Examining the pro-state problem of American anarchists

from Rhyd Wildermuth

For any anti-capitalist and anti-state leftist who has been in this thing for longer than a decade, the last few days of social media has been kind of a trip. In only my short self-imposed allotment of weekly social media time (90 minutes, up from a fasting diet of only 30 minutes a week), I’ve encountered more apparent insanity than I think I had in the last six months, all of it about the “terrorists” and “fascist threat” of the idiots who interrupted congress last week.

The particular madness right now is, of course, the insistence by many otherwise staunchly anti-capitalist and anti-state leftists that 1). the actions of Twitter and other social media companies to ban accounts of Trump and others should be supported and 2). the American police and military apparatus needs to immediately and harshly hunt down the people who protested and rioted in the Capitol as well as those vowing to do so again.

It’s a weird position for people whose politics are supposedly anti-state and anti-capitalist. Praising and celebrating the increased power of capitalist Social Media corporations to decide who and who cannot speak on their monopolistic platforms is, well, rather pro-capitalist; more so, calls to increase and heavily wield police violence and surveillance to stop a group of people we don’t like isn’t exactly consistent with all the previous calls to defund police departments or to dismantle the state monopoly on violence.

Both of these positions, each of which run deeply counter to the entire point of anarchism, appear suddenly to be “the” anarchist positions, the only stance a true anarchist could possible take in the face of the emergency threatening American Democracy.

How did this happen? How did anarchists become statists and find themselves willing cheerleaders for massive capitalist powers?

The answer, of course, is the spectre of “fascism,” or a particular (and wrong-headed) understanding of fascism that arose in the American mind through social media and the growth of Antifa in the last five years.

First, we should remember that Antifa in the United States–unlike in Europe–isn’t necessarily a leftist movement. While many leftists do consider themselves Antifa or engage in Antifa-branded actions, the actual institutions which also compose the movement (it is not as distributed as we like to pretend) are not only not leftist but are often hostile to leftist thought. In fact, the two largest organizations (SPLC, ADL) that have acted as clearing houses of information on far-right groups are both squarely pro-capitalist and pro-state, and news outlets like Vice, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, and the New York Times which all propagated countless articles about the rise of first the alt-right and now “fascists” are all capitalist propaganda engines.

In the lead up to Trump’s first election, when there were idiots like Milo and Richard Spencer trotting out their ridiculous ideas, Antifa and these “centrist” organizations began to meld. While that made more centrist people a tiny bit more radical, it really pulled most leftist discourse towards the center and towards a pro-state position.

Consider: a leftist (anarchist, communist, etc) stands opposed to capitalism and the capitalist state as their primary position. Traditionally, they see fascists as an ally of these two things (there can be no fascism without capitalism or the state).

These other groups, on the other hand, see fascism as a threat to the state, which in their position is a sacred institution that protects people from enemies foreign (especially the ADL, which is hyper pro-Israel and often very anti-Islam and anti-Arab) and domestic (anti-semitism, southern racist movements). For the capitalist media companies, reporting on the rise of “fascism” meant extra ad revenue, increased clicks, more attention, and thus more profit. Though individual writers may absolutely have been traditional leftists, their publishers and owners most certainly are not.

Because of this sudden alliance, we now see in American leftism an alarming trend to support the state and the capitalists’ actions whenever those square with a general anti-fascist trend. Twitter’s bans on Trump’s accounts, for example, are seen as victories without any acknowledgment that Twitter has also banned leftist speech. Let’s also remember that not too long ago Facebook censored the two largest anarchist publications in the world (CrimethInc and It’s Going Down) on the same day they banned many of the QAnon groups that are said to have been breeding grounds for fascists.

The problem is that these actions strengthen both the state and the capitalist class, especially in the support for social media corporations with monopolies over speech. There isn’t anywhere else besides Twitter and Facebook to go if you want to use social media to increase the reach of your words: these two capitalist companies own the means of production, not individuals, and not other capitalist competitors. Like the state’s monopoly on violence, these two capitalist entities posses a monopoly on meaning, a position not much different from the Catholic Church’s position in medieval Europe.

Likewise, it seems almost completely forgotten that massive protests against the murder of Black individuals by police officers led to severe repression of movement, speech, and even life by the state in reaction to those protests. There were calls to label rioters “terrorists” and criminals, and also calls for the government to increase their surveillance of activists and especially people associated with Antifa or anarchism in order to stop their threat to “democracy.”

While those calls came from people we would consider right wing, the new calls to do exactly the same thing to the Trumpist idiots now come from leftists with absolutely no sense of irony. In fact, the utility of state violence and capitalist power against enemies (“fascists”) is presented as the obvious leftist position, nevermind that it’s actually an imposed position from the pro-state centrists with whom they aligned through Antifa action and who became their primary intellectual sources through capitalist journalism.

American leftists have forgotten that there cannot be fascism without a state. Fascism is capitalist and statist. It is a mass populist movement to consolidate the capitalist class and the state and to strengthen their power over minorities, perceived threats, the everyday lives of people, and especially over dissent and “dangerous speech,” The social media bans on anarchist groups was a move towards fascism, but so also was the ban on Trump and QAnon. The massive police repression of Black Lives Matter protests and surveillance of activists were steps closer to fascism, but so to are calls to create new Domestic Terrorist laws and “hunt down the insurrectionists” who sat in Nancy Pelosi’s chair and made a mockery of American Empire.

American leftists–especially anarchists–have been acting as if the rise of fascism is a state of emergency so great that allying with the state and the capitalists is the only solution. The problem is that this solution is the actual emergency and what will eventually lead to actually-existing fascism with its own particular kinds of solutions for dissent.

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you are following the wrong "anarchists" on twitter (or where ever) if they are cheering on the entrenchment of the police state. i only see this from avowed antifascists or leftists.

but it is hard, watching this fight between my enemies. i can't really cheer on either side but it is amusing seeing people who thought there'd be no consequences encounter consequences.

and trump getting kicked off twitter was just delicious!

The leftists have never really gotten over the inner wars/WW2 period and have created a phantom ideological enemy that they feel must be beaten back never to return again. In actuality the rise of fascist states was very historically specific to things like emergent corporatism and autarky and it will likely never be the force it was ever again just as leftism and anarchism will never be the historical force they used to be before WW1.

Fascism nowadays is more of a political gang identity structure just as leftism and anarchism are today. It's not something to form an entire anti-position around or try to be a preventative force against another force that will likely never be what it was in 1933 ever again. If anything the more problematic phenomena is the fact that anti-state positionality has suffered with the most odious example being statist focus antifa types. At worse you have AINO(Anarchist In Name Only) types like Vaush who are pretty much statists against fascism. This is partly aided by this Marcusean drive for repressive tolerance. MANY leftists(including one too many anarchists) support that idiots means/ends to protect so called subalterns and it drives much of the speech control that you see from the modern Marcusean repressive tolerance informed left.

still. STILL peddling this shit ziggles?!

You know, back in the day, you at least had to move from town to town when all the locals caught on that your "health tonic" was snake oil.

But I'm just as stubborn! No. Your definition of fascism is junk. It fails to understand the real function of the forces of reaction. They are the guard dogs and death squads of certain factions among the wealthy. Their purpose is to check and smash grassroots and populist movements as they begin to form, due to deteriorating material conditions. Therefore, conditions get bad enough, ultra reactionary movements will form to crush dissent. That's the game. The apparent differences are just minor adjustments of said game.

and conditions are definitely going to worsen. and anyone who wants to be able to participate or organize in any meaningful or visible way, will need to anticipate the attacks by reactionaries. call them whatever you want, most people stick with the F word because history is the fastest way to explain all this.

Are not the same thing Lumpdumpster. When I look for a fascist diagnosis I like to be acute and see if it checks out with the doctrines set out by Mussolini and Gentile. In the Trump phenomena case it does and it doesn't. The Trump movement at its core is a right wing populist movement. While it may correlate with fascism more so then a leftist movement it's not necessarily the same thing. In the US what you have is a discursive narrative war between a fading western propertarian ideology and world societal stake holder capitalist ideology. That's what drives much of this tension. It is simply not the same thing as what was driving the forces in Germany and Italy. For one thing the fascists ended up governmentally innovating certain things that are still around to this day in terms of labor/state/capital assimilation under a different guise(paid vacation for one thing). Contemporary fascism in the US-to the degree that it's even a thing-is simply not doing that.

When you look at a more actual fascist phenomena like what exists in Greece or Italy it is NOWHERE near what it was 80-90 years ago and the US is nowhere near that. For one thing one of the factors that helped give rise to it was tertiary part democratic voting options which is more of a continental European thing the a US thing. The US does not have tertiary party voting options to make something like a fascist political party come to power. To the degree that the deflated F is a thing in the US it's largely a fringe element of a broader reactionary counterculture.

As usual, I'm right and your wrong.

More than just drawing distinctions... taking apart tendencies, ideologies and movements that have always been closely connected. Trying to isolate them in the vain hope of deconstructing what's common knowledge, but it fails.

Fascism totally was Right populist, in the case of the Nazis, Mussolini's regime, Franco's Spain and the Iron Guards. The Nazis relied especially on a brand of workerism, and their populism is in their central motto (Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer). Yet all of these movements were also brutally reactionary, in how they went after revolutionaries of the time, just like against liberal (anti-monarchist) republics. These movements/groups also worked closely with the wealthy establishment and royal families to keep them in power, and go to war against the progressive democratic movements.

The Trumptard fascists are also equally reactionary in how they are anti-progressive, against the entire Left including anarchists, and OPENLY for a return to a long-lost "America", which in the case of the NeoConfederates, means a return to full White supremacy.

It's a compliment to be regarded as "wrong" by the troll lord of all Anews bad-faith shitposting, and I'm sure you're making Lumpentroll proud, Sir NEINzige.

Also you should be thankful someone else than him gave two minutes of their time writing you a reply. Good feelings around here... good feelings.

I'm the one making the distinctions while you're not. There are obvious distinctions to be made within the continuum of right wing populism. Of course fascism is A PART of it but not anywhere near the whole. Consider with left wing populism you have things that run the gamut from anarchism(however dubious)to tankietarded stalinism. It's no different with the right wing of things. You're just like those right wing retards who say all left populist politics=communism. In both cases you have factions that don't like each other.

The Trump thing does have fascists obviously(who are NOWHERE NEAR power) but it also has black and gold Michael Malice libertarian types. It's retarded that I even have to point this out to you. I know I'm the autist here who is a stickler for accuracy in regards to what is and isn't fascism but your reasoning doesn't work even on a basic level.

Go look at yourself in the mirror and laugh at that silly logic of yours.

whatever little gotcha game you think you're playing here, is beside the point and only interesting to you

Unless you are part of the TDS liberal/left hysteria anyone with a sane analysis knows this. You do know there are factions within the Trump camp who don’t like people like Richard Spencer right? It’s not even just that they are nowhere near power, it’s that they are arguably outnumbered by the more traditional right wing ideologues who are NOT fascist.

i'm not interested in splitting hairs like you are. this has been explained many times. its extremely suspicious that you're still bothering at this point.

When it comes to things like what a reactionary, a revolutionary and a fascist IS there are clear and obvious distinctions and definitions which your pathological leftist antifatarded position doesn't pick up on.

thank you! fascist is just a subcategory of reactionary and ziggles is so far behind he thinks he's first, as usual.

I’m the one pointing out that there are distinctions within. And the overall point AGAIN is pointing out the dubiousness of antifascism in the face of these distinctions which many antifatards don’t acknowledge. There are radicals(statists commies) that are worse for anarchists then some reactionaries.

Yeah agreed, take the patriotic nationalists for instance, re-enacting Antebellum in their colleçtive culture!

That's fine... Whenever some neofascists are anywhere close to being discredited here, SE always jumps down to fend off attackers with his powerful magic wand that can reshape history and realities as he sees fit (a.k.a "Revisionism" but hey let's not trigger that snowflake too much).

"fascist is just a subcategory of reactionary"

this is historically inaccurate and untenable. a reactionary position has not, and does not, ever include giving more power to workers over their work, both at the point of production and at the point of distribution -- but there have been fascists who have promoted precisely that (taking their cues from Sorel). that's part of why many fascists (especially the italian and spanish ones) could call themselves "national syndicalists" with a straight face and consider themselves to be informed by at least some anti-capitalist notions, especially as it related to a class-based antagonism toward the bosses. any decent study of fascism must take into account that while for the most part, the ideas and policies line up squarely on the right and with reaction, there are elements in fascism that were deliberately copied from left-wing union movements, and while they were always given a nationalist/semi-racist twist, they remained close to the ideas of left-syndicalism. the easy defection of leftists into fascist unions at work -- especially once fascism became a dominant state ideology -- is an important sociological phenomenon that can't just be ignored.

Fascism has revolutionary and reactionary characteristics.

What were the "fasci di combattimento ", you ignoramus?

It is know how Muhricans got shitty history classes.

Sometimes when good people get overworked and have sleep deprivation, drink too much caffeine, their mind has to have an outlet or it will go crazy, it looks for someone who instills confidence for the future, and is like a familiar tv friend, and so the good person votes Trump. There is no malice or hostility, only the desire for peace and contentedness. They are not fascists, just challenged burnt out good people. They are not excellent beautiful vegan people with leftist views, but just down to earth meat eaters, who are not fascists.

good people are a spook. what weird meme, bro. trying to make magats seem cuddly?

anyways, i find your whole outlook and focus on this issue uninteresting. there are plenty of articles and topic to shitpost about. pick another one and move along.

I think you mean simple-minded rather than "good", which is subjective. Simple-minded means the superstitious and religiously driven people who are not individualist thinkers. Not that I respect or use the false IQ test as a measure of intelligence, it may indicate levels of vitality and imaginative creativity so is not entirely useless as a measuring system, and these followers of leaders or religions could be said to have low IQs.
The simple -minded as you say are not malicious and as a mob they can perform compassionate acts in the name of the collective good. This was basically the initial desire of Trump supporters, their simple-minded concern and support for a leader who promised good outcomes but did not deliver. This is not fascism but a tragic mistake by a non-intellectual horde seeking a nostalgic renaissance of the rapidly diminishing American traditions.

What a retard... If we're at least referring to the J6 CHUDs, the socio-demographics were

- neonazis, including these bird-brained neopagan rockers upfront
- White racist NeoConfed cripples
- off-duty cops
- on-duty cops
- a few Far Right gay models (i.e. Proud Boys)
- your Christian zealot aunt from some shitty suburb

"Good people" alright...

You might be partly correctly, tho, if you're referring to the 2016 elections. There was a good excuse back then to put any crazy in power instead of the same old neoliberal status quo, but that's it.

can someone explain to me the specimen that is anon 10:12? they are seemingly opposed to alt-right reactionaries yet speak and behave exactly like alt-right reactionaries? just a general contrarian raised on the internet and gamer/chan culture or perhaps an unproud boy?

They are known as " not good haters " who inhabit the elitist underground ultra-sociopathic debating teams in the bourgeoisie suburbs. Hope this helps :)

"behave exactly like alt-right reactionaries"

Okay, how? Coz my socio-demographics analysis of this event? I suppose you're another one of those "antifa are the real fascists!" bigots. Tho that makes me wonder what are you still doing here.

And, "Un-Proud Boy"... How is that bad, or "reactionary"? When pride in your whiteness and gender is all you got, then that says a lot about your lack of personal self-esteem.

you’re not very smart are you? the comment was remarking on your ableist language and overall channer bro stupidity. so yeah, you got it all wrong.

yeah so you don't apparently make distinctions between opportunistic rhetoric and concessions and the actual goals? maybe start doing that?

the reason fascists seem to promote the cause of their distorted, highly selective version of "the worker" is because part of what they're doing is trying to split the mass of workers and turn them against each other. why isn't that obvious to you?

a swindler and a sincere person can be using similar rhetoric for very different reasons ...

Fascism as a sub-category *gasp* Wtf, fascism is a rejection of creative and unique social experimental expressions based on an obedience to the precepts of a broad socio-political ideology. It is the quintessential nature of totalitarian State dictatorships and is not present in liberal democracies. Neo-nazi and weekend patriotic rightwing hunting clubs do not qualify as fascist in the true sense of the word. They classify as dumb religiously obedient simple folk with a tad amount of bitter resentment and most likely in debt owing money to a bank. Ironically, some may even have anarchistic tendencies.

"They classify as dumb religiously obedient simple folk with a tad amount of bitter resentment and most likely in debt owing money to a bank."

lolwut? What is owing money to a bank has gotta to do with anything?

Trump is gonna get them work and prosperity and help pay off personal debt is why dumbass!

PS Well that's what the dumbasses believed anyway!

There is a newly emerged demographic now. The woke blue-collar class have appropriated the neo-liberal leftist methodology of confrontational protest, and to the inexperienced observer, their patrotism and support for traditional values has them being categorised as fascistic, but this is not true. They are mostly a woken version of conservative values; true, a strange blend of values and beliefs, like grandma's country style pie served up on a kebab with guacamole, but that is the pomo American world, inverted so that left seems right and right looks left, a binary quandary for sure.
Trump's supporters are mostly good hearted dumb semi-neoliberaloids with cardio-vascular issues which effects their judgements.

I agree as long as a demographic is just a trend and not a category, slot, or an ideological box, because to classify a community or mass of people this way is un-anarchistic.
Within the holistic relational plenum we are all one people with a common interest, and these divisionists which polarise and create the binary mechanisms of social stress and the pursuit of power have no place in an anarch association.
Will all leftists and rightists leave this site please?

The greatest retardant to a human evolution away from the mythical/irrational mindset is the worship of superstitious religious power figures and the bureaucratic political structure which functions as its power broker. As shown in the link, the Qanon shaman standing on the Congress throne of power completes the symbolism and ritual which connects the common mass of minions to the mythical phantasms used to facilitate the distribution of social power.

Leftism like fascism needs workers at the end of the day because-as Bob Black says-if their were no workers, who else would the left have to organize. The fascists just came up with a particular solvent to unify labor state and capital and it's a solvent that many leftist political parties still play to to this day all the way down to paid vacation.

no ... neither of those political positions "need" workers, you're thinking of the capitalists? But hey, this stuff is hard, don't be sad if you're struggling.

Who else do you think is going to build their capital based edifices. Leftism as a whole is part of a capital and state ideological continuum. Just because they don't opt for profit motive and private property does not mean they don't have plan for workers like all the other ideologies. This is post-leftism Bob Black analysis 101.

you're talking to an anarchist ... remember? I'm not defending state communism ... you blathering jackass

I was attacking your distinction that leftism along with fascism is somehow different from capitalism in terms of needing and making use of indentured forced labor. All modern ideologies ultimately need the logic of work to build their ideological edifice.

you're attacking a strawman that only exists in your own brain and it's incredibly tedious to watch.

Strawmen are good actually. The highest form of ego anarch nihilesq discourse.

I see it differently. keyboard ego masturbation to pass the time while the world burns

Go back to your 1/17/2021 07:14 post and read what you wrote. There’s nothing for me to even try to steelman.

it's glib. It's a single sentence on a complex topic. Why don't you reread the dozen posts I've made over the years about how I consider you so far beneath contempt that I wouldn't even dream of bothering to seriously engage you on these topics? I just mock you. You deserve to be completely ignored. Even mocking is too good.

You were being glib and not caught in stupid talking point(not your first or last). Let's recall that this whole exchange started because you got the nature of revolution and reaction wrong relative to fascism and someone corrected you regarding the foundation and characteristics of fascism(national syndicalism for instance). Then you made a double fuck up with your STUPID work/workers comment.

Feeling's mutual by the way lump. I just have fun with you at the end of the day;)

it's a "talking point" now? it's one little straw that you're grasping at ... desperately. you need to keep packing your strawman after all

"The US does not have tertiary party voting options to make something like a fascist political party come to power. "

the trump cult obviously doesn't need a third party, they ostensibly have one of the two majors. though this may finally be the time a real third party emerges, be it the trumpettes or the "moderate" right wing of the republican party.

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