To celebrate May Day, the Red Triangle Technology Collective is offering special promotion codes for services we offer at-cost. This means we’re taking a loss (out of our pocket) on these promotion codes as a “loss leader” to get new folks on board and using our services. If you can afford to help us out, please check out our contribution page and consider making a contribution to continue making RTTC possible!
Deal #1: Be one of the first ten customers to register or transfer a domain to the Red Triangle Technology Collective and receive $2.50 off with promo code MAYDAYDOMAIN.
Deal #2: The first ten new signups to order a VPN level 1 or 2 service and pay annually can kill the setup fee with promo code MAYDAYVPN1. (Must pay annually for this discount to apply.)
Deal #3: Anyone who signs up for a VPN level 3 or 4 service and uses promo code MAYDAYVPN2 will get $25.00 knocked off their setup fee. (Regardless of whether you pay monthly or annually)
These codes are only good today and tomorrow (May 1st) to help workers everywhere get a secure internet connection for their organizing efforts! And remember, our core hosting services are always available at no cost to radical people, projects, and organizations! Learn more at www.redtriangletc.org.
These days, it seems like everybody’s concerned about internet security. From firewalls to virus scanners, and SSL-encrypted login pages to more secure ways to create and store session data in cookies, there’s a breadth of information, software, and services available to the consumer to help with securing their computers and internet connections from attackers. Certain types of attackers, that is. What about when the attacker in question, though, is the user’s own ISP or the government they live under?
With ever-increasing state and corporate surveillance and censorship of the internet connection you’re already paying for, a VPN on top of it has become pretty much essential. Just see this article about what’s going on in the US starting this July, or the plans the UK government has for their residents. And this is just what’s public in the news media. For every story we hear, there are dozens of National Security Letters, warrantless wiretaps, and other abuses. How can you defend yourself?
There are large, public networks like Tor and I2P which offer various solutions to various problems. Tor encrypts your content and hides your origin very effectively when used correctly. It creates a tunnel using several nodes, none of which know the actual origin of the connection. The problems with Tor are two-fold, however. For one thing, you can’t always trust the exit node which delivers you to the internet, meaning you need to rely on other forms of endpoint authentication and encryption protocols (like SSL) to make sure you’re not made the victim of a man in the middle attack. The other big problem with Tor is speed. Anyone who has used it knows that the biggest price of good anonymity on the internet is that your internet experience is going to be slow, and some things – like large file downloads or peer-2-peer connectivity – are just not going to work. At all. I2P on the other hand isn’t really designed to access the regular internet. While it provides a gateway to its own “eepsites”, connectivity in a more secure manner to websites like google, facebook, or porn sites just isn’t going to be possible using I2P.
Another option, and one which better meets the needs of most users, is a VPN. VPNs do not provide anonymity as strongly as Tor or I2P, but they provide fast and reliable internet connectivity to the websites and other internet services you use on a daily basis. The Red Triangle Technology Collective is now offering low-cost VPN services for users around the globe. For many US internet users, a US-based VPN from RTTC may even increase internet performance, while simoultaneously evading censorship, connection hijacking, and data mining that US consumer ISPs are more and more frequently routinely inflicting upon their own customers. If you use Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, or any other major consumer cable or DSL internet provider in the US, you need a VPN. For those also concerned about state surveillance with regard to users in the US, the collective’s Russia-based offerings provide a service hosted in Moscow, beyond the jurisdiction of the FBI and the NSA.
For greater “signal to noise ratio” a Tor service can be run on the VPN system, making surveillance even more difficult. For the ultimate in security, one can opt to have a Tor exit node running on the same IP as their VPN, which means that the user has plausible deniability for any and all traffic coming through their VPN. The unfortunate downside of running with a Tor exit node is that many sites may automatically block you. No other VPN provider is currently offering this functionality or this level of overall security. Backed by RTTC – an organization with radical values – you can be sure that your internet connectivity is safe with a Red Triangle Technology Collective VPN service.
In today’s environment of increasing surveillance and censorship, can you really afford not to? Sign up today!
Newest Gartner poll: Ron Paul polling in first place among both Republicans and Democrats nationwide!
According to a Gartner poll released Friday, December 15th, 2011, Ron Paul is now polling in first, nationwide, with both Democratic and Republican voters as well as Independents. This poll surveyed 547,000 Americans from across the country in a variety of demographic groups who were registered voters in the Republican and Democratic parties, and registered Independents. While some were surprised by the results, others felt that they better represented the current position of many American voters than previous polls in which candidate Ron Paul, (R-TX) was polling in fourth or fifth at best among GOP voters.
As Paul’s latest polling numbers soar, so too do the hopes and ambitions of his most ardent followers. Some have begun celebrating, and a “money bomb” – a scheduled event during which large numbers of supporters contribute financially to the campaign in a planned fashion in order to generate headlines by breaking contribution records – has been planned to help garner even more publicity for the Gartner poll and to help the campaign to capitalize on this success. While the campaign is abuzz with the news, mainstream coverage of this poll has, on the other hand, been low-key at best. CBS Evening News makes brief mention of Paul’s victory, but spends far more time discussing the placement of other candidates, including incumbent US president Barack Obama, now running in second place even among his own party’s voters.
While the Obama campaign has so far not responded to our requests for comment, some grass-roots supporters who have asked not to be named stated that the Obama campaign is still not in full gear, and the president expects that Democratic voters will in fact turn out to deliver their candidate another four years in office. Paul supporters, meanwhile, are unconvinced. One Paul supporter posts online; “It’s clear to me that the exodus away from Obama amongst his own party’s voters is evidence that he has not lived up to the progressive values espoused during his 2008 campaign and that even if they may not be in agreement with all of Doctor Paul’s policies, they are drawn to his honesty and consistency. That’s something American politics has been lacking.” So while the Obama campaign closes ranks, Paul fans are more jubilant than ever – a tall order for a group known for everything from a Ron Paul Blimp to breaking single-day fundraising records in 2008.
Of course, if you’ve been paying attention to how things are going lately, this entire story probably sounds like bullshit to you. That’s because it is. My point is that anyone can post any damned thing they want on the internet, and claim any level of legitimacy. They can misrepresent facts, statistics, and studies, or they can fabricate them entirely. No such Gartner poll exists. It never did. Ron Paul isn’t in first place, and he’s certainly not taking Democratic votes to the bank.
The internet is full of such crap. Two recent articles come to mind: one example is a piece on a communist site which claims that Cuba has absolutely no malnourished children as per a UNICEF study. Unfortunately, while the news is overall good – as of 2006, only 4% of children are malnourished and that’s down from 7% as of 2004 – there is no UNICEF data from later than 2006 regarding nutrition for children in Cuba. While the article mentions a specific set of UNICEF studies – the most recent of which, in 2009, covers child safety such as child abuse prevention exclusively – it does not link to any specific source for its claims. As it turns out, the claims just aren’t true at all. The second example is an atheist website which claims that a UMN study shows atheists to be “the most hated minority in America.“ Once again, this article doesn’t link to its source, and while the source does exist and has some interesting data, it’s clear that the goal of the atheist website is to misrepresent the facts. The study does, in fact, not discuss “hatred” at all, and doesn’t even cover all minorities. Rather, it looks at a specific set of metrics including who people would consider voting for for president of the USA, who people would like to see their children date, etc. These metrics include a fixed set of minorities – not all minorities, and in some instances lacking in some key areas. This is because the study isn’t actually a study at all, but rather an analysis of various surveys released by survey companies.
It’s important to always consider your sources critically. Question everything! (Or shut up and be… a victim of authority…)
Recently, Herman Cain brought up a proposal to implement a flat tax on corporate and individual earnings, coupled with a flat 9% sales tax which would go to the IRS. This is a re-hashing of previous similar proposals, most often referred to as the “Fair Tax”, which propose anywhere between 9% and 30% in national sales taxes which would be collected by the federal government, with the higher-dollar sales taxes generally proposed as a replacement for the income tax and with the smaller amounts as a supplement to it – as Cain proposes. So what is the fair tax?
The Fair Tax is a huge bailout scheme to funnel more money away from the poor to the bankers: the tiny ruling-class of elites who get their way pretty routinely from the US government. Which is just why this thing may end up being implemented at some point within the next few years. In order to understand the fair tax, however, and how it enriches the bankers at the expense of everyone else, we have to consider how people spend money today. All too often, even with small purchases, people take out loans from a bank in order to pay for what they buy. This can come in the form of swiping a credit card at the checkout lane, or in the form of a loan contract for the purchase of, say, a car or even something as large as a house. With such purchases, most states charge a state sales tax: anywhere from 5% – 10% depending on what state you’re making the purchase in. That amount gets financed right along with the base price.
Lets consider a $10,000 car. If you have a state sales tax of 5% attached, that becomes $10,500. Attach Cain’s 9% national sales tax, and that becomes $11,400. Instead of financing $10,000, the person making the purchase just financed $11,400. They’re not just stuck paying the principle of that sales tax – the $1,400 – but rather, the interest on it as well. Of course, most purchases don’t amount to $10,000 in one transaction. Rather, the interest on the credit cards used to buy food, diapers, furniture, and other random needs at mega chains, grocery stores, and anywhere else, will add up to far more in the pockets of the banking industry overlords. In this way, the Fair Tax, or any other proposal creating a national sales tax, places an even greater burden on the poor and middle classes in the US. It redistributes their wealth to the bankers. Wealth redistribution is what the government does best, after all, but it never redistributed wealth from the top to the bottom; rather, it always redistributed wealth from the bottom to the top, as the top make up its benefactors.
The Red Triangle Technology Collective has officially begun operating today, moving towards implementing phase 1 of the plan! We’re currently focusing on getting our websites designed and implemented, getting a logo, and fundraising to be able to implement phase 1. We announced several weeks ago our intent to launch right here at Gonzo Times, and outlined some core principles and goals. With the formal plan, released yesterday, we’ve refined these ideas and made public our tentative budget for phases 1, 2, and 3.
What is the Red Triangle Technology Collective? More than anything else, it’s a means by which we can become independent from corporate and state-controlled communications mediums. From Facebook to Google, Verisign to Yahoo, relying on entities which are sympathetic to the ruling class for our entire network is a strategy for fail.
We need our own solutions – by us, for us, with our needs and principles in heart and mind. That’s what RTTC is.
You can contact us via facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RedTriangleCollective.
Here’s our plan:
The purpose of the Red Triangle Technology Collective is to provide a no-cost hosting solution for radical projects and websites. This will enable people who are not able to afford a commercial provider to begin developing their ideas on the web. It will create opportunities to grow radical ideas, projects, and communities without reliance on an individual’s or collective’s ability to foot a bill, and for those collectives which do have financial resources, it will enable them to, when necessary, focus those resources towards achieving their core goals rather than to peripheral costs such as web hosting.
The radical hosting co-op project will be worker-managed, with workers democratically (via consensus when feasible and possible, and via voting when not) making the majority of non-technical decisions regarding the management of the co-op. This includes things like projects to provide services for, criteria for services, memberships in the co-op, and potential future expansions into new areas. Technical decisions will be made by the engineering team on a consensus basis.
In order to make this plan easier to read, we’ve divided the plan into 3 phases. Upon reaching phase 3, we become essentially modular, enabling us to dynamically upgrade to meet our needs. Phase 3 entails our own rack space and bandwidth where servers which we own will be located. This is easily upgradeable to meet future demands well into the next decade.
Within phase 1, we will be launching our social networking site based on the Friendika software, which enables users to have a profile within our network as well as also connecting globally with friendika users on every friendika site worldwide, diaspora users, and facebook users. Friendika is a decentralized (like diaspora) social network suite which also enables connectivity with other social networking protocols including diaspora and facebook (which diaspora does not do.) As facebook becomes more and more difficult to use, more and more activists and activist communities will seek to move away from it towards more privacy and security focused alternatives. We believe that we will provide the best alternative, and still allow them to integrate to facebook while maintaining a safe distance from facebook. Further, as friendika enables integration to diaspora users as well, this will allow our user-base to engage with diaspora users worldwide. Also in phase 1, we will offer high-security hosting of websites both on the public internet and on Tor hidden services, of highly secure real-time chat (to which anonymous access via Tor will be available), and of domain name hosting supporting a high level of security. We’ll also be donating some bandwidth to the Tor project in the form of a non-exit relay node.
Upon entering phase 2, we will add hosting via cpanel/WHM on a new server. This server will host a majority of sites, as most do not require the high-security environment provided by the ultra-secure host. Further, this platform will be significantly easier to use, enabling more non-technical people to enjoy our services. Phase 2 will also herald the addition of our high-security email hosting platform. We will also introduce the Radical Advertising Platform during phase 2. RAP will allow sites to share web traffic and interest among their core demographic: other radicals! RAP is a no-cost solution, where any website hosting RAP ads will also have their banner placed in the rotation which will be displayed on other participating sites.
Phase 3 will enable us to provide even greater services, as we move into the realm of high-end hosting and high-security conferencing above and beyond chat, with SIP offerings as well as a much higher level of service. This means that we will also be able to provide phone support for end-users based on support staff availability. Finally, phase 3 will enable continued, sustainable growth for the foreseeable future.
Another goal is to generate open-source code which will be shared freely with the world. Most code created by Red Triangle members for the collective’s systems and services will be released under the terms of the BSD license. This will serve to advance the technological development of radical software projects around the world.
Thus far, we’ve decided on a name through democratic means, and procured our domain names: redtriangletc.org and redtriangletc.net. On the technology end of things, we’ve set up Infrastructure Server #2, running secure IRC for real-time communications and an FTP service for internal file distribution and for distributing our open-source software and patches which will be made available freely to all, as well as providing redundant secondary DNS for all of our hosted domains. It also hosts a Tor relay node providing over 1.5mbps of bandwidth to the Tor network to support the greater community.
You can read the full plan document in PDF format via our FTP service.
We’re also ready to accept contributions to help us reach phase 1. We’re using paypal for this right now, and you can support us by visiting http://ftp.redtriangletc.net/pub/docs/contribute.html.
Tags: chat hosting, hosting, radical advertising platform, rap, Red Triangle, Red Triangle Technology Collective, RedTriangleCollective, RedTriangleTC, RTTC, secure web hosting, social network, social networking, social networks, web hosting
Seriously, just die.
When the state collapses and there are no more police to protect you, guess who dies first? Not the capitalists. Not the politicians. Not even the stormfront.org crowd. Pedophiles. I, and other anarchists like me, will kill every goddamned pedophile on the face of the planet the first day there are no police to protect them from us. Because that’s what police do: they protect pedophiles from people like me.
And the first pedophiles to die will be those who appropriated anarchist communities, verbiage, etc, to further their pedophilia, as if it were somehow acceptable amongst anarchists. It isn’t. We’re coming for you motherfuckers. Die now and save yourself a lot of pain. You people are sick fucks, and appropriating our movement to your twisted goals is unacceptable. So we’re going to kill you as soon as the state falls.
Update (2011-10-06): We’ ve launched, and you can read some more details here: http://www.gonzotimes.com/2011/10/red-triangle-technology-collective-begins-operations/. You can also help fund our continued endeavours in phase 1 and eventually upgrade into phase 2 by making a modest monthly or one-time contribution to the project. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the support that has made this project possible up to this point and into our future!
Over the past few years, I’ve seen many folks want to start either radical projects which require or would benefit from an internet presence beyond what facebook, et al offer, or radical projects based primarily on the internet. Some have failed due to lack of funding for basic services such as hosting of the services they require, while others have utilized pay-for-hosting services which by and large have no political affiliation and often suffer from security issues – either in that they respond to subpoenas and national security letters in a knee-jerk fashion, or in that they are simply open to compromises either by other customers or outsiders entirely. Still others have used existing services which provide low-cost or no-cost hosting for radical projects, but these lack certain basic services and don’t provide a high level of end-user support. I propose to remedy this situation.
This means creating an anarchist internet services co-op. Not just providing basic web and secure email hosting, but rather to provide a full suite of quality services including support for end-users as they would receive from any paid provider that has no interest in their security. Further, going above and beyond to provide Tor hidden service support, IRC channel hosting support via a secure, private, SSL-encrypted, hidden service-enabled fashion, and even a root certification authority which would sooner rm -rf itself than hand over private keys to the state. The security issues are very real when using services provided by corporations which are answerable to the state, especially when dealing with hierarchical services such as SSL certificates where you can easily be hijacked by anyone having access to the root CA private keys for signing.
We have decided upon a set of common principles which we put forth as the guiding values of this project. It’s our hope that they will enable us to make key decisions with at least some level of objectivity and to maintain our focus on fulfilling the needs of the community while staying true to these core values. They are:
- Opposition to oppression and coercion world-wide.
- Standing in solidarity with all oppressed people.
- Providing useful resources for the struggle against human suffering.
- Never tolerating fascism of any sort, including but not limited to, racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, statism, and religionism.
- Never participating in oppressive forms of organization such as wage slavery.
- Never to allow our roles within the organization to enable us to oppress others inside the organization or outside.
- To promote egalitarian anti-oppression values when acting on behalf of the organization.
We have a plan to achieve these lofty goals. What we need now are resources and more volunteers. This will be run entirely as a not-for-profit enterprise, with all income above and beyond the current budget used to improve upon services as necessary. It is required that each volunteer agree to our key principles, as well as meet the requirements for the position they’re interested in. Specifically, we are looking for volunteers for the following positions:
- Bookkeeper: Someone to handle the financial side of things. Must be a well-known and trusted individual in the anarchist community.
- System Administrator: Preferably someone in Europe or who otherwise keeps hours opposite my own, a sysadmin to help handle things while I’m asleep or working. I don’t want to be a single point of failure. This should be someone with at least 10 years of experience with Linux (CentOS or RedHat and Slackware preferable), familiar with SSL, Apache, MySQL, as well as preferably exim, postfix, dovecot, varnish, and Xen as well. Perl, Ruby, Python, or other scripting abilities beyond sh are a plus, also.
- Developer: Someone with at least 2 years of experience in at least one of Perl, C, Python, or Ruby.
- Web developer: Someone with at least 2 years of experience in at least one of PHP, Perl, or Ruby-on-rails.
- Fundraisers/promoters: Folks who can help to fundraise for the project to meet financial deadlines, and promote the project to new potential users. No pre-requisites for this position.
- Technical support: Technically-inclined individuals willing to assist users with issues related to the services we provide. Ideally, we’d like to aim for 24/7 coverage, but as this is all-volunteer, this will be on an as-possible basis. At least some experience with web hosting environments and common web software such as wordpress is required.
We also need funding. You can make a pledge now, and once someone has filled the bookkeeper role, we’ll move forward with accepting the contributions. The organization will be run primarily as a meritocracy, with those best-able to make decisions empowered to do so with regard to technical matters, with a strong emphasis on security. Beyond technical matters, non-technical decisions will be made by concensus among all volunteers, with some decisions being open to the user community as well at times. Meetings regarding non-privacy-sensitive and non-security-related matters will be transparent and open to all. If you are interested, please contact us via facebook. I hope to have an inaugural meeting to make basic initial decisions such as a formal name within two weeks once critical positions have been filled and some pledges have been made. At that time, a budget will also be released to request contributions.
I think it’s important to take a moment to make this distinction. Anarchism is a well-thought-out revolution leading to a well-thought-out lifestyle, free of oppressive/coercive hierarchies. It is an implementation of true freedom that leads to peaceful co-existence and cooperation.
Anarchy is an implementation of true freedom without any other facets. Lacking the thoughtfulness and cooperative/voluntary structures of anarchism, it is a moment of chaos which occurs when hierarchies crumble and there are non-anarchists present.
I say non-anarchists but what I really mean are people ill-equipped, mentally and intellectually, to think for themselves in all aspects of life without an authoritarian structure in place to think for them. Faced with the sudden loss of that authoritarian structure, these people are prone to descend into chaos until either someone educates them, someone imposes a new authoritarian structure upon them, or the unsustainability of chaos catches up with them.
Anarchy unfortunately has a tendency to welcome new authoritarian structures, as many of those people will be seeking new structures to think for them at the same time as their own behavior is erratic and their lifestyles are unsustainable.
What anarchism promises is a non-authoritarian structure that can be put in place, or even transitioned into, to avoid anarchy and the chaos which accompanies it. It’s about sustainable structures which withstand the test of time. Finally, it’s about enabling the people – both mentally and physically – to prohibit and crush any authoritarian uprisings that may seek to once more oppress them, rather than going on to seek out such structures and willingly submit to them.
There is only one black person in my GMB. Seriously. Just one. There are at least two queer white AMAB people. Lets put this into perspective. Less than 1% of people in the US are queer AMAB people. Less than 1% of people in Kansas City are queer AMAB people. 12.6% of US residents, however, are black, and even more – 28% – in Kansas City are black. Among working-class people, I’d imagine that that number is even more skewed. So why is it that the Industrial Workers of the World, Kansas City GMB, has only one black member?
I’ve come to a couple of conclusions based on speaking with her and from my own observations about how business is done here, and likely in a lot of other places as well.
First, the KC IWW has strong ties to UMKC. This is generally a good thing; several of our most active members are or were students while also working the sort of dead-end jobs students often work while in school. Several faculty members have been supportive and one is even a long-time IWW member himself. This also has an impact on outreach to the black community, however. Racial discrepencies exist in terms of children from working-class homes being able to go to college. It’s harder for black children from working-class backgrounds to go to college, and so even though UMKC’s campus is fairly diverse, a lot of those black students are likely from middle-class homes and hence not as interested in radical industrial unionism, which exists primarily to defend the working class. White students from working-class homes still, even in this economy where socio-economic mobility is tremendously limited to begin with, have an easier time than black students do. So we see a disconnect on college campuses across the country in terms of reaching working class students.
Another issue is that many people hear about the IWW from friends and acquaintances, not just through google or facebook. One of the things I’d like this article to do is to make black people more aware of the IWW – the first union to organize colored workers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when other unions would not – in order to bring the black community back into the fold of the IWW. It’s sad but true that many social circles are still somewhat racially insular, however, so without breaking that ground to begin with, it will be difficult to move beyond being a very white organization.
How can we address this? I think we need to get off the internet, for one thing. While lots of working class people have internet access, many do not use it as a social network. By bringing outreach to working-class black neighborhoods, we can likely expand our reach within that community. Beyond that, it’s always important to take the issues and concerns of non-white members seriously. Black folks in the US today make up a big chunk of the urban working class, and the urban working class is exactly who the IWW is fighting for. Without their input, we’re not fully and adequately representing the urban working class.
Because at the end of the day, there are way more poor people who’ve been oppressed by capitalism for way too long than there are anarcho-capitalists. Is your propertarian ideology really worth being put up against a wall for?
First, a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be an anarcho-capitalist, but I have a fair number of friends who do. I’m fairly well-versed in ancap theory as well as theories from which it sprung forth (traditional anarchism and classical liberalism) as well. I’m approaching this subject from an anarcho-capitalist perspective in order to critique some common statements made by self-professed anarcho-capitalists, and address what I see as one of the core problems of ancap theory and one of the most common ways in which ancaps tend to contradict themselves, as I value intellectual consistency in general.
So first, let’s talk a little bit about some legitimate and illegitimate actions when a tenant with whom you’ve contracted to pay you rent in exchange for use of a structure you built fails or even passively refuses to do so.
Legitimate actions when someone ceases to pay you “rent”:
- Cease to provide services which you provided such as maintenance/repairs.
- Cease to provide third-party services which you had provided prior, such as utilities or trash removal.
Illegitimate responses to someone failing to pay you “rent”:
- Use force to kick them from their home because you claim “ownership” over it.
- Contract with the state or some other entity capable of greater force than you are personally capable of to do so.
- Initiate force or coercion in any other manner.
See, initiating force and coercion are, by my libertarian standards, a bad thing. I often refer to myself as a libertarian anarchist because I value the core belief of libertarianism: the non-aggression principle. The non-aggression principle clearly states that one should not initiate force or coercion. Pretty simple, straight-forward stuff there. By any sane definition of libertarianism, the act of eviction; that is, of using force to remove someone from their home because they have failed to pay you for use of their home, is absolutely unlibertarian. The notion that such a failure (or even passive refusal) to pay constitutes an initiation of force is an absurd notion, with no basis in reality.
Given the standard anarcho-capitalist rhetoric regarding property rights and self-ownership, it strikes me that ownership of one’s own self (inclusive of body, mind, etc) is by far the most critical property right and the one from which all others spring forth. This makes a great deal of sense, as an inability to hold ownership over yourself – your own free will, that is – essentially invalidates any other rights you may have, including any property rights.
Thus I am unable to escape the conclusion that even by their own logic, anarcho-capitalists are unable to support the notion of forcible eviction of tenants who fail or even passively refuse to pay rent. Since the bodily autonomy of the tenant is related to their self-ownership, while the absentee ownership claims made by the landlord over the rental property are far removed from the landlord’s own bodily autonomy and self, clearly the bodily autonomy of the tenant must receive a higher priority in terms of what rights must be respected by others and hence take precedence in such a case. This seems pretty cut and dry to me, but maybe it isn’t to everyone. Maybe some folks who believe in property rights actually value absentee ownership claims over bodily autonomy in such a case. Fair enough.
So let’s look at this from another critical perspective, as well. Rothbard’s Ethics of Liberty states that responses to violations of one’s rights must be proportional. If I snag a cheap spoon from your house, you can’t cut off my hand; you can simply demand recompense in the value of the spoon or something else effectively proportional to the value of the spoon which I wrongfully took from you. If I slap you across the face, leaving only very temporary harm, you can’t permanently maim me in response (such as to crush my skull), you can simply take action proportional to a face slapping. Seems fair and reasonable, right? Rothbard’s statement obviously applies to property rights, as well, however. Thus when someone violates a rental contract by failing to pay, certain measures are, by Rothbard’s own assertions, absolutely justified. As above, one may cease providing maintenance or other services that were specified in the rental contract. That said, the initiation of physical force in order to remove the tenant from the property is clearly not proportional to a simple failure to pay rent in accordance with a contract. Claiming that physical force is an appropriate and proportional retaliation to failure to uphold a business agreement would quickly lead to usurers with scimitars chopping off hands – and human history does speak of such people, justified by societies which felt violence was an appropriate response to failure to meet contractual obligations monetarily.
Therefore, based on one or both of these arguments, I don’t see how any anarcho-capitalist can feel justified in claiming that evictions for passive non-payment of a contractual obligation are a legitimate response.
Finally, let me leave you all with this gem: Hooker Visits the Rich Capitalist
It seems that, at times, some people confuse anarchism and anti-statism. Anarchism is defined by anarchists as an opposition to oppressive/coercive hierarchies. This does not mean that anarchists oppose, say, a group of workers in which one work has been given the responsibility for making a schedule – while in this example, a hierarchy (a power imbalance) clearly exists in which a smaller number of people (in this case, the sole individual who is making the schedule) has some authority over a larger group of people (the rest of the workers in the collective), the individual was chosen to do so and given such responsibility freely by the other workers. No coercion was present in the decision-making because all workers are equal in the collective overall.
On the other hand, forcing someone to participate in a group and obey arbitrary rules of that group is clearly oppressive. Further, when someone has no choice but to participate in such a group (regardless of how many such groups one can choose between!) the decision to participate in such a group is based entirely on coercion. There is no reasonable means by which someone in modern society can live free of a state; states have claimed control over every acre of land that exists on earth. Thus, even though there is a “free” choice between states under which one may live – including a variety of legal systems from representative republics like the US to constitutional monarchies to theocratic rule such as sharia republics, there is no ability to simply opt out. This ability to opt out is key to free societies, and without it, nothing is really free. Likewise in economic terms, until one can effectively opt out of participation in a market and in all markets (such as by living the life of a subsistence farmer without any economic market interactions with any other individual or collective), that market can never be considered a free market.
Hierarchies which are directly oppressive must be clearly and obviously opposed by anarchists. Hierarchies which are “voluntary” but still based upon indirect coercion must also be opposed and stamped out by anarchists. This post attempts to focus on the largest and most heinous example of the former. There are two alarming trends amongst anarchists. Amongst some anarchists, a tendency towards associating anarchism with anti-statism and anti-statism alone, while ignoring other forms of oppression, specifically indirect oppression and hierarchies based upon coercion which is less obvious but still clearly exists. Relationships such as boss and worker, or landlord and tenant fall into this category. Though one may freely enter into a land rental contract, their choices are often so limited by economic circumstance, specifically, the hoarding of land claims, that they have no choice but to do so. That they can choose between one landlord and another is irrelevant. On the other hand, you have those who are opposed to such coercion yet see the oppression of the state not as an enemy but as a potential tool for quashing such oppression. Thus, the other alarming trend is the tendency towards anarchism that makes exceptions for the state when opposing oppression.
Two well-known philosophers, both relatively modern, come to mind when thinking of this sort of exception-making: Noam Chomsky, oft-beloved on the left, and Murray Rothbard, the mind behind modern anarcho-capitalism. Both of these individuals have, despite claims of anarchist sympathies, made exceptions for the state in one regard or another, and both are guilty of the two primary sins which anarchists often commit when acting as apologists for the state:
1> Claiming that the state can be a force for some good, even if it is overall evil, and hence promoting its continued existence; and
2> Claiming that some inherently oppressive policies and conditions which are enforced by the state today would continue, enforced by a free people, in anarchism.
In the case of 1, the problem is quite obvious. In the case of #2, however, the problem is somewhat less so – and we must, in order to properly lay criticism upon statements of that nature, accept a very important notion: that anarchists are not simply opposed to the state, and that anarchists do not simply want a world where people run amok implementing whatever sort of tyranny they so choose. Thus, the anarchist must stand up and say “I am not willing to allow one free man to oppress another, in the absence of the state.” This is an important declaration, and that a large number of people are willing to both make it and stand behind it, is key to the sustainability of an anarchist society.
While the state is the most obvious and clearly oppressive example of a hierarchy in which people are forced to participate. There is no ability to opt out; one can only seek to live as freely as possible, either by avoiding the agents of the hierarchy, by participating in it in an attempt to blend in and be left alone, or by actively opposing it. Thus we must be mindful that compromising with the state is not acceptable as anarchists, regardless of how charismatic a politician may be. We must remember that voting is a waste of time, that all political means – no matter how much we may appreciate and agree with the motives – are inherently oppressive, and that we have to defend those we dislike as vigorously as we defend ourselves in order to create and sustain a free society.
In summation, I posit the following: Anarchism is not mere anti-statism: there is much more to it than that. However, for an anarchist to suborn the state in any way is for her to abandon anarchism as entirely as if she were to support landlordism, wage slavery, or any other form of oppression. The means do not justify the ends for the anarchist, lest we simply become the new boss, same as the old boss, as has been the case for so many revolutionary tyrants throughout human history.
Humanity has a long and documented history of cannibalistic practices. All throughout history, people have eaten each other. Yet today, the practice is socially – and even legally – shunned. So why is it that the idea of a human steak makes most people wretch?
Lets start to answer this question by examining prominent historical examples of cannibalism amongst humans. Cannibalism, it turns out, has been practiced throughout human history, by people of every race, religion, socioeconomic class, and ethnic background! That’s right: it’s not just something that a bunch of savage tribalists did before the white man brought them civilization. In fact, those founding fathers that so many americans are all hot-to-trot on? Well, it doesn’t get more founding-y than the Jamestown settlers. After all, they were the first Europeans to set up a settlement in the “new world.” And guess what? That’s right, they were cannibals!
Of course, examples of indigenous tribal types as cannibals do exist, too. The term cannibalism even originates from the Carib tribe, a group of Pacific islanders. Interestingly enough, though, it wasn’t that much more common amongst them than it was amongst white European types. In fact, one of the most recent examples of non-starvation cannibalism – performed completely legally, mind you, with none of that weird German-snuff-fetish stuff that leads to a homicide charge going on – was a British guy named Rick Gibson. European literature even features the fable of Hansel and Gretel: two children kidnapped by a witch who intended on cannibalizing them. With the practice enshrined in children’s literature, how could we deny that Europeans considered it, at the very least, something they thought about.
So why aren’t we, as modern people, considering the notion that humans might just be the next great addition to our food supply? With a burgeoning population worldwide and good carrion just going to waste – not to mention the tasty tender morsels of finely-marbled flesh we call babies – why isn’t there a public dialogue about moving away from anachronistic prejudices about cannibalism and towards a brighter, tastier future?
In fact, where did the antipathy towards cannibalism even originate? The answer lies primarily in the story of the rise of Catholicism and Christianity. During that time, popes and priests and bishops and cardinals frequently demonized cannibalism as an evil practice, all the whole practicing faux-cannibalism themselves under the guise of the eucharist: the consumption of a wafer which, supposedly, turns into the body of Christ in your mouth. No, really. Catholics advocate the eating of Jesus. Not anyone else, however, as they moved from demonizing cannibalism as a practice to levying charges of cannibalism against non-Christians worldwide in an attempt to turn public sentiment away from tribal religions and towards the church.
That antipathy has stuck with us. In fact, many of the social and cultural taboos present in modern american culture date back to the early years of the Christian church, including much of homophobia. There’s an active movement to fight against homophobia in society, but the movement to restore the reputation of cannibals and cannibalism still doesn’t exist.
Part of the reason for this is how cannibals and cannibalism are portrayed in the media. When most people think of cannibals, they either think of anachronistic examples of tribal savages, as we discussed before, or of the criminally insane, such as Vince Weiguang Li who, in 2008, randomly murdered and consumed portions of a stranger on a Greyhound bus in western Canada. With portrayals such as this, it’s no wonder most people have overwhelmingly negative ideas about cannibalism and cannibals.
It’s also worth considering the intersectionality of negativity and prejudice towards cannibalism and cannibals with overt racism, prejudice towards tribal people as “savages”, and other feelings of fear which many americans have towards cultures vastly different from their own, as well. In a song produced in 1965 entitled “Congo Man”, a black man in Africa consumes the flesh of white Europeans. The song is written in a comical style, but the message is still clear, as is the intersectionality. By associating cannibalism with violence perpetrated against white Europeans by blacks, the author knowingly sought to further the prejudice many white people around the world feel towards cannibalistic ideas in much the same way that the KKK often sought to associate black violence with marijuana use in the former half of the 20th century. Their campaign was successful in both cases: cannibalism is universally viewed as morally wrong, and marijuana is outright banned by most western nations.
Things can get better. If we start today, we can begin a movement towards a free society. A society where the state, and cultural mores do not impede people freely consuming whatever food or beverage they so please, without harming anyone else. Whether the issue is freedom for raw milk lovers, for marijuana smokers, or for cannibals, the issue is the same: who should decide what you put into your body? You, or other people? Cannibalism is the next big issue for libertarians who are truly concerned with advancing the cause of freedom and personal choice.
Feminism doesn’t speak for me. Feminists often claim that they speak for all gender oppression. They claim to be true gender egalitarians, and that they’re opposed to heterosexism, transphobia, and discrimination against men, in addition to fighting against gender oppression targetted at AFAB [Assigned Female At Birth] people. They also quite commonly make the point that “men” don’t understand the oppression that women face, and that all “men” are sexist. That’s right. Every single one. So I have to ask feminists: if you’re sure that I don’t understand your oppression (and I suspect you’re right about this, at least some of the time), then how can you claim to understand mine? How can you lay claim to the territory of fighting oppression against AMAB [Assigned Male At Birth] people while simoultaneously proclaiming “men” the oppressor? How come, if you really care as much about issues affecting men (for example, domestic violence where the victim is a man), then you never use gender-neutral pronouns when discussing violence?
I recently read a pamphlet put together by an anarcha-feminist collective addressing sexism in the anarchist/radical/revolutionary movement. In virtually all of the pieces addressing violence, sexism, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment, each and every single piece focused exclusively on issues where the victim was a “woman” and the perpetrator was a “man.” This erasure of AMAB victims of sexual and domestic violence, from the anarchist side of the spectrum, no less. What can we expect from feminists who are not even interested more generally in anti-oppression causes? That erasure of AMAB victims is common in feminist circles and literature, however.
So just what about a movement to advocate for AMAB people? Do AMAB people who are victims of domestic violence deserve equal access to resources such as shelters where they and their children can be safe from a violent spouse? Do they deserve access at all? Should AMAB rape victims be given the same support that AFAB victims are, or should we keep the problem in the closet; relegated to the realm of jokes about buttrape in prisons and altar boy molestation?
Sure, we have the “MRA movement” now, but it’s hardly a movement at all. I’ve never seen them speak out about anything other than family law issues, and those aren’t my issues, nor are they the issues which I see as being most dramatically destructive in the lives of AMAB people. I’m interested in addressing my own problems and concerns and likewise creating an inclusive movement that addresses the problems and concerns of others, as well. So far, the “MRA movement” has failed to do that. It’s been a bunch of white dudes complaining and whining to eachother about their ex-wives and child custody settlements. I’m an activist, and that isn’t activism. The feminist movement has tons of gains under its belt: real tangible victories which have served to enhance the lives of AFAB people. These MRA folks have nothing to show for their blogging and whining. I want results. I want domestic violence shelters for AMAB people. I want queer men accepted by modern society – even poor urban minorities. I want to call the state out and stick it to them when they hold policies akin to the rhetoric coming out of the Westboro Baptist Church. Finally, let’s face it: the existing “MRA” circuit doesn’t talk about queer men. Which is a shame, because queer men face more oppression in daily life than most AMAB people.
Another issue worth considering is trans-women. I have come to most-often use the term AMAB when defining the specific people whom this movement seeks to represent the interests of, and that includes trans-women. Trans-women are women. Despite that fact, all too often they are ignored, dehumanized, and thrown under the bus by modern feminist movements. We seek to represent trans-women and their needs as well, as an underserved group with regard to fighting against gender oppression. As the modern feminist movement primarily/exclusively represents AFAB people, transwomen are welcome in the masculist movement.
Another goal which I have in mind is to form a broad coalition with feminists and others who oppose oppression. In order to oppose gender oppression, we should team up with those promoting the advancement of intersexed and AFAB people as well, with the ultimate goal being an egalitarian society free of all oppression.
I think the first thing we should do is to start asking the tough questions. How does the availability of resources for male victims of sexual and domestic violence affect how we are able to deal with these issues? How do sexual harassment issues affect us in school, at home, and in the work-place? How can we move towards acceptance of queer AMAB people in the way that queerness is now far more culturally acceptable for AFAB people? How does stereotypical masculinity in racial minority communities impact AMAB people in those communities who just don’t fit in? Why is sexuality a driving force for masculine self-esteem? There’re lots more, too. Lets tackle them together and begin to address the issues.
So I think that what AMAB people in general need to do is stand up and simply declare: “feminism doesn’t speak for me.” Then we need to move towards creating a masculist movement that does. I’ve got an idea for a campaign we could take on, too. As mentioned above, the FDA currently regulates blood donations. They have a regulation, in place since the 1980s, which essentially says that any AMAB person who has ever had sex with an AMAB person is banned for life from donating blood. This is an awful regulation, laced with “gay plague” thinking, put in place because of rampant homophobia. It’s an easy victory in today’s political climate, and a big victory against a homophobic federal regulation is just what out fledgling movement could use to take off! Who’s with me?
Join us over on facebook at Masculism!
Tags: amab, amab people, Anarchism, Anarchist, anarchists, Anarchy, assigned male at birth, feminism, gender equality, gender oppression, males, masculism, masculists, men, mens rights, movement building, trans-women, transmen, transwomen
One of the biggest divides between anarchists is whether or not property, or “ownership” is a legitimate concept. This post seeks to define and disassemble those differences in order to help each side gain a better understanding of the issue, my thoughts on the issue, and the classic anarchist perspective on property.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the founding father of free market socialist theory and the first individual to document use of the word ‘anarchism’ said “property is theft.” He also said “property is freedom.”
To get there, I think we first need to talk a little bit about concepts in general. A concept is nothing more than a structure in someone’s mind, at the very least. It need not be common with anyone else, it can exist solely for one individual, or it can exist for an entire society.
In modern society, property and “ownership” exist as a concept. Backed by the authority of the state, a title in the state’s record, and a police force willing and able to use force to defend a state-sanctioned claim to ownership, it is a very real concept. The structures which make ownership a real, concrete concept are in place. A third party which has a monopoly, enforced at gunpoint, on the power to determine ownership, will use force to ensure that the concept of ownership which it believes to be correct, just, and valid, will be respected by the masses. A tremendous majority of people go along with this, and among even those who don’t, most at least fear the power of the state to enforce it anyhow. Thus, the state’s conception of ownership is a concept common to a very sizeable portion of the population. When you talk about property or ownership in most of the world, this is what will come to mind for most people.
In modern society, everything is owned, and that ownership is enforced by the state. Nothing is truly common or public; those things which the state claim are public are in fact property of the state. Try sleeping in a park, and a cop is likely to show you who’s boss in that park! If it were truly public or common, not only could you sleep there, you could build a small house there and plant a sustenance garden.
All that said, the fact that ownership and property are defined by the state effectively means that the state can do whatever it wants, and does not have to respect the property which is “owned” by other people. We see this occur regularly, your property can be seized for not paying taxes on it, or even on a whim via “eminent domain.” Asset fortfeiture laws which enrich local police departments have come into vogue in the US. The state may protect your property from a thief, ineffectually, but who is to protect it from the state? They have a lot of agents, and a lot of guns and bombs. The state can pass laws that disenfranchise people who had relied on their protection and the people can do nothing about it but meekly protest. The thief can burglarize your home, and the police will come and file a report, but you’ve still been burglarized. If you shoot the thief, you’ve committed murder, and, in many states, will go to jail for it. The state must maintain a monopoly on that authority to defend, lest *it* be subject to being defended against by an armed populace.
So under a state system, we see that property and ownership are essentially a rigged game. Worthwhile to the extent that people fear the state and mostly stay in line, but not always, and deviance from this is common enough that people invest large amounts of effort, time, and money into systems designed to prevent theft, even though the framework of state title, police, and insurance companies still exist. Some folks have decided that they’ve had enough! They want property rights that actually means something, that they can defend for themselves, and that they can defend against any aggressor, including the state. This requires two things on their end: an intellectual framework – a conceptualization of property and “ownership” – and a real framework – the force which can be used to defend their own conceptualization in order to prohibit others from violating it, such as guns and bombs and man-power. For the former, rather than create a whole new philosophy and a whole new conceptualization, they seek out existing ones. Anarchism: a stateless society! Natural law: a concept which allows for essentially subjective “law” to stake a claim to objectivity under the guise of emmanating from a higher power. Unfortunately for many modern “natural law” advocates who also claim to be anarchists, they are also atheists, and so their arguments in favor of natural law lack the authority by which Aquinas first declared it to be a valid concept, that is, God’s authority. Natural law as a concept originated, you see, within the Catholic church hierarchy.
The problems with this framework are obvious. Natural law as a concept, when taken outside the context of Catholic (or at least religious, deistic) doctrine, is as meaningless as any law that I can arbitrarily come up with, or you can arbitrarily come up with, or any would-be despot with a few guns and a few tacos short of a fiesta tray can come up with. So that’s where this essentially goes. You have someone with their own independent concept of what the law should be (which they declare to be the one true law) and some guns. And a willingness to enforce the law by killing people. At the end of the day, after all, authority either comes down to a willingness to kill someone who violates it, or it is not authority at all, but merely a request from one individual to another.
Anarchists have always had another proposal, however, and one which is largely ignored by those who claim to be anarchists yet advocate in favor of natural law, property “rights”, and various concepts of “ownership”. That proposal is quite a bit simpler, and while still subjective, it’s admittedly subjective, staking no claims to objectivity or authority. That proposal is common sense, community moors and norms, and community solidarity. Such community moors and norms, and common sense, do not come from God or any other proclaimed deity, nor do they originate with a state or with some individual or collective of humans who claim authority over all others. They exist fluidly, they allow for human imperfection, and human decency.
In an anarchist society, given a lack of natural law, a lack of the state, and of any other authority which could declare who owns what, “ownership” becomes an abstract concept. A hopelessly abstract one, at that. There are no defining factors of what allows someone to own something. Some have tried to qualify and quantify various “objective” criteria for how one can own something. One prominent example is that some would claim that once you have mixed your labor with land, you own that land. My response is, of course, that I plan to walk quickly across the continent, re-arranging twigs and leaves on the ground and upturning the soil with my boot, such that I shall own tremendous tracts of land! Then they may pay rent to me to live or farm upon that land. Such a society quickly begins to look like feudalism, wherein those who did not upturn dirt and re-arrange twigs and leaves quickly enough shall be the serfs. Utter silliness ensues. Not only is it utter silliness, however, it’s also absolutely antithetical to anarchism.
As anarchism is defined loosely as a society without oppressive/coercive hierarchies, clearly landlord/tenant relationships are out. As a libertarian, I hold the non-aggression principle close to my heart. I don’t wish to initiate force or coercion against other people, and I don’t like it when other people do so, either. So much so, that I’d be inclined to step in if warranted and willed. When you evict a tenant or a serf from “your” land, by force, because they failed to pay you, you are initiating force against someone. You did not need that land to live (obviously, if you could give use of it to another), however they were reliant upon it as their home. They resided in it.
In anarchism, that would effectively make it their home. Not that they “own” it, per se – ownership is an abstract concept that anarchists do not make use of – but that it is still, nonetheless, theirs, in that they occupy and reside there. They maintain control of it when they are not home by virtue of the respect of their friends, neighbors, and community at large. You might kill a murderer who kills your neighbor, not only for revenge, but also to prevent them from killing you. Likewise, you might prohibit in some manner, someone from damaging or destroying your neighbor’s residence, lest you likewise end up a victim of the same. Thus, in the absence of “ownership” concepts, individuals and collectives still maintain control over the things which they posess or occupy. Absentee control can occur in a number of ways. For another example, if I am a part of a worker co-op restaurant, my control in that sphere would exist even when I was not present, because of the mutual respect and kinship among the workers. Those who are present would respect my wishes, as I would theirs when I am present and they are not. This may include not allowing certain behaviors in the restaurant. This may also include things like not messing with the desk that I prefer to use in an office.
Now let’s talk a little bit about self ownership. On the surface, the concept of self ownership seems like a pretty good idea to most people. You own your own body, so people can’t do things to you that you don’t want them to, etc. The problem here again is that ownership is a hopelessly abstract concept for anarchists, and for others, it implies something entirely different than what people mean by self ownership. The simplest way to put it is thus: you don’t own yourself, you ARE yourself. To most people, something owned is a commodity. I can be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You have free will, and that free will trumps claims of ownership. You ARE yourself. It goes far beyond ownership, and even beyond just posession, occupancy, or control. You have the highest level of control over yourself, you have free will. That control cannot be bought, sold, or traded, as control over a commodity could be under a typical conceptualization of “ownership.” You don’t own yourself, you ARE yourself.
Now, let’s talk a bit about posession and try to define it a bit with some common sense examples. When you’re wearing a sock, you posess that sock. If you leave a sock lying on the side of the street unattended, you do not – and it’s most likely you don’t control that sock either, since most people will not even know that you once posessed it, much less stand up to a person who needs a sock to keep a foot warm and hence takes it and puts it on. That person now posesses the sock, and you no longer have any more valid claim to it than someone else did when you were wearing it. Thus, it’s safe to say that no one would come up to you and attempt to take from you something that you posess, and that if someone did, you would defend yourself and others would likely come to your defense as well!
One other concept worth mentioning is hoarding and artificial scarcity. Since we’ve already stated that your ability to maintain control over the things that you consider to be yours relies on community support in lieu of the support of the monopoly-on-force power of the state, it’s worth considering that if you wrong your community, you may find yourself at a loss or worse. Attempts to hoarde resources to create artificial scarcity as is so common in today’s society would likely be met with hostility from those who suffer due to that scarcity. Such hostility would be wholly justified, as well, for to use such a method is to create a hierarchy of “have” and “have not” which likewise leads to oppression and tyranny. Expect, under such a circumstance, that your community would see you as any tyrant or oppressor. Change can occur in communities, but it’s based upon the ability to logically converse with your community and not your ability to use force to oppress them into doing things your way or believing what you do.
There *is* abundance in this world. The scarcity is entirely artificial, and is based on “ownership” concepts used to justify hoarding of resources, enforced by the state. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In anarchism, everyone is rich. In a free market socialism system such as I advocate personally, some may be a little more rich, or a little less rich, but everyone would be rich. Only by the power of a tiny few hoarding more than they could ever use, much less need, does poverty exist in this world.
Finally, given that most anarchists see “ownership” as a hopelessly abstract concept, it makes a lot more sense to use words that make sense and are backed by concrete concepts; words like posession, occupancy, residence, and control.
George Donnelly recently posed the question “Are you opposed to bad people (statists)? Or bad ideas (statist philosophy)?”
Let me start by saying that George is a principled guy, and I have a lot of respect for him, and for his views. He’s a very genuine individual. In this case, however, I tend to disagree. I don’t disagree entirely. Specifically, I agree with George that ad hominems are pretty useless in general, and Vicki makes some very valid points as well in her follow-up to George’s original post. It’s important, however, to consider the other side of the story here.
Statists, you see, are not just a big bundle of ideas and thoughts for us to convert. They are real human beings, and one thing that all human beings do is take actions. For most people, their actions or inaction are guided by their individual ideological affiliations, their morality, perhaps their religious or cultural beliefs, ideas introduced by their families, or by pop culture, or any number of other things. Statism is, quite clearly, an ideology. It’s an ideology which advocates not just violence on a global scale, but the initiation of violence against innocent people on a massive and global scale.
So obviously, we want to try and educate these people that there are alternatives to this violence: anarchism, a system of cooperation, community, and voluntary egalitarian interaction is one very obvious alternative which perhaps a majority of those reading this are adherents to. Teaching statists about anarchism, and about how it would be better for them and for others than the statist system which they’ve been indoctrinated into, is a laudable goal. I do it. Many of you probably do, too. Jim Davidson does it. George Donnelly does it. We all have our own ways and means, of course, but a majority of us are doing it, at least on a small scale, in some way, though our means may differ.
Just because, however, we are [and should continue to be] reaching out to these people does not mean that they are not, as of now, our enemies. In many cases, quite the opposite is true. If an anarchist sees someone on the street being attacked by police, the least they’re going to do is video the event or get someone on-site who can. At most, they might step in and try to defend a civilian from the state. The same is not true of an average statist. Statists, after all, support the state for ideological reasons. Police are agents of the state, hence placing those police and a given statist walking down the street on the same side in the conflict. The statist is the enemy of the innocent person being beaten, and the statist is the enemy in an even more tangible way of an anarchist who may choose to video the event or step in to defend the victim.
Furthermore, statists, because of their ideology of statism, feel justified in using the state as a means by which to enforce their own preferences on people around them. If the state currently supports their preferences, they will report violations of them to the state; for example, if you are smoking marijuana on your porch and a statist sees you, that statist, if they are opposed to marijuana smoking, can and will call the police to assault and cage you. The statist is an enemy of the individual trying to peaceably relax in his own home, and has indirectly initiated force – using the strong arm of the state – against them. On the other hand, if the statist’s views are not currently enforced by the state, the statist will lobby the state to do so in some manner. Prop 8 in California is a good example of this: some homosexual couples were allowed to marry, so statists took up the cause to ban those marriages in California. They succeeded in doing so, creating further inequality at the hands of the state. Those statists were enemies of those innocent queer couples. Another good example is abortion. How many statists are enemies of any woman who may want to get an abortion? Will they succeed? Right now, they seem to be gaining ground.
It’s always important to consider context. Ideology alone, as a context, is thoroughly debatable, and terms such as ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ seem not to apply because these are abstracts, they are thoughts and ideas. Within the context of living beings, however, we add actions to the mix; actions driven by ideologies. Thus in the context of statists, it is important to understand that they are, in fact, our enemies by their actions.