Unfinished essays and spontaneous eruptions on radical politics and popular culture
Written shortly before Election Day 2004, this essay of mine applies equally well to my feelings during the election now upon us:
Our lunch conversation, as usual, had wandered finally to the upcoming presidential race.
“All right,” said my exasperated friend Ron, a conservative Republican. “I guess I’m resigned to the fact that you won’t vote at all in November. But you’re a politics junkie! Surely you’ll be rooting for someone!”
And it dawned on me that, yes, despite 32 years of persistent nonvoting, I’ve usually rooted for one of the major presidential candidates, always seeing one potential master as slightly less odious than the other. Likewise, for purely strategic reasons in the struggle for liberty, there’s typically been a reason to cast, if not a vote, then a hip-hip-hooray for one lying nitwit over another.
You can continue reading this essay right here.
I caught up with Spike TV's 2008 Scream Awards last night (which I'd recorded Tuesday), and was delighted to see big, big awards go to The Dark Knight and Iron Man. It was especially good to see the directors of both those movies actually in attendance; just goes to show they take geekdom seriously.
One of the biggest moments for me, though, was Milla Jovovich -- my favorite kick-ass action lady -- winning "Best Actress in a Science Fiction Movie or TV Show" for reprising her role as Alice in Resident Evil: Extinction. Milla was all giggly, goofy, barely coherent, and adorable, as usual. Bliss.
ICONIC FIGURES CAN BE SHOWN
So British statesman Winston Churchill and fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, who cannot be imagined without their cigars and pipes, can now be shown smoking in new films — though with a warning.
“Characters like Churchill and Sherlock Holmes can smoke on screen. People know about them and their on-screen smoking won’t influence the audience behaviour much,” a senior health ministry official told IANS.
“This will be made public next month,” the official added.
The health ministry had banned smoking in films but director Mahesh Bhatt moved court against the government decision. The case has been pending in the Delhi High Court for the last two years. The Delhi High Court is going to hear the case in the third week of November.
Earlier, the ministry was completely against any smoking scenes in any movie. It had said all old movies with such scenes would have to be accompanied with a note saying the habit is injurious to health, and new films with such depictions could not be made at all.
For those libertarians still clinging to the electoral process, I present here “Death to the Party!”, a polemic written by Victor Koman and published in pamphlet form by “Ultra Faction MLL [Movement of the Libertarian Left]” in the 1980s. I don’t know whether Victor subscribes to these opinions today, but I find this little essay still on target.
Those of you who still love
and Freedom, listen! Those of you not poisoned by the dope of Power, hear me! Those of you not yet shipwrecked by the Sirens of statism, read this! That most evil of temptors, the State itself, is seducing you in the dark alley which is the Party. Do not be deceived and led into dishonor. Liberty
The Party is the State. How can anything be more plain or more obvious? The rotting corpse of government has burst forth, spewing out a new breed of maggots to infect us and spread the disease of slavery, plunder and murder. For a Party exists only to put people into power. Don’t be hoodwinked by lies about “education.” Einstein needed no Party to get his ideas to the world. Nor did Spooner, nor Rand, nor Paine, nor any man or woman with the truth. Truth needs no Party.
The idea of Libertarianism is
. The idea of the Party is Government. The only “education” requiring a Party is “education” in Statism. Ask a Cambodian, if you can find one. Liberty
And what will you learn from such an education? The philosophy of Atilla. The metaphysics of Stalin. The biology of Leviathan.
He who serves the Party serves the State. She who supports the Party supports the Statist quo. They who defend the Party defend those who would hunt us down and kill us.
By groveling before the altar of the almighty Vote, you are not turning the sword of the State against itself — you are sharpening its blade! By drawing others into political Sodomy, you are not disarming the guns of the State — you are providing them with fresh bullets! And by wasting your time learning to plot and betray, compromise and backstab, you are not bleeding the State — the State is bleeding you!
Those of you who claim to defend
, tell me this: if the system you oppose is corrupt and evil, how can you change it by joining it, by saying “This is a place I belong, a system I endorse,” by embracing it? Do you not become as evil and corrupt? Liberty
Can you change the Mafia by becoming a Don or even the Capo? Can you stop the NKVD by becoming its head axeman? Can you reform the Gestapo by becoming an agent willing to “work within the system”? Can you stop destruction by becoming the destroyer?
I SAY NO! I say that to help the Party is to lock chains around the necks of Libertarians everywhere and lead us to death. I say that the Party is as foul and corrupt as the State to which it toadies. I say that the smallest quantum of aid or solace to the Party is open, blatant support of everything Libertarians find hideous and repugnant.
The Party is Death.
The Party must die.
Long live Freedom!
Former Mondo 2000 editor R.U. Sirius, under the auspices of Humanity Plus (aka the World Transhumanist Association) is editing a new web-based quarterly magazine called h+. The magazine “covers the scientific, technological, and cultural developments that are challenging and overcoming human limitations." Highly recommended for my futurist and sci-fi geek friends. The first issue is available as a free PDF right here.
“I’m really starting to hate those protesters. I’m tired of their shit. They need to take it up at the ballot box if they don’t like it.”
“You’ve already beaten them at the ballot box, remember? They won a referendum, and before they could get it implemented you got another referendum on the ballot and overturned them. That’s why they’re holding signs and throwing water balloons.”
“Well, that’s how democracy works.”
The Army of the Republic
by Stuart Archer Cohen
Old friend and longtime comrade Jack Shimek writes, “I'm looking for an MLL pamphlet called: ‘Our Enemy, the Party’ — didn't you do an update of that pamphlet? I can't seem to find it anywhere.”
Well, I did update a few of the late Samuel Edward Konkin III’s old Movement of the Libertarian Left pamphlets a few years back; you can find links to them along the right side of this blog and at Agorism.info. But alas, Sam’s classic handout “Our Enemy, The Party” wasn’t among them. What’s worse, a quick online search indicates that the text is nowhere to be found on the Internet. Since Election Day approaches rapidly, and there are still plenty of unimaginative “libertarians” out there who consider the vote sacred, I offer here the full text of MLL Issue Pamphlet #5, “Our Enemy, The Party,” written by SEK3 and published in 1980 (later reissued by Sam in 1987):
In 1935, proto-libertarian Albert J. Nock wrote his seminal analysis of the nature of government and society: Our Enemy, The State. During the Dark Ages of Libertarianism (between the Fall of Benjamin Tucker  to the rise of Murray Rothbard [1965-70] the leading libertarian thinkers have warned freedom-seekers against participation in the political process, that is, against vote-chasing and power-seeking. Nock, his disciple Frank Chodorov, H.L. Mencken, Isabel Patterson,
Rose Wilder Lane, Leonard Read, and Robert LeFevre all sought to enlighten, instruct, and possibly sound the alarm. Chodorov and LeFevre were both instrumental in organizing activist libertarians — Chodorov’s Intercollegiate Society of Individualists (ISI) in the 1950s and LeFevre’s Libertarian Alliance in the 1960s. All warned against supporting any politician under any circumstances.
Now, in 1980, the blight of politician libertarianism, that absurd oxymoron based on abolishing rule by the State but accepting rule by a political party — partyarchy — has crested. Our current leading thinker and essayist admits all partyarch activity to date is deceit and failure. But still the concept lives on. This self-destructive “heresy” will probably linger on until the State is finally abolished from Man’s mind, but it can be reduced to an insignificant minority of no influence in the immediate future by vigorous activism and refutation. To this end, to save us another twenty years in the Dark Ages for
, this pamphlet is written. Liberty
Our Enemy, The State
For those still pursuing the hopeless utopia of “limited” government (minarchy), there is little of substance to be said. In a nutshell, the State is the monopolization of coercion — initiatory violence. Any defensive acts are incidental to its essence. To a libertarian, such coercion is the only social immorality. (Personal immorality is the individual’s problem.) Hence the State is the institutional monopolization of immorality, evil, altruism, irrationality, and/or whatever you call it in your belief system.
Having got this far, one must ask if one is cursed with obeying this monster until it agrees to limit and abolish itself, remaining in complicity with its plunder and murder (taxation and war), or if one should break with it immediately (taking care of obvious threats to one’s life) and thenceforward living statelessly. The gradualist, conservative, “philosophical anarchist” makes the first choice; the rest select the moral course. But yet another choice faces the would-be consistent libertarian: having chosen abolitionism over gradualism, one must choose the mechanism by which one obtains the free society. Is it to be the political means or the economic means — Power or Market?
The Case For Consistency
Can means inconsistent with an end ever achieve that end? Can violence obtain peace, can slavery obtain freedom, can plunder protect against theft? The statist who pursues war, conscription and taxation answers yes. The libertarian responds no. Then why will an abolitionist anarchist pursue political means to abolish the political process? The end of the libertarian is a voluntary society where the market has replaced the government, where economics functions without politics. The purpose of politics is the maintenance, extension and controlling of the State — power. The market lies not on the road to power but on the road away.
Consistency to a libertarian means not some floating abstraction of non-contradicting philosophy but a consistency of theory with reality, of ideology and practice, of what ought to be and what is done. Complying with laws and procedure is necessary for the political route; one’s psychology becomes attuned to parliamentarianism, procedure and compromise, coalitions and betrayals, glad-handing and back-stabbing, elation at the ephemeral approval of others rather than one’s own achievements. Thus is one conditioned for living successfully in the State.
Pursuing the market anarchy directly through counter-economics, one’s psychology becomes attuned to supply-demand calculations, risk-taking, commerce with those of similar self-interest — hence inherently trustworthy, to salesmanship, and to elation at personal achievement (profit) and the self-correcting negative feelings accompanying loss. Thus is one self-programmed for living successfully — in a marketplace.
The consistent, or counter-economic, libertarian — agorist — suffers none of the frustrations arising from the self-contradictions of the political libertarian — partyarch. The State loses by each free transaction committed in defiance or evasion of its laws, regulations and taxes; the State gains by every compliance with, acceptance of, and payment to its institutions. Thus does agorism create anarchy and partyarchy preserve the State.
Our Enemy, The Party
Any “Libertarian” Party is immoral, inconsistent, unhistorical (see revisionist accounts of similar parties in the past: the Philosophic Radicals, the Liberty Party, the Free Soilers, and many others), psychologically frustrating and thoroughly counter-productive. Worst of all, such an LP may be the savior of the State.
Assume, as is the case in 1980, that a majority of vote-eligible citizens (in the
as it happens) are poised not to vote. And as the counter-economy grows and the State’s sanction recedes, the tax-starved monster teeters on desertion of its unpaid enforcers and thus final collapse. The U.S. Higher Circleof the State stand to lose their power, privilege and centuries of ill-gotten gain. When suddenly the “L”P springs to the rescue.
Those who would send the taxman away now pay to keep their voting privilege and their record clean to run for office. Those who would violate laws and evade regulations now maintain the system to do away with it at a later, more expedient time. And those who would dodge or defend against the State’s enforcers “accept the result of a democratic election.”
Consider the fate of a heroic agorist who, at an earlier time of trust of “fellow libertarians” incautiously had spoken of her activities to be used as example to others, is turned in for her black marketeering by a libertarian who feels “the time is not right for revolution.”
She is arrested by Libertarians working their way through the system to reform it — as police. She is locked up…by a Libertarian working his way through the system to reform it — as a turnkey. She is tried…by a Libertarian working his way through the system — as a judge. And she is executed…by a Libertarian working his way through the system to reform it — as an executioner. So ends up partyarchy at its logical conclusion.
The Rôle of Activism
The agorist — consistent libertarian — has many alternatives to wasting time helping preserve the State and its system through politics. Undoubtedly there are rewards for some (though not all) for the political path where the Power Elite shower rewards on those who most successfully co-opt opposition and harness revolutionary fervor to maintain at least some of the State and its privilege. But the agorist can be amply rewarded in the counter-economy in both the material and personal sense for entrepreneurial activities. And there is a vital rôle for agorist activists — for that much-acclaimed cadre.
There are tens of millions of counter-economists in
North America, and even more in the world at large. Few understand or have even heard of a philosophy of living that is consistent, moral and would free these true marketeers of residual guilt laid on them by the court intellectuals. Enlighten and interconnect these millions and one will have a fully conscious, efficacious and expanding society imbedded within the malfunctioning statist one, collapsing from wars, terrorism, runaway inflation, and stultifying bureaucracy. And soon it shall be the society.
That is the goal of the revolutionary agorist cadre of counter-economic practitioners and libertarian theorists. And the Movement of the Libertarian Left is working to build that alliance. Join us. Or seek the free society in your own, consistent way.
But give no aid to Our Enemy, The Party.
I can't be accused of following a very healthy diet. But I do know that this culinary creation -- a four-ounce hamburger patty stuck between two grilled cheese sandwiches -- can probably kill you. Sure looks delicious, though. Yum.
(Thanks to the folks at Serious Eats.)
I'm a very big fan of Oliver Stone's two great political films, JFK and Nixon. But I'm not overly optimistic about his new W., slated for limited release next week. Despite some terrific casting -- Josh Brolin as Dubya, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, and Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney -- I think it's way too early for a good docudrama about this presidency. Critic Todd McCarthy seems to agree. In his review in Variety, McCarthy says Stone's movie "feels like a rough draft of a film it might behoove him to remake in 10 or 15 years. ... It's questionable how wide a public will pony up to immerse itself in a story that still lacks an ending."
I'll be in line to see W. anyway.
Actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Forest Whitaker, and Dustin Hoffman have joined Google to get out the vote via an obnoxious YouTube video, which I refuse to link to. (If you must, go find it yourself. I won't make it easy for you.) Says DiCaprio in the video, "If you're not going to vote, I don't even know what to say to you anymore."
Well I know what to say to you, Leo. Shut your mouth, leave us alone, and don't poke your pointy little head above ground again unless it's to make a movie.
Lemme tell ya, this week’s Wall Street bailout soap opera has done wonders for my credibility with friends and family. Before, when I’d even mention the term “power elite,” many would just chuckle and roll their eyes. Today, not so much. After all, without power elite theory, how else do you explain the lockstep support for pork-ridden, failure-guaranteed bailouts by both Republican and Democrat leaders, the Wall Street Journal, the foremost think tanks, every major metropolitan newspaper, all broadcast media, academics, corporate suckfish, and howling political pundits of both Right and Left — at a time when 75 percent of Americans recognize The Lie and vehemently oppose such bailouts?
Yes, indeed. The power elite, the puppet masters, the higher order, the shadow government, whatever the hell you want to call these bastards, have really shown their hand this week as they whine, cry, then rail against a public that “just doesn’t understand the fine workings of the economy and the urgency of this crisis.”
Sure, there will be a bailout. Because our rulers want it. And whatever they want, they get by one means or another.
But to win this particular battle, the elites have had to step into the light, where everybody recognizes them, even my conspiracy-phobic friends. And that’s something our shadowy masters hate to do. It scares the piss out of them.