Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.
As quickly as possible I produced a 25 minute video on the Oregon occupation. In it, I made several points, such as the fact that there is no radical left militia to oppose them. I also mention that this is a part of the rising right wing tide as a result of the ongoing disintegration of the U.S. I was met with some odd comments on the video. Many so-called Marxists were defending the actions of these militiamen. Upon further research I discovered that a lot of “anarcho”-capitalists, anarcho-communists, Marxists, and Anarchists were defending them. I was baffled by this. I would expect “anarcho”-capitalists to be supporting their actions, but not the rest of them.
This puzzles me, why are there radical leftists defending them? One answer I received was that they should be protected because the government is trampling on people’s rights. The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. Why should radical leftists be defending a desire to appropriate public land and turn it into private property? If the militia were intent on creating a commune, or some kind of leftist collective, I could see why they would defend it. However, this is not the case. (I would argue that the economics of such an endeavour would fail, but I would support them on it.)
These Marxists are defending the second theft of Piute First Nations land by colonial settlers. The land was already appropriated by the U.S. government via military force. It was then held in common by the government for the benefit of the White colonial settlers. Now these right wing forces seek to steal that land again for their own personal private property, and private accumulation of capital. This is the very antithesis of what Marxism stands for. Have these Marxists simply forgotten the struggles of First Nations people? Then why are they cheering on the occupiers? Shouldn’t they be cheering on the Piute efforts to regain control of the land? They are thinking of themselves first, not the people in which they participate in the oppression of. Neither domestically, nor internationally.
Who are these militiamen? What do they want? They want more private property to exploit for private capital. Is this not very similar to Kulaks? They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it. These same Marxists decry big oil for trying to drill on protected lands. We’re already well aware of what kind of people they are. They’re racist, xenophobic, and classist anti-poor. It makes no sense whatsoever that any radical leftist would ally with such people. The most accurate term we can use here is “authoritarian conservatives.”
These Marxists are hung up on defending private property rights here, not the larger issue. These are protected lands which are intended to defend the environment as well as several species of animals. First Worldists don’t see that, they only see individual rights in question. They are projecting the crimes of the bourgeois police state from an individual level, onto this reactionary struggle.
While the U.S. government is oppressing many people, this simply is not the case here. The only thing these ranchers and militiamen are looking for is private property to exploit. The individual acts of oppression that Americans feel, like spying, the war on drugs, etc., are being projected onto this reactionary occupation. When the militiamen speak of oppression, these Marxists are identifying with it. First Worldists often concern themselves too much with “rights,” and not enough on carrying out the revolution. This is liberalism. These First Worldists are only looking at struggle in terms of their own individual rights, and not the goal of creating world wide revolution.
Other radical leftists have claimed they’re supporting the militia because it’s supposedly the beginning of revolution in America. This claim is utter nonsense. These men are racist authoritarian conservatives who are on a crusade to defend a bourgeois conception of rights. Yet, these radical leftists are of the opinion that this is the precursor to communist revolution. In their minds this is somehow proof that first world people can be revolutionary. A simple, small armed right wing occupation does not constitute the beginnings of a communist revolution. Not even a single shot has been fired. The entire ordeal is reactionary.
The problem is that First Worldists are so desperate to grab a hold of some kind of hope that revolution is possible, that they will support anything, even if it’s reactionary. Why? Because we have no such forces of our own. They really want this occupation to be the beginnings of class warfare. It isn’t. The common theme here is defending personal interest, not forwarding revolution. This struggle is over reactionary individual rights, not about ending oppression.
This is only further proof of the Third Worldist line that the advanced countries turn towards reaction during times of crisis. During this period we have only two trends, liberalism and the fascist response to it. This is epitomized in the popularities of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Both candidates have entranced the left and the right in America, the first world. Both of them are choices away from revolution and towards reform.
Radical leftists should be denouncing these right wing terrorists, not supporting them.