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Antifa’s use of red and black flags is symbolism for anarchism and anarcho-communism, which seems strange given their actions, their words, and their disrespect for individuals and property. I’m not necessarily the best writer to speak on this for two reasons.

For one, I’m not an anarchist, I’m a minarchist… so my outrage at the false flag is limited (though I swear, I’ve got close friends who are anarchist). For two, “anarcho-communism” seems to me nothing other than a contradiction in terms that could only have been coined by idiots, the insane, or satirists. You’d think they’d have dictionaries in California colleges and used hipster bookstores.

Normally, I’d reach out to talk to Antifa members about their specific belief structure(s) past their obvious opposition to fascism that their name implies. However, there are two reasons that’s unfeasible. One, they intentionally hide their identities behind black masks to facilitate acts of destruction and violence where anonymity makes arrest harder… and it also makes identifying members to interview difficult. Two, I have no interest in vacationing at places like Berkeley or Portland, and even if it weren’t for travel considerations, I wouldn’t want to attend one of their riots. I have children.

So I did the next best thing, and asked actual anarchists to comment on how they feel about Antifa’s claims that they’re anarchists. I did this completely unscientifically (literally little more than “hey, facebook anarchists, gimme some quotes on this!”), and this is by no means fully representative of anarchists in general. On the other hand, the internet seems to be the natural habitat of anarchists, so it seemed to be a good place to start even outside of convenience. Not only is this an unscientific sampling of anarchists, but it’s completely biased because not a single anarchist I found took Antifa’s claims as genuine, nor did I expect them to. If any Antifa member who’s been at any of their rallies wants to publicly out themselves to set the record straight, my contact information is at the bottom of this article.

Anarchist reaction seems to fall into two categories in general. The first is denial that Antifa is anarchist… which spans from simple denial that doesn’t even take it serious enough to rebut, to laughter at Antifa’s ignorance or confusion, to logical explanations why Antifa through their actions by definition cannot be anarchist. The second was a natural instinct to rightly attack the entire confused “philosophy” of anarcho-communism as self-refuting and (in an ironic argument for an anarchist to make) unworkable in the real world.

Let’s start with an alliteration, both because I love those, and because it completely encapsulates the point in as few words as possible. Christopher Farrell, ancap contributor at Think Liberty, says

ANTIFA are the antithesis of anything anarchist

Jaysun, this anarchist asshole I know from high school who’s only method of communication seems to be shit-posting poorly made memes, had the following to say…

I didn’t even bother getting his permission to include that particular commentary of his. Muh IP lawz.

Shane Cameron (time travelor?) says

The first step to anarchy is leaving others to their ideals, peacefully.

Matt Stroker, who always NAPs hard, says

Anarchists believe in peace and property rights, therefore it’s a misnomer.

Amy Hedtke, unelectable. Anarchist, transparency advocate and citizen journalist who we recently interviewed outside of the RNC summer meeting in Nashville, summed it up the following way…

EVERYONE misuses labels across the entire political spectrum. 
It doesn’t help that the statists have deliberately portrayed “anarchism” with aggression. We need to be ready to explain that people are practicing ARCHy by ruling over others via violating the Natural Rights of those around them, not AN/archism. 

It’s one thing to use defensive force as an anarchist who is living in a system of aggression. It is quite another to become an aggressor regardless how crazy those around you are.

Jeff Hetrick, who is probably more of a minarchist but is sort of an honorary anarchist given how often he’s endorsed by the LP Radical Caucus, says of antifa being anarchist…

my border collie outside, while she likes to think she is a 20 ft grizzly bear, yeah… not quite…

Ian Tartt… who may just work for this very same publication… is the first to address the incoherence of so-called “anarcho-communism”…

If they mean communist as Marx described it, then I don’t see how a stateless society and a society in which the state essentially controls everything are compatible. If they mean something else by communist, I don’t know what that could be. A stateless society would provide opportunities for different systems to exist alongside one another. Some could be capitalist, others socialist as far as the workplace goes, and some may be primitive. As long as it’s voluntary, it’s compatible with anarchism. Beyond that, their violent actions preserve the stereotype of anarchism being violence and chaos rather than the absence of rulers. I wish they’d stop the violence and stop calling themselves anarchists.

Chris Ritcheson, of Muh Tube, Muh Radio, and the director of social media for the Rock County Libertarian Party… who I must have met at a convention or two given where he lives, said…

Ancoms have generally dangled the carrot of a stateless, classless society…AFTER we turn every resource over to central planners, central planning being the only practical way to handle “common property” on a large scale. No thanks.

Justin O’Donnell, Libertarian for Congress NH-2, opines on how long any voluntary economic system could remain voluntary, and what would be necessary to ensure continued compliance…

I don’t think it’s intellectually dishonest to infer that a communist economic system is only able to exist as as function of a state. The ideal of communism, the sharing of resources, does not account for respect of private property rights, and requires equal participation of all in order for harmonious results.

It is predicated on a willingness of the entire society to willingly and willfully participate in the sharing of resources without compensation for the value of property taken in a fair market exchange…  Such communilization of resources can only be accomplished through force and theft if some members of society are unwilling to participate by their own free will. At any point, in order to secure the success of a communist system, and compel sharing, institutional force of the community must be imposed on those who dissent and aim to retain ownership of their property, or be justly compensated by market means.

when the community imposes force to facilitate sharing of resources, it becomes a government… the arbitrator of exchange in a communist system can only ever be the state, regardless of the expanse of that state, it must have total and complete control within its jurisdiction. 

Communism IS the state, and communist systems have killed millions.

I tried, but could find not a single self-described anarchist who accepted Antifa or any other “anarcho-communists” as being anarchists also. If you know of any, let us know, or buy them a book.


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About The Author

Gary Doan

Obviously, he's a guy in front of a keyboard. He uses it to make money through the stock market for his career, but more importantly he uses it to tell other people on the internet how they're wrong, post dank memes, and stay in a constant state of research about economics, law, and history. He lives in a town called Salem in a geodesic dome with his lovely wife, lovely children, regrettable pets, and some random Sanders supporter that lives in his attic and drinks all his booze. He enjoys logic, snark, satire, tattoos, learning, and obviously writing, libertarianism, and republics.

  • mikec711

    You got some excellent expert commentary there. I’m definitely not an anarchist … possibly a minarchist … possibly still trying to figure it out … but I cringe at any expansion of a gov’t that is already at least 5x to large IMHO … and I definitely don’t see communism or Antifa as a way forward without creating tyranny.

  • Antifa /= Anarchist. They are not mutually exclusive. And I’m sorry for those who claim to be actual anarchists AND Antifa, go read some books …..and not just the ones you like.

    Anti-fa = Anti-fascist (which is ironic considering they are in fact fascists themselves right along with their fascist target of the week).

    Anarchy /= Chaos, Violence, and Molotov cocktail throwing Progressives. Anarchy simply means no rulers. Not no rules. A couple of my favorite hashtags are #NoRulers #RulersAreMadeToBeBroken #NotATypo

    You found some good sources, Ian Tartt hits it on the head with his description of varying voluntary societies.

    As an Individualist Anarchist who would label herself as only the aforementioned, along with Voluntaryist, and Agorist, (although I hate labels in general, I’m all too aware that others are eager to throw labels onto you if you refuse to use any and no one looks at any label the exact same. They interpret them differently. So I would rather be forced to throw a couple of labels on myself that I can live with rather than allow someone else to place any on me against my wishes.)

    I believe strongly in each individual’s right to govern themselves and make voluntary associations with others as long as it does not infringe or aggress upon anyone else as well as the right to disassociate from whoever they choose. This is actually needed if anarchism were to work. There can be no utopian Anarchist Society.
    Sorry Ancaps and Ancoms, but can we just get rid of the hyphens and stop trying to force your “my definition of anarchism is the only right one” on other anarchists?

    Capitalism, corporatism, free trade, crony capitalism, monopolies, etc are all defined differently depending on where someone puts themselves on the political spectrum (and most of the time they don’t even know the differences between all of them) even in anarchist philosophy because simply by giving themselves all these different labels they are, in essence, making anarchism a political being with many sides (hmm, what’s that I always hear anarchists and libertarians screaming about democracy?)

    They’re also virtually making it impossible for anarchism to exist without eventual rulers that would be instilled by a majority from one of these many sides. So that would kind of make Anarcho-Capitalists, Ancoms, Prims, and all of the other silly -Ists = Lovers of Authority, which is definitely not an anarchist trait.

    If a self-proclaimed anarchist isn’t intelligent enough to understand that they cannot tell another self-proclaimed anarchist who simply does not want to be ruled by someone or aggressed upon by someone but has a slightly different view of morals that they are not “real” anarchists then they need to drop the anarcho- from whatever -ist they’ve attached it to and start voting, because they do not understand individual freedom and liberty at all.

    They’re all the same no matter how different they want to pretend like they are, which is rather ironic because it’s so familiar. Republicans and Democrats anyone? No? Then just say hello to their new counterparts who have stuck “anarcho-” before whatever their preferred flavor of authority is.

    I have absolutely no problem with a bunch of capitalists getting together and having a stateless society away from me, nor do I have an issue with techno or primitive types forming their own stateless societies away from me. Hell, they could live next door as long as they aren’t messing with me and they aren’t telling me what I can and can’t do and they aren’t stealing from me or hurting me. I know quite a lot of people that feel the same way and guess what? They’re anarchists who, albeit, do give themselves labels also agree that everyone should be allowed to live how they want and do what they want as long as they are not infringing or aggressing on others and nearly every single one adheres to the non-aggression principle and would have no problem living in a country with a bunch of stateless societies of varying types just like me.

    We actually all are in a group and it is the first out of over 500 that I actually did not hate. We call ourselves the Anarchist Ambassadors. We would do small monthly projects where we would do something locally for our community each month wherever we lived respectively such as feed someone or teach someone or something of that nature and then share our experiences with each other and on our page. Recently we tackled something a bit larger.

    We also started this little thing called the Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief. It’s non-profit and entirely voluntary.
    You may or may not have heard of it, since so-called journalists would rather highlight a few Antifa “anarchists” paddling a boat to rescue someone’s cat from a flood in their article instead of a group of over a thousand people that have come together in less than a week, raised more than $10,000 for supplies and needs of those stricken by natural disasters, and traveled from all over the country to help save lives and rebuild communities for absolutely nothing more than the sake of helping. These are not neighbors helping neighbors. They are strangers from other states going out of their way to help people, voluntarily, because they want to. That is real anarchism and that is something that the government and the media most definitely does not want people hearing about.

    My how I have digressed though. So there, one more anarchist you can add to your list who agrees that Antifa are not only NOT anarchists, but give all anarchists a bad name while confusing the general public even more about what anarchy really means.

    By the way, how is it in your Dome? They do look so comfy.

  • Grady

    AnComs answer the seeming contradiction between the anarchism and communism by pointing to the predicted end-state of Marxism, where the population becomes so used to deprivation that the state can wither and fall away, leaving a self-perpetuating communal ownership of all resources. OK – but unless you can get there without the socialist stage, then you are a socialist, not a communist!

    In the same way, I ideally would be an anarchist – but recognize that there is no simple path from here to there, thus a am a practical minarchist, or “libertarian”.

    Anarchy, of course, demands a complete lack of any government apparatus which employs force against those who have not initiated aggression – any government-like entity must be voluntary.
    Antifa believes – as evidenced by their actions – that their view may be enforced through violence. Such an use of violence places them in the position of being a de facto government. One cannot legitimately claim to oppose any government while simultaneously claiming to *be* a government: therefore, Antifa’s claims to AnCom are false.

  • NoLeaders

    Anarcho-communism is a real think. Read some Bakunin or Kropotkin.

    houses, fields, and factories will no longer be private property, and that they will belong to the commune or the nation and money, wages, and trade would be abolished.
    — Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread[39]

    Individuals and groups would use and control whatever resources they needed, as the aim of anarchist communism was to place “the product reaped or manufactured at the disposal of all, leaving to each the liberty to consume them as he pleases in his own home”.[40] He supported the expropriation of private property into the commons or public goods (while retaining respect for personal property), to ensure that everyone would have access to what they needed without being forced to sell their labour to get it.
    We do not want to rob any one of his coat, but we wish to give to the workers all those things the lack of which makes them fall an easy prey to the exploiter, and we will do our utmost that none shall lack aught, that not a single man shall be forced to sell the strength of his right arm to obtain a bare subsistence for himself and his babes. This is what we mean when we talk of Expropriation…
    — Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread[41]

  • NoLeaders

    Anarchist communists support communism as a means for ensuring the greatest freedom and well-being for everyone, rather than only the wealthy and powerful. In this sense, anarchist communism is a profoundly egalitarian philosophy.

    Anarchist communism as an anarchist philosophy is against hierarchy in all its forms. Anarchist communists do not think that anyone has the right to be anyone else’s master, or ‘boss’ as this is a concept of capitalism and the state and implies authority over the individual. Some contemporary anarchist communists and advocates of post-left anarchy, such as Bob Black, reject the concept of work altogether in favor of turning necessary subsistence tasks into voluntary free play.[22][98]
    Peter Kropotkin said that the main authoritarian mistakes in communist experiments of the past were their being based on “religious enthusiasm”[99] and the desire to live “as a family”[100] where the individual had to “submit to the dictates of a punctilious morality”.[101] For him anarcho-communism should be based on the right of free association and disassociation for individuals and groups and on significantly lowering the amount of hours each individual dedicates to necessary labor.[102] He says that “to recognize a variety of occupations as the basis of all progress and to organize in such a way that man may be absolutely free during his leisure time, whilst he may also vary his work, a change for which his early education and instruction will have prepared him—this can easily be put in practice in a Communist society—this, again, means the emancipation of the individual, who will find doors open in every direction for his complete development”

  • So, even though the majority of my comment was positive, it was removed and marked as spam. I checked Disqus’ guidelines once again, as it’s been years since I signed up and nope, I hadn’t violated any rules. I guess freedom of speech isn’t just being attacked by the left now?

    In the help knowledgebase they said to contact the person doing the moderating, I’m assuming that is you or could you point me to whom it may be? I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

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