Erratic thoughts on National Anarchist style ‘Self-Segregation’

4 07 2009

Recently, finally finished Richard Wright’s Native Son and all that came to mind as I laid the book back down is the notion of ‘self-segregation’ put forward by some as a solution to social ills. The solution, funnily enough, comes in conjunction with a proposal for separatism; the idea that we may weaken any government by advocating certain groups secede to do their thing.   The reasoning follows, that there are a hell of a lot of nationalists and bigots out there of all colours and strains that should be appealed to, and allied with on the basis that they have numbers.  Numbers, in true utilitarian fashion, means strength and if these groups decide to secede then voila!  The state is gone.  Unfortunately, self segregation is usually part of the package and then we have the problem that after all this pan-secession takes place, we have a bunch of nationalists organisations building walls around their territories and imposing their own little rules upon people they have taken a dislike too.

Clearly, I prefer to revolution to secession.  Setting up a whole string of dictatorships in order to depose one major crime gang seems pointless.  A sort of going from bad, to bad-er.  But my reason for writing this is to put into words my thoughts on self-segregation as a sub-strategy of secessionism.  One that carries the promise of solving social ills.

Self-segregation, from what I can gather on the subject, is a subset process and principle where any minority, for any reason may disassociate themselves with the rest of society and form their own little group away from world.  In other words; wall themselves off and shoot anyone that tries to get over, under or around that wall (where shoot can be literal as well as metaphorical, in reference to processes such as shunning).

Either a minority is going to be forced to relocate to somewhere else and build their little homogeneous community from scratch or they’re going to segregate themselves into a particular corner of a city or town.  It doesn’t take much to realise that both these ideas are impractical as they are oppressive, as the first inevitably avenue usually winds up oppressing another group especially when performed in large numbers (Israel and Palestine, for example), or it ends up impoverishing those who have relocated to be with their ‘kind‘.

Then we come to the issue of just how these ‘segregated’ communities are going to be achieved, with particular reference to property rights.  Sure, if you take the approach that one person can buy up as much land as possible and then sell it off to others, than self-segregation seems theoretically possible.  However aside from providing one of the fundamental justifications of government, where the Crown lays claim to all the land and sells parcels of it with caveats to individuals for private use, it also leads to the theoretical possibility that one man may own the world.  I wouldn’t really call that, ‘radical’ or even ‘Anarchist’ to be honest.  So where is the limit on property?  My suggestion would be a synthesis of Mutualist occupancy and use and Lockean property, where Occ/Use governs the extinction of a property claim and Lockean concept of mixing labour with something to make it property.  But then I am certainly not a great property theorist and I’m probably simplifying the problem, or conflating terms.

I find it hard to understand what the attraction is to self-segregation.  Aside from the practical issues associated with implementing the strategy, there’s also the major problem with segregation as a concept, something which I feel Native Son serves to explain, brilliantly;

“What do you mean? She accepted you as another human being.”

“Mr Max, we’re all split up.  What you say is kind ain’t kind at all.  I didn’t know nothing about that woman.  All I knew was that they kill us for women like her.  We live apart.  And then she comes and acts like that to me.”

“Mr Max, you know what some white men say we black men do?  They say we rape white women when we got the clap and they say we do that because we believe that if we rape white women then we’ll get rid of the clap.  That’s what some white men say.  They believe that. Jesus, Mr Max, when folks say things like that about you, you whipped before you born.  What’s the use?… They draw a line and say for you to stay on your side of the line.  They don’t care if there’s no bread over on your side.  They don’t care if you die. And then they say things like that about you and when you try come from behind your line they kill you.  They feel they ought to kill you then.  Everybody wants to kill you then.

(emphasis added)

This conversation between Bigger and the Jewish lawyer Max takes place towards the end of the book before Max delivers an impassioned speech that communicates the moral to the reader.  The conservation draws out the horrific consequences of segregation, the psychology of oppression.  It highlights for the reader the great oppression that exists when a minority is segregated from the greater portion society; what happens when they are kept away, boxed off and the only demand of them is to work their hardest for the people that they are segregated from.

But surely, this is segregation and not self-segregation.  The key difference between the two, we are told, is that the second is voluntary and taken up by the minority as a consequence of oppression suffered at the hands of the majority.  We are told that any minority has the right to form their own communities and eject those expressly disallowed as trespassers.  Sound good?  Well the problem is that in order to form those communities, the minority must be sufficient in number to form a majority in that particular area.  The question then becomes that if they are a majority in the area, does that justify them in ‘ejecting’ the unwanted to enforce a homogeneous community?  Does might make right?

What if there are one or two individuals who are ‘unwanted’ but lived in the same area?  Is it justifiable that they should be removed from their homes?

Will the removalees receive compensation from the removelers for want amounts to robbery, assault, battery and who knows what other wrongs?

Then the next issue is how to maintain that segregation.  Individuals are individuals, with their own unique thoughts, desires, particular needs, expressions, habits and a variety of other different mannerisms that make a person interesting.  That make a person them.  What happens if a blonde haired man from a blonde-only community falls in love with a brunette?  Are we to enforce such homogeneity with ridicule, applying social pressure in order to make them ashamed of what they are doing?  To make their relationship in their minds seem criminal?  How about we expel them, so that the the blonde must forfeit his friends and family in order to be with the one that he loves?  How regulated, how controlled must such a society be for segregation to work?  How does that control be administered?  And most importantly, how does that effect an individual?

It all begs the question, why exactly would some propose self segregation? After all, most people want to experience the world, want to mingle with others and do something to add meaning and value to their lives, something which can only be achieved through interaction with people from other races, religions, cultures and sexualities.  An interaction with another individual on a meaningful level requires you to engage with people who are not like you and who most of the time do not resemble you in any way or form.  It is not just tolerance of difference, but acceptance of the fact that you are not the centre of the universe and that people are not going to always, look, behave and act the same.

Segregation has always since the beginning of time been a way for the cool kids to separate themselves off from the uncool.  For the pure to be separated out form the impure.  Groups ranging from your most conservative Christian, to your most fanatical Islamic or most pure white supremacist have always been in favour in separating the clean from the unclean.   Totalitarian groups have always used the coercive power of their institution to cleanse their towns and streets of some unwanted minority.  In my view, self-segregation appears to be an insidious, lazy way of achieving the same old goal of separating out favoured from condemned.

Self-segregation is a way of saying to an oppressed minority, ‘Okay, we respect you as a human.  We value your freedom of association, and we understand wrong has been done by you.  We recognise that there are others out there still perpetuating this wrong. But, hey! We have this great idea; why don’t you and your buddies disassociate yourself with them.  That’s right, you can have your own communities to do whatever you want, build them in whatever way you want — with orange and purple houses and moccasin powered cars.  We’ll even help you to do it!  Cross our hearts and hope to die.’

One just needs to browse Folk and Faith for confirmation:

Sometime in 1990 we began holding joint demonstrations–the Klan in their robes and the Africans in their dashikis. Needless to say it sparked quite a backlash. Many klansmen were angry at me for even considering such a thing. In my view it was a match inspired by God. Why should we have a problem with black men who are strict racial separatists and want to establish a homeland on the continent of Africa? I have even publicly endorsed the payment of reparations to blacks but only for the purpose of repatriation back to Africa.

A Revolutionary Klansman.

Enough said?  Not quite.

It’s a far more insidious approach than saying , ‘Get the fuck out of my community,’ which then creates the problem of people, who after taking 200 years to think about it, finally say, ‘Piss off, we live here!’  Under self-segregation, the minority will now conveniently oppress themselves! This can all be yours for five easy payments payable by cheque or credit card…

Self imposed segregation is a tool not for the salvation of an oppressed minority, but a tool for the oppression of a minority by a majority.  Instead of placing shackles upon the minority, they are handed a pair of fluffy pink cuffs and told life will be better after they slip them on.  After all, most people who are attracted to the idea of segregation have no real intention of segregating themselves off from the rest of the community, they want every person they don’t like out of their community.




4 responses

5 07 2009

Thanks a lot for sharing

6 07 2009

I’ve been following the pan-secessionism discussions in the ALL world (with the idea of self-segregation tagging along at times), and I keep getting this feeling that there are some big gaping holes there that aren’t being addressed. This is the first time I’ve read anything along these lines and I think you’ve touched on some of the things that have been bothering me. I lost a longer reply earlier with more details, but that was probably a good thing as I don’t want to burden the comments section with my blathering. Suffice it to say, good job and I hope you continue writing on this topic.

6 07 2009
Royce Christian

If you have something to say, go for it. Certainly, use my blog as a means to do so — I’d be most flattered.

20 08 2009
Keith Preston

For a discussion of pan-secessionism, national-anarchism, pluralism or cultural separatism that actually bothers with facts, evidence, logic and reasoned argument, check these out:

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