Monthly Archives: April 2013

American National-Anarchism

“American national anarchism is pan anarchism.” – Craig FitzGerald, NATA-NY

 This essay is included in the recently released National-Anarchism: Methodology and Application, edited by Troy Southgate and available from Black Front Press.

by Jamie O’Hara and Craig FitzGerald

The connotations of the word “nation” have been so intertwined with the concept of a State that contemporary anarchists have generally rejected the term as something intrinsically oppressive. The globalization-era anarchist obsession with the eradication of all borders is well-intentioned but harmfully misdirected. Arbitrary State borders are meaningless symbols at best and justification for genocide at worst, but a world without any boundaries at all is unrealistic. Even for individuals who choose to live in communal tribes where everything is shared and privacy is limited, not everyone on earth is truly equally “welcome.” Only like-minded people are invited; this is the basis of all intentional communities and collectives. Any infinitely open invitational rhetoric is based on the arrogant assumption that people who don’t agree with the tribe’s beliefs will quickly learn and adopt them. People with different values and goals can peacefully co-exist and interact, but humans will always impose borders on their own lives. Rather than rid the world of borders, it makes more sense to re-think and re-apply them. Upon analysis, most individuals will find that they maintain many different associations, each perhaps with its own set of boundaries. These entities might include ethnic, family, trade, intellectual, artistic, fraternal or political groups, or geographic areas, including existing states. Freedom of association is a core anarchist principle, and it is up to individuals and local communities whether they identify with a larger federation and/or participate in a system of voluntary governance.
The United States of America was intended by many of its founders to be such a voluntary arrangement.

 In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson relies on the social contract theory of government to justify the secession of the colonies. He introduces the American list of grievances by speaking in very general terms about the periodic need for political revolution. [1] He asserts that “whenever any Form of Government becomes” oppressive, people should “alter or…abolish it” [emphasis added]. Jefferson recognized that the situation between the Americans and the British Crown was not a special case but merely one instance “in the course of human events” when it is “necessary for one people to dissolve…political bands…” The social contract theory holds that relations between the government and the people are voluntary, and if one party violates the terms of the agreement, it becomes null and void. In other words, as soon as the government fails to protect the rights of the people, it automatically abdicates its role.

Jefferson’s emphasis on the social contract philosophy of government rests on the premise of voluntary participation in the American union. The confederation was composed of local states, which originally self-defined as nations, and was established primarily for the purposes of foreign diplomacy and regional amity. The 1781 Articles of Confederation emphasizes that by freely associating, the states were strengthening without sacrificing their autonomy. The document immediately proclaims that “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States.” [2] The Articles of Confederation captures the raw early spirit of an American identity that emphasized freedom and self-determination.

Although much of its philosophical background is European, the Articles of Confederation was also influenced by indigenous American models of association, in particular the Iroquois confederacy. The Iroquois League of Peace and Power was a network of completely autonomous tribes. A Grand Council united the various nations, but could not regulate them or enforce anything through coercive means. As early as 1744, the Onondaga Chief Canasatego recommended that the American colonies unite through a confederation similar to that of the Iroquois League. [3] In 1751, Benjamin Franklin compared the Iroquois system to the union he was attempting to create. [4] In 1778, John Adams refers to the indigenous American [5] practice of separating branches of power. [6] Three years later, the newly-liberated states publish the Articles of Confederation, which presented a vision for a voluntary alliance that closely resembled the Iroquois League, which has clear anarchist elements. [7]

From an anarchist perspective, the historical transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution is disappointing. The primary document of the United States shifted from a treaty among sovereign locales to an incomplete governmental blueprint whose strategic ambiguity has allowed for ridiculous abuses throughout the years. The Constitution solidified coercive measures that completely contradict the American philosophy. It establishes the powers to tax, criminalizes rebellion (the foundation of the United States), codifies slavery, and reserves the “right” to suspend habeas corpus. However, this development in the direction of concentrated statism does not represent the revolutionary views of the majority of Americans. Despite centralizing changes like the creation of an executive office and a federal court system, American libertarian ideals were still reflected in the Bill of Rights. The fledgling nation, in its attempts to confederate and cooperate, was concerned with the potential for abuses of power and intently focused on the necessity to curtail federal control. The Ninth and Tenth Amendments, intended to protect individual and local sovereignty, are most reminiscent of the earlier Articles of Confederation.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the right of personal belief and free association. The five enumerated essentials—religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition—are all manifestations of individualism and nationhood. In other words, participation in the American nation secures one’s participation in many other associations—spiritual, political, artistic, regional, ethnic, etc. This is an assurance that has made the United States unique, and it depends on the full engagement of all Americans down to the most local level. To safeguard the rights of free expression and association, the establishment of grassroots community defense groups is a necessary endeavor. The Second Amendment is clear in its assertion that individual self-defense and local militias are requirements for the protection of liberty.

In 1791, the same year that the Bill of Rights was passed, Thomas Paine authored Rights of Man, which also captures the early American spirit of self-regulation over coercive statism. “The more perfect civilization is,” Paine writes: “the less occasion has it for government, because the more does it regulate its own affairs, and govern itself.” [8] In addition to the recognition that man should determine the course of his own life, Paine addresses the tendency for the State to actually harm society: “Excess of government only tends to incite…and create crimes which…had never existed.” [9] The masses’ desire for safety and security fails to justify the establishment and perpetuation of an institution that not only strips individuals of their creativity and agency, but also introduces new and unnecessary societal and international problems.

Unfortunately not all early Americans were as anarchistic as Paine, and the decision to ratify the Constitution introduced a stream of federal power abuses. However, elements of resistance persisted even within the new political framework. Despite his inconsistencies and imperfections, Jefferson continued to defend decentralism after the Constitution solidified a central State. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 illustrate this perspective. Direct responses to the Alien and Sedition Acts, the Resolutions assert the right of localities to nullify unconstitutional legislation. The documents rest heavily on the social contract theory of government — the relationship between individuals, communities, counties, states and the federal government is a voluntary one, and all parties are accountable to the mutual agreement. Jefferson attempts to clarify a common misconception about federalism to an Englishman: “With respect to our State and federal governments, I do not think their relations correctly understood by foreigners. They generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. […] The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government; neither having control over the other, but within its own department.” [10]

Jefferson’s nineteenth century letters advocate localism as a necessary aspect of voluntary confederation. He acknowledged the impossibility of monolithic governance for all of the states and saw the importance of regional autonomy: “Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government,” he wrote in 1800. [11] Jefferson recommended the division of territory into smaller and smaller jurisdictions, each level operating under self-government. In 1816, he suggests the division of “counties into wards of such size as that every citizen can attend, when called on, and act in person.” [12] Each ward should create its own autonomous social structures, institutions, and culture, and individuals should be inextricably connected to their local communities. “Making every citizen an acting member of the government, and in the offices nearest and most interesting to him, will attach him by his strongest feelings to the independence of his country, and its republican constitution.” [13] Jefferson saw a direct correlation between the citizen’s participation in national politics and his participation in the most local of social structures. The republic as a whole was a macrocosm of the local municipalities: “Each ward would thus be a small republic within itself, and every man in the State would thus become an acting member of the common government…” [14]

Voluntary, active participation in the self-regulation of a community is often complemented by similar financial models. Jefferson was a fervent opponent of centralized banking institutions and condemned the Hamiltonian plan for a national bank as unconstitutional. [15] He was not alone in his defense of freedom from economic oppression. Free market economic incentives have always been a central aspect of American history, and smuggling and tax evasion were common. Black markets were widespread because of the distance between the “new world” colonies and their “old world” masters, and the consequential difficulty of enforcing mercantilist economic policies. This fostered a culture of American economic liberty whose pragmatism paralleled its philosophical spirit. Traditional populist American economics cultivated a vibrant agora.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, one of the most important and influential anarchist thinkers, held economic theories that resembled Jeffersonian ideas and early American market styles. He suggested a system of mutualist banking and established a voluntary Bank of the People. His writings, along with those of Jefferson, Paine, and other early Americans, influenced the anarchist movement in the United States, including people like Josiah Warren, Lysander Spooner, and Benjamin Tucker.

For the American anarchists, there was complete consistency between Jeffersonian federal republicanism and the Proudhonian concept of federalism. Proudhon’s federalism was a voluntary association of equal parties, just like the original relationship among the several American states. Proudhon writes: “a confederation is not exactly a state; it is a group of sovereign and independent states, associated by a pact of mutual guarantees.” [16] This echoes the concept of governance by consent which was so important to people like Jefferson. Both philosophers eschewed centralization and emphasized the importance of local autonomy, which is the only way to ensure that the federation remains voluntary.

The American tradition of decentralization produced a “republic of republics,” or a nation of nations, with a libertarian and individualist spirit. This voluntary mode of organizing laid the groundwork for Anarchist theory and practice to develop in the United States. Pragmatic aspects of American history also overlap with anarchist tendencies. The historic assertion of squatters’ rights by early American pioneers is one such example. Frontier settlers relied on what they identified as the “ancient cultivation law” to defend their claims of adverse possession [17]. This idea is identical to Proudhon’s argument about occupancy being ownership, and it is engrained in American history, which consists of a series of groups settling in a new place and hoping to live the way they choose. American history tells countless stories of Puritans, Quakers, Hutterites, Amish, Shakers, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, and others seeking religious freedom and establishing intentional communities. These smaller, independent societies (spiritual or otherwise) represent the core of America’s original values.

Josiah Warren was intimately familiar with the process of establishing intentional communities based on values. Warren was involved with several different intentional communities, including New Harmony, Indiana; Utopia, Ohio; and Modern Times, New York. Some were more successful than others. New Harmony was actually started by Robert Owen, whose vision was much more collectivist than anarchist. As a direct result of his experience in New Harmony, Warren began to champion individual sovereignty [18]. In Utopia, Warren established a free market economy that relied on voluntary cooperation [19]. He wanted to live in a place where people could cohabit in a way that was unified but not coercive. While Utopia was still active, Warren decided to leave Ohio and purchase land in Long Island, New York. Starting from scratch (as opposed to reviving a disintegrating village as he did in Utopia), Warren sought to alleviate social problems like poverty and homelessness by facilitating efficient communal building projects [20]. In all of his tangible community enterprises, Warren conveyed a do-it-yourself anarchist initiative. He was concerned with practical tasks like working the land effectively, building homes for new residents, printing newspapers, and other concrete actions [21]. His approach is a crucial counterpart to the theoretical element of anarchism.

Warren’s practical American anarchism was not unique. Lysander Spooner, Warren’s contemporary, focused on direct action by challenging the federal government’s monopoly on postal services with an independent competitor, the American Letter Mail Company. [22] But Spooner was also an extremely intellectual anarchist. Rather than completely reject everything about the United States, Spooner used the Constitution and other founding documents to prove legal arguments about the despotic, hypocritical crimes of the U.S. government.

The historical context of the Civil War contributed greatly to Spooner’s anarchist perspective. Spooner was highly critical of the United States government for having betrayed the original Jeffersonian principles of the Declaration of Independence. Despite his strong disagreement with and activism against slavery, he fully supported the Confederate states’ right to secede. He criticizes the Civil War in No Treason: “Notwithstanding all the proclamations we have made to mankind…that our government rests on consent, and that [consent] was the rightful basis on which any government could rest, the late war has practically demonstrated that our government rests upon force — as much so as any government that ever existed.” [23] Spooner’s discussion of consent as the essence of republican confederation conveys the same idea as Jefferson’s earlier emphasis on the social contract in the Declaration of Independence.

Reflecting the earlier spirit of the American Revolution, Spooner devotes an entire chapter to the Declaration in his book The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. [24] He argues that the document is the legal foundation of American constitutionalism, and that it ensures the inherent freedom of all individuals (including slaves) by establishing “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as the core tenets of the nation. He emphasized the importance of the Second Amendment right to bear arms and connected it directly to a human being’s freedom. This was an essential element of his argument in defense of slaves owning or using weapons for their emancipation. Spooner wrote from the angle of a radical abolitionist, but he used the American political tradition to support his position.
Benjamin Tucker, under influence from Warren and Spooner (as well as Proudhon and Bakunin), represented American anarchism into the twentieth century. Like his predecessors, Tucker used American philosophical traditions to bolster his arguments for autonomy and independence. In an edition of his publication Liberty, he speculates that if Jefferson would be an anarchist if he were alive, [25] and in his book State Socialism and Anarchism he refers to anarchists as “unterrified Jeffersonian Democrats.” [26] Like Spooner, he bases his analysis on the social contract premise of American constitutionalism. The Declaration of Independence “declares that ‘governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.’ it therefore follows that, when any individual is governed by a government without his or her consent, that government is exercising unjust powers, and is a usurpation.” [27]

Similarly to Jefferson, Tucker was a vehement opponent of centralized banking. He saw the financial monopoly of currency and banking by the state and large corporations as a form of usury. [28] He advocated the creation of Proudhonian peoples banks as a commonsense solution to the “money monopoly,” putting an end to exploitative practices without the use of force or state legislation. He also railed against the monopoly on land, arguing that occupancy and use constitute the only rightful titles to earth. [29] This echos the Proudhonian sentiment of occupancy as ownership as well as the early American “ancient cultivation law.”

Tucker understood the importance of voluntary defense organizations for the preservation of “self-liberty.” [30] He explains that such groups are the most successful method of providing actual protection for the people while dismantling the State’s monopoly on violence. [31] The best anarchist action is one that injures the State and simultaneously provides the people with an alternative. Tucker’s vision of private defense organizations differs slightly from the communitarian militia model of the second amendment. However, the two systems are compatible because of the decentralized and voluntary nature of both. The right of constitutional militias to abstain from national conflicts places them outside of the state’s monopoly on violence, just like Tucker’s private self defense associations.
Tucker, Spooner, and Warren understood that the American libertarian tradition was a source of both inspiration and potential support from the public. They did not become zealous reactionaries who vilified everything American, as some anarchists do today. Rather, they were more open in their perspectives and more fluid in their analyses. Nineteenth century American anarchists recognized that the true meaning of American nationalism was congruous with their anti-statist views.

This essay is in no way intended to suggest that any amount of government is necessary. However, voluntary systems of governance are instances of free association, and therefore not antithetical to anarchism. Voluntary free association can never be antithetical to anarchism, no matter how regulated or hierarchical the association may be. Local anarchist communities can sign treaties and participate in larger confederations without compromising the values of freedom and autonomy.
However, not everyone shares the values of freedom, autonomy, and the accompanying responsibility, and anarchists need to accept this. It is preposterous that anarchists would perceive the internal affairs of divergent tribes as any of their business. In a truly decentralized society, communities will not be identical, and some may be based on values that anarchists abhor. But harmony in this arrangement can be attained with the essential components of voluntarism, the non-aggression principle, and the right of non-participation. Just as individuals and tribes are entitled to associate with whomever they choose, individuals and tribes who do not wish to confederate have an equal right to abstain from such intercommunity relations.

That being said, a wide range of decentralists, including various anarchists, minarchists, secessionists, and others, could benefit far more from working with each other than they could from completely isolating or only associating with those who are exactly like them. Conflicts among the diverse proponents of local autonomy and individual autarchy (especially arguments that involve denouncing one another as “statist”) are a ridiculous way to waste time and accomplish nothing. The anarchism vs. minarchism debate is merely a question of degree. If minarchists are “statists,” then at what point do autonomous, voluntary community organization projects become “the state”? The state is not just any kind of organized social structure; it is a coercive monopoly on power.

Rather than focusing on disagreements, people with similar beliefs could be cooperating on projects that reflect their agreements. This is the nature of coalition building. It’s not about finding carbon copies of one’s group; it’s about collaborating with groups that are noticeably different but share some kind of common ground, no matter how small. By focusing on specific issues and endeavors rather than idealistic wishes for the entire world, diverse activist organizations can accomplish tangible goals even if society as a whole remains tainted. Anarchists should be pragmatic; a slow chipping away at the State is sometimes necessary and can often be more effective than drastic or violent revolutionary upheaval.
Action oriented contemporary anarchists, if they choose to look outside their dogmatic boxes, will find natural allies in the modern American patriot movement, which is quite averse to government encroachment on individual, family, and community rights. American patriots’ proclivity towards rugged individualism, self-sufficiency, and community self-defense, [32] combined with a populist anti-banking sentiment, are all very anarchistic elements as well. Local sovereignty and self-determination are crucial to both movements; it is only blatantly obvious that they should collaborate.

The nation is not the State; the people are the nation. Ward Churchill precisely conveys the misconceptions anarchists have about nationalism: “a…lot of anarchists…[think] they’re anti-nationalist, that…nationalism in all forms is…some sort of an evil to be combated… You may have nations that are also states, but you’ve got most nations rejecting statism. So…the assertion of sovereignty…is an explicitly anti-statist ideal, and the basis of commonality with…anarchists.” [33] From Churchill’s indigenous perspective, nationalism is in direct opposition to statism.

Consistent with Churchill’s view, the meaning of true American nationalism includes grassroots independence, libertarianism, individualism, populism, autarchy, agorism, and anti-imperialism. It allows for personal and collective freedom, and holds sacred the founding of intentional communities. It is Jefferson’s idea of a “republic of republics,” a decentralized nation of nations down to the most local levels. This is the very essence of American National-Anarchism. The United States was once a diverse confederation of regions with distinct identities—regional, ethnic, religious, etc. The states participated in the confederation voluntarily, and the broader umbrella of “American” did not negate their sentiments of local nationhood. Rather, choosing to call oneself an American added a rich ideological dimension to one’s existing identity.

The American identity is not based on war and dominance; it is not globalization, whose pervasive monoculture has been falsely termed “Americanization.” The global anti-culture propagates materialism, consumerism, and detachment from the earth. This is not the foundation of America. True American culture means complete decentralization, which results in rich heterogeneity and diversity. Towns and states in this country used to have unique character. Americans are just as negatively impacted by McDonaldization as the rest of the world. Despite this context, America’s philosophical and practical traditions can continue to provide the people with inspiration to resist the empire. Anarchists and patriots share this goal, even if they differ in opinion or lifestyle. Because of similar principles and aims, anarchist-patriot cooperation makes sense. The creation of an American National-Anarchist alliance would be a living example of a decentralized, independent grassroots society.

Notes:
[1] Jefferson wrote to William Stephens Smith in 1787: “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without…a rebellion. […] What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. […] The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants.”

[2] Articles of Confederation, Article II.

[3] Quoted in Van Doren, Carl. Indian Treaties Printed by Benjamin Franklin 1736-1762. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Philadelphia, 1938.
[4] Franklin, Benjamin. Letter to James Parker, 1751.
[5] He does not specify whether he means Iroquois.
[6] Adams, John. Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. Philadelphia: Budd and Bartram, 1797.
[7] Arthur, Stephen. “’Where License Reigns With All Impunity:’ An Anarchist Study of the Rotinonshón:ni Polity.” http://www.nefac.net/anarchiststudyofiroquois.
[8] Paine, Thomas. The Rights of Man. 1792.
[9] Quoted in Van der Weyde, William M. “Thomas Paine’s Anarchism.” Mother Earth, 1910.
[10] Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to John Cartwright, 1824.
[11] Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Gideon Granger, 1800.
[12] Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Samuel Kerchival, 1816.
[13] Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to Samuel Kerchival, 1816.
[14] Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to John Cartwright, 1824.
[15] Simons, Algie Martin. Social Forces in American History. New York: Macmillan Co., 1911.
[16] Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph. The Principle of Federation. 1863.
[17] Faragher, John Mack. Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer. New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC., 1992.
[18] Josiah Warren, “From the March of Mind,” New Harmony Gazette 2, No. 46, September 10, 1828.
[19] Sartwell, Crispin, ed. The Practical Anarchist: Writings of Josiah Warren. New York: Fordham University Press, 2011.
[20] Ibid.
[21] Ibid.
[22] Spooner, Lysander. The Unconstitutionality of the Laws of Congress, Prohibiting Private Mails. New York: Tribune Printing Establishment, 1844.
[23] Spooner, Lysander. No Treason #1. 1867.
[24] Spooner, Lysander. The Unconstitutionality of Slavery. Boston: Bela Marsh, 1880.
[25] Tucker, Benjamin. Liberty Vol. II—No. 5. Boston, MA. December 9, 1882. Whole No. 31. Interestingly, Mexican revolutionary Enrique Flores Magon also said that Jefferson was an “anarchist of his time” (Wehling, Jason. Anarchist Influences on the Mexican Revolution. http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/mexico/history/anarchism_1910.html)
[26] Tucker, Benjamin. State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree, and Wherein They Differ. 1888.
[27] Tucker, Benjamin. Liberty Vol. II—No. 5. Boston, MA. December 9, 1882. Whole No. 31.
[28] Tucker said “Liberty, therefore, must defend the right of individuals to make contracts involving usury…and many other things which it believes to be wrong in principle and opposed to human well-being. […] In defending the right to take usury, we do not defend the right of usury” (Liberty Vol. I, No. 12 January 7, 1882.)
[29] Tucker, Benjamin. “Economic Rent.” Individual Liberty: Selections From the Writings of Benjamin R. Tucker. Vanguard Press: New York, 1926.
[30] Tucker, Benjamin. Liberty Vol. XI—No. 13. New York, NY. November 2, 1895. Whole No. 325.
[31] Tucker, Benjamin. Liberty Vol. IV—No. 26. Boston, Mass. July 30, 1887. Whole No. 104.
[32] Defense associations and community militias have been organized by anarchists in other countries, from the volunteer militias of the Spanish revolution to the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which is one of the best examples of a movement that combines anarchism and decentralized nationalism.
[33] Interview with Ward Churchill. Upping the Anti. http://uppingtheanti.org/journal/article/01-indigenism-anarchism-and-the-state.

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National-Anarchist Communities: Will I Be Accepted?

From National Anarchist Movement

This essay is included and first published in the recently released 2013 publication,  National-Anarchism: Methodology and Application, edited by Troy Southgate and available from Black Front Press.

by Neil G. Hiatt

“In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell, ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’
 
 
                        This article has stemmed from a question posed by an enquiring mind and the conversation that developed in response on the National-Anarchist Movement (N-AM) Facebook group [1]. It was a reasonable question, for the only ‘stupid’ question is the one that is not asked, as long as it is posed in a respectful, civil and constructive manner, and one that arose due to the misunderstanding (either genuine or because of the lies spread by our detractors with an ulterior fascistic motive) of the National-Anarchist ‘ideology’. That is, specifically, in regards to National-Anarchist communities and how they would relate to people of ‘mixed heritage’ and whether or not they would be accepted into an above mentioned community, or for that matter, which community they would be ‘placed’ into.
 
However, important as it is, this article will not limit itself to those solely of mixed ethnic background, but all manner of individual characteristics and how they would relate to acceptance within a National-Anarchist community. Some characteristics of the individual, whether relating to cultural, sexual orientation, gender, or by any number of distinctions, may not be mentioned due to the overwhelming number alone, but I trust the gist of what I am saying will be clearly understood nevertheless.
 
I thought it a question that, as it rears its head every now and again, deserved to be put into article format for the benefit of others that may have similar questions, if only reiterating the points and various views made elsewhere by myself and others – a sort of bringing it all together in one place if you will. Yet, I do not claim this to be the final answer on the topic and welcome others to elaborate upon it if the desire is felt.
 
The first thing that needs to be pointed out is that National-Anarchism is for every race, and not the ‘white race’ or any one race alone (however you may define race) as is sometimes believed, and more-so that National-Anarchism has supporters of many racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, and from all over the world. Indeed, it must also be pointed out for those that are not familiar with National-Anarchism in general or from a non-hostile perspective, that there is far more to National-Anarchism than mere race! This can be seen by anyone with an open and unbiased mind with the willingness to learn the truth and not have their opinions subject to, and tainted by, smears – often by so called ‘Anarchists’ that have far more in common with fascists and that act like Nazi-Stormtroopers. This is often the case with dogmatic leftists stuck in their political cages, unable to view anything or anyone from outside of their own narrow minded and ideologically restrictive shackles. And, of course and not forgetting, the first port of call for many in the internet age with the significantly flawed and biased Wikipedia article. But as Voltaire is quoted as stating, “Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.” And, I think, followed up nicely by Henry Louis Mencken when he stated, “Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.”
 
I once read an eloquent comment, so poignant in its avowal narrative contextually and directly, that regrettably it escapes me from whence it came or of its original form, that went something to the effect: There really must be a resilient viral strain, an endemic of psychosis in prodigious scope here in the western world, that makes it decidedly insurmountable for anyone to have such an imagination necessary to evaluate objectively anything at all from another context than their own. After-all, having the eyes to see and ears to hear mean absolutely nothing without a mind to think.
 
I urge those truly interested in learning the truth to view the numerous articles and radio interviews on the National-Anarchist website, read the manifesto, the various discussions on the National-Anarchist facebook groups, and specifically the books on National-Anarchism put out by National-Anarchists. [2]
 
As I have stated before, regardless of what you may or may not believe, nor how strong you hold on to whatever convictions you might have, it is an eternal truth that to hold a valid, intelligent, and educated opinion on any subject or matter, and to make any decision based on such, you need to always, and regardless of consequence, look at both sides of the story. Equally important is that you delve into any issue of debate or interest with an open and unbiased mind. This is, I am afraid, the only way to truly hold an informed and edified sentiment in any area, that is reasoned, rational and sophisticated and equally impartial, non partisan and realistically fair. Without such you can never hope to be taken seriously, by others, nor importantly I might add, by yourself. To have any hope of holding an educated opinion you need to listen to both sides of the story and then, and only then, can you truly decide for yourself on your stance in such a way as laid out above. You need to do research and one should always look at all angles from all possible roots in an open-minded manner, regardless of any particular area of study, without bias, prejudice or personal preference. This is the only way to get an unbiased and balanced point of view. That much is fact.
 
The question of ‘race’ and the confusion over the term ‘National’ (and its alleged oxymoronic status when when linked to ‘Anarchism’) and various lies spread about the National-Anarchist Movement have been the subject of a number of articles and discussions [3], addressed and thoroughly refuted by writers far better than myself, because, as Mark Twain is credited as stating, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” So, that need not be discussed here. However, that being said, the question of communities, race, and acceptance, does.
 
So, where to start? Well, let us begin here…
 
If one was Black, Asian, Jewish, White, or mixed, etc, racially speaking, would they be accepted into a National-Anarchist community? The short answer is yes, even if that community has to be started by that person, or persons, themselves. By extension, if one was homosexual, Muslim, Christian, Odinist, environmentalist, vegan, etc, they too would be accepted into a community, even, as I have stated above, that community has to be started by that person, or persons, themselves. Having said that, they may also be accepted into another already existing community, and one that isn’t formed on the basis of homogeneity – racially, religiously, or culturally speaking. Like I said, the short answer is yes, but there are also many a letter between the Alpha and Omega, metaphorically speaking. And, to illustrate this, that is ultimately up to the parties involved themselves to decide, freely, and respectfully.
 
At the end of the day, whatever community accepts you, and you agree to their standard of living and operating, is that which you are a part.
 
The key to understanding this concept of communities within a National-Anarchist framework, is that of non-coercion, free-association, and mutual respect. But also not forgetting autonomy and decentralisation from the state.
And, it needs to be made perfectly clear that there is no vision or secret plan for an all-powerful oligarchy that will decide and force people into certain groups and areas like pawns on a chessboard. Indeed, that would go against the very concept of Anarchism itself. Anyone thinking that has a fundamental misunderstanding of National-Anarchism in general, and Anarchism overall.
 
Village-communities will spring up based on whatever criteria those involved agree upon (as I have pointed out is already happening in another article [4]), whether it be any of the above or otherwise. We certainly do not wish to place anyone, individual or group, into any assemblage whatsoever – that would be so far from the truth and reality of National-Anarchism that that opinion would be like a dot to us on the proverbial horizon. It must be made clear, that association is the sole responsibility of each individual to decide for themselves who they wish to affiliate with, and conversely, the decision of the existing group as to who they wish to let into their tribal village-community.
 
For example, and for arguments sake, I am white, and I come across an already existing National-Anarchist community that is based upon Odinic principles, spiritually speaking. That community may be based on spirituality alone, or also incorporate racial separatism into the mix, or not as the case may be. Now, I am an Odinist anyway and the community accept me, but I may not agree with the fact that they are racially separatist or that they are not vegan like I am. So, what then? Well, it is rather simple when looked at from an Anarchist perspective, based upon ‘non-coercion, free-association, and mutual respect’, or common sense for that matter. That is a community that developed with a group of individuals with shared opinions, and ideologies, that are not interested in what anyone else is doing as long as it doesn’t affect them and they don’t force anything upon anyone else. It was created entirely out of mutual understanding and agreement, so I either accept their stance, or move on. Now, I can either find a group of others that share my view of a community or I can form one myself, or work on my own for that matter. But like I say, it is down to, and I stress again, non-coercion, free-association, and mutual respect. It is actually very simple when you look at it.
 
For me to come into a group, that has come together and mutually agreed upon what they want their community to consist of or ideals based upon, and start saying that they’re wrong, or things should be done differently, or that we should exclude homosexuals (if that existing group welcomes them or is a homosexual community to begin with), or we should only consume vegan food, or that my way works best, is rather fascist in and of itself, and unless it was a respectful discussion in which we all came together to discuss freely, and I accepted the outcome, I’d rather be acting, for fear of repeating myself, like a Nazi-Stormtrooper.
 
Tribes or groups, whichever term you prefer, may have any number of criteria as to how their communities are formed and to what extent they are ultimately based upon. Yes, some may use race or ethnicity as a separator, and race is a reality to National-Anarchists, but race is not the be all and end all of National-Anarchism, and National-Anarchism extends far beyond such limitations, and into many diverse, yet interconnected areas, as the Manifesto makes apparent. This makes perfectly clear, and is obvious to me at least, that there is simply not just a singular ideal for a National-Anarchist community, but room for any number of them based upon whatever criteria is chosen by those involved.
 
Race, religion, spirituality, culture, ethnicity, heritage, sexual-orientation, etc, are only some of the components with which different individuals and various groups will choose to come together on in a mutually agreed manner and form a village-community or autonomous-zone out of such cooperatively.
 
And, of course, as there are now already within the National-Anarchist Movement, groups active that are not based on any of the above, where all are free and welcome to join. But that is the key thing… freedom – the freedom to choose and to associate with whomever you wish, so long as you don’t force your opinions and requirements upon others, and equally, others don’t force their feelings, persuasions, and sentiments upon you. It is very much live and let live as the saying goes. This ultimately leads to pure and true self-determination and individual autonomy, for those that can mutually cooperate upon whatever criteria they choose, either within the community, or two separate communities based on differing criteria being cooperative and respectful with each other.
 
If you want to live within a black separatist, homosexual, or raw-food diet only enclave, then so be it! If you want to subsist within a mono-racial or multi-racial community then good for you! If you want to have cohabitation within a naturalist environment with like minded people, then go for it! Any combination of the above or more? Then knock yourself out! The possibilities are endless as long as it is freely and mutually agreed upon. Others should respect you for that and not bother you unless you mutually agree to cooperate for whatever reason, and equally, those separate groups should not bother each other, unless as I state, you mutually agree to cooperate.
 
As Nathan Wild has said, and I agree, National-Anarchism “is a recognition that communities of different cultures/ethnicity want to be separate to achieve their collective potential. If anything I feel that that is a refreshing honesty or realistic appraisal of reality.”
 
The point is that autonomy of the individual is paramount, and each person has the unalienable right to associate freely with anyone he or she chooses and sees fit, or, of course, with no-one at all.
 
As should be apparent by now, National-Anarchism itself doesn’t set the boundaries by which communities are made or in any way that individuals should associate, but the communities of individuals themselves set the markers for how they wish to live, freely, and without interference. Ultimately, the individual nor the group should tell any other individual or group how to live or how to think, so long as each individual or group actions do not impede those of others.
 
To paraphrase Mr. Southgate, non of what is proposed by the National-Anarchist Movement is to be forced upon anyone at all, and is entirely voluntary, with no one being goaded. Furthermore, it is certainly not for the entire country either, whatever country you may reside in. In effect, it is for those that choose it, and, to quote, “must be very gradual and designed to meet the needs and aspirations of those people who wish to preserve their own identities in the face of increasing globalisation. It has more to do with seceding, dropping out or breaking away, than with trying to drive a wedge between people.”
 
Of course, there are those that enjoy multiculturalism that are not of mixed race, and there are those that are, and that is absolutely fine. What is more, as I have tried to express, is that if a community based upon this is wanted, then so be it, as long as it is voluntary. But, conversely, if there are those that want a community also but are not interested in multiculturalism, then this is fine also, and what is there to stop them cooperating? And, even if they don’t want to cooperate and want to be entirely separatist, then this is perfectly fine also. It is all about freedom and respect. I fail to see why anyone would think hate would come into it, that is totally nonsensical. Of course, there are those that hate, but they would have no place within the National-Anarchist Movement. But for those interested in looking deeper, you will find that race is only one element of National-Anarchism, but sadly for some, it means removing their blinkers to see as much.
 
It really isn’t that difficult to understand, and far from how our detractors like to portray us. And, as I have read elsewhere and fully agree,  ‘anyone that claims the title of ‘Anarchist’ yet seeks to deny others the right to form communities and associate with others with whom we see fit, based on whatever criteria we mutually agree upon, are not only the furthest removed from true Anarchist principles, but are in actual fact the only real fascists and Nazis left. Furthermore, it is high time that the Anarchist title was reclaimed, and in comparison to typical Right Wing Hollywood Nazi’s and Left Wing Marxists, National-Anarchism is indeed a breath of fresh air.’
 
The childish shouting of the nasty little smear words ‘Nazi’ or ‘Fascist’ at us (in effect used to frighten others from talking to us and taint their opinions), rather than engaging in debate in a respectful and constructive manner, is the last line of defence for those without an argument or the ability to converse in a civil way. As Samuel Adams has said, “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” These people are not Anarchists, and nor are they shining examples of the humanity they claim to be a part of and astonishingly, represent. They can be seen for what they truly are, hate-filled fascists and puppets of the state, whether they know it or not. Much of it is projection, coupled with their inability to participate in polite dialogue.[5]
 
See, for example, these far more rational comments on the subject of ‘Fascism’ within National-Anarchism, with Michael Schmidt, founder and ex-member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) of South Africa, stating that:
 
“On balance, in his [Gandhi] völkisch nationalist decentralism, I would argue for him to be seen as something of a forebearer of “national anarchism,” that strange hybrid of recent years. Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?” [6]
 
And, commenting in the National-Anarchist Movement facebook group, Troy Southgate observes:
 
“National-Anarchists are also opposed to Fascism. On the other hand, we prefer to avoid using the term ‘anti-fascist’ because we are not interested in suppressing free speech or free association as many other so-called ‘anti-fascists’ do, although we are most certainly anti-fascist in terms of our hostility towards fascist centralisation and state dictatorship. In fact our manifesto makes it perfectly clear that National-Anarchism and Fascism are diametrically opposed.”
 
Indeed, as Noam Chomsky has stated, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
 
Labels simply do not have any meaning these days, and using them as smears in some adolescent way to somehow silence someone either shows that person’s lack of understanding of the terms real meaning and association or their complete inability, as mentioned, of being able to hold their own in the civil and respectful conversational manner. Only the immature and foolish mock and scorn that which they have absolutely no knowledge or understanding, nor indeed for that matter, the intellect to grasp such given the opportunity to do so. Mediocrity of the mind, no matter how well one tries to conceal it, will always reveal itself to be as such. Of course, not everyone that childishly disagrees with you is simply not understanding the self evident and logical, but it is on purpose and with an ulterior agenda. Having said that, I fully acknowledge and agree that there are going to be those with genuine questions, and to those we are more than willing to explain and take any and all criticism, and take the time to converse. One thing is for sure, is that we will give far more respect, civility and constructive discussion to those that wish to silence us, than they give us.
 
I write these words in response to the sick and rotten root of defamatory  accusation that will, when nurtured, grow and spread its disease like an incurable cancer, watered and loved by those with fragmentary circumstantial beliefs, vindictive mindsets, and simple and hateful yet ill-conceived agendas. But, ever the ready gardener will rise above such mediocrity of mind and look to his blessings with honour, respect and decency and move forward with pride and honesty in his heart.
 
Indeed, who am I to tell others how to live and who to associate with? I certainly wouldn’t be an anarchist if I did, more-so a fascist dressed in anarchist clothing. Which, oddly, is what I have come to discover many of the dogmatic leftist ‘anarchists’ are, fascists in anarchist clothing. Let it be said, we as National-Anarchists are above the fascism and dogmatism of the right, and beyond the dogmatism and fascism of the left.
 
This movement encourages liberty, justice, autonomy, agorism, self-sufficiency, trade, bartering, environmental deference, non-coercion, free-association, mutual respect and cooperation, and the freedom from interference from the state. Ultimately, it sets you on the path to self-determination and true freedom. But you need to take the first step!
 
Professor Noam Chomsky has commented that, “If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.”, yet for an anarchists this should not be an option, so, in summary, I will leave you now with the words of Britain’s first Jewish Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, to ponder:
 
“To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.”
 
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Josh Bates, Justin Gillespie, Nathan Wild, and Troy Southgate, for without their valued input and inspiration, I may never have decided to put this article together in the first place, which with respect, incorporates some of their openly expressed opinions, some in paraphrase, that, as a National-Anarchist, I wholeheartedly share.
 
 
NOTES
 
1] 
 
2] 
 
3]
* Is National-Anarchism An Oxymoron? – National-AnarchismIn  A Nutshell which also featured in the first volume of National-Anarchist publications, ‘National-Anarchism: A Reader’ (2012, Black Front Press)
 
* ‘National-Anarchism: Setting The Record Straight’ by Troy Southgate, featured in the third volume of National-Anarchist publications, ‘National-Anarchism: Theory and Practice’ (2012, Black Front Press)
* Lies About National-Anarchism (Links To A Number Of Conversations)
 
4]
See note 3 in the article ‘It Can Be Done, But We Have Too Wake Up’ by Neil G. Hiatt which featured in volume three of National-Anarchistpublications, ‘National-Anarchism: Theory and Practice’ (2012, Black Front Press)
 
5] 
* The BF Debates here or alternatively here.
 
 
6]
* Michael Schmidt, founder and ex-member of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) of South Africa – http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404

Gustav Landauer’s Folkanarchism

 From VolkanarchistischKollektief

Gustav Landauer (1870-1919) was a German anarchist during the German November revolution. On the 2nd of May 1919 he died a martyrs death, during the fall of the Soviet republic. His anarcho-socialist ideas can definitely be seen as a solid basis for what we today describe as “folkanarchism”. Landauer is best described as a critical and realistic idealist. He was not deceived by idealist mirages, nor by materialist fallacies.

Landauer1

Folk and Culture
In contradiction to most socialists from his time, Landauer never believed that humanity would reach a higher phase of life by the development of technology and science. He didn’t count on the idea that “progress” would be mechanically achieved, but by an eternal rejuvenation and renewal. The peoples never aged, only their cultures did. At a certain time each culture irrevocably lost its life force, through which it froze and fell. Because of this the peoples who were once its bearers fell into a state of “serenity” and forgot that what they had wanted, known and done, until finally the day came that they were regenerated by a new idea.

When this new idea appeared between them as a real unchanging truth, then the individuals were bound again through worship and love. Through this, human life became lifted to higher forms of organisation and a new culture flourished. In these times the urge to connect with the people got the upper hand and the power over the individual. With this a form of social life came to being that was described by Landauer as “the community of communities”; the organic connection of little, self-governing and, on their own strength acting units, that in turn connected themselves with larger units. This age of great culture was marked by the new idea feeding the “stream of life”, only then the relationships were healthy and life had dignity.

This era was always preceded by a stage in which the spirit of the community dominates. In this stage no brilliant personalities rise above the masses, because the essence of life is uniform. Brilliant personalities come forth from the bosom of the community and the general spirit of the people themselves, therefore the people does not gawk at them as “wondrous animals”, but recognize them as natural fruits from the tree of society. These highlights are rarely reached in humanity its rich and infinitely long history. During these highlights there is no need for an ideal, no craving for the new, because the spirit that gives meaning to life, is present in all its manifestations.

After these era’s of balance, inexorably follows times of demise. The negative forces that are present within each culture, are rigid dogmas, which prevail over the living spirit. The living spirit is killed by them, because people are clinging to one and the same dogmatic form. Organisations, like the State, have contained since their existence the seeds of domination and mechanically rigid centralism. Through the advance of the general decay their bad sides have gotten worse, while they grow in strength. In the masses, the spirit that binds all individuals into a true community, disappears. When the life of the community no longer feeds the individual, the individual gets alienated and lonely. This process of sophisticated individualization on the one hand, and atomization on the other, leads towards a mindlessness of the masses. They can only become a people again, when a new culture flourishes.

Progress and Revolution
In contradiction to most revolutionary Marxists, Landauer unconditionally rejected the “Zeitgeist”. Fierce anti-capitalists like Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht accepted the growth of the big-industrial organisation and saw the associated mechanization as “progress” in the spirit of Marx. Their “progress” was nothing more than the “progress” of the bourgeoisie. Landauer´s thought was not based on the historical materialism, which makes the development of technology as the criterion of progress. He didn´t see the development of Western humanity since the Renaissance as an unparalleled triumph. Landauer had his own criteria for progress. He didn´t see progress in materialist terms, but measured life by the content in which people became aware of their connectedness. The modern Zeitgeist he acknowledged as an era of cultural descent, of increasing alienation and upheaval.
However Landauer didn’t believe in the “eternal damnation” of a people. He saw change through renewal as a law of life. Through demise, growth could be born and from despair new strength could derive. There was only one spirit that could rise the people again: the spirit of justice in community life. Landauer didn’t only see his socialism as the only opportunity to escape the need and social misery of the proletariat, but also as the only opportunity for the renewal of the entire humanity. Only this could stop its demise and alienation.

Landauer considered the revolution as a constantly recurring phenomenon, through which society could escape from the danger of cultural rigidity. Since the Western culture perished, the West mostly survived through violence and centralized State power. During this period the Western humanity also strived for freedom, which was strongly expressed during the revolution. Therefore Landauer considered the revolution as the run-up towards spiritual rebirth. The urge to live, which was suffocated during normal times, was released during revolutionary days.

Although Landauer was convinced of the regenerative function of the revolution, he didn’t see it as the way towards socialism. According to him the great force of socialism was construction: the peaceful reconstruction. When the revolution had destroyed the old strongholds and obsolete forms of life, then her positive forces were enough to ensure the existence and further development of the community.
Landauer’s views on socialism were realistic-idealistic. Realistic was his view that the urge for socialism arose from social relations and the impossibility to which capitalism led us. His view was idealistic because he was convinced that next to these social conditions, another force of a completely different order was needed before socialism could be born: the creative spirit which could produce new relationships between mankind. For Landauer socialism was not absolute. The natural feeling of fraternity between fellow countrymen and fellow human beings he acknowledged, as the active force that gave meaning to life and to the world. Socialism was not build on a certain modes of production or a certain technology, but on a deep and noble urge within human nature: social instincts and social feelings.

This is the socialism Landauer fought for many years of his life and for which he eventually died a martyrs death.

Anarchism Without Hyphens

By Karl Hess 

 There is only one kind of anarchist. Not two. Just one. An anarchist, the only kind, as defined by the long tradition and literature of the position itself, is a person in opposition to authority imposed through the hierarchical power of the state. The only expansion of this that seems to me to be reasonable is to say that an anarchist stands in opposition to any imposed authority.

An anarchist is a voluntarist.Now, beyond that, anarchists also are people and, as such, contain the billion-faceted varieties of human reference. Some are anarchists who march, voluntarily, to the Cross of Christ. Some are anarchists who flock, voluntarily, to the communities of beloved, inspirational father figures. Some are anarchists who seek to establish the syndics of voluntary industrial production. Some are anarchists who voluntarily seek to establish the rural production of the kibbutzim. Some are anarchists who, voluntarily, seek to disestablish everything including their own association with other people, the hermits. Some are anarchists who deal, voluntarily, only in gold, will never co-operate, and swirl their capes. Some are anarchists who, voluntarily, worship the sun and its energy, build domes, eat only vegetables, and play the dulcimer. Some are anarchists who worship the power of algorithms, play strange games, and infiltrate strange temples. Some are anarchists who only see the stars. Some are anarchists who only see the mud.

They spring from a single seed, no matter the flowering of their ideas. The seed is liberty. And that is all it is. It is not a socialist seed. It is not a capitalist seed. It is not a mystical seed. It is not a determinist seed. It is simply a statement. We can be free. After that it’s all choice and chance.
Anarchism, liberty, does not tell you a thing about how free people will behave or what arrangements they will make. It simply says that people have the capacity to make arrangements.

Anarchism is not normative. It does not say how to be free. It says only that freedom, liberty, can exist.
Recently, in a libertarian journal, I read the statement that libertarianism is an ideological movement. It may well be. In a concept of freedom, it, they, you, or we, anyone has the liberty to engage in any ideology, in anything that does not coerce others, denying their liberty. But anarchism is not an ideological movement. It is an ideological statement. It says that all people have the capacity for liberty. It says that all anarchists want liberty. And then it is silent. After the pause of that silence, anarchists then mount the stages of their own communities and history and proclaim their, not anarchism’s ideologies – they say how they, how they as anarchists, will make arrangements, describe events, celebrate life and work.
Anarchism is the hammer-idea, smashing the chains. Liberty is what results and, in liberty, everything else is up to the people and their ideologies. It is not up to THE ideology. Anarchism says, in effect, there is no such upper case, dominating ideology.

It says that people who live in liberty make their own histories and their own deals with and within it.
A person who describes a world in which everyone must or should behave in a single way, marching to a single drummer, is simply not an anarchist. A person who says that they prefer this way, even wishing all would prefer that way, but who then says all must decide, may certainly be an anarchist. Probably is. Liberty is liberty. Anarchism is anarchism. Neither is Swiss cheese or anything else. They are not property. They are not copyrighted. They are old, available ideas, part of human culture. They may be hyphenated but they are not in fact hyphenated. They exist on their own. People add hyphens, and supplemental ideologies.

I am an anarchist. I need to know that, and you should know it. After that, I am a writer and a welder who lives in a certain place, by certain lights, and with certain people. And that you may know also. But there is no hyphen after the anarchist.
Liberty, finally, is not a box into which people are forced. Liberty is a space in which people may live. It does not tell you how they will live. It says, eternally, only that we can.

Karl Hess (1923-1994) was an American writer and libertarian activist. He joined the Libertarian Party and was the editor of its newspaper from 1986 to 1990. This short text first appeared in the magazine “The Dandelion” in 1980. It stresses the position already highlighted by the historian and theoretician of the anarchist movement, Max Nettlau (see: Quelques idées fausses sur l’Anarchisme) that anarchy means freedom and voluntary self-organization and no one in the anarchist movement is interested in prescribing which of the various “isms” (capitalism, communism, mutualism, etc.) any anarchist should follow. This message is very relevant now that the interest for anarchy is growing and that some people, who profess to be anarchists, are battling in order to promote very vigorously (and in some cases trying to impose) their own brand of anarchism, either anarcho-communism or anarcho-capitalism. To all of them the message from Karl Hess is: neither anarchist-communist nor anarchist-capitalist, because “there is no hyphen after the anarchist”.
For a video concerning this text see: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSR3DlzNNUc

National Anarchist Praxis

An article from our comrades over at NATA – New York.
By Craig FitzGerald and Jamie O’Hara

This essay is included in the recently released National-Anarchism: Ideas and Concepts, edited by Troy Southgate and available from Black Front Press.
                   

Anarchism today is primarily theoretical in nature, and an unfortunate amount of anarchist interaction consists of debate over which hyphenation is best. National Anarchism may seem to participate in and perpetuate such an argument at first glance, but its lack of universalism actually makes it the most inclusive and diverse school of anarchist thought.  Despite the fact that some National Anarchist tribes may choose not to associate with certain communities, their underlying philosophy–that everyone has a right to autonomy and sovereignty–creates a sense of mutual respect absent from most anarchist disagreement.  This characteristic of National Anarchism has serious pragmatic implications.  When anarchists stop spending their time and energy dictating to others what “true” anarchism is, they have a lot more potential to actually put their beliefs into action.
The practical applications of National Anarchism consist of creating tangible manifestations of its theory.  Philosophically, every community has a right to freedom and self-determination, but how is that right being implemented?  The state is oppressive and exploitative, but how is that criticism being exercised in the real world?  Marx hypocritically posited that the state would wither away once communism was in full force, i.e. that employment of a state structure was necessary for state eradication.  In fact, the state and its corporate partners will only disappear once they become irrelevant, and their irrelevance depends upon the creation of substantial alternatives.
An independent system of parallel economies and institutions–agorism–is possibly the sole way to accomplish this.  Agorism represents a direct attack on the governmental and corporate monopolies by not only subjecting them to boycotts, but also empowering the masses to actively compete with them.  National Anarchist communities would likely establish institutions consistent with their values; these might include cultivation of localized currencies, barter networks, non-usurious people’s banks, trade guilds, social welfare and healthcare programs, community self defense associations, and a variety of educational programs.  This is the most likely method by which the state will disappear, contrary to Marx’s utopian idea that a centralized communist state would naturally evolve into anarchism.
Each tribe’s vision of sovereignty may differ, but certain necessities for independence can provide broad guidelines for concrete community projects.  Total economic autarky may not be every tribe’s objective, but maximizing self-sufficiency is crucial to decentralization.  One of the most effective ways to attain this is homesteading, whether as individuals, families, or communities.  Homesteaders use the resources of their land to become as independent as possible, growing crops, harvesting firewood and building materials, making home-spun goods and crafts, raising animals, creating value-added products for retail, blacksmithing, foraging and hunting wild foods, and more.  By actively creating its own vision of freedom and autonomy, every anarchist group can live out its philosophy.
The importance for anarchists to directly apply their theories in their lives is reflected by the ancient Greek concept of praxis.  The word praxis refers to any activity in which a free man participates, and Aristotle identified three forms of a free man’s energy: theory, creativity, and action. This relationship between thought, practice and production is symbiotic; they are not merely connected, but they are synthesized, simultaneous, and interdependent.  It is not sufficient for a highly intelligent and critical philosopher to merely think, speak and write.  Anarchism poses little threat without actions that correspond to its ideas of freedom and voluntary responsibility.
The idea of praxis is compatible with National Anarchism because it does not inherently contain any moral judgment about what an individual or tribe decides to do; rather, it provides a lens through which individuals or tribes can self-evaluate in terms of their own values and what they believe to be true about the universe.  Praxis is the manifestation of theory–any theory to which a community adheres.  Its applications in education (autodidactic or otherwise) imply hands-on learning based in experience that is relevant to the real world.  Praxis is a useful concept to consider when setting and achieving external goals, and it also reveals the degree to which an anarch has fulfilled his or her own personal potential as a human being.  Freedom of thought and freedom of action are complementary elements of anarchism.  One is nothing without the other.
Unfortunately, many lack an awareness of this harmonious relationship.  It seems that globalized culture’s obsession with instant gratification has rubbed off even on anarchists, many of whom immediately gravitate towards the most extreme methods of attacking the system.  But actually living in communities of anarchs with the intention of sustaining them for generations will be an incremental process.  The most realistic and potentially successful approach is to start small and remember the Zapatista motto “lento pero avanzo.”  The full attainment of independent systems of self-sufficiency and agora will take years, as will the full impact of its effects on the new world order.

NTNA is Back!

North Texas National Anarchists (NTNA) is back and looking for members! Pan-Anarchists, Tribal Anarchists, Pan-Secessionists, non-dogmatic Anarchists, anti-State radicals,  etc., are all welcome!

For more info, feel free to check out the About page! (It has contact info there)