Chelsea Manning’s Anarchist Campaign

  • Posted on: 22 January 2018
  • By: thecollective

From The American Conservative

Less than a year after being released from prison, whistleblower Chelsea Manning, known mostly for releasing a series of military logs and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, has filed to run for U.S. Senate in Maryland as a Democrat. She almost certainly won’t defeat her primary opponent, incumbent Senator Ben Cardin. That doesn’t matter.

If Chelsea Manning were to miraculously win both the Democratic primary and general election, it’s even less likely that she would be able to accomplish any of her main policy goals. Few if any other senators would sign on to immediately abolishing Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), let alone doing the same to prisons and the military. That also doesn’t matter.

What matters is that Chelsea Manning will have greater access to the public ear on those and other issues. While she hasn’t exactly been voiceless since leaving prison with over 320,000 followers on Twitter, her campaign gives her a platform from which her words can be reported by the press as those of a candidate for Senate.

This strategy is not original to Manning.

For example, despite being in Congress for a total of 23 years, less than half of a percent of the bills sponsored by former congressman Ron Paul ever became law. His 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns were similarly ill-fated by any traditional analysis.

It was Paul’s answers during the debates that stuck in the public mind and created a serious cultural shift. A 2007 exchange with Rudy Giuliani alerted viewers to the concept of “blowback,” the idea that terrorist activities against Americans are best understood as reactions to past U.S. military interventions and covert operations. From the halls of Congress, Paul was able to expand on this idea by asking Americans to consider how they might react to a Chinese occupation of Texas—an anti-war parable that then became a major campaign ad during his 2012 run.

That is why, despite the fact that Paul lost miserably in both of his presidential runs, and despite Manning’s almost certain loss in her senatorial race, their campaigns are infinitely more important than those of their opponents. The McCains and Cardins occupy positions of power and go through the motions of the existing political machinery. The Pauls and Mannings, however, can fundamentally transform the political culture over time. That change is more significant, because it is the political culture that defines the limits within which those with power can act in the first place.

Consider the electorally disastrous 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater. Goldwater carried only six states but, as time passed, imitations of his particular conservative vision came to dominate the Republican Party.

If Manning were to receive anywhere close to the attention of those candidates, she could have an even greater effect. This is because she seems acutely aware that there is a world beyond the state, and that politics is about much more than policy.

Manning’s first campaign ad mentions no policy proposals, nor does it say anything about how she would govern. Rather it strikes against the idea that what’s really needed in the first place is new federal policy. Amid images of black flags and riot cops, she tells viewers: “We don’t need more or better leaders…We need to stop asking them to give us our rights. They won’t support us…We don’t need them anymore. We can do better.”

This message echoes that of anarchist author Karl Hess who, in his 1975 book Dear America, wrote: “The leaders have failed. Before that failure becomes fatal, it could be erased by the new age of fully participatory social organization…of one stateless world, of privilege ended and responsibility begun…of self-management…The leaders have failed. Leadership has failed. Now it is our turn.”

Hess was no stranger to practicality in politics. Before becoming disillusioned with conservatism, he had been the primary author of the 1960 and 1964 Republican Party platforms, and, coincidentally, one of Goldwater’s main speechwriters. What drew him away from conservatism towards anarchism was a frustration with a top-down model of society that assumes social change must come from elites acting through the state. He came to believe instead that politically motivated people should act directly upon society themselves.

This framework for politics has a long history of anarchist-inspired projects, from radical labor unions like the Industrial Workers of the World, to grassroots disaster recovery like the Common Ground Collective in post-Katrina New Orleans, to attempts at routing the drug war like the Silk Road’s online marketplace. It is that history—the history of direct actionthat Manning draws upon in her campaign rhetoric.

Her message looks for solutions not in public policies that would, at best, be warped beyond recognition by the internal dynamics of state power. It looks for them in the power of individuals motivated to build a new world on their own. With so many politicians pledging to shake up Washington, it’s Manning’s campaign that’s truly revolutionary.

Jason Lee Byas is a fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org). He is also a Ph.D. student in Philosophy, living in Champaign, Ill. and Norman, Okla.

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Comments

So shes like the new vermin supreme, but not funny?

Vermin is a Krokodil-type useful idiot. Good for venting off the frustrations of the malcontent towards Power.

Manning is for real. She has went through severe shit, and made a lot of people pissed off with this apparently, which is GREAT. She's causing malcontent where there is servility.

Let's face the facts here, Chelsea is a reformist hack. Electoral politics is a waste of time. It just gives the system more legitimacy. One would think she would be a bit smarter but I guess not. Do your research Chelsea

On the contrary this is the Ron Paul tactic... doesn't matter if she gets a seat (obviously won't, you dumbo), what matters is all the rest.

I'm not sure what reality you're living in where she wants reform. In her "campaign video" she specifically says govt solutions and leaders wont do anything to make things better. She also often talks about abolishing police and prisons and not from the reformist attitude which that usually takes, but from the perspective of someone who was tortured and placed in ad seg and wants a world where nothing at all resembling prisons exists.

Shes not perfect, but I dont think its reasonable to sit at home and write on the internet about about how you expect someone in her situation to be. Cause I know Id probably have crawled under a rock the second I was released.

As long as we're being reasonable, I'd just like to know how the hot pocket was? Did it help with making you calm? I mean, really, How can these dumb people on the internet write on the internet and not get your writing on the internet pointing out their being unreasonable for writing on the internet. WTF rite? It's not your fault.

She's also apparently hanging out and socializing with the likes of Jack Posobiec, Cassandra Fairbanks, and Lucien Wintrich.

That's bad... I also heard Fairbanks is an Illuminati agent so Manning musta been brainwashed like a Monarch slave to push the NWO extermination of the White Race, brah!

I don't know about that, but Fairbanks is clearly a stooge of the Russia/Wikileaks partnership. Not to mention her relationship with Brandon Darby and the rest of these alt-right turds. Manning is a either a useful idiot or completely unprincipled.

Pretty sure she was only at the alt-right event to gather info to give to Daryl Jenkins. Because its much safer for her to do so with her relative fame.

Did Daryl Jenkins ask her to go to Escape the Room with them too? Also, isn’t she a little too high profile to be doing spying for anyone?

Why should anarchists give any fucks about this? Chelsea isn't an anarchist and her senate run is irrelevant to anarchism. Or am I missing something?

but she did do something many anarchists (I fear) wouldn't do: stood up for her principles and was prepared to do jail. Yes, she took action, didn't just stare at a screen being angry!

Dylann Roof may not be an anarchist but he did do something many anarchists (I fear) wouldn't do: stood up for his principles and was prepared to do jail. Yes, he took action, didn't just stare at a screen being angry!

This is obviously a false equivalency.

It is but it underscores the irrelevance of the original idiot's point.

Duh, did you not read the words MANY an anarchist...MANY....MANY... you got that....MANY AN ANARCHIST WOULDN'T DO...many an anarchist wouldn't do what Manning did. Maybe some, but not MANY. If it was many, then we might changes, the reason we don't see changes because only a few aka some NOT MANY do something!!!!

Calm down, bro. It's not your fault. These anarchists just don't get your wisdom. I know it's frustrating when an entire website's user base isn't as wise as you, but it'll be okay. It's not your fault. Go make a hot pocket, bro. It's not your fault.

You are so right, bro. All anarchists need to DO is join the military industrial complex, leak some secrets, go to prison, run for senate! Then WE might, as you say, "then we might changes" === anarchy!

Many Anarchists don't stand up for their principals?? Who the fuck are u!? How about Marius Mason? How about Michael Kimble? How about Eric king? As far as I am concerned Chelsea is like three steps away from Hillary Clinton.

I don't think Chelsea Manning running for office is such a great idea, but that doesn't mean a person of her proven courage, fortitude, fine deeds and integrity should be slagged off by all of you fucking miserable duds and assholes.

With my foot in your clown asses,

Kevin Keating

Shes not edgy enough. mid 20s Bro-punk-anarchists want her to talk about burning down the white house and dancing naked around it. Its an aesthetic that appeals to them.

Tweeting about abolishing the state and ill its institutions with a bunch of hearts, unicorns and has tags after just doesnt appeal to their angst enough and is therefor liberal.

If I volunteer to code and implement a discussion forum over on IGD, will you leave and never return, bro? Will even reserve your screen name for you, WiseWhiteMaleDefenderOfTheFemales_69.

At least if Chelsea is elected she will be able to keep a vigilant eye on the many subcultural entrypoints that have become vulnerable to Evola-reading fascist creepers.It is our SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY to tactically vote for her.

You are absolutely correct, fellow Portlander! It's, like, these damn primmie nihilist edge lord LBCers' simple minds can't even fathom the levels to this! I and my many padawan are already coding our distributed Chelsea Manning auto voting scripts (DCMAVS). Don't worry, sensei, We, like, Got This!

Chelsea Manning is the BEST HOPE for all spell-casting EGOIST-COMMUNIST INSURRECTIONISTS and I for one am much obliged for her VALUABLE contributions to NIHILIST-OCCULT PRAXIS!!! Find out what Leon Czolgosz told me about the importance of Chelsea Manning to the future of ANARCHISM IN NORTH AMERICA during the last seance I conducted by supporting me on Patreon!! patreon.com/doctorbones

Stay away from me, bone man! While you are correct that Chelsea is the BEST, I am the Jedi to your strange Sith amalgamations. When I invented egoist-communism back in the early 00s online in IRC in Minneapolis, I did it as a joke to gain cred with the scene at the time. Little did I know that only a few decades later you noobs would run with it! Do not test me, meme sorcerer. Do not think for one nanosecond that I haven't already triangulated your coordinates and can't DDoS you into whatever culturally inappropriate swamp hell from whence you came! Everybody knows this.

She's no Hillary Clinton, but I'd say vote for her anyway.

What we need to do is critically support both Chelsea Manning and Paul Nehlen's campaigns in a united front against American Empire.

This is all a bit boring. Like, maybe if Manning's leaks actually did result in people dying, I'd support her. It was cool running into her at a party the other night, though.

PFC Manning is a hero, but what do they think about the gold standard?

Unbelievable that Traitorous Chelsea would run such an ad after the Kenyan released her back into the wild. Very ungrateful!

Unbelievable that AnarchistFAKENews would cut off my name with an ellipsis. Very unfair!

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