Filed under: Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Editorials, The Grouch
Jeff Berwick, the ‘anarcho’-capitalist intellectual guru, sex-pest, and grifter supreme at the center of HBO’s new docu-series, The Anarchists, has been presented as a harmless ideologue promoting a “peaceful, voluntary” society. Yet anyone that takes longer than apparently every mainstream journalist who wrote essentially the same article about the series over the past two weeks, can see from his videos, that his actual views are a toxic mix of far-Right conspiracies, anti-Semitism, attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, and rampant COVID-19 denialism.
Berwick, who gained wealth through trading mining stocks and later crypto-currency, has been pushing far-Right bullshit for years now, ranging from flat earth, to even denying the existence of dinosaurs. The meteor was an inside job! But since the rise of Trump, Berwick, who records his videos often while walking around his large estate or on a golf course, has taken to pushing even more extreme lies, ranging from the murder of George Floyd being staged, to the storming of the capitol on J6 being a “globalist false flag,” that COVID-19 vaccines would lead to a world wide mass die-off (they haven’t), global warming is a hoax, and especially, that the Holocaust never happened, there were no concentration camps, and that “Hitler was pretty good!,” in a video dating back to November 4th, 2021.
Berwick claims to have been influenced on this position by “Max,” which seems to be a reference to the far-Right conspiracy theorist Max Igan, a regular speaker and participant in the yearly “Anarchapulco” conference, which Berwick founded and lies at the center of the HBO series. The conference, which is sponsored by travel, real-estate, and crypto companies, brings together Libertarian and often far-Right speakers and attracts hundreds of guests. A recent online conference put on by the same organizers, “Anarchovid,” was centered around COVID-19 denialism and conspiracy theories, showcasing how a growing section of conference attendees are pulled from far-Right currents, as Bitcoin continues to falter.
So far, The Anarchists, which is currently on its fourth episode out of six, has made no attempts to shine a light on Berwick’s racist and anti-Semitic views, despite centering him in the story and allowing him to present his ideas without counter or context. The Anarchists is a project of a right-wing hipster couple, Todd Schramke, the director, and his wife Kim Kylland, the executive director. The couple’s band even has two songs featured in the series.
In a 2018 interview on Berwick’s podcast, Schramke, who was then calling the film, Stateless, describes how he himself became involved in ‘anarcho’-capitalist politics, after getting involved in the Ron Paul campaign and following Stefan Molyneux, a far-Right YouTuber who moved from ‘anarcho’-capitalism to full on white nationalism. Schramke claims that through Molyneux he got in touch with the scene centered around Anarchapulco. In June, the couple attended an event organized by the Daily Wire, a far-Right site run by Ben Shapiro.
Conference featured in #TheAnarchistsHBO just wrapped its online "Anarchovid" event, centered around COVID-19 conspiracies. Main speaker Max Igan known for pushing Holocaust denial, vaccine + global warming disinfo. Conference sponsored by development, travel + crypto businesses. pic.twitter.com/5HM0hRdmaa
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 25, 2022
The fact that those directly involved in making the film seem to share the same views as those they are covering isn’t so much the issue, but the fact they make no attempt to disclose this to the audience – much less Berwick’s racism and anti-Semitism – comes across as an attempt to, pardon the pun, white wash the movement. Initially, it appears that the directors set out to make a “love letter” to the Anarchapulco scene, but when one of its core participants was murdered by a cartel over drugs, the focus shifted and became a human interest story featuring cringe white Libertarians obsessed with Bitcoin and drugs living in Mexico.
Why is @HBO + @thedailybeast trying so hard to paint crypto millionaire Jeff Berwick, at the center of a new docuseries, who says he's "…right-wing, 100%" + promotes racist conspiracies about Jews + COVID-19 – as an anarchist?
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 11, 2022
This in itself would be entertaining, however the fact that the project is branded as The Anarchists by HBO, complete with the anarchist circle A, is rage enducing. At a time when anarchists have been front page news for years, involved in a multitude of social movements, and with the massive amounts of misinformation leveled at the movement – more than half of Trump supporters believing that “antifa” was behind J6 for instance – the fact that the series gets it so wrong, while so many journalists were so quick to lap it up, shows that the mass corporate media continues to have little drive to investigate, fact-check, or cover social movements, let alone their ideas, on an even keel.
HBO has turned the comments off.
Director of #TheAnarchistsHBO, who went from Ron Paul supporter to fan of 'Austrian economics,' appeared on Jeff Berwick's podcast in 2018. Says he "jumped on board" with Alt-Right troll Stefan Molyenux + got connected to people close to Berwick. https://t.co/2Fh7L1sXJw pic.twitter.com/4hqxi4giDb
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 16, 2022
The anarchist movement has always worked to oppose capitalism, the State, and all systems of domination and exploitation; so-called ‘anarcho’-capitalism, which grew out of the Austrian school of economics in the 1950s, has nothing to do with actual anarchism, with even Murray Rothbard, considered one of the founders of the movement, writing:
We must…conclude that we are not anarchists, and that those who call us anarchists are not on firm etymological ground, and are being completely unhistorical.
Even more ironic, the director of The Anarchists, Todd Schramke agrees, writing on Instagram:
I’m aware anarchism originated [as] a labor rights movement and that Rothbard appropriated the term largely to troll both [Ayn] Rand and the left anarchists. That isn’t the story we are telling in this show though…
Even more sad, those in the scene around Anarchapulco seem to understand that their being taken for a ride, with the death of their friend being used as a cringe human interest story; their ideas serving only as a place setting. Writing on a blog, one Anarchapulco partisan commented:
It is a true story, full of tragedy and shocking events, but the fact that these things happened is pretty much unrelated to the ideas we celebrate. In a way, a tragedy is being exploited in order to sell this series.
AnCaps til the end.
photo: Instagram and Jeff Berwick Livestream Screenshot