This is a typical morning for me. I just had breakfast with a cup of coffee. Caffeine gives me that extra kick of energy before I start writing – like I am doing right now.
What is slightly different with this morning, compared to last year, is that I have made this morning a bit more Scandinavian. It is not the coffee I brought back [to Australia] from Sweden, but the Swedish oral tobacco known as snus I have shoved under my upper lip.
This type of tobacco is also known as smokeless tobacco. It has this awesome perk that it does not bother people around you when you get your nicotine fix. Nor does it stink up the place with tobacco smoke. Yet most governments around the world seem hell-bent on making it illegal.
Even if it often are used by smokers to quit smoking.
Snus has been made illegal to sell in the EU, except in Sweden due to its long tradition there. Something the Swedish government has been fighting hard for, even though EU seems still tempted to enforce some kind of regulation on smokeless tobacco in Sweden.
Due to it also being illegal [only sale not personal use] in Australia you have no choice than to import it yourself, which will cost you dearly, as I learned when arriving at the Australian border. Luckily for the Australian government it is not a high demand product, not enough people to object to the harsh legislation, so it is very easy for them to get away with robbing those who would like to bring some [snus] in with them.
It is a costly pleasure, but now after 10 minutes of having nicotine pumping through my body I have to admit it was worth it. Not just for the nicotine hit, but also giving me an even better understanding why it is so profitable to smuggle banned or high-taxed goods into a country, and why black markets thrive under such foolish regulations.
The best example regarding black market profits and prohibition is the alcohol prohibition between 1920s and 1930s in USA. It was the best economical decision the US government made for the mafia. They [the mafia] knew there were a demand for alcohol, so like any smart business owner, they provided the supply when it was made illegal. It was a high risk business, but it also had a high [economical] pay for those willing to take the risk.
Until the US government decided to lift the ban, understanding prohibition was not the answer.
There is no need to really go that far back in history to find an example like this. All we need to do is to take a look at how beneficial the war on drugs have been for the black market. Again we see the same pattern of supply and demand, and how such a ban keeps the black market’s profits go up.
It is however the end of the [alcohol] prohibition that is mostly interesting. As it shows how decriminalisation a substance has a huge negative impact on the black market, while the government and the consumers positively benefit from it.
With that said, let us focus back on Australia and tobacco. Smoking tobacco is readily available here, yet there seems to also be profitable enough for the black market to smuggle even cheaper smoking tobacco into Australia.
Which is why when I read about that The Victorian Cancer Council did a survey and found that majority of smokers within the state of Victoria thought it would be a good idea to ban tobacco alarm bells went off in my head.
Regarding health it is understandable why this seems like a good idea. However it is a bit short-sighted, regarding how it will only give the black market another great product to supply to an already existing high demand.
Tobacco, alcohol and even caffeine is rarely considered to be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Yet we have decided that in moderation we can accept and tolerate it.
It is abuse and overconsumption that is the issue. Which is why harm reduction is a better approach than prohibition.
We humans are funny like that. We know it is not healthy, especially overconsumption, but we for some reason love to get high. A demand which has been around for centuries, a demand that will most likely not go away over not, or more likely, never.
The best way to handle consumption of any kind of substance is to first differentiate between use and abuse.
Someone that is able to use any kind of substance in moderation and without diminishing their health too much should and deserve to be left to their own device and responsibility. Yet still be provided educational information to know when use turns into abuse, and to provide help if they want to end their use.
When it comes to abuse it is important to recognise that this should not be punished. This only exacerbates the stigma of abuse, forcing the person struggling with addiction to become ashamed and even scared to seek help.
In addition, by making a certain substance illegal only pushes the responsibility to the black market, which is only interested in one thing – profit. For the black market abuse, or addiction, is more profitable than [moderate] use.
Which happens when a government decides to, instead of helping its citizens, make something illegal in hope use and abuse will drop to zero. In a way it drops, but not for the right reasons. Some might stop using due to fear of punishment, instead of seeking help, but more importantly, use and abuse becomes extremely difficult to track, because no one is comfortable admitting they are using or abusing a substance that is illegal.
This leads to a lack in data showing how many that actually can moderately use a drug such as cannabis, but also lack in data showing those who are willing to seek help for their addiction.
The only reason a ban on smokeless tobacco in EU (except Sweden) and Australia have been successful in theory is because usage was most likely very low from the beginning, so not enough people objected against it.
I am not a big fan of smoking tobacco mainly due to the horrible smoke, but a complete ban on it would not work so well– only for the black market –because of the large number of users.
The best example and argument is to look at how most countries deal with alcohol. To buy alcohol you need to be at a certain age and the idea behind the taxation of alcohol, most of the time it seems, is and should be used to fund services that help those who have gone from being an user to an abuser [of alcohol]. Moreover, the government is able to be aware of usage of alcohol and oversees the quality of alcohol. This in turn ensures that customers knows exactly what they are drinking and the strength of what they are consuming.
Again, the black market does not really care about quality nor safety. As long that it makes a profit and that you will buy more, they are happy.
Looking at how well it works for most people, regarding consumption of alcohol, tobacco or caffeine, from that we can maybe loosen up a bit regarding other substances. Understanding that better education about a substance will result in safer use. But also understanding that help is far better tool to combat abuse rather than punishment.
More importantly, banning is rarely a good solution, because it does not work so well as the goody-two-shoes think it will. And let us be honest, the police have better things to do than to spend time chasing people that might opt for cannabis rather than a few cold beers on a Saturday night.
The fundamental problem of fascist state data
Interesting argument by Andrew Kliman in his book, “The Failure of Capitalist Production”: the rate of profit tends to fall; but this tendency is “reversed” by the destruction of capital. I keep looking at this statement because it seems suspiciously widely accepted by Marxists all of a sudden. Kliman states it this way:
“The rate of profit—that is, profit as a percentage of the amount of money invested—has a persistent tendency to fall. However, this tendency is reversed by what John Fullarton, Karl Marx, and others have called the “destruction of capital” —losses caused by declining values of financial and physical capital assets or the destruction of the physical assets themselves.”
I am not questioning the idea the rate of profit tends to fall nor that this fall leads to crises. The problem I have here is with destruction of capital and Kliman’s definition of profit. First, a lot of people have looked at this profit thingy, and some agree with Kliman, while others disagree. My problem is not whether one group is right and the other wrong — it is how can any of this be determined based on fascist state data on corporate profits.
Co-ops: Taking the scenic route to a revolution: Will your fascist government cooperate with co-ops? Mine… most definitely will not!
By: Resistance Transmissions | Oct 3, 2012 Featured
Whats that you say? You live in a democracy… this sounds boring and cliche… you don’t have a fascist dictator ruling your country with an iron fist? Wait, ask yourself, how sure you are about that?
If you answered a) I live in a fascist state, then skip to < Ⓐ >
If you answered b) I live in a democracy… then continue reading here >
Democracy is supposed to mean the government is “by the people for the people”, and its sole function is to do only what the majority of citizens want, “The will of the majority”. Democracies function best when the electorate participates in the democracy, and when the votes are counted equally. The word democracy intuitively sparks a positive emotion in most people, we are conditioned to believe that it is the peak of a free and just society. It’s too bad the sad actuality is that somehow year after year we aren’t really better off. In my country the majority of people agree that the government is unaccountable, they should be more transparent, and have lost the moral authority to continue governing… yet nothing is done to impeach the leadership (likely because people feel the other candidate options are just more of the same, so why bother). As an example, if you really had a pure/direct democracy, wouldn’t your country do as Iceland did, hold a referendum, and let the voice of the people decide what to do about the blackmailing power of the banksters (the economic terrorists)? How does your ‘democracy’ represent you? Is your country truly prosperous, innovative, safe, clean, just, etc.? Did you have a voice in the decision to fund a war with your tax dollars? I’ve noticed the modern version of democracy is really good at doing one thing: taking gazillions of dollars out of the hands of hardworking laborers and putting it into the hands of the ruling elite. Leading me to believe the modern form of democracy has an open door for abuse and has ironically become a force for oppression. So… what was so great about a democracy again?
A fascist governmental system on the other hand, is led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry and commerce, merging the corporate and state power together, and emphasizing an aggressive, often racist nationalism. > Sound like any governments you know?
You might not be ready to accept the fact that you live under a fascist dictator, but at the very least you should be able to draw the conclusion that you live under a type of elected dictatorship. A system where there all candidates on the ballot are in the pocket of the corporate interests who funded their campaigns and where you vote every 4 or 5 years but the only thing that your vote accomplishes is a validation of the overall system that controls you. There are no obligations by law and little incentives for elected officials to base their decisions on the wishes on their electorate. Could it be that your politicians are just your all-powerful masters? Yes, yes it could be…. when it comes to the political arena, power corrupts and they have systematic ways of making sure they maintain complete power. If you have begrudgingly concluded that you do in fact live in an elected dictatorship, let me just say once, there is not much that can stop a fascist structure of power from taking over your government completely.
< Ⓐ >
Do you feel vaguely defeated, possibly nauseated by the very thought of what a daunting task it would be to put the decision making power into the hands of ‘the people’ so that once and for all humanity could prosper in a safe, clean, free world? Right now there is zero political will from the energy superpowers to stop our addiction to oil. The industrial age of mass production has enjoyed some good times but overall it has been such an incredibly destructive force upon the health of the planet and human rights that it has become an obvious dead end. What are the odds the industrial giants that control us all will just die peacefully in the night? … not bloody likely. So its worth asking, why do people put up with it, and how do our rulers hold on to their power? The formula for controlling someone has always been then same, and its very simple. The master beats the slave down physically and mentally. In 2012 this is done physically through tyranny: police state tactics, the militarization of police, the growing surveillance state, and also through poisoning people: the chemical soup we are exposed to daily not only makes you physically ill but has the added bonus of lobotomizing you… Yeeeaa lobotomies for everyone! *I just referred to you as the slave in that relationship. Then there is the mental beat down: the ‘propaganda machine’ it’s pushed on you by the corporate media and focuses on serving a small handful of interests, the economic terrorism you are subjected to is achieved through a capitalist society: by regulating, licensing, taxing, as well as the selling of national sovereignty to the banking cartel, (who use their own magic tools of inflation and debt to enslave). Wait there is more…. it’s like there is almost a type of priesthood protecting accepted myths of capitalism. Challenging the morality or practicality of the status quo is met with contempt. Fifty percent of the world lives in urban centers, it’s quite possibly those people don’t want to admit they have been dooped into sacrificing most of their lives to the rat race. Also there are a ton of people who are actually working for and/ or people who are currently dependent on the government in one way or another, those people will definitely be the last ones to question the system. I’m seriously starting to ramble… what is my point.. Oh yes, this ol’ pickle of a situation can seem rather daunting! Well, don’t fret, we still have some options available to us. We’ve got ways to fight back and challenge the governments overall shortsighted, oppressive agenda. I take inspiration from the old saying, “the stone age didn’t end because the world ran out of stones”. Translation,‘we the people’ will have to choose to move forward in a new direction and just make the old system obsolete. Your fascist government recognizes that a shift of that type holds the key to their vulnerability. They can not allow large numbers of people to opt out… think of the loss of revenue, and thus loss of power? Is it strange that to be successful in that the dirty game of politics a candidate must be motivated by greed and have an addiction to power? Is it too skeptical to believe that is the case? Is this what our ‘democracies” have been reduced to? The results are in, politicians don’t just lie a little or believe they speak the truth and then get stuck in a corner, they full blown blatantly speak lies whenever they feel it will serve their interests. I am speaking about national politics mostly. I would hate to dis on the few wide eyed, selfless, intelligent individuals who for the greater good of society carry the public trust close to heart and are intent on upholding justice and creating a better world for the next generation… there are a few people like this around working at the local or regional levels. But to think that these people reflect who the majority of politicians are would just be naive.
Any example of a successful economic, social, and political model, that actually gives
people control of their lives and at the same time gives them a better quality of life would be at odds with the current system. It would magnify the fallacy of the biggest orchestrated myth going today… could it be that we don’t need the government to provide services to us and that if they didn’t do it, someone still would. Yes, they would like you to believe that the system is near perfect, that there is a complicated and delicate balance at work and that the only people who can understand and manage the complexities of the current system are our ‘honorable’ politicians. The cherry on top of this propaganda is when they say that not only do we somehow NOT have the capacity to provide for ourselves but also that we neeeeed to constantly consume and not create. Of course none of that is true, gone are these old ideas. The education system is outdated, the environment and all plant and animal life is heading toward a catastrophic collapse, we produce more than enough necessities for everyone on the planet but we don’t share (because of capitalism), our human rights are somehow being systematically squandered away, our governments rule us ~ not represent us, economies are run on death, destruction and war, too often science and technology are hijacked by big business and government and used against the betterment of society, censorship is rampant, the list goes on and on… surly we can do better. Criticism is not only valid but desperately needed, ‘the people’ are tired of not being heard!! Currently, our governments have little public support yet they yield immense power over our lives. This is precisely why your fascist government is actually hostile towards co-operatives. They will do anything in order keep their strangle hold on power, including tightened their grip on your liberty. Co-ops serve as reminders of how a real democracy works, and function as micro political communities, and whoa… actually serve the commons! Co-ops can revolutionize the world by empowering people to creatively collaborate with each other in order to control their futures and they offer up options that your government won’t because there is no way to profit from it. Eight-y percent of the population on the planet live on less than 10 dollars a day. Co-operatives can remove the chains of poverty which in turn will offer: stability, peace of mind of, and free time for people to explore their individual creative potential. Our greatest human qualities are our creativity, curiosity, and compassion they are pretty much the only reason we have survived this long as a species: allowing us to produce innovative solutions and push humanity forward. We need to continuously change with the times. The revolution is always now, it has never stopped.
The basic model is this: A group of people come together driven by economic and/or social concerns about the needs and the quality of life in their communities. They collaborate and share a vision of the co-op model they would like to see developed. Co-ops are owned by the members who use the services and/or are employed there. The overall goal is to meet the common needs of their members (whereas the primary purpose of most investor-owned businesses is to maximize profit for shareholders). They vote on the decisions that need to be made for the business, it’s always a one-member/ one-vote system (not the one-vote-per-share system used by most businesses). Surplus profits are returned to the members and, therefore, remain within the community! Unlike the private, public, or voluntary sectors, all co-operatives around the world are guided by the same seven principles:
1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation
4. Autonomy and independence
5. Education, training, and information
6. Co-operation among co-operatives
7. Concern for community
I am yet to see a scenario where the co-op model isn’t a workable solution to any given frustration or problem at the local, national, or international level. The co-op model’s potential for transforming society is only limited by imagination. Co-ops are more than just a grass-roots economic transformation, they are also very much a political and social transformation as well. Educating and empowering the poor and middle class to find economic freedom will cause ripples effecting all aspects of life directly and indirectly. The potential of such a massive shift, and how it might resonate through a global revolution could prove to be the catalyst that will finally establish world peace.
Ultimately, the politics behind co-operatives are at odds with the driving force behind our current style of government. People who believe in co-ops also believe in a social system where you enjoy total freedom, and at the end of the day you have the right to own what you have produced.
Capitalism, on the other hand is more based on workers not having control of what they make, how they make it, or the final product. It tends to leaves the door wide open for exploitation and oppression.
For example, Canada’s fascist government has taken the first swing in an undeclared war on co-ops, yes that is true. The real question is why? …calculating, it could be that co-ops are starting to threaten their agenda. By agenda, please do assume I mean the classic overall fascist agenda aka the corporate agenda. Canada, or Harperland as it is affectionately known, has a solid track record of condemning science. I really can’t stress that enough, our appointed Minster of Science and Technology… is a born again Christian who doesn’t believe in evolution… ahhem* yes you read that right. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a flying fuck what religion someone wants to practice (until they start getting preachy that is) but surely the skeptic alarm should be ringing…. was he the best candidate for the job… or is he a puppet? Oh wait now, what a coincidence, Harperlands new approach toward science is to: muzzle government scientist (they aren’t allowed to speak to the press), cut research funding to anyone who finds results that may contradict ANYTHING that the government has proclaimed to be right direction forward, or anything they would rather ignore and sweep under the rug, wait… there is more patheticness, once upon a time the National Research Council WAS funded for pure science research and development… now it’s been “refocused” and transformed into a “concierge” for business solutions. The hounds have been released. Couple that information with the fact that Harper also chronically makes careless and shortsighted decisions when it comes to the environment. He has changed laws to allow his minions to go after “environmental terrorists”. In Harperland that means internationally respected, charitable environmental groups. They have restrict the amount of environmental review allowed for mining and drilling projects down to a shadow of what it once was. This is done in the name of the economy, the reason that fear tactic is still actually working is only proof that this revolution is just getting started… the sleeping giant will one day awake and be very angry that it has been fooled into believing the government deserved to be trusted (but that is not a story for today). I could go on for days about the crimes of this fascist government, but I will bite my tongue (soo much tongue biting happening right now). The point of this little rant is to tell you what exactly has been happening here. Part of Harper’s masochistic seduction of big oil and gas is to offer up every inch of land and sea to exploitation, and that includes drilling for oil in the gulf of St. Lawrence. There was some public outcry, loud even for a bit there, the government’s position was to ignore it (of course). So a group of scientist quietly got together and decided that even if they could not stop this madness, at least they could start documenting it…. ya know, rolling with the punches, making an attempt to at least let history be the judge of these events. They started a research co-operative to monitor and document their findings. They are one awesome little co-op and I would swear on… on.. my keyboard that they caught Harper’s attention! When someone gives Harper a double take or questions him in any way he bites back, a classic Harper move is to alienate or completely eliminate any thing he perceives as a threat. The events that have unfold since then are not so much directly related to the actions of that specific co-op… but instead paint an image of why the fascists have decided to start attacking the co-ops here. They challenge the status quo on many levels and are very empowering. This research co-op got a small amount funding for some start up costs through a government funded programmed called Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI). Two weeks after their approval the CDI was eliminated! The CDI had operated for ten years with an annual budget of 4 million/y ($= a small coin in Canada’s pocket) and its role was to support new and emerging co-operatives. It was very successful. In its life time it supported the creation of more than 300 new community-based co-operatives, provided advice and assistance to more than 1,600 groups interested in developing co-ops, and aided the development of 700 existing co-operatives. The attack continues, next the fascist cut 90% of the budget to the Rural and Cooperatives Secretariat, they have been around since 1987. Bringing their annual budget down to less than 400,000 and and eliminating 77 of the 92 staff positions. Its role had been to represent the 9000 co-ops in Canada, to collect statistics on co-ops, to improve the relationship between Canadian cooperatives and the 17 federal departments and agencies with which they currently interact by advising them on policy, and also to raise awareness of the role that co-operatives can play in both social and economic development in rural and urban Canada. They will no longer be able to fulfill many of the roles they once did, some people have speculated that the carcass that has been left behind will actually only oversee the final dismantlement of the Secretariat. The attack continues still, The Canadian Wheat Board was a monopsony (a single buyer and marketer/ opposite of a monopoly) of wheat and barley set up in 1935. The marketing board was made up of 10 people elected by the member farmers. It was run by farmers to fight corporate grain interests. In 2007 they started marketing organic wheat and barley. The Wheat Board was one of Canada’s biggest exporters of wheat and barley; selling grain to more than 70 countries and returning ALL profits, minus the cost of marketing to Prairie farmers. This August the Wheat Board was also eliminated, against the wished of the farmers (in fact they sued to try to keep it, and won but… since in Harperland Harper just does what he wants, the court ruling is of no consequence). Due to legislation passed in 2011, Harper was able to removed the farmers ability to elected their own board and instead appointed 5 people to the desk, and from there begin dismantling it… it only took a year. Citing “market freedom” and that the wheat board gave an unfair market advantage to the farmers. Meanwhile, it is estimated that between 70 and 90 per cent of the entire global grain trade is controlled by just four corporations: the “ABCD group,” composed of ADM, Bunge, Cargill, and (Louis) Dreyfus. These transnational giants use their oligopolistic control of markets to pay producers as little as possible and charge consumers as much as possible, pocketing the margin as private profit…. and yes they played a heavy roll in the lobby to destroy the Wheat Board.
So anyhow, that’s my story… forgive me if it was a little long winded there for a bit. I just want you to grasp just how fascist Harperland has become and just how much anti-co-opism goes hand in hand with their fascist actions. All this leads me to believe that yes, we might fear just how much worse life could get for us under our developing fascist governments… but it turns out our governments might fear just how much worse things could get for them under our developing co-op modeled revolution. We should celebrate really, they’ve shown their cards… their weakness lies in your strength! Power to the People!
<> In the coming weeks I’ll be: shedding some light on the different directions the co-op model can be taken in, digging deep into more of the specifics surrounding getting started with a co-op, highlighting what some of the cooler co-ops out there have already managed to accomplish, I’ll share my own musings about the trials of journeying toward starting a co-op, and most importantly I hope to inspire some of you lovely people who are out there in the ether to consider starting your own co-op! Of course, food is a great place to start but there are ohhh so many cool things happening with co-ops, I can’t wait to tell ya some more stories!
stay tuned to the Resistance Transmissions….
My fellow Americans,
Now more than ever our government needs our help. For centuries we have believed democracy to be the best form of government, without ever experiencing true democracy. Greed and corruption have infiltrated our government, and now Democrats and Republicans have become so hopelessly opposed and unwilling to work together that nothing is accomplished. Our “representatives” use their entire term to campaign for reelection instead of doing the work Americans want done. Our government is broken, but we can fix it, and we can fix it through participating in our limited democracy, ironically. There is hope for democracy – a new hope, a liberating hope, a Libertarian hope. The Libertarian Party must be America’s Party now, because a new choice is always more democratic.
Democracy, as defined by Merriam-Webster is “a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority; b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”
Free elections are an illusion. For the majority of this country’s history, two parties have held a monopoly over campaign contributions and the vote. Either a Democrat or Republican has won every presidential election since 1852, and since 1804 the most electoral votes a third-party candidate has obtained is just 46 by George Wallace in 1968. That was the year Tricky Dick was elected the first time. Needless to say had we realized then what we have the opportunity to realize now we could have avoided putting a crook in office. But we have an opportunity to change American politics once again and bring about a more democratic democracy.
The United States political scene suffers from what Herbert Marcuse would call one-dimensional thought, which “militates against qualitative change. Thus emerges a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior in which ideas, aspirations and objectives that…transcend the established universe of discourse and action are either repelled or reduced to terms of this universe” (Marcuse 12). This one-dimensional thought allows for greed and corruption to flourish in our government because we, the people, have accepted it as simply a consequence of democracy.
Marcuse’s one-dimensional thought is ever-present in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act. “The Republican and Democratic candidates who win their parties’ nominations for President are each eligible to receive a grant to cover all the expenses of their general election campaigns. The basic $20 million grant is adjusted for inflation each Presidential election year. In 2008, the grant was $84.1 million…A third-party Presidential candidate may qualify for some public funds after the general election if he or she receives at least five percent of the popular vote.” So the Democratic and Republican candidates get $84.1 million and the third-party candidate gets squat unless they grab 5% of the vote in the previous election. The laws governing these “free” elections are keeping third parties at a disadvantage to install an incumbent, ruling order that “militates against qualitative change.” Changing these laws is not an option at this point, so we must act within the system to bring about qualitative change, which is one-dimensional in itself., but no one in Congress is going to reform campaign finance laws when they’re running for reelection. “In the political sphere…the programs of the big parties become ever more undistinguishable, even in the degree of hypocrisy and in the odor of the cliches” (Marcuse 19). The Democrats and Republicans are false opposites. They clearly have the same goal in mind – to keep the power divided amongst themselves and the money out of the hands of people looking to change the status quo. That’s why it’s important that the Libertarian Party surpass the 5% popular vote benchmark in the 2012 presidential election, or we can expect more of the same from the White House.
“As the great words of freedom and fulfillment are pronounced by campaigning leaders and politicians, on screens and radios and stages, they turn into meaningless sounds which obtain meaning only in the context of propaganda, business, discipline, and relaxation.” We’re in the whirlwind of this media now and we can already smell the stench of propaganda permeating from the camps of Democrats and Republicans, but the Libertarian Party doesn’t have the money to compete on television and radio, and unless the Libertarian Party is able to poll at 15%, they won’t be able to compete on stage either. You see, third party candidates are withheld from nationally televised debates if they don’t reach 15% on CNN’s presidential election poll. Don’t let the propaganda fool you. There’s only one party looking to bring about qualitative change despite what President Obama’s campaign slogan may be.
Marcuse warns us that “the range of choice open to the individual is not the decisive factor in determining the degree of human freedom, but what can be chosen and what is chosen.” Having another choice on the ballot does not make us more free, but having a quality choice on the ballot will if we cast a quality vote. The Libertarian Party takes the social tolerance of the Democrats and mixes it with the fiscal responsibility of the Republicans, which proves to be a strong party in an election year expecting the most independent voters in history. We have a quality choice in the Libertarian Party. Now it’s up to us to cast a quality vote. Though Marcuse again warns, “Free election of masters does not abolish the masters of the slaves.” The American government is a democratic republic, and until we change the entire order of things, a very two-dimensional thought, we’ll have to deal with our “masters” for the time being, but we can operate the machine.
“We are neither in the amphitheatre, nor on the stage, but in the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism” (Foucault 217). Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish insists that power is everywhere and we all can wield it. And he’s right. Despite our panoptic society, we are still the fuel that drives the machine. Under the current administration, the panoptic surveillance has only increased, as President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the US government to detain its own citizens indefinitely and without trial if they are suspected terrorists. All of this after our President said during his campaign that he’d close Guantanamo Bay. A clear example of Foucault’s power relations occurred quite recently, when only public outrage kept bills SOPA and PIPA from criminalizing file sharing and destroying the communicative, free structure of the Internet. We do have power, “against an extraordinary evil, power is mobilized; it makes itself everywhere present and visible” (Foucault 205). Internet activists used the best tool they had to defeat SOPA and PIPA – the Internet. They flooded Congress Twitter accounts with pleas to stop the bills. They shut down Wikipedia in outrage of the bills. And yes, some people hacked into bank websites and shut them down, but it was ultimately a success for the American people, though many people believe CISPA, a cyber-security bill passed by the House on Thursday, to be a way for the government to further monitor its own citizens. The oppressors always comes back with a power play of their own, but the Libertarian Party is strongly opposed to any legislation that allows our government to monitor our web practices. It’s a clear invasion of privacy and that’s why we need to keep fighting because “there is no risk…that the increase of power created by the panoptic machine may degenerate into tyranny’ the disciplinary mechanism will be democratically controlled, since it will be constantly accessible ‘to the great tribunal committee of the world’” (Foucault 207).
The actions of Internet activists are also a great demonstration of communicative action. “In modern, secular societies social order rests chiefly on the basis of communicative action (action coordinated by validity claims) and discourse, which together help establish and maintain social integrity – that is, they provide the glue that keeps society together.“ Jürgen Habermas is my kind of guy – a democratic socialist in the best sense. “Habermas argues that we can establish an ideal speech situation – a set of conditions under which democratic discussion optimally takes place – that can guide the way we set up group conversations on important community issues and decisions” (Brookfield 63). He would urge us to organize at a local level and discuss the issues of the day and arrive at a consensus that neglects no one and is not self-serving, which is difficult given Habermas believes human beings to be “essentially self-interested,” though the Internet has provided an opportunity for humanitarian efforts, as Clay Shirky makes clear in his book Cognitive Surplus. “The Internet is an opportunity machine, a way for small groups to create new opportunities, at lower cost and with less hassle than ever before, and to advertise those opportunities to the largest set of potential participants in history.” (Shirky 128-129). The Internet allows us to organize our efforts and communicate effectively, and I think Habermas is wrong to think “the electronic mass media of today is organized in such a way that it controls the loyalty of a depoliticised population” (qtd. in Brookfield 232). “For Habermas democracy is all about communication – the freest, least-restricted communication possible. In his view the greater the freedom of conversation that people enjoy, the higher the chance that true critical reason – reason employed to create a just, humane democracy – will emerge.” (Brookfield, 230). If the Internet is not the freest form of communication, I’m a little scared of what might be. I think now that Habermas knows Twitter is capable of keeping bills off the Senate floor, he may change his tune and urge us to use this “opportunity machine” to organize communicative action for liberty.
In organizing communicative action, Paulo Freire would urge “the oppressed must not, in seeking to regain their humanity…become in turn oppressors of the oppressors, but rather restorers of the humanity of both” (Freire 46). When the Libertarian Party does rise up and overcome our oppressors, it’s important to embrace those oppressors and help them to regain their humanity. We can’t simply leave the Democrats and Republicans in the dust. That would be selfish and ineffective. When the gay community finally achieves marriage equality, they aren’t going to live their lives oblivious to heterosexuals. We must help Democrats and Republicans realize their oppressive ways and install an active dialogue between the oppressed and the oppressors, and if we are to move forward, we must not fear freedom.
“The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man, nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest of human completion” (Freire 48).
A heavy burden of responsibility is awaiting the Libertarian Party at the end of this election, regardless of outcome, and we must not shy away from this responsibility as the Tea Party movement has done. We must accept this responsibility and go about restoring legitimacy to our government through love, because bipartisan bickering and political pandering is how we got here in the first place. Paulo Freire, a civil rights activist himself, would be appalled by the unwillingness of both Democrats and Republicans to recognize the marriage rights of gay human beings. The Libertarian Party won’t allow Democrats and Republicans to continue ignoring the gay community. Marriage equality cannot be denied to these Americans simply because they’re not conducting a traditional, religious marriage. Marriage used to be as strong a social order as evangelical Republicans still believe it to be, but we all know marriage doesn’t mean the same thing it did 20 years ago. Marriage is a human right, a civil right, a right that shall not be denied to any human regardless of race or sexual preference, and the Libertarian Party will fight for those rights.
It’s clear the Libertarian Party has a unique opportunity to change American politics forever, but how can we bring about this communicative action? Well, by taking a page from Augusto Boal’s book we can “practice how the theater can be placed at the service of the oppressed” (121). Boal’s main objective, and this is the main objective of the Libertarian Party as well, is “to change the people – ‘spectators,’ passive beings in the theatrical phenomenon – into subjects, into actors, transformers of the dramatic action” (122). Boal’s Peru experiments provide a model for Americans looking to become more aware of other people’s hopes and “one will be able to physically ‘interpret’ characters different from oneself” (128). Only through understanding each other can we effectively govern ourselves. A thorough understanding of our fellow citizens isn’t all we’ll need to bring about change, though. They must also have a thorough understanding of us, and Boal offers an effective way to invite people to live in other people’s shoes. The medical marijuana debate is a perfect opportunity for Boal’s theatric experiments to be put to the test. Consider a hypothetical situation: a Libertarian who happens to be a medical marijuana patient in favor of legalizing marijuana meets a Republican or Democrat staunchly opposed to medical marijuana and legalization of any kind. Boal gives us a model for reshaping people’s subjectivities by allowing them to step out of their own heads and into someone else’s. The Libertarian calmly explains why she supports marijuana legalization and listens attentively to why the new friend is opposed to it. Aware of their new friend’s subjectivities, the Libertarian invites the new friend to step into her shoes. “I suffer from (cancer/post-traumatic stress syndrome/multiple sclerosis/degenerative disc disease/etc.), and I use marijuana to deal with the (pain/nausea). Without it my life is a living hell, and now my provider has been arrested by the DEA despite following the state medical marijuana laws, so I can’t even get the medication I need. Now, if you found yourself with (cancer/post-traumatic stress syndrome/multiple sclerosis/etc.) and a doctor told you this plant could help you live more comfortably, would you still support DEA raids of providers just looking to make a living?” Most folks can’t help but feel empathetic because they have actively experienced what the other person is going through. They were invited to consider their subjectivities in an alternate reality. They are no longer a spectator, but a “spectactor.”
Without action there is no theatre, and the show can’t go on without action. Boal urges us to get off our asses and act rather than watch, and the Libertarian Party urges you to do the same. We find ourselves in a participatory democracy in which the participants are unwilling to participate, whether it be due to poor choices on the ballot or simple laziness. We cannot allow this lack of participation define our democracy.
“The spectator is less than a man and it is necessary to humanize him, to restore him to his capacity of action in all its fullness. He too must be a subject, an actor” (Boal, 155). We must become actors, for without action we are forever stuck in constant oppressiveness. Volunteer to register voters in your community or on your campus and inform them of the Libertarian Party and where it stands on the issues. Don’t just register them. Educate them. Discuss these issues with your neighbors, and inform those who may be misinformed. Distribute informative election materials and signs around your community. There is so much more to a participatory democracy than simply voting, and in order for the Libertarian Party to be America’s Party we all have to participate more. “The poetics of the oppressed is essentially the poetics of liberation: the spectator no longer delegates power to the characters either to think or to act in his place. The spectator frees himself; he thinks and acts for himself! Theater is action! Perhaps the theater is not revolutionary in itself; but have no doubts, it is a rehearsal of revolution!” Life is all action, too, and until we act together we’ll accomplish nothing.
Brookfield, Stephen D. The Power of Critical Theory. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005.
Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Oppressed. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 1985.
Finlayson, James. Habermas: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford, 2005.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish. New York: Vintage Books, 1977.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1960.
Marcuse, Herbert. One-Dimensional Man. Boston: Beacon, 1964.
Shirky, Clay. Cognitive Surplus. New York: Penguin, 2010.
Tags: act, action, actor, america, american, augusto boal, boal, campaign, choice, communicate, communication, communicative action, Democracy, Democrat, election, foucault, free, Freedom, freire, gay, Government, habermas, Human, humanity, internet, Law, liberation, Libertarian, Libertarian Party, Liberty, life, marcuse, marriage equality, michel foucault, Money, one-dimensional, oppressed, oppressor, order, panoptic, panopticism, participant, participate, participatory, party, paulo freire, poetics of the oppressed, politic, Politics, Power, Republican, responsibility, Revolution, social, spectator, surveil, theater, theatre, vote
Utter the words police and excessive use of force in the same context, and most people will instantly think of the US. Then in the same breath of air, mention journalists and censorship, and most might instead refocus to China. That is what I’ve experienced; reading comments on news sites, following discussions on forums and on Twitter and when talking with people regarding such topics.
Excessive use of force by police is often attributed to the US while silencing the media is attributed to China. It’s a stereotype, an unfortunate one.
Wednesday last week, 16 May, changed that perception regarding such presumptions about the US and China. The use of excessive force and silencing the media can happen anywhere.
A group of Indigenous Australians had set up a Tent Embassy in Musgrave Park to protest the lack of rights they have in their own country – which were taken away from them in 1778 by the British.
The day before, Tuesday 15 May, they had been served with a final notice by Brisbane City Council to move-on and disassemble their Tent Embassy. This refusal was met with a warning that on Wednesday 16 May the Tent Embassy would be removed and disassembled by Queensland Police Service.
6 am on Wednesday 16 may it had been announced the police would move-in on the Tent Embassy.
At around 6 am about 200 police officers surrounded the Tent Embassy in Musgrave Park with 50-60 protesters and few journalists that had managed to enter before the police started their blockade.
Musgrave Park, which the Tent Embassy was located in, and its surrounding streets were closed and blocked for all access. You could leave, but police would not allow entry or re-entry to the Tent Embassy. Telling journalists, that if they would try to enter or didn’t comply with police orders, they would be subject to arrest.
After a two-hour long negotiation between the Tent Embassy and police, the police decided to evict people from the Tent Embassy and disassemble it. During negotiations the police offered less and less to the point the Tent Embassy felt they weren’t given any choice than to stand their ground.
The police moved-in en masse on the Tent Embassy, first targeting the media; telling journalists that if they did not move-on they would be arrested. When most of the media had been cleared out and stood far away the eviction started.
Wednesday 16 May was a day Australians were reminded that the government still doesn’t really care about the rights of the Indigenous Australians. It is also a day that should not only remind Australians, but also the world, censorship and threats directed at the media can and will happen anywhere – even in western democratic countries.
That day, silencing a minority and the media, happened in Australia.
The late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson would undoubtedly have a lot – an awful lot – to say about the current goings on in the world.
Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, ‘Curveball’, George W. Bush’s book… All of this would be fodder for a can’t-miss HST book… Or – at the very least – an interesting series of articles.
Lately, I’ve been re-reading Thompson’s “Kingdom of Fear” and I came across a passage in which he speaks of protest, and his understanding of the action and of the word itself. Long before the uprising in the Middle East, long before the mess in Wisconsin, there was the National Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago.
Thompson described the Convention of ’68 as ‘the end of the sixties’. Heartbreaking violence was the theme of 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy were both assassinated, and the hopes and dreams of a great many people died with those great men. In the midst of the turmoil, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley planned to showcase Chicago’s achievements to both national Democrats and the entire country. Instead, chaos ensued.
The Chicago Police Department clashed with protestors of the Convention, and in the middle of everything, Thompson was there to witness it all first hand. What he saw was enough to render him a paranoid wreck for months after returning home to Colorado from Chicago. Protestors and journalists alike were roughed up and beaten by overzealous police officers. Mike Wallace and Dan Rather were actually beaten while inside the halls of the Democratic Convention. Nobody, it seemed, was safe.
At one point, as he tried to flee from the suddenly violent Chicago streets, Thompson was accosted by two police officers as he tried to enter his hotel. They tried to shove him back into the chaos. He flashed them his press badge, but it didn’t matter. All around him, Thompson could both hear and see his peers being beaten for nothing other than the fact that they happened to be there. Terrified, he shoved his way past the officers and into the hotel lobby. He made a bee-line for his room where he sat cross-legged on his bed for hours, weeping.
He had this to say about the fact that the officers were attempting to keep him in the streets, plotting to ensure his own beating at the hands of their riot gear-clad brothers…
“That was the point. My very innocence made me guilty – or at least a potential troublemaker in the eyes of the rotten sold-out scumbags who were running that Convention: Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, Lyndon Baines Johnson, then President of the United States. These pigs didn’t care what was Right. All they knew was what they wanted, and they were powerful enough to break anybody who even thought about getting in their way.”
At any rate, the real reason I began this post was to pass on Thompson’s observation of what it means to protest. So here it is:
From Kingdom of Fear…
In seems to me that the underlying assumption of any public protest – any public disagreement with the government, “the system”, or “the establishment”, by any name – is that the men in charge of whatever you’re protesting against are actually listening, whether they later admit it or not, and that if you run your protest Right, it will likely make a difference.
Norman Mailer made this point a long time ago when he said that the election of JFK gave him a sense, for the first time in his life, that he could actually communicate with the White House. Even with people like Johnson and Mac Bundy – or even Pat Brown or Bull Connor – the unspoken rationale behind all those heavy public protests was that our noise was getting through and that somebody in power was listening and hearing at least weighing our protest against their own political realities. . . even if these people refused to talk to us. So in the end the very act of public protest, even violent protest, was essentially optimistic and actually a demonstration of faith (mainly subconscious, I think) in the father figures who had the power to change things – once they could be made to see the light of reason, or even political reality.
That’s what the bastards never understood – that the “Movement” was essentially an expression of deep faith in the American Dream: that the people they were “fighting” were not the cruel and cynical beasts they seemed to be, and that in fact they were just a bunch of men like everybody’s crusty middle-class fathers who only needed to be shaken a bit, jolted out of their bad habits and away from their lazy, short-term, profit-oriented life stances . . . and that once they understood, they would surely do the right thing.”
– Hunter S. Thompson, “Kingdom of Fear”, Simon & Schuster 2003For those of you who only know Hunter S. Thompson through the lens of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and have written him off as a lunatic drug addict… Read “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72″ and witness the Doctor in all of his political, satirical, and literary glory.
Also posted at The Altered States of Munley
“All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” – Lord Acton
In the United States of America, when the children of this generation grow up they will probably look back and wonder why nobody looked out for them. They will see that we stood by and allowed Washington D.C. to be sold to the highest bidder. They will see that corporations were not always shot-callers in major elections, but that we allowed them to bully their way into such a powerful position. They will realize that special interest groups and powerful lobbies had been around for a very long time, but that our generation gave them the go-ahead to dig in and control many of the laws that will come to affect future generations like their own.
The only reason that I used the phrase, “they will probably look back” to begin with is because we have an option. There is an idea out there that many members of Congress and the Senate will avoid at all costs because it will drastically change the way business is done every single day in our capitol. That option, that idea is term limits, and I believe that imposing them on Congress is the only way to fix a democratic system that has become so flawed that it would not be recognizable to the Founding Fathers of this country if they were alive to see it in action today.
The citizens of this country, the very people whom those politicians in Washington have been elected to represent, seem to understand that there is something wrong with the way things are being run. Before the 2008 election season Helium.com asked the question, “Should senators and congressmen have a term limit?” and the response from their political-minded readers was overwhelmingly one-sided. A total of 1,547 people responded to the question, and 1,310 of them answered that yes, senators and congressmen should have a term limit imposed on them. That is a whopping 85% majority in favor of term limits.
Another poll, this one conducted on a much larger scale in 2010 by Fox News, reported similarly one-sided results. In the Fox News poll, 78% of eligible voters said that they would be in favor of establishing term limits for Congress. Remarkably, based upon the results of the poll, this seems to be an issue that both Democrats and Republicans can actually agree on. An incredibly high 84% of Republican voters polled were in favor of establishing term limits while an equally exaggerated 74% of Democratic voters were also in favor of the idea. Not to be outdone, even the Independent voters chimed in with a 74% majority in favor of imposing new limits.
I have always seen credence in the old saying, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, and the results of those two polls certainly establish the fact that there is smoke in regards to this term limits issue. You don’t have to look far to discover the fire that is giving off that smoke.
For those voters who are concerned with the way things are going in Washington, they must certainly be dismayed by the fact that many of these politicians feel the need to occupy a seat in Washington for several decades or more. Strom Thurmond, Robert Byrd, and Edward Kennedy are all examples of representatives who have occupied office for literally decades. The three men listed above are just a small sample, but the fact is that there are many young politicians with new ideas and fresh perspectives that are not being given a chance to change our country for the better because of Mr. Kennedy and others of his ilk. All the while, instead of bringing about change, these career politicians continue to make empty promises. I’m sorry, but if the promises you make cannot be upheld by the end of two terms in office, then maybe you’re not the right man or woman for the job.
It’s not just the lack of productivity being seen from our decades-long representatives in Congress that has brought about a sense of apathy in the nation’s voters, but also the disturbing practice of special interest groups lining the pockets of said representatives in exchange for favorable results when the time comes to vote on bills that may or may not benefit these powerful groups. By imposing term limits on these representatives the strong and cozy bonds they have formed with the special interest groups will be almost immediately severed. The special interest groups would be forced to deal with a fresh, energized member of Congress who would – because of the term limit – be less interested in re-election simply as a means of lining their pockets. Rather, these term-limited members of Congress would be more inclined to vote with principle instead of voting a certain way in exchange for favors and even financial gain.
There are certainly many arguments that can be made against any of the points I’ve made above. No matter how many disinterested career politicians like Strom Thurman there are in Washington, there will be detractors that point out that imposing term limits would actually be worse for the country because instead of having experienced men and women at the helm of the ship, the country would be in the hands of new, unproven politicians. These same detractors may even call term limits anti-democratic because by imposing these limits voters would not always have the right to vote for whoever they want to see in office. Well, by imposing term limits, at the very least it would force somebody to run in place of the incumbents who run unopposed every election cycle. In cases like these, term limits would actually be a boost to the democratic process. Right now – partly because of the above mentioned incumbents who run unopposed – the re-election rate for members of Congress is greater than 97%. Where is the democratic spirit in that?
As for the argument that term limits would be worse for the country because of a perceived loss of knowledge or experience, I present the office of President of the United States as my closing argument. Presidents in this country have been term limited since the ‘The Altered States of Munley’
The following post is by Stefan Molyneux from “Lost Liberty Cafe.” I found it through Beyond The Corral. I do not completely agree with Stefan Monyneux, but it illustrates a major point in my philosophy.
One of the most difficult – and essential – challenges faced by libertarians is the constant need to point out “the gun in the room.” In political debates, it can be very hard to cut through the endless windy abstractions that are used to cover up the basic fact that the government uses guns to force people to do what they do not want to do, or prevent them from doing what they do want to do. Listening to non-libertarians, I often wish I had a “euphemism umbrella” to ward off the continual oily drizzle of words and phrases designed to obscure the simple reality of state violence. We hear nonstop nonsense about the “social good,” the “redistribution of income,” the “education of children” and so on – endless attempts to bury the naked barrel of the state in a mountain of syrupy metaphors.
It is a wearying but essential task to keep reminding people that the state is nothing but an agency of violence. When someone talks about “the welfare state helping the poor,” we must point out the gun in the room. When someone opposes the decriminalization of marijuana, we must point out the gun in the room. When someone supports the reduction of taxes, we must point out the gun in the room – even if one bullet has been taken out.
So much political language is designed to obscure the simple reality of state violence that libertarianism sometimes has to sound like a broken record. We must, however, continue to peel back the euphemisms to reveal the socially-sanctioned brutality at the root of some of our most embedded social institutions.
I was recently involved in a debate with a woman about public schools. Naturally, she came up with reason after reason as to why public schools were beneficial, how wonderful they were for underprivileged children, how essential they were for social stability etc etc. Each of these points – and many more – could have consumed hour upon hour of back and forth, and would have required extensive research and complicated philosophical reasoning. But there was really no need for any of that – all I had to do was keep saying:
“The issue is not whether public schools are good or bad, but rather whether I am allowed to disagree with you without getting shot.”
Most political debates really are that simple. People don’t get into violent debates about which restaurant is best because the state doesn’t impose one restaurant on everyone – and shoot those trying to set up competing restaurants. The truth is that I couldn’t care less about this woman’s views on education – just as she couldn’t care less about my views – but we are forced to debate because we are not allowed to hold opposing views without one of us getting shot. That was the essence of our debate, and as long as it remained unacknowledged, we weren’t going to get anywhere.
Here’s another example. A listener to my ‘Freedomain Radio’ show posted the following comment on the message board:
If you say “Government A doesn’t work,” you are really saying that the way that individuals in that society are interacting is lacking in some way. There are many threads in this forum that address the real debate. This thread’s counterarguments all focus on government vs. free market society. The rules defining a free market are all agreed upon interactions at some level, just as a government is. Don’t debate that a government is using guns to force others, when it’s really individuals with guns, instead show how the other way will have less guns forcing others or how those guns could force others in a more beneficial way.
I responded in this manner:
But – and I’m sorry if I misunderstand you – government is force, so I’m not sure how to interpret your paragraph. Let me substitute another use of force to show my confusion:
“If you say that rape doesn’t work you are really saying that the way that individuals in that society are interacting is lacking in some way. There are many threads in this forum that address the real debate. This thread’s counterarguments all focus on rape vs. dating. The rules defining dating are all agreed upon interactions at some level, just as rape is. Don’t debate that a group of rapists is forcing others, when it’s really individual rapists, instead show how the other way will have fewer rapists forcing others or how those rapists could force others in a more beneficial way.”
Do you see my confusion?
It is a very helpful sign for the future of society that these euphemisms exist – in fact, I would not believe in the moral superiority of a stateless society if these euphemisms did not exist! If, every time I pointed out to people that their political positions all required that I get shot or arrested, they just growled: “Sure, I got no problem with that – in fact, if you keep disagreeing with me I’m going to shoot you myself!” – then, I would find it very hard to argue for a stateless society!
In more than 20 years of debating these issues, though, I’ve never met a single soul who wants to either shoot me himself or have someone else shoot me. I take enormous solace in this fact, because it explains exactly why these euphemisms are so essential to the maintenance and increase of state power.
The reason that euphemisms are constantly used to obscure “the gun in the room” is the simple fact that people don’t like violence very much. Most people will do almost anything to avoid a violent situation. Even the most bloodthirsty supporter of the Iraq invasion would have a hard time justifying the proposition that anybody who opposed the invasion should be shot – because it was to defend such freedoms that Iraq was supposed to have been invaded in the first place! But how can I have the right to oppose the invasion of Iraq if I am forced to pay for it through taxation? Surely that is a ridiculous contradiction, like arguing that a man has a right to free speech, and also that he should be arrested for speaking his mind. If I have the right to oppose the invasion, surely I cannot be forced to fund it. If I am forced to fund it, then any right I have to “oppose” it is purely imaginary.
In essence, then, all libertarian arguments come down to one single, simple statement:
“Put down the gun, then we’ll talk.”
This is the core morality of both libertarianism and civilization. Civilized people do not shoot each other when they disagree – decent people do not wave guns in each other’s faces and demand submission or blood. Political leaders know this very well – I would say better than many libertarians do – and so constantly obscure the violence of their actions and laws with mealy-mouthed and euphemistic weasel words. Soldiers aren’t murdered, they “fall.” Iraq wasn’t invaded, but “liberated.” Politicians aren’t our political masters, they are “civil servants,” and so on and on.
Although libertarianism is generally considered a radical doctrine, the primary task of the libertarian is to continually reinforce the basic reality that almost everyone already is a libertarian. If we simply keep asking people if they are willing to shoot others in order to get their way, we can very quickly convince them that libertarianism is not an abstract, radical or fringe philosophy, but rather a simple description of the principles by which they already live their lives. If you get fired, do you think that you should hold your manager hostage until he gives you back your job? No? Then you already hold a libertarian position on unions, tariffs, and corporate subsidies. If you find your teenage son in your basement smoking marijuana, would you shoot him? No? Then you already hold a libertarian position on the drug laws. Should those who oppose war be shot for their beliefs? No? Then you already hold a libertarian position with regards to taxation.
Like the scientific method, libertarianism’s greatest strength is its uncompromising simplicity. The enforcement of property rights leads to an immensely complex economy, but the morality of property rights is very simple – would you shoot a man in order to steal his property? The same complexity arises from the simple and universal application of the non-aggression principle. It’s so easy to get lost in the beguiling complexities and forget to keep enunciating the basic principles.
So forget about esoteric details. Forget about the history of the Fed and the economics of the minimum wage. Just keep pointing out the gun in the room, over and over, until the world finally starts awake and drops it in horror and loathing.
Sometimes I remember things as if it didn’t even happen. It’s strange. They make me scared to think about. I don’t know what to think half the time. I remember the whiskey lockers. They were just closets in the squad bays on Parris Island. I remember being told they don’t hit or abuse recruits. I was told it through boot camp and I was told it throughout my career in the Marines. I remember people talking about how great it was now how watered down it is compared to what used to happen.
I also remember something I can’t quite remember. It’s strange. It is vague but when I try to think about it I get a sinking feeling in my gut. I get scared. I remember being dragged into the whiskey locker. I though I was hit, I thought I was punched. I thought I was beat to the ground. I remember boots kicking me in the gut in the side and in the head. I remember my eyes ere closed and I was holding myself up just an inch or so from the ground with my toes and arms in a push-up position just having to hold myself there as I was kicked.
What’s wrong Thayer? Hu? What’s wrong? Not going to make it? That’s what I hear in that scratchy gruff voice. It wasn’t screaming like it usually was, it was lower. I could hear his real voice in there not the growl he ordered the recruits around with. I remember his face smiling with each kick as I was threatened and told not to let myself touch the ground. I remember being told when I was pushing my body up too high. I remember the kicks when I collapsed on the floor. It doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t even seem real most of the time. It’s confusing for me. I’m not feeling good writing this. I feel scared and anxious. The floor smelled like Aqua velvet. I remember the yellow paint container open.
He would remind me a few times a week. If I was on the ground doing push-ups, or at the rifle range in the prone position firing my rifle. He would give me a quick light kick to the stomach or ribs and smile at me.
I remember thinking nobody could hear or see us in the whiskey locker. There was paint on the ground. I was painting campaign covers. It’s not just that. It’s all kinds of stuff. It all gets to me. You can’t talk about that. You are called weak and pathetic. Your personhood is diminished to shit, a bag of ass. All the brainwashed Marines have some little redundant mindless insult to come at you with to dismiss you and shut you up. Sometimes I can’t tell what was real. Other things haunt me and I just can’t seem to grasp it all. Some people tell me I have PTSD. I don’t know what to think. I never saw combat. And does it matter if it’s real? It’s not like I’m stuck in a whiskey locker my entire life, but sometimes it is. Like in a car, or confined to a room, maybe. I don’t know what to think of any of it. I only know that I hate the fucking Marine Corps.
Tell someone you want to get rid of government, and they will immediately ask you about police, firemen and teachers — you’ve just branded yourself as a proponent of crime, chaos and ignorance.
Tell them you want to get rid of property, and they will immediately label you a Bolshevik intent on reducing the entire society to poverty and totalitarianism.
Tell them you want to get rid of labor, and they will ask, “But, how will we make things. Where will our food come from?” The very suggestion to them that we can live without labor almost always comes down to, “But who will do things like collect garbage.”
People have a real hard time with garbage collection.
Everyone is anti-statist to one extent or another; they are conditional or arbitrary statists who take exception with one or another feature of modern society.
Marxists, for example, hate inequality, private property, and the concentration of wealth. So, they see no problem taxing wealth away, and even confiscating it. Libertarians, are advocates of property and have an intense dislike of all government interference in individual property rights. So, they are not averse to eliminating the minimum wage, public education, unions (especially public unions) and so forth.
Both Libertarians and Marxists share some common features, however. If you really press a Marxist, soon you will find she is hostile not to property in general, but only private property. She will cogently explain to you why this private property must be replaced by public ownership of the means of production. And, if you really press a Libertarian, you will soon find out he is probably not against all government but just those functions identified with “the welfare state’, i.e., the social safety net erected after the Great Depression to protect society from the booms and busts of the business cycle, and from the greed of the wealthy.
Each, despite a hostility to the agenda of the other, nevertheless wants to retain some features of the existing society expressed in the others ideology.
There is another feature both sides agree on: in my experience both seem hostile to the idea of ridding society of labor itself. While a Marxist might be willing to adjust labor on the margins — say, by some minimal reduction of the work week or flexibility in those hours — the idea that labor itself can be done away with entirely appears to her altogether a fantasy. A Libertarian, if he thinks about labor at all, only thinks of it when he considers the impediments to the freest possible exercise of the property owner’s rights — in other words, only when he advocates to eliminate the minimum wage, unions, mandatory overtime pay, and workplace safety regulations.
For the Marxist, there is some willingness to consider a reduction of hours of work, but only on condition that wages remain unchanged. For the Libertarian, there is some willingness to consider a fall in wages as long as there is no limitation on hours of work. The idea that both wages and hours should go to zero — that all paid work should be abolished — is so inconceivable as an option for society, that even the most determined and radical opponents of the present order find it, at best, Utopian, and, at worst, a recipe for social collapse.
Both ideologies, however, have a profound hostility to empire. militarism, and the imperial adventures of Washington. While they may violently disagree with each other in terms of their positive program for the reorganization of society, they tend to be on the same side with regards to many issues related to the empire and its global machinery of war and repression. I recently came across a Marxist in the ‘net who initially became radicalized under the influence of Libertarianism at a very young age. He tells a fairly incredible story about how he and a friend once invaded a Republican Party meeting to introduce one resolution after another against US involvement in Central America:
… before I was an anarchist, I was a libertarian. As in the Libertarian Party. As in Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard. As in the Koch brothers who fund the Tea Party. I was raised in a left-liberal academic family, attended anti-war demonstrations as a kid, generally identified with anti-colonial struggles around the world, at the age of 9 cheered AIM when they seized Wounded Knee, read Malcolm and Che in junior high, and got involved in anti-nuclear power activism and the Citizens Party (an early version of the Greens) in High School. And then at 16 I became a libertarian and got deeply into that for the next several years.
I was more or less done with the libertarians when on a lark I convinced a friend to attend a Republican precinct caucus with me in the early years of the Reagan administration. We combed our spikey hair down, wore ill-fitting suits that we had bought at church sales and even a couple American flag pins and I introduced resolution after resolution in solidarity with the Nicaraguan Revolution, the armed struggle in El Salvador, the ANC and so on with my buddy seconding them and forcing a debate before each one was voted down 38 to 2. When the time came to elect delegates, my friend nominated me and some other guy seconded after explaining that while he disagreed with everything I said he was just glad to see young people “getting involved.” There were ten nominees for ten seats, five delegates and five alternates. I came in tenth, making me the last alternate. That proved good enough to get me called to attend the County Republican Convention where there was a big fight between the grassroots anti-tax crazies and the more respectable moderates. There was a rabid anti-tax resolution and the moderates were offering a modest amendment of support for law enforcement charged with enforcing existing tax laws, a matter on their minds in the wake of a recent local shootout between some far right anti-tax activist and the FBI. I rose to speak against the amendment, arguing that as our taxes were going to support U.S. policy in Central America we should applaud any actions that would starve the imperialist beast, suggesting incongruously that the posse comitatus nut was some sort of anti-imperialist hero. After I had spoken, a few of the anti-tax people came up to me and urged me to go back and run for precinct captain, but I wasn’t prepared to take that particular stunt any further.
My own story is similar to this person’s, except I was moving from the other direction: I was a Marxist who was strongly influenced by the “anti-tax crazies” in the late 1070s and early 1980s. Although I could not put into words what puzzled me about this movement, I knew they were on to something and the Marxists were missing an important opportunity. It was only in conversation with another Marxist, as I tried to argue for the importance of the anti-tax movement, that it suddenly dawned on me why it was significant: “Why do you care whether they are against paying more in taxes?” I asked her, “It isn’t your government; it isn’t your state — it’s the capitalist state and people hate it.”
That conversation sealed a moment for me. All of a sudden I could see the hidden connections between the arguments both the Left and the Right were making against government in a way, I believe, did not confine me to the ideological prejudices of either side. It has not been easy — honestly it has taken another 20 years to shake off the muck of ideology and realize both what the Left and Right have in common both in positive terms and negative.
Today, for me, the question has become: “What does it take to create a humanist anti-politics?” I want you to notice that I deliberately write the term, humanist anti-politics”, in lower case letters, here. I am not talking of, nor imagining, a movement toward something greater than us as individuals, but something completely subordinated to us — its only over-arching theme is that it has no theme and seeks only to let each of us create our own particular theme alone or in free voluntary association with others. It is movement which puts people — as individuals — in place of things.
A humanist anti-politics doesn’t ask for amnesty for illegal immigrants because governments do not own the earth, we do, and no government has the right to control our access to it.
A humanist anti-politics doesn’t argue for the right tax policy or the right fiscal policy or the right monetary policy for the economy, because we care only about what is right for people not the economy.
A humanist anti-politics doesn’t ask how Washington can protect us from terrorism, but asks how we can protect ourselves from the terrorism of governments around the world.
A humanist anti-politics doesn’t ask how government can create jobs to end unemployment, but how we can end wage slavery.
A humanist anti-politics doesn’t ask how government can improve the education system, but how individuals can be freed from Labor, Property and the State to develop their own capacities as complete human beings.
Humanist anti-politics is humanist because it seeks everywhere to put the liberation of society, as individuals, at the center of social discourse; it is anti-politics because it asks for nothing from government except that it cease to exist.
Is this possible? Can a consistent anti-statist movement be built out of the competing ideologies who each seek to impose their vision of the future on us?
cable 09KABUL1651, 06/23/09 MEETING, ASSISTANT AMB MUSSOMELI AND MOI exposes a U.S. cover-up of the prostitution of young Afghan boys. The U.S. misled the American media in an attempt to keep the sex trafficking out of the headlines. DynCorp, U.S. based corporation hired to train and support the build up of Afghan Police. DynCorp apparently threw a party where young boys were sold into sex slavery to the highest bidder.
Reporters were thrown off this story by DynCorp and told it would be harmful to report such a thing and that it could endanger lives. Quite the opposite is true. DynCorp is funded by U.S. tax dollars. isn’t it good to know that your tax dollars went to help old men purchase young boys as sex slaves?
The cable reveals a discussion between Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli and Afghan Minister Hanif Atmar on how to best keep this information out of the U.S. Media. The practice of the sale of young boys into sexual slavery is known as Bacha bazi.
Bacha Bazi (Persian: بچه بازی literally “playing with children”), also known as bacchá ‘ (from the Persian bacheh بچه “child, young man, calf”) is a practice recognized as sexual slavery and child prostitution in which prepubescent children and adolescents are sold to wealthy or powerful men for entertainment and sexual activities. This business thrives in southern Afghanistan, where many men keep them as status symbols. Some of the individuals involved report being forced into sex. The authorities are barely attempting to crack down on the practice as “un-Islamic and immoral acts” but many doubt it would be effective since many of the men are powerful and well-armed former commanders.
A documentary by Najibullah Quraishi about the practice was aired on PBS Frontline in the United States , and True Stories in the UK on 20 April 2010. This film premiered at the Royal Society of Arts on 29 March 2010.
Coercive retaliation is the nature of the state. It is used to force human beings into submission. The state is not the only institution that uses this tactic. The tactic of coercive retaliation should be opposed on all levels from a level of abuse between two individuals to the level of a state against the individual.
Coercive retaliation is practice of exercising some sort of retribution against an individual if they do not submit to the will of another as a mean to force human beings to do as one wills. This is seen in cases of domestic violence and the state. There is little difference outside of the fact the state writes what it will do on paper and justifies these violent actions by calling them ‘legal’.
We should croak the Tea Party because it has done nothing but bring out the worst in people, and has done more in the way of dividing this country than of fixing it.
“I do miss George Bush. Compared to these
teabaggers and the people who are pandering
to them, he looks like a professor.”
The Tea Party movement is a testament to exactly what is wrong with politics, and our country, today. I’m not saying this because I believe that every single member of the movement is a racist, and I’m not saying it because I believe that protesting the “business-as-usual” approach to government is a bad thing. Not at all. I actually think that protesting the status-quo is probably the most healthy action that citizens of a democracy can take. After all, if the citizens of a democracy lose their right, or will, to protest…well, then the notion that we are living in a democracy at all is a fallacy.
The problem with the Tea Party is this: It’s not anything new. It’s not some new way of thinking. And, it’s not at all a separate entity. If the Tea Party movement were actually giving the public at large something new to think about that would be one thing. But, the fact is that the Tea Party movement is just an off-shoot of the Republican party & is spouting nothing but conservative rhetoric. So, to the supporters of the “movement” reading this, where the hell is the protest in this movement?
The Tea Party (Republican Party 2.0) is mobilized against a president whose term has seen the least amount of policy change, in terms of party turnover, in the history of the Democratic Party. So, taking that into account, who is your beef with exactly?
So, the Republicans are under siege from a movement that is nothing more than an extension of their own party, the Democrats are masquerading as Republicans, and the Tea Party is forging ahead as though they’re just minutes away from changing the world… You see the problem? This country is in arguably the worst shape it has ever been in. The Republican & Democratic Parties should be focused on getting this country back on track, but instead they are both too focused on the doings of a travelling road show to get anything of significance done.
People have e-mailed me to “inform” me that the movement is providing an alternative to “everyday politics in this country”. That sounds great, but I’m not buying it. Here are my final thoughts on the movement:
The Tea Party was born of the fear that the principles & values of the country at its core were in jeopardy?
I agree with this notion, but the loss of principles & values, especially by those who’ve run this country, happened a long time ago.
Those who were involved with the movement, in its earliest form, were genuinely concerned with the way the government was being run?
I can believe this as well. Aren’t we all more than a little concerned with how the government is/has been run? I’m sure every citizen, especially post-Vietnam/Nixon, would respond with a resounding ‘Yes’ to that question.
The Tea Party is racist?
I truly do my best to not judge an entire group upon the actions of a few within it… But, in all honesty, the Tea Party has been hijacked by individuals & groups who see the demonstrations as a way to spout racially charged epithets at a black president. Plain and simple. So, while not every single person who is involved with the movement is a racist, the platform that the Tea Party encourages has been compromised by hateful, racist people.
The Tea Party is a legitimate third party?
No. Hell no. Pay attention to their stances, their ideals, and the people running as Tea Party candidates, and you’ll see why I’ve dubbed them, “Republican Party 2.0″.
Of all the issues that inevitably come up whenever the Tea Party is brought up, race is the biggest one by far. Without a doubt, I’ll be receiving e-mails from those of you who believe that the movement is a full-blown racist mobilization, and from those of you who believe that the racism slam is an attempt to derail the movement by means of “race-baiting”. I’ve already given my view on the role that racism plays within the movement… Watch these two videos & draw your own conclusions:
- The Altered Statesman
Originally posted at The Altered States of Munley
The Government does not hate you. The Government does not like you. It is indifferent. The Government is not an entity with feelings, remorse, ethics or conscious. It is a collective of individuals working according to rigid flawed guidelines. The government is not an individual therefore the government as a whole has no rights whatsoever. People can have rights, this corporate entity called the United States has no rights. It functions to take rights and to oppress. There are often individuals within the government who wish to ‘do good’ but overall that is impossible. The nature of government prohibits any good for the very means of which the state reaches its ends is immoral.
Individuals who work within the government or are employed by the government may have rights, but no more than any other individual. This makes the actions of many of the states employees criminal by the very nature of their jobs. Marines and Soldiers often engage in murder and invasion. They justify this by stating that the non-individual ‘the state’ is responsible. What is the state? It is nothing more than these individuals acting in a criminal manner to assert force and control over other human beings. If a gangster claims they have the right to murder because the gang they belong to calls for this murder, do we accept that as a justified?
Police by the nature of their job simply defend the will of the state with force. They partake in what would be seen outside of the context of the state as extortion, theft, murder, assault and kidnapping on a daily basis. This is simply justified by stating ‘they were just doing their job.’ Even the youngest elementary school child is taught this is wrong. “Would you jump off a bridge if Jimmy told you to?” We learn that just because someone tells us to do something it is not justified. Somehow statist apologetics seem to defy those simple ethics.
These people who have committed crimes against humanity under the titles the government provides them would still exist in a system without government. The aim of eliminating government can be seen as an aim to end the unethical nature of the state. By eliminating the crux of the state which is the power of the Police and Military that uses force to obtain it’s will and command over others. The average person sees these as necessities for order. To bring up alternatives for order in a more ethical manner tends to bring up doomsday scenarios and a debate that compares anarchism to a certain utopia they have even failed to obtain through their force. As an anarchist I do not seek utopia, but to reject a system that is every bit as criminal as what it claims to oppose. I seek to oppose hierarchy, power over others and oppression. To claim that we must accept oppression on one level to avoid oppression on another level is inaccurate. This returns to the statist mindset that in order to end crime we must also partake in those crimes under the title of ‘Police.’ I am not asking for oppression or crime on any level, rather pointing at how we accept it on one level for a ‘greater good’ justified by ‘the will of the people’ or the ‘divine rights of kings.’
If you have faith in these people to keep order and to find solutions with coercion why then do you not believe that this order can not be found outside of criminal means?
Those in the state that seek to keep order are just people. Individual human beings preforming a job under a misguided ethic. Once we have eliminated the hierarchy and oppression of the state it will still be people or individuals in non-coercive entities and through voluntary means providing similar services. There is a misunderstanding that somehow order is only found with these people if the state exists. The only tool for order is often seen as the state. This is partially because the state has educated us to believe such. Individuals have a difficult time perceiving a system outside of the systems that they have always known.
I am not one to say that a Dispute Resolution Organization (DRO) or Voluntary Contractual Arrangements are the definitive answer. In a truly non-coercive system we would see all and more. We would see amalgams of these as well as other concepts for protection defense and order. To state that we must choose one is the flaw of the statist. I n a truly liberated society I am not forced to choose between Mutualism, Anarcho-Syndicalism and Anarcho Capitalism, but I am free to join in the systems of order I find most effective or appropriate. To cling to only one is the way of the state. This keeps the flaws of the system choose also with no option and no way out.
Society like the government is not an individual or an entity with rights to supersede the rights of the individual. Society however is a reality. We may each be individuals with rights but we often find we are interdependent. This interdependence creates society, markets, syndicates and all forms of interaction. To say that one solution is sufficient for all needs is to oversimplify reality. To embrace anarchism is to embrace the reality that there is no one perfect way to interact and to embrace that there are flaws in systems. To embrace the state is to embrace one way that is believed to be the only solution and to enforce that belief and way upon others.
The expectations of statists for anarchism are far above that which they have achieved with statism. It is the statist who will ask for a solution to a problem and when given one they are restricted to the statist idea that this is the only solution. They will then ask impossible tasks that they have even failed to find effective solutions for. One example is defense. The statist sees the state as the only solution. When one looks at anarchist solutions we see many options. The anarchist will often start with prevention and move to other solutions from there. The statist is limited to the government they grant a monopoly over the industry of aggression.
In closing I will state that to reject the state is not to stand in opposition to order or to ignore problems that exist, but to embrace the reality that there is no one way that will be the answer to all. We embrace that fact that people can bring solutions and that they should not be disregarded because they do not lead to utopia.
The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the Constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them. They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but “the people” then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves. Let us see. Its language is:
We, the people of the United States (that is, the people then existing in the United States), in order to form a more perfect union, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
It is plain, in the first place, that this language, as an agreement, purports to be only what it at most really was, viz., a contract between the people then existing; and, of necessity, binding, as a contract, only upon those then existing. In the second place, the language neither expresses nor implies that they had any intention or desire, nor that they imagined they had any right or power, to bind their “posterity” to live under it. It does not say that their “posterity” will, shall, or must live under it. It only says, in effect, that their hopes and motives in adopting it were that it might prove useful to their posterity, as well as to themselves, by promoting their union, safety, tranquility, liberty, etc.
Suppose an agreement were entered into, in this form:
We, the people of Boston, agree to maintain a fort on Governor’s Island, to protect ourselves and our posterity against invasion.
This agreement, as an agreement, would clearly bind nobody but the people then existing. Secondly, it would assert no right, power, or disposition, on their part, to compel their “posterity” to maintain such a fort. It would only indicate that the supposed welfare of their posterity was one of the motives that induced the original parties to enter into the agreement.
When a man says he is building a house for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of binding them, nor is it to be inferred that he is so foolish as to imagine that he has any right or power to bind them, to live in it. So far as they are concerned, he only means to be understood as saying that his hopes and motives, in building it, are that they, or at least some of them, may find it for their happiness to live in it.
So when a man says he is planting a tree for himself and his posterity, he does not mean to be understood as saying that he has any thought of compelling them, nor is it to be inferred that he is such a simpleton as to imagine that he has any right or power to compel them, to eat the fruit. So far as they are concerned, he only means to say that his hopes and motives, in planting the tree, are that its fruit may be agreeable to them.
So it was with those who originally adopted the Constitution. Whatever may have been their personal intentions, the legal meaning of their language, so far as their “posterity” was concerned, simply was, that their hopes and motives, in entering into the agreement, were that it might prove useful and acceptable to their posterity; that it might promote their union, safety, tranquility, and welfare; and that it might tend “to secure to them the blessings of liberty.” The language does not assert nor at all imply, any right, power, or disposition, on the part of the original parties to the agreement, to compel their “posterity” to live under it. If they had intended to bind their posterity to live under it, they should have said that their object was, not “to secure to them the blessings of liberty,” but to make slaves of them; for if their “posterity” are bound to live under it, they are nothing less than the slaves of their foolish, tyrannical, and dead grandfathers.
It cannot be said that the Constitution formed “the people of the United States,” for all time, into a corporation. It does not speak of “the people” as a corporation, but as individuals. A corporation does not describe itself as “we,” nor as “people,” nor as “ourselves.” Nor does a corporation, in legal language, have any “posterity.” It supposes itself to have, and speaks of itself as having, perpetual existence, as a single individuality.
Moreover, no body of men, existing at any one time, have the power to create a perpetual corporation. A corporation can become practically perpetual only by the voluntary accession of new members, as the old ones die off. But for this voluntary accession of new members, the corporation necessarily dies with the death of those who originally composed it.
Legally speaking, therefore, there is, in the Constitution, nothing that professes or attempts to bind the “posterity” of those who established it.
- Lysander Spooner
This article was originally posted here.
Warfare is the central hubris of the state. I recently wrote an article that invoked much anger and appreciation: Fear and Loathing in the U.S.M.C. For God & Country. As I watched the reactions to the article and discussions around the internet I noticed something. Those who were most angry with the article defended the brainwashing techniques of the U.S.M.C. as necessary to carry out the warfare they saw as necessary. Some questioned if the goal could be reached by different means. Few actually asked the questions I often ask and challenge others to ask. Do we need this military and these wars to begin with?
Alan Moore once stated: “00001% of the worlds’ population that causes 99.99999% of the worlds problems… It is leaders.” The statist would teach us that these wars are for our good and for our protection. The statist would say that by this act of mass murder we find freedom. When I write of how elements like the military are the might of this government power I oppose, people become angered. The statist will tell me that some evil gang will come in use violence against us and take control. Many will say that some evil power will abuse the freedom that exists under Anarchy. I completely agree that is exactly what has happened.
We live in anarchy naturally. Anarchy is the natural state of humankind. We just so happen to live in that badly conceived anarchy that people fear where the most aggressive powerful gangs have gained control and asserted their tyranny on every corner of the globe.
In order for these criminal gangs to maintain control they must use the force of their military and police. It is a simple concept, kill or cage those who will not agree with us. There is nothing new in all of this. As I pointed out in: The natural history of the state, government is a barbaric criminal model used for personal gain. The government apologists use utilitarian arguments to justify their crimes against humanity. Truly what use is a military? Well self defense of course, except when it’s not. Often the state justifies it’s invasions with utilitarian apologetics to paint it as defense. The case if Iran comes to mind. Operation Ajax was used in the 1953 to gain power over another state leading to a long history of attack and retaliation.
We need defense not invasion forces. The statist truly realizes this which is why they will justify the invasions of the state by claiming the offense is defense. The initiation of force is not defense. The initiation of aggression is invasion. The idea of ‘get them before they get us’ is the classic conservative battle cry. Without this criminal power the state ceases to exist, and all the systems that remain become voluntary. It is this society we are striving for. Not the savage rape and pillage model that the state is as seen in the natural history of government, but a truly civilized society.
I pointed out in my article: Anarchy for Conservatives, if the pro-state conservative claims to cling to the idea that products and services improve under a free market why would defense not be improved by ending the government monopoly? I make this point because the conservative tends to be the biggest pro-militant voice. Maybe the system of defense will not immediately see improved models, but with time we can make those advancements. The exact advancements are unpredictable and irrelevant. What is relevant is that defense is removed from the state monopoly so such advancements can begin.
I’m very concerned about what I consider to be a blindingly obvious fact. There’s actually an argument right now about immigration. This is completely ludicrous. Worse yet, the argument is about how to curtail it and “protect our borders”. If this wasn’t so infinitely offensive it would be hilarious. I won’t go into the racism arguments because I honestly believe those are beside the point. No, I’m outraged by the sheer lunacy of the arguments being made on both sides.
The standard “anti-migrant” argument is that these people who come here and steal “our” jobs, destroy “our” property values, steal “our” tax money and commit horrible crimes against “our” people. The standard “pro-migrant” argument is, first of all, very few migrants do those things and secondly they bring with them valuable resources in the form of labor and cultural diversity. I stand dumbfounded by the idea that either side would even broach those subjects at all! Do people really believe any of that is relevant to the debate? Do you think so?
Let me explain why I find this so painfully laughable. What is “immigration”? It’s when one person moves from one place defined as outside an area to one place defined as inside an area. There are three things involved: the person, the “from” place and the “to” place. Why the hell is it that people on both sides of the argument only seem to want to look at one of those three things?
No, I’m not talking about ending welfare or stopping government regulations which make people want to ship jobs overseas or anything of the sort. I’m talking about the most fundamental right there is: the Right to Self Defense. Keep in mind that I believe “public land” is as much of a myth as “public goods”. All land is either private or un-owned. The Right to Self Defense includes the right to defend one’s property just as one’s property is a part of one’s self. The real debate on immigration is exactly that: a debate about property rights.
Either you own your own person and your land, or you are a slave. If you own a particular plot of land, then it’s beholden upon you to protect it and decide–hopefully wisely–who shall be allowed on to that land. Freedom of Association is part and parcel of the Right of Self Defense. If you do not own any land, then you have no say in the associations made by those who do. To suggest you do not have total say in who can and cannot come on to your land is to say you are not the owner of your own person and property. That’s the definition of a slave.
So before we even start to look at any of the logistical issues, let’s actually talk about the real question of immigration: Are we slaves or do we own ourselves and our property? Please, wake up and smell the distractions. Those who want you to argue about logistics are forcing you to ASSUME you are a slave. Don’t let people rope you into that complacent state!
The militarized police state is here, has been here and is reality. One of the best examples in the United States of Orwellian Double Speak is the term “Peace Officer.” We use this to define an individual hired to use aggressive force against the citizens and throw them into cages. Most accept this and do not perceive is as an issue. Many defend it’s presence and declare it a ‘necessary evil.’ By declaring it a ‘necessary evil’ you have already acknowledged it is evil. Now one must reject the idea that evil is necessary.
We all commit abstract ‘crimes’ against the state, some are just lucky enough not to be caught. There is a double standard which favors those in the state to this which I briefly mentioned in another article called “Not All Are Equal In The Eyes Of The Law.” The reality is that police are under no obligation to protect you. They are to serve the will of the state. They are the power the state uses to assert its power over you. This was validated by the Supreme Court in 2005 when Justices ruled that Police do not have a constitutional duty to protect someone.To even claim we need police for ‘safety’ is a complete misunderstanding in what their purpose is.
One can point to many abuses of power that have been caught on tape recently. Police are objecting more and more to being filmed. It is frightening that they wish to use aggressive force on citizens and not be held accountable for what is going on. What do they hide? Why is recording something they fear? The state backs them, like in Illinois where you can receive up to 15 years for filming a Cop. One thing that is essential is to film these people carrying out the states will. News reports of Children being slaughtered while they sleep like in the case of Aiyana Jones, violent abuse of citizens, murdering household pets and much more have been in recent headlines. Websites like Injustice Everywhere do a good job at collecting reports of the massive violations and criminal activity within these departments.
Military Surplus is being bought up in bulk by police departments for use against citizens. Often the true criminal activity taking place is by the Police Department. In the case of Joe Arpaio the power of the police force is used for self gain. Joe Arpaio is the criminal who is declared a national hero. Here we see business owners being forced to dump their resources into defending themselves against the allegations of the state. It does not matter if the business or individual is innocent or guilty, they have been crushed by court and lawyer fees attempting to defend themselves. The absence of conviction, or a declaration of ‘innocent’ does not serve as reparations to all the loss and damage. Some have opened their eyes now with talks about deploying drones and Army units on U.S. soil. The reality is that those are just minor concerns compared to what already exists.
There is the constant theft by the police of the citizens property. Not only are they the force necessary to maintain the extortion racket they call taxation, but they directly steal property. Civil asset forfeiture is the practice of seizing and keeping property that police claim was used in a crime. This property does not have to actually be used in a crime, only a claim has to be made. It can be the property of someone other than the individual the police stole it from.
In a system where people are detained in jail cells before being found guilty justice is a joke. “In jail awaiting trial.” Guilty until proven innocent is the American way. It is time we began to question the power of the government. ‘Big Government’ did not start with ‘ObamaCare’ or the ‘Patriot Act.’ The structure and foundation for the power of the state was accepted by giving up our liberty on what many perceive as a smaller scale by throwing that liberty away for what we were told was a little protection which in reality exists to defend and strengthen the state. Until we abolish this state ran monopoly they will continue to seize more power and trample on your rights.
I am uncertain of how much support H.R. 5741 will do in the house. Part of me sees it as ridiculous, but with the power individuals invest in the words written by these men and women labeled as “law” nothing shocks me. H.R. 5741 is labeled the “Universal National Service Act.” This is just another of the many examples of nationalism in the united states. It describes itself as a bill:
To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes.
What wartime? We seem to be a nation that has been at war for decades. When we have no enemy we invent them. Prohibition has become the “War on Drugs.” We war against concepts like “terrorism.” Then we go to the endless oil wars in the middle east. We start out waring over an oil company and overthrowing governments in the 1950s’ and this has continued to build and spiral out of control.
As the empire grows taxation can only go so far until you must directly serve the state. We labeled our nationalism and defense of culture “homeland security” one of the most nationalist concepts in the United States. A war against people who have not paid homage to the state by paying the state for it’s freedom and legitimacy as a citizen. The Republicans mostly want those people out of the country. The Democrats want those people to be registered in the databases of the state. Both parties want to trap those people in the system and control over them so they can steal the products of their labor. Now they are seeking them to directly serve the state with the rest of us.
The term ‘national service’ means military service or service in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.
This also seems to be giving more direct power to one office and title to determine how you will serve the state. You may be of the camp that President Obama means the best for us all, but I ask you what about when the Republicans regain control? What about the next George W. Bush?
We are looking at what seems to be mostly a new draft and forced servitude to the military in this bill. It also extends to other areas. What I spoke of in my articles pointing out the brainwashing of the individual by the state through it’s military is no doubt essential to making this happen. Read the article here. Devotion to the state will only increase at this point.
If something like this becomes law the brainwashing will not be limited to those who choose to be a part of it. It will be forced on a majority it seems. Every able bodied citizen shall be devoted to the state.
Many places are calling it the Slavery Bill. I would be more eager to compare it to other nationalist movements. Our sense of nationalism is strong especially with the right in certain areas. The left has embraced a certain nationalist devotion to the new Obama administration. These two factions both devoted to the state show how more and more are coming to worship the state.
The heat outside is almost unbearable. As I drive up and down the Avenue I see an older woman leaning out of an apartment window in front of a fan sweating and trying to get some kind of relief from the heat. With the heat the streets seemed to be filling with more and more people. As you drive down the avenue in Northeast Kansas City you will most likely see women in prostitution. The uncritical perspective seems to believe that those of us who wish to stand up for these women somehow are pro-prostitution or want to see these women on the street. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many in Kansas City who are actually fighting to help these women. Then there seems to be a group with disdain for these women who just want to rid the city of these people.
The dialogue on this has shown the exact same sentiment as we see in Arizona. There is one group that seems to look down on these people and wishes to make them vanish. This is the voice of the uncritical mind that accepts that “law” is good because it just is. There is no spine to the movement out of that they pay some police officer to pretend to have. The pious religiosity they have towards the words written by other men shows the lack of any defense outside of their want to hire men with guns to hide behind badges in order to enforce their will.
They have attacked other people with false claims. They call the opposition “outsiders” in some lie they have created that we who live in the northeast somehow do not and that should discredit what we say. They have repeatedly attacked Nick Pickrell online for not living in the Northeast long enough. The group that is actually out there working to clean up the very problem they complain about is the group that comes under attack. Perhaps if Nick Pickrell and those at Cherith Brook were using his guns to force those people into cages they would support them also.
I have strong feelings on the issue on multiple levels. First as a human-being, second as an anarchist . As an anarchist I am opposed to the power of the state especially the power of the police to enforce morality. I have an issue with human beings holding power over other humans so from the social-cultural aspect I also oppose the dynamic of the Neighborhood Association and the power they wield over others. The neighborhood association is closed to many people. If one owns a home they can partake. Renters and other people in Northeast Kansas City are excluded from any voice or power. This leaves out the majority of the minorities voices, and in Northeast Kansas City the minorities are the majority. It has become rule of the wealthy and privileged. This shows the great cultural divide of the mostly white upper class and upper middle class asserting it’s rule and desire over the lower income people of Northeast Kansas City.
I did not ever intend to attack individual candidates in their race here in Northeast Kansas City. I do however wish to attack the power and rule the upper middle class holds and attempts to assert over other people in the Northeast. As a resident of Northeast Kansas City I live in Scarritt, and I wish for this neighborhood to one day reflect what I know is possible. I see the extremes here in the northeast. I see the women stuck in prostitution, the homeless and the so-called criminal element every day. I also see a group of people whose only solution to the problems of other human beings is to get rid of the people who have these problems.
I also have a problem with the power of the johns over the women in this situation, but that is really for another article in that I am not debating the power difference in prostitution but in the power elites that create and influence local legislation.
In this area no Republican stands a chance at gaining the power here, so it’s mostly the local Democrat party who claims to be liberal. What kind of liberal wants to lock up people living in poverty? Oh it’s not someone that is truly liberal just those who use the title and associate it with their patriarchal party of power.
I will be voting in the Democrat primaries in August. I will at least try to stop the ones who have been most influential and outspoken with their crusade to further victimize the women in prostitution in northeast Kansas City.
I was young and naive when I joined the U.S.M.C. I held an anti-authoritarian attitude and libertarian leanings, before my embrace of anarchism. I was at that point a John Stossel libertarian. I would frequent the Advocates for Self Governance. I still held to the idea that there was a ‘good government’ and this was the killing kind. It was my time in service that opened my eyes to the lies that I was told.
I was twenty three years old living in a little studio apartment dealing with legal issues involving abstract laws of the state. I decided that I could get education a job and a place to live if I just joined the Marine Corps. I got a job waiting tables over nights at the local ‘Steak ‘n Shake.’ I went early in the morning after my shift up to the local recruiters office sporting my red Mohawk. I went through a bad break up and was feeling no reason to stick around Cincinnati. So I was going through a period where I was listening to a good deal of ‘Stiff Little Fingers’
At the time I figured I would just go in and work a 9-5 job and get out to a normal life. I should have taken the hint that morning I first showed up at the recruiting office to ship off to boot camp. The recruiter that was supposed to take me did not show up. I waited around a while to discover that he had taken his life. He shot himself in the head twice. Apparently the first round only grazed him and the second was the one that did the job. I should have just ran, but at that point I felt as if I had nothing else for a future. I went home and waited a few months.
I was staying at my parents house because I had left my apartment to join the Marines. I was asleep in the basement when my mother started yelling at me. I ran upstairs to the view of the twin towers going down in smoke. I was scared. Was there going to be war? I hid. I did not want to go into a Marine Corps on the brink of war. I did this until after Christmas when I finally set off.
I remember the flight down was one of the last moments of normal humanity that I would know. When I exited the airplane there were two Marines in their Smokey Bears’ rushing towards me. They took me through a deserted airport to a bathroom where I emptied my pockets and placed my hands on the counter and spread my legs as if I were a criminal. They patted me down looking for ‘contraband.’ I lost my cigarettes and lighters. I was walked out and placed on a bus where we were instructed to lean forward and place my head against the seat in-front of me. We stared at the floor the whole ride. The buss was filled with other recruits like myself.
It was dark as I arrived. The Drill Instructors came on the bus screaming and rushing us out to those yellow footprints. They gave their motivational speech dripping with nationalism and some patriotism about dying. It was this point that I realized I had made a mistake. Oh, how I will always loathe Parris Island. Every bit of my time in service still weighs heavy on my conscience. I was property. I no longer had a name. I was to be refereed to simply as ‘Recruit’. Individuality and humanity were no longer an option. They would begin thirteen weeks of stripping any humanity from us. The purpose they stated often was to “break us down so they could build us back up as MARINES!” Yes they broke us down. It is the major purpose. Humanity can be a problem for the government. When you are the killer it uses to commit mass murder you can not cling on to your humanity, for what you are doing is wrong and you can not see this. You must have a new state approved set of morals that accepts murder as a necessity without blame for what you do. You must be trained to place the blame of the murder you commit on the greater good, you must without question blame the victim. You must have the instincts and justification of a killer poured into an empty shell of a human being.
The word “I” was forbidden. If one was to refer to themselves it would be as “this recruit”. The recruits were to refer to the drill instructors by proper rank. The hierarchy of rank was quickly understood. These recruits learned that Marines had more rights and that Marines of higher rank would always have more rights and unquestioned devotion. The individual did not exist as well as independent thought. This recruit was told what to think and was reminded that this recruit would be told what to think.
The recruits were brought to a cold room where recruits were weeded out. They drilled for any past medical history or any information recruits were withholding. The point of the game for most was for the recruit to just keep it’s mouth shut. In order to get in I had to hide my past and my very nature. I have Tourettes Syndrome. This was what kept me out at the age of eighteen. This recruit would get me in trouble on a few occasions in boot camp because of tics.
I remember the day after we arrived we were handed little packed lunches that were frozen. The Recruits would eat what they could eat frozen and keep the sandwiches under our butts to try and warm them up enough to eat.
Tics are not aloud. My Tourettes got me in trouble a few times this recruit could not hold them back any longer. This recruit remembers Drill instructor Sgt. Pulsin screaming with that scratchy voice drill instructors use as his spit in this recruits face over a tic. All this recruit could think of was devouring the drill instructors face and cannibalizing the drill instructor. This recruit did not just imagine cannibalizing the drill instructor this recruit had the urge and want which had to be forced back. The urge had to be pushed back somewhere with the humanity that was suppressed. The suppressed humanity had been mixed with violence aggression and hate. The response was programmed at that time.
“Drill Instructor Sgt. Pulisn! Yes! Drill Instructor Sgt. Pulsin! This recruit was stupid Drill Instructor Sgt. Pulsin!”
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” he screamed in this recruits face.
“DRILL INSTRUCTOR SGT. PULSIN! YES! DRILL INSTRUCTOR SGT PULSIN! THIS RECRUIT WAS STUPID DRILL INSTRUCTOR SGT. PULSIN!”
Repetition went hand in hand with the denial of self. Information was repeated loudly in unison by the recruits. The Corps values Honor, Courage and Commitment were one of many things that were yelled repeatedly in unison. Of course with the skewed perspective of courage to kill and die for the state and the commitment state it made mockery of the concept of honor. Honor was what was deemed honorable by the state. Commitment is “Total dedication to the Corps and Country.”
Day in and day out while training in physical combat the recruits scream “Marine Corps! KILL! KILL! KILL!” Kiler becomes an honorable thing that Marines call one another. Hey there Killer.
The recruit hears daily of how women are not faithful and how they are sluts and whores but their pussies are wet. This perspective of women I would see lead to abuse Marine Corps wide. I would see how much disregard for humanity Marines were left with.
Sunday mornings offered a break from the intensity of the training and brainwashing. Recruits were encouraged to attend religious services. This helped with a few things. First it gave a way for recruits to process what was going on and gave a break. The second thing it helped with was dealing with the conflicts of religion and murder. The recruits could be taught by a pro-state religious perspective which helps them to believe their god is proud of their murder. Over the thirteen weeks communication between recruits was highly prohibited. The recruits would interact as a single entity. Over the time there would be camera crews and journalists. A film was shot there for a documentary on the History channel. All of this was strictly regulated on what was caught on film and what was able to be released from what was shot. What was seen on the Island was heavily regulated.
Those first thirteen weeks of isolation the recruits were given little to enjoy. On rare occasions instructors would allow recruits to see segments of films during training this was seen as a reward. The segments were only segments of extreme violence and murder. The recruits would sit and watch people beating, harming and shooting other human beings. They would call this “motivation” and talk of how it got their “dicks hard.”
The recruits would become the finely tuned killing machines mentally changed forever. I watched as the more rebellious recruits were wore down into submission. Those were the ones I saw loose more of their humanity than any of the others. Most would be proud of themselves. Some would go on to question their conditioning, but most would retain their brainwashing and servitude to the state.
In a culture where violence is often praised it is not difficult to get young teenage boys to desire to become a part of all of this. In the schools where they are taught by the very state that sends them to die and kill the recruiters single them out with promises of glory and heroism. Many still are blind by the lies of the state in believing this is civilized society. Many are taught that without violence and murder there will be violence and murder.