FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Are You So Afraid of Us?

Dear readers: We here at AK Press were both shocked and (we’ll admit it) thrilled when right-wing media mogul Glenn Beck held up our new book on the Greek Insurrection of December 2008 on his FOX News program a couple of weeks ago, and compared it to The Coming Insurrection, saying that this book was the next “playbook” that radicals in this country would be taking a page from. (We wish.) But we were also kind of confused, because Beck seemed eager to interpret the book as a yet another installment in the “communist” conspiracy … only, well, we’re anarchists, we’re damn proud of that fact, and we’re frankly a little hard pressed to understand why Beck went out of his way to say explicitly that this wasn’t an anarchist book. And then we watched hours and hours of Beck blabbing on YouTube, and we started to notice a more general pattern: Beck tends to avoid directly confronting “anarchism” as a system of political actions and ideals. So we started thinking about why that might be, and the result of our deep deliberations follows in an open letter to Mr. Beck. — Kate Khatib, AK Press

Hi Glenn.

How’s it going? Since Forbes magazine says your annual earnings are in the ballpark of $32 million, we’re guessing that it’s going pretty well. You can’t put a price on defending the little guy, right?

We are the AK PRESS COLLECTIVE. In case the word “collective” throws you, it means people who work together toward a shared goal in a democratic manner, without bosses or leaders, and with everyone having an equal say in each decision. For us, that shared goal is publishing and distributing books. If you want, you can learn more about us here.

We’re thrilled that you featured our book We Are an Image of the Future: The Greek Revolts of 2008 on your May 3rd show. We were, however, a little confused by your description of the book, and the way that it fit into the overall argument you made.

Okay, to be honest, we weren’t sure what your argument was. We watched the clip on YouTube a dozen times, but it was beyond us. Of course, you’re the guy with television, radio, publishing, and Internet empires. We probably spend too much time thinking about rent, food, and health insurance to fully understand the big picture you’re painting.

We do, however, know a few things. We’re anarchists and we publish books about anarchism. We Are an Image from the Future is one of them. Now, we assume that you actually read the books you talk about on your show. Yet you somehow managed to claim that a book written by and about anarchists was “written by communist revolutionaries.” “They are not anarchists,” you claimed, “but they will use anarchy to their favor.”

As you made clear earlier in your show, you know the difference between Communism and Anarchism. We don’t want to split hairs by bringing up the complex history of communism (with a small “c”), which includes both democratic and nasty authoritarian versions. So we’ll stay on your page here and say, yes, when Communists take state power it’s always ugly. But, as you must know, anarchism has always opposed state Communism. State Communism is the ultimate “big government.” You won’t find an anarchist on this planet in favor of that. Not to mention that, historically, when Communists get in the driver’s seat, anarchists are usually the first to face the firing squad. The capitalists usually get cushy managerial positions.

So we asked ourselves: What could account for this guy waving around a book written and published by anarchists, while never quoting a single word from it, and then going on to associate the book with political groups—like the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Workers World Party—that no one in the book, or associated with the book, would endorse? How could he miss something so obvious?

Then it dawned on us: you’re afraid of anarchists. You’re not afraid of the fake media portrayal of anarchists as bomb-throwing maniacs: that’s your bread and butter. You’re afraid of real anarchists, the actual ideas they espouse, the real work they do.

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.

But we’re reasonable folk. We understand that you find it scary to think about what will happen when ordinary people realize that they actually have the power to make their own decisions and take control of their own lives. So, here’s what we suggest:

Just admit you’re afraid of us. Admit that your passionate and convoluted rants are a nervous dance around your inability to support real freedom (anarchism) over unbridled power (Communism and capitalism). And then use your massive wealth and power for the forces of good.

Yours,

The AK PRESS COLLECTIVE

WORDS THAT STICK

 

More articles by:
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail