Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Anarchists vs. ISIS: The Revolution in Syria Nobody’s Talking About

 Via; Cult Nation
 by February 6, 2015
 Photos: Erin Trieb

The Middle East today is the last place anyone in mainstream western thought would think to look for progressive political thought, and even less to see those thoughts translated into action. Our image of the region is one of dictatorships, military juntas and theocracies built on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, or hollow states like Afghanistan, and increasingly Pakistan, where anything outside the capitol is like Mad Max. The idea of part of the region being not just free, but well on its way to utopian, isn't one that you're going to find on mainstream media.

But you're not on the mainstream media right now, are you?
Along Syria's borders with Turkey and Northern Iraq, lies a mainly Kurdish area with a population of 4.6 million where a huge social experiment is taking place at the centre of a crossfire between Syria's dictatorship, ISIS's collective insanity and Turkey's ongoing hostility towards the idea of Kurdish autonomy, with the US and NATO looming large in the background. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish National Council (KNC) established in the region of Rojava a society that mixes fierce libertarianism (guns are everywhere and there are no taxes – none) and Occupy-friendly anarchist thought with a healthy dose of feminism. While most Kurdish groups, especially those the US is friendly with, would some day like to establish a Kurdish state, in Rojava they have leap-frogged over the idea of the nation state into a more advanced system that they call Democratic Confederalism.
YPJ2

In the cantons of Rojava, there is a small central government with an absolute minimum of 40% female delegates, but most of the day-to-day work of running society happens at a local level, street by street and village by village. Democratic Confederalism's chief architect, Abdullah Ocalan, says that “Ecology and feminism are central pillars” of the system he has spearheaded, something that you would have to go very far to the margins to hear from Western politicians. In Rojava, men who beat their wives face total ostracism from the community, making their lives in a highly social, connected society virtually impossible. Instead of a police force and jails, 'peace committees' in each municipality work to defuse the cycles of inter-family revenge killings by consensual agreements between both sides – and it works.

The only part of Rojava's experiment that has received any international attention has been the YPJ, the female-only paramilitary forces that have been fighting, and winning, against ISIS and the Syrian Army. NBC, the Guardian and even Marie Claire have all covered the YPJ's bravery without even paying lip service to the ideology that makes it possible.

It was the YPJ, along with their male counterparts the YPG, that rescued the thousands of Yazidis stranded and encircled by ISIS on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. The Yazidi community had the misfortune to be based almost entirely inside the area that ISIS has claimed – and they have been a hated minority in the Islamic world for a thousand years, accused of 'devil worship'. While the US dropped supplies from above, the Syrian fighting groups broke ISIS's lines and saved tens of thousands of lives. They also successfully defended the city of Kobani when ISIS launched an all-out assault on the city of forty-five thousand with tanks, missiles and even drones. Despite heavy losses, the city remains ISIS-free, though its surrounding villages are still contested.
YPJ1
The YPJ/G and the the Democratic Society Movement that they fight for aren't perfect: they have been accused of using child soldiers (girls as young as twelve serve as cooks and cleaners for the YPJ and undergo some basic combat training, though they aren't deployed in combat) and they are forever tainted by their association with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), led by Abdullah Ocalan and classified as a terrorist organization by most nations. The formerly Marxist-Leninist party also has some murky connections to the drug trade and Turkish intelligence.

Despite all the obstacles facing them, the people of Rojava are, right now, the only large-scale movement on the entire planet implementing a real, working alternative to the state and capitalism. Like the Spanish anarchist federations and the Mexican Zapatistas before them, the people of Rojava have chosen to do the impossible: to create a new society while fighting as one of the smallest forces in a regional war, a tight-rope walk through a dodge-ball court. Only time will tell if they can pull it off.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Libertarian Welfare Queens

By MK Lords

Lately, I’ve been getting tired of the same old scams coming from the same old people in the libertarian “movement”. Many OG libertarians I’ve spoken with agree, so I thought I’d compile a list of popular but parasitic libertarians. It turns out libertarians and ancaps are some of the worst capitalists ever. Despite raging against tax payer supported “welfare queens” there seems to be quite a lot of libertarians fighting for the ever depleting capital flowing from the chapped teat that holds the earnings of fellow libertarians.
Libertarians employ a variety of tactics to spread their message, but a tactic I must disagree with is begging for money from people in your movement for stunts that are utopian at best and ineffective or dangerous at worst.


Libertarians also have an aversion to critiquing fellow libertarians because of the small scope and influence the philosophy currently has and because many of them feel it would harm the movement. Any movement worth its salt can stand criticism of its members, and if it can’t then it’s not worth being a part of to begin with.
I’ve been distancing myself from the label libertarian for some time now because I hate echo chambers and increasingly felt being pulled into one. My news feed has slowly but surely become filled with the same slogans, the same news stories, the same solutions, the same begging, even the same fake names! Criticism is shot down with paranoid accusations of concern trolling or even of being a Fed. Yawn. Dissidence is not allowed and any half-assed attempt at activism by a “celebritarian” is venerated as groundbreaking. Thousands of dollars get thrown at “activists” who have disappeared other thousands with little explanation. Critiques of thought leaders are brushed away with the weak argument, “But such and such did sooooo much for liberty in the past!!!” as if it matters.

Redirecting capital to effective, peaceful, free market solutions could do wonders for human progress and I support a diversity of tactics approach to solving social problems. That doesn’t mean I believe all tactics are equally effective. It’s important to ask hard questions of charismatic leaders and press even harder when they evade. Living off of the charity of people in your own movement while arguing for capitalism seems oxymoronic especially when you keep ignoring market responses to your work.

I am not a part of the “liberty movement” though people still try to get me to add it to my work description on the Facebook. Do I promote the ideas of liberty? Sure–I’ve done several podcasts and am even a co-host on a libertarian themed radio show. But it’s because I want liberty for myself; I have no illusions about achieving freedom for mankind and sacrificing myself for the greater cause of liberty to the point of financial hardship. News flash: you can be an activist and have a job. And you can even be an effective full time activist. I like the idea of free markets but ultimately I’m an individualist anarchist if you must label it. The religiosity of some libertarians is off-putting. They criticize nonbelievers for being “brainwashed sheep” as they parrot the words of their own deities who unfortunately range from the scholarly to the deranged. They also cry a lot about not having the capital of other movements as if it’s a mystery where it’s going.
Sorry, but you guys wasted it on libertarian welfare queens.

A libertarian welfare queen is a prominent libertarian who lives off the donations of other libertarians but produces content that is factually incorrect, manipulative, embarrassing, threatening, and oftentimes ineffective or counterproductive. They are the leeches who are somehow able to keep raising money despite questionable practices in their activism and whose serious ethical breaches are ignored or forgiven despite no attempt at restitution. The people named here are not the only ones in libertarianism I consider counterproductive, either.

But enough bitching, I’m gonna name a few libertarian welfare queens because I am so tired of this particular problem robbing well intentioned people who have jobs of their well-earned money. It’s also important to be able to laugh at the strange humans that try to lead you when you’re more than capable of leading yourself. I generally like libertarians, but there are a few bad apples, and I want to let others know so they don’t support jobless swindlers. Libertarian Welfare Queenism is a problem, but the solution is simple and voluntary.
(In no particular order)

First up is His Holiness Stefan Molyneux.
h/t Bitcoin Not Bombs comrade Davi Barker for this gem
h/t Bitcoin Not Bombs comrade Davi Barker for this gem

Known as Holy Moly by his detractors, this guy makes his money off of repackaging old philosophy and bad touching donor brains. I tried to like him, I really did, but he reminded me of my mother. His audience is mostly young men and women who, if true believers, have separated from their families on his advice (that is not to make light of child abuse, I do believe separation is appropriate in certain circumstances). The same advice that got his actual therapist wife fined and threatened with suspension. He also creeps on her clients which I’m pretty sure by any standard is a violation of privacy. Molyneux bullies listeners in precarious financial situations to send him money. And when I say bully, I mean he berates broke college kids over $1 donations. Like all good authoritarian figures, he’s blatantly hypocritical in applying his own philosophy. He caused some ruckus lately when he filed a DMCA take down claim on a critic despite claiming to be virulently anti-IP for years. His older videos provide simple, easily accessible arguments for anarcho-capitalism but his recent ones are riddled with misogyny and cop apologia. And I’m not one to throw the term misogyny around irresponsibly, but he likes to call women “estrogen based parasites” which is ironic given that his wife is the one with a real job and his living is subsidized by young people in an unstable economy.
He also uses classic manipulation techniques to lure listeners in such as immediately asking about their childhoods. This approach builds a façade of false trust and closeness. It’s disturbing to say the least and I’m genuinely pissed he does it to people I care about. This is in between bizarre outbursts about black kids who dare to smoke blunts and other black kids that have miraculously figured out how to make “lean” from tea and skittles. Who knew Trayvon was an alchemist?! Even worse is his belief that he is singlehandedly saving the world (“I am the ring of fire protecting the fragile tree of virtue” is an exact quote). His followers appear to be much smarter than him and it’s unfortunate he’s such an arse because I can agree that peaceful parenting is a great thing.
Also, despite complaints of donation decreases and claims his website takes “tens of thousands of dollars” to operate, dude is sitting pretty on a stack of bitcoin. Weird that the documentary he was hyping a few years ago still hasn’t been made…and no doubt his Paypal donations greatly exceed his bitcoin ones. He’s gonna need them for the lawsuit filed by his critic for shutting down her Youtube channel, so if you feel moved please find it in your heart to send him a few bits. Or you’re a thief.
The second offender would probably be proud to be called that, say hello to Christopher Cantwell.
cantshootgunswell
Cantwell showing that piece of fabric who’s boss.

Cantwell can’t do much well other than bloviate on his blog and beg for donations while doing everything in his power to offend people, which would be hilarious if he were funny but his career is a bad joke. (hyuckhyuckhyuck!) He calls himself a comedian but I’m pretty sure living in your mother’s basement well into your thirties is only funny as a libertarian stereotype not a reality. I wish I was lying about that last part, but it’s entirely true. Since he moved out of his mom’s, he likes long walks in downtown Keene harassing meter maids and bragging about how cool it is to kill cops. He’d be infinitely more interesting if he followed through but he never will because he is a huge coward. I’m usually the first one to say attack the argument not the man, but he’s called better people worse things and I assume (often to my surprise) if people can dish it they can take it.

He also likes to talk about how any publicity is good publicity as a coping mechanism to his humiliating appearance on The Colbert Report and generally pathetic existence. Finally, libertarians get that juicy mainstream coverage, but *spoiler alert* it’s an ogre with atrocious gun safety practices. Oh yeah, he wields guns like a giant retarded baby. Other sources say he knows his shit IRL but he somehow managed to appear in at least two videos violating basic gun safety rules so I remain skeptical. He’s one of those sacrificial full time activists which I assume means being an internet tough guy. You mean to tell me an able bodied middle aged man with what I assume is years of job experience can’t go get a job like the productive libertarians? Ok. This 3edgy5me welfare queen also helped Adam Kokesh organize a failed armed march on Washington, D.C. because getting a bunch of your supporters massacred sounded like a good idea at the time. Cantwell is that bully in school that talks a lot of shit but acts on none of it. Honestly, I don’t even think he’s siphoned that much money off of libertarians, but he’s embarrassing enough to make the list with his bitching about how he “desperately” needs donations. Get a job, Cantwell, the market has spoken.
Last on the list is everyone’s favorite freedom fighter, Adam Kokesh.
kokesh
Nothing could possibly go wrong here.

If there’s one person libertarians should stop sending any money to immediately, it’s this guy. Please, I implore you; stop sending money to him. For your own sake, for the sake of future generations, please just STAHP. Sure, the butthurt among you will say, “look at all he has done!!!1!11!!!” but the butthurt among you don’t realize homeboy is a trust fund kid. Maybe back in 2010, Kokesh had some good ideas if you ignore that he stole them from other activists. I know some of them personally, but I won’t name names because I respect them and know they don’t wish to start any trouble within libertarianism. He also has a nasty habit of not paying people who work for him which is pretty messed up considering how good he is at raising money.
Kokesh is a man notorious for raising large sums of money that disappears without a trace if not squandered on useless activism. This guy riled up a bunch of mentally unstable people to march on Washington D.C. with weapons—quite possibly the dumbest stunt I’ve ever heard of—then cancelled it. He followed it up by an even more half-baked stunt: literally standing in front of the White House and Capitol racking a shotgun. Kokesh, with thousands of dollars in film and effects equipment, chose to do that instead of using a fucking green screen and then goaded libertarians into supporting his defense team after he was unsurprisingly raided. He then bailed on a legit mutual defense agency while his close team members slandered George Donnelly’s good name despite George’s meticulous records proving shenanigans. Then, and this is rich, he blamed his buddies for the missing funds! That’s 50 grand down the memory hole, mind you. Donors whined and he got his poor girlfriend to give some half-assed explanation. Everyone promptly forgot and no lawsuit was filed. Then, as if that wasn’t enough for libertarians to at least question his judgment, he goes on a book tour to spread the good word of liberty! I can understand needing to hustle when you get out of jail, but dude got another $30,000 from people for this tour. After he and/or his team disappeared over $50,000. Re-read that last sentence until it really sinks in.

So it seems libertarians and their money are easily departed, but what stings worse is that this asshole doesn’t need their money. His father is a venture capitalist who memholed $45 million and according to confidential sources his mother bankrolls his lifestyle. If you think he doesn’t have a trust fund, you are out of your goddamned mind. I give him props for being the best ancap on this list because that’s kind of impressive that he can squeeze so much money out of broke people over and over again.

**Dishonorable mention: Ron Paul. Paul was originally on the list and I removed him because he did make his money except when he was campaigning and being a congressman. All I will say is don’t be surprised when the millions people donate to a failed political campaign are wasted on bribes. Did you really think politics was fair? Bless your heart.
Libertarian welfare queens are a drain on libertarianism and I think libertarians can do better. How can libertarian welfare queens ever hope to change the world if they can’t get past their entitled mindsets? How can libertarians ever inspire others to lead themselves if they’re still following these vermin?

Now there are still some scammers about that don’t quite make the list and activist methods I find are a waste of money even with the best of intentions, so here’s a litmus test if that money is burning a hole in your pocket. If any of the people on this list ask for money, don’t give it to them; if someone tells you there’s a Randian utopia waiting for you in Chile, don’t give them money (even if they have a team of cryptoanarchists ready to pounce); if someone says they are going to tour America spreading the good word of liberty, don’t give them money; if someone threatens to quit the “movement” because they’re not able to pay their bills as an activist, don’t give them money; if someone says they’re running for office, you know better than to give them money; if someone asks you to fund their anarcho-hippie commune, don’t give them money; if you’re a broke college kid, don’t give your money to anybody. If it sounds too good to be true it is and if it’s coming from a libertarian welfare queen it will probably be ham-fistedly executed.

Good ideas spread organically and now virally thanks to the internet, and despite a rough economy you can make money if you produce something valuable to others. There is no need to resort to older, more time consuming and expensive methods. Put your money where it matters and lead yourself. Or at the very least, do your due diligence on activists asking for money—there are some excellent projects out there by trustworthy people, but there are a lot of scammers too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Should Long Island Secede, With Brooklyn As The Capital?





There are lots of people who often joke about New York City seceding from New York State, and I admit, I’m one of them. But imagine my surprise to hear that there’s a secessionist movement for Long Island. As it turns out, Brooklyn is the capital of The Independent State of Long Island. That’s
 right, I was watching the most recent episode of “How The States Got Their Names” on History Channel. This episode focused on the various accents across the country and eventually they got to discussing the accent’s from Long Island. This led to a small segment about The Independent State of Long Island and their dream of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk succeeding into it’s own state. There’s even a pretty clever flag! Well, it got me to thinking. If Brooklyn was the capital of Long Island the 51st state then what would that mean for Sheepshead Bay?
How would things be different around here? Would we get more tax money for infrastructure? Would the port and bay get more development? Would we be a tourist destination? Without the MTA would we retain the focus for public transport to New York, or would easy access to the rest of the island become a priority?
Kinda makes you think doesn’t it? As for The Independent State of Long Island, the movement has been around since 2007. Check out the website for a whole bunch of interesting statistics, they even have a news page! As for me, I kinda wanna get that flag!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Open Source Law


By: Pasquale Pulella 
NATA-NY

A peaceful society is free society, violence and governments go hand in hand. Violence or the threat of violence is used by government to keep and confine everyone in a certain standard that is deemed acceptable by the power structure. The law is the mechanism by which the state controls by violence. The law of the state is used to restrict, confine, control, demoralize, dehumanize, categorize, punish, and demonize anyone who does not confine to the semi-robotic industrialized humanity. As Mikhail Bakunin once said “The liberty of man Consists solely in this: that he obeys natural laws because he himself has recognized them as such” The law of anarchy must do the opposite of what the law of the state does; however it is not always that simple. The reason that we have so many laws in a state controlled society is because people differ in what they see as a “just law”. In the suburbia community where I live in on long island it is illegal to build above a certain height, it’s illegal to build a fence above three feet or so in the front yard, why is this? This is because people think that that sort of construction is considered “poor taste” and it lowers the value of their “property”. This however restricts my freedom to build my fence higher than they want.

So instead of using violent force to break the will of someone you want to control, we can have agreements based on voluntary associations of individuals or collectives. Violence is to be used only when necessary. This system of laws may be seen as a guideline for the autonomous order of a free society. The concept of open source law is not unique to post-Proudhon anarchists. Pirates of the 1600’s even had their own set of laws they called the pirate code, Early Ireland had Brehon law, 16th century Italy had the code of Omerta` (I’ll write another article about this). Ethics can also be seen by some as open source law, applied correctly Ethics can mirror natural law exactly. Natural law demands that you do what you want so long as it does not directly harm your fellow man. The Non-Aggression principle is an example of natural law/ethics. People can regulate themselves in dangerous behavior biased on proper education. An example would be that a boy scout is taught to put out campfires when they leave, no law can actually stop anyone from doing otherwise.
                Anarchistic law would probably be applied in a similar manner to the following. This is not an anarchist constitution but rather a guideline for one. If anyone has revisions they wish to make I would highly recommend you formulate it in another article entitled “Open Source Law Redo by_____”

The initiation of violence is prohibited unless with the consent or agreement between the offender and victim.
a.       If two people get into a fight it does not matter who hit first it is a dispute witch both parties must resolve unless either side calls for a third party to keep the piece or resolve a dispute (lawyer/arbitrator/professional juror [like in Celtic Ireland]/peacekeeping militia, etc.)
b.      The use of defensive violence is not prohibited no matter what kind of violence is used. If someone uses excessive violence in defense it does not constitute a crime. (If someone tries to rob someone with a pocketknife then the person getting robed has the right to kill them with a bazooka.)
c.       No regulation may be implemented based on violence or the threat of violence unless it protects the free will of a group or individual or their possessions ownership/use. Also it may be used to maintain collective or individual separatism.


2.       When using possessions that do not belong to said user they must consent to certain criteria implemented by the possessor.
a.       If using an individual’s possession, the possessor may require that the user consent to certain criteria for the protection of or to obtain or restrain certain benefits of said possession.
b.      If an individual or collective uses the possession of a collective the possessors may require that the user(s) consent to certain criteria for the purpose of protection of the possession or for certain benefits it may or may not give.

3.       Possession may be obtained and/or lost.
a.       Possession may be obtained when an individual or collective apply their labor to a non-possessed object, land, or animal. (Does not apply when other peoples uses of said possession does not restrict that of the original possessor.
b.      Possession may be lost when said possession is neglected or when the possessor dies or permanently vacates to another location where the possession is not present.

4.       Law practice in a free society must abide by the Non-Aggression Principle.
a.       Both parties may agree on what law consultant to consult and act as a third party to a dispute
b.      If the two parties do not agree on what law arbitrator to consult each person(s) may consult their own and both acting lawyers must put together a jury of the defendant’s community (people who know him/her somewhat)
c.       All parties involved in a dispute can come to agreement on the defendant’s innocence or guilt based off of proof of crime and both parties may agree to reparations.
d.      If the guilty defendant cannot pay for reparations with his personal resources than the defendant may pay with his labor in a reasonable manor agreed upon by both parties.
e.      If a defendant does not agree to pay reparations or to show up for his dispute/trial he is a violator of the Non-Aggression Principle and the use of violence is neither necessary nor prohibited against the violator.

5.       The right to be governed. All people have a right to be free but alternatively they also have a right to be enslaved, Should they want.
a.       If a government is to be formed in a free society it must consist of a defined area where all the people consent to be governed by hierarchical violence
b.      If a government is formed and the people rebel the law of nature will not protect the government that is formed nor will it protect any beneficiary’s and should they use violence against the government and flee to free land no law system can condemn them

Definitions

Ø  Possession; objects, lands, animals that are used, maintained, operated, and/or acquired by a group or individual for their own use, and they maintain the rights to its usage.
Ø  Separatism; Independence or voluntary non-association with an individual or groups of individuals. Certain people may be restricted access to certain private lands or possessions
Ø  Non-Aggression Principle; the principle by witch no person may initiate violence, the threat of violence, physical force, or fraud against another person unless such a person has violated the principle on them. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Scottish Independence Means for Anarchism

by Daniel Hawkins
VIA:The Art of Not being Governed

Something earth-shattering is about to happen.

Tomorrow, the British-ruled country known as Scotland will vote for their independence.
The news has been focusing almost entirely on what this will mean for the UK and Europe. Most people have been completely preoccupied with what this will mean for the area economically. But that isn’t half the story; the trivialization of the matter should not be surprising. In all likelihood, if you’re an American reader, you probably hadn’t even heard of the Scottish independence referendum until the last week or two. But don’t be fooled; this is a momentous and historic event. This vote has the power to change the world forever. This may seem like a long-winded article, but I beg you to stay with it, and watch for the results of what may be the most important vote in history.
To understand why this is so important for you and why this could potentially transform the world as we know it, we have to learn the story behind it. To know why many Scots want to separate from England and the UK, we must first understand why these two countries are so different; we have to understand the history and nature of Great Britain.

First, some lessons in terminology are in order. If this seems elementary to you, I apologize, but most of us Americans are kept in ignorance by our media and schools, so this is important. The British Isles consist of: Ireland, Scotland, England,* the Isle of Man, Ireland, and many surrounding islands. The British government rules over all of the British Isles except for the Republic of Ireland. What we call Great Britain consists of one island divided into three countries: England, Wales, and Scotland. This is the British mainland, stretching from Dover in the south to the Orkneys in the north. The United Kingdom, however, is a little different. The UK consists of: Great Britain (i.e., England, Scotland, and Wales), as well as the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, and several other islands. While the Union Jack does not contain the Welsh flag, it basically integrates the countries of the UK into it:
flagevolution


This is their story:

2,400 years ago, war and agricultural pressures forced the Celts to leave their homelands (modern-day France, Spain, and other parts of the European mainland). Sailing north, the Celts peopled the British Isles. From the Stone Age to the Iron Age, they dominated the area.** The marks of their rich and ancient history can be seen all over the Isles, from the Ring of Brodgar to Stonehenge, from the Meath Stone of Destiny to Castell Henllys.
Slowly, the Celts formed their own distinct sub-cultures and societies. The inhabitants of the large island to the west became known as the Irish. On the mainland known today as Great Britain, the Britons occupied the south. To the north lived the Picts, or the Scots as they were also called. The wild land on the west coast belonged to the Welsh. Over the centuries—due to some amount of luck and bloody struggle—remnants of these Celtic cultures have managed to survive in many parts of the British Isles.

Both the Romans and Greeks attempted to colonize the Isles, but to little avail. Upon hearing of its tempestuous sea and its wild people, the Romans were too afraid to enter Ireland. They tried and failed to tame the Welsh, and were repeated repelled by the fearsome Scots/Picts to the north. It seemed their domain would have to remain in the south. After much frustration, the Roman emperor Hadrian built a 73 mile-long stone wall between present-day Scotland and present-day England. For centuries, Hadrian’s Wall was considered the border between the wilder north and the more civilized south. This was only the beginning of the divide.

The Britons and the Romans lived together, sometimes in peace and other times in war. The Romans totally changed the cultural landscape, influencing everything on the British mainland, from law to art to religion, but the Britons still held fast to their heritage. Most historians consider their legacy to be the civilizing of the Britons. Ultimately, though, the land proved to be too distant and too wild compared to their homelands for the Greeks or the Romans to govern. As the Roman and Greek presence in Britain dwindled, another invasion began.

Driven by their own conflicts and agricultural pressures, three tribes from modern-day Germany sailed across the sea and into the British Isles. In the northernmost area of Germany, along the Danish border, came the Jutes. Just south of them came the Angles. From further south still came the most dominant tribe, the Saxons. Cousins to the Vikings who came later, these tribes brought with them a new religion, a new writing system, and a new language. They never quite made a strong impact in Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, or Wales, however. Like the Greeks and Romans before them, these Germanic tribes were mostly restricted to the south. The Celtic lands proved again unconquerable.
Eventually, these three Germanic tribes became known as the Anglo-Saxons. Their new domain was called Angle-Land, or as we call it today, England. The Anglo-Saxon influence cannot be overstated. The English language owes its existence to the Anglo-Saxons (going back to the writing of Beowulf). We even borrow our days of the week from their religion: for example, Woden (their cognate of Odin) lends his name to Wednesday. As Christianity spread through Europe, it is believed by scholars that some Britons were Christianized earlier than the Anglo-Saxons, but that the Anglo-Saxons played a crucial role in establishing Catholicism as the first official religion of England.
By the 9th century AD, (after about 250 years of rule) not only was their culture unrecognizable, but the style of government in England was completely different than the Celtic lands outside it. While the Celts probably clung to polycentric law and clan chieftains, the Anglo-Saxons created a mix of Germanic and Roman governing systems. What came out was a patchwork of earldoms, with written laws and legal monopolies. While language and religion easily crossed borders, the legal culture struggled to. These differences divided the Celts from the English, and enmity grew between them at every opportunity.

The Viking invasion had a considerable effect on life in the British Isles. These pagan pillagers had little mercy for what was, to them, a fertile land ripe for harvest. Unlike the Romans, they battled the Irish Celts for as long as they could. The threat to the English way of life was so great that the Anglo-Saxon earls united under a high king, establishing, for the very first time, the English Monarchy.***

The Vikings remained there for about 150 years, building permanent settlements in Ireland, Scotland, and most notably, eastern England. The area of England ruled by the Vikings became known as Danelaw. The remaining English lands—Wessex and part of Mercia—could be considered more civilized, but life was not easy for them. The English and Vikings were nearly constantly at war. Some Celts allied themselves with the Vikings in order to push the Anglo-Saxons out of their lands, but ultimately failed. The new English Monarchy claimed control of Wales and Cornwall, forming Britannia.

Danelaw finally fell—partly through war and partly through political alliances—toward the end of the Anglo-Saxon reign. The mark of the Vikings was left, but a new age was about to begin. After the death of King Edward the Confessor, several English earls vied for his throne. As England was weakened, a Norman nobleman by the name of William laid claim. The Normans, including Duke William, were descendants of Viking invaders, but were well integrated into French culture. With imperial ambitions and a name to make, William was about to change the face of the Britain forever.
William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of Great Britain
William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy and King of Great Britain

In 1066, following political scandals involving the Anglo-Saxon earls, William invaded in full force. The Anglo-Saxons fell, and their kingdom fell with it. What followed was a revolution in law and culture. But, we must know, it came at a terrible price. It was not enough for William the Conqueror to subjugate western England. He conquered what remained of Danelaw, as well as the earldoms surrounding Hadrian’s Wall. This was the Harrowing of the North. With a method of Total War, William starved, smoked, and rooted out the English and Celts wherever he could. Moving further north, his invasion of Scotland proved to be a bloody campaign, culminating in the temporary defeat of the Scottish monarchy and clans.

William’s attempts to quell the Welsh and the Irish did not prove as successful as his English campaign. However, even after his death, his imperial legacy carried on. Eventually, alliances were made and broken, and the Normans brought their hammer down on these Celtic lands. But the United Kingdom was yet to be born. There remained strong pockets of Celtic resistance in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and their respective monarchs and chieftains put up a fight for another few centuries. Future monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I would follow in William’s footsteps, laying claim to the whole of the British Isles.

In William’s time, however, he exercised iron-fisted control over what lands he could govern. Building upon the heavily Romanized legal system in England, he ordered a massive census to be taken of everyone in his kingdom. This tome became known as the Domesday Book. The event was such a defeat for the free peoples, our word “doom” (and Doomsday) as well as our connotation of “reckoning” come from this act. As a uniform tax code was imposed on his kingdom, William centralized the government in a way that hadn’t been seen since the Roman occupation. As monarch of Britain, William paved the way for even more bad blood between the English and the Celts.
William the Conqueror not only centralized and formalized the law, but also helped to establish the Feudal system. While Feudalism existed in one form or another in the rest of the British Isles, it took a particularly strong hold in England in the form of Manoralism (essentially an aristocratic plantation system). This system was far more codified than any semi-Feudal system in the past or in the Celtic lands. The various dukes, earls, and barons of England often held some influence in the king’s court.

To be an English feudal lord, however, it was usually a prerequisite that one had to have Norman ancestry, since the Normans were the conquering force. This class of British citizenry became known as Anglo-Normans. Beneath them were the un-assimilated Celts and Anglo-Saxons, who often toiled in the fields and were conscripted into wars in the name of their feudal lords. In many cases, the Scots were literally enslaved by the English. This was the Medieval Age in Britain. With its own parliament, court, and monarchy, that special mix of Brittonic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and Norman cultures became what we know today as England.

Scotland, among the other Celtic lands, grew up with its own history. With very little Roman influence, very little Anglo-Saxon influence, some Viking influence, and some Norman influence, the Celtic culture of Scotland remained quite dominant for centuries. While it isn’t as prominent as in Ireland or Wales, Scotch Gaelic is still spoken by 1.1% of the Scottish population. Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern Era, Scotland and England had a “love-hate relationship,” to say the least. Different Houses of Scotland had different attitudes toward the English nobility and monarchy. Sometimes, a Scottish monarch would simultaneously be the English monarch, and vice versa. Sometimes, they would be separate. The history is complicated, to say the least. In any case, the Scots were never quite comfortable.

To say that the Scots were subject to foreign rule is both correct and incorrect, depending on whom you ask. The Unionist idea is generally that both countries exist on the same island, and the various intermarriages between the royal families forged a de facto relationship that served as the basis for the formal union. But there has never been any consensus on this issue in Scotland. Repeatedly, English monarchs attempted to truly conquer Scotland, but largely failed. In the periods of English rule, bloody rebellions were always sure to come. One of the most notable early wars came in the form of the First War of Scottish Independence, pitting King Robert the Bruce and William Wallace against King Edward (“Hammer of the Scots”) I. If you’ve seen Braveheart, you should be a little familiar with this war. A period of independence followed****, but only for 18 years. Then followed the Second War of Independence, which lasted for about 25 years. Several rebellions were fought in the following centuries. As the English Reformation commenced, Scotland held onto Catholicism and also adopted Presbyterianism. This religious divide represented, and still represents, a massive divide between the cultures of the two nations. A true union between the two nations seemed impossible.
Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. William Wallace and Robert the Bruce remain enormously important figures in Scotland.
Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. William Wallace and Robert the Bruce remain enormously important figures in Scotland.

A union did come, however. When Scottish monarchs held sway in England—particularly the Stuarts—the idea of a union was supported by most of the Scots. In 1603, the Scottish monarch James VI (James I in England) became the first monarch of Great Britain. This drove a wedge into Scotland between those who were satisfied with British rule (as long as it meant having a Scottish monarch to represent their interests), and those who believed that a union, no matter who was in charge, would be ultimately controlled by aristocrats. The divide remains there today.
For 100 years, the debate raged on, as did the English Civil War. However, the general idea (at least as phrased by the Unionists) was that it would be a Union of the Crowns. For the duration of the 17th century, both countries had separate parliaments. Both nations had their disputes with their respective governments, but they were, in fact, distinct. Eventually, the Scottish Stuart line was deposed forever. Still, many Scots believed having a Scottish parliament would act as a bulwark against disconnected, English interests (sound familiar?). But as the 18th century dawned, things changed.

On May 1, 1707, the Union of the Kingdom of Great Britain was formed. If you ask a Unionist, they will tell you that the Scottish parliament and English parliament unified into one parliament—the Parliament of Great Britain, centered in Westminster—consisting of both Scottish and English members to represent regional interests. If you ask a Scottish Nationalist, however, they will tell you that Scotland was utterly robbed of its sovereignty. The Scottish parliament did vote in favor of a Union, but as we libertarians know, it’s hard saying whether or not a parliament truly represents the wishes of its people. In either case, Scottish representation and sovereignty was formally handed over to England for the first and final time.

In the 1740s, a huge group of rebellious Scots—known as the Jacobites—attempted to throw off English rule. This was one of the most significant Scottish Nationalist movements in history. Again, depending on whom you ask, their goals were either: to install a Stuart to the throne of the Union, or to install a Stuart to the Scottish throne and dissolve the Union. After a close fight, the Battle of Culloden signaled the defeat of the Jacobites. The English monarch (in this case the Anglo-German George II) would remain the monarch of Great Britain and the United Kingdom. The defeat was meant to be eternal. The Highland Clearances followed, sometimes with legal blows like the Highland Dress Act and the Disarming Act.
The bloody Battle of Culloden ushered in and solidified an era of Scotland's ethno-cultural cleansing.
The bloody Battle of Culloden ushered in and solidified an era of Scotland’s ethno-cultural cleansing.

The 19th century was one of relatively absolute English rule. Expanding across the globe, the British Empire now had more than enough power to rule over most of its colonies. With Scotland as its neighbor, this proved to be relatively easy. A few skirmishes broke out here and there, but the Scots mostly deferred to the political process when they attempted to gain more independence. As the 20th century began, echoes of chaos came from the west.
The Irish War of Independence rocked the British Isles. The issue of Irish independence tore permanent rifts within the British and Irish citizenry. Ireland, much like Scotland, was once a Celtic nation, and had developed a completely different ethnic, religious, and cultural heritage from England. Their own wars of independence were fought, and their sovereignty was never taken quite as seriously as Scotland’s by the British government. From 1918 into the ‘20s, the gravity of the Irish desire to break from England was felt by nearly everyone. This history warrants its own article, if not series of books, but to keep it brief: The northern Irish province of Ulster had long been inhabited by both an Irish Catholic underclass and Anglo-Irish Protestant “planters.” The Planters exercised much political and economic control over the area, extending down into Ireland.
Michael Collins, Irish politician and first leader of the IRA. He was ultimately assassinated.
Michael Collins, Irish politician and first leader of the IRA. He was ultimately assassinated.

Because so many people of British ancestry lived in Ulster, when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was finally signed in 1921, Ulster—which from then on was called Northern Ireland—opted out of the newly-formed Irish Free State in favor of joining the UK. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), which had fought for independence, was fragmented into two main groups: those who supported Northern Ireland’s loyalty to Britain, and those who wanted a united Ireland. Fueled by religious and political differences, the two sides formed their own paramilitary organizations and political parties. Violence over this issue lasted throughout the 20th century and into today. It was not contained to Northern Ireland, however, but spread across the water into Great Britain and the United States. While the violence has subsided, the divide remains.

The issue of Irish independence and the violent tenacity of the IRA lit a fire beneath the British government. With a large Catholic populace, many Scots were sympathetic to the Irish cause from the start. Others still (mostly Unionists) supported the Loyalist cause. Scots, for most of the 20th century, were not only preoccupied with being drafted into both World Wars, but generally were disinterested in armed resistance. Like Ulster, Scotland remained (and remains) divided on Unionism. Violence, for the most part, has been out of the question. With the formation of the Scottish National Party (the SNP) in the early half of the 20th century, Scotland gained significant political influence in Westminster. By the 1990s, Scotland regained its own parliament. Most people term this phenomenon “devolution” (you be the judge about what connotation that brings).

As Britain lost its colonies overseas, hopes for Scottish separatism grew. In the 1970s, upon discovering oil in the North Sea (in Scottish waters), many Scots—particularly Nationalists—supported the idea that the revenue from the oil should flow into Scotland. British Petroleum (BP), formerly the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, immediately focused on obtaining North Sea oil. Norway obtained much of the oil, but many Scots viewed the oil as belonging not to Britain as a whole, but to Scotland. With billions of barrels of oil at stake, it’s no wonder that BP is urging Scotland to stay in the Union. The financial concerns of England (well, more accurately, English Corporatists) are taking center-stage. The English aristocrats and bureaucrats are begging Scotland to stay in the Union. The attitude of many of those in the “Better Together” campaign can be called, at times, condescending. The shackles of empire are quaking under the strength of the Scottish spirit of liberty.
union dissolved

More importantly, the breaking up not only of the United Kingdom but of Great Britain itself means that large governments, maybe the State itself, could lose power at any moment. It’s no surprise to anyone that the idea of secession is gaining legitimacy around the world. Kurdish secession, Ukrainian/Russian secession, Venetian secession, Texan secession, the successful South Sudanese secession—even the corporatist propaganda outlets are taking notice. The question posed by these movements is: “If Scotland can successfully break away after 1,000 years of attempted and successful English rule, why can’t we?”

That’s the question of the century. That’s what it all comes down to. One of the many definitions of “nation” (and the one I favor) is: “an aggregation of persons of the same ethnic family, often speaking the same language or cognate languages.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nation).By this definition, and by the measure of History, these are two separate nations. Here’s a more important point:

Any human being—regardless of origin, regardless of reason, regardless of political position—deserves to be free. They deserve to make their own destiny. Many conservatives, libertarians, and even some anarchists have been criticizing Scottish independence as silly. Their new government, and the SNP in general, may turn Scotland in to a socialist nation in the style of Sweden or Denmark. This is true. Most Scottish Nationalists lean fairly hard to the Left. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. Who knows what will happen to Scotland in the future. Even if it is the case, why does it matter? It’s not my country. They are their own people, each individual Scot is his or her own person. It’s not my place nor is it my desire to tell them what to do.
Whether or not Scotland can be economically viable is a matter of debate, but everyone should note that the same country that churned out world-renowned shakers like Adam Smith and James Watt has a historical foundation to stand on when it comes to economics.

 Many Scots want to be free. They’re tired of the English yoke. They’re tired of being subjects of the Queen and Prime Minister. They’re tired of getting pushed into Britain and America’s costly wars, and tired of sacrificing their freedom in the process. They want to trade with who they choose to trade with. They want to break away and form their own destiny. As Lysander Spooner said about the American Civil War:
“The question of treason is distinct from that of slavery; and is the same that it would have been, if free States, instead of slave States, had seceded. On the part of the North, the war was carried on, not to liberate the slaves, but by a government that had always perverted and violated the Constitution, to keep the slaves in bondage; and was still willing to do so, if the slaveholders could thereby induced to stay in the Union. The principle, on which the war was waged by the North, was simply this: That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want; and that resistance, on their part, makes them traitors and criminals.”

Secession is a dangerous idea. The failure of secession movements or any rebellion can inspire two things: a renewed faith in large, imperial governments, or a loss of faith in government in general. In my opinion as an anarchist, I am not always disheartened when revolutions fail. The political process, after all, is fundamentally opposed to liberty. If secession movements win, the results are obvious. If this referendum passes, it could mean that the concept of empire, that the concept of government, is in its death throes. As the “libertarian moment” approaches, this could mean the dawning of an era of real, honest freedom. Yes, secession could mean that Scotland could fall under another corrupt government, and yes, I believe that all government is slavery. I’m not a Minarchist. The key difference here, and the reason why I as an anarchist support this movement, is because this is a step toward the right direction. I don’t want the Scots to stop at national independence. I want them only to pass through and go on to better things. I don’t want Scottish Nationalism; I want Scottish Separatism. I want real independence for each and every Scot, for each and every human.
saltire
 “Once one concedes that a single world government is not necessary, then where does one logically stop at the permissibility of separate states? If Canada and the United States can be separate nations without being denounced as in a state of impermissible ‘anarchy’, why may not the South secede from the United States? New York State from the Union? New York City from the state? Why may not Manhattan secede? Each neighbourhood? Each block? Each house? Each person?”
–Murray Rothbard

Soar Alba gu bràth

Footnotes:
*Whether Cornwall should be considered part of England is its own issue. A heavily Celtic area, Cornwall has its own unique history and culture, along with a thriving independence movement of its own.
**A large portion of historians term this area of Europe “Gaul” (the name the Romans gave it), and so term the Celts who moved away “Gaels.” We call their language/culture Gaelic. There are subtleties and debates about this terminology, however.
***It was around this time that Scotland came under a monarch. However, it remained a Scottish monarch for centuries, and most monarchs had considerably weaker control over the clans when compared with the English system of governance. Even after the Norman invasion, Scotland (due to its distance and its distinct culture) was difficult to pull under their yoke.
****While Edward ultimately failed to unite the kingdoms under his rule, he did succeed in taking the Stone of Scone as a spoil of war. The Stone of Scone (also called the Stone of Destiny) was symbolically used as the coronation rock for the high kings of Scotland, and remains an important cultural icon. The Stone was placed under the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey, where it remained for centuries. In 1950, some Scottish Nationalist students attempted to steal the Stone and return it to Scotland; however, the British police returned it. In the 1990s, in a symbol of amicable union and apology for past offences, the stone was returned to Edinburgh.

Fiume: The last Pirate Utopia



During the golden age of piracy in the 17th and 18th century, heroic rebels plundered the lucrative shipping routes between Europe and the New World. They operated from free ports, the so-called pirate utopia’s on islands and along unreachable coastlines, outside the grasp of civilization. From these anarchist enclaves these free men organized unseen raids with which they undermined mercantilism and the upcoming system of worldwide oppression, slavery and colonialism.
One of the last of these pirate utopias was founded in 1919 by the celebrated poet and well known Italian national hero Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863-1938). He gained fame during the First World War, where he fought in the Italian army, but refused, as did so many of his generation, to conform himself back to civilian life after the war. Therefore Italy became a pool of nationalist and revolutionary aspirations after the war. Futurists, fascists, anarchists: all tried to create a ‘new’ Italy, based on heroism, national glory and overcoming the class struggle.

DAnnunzio_1

Fiume (now known as the Croatian Rijeka) was part of the Habsburg Empire for centuries, before the First World War made an end to this. And although the city was then claimed by the Italians, it was given to the Slaves in Versailles by the Entente. D’Annunzio did not agree with this and moved from words to actions by marching from Ronchi di Monfalcone to Fiume in September 1919 with about three thousand deserted Italian soldiers. The city was conquered without even firing one shot and D’Annunzio and his troops were warmly welcomed by the population of the city.

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After the Italian government refused to annexate the city, Gabriele D’Annunzio pronounced Fiume to be a Free State and for sixteen months conducted a revolutionary reign. With this Fiume became a social experiment and pilgrimage for all kind of freethinkers, artists and revolutionaries. Together with the national-syndicalist Alceste De Ambris he created the ‘Carta del Carnaro’, which served as the new constitution of the newly formed Free state. The absolute equality of men and women, freedom of religion and a comprehensive social system based on corporatism were the essential principles of this new constitution. Gabriele D’Annunzio wanted to develop a new civilization that was different from the corrupted, shiftless, vulgar and outplayed politicians of western civilization. His free port had to set the example to create a new spiritual storm which would radically change the western world. This new civilization would no longer be based on mammon and power, but on heroism and individual freedom.
D’Annunzio thought it was of a crucial importance that the population of Fiume introduced a new way of living. Each day parades were held, bonfires were ignited and theatrical speeches were given to inspire the population. A participation-democracy was realized with a decentralized government and many forms of direct democracy. This social experiment became the starting point of departure for universal rebellion. And under the leadership of the futurists, revolutionaries and other adventurers that en masse came to the city, it seemed this could work. After a trade-blockade by Italy to undermine the economy of Fiume, D’Annunzio developed an alternative system which was mainly based on piracy. His land- and sea robbers he called ‘Uscocchi’, after the infamous Slavic pirates from the past, who raided the region. One of the most well-known actions of the Uscocchi took place on the 18th of April 1920, when they robbed 46 expensive thoroughbreds from a riding school of the Italian army. The Italian government was furious and threatened with hard sanctions against Fiume, after which D’Annunzio promised to return the horses. However instead of returning the stolen thoroughbreds, D’Annunzio returned 46 emaciated peasant horses to the Italian government. A provocation which inspired many people.

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Gabriele D’Annunzio was ahead of his time when he noticed the newly formed League of Nations (the predecessor of the United Nations) was a conspiracy of thieves and scammers. As an alternative he founded the ‘Lega di Fiume’, a league which had to unify and liberate all the oppressed peoples of the world. Within this league there would be place for the Irish, the Palestinians and other Arab peoples, Asians and of course the Slavic peoples who were oppressed by Serbia. However, these plans came to an abrupt end when in the December month of 1920 the Italian army made a definitive end to D’Annunzio’s pirate utopia, This day became known as ‘Bloody Christmas’.
After the fall of the Free state Fiume, Gabriele D’Annunzio retreated to Italy, where many of his ideas found an entrance in the rising fascism of Mussolini. Although he supported some fascist ideals, he strongly rejected others. The poet supported the corporatist arrangement of the economy and the strife for a new society based on heroism, action and nationalism. However Mussolini’s alliance with the foundations of the ‘old’ Italy – the monarchy and the church – could of course not get his approval. The Free state of Fiume was by no means an example what Italy could expect for the coming two decades. The Free state of Fiume was a social experiment in which the anarchist principles of direct democracy stood at the basis, while the fascism of Mussolini degenerated into a conservative and totalitarian dictatorship. Where the population of Fiume knew an unprecedented individual freedom, many Italians totally forgot the meaning of freedom after twenty years of fascist oppression.
Every attempt to qualify D’Annunzio’s regime as a rightwing or leftwing phenomenon is deemed to fail. The great force of the poet was his ability of acquiring support from a colorful and very diverse companionship that was capable – be it for a short period of time – to create their own reality. With the fall of the Free state of Fiume there came an abrupt end to the glory time of the pirate utopias. In a time in which the influence of modern society seems to be insurmountable and the State seems to influence all aspects of human life, the prospect on such a Free state seems further away than ever before. However, it is exactly because of this that we have to keep on pursuing the ideals of D’Annunzio and other spirited rebels. Only by realizing Free spaces outside the influence sphere of the State – how big or small they maybe -, we can show the people that real freedom can still be achieved.

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