Surveying the UK political scene for fellow radicals I feel disappointed in both directions I look.
In turning to my closest allies,the libertarians of the UK ,I am thoroughly embarrased and the picture is bleak.Most libertarians of the UK are minarchists not anarchists.They are closest to 19th century classical liberals or more correctly (as in the case of many) the Conservative party.I’ve seen a stream of vile rhetoric in which David Cameron is praised as a liberator,smashing big government.Ignorance of the distinction between alleviating measures(such as the welfare state which the Tories are slashing) and privileges benefitting the wealthy and politically connected elites(e.g. Corporate welfare) abounds.
As with Benjamin Tucker’s criticism of Herbert Spencer, they seem more concerned with policies which (allegedly) harm the rich instead of those affecting the poorest.This understanding is important to making sense of what’s going on with the cuts in the UK currently.It is more correctly the state trimming off those measures which cloak it’s iron fist and maintaining it’s core privileges and most pressing tyrannies- that of it’s monopoly on law,policing and military.Many UK libertarians haven’t really heard of the concept of Vulgar Libertarianism or at least act like they haven’t.Their idea of a free society is dominated by Tesco and big corporations.
What about the UK Libertarian Party? Well as with in the US, their wishy washy. As a young minarchist influenced by Ron Paul I did broadly like and support them ,putting to one side the moderatism of much of their platform.On closer more recent examination,it’s horrendous to the point of being conservatism with libertarian wordplay- that’s without going into detail about recent stories circulating about sponging party leaders and dodgy relationships.
I don’t want to make it sound like there’s masses of libertarians gathering in the streets.No, out of the UK population the percentage of libertarians is very low.Probably approximately 5% or less and of that libertarian anarchists are less.There is the Libertarian Alliance which has had some very kind words for Kevin Carson.But it’s hard for me to feel comfortable with the organization especially when Sean Gabb makes gushing articles on Monarchy and dismisses the history of Scottish oppression while admitting Scottish independence is vital.
I said both directions.So what about the Anarchists? Well I’m not so pessimistic about them.As we’ve seen recently and can be shown again and again,they are passionate and very active.There’s a lot of good things to be said about them.However if you go by the likes of Libcom.org, anarchists of the UK are at best dismissive of Mutualism and the like and at worst, opposed to it.Hopefully that isn’t a true reflection of reality or if so,that it changes soon.Until then my strategy will be to working with others,finding common ground on an issue by issue basis.Am I positive about the future of politics in the UK? not at all sadly.The UK ,among Europe surely ranks as one of the most intrusive and totalitarian.But I live in hope.