Friday, January 5, 2007

01.05.07 - An Anarchist Meets the Mainstream Media cont’d

I mentioned in a previous post regarding the rebranding of the term “anarchist” to “freedom lover” [sic] and/or “abolitionist” [sic], that I believe that the mainstream press, who act as meme carriers for the politicians, academics and pundits, will easily and quickly slag any new term that denotes anti-statism. I mentioned the “Michigan Militia treatment" in that post, and I promised some further explanation at some future time; and that time is now. So, here goes.

The militia movement,” says the ADL Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network , a website directed at American law enforcement agencies, “is the youngest of the major right-wing anti-government movements in the United States (the sovereign citizen movement and the tax protest movement are the two others) yet it has seared itself into the American consciousness as virtually no other fringe movement has. The publicity given to militia groups in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, when the militia movement was erroneously linked to that tragedy, made them into a household name. Even comedian David Letterman frequently joked about the militia; in 1999, for instance, his list, ‘Top Ten Signs You're Watching a Bad Disney Movie,’ included ‘It's called 'The Little Right-Wing Militia That Could.’ Indeed, reporters, pundits and politicians alike have used the term so frequently that it is often tossed about carelessly as a synonym for virtually any right-wing extremist group. ‘ ” [emphasis and links mine]

Please note in the cited paragraph (and highlighted) how the use of the derogatory term “right-wing” is applied to any group that is for the sovereignty of individuals, for individual rights, or are opposed to tax injustices, are all lumped together. To wit: if you oppose the continual encroachment on your natural rights as human beings, or are opposed to excessive and unfair taxation, then you too are “right-wing” and de facto allies, if not actual ones, although from the way the rest of the article is written, you might be involved in an actual alliance with them as well. I urge those interested to read the entire article and see for themselves the contextual implications of these associations.

And all this since the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City in 1995, which was attributed to lone-wolf nihilist Timothy McVeigh, who was never shown in a court of law to be affiliated with any group whatever; So why the militia associations in the press and other media then? I could write a whole book on that topic, but suffice it to say that any person or group that puts individual rights ahead of the state’s prerogatives, is suspect to the statist mindset, even to the point of considering such views as evidence of mental instability or illness.

For most of Western history, from the end of the feudal period in Europe and then inAmerica until 1930[1], the militia was considered to be the entire local male population of physically capable men of militarily appropriate age, usually between the ages of 15 to 45. They were loosely organized along paramilitary lines and were often required to keep their own swords and spears and later rifles, in their own homes, and at their own expense. These militias were not deployed in foreign wars (usually) unless invaded, but were instead used for local peacekeeping (at a time when police and private security firms didn’t exist yet), or for local or regional emergency and natural disaster response. [2] These forces were commanded locally and later (in America at least) by local officials. [3]

From the American Heritage Dictionary, (1990 edition)

mi·li·tia (mə-lĭsh'ə)

  1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
  2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
  3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

And so there it is. But consider this newer entry from as to the meaning of the term militia.

mi·li·tia (mə-lĭsh'ə)


  1. A body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.
  2. A body of citizen soldiers as distinguished from professional soldiers.
  3. All able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
  4. A body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.

[emphasis mine]

Note the additional definition, and thus by inclusion in a dictionary, made authoritative the slagging of the term in modern times. And I have absolutely no doubt that, should any new, rebranded terminology or nomenclature for anarchist, anarchy, and anarchism, catch on in the public mind, this new term, will in time, become a term of disparagement and used as an epithet.

To you folks who disagree: All I can say is that you should give this a try; if it works, I’ll admit I was wrong and join in your efforts. But I’m not holding my water waiting for this to happen though.

Grimes, Gerald. The People’s Army. New London: Yale University Press. 1978. pp. 4-7.
Grimes, p.67
Grimes, p.68

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zrated said...

i agree. the best way, IMO, to combat this is to have anarchists active in the community doing good things, openly referring to themselves as anarchists. i think that a charitable movement in favor of the people and opposed to government is a good way to clear the name of anarchy. i'm trying to get something similar started here in florida. time will tell if it will be successful, but i think it's a good way to subvert the propaganda of the state.

The Anarchist Flamethrower said...

I don't it's necessary to call yourself an anarchist or libertarian to be one or act like one. Your approach is similar to my own. Good luck on your efforts.