Sunday, August 15, 2010

AK Press' love letter to Glenn Beck, or, why not side with a fascist against socialists?

From Revolution by the Book, the AK Press weblog.

**Clarification: I just realized that I didn't, in fact, put in the context in which the open letter came about. The open letter wasn't just something that AK decided to do out of nowhere, it was in response to Beck's holding up of the book "We are an image of the future", about Anarchists in Greece, and calling it a Communist book, with a big 'c'.

After the obligatory 'we're not really with you' paragraph they get down to business, which is saying that yes, literally, they really are with him, or at least think that Beck is a sort of proto-Anarchist, which is interesting considering that he wants a theocracy and trashes people who are out there in the Union movement, like Andy Stern and SEIU, the Change to Win coalition, was partially responsible for destroying ACORN, a group that did real work to improve people's lives. But, what do I know.

"We don’t blame you, Glenn. When we sift through your rants, we realize that there’s a lot of overlap between you and anarchists. The difference is that anarchists are more honest, aren’t part of the same elites they criticize, and they make a lot more sense. They see you, and raise you one.

Like you, we believe that people’s lives would be much better off without government intervention. Centralized power suppresses individual and community initiative and keeps people from achieving their full potential. Like you, we don’t think the solution to our current economic crisis lies in socialized industry or new layers of well-paid government bureaucrats. And, like you and many of your tea party pals, we agree that bankers and fat-cat corporate elites aren’t exactly concerned with our best interests. As you put it, it’s time to take down the folks who “line their pockets with wealth gained from enslaving a whole group of people.” And, although you seemed a bit confused on this point, that means putting “people before profits,” which is pretty much the central concern of the protesters in Greece right now. And we mean all people, regardless of income, race, gender, sexuality, or immigration status.

You’re right: we’re revolutionaries. But aren’t you? Remember the part of the Declaration of Independence that says that when a government starts screwing with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”? As anarchists, we’re dedicated to the idea of abolishing the state and capitalism altogether. We believe that without the coercive relations and competition imposed by governments and markets, people would be free to create a more just society in which resources are controlled collectively and decisions are made by the people who are affected by them. We don’t want a government (revolutionary or otherwise); we want a society based on cooperation and common sense instead of arbitrary power and exploitation.

From what sense we can make of your show, you seem happy with “altering” rather than “abolishing” a screwed-up system. For you, replacing the old boss with a new one (Sarah Palin?) is good enough. We understand that you’re confused—these are confusing times. But, deep down, you and the tea partiers know that you can’t trust any politician, or banker, or corporate hack, or union bureaucrat…or anyone who makes their living sucking power and profit from ordinary people. Which, unfortunately, probably includes multi-millionaires like you.

So, Glenn, we’re guessing that’s why you’re so afraid of us. We don’t fit neatly into your black-and-white formula. You simply borrow some of the best ideas from our 150-year-old anti-authoritarian tradition. We take those same ideas and not only run with them, but improve on them. We follow the logic to its ethical conclusion. And we include corporate media moguls like you in our Hall of Infamy."

I mean, hey, what's wrong with a guy who supports radical John Birch anti-Communists anyways, like Skousen? They're anti-Communist too, so even though they're radically opposed to all not just progressive values but human values unless you believe in a kind of right wing nationalistic patriotic capitalism, I guess they're OK. Just a little....imperfect.

Way to side with someone coming down on the wrong side of history on virtually every level because he dislikes Communists and you put your Anarchy brand so far in estimation that you don't give a damn about people actually working for social change who don't fit your personal bill.

Remind me of this next time you folks want some kind of support, because folks who find themselves thrown under the wheel at the least convenience of some other group are very willing to help out.

*on edit: funny I should write this after saying that the mainstream labor movement isn't radical enough to put forward socialism from within it. This, at the current time, is true, but I would never disparage 'union' bureaucrats' in an open letter, especially not in a letter to an ultra-right political commentator who wants to see all unions gone. It's something called 'Solidarity', a word that the people at AK Press should look up.


samadhi said...

well brother! Fuck Beck and the conservative-capitalist horse he rode in on as well as his shill Faux newz network of propaganda!

schalom.libertad said...

Thanks for pointing this out. It's pathetic, especially after reading that AK wrote this statement after "deep deliberation."

Poumista said...

I don't see what the big deal is. They're using humor. They're not endorsing him in any way whatsoever. You're right about the union bureaucrat bit, but otherwise, you need to calm down.

John Madziarczyk said...

They're not just using humor, they're saying that both he and the tea party are on their side in many ways, and that they should recognize this. It's sort of hard not to see them saying this. The point is that they seem to side with Beck in his condemnation of most of the left, and don't really recognize the many people that are doing positive things that they're discounting by saying this.

John Madziarczyk said...

Not to post too much on this, but in a nutshell the question boils down to this: do you think it's wise to basically say "Yeah, we think the left sucks too, for some of the same reasons you do" to a person who is trying very hard to eliminate Progressive social change and social policy in this country?