The Conservative Challenge 2

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc187.htm

[Keith: The text of a magnificent speech given by Dr. Sean Gabb of England’s Libertarian Alliance. My question: How can we go about turning all of these conservative, libertarian and populist government-distrusters into full blown anarchist revolutionaries?]

 

The Conservative Challenge
By Sean Gabb
(Text of a Speech Given to a Conservative Association
On Friday the 16th October 2009)

Introduction

On Friday the 16th October 2009, I spoke to a Conservative Association in the South East of England. Though I did not video the event, and though –  on account of the heated and not always good natured debate the followed my speech – I was asked not to identify the particular Association to which I spoke, I think what I said is worth recording. Therefore, I will write down my words as best I can recall them. I have suppressed all the questions, but carried some of the answers into the main text. Otherwise, I will try to keep the flavour of the original.

The Speech

Because of transport difficulties that prevented many people in this room from arriving on time, I am beginning my speech an hour later than expected. I am honoured by the Chairman’s apology for the delay. However, the series of conversations and arguments with which those of us who were here entertained ourselves while waiting have given me the idea for a speech that is still on my stated theme, but that I think will be more interesting than the one I had in mind. Now, this theme – “The Conservative Challenge” – has been routinely given to speakers at Conservative gatherings since at least the 1880s. The question that must always be answered is how we can remain the free citizens of an independent country in ages that have been progressively hostile both to individual freedom and to national independence. I did have a plan loosely worked out in my head. What I will do instead, though, is take some of our bar room discussions and summarise or expand on them as seems appropriate. I will do this by giving short statements of what was said to me, and then by giving my responses.

1. This has been a bad Government

I disagree. Oh, if you want a government that defends the country and provides common services while keeping so far as possible out of your way, the Labour Government elected in 1997 has been a disappointment. This does not mean, however, that the Blair and Brown Governments have been a failure in their own terms. They have, on the contrary, been very successful.

The purpose of the Government that took power in 1997 was to bring about a revolutionary transformation of this country – a transformation from which there could be no return to what had been before. The English Constitution has never been set down in a written document, and there has never been any statement of fundamental rights and liberties that was protected from change by ordinary legislation. Instead, these rights and liberties were protected by a set of customs and institutions that, being legitimised by antiquity, served the same purpose as formal entrenchment. It can be hard, in every specific case, to justify trial by jury, or the rule against double jeopardy, or the idea that imprisonment should be for a specified time and no longer, or the right to speak freely on matters in the public domain. There are principled arguments that satisfy in the absence of strong passions. But, strong passions being granted, the best argument has always so far been that these things have always been in England, and that to change them would be to break the threads that tie us to the past.

It would be childish to argue that the Ancient Constitution was in good health until 1997, when it was suddenly overturned. Unless there is an catastrophic foreign invasion, constitutions are not destroyed in this way. Ours had been sapped long before 1997. To say when the tipping point was reached, and by what means, would take me far beyond my stated theme. However, what remained of the Constitution has, since 1997, been dismissed as a set of “outmoded” relics, and large parts of it have been swept away. Those that remain have been transformed beyond recognition.

Let me give myself as an example. My first degree was in History. Much of this was taken up with a study of late antiquity and the early middle ages. But some of it was given to English history between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Of course, the Constitution changed within these periods, and had changed much since then. But I could take up the debates of the Cavalier Parliament, or a pamphlet written during the American War, or a case published in the State Trials, and find myself within a conversation of the English people. I was not in the same position as a French undergraduate, who, for anything published before 1791, would find himself in a world of institutions, and territorial names, and weights and measures, and monetary units, and general assumptions, as alien as those of a foreign country.

This has now changed. Anyone who, this month, has started a degree in History or Law or Politics will find himself in the same position as that French undergraduate. We have new legislative bodies all over the country, and new principles of administration, and new courts with new procedures and languages, and new lines of authority terminating in bodies outside the country. The work is not yet complete. But already, the conversation of the English people has been made largely incomprehensible to those born since I was an undergraduate.

Whether the changes can be justified as improvements – or whether they could have been made with more regard for economy and consistency – is beside the point. The main purpose of change has been to seal off the past. That past has been delegitimized in order to strip rights and liberties of the associations that used to protect them. Not surprisingly, we find ourselves in a country with a Potemkin democracy, where speech and publication are censored, where the police are feared, where we are continuously spied on as we go about our business, where we can be imprisoned without trial or charge for a month, and generally where we find ourselves having to deal every day with administrative bodies given powers that others who have not yet had felt them still cannot believe possible.

On any normal assumptions, the country has been governed very badly since 1997. On the assumptions of the Government, things have gone very well indeed.

2. This country is ruled by people who have been corrupted by bad ideas.

Again, I disagree. For centuries now, England has been governed by people rather like ourselves. Sometimes, they have governed well, sometimes badly. But we have never had to doubt their fundamental good faith. This has changed. The people who now rule this country have not been led astray by bad ideas. Rather, they are bad people who choose ideologies to justify their behaviour.

There are ideologies of the left – mutualism, for example, or Georgism, or syndicalism – that may often be silly or impracticable, but that are perfectly consistent with the dignity and independence of ordinary people. These are not ideologies, however, of which those who rule us have ever taken the smallest notice. These people began as state socialists. When this became electorally embarrassing, they switched to politically correct multiculturalism. Now this too is becoming an embarrassment, they are moving towards totalitarian environmentalism. Whether in local or in national government, their proclaimed ideologies have never prevented them from working smoothly with multinational big business, or with unaccountable multinational governing bodies.

It is reasonable to assume that, with these people, ideas are nothing more than a series of justifications for building a social and economic and political order within which they and theirs can have great wealth and unchallengeable power.

They tell us they want to end “child poverty” and “build a more equal society”. In fact, they have employed an army of social workers to terrorise every working class family in the country – an army of social workers backed by closed and secretive courts, and that may even be selecting children for legal kidnap and sale to barren middle class couples. They have pauperised millions with policies that keep them from achieving any reasonable independence and subject them to the bullying of credentialed bureaucracies.

They tell us they want a more “inclusive” and “diverse” society. They have certainly welcomed the mass immigration that they enabled the moment they came into office. It has been useful for impoverishing the working classes – in their attitudes and behaviour once perhaps the most conservative people in the country. It has also provided much evidence for their claim that the old England into which we were born has passed away, and that we need a new constitutional settlement – a settlement much in need of censorship and endless meddling in private choices. Even so, they make sure to live in white enclaves and to send their children to private schools where class photographs look much as they did in 1960.

They tell us they want to save the planet from “climate change”. If they have made Phillips and Siemens rich from their light bulb ban, they still fly everywhere and drive everywhere, and light up their own houses and offices like Christmas trees.

These are bad people. They must be regarded as such in everything they do. And we must hope that they will one day be punished as such.

3. The country is misgoverned.

Let me go back to my first point. There is no doubt that everything done by these people has involved huge cost for little of the promised benefit. We have computer systems that do not work. We have new bureaucracies that do not achieve their stated purpose. The National Health Service, for example, has had its budget doubled or trebled in the past twelve years. Yet the waiting lists are as long as ever, and the hospitals are dirtier than ever. Medical incompetence and even corruption and oppression are now everyday stories in the newspapers.

Again, however, these are failures only on the assumption that money has been laid out for the purpose of improving services. It has not. The real purpose of washing a tidal wave of our money over the public services has been partly to raise up an army of clients more likely to vote Labour than anything else, and partly to give these clients powers that tell everyone else who are the masters now. On this assumption, the money has not been wasted at all. It has indeed been an “investment in the future”.

What is to be done?

I often speak about an electoral coup in which a genuinely conservative government came to power and set about undoing the revolution. This involves shutting down most of the public sector. I am not saying that poor people would no longer receive their benefits or medical attention free at the point of use. These are not in themselves expensive. They may have undesirable consequences in terms of smothering personal responsibility and voluntary initiative. But these are problems to be addressed over a long period during which no settled expectation need be denied. What I do say is that the bureaucratic machine that bleeds us white in taxes and grinds us into obedient uniformity should be smashed to pieces that cannot easily be put back together. It should be smashed because we cannot afford it. It should be smashed because it oppresses us. It should be smashed because it is an agent of national destruction.

I once wrote a book about why this should be done and how to do it. Sadly, it will not be done in the foreseeable future. We shall probably have a Conservative Government within the next nine months. But this will not be a government of conservatives. If we want a preview of the Cameron Government, we need only look at what Boris Johnson has achieved during the past year as Mayor of London. He has not closed down one of the bureaucracies set up by Ken Livingstone and his Trotskyite friends. The race equality enforcers are still collecting their salaries. The war on the private motorist continues. Rather than cut the number of New and Old Labour apparatchiks, he is currently putting up taxes. David Cameron will be no better. He may be forced to make some changes and to slow the speed of the transformation. The transformation will continue nevertheless.

We need to speculate on the purpose and nature of counter-revolution. It is useful to know what ought to be our long term purpose. It inspires us to action in an otherwise bleak present. But we need also to know what present actions are to be inspired. My advice is that we need, in all our thoughts and in whatever of our behaviour is prudent, to withhold our sanction.

Any system of oppression that does not rely on immediate and overwhelming – and usually foreign – violence requires the sanction of its victims. We cannot all have guns put to our heads all day and every day. We therefore need to believe, in some degree, that what is done to us is legitimate. We must believe this if we are to obey. We must believe it if those who oppress us are to keep their good opinion of themselves. I suggest that we should withhold that sanction. I do not say that, without our sanction, the illegitimate power that now constrains our lives will fall immediately to the ground. I do suggest, however, that it will be insensibly undermined, and that it may therefore collapse suddenly in the event of some unexpected shock. This is how Communism died in Eastern Europe. It may be how the New Labour Revolution will die here.

The Police

One of the myths, endlessly repeated through what is called “Middle England”, is that the Police are among the victims of Labour rule – that they have been forced to act in ways that they find abhorrent or absurd. But this is only a myth. The Police are no friends to respectable people in any class or race. When I was a small boy, I was reduced to tears by what seemed a gigantic policeman in a tall helmet. One glare of his bearded face, and I was straight off the municipal flower bed where I had thrown my ball. He spoke to my grandmother before moving to other business, and that was the end of my transgression.

His sort retired decades ago. They have been replaced by undersized, shaven headed thugs – frequently with criminal records – who take delight in harassing the respectable. If you are robbed or beaten in the street, they will be nowhere in sight. If you approach them to complain, they will record the crime and send you on your way. If, on the other hand, you try defending yourself or your loved ones, they will prosecute you. They will do nothing about drugged, aggressive beggars, but they will jump on you if they see you smoking under a bus shelter. These people have been given powers that move them closer to the East German Stasi than to the uniformed civilians many of us can still remember. They can arrest you for dropping a toffee wrapper in the street. Once arrested, you may be charged, but you will more likely be released after being fingerprinted and having DNA samples taken and stored. We do not know what other body or government will be given your DNA. We do not know what future oppressions it may enable. Regardless of any littering charge, you will have been punished already.

We should not regard the Police in any sense as our friends. They are not. This does not mean that we should have no dealings with them. There are times – insurance claims, for example, where things must be reported. There are times when the Police are needed, and when they may give some limited assistance. Even so, we should on no account behave to them as if they were uniformed civilians. They are an armed, increasingly out of control pro-Labour militia.

The Law

We were all of us born in a country where the phrase “The Law is the Law: it must always be obeyed” did not seem absurd. Yes, it may not have been quite as we were told. By and large, however, it was a law made by our representatives and with our loose consent – or it was made by Judges rationalising honestly from assumptions grounded in common sense notions of justice. It is that no longer. For all its blemishes, the old laws of England were there to stop us from knocking into each other too hard as we went about our business. Its function was reactive. The function of law nowadays is transformational. It is there to change the ways in which we think and live. So far as this is the case, the law has been delegitimised.

And this is how we are to regard uses of the law. At the moment, The UK Independence Party is being edged towards bankruptcy over some matter of a political donation. It seems not to have complied with the requirements of a law made in the year 2000 that effectively nationalises all political parties – and that may one day be used to control what policies they advocate and how they oppose measures with which they disagree. Again, there are complaints about how the BBC has invited the Leader of the British National Party to appear on Question Time. It is said that the BNP is currently an illegal organisation because of its internal rules. The alleged illegality is based on a novel interpretation of a 1976 law, as amended in 2000, that is itself illegitimate.

There was a time when it was enough for us to be told that someone had broken the law for us to think ill of that person. But times are altered. When the laws themselves are corrupt, they lose moral force. It is no longer enough for us to be told that someone is a law breaker. Whatever we may think of these parties for what they advocate, they are to be seen not as law breakers but victims of political oppression. To think ill of them purely for their disregard of the law is rather like calling Alexander Solzhenitsyn a jailbird on account of his time in the Gulag.

The Law is no longer the Law. It is a set of politicised commands made for our destruction as a free people. It no longer deserves our automatic respect. Yes, the laws that protect life and property are still to be respected. But it is now rational to inspect every law thrown at us to see which do bind in conscience and which do not. I know that this is a dangerous principle to announce. There are many people for whom the law is a unified thing: say that one part has no binding force, and all parts are weakened. But this is not our fault. We have not made the law disreputable. We are simply facing a state of affairs that has been called into being by others.

The Constitution

I have already mentioned the remodelling of the Constitution. As a people, we have long amused foreigners with our respect for titles and old forms of government. I once chaired a meeting addressed by a Member of the House of Lords. This was before the Internet, and I spent nearly an hour in a library clarifying that he should be introduced as – let me change the name – John, Lord Smith of Wilmington, rather than Lord John Smith or Lord Wilmington. This was all good fun. It also had a serious point. I was helping maintain one of those innumerable and seemingly absurd customs that among were the outer defences of our rights and liberties. Our Ancient Constitution may have struck outsiders as a gigantic fancy dress ball. But it covered a serious and very important fact. This was an imperfect acceptance of Colonel Rainsborough’s claim that “the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he”.

But, again, times are altered. The more gorgeous events of the fancy dress ball have been retained. But the underlying substance – the protection of rights and liberties – has been stripped out. This being so, all obligation of deference has lapsed. I will not defer to the man whose name has been changed by a sheet of parchment sealed with wax to Baron Kinnock of Bedwellty. Nor will I call Peter Mandelson other than “Mr Mandelson. Nor, unless I am in his court, and he is likely to take more against me than he naturally would, will I address the former Communist Stephen Sedley as “My Lord”. Nor will I acknowledge his Knighthood out of court. I am not yet sure if it is appropriate to stop recognising hereditary honours, or those granted before 1997. But I certainly regard all honours granted since 1997 as void. They have the same legitimacy as those conferred by Cromwell during the Interregnum. No – Cromwell was a great man who did honour to this country and who deserves his statue outside Parliament. Recent honours have the same status as those conferred by James II after he ran away to France. They are to be seen as a badge of ridicule and disgrace on those who have accepted them.

Now, this may seem a pedantic and self-indulgent point. But it is not. These people should not be allowed to wrap themselves in any remnant of the associations that once bound us to the past. And they evidently enjoy playing at nobility. I once did a radio debate with a police chief who had been recommended for a Peerage by Tony Blair. He was annoyed by my substantive arguments. He was reduced to spluttering rage when I addressed him as plain “Mister” and sneered that his title was a sham. Bearing in mind that it is not illegal to drop their titles, and how it upsets them, I think it worth doing on every convenient occasion.

And it is part of what I would see as a more general approach. Conservatives often denounce what is being done to us as a “breach of the Constitution”. It is really no such thing, because the Ancient Constitution has been abolished. As said, the fancy dress ball continues in something like full swing. But “the poorest he that is in England” has been stuffed. We do have a constitution in the sense that every organised community has one. Ours says that whoever can frogmarch a majority of placemen through the lobbies of the House of Commons can do whatever he pleases. I did hope, earlier in the present decade, that the Judges would intervene to limit parliamentary sovereignty. The Labour response, however, was to pack the bench with their own people. Therefore, since it has been destroyed, or has been suspended, we are in no position to claim that the Constitution has been breached. The obvious result is that we should not regard ourselves as morally bound to recognise any of the authority that is claimed and exercised over us.

And if our people ever get into power through the electoral coup that I mentioned earlier, I see no reason for recognising any purely “constitutional” limits to the nature and speed of our counter-revolution. For example, regardless of the withdrawal mechanism in the Lisbon Treaty, I would be for just repealing the European Communities Act 1972 as amended. That would be complete and immediate withdrawal. If any Judges tried to block this, I would have them removed. I might also be for passing an Act voiding every previous law made since the first session of the 1997 Parliament. Otherwise, I would prefer to declare a state of Emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, and then repeal hundreds of laws by decree. A slow revolution can take place when those at the top have the numbers and staying power to take it slowly. When there has been a revolutionary or counter-revolutionary seizure of power, change must be swift and determined if it is to be a success.

There must be a return to constitutional norms – and the extraordinary measures that may enable this return must not be allowed to set any precedents of their own. Nor – let me emphasise – do I hope that our reaction will involve violence. But if conservatives are to bring about a reaction, so that we can again be a free people in an independent nation, we have little positive to learn from Burke’s Reflections. There comes a point beyond which a constitution cannot be rescued. I think we have reached that point. There can be no patching up this time, as happened at the Restoration in 1660, or after the Revolution of 1688. By all means, we should not innovate just for the sake of neatness. But we shall need to innovate. We shall need to create new safeguards for our rights and liberties that take into account the country in which we live.

The Monarchy

This means, I increasingly believe, a republican constitution. There is nothing wrong with the principle of hereditary monarchy. I suspect that the division of authority and power that took place between 1660 and 1714 contributed much to the freedom and stability of England during our classical period. The problem is not the institution of monarchy, but the person of the Monarch.

When she came to the throne, Elizabeth had what seems to have been almost the universal regard of the people. She has spent the past 57 years betraying the people. Whatever the constitutional lawyers may claim, there is a contract between Monarch and people. We pretend to treat whoever wears the Crown as the Lord’s Anointed. The wearer of the Crown agrees in turn to act as a defence of last resort against tyrannical politicians. That is the truth behind the phrases of the coronation oath. The Queen could, without bringing on a crisis, have blocked the law in the early 1960s that removed juries from most civil trials. She could have blocked the subsequent changes that abolished the unanimity rule and the right of peremptory challenge. She should have risked a crisis, and refused her assent to the European Communities Bill, or demanded a fair referendum first. She could have harried the politicians of the past two generations, reminding them of the forms and substance of the Ancient Constitution. She had the moral and legal authority to do this. Had she spoken to us like adults, she would have had popular support. She did nothing. I believe she bullied Margaret Thatcher into handing Rhodesia over to a communist mass-murderer, and made repeated noises about South African sanctions. And that was it.

Whatever her failings in the past, she had every legal right to demand a referendum over the Lisbon Treaty. This had been promised by every party at the 2005 general election. When the promise was withdrawn, she would have had public opinion and much of the media behind her in refusing to give assent to the Treaty’s Enabling Act. Again, she did nothing.

We are continually told about the Queen’s sense of duty. All I see is much scurrying about the country to open leisure centres – and otherwise a total disregard of her essential duties. If the Constitution was in decay before she was even born, she has spent her reign watching all that was left of it slip between her fingers.

It may be argued that she is now very old and will not remain much longer on the throne. The problem is that her son will be worse. She has been lazier than she has been stupid. He is simply stupid. So far as he insists on using his powers, it will be to drive forward the destruction of England. His own eldest son might easily be an improvement – but he could be decades away from the Crown. We are in no position to wait on what is in any event uncertain. The Queen has broken the contract between her and us. Her son will do nothing to repair the breach. We live in an age where hereditary monarchy must be strictly hereditary or nothing at all, and so we cannot waste our time with new Exclusion Bills or Acts of Settlement. If, therefore, we are ever in a position to bring about a counter-revolution, we shall need to find a head of state who can be trusted to do the job of looking after our new constitution.

Closing thoughts

I could go further on this theme. I know that many conservatives – and a few Conservatives – have lost faith in democracy. Undoubtedly, representative democracy has thrown up a political class that is separate from the people, and that is increasingly hostile to the rights and liberties of the people. But I cannot think of a lasting new settlement based on Caesaristic dictatorship or a limitation of the franchise. My own suggestion would be to select most positions in the executive by sortition – to choose rulers, that is, by a lottery – as in ancient Athens, and to settle all legislative matters by local or national referendum. Most judicial business that had any bearing on the Constitution could be put before juries of several hundred people, chosen by the same random process as criminal juries now are.

But, you will agree that this takes me far, far beyond my stated theme. It would make what has been a long speech longer still. I will close by observing that if you want to be a conservative in an England broken by revolution, you need to look beyond a rearguard defence of forms from which all substance was long since drained.. The conservative tradition may have been dominated since the 1970s by Edmund Burke. But it does also contain the radicals of the seventeenth century. And – yes – it also has a place even for Tom Paine. If you want to preserve this nation, you must be prepared for a radical jettisoning of what is no longer merely old, but also dead. The conservative challenge is to look beneath the plumage and save the dying bird.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Saddam Hussein's Pre-War Prisoner Amnesty Program 2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2343843.stm

Iraq ’empties its jails’
 

 

Iraqi television has been showing pictures of joyful prisoners leaving jail, shortly after the authorities announced an unprecedented general amnesty.A nationally televised statement from the Revolution Command Council, read by Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, said the “full and complete and final amnesty” applied to “any Iraqi imprisoned or arrested for political or any other reason”.

The amnesty was intended to thank the Iraqi people for their “unanimity” in last week’s presidential referendum, the statement said.Iraqi President Saddam Hussein won 100% support in the poll, in which he was the only candidate.

The amnesty also included “prisoners, detainees and fugitives… including those under sentence of death, inside or outside Iraq,” the statement said.

The exception, the statement said, was for murderers, who would be released only with the consent of the victims’ families.

Joyful scenes

Soon after the statement, Iraqi television began showed footage of dozens of prisoners rushing out of various prison gates chanting support for Saddam Hussein.

There is no way of verifying how many prisoners have been released..Human rights groups accuse Iraq of detaining tens of thousands of its citizens as political prisoners over the years, although many are thought to have been executed.

In April, the UN Human Rights Commission condemned Iraq for conducting a campaign of “all pervasive repression and widespread terror”.

It demanded that Baghdad should immediately put an end to its “summary and arbitrary executions… the use of rape as a political tool and all enforced and involuntary disappearances”.

Regime change

Analysts see the amnesty and referendum as a concerted effort by the Iraqi Government to rally domestic and international opposition to US demands for a change of regime in Baghdad.

In his UN speech on Iraq last month, US President George W Bush demanded that the leadership end internal oppression in Iraq, as well as stop its alleged programme to develop weapons of mass destruction.Also this week, Iraq has taken steps to return Kuwait’s national archive which was looted by Iraqi forces during the 1990-91 Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

The first box of documents was handed over in the demilitarised border zone along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti frontier under UN supervision on Sunday.

There is no indications whether any of the 600 Kuwaitis – missing since 1991 and alleged by Kuwait to be still being held in Iraq as prisoners of war – are among those released on Sunday.

Iraq says it has lost track of those prisoners.

Basic Bakunin Reply

http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/bakunin/sp001862.html

Republished from the (British) Anarchist Communist Federation’s original pamphlet in 1993 by P.A.C. (Paterson Anarchist Collective) Publications. This electronic version has the extra ACF text added to the PAC version, for more completeness.

 

“The star of revolution will rise high above the streets of Moscow, from a sea of blood and fire, and turn into a lodestar to lead a liberated humanity”
-Mikhail Bakunin

Preface

The aim of this pamphlet is to do nothing more than present an outline of what the author thinks are the key features of Mikhail Bakunin’s anarchist ideas.

Bakunin was extremely influential in the 19th century socialist movement, yet his ideas for decades have been reviled, distorted or ignored. On reading this pamphlet, it will become apparent that Bakunin has a lot to offer and that his ideas are not at all confused (as some writers would have us think) but make up a full coherent and well argued body of thought. For a detailed but difficult analysis of Bakunin’s revolutionary ideas, Richard B. Saltman’s book, “The Social and Political Thought of Michael Bakunin” is strongly recommended. Ask your local library to obtain a copy.

Class

Bakunin saw revolution in terms of the overthrow of one oppressing class by another oppressed class and the destruction of political power as expressed as the state and social hierarchy. According to Bakunin, society is divided into two main classes which are fundamentally opposed to each other. The oppressed class, he variously described as commoners, the people, the masses or the workers, makes up a great majority of the population. It is in ‘normal’ time not conscious of itself as a class, though it has an ‘instinct’ for revolt and whilst unorganized, is full of vitality. The numerically much smaller oppressing class, however is conscious of its role and maintains its ascendancy by acting in a purposeful, concerted and united manner. The basic differences between the two classes, Bakunin maintained, rests upon the ownership and control of property, which is disproportionately in the hands of the minority class of capitalists. The masses, on the other hand, have little to call their own beyond their ability to work.

Bakunin was astute enough to understand that the differences between the two main classes is not always clear cut. He pointed out that it is not possible to draw a hard line between the two classes, though as in most things, the differences are most apparent at the extremes. Between these extremes of wealth and power there is a hierarchy of social strata which can be assessed according to the degree to which they exploit each other or are exploited themselves. The further away a given group is from the workers, the more likely it is to be part of the exploiting category and the less it suffers from exploitation. Between the two major classes there is a middle class or middle classes which are both exploiting and exploited, depending on their position of social hierarchy.

The masses who are the most exploited form, in Bakunin’s view, the great revolutionary class which alone can sweep away the present economic system. Unfortunately, the fact of exploitation and its resultant poverty are in themselves no guarantee of revolution. Extreme poverty is, Bakunin thought, likely to lead to resignation if the people can see no possible alternative to the existing order. Perhaps, if driven to great depths of despair, the poor will rise up in revolt. Revolts however tend to be local and therefore, easy to put down. In Bakunin’s view, three conditions are necessary to bring about popular revolution.

They are:

  • sheer hatred for the conditions in which the masses find themselves
  • the belief the change is a possible alternative
  • a clear vision of the society that has to be made to bring about human emancipation
  •  

Without these three factors being present, plus a united and efficient self organization, no liberatory revolution can possibly succeed.

Bakunin had no doubts that revolution must necessarily involve destruction to create the basis of the new society. He stated that, quite simply, revolution means nothing less than war, that is the physical destruction of people and property. Spontaneous revolutions involve, often, the vast destruction of property. Bakunin noted that when circumstances demanded it, the workers will destroy even their own houses, which more often than not, do not belong to them. The negative, destructive urge is absolutely necessary, he argued, to sweep away the past. Destruction is closely linked with construction, since the “more vividly the future is visualized, the more powerful is the force of destruction.”

Given the close relationship between the concentration of wealth and power in capitalist societies, it is not surprising that Bakunin considered economic questions to be of paramount importance. It is in the context of the struggle between labor and capital that Bakunin gave great significance of strikes by workers. Strikes, he believed, have a number of important functions in the struggle against capitalism. Firstly they are necessary as catalysts to wrench the workers away from their ready acceptance of capitalism, they jolt them out of their condition of resignation. Strikes, as a form of economic and political warfare, require unity to succeed, thus welding the workers together. During strikes, there is a polarization between employers and workers. This makes the latter more receptive to the revolutionary propaganda and destroys the urge to compromise and seek deals. Bakunin thought that as the struggle between labor and capital increases, so will the intensity and number of strikes. The ultimate strike is the general strike. A revolutionary general strike, in which class conscious workers are infused with anarchist ideas will lead, thought Bakunin, to the final explosion which will bring about anarchist society.

Bakunin’s ideas are revolutionary in a very full sense, being concerned with the destruction of economic exploitation and social/political domination and their replacement by a system of social organization which is in harmony with human nature. Bakunin offered a critique of capitalism, in which authority and economic inequality went hand in hand, and state socialism, (e.g. Marxism) which is one sided in its concentration on economic factors whilst, grossly underestimating the dangers of social authority.

State

Bakunin based his consistent and unified theory upon three interdependent platforms, namely:

  • human beings are naturally social (and therefore they desire social solidarity)
  • are more or less equal and,
  • want to be free
  •  

His anarchism is consequently concerned with the problem of creating a society of freedom within the context of an egalitarian system of mutual interaction. The problem with existing societies, he argued, is that they are dominated by states that are necessarily violent, anti-social, and artificial constructs which deny the fulfillment of humanity.

Whilst there are, in Bakunin’s view, many objectionable features within capitalism, apart from the state, (e.g. the oppression of women, wage slavery), it is the state which nurtures, maintains and protects the oppressive system as a whole. The state is defined as an anti-social machine which controls society for the benefit of an oppressing class or elite. It is essentially an institution based upon violence and is concerned with its maintenance of inequality through political repression. In addition the state relies upon a permanent bureaucracy to help carry out its aims. The bureaucratic element, incidentally, is not simply a tool which it promotes. All states, Bakunin believed, have internal tendencies toward self perpetuation, whether they be capitalist or socialist and are thus to be opposed as obstacles to human freedom.

It might be objected that states are not primarily concerned with political repression and violence and indeed that liberal democratic states, in particular, are much interested in social welfare. Bakunin argues that such aspects are only a disguise, and that when threatened, all states reveal their essentially violent natures. In Britain and Northern Ireland this repressive feature of state activity has come increasingly to the fore, when the state has been challenged to any significant degree, it has responded with brutal firmness.

And developments within Britain over the last couple decades tend to substantiate another feature of the state which Bakunin drew attention to, their tendency toward over increasing authoritarianism and absolutism. He believed that there were strong pressures in all states whether they are liberal, socialist, capitalist, or whatever, toward military dictatorship but that the rate of such development will vary, however according to factors such as demography, culture and politics.

Finally, Bakunin noted that states tend toward warfare against other states. Since there is no internationally accepted moral code between states, then rivalries between them will be expressed in terms of military conflict. “So long as there’s government, there will be no peace. There will only be more or less prolonged respites, armistices concluded by the perpetually belligerent states; but as soon as a state feels sufficiently strong to destroy this equilibrium to its advantage, it will never fail to do so.”

Bourgeois Democracy

Political commentators and the media are constantly singing the praises of the system of representative democracy in which every few years or so the electorate is asked to put a cross on a piece of paper to determine who will control them. This system works good insofar as the capitalist system has found a way of gaining legitimacy through the illusion that some how the voters are in charge of running the system. Bakunin’s writings on the issue are of representative democracy were made at the time when it barely existed in the world. Yet he could see on the basis of a couple of examples (the United States and Switzerland) that the widening of the franchise does little to improve the lot of the great mass of the population. True, as Bakunin noted, middle class politicians are prepared to humble themselves before the electorate issuing all sorts of promises. But this leveling of candidates before the populace disappears the day after the election, once they are transformed into members of the Parliament. The workers continue to go to work and the bourgeoisie takes up once again the problems of business and political intrigue.

Today, in the United States and Western Europe, the predominant political system is that of liberal democracy. In Britain the electoral system is patently unfair in its distribution of parliamentary seats, insofar as some parties with substantial support get negligible representation. However, even where strict proportional representation applies, the Bakuninist critique remains scathing. For the representative system requires that only a small section of the population concern itself directly with legislation and governing (in Britain a majority out of 650 MP’s (Members of Parliament)).

Bakunin’s objections to representative democracy rests basically on the fact that it is an expression of the inequality of power which exists in society. Despite constitutions guaranteeing the rights of citizens and equality before the law, the reality is that the capitalist class is in permanent control. So long as the great mass of the population has to sell its labor power in order to survive, there can not be democratic government. So long as people are economically exploited by capitalism and there are gross inequalities of wealth, there can not be real democracy. As Bakunin made clear, economic facts are much stronger than political rights. So long as there is economic privilege there will be political domination by the rich over the poor. The result of this relationship is that representatives of capitalism (bourgeois democracy) “posses in fact, if not by right, the exclusive privilege of governing.”

A common fiction that is expounded in liberal democracies is that the people rule. However the reality is that minorities necessarily do the governing. A privileged few who have access to wealth, education and leisure time, clearly are better equipped to govern than ordinary working people, who generally have little free time and only a basic education.

But as Bakunin made clear, if by some quirk, a socialist government be elected, in real terms, things would not improve much. When people gain power and place themselves ‘above’ society, he argued, their way of looking at the world changes. From their exalted position of high office the perspective on life becomes distorted and seems very different to those on the bottom. The history of socialist representation in parliament is primarily that of reneging on promises and becoming absorbed into the manners, morality and attitudes of the ruling class. Bakunin suggests that such backsliding from socialist ideas is not due to treachery, but because participation in parliament makes representatives see the world through a distorted mirror. A workers parliament, engaged in the tasks of governing would, said Bakunin, end up a chamber of “determined aristocrats, bold or timid worshipers of the principle of authority who will also become exploiters and oppressors.”

The point that Bakunin makes time and time again in his writings is that no one can govern for the people in their interests. Only personal and direct control over our lives will ensure that justice and freedom will prevail. To abdicate direct control is to deny freedom. To grant political sovereignty to others, whether under the mantle of democracy, republicanism, the people’s state, or whatever, is to give others control and therefore domination over our lives.

It might be thought that the referendum, in which people directly make laws, would be an advance upon the idea of representative democracy. This is not the case according to Bakunin, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the people are not in a position to make decisions on the basis of full knowledge of all the issues involved. Also, laws may be a complex, abstract, and specialized nature and that in order to vote for them in a serious way, the people need to be fully educated and have available the time and facilities to reflect upon and discuss the implications involved. The reality of referenda is that they are used by full-time politicians to gain legitimacy for essentially bourgeois issues. It is no coincidence that Switzerland, which has used the referendum frequently, remains one of the most conservative countries in Europe. With referenda, the people are guided by politicians, who set the terms of the debate. Thus despite popular input, the people still remain under bourgeois control.

Finally, Bakunin on the whole concept of the possibility of the democratic state: For him the democratic state is a contradiction in terms since the state is essentially about force, authority and domination and is necessarily based upon an inequality of wealth and power. Democracy, in the sense of self rule for all, means that no one is ruled. If no one rules, there can be no state. If there is a state, there can be no self rule.

Marx

Bakunin’s opposition to Marxism involves several separate but related criticisms. Though he thought Marx was a sincere revolutionary, Bakunin believed that the application of the Marxist system would necessarily lead to the replacement of one repression (capitalist) by another (state socialist).

Firstly, Bakunin opposed what he considered to be the economic determinist element in Marx’s thought, most simply stated that “Being determines consciousness.” Put in another way, Bakunin was against the idea that the whole range of ‘super structural’ factors of society, its laws, moralities, science, religion, etc. were “but the necessary after effects of the development of economic facts.” Rather than history or science being primarily determined by economic factors (e.g. the ‘mode of production’), Bakunin allowed much more for the active intervention of human beings in the realization of their destiny.

More fundamental was Bakunin’s opposition to the Marxist idea of dictatorship of the proletariat which was, in effect, a transitional state on the way to stateless communism. Marx and Engles, in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, had written of the need for labor armies under state supervision, the backwardness of the rural workers, the need for centralized and directed economy, and for wide spread nationalization. Later, Marx also made clear that a workers’ government could come into being through universal franchise. Bakunin questioned each of these propositions.

The state, whatever its basis, whether it be proletarian or bourgeois, inevitably contains several objectionable features. States are based upon coercion and domination. This domination would, Bakunin stated, very soon cease to be that of the proletariat over its enemies but would become a state over the proletariat. This would arise, Bakunin believed, because of the impossibility of a whole class, numbering millions of people, governing on its own behalf. Necessarily, the workers would have to wield power by proxy by entrusting the tasks of government to a small group of politicians.

Once the role of government was taken out of the hands of the masses, a new class of experts, scientists and professional politicians would arise. This new elite would, Bakunin believed, be far more secure in its domination over the workers by means of the mystification and legitimacy granted by the claim to acting in accordance with scientific laws (a major claim by Marxists). Furthermore, given that the new state could masquerade as the true expression of the people’s will. The institutionalizing of political power gives rise to a new group of governors with the same self seeking interests and the same cover-ups of its dubious dealings.

Another problem posed by the statist system, that of centralized statist government would, argued Bakunin, further strengthen the process of domination. The state as owner, organizer, director, financier, and distributor of labor and economy would necessarily have to act in an authoritarian manner in its operations. As can be seen by the Soviet system, a command economy must act with decision flowing from top to bottom; it cannot meet the complex and various needs of individuals and, in the final analysis, is a hopeless, inefficient giant. Marx believed that centralism, from whatever quarter, was a move toward the final, statist solution of revolution. Bakunin, in contrast opposed centralism by federalism.

Bakunin’s predictions as to the operation of Marxist states has been borne out of reality. The Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, talked incessantly of proletarian dictatorship and soviet power, yet inevitably, with or without wanting to, created a vast bureaucratic police state.

Unions

Most of the left in Britain view the present structures of trade unions in a positive light. This is true for members of the Labor Party, both left and right, the Communist Party, the Militant Tendency and many other Marxist organizations. These bodies wish to capture or retain control of the unions, pretty much as they stand, in order to use them for their own purposes. As a result, there are frequently bitter conflicts and maneuverings within the unions for control. This trend is most apparent in the C.P.S.A. where a vicious anti-communist right wing group alternates with the Militant Tendency and its supporters for control of the union executive and full time posts. The major exception to this is the Socialist Workers Party which advocates rank and file organization, so long as the S.W.P. can control it.

Bakunin laid the foundations of the anarchist approach to union organization and the general tendency of non-anarchist unions to decay into personal fiefdoms and bureaucracy over a century ago. Arguing in the context of union organization within the International Working Mens Association, he gave examples of how unions can be stolen from the membership whose will they are supposed to be an expression of. He identified several interrelated features which lead to the usurpation of power by union leaders.

Firstly, he indicated a psychological factor which plays a key part. Honest, hardworking, intelligent and well meaning militants win through hard work the respect and admiration of their fellow members and are elected to union office. They display self sacrifice, initiative and ability. Unfortunately, once in positions of leadership, these people soon imagine themselves to be indispensable and their focus of attention centers more and more on the machinations within the various union committees.

The one time militant thus becomes removed from the every day problems of the rank and file members and assumes the self delusion which afflicts all leaders, namely a sense of superiority.

Given the existence of union bureaucracies and secret debating chambers in which leaders decide union actions and policies, a ‘governmental aristocracy’ arises within the union structures, no matter how democratic those structures may formally be. With the growing authority of the union committees etc., the workers become indifferent to union affairs, with the exception Bakunin asserts, of issues which directly affect them e.g. dues payment, strikes etc. Unions have always had great problems in getting subscriptions from alienated memberships, a solution which has been found in the ‘check off’ system by which unions and employers collaborate to remove the required sum at source, i.e. from the pay packet.

Where workers do not directly control their union and delegate authority to committees and full-time agents, several things happen. Firstly, so long as union subscriptions are not too high, and back dues are not pressed too hard for, the substituting bodies can act with virtual impunity. This is good for the committees but brings almost to an end the democratic life of the union. Power gravitates increasingly to the committees and these bodies, like all governments substitute their will for that of the membership. This in turn allows expression for personal intrigues, vanity, ambition and self-interest. Many intra-union battles, which are ostensibly fought on ideological grounds, are in fact merely struggles for control by ambitious self seekers who have chosen the union for their career structure. This careerism occasionally surfaces in battles between rival leftists, for example where no political reasons for conflict exist. In the past the Communist Party offered a union career route within certain unions and such conflicts constantly arose.

Presumably, within the Militant Tendency, which also wishes to capture unions, the same problem exists.

Within the various union committees, which are arranged on a hierarchical basis (mirroring capitalism), one or two individuals come to dominate on the basis of superior intelligence or aggressiveness. Ultimately, the unions become dominated by bosses who hold great power in their organizations, despite the safeguards of democratic procedures and constitutions. Over the last few decades, many such union bosses have become national figures, especially in periods of Labor government.

Bakunin was aware that such union degeneration was inevitable but only arises in the absence of rank and file control, lack of opposition to undemocratic trends and the accession to union power to those who allow themselves to be corrupted. Those individuals who genuinely wish to safeguard their personal integrity should, Bakunin argued, not stay in office too long and should encourage strong rank and file opposition. Union militants have a duty to remain faithful to their revolutionary ideals.

Personal integrity, however, is an insufficient safeguard. Other, institutional and organizational factors must also be brought into play. These include regular reporting to the proposals made by the officials and how they voted, in other words frequent and direct accountability. Secondly, such union delegates must draw their mandates from the membership being subject to rank and file instructions. Thirdly, Bakunin suggests the instant recall of unsatisfactory delegates. Finally, and most importantly, he urged the calling of mass meetings and other expressions of grass roots activity to circumvent those leaders who acted in undemocratic ways. Mass meetings inspire passive members to action, creating a camaraderie which would tend to repudiate the so called leaders.

(Electronic Ed- From this, one can conclude that Bakunin was a major inspiration for the anarcho-syndicalist movement.)

Revolutionary Organization

Above all else, Bakunin the revolutionary, believed in the necessity of collective action to achieve anarchy. After his death there was a strong tendency within the anarchist movement towards the abandonment of organization in favor of small group and individual activity. This development, which culminated in individual acts of terror in the late nineteenth century France, isolating anarchism from the very source of the revolution, namely the workers.

Bakunin, being consistent with other aspects of his thought, saw organization not in terms of a centralized and disciplined army (though he thought self discipline was vital), but as the result of decentralized federalism in which revolutionaries could channel their energies through mutual agreement within a collective. It is necessary, Bakunin argued, to have a coordinated revolutionary movement for a number of reasons. Firstly, is anarchists acted alone, without direction they would inevitably end up moving in different directions and would, as a result, tend to neutralize each other. Organization is not necessary for its own sake, but is necessary to maximize strength of the revolutionary classes, in the face of the great resources commanded by the capitalist state.

However, from Bakunin’s standpoint, it was the spontaneous revolt against authority by the people which is of the greatest importance. The nature of purely spontaneous uprisings is that they are uneven and vary in intensity from time to time and place to place. The anarchist revolutionary organization must not attempt to take over and lead the uprising but has the responsibility of clarifying goals, putting forward revolutionary propaganda, and working out ideas in correspondence with the revolutionary instincts of the masses. To go beyond this would undermine the whole self-liberatory purpose of the revolution. Putchism has no place in Bakunin’s thought.

Bakunin then, saw revolutionary organization in terms of offering assistance to the revolution, not as a substitute. It is in this context that we should interpret Bakunin’s call for a “secret revolutionary vanguard” and “invisible dictatorship” of that vanguard. The vanguard it should be said, has nothing in common with that of the Leninist model which seeks actual, direct leadership over the working class. Bakunin was strongly opposed to such approaches and informed his followers that “no member… is permitted, even in the midst of full revolution, to take public office of any kind, nor is the (revolutionary) organization permitted to do so… it will at all times be on the alert, making it impossible for authorities, governments and states to be established.” The vanguard was, however, to influence the revolutionary movement on an informal basis, relying on the talents of it’s members to achieve results. Bakunin thought that it was the institutionalization of authority, not natural inequalities, that posed a threat to the revolution. The vanguard would act as a catalyst to the working classes’ own revolutionary activity and was expected to fully immerse itself in the movement. Bakunin’s vanguard then, was concerned with education and propaganda, and unlike the Leninist vanguard party, was not to be a body separate from the class, but an active agent within it.

The other major task of the Bakuninist organization was that it would act as the watchdog for the working class. Then, as now, authoritarian groupings posed as leaders of the revolution and supplied their own members as “governments in waiting.” The anarchist vanguard has to expose such movements in order that the revolution should not replace one representative state by another ‘revolutionary’ one. After the initial victory, the political revolutionaries, those advocates of so-called workers’ governments and the dictatorship of the proletariat, would according to Bakunin try “to squelch the popular passions. They appeal for order, for trust in, for submission to those who, in the course and the name of the revolution, seized and legalized their own dictatorial powers; this is how such political revolutionaries reconstitute the state. We on the other hand, must awaken and foment all the dynamic passions of the people.”

 

Anarchy

Throughout Bakunin’s criticisms of capitalism and state socialism he constantly argues for freedom. It is not surprising, then, to find that in his sketches of future anarchist society that the principle of freedom takes precedence. In a number of revolutionary programs he outlined which he considered to be the essential features of societies which would promote the maximum possible individual and collective freedom. The societies envisioned in Bakunin’s programs are not Utopias, the sense of being detailed fictional communities, free of troubles, but rather suggest the basic minimum skeletal structures which would guarantee freedom. The character of future anarchist societies will vary, said Bakunin depending on a whole range of historical, cultural, economic and geographical factors.

The basic problem was to lay down the minimum necessary conditions which would bring about a society based upon justice and social welfare for all and would also generate freedom. The negative, that is, destructive features of the programs are all concerned with the abolition of those institutions which lead to domination and exploitation. The state, including the established church, the judiciary, state banks and bureaucracy, the armed forces and the police are all to be swept away. Also, all ranks, privileges, classes and the monarchy are to be abolished.

The positive, constructive features of the new society all interlink to promote freedom and justice. For a society to be free, Bakunin argued, it is not sufficient to simply impose equality. No, freedom can only be achieved and maintained through the full participation in society of a highly educated and healthy population, free from social and economic worries. Such an enlightened population, can then be truly free and able to act rationally on the basis of a popularly controlled science and a thorough knowledge of the issues involved.

Bakunin advocated complete freedom of movement, opinion, morality where people would not be accountable to anyone for their beliefs and acts. This must be, he argued, complete and unlimited freedom of speech, press and assembly. Freedom, he believed, must be defended by freedom, for to “advocate the restriction of freedom on the pretext that it is being defended is a dangerous delusion.” A truly free and enlightened society, Bakunin said, would adequately preserve liberty. An ordered society, he thought, stems not from suppression of ideas, which only breeds opposition and factionalism, but from the fullest freedom for all.

This is not to say that Bakunin did not think that a society has the right to protect itself. He firmly believed that freedom was to be found within society, not through its destruction. Those people who acted in ways that lessen freedom for others have no place; These include all parasites who live off the labor of others. Work, the contribution of one’s labor for the creation of wealth, forms the basis of political rights in the proposed anarchist society. Those who live by exploiting others do not deserve political rights. Others, who steal, violate voluntary agreements within and by society, inflict bodily harm etc. can expect to be punished by the laws which have been created by that society. The condemned criminal, on the other hand, can escape punishment by society by removing himself/herself from society and the benefits it confers. Society can also expel the criminal if it so wishes. Basically thought, Bakunin set great store on the power of enlightened public opinion to minimize anti-social activity.

Bakunin proposed the equalization of wealth, though natural inequalities which are reflected in different levels of skill, energy and thrift, should he argued be tolerated. The purpose of equality is to allow individuals to find full expression of their humanity within society. Bakunin was strongly opposed to the idea of hired labor which if introduced into an anarchist society, would lead to the reintroduction of inequality and wage slavery. He proposed instead collective effort because it would, he thought, tend to be more efficient. However, so long as individuals did not employ others, he had no objection to them working alone.

Through the creation of associations of labor which could coordinate worker’s activities, Bakunin proposed the setting up of an industrial assembly in order to harmonize production with the demand for products. Such an assembly would be necessary in the absence of the market. Supplied with statistical information from the various voluntary organization who would be federated, production could be specialized on an international basis so that those countries with inbuilt economic advantages would produce most efficiently for the general good. Then, according to Bakunin, waste, economic crisis and stagnation “will no longer plague mankind; the emancipation of human labor will regenerate the world.”

Turning to the question of the political organization of society, Bakunin stressed that they should all be built in such a way as to achieve order through the realization of freedom on the basis of the federation of voluntary organizations. In all such political bodies power is to flow “from the base to the summit” and from “the circumference to the center/” In other words, such organizations should be the expressions of individual and group opinions, not directing centers which control people.

On the basis of federalism, Bakunin proposed a multi-tier system of responsibility for decision making which would be binding on all participants, so long as they supported the system. Those individuals, groups or political institutions which made up the total structure would have the right to secede. Each participating unit would have an absolute right to self-determination, to associate with the larger bodies, or not. Starting at the local level, Bakunin suggested as the basic political unit, the completely autonomous commune. The commune, on the basis of universal suffrage, would elect all of its functionaries, law makers, judges, and administrators of communal property.

The commune would decide its own affairs but, if voluntarily federated to the next tier of administration, the provincial assembly, its constitution must conform to the provincial assembly. Similarly, the constitution of the province must be accepted by the participating communes. The provincial assembly would define the rights and obligations existing between communes and pass laws affecting the province as a whole. The composition of the provincial assembly would be decided on the basis of universal suffrage.

Further levels of political organization would be the national body, and, ultimately, the international assembly. As regards international organization, Bakunin proposed that there should be no permanent armed forces, preferring instead, the creation of local citizens’ defense militias. Disputes between nations and their provinces would be settled by an international assembly. This assembly, if required, could wage war against outside aggressors but should a member nation of the international federation attack another member, then it faces expulsion and the opposition of the federation as a whole.

Thus, from root to branch, Bakunin’s outline for anarchy is based upon the free federation of participants in order to maximize individual and collective well being.

Bakunin’s Relevance Today

Throughout most of this pamphlet Bakunin has been allowed to speak for himself and any views by the writer of the pamphlet are obvious. In this final section it might be valuable to make an assessment of Bakunin’s ideas and actions.

With the dominance of Marxism in the world labor and revolutionary movements in the twentieth century, it became the norm to dismiss Bakunin as muddle-headed or irrelevant. However, during his lifetime he was a major figure who gained much serious support. Marx was so pressured by Bakunin and his supporters that he had to destroy the First International by dispatching it to New York. In order that it should not succumb to Anarchism, Marx killed it off through a bureaucratic maneuver.

Now that Marxism has been seriously weakened following the collapse of the USSR and the ever increasingly obvious corruption in China, Bakunin’s ideas and revolutionary Anarchism have new possibilities. If authoritarian, state socialism has proved to be a child devouring monster, then libertarian communist ideas once again offer a credible alternative.

The enduring qualities of Bakunin and his successors are many, but serious commitment to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and the state must rank high. Bakunin was much more of a doer than a writer, he threw himself into actual insurrections, much to the trepidation of European heads of state. This militant tradition was continued by Malatesta, Makhno, Durruti, and many other anonymous militants. Those so-called anarchists who adopt a gradualist approach are an insult to Anarchism. Either we are revolutionaries or we degenerate into ineffective passivism.

Bakunin forecast the dangers of statist socialism. His predictions of a militarized, enslaved society dominated by a Marxist ruling class came to pass in a way that even Bakunin could not have fully envisaged. Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin outstripped even the Tsars in their arrogance and brutality. And, after decades of reformist socialism which have frequently formed governments, Bakunin’s evaluations have been proved correct. In Britain we have the ultimate insult to working people in the form of “socialist Lords”. For services to capitalism, Labor MP’s are ultimately granted promotion to the aristocracy.

Bakunin fought for a society based upon justice, equality and freedom. Unlike political leaders of the left he had great faith in the spontaneous, creative and revolutionary potential of working people. His beliefs and actions reflect this approach. So, revolutionaries can learn much of value from his federalism, his militancy and his contempt for the state, which, in the twentieth century, has assumed gigantic and dangerous proportions, Bakunin has much to teach us but we too must develop our ideas in the face of new challenges and opportunities. We must retain the revolutionary core of his thought yet move forward. Such is the legacy of Bakunin.

With this in mind, the Anarchist Communist Federation is developing a revolutionary anarchist doctrine, which whilst being ultimately based on Bakunin’s ideas, goes much further to suit the demands of present-day capitalism. Ecological issues, questions of imperialist domination of the world, the massive oppression of women, the automation of industry, computerized technology etc. are all issues that have to be tackled. We welcome the challenge!

 

FURTHER READING

There are two main compilations of Bakunin’s works which are quite readily available through public libraries. They are “Bakunin on Anarchy” edited by Sam Dolgoff and “The Political Philosophy of Bakunin” edited by G.P. Maximoff. Also worth looking at, if you can get hold of them are “The Basic Bakunin – Writings 1869-1871” edited by Robert M. Cutler and “Mikhail Bakunin – From Out of the Dustbin”, edited by the same person.

For an understanding of the full profundity of Bakunin’s ideas, there is nothing to match “The Social and Political Thought of Michael Bakunin” by Richard B Saltman. This American publication should be available through your local library.

Bakunin’s works currently available:

  • “God and the State”
  • “Marxism, Freedom and the State” (edited by K.J. Kenafik)
  • “The Paris Commune and the Idea of the State”
  • “Statism and Anarchy” (heavy going) ed. Marshall Shatz.

Updated News Digest October 18, 2008 1

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

Quote of the Week:

“For what is freedom? That one has the will to self-responsibility. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one’s cause, not excluding oneself.

  • Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of “pleasure.” The human being who has become free — and how much more the spirit who has become free — spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. —
  • How is freedom measured, in individuals as in nations? By the resistance which must be overcome, by the effort [Mühe] it costs to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by “tyrants” are meant inexorable and dreadful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves — most beautiful type: Julius Caesar — ; this is true politically too; one need only go through history. The nations which were worth something, became worth something, never became so under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit — and forces us to be strong …
  • First principle: one must need to be strong — otherwise one will never become strong. — Those large hothouses [Treibhäuser] for the strong, for the strongest kind of human being that has ever been, the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand the word freedom: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers …”

                                                                                       -Friedrich Nietzsche

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World Cops by William Norman Grigg

Israel’s-and Only Israel’s-Right to Self-Defense by Paul Craig Roberts

An Imperial Strategy for the New World Order by Andrew Gavin Marshall

Reflections on the G20 Protests from Infoshop.Org

The Rich Have Stolen the Economy by Paul Craig Roberts

A Useful Guide for Freeing Your Mind by Kevin Carson

Obama’s War Without Borders by Michael Chossudovsky

The Nobel Police Prize by Jack Hunter

The Affirmative Action Nobel by Pat Buchanan

Defend the Free Market-Support the Strikers by Dave Chappell

The Smooth Operator from Chicago by John Pilger

The Silent Catastrophe by Jared Taylor

Welcome Back, Lenin by Paul Craig Roberts

Ignoble Prizes by Paul Gottfried

Thinking About Nietzsche by David Reid Saucier

The Real Stakes in Afghanistan by Dan Phillips

Fetishes for Tots? Folsom Street Fair Protest by Bay Area National Anarchists

American Worker Displacement Resumes by Edward Rubenstein

American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood by David Thomson

Rolling Your Own Is Now Cool  by Shane Watson

Is Gun Control Racist? by Wilton Alston

Walter Block vs “Diversity” by Walter Block

Whatever Happened to Global Warming? by Paul Hudson

Economics and the Drug War by Bart Frazier

Backdoor Escalation by Justin Raimondo

Dianne Feinstein: War Profiteer by Justin Raimondo

My New Lincoln Book by Grant Havers (review by Paul Gottfried)

Nietzsche contra Christianity by Mark Hackard

Goodbye to All of That by Taki Theodoracopulos

In Praise of Anglo-Protestant Suicide by Lawrence Auster

The Swiss Resisted the Nazis, But Fell to the Americans by Lynnley Browning

Nazi New York City by Anthony Gregory

State-Inflicted Gang Violence by William Norman Grigg

Boycott FedEx!! by Spencer Hahn

America’s Youngest Criminal by David Kramer

Photos of Military Deaths in Afghanistan Banned by David Kramer

U.S. Soldier Jailed for Refusing to be Mercenary for Imperialism by Lew Rockwell

Rapist PIG by Bill Anderson

Obama’s Unrestrained FBI by Nat Hentoff

What Lies Beneath the War in Afghanistan by Eric Margolis

The Reverse-Midas Effect by Justin Raimondo

Stars and Garters in Afghanistan by Jeff Huber

Our Cheap Politicians  by Andrew Cockburn

Social Justice or Social War? from Infoshop.Org

Abandoning Women and Children by Nadia Hijab

The Republican Party Moves Leftward by Richard Hoste

Craig Bodeker Refutes the $PLC by Craig Bodeker

Global Warming and the 2nd Battle of Copenhagen by Pat Buchanan

Meet the New Healthcare Boss by Kevin Carson

The British National Party’s Aboriginal Problem by Derek Turner

Higher Interest Rates in Our Time by Richard Spencer

Obama Vs Fox News by Alexander Cockburn

Where $18 an Hour is Too Much by Carl Ginsburg

Barney Frank: The Bankers’ Consort by Ralph Nader

Agent Orange in Vietnam: Ignoring the Crime Before Our Eyes by Dave Lindorff

Why I Miss China by James L. Secor

The Scorched Earth Mindset of the International Banker by Stephen Martin

Killcullen’s Long War by Tom Hayden

Mumbai: The Horror of Gun Control by Benedict D. LaRosa

Academic Dishonesty by Walter Williams

Still Fanning the Flames of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Class War from Infoshop.Org

24-Hour General Strike from Infoshop.Org

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

“The “clash of civilizations” is, in a very literal sense, a clash of God and Mammon. The Islamic revolutionaries are driven by a fanatical devotion to their god and the promises they believe he has made to them if only they take up arms on his behalf. The nations of the West are driven by an almost as fanatical devotion to Mammon, that is, to wealth, luxury, power, pleasure and privilege. Further, the culture of the West combines this unabashedly materialist ethos with rejection of strength and discipline in favor of a maternalistic emphasis on health, safety, “sensitivity”, “self-esteem”, “potential”, “personal growth”, “getting in touch with one’s inner child”, “feelings” and other concepts common to pop culture psychobabble. Of course, the socio-cultural ramifications of this is to create a society of weaklings, mediocrities and crybabies.”

                                                                                                   -Keith Preston

(hat tip to Chris Donnellan for the following links)

European-American Socialist Peoples’ Front

Male Rape in U.S. Prisons from Human Rights Watch

Psychiatry Extends Its Totalitarian Tendencies 

Neocon Lunatic John Bolton Suggests Nuclear Attack on Iran 

What is Paganism? 

Stop Boer Genocide 

Keep Your Laws Off My Guns 

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee 

Ralph Nader Speaks 

The New Gangsterism 

American Veterans Movement (Partisans) 

 

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

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat

Attack Is the Best Form of Defense by Johann Most

The Pittsburgh Proclamation by Johann Most

Majorities and Minorities by Errico Malatesta

The Question of Crime by Errico Malatesta

The World's First Terrorists 5

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/blood-rage–history-the-worlds-first-terrorists-1801195.html

It was us!!!

I have always been sickened by the fact that anarchists have this history of fierce martial struggle, but are today represented by the kind of riff-raff that constitutes the mainstream “anarchist movement.”

A few years ago I did an academic paper tracing the history of modern terrorism to the classical anarchist concept of “propaganda by the deed” and explained how 20th century terrorism evolved into Fourth Generation Warfare. I created a page for it, in case anyone is interested in reading a long, dry academic treatise:

https://attackthesystem.com/propaganda-by-the-deed-fourth-generation-warfare-and-the-decline-of-the-state/

Why We Are National-Anarchists 6

from Western Australian National-Anarchists (WANA)

http://wanationalanarchist.wordpress.com/

To many people, on all sides of the political spectrum, the question would be asked when they hear of our new philosophy, “why?”.  Why would you choose to be a National-Anarchist, which is universally hated by the majority of the dogmatic left and right wings? Why would we choose to be ostracised from the mainstream like this? I will attempt to give as good an answer as i am able.

“He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils” – Francis Bacon

For decades, both the left-wing and the right-wing have not developed their world-view. Anarchists are the same as they were 40 years as ago, along with the socialists, communists, nationalists, conservatives, liberals etc. Most people cling to 20th century beliefs and ideologies in the 21st century. To use 20th century beliefs in the 21st seems to be almost stupid, does it not?

“Smash all political dogma’s!” – slogan of the Australian New Right/ National Anarchists

For a small, but growing group of people, it does. Tired of the repeated failures of the reactionary right-wing, a small group of people split with those Nationalist groups and adopted Third Positionism, providing a Third Way alternative to the dual Communist and Capitalist dominated world of the time. However, as the Soviet Union fell, and Communism became relatively obsolete, and Capitalism marched onwards to world hegemony, a more revolutionary approach to the emerging NWO of global government, exploitation of the worlds workers, and submissiveness to the Elite, was needed.

Thus, National-Anarchism was born. With the Orwellian-like State oppression of dissidents, with the farce of so-called “Democracy”, party-politics has been discarded as a pipe-dream. The State and its vast apparatus of bureaucratic leeches (”politicians”) have become the only enemy of all freedom loving peoples the world over. But we do not advocate armed struggle against the State, as it is too powerful, instead we advocate living outside of the System, as far as is legal and we are able, and establishing (eventually) our own communities, according to our own customs and beliefs. (As Troy Southgate would say, “destroying from within, building from without”).

So why are we National-Anarchists? Well, we recognise there is a fundamental sickness in the heart of our current “civilisation”, and that our world-view offers the only real genuine alternative to this sickness. National-Anarchism is the synthesis to the Left-wing and the Right-wing, (and it must be pointed out that those labels only serve to make us conform to the Government labels, and originated centuries ago, so should surely be obsolete in the 21st century), providing the only real true revolutionary alternative to the radical youth of today.

Everyone has an option, either sit back and watch the world march on passed them, or live a life with more meaning, more value (not in the economic sense) by making positive changes in your community, and help preparing your community (which should be considered your extended family) for the inevitable collapse of Western Capitalism. For surely it will one day collapse, and then our people will need leaders to guide them out of the troubles to follow. Are you a leader? If you are – we want you!

Updated News Digest October 11, 2009 2

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

Quote of the Week:

“”The Rothschilds, and that class of money-lenders of whom they are the representatives and agents — men who never think of lending a shilling to their next-door neighbors, for purposes of honest industry, unless upon the most ample security, and at the highest rate of interest — stand ready, at all times, to lend money in unlimited amounts to those robbers and murderers, who call themselves governments, to be expended in shooting down those who do not submit quietly to being robbed and enslaved.”

                                                                                            -Lysander Spooner

Warmonger Obama Receives Nobel Peace Prize by Paul Craig Roberts

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize by Glenn Greenwald

How the Feds Imprison the Innocent by Paul Craig Roberts

Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men Jeffrey Rogers Hummel interviewed by Scott Horton

Marx and Lenin Revisited by Paul Craig Roberts

The Idea of “Empire” by Alain De Benoist

Deconstructing the Decision to Secede by Thomas Naylor

Distorting Rape to Get More Federal Funds by Bill Anderson

Israeli Exceptionalism by Justin Raimondo

A Paleocon Critiques Noam Chomsky by Steve Sailer

Wave of Anarchist Bombings in Mexico by John Ross

Don’t Dare Call It Treason by Kevin Carson

War and Peace by Alexander Cockburn

Left, Right and Libertarians United Against Empire David R. Henderson interviewed by Scott Horton

A Libertarian Theory of Foreign Affairs by Justin Raimondo

Iran, Arms Races, and War by Stephen Walt

Eight Years of Big Lies on Afghanistan by James Bovard

Michael Moore Gets the Problem But Not the Solution by Thomas Naylor

Time for a War Tax by Steve Breyman

General War by Pat Buchanan

The Plight of the Right of Return by Nadia Hijab

Obama No Better Than Bush on Terror War Prisoners Andy Worthington interviewed by Scott Horton

The Crackdown in Pittsburgh by Mel Packer

Obama and Afghanistan: You Can’t Handle the Truth? by David Corn

Behind the Capitalist Curtain by Michael Donnelly

The Iranians Are Threatening to Cooperate? What Will the Neocon Filth Do? by Eric Margolis

Judicial Antics Expose Drug War Insanity by Linn Washington, Jr.

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Paul Marshall

Free the Sudafed 25! by Jeffrey Tucker

Why Are Cops in Camo…in Pittsburgh? by Radley Balko

The Scam of Global Warming by Doug Casey

On Afghanistan, Obama Should Follow Eisenhower by Steve Clemons

Israel vs Human Rights by Adam Horowitz & Philip Weiss

All Muslim Politics Is Local by Charles Tripp

Iran, Iran So Far Away by Jack Hunter

Keeping Lone Wolves from the Door by Julian Sanchez

McChrystal’s Ultimatum by Jeff Huber

Invalidate Federal Gun Laws by Declan McCullagh

Ten Lies About Iran by Juan Cole

Stuff  White People Like by Scott Locklin

Situation NORML by Fred Gardner

Odin or Jesus? by Christopher Lyons

Christianity Against Paganism by Mark Hackard

Two Tales of Our Times by Tom Piatak

Stock Market Collapse Dead Ahead by Marc Slavo

Hard Times by Richard Spencer

Does “the West” Go Both Ways? by Richard Spencer

Bring Back the Articles of Confederation 

Rachel Maddow Is a Dumb Cunt by Anthony Gregory

Confessions of a Self-Hating Jew by David Kramer

It’s Good to Be Qaddafi by Taki Theodoracopulos

Irving Kristol Was a CIA Frontman-Duh? by Tom DiLorenzo

Global Warming Scandals by Floy Lilley

Secession in South Africa by Prozium

Fire McChrystal and Get Out of Afghanistan by Ivan Eland

Cross-Dressing Teen Discriminated Against by School by Alexis Cobb

Does Red Toryism Have a Future in America? from Front Porch Republic

Neither Statism Nor Individualism by Thomas Storck

Yes, It Is About Race by Peter Brimelow

Emile Henry: Anarchist Was the First Terrorist of the Modern Age from Infoshop.Org

David Brooks: Cosmetic Conservative  by Jack Hunter

Hire Americans First by Pat Buchanan

“Ravenwood” Comes to America by Chuck Baldwin

 

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

“The “clash of civilizations” is, in a very literal sense, a clash of God and Mammon. The Islamic revolutionaries are driven by a fanatical devotion to their god and the promises they believe he has made to them if only they take up arms on his behalf. The nations of the West are driven by an almost as fanatical devotion to Mammon, that is, to wealth, luxury, power, pleasure and privilege. Further, the culture of the West combines this unabashedly materialist ethos with rejection of strength and discipline in favor of a maternalistic emphasis on health, safety, “sensitivity”, “self-esteem”, “potential”, “personal growth”, “getting in touch with one’s inner child”, “feelings” and other concepts common to pop culture psychobabble. Of course, the socio-cultural ramifications of this is to create a society of weaklings, mediocrities and crybabies.”

                                                                                                   -Keith Preston

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

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat

Fascism with a Multicultural Face 16

Over at the website for the Center for a Stateless Society, Kevin Carson has a very good article taking down the center-left liberal retards who regard the state as nothing more than One Big Cub Scout Master. Carson demonstrates how stupid this perspective is even from the point of view of the  liberals’ own standards and rational self-interest. What I find particularly interesting, however, is this comment from a reader called “Dave Chappell“:

I would say that it takes more than an authoritarian government however. The support of a certain percentage of the populous is needed for a system such as National Socialism to prevail. Antisemitism in Europe was endemic prior to the eventual political rise of a system that endorsed in officially. My hope for the US is that it is so naturally multi-cultural that there will be never a general acceptance of fascist ideology. A non-racist form of fascism is always possible though I suppose.

What?? A “non-racist form of fascism”? I have argued for years that a culturally leftward-leaning form of fascism is developing in the United States. See here, here, here, here, here, and here. American society exhibits many of the same qualities normally associated with fascism: the corporate state, military-industrial complex, prison-industrial complex, police state, crude jingoism, reckless military adventurism, therapeutic state, dissemination of crude propaganda passed off as journalism, demonizing critics as traitors and subversives, messianic-revolutionary national ideology (“American exceptionalism”), and hysteria over terrorism or crime. The Obama cult is not nearly as extreme as the cults of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Kim Il-Sung, but it’s close enough. One might be inclined to regard liberals’ foolish dismissals of the critics of creeping American fascism as rooted in a simplistic understanding of “fascism”: “Like, dude, man, there can’t be fascism if there’s no brown shirts, or swastikas, or nasty talk about Jews, right? Obama rules, man!” But one could also be inclined to consider the possibility that liberals know perfectly well what kind of order is being established in America, and they like it just fine, because they plan to use it to advance their own agenda as the Cultural Marxists continue to consolidate their position. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Updated News Digest October 4, 2009 Reply

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

Quote of the Week:

“Sir Norman Angell very accurately described human existence in a totalitarian state when he wrote: ‘From the day that a child is born in Nazi Germany or Russia, and to a lesser degree in Italy, it is brought under the influence of the State’s doctrine; every teacher teaches it through the years of childhood and adolescence. In every conscript, whether military or industrial, the process is continued; every book suggests the prevaling orthodoxy; every paper shouts it; every cinema gives it visual suggestion.’ That is precisely the situation in all countries with a well-established democracy, where social forces jealously guard the ‘common demoninator.’ There is no doubt that the great pride of the democracies, compulsory education, and to a lesser degree, conscription, is a prime factor in this process of forming the minds of citizens into a uniform pattern.”

                                                                                          -Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Gore Vidal: “We’ll Have a Dictatorship Soon in the U.S.”  by Tim Teeman

Fascism: Why Can’t It Happen Here? by Kevin Carson (If only the “anti-fascists” would take notice)

U.S. to Break Up Soon? by Chuck Baldwin

How Goldman-Sachs Controls the Senate by Matt Taibbi

Iran: Can U.S. Outlast the Ayatollahs? by Pat Buchanan

Another War in the Works by Paul Craig Roberts

The Desert of the Real by Paul Gottfried

The Need to Secede by Jack Hunter

The Dawn of Decadence by Scott Locklin

More Lies, More Deceptions by Paul Craig Roberts

Southern Populist Terrorism by Harrison Bergeron 2

Krauthammer on Kristol: You’d Think a Shrink Would Know Better by Harrison Bergeron 2

Talking About Iran on the T.V. by Glenn Greenwald

Swine Flu Vaccinations to be the Next Tea Party Protests by Don Fenley

Still Not Convinced That HIV is Bogus? by James Foye

It’s the Balance of Power, Stupid! by Leon Hadar

A Tale of Two Op-Eds by Stephen Walt

Are the Neocons Back? by Daniel Larison

On What Larger Theory is Neoconservatism Based? by Justin Logan

Listening to Sibel Edmonds by Philip Giraldi

Who’s Afraid of Sibel Edmonds? Sibel Edmonds interviewed by Philip Giraldi

The Legacy of Spain’s Legendary Anarchist Teacher Francisco Ferrer from Infoshop.Org

Armed Struggle in Greece  from Infoshop.Org

Can Economies Function Without Growth? by Alexander Jung

Pakistan’s Libertine Descendents of Alexander the Great by Dean Nelson

The Anatomy of Blue-State Fascism by Anthony Gregory

There Is No More America Doug Casey interviewed by Louis James

Free All Political Prisoners! by Bill Anderson

The Meaning of Timothy McVeigh by Gore Vidal

The Extinction of the Mass Media by Michael Crichton

Our Intelligence and Theirs by Justin Raimondo

McChrystal’s Myth: Time to Put Down the Pipe by Jeff Huber

Iran is Not Making Nuclear Weapons Scott Ritter interviewed by Scott Horton

Obama Reverts to Cheney Kidnap Policy by Glenn Greenwald

In China, At Least I Would Have Had a Trial by Jacob Hornberger

Left and Right Against War by Murray Polner

Debunking the War Party by Justin Raimondo

The Struggle Against the Feds for Pot Legalization in California by Michael Boldin

How Similar Are the Cases Against Iran and Iraq? by Glenn Greenwald

Green is Red? by Bill Buppert

Exorcising America’s Diplomatic Demons by Robert Scheer

The New Republic of Texas: Liberty Central or Little Washington? by Russell Longcore

Obama and the Graveyard of Empires by Frank Creel

The Depth of Corruption in the War Propaganda Against Iran by John Pilger

Martial Law Is Their Business-and Business Is Good by William Norman Grigg

Bitter Fruits of Middle East Wars by Pat Buchanan

Is It Racist to Oppose Obama? by Walter Williams

Athens and Jerusalem by Ilana Mercer

On Being a Homeschooling Dad by Paul Galvin

“I’m a Racist, He’s a Racist, She’s Racist, We’re All Racists, Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Racist, Too?!!” by Jack Hunter

What’s Up With the Sarah Palin Cult? by Dylan Hales

Geezer Renditions by Alexander Cockburn

Fall of the Berlin Wall: Another Cold War Myth by William Blum

Chomsky in Mexico by John Ross

Here Is Your Chance to Help End the Failed War on Drugs by Anthony Papa

Obama Is No Radical by Jesse Walker

 

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

“The “clash of civilizations” is, in a very literal sense, a clash of God and Mammon. The Islamic revolutionaries are driven by a fanatical devotion to their god and the promises they believe he has made to them if only they take up arms on his behalf. The nations of the West are driven by an almost as fanatical devotion to Mammon, that is, to wealth, luxury, power, pleasure and privilege. Further, the culture of the West combines this unabashedly materialist ethos with rejection of strength and discipline in favor of a maternalistic emphasis on health, safety, “sensitivity”, “self-esteem”, “potential”, “personal growth”, “getting in touch with one’s inner child”, “feelings” and other concepts common to pop culture psychobabble. Of course, the socio-cultural ramifications of this is to create a society of weaklings, mediocrities and crybabies.”

                                                                                                   -Keith Preston

(Hat tip to Chris Donnellan for the following links)

Paleo-Anarchism

Civil War in America? A New State Called Jefferson? 

A State of Mine-California Secession 

Ethnosocialist 

G. K. Chesterton: The Great Author of the Century 

Which Branch of Anarchism Best Represents Your Views? 

William F. Buckley Interviews Huey Newton on Firing Line 

Eugene Girin-A Paleoconservative Perspective on Zionism 

The Case Against Wal-Mart by the Southern Avenger

What is Patriotism? by the Southern Avenger 

Race Matters by the Southern Avenger 

Who’s to Blame for Illegal Immigration? by the Southern Avenger 

Pride in Prejudice by the Southern Avenger

The Dumb Right by the Southern Avenger 

The Post-Paleo Movement by Paul Gottfried Part One

The Post-Paleo Movement by Paul Gottfried Part Two

Chomsky vs Buckley on Firing Line 

William F. Buckley vs Gore Vidal 

American Vice: Mapping the Seven Deadly Sins 

The Twilight of Pax Americana Los Angeles Times

When Europeans Were Slaves 

In Europe, the Left Has Run Out of Gas by Willam Pfaff

Americans Grow Cannabis to Beat the Recession 

New Right Students Association 

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

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat

Libertarianism-An Autopsy? 3

http://networkedblogs.com/p12876300

Libertarianism is hard to define because it means different things depending on where you’re at. In most of the world, especially in Europe, it’s a synonym for anarchism. But that’s the dead opposite of what it means in the USA where your sober libertarians know they need enough government to guard the loot of the few who’ve amassed it in what has become a casino economy.

A good capsule analysis of libertarianism, American-style, comes from Kevin Walsh in his blog:

“Libertarianism is a utopian ideology that is most commonly found among the European-American petit-bourgeoisie and intelligentsia which favors bourgeois property relations with little or no state apparatus to support those relations. Libertarians are opposed to involuntary taxation, military conscription, laws against narcotics, laws against prostitution, professional police forces, laws restricting private ownership of weapons, public education, government social programs, and just about all regulations on business. Libertarians favor privatizing all or nearly all government functions. Many Libertarians even favor privately owned highways, streets and sidewalks.

“Libertarianism is rare outside the USA, and in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, it is virtually unknown. Within the USA, Libertarianism is unusual outside the European-American community. The idea that bourgeois property relations could be maintained without a strong state apparatus justly seems bizarre to most of the world’s people, but in view of the unusual history of the USA, it is understandable that some European-Americans could be led to believe this.”

As Kevin pointed out, class struggle was retarded in America. Workers could just pack up and leave, heading West. That’s why it was important after the Civil War to have the mass immigration occur in order build an industrial working class. But it also developed the class struggle–an event of real life and not an invention of Marx. This class struggle up to the Second World War was one of the bloodiest in the world. See DYNAMITE! by Louis Adamic.

But the drive West became the prevailing ideology for a great many European-Americans. Francis Parker Yockey called it individualistic imperialism; we call it libertarianism today.

It’s also based on a false reading of American history.Americans didn’t open up the West on their own. Rather, it was done by government and the U.S. Army. No invisible hand here.

Another hallmark of libertarianism is hostility to the idea of community, and from there to nationalism & populism. Margaret Thatcher who used libertarian rhetoric when it suited her–like our Republicans when out of office–said there was no such thing as society; just atomized consumers, presumably.

Libertarians are also blind to race. They wouldn’t understand the Kansas-Nebraska wars prior to the Civil War. The history books say it was the old sectional battle of free states vs slave states. And it was up to a point. The free white workers fleeing the factories in the East didn’t want the lands opened up by the Army to be doled out in large plantations to the slaveocracy. But they also didn’t want the presence of large numbers of blacks in the new territories.

Libertarians wouldn’t understand why northern states like Indiana and Ohio, prior to the Civil War, wouldn’t allow in free blacks unless they made a substantial cash deposit which would be refunded when they left.

Finally, libertarianism calls for more changes in human nature than socialism would call for. That’s why we style it utopian.

Libertarianism is also utopian in that it doesn’t come to grips with the hidden history of our times. Hidden history, parapolitics, and deep politics are all terms that describe the complicated intertwining of organized crime, drug trafficking, gun-running, money laundering, covert operations, intelligence collection, strategies of tension, assassinations, coups and other events hidden from public view, democratic oversight and effective accountability by the National Security State and the corporate-dominated media. That’s why on TV “24? was always more realistic than that liberal wetdream/soap opera “The West Wing.”

Updated News Digest September 27, 2009 Reply

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

Quote of the Week:

“It is time that Americans reorganize themselves based on their geography and lifestyle choices according to the political outlook that most accurately reflects their views.  For example, if this means Hawaii leaves the Union then Hawaii leaves the Union.  If California has interests inherently at odds with the core beliefs of other States of the United States it is time to say farewell to incompatible political agendas.  If you sympathize with this statement or would like to find out more about the Bay Area National Anarchists feel free to browse the archive of blog posts and visit affiliated websites.  National Anarchists come from many backgrounds and we encourage a diverse range of opinions on political subjects.  Where we stand united is in our belief in the completely unsatisfactory results provided by all levels of the United States government that acts like an abusive codependent relationship is out of control and self destructive.  The solution is to form communities that are resilient against the abuse of authoritarian power.”

                                                                                    –Bay Area National Anarchists

Secession Movement Expands by Dave Montgomery

War, Terrorism and the World State Hans Hermann Hoppe interviewed by Marc Grunert

Secession Is in the Air by William S. Lind

Brzezinski Says U.S. Should Attack Israeli Jets from Tradition and Revolution

The Echoes of War Doug Casey interviewed by Louis James

More Lies, More Deception by Paul Craig Roberts

Things Sean Hannity Would Never Say by Jack Hunter

The Economy is a Lie by Paul Craig Roberts

The United States in Afghanistan: Eight Years Later by Gabriel Kolko

Can America Be Salvaged? by David Michael Green

Inconvenient Truths by Taki Theodoracopulos

Leonard Zeskind is an Idiot by Evan McLaren

The Ruin of His Presidency by Alexander Cockburn

The Prohibitionists’ Manifesto by Fred Gardner

Pot and the Right to Pursue Happiness by Norm Kent

The Two Faces of the Vermont Independence Movement by Thomas N. Naylor

The Afghan Disaster by Lew Rockwell

Deep In the Heart of Texas by Thomas N. Naylor

McChrystal’s Conundrum by Justin Raimondo

The Pentagon is Bankrupting Us by Jacob Hornberger

Weapons of Mass Democracy by Stephen Zunes

America Has Been Here Before by Eric Margolis

Settling for Failure in the Middle East by Stephen Walt

Contempt of Cop by William Norman Grigg

The Most Militaristic State on Earth by Glenn Greenwald

A Cop Does Good (OMG!) by William Norman Grigg

Rot in Hell, Irving Kristol by Justin Raimondo

Was Irving Kristol a CIA Plot? by Richard Spencer

Friendly PIGS at Work by Bill Anderson

Secession! by Lew Rockwell

Beware of Rising Libertarians by Mike Payne

An Unpatriotic Conservative by Jack Hunter

To Lose a War by Pat Buchanan

It is Going to Be a Rocky Road by Chuck Baldwin

The Constitution: The God That Failed by Bill Buppert

PIGS vs Anarchists in Pittsburgh from Infoshop.Org

Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism by Luigi Fabbri

Who Is Barack Obama? by Justin Raimondo

The U.S. Velvet Junta by Jeff Huber

U.S. and Israeli Oppression in Palestine Philip Weiss interviewed by Scott Horton

The Post-9/11 Round-Up of Innocents Jim Bovard interviewed by Scott Horton

Diary of a Teen-Aged Girl in Iraq by Erik Leaver

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

The Myth of Equality by Ian Huyett

Patriots and Tyrants Radio (thanks, Ian!)

(Extra hat tips to Chris Donnellan for the following links)

Liberated Thinkers Against Creation and Evolution

The Beginning of the End of U. S. Hegemony Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project

War Movies and the Human Heart by Clyde Wilson

Eat Like a Human, Feel Like a Human by Jenna Johnson

Indigenous Peoples of the British Isles 

Compulsory Schooling is Not the Way 

At the Heart of Darkness by Samuel Francis (R.I.P.)

Greens Say Immigration Bad for the Environment from The Australian

White, German Al-Qaida Insurgents Found in Afghanistan by Dean Nelson

Thousands March Against G20 in Pittsburgh 

Architecture and Identity by David Morris

Anti-Racist Nationalists 

National-Bolshevik Party U.S.A-Ideology 

Ethnocentric Heathenism 

The Arab Socialist Baath Party

Ten Key Questions in the Health Care Debate from Front Porch Republic

White Guilt Awareness Day from Human Events

Garrett Hardin on Immigration and Standard of Living 

David Horowitz-P. T. Barnum of the Right 

The Realist Party 

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

Organizing the Urban Lumpenproletariat

Weekly Reading of Scripture

The Death of Politics  by Karl Hess

The Bolshevik Myth by Alexander Berkman

How I Became a Socialist by William Morris

The Kronstadt Rebellion by Alexander Berkman

 

 
TIt is time that Americans reorganize themselves based on their geography and lifestyle choices according to the political outlook that most accurately reflects their views.  For example, if this means Hawaii leaves the Union then Hawaii leaves the Union.  If California has interests inherently at odds with the core beliefs of other States of the United States it is time to say farewell to incompatible political agendas.  If you sympathize with this statement or would like to find out more about the Bay Area National Anarchists feel free to browse the archive of blog posts and visit affiliated websites.  National Anarchists come from many backgrounds and we encourage a diverse range of opinions on political subjects.  Where we stand united is in our belief in the completely unsatisfactory results provided by all levels of the United States government that acts like an abusive codependent relationship is out of control and self destructive.  The solution is to form communities that are resilient against the abuse of authoritarian power.
hThere is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
ere is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
There is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
re is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.
here is one all consuming mythology that is still believed in more fervently than any other myth. It is a myth that is taken for granted as being an obvious and irrefutable truth that is apparent to anyone possessing any amount of intelligence or reason. It is neither religion nor belief in the existence in god although this near ubiquitous myth has utilized both religion and god to “prove” its intangible existence or as a prop to allow it to function as an moral force within society. When confronted by skepticism of its existence, nothing is more vigorously and heatedly defended. Women collapse in paroxysms of spite and hatred when it is pointed out to them that, in general, women cannot possibly be as physically strong as men because of differences in muscle mass. Stupid people argue that the more intelligent are only “book smart” and lacking in “common sense” (whatever that means), even though the more intelligent have been at the basis of all monumental achievements throughout the history. Graffiti artists such as Basquiat are elevated to the status of Michelangeloes, and plastic talentless pop stars are considered just as worthy and accomplished as Beethovens; its all just a matter of relative perspective. Nothing is confronted with more derision and more laughter than that which is experienced when one challenges the existence of equality.

Updated News Digest September 20, 2009 Reply

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

Quote of the Week:

“Racist, sexist, homophobe, birth-certificate denier, 9-Eleven denier, moon-landing denier, lookist, logist, and all the rest of the epithets used by the enforcers of political correctness are despicable. As Murray Rothbard said, if someone advocates aggression against the members of some group, or wants to use the state to do so, that is evil, and must be denounced. But running a restricted country club, say, like the Palm Beach one that Bernie Madoff belonged to, is just an exercise of freedom. So is all private discrimination. So is disagreeing with the SPLC or NOW or GLAAD or the ADL. No advocate of free speech should be caught dead using “racist,” etc., against dissenters. Make an argument, buddy. I take no pleasure in seeing one of the demonizers demonized himself. But here is the good news. The state’s little epithet-slingers are losing their power. Once upon a time, such charges ended careers and even lives. Now they merely damage. Someday, and how sweet it will be, they will have no effect at all. Repeat after me, even though Voltaire didn’t say it, I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.”

                                                                                       -Lew Rockwell

What America’s Crisis Means to the Rest of the World by Noam Chomsky

Health Care Deceit by Paul Craig Roberts

Brother Against Brother by Joshua Keating

Demonstrating is Useless by Robert Higgs

America’s Suicide Eric Margolis interviewed by Scott Horton

What Price Afghanistan by Justin Raimondo

The Iran Hawks Are Back by Stephen Walt

Palestinian Camps Are Ready to Erupt by Franklin Lamb

Dismantling the Political Spectrum by Tom Malinich

Why Propaganda Trumps Truth by Paul Craig Roberts

Afghanistan: What Are These People Thinking? by Conn Hallinan

American Refuseniks Adam Szyper-Seibert interviewed by Scott Horton

Obama’s Turning Point by Phillip Giraldi

FAIR Takes On the $PLC by Patrick Cleburne

Religion is Not the Primary Motivation of Suicide Bombers by Riaz Hassan

Obama’s Quagmire by Jeffrey Kuhner

The Killing Fields of Afghanistan by Chris Floyd

Colombia: Throwing Bullets at Failed Policies by Benjamin Dangl

Support Your Local Sadist by Will Grigg

The PIGS Can Kill and Maim With Impunity by Will Grigg

At Least the Chinese Allow Smoking in Airports by Lew Rockwell

Bloodsuckers in Blue by Will Grigg

Quietly Building the Totalitarian State by Jack Douglas

The Destruction of the U.S. Empire by Bill Bonner

Women’s Resistance Behind Bars from Infoshop.Org

Dredging Up the Past by Elizabeth Wright

Best of Intentions by Austin Bramwell

The Return of Protectionism by Pat Buchanan

Government Pays by Tom Piatak

Push for Globalism Continues by Chuck Baldwin

Shot in the Back: Murder at the Hands of the PIGS from Rad Geek

Man Beaten and Arrested for Having an Unzipped Jacket by Francois Tremblay

Mask Ordinance Voted Down in Pittsburgh from Infoshop.Org

Your “Honor” by Bill Anderson

A Mother’s Resistance by William Norman Grigg

Hey Kids, Killing and Dying Are Fun! by David Swanson

The Real Lessons of Lehman’s Fall by Mike Whitney

Obama’s Real Record on Guns by Richard Pearson

Helot on Wheels  by William Norman Grigg

Tyranny Every 18 Seconds in America by David Kramer

Full-Time Cops, Part-Time Convicts by William Norman Grigg

War Without End by Philip Giraldi

The Iran Whisperers by Jeff Huber

The Heroic Daniel Ellsberg by Eric Garris

Confessions of a Revolutionist: Law Concerning the Clubs by Pierre Joseph Proudhon

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 Liberalism is a Sham 1

[Keith: This is the best critique of liberalism I have seen to date. This is the critique I would write.]

by Camille Paglia

http://www.salon.com/opinion/paglia/2009/09/09/healthcare/index.html

Sept. 9, 2009 | What a difference a month makes! When my last controversial column posted on Salon in the second week of August, most Democrats seemed frozen in suspended animation, not daring to criticize the Obama administration’s bungling of healthcare reform lest it give aid and comfort to the GOP. Well, that ice dam sure broke with a roar. Dissident Democrats found their voices, and by late August even the liberal lemmings of the mainstream media, from CBS to CNN, had drastically altered their tone of reportage, from priggish disdain of the town hall insurgency to frank admission of serious problems in the healthcare bills as well as of Obama’s declining national support. 

But this tonic dose of truth-telling may be too little too late. As an Obama supporter and contributor, I am outraged at the slowness with which the standing army of Democratic consultants and commentators publicly expressed discontent with the administration’s strategic missteps this year. I suspect there had been private grumbling all along, but the media warhorses failed to speak out when they should have — from week one after the inauguration, when Obama went flat as a rug in letting Congress pass that obscenely bloated stimulus package. Had more Democrats protested, the administration would have felt less arrogantly emboldened to jam through a cap-and-trade bill whose costs have made it virtually impossible for an alarmed public to accept the gargantuan expenses of national healthcare reform. (Who is naive enough to believe that Obama’s plan would be deficit-neutral? Or that major cuts could be achieved without drastic rationing?) 

By foolishly trying to reduce all objections to healthcare reform to the malevolence of obstructionist Republicans, Democrats have managed to destroy the national coalition that elected Obama and that is unlikely to be repaired. If Obama fails to win reelection, let the blame be first laid at the door of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who at a pivotal point threw gasoline on the flames by comparing angry American citizens to Nazis. It is theoretically possible that Obama could turn the situation around with a strong speech on healthcare to Congress this week, but after a summer of grisly hemorrhaging, too much damage has been done. At this point, Democrats’ main hope for the 2012 presidential election is that Republicans nominate another hopelessly feeble candidate. Given the GOP’s facility for shooting itself in the foot, that may well happen. 

This column has been calling for heads to roll at the White House from the get-go. Thankfully, they do seem to be falling faster — as witness the middle-of-the-night bum’s rush given to “green jobs” czar Van Jones last week — but there’s a long way to go. An example of the provincial amateurism of current White House operations was the way the president’s innocuous back-to-school pep talk got sandbagged by imbecilic support materials soliciting students to write fantasy letters to “help” the president (a coercive directive quickly withdrawn under pressure). Even worse, the entire project was stupidly scheduled to conflict with the busy opening days of class this week, when harried teachers already have their hands full. Comically, some major school districts, including New York City, were not even open yet. And this is the gang who wants to revamp national healthcare? 

Why did it take so long for Democrats to realize that this year’s tea party and town hall uprisings were a genuine barometer of widespread public discontent and not simply a staged scenario by kooks and conspirators? First of all, too many political analysts still think that network and cable TV chat shows are the central forums of national debate. But the truly transformative political energy is coming from talk radio and the Web — both of which Democrat-sponsored proposals have threatened to stifle, in defiance of freedom of speech guarantees in the Bill of Rights. I rarely watch TV anymore except for cooking shows, history and science documentaries, old movies and football. Hence I was blissfully free from the retching overkill that followed the deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy — I never saw a single minute of any of it. It was on talk radio, which I have resumed monitoring around the clock because of the healthcare fiasco, that I heard the passionate voices of callers coming directly from the town hall meetings. Hence I was alerted to the depth and intensity of national sentiment long before others who were simply watching staged, manipulated TV shows. 

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism. 

How has “liberty” become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin’s book “Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto,” which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past. Remember Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “Chimes of Freedom,” made famous by the Byrds? And here’s Richie Havens electrifying the audience at Woodstock with “Freedom! Freedom!” Even Linda Ronstadt, in the 1967 song “A Different Drum,” with the Stone Ponys, provided a soaring motto for that decade: “All I’m saying is I’m not ready/ For any person, place or thing/ To try and pull the reins in on me.” 

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it’s invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote “critical thinking,” which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms (“racism, sexism, homophobia”) when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it’s positively pickled. 

Next page: Let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan!

 
Throughout this fractious summer, I was dismayed not just at the self-defeating silence of Democrats at the gaping holes or evasions in the healthcare bills but also at the fogginess or insipidity of articles and Op-Eds about the controversy emanating from liberal mainstream media and Web sources. By a proportion of something like 10-to-1, negative articles by conservatives were vastly more detailed, specific and practical about the proposals than were supportive articles by Democrats, which often made gestures rather than arguments and brimmed with emotion and sneers. There was a glaring inability in most Democratic commentary to think ahead and forecast what would or could be the actual snarled consequences — in terms of delays, denial of services, errors, miscommunications and gross invasions of privacy — of a massive single-payer overhaul of the healthcare system in a nation as large and populous as ours. It was as if Democrats live in a utopian dream world, divorced from the daily demands and realities of organization and management. 

But dreaming in the 1960s and ’70s had a spiritual dimension that is long gone in our crassly materialistic and status-driven time. Here’s a gorgeous example: Bob Welch’s song “Hypnotized.” which appears on Fleetwood Mac’s 1973 album “Mystery to Me.” (The contemplative young man in this recent video is not Welch.) It’s a peyote dream inspired by Carlos Castaneda’s fictionalized books: “They say there’s a place down in Mexico/ Where a man can fly over mountains and hills/ And he don’t need an airplane or some kind of engine/ And he never will.” This exhilarating shamanistic vision (wonderfully enhanced by Christine McVie’s hymnlike backing vocal) captures the truth-seeking pilgrimages of my generation but also demonstrates the dangerous veering away from mundane social responsibilities. If the left is an incoherent shambles in the U.S., it’s partly because the visionaries lost their bearings on drugs, and only the myopic apparatchiks and feather-preening bourgeois liberals are left. (I addressed the drugs cataclysm in “Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s” in the Winter 2003 issue of Arion.) 

Having said all that about the failures of my own party, I am not about to let Republicans off the hook. What a backbiting mess the GOP is! It lacks even one credible voice of traditional moral values on the national stage and is addicted to sonorous pieties of pharisaical emptiness. Republican politicians sermonize about the sanctity of marriage while racking up divorces and sexual escapades by the truckload. They assail government overreach and yet support interference in women’s control of their own bodies. Advanced whack-a-mole is clearly needed for that yammering smarty-pants Newt Gingrich, who is always so very, very pleased with himself but has yet to produce a single enduring thought. The still inexplicably revered George W. Bush ballooned our national deficits like a drunken sailor and clumsily exacerbated the illegal immigration debate. And bizarrely, the hallucinatory Dick Cheney, a fake-testosterone addict who spooked Bush into a pointless war, continues to be lauded as presidential material. 

Which brings us to Afghanistan: Let’s get the hell out! While I vociferously opposed the incursion into Iraq, I was always strongly in favor of bombing the mountains of Afghanistan to smithereens in our search for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida training camps. But committing our land forces to a long, open-ended mission to reshape the political future of that country has been a fool’s errand from the start. Every invader has been frustrated and eventually defeated by that maze-like mountain terrain, from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union. In a larger sense, outsiders will never be able to fix the fate of the roiling peoples of the Near East and Greater Middle East, who have been disputing territorial borderlines and slaughtering each other for 5,000 years. There is too much lingering ethnic and sectarian acrimony for a tranquil solution to be possible for generations to come. The presence of Western military forces merely inflames and prolongs the process and creates new militias of patriotic young radicals who hate us and want to take the war into our own cities. The technological West is too infatuated with easy fixes. But tribally based peoples think in terms of centuries and millennia. They know how to wait us out. Our presence in Afghanistan is not worth the price of any more American lives or treasure. 

In response to persistent queries, I must repeat: No, I do not have a Facebook page, nor am I a “friend” on anyone else’s Facebook. Nor do I Twitter. This Salon column is my sole Web presence. Whatever doppelgänger Camille Paglias are tripping the light fantastic out there (as in the haunted bus-station episode of “The Twilight Zone”), they aren’t me!

Updated News Digest September 13, 2009 Reply

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

Quotes of the Week:

“The high-pitched activist liberals I collided with in college are living out one prolonged shit test that has its own ontological area code. I recall the effect of their overall swagger and posture to be a dare, to anyone who suggested any degree of serious hesitation about gay marriage, mass immigration, racial egalitarianism, or whatever. I wasn’t self-consciously right-wing when I first encountered this but I couldn’t resist the challenge and still can’t. Cocky liberals might intimidate someone with their knowing bluster, but it won’t be me. I was going to call their bluff wherever and whenever I could. My instinctive response was to say, “Look, you don’t have the grasp on truth you pretend to and your moral scruples are exaggerated. You’re not saving any lives or making the world a better place by raging against homophobia and imaginary Nazis. You’re just striking a pose to impress yourself and others. I’m unimpressed.”

                                                                                     –Evan McLaren

Is America Coming Apart? by Pat Buchanan

The American Left: Rebel Without a Cause by Thomas N. Naylor

Indefensible Nation by Paul Craig Roberts

Put Not Your Faith in Princes by Kevin Carson

The Weaponization of Human Rights by Chase Madar

Europe’s Complicity in Evil by Paul Craig Roberts

The Name That Must Not Be Mentioned by Paul Gottfried

Eight Years Later by Stonewall

The Men That Make the Empire Robert Parry interviewed by Scott Horton

Creativity As the Lifeblood of Freedom by Francois Tremblay

Obama’s Big Speech-Give Us a F….ing Break! by Alexander Cockburn

I Am Barack Obama’s Political Prisoner Now by Leonard Peltier

“Repeal the 21st Century” Anthony Gregory interviewed by Scott Horton

Military Brass Has George Will’s Back by Jack Hunter

How to Fight Deflation by Mike Whitney

The New Segregation by Grant Havers

Watergate and Modern Scandals by Saul Landau

The Conservative “Corruption” Problem by Dylan Hales

Disgraceful Democrats  by Russell Mokhiber

Beware Petraeus: The General Who Would Be King Jeff Huber interviewed by Scott Horton

This Is How Its Done by Kevin DeAnna

The State of U.S. National Security by Brian M Downing

Pat Buchanan and 9-11 by Jack Hunter

Will Obama Seize the Internet? Declan McCullagh interviewed by Scott Horton

Afghan Firefight by Franklin C. Spinney

Pro-Life Demonstrator Murdered in Michigan: Is a Civil War Coming? by Tom Piatak

A Solution to the Health Care Problem by Charles R. Larson

Traficant vs AIPAC by Richard Spencer

The Debtors’ Revolt Begins

Call It the “Peter Brimelow Rule” by Robert Stacy McCain

Israeli Ads Warn Against Marrying Non-Jews by Jonathan Cook

Encountering Gottfried by Ilana Mercer

Norman’s War by Paul Gottfried

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Lie Them by Jack Hunter

Willful Blindness by Richard Spencer

Hate America? Count Me Out! by Chuck Baldwin

Ten Lessons of 9-11 by Sheldon Richman

Obama Equals Bush on Steroids by Bede

Come to Vermont, Help Us Secede, and Escape the Empire by Thomas N. Naylor

Dominique Venner’s Ernst Junger: Another European Destiny by Michael O’Meara

Food Among the Ruins by Mark Dowie

When Satire Becomes Reality  by Justin Raimondo

Ronald Reagan’s Torture by Robert Parry

How Afghanistan Became the Graveyard of the Russian Empire by Dave Crouch

The Evils of Preventive Detention by Glenn Greenwald

The Continual Selling of the Afghan War by William Blum

Let Poppies Grow; Bring Troops Home by Al Neuharth

Obama’s Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

Puff Daddies by Daniel Engber

Commercial Products Before the Drug War

Boston Tea Party 

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf Rocker

On Anarchy by Dyer Lum

The Radical Individualism of Paul Goodman by Richard Wall

Tolstoy the Peculiar Christian Anarchist by Alexandre Christoyannopoulos

“The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by Count Leo Tolstoy

Constructive Policy Vs Destructive War by Marie Louise Berneri

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

On Overcoming Race and Class Reductionism in the Anarchist Milieu 1

from Ed D’Angelo (Anytime Now Discussion Forum)

I think racial politics in the anarchist movement derives from the broader American Left, for which race has been a key issue since the abolitionists of the pre-Civil War period. Class based analysis is not common in American politics, especially in the present day. Most Americans view themselves as middle class, which is not entirely inaccurate. The American working class is either invisible or is seen only through the lens of race, as if to be working class can be equated with being a “minority” (ie, non-white or non-native born). Although a class struggle perspective is found in the revolutionary anarchist tradition (Bakunin and the communist anarchists), I think the larger source of class struggle perspectives is the Marxist tradition, which is relatively weak in the USA. Even some Marxist parties, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist Party with roots in SDS and the 60s New Left, is more focused on race (particularly the black race) than class (or confuses the two). In this case, it’s clear that the preoccupation with blacks derives from the Civil Rights struggles of the 50s and 60s. 
 
So, racial reductionism in the anarchist movement is due, I think, to the influence of the larger American Left, and beyond that, American culture in general, on the American anarchist movement. As radical as we might think we are, we are all still products of our cultures.
 
Because the American working class, at least since WW II, has been so conservative –coopted by business unions in the early post-war years and by consumerism, suburban sprawl, etc. — anarchism in the USA has had little appeal to workers. Most anarchists in the USA are bohemians with roots in the (largely, but not exclusively, white) college educated middle class. For them, anarchism is not about their own struggle for liberation and autonomy, but is a moral mission to help the oppressed other. And in mainstream American culture, the face of oppression is black. So it’s not surprising that you would find many white anarchists with a moral concern for racial issues. This tendency in the anarchist movement goes back at least to the 1940s, when anarchists were among the first to participate in the early Civil Rights movement.
 
What can we do? The only way to free yourself from the past, I think, is to become aware of how it continues to shape your views, even when it is past. So we can try to educate ourselves and others about this history, and how circumstances have changed. The same can be said for the influence of mainstream culture. The more we become critically aware of mainstream culture, the more we can free ourselves of it. I think it’s a good idea to turn off the mainstream media, too, because to some extent it’s impossible to immunize yourself against it, no matter how sharp your critical reasoning skills are.
 
We can also educate ourselves about anarchist history. In this respect, I am finding Eugene Lunn’s book, “Prophet of Community: The Romantic Socialism of Gustav Landauer,” to be particularly interesting, because Landauer’s anarchism is a prime example of an anarchism that is not class or race based, that was explicitly formulated in opposition to Marxist currents, and that is based in the individual spirit (understood as a mystical microcosm of the community and volk). Landauer was a pacifist and evolutionary anarchist who believed that the road to anarchism is paved with the construction of voluntary cooperative communties within the interstice so the old, rather than in the violent overthrow of existing structures. Violent revolution, Landauer would have argued, is impossible because authority is sustained by the voluntary servitude of the oppressed who would reconstruct oppressive structures once the old ones were destroyed — as occurred in the Soviet Union. What is needed is a cultural revolution not a political one.

Updated News Digest September 6, 2009

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

Quotes of the Week:

“As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual trends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator…will do well to encourage that freedom in conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope, movies, and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.”

                                                      -Aldous Huxley (Left-Libertarians take note)

“I was once a big advocate of North West Migration back in the eighties when it was referred to as The Northwest Territorial Imperative. This was before I actually visited the Northwest and realized how freaking cold it gets up there. I feel that if people are going to fight, actually kill and die for land, that it should be the most hospitable and fertile land available. Also after living in Asia for a few years, I saw that ethnically homogeneous states have their own assortment of serious problems.

What I see as the biggest fault in these proposals…is the belief that it is possible for an insurrection to force the system to a point where it would be willing to allow secession rather than engage in a bloody and costly counterinsurgency to hold on to Northwest States. This plan fails to acknowledge strategic importance of the region, Wyoming contains the bulk of the nations nuclear arsenal and Montana is sitting on top of one of the largest untapped oil reserves on the planet. There is no way they are going to give up these states. I also believe that Americas perceived failures in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East gives people the false impression the U.S. can be forced to make peace and concessions. I on the other hand, believe that America has always achieved it’s objectives in these conflicts and that if actually forced to, an intact, operational America will kill every man, woman and child on this continent before it allows any part of it to escape it’s control.

I personally believe that partition could only be achieved in conjunction with total systemic collapse. But in the event of such a collapse, I would imagine that free association will lead to a natural, functional and sustainable equilibrium anyway. I predict this would lead to a multiplicity of diversified states, not all based on race. The Mormons are already working towards a religious based state and I assume that other groups will define and segregate themselves along lines of religion, political inclinations, geographical preference, sexual orientation and other lifestyle considerations as well as race. And I hope that there will always be integrated cosmopolitan regions, some minorities within every state and a degree of hospitable travel and exchange between all states. ”

                                                           “Rodney”, Tradition and Revolution Forum

“Although anarchism can take the form of class struggle, it’s not defined by class struggle, it’s defined by opposition to the state or to rulership in general (which may include class rule), to hierarchy, authoritarianism, centralization, bureaucracy, etc…A nationalized health care system, contrary to expectations, would actually increase people’s individual freedom — for instance, by freeing them from dependence on jobs they hate for health care…In that sense, the opponents of nationalized health care also have a claim on the label “anarchist,” so long as they are also opposed to the present system of giant health insurance bureaucracies and employer provided insurance.

(The Left’s) analysis of race is also out of date, at least for the urban coastal areas of the USA like New York, LA, or Miami. American society is now multicultural. Does racism still exist? Sure it does, but it’s much more complex than the classic black/white right/wrong racism of the 50s and 60s. There’s a rainbow of people and racism, or simply hostility towards other cultural or language groups, runs in all directions. You say the “right wing” libertarians are all white? Well so are many left wing anarchist groups. You say white people don’t like to talk about race? But there’s an obvious reason why they don’t: there are severe penalties for saying the “wrong” thing about race, thanks to the politically correct left. Also, for white people, their racial identity has been made into a source of shame, whereas the opposite has occurred for blacks, for whom many benefits and privileges now accrue in the form of affirmative action.”

                                                                                           -Ed D’Angelo

The British State and the British National Party: The Post-Modern Tyranny of “Human Rights” by Sean Gabb

Why Not Crippling Sanctions for Israel and the U.S.? by Paul Craig Roberts

If Sarah Palin is the Answer… by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

Bay Area National Anarchists: An Interview with Andrew Yeoman, Part 2 from The Occidental Quarterly Online

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan by George F. Will

Is the Antiwar Movement Waking Up? Not Yet. by Justin Raimondo

Continental Drifts: Is a Falling Out Between Europe and America on the Way? by Geoffrey Wheatcroft

70 Years After-Did Hitler Really Want War? by Pat Buchanan

Pol Pot’s Lawyer: A Profile of Jacques Verges  by Stephanie Giry

Americans Income Slump is the Biggest on Record by Laurent Belsie

The Myth of Technological Progress by Scott Locklin

Sorry, But the Constitution Really Doesn’t Mandate Limited Government by Austin Bramwell

How I Became An Anarchist by Gary Chartier

If the Left Doesn’t Organize Them, the Right Will by Bob Morris

Andrew Yeoman of BANA Interviewed by Tomislav Sunic from Voice of Reason Radio

Paul Wolfowitz vs The Realists by Stephen M. Walt

World War II: Unspeakable Horror Now Encrusted in Myths by Robert Higgs

The Good War Wasn’t So Good by Justin Raimondo

The USSA is the Former USSR Mark Ames interviewed by Scott Horton

Reflections on the Revolution in Europe by Derek Turner

We Need a New Antiwar Coalition: Peace is the #1 Issue John Walsh interviewed by Scott Horton

Holocaust Revisionism by Richard Spencer

Assessing What Ron Paul Has Accomplished by Gary North

Where Are All These Jobs? by Ilana Mercer

Neo-Tribalism Facebook Page 

The Afghan 80s Are Back by Jonathan Steele

These Colors Run Red by Andrew Bacevich

The Corruption of Empire by Philip Giraldi

The Washington Post’s Cheneyite Defense of Torture by Glenn Greenwald

The BBC Could Not Handle a Right-Winger Against the War by Peter Hitchens

Prosecute the Torturers by Jacob Hornberger

Obama’s War by Dave Lindorff

Misunderstanding Terrorism by Jim Harper

The Menace of Gandhism by Murray Rothbard (the rebuttal by George H. Smith)

The Liberals’ War by Gene Healy

Mummar Qaddafi by Eric Margolis

Cheney and Torture by Jeremy Scahill

Does Diversity Make Whites More Opposed to Welfare? by TGGP

The Decline and Fall of Sloanism by Kevin Carson

Rethinking the Good War by Laurence Vance

Why College Costs So Much by John Zmirak

The Rise of Mercenary Armies by Sherwood Ross

The Ghost of September 11, 2001 by Justin Raimondo

The Justice of Pay Discrimination by Mike Tennant

The U.S. Is Deploying Its Vietnam-Iraq Fig Leaf in Afghanistan by Jack Douglas

It’s Groundhog Day at Duke University by William Anderson

Tyranny in Your Front Yard by Butler Shaffer

Obama’s Bogus Peace Plan Eugene Bird interviewed by Scott Horton

The Best Congress AIPAC Can Buy by Philip Giraldi

Understanding Dictatorships by Jon Basil Utley

The Next New Plan for Bananastan by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan for Dummies by Ray McGovern

Cheney is Wrong: There is Precedent for Torture Investigation by Steve Sheppard

Obama’s Meaningless War by Robert Scheer

Deficits Are Strangling the Economy to Death by Gary North

The U.S. Economy Has Been Pushed Off a Cliff by Chris Clancy

Say Hello to the Diversity Czar by Bobby Eberle

Support Our Naked Embassy Guards by Laurence Vance

Bay Area National Anarchist White Cross Patrol BANA Video

Jim Traficant Is Free at Last  by Red Phillips

The Right and Wrong Way to be Politically Incorrect by Ray Mangum

John Wilkes Booth: Did He Go to Hell, or Texas? by Martha Deeringer

Leviathan in One Lesson Tom DiLorenzo interviewed by Lew Rockwell

The Drug War is Working (for the System) by Wilton Alston

Democracy is a Very Dangerous Form of Government by Mark Crovelli

Pot Prohibition: A Crime Against Humanity by Paul Armentano

The Moral Hazard of Inflation by Theodore Dalrymple

Is Japan Moving Toward Independence? Michael Penn interviewed by Scott Horton

Why Doesn’t Hillary Fire Blackwater? by Jeremy Scahill

Whatever Happened to Gary Cooper? The Need for a Quieter Patriotism by William Astore and Tom Engelhardt

Barack Obama to Cindy Sheehan: Get Lost  by John V. Walsh

Calling Hannah Arendt by Jane Mayer

How Bad Will It Get? by Mike Whitney

Inside Auburn Prison by Marcus Rediker

Deeper Into the Tunnel by Alexander Cockburn

59 Shots: Those Dirty PIGS by Rad Geek

California Is Importing Poverty by Linda Thom

George Will Quits the War Party by Jack Hunter

Prolonging Futility in Afghanistan by Stephen Chapman

Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire by Mark Ames

The New Babylon by Michael Collins Piper

Churchill Spurred the Decline of the West by Pat Buchanan

Neocon Nutbaggery by Jeff Huber

Afghanistan Is Not Worth It by Joe Galloway

Could George W. Bush End Up Behind Bars? by Jonathan Mann

The Looming Political War Over Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald

Vicious U.S. Militarism by Kirk Tofte

Alexander in Afghanistan by Mark Hackard

The Struggle for Free Speech in Canada by Kevin Michael Grace

A Landmark Victory from Toronto Globe and Mail

End the Witch Hunts from The National Post

Provacateurs Among “Human Rights” Totalitarians by Joseph Brean

Castro Issues Propaganda Piece for U.S. Liberals 

Traficant in 2012? by Red Phillips

“The Italians were called wops, the Jews were called hymies, I was of course a greaseball, and every Hispanic was a spic. Well, we all got along famously! It was rough, but it was fine.”

                                                                        -Taki Theodoracopulos

Weekly Reading of Scripture

Sam Dolgoff: The Left of the Left of the Left by Paul Berman

Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War footage

An Anarchist Perspective on the Spanish Civil War by Eddie Conlon

The Trial of Leon Czolgosz 

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

A Dissection of Classical Marxism 2

by Keith Preston

Three important works by Karl Marx, written early in his career as a revolutionary theorist, contain the core ideas that would provide the foundation of the vast intellectual system later to be identified with his name. Among these are his conceptions of historical materialism, class theory, the nature of political economy and the historical function of revolutionary struggles as they emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. The later works of Marx (most famously Das Kapital) can be regarded as the accumulation of sophisticated embellishments of these principal theses. 

 

          The first of these works, The German Ideology, produced in collaboration with Friedrich Engels circa 1844, provides the most comprehensive description of the Marxist notion of historical materialism to be found in any of the works of Marx. Written as an attempted rebuttal of the Hegel-influenced Idealist philosophical outlook to be found in German intellectual circles at the time, attacking in particular the views of Bruno Bauer, “Max Stirner” (Johann Caspar Schmidt) and Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach. The thesis of this work can be summarized quite well with the authors’ statement: “Let us revolt against the rule of thoughts.” [Karl Marx, “The German Ideology”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000 reprint, p.176] Arguing against the view that ideas are the guiding force of history, Marx and Engels insist that ideas are themselves the product of material conditions found within the context of a given historical epoch. The material conditions of existence are expressed in a particular “mode of production”, i.e., the methodology by which human animals produce their actual subsistence. The mode of production determines not only the relationship between nations but also the domestic social structure of any given nation. The division of labor that is a corollary to a specific mode of production has the effect of grouping individual laborers into specific class categories with these classes in turn having a specific relationship to one another. [Ibid., p. 176]

 

          Human history subsequently unfolds through paradigmatic shifts in mode of production. These shifts can be identified in particular stages. The first of these, “tribal ownership“, involves a limited division of labor and is organize around the extended family, with the primary productive activities including hunting, fishing, the raising of livestock and primitive farming. The second stage includes the emergence of the State and the grouping of tribes into a system of communal ownership of property organized on the basis of the citizen/slave distinction. At this point, the institution of private property is

more clearly delineated. The division of labor grows wider, greater distinctions between economic groupings on a geographical or functional basis can be observed, and a more rigid class structure emerges. The third stage is represented by feudalism. This mode of production extends over a wider geographical area. Feudalism reverses the relationship of city and country found in the second stage and the “directly producing class” shifts from the slaves to peasant serfs. Co-existing with the feudal manors are the small property holders organized into guilds. Out of feudalism there emerges a fourth stage and a new mode of production: capitalism.[Ibid., p. 179]

 

          The relevance of this unfolding process to human intellectual life is reflected in the claim that “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force“. [Ibid., p. 192] Human intellectual life is shaped by the material conditions in which it occurs, and these conditions are not something the individual chooses but are the product of external social forces beyond his/her control. “Consciousness is, therefore, from the very beginning a social product, and remains so as long as men exist at all. ” [Ibid., p. 183]”Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of the ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking.[Ibid., p.183]

 

          Marx and Engels further expound upon this theme in The Communist Manifesto, an application of their theory to the political upheavals of their era. They begin with the bold assertion that the “history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. [Karl Marx, “The Communist Manifesto”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.246] The historical evolution of nineteenth century capitalism is summarized. Capitalism grew out of the medieval towns. The rise of the market economy and ever-expanding byways of trade commerce came to eventually challenge the static feudal economy. Technological innovations allowed for a shift away from small-scale production towards the advent of modern industry. This development brought with it a newly emerging class, “the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. [Ibid., p. 247] As the bourgeois has become the dominant class of the capitalist mode of production, the bourgeoisie has obtained political power as well. The bourgeoisie has overthrown feudalism and established republican and parliamentary expressions of the state. These states serve as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie.

 

          Corresponding to the rise of the bourgeoisie has been the rise of urbanization, the centralization of wealth and property (“the means of production‘) and the proletarianization of the peasantry and the small property holder. This has created an unprecedented polarization in class relations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The workers, or proletarians, have become mere slaves to the industrial process lorded over by the bourgeoisie. The workers have no means to life other than through the sale of their labor to the forces of capital. The process of production has become mechanized and militarized, thereby alienating the worker from the product of his labor and subjecting the worker to exploitation. The workers have organized trade unions and political parties for their own defense and the class struggle is underway. Class solidarity by the proletariat is the path to victory. As the proletariat emerges as the revolutionary class, some in the bourgeoisie have joined their ranks including “a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending

 theoretically the historical movement as a whole.[Ibid. p.248-253] This latter statement is likely a reference to the middle-class intellectuals, including Marx and Engels themselves, who are among the leadership of the Communist movement.

 

          The Communists emerge as the intellectual and activist vanguard of the proletarian revolution. The Communists are the most militant and radical of the proletarian forces who aim to build an international revolutionary movement among the proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie on a world scale. Just as the French Revolution abolished feudal property relations, so do the Communists wish to abolish bourgeoisie, or capitalist, property relations. Marx and Engels expend much effort in the pamphlet mocking the hypocrisy of the intellectual apologists for the ruling class who defend the present condition of things in the name of “freedom” while reducing the proletariat to destitution and wage slavery. They also attack the subordinate position of women and the exploitation of female labor, child labor, the unavailability of education for the working class, and argue against national patriotism on the part of the working class: “The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.“[Ibid., pp.255-260] In other words, the proletariat should replace national patriotism with class patriotism and strive to become the ruling class.

 

          Marx applies his approach to class theory and political economy further in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, an analysis of the event surrounding the seizure of the French state by the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1851. He begins with an explanation of how those engaged in contemporary struggles mythologize the past as a means of interpreting the present: “Similarly, at a another stage of development a century earlier, Cromwell and the English people had borrowed speech, passions and illusions from the Old Testament for their bourgeois revolution. When the real aim had been achieved, when the bourgeois transformation of English society had been accomplished, Locke supplanted Habakkuk.“[Karl Marx, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, in Karl Marx: selected writings, ed. David McLellan; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp.330-331]

 

          Marx likewise attempts to explain setbacks in the course of an revolutionary struggle that is alleged to be inevitable and ordained by history. While bourgeois revolutions “storm swiftly from success to success;….proletarian revolutions….criticize themselves constantly, interrupt themselves continually in their own course, come back to the apparently accomplished in order to begin it afresh, deride with unmerciful thoroughness the inadequacies, weaknesses, and paltrinesses of their first attempts, seem to throw down their adversary only in order that he may draw new strength from the earth and rise again,” [Ibid., p. 332] Marx raises the question of why the bourgeoisie would welcome a coup against the parliamentary regime by Louis Bonaparte if the parliament itself is the political expression of the bourgeoisie as a class. The bourgeoisie does this because its continued existence is more safely guaranteed if it relinquishes self-rule in favor of rule by an autocrat. Consequently, the bourgeoisie supports the repression of its parliament, “its politicians and its literati, its platform and its press, in order that it might then be able to pursue its private affairs with full confidence in the protection of a strong and unrestricted government. It declared unequivocally that it longed to get rid of its own political rule in order to get rid of the troubles and dangers of ruling.” [Ibid., pp. 335-336] As the politicians and literati are only part of the ideological superstructure of the bourgeoisie, these can be jettisoned without damaging the material base of the bourgeoisie. Indeed, this material basis can be strengthened if an autocrat removes political obstacles to the advancement of trade and commerce and represses proletarian insurgencies. Marx’s analysis of the coup carried out by Louis Bonaparte is remarkably similar to the interpretation later Marxist theoreticians would give to the rise of Fascism and Nazism in the twentieth century.

 

          In two lectures presented fifteen years apart, the British Marxist historiographer Eric Hobsbawm attempts to assess the relevant contributions of Marx to the broader study of history. [Eric Hobsbawm, On History, ed. Eric Hobsbawm, “What do Historian Owe to Karl Marx?” and “Marx and History”; New York: New Press, 1997, pp. 141-170]  Hobsbawn begins with an effort to differentiate the actual  thought of Marx from the tendency toward the vulgarization his work (and the tendency of this approach toward crude reductionism) by subsets of later Marxists theoreticians. Hobsbawm regards the principal contribution of Marx to historical studies and the social sciences as derivative of his notion of “base and superstructure”, noting that, conceptually speaking, one need not adhere with particular rigidity to Marx’s application of this idea to recognize its value, further acknowledging that many non-Marxist historians do just that. Marxism also differs from its rivals in the social science in its efforts to explain the process of social evolution. [Ibid., pp. 157-149]

 

           Marxist influence is also credited with the decline of emphasis on political, religious and national histories towards a greater focus on social and economic history and a movement away from the idealist approach to historical interpretation towards a more materialist orientation, or at least one giving greater attention to the role of social forces. Likewise, the impact of Marxism has been to orient, at least implicitly, many historians towards a more teleological view of historical evolution. [Ibid., p. 143] Indeed, Hobsbawm states his own “conviction that Marx’s approach is still the only one which enables us to explain the entire span of human history, and forms the most fruitful starting-point for modern discussion.” (Ibid., p. 155).

 

          This last notion seems problematical. First, the question arises as to whether is it necessary, or even possible, “to explain the entire span of human history” and whether or not the Marxist position has actually done so. Hobsbawm concedes this difficulty, quoting Weber: “That the very Reformation is ascribed to an economic cause, that the length of the Thirty Years War was due to economic causes, the Crusades to feudal land-hunger, the evolution of the family to economic causes, and that Descartes’ view of animals as machines can be brought into relation with the growth of the Manufacturing system.” [Ibid, p. 147]

 

          More difficulties arise from Hobsbawm’s interpretation of the Marxist theory of the state:” The state will normally legitimate the social order by controlling the class conflict within a stable framework of institutions and values, ostensibly standing above and outside them (the remote king as ‘fountain of justice’), and in doing so perpetrate a society which would otherwise be driven asunder by its internal tensions.” [Ibid, p. 154]

But is this theory of the state Marxist in nature? Is not the state, according to Marx, the mere “executive committee” of the ruling class? And are not a “stable framework of institutions and values” mere chimera derived from an ideological superstructure whose function is to legitimize class rule? It would appear that the theory of the state as “standing above and outside” class conflict and the ideological superstructure of those controlling the means of production is more Hobbesian (or, in more recent terms, Schmittian) than Marxist.

 

          Hobsbawm also notes the irony involved in the impact of Marx on historians, given that Marx himself wrote very little on history itself. Marx developed a theory of history, i.e., historical materialism, but was not a historian as such. Hobsbawm observes that the “bulk of Marx’s historical work is thus integrated into his theoretical and political writings.” [Ibid., p. 158] That some major theoretical problems, even outright errors, can be found in Marx’s work is a point conceded by Hobsbawm, noting, for instance, the failure of those societies Marx labeled as “Asiatic” to evolve along the economic lines Marxist theory would predict, a fact that Marx himself acknowledged. [Ibid., p. 164}Does this failure not reduce the Marxist interpretation of economic evolution to a particularist one? Does this not explode the notion of the historical predestination of the proletariat towards inevitable, ultimate victory? 

 

          More than one hundred fifty years after Marx produced these writings, the classical Marxist ideal  of proletarian supremacy has yet to come into being. Instead, the industrial proletariat has been assimilated into the institutional framework of liberal-capitalism and parliamentary democracy with worker organizations like trade unions becoming part of the status quo. The historic working class has been elevated to the status of a de facto middle class and stratified and fragmented by a myriad of sectional interests. Furthermore, the Marxist derision of particularistic attachments like religion, family, nationality, culture, ethnicity and language has proved untenable. Indeed, these kinds of attachments have been most evident among the historic proletariat whom Marxists claim to champion. At the onset of the First World War, the working classes of Europe rallied behind their respective national regimes in opposition to the working classes of other nations. 

 

          Marxist-influenced revolutions in Asian, African and Latin American countries whose economies were still primarily in an agricultural stage have merely replaced their indigenous autocracies, oligarchies and aristocracies with new ones organized on the basis of ideological concepts imported from Europe. To the degree that capitalism has been severely altered or compromised in any industrialized nation it has been on the basis of a nationalistic collectivism (Fascism, National Socialism, Peronism, Ba’athism) or corporatist social-democracy (U.S. corporate liberalism and the welfare states of Western Europe) rather than proletarian socialism.

 

           Marx did accurately predict the eventual globalization of capital and the breaking down of traditional national and cultural boundaries by this process. This is a process that is only now taking place and threatens the middle class workers of the developed world with re-proletarianization as the newly emerging proletariat of the Third World becomes more readily exploitable by international capital.   Traditional nation-states are also in the process of breaking down but this hardly the “withering away of the state” predicted by Marx. Rather, nations are combining into multinational federations, ethno-separatist breakaway states are demanding autonomy, non-state entities (transnational corporations and financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and international bodies like the United Nations) are assuming more responsibilities and non-state militaries are challenging the state’s traditional monopoly on violence. To the degree that the globalization process is being resisted, it is being done by populist-nationalists (like Hugo Chavez) or non-state religious militants (like Osama bin Laden) who appeal to the very particularist sentiments that Marxists vociferously reject. It would appear that the historical legacy of Marxism will be similar that of other interesting, occasionally correct, but severely flawed systems of thought (like Platonism or Calvinism) that have achieved great influence for a time and then declined.