An Open Letter to the Libertarian Party, USA,
I'm an Anarchist and I understand that there is a great deal in similarity between my philosophy and that of the Libertarian Party. In fact, I understand that they are identical positions. They both mean someone who seeks the destruction of all authoritarian structures, including the state and capitalism. The word "Libertarian" itself was coined by the Anarchist-Communist named Joseph Déjacque in a letter to the Anarchist-Mutualist philosopher Proudhon. That was in 1857, over a hundred years before the founding of your "Libertarian Political Party." But to either Joseph Déjacque or Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the idea of a Libertarian Political Party would have been a contradiction of terms -- the law itself is a tool of coercion, not of liberty.
In terms of politics, the Anarchist-Communist shares a good deal with the platform of the Libertarian Party. We both believe in freedom of speech and assembly. We both think that virtue can only bloom where there is the light of liberty, that the people can only find true happiness when they are not subjugated by brutish masters and controlling systems. For the most part, we both believe in the bill of rights of the American Constitution, from opposition to torture and cruel punishment, to the rights of speech, assembly, religion, and press. And, at best, this Constitution is what can be described as our social contract -- the binding rule of the agreement between all members of the society. It is a contract that society has with itself. But, naturally, if it is a contract, then it can only be enforced by an external element. A contract made between two corporations to buy and sell stocks, for instance, is not enforceable by its own devices -- it is only enforceable where there is a court that would rule on behalf of the petitioning party. The contract itself only means something because there is an external guiding force that will carry it out. Likewise, I am of a similar opinion in terms of the United States Constitution -- it is an agreement by our people, ruling over our people, and only enforceable insomuch that there is an external force devoted to guarding it.
The political party is the least external force that could be used to protect such a Bill of Rights. It does not seek to protect and guard the rights of all according to the principles of justice -- where the Constitution protects the rich and wealthy, it is upheld, but where it uplifts the downtrodden and oppressed, it is rejected. The political party uses its reins of power to support itself, as the second US president did with the Alien and Sedition Acts. To speak against the government was made a crime, only a few years after the same government guaranteed freedom of speech as an essential right. John Adams' political party was significantly benefited from such acts, as they were used to oppress Adams' political enemies, including the partisans of Thomas Jefferson. Even in the Republican model of government, where candidates are allegedly dependent on a voter base, the masters of state will commit every crime. FDR built concentration camps, Truman violently suppressed unions, Nixon hired goons to break into a half dozen offices of political opponents, Reagan supplied arms to third world dictators and sold cocaine to the American people, Clinton used the US military to support a puppet government in Haiti, Woodrow Wilson sacrificed unknowing civilians by using them as human shields in transporting arms, among many many other crimes. It's quite clear that none of these presidents had even a slight respect for the Bill of Rights. Naturally, it's quite clear that allowing the US Constitution to be a contract resolved by the two involved parties, the rulers and the subjects, will lead to a vicious oppression of the common people. Like any other contract, the Bill of Rights can only become a reality if it is enforced by an external power. And if we are to think of the most effective of external powers, the most clear and obvious is the General Strike.
The General Strike in 1905 forced the Tzar to sign the first Constitution of Russia, and in 1917, when he had ripped it to shreds, another General Strike removed him from power, resulting in his and his family's execution. After the Russian Civil War, the Bolsheviks forced an authoritarian structure on society, including many of the imperialist properties of the Tzar. Poland was annexed by the Bolsheviks, but it was through an extensive series of General Strikes in the 1980's that the trade-union Solidarity was able to create an independent republic -- a drastic improvement from enlightened monarchy. After the 1919 General Strike in Barcelona, unionists were able to affirm their right to organize and negotiated the release of all who were wrongfully imprisoned, tried, or sentenced. In the same year, a General Strike throughout Canada swept out conservative, right-wing, and authoritarian officials out of office, after the public become displeased with widespread violence against strikers by the police. The 1936 Syrian General Strike led to the release of leaders from an anti-imperialist group, eventually leading to the organization that would abolish French rule in the nation. In 1946, Gandhi's Indian Independence Movement reached its climax, as a General Strike among sailors turned into a full-fledged mutiny of the standing military forces -- the same tactic that brought the Tzar to his knees begging destroyed British authority in India. The 1968 General Strike of France shut-down the entire nation and forced the federal government to dissolve the legislative branch for new elections.
Even lately, General Strikes continue to be the menace and plague of tyrannical, corrupt governments. In 2005, a General Strike in Bolivia forced the removal of a despotic president, who had ordered his troops to fire on unarmed crowds, resulting in over sixty dead protesters A 2007 General Strike in Guinea forced the president there to appoint members to public offices according to the public will, and not as a "redistribution of the spoils of political warfare," that it tends to be under authoritarian, legalist governments. While petitions and investigations and inquiries fail, while socialist and libertarian and communist parties waste time on hierarchical authority, while lawyers and civil rights groups humbly file their appeals, while military coups generally worsen things -- as all of this is going on, it is only the General Strike that has ever forced any real change onto a nation. Even the Plebeians in Ancient Rome started out at the position of abject slaves and worked their way up to near-equality -- but it was only by their self-described "Secessio Plebis," which in modern-terms translates to "General Strike," that they have reached such a level of liberty and security.
The constitution is a contract, and we are the outside, external force that corrects the behavior of any involved party that violates the contract. The phrases "the peoples' court" and "the peoples' republic" are as contradictory and inconsistent as the phrases "the peoples' guillotine" and "the peoples' electric chair." So, it is quite ridiculous to think that a court, sanctioned and empowered by the contract, should be allowed to rule on itself -- quite ridiculous indeed and completely outside the field of legitimate contracts. We may as well have let Saddam Hussein or Nazi War criminals be their own judges. It is this, the General Strike, that has forced governments to bend, to reform, to change, and to dissolve -- it is the ultimate power.
With a single stroke of the pen, Ivan the Terrible ordered the Massacre of Novgorod, resulting in the murder of over fifty thousand civilians. But with an almost insignificant loss of blood, the working classes' General Strike completely abolished the Tzar's authority. The General Strike is far more powerful and capable than any government or political body, whether they consider themselves democratic or statist, right or left, socialist or libertarian. It is the only tool that we the people can genuinely use to force our state to submit to our demands -- it is the only way we can really guarantee the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, and to a democratic and free, social order. And unlike the state, the General Strike arises out of the peoples' will; there are a great many evils committed by the defenders of law, but there are extremely few, if any, committed by General Strikers. The reason for this is that unions of workers, who come together voluntarily for their own mutual interests and without any coercion, are far less likely to be misled or betrayed or exploited by their own endeavors. The state, and its agents the political parties, are always and everywhere engaged in deception and lies, internal censorship of those who fall out of the party line, and a casual fleecing of the flock as its shepherds One path, that of law, leads to genocide, concentration camps, imperialism, and war, while the other leads to liberty, civil rights, peace, and social justice. Should we behave as political parties and encourage elections, or should we behave as trade unions and encourage strikes? If our goal is peace, democracy, and liberty, it's clear we must become the most ardent of labor activists.
This necessarily implies that we are going to build union-organizations; we must organize the workers so that they can fight and resist Capitalism. We must train them for a General Strike by advocating local strikes for better wages, safe working conditions, and lower hours. The right to private ownership of land and capital, in this country, has led to such tremendous poverty and horrendous efficiency in allocation of resources. The national minimum wage, many millions rely upon, is not enough for a single person to live outside of poverty. There are thousands of idle factories, thousands of acres of empty land, and millions of homeless and unemployed. To quote Adam Smith, from chapter 8 of volume 1 of "The Wealth of Nations," -- "...whoever imagines... that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate.... We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of."
The Capitalist will try every conceivable method to reduce costs and improve profits, the only drive of this class -- and they will do this if it means polluting the environment, destroying jobs and communities, using forced and slave labor, selling children's toys made with toxic chemicals, or marketing food that may be rotting, unclean, or infected with parasites. The crimes which this class have committed and continue to commit are endless. If we are going to resist them, and compel them to behave in a decent and socially-conscious manner, then we must use the same tool -- the strike! Capitalists are little more than Mussolini's, Terrible Ivan's, or Stalin's of economy, and if we are to bring them to the ground, begging and screaming for mercy, then we must use the same tactic. After all, it is authority which creates vicious and cruel social situations, whether it is economic authority or political authority; and likewise, it is liberty, and Libertarian organization, which is only capable of destroying any type of authority. The strike itself is social and economic in nature, not political.
When I hear that a political party is going to wage a class war against the capitalist machine and its excesses, I am about as enthusiastic and excited as when I hear about a political party attempting to create liberty. Freedom is not something that is handed down from above, but it is something that must be demanded, forced, from the masses below! Otherwise, at a single moment, the tyrants will wrest the freedom from the hands of the people, for some personal convenience or another. And it will be done without the slightest effort, because the people are too weak, poor, and disorganized to demonstrate any type of effective resistance. True liberty is not born from the political movement, but from the social movement -- it is the accomplishment of mutual and voluntary associations, not leadership, mastery, and domination of a single minority, no matter how benevolent they try to appear.
I would like to have my political party as Libertarian as possible and my union as Communist as possible. And not just a taste of the philosophy, but completely encompassed by it. I want my Libertarian Party to be as Libertarian as possible, which means there should be no rules, no laws, no enforcement of these laws, no compulsory opinion, no force or coercion at all. The entire party, as a legislative and electioneering force, should abandon, and those making it up, the people, should form voluntary and cooperative organizations to achieve their self-interested ends. It was the people, those who gave the political party energy and inspiration, who helped it achieve its few accomplishments; if we were to take these individuals and grant them complete autonomy outside of this hierarchical structure, it is certain that they would be able to have an even greater, more positive effect on the social order. These people, united in their common efforts and interests, would be far more effective in mutual and voluntary associations than they would in top-down, authoritarian structures -- after all, when have those obedient to a master every created freedom for others? It certainly happens, but only with the most extraordinary of human beings. But I do not want to wait for that to happen to get my liberty -- I want my liberty now. As such, it is only by free and voluntary associations that the individuals of the Libertarian philosophy can really truly create freedom.
So it is with my union, too. I want them to be as Communist as possible. And by this, I want their only objective to be the emancipation of the working class from the clutches of the capital-owning class. I tell the Libertarian Party that they shouldn't waste their energies or efforts with making laws; and I would advise the Communist Union to not waste their dues or collected earnings with political parties or legislative bodies. The Communist trade union must be always absorbed in the class conflict; it must constantly propagate itself, to all industries, to all workers; it must organize and federate its activities with other trade unions; and ultimately, it must not be afraid to use the General Strike, to demand the peoples' will from those who hold authority in economy or politics. And ultimately, it should bring the social order to the point where the public unrest is so tremendous and insurmountable, that the entire government crumbles, and the people rule for themselves, in free, voluntary, cooperative, and mutual relationships -- without law, without government, without the state.
I am a Libertarian Communist, so to speak, or more specifically, Anarchist-Collectivist. It is through Anarcho-Syndicalism that I seek to impress a change upon the world's social order -- and given the evidence, it appears to be the only method that has achieved positive change. Unlike the political party.
I'm hopeful for a response. Thank you.