Autonomous Mexico

What happened when some indigenous people took their lands back from the state


I first heard about the autonomous movements in Mexico from my anarcho-communist college buddies in the early 1990s. They loved the idea of indigenous people taking up arms and seizing control of their communities—and of the lucrative natural resources upon which those communities sat—from exploitative corporations and their government enforcers. The Zapatistas of the southern state of Chiapas, with their brazen armed seizures of corporate land holdings, served as the most inspiring example, and their dashing postmodernist leader Subcomandante Marcos became the Che Guevara of Gen X leftists.

Three decades later, I started hearing glowing reports about new autonomous indigenous movements in the central Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán from a different political crowd: attendees at the Anarchapulco conference, an annual festival of drug- and cryptocurrency-loving anarcho-libertarians held in a resort city that had also become the center of wars between rival cartels and thus the murder capital of Mexico.

Both my proto-antifa college friends and the Acapulco ancaps seemed romantically attached to the concept of conquered indigenous peoples taking direct and violent action to reclaim their land from corrupt and ruthless institutions: governments at the local, state, and federal level; the large mining, logging, agricultural, and ranching conglomerates to whom those governments had effectively granted legal sovereignty over the land inhabited by much of Mexico's 25 million indigenous people; and the globally infamous drug cartels that had begun to seize natural resources through extortion, intimidation, and mass murder, often in partnership with government and corporate actors.

Though it is an incomplete and sometimes unsophisticated study, Luis Hernández Navarro's recently translated Self-Defense in Mexico: Indigenous Community Policing and the New Dirty Wars provides enough detail about the autonomous movements to give us a less rose-colored view of a complex and often contradictory political phenomenon.

On a fundamental level, the story of the Zapatistas, the autodefensas of Michoacán and Guerrero, and the community-policed autonomous towns that have sprung up all over the country is a story of anti-imperialism and self-determination, two principles that will excite fans of both Ron Paul and Naomi Klein. The indigenous people at the center of this remarkable recent history are the descendants of people who successfully resisted the Spanish invaders' attempts to assimilate and thoroughly conquer them. Roughly half of the indigenous population of Mexico speak one of the 89 native languages rather than the language of the conquistadors. The Purépecha people of current-day Michoacán, who in recent years have waged some of the most courageous and successful battles for independence from the government and cartels, are descended from a tribe that was never conquered by either the Spanish or the rabidly imperialist Aztecs before  them.

By throwing their enemies off their land and out of their towns and providing for their own defense and security, the autonomous movements have also been one of very few political movements in the world to hand defeat to the worst and most violent form of corporatism: an alliance between government officials, the military, big business, and organized crime. For anarchists of either persuasion, few things could seem sweeter than poor and dispossessed people—often armed with stolen guns and possessing no heavy military equipment—usurping the state's monopoly on socially legitimized violence.

What neither of my sets of anarcho-friends acknowledged was the problems social movements encounter when they seize power and become a new state, a new boss, and a new set of cops.

Much of the world was electrified in January 1994, when an estimated 3,000 Zapatista fighters, who had been organizing as a military force for years, seized towns and cities across Chiapas. They freed the prisoners in the jail of San Cristobal de las Casas and set fire to several police buildings and military barracks in the state. The Mexican military counterattacked immediately, inflicting heavy casualties on the rebels, who retreated into the surrounding jungle.

Over the next two and half decades, the Zapatista militia's war with the Mexican army and the paramilitaries employed by local ranchers ebbed and flowed, with pitched battles punctuated by peace deals that were eventually abrogated. In 2001, the relatively accommodating Vicente Fox was elected president of Mexico; after he pulled much of the military out of Chiapas, the Zapatistas began to consolidate control over the southern state.

Today the Zapatistas are the government in much of Chiapas. But to achieve and maintain that power, they have had to continuously operate as a semi-criminal, semi-military organization. The group's leaders wear the uniforms of guerrilla warriors, and Marcos has never been seen without his trademark black ski mask. They have enforced a strict and often puritanical discipline among their citizens, as any internal weakness or division could doom the still impoverished region to another conquest by forces from the government, the cartels, or the displaced ranchers who have waged many armed attempts to take back their property. Chiapas is now one of the leading states in Mexico for outmigration to the United States.

The Zapatista uprising inspired and created a model for the many indigenous communities in Guerrero and Michoacán who faced the three-headed monster of the state, big business, and the drug cartels. The most famous of these communities—the one my friends in Acapulco were most excited about—is Cherán, a town of some 16,000 residents situated in the dense tropical forests of central Michoacán. Much of the community's economic livelihood, as well as its water and other natural resources, are derived from the surrounding forest. When local cartels began poaching trees in large numbers and then murdering residents who protested, the government turned a blind eye. So the largely Purépecha population began to organize an armed response.

On April 15, 2011, a group of mostly Purépecha women attacked the cartel's loggers, beating them with sticks and poles and setting their vehicles on fire. Many of the loggers were taken into custody in a newly established people's jail. Soon after the uprising, the townspeople built roadblock checkpoints at each of Cherán's two entrances. They announced that they sought not to secede from Mexico but to establish political and economic autonomy.

Since then, the only people who have not been allowed to enter the town are members of any political party or of a cartel. As Hernández Navarro writes, "the people armed themselves with sticks, stones, machetes, hoes, shovels, and everything they could get their hands on. They stood up to the armed criminals who had devastated the community forests for three years in collusion with cartel groups and elements within the government."

The government, citing articles in the Mexican constitution granting the right of self-rule to the indigenous population—but more likely unwilling to commit the necessary military resources to retake a small town with little economic importance—acceded to the insurgents' demands.

Autonomy may have many virtues to freedom-loving anarchists but, in Cherán as in Chiapas, individual liberty isn't always one of them. The checkpoints are a constant reminder that Cherán is somewhat like Israel: It is a small jurisdiction surrounded by much larger enemies, prompting universal conscription (in both Cherán and Israel) and creating a pervasive culture of wartime. Meanwhile, both the Zapatistas and the community leaders of Cherán instituted a direct democracy, which may be a decentralized alternative to violent rule by elites but can still encroach on people's lives. Mass meetings to set town policies are frequent, lengthy, often inconclusive, and, to my eyes, absolutely exhausting.

Stories about struggles for autonomy always stir the blood and elicit dreams of voluntary, cooperative, and stateless societies. But what some of us value the most—our freedom to do what we want as individuals apart from any community—might be one thing these movements cannot deliver.

Self-Defense in Mexico: Indigenous Community Policing and the New Dirty Wars, by Luis Hernández Navarro, University of North Carolina Press, 278 pages, $29.95

NEXT: Maine Voters To Decide on Constitutional ‘Right to Food’

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179 responses to “Autonomous Mexico

  1. “Stories about struggles for autonomy always stir the blood and elicit dreams of voluntary, cooperative, and stateless societies. But what some of us value the most—our freedom to do what we want as individuals apart from any community—might be one thing these movements cannot deliver.”

    Of course not. A stateless community of completely unobligated individuals that must effectively use violence to defend itself is a contradiction in terms. The premise cannot survive in reality.

    1. There have been some examples historically. Individuals in the Sioux nation were basically free to choose their own path, yet they fought more effectively than most American Indian tribes against other tribes and against a much larger and more advanced nation for decades. They weren’t defeated on the battlefields so much as driven to capitulate by the slaughter of the wild buffalo herds.

      1. But there were still obligations to the society that had to be fulfilled. A fully atomized group cannot fight together effectively without some sense of duty to it.

    2. I was about to say the Zapatistas don’t allow importation of drugs or guns from outsiders, so scratch that as a Libertarian Paradise.

      1. They don’t tolerate alcohol.

        “The top sign reads, in Spanish, “You are in Zapatista rebel territory. Here the people command and the government obeys.” Bottom sign: “North Zone. Council of Good Government. Trafficking in weapons, planting of drugs, drug use, alcoholic beverages, and illegal selling of wood are strictly prohibited. No to the destruction of nature.”

        It’s a very small government of like minded individuals.

        Justice in an anarchist society is probably swift and brutal.

        1. Thanks for pointing out the exact prohibitions on the sign. A place has got to be really bad when Moonshiners and Al Capone would be considered a step-up.

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            1. The Zapatistas wouldn’t like that either.

    3. Agree 100%.

      Ability to be left alone is not remotely a rationale for anarchism. Even if anarchism worked, it requires full-time effort to negotiate and renegotiate everything always. There is no private space. Want to be left alone – you need a govt that runs on autopilot with a ton of rules imposed coercively on others.

      1. “Want to be left alone – you need a govt that runs on autopilot with a ton of rules imposed coercively on others.” I can’t believe you don’t see the massive contradiction in that statement.

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  2. “Although the system of ejidos was based on an understanding of the preconquest Aztec calpulli and the medieval Spanish ejido, in the twentieth century ejidos are government-controlled. After the Mexican Revolution, ejidos were created by the Mexican state to grant lands to peasant communities as a means to stem social unrest. The awarding of ejidos made peasants dependent on the government, with the creation of a bureaucracy to register and regulate them”


    Isn’t it nice that the government lets you use land that’s been in continuous use by your ancestors for thousands of years–so long as you use it “responsibly”? This is what it means to be liberated!

    People who believe in anarchist stage-left ideas about how property rights don’t really exist without the state to invent and enforce them have some explaining to do when it comes to the kinds of complicated property rights various indigenous peoples evolved over thousands of years in North America and Central America.

    Those systems of property rights appear to have predated the Aztec and Mayan states, and they survived the fall of those states, as well. My understanding is that those rights are not held “communally”. One individual (or family) has the right to plant a crop in that spot, and others do not. There were rules about how the person who possessed those rights could forfeit or lose them, and whom they would pass to under various circumstances.

    If property rights were determined by a complicated system within the tribe, doesn’t mean each and parcel of land was owned by the whole tribe. It means disputes over those property rights were determined at the tribal level outside the nation state according to tribal rules that evolved over millennia.

    Locke was right to refer to life, liberty, and property as natural rights that don’t depend on any law for their existence.

    1. Ownership of land (and other things) is indeed both historically and currently complicated. But I wonder if we distill enough, we can recognize two basic models: ownership by gun and ownership by deed (and perhaps some hybrids, such as ownership by royal decree). Of course, the control of land by gun predates guns, and even predates humans. Watch any competing bands of chimps or hyenas. This is not a model of “the land does not belong to anyone”. Given that the domain of any band, and the distribution of access and benefits within the band, are determined by physical and social violence, why anyone would wish for this sort of system is a mystery.

      1. Imagine a band of chimps that included chimpanzDee, chimpanzJeff, chimpanzTonee and chimpanzAmsoc. Why they would be entitled to all the chimpanzee lands without ever having done anything. Because the other chimpanzees “didn’t build that.”

        1. Now on the other hand, Trumpanzees gone apeshit all gang up to agree to the Big Lie… Non-trumpanzees “didn’t build that democracy”, so any non-Trump votes are fake votes! And democracy MUST be replaced by a Trumptatorshit! Because all of the Trumpanzees gone apeshit have agreed that it is so!

          1. Oh, boy. Trump is out on the rally circuit,
            again. In addition to continuing to push his stolen election bullshit, he also wants us to spend time being outraged that LeBron James could hypothetically demand to play in the WNBA.

            1. Aww, white Mike is signaling his own inadequacy again.
              It’s ok, white Mike, you should soon be dead

            2. LeBron is too busy making money from the sales of shoes manufactured in Nike’s Asian child labor sweatshops. Just like Kaepernick’s apparel. #AnthemKneel

            3. Somebody touched a nerve, but now SQRLSY and White Mike are here to save the day.

              Sqrlsy will now shitpost until practical conversation is impossible, and White Mike will misrepresent everything said and then call everyone a traitor.

              1. They, like Reason, don’t want people to see stuff like this:


                REPORT: Aussies Revolt. – Government unable to stop massive crowds demanding full restoration of freedoms and liberties. [Video]

                1. South Africa is bordering on WROL. And China’s floods are causing dams to fail.
                  But Reason thinks some tweets and a fire extinguisher almost took down a country.

                2. Also saw a major protest in France.
                  The smuggled flooding videos out of China were horrific.

          2. Meanwhile, back at the ranch–which he has cordoned off with cedar posts, hornet’s nest booby-traps, and a briar patch variant of early barbed wire fencing–one LiberChimp is enjoying the foraged and hunted fruits of his labor, has figured out how to domesticate his foraged plants and animals..

            Presently, he is beating the bones of his latest buffalo kill and gazing wistfully at the bone flying skyward and into space.

          3. If only the government would transfer more of Bezos’ money your way then you could buy that Hunter Biden painting.

      2. There must have been something like ownership by royal decree in most early civilizations as a function of irrigation. They’re backing up their claim to decide where the water flows and whose water rights predominate when things go bad.

        If the value of your land depends on where the irrigation canal goes, decreeing where the canal goes is like declaring whose land it is. The power may even flow the other way for that reason. You’re paying taxes to me because I brought water to your land.

        There is an ongoing debate about whether or why the Indus Valley civilization was remarkably peaceful compared to others. Their walls were insufficiently to withstand siege. There aren’t any weapons or battles depicted in their art. There just isn’t much evidence of conflict before the Indo-Iranians showed up–and yet they achieved a remarkable level of civilization with sewage systems, irrigation, etc.

        Some people say it’s racist a la “orientalist” or “noble savage” kinds of depictions–to assume these people were living in a primitive utopia. They say that military conflict has been at the center of all the other civilizations, and it’s safe to assume it was in the Indus Valley, as well. They explain the lack of evidence of weapons and military conflict as just a lack of evidence period, or they say that it wasn’t that the culture itself was uniquely peaceful but that they were relatively isolated with no neighbors as enemies.

        Still, when the Indo-Iranians did show up and overrun the Indus Valley civilization, my understanding is that there is very little evidence of military conquest. The Indo-Iranians were definitely a warrior society with a warrior caste, but when they came to the Indus Valley, they seem to have just showed up and taken over. When you look at the cities of the Indus Valley before the Indo-Iranians arrived, there are sophisticated sewage and drainage systems–but there are no temples and there are no palaces.

        There isn’t much evidence for there being a king or an emperor unless you assume that they couldn’t possibly have built such a large city with such a sophisticated sewage and drainage system if they didn’t have an emperor. All the homes seem to belong to merchants and trades people. I’m a libertarian capitalist, and I have experience as a commercial real estate developer. I’ve built sewage systems. I’m not an emperor.

        Anyway, point is that the Indus Valley civilization may have arisen with claims to their land based on their own labor rather than a gun or conquest. Maybe they’re unusual in that regard. Maybe they’re not. Maybe that’s the usual way these civilizations are built in the beginning, and conquerors just typically come along later and take over–like the Indo-Iranians did to the Indus Valley civilization.

        1. “The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.

          In sharp contrast to this civilisation’s contemporaries, Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, no large monumental structures were built. There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples.[114] Some structures are thought to have been granaries. Found at one city is an enormous well-built bath (the “Great Bath”), which may have been a public bath. Although the citadels were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive.

          Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighbourhoods.‘

          —-Indus Valley Civilization

          People argue about what all this means, but those are the facts.

          1. P.S. Where do I sign up?

            1. Groaner Pun Alert: Is this where Iraq got the Ba’ath Party?

              1. They’ll want a toilet in Ba’ath too because Sunni or later they will want to take a Shiite.

                1. Nice.

                2. Wha’ happened to the Wahabbi?

          2. Are you arguing that the Indus civilization was anarchist?

            1. I’m saying that the ownership by gun theory Earth Skeptic mentioned may not apply–if it’s contradicted by a civilization (or civilizations) emerging without much evidence of military conquest or a military leader like an emperor or a king, and if those property rights emerged without something like an emperor or a king, that may undermine the argument for ownership by deed, too. If the king got to decide who owned what because he’s the one that built the irrigation and brought the water, that isn’t exactly ownership by deed. That’s more like ownership by having worked the property–something Locke would understand.

              1. Oh. Well I would agree that the Indus probably is not a military-ruled civilization. But everything I’ve heard of seems more like a priest-ruled civilization via trade. Every other civilization – writing starts with recording trade/storage transactions, money and weight/measures starts with borrowing/storing/verifying transactions, and priests/judges start with enforcing the terms of those (which also means deciding on who ‘owns’ which property). Indus ‘writing’ hasn’t been deciphered – but everything else known fits the norm of priests.

              2. As for Locke – he wasn’t descriptive but normative – not what is/was but what should be

          3. Ol’ Rummy would say: “Absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence.”

            Sorry, I ‘m not a Rummy fan, but this topic does kind of walk into that one. 😉

        2. “The Indo-Iranians were definitely a warrior society with a warrior caste, but when they came to the Indus Valley, they seem to have just showed up and taken over.”

          Like what happened in San Francisco. The progressives just showed up…. and the free-thinkers just let them take over.

    2. My understanding is that those rights are not held “communally”. One individual (or family) has the right to plant a crop in that spot, and others do not.

      Those rights are absolutely communal. The community decides who gets to administer those rights – to gain the usufruct – (and yes that means others cannot do that simultaneously – which merely confirms that land is a natural monopoly) but the main reason eijidos have had a difficult time becoming productive is that those individuals do not have full ownership but only have usufructuary rights – not abusus/alienation rights. And it requires a very different lending system to really do usufructuary loans.

      1. “Those rights are absolutely communal. The community decides who gets to administer those rights – to gain the usufruct – (and yes that means others cannot do that simultaneously – which merely confirms that land is a natural monopoly)”

        Actually, no. Because property disputes were arbitrated by tribal leaders according to customs that evolved over thousands of years does not mean those rights were communal. Those property rights largely emerged as a function of their ideas on heredity and the use of property–along the lines of Locke rather than anarchism.

        Incidentally, if I sue someone in the United States for trespassing or destroying crops on my property, that doesn’t mean my property rights are communal either. It just means our property disputes are arbitrated by the U.S. government.

        1. ‘Property’ as you know it does not exist in a usufructuary system.
          Property (in say land) is composed of:
          usus – ability to use the land (exclusively or not doesn’t really matter)
          fructus – ability to gain the fruits of that land (reap the harvest)
          abusus – ability to destroy the thing or to sell it freely – to transfer the title/ownership

          In every economic system before the mid-19th century (including what became eijido), land ownership had the first two of those elements but NOT the third. The third is what bank loans require so that they can if necessary foreclose and sell it to someone else themselves. Which means it doesn’t exist re land before bank loans collateralized on land become widespread.

          1. Property rights as I know them are the obligation others have to respect our choices about how, who, when, and whether something is used, and because disputes about those obligations are arbitrated differently according to their customs doesn’t mean those obligations aren’t the the universal aspects of property rights or that their rights to use that land aren’t really property rights.

            P.S. Property rights being violated doesn’t mean property rights don’t exist either.

            1. I think Jfree has a point here. There are levels of property rights. Or possibly it would be more appropriate to state that there are different levels of recognized property rights?

              You can have the recognized right to plant and harvest a certain piece of land, but if you can’t transfer the right to someone outside the tribe, you don’t have full ownership.

              I don’t know whether this is good or bad.

              1. Would you prefer to have an Obamacare system for your groceries or would you prefer to interact within a market of your choice?

          2. abusus – ability to destroy the thing or to sell it freely – to transfer the title/ownership

            Are we supposed to ignore the fact that a King could not transfer title/ownership to dukes and lords as he saw fit?

            1. Kings did not transfer title. They transferred a fiefdom. Those mutual obligations gradually shifted to cash payments which only then began to include ‘abusus’ in order to use land as collateral for external debt.

  3. Exclusive: ‘QAnon Shaman’ in plea negotiations after mental health diagnosis

    WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – The participant in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” is negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors, after prison psychologists found he suffers from a variety of mental illnesses, his attorney said.

    In an interview, defense lawyer Albert Watkins said that officials at the federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP, have diagnosed his client Jacob Chansley with transient schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.

    There is a reasonably good chance that this QAnon Shaman is “John”, the Trump cultist that used to post here and hasn’t been seen since the beginning of the year.

    1. “John?”

      “John’s not here!” (I just went to the john and flushed him!)

      1. (I just went to the john and flushed him!)

        Like you would flush a good appetizer like that SQRLSY

      2. Looks like SQRLSY has moved on to dinner topics.

        1. I think that in SQRLSY’s world his post was actually a recipe.

        2. One of his favorite activities is swallowing so that makes sense.

    2. As a Koch / Reason libertarian, I usually advocate an #EmptyThePrisons policy. I draw the line, however, at participants in a HEAVILY ARMED INSURRECTION.

      Life sentence without the possibility of parole seems appropriate. Gotta teach Drumpf supporters that if they’re going to protest, they need to do it peacefully like #BLM and Antifa.


      1. I call for DEATH!

        1. The death penalty is really the only option for insurrectionists.

          1. Was the case for a few in Shay’s rebellion.

    3. By the way, Real Buttplug, beware of Impostor Buttplug — he’s been quite active lately. For instance the other day after you (correctly) called conservatives racist, he tried to make you look like a lazy, stupid, sloppy hypocrite by agreeing with conservatives on race-based policy (affirmative action) and general anti-PC attitudes (racial / ethnic sports team names).


    4. Now it’s imagining fictional people and conspiracies. Do you see dead people too? Is that part of the fantasy?

    5. John was more than a Trump cultist, having been active in the commentariat since the dawn of Hit & Run. I can find old comment threads from the Obama era when I was in agreement with John about issues of the day.

      He did, though, as you imply, suddenly turn into a Trump Mean Girl. In fact, he was the alpha Trump Mean Girl, and when he disappears it left an empty pair of shoes which others (Ken, Mother’s Lament) have tried to fill.

      1. White Mike totes isn’t a boot-licking asshole, guys – he just acts like one because it’s everyone else who are assholes!

        1. With cultists like Dee it is about demagoguery and not actual policies. Why we regularly see the cries of “both sides” and the pretense that things like Operation Warp Speed never occurred. And why #metoo disappeared after Biden became their new supreme leader.

      2. I can find old comment threads from the Obama era when I was in agreement with John about issues of the day.

        I think that you’re lying.
        The only thing you’ve ever done here is white knight for the Democratic party and for Reason writers who endorse Democratic Party talking points. Anyone who has spent a modicum of time here, knows that.

        You can prove me wrong by posting some examples where you agreed with something that John said that didn’t comport with Democratic Party messaging.
        But I don’t think that you can.
        Because you’re lying.

        1. *crickets*

    6. Amazing all the non-political articles this weekend still bring out the TDS from lefty, shit eating trolls.

      1. Oops, my mistake, the shit eater just responded. This one was started by the lefty pedophile.

  4. “Autonomous movements”. You realize this is how governments have always worked – if you’ve got enough men and enough weapons, you get to declare yourself a government. As a wise woman once said about the self-declared king of the Britons, “Well I didn’t vote for you.”

    1. “…you get to declare yourself a government.”

      Only if you’re NOT all covered in literal shit! Also they say, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”. That’s because all of the witches will be looking to turn you into a newt!

      1. “…Bur there is some hope for a Constitutional settlement!”

      2. Hey look, the shit eater brought up shit out of the blue.

    2. Acapulco and to an extent the state of Guerrero is run by corrupt drug cartels. Mexico City may welcome a group of indigenous people retaking land that had been stolen in exchange for a semi-autonomous status. But pointed sticks likely won’t get it done this time. Those cartels are armed with weapons confiscated from the area police, military and by the Obama-Holden arms smuggling program.

      1. “…Obama-Holden arms smuggling program.”

        You do realize, right? Weapons in the hands of drug dealers provided by the Good Guys are GOOD weapons! NOT the same as weapons provided by the BAD guys, on the so-called “black” market (which can be “black” AND racist, at the same time, kinda like Schrodinger’s cat is alive and dead at the same time).

        1. Since I heard of him, I always thought this Schrodinger was some cruel, sadistic sum-bitch!

        2. Neither Obama nor Holder were good. Recalculate.

        3. Looks like SQRLSY is now openly endorsing the epitome of big government bureaucrats, Obama and Holder, but somehow he’s thinking we’ll still believe he’s libertarian.

          1. This whole time I wasn’t even aware squirrel pretended to be libertarian.

      2. I saw one of those “true-crime” TV shows that showed that the cartels now
        have so much wealth (all a product of the Global War on Some Drugs) that the cartels can actually afford to buy mini-submarines to send their shipments to pick-up points all along U.S. shores. Though they still send drugs accross the Mexican border, they really wouldn’t have to if pressed. I

        In the event Trump’s wall ever gets finished, the cartels would still be able to get through and maybe even charge more for addictive, deadly substances. The Global War on Some Drugs has acquired a new Theater down under the sea!

        1. It’s not new, cartels have been using subs for 30 years.
          Netflix even has a documentary (Operation Odessa, I think) about Pablo Eacobar trying to buy a Russian navy sub when the USSR collapsed.

          1. Hmm…That’s interesting. I’ll have to look that up.

            I guess it’s the mini-subs that are the innovation. They would be much less conspicuous.

  5. Anyone who won’t disown those communist, theftist thugs is no friend of liberty. Antifa terrorists! Kill!

    1. “Tea’s ready, dear…”

  6. “my anarcho-communist college buddies”

    Takes a true leftist to have an ideology so inconsistent that its very name is an oxymoron.

    1. The theory behind communism says it will eventually become an anarchy. Of course, that implies that everyone accepts the tenets of communism. Until that happens the communists have to enforce their ideology. Which is the perennial problem with anarchic ideologies.

      1. And conversely, it seems all attempts at Anarchy create a power vacuum that gets filled by a repressive regime that’s usually even worse than the previous regime the Anarchy was supposed to replace.

    2. Dude needs better buddies.

    3. Some of the early kibbutzim were pretty much anarcho-communist. There was little outside government and they ruled themselves by communal consensus. There was no private property and child rearing and education was communal. When it was your turn to be on kitchen duty you helped prepare the dinner. Work assignments were rotated.

      Eventually they became more like private companies owned by the members with private ownership of property.

      Some have been very successful producing agriculture, light industry, and tourism. Early on since they had their own militias they were essential to defense of the fledgling state. They also manufactured their own weapons in many cases.

      It can work on a small scale where it is voluntary and surrounded by a large conventional state. The members are still citizens and pay taxes, serve in the military and so on.

      1. Small Kibbutz and Mennonite Colonies are probably the largest units where socialism can actually work. But the key is a monolithic culture with no social or religious differences. Mimicking a large family or a small tribe.

        1. I’ve heard some people claim that the Monestary and the Nunnery are examples of “Voluntary Communism” that “work.” But I’ve spoken with a Nun (The Late “MamaLiberty” a.k.a. Susan Calloway R.I.P.) and she said that they all worked jobs in the outside world and she worked as a Registered Nurse. (All wages went to the Church in keeping with their Vow of Poverty.)

          And, of course, Monks ran in the past and today still run wineries, breweries, and bakeries that sell to people outside the Church body.

          So basically, these so-called examples of so-called “Voluntary Communism” are just parasites upon the ways and capital of the larger global market economy, just as, indeed, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc were when they were around. (See Werner Keller’s book East Minus West Equals Zero for some great and entertaining reading on the subject.)

      2. Israelis still want their MTV and want it via competitive means of distribution. And I seriously doubt that Israel’s innovations in IT and medicine come from a rolly-polly Kibbutz. That takes R&D and capital and at least some measure of Free-Market Capitalism.

    4. “Anarcho-communist” is not an oxymoron. It’s a system with no government and no property, i.e. no ownership. Whatever you’re not holding at the moment is legally up for grabs.

      1. “Whatever you’re not holding at the moment is legally up for grabs.”

        Or as the Marines say, “Left adrift, must be a gift.”

        1. According to the law of the sea regarding such matters, that is very iffy.

          If something is flotsam (i.e. items floating due to accident or
          wreckage,) the owner of the ship wreckage or the nation whose flag the ship is flying usually has a legal claim for it’s return.

          If an item is jetsam (i.e. deliberately thrown overboard,) then the original owner may not necessarily have a claim, though some have successfully tried and regained their claim.

          If an item is lagam or ligam (i.e. heavy enough to sink but tied to a post or bouy at sea,) the item may be claimed by the original owner.

          Derelict items are those sunk to the bottom of the sea but with no hope of reclamation by the owner.

          The Marines who say that have broken their own standard of “One Shot, One Kill” on that one and need a refrresher course on Maritime Law.

      2. Would that include “whoever” as well? I seem to recall that decade back, the Occupiers seemed to think that.

    5. We’ve been through this before. Leftist anarchism is not a contradiction in terms, insofar as it’s a utopian concept. We all agree it never works out that way, but on paper, it’s a legit concept…. even if like all utopian ideals, it fails miserably.

      1. What’s the difference between left anarchism, consensus democracy, and mob rule?

        All the left anarchy groups I’ve seen still had/held the ability (even if only narrowly) to excommunicate people and repel outsiders by force (or rely on larger forces to do so).

        1. The difference is about like the difference between alcoholics and drunks. The Anarchists and the consensus democrats are the alcoholics who attend meetings. The mob-rulers are the drunks who don’t.

  7. “Those systems of property rights appear to have predated the Aztec and Mayan states, and they survived the fall of those states,”

    No wonder the Olmecs had such big heads

  8. It’s somewhat probable that we’ll get more of that here, the nation won’t suddenly break apart the authorities will just start pulling back to defend some cities and states and not others. Roman Empire style.

    1. Yep. Which is why 2A is so important. The likelihood of citizens actually getting into armed conflict with the government is low. But as the giant, corrupt, federal government begins to lose authority, the vacuum needs to be filled. I’d rather be part of the authority filling it, not a slave to it.

  9. Oops, you’re supposed to capitalize Indigenous now, like it’s not just an adjective.

    1. Indigenous… it’s not just an adjective! It is ALSO a homophone, a dessert topping, AND a floor wax!

      1. It puts the I in BIPOC

        1. Shouldn’t it be BIOPOC though? The B and the I are already POC, so you need another O for “Other POC”.

          1. If that is your truth, CE, you can add whatever letters to the acronym you feel are necessary for full inclusion. Except for the W. The W stands on its own.

      2. A homophone, a dessert topping, AND a floor wax?

        Oooh, that sounds so versatile and peachy! I’d like one of those! I’ll just fall on the floor and lap it all up!

  10. “They have enforced a strict and often puritanical discipline among their citizens, as any internal weakness or division could doom the still impoverished region to another conquest by forces from the government, the cartels, or the displaced ranchers who have waged many armed attempts to take back their property.”

    So a military dictatorship is the ultimate goal?

    1. Perhaps not the goal, but dictatorship is always the end result.

      1. It is a feature.

  11. Thank you for sharing an interesting post.
    Janmashtami 2021 Whatsapp Status Video
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  12. Lost me at anarcho-communist. That’s an oxymoron on steroids.

    1. You can understand an absence of government, right? Can you also understand an absence of ownership?

      1. I thought communism was collective ownership and sharing of resources, administered by force. Lots and lots of force. As in a strong government. So it’s still an oxymoron to me.

        1. I thought communism was collective ownership and sharing of resources, administered by force. Lots and lots of force. As in a strong government. So it’s still an oxymoron to me.

          No, it’s collective ownership and sharing based on mutual aid and cooperation.

          The force part comes in when it ultimately fails.

          1. No, it’s collective ownership and sharing based on mutual aid and cooperation.

            Which actually works in families, tribes, and other relatively small groups.

            The force part comes in when it ultimately fails.

            The force part comes in the very beginning because it is required for larger groups of people who don’t all know each other.

          2. After thinking about it, it’s probably the 80/20 rule that makes scaled collectivism so unworkable. Googled it and it has a name. Pareto principle.

            20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work and all that. 20 percent of the people drink 80 percent of the alcohol. That rule applies to many things.

            In small groups that 20 percent knows the other 80 percent and doesn’t mind. Or does mind and can say something about it. Maybe get them off their asses.

            In larger communities the 20 percent gets taken advantage of enough to the point where they get too pissed to contribute.

            That’s why forced collectivism always fails. The producing 20 percent gets fed up or doesn’t even bother to try. Total wealth diminishes, and equality becomes a race to the lowest common denominator.

            1. It’s why communes failed in the 60’s and why Bernie Sanders, after getting kicked out of his commune, went into government.
              Funny how BS is not into sharing his accumulation as much as he is comfortable sharing everyone else’s.

              1. I believe that when confronted about it he said “Write a book” or something similar. The typical “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” response.

                1. At least Bernie allowed his detractor that much freedom…for now. I’m sure if the detractor did write a book, the detractor will be first to be targeted in the coming Revolution.

              2. I like how you called him BS. I see what you did there.

                Ol’ BS has three multi-million Dollar homes. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind turning at least one into The Doctor Zhivago Arms Hotel, just as a demonstration of how Socialism works. 😉

      2. Also, I don’t see anarchism as something that would last for very long. It won’t take much time before men form gangs that go around robbing those who can’t stand up to them, say they’re protecting those they rob, and before long the dominant gang calls itself government.

        1. Marx saw it as phases although his theories never worked out. Socialism was the phase where there was central government ownership. Eventually the workers would own everything and government would no longer be needed.
          In theory there was never supposed to be force. In reality there always was.

          In theory the USSR, N Korea et al were never really communist which is a utopian ideal. They are totalitarian socialists.

          As ML pointed out in a few select small cases like the kibbutz or Mennonites a form of anarcho-communism can work but only where the members are united by a common ideology, religion, or tribal identity. Force is not needed because they are there by choice.

          1. It’s been fun seeing how big a fan of marx echospinner is.
            Not that we’re surprised

            1. At least he, unlike you, doesn’t cry every night that stupid laws against murder keep him from killing anyone who disagrees with his politics.

              1. And here we see sarcasmic (again) admit that he prefers marxism to resistance against the left

                1. That has to be one of the dumbest, most contradictory sentences I’ve read in a while.

              2. sarcasmic
                July.16.2021 at 3:11 pm
                Flag Comment Mute User
                I was going to add something about people who might be splattered by the mess, but nobody cares about your alone ass. Shit. Nobody will know you’re missed until they shut the power off and things start to smell.

                1. That’s unpossible. sarcasmic constantly assures us that he’s a dear little lamb and never-ever-ever starts shit.

          2. Collectivism does work on a small scale. Like families and tribal groups. However it doesn’t scale up. In small groups shirkers can be identified and shamed.

            Sometimes I wonder if we’re hardwired for it. Sharing and working together is natural for most of us.

            But it doesn’t work in large groups.

            As far as ML goes, I’ve got him on mute. He’s never once attempted to have a conversation with me. Just snide personal attacks. So fuck him with a maple tree.

            1. In the kibbutz these days my understanding is you have to apply and then live and work there, often providing your own income, for some period of years before you are considered for full membership for that reason. Also to make sure this is really what you want.

            2. I have a few. Attack trolls and racists.

              1. Here’s documentary evidence of echospinner confronting a rAcIsT:


        2. Force is why Nozick argues that a minimalist state arises naturally from anarchy. People’s rights will be violated without at least a minimal social order. Minarchist libertarians, which most of us are fall into this idea.

          One of these days I’m going to get around to reading the whole thing.

          1. The problem with a minimalist state is that it will never stay that way. Power corrupts. Heck, look at the Founders. The ones who became president turned into total assholes.

            1. Even our constitution which was designed to prevent that has not been able to. You are right.

              I think that is because government can be used to advance competing interests. One group wants say cheaper oil, the other wants more environmental protection. The politicians exploit this to gain more power for themselves.

              I think the two party system is especially vulnerable because the same two stay in power they just switch hats every now and then. On the other hand multi party systems where coalitions have to be made can be unstable and indecisive.

              1. I think it’s because there is no incentive to repeal shitty legislation. As a result government becomes a one-way ratchet. I’m not going to search for the quote, but in a Heinlein book one character suggests a two chamber legislature where one house passes laws while the other’s sole power to repeal laws. Not only that, but 2/3 would be required to pass laws but only 1/3 required to repeal. Though I’m sure people with power would find a way to fuck that up too, just like the 17A fucked up Congress.

                1. I think libertarians scare the crap out of politicians because they know we are right. That is why the system is rigged against us. We don’t even need to win elections. We just need to get our message out and be seen as a legitimate alternative.

                  1. The great libertarian conundrum is that because we don’t desire power over others, we don’t seek out positions of power. It’s not so much that the system is rigged against us (which it is), but that getting libertarians to get together and put forth viable candidates is like herding cats.

                    1. No the problem is libertarians put up wack job candidates who go around insulting everyone else’s intelligence. And then left libertarians mostly vote democrat, right libertarians mostly vote republican anyway. But I see you’re pulling out the trump card of everything is rigged against you. Clever, screetch.

                    2. You’re saying the two-party system isn’t rigged against third parties?

                    3. the problem is libertarians put up wack job candidates who go around insulting everyone else’s intelligence.

                      And I said “getting libertarians to get together and put forth viable candidates is like herding cats.”

                      Viable candidates aren’t wack jobs who insult everyone’s intelligence.

                      Jeez, I could say the sky is blue and you’d find a way to insult me.

                      Back on mute you go.

                  2. And libertarians confuse most average people because, while they can appreciate being left alone in their own lives, they can’t resist the urge to want others controlled.

                    1. Alright, no I need to find a quote…

                      “Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

                      ― Robert A. Heinlein

                      I just bookmarked that. Have to use it so much.

                    2. Roadz! And if I am vaccinated and you are not, murderz!

        3. This is correct. Even if anarchism worked– in fact especially if it worked, you will end up with institutions (even if cooperatively formed) which will… at some point look an awful lot like the institutions you attempted to abandon.

          1. It only takes a generation or two for cooperatively formed organizations to abandon their original purpose and be corrupted by power seekers.

  13. Both my proto-antifa college friends and the Acapulco ancaps seemed romantically attached to the concept of conquered indigenous peoples taking direct and violent action to reclaim their land from corrupt and ruthless institutions: governments at the local, state, and federal level

    How would they feel about Ammon Bundy and his family?

  14. This is what happens when the white mikes, sarcasmics, echospinners, sqrlsys, and our other collectivists get their way:

    JUST IN – Majority (55%) now pessimistic: Americans’ optimism about the direction of the country has plummeted nearly 20 points since May, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

    1. Are you functionally retarded or something? A couple comments above I explained how collectivism only works for small groups, like families or tribes, and fails with anything larger.

      And you’re calling me a collectivist, as in someone who advocates for collectivism on a grand scale?

      No, you’re not retarded. You’re a liar.

      1. Like to see you drinking and trolling early today.

      2. Speaking of liars….. Not gonna unmute. Not even curious, because I know the comment is some sort of personal insult.

        1. Because you’re a troll, and the only legitimate reason to respond to you is to insult you?

          1. It is easier just muting him.

    2. Oh, and unlike you I don’t need Twitter rage to get an erection. Not clicking.

      1. So you’re saying you get hard with medication? Posting bullshit here? What?

        1. No, unlike the talk radio demographic I don’t need pills to get a woody.

          If you want to know what gets me hard, ask your wife.

          1. The only one who lies about listening to talk radio here is you.

      2. Why respond at all then? Oh, that’s right, because you’re a troll craving attention.

  15. alliance between government officials, the military, big business, and organized crime.

    Who’s the Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey of Mexico?

    1. First thing I thought too. Yet, nobody at Reason sees the similarities.

    2. El Chapo?

    3. It’s racist and nationalist to assume that Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey aren’t the Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey of Mexico.


    The communist doesn’t think twice about confronting a man in front of his daughter for the same reason he uses political violence. It’s the same reason everyone knows a Democrat who brings up politics at inappropriate times.

    It’s not his politics. It’s his religion.

    1. If true, this is weirder than anything Trump ever did, and a lot worse than banning one CNN reporter from press briefings:

      Just In: The White House knew about the Tucker ‘confrontation’ and the entire set-up was planned out in advance, per WH official


    Can anybody point me to that one time in history where the side that was demanding censorship, segregation, propaganda, radical education, papers to move freely in society, plus government forces going door to door to demand compliance were the good guys?

    1. North Korea. Just ask the North Korean government.

    2. I’m sure they thought they were the good guys. Everyone thinks they’re the good guys. Heck, you openly advocate for murdering people who vote differently than you and you consider yourself to be one of the good guys. Hitler didn’t wake up every morning and ask himself “What’s the most evil thing I could do today?” No, he though he was the good guy. Did you see the video of Hussein being hanged? He was honestly bewildered at the hatred directed at him because he thought he was the good guy.

      The difference between good guys and bad guys is who writes the history books. That’s it.

      1. Youre everyone’s hero and exemplify righteousness here.

        1. Sane and benevolent folks everywhere would prefer to listen to Sarcasmic rather than Der JesseBahnFuhrer, so, for once, you called it correctly!

          1. Sqrlsy wouldn’t recognize sanity and benevolence if they teabagged him.

          2. Also, don’t use your Sqrlsy sockpuppet to white knight for you, sarcasmic.

        2. Just mute him and move on.

          1. JesseAz will never mute me. He’s a pathetic mean girl who needs to hurl insults at people to feel happy. If he muted me then he wouldn’t be able to drop his personal attacks on my comments. He will never mute anyone. Because he’s an internet bully. A troll. People mute him. But he mutes no one.

            1. Wasn’t it Pogo who said, “We Have Muted the Enemy and He Is Der JesseBahnFuhrer?”


          2. I’ve muted sarcasmic and squirrel a while back; today I muted the overtly anti-semitic and holocaust denying Mike Larson [he may not realize what a nut he is until you’re already a ways down his rabbit hole].

            Take away the nuts and trolls and what is left is civil discourse, other perspectives, and humor. Of course if you like to argue and fight with the likes of Rev. Arty, Tony, and his sock Raspberry, this is entirely up to you.

            1. “Of course if you like to argue and fight with the likes of Rev. Arty, Tony, and his sock Raspberry, this is entirely up to you.”

              Wow! What UTTERLY MIND BENDING and tolerant broad-mindedness from Quo Usque Tandem!

              (I wonder if Quo Usque Tandem checked with Der TrumpfenFuhrer first, to see if this was OK?)

            2. Der TrumpfenFuhrer may even cut Quo OUT of the queue entirely… What was Quo, 3,482,454th in the queue for “sloppy umteenths” from Der TrumpfenFuhrer’s “access” to Stormy Daniels?

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