Friday, 23 November 2012

Wayne Sturgeon Interviews Craig Fitzgerald on National-Anarchism

This interview is included in the recently released National-Anarchism: Ideas and Concepts, edited by Troy Southgate and available from Black Front Press. 

1) Please could you introduce yourself, your background, and how you define national anarchism?

I am a native New Yorker, agrarian separatist homesteader, and spokesman for the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance NY. I was raised around the patriot/militia movement and since my early teenage years I have been involved with a wide array of radical political groups and causes from anarchist groups to populist American nationalist and anti-Zionist circles. More recently but previous to the founding of NATA in 2010, I mainly focused my attention on attempting to build bridges between the radical and anti statist “left” and “right” (with limited success). I have worked with the 2008 Ron Paul campaign, WeAreChangeNYC, Young Americans for Liberty, End the Fed, the John Birch Society (JBS), and been involved with the Constitution and Libertarian parties.

I believe NA to be the purest hyphenated anarchism in the greater anarchist milieu.  Anarchism in general can never be a one-size-fits-all label meaning the same thing to everyone; the philosophy’s very nature requires heterogeneity.  Unlike the dogmatic, utopian, universal egalitarianism of many anarchists, NA is a realistic and pragmatic approach to the differences in opinion amongst anarchists.  I believe that NA has the potential to be a large umbrella under which numerous groups could identify.  It can philosophically unite diverse hyphenated anarchists with one another, and with other anti-statist groups.  This is because the nature and essence of NA is that each community has every right to self-determination, whether it manifests as a planned communist economy, a laissez-faire free market, a religious or racial separatist enclave, an environmentalist eco-tribe, or anything else.  The people/community make up the nation, not the state.  The About NATA-NY document further explains my views on NA.

2) Does national anarchism always have to promote or be associated with racial separatism?

Absolutely not.  NATA-NY has written our position on this issue in our Note on Racial Separatism.  The first paragraph of that statement is pasted below.

Neither the National Anarchist philosophy nor the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance - New York (NATA-NY) is inherently racially separatist. As true Anarchists who believe in the principles of liberty, free association, decentralization, community autonomy, local/individual sovereignty, self determination and mutual aid, we reject any and all coercive measures to homogenize our rich and independent cultures and peoples. NATA-NY concurs that every ethnicity has the right to exist and maintain its people/nation without intervention from outside forces.

3) I understand you lived with the Zapatista peoples for a while, what was this experience like and how does it inform your current activism etc?

In the U.S., most manifestations of local autonomy are fading into historical memory.  The Zapatistas proved to me that not only is this model possible in today’s globalized world, but it still exists.  Visiting the Zapatista zones in Chiapas reinforced our feelings of anti-statist nationalism and rejuvenated our commitment to the traditional American notions of individual and community sovereignty. 

My experience with the Zapatistas informs my current activism in several ways.  The primary influence they had on me revolves around the importance of land.  For the Zapatistas, their being indigenous is of crucial importance, and they feel strongly tied to the land, echoing Emiliano Zapatista’s original motto, “the land belongs to those who work it.” Farming—something I am currently doing—is what connects people to the land they live on.  Despite the fact that the Zapatistas are indigenous Mayan groups (Tzotzil, Tetzal, Chol, etc.), I identify as an indigenous American and New Yorker—partially because I was born here, but also because working the land is an essential aspect of being indigenous.  Overall, the Zapatista communities reaffirmed my own awareness of the need for self reliance.

4) What do you think of the current Occupy movement? 

Despite a strong “leftist” influence, the current Occupy movement and all its offshoots have a lot of potential.  I don’t think that mass demonstrations are effective, but I think the ability to form resilient communities and temporary and permanent autonomous zones exists.  If the Occupy movement created parallel/independent local economies, currencies, trade unions, support networks, and social welfare/healthcare programs, it would be able to counter the statist bureaucracies of the global empire, and it would be a lot more effective than camping in parks. NATA-NY has taken advantage of the anarchistic and decentralized atmosphere of OWS to help promote the NA philosophy with great success, despite those who see NA as crypto fascism, as well as moves by some to create a OWS central leadership.

5) I wonder as well what you think of the 911 Truth movement and We Are Change and people like Alex Jones? 

I questioned the official 9/11 story the day of September 11, 2001. By 2004, after extensive research on the subject, my wife and I were handing out leaflets listing unanswered questions and anomalies surrounding the attacks on the WTC and pentagon, which mounting evidence shows was partly inflicted by the U.S. government itself, and partly an Israeli Mossad operation.  I personally have never liked referring to it as the “9/11 truth” movement because this implies that its proponents have all the answers about what happened that day, and leaves out all the other examples of state sponsored/false flag terrorism (e.g.  Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, OKC bombing, and the 7/7 bombings in London, just to name a few).  I first attended a WeAreChange (WACNYC) event in 2007 and by the next year was an active member of the NYC chapter.  I still have a limited role in that group since moving out of the city.  Love or hate him, Alex Jones’ huge audience gives him the potential to unify a diverse range of anti-statist groups and individuals.

6) Do you think any common ground can be found amongst national anarchist circles and the current libertarian, agorist, anarcho-capitalist movement?

Yes.  Anarchists invented the word libertarian; they are one in the same.  As I have said, national anarchism’s fundamental respect for any autonomous community, regardless of its values or basis of association, gives it the potential to function as an organizational umbrella for a wide range of anti-statist, decentralist, libertarian, and secessionist groups.  My wife and I recently wrote an essay claiming that agorism is the most compatible economic model with anarchism in general.  We believe that all hyphenated anarchists need to embrace agorism in order to provide a viable alternative to the state and its corporate partners.  We also critique free market anarchists’ use of the term anarcho-capitalist.  You can read the article here.

7) What are your thoughts concerning the Tea Party movement (TPM), the Militia scene and people like Ron Paul? do you think national anarchism can attract people involved in radical conservative circles? 

I was involved (like many in WACNYC, JBS, YAL and other libertarian and conservative groups) with the tea party in its infancy when it was a populist tax/IRS/federal reserve protest. By 2009, domination of the originally grassroots TPM by the GOP, Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck was solidifying and becoming self evident. Like the Occupy movement, I saw great potential in the TPM, and despite the efforts of Republican Party loyalists to centralize the movement, some local tea party groups have remained independent. I wish there could have been more cross pollination between Occupy and the tea party. My family and I are active participants and proponents of the community Militia and local self defense. I personally respect Dr. Paul immensely. Although I was active in his 2008 campaign and remain a supporter, I am disappointed he doesn’t run with one of the third parties and in general I am totally disillusioned with electoral politics other than maybe on the most local level. NA has attracted and will continue to attract folks from radical conservative circles. The fact that more and more radical conservatives, libertarians and constitutionalists are using terms like minarchist, voluntaryist, autarchist, agorist, and anarcho capitalist is proof that anarchist thinking is becoming more prevalent in these circles.  NA is naturally attractive to those advocating traditional American values such as individual liberty, local sovereignty, secession, and freedom of association.

8) Can you explain what you mean by the term Anarcho-Feudualism

Anarcho-feudalism is a model of organization that is centered on owning and working land. Essentially it’s a type of voluntary mutualist manorialism.  It has several things in common with the traditional conception of feudalism, but it is less hierarchical and more horizontally organized.  It is definitely not oppressive or supportive of serfdom, which is associated with traditional feudalism.  Rather, its primary feudalist characteristics are the dependence on property (land), the agricultural focus, and the loyalty and allegiance between landowners and workers.

Historical feudalism was a system in which vassals worked for and paid homage to lords, and lords provided land use and protection to vassals.  An examination of the etymology of certain feudalistic words can reveal the mutual nature of the vassal-lord relationship.  The word “liege,” for example, was used by lords and vassals to refer to one another.  The Online Etymology Dictionary lists one definition: "a vassal sworn to the service and support of a lord, who in turn is obliged to protect him."  This is a mutual relationship.  The significance to anarchism becomes deeper when one realizes that “liege” comes from German, French, English, Friscian, and Dutch words for “free” and/or “flexible.”  It also shares a root with “allegiance,” or the loyalty to one another that is undoubtedly necessary in an anarcho-feudalist setup.  All parties freely enter into a voluntary contract in which they are all both “vassals” and “lords”; this dual nature of vassal and lord reflects the concept of the Anarch, whose task is to balance out freedom and responsibility.

Under anarcho-feudalism every member freely holds and works the land, and all are involved with providing defense and protection for the land’s residents.  The “lords” work in the fields just as the “vassals” fight invaders and oppressors (and vice versa).  Everyone collaborates on equal ground, with the only hierarchies being natural ones that arise out of the normal differences in people’s knowledge, skills, charisma, and abilities (meritocracy).  People are considered leaders if they are able to move the tribe (or individuals within it) successfully towards mutual goals.  The respect for tribal elders and the original property holders (those who made the anarcho-feudalist land trust possible) is always encouraged and recognized.  New prospects do not have the clout that full-fledged members do.  They enter into one of two arrangements: either they work for the land trust as temporary volunteers and then move on, or they agree to a voluntary contract in which their labor and efforts are analogous to “paying their dues” and they eventually become members with full rights, obligations and benefits.  That change in status occurs after rites of passage and oaths and contracts of allegiance are taken.

I am currently in the slow process of working out the kinks and setting up a cooperative land trust that would adhere to this model.  The Anarcho-Feudalist motto is Sovereign Yeomen Against Tyranny and Serfdom!

9) I understand you are a Freemason? How do you reconcile this with anarchism etc?

I am a 32nd degree Freemason. I see Freemasonry as very compatible with anarchism; for one, the craft is a voluntary association that encourages free thought, individual sovereignty, and the democratic decision making process. The hierarchy in freemasonry is wholly symbolic, with merit and understanding as the basis for “advancement”. Part of the reason I sought initiation was the fact that the majority of modern revolutionaries have been Freemasons, including anarchists like Proudhon and Bakunin. Political radicals throughout history have taken advantage of the secrecy, autonomy, free association, mutual aid, and democratic governance of the lodge to further their revolutionary ambitions.

10) What are your current projects and where can one find out more about national anarchism in America? 

I am currently homesteading with my wife and members of NATA in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state, we are cooperatively working out the kinks in our land trust/anarcho feudalist project. Some members at the end of the month will be protesting this year’s Bilderberg conference, and we are planning a large rally at the United Nations later this year to protest the erosion of American sovereignty by  globalization, Zionism, and the Chinese economic takeover of the United States.