For decades, Antiwar.com has been the leading voice of the anti-war movement, injecting a consistently anti-authoritarian message into the conversation about foreign conflict and foreign policy. Their journalism has been celebrated among independent media and legacy media alike over the years, and their commentators are unmatched in their commitment to peace, liberty and the end of war.
Well, for the most part. Because while you’ve definitely got all that, you also have to contend with a steady flow of nationalist apologia from Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com’s editorial director. His latest piece, “A World to Win,” is a gleeful ode to the second wave of fascism currently knocking on humanity’s door.
“The political class is in a panic, and not just in this country” Raimondo says. “From the hollowed out cities of the Rust Belt to the vineyards of France and Italy, a new nationalism is on the rise, threatening not only the perks and privileges of the managerial elites but also challenging the parameters of the post-World War II international order. Trump’s revolution in the US is but the latest and most dramatic example of an international trend that we saw manifested in the victory of the Brexit campaign, and now in the stunning transformation of the political landscape in France and Italy.”
What Raimondo is referring to is the rise to power of nationalist parties, such as the National Front in France, Geert Wilders’ “Party for Freedom” in the Netherlands, the Freiheitliche Partei Österreich in Austria, and rapidly-expanding movements in Germany, Poland and Hungary.
It’s hard to imagine a writer for an established libertarian antiwar publication celebrating these parties, whose platforms are often obsessed with national identity, are racist and homophobic, display a hatred towards open borders, refugees and immigrants (especially the brown ones from the war-ravaged Middle East), and call for vast economic protectionism. (And it’s worth pointing out that Antiwar has fought Raimondo on at least a few of these fronts, such as this article by Anthony Gregory and Eric Garris from 2010.)
And yet, here we have Raimondo, pushing these groups on Antiwar.com’s public-facing website.
“The US and Russia have common interests: fighting terrorism, solving the Syria imbroglio, and successfully integrating both Iran and China into the international community. The Europeans recognize this: the Americans are beginning to recognize it. The nationalist tides that are battering the liberal internationalist order don’t require an enemy, i.e. ‘resurgent Russia,’” he writes, capping off a justification of his nationalist cheerleading that includes warnings of a new cold war between the EU and Russia.
You see, according to Raimondo’s sunny view of fascism, the nationalists who are currently surging to seats of power all over the world “are not expansionist, for the most part: they don’t dream of empire-building, but rather of maintaining and strengthening their respective homelands. France for the French – Britain first – Austria for the Austrians – America first: these are the bywords of the new rebels who are challenging the “New World Order” of our transnational elites.”
This is the same tribalist garbage folks like Troy Southgate and Hans Hermann Hoppe – not to mention decades of failed Neo-Nazi “philosophers” – have been peddling for years. “White communities for the whites; black communities for the blacks,” etc. Just because the new fascists don’t necessarily want to set up ovens and camps for the undesirables infesting their homelands to be sent to doesn’t mean they won’t do it if they’re presented with the opportunity.
Raimondo begins to acknowledge that there is a danger in this, by meekly hinting at the occurrence of “primitive tribalism” from “some” strains of European nationalism, but he immediately dismisses the possibility that anything like that could happen in the United States.
“In America, it’s a different story: since the American revolution established the foundations of the first fully free society on earth, in this context consistent nationalism is inherently libertarian,” he writes.
This twee outlook of the America we find ourselves in today should not just be met with disdain by freedom and peace-loving individuals. It should be met with horror.
This is not just about the ascension of Donald Trump, or the elections of any singular nationalist politician anywhere else in the world. It is not just about the narrow foreign policy implications of a potential US partnership with Russia.
It is about meeting the impending rise of fascism on an unprecedented, global scale with arms spread wide in an open embrace.
Neither Donald Trump nor Vladimir Putin are, in any sense, allies of liberty. They are both world leaders whose policies and ideologies stand opposed to human freedom and human flourishing. If they can be said to bring peace, it is peace at gunpoint, peace under the heel of a jackboot. It is a peace that seeks only to constrain free movement and association, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech under the national will.
As libertarians, as anarchists, as enemies of the war machine in all its forms, there is no ally to be found in Justin Raimondo, and no ally to be found in the fascism he promotes.