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Fwd: The Fear of Individual Freedom in the Radical Milieu

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  • Tarjei Straume
    I hope mr. Lightsearcher1 will appreciate this Anarchy article:
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 4 7:42 AM
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      I hope mr. Lightsearcher1 will appreciate this "Anarchy" article:


      The Fear of Individual Freedom in the Radical Milieu

      Anarchy is a process of individual and social freedom, at least according to the vast majority of those who have advocated it as a personal and collective goal. As a result of this comprehensive commitment to genuine freedom, on both personal and collective levels, anarchists have historically been chastised or ridiculed by nearly all those on the political left-from liberals to socialists to communists-afraid of genuine freedom on any level of experience. But the most vicious, irrational and scandalous of leftist denunciations have most often focused on condemning anarchist ideas and practices of personal, individual freedom.

      This is because the anarchist commitment to genuine individual freedom is one of the definitive differences that sets anarchists apart from the political left, while at the same time it is often the most threatening difference to leftist ideologues. The commitment to genuine individual freedom of thought and action here and now directly confronts not only the complicity of the entire political left with political authority and institutionalized repression, but also exposes each individual leftist's fear of the practice of personal freedom and autonomy in their own and in others' lives.

      The whole spectrum of positions which make up the political left shares both a theoretical and practical commitment to political collectivism-in the sense of the privileging of social organization over individual freedom. This includes even some left-anarchists, at least those who put their leftism above their commitments to anarchism. Most forms of leftism-except for the most authoritarian of Marxist and nationalist variants-still claim to put a high value on individual freedom. But this claim is intentionally illusory. It is never meant to be taken seriously, except in the most superficial or relative of ways. This is because leftists consciously delegate their own personal sovereignty over their lives to some level of political collectivity: whether this political collectivity be a political party, a political organization, an abstract conception of social class or the People, or the nation-state itself.

      Too afraid to conceive of a world in which they might live with other people as masters of their own individual and collective fates, they renounce sovereignty over their own lives and in so doing identify with the patriarchal (or in some instances, with the matriarchal) power of a social group. Unable to conceive of any forms of social organization in which concrete human individuals retain their freedom in voluntary, unforced, mutually negotiated unions, they pledge their allegiance to an ideological organizationalism which demands that all must subordinate their individual lives to the greater good of the "social" or of "society"-as expressed in particular forms of organization depending upon the variant of leftism involved.

      Those who have consciously renounced their personal sovereignty are naturally keen to make sure that everyone else does so as well-one way or another, whether through ideological conversion, threats or force. Once one' s identity becomes closely tied to a particular form of political organization (or even an abstract idea of Class or Society), the most threatening other becomes the unbeliever or heretic who refuses to subordinate her or his life to the political organization and/or ideological ideal to which one has surrendered his or her own sovereignty. This is one of the most primal of the reasons why anarchists are so often automatically feared and attacked: anarchists attempt to stand on their own-proud and free, unbowed by the demands of political authorities and ideologies. And to make the threat even more acute, anarchists invite (and actively seduce) others into joining their guiltless subversion of all powers-that-be.

      We can see the resulting fear of personal, individual freedom even within the anarchist milieu itself when too many left-anarchists incoherently denounce the concrete human individual as necessarily being, instead, an "abstraction," against which the supposed concrete reality of their conception of "society" is poised. Of course, either the "individual" or "society" can be conceived and employed in ideological ways (usually non-contextual or ahistorical ways). But for those committed to renunciation of their own personal sovereignty, only the category of the "individual" or "individualism" merits the chronic (ideological) use of "abstract" for an adjective, regardless of the context or meaning involved. Especially, in such cases, it doesn't take all that much exploration to discover that the concepts of "society" and the "social" employed tend themselves to become more and more abstract in practice. This is because when the fundamental reality of the concrete living individual is denied (and consistently reduced to an abstraction), in what is there left for society to consist?

      The problem is the same for all forms of political ideology. By artificially elevating some level of social organization (most often, the nation-state) to an over-arching reality upon which everything else is subordinated, the existence of the concrete, sovereign individual is progressively denied, reduced to expression through increasingly abstract and one-dimensional roles: citizen, worker, voter, consumer. Only within the anarchist conception of the concrete, free individual interacting with other concrete individuals and groups within an unreified society can the genuine practice of individual and collective freedom be found.

      Jason McQuinn, Editor



    • zapdingo
      ... Bryan: I did like the Anarchy article, Tarjei. However, I suspect Mr. L will prefer this one: From a Marine officer on the Iraqi warfront with
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 7 9:38 AM
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        --- Tarjei Straume < wrote:
        > I hope mr. Lightsearcher1 will appreciate this
        > "Anarchy" article:

        I did like the Anarchy article, Tarjei. However, I
        suspect Mr. L will prefer this one:

        From a Marine officer on the Iraqi warfront with

        (This is an open letter to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,
        Response," and the rest of the so-called al-Qa'ida
        in Iraq and elsewhere. We don't have an e-mail
        address for these
        swine -- though we are closing in on their snail-mail
        but we are forwarding this letter to Federalist
        Patriots around the
        world in the hope you good people will forward it to
        as many other
        Patriots as possible to rally prayer and support for
        our fellow
        Marine, Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun. Should these
        al-Qa'ida pigs
        spill his blood, we want them to rest assured that the
        of this letter will eventually be nailed to their
        foreheads. Thank
        you for your assistance.)

        To al-Qa'ida terrorists in Iraq:

        I see that you have captured a U.S. Marine, and that
        you plan
        to cut off his head if your demands are not met. Big
        Before you carry out your threat I suggest you read up
        on Marine
        Corps history. The Japanese tried the same thing on
        Island and in a few other places during World War Two,
        and came
        to regret it. Go ahead and read about what then
        happened to the
        mighty Imperial Army on Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
        They paid
        full price for what they did, and you will too.

        You look at America and you see a soft target, and to
        a large
        extent you are right. Our country is filled with a lot
        of spoiled
        children who drive BMWs, sip decaf lattes and watch
        reality TV shows. They are for the most part decent,
        hard working
        citizens, but they are soft. When you cut off Nick
        Berg's head
        those people gasped, and you got the media coverage
        you sought,
        and then those people went back to their lives. This
        time it
        is different. We also have a warrior culture in this
        and they are called Marines. It is a brotherhood
        forged in the
        fire of many wars, and the bond between us is stronger
        blood. While it is true that this country has produced
        like John Kerry, Michael Moore, Howard Dean and Jane
        Fonda who
        can be easily manipulated by your gruesome tactics, we
        also produced men like Jason Dunham, Brian Chontosh
        and Joseph
        Perez. If you don't recognize those names you should.
        They are all
        Marines who distinguished themselves fighting to
        liberate Iraq,
        and there will be many more just like them coming for

        Before the current politically correct climate
        enveloped our
        culture one of the recruiting slogans of our band of
        brothers was
        "The Marine Corps Builds Men." You will soon find out
        just how
        true that is. You, on the other hand, are nothing but
        a bunch of
        women. If you were men you would show your faces, and
        take us on
        in a fair fight. Instead, you are cowards who hide
        behind masks
        and decapitate helpless victims. If you truly
        represented the
        interest of the Iraqi people you would not be
        ambushing those who
        come to your country to repair your power plants, or
        sabotage the
        oil pipelines which fuel the Iraqi economy. Your
        agenda is hate,
        plain and simple.

        When you raise that sword over your head I want you to
        one thing. Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun is not alone
        as he kneels
        before you. Every Marine who has ever worn the
        uniform is there
        with him, and when you strike him you are striking all
        of us. If
        you think the Marines were tough on you when they were
        out Fallujah a few weeks ago you haven't seen anything
        yet. If you
        want to know what it feels like to have the Wrath of
        God called
        down upon you then go ahead and do it. We are not
        Turkish truck
        drivers, or Pakistani laborers, or independent
        contractors hoping
        to find work in your country. We are the United States
        and we will be coming for you.

        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Mail Address AutoComplete - You start. We finish.
      • Jo Ann Schwartz
        Bryan sent along an article, purportedly by a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, ... I would just like to note that John Kerry *volunteered* to serve his country
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 8 1:08 PM
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          Bryan sent along an article, purportedly by a member of the U.S. Marine Corps,
          that stated:

          > .... While it is true that this country has produced
          > nitwits like John Kerry, Michael Moore, Howard Dean and
          > Jane Fonda who can be easily manipulated by your gruesome tactics

          I would just like to note that John Kerry *volunteered* to serve his country as
          a Naval officer and received 3 Purple Hearts, 1 Bronze Star, and 1 Silver Star
          for his service in Vietnam.

          Why this should make his opinions on the matter of war less cogent than George
          Walker "I went AWOL from the National Guard" Bush and Dick "I had other
          priorities" Cheney is a mystery to me. Nor is it clear to me from either John
          Kerry's record or his public statements that he is willing to abandon our
          troops on the front lines, as the writer is clearly suggesting.

          Musing on who is fit to lead...
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