“At five hundred pages, Black Flame is widely considered the first major (non-anthology) anarchist work in some time — perhaps ever — to provide a global historical account of anarchist movements. Many viewed the work as a kind of “Anarchist Bible,” or what Immanuel Ness, a professor at City University of New York and author of New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism (PM Press, 2014), had described as “perhaps the most important contribution [to] the global history of working class movements from an anarchist perspective.”
– About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 1), by Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens
Black Flame‘s “core theses” include the propositions;
- “the global anarchist movement emerged in the First International,
- syndicalism is an integral part of the broad anarchist tradition,
- this tradition centers on rationalism, socialism, and anti-authoritarianism,
- the writings of Mikhail Bakunin and Pyotr Kropotkin are representative of its core ideas,
- and this ‘narrow’ definition is both empirically defensible and analytically useful.”
A striking feature of Black Flame is the argument that “‘class struggle’ anarchism, sometimes called revolutionary or communist anarchism, is not a type of anarchism – it is the only anarchism,” and so it does not include ideas sometimes called individualist anarchist, identified with figures such as William Godwin and Max Stirner. Regarding the so-called “philosophical, individualist, spiritual and ‘lifestyle’ traditions,” the authors say “we do not regard these currents as part of the broad anarchist tradition.”
– from wikipedia’s glowing review of Black Flame, in the section on Platformism.
It just so turns out that at least one of the authors of Black Flame is a white supremacist, and has been using his influence within the Syndicalist movement to keep Anarchism firmly rooted in an exclusively Euro-centric worldview.
I can’t understand why anyone, much less anarchists, would want to keep their personal worldview so firmly rooted in the 19th century. Over the coming months, I’m going to be writing extensively about WHY it’s ludicrous to ignore technological and observational developments, and thus refuse to adjust to the many, many ways they have altered our society – and what we know about the worlds we inhabit.
The huge trainwreck Black Flame has caused in the anarchist movement proved to me that conservative, rightwing bigots are not the only white folks who yearn for a simpler time, when white people just WERE the superior race, no questions asked, or they’d KILL your miserable, savage ass!
Mike Schmidt, “Politico-Cultural Dynamics of the South African Anarchist Movement:”
“Blacks incapable of other than the basest service to the Revolution.”
This is not surprising to me in the least. As I’ve written before, Syndicalism is only one very, very short step away from Fascism, and Fascism almost always includes racism. (see my review of The Friends of Durutti, from Anarchy; a Journal of Desire Armed, which i will post online, soon as i can acquire a copy.)
In the Mexican revolution of the early 20th century, Anarcho-Communists and Syndicalists were allowed to organize as labor unions and militias, so long as the militias were under command of Huerta’s junta, which was governing Mexico City at the time. These units were used as artillery forces against the advancing armies of Pancho Villa. Meanwhile, other unionistas were sent against Zapata’sforces, though I believe they were mostly held in reserve. In both cases, when the militias were no longer needed, they were disbanded, and many of the workers were eventually executed or imprisoned.
Too much of the leadership of Spain’s legendary anarchist unionists CNT urged the rank-and-file membership to disarm and support the republic. This was done in return for ministerial positions for the leadership, at the national and regional levels. The workers responded by collectivizing everything that was not nailed down, and by forming autonomous militias. These militias would later rescue Madrid from a fascist offensive.
Much of the same can be said for anarchists in Russia – though to be honest, the peasant militias and autonomous villages had mostly been annihilated by the Red army before many anarchists accepted favors from the vicious Soviet government.
In addition to the tendency of the leadership of Syndicalists and Anarcho-Communists to sell out their own rank-and-fil, and their militias to take up arms against genuine people’s movements, there is also a tradition within Anarcho-Syndicalism to gestate personality cults and go outright fascist. Mussolini and Mao are the two most famous examples, though there were many others.
I’ve never read a Syndicalist tract from the Anarchist canon which does not advocate for some type of a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” What can be expected from a tradition that has as it’s stated end goal a dictatorship? Concentrate power into a single group or institution, and someone will take it over for their personal aggrandizement. Always and forever, this has been true. That’s why some anarchists do not wish to create more of the same, but would prefer to create societies very unlike the ones we’ve inherited. There is no need for such self-serving institutions.
twitterer Chris_T @chicosez
I’m just saying, do what you want. But what DO you want? Do we want self determination? Or inclusion in the colonial system?
It also comes as no surprise that Black Flame’s authors were able to find people around the world, and from every race, who they could point to as examples of “diversity” for their unified, uncompromising, very limited, Eurocentric (of course) definition of what Anarchism is – and isn’t. Who among the people cited did not grow up in a Eurocentric, colonial society? Who did not have the option to support their families through any other means than wage labor? Who did not receive a Eurocentric education? Not one. None of the many people the authors cite from around the world ever advocated for the destruction of the Eurocentric social order and the creation of something more along the lines of how people lived who had never been conquered by white folks.
BF‘s authors also spend considerable time explaining why useless forms of protest and organizing are preferable to armed rebellion or insurrection. The authors advocate for a “gradualist” approach to achieving the goals of working class empowerment. Voting, participating in the political process, and possibly forming a party and running for office were presented as reasonable, rational approaches to social change. Led by white folks, for the most part.
Again, no surprise, since the authors are more interested in steering anarchists into inaction than they are in creating revolution. As white supremacists, they are more invested in the current social order that creates austerity for the North, and bombs for the rest of the world. And as infiltrators in the movement, I’m fairly sure part of the reason they wanted to keep Anarchists firmly tied to ineffectual Leftism was in part to make anarchists look like cowards, as opposed to the “bold street fighters” of the National Anarchist movement – a transeuropean Fascist organization which has openly advanced a racist agenda from its inception, and uses street violence to lure in bullies and other assholes who just want to knock heads.
Mike Schmidt, “Politico-Cultural Dynamics of the South African Anarchist Movement”
“…platformism is too advanced for the black working class and poor…”
The doctrine of discovery; establishment of the rule of law in the land of liberty.
ROMANUS PONTIFEX, JANUARY 8, 1455 – the doctrine of discovery
“[W]e bestow suitable favors and special graces on those Catholic kings and princes…intrepid champions of the Christian faith…to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and…to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate…possessions, and goods, and to convert them to…their use and profit…“
There you have it, spelt out in fairly clear language – His Excellency, Pope Babyraper the Umpteenth, authorized his co-conspirators to go out and rob, murder, rape, and plunder in every land which had not been “saved” by J-Zeus, the dying/resurrecting sun deity. At the time of the edict, that was around 80 percent of the inhabited world.
It’s easy enough to dismiss this document as an out-dated relic of a long-gone era.
The problem with that is, this is the SINGLE, LEGAL DOCUMENT that created the court systems of the US, Canada, Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Philippines, most of Africa, swaths of Asia…
This single document is cited by the US Supreme Court when considering matters of copyright, property, regulation of corporations, and trade agreements – including the current bankster wetdream, the TPP. Yeah, all that bullshit about separation of Church and State…just window dressing. Without this Roman Catholic doctrine, the foundation for rule of law by the court systems in just about every nation on earth goes straight out the window.
Ever heard of a place called Latin America? No one spoke fucking Latin in the god-damn 14th century. Except for the Catholic Church clergy and Lawyers, who established the court systems that preside over these places to this day. And that’s why it’s referred to as Latin America, because of their Latin legal systems.
Think this is a ridiculous over-simplification (I get that a lot)? Ever read a US law book? See all the Latin phrases? When exactly was it that Latin-speaking people inhabited the US? Isn’t US law supposed to be based on English court systems? And just what is the foundation of English law? Again, written in Latin. (Little known fact – “Empress of the Holy Roman Empire” is one of Queen Lizzie the 2nd’s titles.)
INTER CAETERA, MAY 3, 1493
“…in our times especially the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and everywhere increased and spread…and that barbarous nations be overthrown…”
This Papal decree is so much a part of the Great American Mythology that it was referenced by US Chief Justice John Marshall in an 1823 decision, JOHNSON v. MCINTOSH, 21 US 543 to assert American authority over indigenous Peoples. His decision legalized exploitation, theft, and genocide by establishing that indigenous Peoples were indeed not quite people, not being Christians and all, so anything done to or against them is all good and well, and the Good Lord’s work to boot – hallelujah!
This decision has never been overturned (see “Native American Sovereignty: now you see it, now you don’t” https://roblosricos.wordpress.com/american-indian-sovereignty/).
And why should it be overturned? It’s necessary to dehumanize indigenous Peoples in order to rob, rape, and murder them wholesale, even over the objections of the more squeamish members of the invading societies.
This notion that indigenous Peoples must be “saved” from their ignorant, savage existence by having the gifts of religion and poverty bestowed upon them fuels wars even in the 21st century. This idea has been enacted through many expressions over the years: saving souls, bringing them civilization, educating them, making them into citizens of the state. This is the doctrine of Manifest Destiny – that god almighty has given Europeans superior weapons in order to subjugate other Peoples. Most of whom were not warlike, and almost none of whom had standing armies.
This is the notion of Progress. Lands previously untouched by the foul hand of the West had to be incorporated into European legal systems in order to rule over them, for the benefit of the Europeans. It is solidly, irrefutably white supremacist to the core, an excuse to commit genocide and feel good, even proud, for doing it. There sure is a long list of names – venerated in every nation overrun by Europeans – of murdering, ignorant scum who slaughtered indigenous Peoples and later became well-respected members of the communities where they dwelt. Some of these genocidal pieces of shit are Saints in the Catholic church.
This Progressive ideology has never been refuted by anyone with a Eurocentric worldview. It enables people who depend on markets for everything they need for personal survival – but who must first find a master to serve in order to access markets – to think of indigenous Peoples as poor, filthy, ignorant savages. Even though the indigenous Peoples are able to hand craft everything they need. Food, clothing, shelter – what they can’t do for themselves, was often available from others, as sharing is much more widespread in Peoples who do not have the notion of “poverty” in their lives. They mostly live in abundance.
Hell – right now, pharmaceutical corporations are falling all over themselves to get at indigenous healers in the field. They are making billions of dollars off of the knowledge and experience of indigenous Peoples, then they have the audacity to cry about “intellectual property rights.”
And to FINALLY arrive at the main point I want to make here – Socialism and Marxism are not in any way different from any of the other ideologies of Progress. Indeed, Marx himself stated that indigenous Peoples must submit to proletarianization or disappear from the world. Anyone who did not slave for a master for monetary gain was a lumpen, and Marx saw them – always the majority of the population in industrialized nations – as reactionary and enemies of the working class. He used much the same rationale we hear today from the far-right. Lumpen want to take our jobs (scabs). They are criminals. They are no-good layabout alcoholics and drug addicts. They are ignorant. As someone who has spent much of his adult life either homeless or in prison, but always struggling against the coercive forces of elite rule, I gotta say a big, ol’ “Fuck you!” to orthodox Marxists.
There are Marxists I have some respect for, though – libertarian and autonomous Marxists are at least breaking from the orthodoxy of building a Party in order to centralize power. Some groups that started out as Marxists have evolved to the point that they no longer spout fiery working-class rhetoric. Instead, they humbly ask the communities they rely on for support what their group can do to help the community. The trend in anarchy in the 21st century is for revolutionaries to focus on building autonomous communities, instead of taking over industry. Except, of course, in the industrialized West.
In Europe and North America, the white working classes are terrified of losing the few precious scraps of privilege they’ve been allowed until now. Still clinging to their notion of Progress, orthodox Marxists, Anarcho-Communists, and Syndicalists refuse to let go of racist, outdated 19th century ideas that see them – the true and only revolutionaries – as the saviors of the world. Anyone who dares to challenge them to join the rest of humanity in the 21st century is silenced as “ignorant” or “reactionary” or “fascist.”
I’ve written before that Marxism’s main failure was that the working class never seized control of anything. I’m more of the opinion these days that their greatest failure was in only offering substitutions for the social order they were allegedly opposing. Substitute the Party for the working class. Substitute a Chairman for an emperor. Substitute expansion of the revolution for economic expansion. Substitute “safeguarding the revolution” for “protecting investments.” In short, Marxism has never offered anything but more of the same horrors, with just slightly different jargon. In function, the fascist state is little different than a communist one, and neither system is much different than Western-style democracies or republics. They all seek to divvy up the world’s resources for the enrichment of very few people, with treats for their lackeys, jails for the complainers, and bludgeons for the impoverished.
A few notes about this alleged “progress” of his(story)
It took the old European colonial powers centuries to overrun the entire planet and install court systems acceptable to their aristocracies. But it pretty much took until the 20th century for whities to look around at the places they had conquered and think “hmmm – wonder what all that stuff is?”
Naturally, being the superior civilization and all, they had no need for anything the vanquidhed heathens had. Not their medicinal herbcrafting. Not their stories and legends about geological events. Not their ambitions, thoughts, and dreams. Not their extensive written histories which receded far, far past the time when the Christian book of lies was written. And especially not for their heathen technology, which was the work of demons, after all – amen.
Many of the civilizations annihilated by the invading savages were far superior in every way to what existed in Europe at that time. There are irrigation systems in Peru that are thousands of years older than many historians are willing to admit there have been people in the Americas. Megalithic ruins all over the world suggest there was a one-world culture of sea-faring people who built magnificent cities globally, until just after the end of the last ice age, when climatic chaos destroyed many coastal areas. Thus, the universal flood myths in people’s written and oral histories. I can write this with confidence because much of this is readily (even scientifically, if that’s your religion) verifiable now. As a matter of fact, it’s getting to be common knowledge. This may well be one reason why education systems are being undermined. There will be no way to keep this knowledge out of textbooks unless there is such tight control of publishing and educational institutions that traditional narratives remain unchallenged. Religious institutions worldwide depend on this forgetting of the human saga.
Almost all the great dietary “breakthroughs” constantly in vogue in the US have come about as American consumers somehow found out about Ayruvedic and Naturalpathic medicinal traditions in Asia. As mentioned before, pharmaceutical corporations are scouring Amazonia and Africa, looking for new drugs and other biological knowledge from shamans and traditional healers. That’s not Progress, that’s just more plunder. We could accumulate this knowledge ourselves by TALKING TO PEOPLE and LISTENING WITH RESPECT TO WHAT PEOPLE FROM OTHER CULTURES HAVE TO SAY! Fucksake…
I’m gonna go ahead and put this out there; some people suspect that a one-world, seafaring culture still existed, here and there, until fairly recently. Until the era of conquest. Their civilization had collapsed, for the most part, and they had to rebuild. I’ll write a lot more about this in the future. The points I want to make here are:
- Polynesian Peoples sailed thousands and thousands of miles of open, uninterrupted seas at times.
- The Hopi and some Australian aboriginal Peoples claim to have sailed to their continents around 30,000 years ago.
- Most of the older ruins in the Americas are along the Pacific rim.
- Mayan civilization had a written history that covered 30,000 years, including daily records.
- Tenochtitlan, the capitol city of the Mexica, was an engineering marvel unmatched by the West: huge stone plazas and gigantic, megalithic pyramids built on a swamp.
- There are irrigation systems so old, there are no records of their construction, nor memories; in SE Asia, Russia, Australia, South America…
And even the approved annuls of history tell of the constant attack on knowledge. Libraries burned by invading forces, almost always from the Eurasian steppe and Levant; in Alexandria, Heliopolis, Persepolis, Babylon, Athens…We will never know how much was destroyed in the era of conquest. How far back did that put the human race, as far as accumulated knowledge? So much for “progress.” Most of this knowledge was lost forever to us, some of it we are actually rediscovering.
One civilization succeeded in preserving some of this ancient knowledge in Buddhist temples, written in archaic forms of Sanskrit. If it isn’t being destroyed by some goddam government or another, that’s where we could find a lot of details about the things i’ve mentioned above.
The history we’ve been force-fed is so much just a load of bullshit, i’m not sure if we should believe anything written up until the end of the last century. EVERYTHING the education system has indoctrinated us into accepting is wrong. Fucking goddam Everything. I hope I can convince enough people in the anarchist movement of this that we can actually band together and use the new knowledge – the stuff being rediscovered – to our advantage.
To make things very clear;
The idea of “progressive” history is racist to it’s very core. Not to mention complete Bullshit. Anything coming from that tradition is nothing more or less than white supremacist propaganda. Not just including Marxism, but ESPECIALLY Marxism because of its failure to understand that industrial society is not the Ultimate Achievement of humankind. Free living people do not need to be enslaved through employment in order to find liberation.
As for myself, i want no part of this wretched deathculture. It’s built on lies, fraud, genocide, rape, and plunder. We are capable of creating something so much better. We should get on with building it. Now.