Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why Agorism is on the Radical Left

But the truth remains: today, Marxism is bankrupt. On the Left, faith is gone, morale is low, and activism is paralyzed. The Left needs a new ideology to supplant its failed and discredited Marxism. Agorism—the purest, most consistent, and revolutionary form of libertarianism—is that supplanting ideology. Agorism can motivate and direct the underclass’s struggle against the overclass—and return the Left to its radical anti-state, anti-war, pro-property, pro-market historical roots. (Agorist Class Theory, 10/38, emphasis mine)

“Left,” from earliest political times, has meant “anti-establishment.” Consistent libertarians wish to abolish the State and its parasitic class of bureaucrats, politicians, subsidized businessmen, privileged labor leaders, and military mass murderers. This puts us, in most political lexicons, on the Left; since it is anarchist, it places us on the Far Left. (Introducing the Movement of the Libertarian Left, emphasis mine)

 To speak of the “Left” and its inescapable cousin the “Right” is to invite the knee-jerk reaction of, “well, haven’t you heard of the left-right paradigm?” Don’t you know that the two major political parties, the Republicans on the “Right” and the Democrats on the “Left” in the United States, are effectively two-sides of the same coin? There is no choice; it is all an illusion of choice. The Left/Right concept is just theater for the masses who are supposed to root for their favorite politician/gladiator in the televised or YouTube broadcasted “arena” in our metaphorical Colosseum.   
 Now it is true that agorist literature does speak of two major divisions within the ruling class—the Left and Right “wings”—and it does lament the fact that a change in political party does not normally lead to any substantive earthshattering change to the overall trends of an era.

With regard to the former, Roderick T. Long in his Can We Escape the Ruling Class speaks of this phony Left/Right dichotomy by noting that most ruling classes split into a political/bureaucratic or “Left” wing and a corporate/plutocratic or “Right” wing:

Most ruling classes are divided into two broad factions, which we may call the political class and the corporate class….In the United States today, each of the two major political parties works…to advanced the interests of both wings of the ruling class—but the Democrats tend to lean more toward the Bureaucrats, while the Republicans lean more to the Plutocrats.

With regard to the latter, one favorite Left revisionist historian often cited by agorist writers, Gabriel Kolko, (see for instance Agorist Class Theory, 18/38), begins his important contribution to American Progressive Era history, called The Triumph of Conservatism, by lamenting the fact that changing political parties does not lead to a change in overall governmental policy direction. He writes, concerning this period of supposedly “progressive” American history, that “the movements for legislative enactments ran through nearly all the administrations, and can only be really understood in that context” (9). A few pages earlier he mentions that “the major political leaders of the Progressive Era—Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson—were sufficiently conservative to respond to their [i.e., corporate] initiatives” (5). Now the Taft and Roosevelt administrations were Republican while the Wilson administration was Democratic. So the same general theme of legislating to protect corporate interests from instability ran across both Republican and Democratic administrations. Even in his day, Democratic Wilson got called out for sounding just like a Republican: “to the obvious criticism that this [Wilson’s speech] sounded very much like Rooseveltian doctrine, Wilson frankly responded…I can’t see what the difference is” (207).

 But this leads me to a question that I asked myself a short time ago. If the Left/Right paradigm is just a fraudulent scam—and agorists know that it is a scam—then why does their literature make such a big deal about them being “radically Left”?  Why not disassociate oneself from this compromised terminology?

To answer this question, notice how the agorists phrase their “radical Left” literature. They do not say that they want to be “Left” in any modern sense of the term; rather, they say that they want to return to the historical roots of the “Left.” Consequently, I went on a historical investigation of the political term “Left” to see if I could dig up anything germane. In this article I plan to briefly state what I think the agorists are alluding to when they use the term “Left.” I then plan to write subsequent articles to fill-in the details.

I stumbled across a book entitled Illuminati: Manifesto of World Revolution (1792) in the course of my research. The author is Nicholas Bonneville. Marco Di Luchetti is the translator, editor, and introduction writer. This book is of supreme interest because it “allows a correct identification of the ideology of the group known in history as the Brissotins.” The Brissotins are relevant to my discussion because they were the first group in history to be called “Left”:

It was during Brissot’s mastery over the Jacobins from 1791 to August 1792 that Jacobin deputies in the Assembly began the practice of seating themselves to the left of the President’s Chair. Gradually, this behavior caused others to spot a “left” and “right” wing. This behavior is the genesis of our modern distinction of “left” and “right.”

The Brissotins were the first to be called left-wing politicians. (Kindle Locations 226-229, 235)

My thesis is: when the agorist authors refer to their “historical roots” in the “radical Left,” they mean, in part, roots in the ideology of the Brissotins.

I plan to expand upon this statement in Part 2. I want to assure you that I am not doing crazy “conspiracy theory” research. This is serious historical research on the French Revolution.

To lure you into reading Part 2, let me very briefly hint at the similarities between radical “Left” agorism and the Brissotin ideology.

Brissotin Political Philosophy:

Bonneville wanted to create a world “without any state to rule over the people. It was utterly libertarian” (Kindle Locations 133).

Brissotin Economics:

In 1793, the Cercle Social [the Brissotins were all members of Bonneville’s Cercle Social] specifically endorsed giving freedom to farmers to sell their goods at market prices... It was only during the Enlightenment that experiments were made to let individuals, unrestrained by state intervention, freely supply markets. When monarchical state controls were removed, supply flourished. When reimposed, supply contracted. (See Kindle Locations 276-281)