New video on secession from the Middlebury Institute:
Hello ATS Readers:
Thanks for the all of the positive feedback concering the new site (thanks, Jeremy!). And don’t forget to join our discussion forum:
It seems as if Barack Obama has continued in the tradition of Howard Dean insofar as being unable to resist the impulse to insult the working class. Dean, some will recall, said he wanted to reach out to those folks with Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks, and then turned around and lambasted social conservatives for their supposed obsession with “guns, gays, and God” or something to that effect.
Now, Obama steps in with a similar gaffe, making derisive remarks about working class people and their attachment to guns and religion and their hostility to “those who are different” and to “trade”. Read all about it.
That a politician as otherwise savvy as Obama could fuck up so royally is indicative of the contempt that liberals and leftists secretly (and often not so secretly) hold for working class Americans, particularly those of the infamous “white” species. Some writers have wondered why the Republican scam of combining social populism and plutocracy could have lasted as long as it did (since Kevin Phillips designed Nixon’s “southern strategy” in 1968). In comments like these from the likes of Dean or Obama, we have our answer. The Republican scam works, because the Democratic scam of combining plutocracy and counterculturalism is even more ridiculous.
As you can tell, I’m in the process of creating a whole new look for AttacktheSystem.Com. This new blog format will include many of the features of the old site such as the essays by myself and others and a comprehensive links page. I’m also hoping for this blog to be much more interactive, allowing for greater participation from ATS readers and ARV supporters. Hopefully, fresh news articles will appear much more regularly as well. Please bear with me while I work out all the kinks.
For Revolution, Keith Preston
It would appear that Ron Paul’s heroic but quixotic presidential campaign is all but finished. That said, what lessons can be drawn from the Ron Paul experience? To some degree, it would appear that those of us advocating a “third way” beyond left and right have been on the right track. Ron Paul’s support came primarily from the vast culture of the “radical right” (those so far to the Right as to be outside the Republican Party) and from “moderates” or “independents” (the radical middle), blacks (no doubt due to his stands on the Iraq war and the drug war), antiwar sympathizers, young people and “secularists” (who are mostly independently minded, dissident intellectuals). These are precisely the constituents a serious beyond left and right movement would need to capture.
Ron Paul is a good candidate. He is quite solid on the primary issues: the foreign policy agenda of the Neocons and their liberal-internationalist accomplices, sovereignty, the police state and its “root causes” (the drug war, terror war, crime war, etc.) and essential trade, monetary and fiscal matters. That mainstream Republicans in general and “movement conservatives” in general refused to support Ron Paul illustrates their true colors as the “Party of War and Fascism”. RP is a solid family man, a baby doctor, an evangelical Christian, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, anti-gay marriage, anti-income tax and anti-immigration. One would think he would be the ideal conservative candidate, but he was rejected in favor of the warmongering AIPAC/Military-Industrial-Complex stooge McCain, the used car salesman Romney or the televangelist Huckster. This means we can pretty much forget about “conservatives” as reliable allies against Big Brother.
Found this amusing post on the Revolution International blog:
Very strange website. I note you link to Keith Preston (thinks Jews control the world), Peter Topfer (attended Teran holocaust denial conference), the National Bolshevik Party (neo-Nazi and old KGB), Black nationalists who are anti-Semitic (and anti-White), and Folk & Faith (who openly support Mussolini and, at least on their forums, refer to themselves as fascists). Needless to say, you lot aren’t anarchists. Not even close. They are 2 different words – “Anarchist” and “Fascist.” Real anarchists have this history of beating-up and killing fascists, and fascists have a history of jailing and shooting anarchists. Savvy?
These comments come from an Irish left-anarchist by the name of Daniel Owen (http://celticanarchy.org/)
So do Jews really control the world? No, reality is more complicated than that. Modern democratic states are essentially an alliance of the political apparatus of government and the capitalist economic ruling class that displaced the traditional feudal aristocracy in the West. As mass democracy has grown, suffrage has become universal and the mass media has emerged as a major public institution, politics has become a kind of oligopoly of political interest groups seeking to control the forces of state and capital. The composition of the ruling class at any one time represents shifting coalitions of such interest groups, including those of an economic, ideological, cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, generational or some other nature. None of this can be explained in crudely reductionist terms. For instance, the Marxist view of the state as the “executive committee of the ruling class” frequently ignores the role of non-economic forces as well as intra-state and intra-capitalist class rivalries in determining political outcomes. It ignores the question of “bureaucratic thrust” whereby bureaucratic entities take on a life of their own where self-preservation begins to overshadow instrumental purposes.
British emigre and paleoconservative John Derbyshire has an interesting discussion of Ron Paul, Libertarian and Classical Anarchism on today’s VDARE.com:
Some responses to Mr. Derbyshire’s critique:
“The libertarian Establishment has disdain for Ron Paul‘s presidential campaign. The geeky idealists of Reason and the Cato Institute failed to warm to him; or, having warmed to him, have quickly cooled again, finding that he fails to meet their standards of ideological purity. “
Agreed, and this is a shameful blight on substantial sectors of the libertarian milieu.
“Not only does Paul want to defend the America’s borders, he has been running TV ads against birthright citizenship!—as if a genuine libertarian gives a fig for such antique concepts as “citizenship”. He is also willing to let the welfare state wind down, fulfilling its current commitments to senior citizens. “
The idea behind traditional anarchism was to replace the state with voluntary communities. Presumably, each of these would maintain their own standards of citizenship which prospective members would be free to accept or reject. An Anarchist federation might well include many different kinds of communities with widely divergent standards of citizenship.
On the welfare state question, as the man is who by far the leading Anarchist economist suggests, it is important to eliminate the state’s functions in the right order, beginning with the apparatus of imperialism, and the corporate state. As the wider welfare state becomes superfluous, it can be phased out.
“Worse yet, Paul seems to have associated with people, fifteen or twenty years ago, who thought that we were all better off when homosexuals had to be discreet, and that black Americans are prone to civil disorder, and that Martin Luther King was a philandering plagiarist, and that the Confederacy had a right to secede from the Union, and that the Korean storekeepers of Los Angeles behaved in true American spirit when they defended their property with guns against rioters. “
Well, I would consider myself to be pro-gay rights in the sense of believing gay people should be free of persecution by the state or from private vigilantes but opposed to the totalitarian PC agenda of the modern “gay rights” movement. I’m pro-black rights in the sense of favoring reparations for previous generations of unpaid labor, establishing self-governing black separatist states, amnesty for black prisoners, but I oppose the abridgement of freedom of association generated by coercive integration policies and affirmative action. I could care less whether King was a philanderer or plagiarist. I respect him as a critic of Jim Crow and the Vietnam War, but view him as irrelevant to the anarchist struggle given his affinities for coercive integration and state-socialism. I agree the Southern secession was legitimate. In fact, I wish they would secede again. And I’m certainly pro-right to bear arms and pro-self-defense.
“There is of course a difference of sensibility between the anarchist and the libertarian, resting mainly in the anarchist being hostile to money, private property, and markets, while the libertarian does not object to those things, but only wants them freed from state interference. Your anarchist believes that private property is the enemy of liberty; your libertarian, that it is liberty’s guarantor.“
I’m in the middle on this. I’m for property and markets, but against corporatism and state-capitalism. For the peaceful co-existence of anarcho-syndicalist unions, cooperatives, municipal enterprises, land trusts, mutual banks, kibbutzes, individual and family proprieterships, and partnerships!
“Going down a level, anarchism belongs on the Left because it posits human perfectibility—the notion that if only the human personality were not deformed by the need to submit to authority, and to practice acquisitiveness for survival, it would be nothing but sweetness and light, nothing but selfless forbearance and a willingness to cooperate with others.”
I’m actually a cynic. I agree with Michels’ “Iron Law of Oligarchy”, Pareto’s 80/20 principle and Mosca’s theory of the circulation of elites.
“Or check in with the open-borders über-libertarians at The Wall Street Journal. Borders? Nation-states? Race? Ethnicity? Tribe? Faith? Pfui! Just open up those borders and let economics work its magic! We’ll all get on just fine!â€”like, you know, Hutus and Tutsis, Sunnis and Shias, Prods and Taigs. Right. These guys make Prince Kropotkin look like a hard-boiled cynic.”
I suppose I could be called an anarcho-tribalist. I’m in favor of devolving the state in organic communities organized on the basis of cultural, religious, ethnic, linguistic, commercial, sexual or aesthetic identity with their own indigenous natural aristocracy.
“And yet, of course, both anarchists and libertarians have got hold of an essential truth: too much government is bad for ya. It is only that they have put that truth in the service of false ideas about human nature.”
Agreed. I’m one of the anarchists who is trying to correct for this.
“Both groups are disciples of Jean-Jacques Rousseau – all-time winner, in my opinion, of the title “Person We Should Most Wish Had Been Strangled In His Cradle.”“
You won’t get any argument from me on that one.
“And so libertarianism marches forward with its band playing (“Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart,” perhaps) and its banners held high, all blazoned with images of Reason’s heroes—Larry Flynt! Madonna! Dennis Rodman! —and affirmations of undying political correctness… straight into the Swamp of Irrelevance, just like the anarchists of old.”
The war against the state will no doubt have to be waged by those outside the official Libertarian or official Anarchist milieus. But, Mr. Derbyshire, we are not all alike. Some of us may surprise you:
The late Anarchist historian Paul Avrich probably met and got to know more people from the original anarchist movement than anyone who was young enough to be alive at the beginning of the 21st century. He was acquainted with the sons of Johann Most and Rudolph Rocker, and the daughters of Benjamin R. Tucker and Peter Kropotkin and with those who had been personal friends of Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Sacco and Vanzetti and Voltairine de Cleyre. What did he have to say about the old anarchists?
“I’ve known thousands of anarchists and the percentage of them I didn’t like is very small,” says Avrich. At his sparsely furnished Upper West Side apartment, overlooking the Hudson River, Avrich speaks quickly and passionately about the people and the movement he spent a lifetime chronicling. “I loved these people,” he says, leaning forward with his hand clutching his heart. “I think about them every day.”
Now what did the distinguished historian have to say about what passes for “anarchism” today?
“Avrich does not shy away from controversy in his books, treating the anarchist acts of violence honestly and in the context of the time. He does not condone the violence of Berkman, but says he still admires his decision, considering how brutal Frick acted toward striking workers. But Avrich does not have the same patience for some contemporary anarchists, who choose to destroy property and who, he says, come mainly from educated and middle-class backgrounds. “I’m not so crazy about anarchists these days,” he says. “Anarchism means that you leave other people alone and you don’t force people to do anything.”
He says he is sad that the old-timers are not around to guide the resurgent movement. “They were nicer people – much nicer people.””
Of course, not a few of today’s “anarchists” are really nothing more than brownshirts for the new Totalitarian Humanism. To hell with ’em.
The on-line journal Good Magazine has a very well-done article on the growing secessionist movement in the US:
“In an October, 2006, poll broadcast on CNN, 71 percent of Americans agree that “our system of government is broken and cannot be fixed.” A Daily Kos poll in April, 2007, asked, “Should states be allowed to secede from the union peaceably?” Sixty-nine percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. All in all, this was, in the words of the chief impresario of the Chattanooga convention, an impish 70-year-old author and activist named Kirkpatrick Sale, “extremely fertile ground into which secessionists can plant their seeds.”
“Of all the western democracies, the United States stands near dead last in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education, highest in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy, abortion, and divorceâ€”a society which, in keeping with its degenerate morals, wreaks one-quarter of the environmental damage on the planet every day.”
“Vermont, you see, is already a separate country. It is the most radical state in the Union in terms of the number and kind of town meetingsâ€”direct democracy in action. Its constitution of 1777 made it the first state to outlaw slavery, it was the first to mandate universal suffrage for all men, and is currently one of only two states that allow incarcerated felons to vote. It has no death penalty and virtually no gun-control laws, yet remains one of the least violent jurisdictions in America. It has no big cities, no big businesses, no military bases, no strategic resources, few military contractors. All three members of its Congressional delegation voted against the Iraq War resolution. It is rural and wild, with the highest percentage of unpaved roads in the nation. And those billboards? It was the first state to ban them along its roads. With its strict environmental-impact laws, Vermont fended off the predations of Wal-Mart superstores longer than any other state, and Montpelier today remains the only state capital in America without a McDonald’s restaurant.”
“It was the stratagems of George Kennan, who died in 2005, that ultimately defeated the Soviet Union. Naylor sees this as historical irony, and he takes pleasure in drawing a dark comparison between the Soviet Union and the United States: There is the same far-flung geography. The same corporate socialism that defies free markets. The same spread of influence worldwide through violence, murder, and pillage. The same stunted public discourse. The same electoral sclerosis in the legislature (Congress is almost as stable in membership as the Politburo). “No one in the Soviet Union in 1960 or 1970 or even 1980 found it imaginable that someday it would collapse,” says Naylor. So, too, he says, is our certainty today in the stability of the United States of America.”
These issues were raised in the Comments section:
“Secession is alluring, but I tremble to think of the massive upheavals it might also produce as factions seize power and threats, real or perceived, are leveled at other groups. How do we navigate ourselves into a more hopeful place without the looming danger of massive violence visited back upon us in as recompense for our own hubris and lust? “
The US empire is going to fall one way or the other. It can either be dissolved relatively peacefully in the way the secessionists envision or it can be bloody. Obviously, the former is preferable to the latter. The best way to avoid a future scenario in North America that resembles post-Communist Yugoslavia is to develop a mutually agreed upon plan for dissolving the empire into autonomous units for incompatible groups following the demise of the present imperial system.
“There are many factors that may lead us to conclude that small is better. However, there is a big downside to secession. I’m the senior editor for a group of alternative papers (Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Tampa, Charlotte, Sarasota), and I’ve written a lot on extremist groups — from Christian Reconstruction to white nationalist outfits such as the League of the South. The League puts on a moderate spin when it is utilizing the credibility Naylor and Sale bring. However, the group is intrinsically white nationalist, as a review of the statements and papers of its leaders will confirm.”
This issue is getting a little tiresome. Aside from the fact that all of the major southern secessionist groups deny that they are in favor of restoring Jim Crow, the South now has a huge black population and many southern cities, particularly the larger ones, have black dominated governments. Blacks are influential in public life in the South. There’s no going back to the “old order”. Even most overtly white nationalist groupings reject such an idea. As for Christian fundamentalists, the Left’s favorite scapegoat group, many of them are actually moving leftward in their cultural and theological outlook. Further, many of them wish to be free of the rule of liberal-secular elites who ridicule their beliefs. Yes, some Christian conservatives may wish to outlaw abortion, reinstate sodomy laws, censor pornography, enforce blue laws, etc. but how are they any different from left-liberals who support bans on private firearms, censoring politically incorrect speech, smoking bans, intrusions into private homes by social service agents, instrusive legislation rooted in environmental fanaticism, bans on gambling and prostitution, etc.? Indeed, it is rather apalling to see politically correct types perpetually whining about racism and homophobia, whether real or imaginary, among dissident groups while giving mainstream liberal Democrats who have been instrumental in bringing into being and perpetually expanding the War on Drugs a free pass. The drug war and the accompanying police state and prison industry that have grown out of it are far more menacing to black Americans and marginal populations than anything associated with the League of the South or religious believers who disapprove of homosexuality for theological reasons. It’s time for liberals to get a life when it comes to these questions.
However, there is the issue of regionalist movements that may contain culturally incompatible elements within their own ranks. I would agree, for instance, that in the event of a southern secession, the liberal-cosmopolitan metro areas and those regions with majority black, Hispanic, Cuban or American Indian populations may need autonomy of their own from the wider “red zones” of the rural and small town South. Likewise, there may be similar conflicts between religious conservatives and other groups like gays and lesbians. For instance, the Christian Exodus Project wishes for South Carolina to become an independent Christian state. Yet sympathy for secession has also been expressed by gay South Carolinians:
So why not still more separatism? Why not the creation of independent gay city-states with gay marriage, etc. along with independent Christian communities with school prayer and a ban on abortion or pornography? Surely, this is preferable to an infinite Cultural Cold War that leaves everyone dissatisfied, or perhaps still further degeneration into violent conflict and bloodshed?
Stop the Hate–Smash the State–Unity in Diversity! Separatists Unite!
Under Curfew, This Is No Life
Inter Press ServiceBy Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail*
BAQUBA, Jan 24 (IPS) – Continuing curfew has brought normal life to a standstill in Baquba, capital of the restive Diyala province north of Baghdad. Through nearly three decades of rule under Saddam Hussein, Iraqis witnessed only two curfews; for the census in the 1970s and 1980s. Under the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, curfews are commonplace, enforced whenever the Iraqi government and U.S. military fail to control the situation on the ground. A curfew means all public utilities and services cease. Life becomes frozen, and nobody is able to get to work. Factories and other utilities close, the wheel of the economy and development stops.
“When the government imposes a curfew it does not think of those who have no salary,” 39-year-old labourer Adnan al-Khazraji told IPS. “A very large number of people like me rely on daily income for their living. On the contrary, government employees feel safe whether there is a curfew or not because at the end of a month they receive the salary regardless of stoppage of work.” Members of the government and parliament receive big salaries, “and therefore they forget poor people at such times,” Khazraji added. Not just economically, curfews have taken their toll psychologically as well. In Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, there has been a curfew every Friday since 2005.
“I feel imprisoned when I have to keep to my home,” Salma Jabr, a resident of the city told IPS. “It is the only holiday that we have to do things like visits, shopping, travelling.”
The Friday curfew has also hit peoples’ access to medical care. “When there is an emergency, we cannot go to a hospital, a physician, or even to a pharmacy because moving in streets is not allowed,” resident Abdul-Rahim Ghaidan told IPS. “Travellers who come from outside Iraq have to stay outside the city if they come on Friday,” said a taxi driver who did not want to give his name. “They are not allowed to go to the homes of their hosts, so everyone plans their arrivals on days other than Friday. This kind of curfew is applied only in Diyala province.”
Friday is the Muslim holy day of the week. In Baquba, curfew is enforced on other religious occasions as well.
“The Shia have more than 30 religious occasions in a year,” Ali Hassan, a resident of Baquba told IPS. “On each one, curfew is imposed by the predominantly Shia Baghdad government over all the provinces for a day or two except during Ashura. This procedure is taken for protecting Shia people when they perform their rites and ceremonies.”
And, there are other reasons for curfews in Baquba. “A curfew may be imposed when a VIP visits the city,” a local resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IPS. “It is the only way to ensure protection for the visitor.”
Schools and universities are feeling the effects of these curfews. “Curfew has a direct effect on education not only in Diyala but also in Iraq,” a university professor told IPS. “Pupils and students are obliged to keep to their homes and forget about going to school. We cannot give enough subjects to the students because of the repeatedly imposed curfews.” The professor said it has become difficult to complete the syllabus within the academic year. “Sometimes, we wake up early to get to the college but we may be told to get back home because of curfew,” he said. “When we later ask the reason, we are told there may be a VIP visiting the city. We have to ask ourselves whether we need to stop life for such a trivial thing. The current government considers scientific process the last priority on their agenda.”
Besides the full curfew every Friday and on other days, there is a daily curfew in Baquba city everyday from 6 pm to 7 am.
“We have to finish our work before 6 pm,” a local engineer told IPS. “Long hours are lost from our time because of the curfew. We have to stop working, and stay home like animals. It is worth thinking how much work can be done during these lost hours.”
“We have to close our shops regardless how much work we have because it is curfew time,” said a local pharmacist. “It is a curse. We feel we are not free.” “Once, my brother called me from the police station,” Jawadeldine Fakri, a local primary school teacher told IPS. “He was arrested because he was seen in the street at ten past six. He is a lawyer, and he was treated like a criminal by the police.”
“Curfew has reduced social relationships among people because people used to visit each other after they got back home from work,” city official Bahira Jabbar told IPS. “Visiting anyone is difficult now.”
(*Ahmed, our correspondent in Iraq’s Diyala province, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who has reported extensively from Iraq and the Middle East)
Posted by Dahr_Jamail at January 24, 2008 04:13 PM
Â©2004-2008 Dahr Jamail. All images, photos, pictures, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. Any use including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail.
Martin Van Creveld’s masterful work “The Rise and Decline of the State” argues that the nation-state system as it has been known since the time of the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia is on its way out. As the twenty-first century progresses, conventional states of the kind that began to emerge several centuries ago and fully established themselves in the 19th and 20th centuries will be challenged by regional autonomist movements, transnational federations, separatist breakaway movements and “fourth generation” private armies and sources of authority outside the state.
If this is true, then the next wave of political radicalism will be the precise opposite of the radicalisms that arose in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries-liberalism, socialism and nationalism-all of which aimed towards more concentrated political authority. More than a century and a half since Proudhon first proclaimed himself an anarchist, it is time for anarchism to achieve its moment in the sun. What would a 21st century revolutionary anarchism look like?
1. It would draw on the history of classical anarchism and other pre-existing forms of anarchism, but modify these to make them more compatible with the times.
2. It would attack the Left, i.e., Liberalism and Marxism, as its primary enemies, particularly in North America, given that North America has no historical attachment to the Ancien Regime and the traditional Right. Instead, the enemy to be assaulted is modern bourgeoise liberalism (internationalist, social democratic, corporatist, multiculturalist, therapeutist, managerialist)
3. It would specifically embrace movements, causes and groups ignored by the Left establishment, focusing primarily on the lumpenproletariat, petite bourgeoise, rural agricultural population and the declasse elements from all class backgrounds.
4. It would crossover to the radical Middle with a populist-decentralist economic outlook standing in opposition to both Big Government and Big Business.
5. It would crossover to the vast culture of right-wing populism recognizing the many economic, foreign policy, civil liberties, decentralist and cultural rights issues raised by these milieus.
6. Its primary strategy would be the creation of alliance of local and regional secession movements spanning the cultural and ideological spectrum but united against the common enemies of State, Capital and Empire.
7. The leadership corps of such movements should ideally be hardline revolutionaries with a committment to radical action and an understanding of the major issues.
8. Aside from a populist-decentralist economic platform, such a movement would assemble coalitions of consituent groups at the local and regional level with grievances against the state and in favor of the decentralization of power.
9. Such a movement would seek to establish alternative infrastructure so as to reduce dependency on state services and to transfer responsibility to non-state services following the demise of the state.
10. Such a movement would recognize the legitimacy of armed self-defense against the ruling class, and so seek to establish private defense forces independently of the state.
So what would the endgame be?
1. Limited, decentralized and federative political institutions and the elimination of the gargantuan states of modernity.
2. Cooperative, decentralist economics outside the modern fiefdoms of State-Capitalism.
3. Non-interventionist foreign policy in opposition to both neoconservative “global democratic revolution” or leftist “human rights internationalism”.
4. Defense of civil liberties and individual freedom across the board, whether on seemingly right-wing populist issues like the right to bear arms or seemingly left-wing counterculture issues like drug decriminalization.
5. An authentically pluralist approach to social and cultural matters, where the basis of social organization is autonomous ethnic, religious, cultural, familial, linguistic, sexual, commercial, aesthetic or other such particularist enclaves.
So how do we get started?
To some degree, we see the beginnings of such a movement in the Ron Paul campaign, a grassroots revolt against the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, Kirkpatrick Sale’s and Michael Hill’s alliance of neo-secessionist factions, the emergence of the New Right as a genuine intellectual challenge to Liberalism and Marxism, the resolutions local communities have issued against the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other abominations of the present system, the success of popular referendums in favor of medical marijuana, the rise of the militia movement in defense of the 2nd Amendment in the 1990s, the rise of the anti-globalization movement a few years later, the economic scholarship advanced by Kevin Carson and other contemporary decentralists, and many other things that serve as prototypes for what might be done in the future.
I favor a trickle-down/trickle-up, inside/outside strategy. This means at the top level we need a new generation of scholars to emerge that challenge the hegemony of neoconservatism and reactionary leftism in the cultural and intellectual realms. At the bottom level, we need streetfighting radical activists devoted to the kinds of ideas that have thus far been outlined.
We need those who work on the outside (like citizens militias confronting agents of the state when necessary or feasible) and on the inside (lawyers and lobbyists fighting the system on its own turf like the ACLU or the NRA).
Obviously, there is much work to be done.
The first time I ever heard the term “anarchist” was in 1983, when I was a senior in high school. My English Lit. textbook included a unit on the British poet Percy Byshe Shelley and the brief biographical synopsis of Shelley mentioned that he had been the son-in-law of William Godwin, an “anarchist”. As a consistent “D” student, I wasn’t much inclined towards textbooks, but I remember being somewhat bemused to discover there were actually people called “anarchists”.
Five years later, much had changed. I had gone from high school stoner (think the Sean Penn character in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) to full blown outlaw to inmate to parolee to college student to dropout and drifter. Along the way, I starting getting interested in radical left-wing politics. Still not sure why. Probably because it was what I was around at the time (thank God it wasn’t the Branch Davidians). Having grown up a good church-going, God-fearing, flag-waving Republican, I probably figured it was a good way to flip off everyone from where I came from. Problem was I really didn’t like most leftists I met all that much. They reminded very much of the uptight Bible-bangers I grew up around. Just a bunch of do-gooders, know-it-alls, moralistic prigs and pharisees. I didn’t like liberals. I didn’t like Commies. I remembered having once heard of anarchists, so I looked them up in the encyclopedia and found entries on classical anarchism, Proudhon, syndicalism, Sacco and Vanzetti, all the rest. So I decided I was an anarchist and have been one ever since. Why am I an anarchist?
1. I agree with the Augustinian view of the state as a robber band writ large.
2. I agree with the Stirnerite view of political obligation. Why should I obey this guy just because he’s the president, king, mayor, etc.?
3. I agree that democracy is a system where five wolves and sheep vote on what to have for lunch.
4. I agree that the death and destruction perpetrated by states make that of individual criminals look trivial by comparison.
5. I agree with George Bernard Shaw that democracy replaces the rule of the corrupt few with the rule of the incompetent many.
6. I agree that the state exists to monopolize territory and resources, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, expand its own power and subjugate and exploit subjects.
7. I agree with Hayek that the worst gets to the top.
8. I agree that the insights of social psychology show that most people are creatures of the herd.
9. I agree that the herd is the permanent enemy of the superior individual.
10. I agree that values are subjective, that life is ultimately a war of each against all, and that survival of the fittest and the will to power are the only true laws.
So, yes, it would certainly seem that I qualify as an anarchist. I admire Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, De Cleyre, Malatesta, Durrutti, Mahkno, Foucault, Chomsky, Tolstoy, Karl Hess, Murray Rothbard, Murray Bookchin, Albert Jay Nock, Voltairine de Cleyre, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, the French Situationists, the Yippies, and a newer tendency called the National-Anarchists.
That being said, I’ve often wondered why so many people who claim to be “anarchists” are such complete and total assholes. Spend any time around anarchists and one of the very first things you will notice is the addiction many of them have to excommunicating heretics from their own ranks. Deviate by two percent from the articles of faith of any particular Church of Anarchy and you will surely experience the wrath of the Inquisition. Anarchists are much like Protestants in this respect.
So how are we going to go about fighting the state? Here’s a few suggestions:
1. Build a strategic alliance of all those seeking to decentralize state power for whatever reason. In recent years, Kirkpatrick Sale has been putting together a federation of those who want their region to secede from the US empire, whether the Second Vermont Republic, the League of the South, the Christian Exodus Project, the Republic of Texas and the Free State Project.
2. Build a coalition of all those who are in agreement about the biggest issues of our time: shutting down the US empire and countering the Neocons’ foreign policy agenda, averting eventual economic collapse, rolling back the police state, and shutting down the war on drugs.
3. Develop an economic outlook that moves past the Big Government/Big Business paradigm, attacking them both as part of the system.
4. Build coalitions of interest groups who are under attack by the state but who otherwise have nothing in common into an alliance against the state. This is how the Democrats and Republicans do it. These might include smokers, gun owners, drug users, Confederate flag wavers, tax resisters, anti-NAFTA union members, prisoner advocates, homeless advocates, the mentally ill, blacks fed up with police brutality, whites fed up with affirmative action and victimology, students fed up with tyrannical prison-schools, sex workers, Holocaust-deniers (no, I’m not one of them), civil libertarians, counterculturalists, homeschoolers, religious fundamentalists, the list of enemies of the state goes and on and on.
The triumph of movements composed of such coalitions would have the effect of rolling back the state in ways that would make Goldwater Republicans look like Communists. And the High Priests of Anarchy would oppose such efforts every step of the way.
Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the struggle against the modern Big Brother state will, if it is to ever become successful, take place outside the realm of the particular sects of Anarchy.
Kurt Eisner, the leader of the revolutionary socialist Bavarian Republic, devoted his first book in 1919 to the philosophy of Nietzsche. Though he criticized the “megalomania” that he found in Thus Spake Zarathustra, he also praised its aristocratic ideals. The aristocratic values found in Nietzsche, he said, had to be put at the service of the people, not treated as ends in themselves. Gustav Landauer (1870-1919), another founder of the Bavarian “Red Republic,” emphasized Nietzschean voluntarism in his training of political revolutionaries. Landauer’s original anarchistic individualism became more communitarian and populist during the course of his political career, approaching the folkish, nationalist thinking of his enemies. Landauer died in the streets of Munich fighting the soldiers of the Freikorp, a group of paramilitary adventurers who were classified as “rightist” but who shared much of Landauer’s outlook.
Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One
This is a complete electronic transcription of the second edition (1897) of Instead Of A Book, By A Man Too Busy To Write One by Benjamin Tucker, a self-published collection of Tucker’s writings from the individualist anarchist periodical Liberty.