The Last "Political" Essay Reply

Anna Morgenstern on why the Left and Right are both failures.

As far as I can tell, the two biggest social problems that we have in statist society are War and Poverty.  And true to form, they are rarely directly addressed.

In truth, there is very little sentiment or support on the official, political left for policies that would directly damage the corporate elite, by taking away their subsidies and privileges.  The reasoning or justification seems to be that “we need the rich to form a tax base to use to help the poor”.  The irony would be hilarious, if not for the concrete implications.

he “right” loves to talk about the morality of private property, but they don’t really mean it.  The rich have no respect for the private property of the poor and middle class.  They use that as a would-be club against the poor who have been forced into misery and the middle class who naturally want a piece of the spoils of statist plunder.  But when their own interests are threatened, well they’re all for bailouts and government-backed loans and such things.  The entire justification for central banking (or quasi-central banking, as in the National Bank Act, long before the vile Federal Reserve existed, or the frequent “suspension of specie payments” before that) is purely and directly “welfare” for the rich.  To protect the banking system against systemic failure means allowing banks to loan what is essentially stolen money to rich people for risky ventures that they wouldn’t dare with their own savings.  There’s no other way a bank could fail, but it’s never explained that way.

Do the Neocons Want Democracy? Reply

Daniel McCarthy on the neoconservatives Jacobinism.

…what the neoconservatives mean by democracy, and what their critics know they mean, is not one man, one vote. It’s not procedural democracy but a substantive democracy: a democracy that entails an American-style mixed-market economy (“democratic capitalism”), liberal institutions of civil society (e.g., labor unions, but not too strong or violent labor unions; religious institutions, but only those organized on a voluntary basis), and a political system that is democratic in name but designed to promote enlightened objectives rather than whatever the popular will might be — especially if that popular will is retrograde by American standards. On this model, a democracy is by definition going to be pro-American and favorably disposed toward some of the more grandiose claims of Israeli nationalism. This is precisely why people like George Gilder insist that Israel is fulfilling the dream of the Enlightenment, just as America supposedly does. To oppose the expansion of Israeli settlements into the occupied territories is to oppose the expansion of high technology, capitalism, tolerance, and civilization itself — in a word, democracy. (That many of the settlers are religious fundamentalists can be glossed over: after all, the grand strategy of the Republican Party here in the U.S. demands the assimilation of Christianity to substantive democracy.)

The Anarchism of Peter Kropotkin Reply

Wow! An article about Kropotkin at the Mises Institute.

A little more than 90 years ago, on February 8, 1921, Peter Kropotkin died in Dmitrov, then a small town in Russia, about 40 miles north of Moscow. He had been born in Moscow itself almost exactly 78 years before, on December 9, 1842, but he had spent at least half of the 78 intervening years living abroad — a few years in Switzerland, a few more in France (though most of his time in France was spent behind bars), and, for more than 30 years, in England.

Kropotkin was of noble birth — Prince Kropotkin was the title he was born into — and, like his father and his father before him, he was expected to become an officer in the Czar’s army and pursue a military career. The young Peter Kropotkin dutifully went to military school and, on graduation at the age of 19, accepted a commission in the Czar’s army. But, to his father’s disgust, he requested an assignment in Siberia, where he knew there was little or nothing military for the army to do…

The Latest Wave in Victimological Identity Politics 8

Are whites racially oppressed? A growing movement says yes. Read all about it. For some time, I have predicted that as supposed spokesmen for traditional out-groups become more powerful, and as PC becomes more firmly rooted in institutions, the members of traditional in-groups turned out-groups will begin to adopt the Left’s rhetoric of victimology and identity politics, as will members of traditional out-groups who reject the totalitarian humanist paradigm for whatever reason.  The Left has really pushed the limits with this, inventing concepts like speciesim, looksism, ablism, fatphobia, etc. In the future, look for more and more movements in the direction of white rights, men’s rights, Christians’ rights, hetero rights, smokers rights, gay conservatives’ rights, oppressed Irish-Catholics’ rights, anti-feminist feminism, black white supremacists, one-eyed vegan transexual fascists, Leagues of Republican Fat Asses Against Weight Discrimination (FATWA), and on and on.

In Search of Identity Reply

Interesting article by Swedish nationalist Rafael Koski.

The main speaker of the evening was the Croatian-American ”New Rightist” Tomislav Sunic. He talked of his Croatian and other identities, and how he would prefer an explicitly racialist identity as a White European. He acknowledged, though, that as long as discourse is controlled by the enemy, it makes sense to use more neutral terms like ”identitarian.” He wanted to remind the more action-oriented nationalists that the real enemy is not the immigrant, but always the liberal capitalist plutocrat, who, despite appearances, will always be ready to sell his country for profit.

Sunic gave an entertaining account of all the forms of propaganda that have been used to create a ”negative identity” based on guilt for European peoples. This negative identity is manifest in the various commemorations for the sufferings of all kinds of foreign peoples around the world. This produces a “victimology” in which different groups compete for status as the one most oppressed by evil White heterosexual males.

But this victimology will never bring peace to liberal society, because the ”victims” are haggling for the money that is expropriated from the White man. Sooner or later, the ”oppressor” will cease paying taxes, or cease to exist altogether.

Montana Introduces Comprehensive Nullification Bill 3

It’s the first state to do so.

This is how I envision the revolution actually happening.

If I’m correct that the liberal-Left is going to dominate U.S. national politics for the next few decades, then more and more “red states” will likely adopt such actions, and hopefully “blue zones” in red states will follow with secessionist threats of their own like Pima County in Arizona is doing. And then black, white, yellow, brown, pink, green, and purple zones starts will start seceding from each other until the state is virtually destroyed by many different communities going off and doing their own thing.

Bradley Manning Could Face Death: For What? Reply

Glenn Greenwald on the state’s efforts to kill the solider who exposed U.S. war crimes.

The U.S. Army yesterday announced that it has filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning, the Private accused of being the source for hundreds of thousands of documents (as well as this still-striking video) published over the last year by WikiLeaks. Most of the charges add little to the ones already filed, but the most serious new charge is for “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.

Do the Rich Really Pay Most of the Taxes? Reply

Not exactly. Kevin Carson explains why.

Although (by strong implication, anyway) Paul & Co. frame the issue as the shiftless majority voting themselves loot at the expense of the hardworking rich, what’s really happening is that the rich who control the state are smart enough to understand what the system — not the free market, but the corporate economy as currently structured — needs for its survival.  The rich simply have more investment funds sitting around than there are productive outlets for, while productive capacity sits idle for want of demand.  If the government didn’t bolster aggregate demand by taxing it and then spending it into circulation, we’d be in a permanent big-D Depression.

The Free Market's Regulatory Model Reply

David D’Amato on why the regulatory state serves the alliance of state and capital.

Big Business, we are frequently advised, is the enemy of our natural biosphere, forever seeking new ways to sidestep its responsibilities to the environment and to dirty it at will. This assumption is, in the main, difficult to contest, its evidentiary support inescapably confronting anyone paying even the least attention. This popularly-understood fact, however, is attended by another assumption regarding the relationship between power and the natural world, that the state is the great taming influence on the evil corporation.

As historian Gabriel Kolko demonstrated in his groundbreaking account of the Progressive Era, absolutely nothing in political life could be further from the truth. “[T]he federal government,” reveals Kolko’s The Triumph of Conservatism, “rather than being a source of negative opposition, always represented a source of economic gain” for Big Business. The state, in conflict with the widely-accepted story we get from “respected” outlets, allowed corporate powerhouses to “solve their economic problems by centralization.”

It doctored the economic system, introducing cartelizing regulations, to displace any trace of free market forces that — if genuinely left to themselves — would tend to shake the giant companies at their substrata. In her study of the French free market radicals, Joanna Kitchin similarly identified their view of the free market as a system that “prevents excessive enrichment due to monopolies” and “diffuses very widely the profits of industry.”

Noam Chomsky: Stability, A Cold Code Word With U.S. Reply

A new interview with Professor Noam.

Chomsky: I think that more can be done, what is happening is already pretty awful and that could lead to a really major bloodbath. Information is pretty sparse but at least the eastern province appears to be substantially under control by the popular uprising. Tripoli looks very dangerous. I think efforts could be made to provide assistance and protection to the parts of the population that have succeeded in liberating parts of Libya. However, nobody wants a western intervention. That would probably be not only wrong but also disastrous. But actions could be taken through the UN presumably.

The Sunic Journal: Richard Spencer and Alex Kurtagic Reply

Listen to the interview.

Tom’s guests are Alex Kurtagic, founder of publisher Wermod and Wermod, a novelist, and author of the dystopian novel Mister and Richard Spencer, the executive editor and founder of website magazine Alternative Right, also author of numerous literary essays.

The main focus of their discussion is culture, as the vehicle of political struggle, and how can cultural battle shape up political activism.

Liberal Arizona County Threatens Secession, Says State is too Conservative 5

Awesome! We need much more of this. If liberal counties would start seceding from red states, and conservative counties would start seceding from blue states, we’d be well on our way to anarcho-pluralism. Read the article.

Who Else Should Secede?

Since we’re on the subject of secession based on conservatives-gone-wild, what other states or cities might think of seceding?  This is a thought experiment of sorts—one that every socialism-hating patriot should consider since the liberal coastal state taxes fund their pork barrel projects.  And if pork barrel politics isn’t socialism, then what else qualifies?

1. California

True.  California is in a bit of a budget crisis, but as the seat of the entertainment and agricultural industries, Silicon Valley, pornography, not to mention the world class cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco (hell, San Diego might even qualify), California is not in want of anything, aside from energy (more on that later).

California boasts approximately $1.8 billion in gross state product, the highest of any state in the union.  The tax revenues from California have been redistributed all over the country, even down into those socialism-hating states to the southeast.  And given that California food feeds most of the nation, they’re certainly entitled to federal government bailout (what with all the taxes paid over the years).

Let the conservative states with significant fundamentalist Christian populations pay tariffs on all the food they purchase from liberal California.  California has great potential for alternative forms of energy, like solar, wind and ocean power.  And what is more, they are not in want of the intelligence to accomplish it.

2. New York City

Another case of a region’s wealth being redistributed to the pork-barrel states, New York City could sever itself from the rest of its State, but a secession from the Union would be far more problematic.  Too much of the U.S. economic interest is tied to the city.

In 1969, Norman Mailor and Jimmy Breslin ran on a ticket for the NYC mayoralty and city council presidency.  They suggested New York City secede from New York State, and the rest of the state call itself “Buffalo.”  Times have changed and Buffalo is no longer the manufacturing base it once was, but that probably wouldn’t bother upstate New York residents, who are regularly at odds with the state power wielded by New York City.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has even raised the possibility when he publicly noted that the city pays out $11 billion in taxes and gets virtually nothing back in return from the rest of the state.  The same could be said of all the red states who enjoy the federal benefits of New York City’s economic dominance.

3. Alaska

Alaska is a rogue state anyway and a chief beneficiary of pork-barrel projects financed by more economically robust state economies, so let’s just let this place go, and then Sarah Palin will finally get her wish of becoming president of a country.

Another possible scenario?  The Russians, drunk on high-octane beer, invade and occupy.  The rest of the U.S. is happy either way.

4. Utah

Enough said.

5. Texas

Texans like to talk a big game about how they were once upon a time their very own Republic, so why not let the red state secede as planned?  They clearly dislike being told what to do, especially by President Obama (not unlike Georgia Rep. Paul Broun), and they have an economy that could support their population with very cosmopolitan cities like Austin, Houston and Dallas.  There really is no reason for Texas to exist as part of the Union.

They have plenty of land, steers, BBQ recipes and cowboys to make this all happen: what are they waiting for?  Get on it boys!  Woooooeeee!  ”The stars at night are big and bright… (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas.”

Anarchic Urbanism Reply

From The Old Urbanist.

When valuable city land is left open and vacant by an absentee owner, enterprising individuals may enter and create functional living spaces, start-up businesses and entire self-governing communities on their own initiative.  This process of emergent organization, derided as anarchic by detractors (see video), in fact is anything but.

In Caracas, an unfinished 45-story tower, planned for office use but now under nominal state ownership, has been occupied by squatters.  Undeterred by the initial lack of plumbing and electric, not to mention lack of elevators, they have settled the building up to the 28th floor (apparently refuting the theory that people will refuse to walk up more than four to six storeys to an apartment), and, in the absence of zoning constraints and building codes, have added infrastructure and developed a mix of uses within the building:

“[S]quatters … have created a semblance of order within the skyscraper they now call their own. Sentries with walkie-talkies guard entrances. Each inhabited floor has electricity, jury-rigged to the grid, and water is transported up from the ground floor. … A beauty salon operates on one floor.  On another, an unlicensed dentist applies the brightly colored braces that are the rage in Caracas street fashion. Almost every floor has a small bodega.”

Although the Times article chalks up the situation in part to the economic mismanagement of the Chavez government, such  squatter communities are not unknown in the West.  In the news recently was the Copenhagen neighborhood of Christiania, a former army barracks which was settled by various counterculture elements in the early 1970s following its abandonment by the military.

In the absence of any intervention by the municipal government, and ungoverned by city codes, the settlers created not anarchy but (surely unintentionally) what has become the second most popular tourist attraction in Copenhagen.  While this is often attributed to the drug vending in the neighborhood, the remarkable architecture and emergent urbanism of the area are clearly major draws as well.

And although it’s not recent news, no mention of anarchic urbanism would be complete without a reference to the now-vanished Walled City of Kowloon, another extraordinary emergent transformation of a former military barracks.

Eric Margolis on the Middle Eastern Revolution Reply

Hear his interview with Scott Horton.

Eric Margolis, foreign correspondent and author of War at the Top of the World and American Raj, discusses his interview with the “eccentric” Col. Gaddafi during the Reagan administration; the Western media’s exaggeration of Libyan violence, which provides a pretext for US military intervention; how the neocons got their Middle East democratic revolution, but not in the countries they intended; the colonial history of Morocco and Algeria, and their current repressive police states; how Arab revolutions are propelled by large youth populations and bleak economic prospects; and why the Saudi monarchy will more likely be felled by internal strife than popular revolt.

MP3 here. (29:45)

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles appear in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times and Dawn. He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He appears as an expert on foreign affairs on CNN, BBC, France 2, France 24, Fox News, CTV and CBC.

As a war correspondent Margolis has covered conflicts in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Sinai, Afghanistan, Kashmir, India, Pakistan, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He was among the first journalists to ever interview Libya’s Muammar Khadaffi and was among the first to be allowed access to KGB headquarters in Moscow. A veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East, Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq.

Margolis is the author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet and American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.