When the Russian Revolution began few people clearly understood the gulf which separated the state socialists from the libertarians. Many dedicated libertarians like Alexander Berkman, rallied to the Bolshevik cause, willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in hopes that seizing state power would only be a transitional stage toward the development of the stateless/classless society.
Many sincere lovers of liberty now flock to the standard of the Libertarian Party, as they did the Bolsheviks, completely ignorant of the history of the last century. As Santayana said: “Those who forget the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.”
What should be done? It should be obvious that government enforcement of private contracts is not libertarian any more than is taking state power to set people free. Libertarianism is and always will mean socialism - the self-emancipation of working people.
Libertarians must stop courting the Republican right and return to their intellectual roots. By standing outside of the political process we deny the state legitimacy, and like the state torturers in Atlas Shrugged, they will come and beg for libertarians to take over.
Remembering the experience of the Spanish libertarians, and heeding the advice of John Galt, libertarians must refuse state power even when begged. The state can never be a tool of liberation. Only its complete and utter collapse will allow for the emergence of non-statist institutions, libertarian co-ops, communes, and free markets, to flourish and displace the political state once and for all.
Historically, there have been three major forms of socialism—Libertarian Socialism (Anarchism), Authoritarian Socialism (Marxist Communism), and Democratic Socialism (electoral social democracy) The non-Anarchist Left has echoed the bourgeoisie’s portrayal of Anarchism as an ideology of chaos and lunacy. But Anarchism, and especially Anarchist-Communism, has nothing in common with this image. It is false and made up by its ideological opponents, Marxist-Leninists.
It is very difficult for the Marxist-Leninists to make an objective criticism of Anarchism as such, because by its very nature it undermines all suppositions basic to Marxism. If Marxism and Leninism ([and] its variant which emerged during the Russian Revolution) is held out to be the working class philosophy, and the proletariat cannot owe its emancipation to anyone but the Communist Party, it is hard to go back on it. [V.I.] Lenin came up with the idea of the transitional State, which would “wither away” over time, to go along with Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat.” The Anarchists expose this line as counter-revolutionary and sheer power-grabbing, and over seventy-five years of Marxist-Leninist doctrine have only produced Stalinist police states, where workers have no rights, and a new ruling class of technocrats and party politicians have emerged, and the class differential between those the State favored over those it didn’t created widespread deprivation among the masses and another class struggle…
Anarchists are social revolutionaries who seek a stateless, classless, voluntary cooperative federation of decentralized communities based upon social ownership, individual liberty, and autonomous self-management of social and economic life.
“Sadly, it is necessary to explain what we mean by “libertarian” as this term has been appropriated by the free-market capitalist right. Socialist use of libertarian dates from 1858 when it was first used by communist-anarchist Joseph Dejacque as a synonym for anarchist for his paper “La Libertaire, Journal du Mouvement Social.” This usage became more commonplace in the 1850’s and 1895 saw leading anarchists SeBastein Faure and Louise Michel publish La Libertaire in France. By the end of the 19th century libertarian was used as an alternative for anarchist internationally. The right-wing appropriation of the term dates from the 1950’s and, in wider society, from the 1970’s. Given that property is at its root, and, significantly, property always trumps liberty in that ideology, anarchists suggest a far more accurate term would be “propertarian.” We will use the term libertarian in its original, correct, usage as an alternative for anti-state socialist.”—
Iain McKay in his anthology of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s Property is Theft
Because rightwing libertarianism is an oxymoron and it is time we set the record straight.
This week, the New York City Police Department shocked many by announcing an end to its Muslim monitoring program, the Zone Assessment Unit. But at a time in which Islamic extremism appears to be an increasingly present risk, the NYPD also appears to be putting extra efforts into undercover programs.
yeah fuck capitalism but we’re all a part of this system yo. each of us contributes to it.
Duh. But let’s not pretend some, say the Koch brothers, are not vastly more culpable than others. Socializing guilt and responsibility is destructive to efforts of undermining, subverting, and abolishing status quo power dynamics. I call it shotgun syndrome, that is failing to accurately access who is exploitive and whom, to what degree, are exploited.
There are 2.3 million prisoners behind bars in the United States, costing the federal government about $55 billion a year. Ten percent of all prisons in the U.S. are privately operated. The Daily Ticker embarked on an investigation to take you behind the scenes of this unique and secretive industry.
In 1984 the Corrections Corporation of America (CXW) revolutionized the way prisons in the United States operate. The company took over a prison facility in Hamilton County, Tennessee — the first time a private operator was contracted to run a jail. More prison companies were created and contracts continued to flow — between 1990 and 2010 the number of privately operated prisons in the U.S. increased 1600%. The increase in privately operated prisons has outpaced both the growth of public prison facilities and even the U.S. population.
Private prisons bring in about $3 billion in revenue annually, and over half of that comes from holding facilities for undocumented immigrants. Private operations run between 50% to 55% of immigrant detainment facilities. The immigration bill battling its way through Washington right now might also mean good things for private prisons. Some estimate that the crackdown on undocumented immigrants will lead to 14,000 more inmates annually with 80% of that business going to private prisons.
The prison industry has also made money by contracting prison labor to private companies. The companies that have benefited from this cheap labor include Starbucks (SBUX), Boeing (BA), Victoria’s Secret, McDonalds (MCD) and even the U.S. military. Prison laborers cost between 93 cents and $4 a day and don’t need to collect benefits, thus making them cheap employees.
Federal Prison Industries, a company that contracts out prison labor, made over $900 million in revenue last year. FPI has prisoners working in apparel, clean energy, printing, document conversion and call centers. While FPI claims that prisoners are gaining real-world skills and learning trades, some argue otherwise.
“This is a threat to not just established industries; it’s a threat to emerging industries,” says Representative Bill Huizenga (R-Mich).
While CCA and the GEO Group claim that private prisons bolster competition and efficiency in the prison system, Christopher Petrella, a prison policy analyst and author, argues that it’s the opposite.
“What’s fascinating is that two companies alone constitute 75% of the entire ‘private prisons market’ and so often the two companies will make claims that competition ends up bringing efficiency and efficacy into the marketplace and their services but unfortunately is creating a duopoly,” he says.
Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group made $1.7 and $1.6 billion in annual revenue last year. CCA operates 67 federal and local facilities and has about 40% market share while the GEO Group operates 95 prisons in the U.S. and abroad.
These companies are not classified as correctional facilitators; they consider themselves real estate investment trusts, or REITs, to limit corporate tax liability. Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group derive about 40% of their revenue from the federal government — and are exempt from paying federal taxes.
A white supremacist charged with killing three people near two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City this week posted more than 12,000 messages on a racist website which carries the slogan “No Jews, Just Right,” according to an organization that tracks hate groups.
The report said nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by frequent users of one white supremacist website, Stormfront. The site describes itself as a community of “White Nationalists” and “the voice of the new, embattled White minority.”
“It has been a magnet for the deadly and deranged,” said Heidi Beirich, author of the report.
The recent revelation that 148 female prisoners in two California institutions were sterilized between 2006 and 2010 is another example of the state’s long history of reproductive injustice and the ongoing legacy of eugenics. The abuse took place in violation of state and federal laws, and with startling disregard for patient autonomy and established protocols of informed consent.
In the past, sterilization of vulnerable populations in the name of “human betterment” was carried out with legal authority and the backing of political elites. What current and past practices share is the assumption that some women by virtue of their class position, sexual behavior, or ethnic identity are socially unfit to reproduce and parent.
The unauthorized sterilization of women in prison was facilitated, as the federal courts have recognized, by a combination of inhumane practices, overcrowding, bureaucratic inconsistencies, and medical neglect. From the torturous conditions in the state’s Security Housing Units, to the exposure of prisoners to life-threatening illnesses, and the trampling of women prisoners’ reproductive rights, California rivals many Southern states in penal cruelty.
It’s a heartening sign that many groups, including the state’s legislative women’s caucus, are expressing outrage and asking how these violations of rights could take place in the twenty-first century. Vital answers can be found in the twentieth century.
In 1909, California passed the country’s third sterilization law, authorizing reproductive surgeries of patients committed to state institutions for the “feebleminded” and “insane” that were deemed suffering from a “mental disease which may have been inherited and is likely to be transmitted to descendants.” Based on this eugenic logic, 20,000 patients in more than ten institutions were sterilized in California from 1909 to 1979. Worried about charges of “cruel and unusual punishment,” legislators attached significant provisos to sterilization in state prisons. Despite these restrictions, about 600 men received vasectomies at San Quentin in the 1930s when the superintendent flaunted the law.
Those sterilized included people with conditions we would classify today as psychiatric disorders or intellectual disabilities, as well as individuals with limited educational and economic resources, including thousands of “antisocial” minors. Initially, men in psychiatric homes were targeted for sterilization; however, eugenicists mostly targeted “feeble-minded” and “promiscuous” women, including those who had one or more children “out of wedlock” or were seen as sexually deviant.
California was the most zealous sterilizer, carrying out one-third of the approximately 60,000 operations performed in the 32 states that passed eugenic sterilization laws from 1907 to 1937. Furthermore, unlike many other states, where sterilization laws were challenged in the courts, in California the sterilization law remained on the books for seventy years.
Although it was scaled back in the early 1950s, the law was not repealed until 1979, in the context of another chapter of sterilization abuse. This time, about 140 women, mainly of Mexican origin, were sterilized without consent at USC/Los Angeles County hospital. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, the leading obstetrician at this hospital maintained strong convictions about the need for population control, which he applied to women during and immediately after labor by coercing them into tubal ligations. Sometimes women signed a consent form under duress, other times they were not offered any consent form, or falsely told that their husbands had already signed the form.
Working with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice, in 1978 ten women filed a lawsuit against USC/LA County hospital and the implicated obstetrician. Although they lost, this case and parallel lawsuits filed by women of color around the country, resulted in new federal guidelines for sterilization, including a 72-hour waiting period and informed consent requirements.
Many of the stereotypes that fueled 20th century sterilization abuse remain in vogue today. Dr. James Heinrich, who performed tubal ligations of women in prisons, stated that this practice saved the state money because his involuntary clients were likely to have “unwanted children as they procreated more.” Such a callous attitude could have been uttered by superintendents in the 1930s, who worried about the economic burden of “defectives,” or by the obstetrician at USC/LA County who purportedly spoke to his staff about “how low we can cut the birth rate of the Negro and Mexican populations in Los Angeles County.”
It is time to break the cycle of reproductive injustice in California, and to challenge the continuing potency of eugenic rationales of cost-saving and societal betterment that have undergirded compulsory or unauthorized sterilizations. The 21st century calls for a new era of human rights, institutional oversight, and the protection of vulnerable populations.
Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, the neoliberal establishment faced one more challenge: how to deal with the growing unrest, the threat of ’people’s power.’ How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into a blind alley?
Here too, foundations and their allied organizations have a long and illustrious history. A revealing example is their role in defusing and deradicalizing the Black Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1960s and the successful transformation of Black Power into Black Capitalism.
The Rockefeller Foundation, in keeping with J.D. Rockefeller’s ideals, had worked closely with Martin Luther King Sr. (father of Martin Luther King Jr). But his influence waned with the rise of the more militant organizations—the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers. The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations moved in. In 1970, they donated $15 million to ‘moderate’ black organizations, giving people grants, fellowships, scholarships, job training programs for dropouts and seed money for black-owned businesses. Repression, infighting and the honey trap of funding led to the gradual atrophying of the radical black organizations.
Martin Luther King made the forbidden connections between Capitalism, Imperialism, Racism and the Vietnam War. As a result, after he was assassinated, even his memory became toxic to them, a threat to public order. Foundations and Corporations worked hard to remodel his legacy to fit a market-friendly format. The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, with an operational grant of $2 million, was set up by, among others, the Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mobil, Western Electric, Procter & Gamble, U.S. Steel and Monsanto. The Center maintains the King Library and Archives of the Civil Rights Movement. Among the many programs the King Center runs have been projects that work — quote, ‘work closely with the United States Department of Defense, the Armed Forces Chaplains Board and others,’ unquote. It co-sponsored the Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Series called—and I quote — ’The Free Enterprise System: An Agent for Non-violent Social Change.’