If you’ve tried to check either this site (or the Center for a Stateless Society), you probably noticed that it was offline.
To catch everyone up to speed who hasn’t already heard, we were recently the victims of a far-right copyright attack. If you look at the post immediately beneath this one, you’ll see that we had to formally and forcefully disassociate ourselves from a self-proclaimed S4SS group in Belgium dominated by racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, and otherwise generally bigoted thugs. In that post (which you should read now if you haven’t already), we also chose to include screenshots of the kind of discourse going on in their public facebook group, as a way to show why we were disassociating from them.
That’s when they decided to prove our point even more. After finding both S4SS.org and C4SS.org down, we discovered that the cause was a copyright claim by Olivier Janssens (who was quoted in that post that you should read). Yes, he seriously filed a copyright claim over facebook screenshots. At that point, Bluehost (who
There’s a lot to say about this, and I don’t have the time necessary to say all of it right now. Luckily, most of it has already been said by C4SS contributors James Tuttle, Trevor Hultner, Charles W. Johnson, Roderick Long, and Nathan Goodman (whose thoughts on this whole ordeal will be posted here soon), along with Reason Magazine’s Jesse Walker.
I just want to make two quick points:
1. Ironically, Janssens’s copyright attack was a response to an action we took in the way that we took it specifically because of how much we oppose intellectual property.
Notice that in the post that started all of this, we did not demand that the UGent League of Angry White Men stop referring to themselves as “S4SS Ugent” or “University of Ghent Students for a Stateless Society.” We simply made public that we do not consider ourselves associated with them in any way whatsoever, and that we emphatically reject their white supremacist ideas.
This is because as much as I would like to demand that they stop calling themselves by those names, we have no moral right to claim title over any non-scarce resource, including the words “S4SS” and “Students for a Stateless Society.” If they chose to use what we at the University of Oklahoma have been using as something of a logo, we also couldn’t stop them. As anarchists, we do not use violence to suppress non-invasive actions. As people who actually believe in individual liberty, we can only publicly disassociate, denounce, shame, and otherwise peacefully condemn them as loudly as we possibly can, in order to make clear that their using our imagery doesn’t make them us.
By contrast, the UGent League of Angry White Men have decided to use a threat of State violence to protect themselves from the kind of responsibility that comes along with the free society they’ve previously claimed to want. This makes the point behind the title of our original post, “UGent S4SS Not Anarchists (Or Comrades)” even more true.
Which leads me to the second point,
2. Never trust racists (or bigots of any kind).
Some segments of the libertarian movement (unfortunately, this even includes some genuinely radical libertarians who I otherwise have a strong affinity for) have in the past made apologies for racists, or downplayed the significance of the issue. Wanting to to focus on the State and its crimes, they have turned a blind eye to forms of social oppression that while not literally aggressive, still cause very real harm to people on a daily basis. Wanting to form as big of a “tent” as possible, they’ve welcomed in people who might not advocate aggression, but whose visions of a free society go entirely against the spirit that makes most people want it.
What Janssens and his group at the University of Ghent have now shown is how interconnected opposing social oppression and opposing State aggression really are. When you allow yourself to think of some people as less than human, you open the door to ignoring people’s basic human dignity.
Anarchism (and libertarianism more generally, for that matter) and bigotry are at enemies. As long as we are anarchists, and as long as we are libertarians, we will push back against those who use our names in the service of oppression.
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