The Lumpenproletariat as Class Vanguard: Why Anarchists Must Attack the Left from the Left

by Keith Preston

The Lumpenproletariat as Class Vanguard: Why Anarchists Must Attack the Left from the Left

The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. This difference was acknowledged by Friedrich Engels. Continue reading

Violence Is What It Is

In the most basic terms, violence is what it is. A broad term that encapsulates everything from berating a friend to waging an industrial-scale war. It is a term defined by its own banality, for it always exists in the realms of power and the relations between people. Is it not violence when eternal damnation is promised for the sinner? Is it not violence when we threaten a friend or partner in an argument? Is it not violence when you smash a beer bottle over the head of the man who is flirting with your wife? The family feud and the modern war are both intimations of violence, the main difference being their degree of activity. Continue reading

Foreign Policy and the Knowledge Problem

Many try to measure foreign policy by its stated humanitarian aims, seeing the variables of intervention as the best means for securing the livelihoods of particular subaltern populations. However such a view makes a massive assumption, that being the capability of states/militaries to aggregate the levels of on-the-ground social and cultural knowledge. This knowledge problem (generally identified with economic knowledge by Hayek) is not simply overcome by abstract reasoning that is related to things such as human rights or democracy. It can only be overcome by either a huge institutional and demographic shift amongst the effected populations (genocide, displacement, imposed borders, etc.) or by the integration of local populaces into mutualistic mechanisms of governance. Continue reading

Voting isn’t a Civic Duty

With the recent election here in the UK, we see the barrage of comments that regularly follow it. It entails saying something along the lines of “if you don’t vote you can’t complain”. A statement so stupid and banal that it doesn’t deserve the credit it is given. Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t vote. Frankly I don’t care either way, and I’ll only vote if there is a candidate in my constituency worth voting for. But what frustrates me about this statement is the equivocation of voting with some kind of existential meaning, as if voting is the apotheosis of civic or political engagement. Continue reading

It’s a Matter of Scale and Control

The mantra of Brexit has been ‘take back control’. As seen with Nick Clegg’s piece on Brexit voters in Ebbw Vale, Wales a few months ago, such a mantra still holds significant importance. In this ‘dying town’, as it was described, we see the real effects of deindustrialisation and the limitation of employment opportunities that have come from this, as residents feel that their woes are due to the spectre of EU bureaucracy, which is faceless and unaccountable. Taking a wider perspective, I think many of these voters see the move from deindustrialisation to a “wage-subsidy” economy (that is fixated on flexible work, the decoupling of wages from productivity and the use of the welfare state to subsidise low-wages) as blameable upon the developments of globalisation, of which the EU happens to be the most representative case to many of these people. The new Speenhamland system that has been developed removes control from both the worker and the self-employed person, favouring a cartelised economy where employers are subsidised either through tax credits and a multiplicitous welfare system, or through the minimum wage which acts as a technocratic barrier to entry (favouring larger employers who can afford this overhead cost). Continue reading

Contra Musk: There are Other Futures Besides a Governmental UBI

by Nick Ford

http://abolishwork.com/2017/02/10/contra-musk-futures-besides-ubi/

You’ve likely heard of Elon Musk, he’s a huge venture capitalist who helps run companies such as Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity. Being such a huge name in the tech industry and especially Silicon Valley the things he has to say about the future of…well anything, is likely to garner some attention.

Back in November, Musk stated that:

“There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation,” says Musk to CNBC. “Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.”

Continue reading

The Paradoxes of Plebiscites

by Chris Dillow

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/04/the-paradoxes-of-plebiscites.html

In pointing out that re-joining the EU will be damnably difficult, Simon reminds us of the massive difference between representative democracy and plebiscitary politics.

One great virtue of representative democracy is that it allows for mistakes to be corrected. Wrong’uns can be booted out of office and bad policies can usually be reversed*. Under plebiscites, it is not so. These reveal the “will of the people” which must be obeyed. Whereas representative democracy is a system of checks and balances, plebiscites are battles of wills in which the victor wins permanently. As Mrs Thatcher said, plebiscites are “a device of dictators and demagogues.” Continue reading

Forming an Organic Right-Wing Social Order

by Vincent John

http://www.libertymachinenews.com/forming-an-organic-right-wing-social-order.html

The historic election of Donald Trump has changed the course of American politics for many years to come. There are not many people who predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency against what seemed to be impossible odds. Donald Trump did not just have to campaign against the Clinton Machine and all of her donors. He also had to defeat establishment Republicans, which include political hacks like John McCain and Paul Ryan, the Never Trumpers, a mixed bag of neocons and cuckservative losers like Glenn Beck, the regressive left and the Bernie Bots throwing infantile tantrums in the streets, the corporatist far left media who cover for leftist demagogues like Obama and Crooked Hillary, big business who want cheap labor imported into America who lobby for illegal aliens from the third world to pour across the US border. There were many other individuals and groups of people who were vehemently against the idea of a Trump presidency, a presidency where a right-wing populist agenda would be front and center for the direction of the nation.  But things are seldom what they seem. Even though the corporatist far left media were the ones who gave the false impression that Trump would lose and Crooked Hillary would be the first female president, they underestimated the right wing populist movement sweeping across Europe and America. The corporate shills also covered up all of Hillary’s scandals and lies while painting a false picture of how Middle America would vote in the 2016 election by falsely claiming Democrats and Independents in the Rust Belt would vote for Crooked Hillary. This was of course wrong. Continue reading

Basic Income as a System of Control

“Basic income – in both the north and the south – all depends on how we frame it. Will it be cast as a form of charity by the rich? Or will it be cast as a right for all?”[1]. This quote encapsulates both the promise and potential consequences of a basic income. Much has been made of the radical potential that a universal basic income inculcates in our sclerotic neoliberal societies, supposedly able to end the necessity of work and make wages a tool of social policy rather than simply an economic consequence of the labour market. It is easy to see the potential when labour markets are extremely sticky, with low-pay staying low and wages continuing their decoupling from productivity gains. Technological unemployment presents the dystopia of a world where further productivity that is reaped from machines is controlled by a transnational capitalist class of international investors and corporate megaliths, continuing the monopolisation of the economy and entrenching a precarious form of wage labour relation. Continue reading

The Centralising Axiom

The multiple debates surrounding ideology constantly devolve into simplistic concepts like capitalism and socialism, referring to each other as opposing axiomatic systems that proffer significantly different visions of the world. However, both are fundamentally centralist systems. They understand society, economy and politics as universalisable wholes that need to be integrated into a full structure of production and decision-making. For capitalism, the main axiomatic point is the profit-motive achieved through multiple avenues of capital accumulation. Markets and states are the main entry and exit points through which capital is accumulated and profit is achieved. For socialism, it is the production of value for the meeting of basic needs and necessities, providing a society of equality where political and economic cohesiveness is supposedly developed. Economic planning  and social provisioning through centralised structures (usually the state but forms of global democratic planning have been theorised) are the mechanisms for this accumulation. Continue reading