Tag Archives: freedom

Freedom or Death- Call-in Today!

[UPDATE: These support actions have proven fruitless. Thomas Miller is slow walking us, dragging his feet and waiting for Sean to die. JPay has blocked anyone from scheduling video visits with Sean.  Here are some better options.  You can still call Miller, cuz he loves talking without saying anything. He talked to my retired elementary school, dyed in the whool bleeding heart liberal mom for twenty minutes the other day, and pissed her off. Ohio tax payers must be paying him to sit around throwing pencils at the ceiling most days. Also, you can still apply to visit Sean, and write him letters, cuz that shows support, but don’t bother with JPay.]

Contact Thomas Miller, who has been put in charge of answering all inquiries regarding Sean.

Phone: 614-644-7233.
Email: thomas.miller@ohioattorneygeneral.gov
Fax: 614-578-9963
Mail / visit: 150 East Gay Street, 16th Floor, Columbus OH 43215-6001

With fascist fuckweasels ignoring his hungerstrike, anarchist prisoner Sean Swain has vowed to refuse his blood pressure medication, beginning February 9. This medication keeps his blood pressure regulated. To stop taking this medication “cold turkey” is extremely dangerous, as it could cause a spike in blood pressure which can lead to heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.

“Freedom or death,” Sean said. “I’m not fucking around.”

Fuckweasels have engaged in a concerted, provable pattern of harassing every element of Sean’s communication, waging a war against anarchist expression.

Within 48 hours of suspending his medication, Sean will be in serious danger of medical problems and anticipates he will soon be held incommunicado in a torture cell, in a fuckweasel effort to break his will and cut him off from the outside world. But, as he pointed out, that will not stop his blood pressure from spiking.

“Clock is ticking,” Sean said. “To quote Emiliano Zapata, ‘Mejor morir en pie que vivir en rodillas’ (‘Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees’). If my choice is to surrender to tyrants or risk my health or even my life, then my choices are to live for the wrong thing or die for the right one. In that situation, dig my grave.”

There are two important ways you can show support for Sean at this time. Continue reading

Reformists Part III: The Third Option

angry-capuchin-monkey-4785558Third part in a series. Here’s part 1 and part 2
Sometimes bad news is good news. When you come to the conclusion that reformist action is impractical, unreasonable, and futile, it doesn’t foreclose on resisting completely. Every steel door that slams shut should always provoke us to contemplate how to cut the bars windows. Slamming the steel door of reformism liberates us to consider direct action, which is what anarchists WANT to do in the first place.

In the prison context, that again leads back to a discussi Monkeys. Now, before going any further, please kee that I wa the super-duper-uber-mega-ultra-hyper-tur the pretext of bei the Army of the 12 Monkeys– an accusation I have consistently denied. My counsel, Richard Kerger, has action, SWAIN VS. MOHR, now posted at seanswain.org, challenging this frame-up. Having said that, I was a witness to what occurred at Mansfield Correctional when the Army of the 12 Monkeys happened, and I think I’m fairly qualified to present an analysis of what this event implies for anarchists and for direct action in and outside of prison.
Continue reading

Interview for SupportPrisonerResistance.net

flyer1. Who are you? Where are you incarcerated and how long have you been inside? If you would prefer this be anonymous to avoid repercussions, please feel free to use a nickname, or more general / generic info (like the state or region you’re in, rather than the specific prison).

I’m Sean Swain, currently level 4 at Ohio State Penitentiary, and I’ve been locked up since 1991. I’m way too lazy to use nicknames. 🙂

2. Can you tell us about any prisoner resistance movements or activities you’ve openly participated in?

I can describe reform efforts that failed, including legislative initiativesand hunger strikes and proposed work stoppages, all seeking changes from authorities, all recognizing the authorities and their legitimacy. In fact, I would submit that when reforms succeed, they fail… Becuz they only pave the way for counter reforms. The mythological character rolling the boulder up the hill… Succeeding… Only to end up rolling the other way… Over and over… Forever. You can participate in failure openly, but successes cannot be conducted openly.

3. What kind of tactics or action (whether formal protests or informal “troublemaking”) do you think are most effective?

Successful tactics in resistance have been those that involve direct action. On a couple of occasions, I have witnessed widespread sabotage campaigns with a decent propaganda effort really descend orderly operations into disarray. Unlike gang banging and hunger strikes and work stoppages, authorities are unprepared for this kind of tactic, incapable of putting a guard and a camera on every single captive.
Sabotage really exposes the key weakness of any authoritarian system: its reliance on the population’s obedience and complicity. Small numbers with virtually no resources or formal training can make a huge impact, attacking and discovering key choke points to exploit.

4. Can you tell us a story where outside support made a difference in your life or resistance efforts?

Outside support has greatly altered my life in many ways. One example is when I was in seg in Toledo (TOCI). Friends had a strategy. They called the prison and central office claiming to be media. This created the illusion of public attention, which all prison systems hate and fear. Friends also called legislators as media, then called the prison and central office as assistants to legislators, all of this prompting central office and the prison to call each other to say, “WTF,” and for them to contact real legislators in what they believed were return calls, right after legislators were contacted by fake media. Total shitstorm.

The illusion of visibility and political blowback. I knew it was happening as my material situation improved. Received property and privileges that had been withheld. By the time fake attorneys started calling, the will to keep fucking me around was greatly diminished. The illusion was
a powerful weapon, can be duplicated with a phone book and a handful of Walmart cell phones, however they are appropriated.

5. What strategies would you like to see emerge or develop among folks on the outside who already do prisoner support work?

I would like to see a couple things develop. First, some method to provoke prisoners to consider effective direct action resistance, to be a thread that connects resisting prisoners or aspiring resisters with information on previous successes and failures, inspiring prisoners to think beyond hungerstrikes. Second, creation of a kind of repository where information may be accessed by other supporters. Third, a developed strategy for connecting resisting prisoners at one location to prisoners at other locations. Information is power. Timing is everything. Coordination creates more favorable conditions. Fourth, and last, projection of the idea to the larger community in struggle that every element or action might in some way become integrated with local prison resistance or prospective prison resistance, or creating actions in such a way as to impact the operations of the prison industrial complex. To this last, an example: when at Toledo, an anti-nazi rally in town became a small riot. If those folks knew the location of TOCI and moved in that direction, the reaction of the enemy enforcers, the cost, the resources, the seriousness of the potential problem for perceived public order… Potential. In that case, potential from simply knowing the local prison was just down the street.

6. How could someone who’s new to prisoner support work get involved?

For this question and the next, let me give a broader response of getting informed. Departments of Corrections have websites with useful information on where prisons are, security levels, staff, how to get there, phone numbers, what prisoners are where. There are books and zine programs nationwide, where free world people get repeated requests from radical prisoners and possibly develop relationships. There are prisoner pen pal programs at infoshops and collectives. There are online presence for prisoner voices and zines… So, consult all of that, determine what your goal is, and select some course of action consistent with that goal. Like anything else, it should be experimental and fun.

7. How should we inform or include prison populations that may not already be involved, like female prisoners, prisoners in regions with less activity and support, folks in immigrant detention centers, county jails, etc?

Again, to refer back to #6 above, prisons are located in the physical world. Not hidden. The populations are inside, everyone given a number and part of an online catalog, with rap sheets and photos and FAQ sheets. Those prisons have parking lots full of cars with plates, where staff come and go at shift changes every day to drive to and from homes. This is a physical reality. Central offices for corrections systems are often located in industrial parks, with parking lots and cars with plates and shift changes. Again, physical reality. Explore it. Think while you explore. Successful developments are always organic and spring from experience.


Dear Ukrainian People,

I want to thank you for your inspirational resistance to tyranny. Here in the United States, we made a show of resistance a while back, but in the face of police violence we surrendered and went back to our assigned seats; we lacked the courage, drive and determination of Ukrainians. Where you met state violence with rocks and gas bombs and ski masks, we met state violence with delusions of nonviolence and beatitudic dreams that permitted state violence to prevail and continue.

I saw news clips of your occupation of the Presidential Palace and our media’s scorn at the oppulence found there. Of course, our Presidential Palace – called the Whitehouse in our country – still stands, much larger and far more luxurious, complete with helicopter pads and movie theaters and bowling alleys and a basement bunker complex commonly called “Cheneyville.” The corruption and decadence of your tyrants cannot compete with the corruption and decadence of ours. Yet we do nothing.

We can’t do anything because our cops have guns while your cops only have…guns.

So, it is my hope that you will recognize that deferring now to your parliament to resolve the problem is the same mistake that the people made in Cairo, and what you have to do is oust your parliament also.

Rid yourself of the whole troublesome hierarchy.

Then, if possible, I would ask you to help us. We in the United States need you to send us some Ukrainians to topple _our_ tyranny. We’re paralyzed and incapable where you have proven to be mobilized and effective. We need you to sweat and fight and bleed for our liberation. We’ll do _our_ part of course. We’ll hold signs and sing songs and come up with snappy rhymes, things like, “1-2-3-4…,” and “Hell no, we won’t go…,” and so on. We have 200 million firearms we can put at your disposal.

Just don’t expect us to _use_ them. We exercise the right to bear arms, not _fire_ them. We’re like the world’s largest drill-and-ceremony color-guard. We don’t want to get dirt on our clothes or blood on our hands or soot on our faces.

We need _you_ to accomplish a noble and necessary struggle that we cannot undertake for ourselves.

Please respond quickly. This sprawling police state is really intolerable.

Freedom or Death,

Sean Swain

Distinguishing Freedom From Recognized Rights

rightsSean Swain
Submitted for OSP Writing Contest, Black History Month, 2014

Distinguishing Freedom From Recognized Rights
(500 words or less)

Any discussion of rights must distinguish real freedom—the absence of external regulation—from the concept of “recognized rights” arising as it does from theories of constitutional authority and law. To contrast, real freedom is a condition of existential reality, while “recognized rights” are paper fictions.
To understand real freedom, one must imagine two points at either end of a continuum. The first point, “freedom,” is “the absolute absence of external regulation.” At the opposite end of the continuum is complete external regulation, the absence of freedom. Thus, where freedom exists, there is an absence of external regulation, and vice-versa. The line connecting these two points represents interplay between the two opposing forces, varying degrees of freedom and regulation:

Freedom  —————————————-——— Absolute external regulation
(absence of external regulation)                      (absence of freedom)

Importantly, implicit in this analytical framework, freedom cannot coexist with government, because government’s purpose is to govern.  To govern is to regulate, and where regulation exists, as already established, freedom is absent. Thus, governments by their very character are the antithesis of freedom. Continue reading

What Is An Anarchist Engagement?

What is an anarchist engagement? I ask because I’m running for Ohio Governor in 2014 as a write in candidate from Ohio’s super-duper-uber-mega ultramax facility.
Yeah, I know.Your thinking, ‘Running for office is not anarchist-it’s reformist at best’ and thinking ‘A prisoner getting elected?’ And you likely conclude, this is all just further evidence-as if we need more-that Sean Swain is a wing nut. I would say that this is further proof that I’m brilliant and completely misunderstood- thats my story and I’m sticking to it.
I’ve been told that by running for Governor, I’m promoting the idea that reformist ballots are the answer-registering to vote, voting and all the hierarchical implications that that entails. I’ve been told that we need revolution, not diversions into electoral wheel-spinning,and that I’m doing a disservice promoting the idea that elections can be a solution.
Okay, now consider:
It’s not my goal to become Ohio Governor so that I can maintain the state. I’m openly and admittedly an anarchist and I’M running as an anarchist. I’m promising that, if elected I would tear down the state and establish the Ohio Autonomous Zone.
In fact, I have a program already planned out. It’s on my website. My first day in office, I would empty Ohio’s prisons. I would de-commission the National Guard and I would give the weapons to the Native American tribes I would be inviting back.
According to the Treaty of Greenville, they still own this territory. So it’s not exactly reparations for the genocide they experienced, but I’D give them the land back and a bunch of rifles and tanks and Apache attack helicopters in order to defend it.
With no budget signed-ever- no cops would get paid so there woulds be nobody standing between us chasing the banksters and crapitalists out of here with torches and pitchforks-like they have deserved for centuries.We could then export revolution from the Ohio Autonomous Zone. Continue reading

Swain for Governor Campaign Announcement

swain really what's the worst Media Release

Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain Runs for Governor
as a Write- in Candidate from Ohio’s SuperMax Facility,
Invites a Million Carpetbaggers to Hijack Election

Sean estimates that he received approximately (8) eight votes in 2010, the last time he ran for governor from prison. Back then, Sean Swain had a hard time convincing voters they should “abolish” the state of Ohio, electing Swain with an anarchist mandate to forcibly disassemble the State once and for all. But Swain says a lot has changed since 2010 and he believes a sizable groundswell is coming around to his way of thinking– that the government, and the corporations whose interests the government serves, are the real enemies to be resisted and eliminated.
Swain points to the Occupy Movement, which was pre-figured in his 2007 work Last Act of the Circus Animals, and it’s violent disbandment by the government’s agents of control as proof that many are imagining “a different future.” Swain believes he has the plan for getting there. If elected Ohio governor Swain promises to:
* Decommission the Ohio National Guard
* Empty Ohio’s prisons and turn them into squats
* Recognize Native American land rights as set forth by the Treaty of Greenville
* Arm the tribes with national guard weaponry, to include tanks and attack helicopters,
* Refuse to sign any budget causing the government to shut down, and
* Sign an Executive Order making it legal to assassinate him if he remains in office longer than 90 days.

Continue reading

Pacifists Suck: How Arresting Revolution Maintains a Violent World

Pacifists Suck: How Arresting Revolution Maintains a Violent World
by Sean Swain

When a guy kicked in my door in 1991, I panicked and stabbed him to death. I didn’t own a gun. I didn’t believe in guns. I always ascribed to the wisdom that if somebody wanted to come to my home and shoot me, he would have to bring his own gun. So, in the years that followed, perhaps in part motivated by a need to make sense out of this tragedy, I encountered Gandhi. I read everything I could find and became a veritable Gandhi expert, even consuming everything by and about his students–Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Gene Sharp (who wrote the exhaustive Politics of Nonviolent Action), and other fellow travelers like Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador.

I became convinced that only nonviolent direct action–and exclusively-nonviolent direct action–held the solution for changing the world in any constructive way. As a member of CURE-Ohio’s prisoner advisory board, I successfully advocated for that organization to develop a policy for supporting prisoner nonviolent direct action. In 2002, I was recognized by no less than Rosa Parks herself for my public advocacy of nonviolent action, and the co-chair of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s National Campaign for Tolerance added my name to the Wall of Tolerance.

I share all of that to demonstrate that I am fully versed in the theory and practice of nonviolent direct action and that I used to be among those who insisted on exclusive nonviolence as the only solution. But I am no longer under the influence of that powerful delusion and I recognize, reasonably and practically, that political violence is a necessary feature for any successful effort at social transformation.

Exclusive nonviolence doesn’t cut it. It never did, it never will. In fact, those who insist on exclusive nonviolence and thereby hold all social movements hostage, demanding that all tactics employed by all participants meet the nonviolence litmus, are the biggest impediment to social transformation that currently exists. “Pacifists,” the idealist followers of Gandhi and MLK, are the most culpable accomplices to the continuing violence of our current status quo.

Principled pacifists, threatening withdrawal from social movements if violent tactics are considered, doom every social movement to which they are a part. They limit resistance to only those tactics that will inevitably fail. This proves true in the most glaring recent example of the Occupy movement, when police employed brutal and violent repression to push resisters out of the public space. The resistance ultimately dissolved in the face of State terror because pacifists’ limitations prevented Occupy from preparing effectively to meet violence with violence, precluded any plan to deploy violent offensives that would diminish the State’s capacity to confront Occupy with such overwhelming force, and ultimately foreclosed upon even the consideration of tactics that may have altered history.

Reality: Cops are violent.

Reality: Cops are going to employ violence to impose “order.”

Reality: If those who truly desire to challenge the-world-as-it-is want to be successful, they will have to develop strategies for meeting, countering, and overcoming State violence.

Reality: Violent revolutionary action is the solution.

Of course, principled pacifists are unwilling to participate in any social movement that contemplates violence and/or property damage, not even in a nonviolent or noncombatant role, thereby diminishing the potential numbers of the resistance and dooming it stillborn before it ever emerges.

But what is it, exactly, that principled pacifists are opposing? Is their opposition reasonable? Just how “violent” is violent revolution, and does it result in more violence than a continuation of the existing order of things?

Let’s take an analytical look at violent revolution, the solution that principled pacifists oppose and ultimately prevent: We can get an idea of what happens during a revolution by considering the data from previous revolutions. We know, for instance, that in the English, American, French, and Russian revolutions, only a maximum of 5% of those country’s populations–at peak participation–were involved in the resistance. So that means that 95% of any given population does not participate in a revolution.

This is important for us to consider as we weigh the violence that principled pacifists oppose, and the violence that principled pacifists ultimately choose to perpetuate–the State violence of the current order. The violent revolution that pacifists prevent would foreseeably involve 5% of the population at most. That means pacifists prevent 5% of the population from successfully liberating 100% of the population through recourse to bullets and bombs.

This ratio is also borne out by more recent struggles, including the Cuban revolution. In Cuba, rebels never numbered more than 5,000 in a population of roughly 11 million people. This puts max participation at 4.5% against a regime materially-supported by the United States.

In that armed struggle, the rebels killed something like 300 of the regime’s forces.

Using those numbers, an armed struggle in the U.S. that would successfully topple the existing order would involve 13.5 million people, a mere fraction of the number of the currently unemployed. So, by all accounts, principled pacifists aren’t opposing a wild orgy of violence that engulfs 300 million people and plunges the U.S. unto absolute madness, they oppose an armed struggle that, at most, would involve 13.5 million rebels.

But, that’s still not a fair presentation. While 13.5 million would be involved in the rebellion, not all would be involved in direct armed struggle as combatants. We have to consider that many of those people would be medics and cooks and logistical support. You’ve also got large numbers of rebels who would engage exclusively in nonviolent forms of resistance like hacking, intelligence gathering, promotion, and recruitment, not to mention those who specialize in sabotage exclusively against property.

It is important to remember that just because a rebellion incorporates the strategies of violence, not all rebels necessarily participate in the violent components of rebellion. Normally, just a fraction of any given force ever engages in actual combat, fighting, shooting, and dying. So that we cannot be accused of under-estimates, let’s say half of the rebels would be involved in direct violence, although this ratio is likely very high.

In an armed struggle in the U.S., that would put the number of rebels engaged in actual direct fighting at less than 7 million.

I read somewhere that we have 200 million guns in the U.S. We could arm every combatant of a successful revolution by distributing just 3.5% of the guns we own. In so doing, we could end the current order and all the suffering and death it causes globally, year after year. It would take 7 million people, at peak participation, willing to pull a trigger to bring about a future we deserve.

With 7 million armed rebels in a revolutionary engagement involving a maximum of 13.5 million, we could reasonably expect a number of deaths as high as 810,000. And that’s if the government forces continue fighting until the rebels can reach the doorstep of those calling the shots.

That’s if the U.S. military is willing to side with the government, against the people.

More people than that will be killed by drunk drivers.

More people than that will kill themselves, because the current order relegates them to lives that are intolerable.

Consider: If principled pacifists willingly played nonviolent roles in a violent revolution, 300 million people would be liberated with less than 1 million casualties and the foreseeable end result would be a net gain rather than a loss when we consider all of the lives that this current system will inevitably chew up if it isn’t taken down. And that isn’t even factoring in people all over the world who suffer and die as a result of U.S. actions.

Consider: If, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, principled pacifists participated nonviolently in a violent revolution, millions of lives would have been saved at a cost of fewer than 1 million. That means if we act now, and pacifists allow the revolution to take its course, we can save millions of lives in preventing the next U.S. invasion and bombing of some defenseless country before it even happens.

To be a principled pacifist is to foreclose upon a revolution that would save lives. That means, in the final analysis, pacifists are against the preservation of life. They are so enraptured with their delusional, fast construct and their narrow, unrealistic definition of violence, that their “principled” inaction obstructs what would transform the world and preserve countless lives long into the future. Their principles matter more than we do.

Consider the next drone strike.

Consider the unarmed Black men killed by police.

Principled pacifists are the unwitting shovel that the ruling elite uses to dig its mass graves. Their complicity in crimes against humanity is inexcusable. Let’s hope that, for the rest of us who do not share their Kumbayah delusions, they stop obstructing the real solution before it’s too late.

Recommended reading:

Anatomy of Revolution, by Crane Brinton War of the Flea, by Robert Taber Politics of Nonviolent Action, by Gene Sharp The Logic of Political Violence, by Craig Rosebraugh

An Open Letter to Ohio Adult Parole Authority Member Jose Torres on the Mythology of Political Prisoner Status

November 19, 2013

Dear Mr. Torres,

You may recall my parole hearing in September of 2011 when you confronted me in a particularly hostile manner because I had claimed to be a political prisoner. But chances are you won’t recall that hearing. You won’t recall that hearing from hundreds or thousands of others, any more than the executioner on a corporate cattle farm would recall one or another cow that he brained in the course of his career. So, let me refresh your memory.

I was convicted of Aggravated Murder in the self-defense killing of the nephew of the Clerk of Courts, in my own home. My false conviction was reversed, but the trial court refused to abide by the court of appeals’ decision and did not provide me the fair trial ordered. I remain confined without a legal conviction or sentence.

I have consistently maintained my innocence.

I have consistently maintained that my case is politically motivated and that I was sacrificed for the proposition that the ruling elite and their loved ones are not governed by the same laws as the rest of us, that the courts are a tool and a weapon to serve the privileged and entitled.

I have contended that I am, de facto, a political prisoner, that I remain confined not for any crime (because no one truly believed me to be guilty except possibly the jury who was manipulated with selective information), but confined instead for the political benefit that sacrificing me would fain for the officials who orchestrated this deliberate injustice.

During my parole hearing, you read to me Amnesty International’s very narrow and reformist definition of political prisoner status. I admitted to you that their definition does not apply in my case. However, their definition really only can apply in States without elected governments, and does not contemplate a situation such as mine. In fact, by Amnesty’s narrow definition, the United States holds no political prisoners–not even Leonard Peltier or Mumia Abu-Jamal, none of the Black Panthers or Black Liberation Army prisoners from the 1960s and 1970s.

It seems to me very self-serving that in all the various definitions of political prisoner status, you selected the only one that effectively cancels out the political prisoner status of every prisoner in North America. Very self-serving.

You then asked me if any “reputable” organizations have recognized me as a political prisoner. As point of fact, I had never solicited recognition of any organization, reputable or otherwise. And when I told you I was not recognized as a political prisoner by any reputable organizations, you seemed quite proud of the points you scored.

Of course, Andrew Crouch is still dead, all of your high-fives notwithstanding. And I am still held captive for a provable non-crime, despite your touchdown dances.

So, after the Adult Parole Authority gave me yet five more years for a non-crime absent a legal conviction, I sought and gained recognition as a political prisoner. Several organizations recognized me. I made great headway preparing for 2016 and my next parole hearing.

Of course, Andrew Crouch was still dead. And I was still held captive. And you had long ago hung the memory of my hearing on a meathook and shoved it towards the processing plant.

Then a few things occurred to me:

First, I came to realize that I could never gain the recognition of any “reputable” organization. Given that you are the self-appointed, sole authority of what “reputable” means, if every human rights organization in the world, including Amnesty International, recognized me as a political prisoner, their association with me, in your book, would only make them disreputable.

Second, I came to realize you can fuck off. Your opinion doesn’t count. You don’t know me, and it appears to me that you have suffered some kind of loss and become convinced that you should dishonor the loved one you lost by becoming completely inhuman and incapable of human empathy, a walking hole that could swallow the world.

So third, I had to question: Has any “reputable” organization recognized the legitimacy of the State of Ohio? I don’t think any “reputable” organization has. The Treaty of Greeneville in 1795 recognizes this territory as “Unceded Indian Territory” and, absent any subsequent treaty, this area remains the legal possession of those name tribes.

Have the Shawnee recognized the legitimacy of the State of Ohio? How about the Ottawa? The Huron? I don’t think so.

So by all reasonable accounts, Mr. Torres, you are employed by an entity as real as Santa Claus or the Tooth Faerie. At least according to your laws, not that anyone ever follows those.

But fourth–and this is the big point–I came to realize the absurdity of so-called “political prisoner” status, the silliness of such a designation. And that’s really what I would like to explain.

For there to be political prisoners, there would have to be non-political prisoners. That is, there would have to be captives who are genuinely held for the common good by a legitimate State who acted under proper and pure motives.

Right. We’re back to Santa Claus and the Tooth Faerie again. Is there such a thing as a legitimate State? Is there such a thing as a legitimate state that acts under proper and pure motives? Is there such a thing as a legitimate state that acts under proper and pure motives, holding captives for the common good?

If you believe there is, then you can recognize that there are such things as non-political prisoners, and so you can then draw some distinction between prisoners validly locked up by the State you worship and the prisoners not validly locked up by the State you worship.

But, if you’re an anarchist, as I am, and you recognize that no legitimate “right to rule” exists (as I argue in “Ohio,” Part III), then there can be no such thing as captives locked up for the common good by a legitimate state–because there’s no such thing as a “legitimate state.”

Once you recognize the State as a false idol, a construct, a mythological creation with no legal or logical basis, no underlying “right to rule” which it falsely assumes, then all prisoners are kidnap victims held by hierarchs sharing a mass delusion of authority. No prisoner is any different from any other.

If we begin with the analysis that the State possesses no legitimate authority, then no one has the right to pass laws that others must follow. No cop has the authority to arrest anyone.

In the mind of an Anarchist is there a legitimate lawmaker and an illegitimate one? A legitimate cop and an illegitimate one?

If the State possesses no legitimate authority, then no prosecutor has the right to prosecute, no court has the authority to pass sentence, and no warden has the right to confine nor to execute captives.

In the mind of an Anarchist, can there be a legitimate prosecutor? Or judge? Or warden?

If we begin from the essentially-anarchist position that the State has no right to exist, then all legislatures, cops, prosecutors, judges, and wardens get thrown out with the proverbial bath water. And absent legislatures, cops, prosecutors, judges, and wardens, how can there be legitimate offenders held captive for the common good…and held by whom?

I am not a political prisoner. I possess no special quality, no special designation not shared by every prisoner held by every illegitimate hierarch pathology manifested across the globe. For me to recognize a special designation even for myself, that recognition would necessarily imply that somewhere a State has a legitimate right to exist, and that legitimate State has some valid reason for holding someone against his or her will.

I am ready to make no such concession.

There exists no legitimate State.

There exists no valid law.

There can be no distinction between political and non-political prisoners when no imprisonment can ever be justified.

So that’s my thinking, Mr. Torres. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire other people and I won’t have to be assaulted with your inane questions in 2016. Hopefully the fences will be gone, the mythology of authority will be long dead, and we will vaguely remember a time when debates over words continued while human beings languished in bondage.

Here’s to a future without prisons, without parole boards, and without States. Here’s to a future without control-freaks like you running it.

Freedom or Death,

Sean Swain

On Fascism: One Anarchist’s Response to CrimethInc’s Podcast #11

In a recent podcast, CrimethInc presented a feature on fascism and anti-fascism.  In this feature, Clara presented that fascism “attempts to be a popular movement: which “advocates for strong centralized power in the state.” In this way, fascism “offers an authoritarian vision of society as a solution.” Clara also presented that another “core principle is nationalism,” and that this translates, often, into “hatred of the outsider.” Fascism is also “virulent” in its “opposition to communists, anarchist, and most other radicals.”

For the purposes of the podcast, this served as a good working definition, though a somewhat superficial one. What follows is my response, an effort to provide a fuller context and, hopefully, a much greater appreciation for the reasons that anarchists more than anyone recognize the danger that fascism truly represents.


Let’s start this off by talking about freedom. To approach this from a purely Anarchist perspective, I think that’s where we have to start, because ultimately freedom is the true point of conflict. As I think this will demonstrate, Anarchists more than anyone else are for freedom, and fascists more than anyone else are against freedom. And this, then, would explain why the struggle between Anarchists and fascists is such a bitter and important one. In fact, if freedom matters to you, then this ongoing battle is more important than anything else.

But before we get rolling too fast, before we get ahead of ourselves, I think we need to define “freedom.” If we don’t, we’re left with everyone thinking of freedom in a million different ways – in a world where we have something called “freedom fries,” no less – and that can only lead to confusion. So, for clarity, let’s define freedom. For that purpose, I would like to defer to Ward Churchill who has defined freedom as “the absence of external regulation.”

I think that’s a good definition. The more external regulation you have – the more someone or something else is telling you what to do – the less free you are; the less you have someone else telling you what to do, the more free you are. So, without getting into the questions of all the potential activities we either have or lack the freedom to engage in, we have a decent, working definition of what freedom is.

This is important, because everything else rests on this.

So now, imagine a continuum, a line. Often we see this in order to compare and contrast liberals, who occupy the left end of the line, with the conservative, who occupy the right end. But for our purposes, these “liberal-conservative” concepts are really irrelevant. We just want to borrow the line, the continuum.

At one end, let’s imagine freedom – absolute freedom. This is the total absence of external regulation – as free as it gets. Way down at the other end of the continuum, we have absolute non-freedom, which is the total and complete domination of external regulation. This would be the extreme of being controlled by someone or something else, 24 hours a day.

So we have our opposites, our points of reference, absolute freedom and the total absence of freedom, and all the points on the line between them would represent some interplay, some compromise, of varying degrees of freedom and regulation.

Now, having established that, what is another term for “external regulation”?  When we speak of someone or something that exercises authority to regulate us, the word we usually use is “government.” To regulate is to govern, and governing is conducted by a government.

This is important, because we turn back to our continuum and at one extreme end; we find absolute freedom, the complete absence of “external regulation.”  This extreme end, freedom, has no external regulation, no regulating, no governing – no government.

Absolute freedom, then, the absolute absence of external regulation, is absent the “external regulator” of government. This point on the extreme end of the continuum is the absence of government.

People who advocate such absolute freedom are labeled “Anarchists.” Everyone else in the entire spectrum of politics and social order advocates at least a minor amount of external regulation, a minor amount of imposition or individual freedom, a minor amount of “government.”

(A small side note here, but likely, most people if presented with the freedom to non-freedom continuum and asked what they believe to be ideal, would likely point to the Anarchist extreme of absolute freedom – particularly people in the U.S.  They would unhesitatingly point at absolute freedom even though most people, in reality, are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum ideologically. This is because we live in a culture that gives a lot of lip service to freedom while sliding ever further away from it. Keep in mind, the majority of the U.S. population also self-reported to believe in all ten of the Ten Commandments, but the average person could only name three of them…which would indicate that we’re working with a deeply irrational group of people who deeply believe in things they don’t know.)

Given this analytical framework, before we move on, it might be important to point out that everyone on the continuum, besides Anarchists, are Statists – that is, they believe in government. Also, everyone but Anarchists are defined by the degree to which they oppose absolute freedom.


In The Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini,1 the Italian dictator wrote, “Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception is for the State…”  For the fascist, “…all is comprised in the State and nothing spiritual or human exists – much less has any value – outside the State.”

Elsewhere he wrote, “The capital point of the Fascist doctrine is the conception of the State, its essence, the work to be accomplished, its
final aims. In the conception of Fascism, the State is absolute before which individuals and groups are relative.”2

And Giovanni Gentile, in the Philosophic Basis of Fascism, wrote, “The politic of Fascism revolves wholly about the concept of the national State…”3

Given these quotes, we can see that what distinguishes fascism as a political philosophy is its belief in the absolute transcendence of the State, of government, and simultaneously, the “anti-individualistic”  position that nothing human, i.e., individual freedom, exists. Thus, fascism occupies the opposite end of the freedom spectrum from Anarchism. It seeks to eliminate all human freedom and to subject all to the dictates of an all-powerful State – the perfect and absolute negation of all liberty, all individuality.  Nothing matters but the State.

It follows then, as a natural corollary, given that individual freedom is inimical to the State, that the State would seek, under fascism, to wipe out all individuality, all human distinction, all diversity. For the transcendent, fascist State, there can be only one perfect subject, the perfect “National Socialist Man,” as Hitler advertised and promoted him.4 With imposed homogenization, conformity, uniformity, anything “other” must be eliminated.

So, anyone religiously, politically, racially, artistically or sexually “other” than what the State has decreed to be optimum for the State’s interest, must be eliminated. Fascism, then, is a dream of a freedom less world of automatons marching in lockstep, surrendering all individuality in deference to the State.

Only Anarchists Can Oppose Fascism

If we return to the freedom-versus-non-freedom continuum, there are some rational conclusions we have to draw. First, we recognize that only the extreme position on the far end of the continuum advocates for absolute freedom, which is the absolute absence of external regulation, which is the complete absence of the State.

Every other position accepts some degree of regulation, of external control, of State intrusion. This means that every single political philosophy, with the exception of Anarchism,5 accepts the existence of the State and, on this point, every political position except for Anarchism is in agreement with fascism.

Viewed this way, the entirety of the political spectrum – from communists to social democrats to republicans – is really nothing more than a sliding scale of how many degrees removed from fascism each position is. One step removed from absolute fascism may represent the hard-liners of the Republican Party – a kind of “fascism light,” – with liberal democrats several steps removed, but still firmly in the throes of state-worship.

Thus, even communists and socialists share the same belief in the necessity of the State, but differ with the fascists only in the amount of power that should be invested in it. In the analogy of state worship, fascists sit in the first pew while the communists and socialists sit in the very back – but they all attend the same service. The only socio-political formations that do not bow to the fascists’ god are Anarchists.

As a consequence, only Anarchists can present a full and complete critique of fascism. This makes Anarchism particularly deadly to fascism and explains why, historically, fascists seek to eliminate Anarchists first and foremost.

The Fascist Threat

We can now turn to the reality that confronts us, which includes Nazi Skinheads wearing Swastikas and waving flags while marching through minority neighborhood. And, certainly, as Andrew from the New York City Anarchist Black Cross pointed out in the Crimethinc podcast, these elements cannot be ignored. But realistically, these misguided flag-wavers do not hold State power and given their outspoken advocacy for an ideology most would find at least troubling, this fringe will likely never attain State power.

The true fascist threat comes from those who do wield State power and implement policies and programs that are distinctively fascist in that they serve a transcendent State. While Barack Obama does not wear a Nazi uniform or march with the Hitler Youth, he does approve the vast invasion of the world’s telecommunications; he send drones to kill U.S. citizens abroad; he authorizes the detention of ideological enemies. In short, he serves a de facto fascist agenda, an agenda of extreme and absolute non-freedom thinly-disguised as a representative republic.

The State is central to fascism. If you want to defeat fascism, defeat the State.  Only Anarchists can do that.6

End Notes

1 Readings on Fascism and National Socialism, by selected members of the Department of Philosophy, University of Colorado, 1952.

2 “The Value and Mission of the State,” Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 We have to imagine that the “National Socialist Woman” would also exist, though she isn’t mentioned.

5 By “Anarchist,” I mean anything that fits our definition of advocating absolute freedom and the complete absence of external regulation, whatever advocates of such a position may call themselves.

6 To clarify, anyone who designs to destroy the State and abolish it, whatever his or her politics would be, de facto, an Anarchist. Thus, only Anarchists can abolish the State, as only Anarchists would undertake to do so.