Archive for July 21, 2011

Again, on the failed strategy of the Libertarian Party

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Senator Rand Paul, R-KY

I want to address some questions raised by commenters to Reddit r/anarchism regarding my post, “Open Letter to Certain Members of the Libertarian Party: Please, stop being assholes”.

It was not my intention to pick a fight on the merits of mainstream Libertarianism — I am solely concerned with the problem of antipolitics; which is to say, I am solely concerned with crafting a message to the majority of voters that dismantling the state is in their interest.

If you cannot craft a message that contains this idea and lock onto to it like a pit-bull you leave yourself vulnerable to fascist opponents.

The core proposition I am advancing is that the population looks to the fascist state to preserve and protect their interests. I don’t intend to define those interests for people, I only want to draw some outline of the parameters based on actual characteristics.

First, people have to eat — in our society, you eat one of two ways: out of the proceeds of your labor, or out of your revenue from your stock of capital. The vast majority — 99 percent — of the population depend entirely on their labor, or, absent this, some form of public subsistence.

Second, people fight for their interests with every means available to them — political, economic, etc. All divisions in society are political, and all battles have the objective to gain control of and wield power on behalf of these interests. The history of the fascist state is nothing more than history of this universal competition over control of the coercive powers of the state in order to use these coercive power to enforce definite interests within society — to impose these interests on society as a whole.

In this sense, there is not an iota of difference between the Koch Brothers and AFL-CIO. And, our goal as anti-statists against both the Koch Brothers and the AFL-CIO is identical: we want to deny them this coercive state power. We do not favor the political power of the Koch Brothers against the AFL-CIO, nor the AFL-CIO against the Koch Brothers.

The corollary of this position is that we want to abolish both laws that protect the monopoly property rights of the Koch Brothers and laws that protect the labor rights of the members of the AFL-CIO. On the surface, this appears brutally indifferent to the circumstances of every member of society — it is no wonder people are against it. It is brutally indifferent to class conflict, to race, to religion, to sexual preference, to national origin, to all differences among us.

So, Rand Paul is entirely correct to be against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but not because it was unconstitutional or such nonsense, but because antistatists are against all laws, law itself, and the coercive functions of the state.

Antistatists believe the state does not end conflict and division within society, but sustains and reinforces these conflicts and divisions. The conflict between wage labor and capital could not for moment continue today, if it were not for the constant intervention of the state into the economy. While we may differ over the cause of the conflict between wage labor and capital, we entirely agree the state facilitates it. We agree that the role of the fascist state is to manage the conflict, not abolish it.

Our indifference to the circumstances of wage labor or capital in relation to the state, does not result from a common view of the conflict; it results from a common view of the role of the state in sustaining division and conflict and making its continuation possible.

Every antistatist has her own view of what society looks like after the state is abolished — some have several contradictory views. If those views had any impact whatsoever on the trajectory of human society, they might be of some significance. The fact is, all the views, all the models, all the blueprints for a new society are meaningless — mankind will take no notice of them. In the aftermath of the abolition of the state people will create their lives as they see fit based on conditions they discover empirically. So, it is not a matter of debate over differing visions of a post-state society that should concern us, but creating the post-state society.

That is, figuring out how to abolish the fascist state.

In my opinion, this comes down to the practical problem of convincing a working majority of the population that dismantling the state is in their interest — how ever they define this interest. (We do not seek to define it for them.) In the post, I argued you can begin by telling the wage laborer that if she votes for you you will strip every labor protection from her. I leave it to you to decide whether this is a promising strategy.

The other political approach is to show why abolishing the state will improve her life. And, by showing, I do not mean charts, blogs or books — I mean a platform that really will work for her, that will improve her life. Like, for instance, abolishing the national security state, and, with this, abolishing all her taxes, and reducing her hours of work. You might disagree with me on the specific proposals, but you get my drift. Practical improvements in people’s lives must be demonstrated.

Some people, either because they want to prove themselves more radical than everyone else, or because they serve some interest, imagine they must put forth the most aggressive program against the economic interest of the majority of voters.

Folks, this ain’t going to work, and it only helps the fascists hold onto power.

If, Barack Obama is “defending grandmothers and social security”, while antistatists are frontally attacking it — who wins this argument? If Barack Obama is “defending the environment”, while antistatists are issuing blistering attacks on the EPA, who wins? Our argument is that Social Security is a failure, because it does not end the inscecurity of seniors. The EPA is a failure, because it does not end the damage to the environment.

These programs are failures because they do not address the problems that forced them to be created in the first place.

So, that was my argument. I chose to present it the way I did in order to get people to read it and think about the issues I raised. It was not a diatribe against “rightwing libertarianism”, as some believe, but an argument against all three communist (antistatist) trends and the failed political strategy of one of more promising vehicles for political struggle against the state. I believe the term, “rightwing libertarianism” is a silly term: if you want to abolish the state you are a social revolutionary — pure and simple, no qualifications.

Something has got to change, folks.