Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Anarchist and Christian, But Neither Left nor Right


Anarchy, Faith, and Tradition: A Review of Wayne John Sturgeon’s Albion Awake
The book is presently available at Amazon.Com
By Keith Preston

Decades ago, I became interested in the classical anarchist tradition rooted as it is in the works of such thinkers as Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, and Peter Kropotkin. The message of anarchism was powerful one, and even then I realized that the anarchists had not made their final stand in such places as Kronstadt and Barcelona. Instead, the philosophy of anarchism offered a glimpse into the future, perhaps the far distant future. However, from the earliest days of my exposure to anarchism, I realized that the state of the “movement” as it was and is in late modernity is hardly up to the task of challenging capitalism and the state. I instinctively understood that an ultimately successful anarchism would have to make its peace with the cultures, traditions, faiths, and folkways of ordinary people, rather than positioning itself as an enemy of all that common folk hold to be sacred. I likewise realized that such a daunting task would be a long time in the making.
Yet it would appear that such a moment has arrived in the form of Wayne John Sturgeon’s Albion Awake, published in 2014 by Black Front Press. Sturgeon is a veteran of the English left-wing anarchist scene, a Christian convert, and a proponent of a decentralized, libertarian folkish patriotism that is reminiscent of earlier thinkers ranging from Gustav Landauer to Johann Gottfried Herder, both of whom he claims as influences. Sturgeon’s knowledge of various libertarian, anarchist, and decentralist traditions is voluminous. He possesses an equally encyclopedic knowledge of the many variations of “third way” philosophies that propose an alternative to both state-capitalism and state-socialism, ranging from social credit to the Catholic Worker movement to guild socialism to anarcho-syndicalism.

To top it all off, Wayne John Sturgeon is also quite erudite in the many traditions of radical Christianity. He describes his own faith outlook as “Orthodox but not eastern, Catholic but not papal, and Anglican but not protestant.” Sturgeon’s Christian perspective is neither the shallow ecumenicalism of contemporary established churches nor the reactionary fundamentalism common in American evangelical circles or the right-wing authoritarianism found in some Catholic traditionalist camps. Instead, Sturgeon embraces a faith outlook that manages to be radical, traditional, progressive, and libertarian all at once.

Albion Awake is a profoundly nuanced work. Sturgeon provides a comprehensive discussion of a wide range of topics in this collection of eighteen essays. Among the subjects he touches on are British mythology, integralism, folk radicalism, free markets, statism, Gnosticism, counter-economics, national-anarchism, futurism, William Blake, and metaphysics. The figures cited in this work are as diverse as Proudhon, Tolkien, Tolstoy, Dorothy Day, C.S. Lewis, William Morris, George Orwell, Richard Hunt, and the Sex Pistols. Many luminaries from the worlds of anarchist and libertarian thought are referenced, as are those from various Christian traditions and folkish philosophies. Every page of this book contains fascinating nuggets of information.
As eclectic as Sturgeon’s outlook and analysis are, he does not hesitate to criticize the excesses of various political currents. He has no time for crude racism, fascism, neo-nazism or the left’s counterparts to these such as Stalinism, Maoism, or the “cultural Marxism” of present day Western leftists. He criticizes the global imperial pretensions of the New World Order while rejecting various camps that call for a counter-imperialism of their own. Among the various descriptions Sturgeon offers to characterize his own outlook are such balanced pronouncements as patriotist but not nationalist, socialist but not Marxist, libertarian but not capitalist, non-violent but not pacifist, and liberal but not politically correct. The book’s chapters explore many unusual byways of political theory, history, economics, and religion. A discussion of Murray Bookchin will appear on one page, of Murray Rothbard on another page, of national-syndicalism another page, and on still other pages Martin Heidegger, W.B. Yeats, or John Milton.

One of the key points that Albion Awake insists upon is the archaic nature of the left/right model of the political spectrum. Sturgeon recognizes that libertarians, decentralists, and anarchists, whatever the many differences among them, are properly situated on end of the spectrum, with fascists, communists, state-socialists and reactionary nationalists on the other end, and the liberal capitalist center situated in the middle. He also has no time for self-proclaimed “anarchists” who nevertheless engage in wantonly destructive violence or champion Marxist-inspired repression. Indeed, Sturgeon’s work provides a blueprint for what genuinely radical populist movements organized in opposition to the neo-liberalism and totalitarian humanism of the establishment might look like.

Sturgeon’s thought is representative of what a mature anarchism might be. In recent decades, various European nations have witnessed the socialist and labor parties becoming completely absorbed by neo-liberalism. Meanwhile, frustrations with mass immigration, political correctness, and a loss of national sovereignty to the bureaucratic expanse of the European Union have triggered the rise of various populist-nationalist parties. Yet these parties typically offer virtually nothing other than a return to the status quo as it was before the 1990s. In place of such a mundane program, Sturgeon offers a revolutionary outlook that is authentically far sighted yet is not the sort of thing one might feel they have to hide in a brown paper bag. This is not a radicalism of smashed windows and inane slogans, or outmoded Marxist clichés, politically correct self-parody, flag-burning, and FEMEN. This is a radicalism that one may introduce to a wide cross section of one’s peer from all walks of life.
Wayne John Sturgeon’s amazing ability to synthesize left, right, anti-capitalist, decentralist, ecological and libertarian ideals in a way that is appreciative of traditional culture, ethnicity, faith, community, and family is a much needed addition to the anarchist canon. Contemporary anarchism has spent much of its energy attempting to appeal to the most extreme elements of the left or the most marginal subcultures. Somewhere along the way the question of “What about most people?” seemingly got lost. When the day finally comes that a political realignment takes place bringing the decentralist forces into alliance against totalitarians everywhere, it is not unlikely that the work and thought of Wayne John Sturgeon will have made a significant contribution to such a turn of events.

Taking the ATS/NATA Philosophy and Strategy to the Next Level: Building the Pan-Secessionist Meta-Party

By Keith Preston

In the essay, “Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement for North America,” written in 2006, I made the following observation:
Ultimately, we may at some point be able to combine the Green, Libertarian, Populist, Constitution, Natural Law and other minor parties into a single party,… I would suggest calling such a party the “Federalist Party” for several reasons. First, there is precedent for this from American history. Second, it accurately describes what the internal structure of the party should be. Third, it provides a model for the general types of institutional arrangements we should seek to develop. Perhaps our party flag could be an anarchist black flag with the snake from the “don’t tread on me” Gadsen battle flag embroidered on it.
It is now time to begin the application of the core strategic ideas outlined in such ARV-ATS documents and “Liberty and Populism” and “Philosophical Anarchism and the Death of Empire.”

Since the above was written, at least two proposals have been put forward concerning how the type of meta-party described above might be organized and what it’s orientation might be. The most elaborate plan of this kind has been advanced by Ryan Faulk’s All Nations Party. The ANP is a proposed pan-secessionist party that would have ethnic separatism as its primary, though not necessarily exclusive, orientation. Another such proposal is Joe Kopsick’s Pananarchist Party USA, which seeks to advance the concept of non-territorial governments within a general individualist anarchist framework. While both proposals are a commendable efforts to open dialogue and engage in strategic formulation on this question, in both instances there might also be a bit of overreach.
Twenty-five percent of the US population currently expresses at least casual sympathy for the idea of a secessionist movement in their own region or locality. The principle objective for those of us who have embraced the pan-secessionist strategy should at this point be the awakening of this sleeping giant. The question is how to we turn this mass of 80 million passive sympathizers into a mass of active sympathizers? The first thing that should be recognized is that most of these 80 million potential constituents are not adherents of extremist or exotic ideologies. Instead, the bulk of the opinions held by these people are likely to be rather close to the mainstream on most issues.

There is no evidence that there is a sizable constituency for ethnic separatism within any ethnic group. To be sure, there is a tiny but outspoken minority of people within all ethnic groups who advocate for ethnic separatism, but the sum total of all ethnic separatists within all ethnic groups would still be a tiny fraction of the 320 million people who make up the US population. It is also true that there are many people who practice de facto ethnic separatism, but this largely reflects the economic and lifestyle choices of individuals, and is a far cry from advocating de jour ethnic separatism as a matter of ideology or moral conviction. While it is certainly true that ethnic separatists can also be pan-secessionists, it is unlikely that a pan-secessionist meta-party (PSMP) that advances ethnic separatism as a primary value will win a great deal of sympathy.
Likewise, it is unlikely that a PSMP that is primarily oriented towards the promotion of an esoteric or exotic ideology will gain much of an audience. While there are certainly plenty of historical precedents for such concepts as non-territorial governments, such ideas are also culturally alien to the overwhelming majority of persons in North America. Therefore, it would be unwise to adopt an ideological stance of this kind as principal strategic objective.

However, the concept of secession maintains very powerful roots within mainstream American history, culture, and politics for reasons that are too obvious to require discussion. Further, secession is a tactical concept that can be embraced by movements of any ideological, cultural, ethnic, religious, or economic orientation. How then should a PSMP organize itself?
The All Nations Party idea of a PSMP that functions as a umbrella for a set of constituent parties and regional or local secessionist movements that have their own interests is generally a solid one. However, I would suggest that at the meta-party level the PSMP should have only two stated objectives:

1. Promoting, advocating, legitimizing, and legalizing the right of secession by regions and localities from larger governmental units.

2. Promoting, advocating, legitimizing, and legalizing the right of minor parties to participate in public elections against the present two-party duopoly.
From this basic starting point, the constituent parties and secessionist movements associated with the PSMP would have every right to advocate for whatever philosophies or issues they wished. For example, the PSMP would have no position on foreign policy. If a collection of red state secessionists wished for the red states to go to war with ISIS, then so be it. The PSMP would have no position on economics. Presumably, for example, there would be both advocates of socialism and capitalism within the PSMP. The PSMP would exist only for the purpose of defending the rights of constituent groups to form their own parties or secessionist movements advocating for any ideas that they wished, and to strip away political and legal barriers to both competition in public elections by minor parties and secession by regionalist movements. This is does not in any way mean that any constituent party, organization, or movement of the PSMP would abandon or even downplay any of its other issues. It simply means that the PSMP would provide an organizational umbrella for the advancement of the interests of all minor parties and secessionist movements at the collective level. Within the framework of the PSMP, socialists would still advocate for single-payer healthcare, libertarians for tax cuts, social conservatives for the pro-life cause, and social leftists for LGBT issues. The PSMP would no doubt include many constituencies who were otherwise antithetical to each other, such as the Prohibition Party and the U.S. Marijuana Party.

In this sense, it must be understood that the PSMP would maintain both macro-level constituencies and micro-level constituencies. At the macro-level, the PSMP would have only two constituencies: the 25% and growing number of Americans who sympathize with the idea of secession, and those who prefer alternatives to the two-party duopoly. At the macro-level, the PSMP would exist only to promote the two issues of third party rights and secessionist rights, and these issues would be promoted in the same way that proponents of marijuana legalization, gay marriage, gun rights, gun control, the right-to-life or abortion rights have promoted their own issues. At the micro-level, the PSMP would have many constituencies, i.e. the constituencies of its component parties, organizations, movements, and the issues raised by each of these. Obviously, the opportunity would arise within such a scenario for a infinite variety of conflicts between the various constituents of the PSMP, and such conflicts are to be expected. Therefore, mutual agreements among the PSMP constituents would have to be formulated in order to maintain the common peace to the greatest degree reasonably possible. The most practical approach would be for the various constituent forces to simply agree to stay out of each other’s backyards. For example, the constituents forces that trended rightward would agree to focus their organizing and recruiting activities on the “red” demographic sectors of the US, and the forces that trended leftward would agree orient themselves towards organizing among the “blue” sectors.

At the national level, the presidential candidates of the PSMP would run solely on the two core principles of the PSMP: advocating for the rights of third parties, and the rights of secessionists. Preferably, the presidential ticket would be split between the Left and Right. For example, the presidential candidate might be from the Socialist Party or the Green Party, while the vice-presidential candidate would be from the Libertarian or Constitution Parties. Further, the Left/Right split ticket should be reversed every four years. For example, in the 2016 election the presidential candidate might be from the Left with the vice-presidential candidate might be from the Right. In 2020, the presidential candidate would then be from the Right while the vice-presidential candidate would be from the Left.

All other candidates of the PSMP would run on joint tickets of both the PSMP and their respective constituent parties. For example, the candidate for the governorship of Massachusetts might run on the tickets both the PSMP and the Socialist Action Party, and a comparable candidate in Texas might run on the tickets of both the PSMP and the Objectivist Party. Once again, in order to avoid overlap, rival constituent parties and organizations would mutually agree to stay out of each others backyards. Additionally, the candidates from minor parties and secessionist movements might also be combined at times. For example, a candidate in Georgia might stand simultaneously for the PSMP, Constitution Party and the League of the South, while a candidate in Oregon might stand for the PSMP, Green Party and Cascadia.

An approach of the kind that has been outlined above would serve multiple purposes. One would be to simply awaken the sleeping giant of potential secessionist sympathies among one-quarter of the U.S. population, and to challenge the Democratic-Republican two-party duopoly. Yet another would be to create a forum where many different kinds of people with otherwise opposed philosophies would be able to work with one another against the common enemy. A third would be to create a prototype for the kind of system that might exist following the inevitable demise of the present system, a decentralized system based on the principal of self-determination for all.

Of course, the emergence of a PSMP of the kind described above would also receive a great deal of criticism from a variety of sources. The critics would include ideologues and sectarians of both the left and right, the professional anti-rightist cottage industry, anti-leftists of a comparable nature, avowed statists and totalitarians, neoconservatives, jingoists, the party hacks of the system’s parties, their kept media, and, of course, the overlords of the system themselves. So be it. Revolutionaries without enemies are not revolutionaries at all.
Of course, some from the general anarchist milieus will object that party politics is antithetical to the wider anarchist values of rejection of the state. I previously address this question in “Liberty and Populism,”:
Some anarchists will no doubt object that my approach reeks far too much of a reformist/electoralist outlook. While I certainly respect this point of view, I believe it is unnecessarily sectarian and archaic. The classical anarchists often advocated boycotting elections and for good reason. In most of the countries where the classical anarchist movement existed on a scale of any significance, the “right to vote” was either non-existent or the franchise was very limited. Even in nominal democracies like Switzerland and America, women and other large population groups were denied the vote. Even at that, many Spanish villages elected anarchist mayors and village councils in the years leading up to the civil war. I believe modern anarchists need to develop an approach to this question that is relevant to the nature of modern states and modern societies. The approach I favor is one of cold realism and pragmatism. It is indeed possible for ordinary people with conventional levels of resources to be elected to local and state offices in many parts of the US. Persons who achieve some level of success in this area are then in a position to influence appointments to other positions of influence. This can be very important as a means of keeping the worst elements away from seats of power.
It should also be pointed out that the PSMP would be merely a means to an end, and not an end unto itself. It would merely be a vehicle for promoting and popularizing a wider subversive agenda. Further, it would create a framework that would allow anarchists to reach out to and connect with people from all over the cultural and political spectrum, and experience the opportunity to work with a vast array of dissidents as equal partners towards common goals. Anarchists would would have the opportunity to embed themselves in the PSMP for the purpose of pursuing a more radical line and the advancement of more extraneous issues that are among the unique concerns of anarchists. Just as the myriad of constituent parties and movements of the PSMP would maintain their own objectives, and pursue those objectives within other contexts, so would anarchists do the same. Specifically, anarchists might concentrate their own efforts on local politics, and strive for the achievement of political preeminence in an increasingly greater number of cities, towns, and counties. Two, three, many Christianias, Marinaledas, Mondragons, and Kobanis could begin to proliferate. Meanwhile, the prototypes of South Africa’s conservative Orania community and Liechtenstein’s libertarian monarchical micro-nation  provide models of how Anarchists and the Left might peacefully co-exist with the Right. Further, there might be a parallel pan-anarchist federation that co-exists with the PSMP, and functions as a base of activists and organizers for the PSMP. The relationship between the pan-anarchist federation and the PSMP would be comparable to the relationship between the FAI, the CNT, and the Anti-Fascist militias during the period of Revolutionary Spain.
The general demographic and electoral base of the PSMP would be that which has previously been outlined in “Liberty and Populism,” though periodically modified in order to adapt to changing trends. The PSMP would then emerge as a populist alternative political force perhaps comparable to Italy’s Five Star Movement, or the recently formed coalition in Greece between Syriza and the Independent Greeks. There is also the further possibility of the PSMP embedding itself in the major parties on the ground level. For example, Norman Mailer’s secessionist “left-conservative” Democratic candidacy for mayor of New York in 1969 is one example, and Larry Kilgore’s secessionist conservative Christian Republican candidacy for Senator from Texas in 2008 is another example.

The PSMP and the Pan-Anarchist Movement
Within the context of the PSMP, the pan-anarchist movement would then work to advance its wider body of strategic and political ideas such as core demographic theory, fourth generation warfare, libertarian populism, inside/outside strategy, left/right/center tripartite strategy, alternative infrastructure, cultural organizations that would replace the state’s social infrastructure, the 25 point platform, building coalitions of anti-state interest groups, a peoples’ economic front, legal defense organizations, civilian defense organizations,expanded cop watch and neighborhood watch programs, tax protests, civil disobedience campaigns, Kevin Carson’s “political program for anarchists,” Larry Gambone’s “populist groundswell” and decentralist economics, a coalition against consensual crimes, a prisoner amnesty movement, a libertarian common law system, a Norwegian approach to criminology, a Swedish or Swiss approach to foreign policy, the city-state system, and much else.

Once again, none of this meta-political or meta-strategic program implies that any of the myriad of anarchist, libertarian, anti-statist, anti-authoritarian, or decentralist factions would abandon their preferred issues. As I wrote in “Philosophical Anarchism and the Death of Empire” concerning the concept of “anarcho-populism”:
Hence, what I am proposing is a new strategic paradigm and, to a certain extent, a new school of anarchist thought that I call “anarcho-populism”. This new brand of anarchism would draw on the other schools in various ways. The classical anarchism originally developed by Proudhon would be its foundation. Like anarcho-socialism, anarcho-populism would be anti-capitalist and pro-class struggle. Like anarcho-capitalism, anarcho-populism would endorse property, markets and the independent sector as an antidote to statism, corporatism and welfarism. Along with leftist-anarchists, this new anarchist tendency would support political freedom and cultural self-determination for racial minorities, women, gays and the like but would not seek to mindlessly glorify or privilege these groups or demonize white males. Along with primitivists and eco-anarchists, anarcho-populism would seek to preserve the natural environment, but without the misanthropy and anti-tech hysteria of much modern environmentalism. Like national-anarchists, anarcho-populism would endorse the right of traditional racial, ethnic, religious or cultural groups to self-preservation and political sovereignty and cross-cultural, cross-ideological alliances against the NWO, but would seek to branch out into “mainstream” society rather than seek out reclusive isolation from the modern world.
Presumably, every libertarian faction would continue to focus on its primary areas of concern, from sovereign citizens to anarcha-feminists, and every faction could maintain its own sub-organizational identities within the context of the pan-anarchist federation as well. However, organizing and advancing the PSMP might serve as a common project and rallying point for all libertarian factions.

The main thing that is needed as this point is action. It is necessary for activists to step forward and being applying the ideas that have been outined above. How did other movements that have achieved a great deal of success, or at least size and recognition, begin? How did the marijuana legalization movement being? The gay marriage movement? The Tea Parties? The anti-Vietnam War movement? The civil rights movement? The religious right? The modern American conservative movement? Surely, there are things that can be learned from each of these.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Anti-Zionist Jews protest outside AIPAC

 NATA-NY has stood with Neturei Karta against Zionism on many occasions including this years AIPAC conference-NATA-NY

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some anti-Zionist Jews have attracted attention outside the pro-Israeli convention in Washington where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke. The handful of protesters from the group Neturei (neh-TOO’-ray) Karta carried signs denouncing the Israeli leader’s U.S. visit. They also chanted slogans denying the Jewish state’s right to exist.
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss (yees-ROH’-el DOH’-vid WYS) said the Torah offers no support for the existence of modern Israel. His group maintains that the Jewish state occupies Palestinian land, fueling anti-Semitism.
Attendees entering the convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, engaged in spirited arguments with the anti-Zionist Jews.

(Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, anti-Zionist protester, outside convention of American Israel Public Affairs Committee)-“Torah for Jews”-Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, an anti-Zionist protester, says there’s no religious justification for the modern state of Israel. (2 Mar 2015)
 "Torah for Jews"
(Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, anti-Zionist protester, outside convention of American Israel Public Affairs Committee)-“peace and harmony”-Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, an anti-Zionist protester, says the modern state of Israel should not exit.
 "peace and harmony"
(Anti-Zionist protesters, outside convention of American Israel Public Affairs Committee)–Sound of anti-Zionist protesters, chanting outside convention of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. (2 Mar 2015)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Anarchists vs. ISIS: The Revolution in Syria Nobody’s Talking About

 Via; Cult Nation
 by February 6, 2015
 Photos: Erin Trieb

The Middle East today is the last place anyone in mainstream western thought would think to look for progressive political thought, and even less to see those thoughts translated into action. Our image of the region is one of dictatorships, military juntas and theocracies built on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, or hollow states like Afghanistan, and increasingly Pakistan, where anything outside the capitol is like Mad Max. The idea of part of the region being not just free, but well on its way to utopian, isn't one that you're going to find on mainstream media.

But you're not on the mainstream media right now, are you?
Along Syria's borders with Turkey and Northern Iraq, lies a mainly Kurdish area with a population of 4.6 million where a huge social experiment is taking place at the centre of a crossfire between Syria's dictatorship, ISIS's collective insanity and Turkey's ongoing hostility towards the idea of Kurdish autonomy, with the US and NATO looming large in the background. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC) established in the region of Rojava a society that mixes fierce libertarianism (guns are everywhere and there are no taxes – none) and Occupy-friendly anarchist thought with a healthy dose of feminism. While most Kurdish groups, especially those the US is friendly with, would some day like to establish a Kurdish state, in Rojava they have leap-frogged over the idea of the nation state into a more advanced system that they call Democratic Confederalism.

In the cantons of Rojava, there is a small central government with an absolute minimum of 40% female delegates, but most of the day-to-day work of running society happens at a local level, street by street and village by village. Democratic Confederalism's chief architect, Abdullah Ocalan, says that “Ecology and feminism are central pillars” of the system he has spearheaded, something that you would have to go very far to the margins to hear from Western politicians. In Rojava, men who beat their wives face total ostracism from the community, making their lives in a highly social, connected society virtually impossible. Instead of a police force and jails, 'peace committees' in each municipality work to defuse the cycles of inter-family revenge killings by consensual agreements between both sides – and it works.

The only part of Rojava's experiment that has received any international attention has been the YPJ, the female-only paramilitary forces that have been fighting, and winning, against ISIS and the Syrian Army. NBC, the Guardian and even Marie Claire have all covered the YPJ's bravery without even paying lip service to the ideology that makes it possible.

It was the YPJ, along with their male counterparts the YPG, that rescued the thousands of Yazidis stranded and encircled by ISIS on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidi community had the misfortune to be based almost entirely inside the area that ISIS has claimed – and they have been a hated minority in the Islamic world for a thousand years, accused of 'devil worship'. While the US dropped supplies from above, the Syrian fighting groups broke ISIS's lines and saved tens of thousands of lives. They also successfully defended the city of Kobani when ISIS launched an all-out assault on the city of forty-five thousand with tanks, missiles and even drones. Despite heavy losses, the city remains ISIS-free, though its surrounding villages are still contested.
The YPJ/G and the the Democratic Society Movement that they fight for aren't perfect: they have been accused of using child soldiers (girls as young as twelve serve as cooks and cleaners for the YPJ and undergo some basic combat training, though they aren't deployed in combat) and they are forever tainted by their association with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), led by Abdullah Ocalan and classified as a terrorist organization by most nations. The formerly Marxist-Leninist party also has some murky connections to the drug trade and Turkish intelligence.

Despite all the obstacles facing them, the people of Rojava are, right now, the only large-scale movement on the entire planet implementing a real, working alternative to the state and capitalism. Like the Spanish anarchist federations and the Mexican Zapatistas before them, the people of Rojava have chosen to do the impossible: to create a new society while fighting as one of the smallest forces in a regional war, a tight-rope walk through a dodge-ball court. Only time will tell if they can pull it off.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Libertarian Welfare Queens

By MK Lords

Lately, I’ve been getting tired of the same old scams coming from the same old people in the libertarian “movement”. Many OG libertarians I’ve spoken with agree, so I thought I’d compile a list of popular but parasitic libertarians. It turns out libertarians and ancaps are some of the worst capitalists ever. Despite raging against tax payer supported “welfare queens” there seems to be quite a lot of libertarians fighting for the ever depleting capital flowing from the chapped teat that holds the earnings of fellow libertarians.
Libertarians employ a variety of tactics to spread their message, but a tactic I must disagree with is begging for money from people in your movement for stunts that are utopian at best and ineffective or dangerous at worst.

Libertarians also have an aversion to critiquing fellow libertarians because of the small scope and influence the philosophy currently has and because many of them feel it would harm the movement. Any movement worth its salt can stand criticism of its members, and if it can’t then it’s not worth being a part of to begin with.
I’ve been distancing myself from the label libertarian for some time now because I hate echo chambers and increasingly felt being pulled into one. My news feed has slowly but surely become filled with the same slogans, the same news stories, the same solutions, the same begging, even the same fake names! Criticism is shot down with paranoid accusations of concern trolling or even of being a Fed. Yawn. Dissidence is not allowed and any half-assed attempt at activism by a “celebritarian” is venerated as groundbreaking. Thousands of dollars get thrown at “activists” who have disappeared other thousands with little explanation. Critiques of thought leaders are brushed away with the weak argument, “But such and such did sooooo much for liberty in the past!!!” as if it matters.

Redirecting capital to effective, peaceful, free market solutions could do wonders for human progress and I support a diversity of tactics approach to solving social problems. That doesn’t mean I believe all tactics are equally effective. It’s important to ask hard questions of charismatic leaders and press even harder when they evade. Living off of the charity of people in your own movement while arguing for capitalism seems oxymoronic especially when you keep ignoring market responses to your work.

I am not a part of the “liberty movement” though people still try to get me to add it to my work description on the Facebook. Do I promote the ideas of liberty? Sure–I’ve done several podcasts and am even a co-host on a libertarian themed radio show. But it’s because I want liberty for myself; I have no illusions about achieving freedom for mankind and sacrificing myself for the greater cause of liberty to the point of financial hardship. News flash: you can be an activist and have a job. And you can even be an effective full time activist. I like the idea of free markets but ultimately I’m an individualist anarchist if you must label it. The religiosity of some libertarians is off-putting. They criticize nonbelievers for being “brainwashed sheep” as they parrot the words of their own deities who unfortunately range from the scholarly to the deranged. They also cry a lot about not having the capital of other movements as if it’s a mystery where it’s going.
Sorry, but you guys wasted it on libertarian welfare queens.

A libertarian welfare queen is a prominent libertarian who lives off the donations of other libertarians but produces content that is factually incorrect, manipulative, embarrassing, threatening, and oftentimes ineffective or counterproductive. They are the leeches who are somehow able to keep raising money despite questionable practices in their activism and whose serious ethical breaches are ignored or forgiven despite no attempt at restitution. The people named here are not the only ones in libertarianism I consider counterproductive, either.

But enough bitching, I’m gonna name a few libertarian welfare queens because I am so tired of this particular problem robbing well intentioned people who have jobs of their well-earned money. It’s also important to be able to laugh at the strange humans that try to lead you when you’re more than capable of leading yourself. I generally like libertarians, but there are a few bad apples, and I want to let others know so they don’t support jobless swindlers. Libertarian Welfare Queenism is a problem, but the solution is simple and voluntary.
(In no particular order)

First up is His Holiness Stefan Molyneux.
h/t Bitcoin Not Bombs comrade Davi Barker for this gem
h/t Bitcoin Not Bombs comrade Davi Barker for this gem

Known as Holy Moly by his detractors, this guy makes his money off of repackaging old philosophy and bad touching donor brains. I tried to like him, I really did, but he reminded me of my mother. His audience is mostly young men and women who, if true believers, have separated from their families on his advice (that is not to make light of child abuse, I do believe separation is appropriate in certain circumstances). The same advice that got his actual therapist wife fined and threatened with suspension. He also creeps on her clients which I’m pretty sure by any standard is a violation of privacy. Molyneux bullies listeners in precarious financial situations to send him money. And when I say bully, I mean he berates broke college kids over $1 donations. Like all good authoritarian figures, he’s blatantly hypocritical in applying his own philosophy. He caused some ruckus lately when he filed a DMCA take down claim on a critic despite claiming to be virulently anti-IP for years. His older videos provide simple, easily accessible arguments for anarcho-capitalism but his recent ones are riddled with misogyny and cop apologia. And I’m not one to throw the term misogyny around irresponsibly, but he likes to call women “estrogen based parasites” which is ironic given that his wife is the one with a real job and his living is subsidized by young people in an unstable economy.
He also uses classic manipulation techniques to lure listeners in such as immediately asking about their childhoods. This approach builds a façade of false trust and closeness. It’s disturbing to say the least and I’m genuinely pissed he does it to people I care about. This is in between bizarre outbursts about black kids who dare to smoke blunts and other black kids that have miraculously figured out how to make “lean” from tea and skittles. Who knew Trayvon was an alchemist?! Even worse is his belief that he is singlehandedly saving the world (“I am the ring of fire protecting the fragile tree of virtue” is an exact quote). His followers appear to be much smarter than him and it’s unfortunate he’s such an arse because I can agree that peaceful parenting is a great thing.
Also, despite complaints of donation decreases and claims his website takes “tens of thousands of dollars” to operate, dude is sitting pretty on a stack of bitcoin. Weird that the documentary he was hyping a few years ago still hasn’t been made…and no doubt his Paypal donations greatly exceed his bitcoin ones. He’s gonna need them for the lawsuit filed by his critic for shutting down her Youtube channel, so if you feel moved please find it in your heart to send him a few bits. Or you’re a thief.
The second offender would probably be proud to be called that, say hello to Christopher Cantwell.
Cantwell showing that piece of fabric who’s boss.

Cantwell can’t do much well other than bloviate on his blog and beg for donations while doing everything in his power to offend people, which would be hilarious if he were funny but his career is a bad joke. (hyuckhyuckhyuck!) He calls himself a comedian but I’m pretty sure living in your mother’s basement well into your thirties is only funny as a libertarian stereotype not a reality. I wish I was lying about that last part, but it’s entirely true. Since he moved out of his mom’s, he likes long walks in downtown Keene harassing meter maids and bragging about how cool it is to kill cops. He’d be infinitely more interesting if he followed through but he never will because he is a huge coward. I’m usually the first one to say attack the argument not the man, but he’s called better people worse things and I assume (often to my surprise) if people can dish it they can take it.

He also likes to talk about how any publicity is good publicity as a coping mechanism to his humiliating appearance on The Colbert Report and generally pathetic existence. Finally, libertarians get that juicy mainstream coverage, but *spoiler alert* it’s an ogre with atrocious gun safety practices. Oh yeah, he wields guns like a giant retarded baby. Other sources say he knows his shit IRL but he somehow managed to appear in at least two videos violating basic gun safety rules so I remain skeptical. He’s one of those sacrificial full time activists which I assume means being an internet tough guy. You mean to tell me an able bodied middle aged man with what I assume is years of job experience can’t go get a job like the productive libertarians? Ok. This 3edgy5me welfare queen also helped Adam Kokesh organize a failed armed march on Washington, D.C. because getting a bunch of your supporters massacred sounded like a good idea at the time. Cantwell is that bully in school that talks a lot of shit but acts on none of it. Honestly, I don’t even think he’s siphoned that much money off of libertarians, but he’s embarrassing enough to make the list with his bitching about how he “desperately” needs donations. Get a job, Cantwell, the market has spoken.
Last on the list is everyone’s favorite freedom fighter, Adam Kokesh.
Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

If there’s one person libertarians should stop sending any money to immediately, it’s this guy. Please, I implore you; stop sending money to him. For your own sake, for the sake of future generations, please just STAHP. Sure, the butthurt among you will say, “look at all he has done!!!1!11!!!” but the butthurt among you don’t realize homeboy is a trust fund kid. Maybe back in 2010, Kokesh had some good ideas if you ignore that he stole them from other activists. I know some of them personally, but I won’t name names because I respect them and know they don’t wish to start any trouble within libertarianism. He also has a nasty habit of not paying people who work for him which is pretty messed up considering how good he is at raising money.
Kokesh is a man notorious for raising large sums of money that disappears without a trace if not squandered on useless activism. This guy riled up a bunch of mentally unstable people to march on Washington D.C. with weapons—quite possibly the dumbest stunt I’ve ever heard of—then cancelled it. He followed it up by an even more half-baked stunt: literally standing in front of the White House and Capitol racking a shotgun. Kokesh, with thousands of dollars in film and effects equipment, chose to do that instead of using a fucking green screen and then goaded libertarians into supporting his defense team after he was unsurprisingly raided. He then bailed on a legit mutual defense agency while his close team members slandered George Donnelly’s good name despite George’s meticulous records proving shenanigans. Then, and this is rich, he blamed his buddies for the missing funds! That’s 50 grand down the memory hole, mind you. Donors whined and he got his poor girlfriend to give some half-assed explanation. Everyone promptly forgot and no lawsuit was filed. Then, as if that wasn’t enough for libertarians to at least question his judgment, he goes on a book tour to spread the good word of liberty! I can understand needing to hustle when you get out of jail, but dude got another $30,000 from people for this tour. After he and/or his team disappeared over $50,000. Re-read that last sentence until it really sinks in.

So it seems libertarians and their money are easily departed, but what stings worse is that this asshole doesn’t need their money. His father is a venture capitalist who memholed $45 million and according to confidential sources his mother bankrolls his lifestyle. If you think he doesn’t have a trust fund, you are out of your goddamned mind. I give him props for being the best ancap on this list because that’s kind of impressive that he can squeeze so much money out of broke people over and over again.

**Dishonorable mention: Ron Paul. Paul was originally on the list and I removed him because he did make his money except when he was campaigning and being a congressman. All I will say is don’t be surprised when the millions people donate to a failed political campaign are wasted on bribes. Did you really think politics was fair? Bless your heart.
Libertarian welfare queens are a drain on libertarianism and I think libertarians can do better. How can libertarian welfare queens ever hope to change the world if they can’t get past their entitled mindsets? How can libertarians ever inspire others to lead themselves if they’re still following these vermin?

Now there are still some scammers about that don’t quite make the list and activist methods I find are a waste of money even with the best of intentions, so here’s a litmus test if that money is burning a hole in your pocket. If any of the people on this list ask for money, don’t give it to them; if someone tells you there’s a Randian utopia waiting for you in Chile, don’t give them money (even if they have a team of cryptoanarchists ready to pounce); if someone says they are going to tour America spreading the good word of liberty, don’t give them money; if someone threatens to quit the “movement” because they’re not able to pay their bills as an activist, don’t give them money; if someone says they’re running for office, you know better than to give them money; if someone asks you to fund their anarcho-hippie commune, don’t give them money; if you’re a broke college kid, don’t give your money to anybody. If it sounds too good to be true it is and if it’s coming from a libertarian welfare queen it will probably be ham-fistedly executed.

Good ideas spread organically and now virally thanks to the internet, and despite a rough economy you can make money if you produce something valuable to others. There is no need to resort to older, more time consuming and expensive methods. Put your money where it matters and lead yourself. Or at the very least, do your due diligence on activists asking for money—there are some excellent projects out there by trustworthy people, but there are a lot of scammers too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Should Long Island Secede, With Brooklyn As The Capital?

There are lots of people who often joke about New York City seceding from New York State, and I admit, I’m one of them. But imagine my surprise to hear that there’s a secessionist movement for Long Island. As it turns out, Brooklyn is the capital of The Independent State of Long Island. That’s
 right, I was watching the most recent episode of “How The States Got Their Names” on History Channel. This episode focused on the various accents across the country and eventually they got to discussing the accent’s from Long Island. This led to a small segment about The Independent State of Long Island and their dream of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk succeeding into it’s own state. There’s even a pretty clever flag! Well, it got me to thinking. If Brooklyn was the capital of Long Island the 51st state then what would that mean for Sheepshead Bay?
How would things be different around here? Would we get more tax money for infrastructure? Would the port and bay get more development? Would we be a tourist destination? Without the MTA would we retain the focus for public transport to New York, or would easy access to the rest of the island become a priority?
Kinda makes you think doesn’t it? As for The Independent State of Long Island, the movement has been around since 2007. Check out the website for a whole bunch of interesting statistics, they even have a news page! As for me, I kinda wanna get that flag!!