a catalogue of aberrations, major and minor

Trump is consolidating power and using Russia as a distraction

I. Some background.

Back in April, political scientist John Bellamy Foster wrote an article entitled 'Neofascism in the White House' for the Monthly Review, a self-described 'independent socialist magazine'. In his piece, he painstakingly details how what Steve Bannon calls the 'deconstruction of the administrative state' is a component of fascist ideology, disturbingly similar to what the Nazi Party called 'Gleichschaltung', or 'bringing-into-line', in which all power of the German state was consolidated into the top rung of the executive branch—in the Nazis' case, Hitler and his inner circle; in the present case, Trump and his advisers.
In the latest episode of his radio show Economic Update, economist Richard D. Wolff explains that Trump's budget proposal is nothing short of an austerity budget. It's a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top and to the military-industrial complex.
His infrastructure plan, as well, consists of privatising and selling off massive amounts of America's infrastructure. As Foster notes, 'an often overlooked Nazi policy was the selling-off of state property. The concept of privatization (or “reprivatization”) of the economy, now a hallmark of neoliberalism, first gained currency in fascist Germany, where capitalist property relations remained sacrosanct, even as the new fascist state structure dismantled liberal-democratic institutions and instituted a war economy. At the time of Hitler’s rise to power, much of the German economy was state-owned: sectors such as the steel and coal industries, shipbuilding, and banking had been largely nationalized. Under Hitler, the United Steel Trust was privatized in just a few years, and by 1937 all of the major banks were privatized. All of this increased the power and scope of capital.' He goes on to quote Maxine Yaple Sweezy in her 1941 study of Nazi economic policy: 'The practical significance of the transference of government enterprises into private hands was thus that the capitalist class continued to serve as a vessel for the accumulation of income. Profit-making and the return of property to private hands, moreover, have assisted the consolidation of Nazi Party power.'
I've seen barely any discussion in the mainstream media of Trump's austerity plan nor his initiative to sell off our infrastructure. Nor have I seen a lot of coverage of the fact that Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, Trump's chief strategist and senior policy adviser, respectively, are thinly-disguised white nationalists, with the former speaking of a 'Great Fourth Turning' which would spiritually regenerate America through violence (an idea drawn from the pseudoscientific Strauss-Howe generational theory, which, fittingly for fascist ideology, pertains only to America—particularistic national myth is a vital component of any form of fascism), hinting at the idea of a new Crusade against Islam and China ('There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global.…You will see we’re in a war of immense proportions') while praising the French Front National, and even approvingly citing Julius Evola, a philosopher and left-hand path esotericist who declared once that '[f]ascism is too little. We would have wanted a fascism which is more radical, more intrepid, a fascism that is truly absolute, made of pure force, unavailable for any compromise.…We would never be considered anti-fascist, except to the extent that super-fascism would be equivalent to anti-fascism', all at a Vatican City conference in 2014, while the latter has a background of doing such things as helping Richard Spencer set up an event featuring fellow white nationalist Peter Brimelow (who coined the term 'alternative right') while they were friends in the Duke Conservative Union and having fans in David Duke and 'race realist' Jared Taylor. The closest I've seen to that kind of reporting was when it was revealed that Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President, is a member of the Vitézi Rend (Hungarian: 'Order of Vitéz'), an elite Hungarian secret society with links to the original Nazi Party; this reporting almost—and I emphasise almost—got him fired.
Trump's cabinet is full of 'deconstructors'—take, for example, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who bought her way into politics through her family's donations to the Republican Party, and who would like to dismantle public education and replace it with a system of vouchers for (preferably conservative Christian) charter schools, or Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson (one of only two people of colour in the Cabinet), who recently said that poverty is caused by nothing but a 'state of mind' and that compassion somehow means not giving people 'a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: "I’ll just stay here. They will take care of me"', or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon-Mobil CEO whose security forces committed various human rights abuses (including kidnapping, sexual assault, and torture) under his watch and who's stated 'My philosophy is to make money', or Secretary of Defense James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, who plans to betray Kurdish forces including the YPG/YPJ and the Peshmerga after the siege of Raqqa and whose bipartisan hawkishness (especially toward Iran) is impossible to overstate, or Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a xenophobic racist who wants to make medical marijuana illegal, is restoring Reagan-era tough-on-crime policies, and is escalating the War on Drugs, or Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer and hedge fund manager, who, last decade, invested in two Trump properties and whose OneWest Bank (which included none other than George Soros, a bogeyman for Trump, on its board of directors) played a role in the financial crisis by aggressively foreclosing on over 80,000 homes using potentially illegal tactics.
Or take the new CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who in April branded WikiLeaks a non-state hostile intelligence service, announced an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, and declared that 'it ends now.' (This happened a month after WikiLeaks embarrassed the CIA by publishing the 'Vault 7' leaks, which reveal that the CIA has a collection of hacking tools that, among other uses, can be used to spy on people from any device or hijack any car with an onboard computer (this revelation in particular revitalised suspicions about Michael Hastings' death) and that many of these hacking tools are in the hands of third-party black-hat hackers.) Assange replied by saying that WikiLeaks is fundamentally a journalistic outfit that operates on the same principle as any other journalistic outfit ('to publish newsworthy content') and has done some incredibly important work (Chelsea Manning's whistleblowing helped spark the Arab Spring and thus, indirectly, the Occupy movement), and that to attack a journalistic outfit and issue an arrest warrant for its founder is nothing short of an assault on the very principle of freedom of speech.
Trump has repeatedly attempted to implement his Muslim ban, but each attempt has been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional; he's issued verbal attacks on individual judges in what could be an effort to delegitimise their power in his supporters' eyes. In February, he issued an executive order to deport eleven million undocumented immigrants by force, without reference to length of residency, age, criminal record, or visa or citizenship application status.
Trump has inherited over a hundred judicial vacancies; to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of reactionary Antonin Scalia, he nominated the even more reactionary Neil Gorsuch. Fifty-one Republicans and three cowardly Democrats voted to confirm. The other vacancies will allow Bannon and Miller, through Trump, to restructure the Judicial Branch in their own image.
Within the National Security Council, Trump created an organization, shrouded in secrecy, called the Strategic Initiatives Group, of which Gorka is a key figure; this was part of a January restructuring of the National and Homeland Security Committees, intended as a step toward the total transformation of the Executive Branch into a militaristic organisation with all power consolidated in the hands of the top rung.
Several agencies, including the EPA, have been blocked from reporting their research. Congressional Republicans have revived a defunct 1876 law that allowed for reducing government employees' salaries to $1 per year; this is almost certainly a threat of poverty against civil servants who refuse to be brought-into-line.
Trump has called for even more privatisation of prisons (a policy Sessions is already enacting), increased surveillance of Black Lives Matter and other activists, and expanded racial profiling. A draft of a now-cancelled executive order was leaked, containing religious 'freedom' exemptions to various nondiscrimination laws, including allowing corporations to reject access to goods and services relating to abortion, contraception, and protections for LGBTQ+ people.
Simultaneously, the Republican-dominated Congress is proposing a national 'right-to-work' law which would allow workers to receive union benefits without having to pay the dues (a.k.a. scabbing), which would send unions into financial crisis. The Supreme Court, with a conservative/reactionary majority, could do the same much more quickly in certain upcoming cases. DeVos' school privatisation is aimed at breaking teachers' unions. The point is to utterly crush de facto labour power in America; this was the first thing every fascist government did.
Perhaps the three most frightening things in the litany of steps toward total fascism are as follows:
  1. The new VOICE office publishes weekly lists of (alleged) crimes committed by (primarily non-white) immigrants, in a clear effort to deceive the public into falsely believing that immigrants are more likely to be criminal, when statistics show the exact opposite. This measure is strikingly similar to how the Nazi-controlled press would publish weekly lists of (alleged) crimes committed by Jews.
  2. Trump's aforementioned budget proposal includes massive increases for the military. His administration has plans for what amount to global crusades. They literally want an American Empire. (Which would definitely please the neoreactionaries and the radical traditionalists.)
  3. In 2011, Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. This law allows for the indefinite military detention, ordered by the President or any military or government authority, of any citizen or non-citizen suspected of any connections to terrorism. Given what Trump and his administration consider to be terroristic, the implications of the possible use of this law are disconcerting at best.

Yet the mainstream media, for the most part, neglect these disturbing details in favour of obsessing over Trump's team's alleged collusion with the Russian government.
And here lies the problem.

II. The problem.

We've seen a rapid succession of political shocks; the speed and convolution of it all is enough to make even me dizzy. The constant lies, distortions, firings, hirings, scandals…and we're literally only six months in!
Several prominent psychiatrists, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists have said that Donald Trump is a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder. He must be the centre of attention at all times; anonymous White House staffers have noted that he gets irrationally angry if he gets too much negative press or if he doesn't get enough press at all.
A common feature of narcissistic personality disorder is pathological lying, and Trump is a pathological liar extraordinaire: two days ago, the New York Times published an online piece detailing each and every falsehood, distortion, and outright lie that Trump has shat out of his mouth since his inauguration and up to this point.
Just twenty-four days after his appointment, Mike Flynn resigned from his position as National Security Advisor under political pressure for…well, for meeting with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak and for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about it.
Just last month, on 9 May, James Comey was fired by Trump for such a plethora of mutually contradictory reasons that I have no clue why he was fired. Was it on a recommendation from the Department of Justice, or one from Rod Rosenstein (which has already been shown to be false), or Trump himself? That last option seems the most likely, as it's highly probable that he's under investigation and fired Comey to take the pressure off of himself, as he explained in a private meeting with a group of Russian officials, ironically calling Comey a 'nutjob'; the firing, along with this admission, may be evidence of an attempt at obstruction of justice. I'll discuss the significance of this act of firing in the next part.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus admitted on 30 April to ABC journalist Jonathan Karl that the White House has considered a Constitutional amendment to change what speech is allowed; when asked what Trump means when he says we should 'open up the libel laws' and informed that this would require a new amendment, Priebus responded, 'I think it's something we've looked at. How that gets executed, or whether that goes anywhere, is a different story.' That answer was not a mistake, as he repeated 'this is something that is being looked at' later in the same interview. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo explained the significance of this: 'The changes President Trump wants are blocked by decades of jurisprudence which is little contested, unlike other hot button points of constitutional law. If you want what Trump wants, you have to amend the Constitution—and not the Constitution in general but the First Amendment specifically. Amending the First Amendment to allow the head of state to sue people who say things he doesn't like amounts to abolishing it.' Yet despite how extremely concerning it is that the White House even considered this—and is probably still considering it—I only saw that one interview and a few opinion pieces in the mainstream media. They talk about how alarming it is when Trump declares the press 'the enemy of the people'—which definitely is concerning, considering how such a phrase is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes—but they mostly ignored the actual plans Trump and his team developed (and may still be developing) to really implement censorship in favour of covering—you know exactly what I'm about to say at this point—Russia.
But why the Russian collusion narrative, despite only a tiny amount of actual evidence? Who actually benefits from it? The American people? The Democrats? Or could it actually be Trump and his team themselves?

III. The hypothesis.

In Part I, I discussed the 'bringing-into-line' occurring in the Executive Branch to a large extent. In Part II, I discussed the mainstream media's incompetence in the face of creeping totalitarianism.
There's a very sinister purpose behind the Russia allegations and a very simple explanation.
As I noted, Trump is a textbook narcissist. All attention must be on him, all the time, and even negative attention is better than none. Anonymous White House staffers have reported that he gets irritable and irrationally angry if he's not featured in the news prominently enough. The Russia stories feed his ego by focusing negative attention on him and also provoking positive coverage of him in the right-wing media.
As well, they provide liberals with the fantasy that he can be impeached soon. Just as soon as the smoking gun is found…any day now…and maybe we can impeach Mike Pence and even Paul Ryan too!
As well, every minute spent on Russia by Congressional Democrats is a minute that could've been spent on fighting the Republican agenda. All of the horrifying things I listed in Part I and more are being developed and implemented. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the investigations are happening, but wasting too much time on them just allows Trump and the Republicans to restructure the government at a fundamental level. Do we want to fight Trumpcare or do we want another investigative session that leads nowhere?
Lastly, the allegations distract the general public from the Trump administration's consolidation of power. While ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post are covering the Russian collusion allegations nonstop, ICE raids are increasing, our infrastructure is being sold off to corporations like Blackstone, and protesters are being tortured by police before even being tried in court. We're not getting the full picture. Our democracy is being destroyed before our very eyes, but we're too distracted by the mere possibility of Russian interference to even notice!
Remember: Steve Bannon is a master propagandist, and Trump has surrounded himself with PR people. Such a team can easily spin what amounts to an alternate reality game with a mystery story worthy of Ian Fleming. They've killed three birds with one stone.
We're being duped, taken for fools on a massive scale. And if you want to get wise to what's happening, you have to divert your attention away from Russia, away from demonising the Bernie crowd, the socialists, and the leftists, away from the superficial vulgarity Trump displays, away from Clinton and her managerial liberalism, and toward solidarity with the poor and oppressed, toward an authentic left (like Corbyn in the UK), and toward the little steps to totalitarianism:
“What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.
“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security…
“This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised…as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes.
“To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it—please try to believe me—unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’ that no ‘patriotic German’ could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not?—Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic…
“Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to—to what? It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker. So you wait, and you wait.”

—Milton Mayer, 'But Then It Was Too Late', in They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1955, pp. 166-173.

Achieving a mutualist society through decentralisation

Adam Kokesh, controversial anarcho-capitalist celebrity and anti-war activist, is planning to run for President of the United States on the platform of an orderly dissolution of the state.
As far as I can tell, he plans to do this by slowly privatising or abolishing each and every agency of the government throughout his term, and then fully dissolving the entire government as he leaves office.
I have a very similar yet radically different proposal. As I am not an anarcho-capitalist, but a left-libertarian, I figure that a similar plot may be used to replace the state with a mutualist social order.

Instead of immediately setting about privatising the government, we should instead build up a robust social-democratic system, akin to Jeremy Corbyn's vision for the UK.
Our first step should be to create a workable universal healthcare system, a Medicare for All. We should also create a free college system similar to Bernie Sanders' proposal.
As for our current welfare systems, they are in dire need of substantial reform. Unemployment benefits can be replaced with a guaranteed minimum income or universal basic income scheme. The latter can also replace retirement benefits.
The energy, water, and other utilities industries should be fully nationalised. The energy industry in particular should be transitioned as quickly as is possible to using clean, renewable power sources as opposed to fossil fuels and other pollutants.
Certain regulations should also be enacted: for instance, all workplaces should be required to unionise, overly-complex financial arrangements and actions (such as credit default swaps) should be restricted, and net neutrality should be implemented and strictly enforced.
At the same time, civil liberties must be restored. The USA PATRIOT Act and the USA FREEDOM Act should be repealed, along with the Controlled Substances Act, the Espionage Act of 1917, and any other law which infringes on the right to privacy, freedom of speech, or any other fundamental right.
The Department of Homeland Security should be abolished and the Department of Defense shrunk to only the minimum required to defend against foreign attack. At the same time, the state should adopt an open-borders policy. As I have suggested before, the state should not penalise immigrants nor penalise employers for simply hiring immigrants, but should rather penalise employers for not paying immigrants the same wage as native-born workers doing the same job.

Once this order is implemented, more radical measures must be taken. Taxation should be reduced to a land value tax, a capital gains tax, and a progressive general wealth tax. These have two functions:
  1. These taxes should be more than enough to fund all state functions; see Joseph Stiglitz' work on the land value tax.
  2. The taxes, combined with the social programmes, have the effect of restoring land and capital to their rightful places as common property to a certain extent.
A rule should be instated mandating that a failed or bankrupt business hand over its ownership to its workers to be managed as a cooperative; the same rule should apply immediately to any business directly or indirectly receiving government benefits. Extensive financial reform should be undertaken to remake each bank into a credit union.

As soon as this programme is running smoothly, the functions of the state must be not privatised but decentralised. Social welfare agencies and nationalised industries should be transformed into mutual aid networks. Regulatory agencies can be replaced by consumer watchdog collectives. The police and the military can be substituted for people's militias (such as the YPG/YPJ or EZLN). And so on.

For further elaboration on the relationship between anarchy and democracy, please refer to Gabriel Amadej's excellent piece for the Center for a Stateless Society, 'The Regime of Liberty'.
In the meantime, let us practise mutual aid and exercise compassion toward the aim of a fairer, freer world.


I'm utterly baffled, to be honest, about the economic mechanisms at play in Patreon (here's mine, by the way).
The normal mechanisms of the market to achieve equilibrium don't apply; indeed, I don't think there's such a thing as equilibrium when it comes to Patreon.
So here's an analysis of labour when it comes to Patreon, using as case studies two accounts: the funny, brilliant podcast Chapo Trap House and the pseudointellectual right-wing YouTuber Sargon of Akkad.

As of time of writing, Chapo Trap House is making $65,601.00 per month (meaning $787,212.00 per year), which amounts to approximately $15,098.00 per week (the average number of weeks in a month is approx. 4.345, so $65,601.00 ÷ 4.345 = approx. $15,098.00).
The average length of each episode, which I assume is equivalent to the time it takes to record, is 1 hour. I'm only guessing, but I assume the time spent in preparation and pre-production and the time spent in editing and other forms of post-production are 2 hours and 1 hour respectively. 2 episodes are released per week.
Adding up the hours spent in the creation of each episode (4 hours) and multiplying that number by that of episodes released per week, we get 8 hours of labour per week. Dividing the Dry Boys' weekly income by this number yields an hourly wage of $1,887.25.

From this, we may extract a general formula for determining the hourly wages of an audio or video content producer on Patreon:
Let Im = monthly income,
Iw = weekly income,
L = the length in hours of the audio or video product,
P = the hours spent in preparation and pre-production + the hours spent in editing and other forms of post-production,
Q = the number of products released per week,
W = the hours spent in labour per week, and
Ih = the hourly wage of the producer.
To derive W, we must apply the following formula: Q(L + P) = W.
To derive Ih, the following formula works: Iw/W = Ih.
Thus, in expanded form, the formula for the hourly wage of a given audio or video content producer on Patreon is: Im/4.345 = Iw/Q(L + P) = W = Ih.

Now let's apply this to Carl of Swindon Sargon of Akkad. He makes $5,637.00 per month for regurgitating right-wing garbage, which amounts to a rather nice $67,644.00 per year. His average video is approximately half an hour (0.5 hours, for calculation purposes), and I'll guess he spends 1.5 hours in preparation and pre-production, while I'll also guess he spends 1 hour in editing and post-production. He tends to release 3 videos per week.
So let's apply the formula:
$5,637.00/4.345 = $1,297.00 (approx.)/3(0.5 + 2.5) = 9 = $144.11.

Given that Sargon puts more time into production than the Dry Boys, this may cast some doubt on the labour theory of value. But two factors must be taken into consideration before any conclusions may be drawn:
  1. These are estimates, drawn from my own experience podcasting and making videos. As well, the labour involved in the creation of the equipment must be taken into account. Not only that, but the quality and effort put into the creation of Chapo Trap House may be more than that put into Sargon's videos.
  2. Patreon is different from your average market in multiple ways. I can't explain the differences in detail, but they're obvious.
I'd love to see an analysis of this from a Marxian, neo-Ricardian, mutualist, New Classical, or any sort of interesting perspective, but this is what we've got for now.

In conclusion, donate to my Patreon.
Thank you.

'They terk er jerbs!' Do immigrants really drive down wages?

I'll say this just to make my point clearer: I'm talking about the United States and its Latin American immigration, not Europe, and I'm focusing on the economic effects of immigration, so I'll be avoiding any discussion of the usual Trumpian rhetoric and xenophobic canards about drugs, crime, rapists, and whatnot. The Sentencing Project has already released a report demonstrating that 'foreign-born residents of the United States commit crime less often than native-born citizens', simple observation and deduction show that with any population transfer, the absolute crime rate may increase, but the relative crime rate will probably stay the same (and this is an important distinction to understand), and frankly, if you were an immigrant, wouldn't you have an incentive to avoid deportation by, say, not committing crimes, which generally increase your likelihood of being deported?
And what about immigrants being lazy? That stereotype is rooted in age-old ethnic stereotypes of Hispanics, and especially Mexicans, which can be refuted easily by studies showing that immigrants on average work harder than native-born citizens.
So these two myths are instantly busted.
But do they, as the 'pissed-off white redneck conservatives' like to say, 'take our jobs'? Or, as a slightly more economically literate nativist might say, 'drive down our wages'?
Let's apply a little economic reasoning here:
As I've shown, immigrants are, by and large, labourers. And since wealth is derived from labour (Kevin Carson has an excellent defence of this position in Chapter 1 of his Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, which can be read here), additional labour means additional wealth. Furthermore, as immigrants are necessarily, as with all of us, consumers of goods, they create additional demand, and where there is more demand, as any economist will tell you, more supply comes to meet it. This additional supply means that prices go down to achieve equilibrium. It should be clear that these prices don't lower just for immigrants, but for everyone across the board. So right off the bat, we have immigrants making things better for everyone!
So whence the idea that immigrants 'steal' jobs and depress wages?
Employers, generally seeking to maximise profits, see immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, as a source of cheap labour. They can pay documented immigrants minimum wage, as most immigrants are glad to even have a job, and that's equally true for undocumented immigrants, who they can pay even less than minimum wage, as the lack of documentation puts them outside of regulation. Hence the effect of wages in general being depressed and native-born workers being fired.
But is this the immigrants' fault, or is it the employers' fault?
Ultimately, it's the employers' decision to pay these lower wages and fire native-born workers. (Mainstream neoclassical economics seems to have a tendency to treat questions of unemployment, low wages, and poverty as matters of personal responsibility, but then treat employers mistreating their workers as helpless subjects of uunbreakable 'laws' of economics. I wonder why that is...)
There's no gun being held at employers' heads forcing them to pay lower wages. The only reason for that happening is the desire to get higher profits in the short term.
Trump wants to punish immigrants for seeking jobs over here and punish employers for simply hiring immigrants. This is not a policy that will keep citizens' wages high. The real solution is to punish employers for not paying immigrants, documented or undocumented, the equivalent of a native-born citizen's wages for the same amount of work.
It's worked in the past numerous times in various countries during nearly each major immigration wave of the last century. What's so special about the present that it can't work now?

For compassion-based politics, or: a proposal for anarcho-Mohism


The Chinese philosopher Mozi postulated that the primary ill of humanity is too much partiality in compassion. (A further argument can be made that (post)modern society suffers from a deficit in compassion all around.)
Human beings have a bias toward the members of their ingroup. This bias can be exploited in horrific ways: when the Germans accepted themselves as the 'ingroup' and the Jews, Roma, LGBTQ+ people, etc. as the 'outgroup' in the 1930s-40s, the Nazis were able to provoke them to unprecedented levels of evil and cruelty. This rested entirely on the ingroup-outgroup classification.
(For a much more in-depth discussion of this same topic, please see Scott Alexander's now-(in)famous post at Slate Star Codex.)
The ingroup-outgroup bias can be benign, in the sense that a tumour can be benign, or it can reach the level of fascist atrocity.
Mozi's philosophy, known as Mohism, says that one would need to overcome this crude bias in order to become a truly ethical person; an ethical person will have compassion for all and act accordingly.


We can see how this applies to modern politics on the macro scale with attitudes on immigration.
Note this tweet about a young woman who is supposed to be protected under the DREAM Act (although ICE under Trump is trying to deport her):
Now the response from a self-proclaimed Christian and conservative:
For Natasja, undocumented migrants—even those who were brought to the United States as young children—are the outgroup.
Even if they had no real choice.
Even if they have lived their entire life as Americans.
Her rationale, when confronted with that fact, is that this Dreamer's parents made a choice.
For a Christian, she is surprisingly ignorant of her own Bible. For it is written:

'The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father with him, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son with him; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.'

Ezekiel 18:20, JPS Tanakh 1917.

I must note that I do not consider illegal immigration 'iniquity'; rather, I consider it iniquity that we have a system which leaves many with no other choice but to risk life and limb to come here and I consider it iniquity the way we treat undocumented migrants:

'And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.'

Leviticus 19:33-34, JPS Tanakh 1917.

Were not Natasja's ancestors strangers in the land of America when they came here?
Was my own father not a stranger when he came here, and my great-grandparents before him?
Show me in the Holy Bible, or indeed the Holy Qur'an, or the Bhagavad Gita, or indeed any sage text, where it says that only sojourners or strangers who have had to pass through invasive security theatre are worthy of compassion.
The Oxford English Dictionary says that the word 'iniquity' comes ultimately 'from Latin iniquitas, from iniquus, from in- ‘not’ + aequus ‘equal, just’.' The etymology of 'inequity' is the same.
What, if any, distinction can be made between the two? For this is the truth that has been understood for so long, and which has levelled great empires and laid barren the noblest of republics: Inequity is iniquity, and iniquity can never remain unpunished.


In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus Christ says that '[t]he kingdom of God is within you.' (Luke 17:21, Lamsa.) And as Charlie Chaplin expanded in The Great Dictator, 'within you' means 'not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men.'
It is in this spirit, and in recognition of the above principle, that Nikolai Berdyaev, the great Russian philosopher and mystic, wrote:

'There is absolute truth in anarchism and it is to be seen in its attitude to the sovereignty of the state and to every form of state absolutism.…The religious truth of anarchism consists in this, that power over man is bound up with sin and evil, that a state of perfection is a state where there is no power of man over man, that is to say, anarchy. The Kingdom of God is freedom and the absence of such power…the Kingdom of God is anarchy.'

—Nikolai Berdyaev, trans. R. M. French, Slavery and Freedom, New York, Charles Scribners, 1944, p. 147.


Mozi 'advocated a form of state consequentialism, which sought to maximize three basic goods: the wealth, order, and population of the state' (P. J. Ivanhoe and B. W. van Norden, Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing, 2005, p. 60). By 'order', Mozi does not necessarily mean hierarchy, but rather the prevention of violence and the avoidance of warfare, which he saw as destructive and pointless; and by 'material wealth', he meant wealth for all, and not merely for a few.
But taking into consideration that we are embarking upon a fundamentally libertarian project, we must reject the idea of the state as part of our ethic. It also does not seem obvious to us that population growth is an inherent moral good.
Let us now turn to the words of the philosopher himself:

'It is the business of the benevolent man to seek to promote what is beneficial to the world and to eliminate what is harmful, and to provide a model for the world. What benefits he will carry out; what does not benefit men he will leave alone.'

—Mozi, Mozi, 5th century a.e.v.; Mozi et al., Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsün Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu, trans. Prof. B. Watson, New York, Columbia University Press, 1967, p. 110.

From this summation of Mozi's moral philosophy, we may deduce that the state is not a necessary part of the ethic of universal compassion; rather, it is the effect upon the world that determines what is right or wrong.
Let us finally turn to the moral philosophy of St. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred by the Nazis, of St. Karl Barth, who wrote much of the Barmen Declaration, which laid the cornerstone for the Christian German resistance to the Hitler regime, and of Paul Tillich, who summarised this philosophy, known as situation ethics, in his statement that 'Love is the ultimate law.' (P. Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1951, p. 152.)
The ideas of situation ethics harmonise with those of Mohism, as situation ethics demands only those actions which produce the most love, the most agapé, and nothing more. Any laws, any norms, any dictates or decrees which inhibit love are to be broken.
Here we see a clear return to that truth which Berdyaev stated so clearly: namely, that 'the Kingdom of God is anarchy.' The law of Love, of universal compassion, being the highest—no, the only law, has profoundly radical implications. The state, being an inherently violent institution, is an impediment to compassion, as is capitalism, which utterly negates compassion in its inhuman logic of profit and growth for the sake of growth ('the ideology of the cancer cell', as environmentalist Edward Abbey put it).
'Think globally, act locally', the slogan of social ecology, is a guide for a Mohist anarchy. Whatever action increases the well-being of a given community will, in a holistic manner, increase the well-being of the whole world.


Only through universal compassion can an anarchist order be maintained and even created, and only through anarchy can compassion be realised.
It finds its purest expressions in the reemerging mutual aid movement, in the credit union, and in the cooperative. Though times are dark, and wars and genocides are raging, and it appears that all promises of a better future are lost, the hope of ages, which guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, which guided the Diggers and the Quakers to endure brutal repression in order to spread a Gospel of love and generosity, which led the Parisians, the Ukrainians, and the Spanish to establish free territories in the face of authoritarian assault, which led the Partisans of Warsaw and Vilna to rise up even when they knew they faced certain defeat, which led millions of black Americans to march against brutal segregation, which led the unemployed and the homeless to camp in Zuccotti Park to demand justice for the poor and destitute, which still leads the poor of Chiapas and Rojava to fight against their oppression, still burns in the hearts of human beings, and if I squint hard enough, I can see the Sun on the horizon ready to rise—but only when we reject all fear and hatred and hold on to compassion.