Anarchist Liberation from “Honor Nationalism” Days
By: Matt. K (ETTW) [social title=”” subtitle=”” link=”endtheterrorwar.tumblr.com” icon=”fa-tumblr”]
July 16th, 2015
This year I celebrated so-called “Independence Day” with the usual fanfare (food, family, and fireworks). There is much ground I have to cover in this current article, and hope to suffice it in conclusion for the purposes of truth and freedom. However, there is no independence from Statism in America. Rather than seeking out means of self-sufficient lifestyles, the food stamp welfare brigade coerce and goad the inexperienced to join them in their nightmare of State-dependency for the well-being of family, friends and community alike. I would rather grow my own food, than beg the State for ANYTHING and call it “independence.” At least for the sake of personal integrity. Americans need to tell the State, they don’t want its carrot and they will respond accordingly to the stick. During Shane’s very first interview with me, I told Shane the importance that the State does and will use welfare in such an approach and obviously, that provides no boons for freedom. (Author’s note: Skip to 40:43 for our discussion on food aid from the State).
John Vibes over at the Free Thought Project appropriately called out Americans for celebrating “freedom” while living in a police state during the first week of July, “Happy 4th of July, the day where Americans celebrate imaginary freedom, and police departments nationwide make millions of dollars violating the rights of nonviolent individuals. Under the pretense of catching drunk drivers, police will be patrolling the streets and setting up checkpoints all over the country this weekend. In some cases they will arrest drunk drivers, in others they will search and arrest nonviolent drug offenders, while other people may get citations for problems with their vehicle or registration. Especially for people who haven’t even done anything wrong, these checkpoints are a gross violation of privacy and other natural born rights. Free people should not be stopped and searched or questioned in any way if they are attempting to travel freely. However, we sadly now live in a world where rights like traveling are seen as privileges, to be given and taken by government. As it stands right now, the way that the state deals with drunk driving is tyrannical and infringes upon everyone’s rights, even people like myself, who hardly ever drink.”
Eric Peters Autos blog, aptly called July 4th, America’s “changing of the guard“: “1776 began nobly enough – but by 1787, the revolution was over. Meeting in secret conclave – what was that about the “consent of the governed”? – the elite of colonial America met for the sole purpose of re-creating what had been overthrown, only with themselves in charge of the operation rather than the English monarch. “The people” – held in contempt by men like Alexander Hamilton – never gave their consent to these “representatives,” who proceeded to enact the 18th century version of a Beer Hall putsch. Charged with amending the Articles of Confederation – nothing more – they proceeded to rip it to shreds and in its place, substituted the “vigorous” and “energetic” (Hamilton’s words) Constitution we suffer under today. The sole purpose of which was to establish a federal leviathan of in-principle unlimited power. Which – exactly as intended – grew into a leviathan of unlimited-in-fact power. One so unlimited, even your “health care” is now its business rather than your own.”
The police state Leviathan encroaches VIOLENTLY upon the freedoms of Americans, who ironically celebrate on the multi-faceted Statist attacks on liberty.
Kevin Gutzman at LewRockwell.com, in his July 2007 article, calls out Statist mythology in 7 examples. Here is an excerpt: “the U.S. Constitution’s purpose was to remake the American governments of the Revolution by making the system less democratic. The delegates from 12 states who met in Philadelphia in summer 1787 had been sent by the states to recommend amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Instead, they instantly decided to meet in secret, and then the nationalists among them tried to win adoption of a national – rather than a federal – constitution.”
Laws can be on the books for the decades, without repeals, and Ryan McMaken names 5 that have no place remaining in effect today: The Judiciary Act of 1789, Louisiana Purchase Treaty, Militia Act of 1903, Revenue Act of 1913, and the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The U.S. government has grown powerful and out-of-control by adherence of Statist worshipers and compliant State employees. Can Americans celebrate independence FROM their own self-proclaimed government? I believe they can, but freedom allows me to exercise restraint rather than forcing their decisive hands on any subject. The best way to achieve liberty is to discover it yourselves, rather than looking for “rulers” and their unquestioning servants to live your life for you. Free will means less than dirt if you DON’T EXERCISE IT.
Anybody can talk “independence”, but to walk the line is a whole other obstacle. The importance of ends-means consistency, especially with regards to belief in SELF-INDEPENDENCE from the State shouldn’t be so easily disregarded. As Samuel Konkin III mentions in his New Libertarian Manifesto: “Agorism: Our goal. Consistency of ends, of means, of ends and means.” (pg. 03) “The basic principle which leads a libertarian from statism to a free society is the same that the founders of libertarianism used to discover the theory itself. That principle is consistency. Thus, the consistent application of the theory of libertarianism to every action the individual libertarian takes creates the libertarian society. Many thinkers have expressed the need for consistency between means and ends and not all were libertarians. Ironically, many statists have claimed inconsistency between laudable ends and contemptible means; yet when their true ends of greater power and oppression were understood, their means are found to be quite consistent. It is part of the statist mystique to confuse the necessity of ends-means consistency; it is thus the most crucial activity of the libertarian theorist to expose inconsistencies. Many theorists have done so admirably; but few have attempted and most failed to describe the consistent means and ends combination of libertarianism.” (pg. 11)
I believe this is importance to emphasize, and is a crux that founded the LUA-ETTW (Liberty Under Attack-End The Terror War) partnership. Shane and myself have believed strongly in the libertarian axioms of self-ownership and the non-aggression principle, strayed away from party politics (thus neither calling ourselves Libertarian Party members), and the consistency of truth and freedom for people throughout The States and the world is paramount. As an anarchist, nothing tells me “independence” much better than the abolishment of the State and any other wannabe State rulers over myself and others. I don’t give a free pass to pious dictates, corporate malfeasance, militarist authoritarianism, or any other would-be Statists thirsting for power to abuse over other people. I’m having NONE of it, and neither should anyone that genuinely wishes to taste freedom for what it really is: self-liberation.
Matt Agorist over at the Free Thought Project, names several things America has become “#1” at, and none of which paints a pretty picture: prison population, obesity, child abuse/death, hours in front of TV, teen pregnancy, prescription drugs, citizens killed by police, debt, crime, and arbitrary, absurd, malicious laws enforced by said police. Instead of living under a government that holds itself account for totalitarian surveillance, a global terror industrial complex, a hypocritical drug-running State that declares a “war on drugs” — Americans are governed without consent, and apathy is their most dangerous contribution to alleviate themselves from the horrible abuses of the State while it demands their unending servitude in flesh, currency, homes, means of transportation, offspring, and so much more. Living under an EXTORTION RACKET is neither “free”, “independent” or “#1” at anything decent. The mark of a civilization isn’t how much power is conceded to the State, but how free the individual is to exist with others without violating the twin libertarian axioms of self-ownership and the NAP.
Wendy McElroy made an excellent contributing article to dailyanarchist.com in July 2012, wherein she questioned whether America’s birth was founded upon the principles of the Revolution or the Declaration of Independence. I will share a personal favorite quotation of her words here: “the Declaration justified a rebellion for the purpose of throwing off an occupying power. What followed was a war not only against Britain but against fellow-colonists who preferred British rule. In short, against fellow-colonists who politically disagreed even if the disagreement was peaceful. Like every war, the War for Independence involved massive violations of individual rights and the rapid growth of the state. Thus, as the Revolution became a war, it violated the core principle of the Declaration that was its justification: namely, the equal and inalienable rights of all men. The War of Independence should be scrutinized with the same critical eye as any other war.”
According to 5 U.S. Code § 6103: “The following are legal public holidays: New Year’s Day. Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.. Washington’s Birthday. Memorial Day. Independence Day. Labor Day. Columbus Day. Veterans Day. Thanksgiving Day. Christmas Day.” The main focus of this article is Independence Day, so the rest is a bit irrelevant for the purpose of this article. Except “legal holiday.” It begs the question, what is an “illegal holiday” and what can Americans do to avoid trouble from our police state enforcers when it comes to celebrating holidays not “legally” sanctioned by the arbitrary whims of the State? That’s some pretty lousy Independence if you ask me! It wouldn’t surprise me if freedom holidays would be considered “illegal” for failure to comply with Statist adherence.
Josie Outlaw on YouTube makes no case for historical apologetics on the “heroes” of the past. In her own words: “In order to learn from history, instead of unconditionally revering any document or any individual, thinking people need to separate out the wisdom from the mistakes. The message of the Declaration of Independence was to empower the individual, but the purpose of the Constitution was to empower the new central government. Both proponents and critics of the proposed Constitution acknowledged that its main purpose was to energize, strengthen and expand the power of the national government as compared to what existed under the Articles of Confederation. Patrick Henry, whose ‘give me liberty or give me death’ speech is perhaps the most famous rallying cry for American independence, zealously rallied against the Constitution, predicting that it would destroy state sovereignty, result in serious violations of individual rights, and the destruction of of liberty. Mr. Henry refused to attend the Constitutional convention, saying ‘I smell a rat.'” For you dearest naive lovers of the Constitution, the Federalists of old are hardly different than the current political class that succeeded them. The roundabout of tyrannical government is a dangerous inevitably, and no amount of minarchistic fantasies will solve the problem of a government that grows too big, too intrusive, and certainly anti-liberty in practice and adherence. If you want to be upset at me, so be it, I’d rather see you free in the absence of any rulers — than willfully subjugating yourselves to the historic amnesia that rulers of an older era would be more compassionate, friendly, avatars of government. Such nonsense is completely foolish. The Declaration is a charade of nice rhetoric, and the Constitution is a manifestation of betrayal by the Founding, the Statist flag doesn’t represent noble virtues of a free people but the tyrannical government which they strangely enjoy waving without a second thought. Even the most childish means of celebration have been created to serve as tools, or rather chains, to the violent affection the State has been given for countless generations. It’s rubbish and no way for a free society to live.
The author Danilo over at peacefulanarchism.com, calls out the soft obedience that has endangered liberty in America. We have indeed, “degenerated into a world of Central Bank fiat currency, imperialistic warfare, parasitic welfare, rule by mob, thieving taxation, drowning debt, legal plunder, regulatory capture, sovereign immunity, sociopathic politicians, suffocating small businesses at the expense of politically connected Corporate whores etc.” The barbaric nationalism is nothing worth celebrating, least of all when it’s done for decades of unprovoked aggression against external nonexistent “threats” to the U.S. government’s Wilsonian pleading to violently enforce “Democracy” on the heads of civilians across the world — as if they’ll all submit to the authoritarian, militaristic, bullying from abroad. It’s not a “friendly neighbor” policy, its Statist violence in one of its many extreme forms. I will not celebrate my next-to-nonexistent freedom and independence, while others have less than myself — either due to countless dead or incalculable infrastructure damage in their own neighborhoods and home countries. I’ve no reason to cheer for the deliberate obliteration of libertarianism’s two axioms, towards myself or other people.
Natasha Petrova from the Center for a Stateless Society, wrote an excellent article regarding how to keep anarchist thoughts and practice around when it comes to Statist holidays. To be frankly honest however, it falls just short of Anarchy Day presented by Kal Molinet from Liberate RVA and freedom holidays in general. On Liberate RVA’s “Secession is inevitable” YouTube video, Molinet makes the best case scenario for anarchist independence from ALL forms of Statism: “To advocate against the Federal government but not against your own State government, that’s kind of hypocritical. That’s inconsistent. You’re against ALL political rulers. You’re not SOMETIMES against political rulers, or maybe I’m against here and there, you have to be against ALL political rulers. Right? That’s the anarchist position.”
Absolutely Kal, and I don’t believe Petrova acknowledges in her July 2014 article that lending SOME credence to May 4th to the political rulers in an attempt to “make it even more anarchistic.” Surely, that’s an option — but freedom holidays, Anarchy Day, accomplishes just that without anarchists “having to” bow their heads to naming it in such a way that it grants linguistic legitimacy to Statism. Unfortunately where Natasha presents some inconsistency, Liberate RVA strongly promotes a consistent anarchist message.
Wiki notes some rather intriguing July 4th anniversaries relative to anarchy:
- 1868: Mikhail Bakunin joined the Geneva chapter of the International Workingmen’s Association.
- 1876: Albert Parsons joined the Knights of Labor.
- 1880: Leda Rafanelli was born.
- 1890: The Yiddish anarchist periodical Freie Arbeiter Stimme/The Free Voice of Labor appeared in New York.
- 1905: Élisée Reclus died.
- 1914: Lexington Avenue bombing happened in New York, an apparent conspiracy between the Anarchist Red Cross (ARC) and “Wobblies” (IWW) members.
- 1937: An assassination plot against António de Oliveira Salazar (Portuguese dictator) fails.
I’m not here to necessarily advocate that any of the above should be celebrated as an alternative to Independence Day, but I believe historical awareness can go a long way to seeking genuine ends of independence and freedom. Even presuming the bombing killed John D. Rockefeller and the assassination against Antonio Salazar succeeded, I would hope the people of both New York and Portugal would see to it that no rulers would succeed over them. Obviously, that never happened and humanity remains in the same Fascist Statist rut as it was since the early 1900s. It’s long overdue that we break the Tytler Cycle. Denouncing ANY and ALL attempts at ruling over others, even in minarchist forms, is as good a first step as any other in my humble opinion.
One thing anarchists in America can surely celebrate is the group ‘Disarm NYPD’ burning the Confederate and Old Glory flags in equal condemnation of their Statist oppressions during the 1st of the month. The commentary regarding the group’s actions by avowed Statists says all you need to know: “Their losers looking for a few minutes of fame, and they didn’t have the guts to do it down there (points away from camera) where their FAR OUTNUMBERED.” Johnny sure loves his mob violence. Evidently the burning was done around Fort Greene Park (****), a holy site of the Revolutionary War. Bill de Blasio made some rather collectivist statements on the event: “This protest is a divisive, disrespectful way to express views, and does not reflect the values of OUR city. The American flag represents national unity, OUR shared ideals and honors the brave women and men who have served OUR country.” As if he must apologize for Disarm NYPD actually taking a step that few Americans will, exercising the freedom that Statists love citing so much while simultaneously and hypocritically taking gradual steps to “lawfully” remove it from existence by any governmental means possible. Worse yet, he makes a stupid apologist case for the coercive unification of the States under the federal head. You want to talk about cowardice? These folks need a mirror.
Howard Zinn rightfully condemns the Scourge of Nationalism, also the title of his article, “Is not nationalism – that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder – one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking – cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on – have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power. National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica, and many more). But in a nation like ours – huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction – what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves. Our citizenry has been brought up to see our nation as different from others, an exception in the world, uniquely moral, expanding into other lands in order to bring civilization, liberty, democracy. That self-deception started early. When the first English settlers moved into Indian land in Massachusetts Bay and were resisted, the violence escalated into war with the Pequot Indians. The killing of Indians was seen as approved by God, the taking of land as commanded by the Bible. The Puritans cited one of the Psalms, which says: ‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession.'”
This is relative to the scourge of the Statist Independence Day, where xenophobic nonsense proliferates above and beyond mutual freedom for ourselves and others, something that would be a genuine devotion to liberty. However, no amount of coercive, violent, monopolizing is worth bringing out the fireworks or waving flags in celebration. It’s physical and psychological subservience to anti-libertarian propaganda that violates the NAP and is turned into damned “holidays” as an absurd consequence of self-flagellation in the SELF-DECEPTIVE mantra’s of “valor, bravery, [red], purity, innocence [white], vigilance, perseverance, and justice [blue].” The State is NOT a valorous individual, a brave protector, a pure guardian, an innocent child, a vigilant father, a persevering mother, or a just executioner – and NEVER has been. Any beliefs otherwise are born of fanciful indoctrination or psychotic detachment from reality.
“Ciò che più importa è che il popolo, gli uomini tutti, perdano gli istinti e le abitudini pecorili che la millenaria schiavitù ha loro ispirato ed apprendano a pensare ed agire liberamente. Gli anarchici. / What matters most is that people, all men, loose their sheepish instincts and habits that the millennial slavery inspired them, and they learn to think and act freely. The anarchists.”-Errico Malatesta.
What does America’s state of current affairs on self-independence and freedom mean when Vietnam War veterans are put on trial for exercising liberty? I’m strongly anti-war, but never to the extent that it would, ever dare, infringe upon the liberties of others. While I find Stop These Wars to be motivated in the right direction, their fantastical appeals to Constitutional convictions is short-sighted precisely because even if the State adhered to the document that still wouldn’t mean Americans have achieved any sense of truthful self-liberation and freedom. The first week of July was an unfortunate happenstance for a nation of 30 billion+ Americans who celebrate the death throes of something they wistfully applaud into the void.
Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers over at Truth-out made a superb point in their article “The State of Dissent in America: Flex Your Rights.” An absence of flexed rights is dangerously prevalent in our country, and such apathetic collectivism is costly in itself. I disagree with Zeese & Flowers that there’s a Democracy that needs to be built up as a resolution to the absence of flexed rights, because Democracy is expecting the State to resolve its own inherent evils. Dearest Kevin and Margaret, ceasing these reformist delusions will NOT make Americans any more independent or free. This is permitting a Hegelian Dialectic to manifest, yet again, and we need to walk away from such fatalist turns on the road to life.
Over at survivopedia.com, Mahatma Muhjesbude makes a comfortable case doubting the State’s “war on terror” narrative. He says: “Committed by our government, were still absolutely ‘needed’ to catch terrorists are somehow massively assaulting our shores and cities posing the so-called greatest danger to our very existence. Since Satan himself was cast down to Earth? Oh Yeah? WHAT Terrorists! Our so-called representatives took a cheap trick appeasement win-win (for themselves) and agreed to a compromise, which was in reality only a name change, but mocking us in the process with the oxymoron title of ’American Freedom’ act.” At least the survivalists are rightfully skeptical, although I have my own reservations regarding some sort of obligatory July 4th-Constitutionalist cult worship. Our natural rights, our freedom and independence, shouldn’t reasonable hinge upon a nonexistent contract between The State (which it violates by existing as a violent/extortion racket) and the governed. Nonetheless, congratulations for acknowledging the dangers of Statism in every facet of our lives – alarmism aside – by Mr. Muhjesbude.
Kim LaCapria over at Snopes, debunks the fear-mongering nonsense that NEVER happened this month regarding ISIS attacks on various American cities. To reluctantly quote the most important part of this sensationalistic drivel, from Murdoch News: “there is NO specific, credible threat surrounding the holiday.” The timing between celebration and terrorizing the American people into fearing..terrorism..is playing the populace like an easily manipulated fiddle. This paralleling the police state’s racketeering should tell us all we need to know about America’s status on independence and freedom.
PART 2: FLAG-(WORSHIP) DAY
On the subject of Flag Day, I find it revolting that the U.S. government devotes ‘The United States flag: Federal law relating to display and associated questions’ to placing flag “rights” above and beyond the independence and freedom of U.S. citizens themselves. If Americans could afford the same reverence for treating their fellow citizens with etiquette following the twin axioms of libertarianism with the same damned Statist “lawful” awestruck towards a peice of fabric. It’s an appalling evidentiary case, a Statist will hold the flag close to their hearts and a moral individual would sacrifice themselves in protecting others from violators of the non-aggression principle.
Back to 36 U.S. Code § 112: “(a) Designation. The 21 days from Flag Day through Independence Day is a period to honor America. (b) Congressional Declaration. Congress declares that there be public gatherings and activities during that period at which the people of the United States can celebrate and honor their country in an appropriate way.” Like 5 U.S. Code § 6103 noted above, “legal” holidays and “appropriate” honoring of nationalist Federal codified law. What freedom and independence are you celebrating, July’s past, current or future, when Statist laws infringe upon such liberty?! These aren’t the signs of a free and prosperous nation, but an enslaved and criminalized. Shame, humility, and self-awareness would be a graduation from the infuriating, lack of defiance towards any and all affronts against individual freedom of choice that DOESN’T harm others.
Over at sweet-heart avenue Wikipedia, Flag Day is described as: “commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.” Anyone that cares an ounce about personal independence and freedom could give a damned less about the dictums of Congressional resolutions, especially regarding holidays. What a better theatrical curtain to convince people they DON’T live under the totalitarian surveillance of the State? Simply use the most exploitable occasions of leisure and celebration — football games, federalized holidays, special ‘permits’ for birthdays, the scope has been targeted on the American people in the most egregious means possible — all that’s required is their inattentive situational awareness. The very same State, and it’s political class who uphold such dangerous rhetoric, blatantly LIE in America’s face when they say that the State supposedly exists to prevent any harm from coming upon them. When you have laws in place that literally come with the consequences of said harm, you’re hypocritical tyrants.
At Infoshop, they answer the question ‘Are anarchists against Nationalism?’ intriguingly. For educational purposes, I will share the entirety of their response herein: “Yes, anarchists are opposed to nationalism in all its forms. British anarchists Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer simply point out the obvious: “As a nation implies a state, it is not possible to be a nationalist and an anarchist.” [The Floodgates of Anarchy, p. 59] To understand this position, we must first define what anarchists mean by nationalism. For many people, it is just the natural attachment to home, the place one grew up. Nationality, as Bakunin noted, is a “natural and social fact,” as “every people and the smallest folk-unit has its own character, its own specific mode of existence, its own way of speaking, feeling, thinking, and acting; and it is this idiosyncrasy that constitutes the essence of nationality.” [The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, p. 325] These feelings, however, obviously do not exist in a social vacuum. They cannot be discussed without also discussing the nature of these groups and what classes and other social hierarchies they contain. Once we do this, the anarchist opposition to nationalism becomes clear. This means that anarchists distinguish between nationality (that is, cultural affinity) and nationalism (confined to the state and government itself). This allows us to define what we support and oppose – nationalism, at root, is destructive and reactionary, whereas cultural difference and affinity is a source of community, social diversity and vitality.
Such diversity is to be celebrated and allowed to express it itself on its own terms. Or, as Murray Bookchin puts it, “[t]hat specific peoples should be free to fully develop their own cultural capacities is not merely a right but a desideratum. The world would be a drab place indeed if a magnificent mosaic of different cultures does not replace the largely decultured and homogenised world created by modern capitalism.” [“Nationalism and the ‘National Question'”, pp. 8-36. Society and Nature, No. 5, pp. 28-29] But, as he also warns, such cultural freedom and variety should not be confused with nationalism. The latter is far more (and ethically, a lot less) than simple recognition of cultural uniqueness and love of home. Nationalism is the love of, or the desire to create, a nation-state and for this reason anarchists are opposed to it, in all its forms. This means that nationalism cannot and must not be confused with nationality. The latter is a product of social processes while the former to a product of state action and elite rule. Social evolution cannot be squeezed into the narrow, restricting borders of the nation state without harming the individuals whose lives make that social development happen in the first place. The state, as we have seen, is a centralized body invested with power and a social monopoly of force. As such it pre-empts the autonomy of localities and peoples, and in the name of the “nation” crushes the living, breathing reality of “nations” (i.e. peoples and their cultures) with one law, one culture and one “official” history. Unlike most nationalists, anarchists recognize that almost all “nations” are in fact not homogeneous, and so consider nationality to be far wider in application than just lines on maps, created by conquest. Hence we think that recreating the centralized state in a slightly smaller area, as nationalist movements generally advocate, cannot solve what is called the “national question.”
Ultimately, as Rudolf Rocker argued, the “nation is not the cause, but the result of the state. It is the state that creates the nation, not the nation the state.” Every state “is an artificial mechanism imposed upon [people] from above by some ruler, and it never pursues any other ends but to defend and make secure the interests of privileged minorities within society.” Nationalism “has never been anything but the political religion of the modern state.” [Nationalism and Culture, p. 200 and p. 201] It was created to reinforce the state by providing it with the loyalty of a people of shared linguistic, ethnic, and cultural affinities. And if these shared affinities do not exist, the state will create them by centralising education in its own hands, imposing an “official” language and attempting to crush cultural differences from the peoples within its borders. This is because it treats groups of people not as unique individuals but rather “as if they were individuals with definite traits of character and peculiar psychic properties or intellectual qualities” which “must irrevocably lead to the most monstrously deceptive conclusions.” [Rocker, p. 437] This creates the theoretical justification for authoritarianism, as it allows the stamping out of all forms of individuality and local customs and cultures which do not concur with the abstract standard. In addition, nationalism hides class differences within the “nation” by arguing that all people must unite around their supposedly common interests (as members of the same “nation”), when in fact they have nothing in common due to the existence of hierarchies and classes. Malatesta recognised this when he noted that you cannot talk about states like they were “homogeneous ethnographic units, each having its proper interests, aspirations, and mission, in opposition to the interests, aspirations, and mission of rival units. This may be true relatively, as long as the oppressed, and chiefly the workers, have no self-consciousness, fail to recognise the injustice of their inferior position, and make themselves the docile tools of the oppressors.” In that case, it is “the dominating class only that counts” and this “owning to its desire to conserve and to enlarge its power..may excite racial ambitions and hatred, and send its nation, its flock, against ‘foreign’ countries, with a view to releasing them from their present oppressors, and submitting them to its own political and economical domination.” Thus anarchists have “always fought against patriotism, which is a survival of the past, and serves well the interests of the oppressors.” [Errico Malatesta: His Life and Ideas, p. 244]
Thus nationalism is a key means of obscuring class differences and getting those subject to hierarchies to accept them as “natural.” As such, it plays an important role in keeping the current class system going (unsurprisingly, the nation-state and its nationalism arose at the same time as capitalism). As well dividing the working class internationally, it is also used within a nation state to turn working class people born in a specific nation against immigrants. By getting native-born workers to blame newcomers, the capitalist class weakens the resistance to their power as well as turning economic issues into racial/nationalist ones. In practice, however, nationalism is a “state ideology” which boils down to saying it is “‘our country’ as opposed to theirs, meaning we were the serfs of the government first.” [Christie and Meltzer, p. 71] It tries to confuse love of where you grow up or live with “love of the State” and so nationalism is “not the faithful expression” of this natural feeling but rather “an expression distorted by means of a false abstraction, always for the benefit of an exploiting minority.” [Bakunin, p. 324] Needless to say, the nationalism of the bourgeoisie often comes into direct conflict with the people who make up the nation it claims to love. Bakunin simply stated a truism when he noted that the capitalist class “would rather submit” to a “foreign yoke than renounce its social privileges and accept economic equality.” This does not mean that the “bourgeoisie is unpatriotic; on the contrary patriotism, in the narrowest sense, is its essential virtue. But the bourgeoisie love their country only because, for them, the country, represented by the State, safeguards their economic, political, and social privileges. Any nation withdrawing their protection would be disowned by them, Therefore, for the bourgeoisie, the country is the State. Patriots of the State, they become furious enemies of the masses if the people, tried of sacrificing themselves, of being used as a passive footstool by the government, revolt against it. If the bourgeoisie had to choose between the masses who rebel against the State” and a foreign invader, “they would surely choose the latter.” [Bakunin on Anarchism, pp. 185-6] Given this, Bakunin would have not been surprised by either the rise of Fascism in Italy nor when the Allies in post-fascist Italy “crush[ed] revolutionary movements” and gave “their support to fascists who made good by becoming Allied Quislings.” [Marie-Louise Berneri, Neither East Nor West, p. 97] In addition, nationalism is often used to justify the most horrific crimes, with the Nation effectively replacing God in terms of justifying injustice and oppression and allowing individuals to wash their hands of their own actions. For “under cover of the nation everything can be hid” argues Rocker (echoing Bakunin, we must note). “The national flag covers every injustice, every inhumanity, every lie, every outrage, every crime. The collective responsibility of the nation kills the sense of justice of the individual and brings man to the point where he overlooks injustice done; where, indeed, it may appear to him a meritorious act if committed in the interests of the nation.” [p. 252] So when discussing nationalism: “we must not forget that we are always dealing with the organised selfishness of privileged minorities which hide behind the skirts of the nation, hide behind the credulity of the masses. We speak of national interests, national capital, national spheres of interest, national honour, and national spirit; but we forget that behind all this there are hidden merely the selfish interests of power-loving politicians and money-loving business men for whom the nation is a convenient cover to hide their personal greed and their schemes for political power from the eyes of the world.” [Rocker, pp. 252-3]
Hence we see the all too familiar sight of successful “national liberation” movements replacing foreign oppression with a home-based one. Nationalist governments introduce “the worse features of the very empires from which oppressed peoples have tried to shake loose. Not only do they typically reproduce state machines that are as oppressive as the ones that colonial powers imposed on them, but they reinforce those machines with cultural, religious, ethnic, and xenophobic traits that are often used to foster regional and even domestic hatreds and sub-imperialisms.” [Bookchin, p. 30] This is unsurprising as nationalism delivers power to local ruling classes as it relies on taking state power. As a result, nationalism can never deliver freedom to the working class (the vast majority of a given “nation”) as its function is to build a mass support base for local elites angry with imperialism for blocking their ambitions to rule and exploit “their” nation and fellow country people. In fact, nationalism is no threat to capitalism or even to imperialism. It replaces imperialist domination with local elite and foreign oppression and exploitation with native versions. That sometimes the local elites, like imperial ones, introduce reforms which benefit the majority does not change the nature of the new regimes although this does potentially bring them into conflict with imperialist powers. As Chomsky notes, for imperialism the “threat is not nationalism, but independent nationalism, which focuses on the needs of the population, not merely the wealthy sectors and the foreign investors to whom they are linked. Subservient nationalism that does not succumb to these heresies is quite welcome” and it is “quite willing to deal with them if they are willing to sell the country to the foreign master, as Third World elites (including now those in much of Eastern Europe) are often quite willing to do, since they may greatly benefit even as their countries are destroyed.” [“Nationalism and the New World Order” pp. 1-7, Society and Nature, No. 5, pp. 4-5] However, independent nationalism is like social democracy in imperialist countries in that it may, at best, reduce the evils of the class system and social hierarchies but it never gets rid of them (at worse, it creates new classes and hierarchies clustered around the state bureaucracy). Anarchists oppose nationalism in all its forms as harmful to the interests of those who make up a given nation and their cultural identities. As Rocker put it, peoples and groups of peoples have “existed long before the state put in its appearance” and “develop without the assistance of the state. They are only hindered in their natural development when some external power interferes by violence with their life and forces it into patterns which it has not known before.” A nation, in contrast, “encompasses a whole array of different peoples and groups of peoples who have by more or less violent means been pressed together into the frame of a common state.” In other words, the “nation is, then, unthinkable without the state.” [p. 201]
Given this, we do support nationality and cultural difference, diversity and self-determination as a natural expression of our love of freedom and support for decentralization. This should not, however, be confused with supporting nationalism. In addition, it goes without saying that a nationality that take on notions of racial, cultural or ethnic “superiority” or “purity” or believe that cultural differences are somehow rooted in biology get no support from anarchists. Equally unsurprisingly, anarchists have been the most consistent foes of that particularly extreme form of nationalism, fascism (“a politico-economic state where the ruling class of each country behaves towards its own people as..it has behaved to the colonial peoples under its heel.” [Bart de Ligt, The Conquest of Violence, p. 74]). Moreover, we do not support those aspects of specific cultures which reflect social hierarchies (for example, many traditional cultures have sexist and homophobic tendencies). By supporting nationality, we do not advocate tolerating these. Nor do the negative aspects of specific cultures justify another state imposing its will on it in the name of “civilizing” it. As history shows, such “humanitarian” intervention is just a mask for justifying imperialist conquest and exploitation and it rarely works as cultural change has to flow from below, by the actions of the oppressed themselves, in order to be successful. In opposition to nationalism, Anarchists are “proud of being internationalists.” We seek “the end of all oppression and of all exploitation,” and so aim “to awaken a consciousness of the antagonism of interests between dominators and dominated, between exploiters and workers, and to develop the class struggle inside each country, and the solidarity among all workers across the frontiers, as against any prejudice and any passion of either race or nationality.” [Malatesta, p. 244] We must stress that anarchists, being opposed to all forms of exploitation and oppression, are against a situation of external domination where the one country dominates the people and territory of another country (i.e., imperialism – see section D.5). This flows from our basic principles as “[t]rue internationalism will never be attained except by the independence of each nationality, little or large, compact or disunited – just as anarchy is in the independence of each individual. If we say no government of man over man, how can [we] permit the government of conquered nationalities by the conquering nationalities?” [Kropotkin, quoted by Martin A. Miller, Kropotkin, p. 231] As we discuss in the next section, while rejecting Nationalism anarchists do not necessarily oppose national liberation struggles against foreign domination.”
All I ask of my readers is that they decide for themselves, I’m not here to ideologically enforce my own beliefs on anybody. An absence of nationalist Statism isn’t the nihilistic end of the road on life’s journey, at Liberty Under Attack Shane and myself will gladly embrace you with open arms in the process of trying to pull yourselves away from the maw of the Leviathan. It’s long overdue that Americans, and people the world over, stare the monstrosity in the face and let it die out of lack of pious adoration from the trickled, gullible, or intentionally devoured in the mouth of the beast. I cannot and will not forcibly free anybody, any more than I could myself. Rejuvenate your will spent in pointless worship of the flag and the lack of serious independence and devote it towards self-reliability. Individual differentiation doesn’t even “have to” be sacrificed upon the altars of collective ‘authority’ any more than freedom to choose your favorite beverages should be limited by the whims of the State.
Sandra Day O’Connor made a bizarrely peculiar speech during July 2003. She bellyached that polls indicate that Americans at the time (2003), had no idea how many branches of government there are — as if that signifies a step for freedom, rather than a concession to Federal interference in education. She fawned over the Federalist Papers, and I’ve read nothing within them showing independence or freedom that wasn’t tied to the expected obligation by her favorite Mr. Hamilton that a Constitution must be obligatorily formulated and a government must coercively exist. Like a prepubescent schoolgirl, she cheered Eisenhower’s executive decision to endorse the Supreme Court using the arbitrary and abusive nature of the State to resolve disputes on civil rights. On the issue of civil rights, I recommend people listen to Kyle Rearden’s Anti-Voting trilogy. Anyways, back to O’Conner. She makes a lot of lovely references to liberty, but you don’t measure freedom by how much arbitrary power a ‘Supreme Court’ Justice has to play political privilege sports for some Americans over others, or even no Americans at all. It’s a very dangerous game, and I’m not one for playing it.
If science and fireworks is right up your alley, the website sciencedirect.com, has a paper titled ‘Effects of Independence Day Fireworks on Atmospheric Concentrations of Fine Particulate Matter in the United States.’ What’s a little celebration without toxic fumes? Well, I didn’t mention that article to incite Statist regulations, censorship, or worse on folks having some fun — what little is afforded to them in the 50 States of Hellhole we’re all stuck in anyways. Just thought I’d share a little fun fact for this article, throw a nice bone to anybody interested in developments within the scientific community on Independence Day. Hope y’all enjoy!
At historyisaweapon.com, Frederick Douglass’ speech ‘The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro’ tells this southern white boy all he’d ever need to know if he didn’t already. I will share a few portions of his speech:
“What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.”
“But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.”
“And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest impostors that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq. by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.”
I don’t use this article as a platform to attack those of the Christian faith, merely to dismantle the mythological fantasies that overtake the American mind from Flag Day to Independence Day. If we’re going to celebrate freedom and independence, first we must have it, and secondly we must exercise it. Otherwise, the food, fireworks, and time with family over archaic nonsense becomes nothing more than empty activism in place of soul-filled resistance and a stomach full of genuine freedom and independent living. If we cannot at least strive for it, then we’ve already failed ourselves and future generations. As an individual Millennial, the pressure and conscience observance of the whole circumstance provides frightening outlooks that are perfectly avoidable in changing lifestyles, organizing for security culture, and letting any and all States (including the contested world government of conspiratorial parties) sink into oblivion where they won’t be missed. Dearly departed? More like, welcomely removed!
CONCLUSION: (DIS)HONORABLE AMERICA DAYS
The Art Institute of Chicago on Facebook, decided it was worthwhile to celebrate July 4th with a gathering of adherence to an anti-liberty Statist entity (the military) to join together in a “living photograph.” The contradictions stack like books in my mind on this picture, I can’t even formulate a proper response to its appalling nature. A strange parting gift to end this article on, I apologize, but if nothing else it makes a historical case of consistency regarding how long the LIE of “independence” has flourished – even up to the early 1900s.
Now that we’ve reached the end of this article, the focal point of the whole thing is on ‘Honor America Days’. Given the thorough examination I have walked through along with my readers, I don’t believe honor deserves to be afforded to the State when it cannot and has not ever honored the governed. You can honor many things from Flag Day to Independence Day, even rename them something else consistent with freedom holidays. I’ve left a lot of commentary above that would hopefully suffice in keeping this ending as short as possible.
Thank you all, may Liberty Be Invulnerable and The Terror War End.
Contact the author: [email protected]
Addendum: This article was originally planned to be posted on the first week of July, but it was held up by other preparations on LUA radio and on our site. I recommend people check out the developments Shane and I have worked on this month, alongside Kyle Rearden from The Last Bastille. Kyle was a significant help for me personally in writing out my 2 part series on the FB Group ‘The Liberty Eagle’ (or as I call them, Statist Vultures). I offer my gratitude publicly herein, since I was unable to within the previous articles themselves. Shane and I had prepared our July 12th broadcast debunking the Libertarian Party most recently. I’ve been having technical problems, despite wanting to do Spoken Discourses myself for the site, I’m currently unable to. However, on the plus side, Kyle and Shane have successfully manifested the Agorist Primer into audio format for anyone that doesn’t have any desire to do extensive reading, even for a short booklet. The original idea was for me to cover chapters 7-9, and I apologize for being unable to participate in such a fun project despite an expressed desire to be involved towards my colleagues and friends. Nonetheless, LUA has plenty of material that might be of interest to you!