Meanwhile, Across the Ocean…

The divide is not between the left and right anymore but between patriots and globalistsMarine Le Pen

The news here at home has been so engaging that one (or at least this one) is tempted to ignore events nidroitenigauche1in the rest of the world. However, with the first round of the French presidential elections approaching, with hopes raised by Trump’s victory in the US and Brexit’s in the UK, with Marine Le Pen and the FN running stronger than ever, our attention inevitably turns to France.

It seems clear at this point that Marine will win the first round and will probably confront – and lose to – centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second.  Still, hope springs eternal and there are frequent references to Trump’s improbable victory in discussions of the elections.  Thus, for example:

The counties that voted for Trump have the same sociological profiles as districts voting for Marine Le Pen — deindustrialized, rather lost, very socially vulnerable…. Paris and Lyon vote for the left, because they’re wealthy. Guys from Hayange vote for the far right, because they feel forgotten. The only one who’s taking up their cause is Marine Le Pen. – Stéphane Wahnich quoted in How Leftists Learned to Love Le Pen – Foreign Policy.

And if anything will allow Marine to repeat the Trump miracle, it will be outbreaks like the rioting which began early this month in the almost entirely immigrant banlieues (and which brought back memories of the massive disorders of 2005), although apparently some of the usual ultra-left types apparently got into the act as well. Combined with the memory of 2015 and 2016’s numerous Islamist terrorist attacks, such disorders will doubtlessly swell the ranks of FN supporters, just as the cycle of violence and disorder seen in this country in the years since Fergusson undoubtedly pushed some (probably significant) number of whites into the Trump camp.

(And, yes, it would be a bit cynical to say “worse is better,” but at least such events have the virtue of opening the eyes of some to things as they really are.)

Note:  In looking around the web for more on the rioting I came across an excellent blog – GalliaWatch – devoted to covering events in France. The author – Tiberge – seems to be a conservative Catholic who is generally (but not blindly) sympathetic to the FN.  I suspect that I will be relying on her a lot over the coming months for her invaluable coverage of French developments.

A Little More on “No Platforming”

No-platforming is a coercive set of tactics designed to silence an individual or group. It involves censorship, but censorship can be subtle or systemic while no-platforming is narrow and blatant. It utilizes strong-arm tactics promoted not by an authoritarian government but by a group of people. It is a more democratic way of shutting people up. The term apparently originated in the 1970’s in Britain, where it was at first narrower in execution and target (exclusively against fascists of the old-school variety). Like most social phenomena, the practice predates coinage of the term. – Hearth Moon Rising – No Platforming Hurts All of Us

In doing a little background reading on “no platforming” I came across this post on a Wiccan blog, discussing the issue of “campaigns by trans activists to silence and marginalize Dianic Witches.” Initially I imagined a snarky comment of my own about the potential dangers of no platforming a witch but upon reflection realized that that would be disrespectful, smug and not really very clever.

Instead, it’s actually worth listening to what the author has to say, particularly because it has a very familiar sound:

Blacklisting is the most familiar no-platforming tactic. It was used during the McCarthy era by the US government and unofficial anti-communist groups to deny writers, actors, artists, and academics the opportunity to perform, exhibit, publish, or teach. It has been used in recent years to ban Dianic feminist Witch Z Budapest from venues for leading ritual and to try (unsuccessfully) to keep Australian feminist Sheila Jeffreys from publishing her book Gender Hurts. A closely related censorship tactic is that of the organized boycott…

Then there is the targeting of advertisers with boycotts to get articles suppressed from magazines, the manufacture and mindless re-blogging of incendiary untrue accusations that can be easily researched, and the deletion of WordPress blogs, Tumblr blogs, Facebook accounts, and Twitter accounts that have not violated any stated policies but which nevertheless offended some anti-feminist. You’ll have to take my word for it at this point or will be here all day – there are too many examples even to fill a large book. Obviously these strong-arm censorship tactics cannot be blamed solely on the Pagan community but are part of a wider anti-feminist culture, with trans women usually the purported beneficiaries. Trans women who speak out against these tactics are strongly criticized or even no-platformed themselves.(1)

I must admit that the radical feminist wiccan world is alien to me, as it probably is to most of the readers of this blog.  Still, it’s worth remembering “First they came for the Dianic witches but….”

(1) Note that the “feminists” referred to in the post above are what are sometimes dismissively referred to as TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) whose crime is that they reject the notion that gender is merely a social construction.

It is indeed a strange world when acronyms like WBW (Women Born Women) need to be invented and an even stranger one when people are persecuted for believing that there is truth to the concept behind it, but for this view they have been utterly demonized – placed in the same category (those who must be silenced) as all of the rest of the world’s “deplorables.”  The typical tone of the anti-“TERF” polemics is the sort of hysterical ranting all too common these days – reflected, for example, in the article “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminism” is violence or in another blogger’s recent assertion – “Trans exclusionary radical feminism is racist, it is western colonialism—it is fascism.”  And we all know what that can mean

The Civil War Left

sumnerattackedbypreston1No, not that Civil War… And, OK, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic but, on the other hand, maybe not.  After all, it’s true that the antifa violence at Berkeley a few nights ago was not really so shocking in itself.

There’s always been that part of the left which claims that the government is “fascist” regardless of who is in office.  Thus, the so-called “Refuse Fascism,” about which much is being made by commentators on the right, looks and sounds just like the same old Revolutionary Communist Party “coalition”, complete with the usual apoplectic rhetoric: it’s “Refuse and Resist,” “Not in Our Name” and “The World Can’t Wait” re-branded for the Trump presidency.

Similarly, for decades before they became the “black bloc” at anti-globalization actions, obnoxious anarchist provocateurs were an annoying presence at Bay Area demonstrations.

And so we know that, like the poor, the ultra-left will always be with us and, when they get the chance, they will act out in all of their usual infantile ways.

Up until recently, however, ultra-left antifa violence was directed at extremely marginal types – the Klan, the National Socialist Movement, etc.  Now everything has changed since, after all, if Trump is Hitler, then all of his supporters must be fascists (“little Eichmanns”?) against whom any violence is permitted. Consequently the usual attempts at shouting down speakers or otherwise disrupting events(1) have progressed to vicious physical assaults on ordinary individuals guilty of no more that wearing a MAGA hat or merely having a ticket to an offending program.

Of even greater concern is the tacit connivance in this on the part of elected officials, as well as the support for it expressed by sectors of the relatively moderate left.(2) Meanwhile, even among the left critics of the Berkeley riot there has been much rejection of the violence on pragmatic grounds but deafening silence when it comes to acknowledging that it might be simply wrong to intimidate and physically attack those with whom you disagree.(3)

Ominously, the bitterness of the current political climate is reaching deep into people’s daily lives. The notion of civil political discourse seems to have vanished, at least among leftists and politics has become a topic raised at one’s own risk, at least if one didn’t vote Hillary. (See, for example, Bay Area Conservatives Keep Meetups Secret Fearing For Their Safety.)

(In my own experience, the hostility of the other side is so intense that any political conversation among our small group of Trump supporters at the office now feels more like a clandestine meeting of the Communist Party workplace cell than a group of friends just shooting the shit in the break room.)

And so we have reached a point at which half of the country is considered not only merely wrong but actually evil by the other. We are the enemy to be intimidated and silenced – there can be no co-existence and no peace. We are obviously nowhere near there quite yet, but ultimately this is the mentality of civil war.(4)

Notes:
(1) Certain sectors of the left have a penchant for “no platforming” and have been all too willing to use it against dissenters in their own ranks, as the TERF’s (“Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”) have found out. Still, this is a far cry from the physical violence now celebrated by much of the left when it is directed at opponents to the right.
(2) See Prominent Leftists Celebrate Anti-Milo Yiannopoulos Violence at Berkeley.  One hardly needs to re-visit the story of the repeated attempts to prevent Trump rallies during the campaign, but if you do, see Moveon.Org Vows to Continue to Disrupt Trump Rallies or What’s the Use in Disrupting Donald Trump?.
(3) A good example of this is an article at Huffington Post, The Debacle At Berkeley in which the author ably argues that the black bloc’s actions were counterproductive, but goes on to say

I am not interested here in having a moral argument about violence in the abstract, or the line between destruction of property and assaults on people. Let’s save that for another time…

(Unlike many others, he at least acknowledges that this is an issue.)
(4) There is an worthwhile post in this regard at the interesting and well-written blog Delayed Mail mainly reflecting on the editorial response of pro-slavery newspapers to the dawn of the new year in 1861 and the prospect of a Lincoln presidency – New Year’s and the Superficiality of Secession. While I suspect that I disagree deeply with its author, it is well worth a read.

The System’s Useful (and Violent) Idiots

Police officers came prepared in riot gear and about 100 outside agitators aimed at causing chaos came armed with sticks and rocks. Some set off fireworks in the middle of Sproul Plaza. Others threw objects at UC police.

And as the violence escalated, officers pulled back…. Police gathered on the balcony demanding that the crowd disperse, but made no moves against the protesters. – CBS SF Bay Area News Police Tactics During Violent UC Berkeley Protest Questioned

In thinking more about the recent events in Berkeley and reading some of the other commentary that pointed to the the failure of the administration to prepare and the inaction of the police, I was reminded of an essay I had read some years back by Don Hamerquist(1) – Fascism and Anti-Fascism, which appeared in Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement (2002, Kersplebedeb Publishing)

The state can tolerate a certain level of anti-fascist illegality on our part just as well as it can look the other way at certain actions of the fascists. Currently, many of our “street” victories do seem to involve tacit police cooperation at a certain level; implicitly sanctioning, or at least not confronting, our tactics and deliberately choosing not to investigate and prosecute at the level which would easily be possible….. [W]hen I read Red Action’s self-congratulatory descriptions of its confrontations with English fascists—and I have seen similar reports from various ARA [Anti-Racist Action] sources—I don’t see any recognition that such success could only occur for a significant time period with police acquiescence at the minimum….

Hamerquist goes on to warn his fellow antifas that serving as a tool of the ruling class so obviously will have negative consequences in the long run:

Keep in mind that in our confrontation with the fascists, the side that is identified with the state is ultimately going to lose politically although it may appear to be winning some street fights.

Doesn’t sound like they were listening…

(1) Hamerquist is an interesting thinker whose activism goes back to a period in the CP in the 60’s, followed by a move into the new left. He spent years in the Sojourner Truth Organization as one of its main ideologues (along with Noel Ignatin – now well-known as “whiteness” historian Noel Ignatiev). Since the collapse of the STO, he has continued to write and his thoughts on “fascism” are influential within a certain sector of the “anti-fascist movement” today. (See, for example, Threewayfight and this discussion at the now-defunct Bring the Ruckus.)

Once you get past their conflation of everything to the right of George Bush into one variant or another of what they call fascism (and they even argued over whether or not Bush himself was a fascist) the discussion within this milieu of the development of the anti-system populist right is not without interest, especially since they break with the traditional left view of this movement (whatever you may label it) as simply a tool of the ruling class. Instead, they recognize its autonomy in class terms and its subversive (and perhaps even revolutionary) character. While this is really the subject for another post (or two or three…), I will just point out that while this crowd is committed on the surface to resisting both the ruling class and those they have identified as “fascists” (thus, the “three way fight”), in practice they serve as the street thugs doing the dirty work of the ruling class much in the way that the SA did in the closing days of the Weimar Republic, albeit on a much smaller scale (for now).

Berkeley – Antifas Gone Wild

As was to be expected in the Bay Area, in addition to the usual protesters a contingent of black-bloc-type antifas showed up at Milo Yanniapoulos’ scheduled UC Berkeley speech last night. Made up of the typical collection of adventurists, sociopaths, posuers and, no doubt, police agents, this anarchist contingent turned a rowdy protest into a riot.

According to the official UC press statement:

The masked agitators came to campus eastbound on Bancroft Way, and fire damage and other destruction to the Stiles Hall construction site, where a new residence hall is planned, was reported. The group entered campus and immediately began throwing rocks at officers…. Agitators also attacked some members of the crowd who were rescued by police. UCPD reported no major injuries and about a half dozen minor injuries.

Once Yiannopoulos’s event had be oh-so-reluctantly cancelled by the administration, the “anti-fascists” marauded through downtown Berkeley, breaking windows, attacking motorists, setting fires, etc.

UC Berkeley was, of course, quick to deplore the violence:

Campus officials said they condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics now overshadow the efforts of the majority to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence at Berkeley and his perspectives.

Since the number of violent antifa is put at only 150-200 people and in any case anyone with the most minimal familiarity with the East Bay political scene would have known that these types would be arriving, one reasonably wonders how things got so out of hand.

The short answer is that the police apparently did little or nothing to actually defend Yiannopooulos’ right to speak – in spite of the UC administration’s pious protestations of a commitment to allowing all voices to be heard. Thus, the UC press release tells us:

In an effort to avoid injuries to innocent members of the surrounding crowd who might have been caught in the middle, police officers exercised restraint and did not respond with force…. No arrests had been made by UCPD as of 9:30 p.m.[Emphasis added]

In fact, the University’s lack of adequate preparation and the UCPD’s inaction at the event reflected the administration’s sympathy with those committed to preventing Yiannopooulos’ speech.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course – it is just business as usual on American campuses. Still though, call me old-fashioned, but there’s something especially revolting in seeing the way the “radical left” of today so willingly and mindlessly serves as the elite’s boots on the ground when it comes to stifling dissent.

Trump – Old Wine?

There’s an interesting piece on our new president, Trump Revives the Fordist-Keynesian Pact at the Spanish blogs La Torre de Marfil and Hispaniainfo.

In it the author, Gabriel Garcia, asserts that Trump is no revolutionary, explaining that he is merely attempting to re-establish the economic-political order that reigned in the US from the end of World War 2 until roughly 1973, while arguing unpersuasively that Trump’s motivation stems directly from the fact that his own businesses (casinos and hotels) require a relatively well-paid population of consumers in order to prosper.

There’s no question that Trump’s economic populism aims to recreate something like the prosperous post-war years of increasing working class incomes and stable employment. However, Mr Garcia misses the national elements at work in the Trump movement. Explicitly, Trump espouses a civic nationalism deeply at odds with the otherwise-prevailing elite globalist discourse from both left and right. Implicitly, Trump’s movement and sub-texts represent the beginnings of an identitarian/national awakening on the part of middle America.  In the current world these elements are profoundly subversive in essence even if not in form since:

– The ruling class is globalist in its basic nature; nationalism in its ethno- or even its civic form is in fundamental opposition to the logic of capitalist development.
– The Fordist-Keynesian form was in the interests of the ruling class at the time – now it is not.
– Trump’s nationalism, while not revolutionary on its face, calls into question the current neo-liberal system itself – like “Peace, Land and Bread” did to the existing order in 1917.
– Neo-liberal globalism includes an assault against the prosperity and even the being of middle America.
– The demonization of middle American whites as racists, homophobes, misogynists, etc works to paralyze resistance on our part, while mobilizing various minority communities as troops in the struggle against us.
– While Trump is no revolutionary himself, his refusal to accept the political limits of the dominant discourse opens the door to much more radical movements.
– As Garcia acknowledges, these revived nationalist projects are taking place in the US – the center of the globalist system – rather than in some relatively peripheral country.

None of this is to argue that we will be building barricades any time soon (or even ever) or that Trump will really attempt to push his agenda a significant distance toward its logical conclusions (although the evidence of the past couple of weeks gives one hope). Rather, he represents a least the possible opening of a new political age.

Notes: Mr. Garcia’s post is centered on an extensive quote from a recent book by Laureano Luna – La lucha obrera en la era del capitalismo global.  Luna is an interesting figure who originated the term “autonomia historica,” expressing a recognition that the Spanish anti-system right needed to break with its addiction to LARPing the 1930s.  He was involved in the formation of what seemed to be a very promising enterprise, a party called the National Left in 2010 or 2011, which unfortunately seems to have gone nowhere. The book sounds like something worth reading if I can actually put my hands on a copy.

Talking about Mr. Luna’s book, I was once again reminded of how irritatingly expensive all of those interesting-sounding Spanish magazines seem to be – things like Nihil Obstat (at 20€ for the latest copy) or Revista de Historia del Fascismo (at 18€) – and when you add in shipping… How about some e-versions?!

Love Your Enemy

Jean Hyppolite – If you are right, Mr. Freund, and the friend-enemy category determines politics, all that’s left for me is to just tend my garden.

Julien Freund – Mr. Hyppolite, as with all pacifists, you believe that you can choose your enemy, but that is incorrect. You believe that if you don’t want to have enemies, you will not have them. But it is the enemy who chooses you. If he wants you to be his enemy, so you will be. Your fine protests of friendship will be for naught. You will not even be allowed to just tend your garden. – From El ManifiestoJulien Freund o la imaginación del desastre. (1)

For decades middle American whites, having fled to the suburbs, hoped to “all just get along” – with disastrous results. Especially after the election of Ronald Reagan, the grassroots resistance of the 1950s-1970s quickly faded away and the MARs phenomenon celebrated by the late Sam Francis largely disappeared. Focused on “tending our gardens” we lived in a state of denial, naively trusting “our” elites to protect our interests. Decades passed and, with only a few exceptions, we slept while the transformation of the country continued around us.

With the economic crisis which began almost 10 years ago we began to wake back up, initially leading to the false start known as the Tea Party.  It has been, however, the increased aggressiveness of the our enemies and the overt betrayal by our “friends” under Obama which created the basis for the Trump revolt at the grassroots.

There was no better example of this than the campaign of Hillary Clinton, a campaign that reflected almost explicitly the belief that a new hegemonic block had successfully been consolidated based in a large part on the identification of white middle America as its “enemy”.

As it turned out, HRC’s approach was premature and she has been roundly criticized for her over-confidence.  Much of this criticism, however, has been of her strategy and tactics rather than the neo-liberal core of her politics(2) and there is always some danger that the Democrats will adopt a more subtle approach until the balance of power has shifted further in their direction.

Thus, the risk of course is that, as was the case following Reagan’s election, the MARs 2.0 movement that brought us victory in November will dissipate.  And so we should be grateful for the completely unconcealed and unrelenting hostility of the other side.  Fortunately, as much as we might wish that our enemies would just leave us alone, it is clear that there is no returning to tending our gardens in peace.

 

Notes: (1) For Spanish speakers, a useful collection of articles on Freund can be found in issue #84 of Elementos which in turn can be found at the unfortunately now-inactive New European Conservative.

(2) For example, see the widely-discussed essay by Mark Lilla The End of Identity Liberalism, which, after denouncing the “repugnant outcome” of the presidential election, rejects the bludgeoning approach involved in the identity strategy which mobilizes minority constituencies in a direct assault on whiteness.  Instead, Lilla advocates a liberalism based on a more gradual and inclusive “hearts and minds” approach, advising the avoidance of unnecessarily direct conflict:

As for narrower issues that are highly charged symbolically and can drive potential allies away, especially those touching on sexuality and religion, such a liberalism would work quietly, sensitively and with a proper sense of scale.

And:

A post-identity liberal press would begin educating itself about parts of the country that have been ignored, and about what matters there, especially religion. And it would take seriously its responsibility to educate Americans about the major forces shaping world politics, especially their historical dimension.

In other words, to Lilla it’s still more about boiling frogs than breaking eggs.