be racist), surely the recent ancestors of us white Americans, at least the enlightened ones from up North, should not have “just let slavery happen” in the states of the Old Confederacy? Africans enslaving Africans, Chinese enslaving Chinese, or Arabs enslaving Arabs might be something we can tolerate because, well, it just couldn’t be all that bad if “people of color” are doing it, but the idea of white American Southerners (and Christians, no less) enslaving Africans, well, that’s just, well, worse than awful, for some reason or another.

I reject the claims of modern day Confederate patriots that the U.S. Civil War had nothing to do with slavery and that it was all about tariffs, agriculture and states’ rights. However, I agree that the motivation of the Union was self-preservation rather than slavery abolition because, well, the President of the Union said so. Still, wasn’t the victory of the Union a victory for liberty? Yes, if we want to overlook the imposition of the draft in both the North and South during the course of the war, the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, and the maiming or displacement of millions more. Well, wasn’t it at least a victory for “anti-racism”? Well, not really, considering the next major military effort after the defeat of the Confederacy was the conquest of the Indian territories in the West. There’s also the thorny question of the fact that there were both Indians and blacks on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Then there’s the question of the impact of the Civil War on the future of American politics. The war marked the death of the old confederal republic and the creation of a centralized, Jacobin, nationalist regime and continental empire. If America had been split into two republics in the 1860s, the Wilson regime might not have entered World War One a half century later. It was American involvement in that war that led to the total destruction of Germany, the subsequent rise of Nazism, World War Two, the genocides that transpired during the war, the invention of atomic weapons, the Stalinist occupation of Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the nuclear arms race, the brush wars in Asia, the present day American world empire and other not-so-nice things. Indeed, the war for slavery abolition advocated by many of Lincoln’s abolitionist supporters would seem to be an example of the “armed doctrine” that Edmund Burke warned against. Of course, that does not mean that an actual guerrilla war against the Southern slaveholders of the kind advocated by the anarchist Lysander Spooner would not have been justified.

So back to Soviet Onion’s comments:

Consider Keith’s mission statement that he’s a single-issue activist looking to bring down the Empire and will work with everybody from Fascists to Stalinists to do that, so long as they’re willing to secede, go their separate ways and dominate their own territories once the job is done. If he’s so ecumenical that he’s willing to work with all these people, then why not also some small-scale secessionist group that ended up practicing slavery in their area? What would make them so special that, given his stated criteria, Stalinoids are OK but they’re not?

If you include authoritarian forms of parenting, education and marriage as forms of slavery, then those are cases where he does directly advocate slavery. Unfortunately, that just makes him like everybody else.

Aside from the fact that comparing “authoritarian” parenting, compulsory school attendance and marriage to chattel slavery does little except make others think that anarchism is a philosophy not suitable for anyone over the age of fifteen, there are certain significant qualifications that would need to be added for this to be an accurate description of my actual views. I am for the dissolution of the American regime into smaller, more manageable units. Presumably, America’s international empire would no longer be able to sustain itself. Those nations are that are now colonies, vassalages, or client-states of the U.S. would achieve their full independence. However they choose to organize themselves upon achieving independence is none of my business. If the Italians elect a representative of the fascist Italian Social Movement as mayor of Rome, or if the Venezuelans prefer Chavez as their leader, or if the Cubans fail to rise up against Castro as the Romanians did to Nicolae Ceausescu, then that’s none of Keith’s goddamn business.

The question of what political factions or ideologies, if any, should be excluded from a pan-secessionist alliance in North America is indeed an interesting one. While ideologies like Nazism and Stalinism are too alien to American political culture to ever become mass movements, it is possible small bands of such groups could carve out separatist enclaves for themselves. There could theoretically be autonomous urban neighborhoods run by skinheads, or rural compounds of neo-nazi survivalists, or communes organized by Stalinist or Maoist groups. Groups of this type could even hold fairly large tracts of land that would be their de facto private property. If such communities are entirely voluntary in their membership, then there can be no political objection to them on libertarian grounds. Of course, others might have aesthetic, moral or cultural objections. But that’s too bad.

In a case where, say, a Neo-Nazi or hard-core Communist group were to seize a wider city or town, I would say the degree to which such an effort should be challenged or recognized should depend on the circumstances. At bare minimum, I would want those who wished to leave to be given the chance to do so on a model similar to, say, the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. If such requests were refused, should surrounding communities engage in military action against the offending community? Perhaps, or perhaps not, depending on the circumstances, potential costs of such an action, the degree of severity of the offense given, and the probably of victory by the self-appointed policemen.

Ironically, this debate has relevance to an issue that I have raised with anarchists and libertarians in the past, and it is an issue where I have never received a satisfactory answer. What about a scenario where a libertarian or relatively libertarian society, or a federation of anarchies, was threatened by domestic political movements of an authoritarian or totalitarian nature? The classic example of this is the Weimar liberal republic, where the center collapsed and the two largest political parties were Hitler’s NSDAP and the Stalinist KPD, with each of these maintaining their own private armies, and engaging in routine, violent streetfighting with each other. To what degree do such groups cease to be mere political organizations using their rights of association, free speech and right to bear arms and become outright domestic invaders? Would the broader alliance of citizen militias, mercenaries, guerrillas, paramilitaries, posses, gangs or whatever that would comprise the defense forces of an anarchist federation ever be justified in suppressing the activities of a group like the NSDAP or the KPD? I believe they would, if such groups grew large enough, powerful enough, disruptive enough or violent enough to pose a “clear and present danger” to the survival of the anarchist federation. There is no reason why a confederacy of anarchies should tolerate an insurgency by a Khmer Rouge or a Shining Path.

I’ve even made similar arguments concerning immigration. To what degree should a host society allow or tolerate immigration by persons demonstrating values or originating from societies whose values are hostile to those of the host society? What constitutes a legitimate demographic threat? Should a billion Chinese be able to migrate to the U.S. tomorrow if they so choose, irrespective of the wishes of the natives? Should liberal-Enlightenment or Greco-Roman Western nations accept immigration from theocratic Islamic societies unconditionally? I think not.  It would seem that political, economic and civilizational survival would be an issue that trumps the migratory rights of immigrants.

These are difficult questions, and appeals to rigid ideological formulations and overblown juvenalia do not help to answer them.

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.

Why a Critique of the Totalitarian Humanist State is Essential to a Genuine Radicalism 3

If we were Soviet or East European citizens in the 1950s, 60s or 70s, and we were attempting to build a revolutionary underground, classical criticisms of the state would certainly be helpful. For instance, the Augustinian view of the state as a “robber band writ large”. However, we would be selling ourselves short by simply criticizing “the state” as an entity unto itself without focusing the nature of the particular kind of state we wished to resist. For this, we would need to look further than simple critiques of statism qua statism and delve deeper into criticisms of Marxist states as particular manifestations of the state. Further, we would need to critique the ideological underpinnings of Marxist states: the ideologies of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, Hoxhaism, etc.

So it is with those of us who would resist the present day regimes of the West. Most manifestations of the state except one are considered illegitimate in modern societies. Very few people take seriously the supposed philosophical justifications for monarchy, theocracy, aristocracy, fascism, communism, or military dictatorship. Only “democracy” is considered legitimate, and not just any kind of democracy. Iran is arguably just as democratic in the political sphere as any of the Western countries, yet it is considered a pariah nation. Instead, “democracy” must be fused with “the free-market” (state-capitalism), “the public sector” (the welfare state), “multiculturalism” (state-enforcement of compulsory racial/ethnic/cultural integrationism), state-regulation of “public health” (the therapeutic state) and a number of other things.

Additionally, the Western nations have, over the past 30-50 years, undergone a de jour cultural and social revolution and a de facto revolution in politics, law, education and a number of other institutions. Fifty years ago, racism was nearly universal and frequently mandatory. Today, it is regarded as the ultimate horror. A friend of mine’s sixtyish mother was told as a young girl that her aspirations to become a physician were inappropriate, “as boys become doctors, girls become nurses”. Such sentiments would be considered laughable today, even by most social conservatives. A generation ago, homosexuality was a serious felony. Five years ago, the US Supreme Court declared it to be a constitutional right. Abortion and pornography were once criminally prohibited vices, akin to drug use at the present time, yet these have likewise been declared constitutional rights.

No doubt many people, including myself, would consider most of these changes to be positive in nature. No one wants to return to Jim Crow, or endorse crass sexism, or hail the persecution of homosexuals by the state. And the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and privacy are essential to keeping the state at bay. But that brings us to another interesting matter. As all of this supposed liberation and breakdown of oppressive social structures has occurred, the state has become increasingly ruthless and pernicious in its expression. For instance, the US Constitution allows for the prosecution of only three federal crimes-treason, piracy and counterfeiting. Today, there are over 3,000 federal crimes and forty percent of these have been created since 1970.  Prior to the mid-1980s, drugs were illegal, with drug crimes being treated in a manner comparable to serious property offenses like burglary or grand larceny. Today, even the most minor players in drug offenses are frequently sentenced to greater periods of incarceration than even some who commit violent crimes. Asset forfeiture laws were originally used to go after the holdings of members of drug trafficking cartels. Today, such laws apply to 140 other types of “crimes”. The US prison population has increased a dozen times over since the 1960s. Paramilitary policing was a new phenomenon in the 1970s, and originally intended as a means of dealing with either civil unrest or particularly difficult matters of law enforcement like hostage situations. Today, paramilitary policing is normal, even for routine police work, like execution of a search warrant. Even at the height of the Nixon era, the idea that a president would claim the right to unilaterally suspend habeus corpus and imprison suspects indefinitely in secret prisons without trial would have been considered absurd.

As the state has grown more pernicious, so has the economic position of the working class declined as US elites have adopted the Third World economic model. The American state, for the first time, is openly proclaiming a policy of reserving the right to wage “preemptive war” against virtually any other state it wishes, for any reason, at any time. Further, the cultural revolution of the past generation is being used as the foundation of a whole new kind of authoritarianism. Babies are now accused of “racism” for disliking exotic ethnic foods. A university janitor is reprimanded for reading a book about the Ku Klux Klan during his break time, even though the book in question was anti-Klan. A mother is arrested for spanking a child even when no evidence of genuine abuse exists.

One thing that is rather interesting about this new totalitarian humanism that seeks to establish a Big Brother state to make sure no one is ever being abused or discriminated against is its arbitrariness. Spanking a child is “child abuse” yet the US federal government can roll over dozens of children with tanks at Waco and no one from the System raises an eyebrow. “Racism” is regarded as the ultimate horrorshow, yet the single policy that inflicts the greatest amount of harm upon black communities, the War on Drugs, continues unabated.

It is this totalitarian humanism that is the foundation of modern state tyrannies. Just as we need the traditional critiques of statism found in the works of various historic thinkers, just as we need a coherent critique of the relationship between “big government” and “big business” of the kind that Kevin Carson has developed, so do we need a similar critique of totalitarian humanism and its tentacles like cultural Marxism and the therapeutic state.

The overwhelming majority of North American and probably European “radicals” still proceed as if it were perpetually 1968, if not 1928. Just as the simultaneous rise of the global economy and the decreased viability of the welfare state has mandated a search for new economic alternatives, so does the rise of totalitarian humanism necessitate a critique of this phenomenon beyond what most “radicals” could ever offer. A primary barrier to the formulation and dissemination of such a critique is the fact that most “radicals” essentially share the same value system as the proponents of totalitarian humanism. Yes, many liberals and leftists, for instance, oppose some of the excesses of Bush and cronies concerning civil liberties, but most of them also hold to the view that state-enforced multiculturalism, state-regulated “public health”, state interference in private institutions and local communities to prevent or deter illiberal social practices are legitimate and share the view of the current ruling class that racism, sexism, gay discrimination, fundamentalism, xenophobia, carrying a handgun, failing to attend public schools until age eighteen, etc. are the ultimate sins. Perhaps this explains why the antiwar movement has been utterly impotent and ineffective in opposing the neocons’ wars,i.e., because they share they same fundamental values of spreading “enlightenment”, “democracy”, “equality”, yet may have some reservations about the neocons’ methodology (like American unilateralism and defiance of international law). And, of course, some, like Christopher Hitchens, do not possess even those qualms.

One reason I find tendencies like the national-anarchists or the left-conservatives or the national-Maoists or the neo-secessionists to be rather refreshing is that they represent an outlook that genuinely rejects establishment values. After all, what would be more frightening to the American ruling class and political establishment: A bunch of college students, middle class leftists and hippies marching in the streets in a manner that looks more like a rock concert protesting global warming, racism, and Third World honor killings or a disciplined, orderly march of hard-core revolutionaries drawn from the ranks of inner-city gangbanger/ghetto types, Appalachian rednecks, or ex-convicts and other genuinely lumpen elements carrying banners with menacing slogans like “Death to the System!”, wearing all-black and red outfits and demanding overthrow of the government, smashing the ruling class and dissolution of the system into separatist/secessionist communities?

I know which team I’d pick.

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.

The Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South and the Southern Poverty Law Center 3

Recently, Thomas Naylor of the Second Vermont Republic issued something of a challenge to the League of the South:

http://vermontrepublic.org/to_the_league_of_the_south_from_vermont_with_love

Naylor begins:

When the Second Vermont Republic, through its sister organization the Middlebury Institute, first began reaching out to other independence movements in November 2006, four such groups were at the top of our priority list. They included the Alaskan Independence Party, the Hawaiian independence movement, the New Hampshire Free State Project, and the League of the South.

Within three months after the First North American Secessionist Convention met in Burlington, Vermont, the well-financed race-baiting Southern Poverty Law Center opened fire on SVR and the Middlebury Institute accusing us of racism for having attended a meeting which included four LOS members as well as representatives from fifteen other secessionist organizations representing eighteen states.

First thought: The SPLC is a scam organization that should not be taken seriously. They are not merely do-gooder anti-racism activists. They are, as one of Morris Dees’ former law partners says, “the Tammy Faye Bakker of civil rights.” Further, groups like the SPLC epitomize the modern ruling class ideology of totalitarian humanism. They will oppose secession or decentralization of any kind, no matter what, as this is incompatible with their goal of a global totalitarian order organized as a caste system with group privilege assigned according to victimological status:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/preston1.html

In other words, the SPLC and others of their ilk are our mortal enemies, and should be given no recognition whatsoever. To recognize them, to attempt to rebut or accommodate them, is to grant them legitimacy. We should treat them as we would treat an enemy army during wartime.

Naylor discusses the difficulties an alliance with the League of the South poses for his own movement:

The knee-jerk response of most Americans to secession is typically, “We’ve been there, done that, and it didn’t work out very well.” Secession always brings to mind images of the Civil War, slavery, racism, violence, and preservation of the Southern way of life. Secession is often equated with Southern, redneck, Christian fundamentalist racism. Anyone who is a secessionist is considered a likely racist, but a Southern secessionist is a racist a priori. Since the LOS is a Southern secessionist group, it’s hardly surprising that there is a widespread perception that it is racist.

To achieve its twofold objectives of Vermont independence and the peaceful dissolution of the American Empire, SVR needs all the help it can get from other independence movements. But so long as the albatross of racism hangs around its neck, the LOS can never be a truly effective partner for SVR. SVR, on the other hand, risks being tainted by the scourge of racism simply by associating with the LOS.

And offers this assessment of the state of race relations in America vis-a-vis the Empire:

Starting with the election of President Richard Nixon in 1968 and continuing through the 2000 election of George W. Bush, racism, particularly in the South, did pay for the Republican Party. Its so called Southern strategy was thoroughly grounded in racism. But things began to change when President Bush named Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State. This sent a very clear signal to white racists everywhere that racism was no longer part of the national agenda. When Bill Clinton tried to play the racial card against Barack Obama in South Carolina and elsewhere, he soon learned the hard way, that racism doesn’t pay anymore. White South Carolina Democrats got the message and voted for Obama.

When Bush II was elected in 2000, the favorite scapegoats of many white, conservative Southerners were blacks, gays, lesbians, abortionists, and so-called secular humanists. Tolerance was not the name of the game. But eight years of Bush II have convinced many Southerners that the real enemy of the South is the corrupt, unsustainable, ungovernable, unfixable American Empire. The white, conservative social agenda has been trumped by the Empire.

To bring down the Empire peacefully will require the support of all Southerners, not just like-thinking, white Southerners. The vision of a free and independent South can never become a reality unless all Southerners participate. Even the hint of racism has the potential to derail the entire independence movement.

Starting with the election of President Richard Nixon in 1968 and continuing through the 2000 election of George W. Bush, racism, particularly in the South, did pay for the Republican Party. Its so called Southern strategy was thoroughly grounded in racism. But things began to change when President Bush named Colin Powell and then Condoleezza Rice Secretary of State. This sent a very clear signal to white racists everywhere that racism was no longer part of the national agenda. When Bill Clinton tried to play the racial card against Barack Obama in South Carolina and elsewhere, he soon learned the hard way, that racism doesn’t pay anymore. White South Carolina Democrats got the message and voted for Obama.

When Bush II was elected in 2000, the favorite scapegoats of many white, conservative Southerners were blacks, gays, lesbians, abortionists, and so-called secular humanists. Tolerance was not the name of the game. But eight years of Bush II have convinced many Southerners that the real enemy of the South is the corrupt, unsustainable, ungovernable, unfixable American Empire. The white, conservative social agenda has been trumped by the Empire.

To bring down the Empire peacefully will require the support of all Southerners, not just like-thinking, white Southerners. The vision of a free and independent South can never become a reality unless all Southerners participate. Even the hint of racism has the potential to derail the entire independence movement.

The American South is as culturally and ethnically diverse as other regions. It has a large black population, a rapidly growing Hispanic population, and its metropolitan areas exhibit the same cosmopolitanism common to big cities in general. The South also has plenty of transplanted Northerners with “liberal” social or political views. This situation likely make a unified Southern secession under neo-confederate ideology or symbolism unlikely. A more viable approach would be to dissolve the southern states into regional federations of communities organized along cultural, ideological, political, economic, racial, ethnic, religious, linguistic or sexual lines. Naylor continues with some suggestions of his own:

1. Renounce Racism

The leaders of the League should draft a statement which takes the form of the unconditional denunciation of all forms of racism. This statement should be presented to LOS members at their next convention for ratification.

A problem here is defining “racism” in the first place. As anti-racism has become more and more powerful, “racism” continues to be defined in ever more extravagant and implausible ways. Is merely opposing affirmative action “racist”? Is opposing a completely open borders immigration policy “racist”? Is refusing to take the Al Sharpton line on controversial court cases like that of the Jena 6 “racist”? Once again, the enemies of secession or decentralism will be never placated no matter how “anti-racist” a particular secession movement may be.

Perhaps a more direct approach would be for the League to issue a statement indicating precisely what kind of racial policies they would prefer an independent South to have. Do they wish to keep present day antidiscrimination laws or even affirmative action? Do they favor slavery reparations? Or do they wish to reinstate slavery or Jim Crow? Do they favor a regime of meritocratic libertarian individualism? Do they favor a regime that is race neutral in the political and legal sense but recognizes the right of private self-segregation?

2. Recruit Black Members

LOS leaders should embark on a strategy to recruit African American members into the LOS. This will be a tough sell, because Southern blacks will be understandably suspicious of the motives of a formerly lily-white secession organization. It will most likely be necessary to offer scholarships or discounted memberships to attract blacks. The importance of this step cannot possibly be overemphasized.

Bad idea. Most blacks who are politically motivated prefer to have their own organizations for themselves. If even the most fanatically anti-racist leftist groups are constantly lamenting the lack of interest in their movement by racial minorities, then it’s unlikely a Southern secessionist movement will do any better. Blacks will regard such efforts as patronizing acts of pandering. Blacks who actually accepted such offers would feel like tokens. Others, black, white, left and right, would see such efforts as groveling on the part of the League, creating a sense of smug satisfaction on the part of the likes of the SPLC.

A better idea would be for the League to simply state its preferred racial policies, in detail, and then if this is shown to be incompatible with the interests of others in the South (blacks, Hispanics, liberals, secularists, gays, et al.) starting seeking out dialogue with organizations that actually represent these culturally incompatible groups for the purpose of achieving mutual and equitable separation.  The League has a variety of positions it could take. They could position themselves as “white nationalists” along the lines of Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance and explicitly advocate decentralization or voluntary self-segregation along racial lines. They could be “southern nationalists” advocating independence for the entire South with a decentralized governmental system along the lines of the Swiss cantons as a means of accommodating the cultural and racial differences of the people of the South. They could be Christian conservatives along the lines of the Christian Exodus Project favoring non-racial but socially and politically conservative government for the Southern states after achieving independence. Again, I think this latter approach will work only if some means of accommodating non-Christians or non-conservatives is established (for instance, making the large metro areas into independent “liberal”  city-states a la Monaco or Singapore).

3. Black Speakers

One way to attract black members is to invite black speakers to participate in local LOS meetings as well as the annual convention. A wide variety of black speakers should be considered. For example, Professor Walter Williams of George Mason University is a black, conservative economist who favors secession. One might also invite left-wing, black political leaders who oppose secession.

Why not invite black nationalists who also support decentralization, secession or separatism? For instance, why not invite representatives of the Nation of Islam, New Black Panthers, Pan-African International Movement, All-African Peoples’ Revolutionary Party, Peoples’ Democratic Uhuru Movement,  or the Republic of New Afrika? How about inviting similar tendencies from the American Indian Movement, Aztlan Nation or decentralists from the Left?

4. Civil War

Having attended two of the LOS annual conventions, I am not sure that all LOS members realize that the Civil War ended in 1865. Much of the literature on sale at LOS conventions highlights Confederate symbolism, the flag in particular. Whether justifiably or not, most Southern blacks view the Confederate flag as an overt racist symbol aimed at rubbing salt in their 400-year wounds. If the LOS wants to be an effective secession organization, then the Confederate flag has got to go! And in a similar vein, nothing enrages Southern blacks more than the singing of “Dixie.”

Bad idea. Every group has the right to recognize and appreciate its history and heritage and I suspect this is a non-negotiable issue for a group like the League. Also, Civil War revisionism is important to the advancement of the secessionist cause in the intellectual arena, e.g., Tom DiLorenzo’s debunking of many of the Lincoln myths.

5. Southern Unity

Ironically, to achieve our common objective of disuniting the states of America, I am calling for Southern unity. And I am proposing that there is no organization better qualified to lead the way than the League of the South.

In the divisive 1860s the Confederate states tried unsuccessfully to lead our nation into disunion. After military defeat, occupation, and Reconstruction, they were dragged kicking and screaming back into the Union. I believe that it is high time the South and the rest of the nation reconsidered dissolution. The League of the South is in a unique position to help lead the South out of the Union and the nation into disunion.

May God bless the untied states of America.

Of course.

This brings us to an issue that will eventually have to be addressed if any movement to dissolve the U.S. empire is to be viable. The dissolution of the empire will necessarily have to include some kind of settlement to America’s historic racial divide. Many minorities have gotten used to looking to the federal government as the protector of civil rights, and they’re not going to give that up without compensation. Yet, minority support is essential to dissolving the empire, giving their prominence among the ranks of the lower socio-economic levels that would out of necessity be a primary class basis of an anti-empire movement. This is why I’m inclined towards the proposals outlined by the Americans for Self-Determination:

https://attackthesystem.com/americans-for-self-determination/

The gist of the ASD Plan is that reparations would be used for the cultivation and economic development of politically autonomous black states in exchange for the abolition of compensatory preferences like affirmative action and restoration of the right of private discrimination along ethnic or racial lines.  I would add to this legal amnesty for the huge numbers of blacks currently being held in American penal institutions. The sum total of these ideas amounts to a position on race relations far more “liberal” than what most mainstream liberals and even many radical leftists advocate. Blacks gain political and cultural sovereignty, economic reparations and a chance for economic self-determination and self-sufficiency, and, I would add, legal amnesty. Meanwhile, the reverse discrimination of compensatory preferences would be eliminated and those whites who prefer a racially or ethnically homogenous environment for themselves would be able to obtain it.

Rest assured, conventional “liberals” and professional “anti-racists” will oppose such a plan. Their ambition is a totalitarian humanist multicultural state, not self-determination for peoples’. They are our enemies in a battle to the death.

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.

Why Pan-Secessionism? 4

Most Americans agree that the political system in the United States is incompetent, corrupt and not likely to be reformed in any meaningful way. More and more Americans are getting fed up with the Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum so-called “electoral process”. The problem is that while Americans frequently agree that “the system” is no good, there is virtually no agreement as to what should be done about it or what an alternative system might be. Enter the idea of pan-secessionism.

Secession, of course, involves the idea of regions or localities separating themselves from larger political units, such as the secession of the thirteen American colonies from the British empire in 1776, the secession of the Confederate states from the Union in 1861, the secession of Norway from Sweden in the early twentieth century, or the secession of the various Warsaw Pact nations or Soviet republics from the Soviet empire in the late 1980s.

As the American economy continues to decline due to America’s massive trade deficits, falling currency, rising fuel costs, unemployment, fiscal extravagance, military overstretch, mass immigration, rising health care and housing costs, American society and American politics will become increasingly polarized along the lines of social class, as is the case in many Latin American or Middle Eastern nations, and as was the case in Europe prior to the mid-20th century.

Americans are divided among themselves along cultural, regional, religious, racial, ethnic and political lines. Yet most Americans agree that the system as it stands is no good. And all Americans have a stake in resisting the corporate oligarchy that presently runs the system.  Pan-secessionism provides a way for all Americans to unite against the common enemy (“the system”) and manage their differences at the same time. Simply put, we should all work together to attack our common enemy, and then go our separate ways.

Pan-secessionism provides the framework whereby social conservatives and counterculturalists, religious fundamentalists and feminists or gays, blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, conservatives and liberals, anarchists and socialists, communists and fascists, libertarians and communitarians, family values advocates and proponents of alternative lifestyles, yuppies and punk rockers, homeschoolers and drug users, militiamen and gangbangers, skinheads and illegal immigrants, vegetarians and pro-lifers can all achieve self-determination for themselves within the context of communities specifically designed to meet their own cultural or philosophical standards or desires. The “system” uses these differences as a means of dividing and conquering all of us who are under their boot. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once remarked, “If we can’t get along, then we need to separate.”

Already there are over three dozen secessionist organizations in North America. Imagine if they all grew to where they had thousands of members and then tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then entire towns, counties, cities, metro areas, states and regions started declaring their independence from Washington, D.C., and began creating their own intentional communities and intentional states with their own schools, health care systems, businesses, labor organizations, social services, cultural organizations, protection services, courts and militias. Dissenting political forces have done just this in many other countries, and we can do it in America as well. So let’s get to it.

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!