Friday, 7 September 2012

The Popular Scapegoat

Again? This is so common now I wonder if it still phases Obama

Well it looks like our favourite scapegoats for violence is in the spotlight again. It seems the red and black menace is operational not just in Tampa Florida but also in Georgia I know their both "Red States" but I don't remember either being infamous hotbeds of Left wing militancy. But I guess my big book of Red terrorism is missing a few chapters (that'll teach me to buy second hand) as a "Anarchist" militia has just been busted foiling its plans to kill Obama and among other things bombing a fountain.

"These included "forcibly taking over the ammo control point of Fort Stewart to take the post, bombing vehicles of local and state judicial and political figureheads and federal representatives to include the local department of homeland security, (and plotting) to bomb the fountain at Forsyth Park in Savannah."
Oh and they also murdered two people, Michael Roark a member of the group they believed to be a "loose end" and his 17 year old girlfriend Tiffany York presumably for the same reason. Now before I continue I think its best to clear up any confusion, these men are if guilty of the crimes they're alleged to have conducted and planned and I have no reason to believe they aren't, then they are murderous scum and it is a good thing they were caught before they could put phase one of their plan into action and kill anymore people. And its a shame they weren't caught before they kill Roark and York. So please don't misunderstand what I'm about to say as in anyway defending these men, that is not my intention.

What is my intention is to query something about the case, this militia totalling four men not counting Roark for obvious reasons has for some reason be branded "Anarchists". Now its certainly possible that a Militia is composed of Anarchists or has some Anarchist aim and platform, arguably the third most famous Anarchist symbol is the CNT/FAI Militia operating during the Spanish Civil War against Franco's coup. If your curious the second most famous symbol is the slogan "Property is theft" and number one is the A for Anarchy.

Pictured: a confirmed Anarchist Militia

 But having said that something about the group and the way it operated just doesn't jive with what I know about Anarchism and modern Anarchists. Now again I could prove wrong when more evidence is publicised but for now it looks like another case of media companies slapping on the edgy label to attract more viewers/readers. The group known as Forever Enduring Always Ready (FEAR) was made up of ex and current US servicemen, now the name doesn't really fit the usually Anarchist naming culture and the exclusively military membership is also quite odd given that Anarchists tend to view the military as the bluntest instrument of state power. On their own these two arguments aren't very convincing I know, maybe they chose the name to differentiate themselves or their background in the military influenced them. And maybe they became Anarchists after signing up due to frustration and disenchantment with the way things are going, they wouldn't be the first Left wing radicals to come out of boot camp.

Fortunately for me I have more, a lot has been made about this groups hatred for Obama a black Democratic President with foreign parents, -clearly only Anarchists would want such a man dead- the problem here is that there is a difference between being anti-government and anti specific governments. And from what I've read the impression I'm getting is this is almost exclusively a grudge against Obama, or to be fair the style of government and policy package that Obama is providing. Again this an assumption based on the limited information released but you have to work within your means.

Also if I may be an Armchair General for a moment, their plans to fulfil the aim of governmental overthrow is suspect. Both the targets and the lack of political development leads me to believe they weren't very savvy on political theory. Lets take another look at their grand strategy

According to prosecutors, the four men plotted to seize control of the base where they were stationed, and also plotted acts of terror at nearby locations, including the bombing of a park in Savannah, Georgia. The group’s schemes reached across the United States, prosecutors said, and included the poisoning of apple crops in the state of Washington and the bombing of a dam in the Evergreen State. But their grandest ambition, the prosecutors said, was to overthrow the entire government of the United States, in part by assassinating their commander in chief.
Emphasis mine. But just look at that, the whole core of Anarchist theory is that their should be no authority over humanity because they aren't necessary. The common man and woman is capable of providing for themselves and society through mutual cooperation. Therefore the ordinary working class is the most important part of society, it just needs to realise its capacity. Now that's a simplification, but can you tell me how exactly poisoning an orchard or blowing up a park helps the lumpen proletariat? Because I'm honestly stumped on this one.

If on the other hand they just wanted to topple the government, and weren't really interested in worker organisation which to me seems the case then actually all of those actions listed could work to their purposes. It would still be unlikely to work and would only achieve a high death toll, but it would create fear and it would bring the group a lot of attention, and if they knew what they were doing (I doubt it) they could use that attention to push there ideas. Al Qaeda did the same thing after 9/11, despite the dramatic and practically speaking crippling response from the West they were still able to reach out and inspire small groups and networks of frustrated Islamists around the world.

But that would require a sophistication beyond these four men, which is fortunate because if they were a little smarter they might have been able to carry out at least a couple attacks.

So why then has the media labelled these guys Anarchists if they're just another band of Militia oriented terrorists? Well their is some evidence provided

"And then Aguigui introduced me to 'the manuscript,' that's what he called it, a book about true patriots," the soldier said.
The four men became part of a group that aimed "to give the government back to the people,"
  Pauley said members of the militia wore the same tattoo, which allegedly is similar to an anarchy symbol.
I know the case is recent and the police aren't exactly going to release everything related to the case but this, this nothing. I mean allegedly similar to an Anarchy symbol? Which Anarchy symbol you mean that fancy A in a circle? And if so how was it different? Why not just use the Anarchy symbol if they were Anarchists these things aren't trademarked.

Like this?

Or was it like this?

Ok lets assume it is the Anarchy symbol is that in its self evidence they read Bakunin? No, there is a difference between Anarchy and Anarchism. Anarchism is a political ideology with a number of core beliefs and practices, Anarchy is a state of nature, it simply means to exist without rulers. All Anarchists aim for anarchy yes but not everyone who strives for Anarchy is and Anarchist. The international system has been in a state of Anarchy for centuries with only recent developments like the UN starting to curb nation  states freedom to do what they wish. And I sincerely doubt any head of state or government has been an Anarchist, and if they were then they were failures.

But what about the rhetoric about Revolution and giving government to the people? I'll admit at face value those sentiments sound a bit more like the people power Anarcho's but again without further elaboration it isn't very convincing. As much as the Left would love to say otherwise they don't monopolise the terms Revolution or people centred rhetoric, many tendencies including extreme right wing movements use those terms too. Revolution means the same (barring details of course) no matter whom invokes it, a fundamental change in the way a society works, it all rests on what FEAR meant by People and given government to them.

For example the American Revolution was a Bourgeois Republican revolt, by kicking out a foreign Monarchy it transferred government to the control of Americans. A small number of Americans whom were wealthy and from the same social circles. To a Communist, Socialist and Anarchist the American Revolution did not give government to the people it merely transferred power from one oligarchy to another. However if you are a Nationalist or a Liberal the American Revolution did give power to the people since the new leadership is drawn from the national populous and had to achieve their positions through individual initiative and had the liberty to make the attempt. Neither condition existed whilst the Continental United States remained colonies.

If FEAR's main grievances were with Obama and his supporters, that is to say they viewed his policies as being illegitimate and was concentrating power in the hands of the Executive (a common contention made by similar American Militia's) then giving Government back to the people would just mean the overthrow of the Administration and its replacement with another whom would have different policies. If so then these men where not Anarchists, as with the exception of a face change and some laws in the books the fundamental structure of the United States would be kept intact. Anarchist retract the establishment of Nation states in their entirety and given the casual use of the word Patriot that the group applied to themselves and their "manuscript" it seems unlikely that FEAR shared that view.

I guess in summary I have to say I'll be looking out for further information, but for now I'm unconvinced that these men were Anarchists and the use of the label seems highly suspect. In fact I believe the reason the A word was used is because stories of random extremist Militia plotting to take down Uncle Sam and Barrack Obama in particular have become so commonplace that it no longer sells papers or ups viewer ratings. Meanwhile ever since Occupy Wallstreet started up left wing radicalism has become for want of a better word "trendy" again and Anarchism with its very old associations with violence and danger has become king of the Red menace style scaremongering, hence the ridiculous over use of the term.

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