When one takes a drive through Keene, New Hampshire, one can see the city is populated with a host of young white middle-class “anarchists” who call themselves the Free State Project.
What is the Free State Project? From their website:
“The Free State Project is an effort to recruit 20,000 liberty-loving people to move to New Hampshire. We are looking for neighborly, productive, tolerant folks from all walks of life, of all ages, creeds, and colors who agree to the political philosophy expressed in our Statement of Intent, that government exists at most to protect people’s rights, and should neither provide for people nor punish them for activities that interfere with no one else.”
What the website leaves out is that this group of bourgeoisie is also at the forefront of the “Anarcho” – Capitalist and ‘Voluntaryist’ movements.
As expected from a movement that bases the whole of its “radical” philosophy on Ron Paul throwbacks and small business angst, the sales pitch for this Murray Rothbard caricature of Jonestown reads:
“Are you frustrated at the loss of freedom and responsibility in America, while the growth of government and taxes continues unabated? Do you want to live in strong communities where your rights are respected, and people exercise responsibility for themselves and in their dealings with each other? If you answered “yes” to those questions, then the Free State Project has a solution for you.”
Their solution? Escape to the capitalist heaven of New Hampshire where there is no general sales tax and barely any pesky minorities. If that hasn’t convinced you let’s read some more reasons to move to New Hampshire from the FSP’s own ’101 Reasons to Move’:
“New Hampshire is one of only four states that places no helmet restrictions on motorcyclists…New Hampshire is one of the few states that very lightly regulates raw milk sales…New Hampshire is the only state with no laws restricting knife ownership… New Hampshire’s median household income of $63,942 is the highest in the country…New Hampshire has no capital gains tax…”
So if you like flailing unregulated knives, helmet-less, on a motorcycle you paid for with tax-free capital gains, then New Hampshire is the place for you!
If all of this still doesn’t convince you, they have explicit support from both Ron Paul and John “Captain Racism” Stossel.
Beyond the humor this is all a very sad expression of the core of the Voluntaryist movement. A movement of white middle-class males who feel alienated by taxes and poor people.
Not much more needs to be said to prove the point about the Free State Project. They seem to explain it themselves. Anything redeemable about this wholly reactionary organization is easily flushed away in a hysteria of anti-state reductionism and bitcoins.
My real criticism lies in the audacity of the Free State Project to associate itself with Anarchism. The sheer idiocy of such a comparison is masked by an equally dumbfounding ignorance of those in the Free State Project to realize they are indeed not Anarchists. Being a rich privileged white male who escapes the confines of income taxes to realize his full rate of surplus value does not qualify one as an Anarchist. It qualifies one as a privileged schmuck who at most is a coffee shop ‘revolutionary’ trading bitcoins for raw milk.
Many will know I am a Marxist; however, I have a great respect for the Classical Anarchist thinkers and their contributions to anti-capitalist and anti-state theory. These modern day ‘Anarchists’ would leave Proudhon rolling in his grave.
A more glaring issue with this all is: what is the point? Most of the members of the Free State Project are of the heavily privileged classes of the petit bourgeois and I have yet to see any of them that come from an actual Proletarian background. They already enjoy the luxuries that the majority of Americans, little alone the vast majority of the world, ever enjoy. Furthermore, most do not have to suffer the alienating qualities of wage labor that plagues the working classes.
The Free State Project is really about the realization of a shitty ethical framework that prioritizes man’s relationship (or rather, subordination) with property higher than any concept of human liberation. They hide this framework behind lofty acronyms like the NAP (Non-aggression principle) which basically sanctions any sort of economic aggression against a “willing” subject and forbids any physical resistance as the utmost heresy towards the Gospel of Private Property. The failure here being that ‘free will’ is highly deterministic in a world where the means of subsistence are held privately and operated for a profit. Physical resistance becomes the only option other than utter ontological destruction; yet it also becomes the only thing that is more reprehensible to ‘Anarcho’ – Capitalists than the tenets of social ownership.
From a Marxist perspective, one can always disseminate the heart of a movement by the class it bases itself upon. In the case of the Free State Project, it is based upon the privileged upper-middle class and business owners who fear impending social revolution or just wish to maximize their profits. It is with this class analysis that we can deduce the only logical conclusion about the Free State Project: complete bourgeois reaction.
The Future of White America
One thing I have left out of my ramblings is that the Free State Project is rather insignificant Even in New Hampshire, where the movement is concentrated, Free Stater’s, have minimal influence, outside of a few legislative seats and PorcFest (the annual gathering of cretins). Even with their minimal influence, this concept of anti-state bourgeois reaction is appearing more streamlined throughout the United States.
In the past, we have seen phenomena such as gated communities and ‘White Flight’ that characterize bourgeois reaction to both social change and the internal contradictions of Capitalism. With the Free State Project, we see an even bolder step in that direction that challenges previously unchallenged concepts key to neoliberal governmentality including the ‘social contract’. It is hard to decipher what exactly this means for the future, but the trend seems to be clear.
The future of ‘White America’ will most likely be centered around escaping revolutionary conditions or the grueling social stratification that Capitalism produces in its life-cycle. With movements like the Free State Project, the Capitalist class can take refuge in these nearly white separatist tax havens and exert their dominance on the ‘lay’ persons from the comfort of places like Keene, New Hampshire. This hyper-privileged apartheid can only further alienate the working class and destroy any hope of social justice within the system.
At best, the Free State Project is just a conglomeration of gravely misdirected petit bourgeoisie hoping to escape the evils of the society they helped stratify. At worst, the Free State Project represents the Versailles of bourgeois reaction in the United States. The distancing of the bourgeois, both physically and ideologically, from the conditions the capitalist social order produced. The same order they try to uphold.
The task of revolutionaries is always to struggle against Capitalism for the liberation of humanity. It is insufficient to base a radical movement on the negation of an institution. One must also struggle for affirmation of more than the negation. In this case revolutionaries must struggle for the negation of Capitalism for the affirmation of human liberation. For a Marxist, this means empowering the toiling classes to throw off the shackles of subjugation and experience life through the struggle of Communism outside of systemic alienation. For a genuine Anarchist it means what it must. In general, all of us as comrades, must unite against this system of oppression and against the bourgeois.
This also means a struggle against the Free State Project, but not a violent one. Or even one that approaches physical confrontation. A struggle against the Free State Project means a struggle for human liberation in the destruction of these false ‘ethical’ frameworks. Frameworks that subordinate labor, to products of labor. Frameworks that allow the Capitalist class to eat as the rest of the world starves. In essence we must resist the co-option of radical movements by the bourgeois apologists who seek to inspire counter-revolution and enshrine the traditional values of private property that have enslaved humanity for centuries. Socialism must win the struggle in the minds of the working class before it can ever win the battle in the factories, in the fields, in the workshops, and for the future of humanity.