By Jordan Jardine
If you listen to the mainstream media or conservative pundits, you probably have heard them make generalizations about “the left.” For instance, one can often hear someone like Ben Shapiro refer to “the folks on the left… “ No nuance, no gray area. Also, mainstream conservative commentators like Tucker Carlson can also over-generalize about “the left.” Usually, when commentators such as the ones mentioned above make these generalized statements, they apply them to the Democratic Party or Antifa or politically correct morons on college campuses. Hollywood is another favorite target of conservative ire. Several conservatives have complained about Hollywood being “left-wing,” but most of these people supported Hillary Clinton and not the true left-wing (at least in the context of the American political spectrum) Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders. Most of Hollywood pays lip service to progressive social causes, but they most likely got behind Hillary because they knew she wouldn’t raise their taxes very much, if at all. Anyway, the point here is that not everyone to the left of the Republicans thinks exactly the same, contrary to what people like Candace Owens would like to have people believe.
You can have several disagreements with people on “the left” and still consider yourself to be on “the left.” For instance, as an anarchist, I personally disagree with censoring or banning any political speech whatsoever. Had I been a student at a college like UC Berkeley, I would have defended the right of Milo Yiannopoulos to speak, as well as Ben Shapiro. I am on the left and I don’t agree that there are a billion different genders and that people should be forced by the state to use certain phrases or pronouns. I have many conservative friends, including many of my Binghamton Review colleagues. If people who are left-leaning have a problem with that, that is their issue and theirs alone. I will still consider myself a part of the left wing because those people cannot tell me otherwise.
Leftism is not a cult. You can be a libertarian leftist or an authoritarian leftist. The authoritarian left is the real problem on college campuses and elsewhere. There are plenty of anarchists on the left, and our voice is never heard. The squeaky wheel of the authoritarian left has gotten almost all of the grease from mainstream and conservative media sources alike. However, this is not the whole of “the left.” On what I would call the American Left, there are social democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (they are not democratic socialists, though they both keep using this term to describe their ideology). Further to the left are actual democratic socialists, Marxists, Leninists, Maoists and Communists. On the libertarian left, there are also several schools of thought. There are libertarian socialists (or anarcho-communists), anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-primitivists, collectivist anarchists, social anarchists, anarcho-feminists (yes, they exist) and more. Conservatives do their audience a massive disservice when they generalize about people on the other side of the aisle. This kind of rhetoric only increases and exacerbates the pandemic of division in this country.
Though many anarchists agree with the authoritarian left on certain issues that concern them, we anarchists do not believe in using the state apparatus to enforce particular views or behaviors on the entire population. Conservatives must understand that anarchists or left-libertarians are not the enemy. Though we may disagree on several issues, especially economics, both of us agree that the state should play as little a role in the lives of everyday people as possible. Please stop lumping us in with authoritarian, snowflake liberals who are only concerned with getting attention, not with actually changing the world for the better, which is what anarchists seek to do. As previously pointed out, though we are economically opposed, the libertarian left and the libertarian right agree that individuals should be free to pursue their own interests and enjoy a maximum level of freedom as long as they don’t use that right to infringe upon the rights of others or so harm to others. Furthermore, anarchists do not believe in the “forced sharing” caricature of “socialism” as adopted by countries such as the Soviet Union, Maoist China and North Korea. While it is technically true that anarchists do not believe in private property, we believe there is an important distinction to be made between private property and personal property. When anarchists talk about “private property,” we are usually referring to capital accumulation. We do not believe the state nor individuals have any right to steal a person’s car or bed or house, etc. These items fall under the category of personal property, which nearly all anarchists are in favor of. This brings up another crucial point: historically, anarchism was viewed as an ultra left-wing ideology. On the right, there are anarcho-capitalists, but leftist anarchists generally don’t consider anarcho-capitalists to actually be anarchists because, historically, capitalism has virtually always required a state and hierarchies to protect the private property/capital of the capitalist class (bosses, CEOs, elites, etc.) from the workers. These are the complexities within left-wing thought that rarely get discussed in mainstream political discourse.
There absolutely is a staggeringly growing problem of authoritarian leftist behavior in America and some other countries, but leftism is not inherently authoritarian and does not require “groupthink.” I genuinely would love to appear on Ben Shapiro’s show or Tucker Carlson’s show or any other prominent conservative commentator’s show and talk to them about the ideas and concepts that I believe in. I want to show them that not all lefties think alike. There is plenty of diversity of thought on the left. The problem is that the “groupthink” authoritarians are currently much, much louder than the anarchists and that needs to change.