Monday, May 22, 2006

Late News Round-Up

Last week I was knee-deep in a chapter revision (done on wednesday) and in a few minutes, I'll be chin-deep in end-of-semester grading, but before that hits, I have a few words to say about last week's events...

1.John McCain speaking at the New School Graduation.
Disgusting. As Jean Rohe said in her graduation speech, on a day that is supposed to honor the students, Bob Kerry, craven pol, made an insulting choice for a graduation speaker. How low will Bob Kerrey go? They should have ousted him in 2001. I'm glad that students there protested.

2. John McCain speaking at Columbia University. Also disugusting.

3. Jason Leopold's story on Karl Rove: What the fuck? Josh Frank labeled a troll by Dkos posters? what a surprise.

4. What is there left to say? The answer has been out there for a long time, and the argument for it just gets stronger every day.

5. M.I.A kept out of the US? One more reason to listen to "Galang, Galang, Galang" on my subway ride to work today.

6. Guantanamo Events....Whatever happened the answer on this one is plain too; this place should be shut down. However, the administration continues to defend it by accusing the people inside of being "dangerous" even while they're shackled and surveilled.

13 comments:

Keith Preston said...

I see from your backlogs that you've had some negative things to say about me. Care to discuss the matter? Keith Preston at kppgarv@mindspring.com

Looking Forward to Fireworks said...

Keith is referring to this post from July 2005 where he was described thusly:

"...I came across the website of the self-important Keith Preston, who claims to have found the type of anarchism superior to all others. He has reached it by being not one thing or another, not a leftist nor a rightist, but rather a combiner of all that is fine from all that there is. Generally, I find such claims to be connected to an attitude of great superiority, and I find arrogance and superiority to be generally maddening qualities. I know nothing about this person, but was instantly annoyed by his attacks on the left, and surprised by his ability to find compatible ideas in the work of Noam Chomsky, Pat Buchanan, Charles Murray and Robert Nozick. He calls himself an anarcho-socialist, yet believes in the free-market and loves the work of Max Stirner. I can understand, given his simultaneous praise for a utopian community of small producers and his apparent enjoyment of racist apologists, why some left-anarchists might have called him a fascist."

Keith - it seems to me that the objections to your work are laid out fairly clearly (e.g. that your arguments are incoherent and self-contradictory).

Why not respond publically and make your case, rather than deprive the rest of us lurkers from hearing your side of things?

Keith Preston said...

If a public response is what you wish, then I am certainly willing to accommodate you.

Actually, Rebecca, your criticisms of me are incoherent and unintelligible.

"...I came across the website of the self-important Keith Preston, who claims to have found the type of anarchism superior to all others. He has reached it by being not one thing or another, not a leftist nor a rightist, but rather a combiner of all that is fine from all that there is. Generally, I find such claims to be connected to an attitude of great superiority, and I find arrogance and superiority to be generally maddening qualities."

These are ad hominem attacks, not arguments. Whether I am "arrogrant" or "self-important" or "superior" or not, how does this make what I say factually wrong? My rejection of the conventional left/right model of the political spectrum is based on my view that this model is archaic
and inadequate for the modern world. What do you do with new ideas or facts when you encounter them?

"I know nothing about this person, but was instantly annoyed by his attacks on the left,"

Whether they are "instantly annoying" are not, how are my criticisms of the left factually wrong? My view is that the left has failed to construct an analytical or strategic paradigm that is appropriate for revolutionary struggles in the contemporary world.

"...surprised by his ability to find compatible ideas in the work of Noam Chomsky, Pat Buchanan, Charles Murray and Robert Nozick."

I generally agree with Chomky's critique of US imperialism, the relationship between state and capital and the role of state intervention in propping up the US corporate system, and his critique of the media. I disagree with him on some of the details, but I think his overall analysis is generally sound.

Buchanan's Old Right/paleocon/isolationist critique of the US empire dovetails quite well with Chomksy's New Left/Third Worldist critique. Their respective analysis complement one another quite well even though they argue from completely different premises. Sometimes you can get a better view of the overall picture by looking at it from different angles.

Murray's critique of the failures of the social democratic welfare state are sound, though I would approach the issue from a somewhat different angle.

Nozick's most important contribution to political philosophy wass his dissection of the modern liberal Rawlsian theory of the state. I do think he failed to defend his own premises (traditional Lockeanism) adequately.

"He calls himself an anarcho-socialist, yet believes in the free-market"

This comment merely demonstrates your ignorance of the free-market socialist tradition. It is a rather voluminous body of thought with many denominational tendencies ranging from the individualist anarchism of Benjamin R. Tucker to the cooperative mutualism of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon to the work of Henry George to radical decentralists like Ralph Borsodi. Kevin Carson recently published a comprehensive study of this tradition: www.mutualist.org

"and loves the work of Max Stirner."

Stirner was a philosopher, not a political theorist. His interest was in the relationship of the individual to external forces and institutionalized abstractions. He gave no blueprint of what his political model might be. If I recall correctly, Sartre once said that an existentialist could be either a militant communist or a devout Christian. Likewise, a Stirnerite could hold just about any political allegiance.

"I can understand, given his simultaneous praise for a utopian community of small producers and his apparent enjoyment of racist apologists, why some left-anarchists might have called him a fascist."

Who are these "racist apologists" that you are referring to? I am an individualist, not a racialist. Politically, I favor the simple "separation of race and state" just like you (and I) would favor separation of religion and state. Fascism is a left-wing heresy that arose in Central Europe as a deviation from orthodox Marxism. One of its core components is a corporate state and command economy directed by a centralist military-nationalist regime. This is about as far from "a utopian community of small producers" as one can possibly get.

"why some left-anarchists might have called him a fascist."

If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, then the "f-word" is the last refuge of intellectually bankrupt lefto-fundamentalists incapable of responding to critics logically or coherently.

reb said...

All right you lurkers, I can't wait to see what you have to say to Mr. Preston. I for one would like to say that many a crack-brained idea can be articulated well and can include seemingly erudite references to long-dead philosophers. Proudhon and Stirner were both utlimately on the right, Tucker was more afraid of the "mob" and the "herd" and celebrated the individual - he wasn't a socialist, and he was a divisive figure in his time.
Arrogant? Preston's stuff drips w/contempt for feminism and gay rights activists as examples of "bourgeois identity politics" AND he says a revolution won't come from "the workers" AND he says he wants a decentralized solution to American problems. Anarchists have long argued for this kind of thing, and one of the reasons I'm not really an anarchist anymore is that it indeed sounds like it would make David Duke pretty damn happy, especially given the allocation of resources that abides in the country. Every model that Preston mentions of what a revolutionary movement in the US should emulate is a top-down militarist one (whether militant Islamists or urban gangs)
It's worth it to read "wikipedia's" entry on "national anarchism" and to see Preston's own piece on it which you can find here: http://www.attackthesystem.com/nationalanarchism.html
You can then let us all know what you think.

Keith Preston said...

"erudite references to long-dead philosophers"

Long dead philosophers like Rosseau, Marx, Engels, Marcuse and Adorno, right? Not to mention Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger or Emma Goldman?

"Proudhon and Stirner were both utlimately on the right, Tucker was more afraid of the 'mob' and the 'herd' and celebrated the individual - he wasn't a socialist, and he was a divisive figure in his time."

Proudhon, Stirner and Tucker have all influenced subsequent thinkers from both the left and right, but all of them were considered part of the left in their time, not that it's particularly important one way or the other. Of course, there are no important lessons from history (or contemporary US politics) of the dangers of the herd mentality or mobocracy, are there? Might I suggest that you take a look at the work of Stanley Milram, Philip Zimbardo, Milton Mayer and Arthur Koestler in this area?

Tucker was pro-labor and considered himself to be a socialist and individualist-anarchism is part of the historic socialist tradition. God knows we would never want to be controversial or "divisive", would we?

"Preston's stuff drips w/contempt for feminism and gay rights activists as examples of 'bourgeois identity politics'"

That is exactly right. That was the position of most of the left until the 1960s. The left's abandonment of class-based politics in favor of promoting demographic conflict during that time has been a disaster for radicalism. This has played directly into the "divide and conquer" strategy of state-capitalism, allowed for cooptation by bourgeoise elements among the minority groups and created the foundation for a new totalitarianism rooted in the ideology of victimology. The so-called "political correctness" of the modern left is the mirror image of traditional fascism. Fascism argues that the problem is not the power of state and capital but the Jews, blacks, homosexuals, etc. The leftoids say the same thing only with "straight, white, Christian, males" taking the place of "niggers, Jews, commies and queers". This perspective can be absorbed very easily by state and capital. The mainstream left has stabbed the struggle against state and capital in the back for the sake of the sacred cows of affirmative action, late-term abortion and homosexual marriage. This is the agenda of the bourgeiose elements among the minority groups and middle-class feminists and homosexual activists. This has nothing to do with the poor and working class.

Theoretical considerations aside, an alleged "revolutionary" movement oriented in this kind of direction is not viable for strategic or practical reasons.

Feminists and gays are relatively small population groups compared to everyone else. Those women who define themselves primarily in terms of their feminism are relatively few in number. More importantly, most feminists tend to be older, more middle to upper class women. I meet very few young women anymore who even claim to be feminists. This leads me to the conclusion that feminism is in a state of decline.

The same is true of gays. Human sexuality is a continuum and there are people whose place in the heterosexual/homosexual dichotomy is not easily determined. However, those people who define themselves primarily by their "gayness" are also relatively small in number. Additionally, the political views of gays are not homogenous. There are gay Republicans, gay pro-lifers, even gay neo-nazis. I saw an exit poll after the last Presidential election that indicated that 25% of self-identified gays actually voted for Bush.

I agree with the traditional Bakuninist view that the vanguard classes of the anarchist revolution should be 1)the urban lumpenproletariat, 2)the rural agricultural population and 3)the declasse youth, students, intellectuals and bohemians. 1 and 2 are the precisely the classes where liberal-bourgeios values like feminism, secularism, multiculturalism and gayism are the least influential. And only a fraction of 3 holds to these kinds of views. The modern left promotes the idea of solidarity among the ethnic minorites, feminists, homosexuals, environmentalists, bureaucrats, union bosses, liberal bourgeiose, left-wing academics and the left-wing of capital against traditional or majoritarian cultural groups ("straight, white, Christian, males") with all of these looking to the state to advance their agenda. I favor precisely the opposite approach, i.e., solidarity of the vanguard classes against state and capital and across the boundaries of race, religion, culture, geography, etc. It is best to take positions on these questions that are compatible with the class values of the vanguard classes. For example, on the race issue these classes typically adhere to neither a rigid separatism or a rigid multiculturalism but to a type of unarticulated tribalism. As mentioned, these classes are the most religious, least interested in feminism and homosexualism (except for a fraction of the declasse bohemian elements) and least interested in left-wing fads like veganism or anti-smoking or anti-firearms hysteria.

In the course of the revolutionary struggle, it is necessary not only to accommodate the diverse identities to found among the insurgent classes but also the diverse views about these questions to be found among the insurgents. On the race issue, for example, all races contain within themselves an integrationist/assimilationist wing and a separatist/preservationist wing. All religions contain an ecumenical/eclectic wing and an orthodox/traditionalist/fundamentalist wing. Each of these would need to be accommodated in a post-revolutionary system. The most viable option is one of individual sovereignty, voluntary association, pluralism and peaceful co-existence where possible, and decentralism, community sovereignty, separatism and mutual self-segregation otherwise.

"he says a revolution won't come from 'the workers'"

The orientation of the old left towards the industrial proletariat is archaic. Workers have been integrated into the mainstream. Unions are not only status quo but in a state of decline. Workers are interested in bread and butter issues, not revolution. I've been on a picket line on three occasions. You can't even get most of these guys to show up for picket duty.

"he says he wants a decentralized solution to American problems"

Well, what's your "solution"? A "pink and green" version of Sovietism?

"Anarchists have long argued for this kind of thing, and one of the reasons I'm not really an anarchist anymore is that it indeed sounds like it would make David Duke pretty damn happy, especially given the allocation of resources that abides in the country."

Well, if David Duke is allegedly for it, that settles that, I guess. And if David Duke says he likes strawberry ice cream, then strawberry ice cream must be pretty terrible, right?

I agree that political decentralization must be accompanied by economic decentralization. This would involve, among other things, converting state-connected corporations into worker cooperatives, converting state-run social services and public goods into consumer cooperatives and opening state and corporate lands to homesteading by individuals, families, farmers, squatters, environmentalists, etc.

"Every model that Preston mentions of what a revolutionary movement in the US should emulate is a top-down militarist one (whether militant Islamists or urban gangs)"

Well, "militant Islamists" and "urban gangs" represent actually existing oppressed populations (as opposed to leftist academics like yourself). The actual military model that I favor would be a fairly conventional Maoist-like guerrilla insurgency organized on the basis of "leaderless resistance". Basically, an anarchist version of the Shining Path is what I have in mind. As the insurgency grew, a military confederation among the various insurgent forces (gangs, militias, "eco-terrorists", separatists, anarchists, etc.) might be the next step in the military evolution of the movement.

"It's worth it to read "wikipedia's" entry on "national anarchism" and to see Preston's own piece on it which you can find here: http://www.attackthesystem.com/nationalanarchism.html"

You have offered no counterarguments against the national-anarchist position or against my article on the subject.

"I'm not really an anarchist anymore"

I have long observed that some anarchists are more interested in leftism than anarchism per se. That is certainly their perogative. I wish more of them would follow your lead and determine which camp they are really in and adjust their allegiances accordingly. Good for you!

looking forward to fireworks said...

Best debate in the comments thread here for a while - thanks Keith!

I just lurk here usually, but I'll try and bring my knife-like observations (not too sharp) to this gunfight of ideologies. I regret to say I haven't read most of the writers cited in this thread either.

Keith, you complain about Reb's ad-hominem attacks. This is somewhat lame, I am so tired of hearing about ad-hominem attacks! After all, what are blogs for?

But I respect the way you responded and provided all those "erudite references" and are generally engaging in a civil manner although I also enjoyed your ad-hominem stuff too ("intellectually bankrupt lefto-fundamentalist" was a good one!)

Keith, from reading your comments I get the impression that Reb's point about you might be accurate - not necessarily that you are "factually wrong" (Reb never used those words, by the way), but that the way you argue your ideological position itself is based an "attitude of superiority" which is "maddening". Whether that is simply because I never read all those books and have no idea what you are talking about, or because this attitude reflects an unrealistic perception of yourself in relation to the outer world I'm not sure.

At the same time, I agree with Keith that Reb's criticisms are not fully supported by coherent arguments and I think he is owed a response - maybe a new blog post with some more detailed criticisms (and new, scathing, ad-hominem attacks) but I would really like to hear the reasoning expanded a bit.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm not one for internet spats and I don't get my anarchism from books, but I'm inspired to mention that I think this Keith fellow sounds like a real turd. Not necessarily a "factually wrong" turd . But, he is definitely some sort of turd.
Also, I can't help but wonder how a dedicated uber-anarchist found this particular blog. I'm guessing that it was that shining moment in revolutionary struggle where you just have to sit back, google your own name, and commence to proving your internet dominance. Keep it up.

Austropithecanthropus said...

Mr. Preston fairly and politely, and with massive erudition, has taken Rebecca's measure and found her sorely wanting. Anyone who defines Fascism correctly as a leftwing heresy passes my class with flying colors. I look forward to the day when I am able to climb the barricades with Mr. Preston. Watch out, Rebecca!

reb said...

I think that since it's my blog, I get the last word. Anyone who calls fascism a "left wing heresy" has already proven himself not "erudite" but rather, an ideologue with a long reading list. For anyone interested in the long version of why I think that Preston's anti-leftist anarchism leads in a proto-fascist direction, I suggest the excellent work of Zeev Sternhell, who has traced fascism's origins to a right-wing split within the French anarcho-syndicalist movement which originally broke with socialism and rejected economic arguments in favor of "spiritual" and patriotic arguments in a mish-mash of ideas from Boulangism, Sorel, and Proudhon.
Since Sternhell, other scholars of fascism's origins have traced a significant number of its early followers in Italy to a similar split over Italian nationalism in the anarchist movement during WWI, as Stephen Whitaker argues in his book "The Anarchist-Individualist Origins of Italian Fascism,' which traces the path to fascism of a number of anti-Marxist Italian anarchists.
What all these folks, such as Mussolini, the most famous former-anarchist fascist, have in common is the rejection of Marxism and a celebration of military style heroism and the propaganda of the deed. They particularly turned away from workers and labor unions as not militant enough, and demonstrate contempt for them. Many of them uphold very traditional models of masculinity and heap scorn on the feminism of the left anarchists. Finally, all of them celebrate nationalism and patriotic war as cleansing experiences. Walter Benjamin called this practice, which he saw in the futurists, who also became fascists, "aestheticizing politics" - taking all the material dimensions out of politics and replacing it with shining heroic ideals.
As for Preston, after sifting through his many articles as well as his posts here, as far as I can tell he differs from these earlier anarchist-cum-fascists in his opposition to the current imperialist US wars, which is significant. However, if you get past the verbiage, it looks as if he is primarily arguing for 1) tactics that were used by Marxist-Leninists (Shining Path, for example; BPP's once favoring urban guerilla warfare) that didn't work to bring about a revolution, and which haven't been models for upholding individual freedom, 2) 19th century theories of mutualism and "market socialism" that have been rather soundly debunked by Marx (and by reality) and 3) saying that anarchists should form an alliance not with those on the left (who are apparently whiners, women, gays and etc) but with white nationalist groups who are more likely to "throw down" in the name of the (white) working man. In other words, the ONLY difference between Preston and left-anarchists is that he hates gay rights and feminism and wants to make alliances with Pat Buchanan and the militia.
I judge the profusion of reading matter to be a smokescreen, given that much of what Preston is saying is not new at all, but a combination of a number of old left tactics BUT with a rejection of Marxism, economic collectivism, and the clincher: a proposal to unite with right-wing liberatarians, uber-nationalist isolationists (Buchanan)and white separatists in a live-and-let-live post-revolutionary world. If you ever wondered how someone could travel from far left to far right, you get the answer here.

Keith Preston said...

To Austropithecanthropus:

Thanks for your words of support! I'll see you at the barricades!

Keith

Keith Preston said...

Well, Rebecca, you seem to be making an honest effort to understand what it is you're attacking, and I respect that. You're getting closer but you're still off the mark a slight bit.

"Anyone who calls fascism a 'left wing heresy has already proven himself not 'erudite' but rather, an ideologue with a long reading list."

This article by David Ramsay Steele provides a pretty good overview of the left-wing roots of Italian Fascism:http://www.la-articles.org.uk/fascism.htm

What about all of the Marxists and other conventional socialists who joined the Fascists or the Nazis? What about the anarchists who joined the Communists? And what about the "National-Bolsheviks"? None of this really means anything. People change their political allegiances all the time for all kinds of reasons.

"...if you get past the verbiage, it looks as if he is primarily arguing for 1) tactics that were used by Marxist-Leninists (Shining Path, for example; BPP's once favoring urban guerilla warfare) that didn't work to bring about a revolution, and which haven't been models for upholding individual freedom..."

My influences with regards to strategic questions are Bakunin, the FAI of Spain and the Revolutionary Front of France during the 1930s, elements within the early anti-slavery movement from pre-Civil War America, the libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard and a number of thinkers from the European New Right. The only branch of Leninism that has substantially impacted my outlook is Maoist military theory. As for the Shining Path, here is a very surface level critique of them:
http://www.attackthesystem.com/shiningpath.html

As for the Panthers, whatever the nobility of their ideals, at the military level they were utterly incompetent.

"...2) 19th century theories of mutualism and "market socialism" that have been rather soundly debunked by Marx (and by reality)..."

Surely you can do better than to cite Marx's polemic against Proudhon from 150-plus years ago when offering a counterargument to the mutualist position. Might I suggest that you take a look at this work before dismissing mutualism as an archaism:
http://mutualist.org/id47.html

Here are some debates we've been having on the Mises Institute site on these questions:
http://blog.mises.org/archives/004869.asp
http://blog.mises.org/archives/005124.asp

If ever there was an economic ideology that has been debunked by reality and historical experience, it would be Marxism. What has been the legacy of Marxism? Mostly, it has been the cooptation of genuine labor movements (the Western democracies), the squashing of initial incremental steps in the right direction (Cuba or Russian), severe social or economic retardation (N. Korea) or the utter destruction of entire societies ( Cambodia).There is also the minor detail that is has killed tens of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, over the past century (see Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et.al.)

Mutualism is the main thrust of my economic outlook, but my overall view is a little more eclectic than that, more of a mixture of mutualist, syndicalist, municipalist and Austrian thought. I consider economics to be a secondary matter anyway. The first priority, in my view, should be the overthrow of the imperialist police state that has taken root in the US.

"...3) saying that anarchists should form an alliance not with those on the left (who are apparently whiners..."

I've spent enough time in the company of leftists to accummulate a substantial body of evidence that the adjective "whiner" fits many of them perfectly.

"...women,..."

I am an advocate of the superior individual. Approximately one-third of the rank and file forces of the insurgency in Colombia are young women in their teens and twenties. I would dare to say that most, probably all, of these young women exhibit more courage and marital spirit than 98 percent of adult male political radicals in North America.

"...gays.."

My actual views on sexual issues are those of the ancient Greeks, who tended to view sexuality as an amoral bodily function, like eating or exercise. I don't share the views of the Christian or Islamic moralists who regard homosexuality as a sin but I don't really accept the apparent modern liberal view of homosexuality as a sacrament, either. If one has a sexual interest in others of the same gender, I could care less, just as I could care less if one prefers Christian monogamy, Mormon (or Islamic or Hindu or Judaic or pagan) polygamy, polyandry or sexual relations with prostitutes, porn stars, adolescent boys, old ladies, siblings, dogs or inanimate objects. It's none of my business. This is another one of those lifestyle issues (like drug use) that do-gooders like to interfere in. My views on these questions are much more nuanced than you might suspect:
http://www.attackthesystem.com/minority.html
http://www.attackthesystem.com/drugwar.html
http://www.attackthesystem.com/jails.html

What I object to is not the existence or practice of homosexuality per se but the view of leftists that everything has to revolve around this.

"... but with white nationalist groups who are more likely to 'throw down' in the name of the (white) working man..."

Here's my take on "racism":
I think contemporary leftists use the terms "racism" or "fascism"
the same way the traditional right has used the term "communism". Communism
is indeed quite dangerous. But the reactionary right has in the past used these things to conjure up phantom images of esoteric conspiracies to advance an obscurantist agenda of its own.

Fascism and Nazism can rightfully be condemned in a similar way. What I would call
"hard racism" is also quite dangerous, particularly when welded together
with state power, because it leads to situations like Rwanda, the former Yugoslavian
states.

The problem I see is that the left defines "racism" so broadly as to render
the term rather imprecise, if not meaningless. The old-style US racism
is a thing of the past. It may have a residual influence among certain population
groups but it's a long way from being the status quo. States and ruling classes can often use racial antagonisms as part of a strategy
of self-justification or "divide and conquer". I have a hard time believing
that much right-wing Republican rhetoric about crime and welfare is not at least
occasionally a reference to "those colored people over there". But states
can also use "anti-racism" for similar purposes. Political authority can
play to the fears of majoritarian or traditional populations as a means of self-empowerment,
but they can also play minorities and "non-traditional" groups the same
way. For example, whenever a terrible crime is committed by a racist against a minority,
the establishment will use such an event to play to the fears of the minorities
in order in rally them into their corner just like racists have typically used sensational
crimes committed by minorities against whites for the same purpose. Remember the
case a few years back of the gay fellow who was brutally murdered in a "hate
crime" in Wyoming? The left and the "liberal" wing of the establishment
really went to town over that one. I've seen right-wing reactionaries do the same
thing whenever a serial killer or child molester or murderer turns out to be a homosexual
(like Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy).

It also seems to be that as more traditional types of prejudice or bigotry are becoming
less socially acceptable, the state and the elites have started using "anti-bigotry"
as a pretense for repression and control instead. David Irving is not in jail for
promoting Judaism. Lawrence Summers was not run out of Harvard for promoting feminism.
Hans Hoppe did not come under academic censure for promoting gay rights. What about
groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that act as private intelligence agencies
in collaboration with the feds?

There's also the question of the influence of "racism" on the part of
ethnic groups other than whites. What about the influence of Zionazism over US government
and foreign policy? Robert Mugabe qualifies as racist by any reasonable standard,
even though he's black. What about "hate crimes" like this one? http://www.wichita-massacre.com

Another interesting question involves the matter of whether of not those with "non-progressive"
views on race, religion, culture, social issues, etc. have any legitimate grievances
against the state or the rest of society. For example, can those who espouse some
sort of racial/ethnic preservationism or anti-assimilationism make reasonable arguments?
The police state atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge in the early 90s were likely
at least partially rooted in the fundamentalist and/or racialist beliefs of the
victims. Over the years, I've noticed that while many leftists will typically claim
to favor a "colorblind" approach to racial issues, that doesn't always
seem to be the case in actual practice. A lot of white liberals and leftists often
seem to me to have a very patronizing, paternalistic attitude towards ethnic minorities
(despite their persistent self-flagellation with claims of white guilt). In terms
of policies, much of the left seems to advocate nothing quite so much as a type
of caste system based on victimological status.

For those of us who take an anti-statist perspective (which seems to be a minority
position among modern leftists), is not something like individual liberty, voluntary
association and even voluntary separatism along cultural, ethnic or religious lines
just as legitimate at the type of assimilationist, integrationist, or "multiculturalist"
approach that conventional leftists favor? Were the separatist solutions to the
black/white issue favored by Elijah Muhammed, Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X any more
or less "right or wrong" than the integrationist approach of MLK? Were
not the former more of an actual threat to the establishment than the latter?

The reason I'm so interested in all of this is that as long as I've been around
radicalism (whether anarchists, commies or the generic left) it has often seemed
that the traditional radical ideas of class struggle, oppostion to political authority
and so on has taken a backseat or even been completely swept aside with the enemy
being not so much the state or the ruling class as much as whites, straights, males,
Christians, Westerners, et.al., I think this approach is subversive to any kind
of genuine radical politics as it simply fosters demographic conflict that plays
into the "divide and conquer" imperative of the elites. Indeed, I think
these questions are the main reason why the Left often appears to be so stale at
this point.

Check these articles out!!
http://www.epwijnants-lectures.com/sniperhist3.html
http://www.folkandfaith.com/articles/revblack.html
http://www.folkandfaith.com/articles/revklan.html

"In other words, the ONLY difference between Preston and left-anarchists is that he hates gay rights and feminism and wants to make alliances with Pat Buchanan and the militia."

I doubt Buchanan would ever endorse someone like me. A former staffer for Nixon and Reagan is only going to step so far outside the box. He's a valuable critic of US imperialism in its present form, but that's about it. In 1992, a conservative Christian college near where I live featured Buchanan as their commencement speaker and I fired off a letter to the editor of a local paper denouncing Buchanan as racist, fascist, nazi, etc. But I'm way past all that now. How did I change my views? By actually reading Buchanan's published works and trying to make an objective assessment of his arguments.

I was around the militia movement during the 1990s. There are many criticisms I would have of that milieu but the issues they were reacting to are real. Have you ever met a militiaman? Have you ever had a conservatiion with one? They might suprise you.

"...and the clincher: a proposal to unite with right-wing liberatarians, uber-nationalist isolationists (Buchanan)and white separatists in a live-and-let-live post-revolutionary world. If you ever wondered how someone could travel from far left to far right, you get the answer here.

I take it you are opposed to "live and let live". What would you prefer? A commie-feminazi-homo world empire? This is only a step to the left from the neocon vision. If my "anti-leftist anarchism leads in a proto-fascist direction", then I would suspect that your approach leads to neocon apologetics a la Christopher Hitchens.

I used to be a reactionary leftist like you are, Rebecca. I used to speak to high school and college student groups about the imminent danger of the skinheads, Klan, neo-nazis, etc. I used to draw heavily on the work of Morris Dees when making these presentations. But then I realized that Dees was a con man and a fraud. In the process, I actually began meeting and even getting to know white nationalists and coming to the realization that their views are not much different from "black power" factions like NOI or other militants from the minority groups. And some of their grievances against mainstream society are legitimate.

Besides, I have no more interest in "right-wing liberatarians, uber-nationalist isolationists (Buchanan)and white separatists" than I do in ethnic minority race militants, anarchists, eco-terrorists, urban street gangs, parties of the revolutionary left and anyone else who opposes the System. I don't care about divisions like "left" or "right". The criteria I go by is "for the System" (the left-liberal/neocon coalition that comprises the ruling class) and "against the System" (most everyone else).

While we're on the subject of fascism, consider these comments from a writer named Anthony Gregory:

"Fascism in the economic sense—corporate socialism, neo-mercantilism, state capitalism—does seem to fit the US political economy pretty well. About 20 years ago, Bob Higgs called the system "participatory fascism" since there was still an element of democratic participation and not as much racial or other social persecution of the type associated with the Nazis.

The element of political violence is one that many lefties I know say prevents the US from being properly called fascist. They think that rightwing militia groups are more fascist than the government, because they imagine fascism being a sort of grassroots political violent movement that culminates in, or is propped up by, the fascist state.

I don't know if this emphasis is correct. And after all, while not to the same extent as under Hitler or Mussolini, the state does use violence against individuals to terrify them, as do "private" groups allied with the state or factions within the state.

As for another distinction people make between America and a truly fascist country—that of the level of persecution of minorities. Well, the fedgov of these 50 states has succeeded in far more violence and persecution against certain minorities than some people, even libertarians, fully acknowledge. The drug war alone, which has put hundreds of thousands of peaceful people in cages to be abused, raped, socially engineered, and churned out as greater burdens and threats to society than when they went in, proves the point. It doesn't matter what one thinks of drugs. The dehumanization of drug users in our society has been going on for so long that even some libertarians shy away from the full implications, thinking instead that it's some sort of side issue. But it would have horrified the good guys of the Old Right, or the better Founding Fathers. We're talking about caging and beating innocent people here because of a peaceful lifestyle, behavioral or other difference. And with the current unjust laws, the "privatization" of the prison system threatens to further make this a fascist aspect of American political culture. Already we have private contractors who lobby for more drug laws. Ick.

There have been high profile politicians who have called for murdering people for using drugs, for the state to shoot them as traitors or poison their drugs. This might not be genocidal, but it is closer than some may realize. When the state begins locking up too many people to support and there are calls ro resort to prison labor, we'll see the move toward full blown fascist persecution accelerate. After all, the 13th amendment didn't make slavery of prisoners illegal, even ones who shouldn't be prisoners. (Although I believe strongly in restitution, that has nothing to do with what the state is doing.)

Yes, other people are persecuted. But drug users make up the biggest demographic of the prison population, and caging people is one of the worst forms of oppression.

Add this to the constant imperialism and aggressive wars, the supreme leader with his power to detain, spy on, or execute anyone at his whim, the hordes of state partisans and American supremacists who shrug off the Haditha massacre as if it was less than cold-blooded, murderous terror, the corporatization of markets whereby risk is socialized and profit privatized, and I can't wince anymore when someone warns against a fascist America. What would a fascist America look like, if not what we're seeing? More government thugs in the streets loading innocent people in prison? We already have more innocent people in prison than any other country. More state-sponsored murder? In foreign policy, the US is hard to beat. And although America is certainly not the worst place to live for the average chum by a long shot, neither was fascist Italy when compared to hellholes the world over. Fascism is, after all, more economically efficient than communism, allowing the parasitic state to be more aggressive in certain ways but also allowing people to eat better than the Soviet model does.

I used to worry about a leftwing social democracy replacing American liberty. Hah. Canada is starting to look free compared to the American nationalist socialism on the march. And the worst of it is, when Bush is done, Americans might go and replace him with someone worse. I'm starting to think that Higgs's note about the participatory nature of American fascism isn't any reason to be the least bit reassured.

Incidentally, if I get anyone complaining that this in unpatriotic, I will consider it another sign of America's increasingly fascist culture. It used to be you could love America and not its government and be a patriot. I remember this well and I'm not that old. I do love America, so do I hate the fascism that's tearing it apart."

This is what we need to be worried about, rather than crying about a bunch of dudes walking around with sheets over their heads. The only way to end the US Empire is to end the ability of the US regime to project itself militarily beyond its own territorial borders. And the only way to do that is to collapse the US regime domestically. The only way to end the police state built up around the crusades against crime, drugs, guns, terrorism, gangs and who knows what else is to root it out to the core. That requires revolutionary action in a very literal sense. The only way that can be done is through the development of strategic coalitions and tactical alliances of the type that real world politics are made of. A "unity of separatists" approach is the most fitting ideological and strategic paradigm for this kind of action.

Besides, none of the resistance factions are large enough to form a new overarching state all on their own. Together, they might well be able to defeat the common enemy and then go their own way. "Kind goes unto kind", so to speak. The absence of central authority automatically means a diversity of cultures, religions, lifestyles, value systems, economic arrangements, etc.

I don't what of my material you've actually read. Here's what I would recommend:

www.attackthesystem.com/libertypopulism.html
www.attackthesystem.com/armedstruggle.html
www.attackthesystem.com/capitalism.html
www.attackthesystem.com/race.html
www.attackthesystem.com/reactionary.html
www.attackthesystem.com/conservatism.html
www.attackthesystem.com/philo.html

Keith Preston said...

Ooops!

"...these young women exhibit more courage and marital spirit..."

The above phrase should have included the term "martial" rather than "marital". My apologies.

reb said...

there's a song by King Crimson that I just can't get out of my mind for some reason. It goes like this:
"I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress. I repeat myself when under stress"
I looked up the lyrics to find out the rest, and it is just fascinating:

I do remember one thing.
It took hours and hours,
But by the time I was done with it,
I was so involved,
I didn't know what to think.
I carried it around with me for days and days,
Playing little games,
Like not looking at it for a whole day,
And then looking at it,
To see if I still liked it.
I did!

I repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I
repeat myself when under stress I repeat myself when under stress I repeat

The more I look at it,
the more I like it.
I do think it's good.
The fact is
no matter how closely I study it,
no matter how I take it apart,
no matter how I break it down,
It remains consistent.
I wish you were here to see it.

I like it!

yeah, it fits.