Assassination Politics

grarpamp grarpamp at
Mon Sep 26 18:14:34 PDT 2022

Political Liquidation

2022-02-21 chrisshaw1993 Chris Shaw

Oscillations of political power, the expansion and contraction of
sovereign and elite control, define the nature of conflict and cycles of
politico-economic activity. Elites will always exist as political power is
always in grasp so long as dynamics of status and wealth gains and the
consolidation of support bases are possible. “The tendency in both the
hard and soft managerial regimes has been for managerial forces to pervade
all areas of political, economic, social, and intellectual life”[1].
Such consolidation is the hallmark of any elite structure. It must
dominate and control so as prevent subversive elements and sub-elites from
marking out their own territory and developing their own powerbases. The
circulation of elites as Pareto called it is a consistent game of
governance and power. Much of modern political thinking has concerned
itself with the transformation and supersession of such conditions,
forging a revolutionary moment or a balance of power so as to either
destroy or nullify elite power structures.

Elite cultivation is a long game though. It extends beyond the immediately
political and into the cultural and meta-political. The slow accrual of
power isn’t done through the electoral process and popular means of
messaging. It begins in the institutions of high culture, universities,
broadsheet newspapers, academic journals, education, etc. Slowly it
filters down into the tabloid newspapers, news programmes and political
manifestos. Such cultivation isn’t measured in election cycles but in
decades, slowly transposing from a minority sub-elite to a larger
power-elite. In this movement from abstract intellectualism to widespread
propagation, this new elite creates positions and inculcates ideological
frameworks that make wider structures and institutions reliant on their
expertise, control of resources and/or capacity to judge. “Until one
begins to list all the professions and activities which belong to the
class, it is difficult to realize how numerous it is, how the scope for
activities constantly increases in modern society, and how dependent on it
we all have become”[2].

The expansion of Keynesian and neoliberal modes of thought out of
economics departments and think tanks into elite policy circles, civil
society, corporate management and government bureaucracies and the growth
of a transgressive culture industry favouring minoritarian concerns and
control over educational institutions are testament to this long march.
Both popular politics and constitutional restraints struggle to
meaningfully curtail the circulation and expansion of elites.

The latter become increasingly reliant on the types of expertise and
social capital these elites foster. Administrative managers and policy
experts become interpreters and shapers of the constitutional mechanisms
that undergird legal precedents and legislative parameters. Through them,
new interpretations become integrated which justify new policy actions and
new bureaus to manage them. We see this in the transformation of speech
rights via the transgressive culture industry which is attempting to
codify hate speech and Silicon Valley technocrats who narrow the range of
speech available on public forums. The law isn’t changed, but expanded
in its scope, creating legal arbitrage which these elite structures

In the former, there are substantive difficulties with mounting a popular
political front against emerging elite consensus. Electoral politics has
little effect, as major parties converge toward general agreement over
matters of economic and social policy, quibbling over details. Even when
supposed outsiders like Trump are elected, they quickly find any attempts
to interject into existing bureaucracies almost impossible, facing strong
resistance from established groups in the intelligence communities,
military brass and wider civil administration. These bureaus and their
programmes have consistently expanded despite congressional and executive
scepticism and pushback. This is why a policy of “retire all government
employees”[3] is so hard, as it isn’t just a matter of the employees
but of the educational/training materials that integrate new recruits and
the impunity with which these organisations escape substantive

Forces of constitutional expansion and ideological consolidation limit the
potential for any popular movement or fragmentary group to challenge elite
power. The Overton window is reshaped and established methods of political
participation are effectively meaningless. You cannot vote out or even
question civil bureaucrats or the policy-making networks which actually
dictate legal procedures and their implementation. A political liquidation
occurs where the various aspects of political and economic life are closed
off, to be decided amongst technocratic groups and procedures. They are
nominally accountable in that they publish their meeting minutes and must
answer to ministerial or presidential requests, but they intensively
entrench their power, lasting longer than any one government
administration. Their political power is the power of the closed network,
defined by intra-competitive norms and shared cultural attributes that are
beyond boundaries of electoral or legal power.

A political liquidation, the entrenching of a post-political consensus and
the denial of a meta-political critique coming in the form of fragments
(national populism, conspiracism, sectoral strikes, protest convoys, a
re-emerging petit bourgeoisie), is currently happening within elite
political and economic networks. The power of foundation funding toward
social causes (as with the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundation
and the Gates Foundation funding and depoliticising various aspects of
socio-economic policy), the digitalisation of modern life (through the
ubiquity of digital IDs, vaccine passports, bureaucratic smartphone apps
and mass data gathering) and the increasingly technocratic bent of various
institutions and functionaries both public and private (as in
BlackRock’s recommendations for central bank-led fiscal policy that
depoliticises wealth distribution[4] or various health committees’
control over healthcare and vaccine policies, presenting expert opinion as
unitary and beyond reproach).

In establishing this political liquidation and post-political
entrenchment, they are also happily propagandising their efforts and
pushing the negative externalities of their policy recommendations onto
the middle and lower classes. Lockdowns are easy for the managerial and
administrative sectors (the laptop classes[5]) while crushing for the
precariat and lower middle classes (whose businesses are closed and work
uncompensated). Climate change policies around net zero and the Green New
Deal push high-cost solutions onto the wider population, whether through
electric cars, higher energy bills or cost-inefficient, highly subsidised
food economies and health cultures. The effects of wage-less inflation
(brought on through structural overreliance on tenuous and fragile supply
chains combined with cheap labour as well as asset inflation via QE and
risk free liquidity) are now coupled with a huge tax burden through income
tax/national insurance increases. The original causes of these problems
(governance failures, corporate power, inequality, closed networks) are
neither questioned nor held responsible, with those who do labelled as
conspiracy theorists, fearmongers or doomists.

The closed networks that inform and construct these events are immune from
popular participation. Reliant on systems of educational attainment,
professional credibility and internal peer review, they are susceptible to
status quo and confirmation biases, creating knowledge that’s largely
unquestionable. This also makes it difficult for existing elite structures
to be opened up or reformed, as they exclude alternative forms of
information and different methodologies due to them being outside their
paradigmatic conceptions. “The interlacing of money, power and lobbying
alliances deprives politics of the last crumbs of potential autonomy, to
the point that democracies all over the planet now welcome our
philanthropic predators with open arms, without even asking

Financial crises and the pandemic have entrenched elite consensus as
networks of power have responded aggressively to the challenges they pose.
Existing elites exist in the uchronic[7] condition of transvaluing
challenges to within their sphere of influence. The 2008 financial crisis
has simply cemented neoliberal ideology, as asset inflation and the
financial framing of economic stability encompass responses to economic
stagnation both in the light of long-term productivity inertia and the
affect of coronavirus shutdowns that focus on the monetary policy toolkit
as the only adequate way to tackle inflation and induce liquidity. The
campaigns in the post-coronavirus era of Build Back Better and the
expansion of digital identification and tracking infrastructure are simply
more explicit retellings of the neoliberal narrative around financial and
logistical globalisation. The WEF and the G8 simply reemphasise their
continued position, that the expansion of global trade and governance are
unstoppable, and that any impediment will be regulated and controlled.
Whether that be the coronavirus itself, with governments of all varieties
hubristically assuming they can control a respiratory virus (that flows on
the very structures globalisation maintains), or those populations opposed
to their integration into international databanks who are caught up in
travel sites cum checkpoints that determine whether one is allowed to move
based on their medical history and vaccine status. Slogans like “you
will own nothing” are nothing new, just more explicit variations on a
continuing theme.

Any emerging consensus amongst a new elite appears to entrench
administrative objectives and ethics in a post-liberal scenario rather
than extending freedom or a limitation of coercive power. The power of
networks in the civil service, health and education attest to this. As do
the prevailing alternatives to Western governance, such as those
represented by China’s capitalist authoritarianism with attendant social
credit systems. The response to coronavirus has only entrenched such false
binaries as parties and interest groups compete to see which one can be
more authoritarian in their pursuit of biomedical perfection.

Populist challenges of various stripes that attempt to make the various
coalitions and interests groups integral to the state and wider
establishment more transparent or accountable have been met with
vociferous resistance. Whether in the Trump presidency, Latin American
populism or the Corbyn opposition, confected media tales and smears as
well as severe limitations on their capacities to act (in crafting policy
or forming alternative alliances to established powerbases) hampered any
efforts to meaningfully construct populism as a political force that could
integrate the state into itself.

Instead of becoming another such political force, it was diminished into a
fragmented base (the Red Wall or Brexit voters in Britain; Trump voters
and the flyover states in America; Zemmour supporters or the Gilets Jaunes
in France; the trucker convoy in Canada; the farm protesters in India;
anti-vaccine passport and anti-lockdown movements in various countries)
that were reviled. They were accused of various transgressions that the
elite cannot abide: antisemitism, xenophobia, protectionism. That they
dare question a socio-political consensus (however concocted) was beyond
the pale. “Against recalcitrant groups, organizations, even whole
states, our ruling class uses its control of communications to wage
demonization campaigns akin to two-minute hates, except lasting much
longer”[8]. Thus the bleating around expert-opinion and purging
democratic systems of these obfuscatory and dangerous forces. Politics
here is impossible as the capacity to make systems of governance
transparent is met with extreme resistance from the full coterie of
established interests.

Alternative sub-elites are thus hampered, either cast off as populist
recalcitrance or easily integrated within the ideological apodictic. As
Francis notes regarding the development of elite challenges to the current
soft managerial elite, the cleavage of this conflict concerns cultural
control rather than a wider meta-political critique[9]. An emerging
sub-elite would co-opt existing institutions and use their wide-ranging
powers for their own ends, potentially exacerbating such powers in the
tyrannical direction they’re already heading. The so-called post-liberal
direction of populations that favour increased economic intervention
alongside a culturally conservative ethic have proved amenable to
coronavirus regulations, as UK opinion surveys attest to. Strong
government messaging and media fear campaigns have turned ordinary
citizens into glorified covid wardens and snitches, happy to be locked
down despite the stratified risk and endemicity of the virus. If such a
cleavage were to occur where elite consensus moves from soft managerialism
to hard managerialism, the prospects for individual liberty and the
capacity for decentralised autonomy would only decrease, as more
securitised governance becomes commonplace.

A libertarian response to the permanency of elites and their oscillations
of power is to be a mechanism of exit rather than a political programme of
actionable proposals. Such is the nature of elite functioning (their
cyclicality and desire for control), that in the case of elite co-option
the answers for decentralist movements must remain as bottlenecks in the
system, pushing it beyond its boundaries and sitting within its
interstices, rather than acquiescing to such power due to ideological
alignment. Successor elites are still elites and will exhibit the same
tendencies of authoritarianism and expansive control. By maintaining a
level of autonomy and/or resistance, such elites can be tempered,
subverted or ignored as they move from dynamic flexibility to

The game of the “intellectuals” that Hayek writes on is one
libertarians have struggled to exist within. Where it has been successful
as through the move from the Mont Pelerin Society and other free market
think tanks to neoliberal hegemony, it has inverted the very goals of
libertarianism to proscribe coercive entrenchment and institutional
ossification and extend mechanisms of freedom, compromising with sovereign
and corporate power centres to the extent it is now part of coercive power
structures, extending their power rather than ameliorating it as they
become part of the intra-competitive dynamics of elite policy-making
networks[10]. This game cannot be won by libertarians.

Beginning to escape this trap means defining what individual liberty and
political freedom really mean in the modern context of sovereign power,
elite consensus and coercive apparatuses. Freedom shouldn’t be defined
by a means-ends matrix of understanding that moves from deontological to
consequentialist axes. Rather it should be seen as a capacity to act,
affecting both means and ends as they involve forms of decision-making.
Such capacity also extends upwards in scale, from individual to
institutional levels as each has abilities to act. In these acts,
individual and collective actors produce constraints and tensions that
induce conflicts as capacities of freedom delineate into different courses
of action. How these tensions are worked out is through means of
negotiation and force (both defensive and offensive), which involve
varying levels of conflict and violence in their resolutions or

Freedom as capacity goes beyond the dichotomy Friedman identifies as
inherent to libertarianism: that of deontological versus consequentialist
defences of libertarian political thought. The former, defined as “that
most natural and universal of all human activities: the persistent attempt
on the part of humans to achieve . . . mutual understanding”[11], is
subverted as capacity doesn’t necessarily lead to mutual understanding,
rather the extension of projects and collective formations that put their
claim onto resources and propagate their ideological underpinnings.
Consequentialism too is undergirded by capacity. Friedman’s defence of a
consequentialist mode of libertarian thought serves to recognise the
underlying variable of freedom and liberty are the capacity for actors to
extend and secure their rights in distinction with others, as does
Nove’s distinctions in property ownership definitions as emerging from
the consequences of their control[12]. Both come back to the fundamental
proposition of the capacity for control to extend freedom and rights.

Political freedom at its most basic is the capacity to take and conserve
force. Friedman’s and Nove’s arguments regarding expansive definitions
of freedom only extend force in a particular direction, while libertarian
“limitations” of coercive force are themselves nothing more than the
preservation of a particular order of property relations. Coercion and
political force that comes from it are the fundamental premises of
freedoms. Friedman then makes an error in assigning to Hayek’s knowledge
problem an aprioristic quality of freedom in showing that the assertion of
spontaneity doesn’t provide a ground for the production of the good. The
point of the knowledge and calculation problems is to demonstrate the very
limits of freedoms themselves and their capacity to expand toward
integrated orders. Spontaneity is not a mark of morality, but a
recognition of the inability of coercive authorities to necessarily
contain all economic and political actions within their plans or purviews.
Within their interstices always grow new methodologies of action that
exist in their blind spots.

This then invokes a defensive concept of property acquisition and the
implementation of effective authority. “When these things are said to be
‘important,’ to ‘matter’ to people, these are not value judgments
on my part, directly, but rather observations on what matters or is
important to them — that is, to all persons, to ‘us.’ We shall have
to consider altering our proposed course of conduct in the light of how
others react, if their reactions can influence the likelihood of success
in those courses. Other people in that sense become the source of special
problems (and opportunities) for us. When we contemplate people's
potential to affect us for good or ill, we may find ourselves motivated to
do something about it, in particular in the way of modifying previously
adopted programs of behavior”[13].

The essence of individual liberty is the extension of actions into the
social space, modifying and curtailing them in the face of potential
conflicts with other such individuals and groups who retain potentials for
defensive force and negotiable outcomes. In many ways, the wider
libertarian focus on negative liberty and associated concepts of
self-ownership are abstractions of the very conditions of coercion, force
and the negotiation of action over the social space. In the social space
of modern states and other coercive institutions, this entails libertarian
engagement with said institutions in the manner of both positive and
negative (offensive and defensive) force and negotiated outcomes. At a
wider level of abstraction, it is the fracturing of sovereignty into the
wider social space, limiting their coercive potential while extending the
potential actions of other individuals and groups i.e. increasing the
means of their liberties.

This process is described by Olson[14] as the negotiation over the social
field of distributional coalitions that extend their own means of power at
the expense of other groups (both other distributional coalitions as well
as fragmented populations that bear the costs). In particularly advanced
societies (those characterised by a long-term minimisation of wide-scale
conflict and a largely integrated governing structure) the extent and
depth of distributional coalitions is such that monopolisation and
stagnation are commonplace in multiple sectors. This produces
ungovernability where there is an inability for wide-ranging authorities
to coercively enforce mandates in the face of powerful distributional
coalitions that collate and occlude power from wider society. In such a
situation, libertarianism should act as an interstitial agency, exploiting
the ossification brought about by societal gridlock that ungovernability

As Olson notes regarding the Indian caste system, this is representative
of a distributional coalition that ossified power and limited access to
outside groups. However, as Doniger noted[15] regarding the various
offshoots and alternative practices of Hinduism, the Dalits and lower
classes of Indian regions created horizontal patterns of socio-religious
organisation that routed around the domination of the caste structure. In
a similar manner, libertarian engagement with elites should be to
encourage their circularity amongst various groups, making themselves
ungovernable and presenting avenues for alternative/innovative modes of
socio-political activity.

The aim of such interstitial ungovernability is the maintenance of
sufficiency and a degree of control over one’s livelihoods, against the
spirits of globality and abstraction. Instead of trying to break or reform
elite consensus, thus entering the intellectual game which breeds
co-option, there should be a libertarian strategy of exits that envelop
autonomous institution-building and a defence of liberties against wider
coercive forces as well as more offensive, violent interactions that
indirectly challenge the state’s and capital’s monopolies on force and
economic exchange.

However, traditional notions of exit that libertarianism has pursued
around “free markets” are limited in their capacity to engender true
exits from monopolistic power structures (both state and non-state).
Escapes via the means of the market are themselves doomed to failure. The
crude libertarian construction of markets as purely spontaneous phenomena
underlies a serious deficiency in their worldview, ignoring the
overwhelming power of sovereign bodies in constituting and directing
markets, as well as the autonomous nature of capital in developing market
power which aims at monopolisation, the accrual of profit and the
limitation of creative destruction. All markets develop distributional
coalitions that aim to extend their own power.

Any truly free market in the sense that all exchange and all parameters
are organised through voluntary methods and are constituted by contracts
(around security, law and property) are extremely decentralised and
limited in their scale (not that this is necessarily a bad thing).
Fundamentally, they are premised on the means of exit as a constant
mechanism for any actor. Modern markets by contrast are constantly caught
in the paradoxical contradictions of both denying the involvement of the
state while constantly relying on it to set the rules of the game. As
Gamble notes, “the paradox for neo-liberals is that their revolution in
government requires that a group of individuals be found who are not
governed by self-interest, but motivated purely by the public good of
upholding the rules of the market order. Yet if such a group existed it
would contradict a basic premise of neo-liberal analysis”[16]. As the
groups that make up government are governed by the same motivations as
others, they will inevitably attempt to accrue power to the detriment of
wider society, specifying rules to their benefit and creating selective
incentives that favour particular traits, backgrounds and statuses thus
constituting an elite structure.

The nature of capitalist markets “are ideational, being understood as
structures that have an almost static quality in relation to existing
capitalism. Epitomising markets as simple conduits of capitalist activity
constitutes a form of authority, recognising instrumental rationality and
its subsequent socio-economic actions as the generalised mode of action in
a market economy”[17]. In other words, the formative construction of
political violence and the development of governance as an overarching
system precede markets as economic phenomena. They are not separable from
their political context, making the notion of free markets as a desired
policy goal completely reductive. Markets are an expression of power,
whether it be the voluntary power of contractarianism or the coercive
power of interest groups controlling prices and the provision of credit.

Instead, cultivating forms of financial and economic autonomy are crucial.
Whether through cryptocurrencies, mutual exchange systems or securing
control over cultivatable land, a multiplicity of options is necessary.
Political liquidation portends homogenisation, and selective violence must
accompany solid foundations of micro-power that can affectively hold their
own in the machinations of monopolistic capital and coercive sovereignty.
In the defensive stance, this means the development of
counter-institutions in the agorist tradition of black market activity,
becoming middlemen and exploiters of weaknesses and bottlenecks in the
“free markets” and corporate machines. Figures like the economic
middleman, the dishonest cop or the private counterfeiter as described by
Block[18] represent meaningful interventions into monopolistic and
coercive practices, delegitimising government functions while opening up
pockets of freedom. The middleman can exploit bottlenecks and move goods
on their own terms, having one foot in and one foot out of the system.

On the offensive front, the focus should be targeted forms of violence
that always keeps centres of power on their toes rather than waging war on
leviathan. War entrepreneurialism[19] as the use of terroristic and
insurrectionary force to extend political gains and hold control over
owned space presents means through which decentralised forces can
circumvent and strike coercive powers. As a military corollary to the
economic middleman, the war entrepreneur can exploit the bottlenecks of
bureaucratic armed forces and their slow chains of command to quickly
affect battlespaces and become guerrillas rather than trying to emulate
massed shows of strength. Things like assassination markets are potential
mechanisms for how such targeted, decentralised violence could be enacted.
“The reason we're still stuck under the thumb of the government is that
to the extent it's true, ‘we've’ been playing by THEIR rules, not by
our own. By our own rules, THEY are the aggressors and we should be able
to treat them accordingly, on our own terms, at our own convenience,
whenever we choose, especially when we feel the odds are on our

Insurrectionary violence here then is the capacity to invert the
ideological presuppositions of the elites themselves. They talk of the
essence and importance of liberties yet happily destroy them on a whim.
Rights then are temporary entities granted which must be seized if they
are to have any permanent fixture in life. The trucker convoy in Canada
has done such a thing as they’ve exposed the hypocrisy of Canadian
liberalism as a sham. Protests now can only be government mandated and
certainly cannot inconvenience the managerial classes in Ottawan
high-rises or disrupt cross-border trade. It’s fine if violence is
directed at small businesses or street corners, as ruling elites don’t
care much about them (as lockdowns showed). But when protests start to
bite into their lives, then they show how arbitrary liberties really are
in their eyes. As the trucker convoy becomes a “‘state within a
state’ of co-ordinated services”[21], we see the authorities’
complete lack of tolerance for any degree of autonomy from their power but
also their fragility as they are reliant on trade infrastructure that can
be switched against them. They show their true face and their weakness all
in one go.

The evental potential of decentralised political violence can thus invert
the dynamics of systems that first legitimated such violence. Strategies
for exit emerge in the violent tumult of unconstrained excess. “Terror
then is the nature of the entropic breakdown of institutionalisation, with
their re-founding requiring truly anti-systemic properties that will
always have the potential to fail”[22]. Political violence of this kind
is beyond the control of central authorities, placing buffers and
boundaries that constantly oscillate in relation to sovereign power and

The capacity to cultivate such defensive and offensive capabilities will
become the main factor through which individual liberties and exits are
maintained, expanded and consolidated. There is no compromise with
coercive entities but nor is there is a utopic endpoint at which the
state, capital and it’s elite structures will whither away. They must be
fought and undermined. “A contemporary Libertarianism demands an
intellectual and cultural labour of striving towards freedom as a value
against technological and utilitarian temptations including a willingness
to bear the costs of this freedom. It also needs to understand its limits.
It acknowledges the logic of technology and accepts the historical state
as a necessary form, while rejecting its cultural implications of
heteronomy. Like seldom before, Libertarianism has identified the need to
secure untouchable spaces in the home, family, and body to secure against
statist intervention. On the cultural front, it celebrates unconstrained
individualism with all its pitfalls and dangers, which the technological
state will always code as dangerous madness. It chooses it over the
dangerous submission to the norm which can always be perverted by
propaganda and enforced by the folly of crowds”[23].


[1] Samuel T. Francis, Leviathan & Its Enemies

[2] Friedrich Hayek, The Intellectuals and Socialism





[7] Paul Virilio, Ground Zero


[9] Samuel T. Francis, Leviathan & Its Enemies





[14] Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations

[15] Wendy Doniger, The Hindus: An Alternative History

[16] Andrew Gamble, The Spectre at the Feast


[18] Walter Block, Defending the Undefendable


[20] Jim Bell, Assassination Politics




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