Updated News Digest August 30, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Papers When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quote of the Week:

“Most of the official left has retreated into the loving arms of Whole Foods culture and the self loathing feel-goodism of identity politics.”

                                                                                                              -Dylan Hales

“It may be that the Old Right will come into its inheritance at last 20 or 30 years from now, in one of the little fragment nations that will emerge when corruption, fiscal incompetence, demographic idiocy, educational romanticism, willful scientific ignorance, ethnic warfare, and missionary imperialism have finally destroyed the United States of America.”

                                                                                                   -John Derbyshire

Mother, Should I Trust the Government? by Kevin Carson

We Don’t Want to Rule the World by Mark Weisbrot

Seventy Years Ago: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by Robert Higgs

War Coverage and the Obama Cult by Justin Raimondo

In Bush’s Footsteps by Jeff Huber

Renditioning Under Obama by Anthony Gregory

What Every American Should Know About the Inspector General Torture Report by Glenn Greenwald

For an Antiwar Movement from the Right by Patrick Krey

From Citizen to Serf in 200 Years by Paul Craig Roberts

The Politics of Guilt by Paul Gottfried

Follow the Money-Toward Community Independence by Keith Humphrey

Secret Prisons and Executive Sovereignty by Bernard Keenan

Obama to Expand War in Colombia by Moira Birss

The Coming Media Bailout by Justin Raimondo

We’re All Socialists Now by Jack Hunter

The Hawaiian Independence Movement Gains Momentum by Tony Sachs

Democracy: The God That Failed by Pat Buchanan

Beautiful Losers: Review of Paul Gottfried’s Encounters by John Derbyshire

Democracy Is Not Liberty from No Third Solution

U.S. Prison Mania: Enough Is Enough by Robert Foss

New England Republicans and Southern Democrats by Razib Khan

Rapists On Patrol from Rad Geek

Barack Hussein Obama in Wonderland by Ilana Mercer

How to Bring Peace to Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

The City That Ended Hunger by Francois Tremblay

Hitler Was a Vegetarian by Robert Stacy McCain

Pluralist Libertarianism’s Far Left Counterpart by Mupetblast

A Patriotic Conservative by Jack Hunter

Occupy, Resist, Produce! by Francois Tremblay

Christoper Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution by Jared Taylor

The Electronic Police State by Tom Burghardt

Fidel Castro Enabler by Humberto Fontova

Back Door Gun Control by John Silveira

Do It Yourself Cigarettes by Steve Szkotak

Critical Analysis of the Left: Let’s Clean House by Joaquin Cienfuegos

Four New Books on Conservatism by Filmer

Israel: A Stalemated Action of History by Gabriel Kolko

Whatever Happened to the Antiwar Movement? by Byron York

Obama and the Black Elite by Patricia J. Williams

Remembering Ruby Ridge

Another One Bites the Dust Rot in Hell, Teddy Kennedy by Dylan Hales

Liberals for the Draft? WTF? by Richard Spencer

A Future of Poverty and Upheaval by Chris Martin

Environmentalists for Another Great Depression by John R. Wennersten

Charles Murray: Pro-Torture Libertarian In His Own Words

Aldous Huxley and C.S. Lewis: Two Great Men Who Died on the Same Day as JFK by Lew Rockwell

The Silence of the Antiwar Movement by John V. Walsh

What the Inspector General Found by Joanne Mariner

Eric Holder Rejects Nuremberg Principle by Thomas Eddlem

Afghanistan Apocalypse by Robert Dreyfuss

Closing in on the Torturers by Ray McGovern

A Terrible Blogger is Back! by Ray Mangum

Proudhon on Man’s Labor Being Dependent on Society by Francois Tremblay

Bailouts, Bullshit and Blackmail: How Banks Profit in the 21st Century from No Third Solution

Proudhon on the Labor Theory of Value from Francois Tremblay

Creep: The Trouble with Ted by Jack Hunter

The Mythical Antiwar Movement  by Dylan Hales

More on Internment Camps by Chuck Baldwin

Hate Crime Hysteria Equals Hate Speech Totalitarianism from Washington Watcher

If Americans Knew…What Every American Needs to Know About Israel/Palestine (hat tip to Chris Donnellan)

Teddy Kennedy: The Hollow Champion by Alexander Cockburn

Vague Senate Bill Would Grant President Emergency Control of Internet from Weaver

Decentralization for Freedom by Donald W. Livingstone

Advancements in Drug Decriminalization by David Kramer

How Jewish is Hollywood? by David Kramer

PIG to Protestors: “It Ain’t America No More, OK?” 

The Useless PIGS by Ryan McMaken

Put Dick Cheney in the Dock Ray McGovern interviewed by Scott Horton

Can Libertarians Lead the Antiwar Movement? James Ostrowski interviewed by Scott Horton

Thugs of Fortune by Jeff Huber

Making Afghanistan Safe for Democracy by Anthony Gregory

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Russian Anarchists and the Civil War by Paul Avrich

Life in Revolutionary Barcelona by Manolo Gonzalez

On Representative Government and Universal Suffrage by Mikhail Bakunin

Military Anarchism and the Reality in Spain by Frederica Montseny

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Why Conservatism is a Failure 3

by Keith Preston

Review of Critchlow, Donald T. The Conservative Ascendency: How the GOP Right Made Political History. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, 2007.

 

            Donald Critchlow traces the history of modern American conservatism from its inception in the 1950s as an intellectual synthesis of the American classical liberal tradition, emphasizing individualism and free enterprise, and older European traditions expressing skepticism of liberal modernity. This intellectual framework found its expression in a fiercely anti-Communist outlook that resulted in the abandonment of the traditional foreign policy isolationism of the American Right in favor of Cold War militarism. Regarding domestic policy, these new conservatives sought to roll back the welfare state apparatus that emerged from the New Deal. Conservative leaders and activists sold their ideology and program to the public at large with an emphasis on patriotism, hawkish foreign policy views, social conservatism and traditional values.

 

            According to Critchlow, the conservatives were nearly relegated to

irrelevance on the American political scene on several occasions only to make a surprising comeback at a later point. The key events Critchlow points to are the defeat of Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964, the

perceived betrayal of conservatives by President Nixon and the subsequent

scandals surrounding his administration, and the revitalization of the Democratic Party symbolized by the election of President Clinton in 1992. In each of these situations, Critchlow argues, conservatives seemed to be “down for the count” only to reemerge at a future point in defiance of the predictions of analysts and pundits.  Following the Goldwater defeat, conservatives were able to rebound by exploiting the emerging cultural divide concerning matters of patriotism, race, gender, sex, culture, and religion that continues to figure prominently in American politics at present. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” (a term not mentioned by Critchlow) was successful in breaking the Democrats’ hold on the South and allowing the Republicans to take the White House in 1968.

 

            Once in office, Nixon was a disappointment to conservatives, not only failing to roll back but actually expanding and further institutionalizing the

welfare state initiatives of the Great Society. His realist foreign policy, loss of the Vietnam War and thawing of relations with China also contrasted with the

ferocious anti-Communism of the American Right. The Watergate related

scandals left the GOP in shambles and allowed the Democrats to make a

comeback with the election of President Carter in 1976. One of the more

interesting aspects of Critchlow’s thesis is his argument that Ronald Reagan’s

failure to obtain the Republican nomination in ’76 actually saved his political

 career, his presidential ambitions and the conservative movement along with

them. If yet another conservative hero like Reagan had suffered defeat in the same manner as Goldwater twelve years earlier, conservatism might well have come to be regarded as lacking viability as a movement capable of achieving electoral success.

 

            Though Reagan remained personally popular with conservatives, the

performance of his administration was a disappointment and his successor George H. W. Bush was an even greater disappointment. After the Democrats were able to obtain control of both the Presidency and both houses of Congress in 1992, the conservative Republicans made a striking comeback in with sweeping congressional victories in 1994, the subsequent election of George W. Bush for two terms at the onset of the twenty-first century and the capturing of the White House and Congress by the Republicans in 2000. Critchlow points out that conservatism in power has been strikingly different from the vision of the movement’s founders in the 1950s noting, for example, the utter failure of conservatives to significantly curtail the welfare state or “big government”.

 

            This latter issue partially illustrates a gaping hole in Critchlow’s analysis. So far as his contingency theory goes, he makes his case fairly well. The right-wing Republicans have no doubt been given a number of political and electoral gifts over the years due to changes in American society of the kinds manifested as the so-called “culture wars” and, perhaps no less significantly, the persistent bumbling of their opponents, such as the inept administrations of Presidents Johnson or Carter and the often directionless, seemingly stumbling inertia of the stale and moribund Democratic Party and the wider American Left. However, Critchlow’s work is just as significant for what it leaves out as what it actually discusses.

 

            The key to understanding modern American conservatism can be found in a statement on the final page of Critchlow’s book: “The GOP Right took advantage of a population shift to the Sunbelt states and the desertion of whites from the Democratic Party.” (p. 286) The question is why did this population shift occur in the first place and how is it relevant to the “conservative ascendancy”? The growth of the Sunbelt population emerged in direct correlation to the growth of the military-industrial complex during World War Two and the early Cold War period. The growth of industry and manufacturing in these regions was directly related to military production and this massive expansion of armaments and other war related industries created a high wage blue collar sector and an expanded white collar sector that became the foundation of suburban population growth and the accompanying conservative social and political values of the emerging Sunbelt.

 

            The military industries headquartered in the Sunbelt subsequently initiated a challenge to the traditional hegemony of the “northeastern establishment”, long the center of America’s traditional ruling class. Towards this end, the arms manufacturers made common cause with other “old money” elites, such as Texas oil and the Mellon banking dynasty. Critchlow drops hints that these forces were indeed the real power behind postwar American conservatism. For instance, the role of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s National Review in providing the intellectual leadership of the conservative movement is discussed. Critchlow fails to mention that Buckley’s magazine operated at a loss for years after its inception and was underwritten by his family’s oil wealth and other donors. Critchlow also discusses the role of “philanthropies such as the Scaife Fund, the John M. Olin Foundation, and the Bradley Foundation” and “wealthy conservative benefactors such as Joseph Coors” (p. 105), along with “think tanks” such as the American Enterprise Institute whose president, A.D. Marshall, was also CEO of General Electric.(p.119) There was never any company that had closer ties to the military-industrial complex than General Electric. Critchlow mentions the Heritage Foundation, which was financed by the “Mellon heir Richard Scaife”. (p. 122)

 

            Critchlow’s work is rather narrowly focused. He concentrates merely on the operation of the political machinery by the conservative movement’s activists and politicians and the writings and publications of the movement’s intellectuals and theoreticians (some might say propagandists). Had Critchlow examined further the broader economic, class, military and foreign policy forces behind postwar conservatism he might have been in a better position to assess the movement’s failures and successes. Conservatism has succeeded in achieving only one of its stated goals and that is the permanent escalation of the military budget and the permanent expansion of America’s foreign military presence. On every other issue claimed by this brand of conservatism (a misnomer?), the level of failure is overwhelming. Rolling back the welfare state? “Big government” is now bigger and more expansive than ever. Fiscal restraint? The US public debt is larger than ever to the point where America is the world’s leading debtor. Social conservatism and traditional values? America is arguably a more culturally liberal society today than ever before. Indeed, given the phenomenal success of the “conservatives” in expanding military spending and military interventionism and their phenomenal failure on everything else, one might be tempted to look at the movement’s benefactors and true beneficiaries and argue that the former was the only issue that really mattered all along, and that the grassroots economic, fiscal, social, cultural, religious and patriotic conservatives who comprised the activist base and key voting blocks were, to use an ironic Leninist term, nothing more than “useful idiots”.

Decentralizing the Decentralist Movement 5

For three years in a row, between 2006 and 2008, a North American secessionist convention was held where delegates from actual secessionist organizations and interested observers gathered to discuss the possibility of decentralizing the United States into smaller political units. Thus far, it does not appear there will be another convention for 2009. I suspect this is for the better. I only attended the third such convention, but to my knowledge there was no growth in attendance or media coverage of these events over the three years they took place.

In spite of the fact that the secessionist movement in North America seems to have peaked for the time being, there has been a subsequent growth in so-called “state sovereignty” resolutions, i.e, legislation passed or at least introduced in state governmental bodies upholding the federalist principles of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A majority of the fifty states have either considered or enacted such resolutions. The highlight of this movement was Texas Governor Rick Perry’s no doubt insincere comments expressing sympathy for secession.

For the most part, these state sovereignty resolutions are simply matters of partisan political grandstanding initiated by members of the opposition Republican Party in order to embarrass or antagonize the Obama regime. I used to hear a lot about the Tenth Amendment the last time the Republicans were out of power, during the Clinton era, and it was often said in those days that Republican politicians carry copies of the Tenth Amendment in their back pockets but carry capitalist whore money in their front pockets.

During the era of the Bush the Younger, the roles reversed a bit, and it was not uncommon to see individual localities and a few states with liberal leanings issue resolutions denouncing the Iraq War or the Patriot Act. About 300 local governmental bodies did so. Now that the Democrats are back, the tides have turned once again. Only a handful of these recently issued state sovereignty resolutions include any genuinely radical provisions or even hint at secession.

Nevertheless, these resolutions may provide a rhetorical tool that genuine radicals can exploit. But a change in tactics will be necessary for the decentralist movement. Thus far, efforts to promote such actions as secession have involved holding continent-wide conferences attended by only a few dozen people, who in turn represent very small organizations or movements. However, these self-appointed secessionist organizations often claim to speak for entire regions containing millions, tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of people. This would seem to be a case of putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Of course, this is not to say that the secessionist movement thus far has achieved nothing. Past efforts have brought a certain amount of publicity, and the Zogby poll commissioned by the Middlebury Institute indicates the raw materials do indeed exist for the development of a large scale secessionist effort at some point in the future. Yet, to continue to move such efforts along, it needs to be understood that before we can run, we have to crawl.

It is highly unlikely that secession by individual states or regions of any size will be viable for the forseeable future. For instance, the League of the South is the largest single secessionist organization with membership in the thousands. The southern nationalists do indeed raise legitimate and serious issues concerning the hysterical prejudice often displayed by liberal elites against white working class Southerners, and their history, culture, religion, language and so forth. Yet, it is also true that sympathy for what used to be known as the “Lost Cause” (i.e., the Confederate secession) is at an all time low among Southerners. This is because quite a few people can be found in the South today who have no historical connections to the Confederate era, e.g., transplanted Northerners and their offspring, European immigrants and their offspring, more recent immigrants from Latin America, and, of course, a large African-American population that is alienated from Confederate heritage for obvious reasons, and many liberal, cosmopolitan, urban whites who resent the South’s conservative image. In other words, the prospect for a unified secession by the former Confederate states under the Stars and Bars is just about zero.

This is not to say that instances of a full-blown, secessionist fervor by certain states are not possible. It is imaginable that Texas and Vermont, both of which were once independent nations, could actually secede at some point. The same could be said concerning Alaska and Hawaii, neither of which are connected to the American mainland and both of which have their own indigenous cultures that have been subject to colonial subjugation by the United States. The indigenous people of the American mainland itself are another possibility for secession.

For the most part, however, it is far too soon in the game to begin thinking of secession by entire regions, such as Cascadia, New England, Novocadia, the former Confederate States, or California. Instead, it is better to begin with something a little less grandiose, and start agitating for secession by towns, cities, neighborhoods, counties or communities. This is not to say that we should not have a long-term vision. In my view, the only way we will win in the long run is if we have numbers on our side. For instance, the majority of the population of the United States will need to either recognize the right of secession or not actively oppose it. Right now, the numbers are only at about twenty percent. Also, it is likely we will need for there to be a secession by at least a majority of the territory of the United States, and at least the majority of the residents of the seceded territories will need to hold pro-secessionist sympathies. This does not mean than an individual secessionist tendency cannot be very small. For instance, a single county or small town. But such a secession will need to be part of a much larger pan-secessionist alliance, or at least under the umbrella of such an alliance. Otherwise, the secessionists will end up like the Branch Davidians.

It would seem that the best course of action at present would be to begin promoting the decentralist idea in local communities. This gives us a great deal of leeway in terms of how to proceed. For instance, we can simply stick with the idea of secession or independence as an end unto itself and do so in a non-ideological manner, or we can advocate secession for a broader ideological purpose. If one wishes to pursue the former approach, then our local propaganda should simply emphasize the common benefits of independence: “Wouldn’t it be better if our tax dollars stayed in our community without going to the parasites in Washington?”; “Did you know that our locality gets less in services than what we pay in taxes?”; “Wouldn’t it be better if we could simply make our own laws here in our community rather than suffer the dictates of the feds or the state capital?”; “Look at Liechtenstein! If they can do it, why can’t we?”.

The other approach would be to agitate for a more specific ideological program, the way that the Free Staters are doing in New Hampshire, or the Christian Exodus has attempted in South Carolina and elsewhere. If this approach is what one prefers, then it is essential to pick an actual locality where the local culture is conducive to one’s wider agenda. There are also options as to how radical one wants to make one’s secessionist platform. In certain communities, it may at present be a bit of an overload to advocate full-blown secession from the United States itself, even if that is the overall goal. Instead, it might be better to advocate secession by regions (for instance, turning northern California into a separate state within the U.S.), or by cities (turning New York City into the 51st state), or by municipality (turning Long Island into an independent city from NYC). This more moderate approach does not mean that we cannot maintain the dissolution of the present state-capitalist regime as an ultimate goal, and there may be at present certain regions or localities where agitation for full-blown secession from the U.S. is the proper route.

At this point in the game, the cultivation of effective propaganda is obviously a primary task. Hans Hermann Hoppe has remarked that answering the question of “How to Win?” means asking the question of “How to win the sympathy of the youth?”  The reasons for this should be obvious enough. If and when the pan-secessionist movement becomes a mass movement, those who are currently older will most likely be deceased. Youth are the future. So our propaganda should primarily be directed at younger audiences. Also, it is the younger people who have demonstrated the greatest proclivity towards secessionist sympathies, and who have the weakest degree of sympathy for the present regime. For instance, the writer Tom Wolfe once remarked that the incidents of September 11, 2001 did little to inspire long-term patriotic sentiments among young Americans, as much as it was just another event they saw on television. Likewise, it has been said that while the older members of the current “post-paleo” movement who came out of the Ron Paul campaign adhere to older paleoconservative ideas, many of the younger members adhere to more radical libertarian, anarchist or anarcho-capitalist positions. And we have seen the rapid growth of national-anarchism in North America in recent times as well.

Our propaganda campaigns should include three indispensable elements. First, the principle of “peace through separatism” should be upheld to the letter. It makes little sense to advocate secession only by those sharing a uniform ideological stance if one of our objectives to maintain and respect genuine cultural diversity and if achieving civil and political peace is one of the reasons for separatism. Second, the “good riddance” argument must be emphasized. We should say to conservatives: “Don’t you want to be rid of all those godless atheists, ungrateful minorities, bitchy feminists, perverted homosexual deviants, tree-hugging eco-freaks, gun-grabbers and smelly, drug-addled, tofu-munching, lice-infested hippies?”. Likewise, we should say to liberals: “Don’t you want to be rid of all those Bible-banging, flag-waving, share-cropping, inbred, gun nut, gay-bashing, fetus-hugging, cross-burning, goose-stepping, trailer trash?” In other words, we should exploit and capitalize on the hatred that the dominant factions of the mainstream “culture wars” have for one another. Lastly, we should ignore the forces of political correctness when they attack, as they inevitably will. There should be no capitulation, accommodation, apology, rebuttal, attempted clarification, recognition or respect given to the forces of PC. To give an inch of ground is to play into the hands of the enemy. PC is not only the ideological superstructure of the ruling class, but its primary rhetorical and propaganda weapon. We should disarm our enemies by openly defying them.

I have in the past mentioned the possibility of infiltration into larger organizations by those holding pan-secessionist and related sympathies. For instance, the minor political parties, local units of the major parties, and single-issue pressure groups. Mr. Larry Kilgore, a conservative Christian activist, ran for the Senate in the Republican primary for Texas on an explicitly secessionist platform and won 225, 000 votes. That’s quite an achievement. I would suggest the use of local symbolic electoral campaigns as a propaganda tool. The goal would not so much be to win as much as to publicize the separatist cause. Let’s say that in a few years a wide network emerges of young people running for mayor, city council, or state representative positions in local elections, and doing so explicitly as anarchists, national-anarchists, pluralists, tribalists, decentralists and avowed secessionists. The uniqueness of such an action, e.g., a large number of such campaigns occurring simultaneously and the radical nature of the ideas of the campaigners, will likely be enough by itself to generate a fair amount of media attention. Likewise, a wider participation in ordinary, mainstream community activities and community activism by those holding such views, for example, “adopt-a-highway” campaigns, volunteering for shelters and homeless feeding programs, setting up neighborhood watch and copwatch programs, will naturally enhance our credibility. In the process of building up the classical Spanish anarchist movement prior to the Civil War, it was not uncommon for some villages and towns to have anarchist mayors, and anarchists were among the ranks of prominent community leaders, and not just fringe figures as they are today. So we have a historical model to draw on. It need only to be adapted to contemporary circumstances.

R

Updated News Digest August 23, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Paper When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!!

Quote of the Week:

“A brilliant developer in Southern California did a market survey, and he found that in the area where he had the property, so he had to do the development, conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats were almost evenly divided, so, and he had one gated community he had to build, so on the left side he built houses that suited conservative Republicans, and on the right side he built places where you could have yoga and meditation and everything (laughter) that suited liberal Democrats, and he actually sold it out immediately, divided exactly as he had predicted, from his market surveys.”

                                                                                                   -Bill Clinton

“Counter-Culture hung up the Out of Business sign sometime in the Nineties, finished off by identity politics and general self-satisfaction.”

                                                                                                 -Alexander Cockburn

Does Decentralization Lead to Social Regression? by Ethel Leona Futo

Decentralism for the Masses: The Big Sort and What It Reveals About Localism and Voluntary Segregation by Ethel Leona Futo

Anarcho-Micronationalism and Race-Realism by Ethel Leona Futo

The National Health Service: A Libertarian Perspective by Sean Gabb

“Right-Wing Militancy” Explained by Ian Huyett

Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs by Paul Craig Roberts

Debt Revolt? Tax Strike? There Are a Lot of Angry People Out There by Marshall Auerback

Watch Out for the Thought Police by Philip Giraldi

How About a Nationwide Worker and Consumer Strike? by Larry Flynt

How Many Enemies and How Much Military Spending? by Doug Bandow

George Jackson, Black Revolutionary by Walter Rodney

The Economics of World Government Hans Hermann Hoppe interviewed by Lew Rockwell

A Color-Coded Con Job by Michael Scheuer

The “Safe Haven” Myth by Stephen Walt

Lesson of Vietnam Lost in Afghanistan by Stanley Kutler

What If They Gave a War and Nobody Knew Why? by Ted Rall

Troy Southgate’s Tradition and Revolution Reviewed by D.E. Hobson

An Interview with Andrew Yeoman of BANA from The Occidental Quarterly Online

A Smart Solution to the Diversity Dilemma by Jason Richwine

Sovereignty or Secession? by Darrel Mulloy

Why Some White People Are Stating the Obvious by Carol Swain

Why Gay Marriage is a Non-Issue by Joshua Livestro

The Creator of The Wire on the Drug War by Stephan Kinsella

Racial Partition of the United States  by Michael Hart (hat tip to TGGP and Arnold)

Slavery and the State: The Arguments for One Are the Same as the Arguments for the Other by Robert Higgs

Shoplifting: Crime, Vice or Ethical Act? by Francois Tremblay

Secession: Five Years Later by Bill Buppert

War? What War? by Justin Raimondo

Right-Wing Thugs and Corporate Reforms by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Third Position Healthcare by Taylor Somers

Profit: Not Just a Motive by Steve Horwitz

Look Out Kid, It’s Something You Did from Austro-Athenian Empire

Populist Right Rising in the Age of Obama by Pat Buchanan

Fourth Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial March and Rally on August 23

Tacoma Anarchist Prisoner Support from Infoshop.Org

U.S. Soldiers Will Deploy to Columbia by Stephen C. Webster

The Second American Revolution Has Begun from Second Vermont Republic

Why I Am Not a Libertarian  by Harrison Bergeron 2

The Specter of Debt Revolt is Haunting Europe by Michael Hudson

Block Obama’s Surrender to Drug and Insurance Companies by Ralph Nader

Zionist Pioneer Renounces Zionism by Helena Cobban

The Only Good Progressive by TGGP

Money=Debt=Slavery from Mindprogrammer

How to Get Rich by Gary North

History You Are Not Supposed to Know by Tom Woods

There’s Always a Good Time to Use a Taser by Karen DeCoster

Afghan Election 2009: Freedom, Fraud and Fornication by Justin Raimondo

“Felonious Assault” With a Pizza Slice by William Norman Grigg

Look Who’s Not Talking by Jeff Huber

Shoot Them, You Win. Shoot You, You Lose. by Wilton Alston

Soldiers Who Just Say No by Jon Letman

PIGS Attack Man Sitting on His Own Porch by William Norman Grigg

A Primer for the Neo-Patriots by Kelley B. Vlahos

Questions on the Eve of the Afghan Election by Michael Scheuer

The Failed U.S. Drug War in Latin America by Jeremy Kuzmarov

Hyperinflation? Seriously? Robert Murphy interviewed by Richard Spencer

Inflation and the Fall of the Roman Empire by Joseph Peden

U.S. Denounces Iran, Runs Fake Elections in Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

Bank Holidays and Worse to Come by Achal Mehra

Out Now! That’s What the Iraqis Are Saying by Justin Raimondo

The American Police State by Fred Reed

Vietnam: Still an Unjust War by Laurence Vance

The Worst President in U.S. History by Douglas Casey

Bases of Empire by Paul J. Nyden

Armed Response by Brian Kendall

State Department: “Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!” by Robert Dreyfuss

Guess What? He’s a Terrible President by David Michael Green

Parents, Don’t Send Your Kids to College by Gary North

Mali’s Gift Economy by Beverly Bell

How War Killed the Constitution Tom Woods interviewed by Scott Horton

Little Miss PC Southern Belle by Karen DeCoster

The War on Obesity as the Latest Manifestation of the Therapeutic State by Anthony Gregory

Doctors Who Make House Calls by Parija B. Kavilanz

The Great Writ Habeus Corpus Anthony Gregory interviewed Scott Horton

The “Intellectual Property” Racket Stephan Kinsella interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Cruel American Raj Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

A Four-Step Healthcare Solution by Hans Hermann Hoppe

The Afghan Pipe Dream by Pete Escobar

Blackwater: CIA Assassins by Jeremy Scahill

The Profiteers of the Military-Industrial Complex by Sherwood Ross

Israel is Just Not as Powerful as You May Think by Ira Chernus

Cover Up: A Film’s Travesty of Omissions by John Pilger

Man Jailed for Three Months for Breath Mint Possession by Radley Balko

Guantanamo’s More Evil Twin? by Andrew Wander

Whites Are People, Too by Jack Hunter

I Am Finally Scared of a White House Administration by Nat Hentoff

Reality is its Own Caricature for U.S. in Afghanistan and Pakistan by William Pfaff

The Right-Wing’s Prince of Gonzo by Alexander Cockburn

Sarah and the Death Panels by Pat Buchanan

Squatters Take Root in U.S. Forests by Dennis Wagner

Why I Love Shoplifting from Big Corporations  by Anonymous

Leonard Peltier Denied Parole 

The Truth About the Afghan Election  by Patrick Cockburn

Rapper Gets Two Years in Prison for Anti-Cop Song by Jeff Douglas

The Conscience of an Anarchist Gary Chartier interviewed by Little Alex

Obama’s Alliance with Big Pharma Greg Palast interviewed by Scott Horton

“Thousands of Southern Women Were Raped” by Thomas DiLorenzo

Today’s Exploited Minorities by Pierre Lemieux

B’Nai Brith Diligently Disproves Stereotype About Jews by Ezra Levant

Conservatives Tithe Their Children to the State by Gary North

A Post-Modern Middle Ages by Parag Khanna

Lying Evangelical Christian in the Legal Racket by William Anderson

More Feminazi Crap

A Critique of Russell Kirk’s “Libertarians: The Chirping Sectaries” by Gennady Stolyarov II

 

 

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Panarchy by Max Nettlau

The Anarchist Revolution by Errico Malatesta

To Tramps, the Unemployed, the Disinherited and Miserable by Lucy Parsons

Sentencing Statements by Niccolo Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

Gandhi: Politics, Economics and the Backlash 2

by Keith Preston

I. Gandhi as Spiritual Godfather of the Indian Independence Movement

II. Critics of Gandhi and the Conservative Hindu Backlash

 

Early Life and the Beginnings of Gandhi’s Radicalism        

 

 

           Mohandas K. Gandhi originated from India’s business caste and grew up amidst Vaishnovite and Jain influences. From youth onward, he was a devout vegetarian and even belonged to an association for vegetarians during his time studying law in London. Gandhi began his adult life as an Anglophile, once referring to Great Britain as “the land of poets and philosophers”. His radicalization began when he went to practice law in South Africa and experienced the discrimination against the Indian community to be found there. He became active in the struggle for Indian civil rights, initially arguing that because Indians were British subjects, they were entitled to the “full rights of Englishmen” recognized by British law. After beginning his struggle in South Africa, he moved his efforts to India itself and began organizing poor farmers and workers against oppressive taxation and discrimination. Following the massacre at Punjab, Gandhi came to believe that Indians would require full independence from Great Britain in order to be assured of their human rights. Over time he would completely abandon his initially favorable view of the West, eventually remarking that Western civilization “would be a good idea”, implying that he regarded Westerners as barbarians.

 

 

Satyagraha and the Philosophy of Non-Violence

 

          Gandhi’s views on non-violence are widely misunderstood, particularly among Westerners. The evidence refutes the ideas that Gandhi was a conventional pacifist, as pacifism is commonly understood. Indeed, Gandhi was highly critical of efforts by the British to deprive Indians of “the right to bear arms”.  His support for the British war effort in World War One was justified in part by his desire to see the right of Indians to possess arms restored. As he stated in his autobiography:

 

“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the arms act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to the government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.” (Mohandas K. Gandhi, An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Beacon Press, Boston, 1957, pp. 446-447)

 

Gandhi supported both the Boer War and the First World War and urged other Indians to do so arguing that support for British war efforts would demonstrate their loyalty as British subjects and motivate the British to recognize the civil rights of Indians. By the time of the Second World War, Gandhi had altered his position, arguing that Indians had no obligation to support a British regime that denied them their freedom and independence. Gandhi’s views on non-violence were a matter of strategy as much as principle or morality. He regarded violent resistance to oppression as preferable to doing nothing at all although he also regarded non-violent resistance as superior to violence. Gandhi also expressed concern that non-violence might be used by some as a mask for cowardice. He once noted:

 

‘I do believe,’ he wrote, ‘that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.'” (Joan Valerie Bondurant, Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, Princeton University Press, 1988, p. 28)

 

“At every meeting I repeated the warning that unless they felt that in non-violence they had come into possession of a force infinitely superior to the one they had and in the use of which they were adept, they should have nothing to do with non-violence and resume the arms they possessed before. It must never be said of the Khudai Khidmatgars that once so brave, they had become or been made cowards under Badshah Khan‘s influence. Their bravery consisted not in being good marksmen but in defying death and being ever ready to bear their breasts to the bullets.” (Bondurant, p.139)

 

Much of Gandhi’s reasoning behind his adoption of non-violence is likely traceably to two core ideas. First, the British Empire was in its twilight years and in a state of decline. Gandhi may well have recognized that eventually the British would no longer be able to afford to maintain India as a dependent colony and would have to grant her independence. Meanwhile, violence by the Indians would have only a provocative effect, strengthening the resolve of Britain to keep her rebellious colony in line. Secondly, the use of non-violence carried much weight in the court of world opinion. The sight of peaceful, non-violent Indian protestors being attacked by British soldiers and policemen could only serve to increase sympathy for the Indian cause on the international level. Violence might well alienate world opinion and the Indians might be condemned as terrorists whom the British were justified in repressing. A contemporary military historian, Martin Van Creveld, explains the immense propaganda value of creating the popular perception of operating from a position of weakness against an overwhelming and brutal enemy:

 

“In private life, an adult who keeps beating down on a five year old – even

such a one as originally attacked him with a knife – will be perceived as committing a crime; therefore he will lose the support of bystanders and end up by being arrested, tried and convicted. In international life, an armed force that keeps beating down on a weaker opponent will be seen as committing a series of crimes; therefore it will end up by losing the support of its allies, its own people, and its own troops. Depending on the quality of the forces – whether they are draftees or professionals, the effectiveness of the propaganda machine, the nature of the political process, and so on – things may happen quickly or take a long time to mature. However, the outcome is always the same. He (or she) who does not understand this does not understand anything about war; or, indeed, human nature.”

“In other words, he who fights against the weak – and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed – and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however, advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last US troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters’ skids.” (Martin Van Creveld, “Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did”, http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crevald1.html)

 

An important criticism sometimes leveled at Gandhi involves the matter of his passive approach to the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Gandhi stated that it would have been preferable for the Jews to commit mass suicide rather than to allow the Germans to exterminate them en masse.

        

“The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They

should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” (“The Gandhi

Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,”

March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New

York, NY.])

 

To Westerners, particularly Jews, such a statement no doubt seems inordinately extreme, an example of pacifism reductio ad absurdum. However, such a sentiment might be best understood within the context of Asian rather than Western culture. In some Asian traditions, the notion of suicide being preferable to defeat is commonly accepted. A prime example of this, of course, is the classical Japanese tradition of hari-kari. Even Japanese civilians would sometimes take their own lives rather than allow themselves to fall into the hands of their American enemies during WW2. In other words, these Japanese actually practiced what Gandhi suggested European Jews should do in the face of relentless persecution and eventual extermination by the Nazis. Indeed, it was the Tamil Tigers of India who first popularized the notion of the suicide bomber in the contemporary world. So perhaps Gandhi’s views on this question are better understood within the context of the “honor before life” value systems to be found within some other Asian traditions (Bushido, for example). Perhaps Islamic concepts of martyrdom also influenced Gandhi’s thinking in this area.

 

Defending the Oppressed

         

Gandhi’s efforts on behalf of the downtrodden sectors of Indian society are well-known. Throughout his lengthy career as a public figure, Gandhi undertook numerous campaigns to improve the position of workers, farmers, the untouchables and the lower castes, women, racial and religious minorities and others under attack by the status quo. One of his earliest efforts of this type was to organize serfs, landless peasants and small landowners in Champaran (in the Indian state of Bahir) against the landlords and British military forces that required them grow indigo (a profitable export crop for the British) rather than crops more suitable for their own immediate sustenance and survival. A constant theme of Gandhi’s ongoing crusades was his persistent emphasis on the importance of hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness. Some of his statements on this matter now seem quaint or archaic to the modern mind, but it was an issue of vital importance in pre-independence India, as poor hygiene and sanitation practices were a major public health problem.

 

When considering Gandhi’s work on behalf of the oppressed, it is important to remember that he would not have qualified as a “liberal”, either by contemporary standards or even by the Western standards of his time. For instance, Gandhi was always resolutely opposed to contraception, viewing it as an attack on the sanctity of life and he once debated the matter with the American feminist and pioneer advocate of birth control, Margaret Sanger.(“Mrs. Sanger’s Version”, by Margaret Sanger, in The Gandhi Reader, edited by Homer A. Jack, AMS Press, New York, 1956, p.306)  In this respect, Gandhi was no different from later religious humanitarians like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, but his thinking certainly went against progressive orthodoxy.

 

One of the areas of Indian life where Gandhi achieved his greatest success was in his efforts to curb some of the more extreme excesses concerning the treatment of the “untouchables” whom he renamed the “Harijan”, meaning “Children of God”. While his work in this area was obviously quite radical for its time, it is far from clear that Gandhi ever fully renounced the caste system itself. In many ways, he remained throughout his life a conservative-traditionalist Hindu, opposing the severities of caste discrimination but remaining committed to the varna system. His views on the role of the untouchables, or “Dalits” put him in conflict with the outspoken advocate of Dalits’ rights, Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Gandhi was much more traditional in his social outlook than Ambedkar, who supported birth control and criticized and attacked Hinduism as a religion of oppression, responsible for the inflicting the caste system on his people. He urged the Dalits to reject Hinduism and convert to Buddhism instead. Ambedkar also called for separate electorates for the Dalitsm which Gandhi opposed as divisive to the Indian people. Indeed, when the British granted separate electorates in the Communal Award of 1932, Gandhi went on a fast to expression opposition to the provision. Gandhi and Ambedkar eventually compromised with Ambedkar agreeing to drop the separate electorates in exchange for greater representation in the Congress Party for the Dalits and greater efforts by Hindu religious leaders to oppose caste discrimination.

 

Another area where Gandhi has come under criticism involves his views on racism and blacks. Following his return from South Africa, Gandhi said in a public speech:

Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness (from a speech delivered September 26, 1896, Collected Works Volume 2, p. 74)

 

This passage is widely cited as indication that Gandhi held racist attitudes towards the black peoples of Africa, Asia and North America. If this were indeed the case, he would not have been particularly usual in this regard. Even the most progressive European thinkers of that time held similar views of blacks. For example, Bertrand Russell, widely regarded as the most liberal intellectual of his era, stopped short of advocating the sterilization of blacks only because, he argued, they possessed greater capabilities for manual labor. Also, the passage cited above was from a speech delivered by Gandhi very early in his career as an activist. Over the next fifty years, his views seemed to evolve considerably. He remarked in a 1947 radio interview:

 

“Those who agree that racial inequality must be removed and yet do nothing to fight the evil are impotent. I cannot have anything to say to such people…If you think of the vast size of Africa, the distance and natural obstacles separating its various parts, the scattered condition of its people and the terrible divisions among them, the task might well appear to be hopeless. But there is a charm which can overcome all these handicaps.” (Interview on All-India Radio, October 23, 1947. Government of India Information Service, Washington, D.C., Bulletin No. 3531)

 

Later in his career, Gandhi also corresponded with black activists in the United States, offering advice on how to apply his tactics towards the black struggle in North America. (Harijan, March 14, 1936). He also frequently expressed disapproval of the treatment of American blacks to his American visitors. (Louis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, Part II, p. 425)

 

Political and Economic Views of Gandhi

          

The central idea behind Gandhi’s political outlook was his insistence on the complete independence of India, not only political but economically, culturally, spiritually and morally. He was highly critical not only of British rule over India but also of efforts by the British to impose Western concepts of law, economics, philosophy and the relationship between humanity and nature on the Indians. Gandhi is well-known for his advocacy of boycotting imported foreign goods, particularly British textiles, by the Indians and his urging of the Indian people to begin spinning their own cloth. Some of his motivation for taking this position was clearly strategic in nature. He wanted to hit the British where it would hurt the most: in the pocketbook. However, Gandhi had several other important reasons for this position as well. One was to build unity among the Indian people in their struggle for independence. He insisted that persons from all layers of Indian society, from Brahmins to Dalits, should engage in the spinning of cloth. Another purpose to be served by this activity was the uplifiting of women. However, central to Gandhi’s emphasis on economic self-sufficiency was his critique and rejection of Western economic and cultural notions with their emphasis on materialism, consumerism, technology, and industrialization. Gandhi even remarked on occasion, only half in jest, that “he actually wouldn’t mind if the British remained in India, to police it, conduct foreign policy, and such trivia, if it would only take away its factories and railways.”(“The Gandhi Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,” March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New York, NY.])

         

Gandhi said of the British: “Money is their god”. He believed that the British has been able to achieve and maintain imperial domination over India partially because the Indians had internalized and adopted much of the materialistic ethos of the British. Gandhi regarded Western capitalism as having a corrupting effect on the human spirit and Indian society as it elevated the satisfaction of never-ending material wants to the highest value. Therefore, the transformation of India would have to first be a moral transformation before there could be an economic or political transformation. Gandhi observed that the British justified their colonial rule over India by claiming to have achieved a superior civilization whose virtues they were bringing to the Indians. The Indians had allowed their own enslavement and its continuation by adopting the values of the British. Gandhi’s criticism’s of British imperialism in India rested on three central points:

 

1) The British were an economic drain on India through domination of its industries and control over its trade.

2) India had as much right to sovereignty and self-rule as did the British.

3) The cultural integrity of India and its traditions must be preserved against the cultural imperialism of the British.

 

Gandhi regarded the conflict with Britain to be rooted not in a battle between East and West but between the ancient world and traditional society against modern industrial civilization. Traditional society was, in his view, oriented towards religion and spirituality while modern civilization was oriented toward materialism and technology. The resulting technocratic age brought with it the dehumanization of man as its result. He considered modern democratic regimes to be organized on the basis of voting blocks pursuing their own narrow, material self-interest and cultivating a population that, in spite of its higher literacy rates, was immensely susceptible to false propaganda generated by the establishment press. Gandhi did praise modern civilization for its spirit of scientific inquiry, its improvements in the areas of health and medicine and it organizational abilities, but felt the achievements of modernity had been put to a perverted usage. (Gandhi’s Political Philosophy, by Bhikhu Parekh, University of Notre Dame Press, 1989, pp. 11-35).

          

Gandhi was also highly critical of modern conceptions of the state. He regarded the modern state as impersonal, amoral, demanding uniformity and hostile to differences among communities, castes and sects. The state, in Gandhi’s view, functioned as a type of abstraction that had grown so large that it took on a life of its own. Individual citizens and state functionaries alike were simply cogs in a machine or flies in a wheel over which they had no personal control. One highly detrimental result of this arrangement of politics was the complete loss of any sense of personal or moral responsibility. A bureaucrat or official involved in the administration of the inhuman bureaucracy of the state could absolve himself of responsibility for the human or moral consequences of his actions by deferring to a higher authority, the abstract personage of the state itself, towards whom his relationship was that of an obedient and dutiful servant and nothing. Therefore, tyranny in its modern form was not traceable to the singular actions of individual kings or autocrats, but to the collection of action of individuals acting as automatons, responding to pressure imposed upon them by their place in an amoral, impersonal state machine.

         

Gandhi himself created a model for the political organization of an independent India that he called “ordered anarchy”, system of self-governing and self-sufficient local communities managed by “panchayats” of five persons elected annually by all literate persons in the community from ages of 18 to 50. These self-managed villages would then be organized into “expanding circles” of “takulas”, districts, and provinces. Each of these would at each level be a federation of the lower units and function with great autonomy from the central government, whose only purpose would be to hold the local communities together. Gandhi was also highly critical of the penal institutions maintained by the state, and argued against forms of criminal justice whose sole purpose was the retributive punishment of offenders. Instead, he favored more humane forms of rehabilitation.  On economic matters, Gandhi was a staunch opponent of both capitalism and communism. He regarded both systems as motivated by a materialist ethos that was foreign to the traditional spiritual life of India. In contrast to these, he proposed a system of “trusteeship” based on fostering a spirit of cooperation and responsibility between social classes. Gandhi wished to “socialize the means of production without nationalizing it” by encouraging employers to regard employees as family members whose welfare they were responsible for and by regulating the use of private property for the common good. Gandhi’s economic views at times put him in conflict with the Marxists who favored a class war between the capitalists and the proletariat. Gandhi rejected these views as fostering divisiveness and disunity among the Indian people and ultimately playing a subversive role in the struggle for national independence and national regeneration. (Parekh, pp.110-141).

 

Critics of Gandhi and the Conservative Hindu Backlash

         

Gandhi was a staunch proponent of the view that all Indians were part of a national brotherhood and community regardless of religion, ethnicity or caste. He was a tireless champion of religious toleration and deplored religious persecution of any kind. Indeed, Gandhi described himself as a practitioner of each of the major religious traditions:

 

“Thus if I could not accept Christianity either as a perfect, or the greatest, neither was I then convinced of Hinduism being such. Hindu defects were pressingly visible to me. If untouchability could be a part of Hinduism, it could but be a rotten part or an excrescence. I could not understand the raison d’etre of a multitude of sects and castes. What was the meaning of saying that the Vedas were the inspired Word of God? If they were inspired, why not also the Bible and the Koran? As Christian friends were endeavouring to convert me, so were Muslim friends. Abdullah Sheth had kept on inducing me to study Islam and of course he had always something to say regarding its beauty”. (Autobiography, p.137)

 

Gandhi regarded himself not only as a Hindu but “also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew”. He vigorously opposed those who either desired to partition India into separate nations for different religions or to create a national regime ordered on the basis of Hindu supremacy. His own vision was one of a unified but internally decentralized India that granted equal rights of citizenship to all persons irrespective of their religious identity. For this reason, Gandhi made many enemies of conservative Hindus and Muslims alike. Many traditional Hindus were appalled by Gandhi’s desire to ease caste restrictions or raise the status of women, and were equally appalled by his insistence upon equal toleration for all religions. Both Muslims and Hindus frequently accused Gandhi of not doing enough for their respective causes.

         

The greatest controversy of this type involved the partition of the Indian subcontinent following the achievement of independence. The Muslim League, led primarily by M.A. Jinnah, had long insisted that the predominately Muslim regions of northwestern and eastern India be separated into an independent nation, while Gandhi and his Indian National Congress thought such an idea to be absurd, observing that Indian Muslims and Hindus alike both spoke the same languages, shared similar styles of dress, engaged in commercial life with one another and maintained similar diets and entertainment interests. Gandhi regarded differences of religious observance as a private matter that the secular, democratic state that he preferred for India would play no role in. However, Muslim leaders insisted that as a minority, the Islamic community in India would achieve only the status of permanently disadvantaged minority following independence. The Muslim League had previously demanded a guarantee of a set minimum number of seats in the electoral system, just as the Dalits had demanded a similar arrangement for their own community.

 

The idea of a separate Islamic state caught on among Indian Muslims who feared discrimination at the hands of the Hindu majority. Also, the idea appealed to those Muslim who were fondly reminiscent of the earlier times when Muslims ruled India. Islamic feudal landlords opposed to the Indian National Congress’ call for land reform saw in the idea of partition a means of protecting their economic interests as did Islamic businessmen, civil servants and traders who viewed separatism as method of eliminating Hindu competitors. Gandhi and his allies like Jawaharlal Nehru accused the Muslim League of demagoguery and inciting religious bigotry. Nehru even compared the rhetoric of Islamic separatist leaders like Jinnah with the racist and anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis, a powerful accusation in the midst of the Second World War. Gandhi countered the arguments of the separatists by pointing to the examples of the United States, Canada and the USSR as unified nations with diverse peoples who managed to co-exist under a common political bond. As independence for India drew nearer and partition seemed inevitable, Gandhi resigned himself to the idea but still spoke against. As violence between Hindus and Muslims began to break out in 1946, the general consensus among Indian and British leaders alike was that partition was necessary to prevent a full-on civil war. (Gandhi and His Critics, by B. R. Nanda, Oxford University Press, Delhi, 1985, pp.77-97)

 

At the time of the partition in 1947, the disastrous decision was made to attempt to divide the police and military forces, along with the civilian civil administration, along religious lines. The result of this was the complete paralysis of government and of “law and order” as the partitioning process was taking place. Minority groups in various regions across India began to fear for their safety under a new regime led by a hostile majority and impassioned majorities began to engage in acts of violence against local minorities. Millions, perhaps tens of millions, of refugees fled towards regions where members of their religion were a majority. Large-scale massacres occurred during this time. Gandhi managed to curb the violence in Calcutta when he visited the city and went on a “fast until death” in protest of the upheaval. So powerful was Gandhi’s presence and reputation that the citizens of Calcutta apparently ended their pogroms rather be make themselves responsible for the death of Gandhi. Gandhi then went to Delhi, another scene of much bloodshed, and applied the same tactic. Gandhi’s fast had a great impact and the Indian government agreed to pay funds owed to Pakistan there were being held in the dispute over the province of Kashmir. Gandhi also won the sympathy of many Muslims who had been made suspicious of him by Islamic separatist propaganda that portrayed Gandhi as hostile to Muslim interests. Violence between Hindus and Muslims began to decline. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu militant who accused Gandhi of making too many concessions to the Muslims. (Nanda, pp. 98-110)

 

Gandhi’s assassin was Nathuram Godse, a follower of the militant Hindu nationalist Vinayak Savarkar. In the controversy concerning the division of India’s assets between India and Pakistan, Gandhi had taken a concessionary approach to the Muslims of Pakistan, though he personally was strongly opposed to the partition. Savarkar was one of Gandhi’s harshest critics, believing him to be far too accommodating to minorities and strongly disapproving of Gandhi’s pacifism and non-violent methods. Savarkar favored a strong nationalist regime for India, Hindu-dominated and militarily powerful. Godse had been a member of Savarkar’s Hindu Mahasabha and apparently the two men had known one another. Savarkar was suspected of involvement in Gandhi’s murder and was arrested and indicted but acquitted at trial. Much controversy remains concerning the degree of Savarkar’s involvement with the assassination of Gandhi. (AG Noorani, Savarkar and Hindutva: The Godse Connection, LeftWord, New Delhi, 2002)

    

 

An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, by Mohandas K. Gandhi

(Beacon Press, Boston, 1957)

 

Gandhi: The Power of Pacifism, by Catherine Clement

(Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1989)

 

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, by Louis Fischer

(Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1950)

 

The Gandhi Reader: A Source Book of His Life and Writings, edited by Homer A. Jack

(AMS Press, New York, 1956)

 

Gandhi’s Political Philosophy: A Critical Examination, by Bhikhu Parekh

(University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1989)

 

Gandhi and His Critics, B.R. Nanda

(Oxford University Press, Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, 1985)

 

The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas

by Mahatma Gandhi, edited by Louis Fischer with a preface by Eknath Easwaran

(Vintage Books, a division of Random House, New York, 1962, copyright renewed 1990)

 

Indian Critiques of Gandhi, edited by Harold Coward

(State University of New York Press, 2003)

 

Mahatma Gandhi: Political Saint and Unarmed Prophet, by Dhananjay Keer

(Popular Prakashan, Bombay, 1973)

 

Gandhi: Profiles in Power, by David Arnold

(Pearson Education Limited, Edinburgh, 2001)

 

Gandhi’s Dilemma: Non-Violent Principles and Nationalist Power, by Manfred B. Steger

(Palgrave Macmillan, 1st edition, 2000)

 

“The Ambivalence About Gandhi: Southasia’s Difficulties with Gandhi’s Legacy” by Ashis Nandy

Himal Southasian, March-April 2006, Volume 18, No. 5

 

“Gandhi and the Politics of Non-Violence” by Meneejeh Moradian and David Whitehouse

International Socialist Review, Issue 14, October-November 2000

 

“Gandhi As a Political Strategist” by Gene Sharp

(Porter Sargent, Boston, 1979)

 

“Gandhi’s Vision and Values” by Vivek Pinto

(Sage Publications, New Delhi, 1998)

 

“The Great Trial of 1922: Chauri Chaura and Gandhi’s Vision of Responsibility”

by Niranjan Ramakrishnan, Counterpunch, March 20, 2004

 

“Country Studies-India-Mahatma Gandhi”

http://countrystudies.us/india/20.htm

 

“Gandhi: The Political, Personal and Practical Revolutionary” by George Woodcock

Resource Center for Non-Violence, Santa Cruz, California

 

“Was Gandhi an Anarchist?” by Josh Fattal

Peace Power: Berkeley’s Journal of Principled Non-Violence and Conflict Transformation. Volume 2, Issue 1, Winter 2006

 

“Village Republics” by Andre Beteille

The Hindu, September 3, 2002

 

“Gandhi’s Swadeshi: The Economics of Permanence” by Satish Kumer

The Case Against the Global Economy and for a Turn Toward the Local, edited by Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith

 

Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, by Joan Valerie Bondurant

(Princeton University Press, 1988)

 

“Why Iraq Will End as Vietnam Did”, by Martin Van Creveld http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/crevald1.html)

“The Gandhi Nobody Knows”, Richard Grenier[From the magazine, “Commentary,” March 1983, published monthly by the American Jewish Committee, New York, NY.)

 Savarkar and Hindutva: The Godse Connection, by A. G. Noorani, LeftWord, New Delhi, 2002

 

 

 

 

 

Updated News Digest August 16, 2009 Reply

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Obama’s Authoritarian Style by James Taranto

Milton Friedman Unraveled  by Murray Rothbard

 The Obama Way of War by Richard Spencer

Why Are Internment Camps Being Built? by Chuck Baldwin

The Return to Depression Era Economics from No Third Solution

Thoughts on Localism by J.L. Wall

Where Is the $PLC on Panthergate?  by Ellison Lodge

Breaking the Bank by Sean Scallon

Strip Kristol and Podhoretz of their Medal of Freedom by Jack Ross

Our Alarming Economic Future Bob Murphy interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Wag the Dog, Again by Philip Giraldi

Pot Is Safer Than Booze  by Paul Armentano

The Silence of the Lefties Justin Raimondo interviewed by Scott Horton

Patients, Beware! by Hannah Borno

Anatomy of the Warfare State Robert Higgs interviewed by Scott Horton

The Best Goldman-Sachs Apology Yet by Matt Taibbi

Direct Action: An Ethnography by David Graeber

Philadelphia G-20 Info-Session and Planning Meeting from Infoshop.Org

Unhealthy Debate by Tom Harnden

I Hate to Bother You  by Eduardo Galeano

Innovation in the World of Hate? by Lila Rajiva

Breaking Eggs to Make “Libertarian” Omelets by Kevin Carson

Obama, Bush and the Limits of Power by Anthony Gregory

Line in the Sand: The State Sovereignty Movement by Timothy Baldwin

What to do When They Come for You by William Norman Grigg

You Can’t Fight City Hall, But You Can Pee on the Steps and Run by Gary North

The Surveillance Society Marches On by Wilton Alston

Posse Comitatus Act R.I.P. by David Kramer

Why Are We in Afghanistan?  by Justin Raimondo

Bombings Worse Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Laurence Vance

Who’s Un-American? by Jack Hunter

Why a Debtors’ Revolt Would Work by Marshall Auerback

Big Government=Low Wages by Peter Schiff

War Unwinnable by Pat Buchanan

Health Plans and Death Plans by Alexander Cockburn

My Son is Sotomayor’s Ghost by Paul Gottfried

Astroturf by Ilana Mercer

Repressive Tolerance? 

“We’re White Punks on Dope!”: Anthem of the Anarcho-Leftoid Movement?

 

 Weekly Reading of Scripture:

 The State: Its Historic Role by Peter Kropotkin

For Community: The Communitarian Anarchism of Gustav Landauer by Larry Gambone

Woman Suffrage by Emma Goldman

The Origins and Ideals of the Modern School by Francisco Ferrer

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Revolution Within Anarchism 

Forty Years in the Wilderness? 

Liberty and Populism: Building An Effective Resistance Movement for North America

The Revolution Within Anarchism: Goodbye, Ultra-Leftism; Hello, Pan-Secessionism 14

For any movement or system of thought to remain relevant or dynamic, it must possess the internal capability of periodically reassessing its present course and shifting its focus and direction. Thus far, political anarchism has experienced two distinct stages. The first of these was the era of “classical” anarchism. Roughly defined, this was the period between the Marx/Bakunin split in the 1870s and the defeat of the Spanish anarchists in the 1930s. The second stage began during the 1960s with the emergence of a brand of anarchism that internalized the ideological framework of the New Left, and it is this framework that still prevails at the present time.

The classical anarchist movement was primarily oriented towards proletarian revolution and the historic labor movement. This was appropriate as the “labor question” was the principal political struggle of the time. The New Left-influenced anarchist movement (“neo-anarchism”) oriented itself towards the movements that emerged during its own era. These included “anti-racism” (for instance, the movement against American and South African racial apartheid systems), “anti-colonialism” (opposition to the Vietnam War and other manifestations of imperialist aggression), “the womens’ movement” (second wave feminism), “gay liberation” (homosexuals were previously regarded as criminals, deviants or mentally ill by the wider society), the ecology movement, a variety of tendencies collectively known as “counterculturalism”  and other comparable but lesser known movements, all of which had the purpose of challenging traditional institutions, systems of authority, social practices, cultural norms and so forth. The overwhelming majority of contemporary anarchists continue to function within this particular paradigm.

However, the question needs to be asked as to whether this paradigm is really appropriate in the early 21st century. If it were found to be inappropriate, what might the alternative be? In more recent times, an number of tendencies have emerged within the anarchist milieu that have challenged the dominant New Left-derived paradigm. These include primitivists, eco-anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-monarchists, national-anarchists, tribal anarchists, anarcho-pluralists, a variety of ideologies that might be collectively labeled “free-market anti-capitalists”, post-left anarchists, Christian anarchists, and a number of other perspectives. While there are significant differences between these tendencies, and each of these rejects the dominant New Left paradigm with varying degrees of consistency or fervor, collectively they compromise a dissident force within anarchism that seeks to move past the current second stage in the history of anarchism and into a new era.

The two most serious weaknesses of contemporary anarchism are illustrated by the opening paragraph of the Wikipedia entry on anarchism:

Anarchism is a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state, as compulsory government, to be unnecessary, harmful, and/or undesirable, and favors the absence of the state (anarchy.)Specific anarchists may have additional criteria for what constitutes anarchism, and they often disagree with each other on what these criteria are. According to The Oxford Companion to Philosophy “there is no single defining position that all anarchists hold, and those considered anarchists at best share a certain family resemblance.”

Among many contemporary anarchists, there is an observable tendency to ignore the struggle against the state, or the treat the battle against the state as only one matter on a laundry list of preferred causes, usually those of a conventionally leftist or countercultural nature. This is the first weakness. The other is the matter of sectarianism, i.e., setting an amount of “additional criteria for what constitutes anarchism” that is so large that it becomes self-defeating when it comes to the matter of building an actual movement that can wield political influence. 

There needs to be a revolution within the anarchist movement itself. This should be a revolution that re-orients the anarchist movement towards the primary anarchist objective of state abolitionism. Second, there needs to be a shift in contemporary anarchist thought and action that involves a retreat from the current tunnel-visioned focus on ultra-leftism and counterculturalism. A new focus that is broader and that speaks to a wider variety of issues and population groups is necessary. Third, there needs to be an evaluation of tactics, and the adoption of new tactics that are relevant to current political realities.

An interesting list of historic anarchist communities can be viewed here. One thing that is immediately noticeable about these anarchist polities from the past is how different many of them were from one another. Consequently, it is probable that in a civilization where anarchist communities became widespread there would be wide variation in the specific ideological, cultural or structural content of these communities. This automatically means that the sectarian differences between competing strands within anarchism are irrelevant. Different kinds of anarchists will form different kinds of communities in those geographical regions where their own tendencies are prevalent. For instance, anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists, leftist anti-racist anarchists and national-anarchists, anarcho-futurists and primitivists, gay anarchists and Christian anarchists, anarcha-feminists and anarcho-monarchists, may not even consider one another to be “true” anarchists, but these battles simply do not matter if different kinds of anarchists are simply “doing their own thing” within the context of their own communities, institutions and organizations.

How, in a nation-state like the United States, could an anarchist movement become large enough, or influential or powerful enough, to actually carry out a revolution rivaling that of, for instance, the Spanish anarchists of the 1930s? Clearly the anarchist movement in North America could never do such a thing, given its small size and narrow focus. But what about a much larger popular movement, in which anarchists assume leadership roles, and with a much broader focus than what is found in the anarchist milieu at present?

Read this essay by the military historian Martin Van Creveld on the present decline of the state as an institution. Now, read this series of articles on the possible scenarios that will bring about the downfall of the American regime itself. Then read this review of a book that describes how Americans are in the process of sorting themselves out into communities specifically oriented towards their own political, cultural or lifestyle interests. Now, take a look at this opinion poll showing the amount of support for secessionist movements in the U.S., and the surprising nature of these numbers. Then take a look at two books (here and here) which offer us an alternative economic paradigm beyond the standard “big business vs big government” false dichotomy.

My friends, these works contain the ideas and information necessary to develop a popular revolutionary movement in North America. This essay is an attempt to synthesize these ideas and develop a comprehensive strategy for their application. No single reader is likely to agree with every argument or position taken in that essay, but its purpose is to “get the ball rolling” concerning the debate as to how anarchist revolution in North America will actually be carried out. And this essay is a discussion of considerations concerning time frames.

The single idea of state abolitionism will never be popular enough to become a mass movement. Most people simply are not that averse to political authority. However, the idea of secession has its roots in American history, culture and tradition. Therefore, anarchists should simply work to develop their own independent enclaves reflecting the value systems of their particular sect of anarchism, encourage other secession movements, and work to popularize the idea of secession. An effort should be made to appeal to those demographic groups most under attack by the state, those with single issues that put them in conflict with the state, and those who have the least to lose and most to gain by rejecting the state. 

Further, anarchists should position themselves as the upholders of the economic interests of ordinary people. This opinion poll   indicates that the issues of most concern to the public at large at present are unemployment, government spending and healthcare. What, if anything, do anarchists plan to do about these matters? How many individual anarchists have even given any thought to such topics? There are some ideas on these here, here, and here. If you do not like these, then come up with something of your own.

Particularly problematic is the question of people and groups with polar opposite views on many issues participating in the same movement. For instance, the conflicts between the various anarchist sects (Anarchist People of Color and Crimethinc come immediately to mind), or the conflict between secessionists holding opposing cultural or ideological perspectives. No doubt, there are some people who will not enter into a movement that includes others with whom they strongly disagree on certain questions no matter what. These individuals will simply have to fall by the wayside. The proper response to such questions is the “good riddance” argument.  In a decentralized political system, with voluntary association and community autonomy, leftist anti-racist anarchists and national-anarchists need not have any association with one another, nor anarcho-capitalists and anarcho-communists, nor gays and religious conservatives, nor racists and racial minorities, nor snobby rich people and slummy poor people, nor druggies and straight edges, nor feminists and male chauvinist pigs. Nor Crimethinc and Anarchist People of Color. Everyone wins but the state, the ruling class and the empire.

Updated News Digest August 9, 2009 Reply

Why Read the Sunday Paper When You Can Read AttacktheSystem.Com!

Quotes of the Week:

“America is just the country that how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind. There the politician has come to be looked upon as the very scum of society.”

“The law is an adroit mixture of customs that are beneficial to society, and could be followed even if no law existed, and others that are of advantage to a ruling minority, but harmful to the masses of men, and can be enforced on them only by terror.”

“Have not prisons – which kill all will and force of character in man, which enclose within their walls more vices than are met with on any other spot of the globe – always been universities of crime?”

                                                                                                              -Peter Kropotkin

Against Anarcho-Inadequacy: National-Anarchist Reflections on Race, Tribes and Identity by Andrew Yeoman

How Is America Going to End? Who’s Most Likely to Secede? by Josh Levin

The End of America 2009: Special Series

Anarchic Patriotism by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos

Who Was Right? Huxley or Orwell by Stuart McMillen

“Culturally Sensitive” Imperialism by Justin Raimondo

The Greatest Depression in History by Andrew Gavin Marshall

Why the State Sovereignty and Secession Movements? by Brian Roberts

MOLOCH: Mass Production Industry as a Statist Construct by Kevin Carson

The Silence of the Sheep by William S. Lind

Listen Up, “Anti-Racists”: It’s Not Just the Dark-Skinned Folks Who Are Victimized by the PIGS by Ted Rall

Anarchism, State-Socialism and Healthcare Reform by Gary Chartier

The Most Inclusive Day Ever  by Nina Kouprianova

The Folly and Wickedness of War by Lawrence Vance

The Return of the Bomb by Justin Raimondo

The Expiring Economy by Paul Craig Roberts

Cruise Missile Liberals Jeremy Scahill interviewed by Scott Horton

National Bankruptcy by Peter Schiff

The Belief in Regenerative War: Why So Many American Intellectuals Supported the Iraq War by Jackson Lears

National Security State by Jon Taplin

Export Cars, Not Democracy by Philip Giraldi

Wham Bam Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Mercs, Murder and the American Way by Chris Floyd

Who’s To Blame When Vets Turn Homicidal? by Kelley Vlahos

Obama’s Israel Albatross by Elaine C. Hagopian

The Hiroshima Cover-Up Greg Mitchell interviewed by Scott Horton

It’s KGB-Gestapo Time by William Norman Grigg

Obama and the Israeli Lobby by Anthony DiMaggio

“Civil Liberties Extremist” Glenn Greenwald interviewed Scott Horton

America’s Evil Asian Empire Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

The War We Can’t Win  by Andrew Bacevich

Life Under Communism: East Germans Prefer the GDR 

Let the Military Commissions Die by David Frakt

Rein in the Human Rights Bureaucracy by Peter Worthington

Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society from The Distributist Review

Time to Go, Grandma! by Pat Buchanan

Perpetual War for Perpetual War by Jeff Huber

No More Nuclear Mass Murder by Frida Berrigan

Whitewashing CIA Crimes by Sherwood Ross

Obama and His Media on the Economy by Lew Rockwell

What to do When There’s No Doctor by Gary F. Arnet

Away With Libertarian Opportunists by Dylan Hales

The “Patriotic” Spy by Justin Raimondo

Turning the U.S. Army Against Americans by Dan Kennedy

Bubba Scores a Reversal by Gordon Prather

Tomb of Peacemakers by Eric Margolis

FOXy Feminists by Paul Gottfried

The Empire is Running on Empty by Nebojsa Malic

It Pays to Have a Nuke by Alexander Cockburn

Squaring Dupont Circle by Eve Tusnet

Playing Politics with a Ghost by Scott Ritter

The Real Lessons of the Henry Louis Gates Affair by Radley Balko

Privacy is Dead in America by Gary D. Barnett

Adding Up the True Costs of Two Wars by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes

Read Between the Lines by John Pilger

Make a Difference, Make a Living Gary North interviewed by Lew Rockwell

Obama Scales Up the Terror from Francois Tremblay

The Stand for Sovereignty by Timothy Baldwin

The Future is Going to Be a Lot Worse by James Howard Kunstler

Why Be Afraid of the State? by Harry Goslin

The Media is the Propaganda Arm of the State by Glenn Greenwald

What Samuel Said About Solomon by Frank Chodorov

The Khmer Rouge Goes on Trial Michael Paterniti interviewed by Scott Horton

Acceptable Bigotry? by Karen DeCoster

One is Six Long Term Jobless is Dead Within Ten Years by Laura Clark

The Limits of Power: An Interview with Andrew Bacevich by Aaron Leonard

PIGS Make National Guardsmen Eat Piss Dirt by William Norman Grigg

The Destruction of the Black Middle Class by Dedrick Muhammed and Barbara Ehrenreich

Grandfather Assaulted by PIGS by William Norman Grigg

The Myths of Afghanistan by William Blum

PIGS Shoot Infant to Death by William Norman Grigg

Is Food Not Bombs White Supremacist? from Bay Area National Anarchists

Sarah-Phobia? by Lila Rajiva

The Key to Understanding the State by Charles Burris

8:15 am by Rad Geek

Modern Day Daniel by Chuck Baldwin

 

A Nation of Sheep, Ruled by Wolves, Owned by Pigs

The Fruits of Anarchist "Anti-Racism" 9

“Certain attitudes derived from the New Left and the so-called counter-culture permeated neo-anarchism and had a deleterious effect upon it. Chief among these was elitism. It was the common belief among the New Left that the majority of the population were “coopted”, “sold-out”, “racist” and “sexist”. For the hippie-left, most people were considered to be beer-swilling, short-haired rednecks. Much of this youthful hostility was directed against their parents and hence was more of an expression of adolescent rebellion than political insight. With the exception of those who opted for anarcho-syndicalism, most neo-anarchists carried this contemptuous attitude with them. The majority was written-off as hopelessly corrupted and this attitude still continues today. Such contempt is in complete contrast to classical anarchism, which even at its most vanguardist, saw itself as only a catalyzer or spokesman for the masses. While rejecting the majority, they became infatuated with minorities. The New Left, scorning workers, turned to racial minorities and the “poor” as possible agents of social change. Native people, prisoners, drop-outs, homosexuals, all have been given a high profile, virtually to the exclusion of the rest of the population.”

                                                              -Larry Gambone, Sane Anarchy, 1995

A recent article in the Intelligence Report, the journal of the state-connected, crony-capitalist, cop-friendly, “private” espionage and surveillance agency known the Southern Poverty Law Center remarked: “Unifying anarchists has been likened to herding cats. But if there is one theme that most anarchists will rally around, it is that of stamping out racism, especially organized racism driven by white nationalist ideology. Many younger anarchists are members of Anti-Racist Action, a national coalition of direct-action “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) groups that confront neo-Nazis and racist skinheads in the street, often resulting in violence.”

And what do these anarchists have to show for all of this “anti-racist” zealotry? How well are these anarchists regarded by actually existing people of color for their efforts? An item that has recently been circulating in the anarchist milieu with the revealing title, “Smack a White Boy, Round Two“, demonstrates just how much “solidarity” is felt towards the mostly, white, middle-class, left-anarchist movement by the supposed beneficiaries of its anti-racism:

Dread locked white punks, crusties with their scabies friends, and traveling college bros swarmed a space on the dividing line of gentrification in the Bloomfield/Garfield/Friendship area late July 2009 in Pittsburgh for the annual CrimethInc convergence. Whereas previous CrimethInc convergences had been located deep in wooded areas, this particular one took place in a poor, black neighborhood that is being pushed to the borders by entering white progressive forces.

There were those that had experienced CrimethInc’s oppressive culture and people for years and others who had experienced enough oppression after just a few days. Our goals were to stop CrimethInc, their gentrifying force, and to end the convergence right then and there for all that they had done.

Just a few blocks away, eight anarchist/autonomous/anti-authoritarian people of color* gathered to discuss a direct confrontation. We arrived from different parts of these stolen lands of the Turtle Island. Some came from the Midwest, some from the Northeast, some born and raised in Pittsburgh. Altogether we represented 7 different locations, half of us socialized as female a variety of sizes, skin color, with identities of queers, trans, gender-queers, gender variants, and womyn. With little time and a desire for full consensus, we quickly devised a plan.

The majority of the CrimethInc kids were in the ballroom on the second floor watching and participating in a cabaret. A group of us began gathering attendees’ packs, bags, shoes, banjos, and such from the other rooms on the second floor and moving it all down the hallway towards the stairs. We had gone pretty unnoticed, mostly due to lack of lighting.

Once those rooms had been emptied, it was time for the main event. We gathered at the ballroom’s doorway furthest from the stairs following the final act of the cabaret.

On the count of three. One, two, three!” one APOCista said.

Get the fuck out!”, we all shouted.

And the eviction began. One apocer began reading ‘An Open Letter to White Radicals/Progressives’, while the others began yelling at the attendees to gather their things and leave. Irritated by their continued inaction after about 10 minutes or so, one of the people involved in the action shouted,

This is not an act! Get your shit, or we’ll remove it for you!”

So much for the claims of anarchists to be exemplars of multicultural brotherly love. Now, before I get to other questions, let me say that I actually think the “Anarchist People of Color” group who carried out this “eviction” had a point. Many white leftists and progressives do indeed regard non-whites as children in need of rescue by enlightened folks such as themselves, and often assume a paternalistic attitude when dealing with people of color. And while I’m not so sure that “gentrification” by white anarchist kids is quite on the level of gentrification by upper-middle class, affluent, professional people organized into state-connected “civic organizations” and “business associations”, and operating in collusion with crony-capitalist “developers”, the overall point is still well-taken. Gentrification does indeed frequently assume the character of a kind of urban imperialism, and white, middle-class “progressives” who never tire of wearing their racial liberalism on their sleeves are often at the forefront of such efforts. Indeed, it might be argued that gentrification serves the same purpose in modern urban societies as the dispossession of native or indigenous peoples’ in frontier or colonial societies, i.e., naked robbery carried out under the banner of enlightenment, progress, paternalism or cultural and class chauvinsim. Some would go even further and argue that mass immigration serves a similar purpose, e.g., economic and cultural dispossession of the indigenous poor and working class in order to provide labor for capitalists, clients for social services bureaucrats and voters for political parties and ethnic lobbies. But that might be “racism”.

The obsession with “racism” exhibited by modern leftists appears to be rooted in a number of things. Some are the obvious, e.g., the political, cultural and intellectual backlash against such horrors as Nazism, South African apartheid, “Jim Crow” in the American South, the Vietnam War and other manifestions of extreme colonialism. Another is the need for the radical Left to find a new cause once the horrors of Communism were revealed. Still another is the universalist ethos that emerged from Enlightenment rationalism. Yet another is the adolescent rebellion against society mentioned by Gambone. And another is the quasi-Christian moralism exhibited by many left-wingers: “Love thy exotically colored neighbor.”

It’s like this, my fellow anarchist comrades: World War Two is over. Hitler is dead. George Wallace is dead. Bull Conner is dead. Jim Crow has been relegated into the dustbin of history. Apartheid is finished, and Nelson Mandela eventually became South Africa’s head of state. In case you haven’t been paying attention, the United States now has a black President. Many of the largest American cities have black-dominated governments. In the wider society, “racism” has become the ultimate sin, much like communism or homosexuality might have been in the 1950s. By continuing to beat the dead horse of “white supremacy”, anarchists are simply making our movement look like fools.

No doubt many reading this will raise the issues of the high rates of imprisonment among blacks and Hispanics, police brutality, the medical neglect of illegal immigrants in detention centers, or the high unemployment rates in American inner cities. Do you really think that no whites have ever been adversely affected by these things? Do you think there are no whites in jail or prison for frivolous reasons? Who receive shoddy medical care? Who are adversely affected by state-capitalism and plutocratic rule? Who are subject to police harrassment or violence, or who are shabbily treated by agents or bureaucrats of the state? Who are subject to social ostracism because of their class, culture, religion or lifestyle?

There is certainly nothing wrong with opposing the genuine oppression of people of other races or colors, and many anarchists and other radicals engage in laudable displays of support for the people of Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tibet, Latin America, and indigenous ethnic groups who are subjected to occupation or imperialist aggression. Yet, the obsession with “racism” found among many Western radicals has become pathological in nature. Whenever I encounter these “anti-racism” hysterics, I am reminded of the cultic, fundamentalists religious sects, where no amount of devotion to the cause is ever good enough. Go to church three times a week? Not good enough, you need to be there six times a week. And there is little doubt that the war between Anarchist People of Color and Crimethinc will produce a great deal of “What are we doing wrong, us shitty white supremacists?” self-flagellation among many”anti-racist” left-anarchists.

This obsession with “racism” on the part of many anarchists might be worth it if it had the effect of recruiting or converting many thousands or millions of people of color to our cause.  Yet, the simple truth is that decades of anti-racism hysteria has produced an anarchist movement that is as white as it ever was. This does not mean that there are never any non-whites to be found in anarchist circles. Of course there are. But are they representative of the cultural norms of the ethnic or racial groups from where they came? Not in my experience. Instead, the relatively small number of people of color who can be found in North American anarchist circles are usually immigrants from other places, or products of ethnic minority cultures that have assimilated into a wider white culture, for instance, blacks who grew up in white middle-class neighborhoods or minorities who participate in white youth subcultures, like punk rock. Honestly speaking, what would a typical African-American or Latino think if they wandered into the standard anarchist discussion group and found themselves in the midst of the usual anarchist banter about “racism”? What would they think, other than, “What a bunch of freaks!”

This does not mean that anarchists should become “pro-racist”. It simply means that it would be more productive if anarchists would simply re-orient themselves towards the ostensible purpose of anarchism, i.e., “a political philosophy encompassing theories and attitudes which consider the state, as compulsory government, to be unnecessary, harmful, and/or undesirable, and promote the elimination of the state or anarchy.” I recently came across a Facebook page with the heading “The Other Anarchists” which described itself thus: “For those who wish to see the state abolished, but are not nihilists, terrorists, or idiots. Including some: free market anti-capitalists, anarcho-capitalists, anarcho-monarchists, voluntaryists, social anarchists, Christian anarchists, Green anarchists, and our fellow travelers ( [non-violent] Luddites, paleoconservatives, minarchists, left-conservatives, retroprogressives, and the like).

This would seem to be about right. Perhaps we can work with the nihilists and terrorists, but the idiots really need to be shown the door. What should anarchists do about “racism”? Just forget about it. Yes, you read that right and if you need more elaboration, watch this. And this. Many anarchists engage in many worthwhile projects that many different kinds of people can benefit from, like antiwar activism, labor solidarity, prisoner defense, support for the homeless, resistance to police brutality, the protection of animals from cruelty, environmental preservation, alternative media or alternative education.  These are issues that transcend color lines. Just stick to these and let “people of color” work out their own problems for themselves.

The APOC/Crimethinc battle may well be indicative of what the future of the political Left will be. I have predicted before that the center-left will be dominant in American politics for the next several decades due to demographic, cultural and generational change in U.S. society. It is widely predicted that the non-white populations will collectively outnumber whites in the U.S. by the 2040s. As the non-white population grows due to demographic trends and large-scale immigration, and as class divisions widen, there is likely to be a split within liberalism between the mostly white, upper middle class, cultural progressives and the mostly black and Hispanic lower classes, which include many persons with more conservative views on social questions like gender roles, abortion, homosexuality and religion.

A Zogby poll taken last year concerning the level of public sympathy for the matter of secession indicated that the principal source of support for genuinely radical ideas (like separatism) comes not from the “far right” or backwoods militiamen but from young, unemployed, uneducated blacks and Hispanics in the heavily populated areas of the U.S.. In a few decades, the crumbling U.S. empire and its liberal-capitalist-multiculturalist elites and affluent classes may well be facing an insurgency by the expanded non-white underclass. There are an estimated one million urban gang members in the U.S., mostly blacks and Hispanics, and these are organized into thousands of armed groups. Are these not a domestic American version of the “fourth generation” insurgent movements that exist in other parts of the world like Latin America or the Middle East?

What will be the condition of American society in the decades ahead as the liberal-capitalist-multiculturalist ruling class begins to lose its grip and is faced with an insurgency by the black and Hispanic underclass? What should be the response of the mostly white anarchist movement to such a turn of events? How should the anarchist movement seek to handle such a scenario? Play your cards wrong and you’ll end up in a situation infinitely worse than that faced by Crimethinc.

The anarchist milieu needs to re-think its positions concerning racial matters. Continuing to perpetrate anti-racism hysteria year after year, decade after decade, is a dead end. There is zero evidence that such a stance will bring the masses of North American blacks and Hispanics into our ranks, and much compelling evidence that such efforts are futile, foolish and counterproductive. For many years, the anarchist movement’s obsession with “social issues” has been a distraction from what ought to be the primary objective of anarchism, i.e., the abolition of the state. This is not to say that anti-statism is the only value, or that anarchists should not be concerned with other matters. It does mean that a more constructive stance on certain questions should be pursued.

For one thing, it might be helpful if anarchists would display an interest in issues other than run of the mill left-wing causes like those involving race, gender, sexual orientation, ecology and the like. Why are anarchists not involved in the movement for the defense of the right to keep and bear arms? In a sensible anarchist movement, there would be anarchists sitting on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. Why are anarchists not involved in the various movements for local or regional autonomy, or secession by states and communities? Certainly, such efforts should fit well with the supposed anarchist emphasis on decentralization.

What might be a more sensible approach to racial and cultural differences than the hysterical approach currently taken? A venerable American tradition is one of “separation of church and state.” This is a tradition that has worked quite well throughout U.S. history. Individual Americans are largely free to practice or not practice whatever religion they wish. Yes, fringe religious groups like the Branch Davidians are sometimes subject to persecution. Yes, state laws such as the ban on the use of psychedelic drugs impedes powerless groups like certain indigenous tribes from practicing their religion. Yes, children from sects whose tenants prohibit certain medical practices are sometimes forcibly subjected to such practices. Yes, religious do-gooders sometimes wish to use the force of the laws to suppress activities deemed immoral, like gambling, vice or alcohol. But for the most part, most people practice their religion or non-religion of choice most of the time with very little interference from either the state, or from society at-large. Compare this with the situation in, say, Saudi Arabia or North Korea, and it can be determined that “separation of church and state” is a system that works quite well. Research shows, for instance, that atheists are a minority group that is more widely disliked than any of the groups championed by the Left: blacks, immigrants, homosexuals, Muslims. Yet atheists, of whom I am one, are hardly an “oppressed minority” but an intellectually and culturally elite group who are heavily represented within the ranks of leading scientists, philosophers, academics, journalists, authors, artists and entertainers. As far back as 1910, Thomas Edison was able to proclaim his heretical religious views with to the New York Times with impunity.

I submit that the appropriate attitude for anarchists to take concerning racial and cultural matters is one of “separation of race and state” or “separation of culture and state.” Within such a context, all state legislation or regulation concerning race and culture would be eliminated, and individuals and groups would be able to engage in whatever racial or cultural practices they wished within the context of their own voluntary associations. Just as some religious organizations or institutions are very conservative or exclusionary in nature, and others are very liberal and inclusive, so might some racial or cultural organizations and institutions be similarly conservative or liberal, exclusionary or inclusive. For instance, the Anarchist People of Color and other like-minded groups could have their own schools, communities, neighborhoods, commercial enterprises and other institutions where white folks are verboten. Likewise, the Nation of Islam, Aztlan Nation, evangelical Christians, Mormons, paleoconservatives, or “national-anarchists” might also have their own homogenous communities as well. Feminists and queers might implement similar arrangments for themselves.

As I have said before, we need a “revolution within anarchism itself”. We need an anarchist movement that is not just an all-purposes leftist movement, but a movement that has abolition of the state as its central focus, and an approach to matters of race, culture, religion and so forth that is workable in a highly diverse society. This renovated anarchist movement would shift its focus towards the building of autonomous, voluntary communties, reflecting a wide assortment of cultural, economic or ideological themes, within the context of a wider pan-separatist ethos who principle enemy is the overarching state. It should be understood that severe and irreconcilable differences among different kinds of people will inevitably arise, and that such differences are best managed according to the principle of “peace through separatism.” As Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed: “The ideological and philosophical struggles, which can neither be suppressed nor made an organic part of the governmental machine, have to be relegated to the private sphere of society.”

Updated News Digest August 2, 2009 2

Quote of the Week:

“My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State (in any sense other than the inanimate realm of England and its inhabitants, a thing that has neither power, rights nor mind); and after a chance of recantation, execute them if they remain obstinate!… Government is an abstract noun meaning the art and process of governing and it should be an offence to write it with a capital G or so as to refer to people… The most improper job of any man, even saints, is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.”

                                                                                                        –J.R.R. Tolkien

“The Left is the Establishment, the financial and cultural elite of the Western world support them, and all the SDSs, Indymedias, “antifascists,” and the rest are nothing but the managerial state’s militant wing, lackeys of the powerful as surely as were Pinkerton detectives.”

                                                                                                                     -Kevin DeAnna

Anarchism and Secession Walter Block interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Power of Statelessness by Jakub Grygiel

America the Great…Police State by Gore Vidal

Professor Gates’ Arrest: There is a First Amendment Right to be Rude to a Cop by Harvey Silverglate

Obama’s Secret Police by Justin Raimondo

Neither Opportunism Nor Sectarianism: On Radical Strategies speech by the late Murray Rothbard

Praetorian Presumptions by William Norman Grigg

Tell Israel: Cool the Jets! by Pat Buchanan

There Is No Fix for the American Healthcare System by Thomas Naylor

Most Americans Oppose U.S. Role in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars AP Poll

The Disappearing Palestinian by Philip Giraldi

The Wall Street Journal Discovers Secession from Second Vermont Republic

The Biden and Clinton Mutinies by Alexander Cockburn

Searching for Enemies by Gabriel Kolko

The Bastards Never Die by Joe Bageant

I’d Rather Be a Farmer than a Stockbroker by Jim Rogers

Bill Kristol is a Lying, Scheming, Scam Artist, Scumbag by Glenn Greenwald

The Alternative Right and the Impossibility of Conservatism  by Kevin DeAnna

What If the Right Becomes the Antiwar Party? by Marcion

Full Spectrum Dominance by Thomas Naylor

Beyond the Palin by Rick Pearlstein

Economism in the Alternative Right by Patrick J. Ford

Microstate Madness in Europe by Chirol

Decentralization for Socialists by Brian McClanahan

Americans Don’t Trust the Federal Government by Steven Thomma

The Superpower Conceit by Justin Raimondo

The Holocaust and Israel’s “Re-Establishment” by Jack Ross

The Walls Came Tumbling Down by Kevin Carson

The PIGS Keep On F***ing Up from Rad Geek

Right-Wing Jingoist “Christians” Are Bloodthirsty Assholes by Francois Tremblay

My Experiences as a Working Class Anarchist by Terry Morgan

Proudhon on Profit from Francois Tremblay (you may need Babelfish for this one if you don’t read French)

Post-Race Scholar Yells Racism by Ishmael Reed

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics by Paul Craig Roberts

PIG Shows His True Attitude Towards Those Whom He Serves and Protects from Austro-Athenian Empire

The Honduran Coup and the Clinton Connection by Justin Raimondo

The Recession is Finally Over-Not! by Peter Schiff

In Praise of the Heroic Pashtun by Tom Engelhardt and Juan Cole

Middle East Show of Farce by Jeff Huber

I Shouldn’t Read the News. I Really Shouldn’t. by Fred Reed

State-Capitalism in Britain by James Heartfield

Today, Henry Gates; Tomorrow, You by Kelley B. Vlahos

Cheney’s Plans for a Military Coup by Scott Horton

The Ten Commandments for Ambitious Policy Wonks by Stephen Walt

People Like Palin by Jack Hunter

Hate Crimes and Free Speech by Chris Clancy

The Politics of White Guilt  by Paul Gottfried

We All Stand Before Peltier’s Parole Board by Harvey Wasserman

Dismantling the Empire  by Tom Engelhardt and Chalmers Johnson

Bombing for a Juster World by Jean Bricmont

My Experiences with National Healthcare by Linda Schrock Taylor

Universities Face Economic Meltdown by Gillian Wee

The Last Knight of the Habsburg Empire by Jorn K. Baltzersen

The Green Rope-A-Dope by Walter Williams

China’s All-Seeing Eye by Naomi Klein

Will the Feds Declare Martial Law? by James Bovard

The Affirmative Action0cracy by Steve Sailer

The Monsters Underneath My Bed by Patroon

My Life as a Person of Color by Paul Gottfried

Afghanistan’s U.S.-Backed Child-Raping Police by Gareth Porter

U.S. Attorney General Denounces “Radicalization” of Americans by Jeremy Pelofsky

A Few Thoughts on the “Birthers” by Red Phillips

They Thought They Were Free

Updated News Digest July 26, 2009 Reply

Quotes of the Week:

“We anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves.”

                                                                                                                -Errico Malatesta

“We are bound first to imform ourselves concerning so great a matter as the revolt of millions of people- what they are struggling for, what they are struggling against, and how the struggle stands- from day to day…as best you can; and second, to spread this knowledge among others, and endeavor to do what little you can to awaken the consciousness and sympathy of others.”
                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                          -Voltairine de Cleyre

Secession is the Future  An Interview with Kirkpatrick Sale

First Steps Taken to Implement Preventive Detention, Military Commissions by Glenn Greenwald

Unfashionable Nation-Building by Dan Phillips

Proudhon on Capital and Usury from Francois Tremblay

Anarchism, Class Struggle and Political Organization by Tom Wetz

Israel Jumps the Shark by Justin Raimondo

Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society by Andrew Cornell

Care Tactics: Weaponizing Human Rights by Chase Madar

A Compilation of Critiques on “Hate Crimes” Legislation from Infoshop.Org

Threatening Iran by Paul Craig Roberts

The Democrats: Fake Party of Compassion by Kevin Carson

Revolt of an Elite: On Henry Louis Gates by Elizabeth Wright

Prisoner Insurrection in Canada by Joe Warmington, Pete Fisher and Andrea Houston

Nine States Quietly Declare Their Independence by John Paul Mitchell

The Fiscal Ruin of the Western World by Ambrose Evans Pritchard

We Are in the Midst of an Economic Disaster by Gary North

The Masters of Perfidy: AIG and the System by Jeffrey St. Clair

Obama Escalates Afghanistan Quagmire by Patrick Krey

Living in a Police State by Dave Lindorff

The American Revolution Revisited by Chuck Baldwin

Eastern Europe and the Habit of Servitude by Justin Raimondo

The Unconscious of a Liberal by Jack Hunter

Invisible Iraq by Robert Dreyfuss

How to Argue Against Torture by Bernard Chazelle

Benjamin R. Tucker and Gertrude B. Kelly on Education by Libertarian Labyrinth

Blackwater Seeks Gag Order by Jeremy Scahill

“Humanitarian” Efforts Are Often a Pretext for Aggression by Paul J. Nyden

The Coup and the U.S. Airbase in Honduras by Nikolas Kozloff

Bush’s Third Term by James Joyner

The Technique of a Coup d’Etat by John Laughland

The Battle Begins: ATF vs the 2nd Amendment by Bryce Shonka

Obama’s Free Lunch is Over by Philip Giraldi

Back to the Future? Return to El Salvador by Clifton Ross

Obama’s Disappointing Secrecy by Benjamin H. Friedman

Previous Governments: To Prosecute or Not? by Michael Tennant

“A Damned Murder, Inc.” by Alexander Cockburn

Is America a Racist Nation? by Ian Huyett

The U.S. Has No Business Being in the Murder Business by Eric Margolis

A Victim of the System Needs Help (Update here)

Chinese Imperialism and Its Discontents by John Derbyshire

This Is Your Country on Drugs by Laura Miller

Why War in Afghanistan Is Futile by Malou Innocent

When Mark Levin Attacks by Jack Hunter

Is Food for Africa Working? by Brian Doherty 

Obama’s Court of Red Czars by Ilana Mercer

What Americans Can Learn From the British Experience with Surveillance by Jacob Sullum

Will the Republicans Save Us? by Laurence Vance

Never Believe Uncorroborated Police Testimony by William Norman Grigg

Uninformed Ingraham by Patrick J. Ford

Too Many Other People by William Norman Grigg

25 Scary Facts About Brainwashing by Jill Gordon

Cops Gone Wild by Dave Lindorff

Police State Wisconsin

Watch Who You Call Extremist by Steven Greenhut

Bruno: A Glimpse Into Zionism by Gilad Atzmon

Politicizing Crime by Daniel Coleman

Why More Atheists Than Anarchists? from Francois Tremblay

Updated News Digest July 12, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

““Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany is a horror; Adolf Hitler at a town meeting would be an asshole.”

                                                                                              -Karl Hess

It’s Not Just Fundamentalists Who Are Ignorant by TGGP

Rot in Hell, Robert McNamara: The Life of  a Monster Considered by Ray Mangum (Hear Daniel Ellsberg on McNamara’s Scumbaggery; and Alexander Cockburn and Robert Scheer)

Secession is the Answer by Claire Wolfe

Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction by Bill Anderson

Celebrate Secession by John Payne

One Step Forward, One Step Back by William S. Lind

Fourth Generation Warfare from AnarchoNation

Why the Global Warming Hoax is Being Perpetrated by Gary North

Vatican City as a Voluntary Society by Carlo Lottieri

U.S. Imperial Aggression Against Diego Garcia by Murray Polner

Obama in Russia by Justin Raimondo

Are Afghan Lives Worth Anything? by Tom Engelhardt

Al Franken, Chickenhawk by Anthony Gregory

So This is What Victory Looks Like? by Scott Ritter

Obama Slouching Towards an Iran War? by Tony Karon

Victory is Impossible in Afghanistan by Matthew Parris

The Honduran Drama by Justin Raimondo

Ten Steps to Close Down an Open Society by Naomi Wolf

A Quagmire for Obama by Derrick Z. Jackson

What’s That Imperial Base in Honduras For? by Jacob Hornberger

Pentagon Report Verified Detainee Torture by Thomas Eddlem

The “Values” Fetish by Paul Gottfried

First They Will Come for the Hate Criminals by Peter Brimelow

The Pie Graph of Theft by Francois Tremblay

Unity, Diversity and Divisiveness in Marxism by Larry Gambone

Obama’s Strategic Blindspot by Andrew Bacevich

Prison Rape as Policy by David Rosen

The New McCarthyism by Neil Clark

Time to End the War on Drugs from the Cato Institute

Towards a Soviet America by Bill Anderson

“It’s Discrimination!” by Ben O’Neill

Tase Early, Tase Often by Patrick Bedard

Why Do Feminists Support the Afghan War? by Sonali Kolhatkar and Mariam Rawi

China’s Porcelain Empire by Justin Raimondo

Hands Off  Honduras by Philip Giraldi

The Myth of the Surge by Stephen Walt

Real ID: A Real Warning on the Danger of Government  by James Bovard

“Staying the Course” Prolongs Afghan War by Malou Innocent

Norks and Nukes by Ted Galen Carpenter

Can Ethnonationalism Bring Down America’s Tower of Babel? 

High Infidelity  by Jack Hunter

The Tyranny of Mark Levin’s “Liberty” by Jack Hunter

Americana: The 2nd Revolutionary War 

Obama’s Biden Problem by Alexander Cockburn

Rural America Needs More Than Listening Sessions by Jim Goodman

Updated News Digest July 5, 2009 Reply

 Quote of the Week:

“I would love to be disassociated from anti-racists. I think their cultural leftism is a turnoff. And I say this as a non-white. I can’t speak for all people of diverse or non-caucasian racial makeup, but I for one am tired of some people (predominantly white) telling me to be indignant about racism, ostensibly to satisfy some sense of guilt they may have.”

                                                                                                               -Dixie Flatline

“Diversity in capacities and powers – those differences between races, nations, sexes and persons – far from being a social evil, constitutes on the contrary, the abundance of humanity.”

                                                                                                       -Mikhail Bakunin

Down with the Therapeutic Left and the Managerial Right, Part 2 (see Part One ) by Mark Wegierski

The Rise of the Libertarian Distributists by Ian Huyett

Who Are We to Accuse Iran of Election Fraud? by Thomas Naylor

The U.S. of Goldman-Sachs by Matt Taibbi (a follow-up)

The Communitarian Anarchism of Gustav Landauer by Larry Gambone

Principles of the American New Right by Chris D.

Barter Networks and the Counter-Economy by Kevin Carson

The Uncompromising Rothbard by Lew Rockwell

The Big Whorehouse on the Potomac by Paul Craig Roberts

It’s All About Independence by Justin Raimondo

Consent or Coercion  by Gustav Landauer

The Coming Nationalist Schism by Ian Huyett

Gob Smacked by Alexander Cockburn

Independence and Liberty: We’re Losing Both by Anthony Gregory

Iraq: The Coming Train Wreck by Ivan Eland

Who You Calling a Conservative? by Paul Gottfried

History Haunts Honduras by Justin Raimondo

Iraq Occupation Isn’t Over Yet Scott Ritter interviewed by Scott Horton

NAACP Calls for Martial Law (talk about a death wish!) by Steven Farley

Just What the Hell is “Socialism”? by the Tasmanian National-Anarchists

Leave Africa to the Africans (an African author agrees) by Ian Huyett

National-Anarchism and Defense from Tradition and Revolution

Liberty and the Tehran Spring by Justin Raimondo

Baptist Pastor Assaulted by PIGS from Francois Tremblay

Dissent in the Military by Dahr Jamail and Tom Engelhardt

Of Vices and Crimes, Beginnings and Ends by Quasibill

Chilean Anarchists on the Honduras Coup from Porkupine Blog

Mad Max Conservatism by Richard Spencer

The Superiority Complex from Francois Tremblay

The Honduras Coup: A Wake-Up Call from Porkupine Blog

The Democracy Regime and Honduras by Kevin DeAnna

Profit Is Not Justified by Entrepreneurial Risk by Francois Tremblay

Pirates of the Mediterranean by Paul Craig Roberts

Unity, Diversity and Divisiveness in Anarchism by Larry Gambone

Victory in Iraq? by Harrison Bergeron 2

Debtors’ Prisons Are Making a Comeback by Francois Tremblay

Hezbollah After the Elections by Franklin Lamb

Industrial Worker, Issue # 1717, July 2009 from Worker Freedom

Homeless Organize, Stand Together and Win 

Greek Anarchists Go On Arson Spree  by Kathimerini

I Hearby Resign My U.S. Citizenship by Jeff Knaebel

A College Degree is a Bad Idea by Jeff Hough

Why I Own Guns by Michael Gaddy

The Suppressed Facts: Death by U.S. Torture by Glenn Greenwald

Obama’s New Euphemism by Joanne Mariner

Obama’s Latest Leap Towards Lawlessness by J.D. Tuccille

The Freedom to Discriminate by Art Carden

Beware the Dreaded Iranian Curse by Eric Margolis

The Police Statization of America by Lew Rockwell

Real ID: A Warning on the Danger of Government by James Bovard

PIGS Gone Wild by William Norman Grigg

Insufferable Historicism by Mark Hackard

Creepy Old Men Support Pedophilia by S. M. Oliva

Establishment Chic by Thomas Woods

NYC Street Vendors Resist the State

Hands Off Honduras by Pat Buchanan

Wal-Mart: State-Capitalist Scumbags by Sheldon Richman

Race, Localism and the Problem of Over-Articulation from Front Porch Republic

What Was America? by Harrison Bergeron 2

Victim of PIGS Near Death After PIGS Attack Bar 

Direct Action in Action 

Keep the State Out of Church by Laurence Vance

The Banality of Evil Applies to Everyone by Jacob Hornberger

Half-Sigma vs Kevin MacDonald by TGGP

Video Record of Left-Libertarian Strategy Session

Updated News Digest June 28, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“A century ago, anarchism was a major force within the European revolutionary movement, and the name of Michael Bakunin, its foremost champion and prophet, was as well-known among the workers and radical intellectuals of Europe as that of Karl Marx.”

                                                                           -Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits

Down With the Therapeutic Left and Managerial Right by Mark Wegierski

Obama’s Denial of Reality by Lew Rockwell

Not So Huddled Masses: Multiculturalism and Foreign Policy by Scott McDonnell

The Origins of Fascism by Charles A. Burris

Stay Out of Iran! by Jack Hunter

Gun Control: What’s the Real Agenda? by Paul Craig Roberts

Obama and the Torturers by James Bovard

Mainstreaming Censorship by Harrison Bergeron 2

Ignorance is Strength by Paul Craig Roberts

Free Leonard Peltier by Michael Gaddy

The Four Stages of Revolution, Part One by Bay Area National Anarchists

Neither the U.S. Nor Israel is a Genuine “Party to Peace” by Noam Chomsky

Was 50 Million Deaths Really Necessary? by Anthony Gregory

Is Realism Better Than Idealism? byIvan Eland

Do Iranians Deserve Progressive and Liberal Sympathy? by Mupetblast

Iran: It’s All About US, Or Is It? by Justin Raimondo

Popular Support for Israel Eroding Ira Chernus interviewed by Scott Horton

Ten Days That Shook Iran by Pat Buchanan

Loose Ends by Justin Raimondo

Iran’s Green Revolution: Made in America? by Justin Raimondo

Seeing Through All the Propaganda About Iran by Eric Margolis

Iran Falling to U.S. PSYOPS? by Paul Craig Roberts

Better Load Your .44, This is Civil War by TGGP

The War at Home, Up Close by Kevin Annett

Belief in Government Means Ignoring the Evidence from No Third Solution

Noam Chomsky vs Michel Foucault (thanks, Francois!)

Conceptualizing Political Economy on the Humane Scale by Cato the Younger

What Actually Happened in the Iranian Elections? by Esam Al-Amin

 Stay Out of Iran’s Evolutionary Process by Philip Giraldi

Generation Gap by Steve Sailer

Obama’s Undeclared War Against Pakistan by Jeremy Scahill

The “Neda” Video and the Truth-Revealing Power of Images by Glenn Greenwald

What Iran Means by Stephen Walt

Dumbest Idea on the Planet by Jeff Huber

Intifada in Iran by Robert Fisk

PIG Kills Man at Stoplight by William Norman Grigg

California Is America’s Future by Pat Buchanan

San Diego Jury: PIGS Are Above the Law (of course!) by William Norman Grigg

Michelle Braun and Her Plea Bargain by Tim Worstall

When the Jackbooted Ones Strike… by William Norman Grigg

The Myth of Our Regeneration by Michael O’Meara

The U.S. Government is Evil by Francois Tremblay

Turkish Sex Workers Look to Form Union 

What the Big Banks Have Won by Mike Whitney

Arrest of Gang Intervention Leader Raises Concerns 

Building Fascism by Lew Rockwell

The Government Owns Your Body from theConverted

Parents of Unruly Students to be Jailed 

Debtors’ Prisons Are Making a Comeback by Francois Tremblay

Sicko by Ilana Mercer

Interview with Anarchist People of Color founder Ashanti Alston by Jose Antonio Gutierrez

The Hate Crimes Bill: How Not to Remember Matthew Shepard by Alexander Cockburn

Secession: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Program for a fictional ARV-ATS Scholars Conference 5

Recently at the No Treason site, Josh Rhodes made the following point concerning the recent rhetorical warfare between myself and some in the “left-libertarian” community:

As someone who has read quite a bit of Keith’s work and corresponded with him extensively, I can assure you that he is not by any stretch of the imagination some kind of queer-bashing neo-nazi. That many people consider him to be so is more indicative of the sorry intellectual state of much of contemporary anarchism and libertarianism than anything Keith’s actually written.

Reflecting a bit on Josh’s observations about “the sorry intellectual state of much of contemporary anarchism and libertarianism” and watching the video records of the latest conference of the Property and Freedom Society, I came up the with this fictional program for what an American Revolutionary Vanguard-Attack the System conference of scholars and activists might look like. Just for the purpose of amusement , here ’tis:

Day One: The Incorrigible Nature of the State

9 am-‘The Advancement of the Anarchist Struggle in the Twenty-First Century“-Welcome by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Political Theory of Anarchism” –Dr. April Carter lectures on traditional anarchism

10:30 am-“The State as Augustine’s Robber Band Writ Large” -an Augustinian monk and scholar presents Saint Augustine’s views on the State

11:15 am-“The Rothbardian View of the State“-the thought of Rothbard described by Justin Raimondo

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Historical Overview of the Classical Anarchist Movement“-Phd student presents his scholarly research

1:45 pm-“The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War“-94 yr old Spanish Civil War veteran relates his experiences

2:30 pm-“Comparison and Contrast of Classical Liberalism, Classical Anarchism and Modern Libertarianism“-political scientist and professor of political philosophy expounds on these systems of thought and their relationship

3:15 pm-“The Virtue of Human Scale Institutions“-by Dr. Kirkpatrick Sale

4:00 pm-“The Case for National-Anarchism“-by Troy Southgate

Break

7 pm-viewing of rare newsreel footage of classical anarchist figures

7:30 pm-“The Rise and Decline of the State“-evening dinner lecture by Professor Martin Van Creveld

Day Two: The Economics of Anarchism and Anti-Statism

9 am-“The Contending Schools of Libertarian Economic Thought“-by Keith Preston

9:45-“Libertarian and Marxist Theories of the Ruling Class Compared“-by Dr. Sean Gabb

10:30 am-“Reconciling Property Rights with Collective Bargaining Rights“-a joint presentation by an anarcho-syndicalist and anarcho-capitalist

11:15 am-“The Case for Geoanarchism” by Dr. Fred Foldvary

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Statement to the Convention by Kevin Carson“-read by Keith Preston

1:30 pm-“The Legitimate Foundations of Ownership Rights“-panel discussion featuring a Lockean, mutualist, syndicalist, distributist, Georgist and anarcho-communist, with questions from the audience

2 pm-“Cooperative Economics in Action“-lecture by a member of the Mondragon Cooperative Federation

2:30 pm-“Anarchic Socialism or Cutting Edge Capitalism?”-lecture from heterodox businessman Ricardo Semler

3 pm-“Land Rights Struggles for Indigenous Peoples“-indigenous person from Latin American country gives an overview

3:30 pm-“I Was a Teen-Aged Anarcho-Communist“-person raised on an Israeli kibbutz gives a first-hand report

4 pm-“The Case for Competing Currencies“-an economist makes an argument

4:30 pm-“The Prussian Militarist Origins of the Welfare State“-by Richard Ebeling

Break

7 pm-Film presentation on Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War

8 pm-“The Future of the World Economy“-noted trends researcher Gerald Celente outlines his predictions in evening dinner lecture

Day Three: The American Empire

9 am-“The Costs of the Empire to America“-by Dr. Robert Higgs

9:45 am-“The Costs of the Empire to the World“-by William Blum

10:30 am-“How I Went to Iraq and Saw the Light“-U.S. military veteran speaks

11 am-“What Happened to My Country Because of the U.S. Invasion“-an Iraqi refugee speaks

11:30 am-“How the U.S. Imperialists Crushed the Indigenous South Vietnamese Resistance and Allowed My Country to Fall to Communism“-a former South Vietnamese Buddhist militiaman speaks

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“George W. Bush and Cronies Belong on Death Row“-by Vincent Bugliosi

2 pm-“Life in the Occupied Territories“-a Palestinian refugee speaks

2:30 pm-“The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty“-a survivor speaks

3 pm-“The Human Costs of the U.S. War Against Central America in the 1980s“-presentation by a former refugee from the civil war in El Salvador

3:30 pm-“Zionist Influence On American Foreign Policy“-by Dr. James Petras

4 pm-“Combating Zionist Influence in Domestic American Politics“-panel discussion with questions from the audience

Break

7 pm-film presentation of John Pilger’s early documentary on the role of the U.S. in the coming to power of the Pol Pot regime of Cambodia, and U.S. support for the Khmer Rouge after the Vietnamese invasion in 1979

8 pm-“On Resisting Imperialism“-evening dinner lecture by Alexander Cockburn

Day Four: Political Correctness

9 am-“Classical Anarchist and Classical Liberal Critiques of Marxism and the Historic Rivalry between Anarchists and Communists: Proudon, Bakunin, Goldman, Berkman, Mill, Russell, Kronstadt and Barcelona“-by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Communist Origins of Political Correctness“-by William S. Lind

10:30 am-“What I Experienced in China During the Cultural Revolution“-a survivor compares Western political correctness with Maoism

11:00 am-“My Imprisonment in Sweden“-a Christian pastor tells of his persecution under European PC laws

11:30 am-“Political Prisoners in Europe“-a European lawyer gives an overview

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“American Progressives’ Contributions to Political Correctness“-by Paul Gottfried

1:45 pm-“Judeo-Christian Roots of Political Correctness“-by Tomislav Sunic

2:30 pm-“The Emerging Totalitarian Humanism”-by Keith Preston

3:15 pm-“Political Correctness on American University Campuses“- a student activist speaks

4 pm-“How to Combat Political Correctness“-panel discussion with audience questions

Break

7 pm-“The Trial”-film adaption of the classic Kafka novel featuring Orson Welles

8:30 pm-“The Therapeutic State“-evening dinner lecture by Dr. Thomas Szasz

Day Five: Culture and Philosophy

9 am-“Peace Through Separatism: An Alternative to the Culture Wars“-by Keith Preston

9:30 am-“America’s Cultural Legacy of Anti-Statism“-by Thomas Woods

10:15 am-“The American Radical Tradition“-by Bill Kauffman 

11 am-“Has Brave New World Won Out Over 1984?”-discussion of the dystopian literary classics

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Where the Gay Rights Movement Goes Wrong“-by Justin Raimondo

1:30 pm-“Women and the State”-presentation and panel discussion from anarcha-feminists, libertarian-feminists, individualist feminists, sex-positive feminists and anti-feminist female anarchists and libertarians

2:30–“Race-Realists Are Not the Devil“-lecture by Jared Taylor

3 pm-“The Nationalities Question“-presentations by members of the Nation of Islam, Lakota Republic, Atzlan, Puerto Rico independence and Hawaiian and Alaskan people’s movements

4:30 pm-“The Americans for Self-Determination Plan“-by Jeff Anderson

Break

 7 pm-“-“Rescuing the Conservative Revolution from the Legacy of Nazism“-presentation from a historian of Weimar intellectual history

8 pm-“The Big Sort“-evening dinner lecture from Bill Bishop

Day Six: Taking It to the Streets

9 am-“Building an Active Anarchist Local Community“-presentation from members of Bay Area National Anarchists

9:30 am-“Making Use of Alternative Media“-panel discussion with alternative radio operators, bloggers, ‘zine publishers, public access TV broadcasters, and podcasters

10:15 am-“Neither Cops Nor Criminals“-joint presentation by members of neighborhood watch and copwatch programs

10:45 am-“Social Services without the State“-scholarly presentation on  historic and contemporary non-state social service systems

11:15 am-“Putting It Into Action“-representatives of non-state assistance programs for the homeless, mentally ill, orphans, battered women, hospices, drug treatment programs, the elderly and the disabled

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“What Elite Theory Tells Us About Anarchist Political Organization“-by Keith Preston

1:30-“The Role of Zoning Laws in Class Oppression“-presentation from a critic

2 pm-“Organizing for the Class Struggle“-panel discussion featuring representatives of labor, consumers, tenants, claimants, and students rights organizations

2:45 pm-“Forming Alternative Schools“-presentation from a critic

3:15 pm-“The Oppression of Youth“-panel discussion on drinking ages, compulsory school attendance, treatment of students by schools, the rights of runaways, curfews, alternatives to both abusive parents and statist institutions, squatting and discrimination against alternative youth cultures

4 pm-“Alternatives to Both Prisons and Capital Punishment“-discussion of possibilities such as restitution, penal colonies and exile

7 pm-“Are HIV Skeptics On to Something?”-debate between an orthodox scientist and a heretic

8 pm-“Global Warming: Dangerous Reality or Political Scam?”-a believer and unbeliever debate during dinner

Day Seven: Defending the Undefendable

9 am-“Overview of the U.S. Prison-Industrial Complex“-presentation from American Civil Liberties Union representative

9:45 am-“The National Socialist German and Contemporary American Police States Compared“-by Richard Lawrence Miller

10:30 am-“The Militarization of U.S. Law Enforcement’-by William Norman Grigg

11:15 am-“Resisting the War on Drugs“-presentation from November Coalition

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Prisoner Medical Neglect“-presentation from Wrongful Death Institute

1:30 pm-“The War Against Patients’ Rights and Medical Freedom“-a victim tells their story

2 pm-“The Persecution of the Homeless“-presentation from homeless advocacy group

2:30 pm-“What It’s Really Like on the Inside“-former prison inmates tell their stories

3 pm-“Fathers Are People, Too“-overview of the fathers’ rights movement

3:30 pm-“The Nature of Psychiatric Coercion“-lecture from a dissident psychiatrist

4 pm-“The Last Minority: Prostitutes and Other Sex Workers“-presentation on sex worker rights

4:30 pm-“I Was a Crip: What the Street Life is Really Like“-current and former gang members tell their stories

Break

7 pm-“The State’s War on Self-Defense“-presentation from Gun Owners of America

8 pm-“Stateless Legal Systems“-evening dinner lecture from Edward Stringham

Day Eight: Getting There From Here

9 am-“Historic Anarchic Communities: An Overview” by Keith Preston

9:45 am-“The Ups and Downs of Electoral Action“-presentation by a veteran of the Ron Paul campaign

10:30 am-“My Dad’s Maverick Campaign for Mayor of New York City“-by John Buffalo Mailer

11:15 am-“Lessons of the 1990s Militia Movement“-a former militiaman speaks

12 noon-Lunch

1 pm-“Political Alignments and Re-Alignments in American Political History“-by Keith Preston

1:45 pm-‘The Legitimacy of Secession“-by Thomas DiLorenzo

2:30 pm–“The Case for a Secessionist Strategy” by Dr. Kirpatrick Sale

3:15 pm-“Lessons of the Indian Independence Movement and the Partitioning of India and Pakistan“-joint presentation from a Ghandi scholar and a historian of South Asia

4 pm-“Global Guerrillas: The Rise of Fourth Generation Warfare” by John Robb

Break

7 pm-viewing of documentary about Hezbollah militia in Lebanon

8:30 pm-“Blow It Out Your Ass, Uncle Sam!”-keynote address by Commander Marcos of the EZLN

Updated News Digest June 21, 2009 3

Quotes of the Week:

“No doubt in the days since we last gathered together as APOC (Autonomous / Anarchist / Anti-Authoritarian People of Color), much has changed for each of us. We’ve each experienced new joys and grieves, up and downs. Across the vastness of this metropolitan wasteland, new bonds have been built, old bonds strengthened. In surviving, even thriving against the transgressions perpetrated by those who would see us torn apart, we’ve developed both as individuals and as a movement. Still problems persist. Despite our best efforts, our most spirited resistance, we remain oppressed. Native land remains occupied, its people marginalized, their culture appropriated and left to die. Zionists, backed by other Western powers, continue their genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. Gentrification continues to invade our neighborhoods. Police, ever vigilant in their protection of the ruling class, remain a brutal force separating us from our freedom. The rich still control the means of production, while the rest are exploited, forced into wage-slavery, prisons, and graves. The all-pervasive system of patriarchy still looms over and surrounds womyn, while their bodies remain battle grounds. Queers and transfolk still face violence, bashings and murders in a world hostile to all but the established norms. Billions of animals remain enslaved in chains, tanks, cages, and barns, subject to all manner of exploitation. This year, as before, the struggle continues.

Revolution, if it is to succeed, requires a coordinated, comprehensive network of dedicated revolutionaries. Of course, APOC has existed for some time now. However, we have not thus far been able to create and maintain a form suitable to our needs. Many times have we converged, many times have we expressed a desire for something more consistent. It is clear to many that what we need is an autonomous organization of sorts, perhaps many. Our intention is to make this happen.”

                               -Philadelphia Anarchist People of Color Mission Statement

“I see nothing here that is contrary to the positions and values of National-Anarchists. However, because some National-Anarchists are Anglo-Saxons, we are still labelled “racists.” We are all exploited and oppressed by the ruling elite. I am just as much a victim of capitalism as any black or Hispanic worker. There are black people, Jewish people, homosexual people and every other so-called “minority” that make up the ruling class all anarchists oppose; yet you scapegoat “whites” as the stereotypical enemy.”

                                                                                                   -AnarchoNation

Divided We Stand by Paul Starobin

On Rejecting Keith Preston by Dixie Flatline

Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Empire! by Laurence Vance

Book Review-Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory by Sean Gabb

A Conversation About Racefilm by Craig Bodeker (hat tip to AnarchoNation)

Why America is a Bank-Owned State by Samah El-Shahat

How Obama Will Outspend Reagan on Defense by Winslow T. Wheeler

Iran’s Election: None of America’s Business by Justin Raimondo

Today’s Right-Wing Youth Are More Radical Than Their Elders (thank God!) by Charles Coulombe

The World As We Presently Know It by Ean Frick

Why “the Fascists” Are Winning in Europe by Mark Steyn

Are You Ready for War with Demonized Iran? by Paul Craig Roberts

Lenin’s The State and Revolution: An Anarchist Viewpoint by Larry Gambone

Iranian Elections: The “Stolen Elections” Hoax by James Petras

Is Israel Really a Beacon of the West? Phillip Weiss interviewed by Scott Horton

Iran’s Green Revolution by Justin Raimondo

Consumerism is Too Important to be Left to the Consumers by Ray Mangum

Don’t Trust Police  from AnarchoNation

Neocon Serial Killers by Glenn Greenwald

Obama Targets Antiwar Democrats by Norman Solomon

How to Deal with the Pork in Blue from Assata Shakur

Why U.S. Neocons Want Ahmadinejab to Win by Stephen Zunes

The Truth is No Defense-In Canada by Grant Havers

 Iran Faces Greater Risks Than It Knows by Paul Craig Roberts

Confessions of a Public Servant by Mr. X

How the Recession is Wrecking Friendships Across the Land by Emily Bazelon

U.S. Anarchism, Movement Building and the Racial Order by Joel Olson

The Waning Power of Truth by Paul Craig Roberts

Neocons for Ahmadinejad by Jack Hunter

On Iran, Democracy and Nuclear Weapons by Stephen Walt

Sadism is Sexual by Fred Reed

Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War review by Robert Higgs

Iran’s Tiananmen Moment by Pat Buchanan

Who Will Control Iraq’s Oil? by Patrick Cockburn

Anarchist Voices 

The Obama Siren Song to the Skeptical Muslim World by Eric Margolis

Workers Rights: No Balls, No Chains by Joe Bageant

The Case for Home Education by Sean Gabb

Farmland: The Best Investment of Our Time Jim Rogers and George Soros

Beat the Rising Cost of Health Care by Amanda Gengler

Life is Destroying the Planet! by Butler Shaffer

From Smash the Church to Going to Chapel by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Outlasting the Ayatollahs by Pat Buchanan

Strip Club Depression by Doug French

I Become an American by Alexander Cockburn

The Extreme Right by Jack Hunter

These Are Obama’s Wars Now by Joshua Frank

PIG Assaults EMT by William Norman Grigg

Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria’s Oil Dictatorship by Francois Tremblay

Torture: An American Legacy by Carl Boggs

Lessons Learned from the Battlefield by Michael Gaddy

The American Empire is Bankrupt by Chris Hedges

String Up the Barbed Wire and Break Out the Guillotine by William Norman Grigg

The Faileocons by Paul Gottfried

Answering Some Well-Asked Questions About Self-Defense by Massad Ayoob

A  Tale of  Two Killings by S. M. Oliva

Fighting Tyranny Should Start at Home by Ilana Mercer

Another U.S.-Orchestrated “Color Revolution”? by Paul Craig Roberts

Anarchism’s Promise for Anti-Capitalist Resistance 

The Narcissism Revolution by Richard Spencer

Road Blockade in Solidarity with Mohawk Nation 

Some Things Are Acceptable in Different Cultures by TGGP

How Big of an Asshole is Keith Preston?

Charles Manson and Me by David Macaray

Sasha Grey Likes Gang Bangs-Live With It by Lily Quateman

Arlinton, Virginia: Hell on Earth

Lydia Guevara posing on the set of her PETA photo shoot.

Viva Che!

Lydia Guevara posing on the set of her PETA photo shoot

Updated News Digest June 14, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“I participated in a forum on state sovereignty at Drexel University a short while ago where the subject of secession came up (naturally). A Pennsylvania state legislator was the other speaker, and while he did not dismiss the possibility of secession he said that it was important to first exhaust all other possibilities, such as writing and calling your congressional representative.

A student in the audience asked him this question in response (paraphrasing): ‘If a burglar broke in to your home and stole your valuables over and over again, do you think it would be effective to write the burglar a letter asking him to stop it?’

How refreshing to meet a college student who understands the ancient truth that government is just another criminal gang.”

                                                                                                           -Tom DiLorenzo

Getting to the Truth About World War Two by Eric Margolis

Fear is Eroding American Rights by Paul Craig Roberts

Liberal Imperialism in Afghanistan Bill Kelsey interviewed by Scott Horton

The Case Against the Federal Reserve by Murray Rothbard

Review of Kevin Carson’s Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective by Larry Gambone

Is Secession Treason? by Tim Case

Let’s Make the Youth of America More Stupid! by Childs Walker

The Case for Secession by Gary Barnett

The Rosetta Stone of Revolution: Countering Counter-Insurgency by John Robb

The Latest Torture Cover-Up Scam by James Bovard

Decentralized Craft Industry by Kevin Carson

Civil Liberties and the “Winds of Change” by Justin Raimondo

The Normalization of Violence, Torture and Annihlation by Arthur Silber

Whoever Wishes Peace Must Fight Statism Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

“Global Warming Tax” to be Levied on International Air Travel? by John Vidal

Is Hyper-Inflation Around the Corner? by Mike Whitney

Don’t Trust Police from Anarcho-Nation

Anti-Americanism in Israel by Justin Raimondo

The USS Liberty: America’s Most Shameful Secret by Eric Margolis

Taking On the Corrections Corporation of America by Paul Wright

The Coming U.S. Default Interview with Peter Schiff

The Dairy Oligarchy by Jim Goodman

Ron Paul on Foreign Policy by Kathleen Wells

Obama: Committing the U.S. to “World Order” by Chuck Baldwin

The Few, the Proud, the Pimps 

7 in 10 Potential Military Recruits Are Unfit

Sweden’s Pirate Party Captures Euro Seat by Vernonica Ek

Remembering the Persecution of Hans-Hermann Hoppe by Vin Suprynowicz

What Global Warming? by Ron Paul

Police Insurance by Clement M. Hammond

Righteous Zeal and the Killing of George Tiller by Paul Gottfried

America’s Soft Despotism by David Gordon

Tasered While Black

Stop Collateral Damage in the War on Drugs by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Europe Swings Right as Depression Deepens by Ambrose Evans Pritchard

Exposing the Wall Street Journal by Matt Taibbi

And We, Like Sheep… by William Norman Grigg

Leave China Alone by Justin Raimondo

Lebanon’s Odd Couple by Nicolas Dot-Pouillard

Bush is Gone, But Halliburton Rolls On by Pratap Chatterjee

Israeli Spy Fined, Scolded, Released

Richard Nixon: Liberal/Moderate Republican by TGGP

Community Kitchens by Julia Levitt

Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

Jack Ross is Back! by TGGP

Opposing the Liberal State Without Becoming Statist by David Bromwich

Anarchism and Crime from Direct Action

Becoming Barbarians by Rod Dreher

Some Dare Call It Torture by Wendy McElroy

The American Dream and the Anarchist Dream by Jake Carman

To Die for a Mystique by Andrew Bacevich

They Thought They Were Free from Murphy’s Bye-Laws

Not Good as Gold by David Gordon

The Streets Belong to the People by Jesse Walker

The Internet Lynching of Marcus Epstein by Bay Buchanan

Beyond the Paleos by W. James Antle

England: The Peasants Are Revolting by Sean Gabb

Saving Israel from Itself by John J. Mearsheimer

Ennabling the Surveillance State from No Third Solution

Peer Money by Kevin Carson

AIPAC Walls Beginning to Crack by Ira Chernus

How Civilized, Law-Abiding Countries Imprison Terrorists by Glenn Greenwald

Is the Israel Lobby Getting Weaker? by Stephen Walt

Ludicrous Albion by Austin Bramwell

The Benefits of Smoking  by N

Big Tobacco Vindicates Gabriel Kolko from Austro-Athenian Empire

“I Don’t Get the Whole Peak Oil Thing” from Back to the Drawing Board

PIGS Will Be PIGS from Rad Geek

Anarchist Summer Camp in Virginia from Infoshop.Org

The Italian Mafia: A Distorted Masonic Lodge from Mindhacks.Com

Dutch Journalist Raped but Respected by the Taliban by Thomas Landen

Somali Fisherman Says Foreigners Are the Real Pirates from Infoshop.Org

Black People Love US

The Inside Story of the Red Army Faction by Stefan Aust

2009 Northeast Anarchist People of Color Mission Statement 

Homosexuals Are By Nature of the Right by James O’Meara

Who Needs Yesterday’s Papers? by Alexander Cockburn

Fordlandia by Stuart Ferguson

Elmer Fudd Nation by Mark Ames

Bureaucrack-up by Ray Mangum

Carter in Lebanon  by Franklin Lamb

20,000 Nations Above the Sea by Brian Doherty

“People Who Lived Under King Saint Louis IX of France Were Freer Than We Are Now in America” by Brother Andre Marie

Italy’s Black Northern League Mayor by Michael Day

Gods Come Cheap These Days by Chuck Baldwin

The Right Way to Brussels by Derek Turner

Miss Affirmative Action, 2009 by Pat Buchanan

Hypocritical, Censoring Leftists by Stephan Kinsella

We Get It: Museum Shooter Was a Hateful Honkie by Ilana Mercer

Time to Start Filling the Gulag by William Norman Grigg

Got Property? by Peter Schiff

Bankers Are Scared, Are You? by Gary North

The War on Your Racism by Jack Hunter

Look Who’s Shopping Goodwill by Ruth La Ferla

Von Brunn and National Socialism by Dylan Hales

James W. Von Brunn by Anthony Gregory

Are We All Liberals Now? by Tom Piatak

The Concept of the Vanguard 1

Recently a reader of Attack the System wrote:

Keith Preston, in his Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement in North America, writes of “anarchist” “city-states”, “anarcho-papis[m]“, and “anarcho-monarchis[m]“! In the same essay he writes that most anarchists favor the “town meeting” approach of “direct democracy”. To decide what? Whose fate???! It makes me nervous to think it might ever be mine.

Is the system or systems, method or methods, advocated by anarchists truly any better, any more supportive of individual freedom, than libertarian minarchy, or are there patterns of, and tendencies toward, oppression, injustice, AND AGGRESSION, that are camouflaged by abstruse, academic, anarchist theories, and bold and heroic slogans? Is the anarchist “intellectual class” or “vanguard” Keith Preston calls for in the aforementioned work, our wise and learned advisor, or latter-day Napoleans, leading us trusting lumpen-proletariat, anarcho-foot-soldiers to our brave new Animal Farm?

To many anarchists, the word “vanguard” is a cuss word because of its association with the traditional Leninist concept of a “vanguard party” that seizes power for the purpose of setting up a totalitarian state, military dictatorship, command economy and rule by a bureaucratic elite.  I recall when in 1998 I told some anarchist associates the name of my latest project, American Revolutionary Vanguard, one of them replied in horror, “That sounds Communist!!” Today, the memory of an anarchist calling me a “communist” is somewhat amusing, given that the mainstream of the “anarchist” movement persistently labels me a “fascist.”

The title “American Revolutionary Vanguard” was suggested to me by an associate who was an NRA/survivalist/militia type. Having been both a traditional anarcho-syndicalist and a participant in the right-wing patriot movement of the 1990s, I was plotting the formation of a new movement that would synthesize left-wing anarchism and right-wing populism into a new “left-anarcho-libertarian populist nationalism” that would counter both the political correctness of the left and the jingoism of the right. I wanted a name for the project that would identify itself with both the populist tradition of the American Revolution and represent a casting off the conventional left/right labels. I recalled having once heard of a neo-nazi group in the Portland area called “National Socialist Vanguard” and being amused by the name, given the association of the term “vanguard” with Communism, and the bitter rivalry between Communism and Nazism. My associate suggested the title “American Revolutionary Vanguard.” It was perfect.

As for the reader’s questions:

Keith Preston…writes of “anarchist” “city-states”, “anarcho-papis[m]“, and “anarcho-monarchis[m]“

These are tendencies that already exist, not anything that I personally invented. See here, for a piece by anarcho-city-statist Murray Bookchin, here for an anarcho-papist, and here for a discussion of anarcho-monarchism. What I have argued for in the past is a decentralized political system that allows for many different kinds of anarchist tendencies, and as well related ideologies and even non-anarchists, to form their own intentional communities or intentional states organized according to their preferred set of principles or ways of life.

In the same essay he writes that most anarchists favor the “town meeting” approach of “direct democracy”.

Indeed they do.  

To decide what? Whose fate???! It makes me nervous to think it might ever be mine.

Frankly, this is a concern that I share, which is why I’ve long been critical of those who deify democracy as some noble end unto itself.  In fact, most serious anarchist thinkers since Proudhon have been highly critical of the unchallenged acceptance of democracy. The pioneer feminist-anarchist Emma Goldman even expressed skepticism of woman suffrage, believing that middle-class liberal and socialist women would use the vote to expand the state, particularly in the area of “victimless crimes” that libertarians are so opposed to. The role of the newly instituted female vote in bringing about alcohol Prohibition would seem to vindicate her. Speaking only for myself, I place a much higher value on limited government that on popular government, on civil liberty than on voting rights, and on local sovereignty over mass democracy.

Is the system or systems, method or methods, advocated by anarchists truly any better, any more supportive of individual freedom, than libertarian minarchy, or are there patterns of, and tendencies toward, oppression, injustice, AND AGGRESSION, that are camouflaged by abstruse, academic, anarchist theories, and bold and heroic slogans?

I don’t know that the debate between anarchists and minarchists is as important as some make it out to be, given that most proposals for an anarchist system look remarkably like some alternative form of state. As Bob Black says:

The trouble with anarchists is that they think they have agreed on what they all oppose — the state — whereas all they have agreed on is what to call it. You could make a good case that the greatest anarchists were nothing of the sort. Godwin wanted the state to wither away, but gradually, and not before the progress of enlightenment prepared people to do without it. Which seems to legitimate really existing statism and culminate in the banality that if things were different they would not be the same. Proudhon, who served in the French national legislature, in the end arrived at a theory of “federalism” which is nothing but the devolution of most state power on local governments. Kropotkin’s free communes may not be nation-states but they sure sound like city-states. Certainly no historian would regard as anything but ludicrous Kropotkin’s claim that medieval cities were anarchist.

If some of the greatest anarchists, upon inspection, appear to fall somewhat short of consistency on even the defining principle of anarchism itself — the abolition of the state — it is not too surprising if some of the lesser lights are likewise dim bulbs. The One Big Union of the syndicalists, who also uphold the duty to work, is one big state to everybody else, and totalitarian to boot. Some “anarcha”-feminists are book-burners. Dean Murray Bookchin espouses third-party politics and municipal statism, eerily parallel to the borderline fascist militia/Posse Comitatus movement which would abolish all government above the county level. And Bakunin’s “invisible government” of anarchist militants is, at best, a poor choice of words, especially on the lips of a Freemason.

My own concept of a “vanguard” is rooted in Bakunin’s idea of “principled militants”, that is, hard-core revolutionaries who assume the natural leadership roles in larger radical organizations, because of their greater level of experience, knowledge, commitment, talent, etc., and nothing more. This idea has nothing to do with particular ideological objectives as much as it is rooted in a recognition of how human organizations actually work and an application of the principles of social science and social psychology.

Is the anarchist “intellectual class” or “vanguard” Keith Preston calls for in the aforementioned work, our wise and learned advisor, or latter-day Napoleans, leading us trusting lumpen-proletariat, anarcho-foot-soldiers to our brave new Animal Farm?

Well, here’s an example of what such a “vanguard” might actually do. Some might engage in secessionist or decentralist political campaigns of the Norman Mailer variety. Others might work to unite separatist groups, as Kirkpatrick Sale is now doing. Still others might be journalists or writers who serve as the radical movement’s theoretical or propagandistic arm. Some might have leadership positions in large anti-government organizations or coalitions. One of the best descriptions I ever encountered of this concept of a “vanguard” was from an African-American anarchist by the name of Mark Gillespie:

As mediators and vision-holders, we can help each group to see that uniting for the common goal of freedom, trumps their own agendas. After all, once the government is gone, no one will care if you set up an all-black, all-white, all-Jew, all-Muslim, all-socialist, all-capitalist community. We should pick up the torch of unity and educate people into respecting the diverse views of others. I may not like what you’re doing, saying, being, etc, but I will defend to the death, your right to do, say or be it.

Because we anarchists reject statism does not mean that we should reject leadership and organization altogether. In fact, doing so is dangerous because it will lead to power vacuums that can easily be filled by our enemies.

Updated News Digest June 7, 2009 Reply

Quote of the Week:

“We can tolerate intolerance and we can tolerate intolerance of intolerance.”  -TGGP

“Avrich does not shy away from controversy in his books, treating the anarchist acts of violence honestly and in the context of the time. He does not condone the violence of Berkman, but says he still admires his decision, considering how brutal Frick acted toward striking workers. But Avrich does not have the same patience for some contemporary anarchists, who choose to destroy property and who, he says, come mainly from educated and middle-class backgrounds. “I’m not so crazy about anarchists these days,” he says. Anarchism means that you leave other people alone and you don’t force people to do anything.” He says he is sad that the old-timers are not around to guide the resurgent movement. “They were nicer people –much nicer people.”    

                                  -Susan Phillips on the late anarchist historian, Paul Avrich

“We have lost the battle for our country. This does not necessarily mean we have lost the war. There is a chance—however remote—that we can overturn the existing order of things. All we must do is genuinely want to be a free people again, living in an independent country. On this definition, our allies can be everywhere. They can have nipple rings or green hair. They can be homosexuals or transsexuals or drug users. They can want to live in racially exclusive enclaves. They can be Catholics or Moslems or atheists. Whoever wants to be left alone in his own life, and whoever wants this country to be governed from within this country, is a conservative for the present century. Whoever will raise a finger towards this object I will count among my friends.”

                                                                                                         -Dr. Sean Gabb

 

On Revolutionary Discipline by Nestor Makhno

As the Dollar Falls Off the Cliff… by Paul Craig Roberts

The Empire’s Aggressions by Karen Kwiatkowski

U.S. Inflation to Approach Zimbabwe Level  by Chen Shiyin and Bernard Lo

World War Two Was an Unnecessary War by Laurence Vance

Frail, Cowardly Winston Saved Us by Robert Harris

Don’t Commit Acts of War Against North Korea by Eric Margolis

Stop Letting Cheney Frame the Torture Debate by William S. Lind

Obama’s Speech by Paul Craig Roberts

War With Iran: Has It Already Begun? by Justin Raimondo

Obama: Low Words, High Truths by Alexander Cockburn

Essay on Kropotkin and Qadhafi by Said Gafourov

The War Party Returns by Justin Raimondo

Is the GOP Dead? discussion with Jack Hunter, Richard Spencer and James Antle

Obama in Cairo: Words, Words, Words by Justin Raimondo

Is Peak Oil the Solution to Global Warming? by Kevin Carson

The New Totalitarianism by Larry Gambone

The Iranian “Threat” by William Blum

The Silencing of Political Prisoners Will Potter interviewed by Scott Horton

Homeless Under Attack in L.A. by Christopher Goffard and Corina Knoll

Neocons for Ahmadinejad by Daniel Luban

Armed and Free by Charley Reese

Pot Home Invasions: Bud and Blow Torches by Tim Stelloh

The Health Plan’s Devilish Principles by Murray Rothbard

The Future of Israel and the Decline of the American Empire by Arno J. Mayer

The Netherlands is Closing Prisons

War Is Sin by Chris Hedges

Roger Waters vs Zionism

Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail  by Lew Rockwell

Life in Gaza by Jordan Flaherty

Why I Chose Streets Over Shelter by Shannon Moriarty

Is Interracial Marriage Legal? by Gavin McInnes

Yea, I’m Declared a Commie Again by Francois Tremblay

Is America Unconservative? by E. Christian Kopff

PIG Goes on Trial for Murder

But You Didn’t Even Give Obama’s Perestroika a Chance! from Social Memory Complex

America’s Descent Into Marxism by Stanislav Mishin

The Myth of the Rule of Law by John Hasnas

What Do White Nationalists Want? by Jared Taylor

Public Education’s Role in Sprawl and Exclusion by Murray Rothbard

The Quota Queen by Pat Buchanan

The Fiscal Crisis of the State from Stumbling and Mumbling

Race, Christianity and Anarcho-Capitalism by Paul Gottfried

PC Thugs Go to Court  by Harrison Bergeron 2

Liberals and Illiberals by Grant Havers

Putting Manners on the Police from Infoshop.Org

Did George Tiller Deserve to Die? by Richard Spencer

Obama and Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal by Gideon Spiro

White Nationalism and White People by Richard Spencer

U.S.-Cuba Policy: Still Stuck in the Past by Roger Burbach

The Trouble With Sonia by Jack Hunter

The Sotomayor Scandal: What Does It Mean for America? by Steve Sailer

Nixon’s Revenge by TGGP

The Economic Impact of Immigration by Peter Brimelow

Defending the Undefendable: Michael Vick by Todd Steinberg

The Gun Industry is Booming-Thank God! by Louis Navellier

Agriculture is the Future by Gary Whit

Yet Another Reason to Secede by Stewart Doan

Whence the Terror Hysteria? Follow the Money by Philip Giraldi

At War with the U.S. Drug War by Jeremy Hainworth

Empire of Dread by Alan Bock

Reagan Did What? by William Anderson

Obama Must Wholly Reject Bush’s Dictator Policies by Matt Taibbi

Governments Are the Villians by Robert Higgs

Loving Freedom While Destroying It by Jacob Hornberger

Zoning: This Ain’t No Roadside Picnic by Ray Mangum

The U.S. Fascist Revolution by Fred Reed

Most Arabs Know Obama’s Speech Will Make Little Difference by Robert Fisk

The Rape of Gaza by Roane Carey

Israel Lobby Challenged Isaac Luria interviewed by Scott Horton

Exploding Debt Threatens America by John Taylor

Muslim Attitudes Towards Polygyny by Country by TGGP

The Sociology of Conspiracy Theories by Ray Mangum

Who is an Anti-Semite? by Tom Sunic

Jewish and Black Attitudes Towards Intermarriage by TGGP

Breaking Bibi by Pat Buchanan

Papers of the Libertarian Left, #1 by Chris Lempa

Why the Chinese Laughed at Geithner by Paul Craig Roberts

Triumph of Killdozer by Francois Tremblay

The American Conservative Movement’s Missing Second Act by Peter Brimelow

Lincoln as Hitler by Jack Hunter

Report from Squatting Festival in Sweden

The 10th Amendment Movement Spreads by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

Tangled Threads of Revolution by James Pendlebury

Leftist Tit for Tat by Grant Havers

The Evolving Non-Major Parties: Schiff Challenges Libertarians to Change by Patroon

Leftwing America by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

America First, Of Course! by Tom Piatak

Who Will Tell the People? by Karen De Coster

Obama Vs Osama by Ivan Eland

U.S. Admits But Still Defends Afghan Civilian Slaughter by Jeremy Scahill

Laurence Vance on Christianity and War

Another Club Gitmo Guest Kills Himself by Glenn Greenwald

Obama, Like Bush, Just Doesn’t Get It by Jacob Hornberger

Obama Lies Revealed by Thomas Eddlem

Pull Out of the War on Terror by Jonathan Clarke and Amy Zalman

It’s the End of the Economic World as we Know It! Gerald Celente interviewed by Terry Easton

The Truth About Tiananmen Square by Justin Raimondo

Wrongfully Convicted Man Freed by Wendy McElroy

A Former President’s Genocidal Son by William Norman Grigg

Use a Cell Phone in School, Get Electro-Shocked by the PIGS by William Norman Grigg

PIG Attacks Elderly Woman by Kerri Bellacosa

Random Subversive Thoughts by Ray Mangum

Obama as a Modern Pharaoh by Kevin MacDonald

Indigenous Protestors Murdered by Peruvian PIGS 

Christianity and War by Laurence Vance interviewed by Scott Horton

“Keith Preston, You’re on Notice!” (scroll down)-thanks, Francois!

Property and Freedom Society Conference in Bodrum, Turkey Reply

Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Property and Freedom Society held its annual conference in Bodrum, Turkey on May 21-25. The Property and Freedom Society is arguably the most radical gathering of anti-state scholars and intellectuals anywhere in the world, as an examination of their program will indicate. Dr. Hoppe’s introductory remarks are currently available here. The text of a paper presented by Dr. Sean Gabb of the U.K.’s Libertarian Alliance is also available. If any Attack the System readers were present at this conference and wish to submit a review, summary or critique of the event, please contact me here .

Is Something Really Wrong with Kansas? 4

ABSTRACT: The widely believed claim that many voters in American elections are voting against their economic interests (“lower income Republicans versus affluent Democrats”) in favor of their social or cultural values is not supportable by the data concerning class voting patterns. American voters are polarized on both a class and cultural basis. Economic polarization takes place on a national level, and cuts across regional and local boundaries, with rich Americans overwhelmingly voting for the Republicans and poor Americans leaning strongly towards the Democrats. Cultural polarization represents intra-class conflict within the middle class, primarily the upper middle class, with affluent people in wealthier states voting for the Democrats and persons with a comparable class position in the poorer states voting Republican. Furthermore, the “red-state/blue-state” electoral map represents conflict not between states per se as much as conflict between ideologically polarized Congressional districts, local communities, counties and neighborhoods.

 

In recent years a stereotype has emerged in American politics. The picture

presented by much of the media is one of lower income persons voting Republican and

upper income persons voting Democratic. In other words, many people have started

voting against their own economic interests in favor of their cultural values, with upper

income, urban, educated, cosmopolitan elites voting for liberal social policies, and lower

income, rural, religious voters favoring conservative policies. This image is often

depicted on electoral maps as the “red state/blue state” divide with the socially

conservative red state poor and working class pitted against affluent but socially liberal

residents of the blue states.  This picture is widely accepted, but is it true? Is it an

accurate depiction of the class and cultural divisions among voters? The evidence

indicates that it is not. The available data shows that the voting patterns of the poor are

reliably Democratic. Instead, the red state/blue state divide is symptomatic of cultural

conflict among middle to upper-middle income persons, and of intra-class conflict

among the affluent or wealthy.

 

A leading and perhaps most well-known proponent of the “poor conservatives

versus rich liberals” thesis is Thomas Frank, who outlined his views in the popularized

work What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America.

Frank provides a straightforward summary of his views:

 

If you earn over $300,000 a year, you owe a great deal to this derangement.

Raise a glass sometime to those indigent High Plains Republicans as you contemplate your good fortune: It is thanks to their self-denying votes that

you are no longer burdened by the estate tax, or troublesome labor unions,

or meddling banking regulators. Thanks to the allegiance of these sons and daughters of toil, you have escaped what your affluent forebears used to call “confiscatory” income tax levels. It is thanks to them that you were able to

buy two Rolexes this year instead of one and get that Segway with the special gold trim. (Frank, 2004, p. 2)

 

According to Frank, Republicans have been able to successfully appeal to the social

conservatism of blue collar workers and the rural poor on cultural controversies like

abortion, gay rights, immigration, the role of religion in public life, gun control and

affirmative action. Frank sees this as a “bait and switch” tactic on the part of the

Republican Party, whereby working class voters are pushed to vote according to their

cultural values, and are then given economic policies that are harmful to their own

interests. Frank describes what he regards as the consequences of this arrangement:

 

Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital gains taxes. Vote to

make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw

those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation.

Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization. Vote to strike a blow against elitism;

receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before

in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining.(Frank, 2004, p. 7)

 

Liberals who agree with Frank’s analysis will argue that working class Republican voters

are under the grip of what the Marxists call “false consciousness,” meaning such voters

are distracted by what the Left would consider to be religious superstition, irrational

prejudices like racism or homophobia or conservative economic propaganda generated by

corporate-funded think tanks and media outlets. Allegedly, such distractions prevent

working people from perceiving and voting for their rational economic self-interest.

 

Even some conservatives will agree with Frank’s general thesis, but from a polar

opposite perspective. These conservatives will argue working class Republicans really do

perceive their economic interests accurately, and that it is perfectly legitimate for workers

to desire tax cuts in order to increase their take-home pay and deregulatory policies that

ostensibly accelerate economic growth and therefore job creation and rising living

standards. (Gelman, Park, Shor, Bafumi, Cortina, 2008, p. 16) An even more extreme

argument is offered by the neoconservative commentator David Brooks, who suggests

that because the red state/blue divide appears to be driven more by cultural and social

issues than by class or economic ones, that perhaps the idea of “class,” which he derides

as “Marxist” in nature, is not applicable to American society at all.  Brooks sees

Americans divided on the basis of cliques rather than classes, with these cliques being

comparable to the various teenage subcultures one might find at a high school, such as

“nerds, jocks, punks, bikers, techies, druggies, God Squadders,” etc. (Brooks, 2001)

 

The methodology utilized by commentators like Frank and Brooks is

problematical. Frank relies very heavily on anecdotal evidence gathered from his

experiences with Republican-leaning, working-class Kansas communities of the kind that

he grew up around. He provides examples like a friend’s father, a man with liberal

economic views but whose Catholic religious beliefs led him to the pro-life Republicans. (Frank, 2001, p. 4) Much of Frank’s work includes sweeping political, cultural and historical analysis with very little in raw statistical data provided as supporting evidence.  Likewise, many of Brooks’ arguments are anecdotal in nature, relying on his personal experiences of living in an upper class liberal community and his ventures into conservative working class towns and conversing with the locals.

 

 

What Does the Data Show?

 

The most comprehensive and up to date analysis of the available data concerning

voting patterns in relation to class position, income, occupation and cultural background

is provided by Andrew Gelman, David Park, Boris Shar, Joseph Bafumi and Jeronimo

Cortina. This group of scholars published their research in 2008 under the title Red State,

Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote The Way They Do. Contra Frank,

these researchers found that the image of “working class conservatives versus affluent

liberals” is a false one, arguing instead that “lower-income Americans don’t, in general,

vote Republican-and, where they do, richer voters go Republican even more so.” With

regards to Kansas, for instance, that particular state has leaned Republican by ten percent

greater than the national average for sixty years, and the real source of Republican

strength in Kansas is the middle to upper classes. (Gelman, 2008, pp. 14-15)

 

Political scientist Larry Bartels argues that it is only in the South that the trend of

whites without college education voting Republican has emerged.(Bartels, 2006) Even

so, Gelman, Park, et.al. found that in the 2004 presidential election the “poor vote” went

to Democratic candidate John Kerry in all of the Southern states except Texas!(Gelman, 2008) Bartels maintains that there is no identifiable pattern of white working class voters

favoring cultural issues over economic ones. Jeffrey Stonecash argues that “the last 40

years shows a growing class division in American politics, with less affluent whites more

supportive of Democrats now than 20-30 years ago. Indeed, even in Kansas less affluent

legislative districts are much more supportive of Democrats than affluent

districts.”(Stonecrash, 2005)

 

The evidence indicates that the rich are overwhelmingly Republican in their

voting preferences. Republican candidate George W. Bush only won thirty-six percent of

the vote from those earning less than $15,000 annually in the 2004 election. Among those

earning over $200,00 Bush obtained sixty-two percent of the vote. (Gelman, 2008, p. 9)

As mentioned, Bush’s home state of Texas was the only southern state where Bush won

the “poor people” vote in the 2004 election. Yet even in Texas there was a significant

class division in voting patterns. In Zavala County, the poorest Texas locality, Bush won

twenty-five percent of the vote. However, in the wealthiest Texas community, Collin

County, Bush won seventy-one percent of the vote. The capital city of Austin is located

in Travis County, where the mean income of $45,000 is solidly middle class, and where

Bush received fifty-three percent of the vote. (Gelman, 2008, p. 12)

 

Voting patterns indicate that poor voters are overwhelmingly Democratic, as are

racial minorities. This is not to say that there are no significant cultural differences

among the poor. After all, “the poor” can include everything from rural Alabama whites

who belong to the Ku Klux Klan to black street gang members in the inner city areas. Yet

there is no evidence that such differences play significant roles in American electoral

politics. Many poor people do not vote at all. Those who do are, by a wide margin,

consistently Democratic-leaning.  The growing gap between socio-economic groups

that has escalated over the past thirty years has been widely documented, but this

growing divide between rich and poor is not the source of the red state/blue state divide.

 

The evidence supports the conclusion that the red state/blue state divide has its

roots in cultural conflict within middle to upper-middle income groups. As Gelman

summarizes:

 

There is still a rich-poor divide in voting, in popular perceptions of the

Democrats and Republicans, and in the parties’ economic policies. But

voting patterns have been changing, and the red-blue map captures some of

this. The economic battles have not gone away, but they intersect with cultural issues in a new way. In low-income states such as Mississippi and Alabama, richer people were far more likely to vote (Republican)…But in richer states

such as New York and California, income is not a strong predictor of individual votes. (Gelman, 2008, p. 17)

 

In the poor states, the pattern of wealthy people voting Republican and poor people

voting Democratic is very reliable. In states where the mean income is more in the

middle, the pattern begins to blur somewhat, and in the wealthiest states, income is not a

determining factor in voting patterns. While the middle to upper classes in wealthier

states are just as likely to favor the Democrats as poor people, the same socio-economic

groups in the poor states are more likely to favor the Republicans. To break it down

further on a regional basis, Democrats only win the “rich vote” in the most liberal

states. For instance, in the 2004 election the Democrats won the vote of those with an

income of over $200,000 annually in only four states: California, Connecticut,

Massachusetts, and New York. Middle class support for the Democratic Party is the

strongest in the Northeast, parts of the upper Midwest/Great Lakes region, and on the

West Coast.  To break it down to the level of local communities, affluent to wealthy

urban people tend to lean towards the Democrats, even though the majority of affluent

people are Republicans. The wealthiest states are also those which are the most

urbanized. (Gelman, 2008, p. 19-20)

 

A key question that arises from these observations concerns the matter of why

voting patterns are more divided on the basis of income in poor states. These patterns are

relatively new. For instance, in the 1976 presidential election, the Democrat Jimmy

Carter won the South, and the Republican Gerald Ford won California, New Jersey and

parts of New England. In the 1976 election, the level of correlation between the wealth of

a state and partisan sympathies was relatively small. Why do affluent people in poor

states hold such greater differences in their political allegiances than poor people when

compared to affluent people in wealthier states? Gelman and associates offer four

primary explanations:

 

  1. Division between races is the most evident in poor states in the South. This racial division overlaps with a class division. Because of the relationship between race and class position, economic policies such as social welfare programs that involve transfer payments from rich or affluent persons to the poor are seen as race-based entitlements for African-Americans.

 

  1. Wealthier people in the poor states attend church more regularly or frequently than poor people, and are also more likely to belong to conservative religious denominations than persons with comparable levels of wealth in richer states.

 

  1. Geography and history. The wealthier states have a much larger number of unionized workers, more large cities, and stronger immigrant communities, thereby creating a more liberal political and cultural atmosphere in these states. A direct correlation exists between cosmopolitanism and Democratic voting patterns.

 

  1. Middle to upper income persons have greater freedom and ability to choose where they will live and whom they will associate with. For instance, affluent persons with liberal social or cultural views tend to migrate towards urban enclaves such as Portland, Seattle, Madison, Minneapolis, San Francisco or Montgomery County, Maryland where such views are most prevalent. (Gelman, 2008, p. 22)

 

Political polarization in the United States occurs on two levels, the economic and the

cultural. A divide exists not only between rich and poor, but between affluent Americans

holding different cultural values.  Analysts differ as to the causes of this polarization.

Political scientists Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole, and Howard Rosenthal attempt to

explain contemporary American political polarization as an outgrowth of growing income

inequality.  Between the 1920s and the mid-1970s, patterns of wealth distribution in the

United States were comparable to those of other nations with relatively similar levels of

economic, industrial and technological development. However, economic inequality has

grown immensely in the United States in the last thirty-five years, and at a much greater

rate than what can be found in other comparable nations. McCarty, Poole and Rosenthal

also point out that this wealth gap has appeared within the individual American states,

and not among them. The growth of wealth inequality has transpired on a class rather

than sectional basis. (McCarty, Poole, Rosenthal, 2008)

 

Since the mid-1970s, many of the more underdeveloped areas of

the U.S. have improved their economic standing. Wealthy people in wealthy states have

been have been getting rich at a quicker pace, while poor people in poor states have been

rising out of poverty at a quicker pace. This is no doubt attributable to a variety of causes,

including the growth of the industrial base of the so-called Sunbelt, the effects of tax cuts

and deregulation policies implemented by several administrations, and the expansion of

the welfare state as a barrier to total poverty. Economic inequality has also grown in

Democratic states and decreased in Republican ones. Concerning economic policies that

primarily affect individuals, Republicans will generally favor the affluent while

Democrats will favor the low-income. However, Gelman and associates point out that

there is deviation from this pattern when it comes to policies that affect regions, states or

local communities. In some instances, Democrats will favor more affluent communities

while Republicans will favor poor localities. Gelman observes that “one might see certain

policy areas where Democratic officeholders, as friends of the rich areas, become friends

of the rich people, for example, in supporting the federal tax deduction for state income

tax (which benefits taxpayers, especially upper-income taxpayers, in New York and

California).” (Gelman, 2008, pp. 61-62) Also, interstate social transfer payments are

greater from Democratic states to Republican states rather than vice versa. The richest ten

states receive only eighty cents in federal spending for every dollar paid in taxes while

the poorest ten states receive $1.60. (Gelman, 2008, p. 62) The evidence indicates that

while economic inequality is indeed growing, this expanding class divide is not expressed

in regional divisions and cannot explain the conventional “red state/blue state” political

polarization.

 

 

The Voting Patterns

 

It has been mentioned that in the 2004 presidential election, the “rich people vote”

(persons earning more than $200,000 a year) went overwhelmingly for the Republicans,

with the votes of this group going to the Democrats in only four states. In the same

election, the Democrats won the middle income vote (between $15,000 and $200,000) in

California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and all of the northeastern

states from Maryland upward. The Republicans won the “poor people” vote (less than

$15,000) only in Bush’s home state of Texas, Indiana, and the sparsely populated western

states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas.

 

It is much more striking to observe the voting patterns with regards to church

attendance. In the 2004 election the Republicans won the votes of those who attend

church at least once a week in forty-eight of the fifty states! The Democrats won the votes

of regular churchgoers only in Maryland and Massachusetts. Among semi-regular

churchgoers, the Democrats won fourteen states: California, Minnesota, Wisconsin,

Illinois, Arkansas, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New

Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. The Republicans won the

votes of non-churchgoers only in ten states: Texas, Idaho, Utah, South Dakota, Kentucky,

Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina.

 

According to the World Values Survey, the United States is unique in that it is the

only one of the world’s wealthier nations with a high level of religiosity. (Inglehart,

2005)) Some observers attribute this to the fact that many Americans are descended from

immigrants who were often from the poorest and most religious sectors of the countries

from where they came. The comparatively high level of economic inequality in the U.S.

makes the nation more likely to display characteristics more common to poor countries

like a greater amount of religious practice or belief. Still another explanation is America’s

tradition of separation of church and state. The lack of an established national church

opens up the “religion market” to competition among a wide variety of denominations

and sects that must rely on the voluntary participation and contributions of adherents in

order to remain active. (Gelman, 2008, pp. 76-77)

 

It would certainly appear on the surface that the “red/blue divide” simply reflects

the polarization between the religious and the non-religious and that this polarization is

played out in terms of party loyalty and voting patterns.  The reputation of the Republican

Party as the “Party of God” is a relatively new phenomenon. The identifiable pattern of

religious people voting Republican by a significant margin did not appear until the 1992

presidential election when the incumbent George H. W. Bush obtained twenty percent

greater support among those who church attendance was consistent than among those

who were not regular church goers. (Gelman, 2008, p. 84) While Ronald Reagan

received the enthusiastic support of the newly organized “religious right” in the 1980 and

1984 elections, the data shows that the impact of the religious vote in those two elections

was actually less significant that it had been in the election between Gerald Ford and

Jimmy Carter in 1976 (Gelman, 2008, p. 86)

 

The overall level of religiosity in the United States has decreased significantly

since the early 1960s. The number of people who say they never or rarely attend church

when responding to surveys has grown from only a few percent of Americans in 1960 to

twenty-five to forty percent, with the variation being dependent on such factors as

geography, class position and income levels. Additionally, American society has become

more liberal with regards to a wide variety of issues including race relations, gender

roles, sexuality, and abortion. This social liberalization has coincided with an increased

secularization of public educational institutions. Even some religious denominations have

followed the wider trend of liberalization by, for instance, accepting women and gays

into the ranks of the clergy. Not surprisingly, this process of greater liberalization and

secularization of society at large and greater liberalization within religious institutions

themselves has produced a conservative backlash. Religious conservatives have become

more politically active since the 1970s, and some religious people with more traditional

views have sought out more conservative denominations in response to the increased

liberalism of their former denomination. All of this is well-known.  It is also well-known

that the “red states” tend on average to possess more devoutly religious people that the

“blue states.”

 

However, there are problems with interpreting the “red/blue” conflict as purely

religious in nature, though it may be tempting to do so from a surface look at the data.

Class and geography are also important parts of the wider picture. For instance, lower-

income people are much more likely to claim the importance of religion to their own

lives, attend church, pray or engage in other religious practices regularly, or to describe

themselves as “born-again” Christians.  The class division between the religious and the

non-religious is also greatest outside the “Bible Belt” of the southern states. These are

fairly predictable statistics.  What is more interesting is to observe the relationship

between income levels and church attendance within individual states. In the poor states,

the higher one’s income, the likelihood of regular church attendance increases. In the

richer states, the higher one’s income, the less likely one will be to attend church

regularly. In other words, in poor “red” states, more affluent people are more likely to

attend church than poor people, but in the wealthier “blue” states it is the other way

around. (Gelman, 2008, pp. 83-84)

 

With regards to denominational affiliation, mainline Protestants have traditionally

tended to vote Republican, but these have started to move away from consistent support

for the Republicans as the party’s conservative wing has become dominant and the older

Rockefeller-Eisenhower Republicans have been eclipsed. Catholics have traditionally

supported the Democratic Party, but the Catholic vote has been less consistently

Democratic as the party has become more liberal on social questions such as abortion and

gay rights. Prior to the 1980s, “evangelical,” conservative, or fundamentalist Protestants

were primarily a Democratic constituency. Yet the evangelical vote has shifted by a wide

margin to the Republicans since the liberalization of the Democratic Party and the advent

of the “religious right.” (Gelman, 2008, p. 86)

 

 

What Does the Data Mean?

 

The red state/blue state divide and the division between religious and non-

religious voters did not appear until 1992.  As Gelman, et.al. explain:

 

Part of the story is Bill Clinton, who repelled many religious conservatives

who saw a connection between his adulterous lifestyle and his support for

liberal social causes. (Reagan had been divorced, but that was long in the past, and he sided with the Religious Right on many issues.) There was also the growing strength of the evangelical movement as followers of Pat Robertson

and other gained influence in state Republican parties…On the other side, Democrats became more committed to liberal positions on abortion and gay rights…With the closer alignment of moral issues to the political parties, voters have sorted themselves on these attitudes. (Gelman, 2008, p. 87-88)

 

 

Within this political framework and alignment of political parties with particular social

causes and sets of cultural values, a voter who is both affluent and religious will

unsurprisingly vote for the Republicans. A voter who is poor and religious could vote

either Democratic or Republican. The data also shows that wealthy, non-religious people

are about evenly divided between the two parties. In other words, support for the

Republicans comes primarily from middle to upper class people who are also religious.

Support for the Democrats comes from the non-religious and lower-class religious

people. Contra the Marxist view of religion as the “opium of the masses” whereby the

working classes are distracted from pursuing their material interests because of religious

or cultural values or biases, the evidence indicates that it is the affluent whose politics

are most influenced by their cultural norms. Gelman, Park, Shor, Bafumi and Cortina

offer this assessment of their research:

 

Voters consider cultural issues to be more important as they become

more financially secure. From this perspective it makes perfect sense

that politics is more about economics in poor states  and more about

culture in rich states. And it also makes sense that, among low-income

voters, political attitudes are not much different in red or blue states,

whereas the cultural divide of the two Americas looms larger at high

incomes. For predicting your vote, we suspect that it’s not so important

whether you buy life’s necessities at Wal-Mart or the corner grocery, but

that it might be more telling if you spend your extra income on auto-racing

tickets or on a daily gourmet coffee. We can understand differences between

red and blue America in terms of cultural values of upper-middle-class and

rich voters. Religious attendance is associated with Republican vote most

strongly among high income residents of all states. This does not mean that

lower-income Americans all vote the same way-far from it-but the differences

in how they vote appear to depend less on religious values. (Gelman, 2008, pp. 89-92)

 

As an illustration, the data from the 2004 election demonstrates that the relationship

between income and church attendance was a predictable indicator of how one would

vote in heavily Democratic states, heavily Republican states and “battleground” states

alike. In all three types of states, high income persons who attend church were likely to

vote Republican, while in strongly Democratic states there was no demonstrable

relationship between income and voting patterns.

 

 

Why Is the South Different?

 

The Southern states present two distinct anomalies. The first of these is Bartels

observation that it is only in the South that the phenomenon of white voters lacking

college education voting Republican emerges. (Bartels, 2006) Even so, it has been

established that lower-income voters in the South overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

What makes the South distinct is the proportionately high number of blue-collar whites

who vote Republican, generally lower-middle class persons with annual earnings in the

$20,000-$40,000 range. Even more interesting is that prior to the civil rights revolution of

the 1960s and 1970s, the Democratic Party was so deeply entrenched and

institutionalized in the South that the Southern states essentially comprised a one-party

region. Indeed, the South was known as the “Solid South” in national electoral politics

because the region’s Democratic loyalties were so predictable. It was not until the

passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent Voting Rights Act that white

voters in the South began to drift towards the Republicans. These pieces of legislation

had been passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by the

Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson. (Lamis, 2005)

 

This explains the shift of the South to the Republicans generally but what about

working class whites in the South? It was this class of whites that proved to be the most

resistant to civil rights in the South. Upper-income whites were more accommodating to

the institutionalization of civil rights, as it was these whites who stood to gain the most

from the economic transformation of the South during the postwar era from a

predominately agricultural society to a modern industrial society, which necessitated at

least some degree of social modernization as well. Furthermore, upper-income whites

were more able to insulate themselves from the perceived “negative” effects of civil

rights, such as racially integrated public spaces and institutions (schools, parks, pools,

golf courses, theaters, etc.) Many of these whites simply formed private schools and

recreational associations for themselves that remained de facto segregated, and often

resided in neighborhoods where the price of housing was cost prohibitive for blacks. In

other words, upper class whites could enjoy the economic and political benefits of public

desegregation while essentially retaining segregation for themselves on a private basis.

 

This was not true of the white working class. Urban working class whites

whose resistance to desegregation failed would then relocate to racially homogenous

white neighborhoods in suburban areas outside of cities. Hence, the well-known pattern

of “white flight.” These patterns of a shift from public segregation to private segregation

by upper-income whites and white flight by working class whites tended to push

Southern whites in general towards fiscal conservatism. Simply put, these whites

did not want to pay taxes to support public institutions and facilities that they regarded as

having been “handed over” to blacks. (Kruse, 2005) Consequently, fiscal and economic

conservatives associated with the Republican Party in the Northern states began to regard

de jure or de facto “racial conservatives” in the South as their natural allies and the two

forces began to bend towards one another. (Lewis, 2006) Over time, the openly racial

dimension of this phenomenon would fade into a middle-class oriented fiscal

conservatism that emphasized “color blindness.” It would be an overstatement to claim

that contemporary working class Southern whites who vote Republican in the name of

fiscal and economic conservatism are simply closet racists who hide their real views

behind something more socially acceptable. Indeed, many of them may well be unaware

of the origins of this particular brand of conservatism, and some of these contemporary

Southern white conservative Republicans are transplanted Northerners (or their

descendents) who had little or no personal exposure to the old system of segregation, but

the roots of contemporary Southern white working class political conservatism in

resistance to civil rights is a demonstrable fact. (Lassiter, 2004; Hall, 2005)

 

The other anomaly to be found in the South is the greater attachment of upper-

income persons to organized religion over lower-income persons. This phenomenon

defies the usual pattern not only in the United States, but world wide. In most societies,

the higher one’s class position, the less likely one will be to practice formal religion. The

American South reverses this pattern. Thus far, it does not appear that enough research

has been done on this situation to make a thorough understanding of its origins or causes

available. One possibility may be the fact that the South was for all practical purposes a

feudal society with a rigid racial caste system and a primarily agrarian economy until the

post-World War Two era. The use of religion as a means of social control by the

traditional Southern white ruling class is well-known. For instance, each of the major

U.S. Protestant denominations split into northern and southern factions over the issue of

slavery prior to the Civil War. Hence, the existence of such contemporary denominations

as the Southern Baptists and Southern Methodists. White fundamentalist preachers were

often defenders of the segregationist status quo during the civil rights era as well.

 

If indeed religion was used as a force for social control, it is understandable that a

tradition of greater than usual attachment to religious institutions would develop among

privileged Southern whites. Likewise, it would certainly be understandable that lower-

class persons would experience greater alienation from religious institutions in such a

situation, leading to an inversion of the usual norm where it is the lower classes that are

more religiously devout than the upper classes. Similar situations have emerged in other

nations. For instance, the radical labor and peasant movements in Spain during the pre-

Franco years included many otherwise culturally conservative persons who developed a

militant anti-clericalism in response to the role of the Catholic Church in Spain as

accomplices to a highly oppressive ruling class. (Bookchin, 2001)

 

The American South displays characteristics concerning the relationship between

personal religiosity, class position and political affiliation that are in some ways similar to

what is often found in Latin American countries. The American South is also more

similar in its history to Latin America than other regions of North America. Both the

South and most of Latin America have a feudal or quasi-feudal past as agrarian societies

with a rigid class structure with organized religious institutions being very much on the

side of the ruling class. In Latin America, the lower-classes tend to be very religious on a

personal level, while formal displays of religious piety through such things as regular

church attendance are more common to the middle classes. The upper layers of the

Church hierarchy in Latin America tend to be very conservative. Voting patterns

in Latin American countries are such that the lower classes typically vote for the Left,

while the middle classes will vote for the center-right Christian Democratic parties, and

the upper classes will vote for the “hard Right.” (Yglesias, 2007) This fairly closely

mirrors class voting patterns in the southern states in the U.S.  It is also true that

evangelical religion in Latin America takes on different forms depending on the class

position of the participants. Middle to upper class Latin American evangelicals will often

espouse social or political views similar to those of the U.S. “Religious Right.” The

Guatemalan dictator Rios Montt was an example of this. On the other hand, lower class

evangelicalism in Latin America tends to take on a “social gospel” flavor much like

African-American religion in America or past expressions of left-wing evangelicalism

that emerged in American populism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth

century. (Freston, 2008) The American South and Latin America are similar to one

another in unique ways in that both regions have both a fairly recent quasi-feudal,

agrarian past and democratic governments. This would set both regions apart from the

rest of North America, Europe, Asia, Africa or the Middle East. There appears to be

unique and similar dynamics working in both regions that give these two regions

characteristics that are difficult to find elsewhere.

 

 

The Big Sort

 

Still another factor affecting voting patterns in American elections is what author

Bill Bishop has called “The Big Sort.” This is a phenomenon where persons with the

financial means of doing so will relocate to a neighborhood, community or even a state

that is more compatible with their cultural interests. This creates a system of cultural self-

segregation among middle to upper income Americans.(Bishop, 2008) To demonstrate

his argument, Bishop acknowledges that in the 1976 Ford-Carter election, the number of

counties in the United States where either candidate won by a landslide (a margin of

twenty percentage points or greater) was significantly fewer in number than the number

of counties where victory was determined by a landslide in the Bush-Kerry election of

  1. Bishop also describes his experience of living in a liberal enclave in the Austin,

Texas area:

 

My wife and I…didn’t intend to move into a community filled with

Democrats, but that’s what we did-effortlessly and without a trace of understanding about what we were doing…In 2000, George W. Bush…

took sixty percent of the state’s vote. But in our patch of Austin, Bush came

in third, behind both Al Gore and Ralph Nader. Four years later, eight out of

ten of our neighbors voted for John Kerry. (Bishop, 2008, p. 1)

 

Like other observers of these issues, Bishop traces the beginnings of the “big sort” to the

cultural revolution of the 1960s and 1970s and the subsequent backlash from social

conservatives and religious traditionalists. However, Bishop maintains that the sorting

process really did not begin to manifest itself until the 1990s. During that decade, the

baby boom generation, the first to be heavily influenced by the 1960s-era “cultural

revolution,” entered middle age. The economic expansion of the 1990s and the growth of

the educated population converged to create a situation where large numbers of persons

existed who possessed a combination of affluence, education and a relatively liberal

social outlook. Consequently, both middle aged baby boomers and their younger,

“Generation X” cohorts began to congregate in urban centers “where they would not be

bound by old ideas or tight social ties.” (Bishop, 2008, p. 144)

 

It is also important to recognize that the “big sort” occurs primarily at the level of

local communities, and sometimes individual neighborhoods, rather than at the state

level.  John Tierney observes that in the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush

received the smallest numbers of votes in the states of Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode

Island, Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii. However, all of these states had

Republican governors at the time. Tierney believes such patterns indicate that the “red

state/blue state” divide is a myth, and that most Americans are centrists. (Tierney, 2005)

Jonathan Kandel observes that in the 2000 election, there were only five red states

(Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, Nebraska and Idaho) and one blue state (Rhode Island)

where the candidate of either party won by more than sixty percent. Kandel also observes

that of the eleven states that passed initiatives prohibiting same-sex marriage in 2004, two

of these states (Oregon and Michigan) went for the Democrats in the presidential

election, and many others were competitive in that neither party won the presidency by

more than sixty percent. (Kandel, 2006)

 

Bruce Oppenheimer argues that the division between red and blue states

represents divisions between Congressional districts rather than states, and he attributes

this to partisan redistricting, which groups together voters with similar views and partisan

sympathies and has the effect of creating “safe” districts for incumbents or their parties.

(Oppenheimer, 2005) Yet the most compelling evidence is that offered by Bishop.

According to Bishop, in 1976 only twenty-six percent of Americans lived in what he calls

“landslide counties” where the presidential vote is determined by more than a sixty

percent total for the winner. By 1992, the year that Gelman and associates consider to be

the starting point for the “red/blue” divide, thirty-eight percent of voters resided in

landslide counties. That percentage increased with each subsequent presidential election,

and by 2004, forty-eight percent of Americans were living in landslide counties. (Bishop, 2008, pp. 9-10)

 

 

 

The 2008 Presidential Election

 

Bishop has updated his research to include the 2008 presidential election.  In

2008, the number of Americans living in landslide counties was the same as in 2004:

forty-eight percent. This division has tilted strongly towards the Democrats. In 2004, 94

million lived in Democratic landslide counties, while in 2008 it was only 64 million. In

2008, 53 million Americans were in Republican landslide counties, while in 2004 it had

been 83 million. Among states, the average winning margin was seventeen percent, as

opposed to sixteen percent in 2004, fifteen percent in 2000, and ten percent in 1976. The

number of landslide states increased to thirty-six from twenty-nine in 2004. The number

of states where the election was decided by five or less percentage points was down to

seven, from eleven in 2004. Barack Obama won forty-three percent of the rural vote, up

from Kerry’s forty percent in 2004, and fifty-seven percent of the urban vote, up from

Kerry’s fifty-one percent.  Bishop attributes Obama’s greater vote totals in rural America

over Kerry to the success of his strategy of targeting college towns within rural areas.

Also, the 2008 election demonstrated strong divisions among racial and ethnic groups. In

those counties where Obama won by a landslide, only 1.3 whites can be found for every

minority. Yet in McCain-landslide counties, there are five whites for every minority. (Bishop, 2008)

 

 

The Future

 

The most striking feature of the 2008 election is the fact that while the number of

landslide counties remained the same, on a partisan basis the number of persons living in

a landslide county increased by a third for Democrats and decreased by about the

same amount for Republicans. Bishop attributes this to a higher out-migration rate among

Democrats, who relocate to traditionally “red” areas but bring “blue” values with them,

and consequently influence voting patterns in their new localities accordingly. (Bishop, 2008) However, such a shift in a four year period might also be attributed to much more far reaching demographic, cultural and generational change. In 1997, the conservative writer Peter Brimelow made this prediction:

 

The Republican hour is rapidly drawing to a close. Not because the (Republican base) of the West and the South, of the middle class and urban blue-collar voters, is breaking up in the traditional manner. Instead, it is being drowned—as a direct result of the 1965 Immigration Act…Nine-tenths of the immigrant influx is from groups with significant—sometimes overwhelming—Democratic propensities. After thirty years, their numbers are reaching critical mass. And there is no end in sight.

To estimate the future impact of Immigration, we took the 1988 presidential race, in which George Bush beat Michael Dukakis with 53 per cent of the vote. This figure happens also to be the average vote received by the Republicans in presidential elections since 1968—the largest advantage won by any party over any six elections in American history. And it is the vote received by Republicans in 1994, when they took control of the Senate and House. It can reasonably be regarded as the Republican high-water mark.

Then we lowered this high-water mark by accounting for the shifting ethnic balance that the Census projects will result from immigration, assuming that the ethnic groups continued to vote as they did in 1988. The results are startling…Even if the Republicans can again win their 1988 level of support in each ethnic group—which they have miserably failed to do against Bill Clinton—they have at most two presidential cycles left. Then they go inexorably into minority status, beginning in 2008. (Brimelow, 1997)

 

 

Subsequent events since the publication of Brimelow’s article in 1997 would seem to

vindicate his prognosis. Another work making a similar prediction was published by two

writers associated with The New Republic in 2002. In their The Emerging Democratic

Majority, authors John P. Judis and Ruy Teixeira predicted the rise of a new electoral

majority rooted in educated urban professionals, racial and ethnic minorities, feminists

and educated working women, college students, environmentalists, secularists, gays and

lesbians. Judis and Teixeira refer to this phenomenon as “George McGovern’s Revenge”

as these were largely the groups that comprised the 1972 McGovern coalition that lost in

a landslide to President Nixon.

 

However, there is another constituent group among Judis and Teixeira’s predicted

Democratic majority: the white working class. Observing how the Democratic Party lost

substantial numbers of blue collar white voters during the post-civil rights era over race

issues, foreign policy, crime, the rise of the counterculture and the conservative religious

backlash, gun control and the economic downturn of the 1970s, Judis and Teixeira argued

that these voters began to return to the Democrats because of the recession that occurred

in the early 1990s during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. In other

words, blue collar whites were returning to the Democrats at precisely the same time as

the emergence of the red state/blue state electoral divide. President Reagan won the votes

of unionized white workers in 1980 and 1984. George H. W. Bush lost these voters by

four percentage points in 1988. Clinton won the white unionized worker vote by an

average of twenty-three percentage points in 1992 and 1996. Yet, it is during these years

that the current electoral divide emerges, so clearly the conventional view offered by

Thomas Frank and others of “working class Republicans versus upper class Democrats”

is false and likely rooted in outdated stereotypes left over from the Nixon and Reagan

eras.  Indeed, Judis and Teixeira point out that the composition of the “white working

class” has changed significantly, with nearly fifty percent of white workers being women

by 2000, and a significant number of younger, urban white workers with relatively liberal

views on social issues like abortion, the environment or gay rights. Like Brimelow, Judis

and Teixeira predicted that 2008 would be the year that the new Democratic majority

eventually became dominant. (Judis and Teixeira, 2002, p. 14, 37-66)

 

Gelman and associates demonstrate rather clearly that the primary driving force

in the red state/blue state “culture war” is religion. The primary indicator of whether a

middle class person will vote Democratic or Republican is whether they attend church

regularly or not. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, nearly all

American religious denominations have lost members over the last twenty years.

Catholics and Baptists, the two largest denominations, lost one and four percent of their

membership, respectively. The number of people claiming the generic label of

“Christian” has dropped by half a percentage point. Mainline Protestant denominations

have lost nearly a third of their membership since 1990. Persons claiming no religion at

all and persons with agnostic views of religion have both doubled in the past twenty

years, and collectively, skeptics, atheists, agnostics and other unbelievers are the single

largest religious group in the U.S. at twenty percent, except for Catholics with twenty-

five percent.

 

Adherents of the Jewish religion have decreased by one third. Fringe

Protestant denominations like the Pentecostals, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses or

Seventh Day Adventists have either remained the same numerically or increased slightly,

but these are still very small when compared to American society as a whole. The only

religions that have experienced real growth in the past twenty years have been those from

outside traditional American culture. The number of U.S. Muslims and adherents of

“Eastern” religions like Buddhism or Hinduism have doubled, largely due to

immigration, and adherents of so-called “new age” spiritualities, neo-paganism, and

Wicca have grown by one third. (Grossman, 2009)

 

 

Summary and Conclusion

 

It has been demonstrated that the popular view of the red-state/blue-state “culture

war” divide as one pitting working class conservatives against affluent liberals is false.

This view is rooted in archaic stereotypes that have not been especially relevant to U.S.

electoral politics since the “red-state/blue-state” dichotomy has emerged. Specifically, the

defection of white working class voters to the Republicans in the 1970s and 1980s has

since reversed itself. The only region of the United States where the blue collar class

votes Republican in any significant numbers is in the South, and this is due to that

region’s unique history in matters of race, religion and economics. The present-day red-

state/blue-state divide first begins to appear on the electoral map in the 1992 presidential

election, precisely the time that blue collar whites were returning to the Democrats.

 

Nor is this divide a matter of “rich versus poor.” The United States is indeed

polarized along class lines, but this economic polarization takes places on a national

rather than sectional basis. As the overall pattern of wealth and income distribution in the

U.S. has become more uneven in recent decades, support for the Democratic Party among

working class voters has actually increased. Instead, the “red/blue” conflict represents an

intra-class conflict within the middle class, primarily the upper middle class, with middle

class voters in wealthy states being more culturally liberal than their counterparts in

poorer states. The driving force behind this middle class culture war is religion, with

church attendance being the primary indication of how a middle class person will vote.

Geographically, this cultural polarization transpires more at the local community level

rather than at the state level, pitting rural versus urban areas and conservative

neighborhoods against liberal ones, though differences among states are not insignificant.

 

The most compelling piece of evidence to support the argument that the

“red/blue” conflict represents an intra-class divide within the affluent middle-class is the

fact that electoral maps show that the “poor vote” overwhelmingly goes to Democrats

while the “rich vote” overwhelmingly goes to Republicans, and the middle-class vote

breaks down geographically on the standard “red/blue” pattern. This divide plays out on a

geographical basis to the degree that it does because of the effects of Bill Bishop’s “Big

Sort” whereby middle class persons possess the means of self-segregation along cultural,

religious and ideological lines, and this system of self-segregation occurs primarily on a

local rather than state level. The evidence to support this localized geographical divide

consists primarily of the wide margins by which a political party will often win in a

specific locality. In each of the last two presidential elections, one of the parties beat the

other by a margin of more than twenty percentage points in forty-eight percent of all

American counties. The gaps at the state level tend to be smaller. In the 2008 election, the

overall pattern of “red/blue” division among middle and upper-middle income voters

continued. The number of “blue” states increased, while the number of counties

exhibiting an electoral polarization wider than twenty percentage points remained the

same. This is apparently due to two principal factors: a greater out-migration rate from

blue areas to red areas rather than vice versa, and demographic, cultural and generational

change that indicates the population groups that are inclined to vote Republican are

shrinking, while those inclined to vote Democratic are increasing.

 

Furthermore, it can be predicted with relative safety that, barring completely

unforeseen circumstances, the “liberal” side will be the winning side in the “culture war”

and the Democratic Party will likely be the dominant party in U.S. politics for the

foreseeable future. This is due to a combination of the aforementioned generational,

cultural and demographic changes, large scale immigration, economic downturn, an

increased number of educated urban professionals, changing gender roles that include

expanding roles for women, and declining interest in traditional religious beliefs,

practices or denominational affiliation.  This does not mean that “social conservatives” or

the Republican Party will disappear, far from it, but it does mean that the political Right

is less likely to be as influential in the foreseeable future as it has been in the recent past.

 

 

Bibliography:

 

 

Abramowitz, Alan and Kyle L. Saunders (2005). Why We Can’t We All Just Get

Along?: The Reality of a Polarized America. The Forum, Berkeley Electronic Press.

 

Bartels, Larry M. (2008). Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded

     Age. Princeton University Press.

 

Bartels, Larry M. (2006). “What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter with Kansas?”

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Bill Bishop, (2008). No, We Didn’t: America Hasn’t Changed As Much as Tuesday’s

Results Would Indicate. Salon, November 10, 2008.

 

Bishop, Bill and Robert G. Cushing (2008). The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-

     Minded America is Tearing Us Apart. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin

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Bookchin, Murray (2001). The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years, 1868-1936.

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Brooks, David (2001). One Nation, Slightly Divisible. The Atlantic Monthly, December

2001.

 

Fiorina, Morris P. with Samuel J. Abrams and Jeremy C. Pope. (2004). Culture War? The

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Florida, Richard (2002). The Rise of the Creative Class, And How It’s Transforming

     Work, Leisure and Everyday Life. Basic Books.

 

Frank, Thomas (2004). What’s the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the

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Freston, Paul (2008). Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Latin America. Oxford

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Grossman, Cathy Lynn (2009). Most Religious Groups in USA Have Lost Ground,

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Kandel, Jonathan (2006). The Myth of the Red State/Blue State Divide. Archived at http://www.politicsandgovernment.ilstu.edu/downloads/icsps_papers/2006/JonathanKandel1.pdf.

 

Kimball, David C. and Cassie A. Gross (2005). “The Growing Polarization of American

Voters,” Presented at The State of the Parties: 2004 and Beyond conference, Akron,

OH, October 6, 2005.

 

Kruse, Kevin M. (2005, July). The Politics of Race and Public Space: Desegregation,

Privatization, and the Tax Revolt in Atlanta. Journal of Urban History: 610-633

 

Lamis, Alexander (2005). The Emergence of a Two-Party System: Southern Politics in

the Twentieth Century. The American South in the Twentieth Century. Athens:

University of Georgia Press.

 

Lassiter, Matthew D. (2004). The Suburban Origins of “Color-Blind” Conservatism:

      Middle-Class Consciousness in the Charlotte Busing Crisis. Journal of Urban History

      30: 549-582

 

Lewis, George (2006, February). Virginia’s Northern Strategy: Southern Segregationists

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      Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches. Boston: MIT Press.

 

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      Reconsidered, 8th edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

 

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Yglesias, Matthew (2007). Religion and Income. The Atlantic. November 11, 2007.

 

 

 

 

Updated News Digest May 31, 2009 1

Quote of the Week:

“An intellectual is someone who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”

“That all men are equal is a proposition which, at ordinary times, no sane individual has ever given his assent.”

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

                                                                                         -Aldous Huxley

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