Posts Tagged ‘anarchism’

agp_mdm_20012017trump_045

Reposted
(May 30, 2012)

The ultimate sophomoric blunder: Let’s smash the state before we even figure out what positive roles the state performs in society.

Part One – “Market Anarchists”

I’m astounded that adults argue this so-called philosophy. But, not only are the anarchists among us, they are loud and repetitive and seek to influence every popular movement that arises. In this case it’s the Occupy movement, which is now torn betwen MoveOn.org’s not so veiled takeover bid and a lot of anarchists who decry all things “state.” The cornucopia of their pseudo-political chatter disguises their tiny numbers.

A “stateless society” is the goal of one strand of this virulent school. They fantasize non-stop on what some future society would be like without a government. It never seems to occur to people like those at the Center For a Stateless Society that warlordism is a possibility. It never pops up that those with the strongest mercenary army would take over the vital resources and become the de facto — you guessed it — government. This is so obvious as to be hardly worth mentioning, but in the anarchist delusion we don’t find the “con” column in their reasoning. That’s because the whole thing’s a con.

Rather than placing their faith in a state set up to guarantee civil rights for all, the anarchists place their faith in what is apparently a page from the radical republican right — “free markets.” The anarchists, who at some gathering places sound a lot like the libertarians, want the ultimate so-called “free market” without any government in existence to even insure that this “market” can operate without armed factions simply taking what they want from others. They dislike the state’s existence and its fallback option to use force so much that they would risk the entire society to the use of random chaotic force by non-state actors.

At the Center For a Stateless Society (C4SS), they phrase the issue like so:

“…we can say that Hayek’s knowledge problem will, in a stateless society, even impact “governance” in the sense of how enterprises provide dispute resolution and security services. We can’t predict the details of how free people will choose to organize provision of these services. The forms of such organization would be an open-ended matter, subject to free experimentation and resulting diversity.”

In English, the security of the land is now renamed “security services.” It will be subject to “experimentation” and “diversity.” Unlike the United States and its Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, there will be no “equal protection under the law” in a stateless free for all. Quite the contrary, security will be for sale, and will be the privilege of hte highest bidders.

I have pointed out once before how the Occupy protests could have concluded in an anarchist dream, if they had gotten what they want, the “stateless society.” Once the protests caught the attention of the deep-pocketed interests, such as the banks and Wall Street, these simply could have hired their own “security services” as the Center For a Stateless Society phrases it. These “security services,” say Blackwater (Xe), could easily wipe out the entire contingent of anarchist protesters in a couple of hours spree. The protesters, masked or unmasked, would drop like clusterbombs in the streets of red. Another “service” would come along to hose it all off, and business would continue as usual.

The state has already protected the anarchists from such a fate. It has protected all of us from random chaotic violence and the raising of mercenary armies by private interests. This has never occurred to any anarchist.

Some may simply respond to the Center For a Stateless Society by pointing to flash points in Africa, to failed states, to lawless chaotic hell holes where the bodies are laid out in mass graves. That’s experimentation. That’s diversity, when it comes to “security.”

On economic matters, here is where things get more muddled. Without discussion of money, who prints it, how does it get value, etc., the C4SS states their position as the simplistic “free market” champions of Ayn Rand’s school of thought:

“Market anarchists, however, typically disagree that the economic status quo is a result of a free market economy and instead tend to attribute systematic economic injustice to market intervention by the state — that is, to divergence from the free market ideal of absolutely zero state intervention in the economy.”

Zero interference in the market. No labor protections. No environmental protections. No minimum wage. No barrier to poisoning your staff, having their limbs end up in the sausage, of having young children cleaning out soot pipes. Zero interference. Disposable workers, no benefits, no rights. Zero interference has been tried, however. They called it the Gilded Age. It was a disgusting abomination, from the worker’s standpoint. They didn’t find it quite the utopia that the “market anarchists” seem to romanticize.

It’s a con. You are being conned if you follow this anarchist dogma. Sorry, there’s no other way to look at it.

In fact this entire muddleheaded idea of a “stateless society” is gibberish on its face and beyond the limits of what a super-majority of the population would entertain. It is a minority fringe movement, and not a pursuit of the 99%. It folds in seamlessly with the free market ideologues of the radical right who push austerity and corporate rule onto us, seemingly what the anarchists nominally oppose. It is a con game, and perhaps the low-level foot soldier Black Bloc types are nothing but dupes. With all the fancy verbiage, they don’t seem to notice their similarities with the Koch Brothers, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.

“A state is not governance based upon the consent of the governed, but conquest under a false pretense of legitimacy.”

Says you. A lot of citizens disagree, a lot more than you acknowledge. Now I’m inclined to give this claim more sway than most. Democracy in the United States is a rigged game, and downright undemocratic in practice. How much of that can be attributed to an ignorant public that refuses to seek out alternatives or even to vote?

While democracy is in crisis, here is where we hit the fork in the road. Stateless anarchists see the answer as destroying all government and ushering in warlordism, as if that was a rational response to a system that lacks responsiveness. Warlords also lack compassion and response to the needs of those on the other side of their mercenary lines.

The rational solution to this crisis of representative democracy is more democracy, a more level playing field where alternative parties have a voice and can be heard by the public. We need to diminish the influence of the most powerful entrenched interests, not to enable them to become feudalistic emperors. While democracy is an imperfect system it is head and shoulders above the alternative that has been proposed: “free experimentation and resulting diversity.”

Anarchists propose a power vacuum while solving none of the survival problems faced by the populations who will still be at the mercy of those competing for resources. Only instead of an orderly society to operate in, there will be madness. The anarchist proposals are interesting reading as science fiction, but should not be given consideration in the real world. Thankfully, they are not given much attention or legitimacy by society, as their implementation would be so radical and so chaotic that the formerly-functioning democracies of the world could end up looking like something from The Road Warrior.

Part Two – “Libertarian/Socialist” Anarchists

The poor, misunderstood anarchists just can’t seem to get a break. When you point out the absurdity of the “market anarchism” preached by some, such as those at the Center For a Stateless Society, as I did in my previous piece, the response — even from “market anarchists” themselves — is to shift the discussion away from their own arguments and onto another strand of anarchy! In this case it’s the “libertarian/socialist” school of thought.

(more…)

449625510

Counterpunch has been a blatherpocalypse these past few months. For and against Sanders has been the hot-button topic.

This dude, Andrew Stewart, makes a great case for Sanders by making it easy to reject the hair-brained communist-manifesto rhetoric of himself, Andrew Stewart:

“I am by choice one who describes his politics as anarcho-syndicalist, which I feel has a more tenable chance of being achieved in this country than the parliamentary road.”

So a flavor of anarchist, but he then goes on to praise the Bolshevik revolution in Russia in any number of ways, like that was a noteworthy success we might emulate, only to take it much further this time…?

Stewart says:

“The nationalization of the banks and socialization of the means of production are bare essentials of any real socialist program, regardless of ideological tendency.”

This is false, as Scandinavian countries, and most of the western world for that matter, instituted countless social assistance programs without doing either. The demand to seize the “means of production” in a sweeping totalitarian maneuver is so radical on its face, and so impossible in reality–not to mention undesirable–that it would force a society that resembles North Korea or STASI Germany in order to implement it!

Verdict: Andrew Stewart’s prescription for humanity is a kind of 19th century totalitarianism. His criticism of Sanders is that Bernie is in no position to upend the entire economy of the planet, use military force and come marching in some sort of revolution to please the handful of diehard communists (or anarchists? he seems confused) who will accept nothing less.

So, perhaps Bernie is doing something right.

1432734097732.cached

‘Fight Club’s’ Twisted Mastermind: Chuck Palahniuk on God, Men Vs. Women, and ‘Fight Club 2’

betterthisworld
http://betterthisworld.com/

Post 9-11 Clusterfuck America

The scene is Minneapolis at the end of democracy, 2008, at the Republican National Convention, protected by a massive police and surveillance state.

It was like a war zone. It was a police state.”
-Brad Crowder

The story involves activism, protest, non-violence, FBI provocateurs, the federal injustice system, endless war, Nuremberg violations, domestic terrorism, and Molotov cocktails. It has the entire post 911 experience wrapped up in a neat bow.

The nation is to be shocked by the existence of 8 Molotov cocktails. This is the evidence that will convict two Texas boys and send them away to federal prison. It’s fitting that they were Texans, protesting the Republicans, who had previously stolen two presidential elections, with frontman Dubya. The political alternatives seemed bleak to non-existent, and the two Texas boys were enamored of a particular older figure, and with the allure of direct action, street action, protest.

They said they weren’t anarchists. It’s not at all clear that both of them even wanted to use the gas bombs. They were clearly influenced by their mentor, the usual undercover FBI provocateur seeking to entrap them.

They were faced with the prospect of having a fair trial, as the Constitution is supposed to provide, but in the twisted world of federal prosecutions games are played. Plea bargains are used as tools to enforce silence and cover-up, while the maximum sentences are jacked up to ridiculous terms. This gives the prosecutors all the power to railroad people, pressure them, compel testimony, etc. Not justice. Something else.

This case may simply have come down to David McKay being a reckless dolt, unsophisticated enough to not know what he was getting himself into.

On the other hand, McKay didn’t actually hurt anyone. He just talked about it. His intent seems to have been property destruction, that old reckless anarchist standby, lauded by some, and clearly a useless counter-productive gateway to a world of shit.

I recall filming at the 2000 DNC convention in Los Angeles. It was there I first encountered the “Black Bloc.” These were the young hooligan types in masks that started shit, petty vandalism, spray paint, knocking over newspaper boxes. One unmasked, but particularly angry boy screamed at the MTV reporter, “Corporate! It’s corporate! Turn off your televisions!” It was a wild night. Events culminated in violence, the police shooting at everyone with rubber bullets and some kind of pellets. When I say everyone, I mean they were shooting at me! As I filmed. I got the shot.betterthisworldposter2

The next day photographs revealed that a handful of violent anarchist types climbed up the 12 ft. fence and threw trash, rocks, water bottles, or whatever at the delegates entering the (corporate) Staples Center arena. Fitting all around that Al Gore would accept the nomination in a building owned by an office supply company.

Rattled but undeterred, I went back to LA later that week for the march to demand the release of political prisoners. I also videotaped that subsequent night. A portion of the kids were anarchist types, prone to angry outbursts and unwise acts of random vandalism.

You don’t change things by smashing a few windows. All you do is give your cause a bad reputation.

You change things by getting elected.

You are greatly outnumbered, child. And outgunned. 

Back to Better This World

The hypocrisy of the smug FBI agent and federal prosecutor are hard to stomach. To accept the federal government’s Pollyanna clinging to the rule of law and the sanctity of life shtick when one knows the full reality, well it’s just surreal.

470160357-6fa3d6f2691e535dc6f2646aa1179812e7b50e6b-s6-c30

Ukraine on fire, cheered on by official Washington, which has given the coup leaders billions and continues to support the firebombing neo-nazi “Maidan” regime as they have murdered over 5,000 people in the east of the country.

1390560333303.cached

YE Ukraine Protestukraine_riots_Master_1663928339

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-EU-UNREST-POLITICS

The Iraq war may have cost over 1 million innocent lives, and it is a Crime Against the Peace, the “supreme international crime.” As Hitler invaded Poland, Bush invaded Iraq. There is no technical legal difference in International Law. The US breached the UN Charter in an absurd maneuver that its officials disingenuously claimed was to support UN resolutions.

Prior to 2003, the US enforced sanctions on Iraq killed over 500,000 children alone. Clinton’s ghoulish Secretary of State Madeleine Albright admitted on TV to this fact, and she claimed, “the price is worth it.”

This is the real world, not just words. And then we have David McKay, who filled 8 bottles with gas and never used them. So scary. Why did he fill them? Was he convinced to do so by his handler? Would he have burned anyone, or not, or just some cars? We’ll never know.

The bigger question is: when will those who burn thousands of civilians to death be brought to justice? And why does government authority confer immunity from prosecution and impunity to kill?

unnamed

 

New series of complaints over selective censorship at Facebook calls into question the political motivations behind the targeting.

Fascist Facebook?

 

the-east-brit-marling1-600x398

  • [Jennifer Epps, who usually gets to the movies a lot quicker than me, also has a review.]

The East has come out on DVD this past week, and home is likely to be the place most people will see it.  The film is a mixed bag, some interesting ideas about corporate power and abuse, but ultimately it suffers from a plodding pace and predictability.

Brit Marling’s previous film, The Sound of My Voice, also rambled along at a snail’s pace, and it begs the question if she and her partners in crime are not putting enough plot in to fill up a full-length feature film.  It seems The East was better thought out than Voice, but I still felt constrained by budget and limited locations for the middle section of the movie.  They linger far too long at an abandoned, ruined house, and it tries your patience.

What’s more, and probably the true deal breaker, The East group never really sold me that it was genuine.  This anarchist cult seemed more like Hollywood’s version of a rebel movement, and a lot of obligatory moments and forced on the nose dialogue kept me at arm’s length.  Wearing your movement on your sleeve is a sign of bad writing, lacking subtext, and the film seemed to veer this way and that, but kept taking me out of the story with forced bits of dialogue.

the-east-brit-marling-alexander-skarsgard2-600x398

The major “jam,” targeting one of the member’s fathers, also felt so contrived and given short shrift that it sunk the film at the moment things should have escalated to the next level up.  That sequence failed, and it felt like not enough thought had been put into the entire film.  As Kirsten said, “It fizzled at the end.”

Not sure the end is where it fizzled, but yes there is an anti-climactic wrap-up that should have been staged better.  The larger ideas clicked at the ending, but the execution not so much.

The East could have been a much grittier, more raw tour de force, and it probably should have been.  Instead there is a cleanliness, a neat pat style that works against the film.  It far too easily mingles at luxury parties and corporate headquarters.  That was one of the film’s points, but it tainted the rest of the movie, which lacked realism and authenticity.  I never bought, for a second, that I was watching anything other than actors reading lines.

Take from that what you will.  The East, a victim of its own slick production and budget, perhaps amounting to anarcho-exploitation rather than any meaningful examination of corporate crimes against humanity.

Liberty Lockdown: Raid on Zuccotti [LEAKED TARU FOOTAGE]

[This article has been met with controversy and censored by a usually-reliable outlet, despite its relevance to the current political situation in the US.]

2013 UNOCCUPIED

by Joe Giambrone

“Fight not unless the position is critical.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The ”Occupy” movement has apparently receded into the long night.  That may not be such a bad thing, as a new Phoenix can arise from different strategies, different emphases and different goals.  The structural challenges remain the same, and opposition is still needed.  What has been exposed as fruitless, however, is the idea of occupying parks in chaotic sieges that signify nothing.

What were the benefits of occupying parks?  There was really only one, and that was publicity.  The utility of the tactic lay in attracting the media and achieving penetration into living rooms across the nation.  Once that was accomplished, there was no further benefit, and a whole laundry list of downside problems.  There is a lesson here.

No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.
-Sun Tzu

Your opponents know their strategies and tactics.  They’ve been doing it for a lot longer than you have.  Centuries.  When I listened to the delusional pronouncements of “occupiers” on how they were overthrowing “capitalism” and building a new society from the ground up, already it was obvious that it was over before it had begun.  The revolution would not be televised, and this revolution would not even metastasize.

By what chain of cause and effect was camping in the city park going to overthrow anything whatsoever?  Clearly, this was a public-relations stunt, and nothing more.  It would come and go like any other minor event.

Why the name Occupy?

Websters says, “to take or hold possession or control of,therefore to occupy is a militant endeavor.  Armies occupy.  The US military and NATO occupy Afghanistan and other foreign lands.

The Occupy Movement – from its inception – intended to take public spaces and hold them.  It is in the DNA of the movement.  It was born from aggression and a belligerent posture, the mindset of an invading army.   What these occupiers intended to do once they seized the spaces is less clear – even today.

Sun Tzu tells of the key components, which determine the success of any campaign.  These include:

“The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.”
Sun Tzu

Sing it now.  “One, two, three, what are we fightin’ for?”

The Occupy Movement made some initial assumptions that never did pan out and strike gold.  Firstly, that it would be a leaderless movement, with equal time given to every lunatic street vagrant who showed up.  Secondly, that the rest of the population, the proverbial “99%,” was automatically on their side, because they said so.  It wasn’t.  Thirdly, that electoral politics was history and no longer mattered.  It does.

How did the general population respond to the movement’s strategy of seizing parks, to the idea of “occupation” itself?

We know that in the case of Zuccotti Park, in New York City, the main legal complaint brought against the encampment was that they had taken the space to the exclusion of everyone else, and for an undefined amount of time.  Some citizens were arguably denied use of the public space as a result of this occupation.  Frisbee games may have been cancelled.  This legal maneuver led to the November 2011 raid and eviction of the encampment.

Was this a violation of the First Amendment?  The right to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances?  Quite possibly so.  Perhaps this section of the Bill of Rights has been erased now, but do self-styled “anarchists” care about concepts like the Constitution in the first place?   Do they accept the legitimacy of government in any form?  This ties into the third assumption listed above: electoral politics matters.  Who is in charge matters.  The judges who are appointed to hear these cases also matter.

It was never apparent at occupations that the protesters were petitioning the government for a redress of grievances.  So what were they doing?  Open question.

The website/magazine  “Adbusters”  is credited with originally launching their movement, to some degree.   From this opaque organization some anonymous person described the downfall of Zuccotti Park:

 We wanted a Tahrir moment, an American Spring, a new vision of the future, and they attacked us in Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011 in the dead of the night with military precision.

Ignoring the absolute mess that is Egypt today, how is Zuccotti Park in any way analogous to Tahrir Square?  The square was a short march to the presidential palace in the center of Cairo.  The marchers had a single consistent demand: to overthrow Mubarak.  They disgraced him and overthrew him when the shifting alliances of the military and security apparatus found that they could maintain control without the old corrupt bastard.

There is nothing in the Occupy encampment of Zuccotti Park that could even be close to analogous to the Egyptian situation.  They were not even in the capital city, nor even voicing opposition to Barack Obama!  The parameters of their protest were so varied and so distant from the Egyptian uprising that the two can scarcely be compared to one another.

FJziSImage by OccupyWallSt

Occupy seemed to occupy for the sake of occupying.  Some occupiers argued that they were building a new society at the camps, a new way of organizing mankind, without capitalism.  They said this with a straight face, so we should believe they meant it.  They were certainly not building a viable political party to replace the people in charge.

The Occupy Movement first caught my attention when they promised a new congressional convention in Washington DC, scheduled for July 4th of 2012, if the Wall Street serial rapists weren’t dealt with by then.  They were going to challenge the integrity of the federal government with representatives from every congressional district, etc.  That seemed like a clear and reasonable enough demand to take them seriously, at the time.  Not soon after, this proposal disintegrated and was mostly forgotten about.  The trials and tribulations of police incursions took center stage.  The camps were swept away by Obama’s black shirts, but by then these tent cities were just hanging on for the sake of hanging on.  Nothing was happening, politically, except that the embarrassments needed to be hosed out of sight before election time.   When July 4th finally did roll around, it was a barely noticed anti-climax.  A few hundred showed up, perhaps a few thousand.  It was officially over.  The “occupy movement” had failed.

Never Achieved Legitimacy

Claiming you represent 99% of the people is not the same as actually representing the people.  This was a fundamental disconnect, born of utopian fantasies.  It was easy to remain skeptical of such bold claims that lacked evidence, that lacked gravitas.

How does one gain legitimacy in a democracy?  One gets millions of people to vote for them and wins the election.   Similarly, in parliamentary systems, one gets votes for one’s party to establish some proportional representation in the government.  The entire population is permitted to participate, and vote fraud is discouraged and policed.

While the Occupy Movement claimed to have true democracy as their guiding principle, the notion that their own version of democracy was limited to the people present at the assembly, to the exclusion of the rest of the nation, doesn’t seemed to have registered.  By eschewing electoral politics, they in fact disregarded an important democratic principle and ignored the overwhelming majority of the nation.  Less than one percent of the American people participated in these occupations, rendering their “true” democracy to just a hollow exercise of their own little 1%.

Love him or hate him, Obama took in nearly 60 million votes in the 2012 race.  The Occupy candidate received – zero.  There was no Occupy candidate.  Not in that race, not in any race.  The Occupy Movement rejected the one avenue for achieving power in the United States legitimately, and that is by convincing a majority to elect them into office.  There has yet to be a dog catcher elected from the Occupy Party.  So why should anyone take them or their politics seriously?

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
-Sun Tzu

Occupy, to me, was always devoid of coherence.   By rejecting electoral politics, the end result was preordained.  They would change nothing.  They would be given the big black boot eventually, one way or another.  After months of lingering, they wore out their welcomes.   Perhaps this movement did more harm than good.  Protest is now criminalized, and police departments across the nation have been militarized and emboldened into discarding Constitutional Amendments at will.   The incoherence of the Occupiers served to denigrate and even delegitimize real critical opposition to the crimes of the government and its corporate overlords.  That’s because Occupy never had anything to offer the general population except camping in parks with signs, a publicity stunt that went on far too long.

Lessons for the future include changing strategy.  For starters: reform over revolution.  I’ve confronted some anarchists on their grand visions of smashing the state, as if that would be a positive thing and beyond debate.  Suffice to say, they don’t have the numbers, and they never will.  Most Occupiers were not of the destroy-all-government variety and wanted to maintain a fair system of checks and balances.  It is these reformers who need to step up and take it forward into the electoral arena.

The left parties of the United States are fragmented, underfunded and even in pointless competition with one-another.  Some of their disputes concern the reform v. revolution question.  Reformers need to step up and join forces to combine existing third party structures into one umbrella party.  One.  The left can at least act in solidarity with itself if it ever hopes to convince middle of the road people that they are serious and offer a viable alternative.

Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
Sun Tzu

The left can make a difference, and can even achieve power locally, where the real opportunities lie.  There have been too many showpiece presidential campaigns destined to score below 1% of the total.  Establish legitimacy town by town, state by state.  Until the masses have actually come to accept that you exist, you have no business hoping to win their votes.  It takes more than ideas.  It takes more than words.  It takes a lot more to play this game than a Facebook page.

The New Left Party, whatever its name, can employ some of the lessons of the failed Occupy Movement, and show up for a massive jubilee celebration – right back in those parks, to the delight of bored news reporters everywhere.  They might even face off against the tear gas cannons.  And then go home.  The point isn’t to “occupy,” but to make a splash across the world’s news cycles.

Then you do it again, another day, another occasion, another voter registration drive and house canvassing organizing session.  Real politics, on the ground, in the communities, and back into those parks to reclaim the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.  Then go home.  Repeat as needed.

Therefore the skillful leader subdues the enemy’s troops without any fighting; he captures their cities without laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom without lengthy operations in the field. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph will be complete.  This is the method of attacking by stratagem.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

* “In that spirit, we welcome journalists, activists, educators and others to make free use of all original content authored by OccupyWallSt.org. As thanks, we ask only that you provide a link back to this site.”