Sunday, December 24, 2006

Some interesting stuff to read if you get bored this Christmas Holiday

Anarchy in the Here and Now
by Joe Average
"To be fair, much anarchist thought and action in the past and present is equally useless. Many anarchists used to feel that it was enough to just rise up and destroy the state, afterwards instituting 'spontaneous' social organizations to co-ordinate work life and civic life. To me, this is an absurd idea for today's political and social situation. To begin with, the state is too powerful at this time for people to overthrow directly and militantly. This is by no means to say that militant confrontation with authorities is to be ruled out: in fact, it is crucial that we DO confront authorities when the need arises so that they are always aware that we are here and that we oppose their brutality and oppression. But to imagine that we could topple all the powerful institutions such as the police and army, the FBI and the CIA, schools and the IRS with militant street fighting alone is an exercise in futility."

Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand’s Radical Legacy
By Chris Matthew Sciabarra
“Even though I support relentless surgical strikes against terrorists posing an imminent threat to the United States, I have argued that America's only practical long-term course of action is strategic disengagement from the region. In the long-run, I stand with those American Founding Fathers who advocated free trade with all, entangling political alliances with none. If that advice was good for a simpler world, it is even more appropriate for a world of immense complexity, in which no one power can control for all the myriad unintended consequences of human action. The central planners of socialism learned this lesson some time ago; the central planners of a projected colonialism have yet to learn it.”

At least some Objectivists are starting to see that embracing the anarcho/libertarian values of anti-imperialism and neutrality in the affairs of other people are a pretty good idea after all. Let’s hope the nutcakes at the Ayn Rand Institute start to see the light too. It’s only rational after all, eh? - AF

Old Anarchist Traditions Die Hard
By Rob los Ricos
"In revolutionary Spain, the leadership of the syndicalists were in position to take over the Republic, but chose instead to preserve the state in a coalition with the Democratic, Communist and Socialist parties, much to the chagrin of the rank-and-file workers, who ignored the dictates of their professed leadership and proceeded to valiantly demonstrate to the world that true revolutionary change was possible in the industrial age by abolishing money, seizing the means of production, transportation and communication and redistributing the land to the peasants who worked it. In the end, the Republican forces, led by the communists, crushed the anarchist revolution, while the syndicalist leadership watched in horror or bemused disinterest ("We told them not to take over the factories!").

The lessons to be learned from the past are obvious: for a truly Libertarian society to emerge, it will take a great deal of effort, along a broad front by all Anarchists. (And that communists are back-stabbing lackeys of the bourgeois.) In the Cold War era, anarchism became more of a philosophy than a living movement. But, during the turbulent era of the '60's and '70's, particularly with the emergence of the punk scene, anarchist ideas were once again being brought up and taught, written about and argued over, particularly with communists, who - to this day - believe that what anarchists really need is a little leadership (theirs, of course) to steer them in the right direction."

Rothbard's Time on the Left
By John Payne
"[Murray] Rothbard argued that most of the original opposition to the Cold War came from right-wing Republicans, but within a few years, the Old Right had been taken over by the National Review crowd that was heavily populated by former Communists like Frank Meyer and James Burnham, now eager to bomb their erstwhile comrades into oblivion. Rothbard recounted how these warmongers led him to conclude that the New Right was not, and could not be, his ally.

He claimed:
'[T]he right wing has been captured and transformed by elitists and devotees of the European conservative ideals of order and militarism, by witch hunters and global crusaders, by statists who wish to coerce 'morality' and suppress 'sedition.' " (pdf)


T.J. Van Wyk said...

At least some Objectivists are starting to see that embracing the anarcho/libertarian values of anti-imperialism and neutrality in the affairs of other people are a pretty good idea after all. Let’s hope the nutcakes at the Ayn Rand Institute start to see the light too. It’s only rational after all, eh? - AF

Ouch! Touche.

You know, maybe I'm misreading Rand, but it seemed to me when I was reading her stuff that the part about "we need a government to protect rights" was a total non sequitur when related to her ethics. How come so few people at ARI and similar Randian institutions don't agree?

Who knows. At least the Tannehills got it right.

The Anarchist Flamethrower said...


Ayn Rand really didn’t have much use for individual liberty, in theory or in practice. What she wrote of as her ideal society’s organizational blueprint is an odd blend of Nietzschean meritocracy (i.e. rule by natural ubermensch such as John Galt and Hank Rearden), combined with a Hobbesian social analysis of the natural human condition (when stateless), and a bourgeois social conservative-style preference for the Social Darwinian outcomes (as such a societal arrangement would likely result in). And so, in my view, is self-evidently irrational.

And the brave few Randists who told her so to her face, were purged. Remember Roy Childs’Open Letter to Ayn Rand?

Soon after the 9/11 attacks Leonard Peikoff, the ARI’s founding father, appeared on TV foaming at the mouth while saying that the US needed to nuke the whole Middle East if that’s what it took to bring those “irrational religious thugs” to heel. I don’t know if everybody at the ARI is that nutty, but it tells you all you need to know, eh? I gave up on Objectivist organizations some time ago.

As to the Tannehills:

“Having shown no capacity whatsoever to bring peace to earth”, said Karl Hess in the introduction to The Market for Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill (1969),
“then what is the claim of the state on our allegiance? In closely reasoned arguments, the Tannehills maintain that there should be no claim at all; that the state is not needed at any point in our lives and that other, volitional, arrangements can be substituted for every single state function. They see these arrangements operating in the framework of a truly free market and they carefully explain them.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself, so I didn’t try. Wikipedia says on their page referring to the Tannehills that they were anarcho-capitalists and not Randians: however if they were Randians, they no doubt would have been “dis-sanctioned” (i.e. purged and given the boot) from the Objectivist movement.