The State of the Left


  #1  
18th March 2014, 01:53

In partial response to the recent events in El Salvador, as well as other global events, I can only express irritation with some users here.

What I find irritating are users on this site who attempt to categorize existing events within their broken ideological paradigm, their volumes of support, or the magnitude of their commendation rests upon how successfully the event fulfills a certain idea, or ideas - idea(s) which have no real context within the modern world, ideas which exist exclusively on the internet (Ex. "I don't know, 'communism'/grassroots democracy/post-scarcity economy/utopia won't be achieved this way but maybe this will lead to people aspiring to such an idea"). Make no mistake, I am not one to speak of the political machinations of the bourgeois state as "reality" as some liberals like to, nor do I believe that the inexistence of proletarian consciousnesses confirms its impossibility. I merely - and absolutely - stand opposed to the immature way in which a proletarian consciousness that could exist today is postulated or imagined by users here. As far as I'm concerned, historically, the existence of Leftists in control of the bourgeois state has given the necessary space for proletarian consciousness to develop, and lays the foundation for a wider spectrum of radical politics. All of this raises difficult questions... What precisely are 'we' fighting against? To deny our tendency towards aspiring for world domination is both dishonest and cowardly. As Marxists, we seek the revival of our movement, we seek on a certain level historical legitimacy and to enter the battle for ideological universality, the same battle that has been fought by generations of Marxists. The whole of our history, the whole of 20th century developments, the legacy left behind by our internationals belongs to those in power, it has fallen victim to the ideological state apparatus and no matter the prevalence of Marxist intellectuals, be they in universities or on the internet, our cause will never achieve legitimacy. Truth rests upon the magnitude of power by which truth is sustained, and we have left the arena wherein exists the battle for power, politics. So how can the masses recognize our truth? The problem with reform Communists, Eurocommunists is not that they are political, but that they sold themselves and what little of our movement remained with them to the machinations of bourgeois politics, they put up no fight in the defense of proletarian or revolutionary politics. We should enter the political arena, only to ruthlessly exploit liberal democracy, to hold hostage the very balance of the order of things, if only to coerce the bourgeois state into our demands which will grow exponentially, only to strengthen once more the power of labor. We as Marxists, even if we are proletarians, do not operate under the pretense that we benevolently will empower the proletariat and instill in them class consciousness. Quite honestly what we seek is to exercise our will to power through Marxism, through the defense of this theoretical tradition which can only lead to the logical conclusion of absolute world domination. What Communism can we be dedicated to if it does not exist? So long as proletarian consciousness does not exist, neither does Communism, and to speak of your desired, utilitarian state of affairs divorced from a real proletarian movement is foolish. Those dedicated to all that we do have, Marxism, it is time to ask yourselves whether you want to reside as users on an internet forum, which has taken the archetype of any other internet forum, albeit the flavoring of leftist rhetoric (I do not have a problem with this website, I find it both useful and resourceful at times, but the general 'culture' that has been built around it - and note I do not speak of the way in which it is managed, which I don't really have a problem with - is not reflective of anything useful). It is time to ask yourselves as to whether you take seriously a Communism that exists within a 21st century context, it is time to ask yourselves as to whether Marxism - and 'our' historical legacy is worth defending in a world that is descending into barbarism and madness. This is not a call to action (what action can anyone take in this state?) but a call for a general change in your conception of ideology - or the world around you.

Essentially what I practically desire is a Communism with it's own language, it's own face and therefore it's own political force. I want the dimensions inherent to any other ideology, morality, philosophy, universality to be taken for Communism once more. I want the moral foundations for Communist ideology to be solidified and to be legitimate. I want the Left to recognize that it is necessary for us to believe that our cause is truly just, in a paradigm of justice created by class struggle.

Practically, what I ask is to attempt as Leftists to do away with not only bourgeois ideology on a theoretical level, but on a legitimate level. Like the irreligious Jew who refrains from eating pork, the Communists of today know the truth but they do not believe it, they none the less recognize the legitimacy of bourgeois ideological universality. When the stakes get high, when comes love, death, things of grandiose emotional, existential and dare I say "spiritual" significance (not in the metaphysical sense) they become "realistic", they put their "bullshit aside" and submit before the idols of bourgeois thought. Of course I do not blame you, the point is to change. Only when we recognize our faults can we attain virtue. We must vigorously organize, we must reapproach modern capitalism. The proletariat know longer exists as a homogeneus entity with uniform relations in the way they did before, service sector, periodic unemployment, and a variety of other phenomena requires us to reapproach what the proletariat actually is. Because of this, in a certain way, and perhaps maybe I could be wrong, maybe the Roman populares, maybe Julius Caesar has more modern significance for us modern Communists than Spartacus (in that our movement must be a mass movement with a collection of different social agents, with a uniform political interest, as was Caesar's unification of the plebs and proles, freeman, and so forth). We must change, or perish. This is why neo-'populist' movements, Syriza, Die Linke, and even what we see in Venezuela is the future for Communism. They embody the embryo, the shell, the foundations for a larger, more radical basis of politics to be conducted. But we need that basis.

When I speak of our historical legacy, I speak of universality, who inherits the legacy of the human species. I oppose humanism because humanists rely on presumptions regarding humanity which are inherently. As Communists, we must create our own Renaissance man, we must re conceptualize humanity and create a new man of our own for which a new 'humanism' (within the context of Renaissance) can develop, one separate and distinguishable as proletarian. The Marxists humanists defend the humanity of the old world. Because the bourgeoisie hold ideological hegemony, legitimacy, they have a hold on our notion of humanity. Disregarding humanity and humanism is only the first step in doing away with bourgeois ideology, what comes after is the affirmative, proletarian (Communist) possessing of humanity as a concept, a new notion of man, to retain hegemony. Cynics, disillusioned optimists ("pessimists") will always remain within the boundries of bourgeois thought insofar as they pre-suppose them, reject them, and therefore reject universality as a whole. We should fight for it and claim it as our own, not disregard it (humanity, love, morality, and so forth). It sounds off-putting as we associate these things with hegemonic bourgeois ideology, the point is that we should replace it with proletarian ideology, we should not have to associate communism with despair, with cyncism, with coldness, and mechanism. We should be able to affirmatively love the revolution, the fight for emancipation, as egalitarians. We should be able to love this ideological (not scientifically objective) notion of an undying historical phenomena, we should be able to even appreciate the national spirit (in sense that it is a legacy that belongs to all heirs to history, the revolutionary proletariat) in a Hegelian sense, as different mediums from which the historical subject, an undying ideological historical phemonea (egalitarianism, emancipation, from the Spartan spirit to the Populares, from (Roman, western) Christianity to the greens of the Byzantine Empire, from Florian Geyer to the modern period.

Now before I am attacked for hypocrisy, we must ask, as Marxists, is any of this scientific, or objectively true? It is not. It is ideological. And here do I bring my next point: As humans, we are incapable of being beyond ideology, or having underlying ideological beliefs. We are incapable of knowing the world objectively because we are not rational agents, we do not "do" because it is rational, we do as animals 'do'. Even as Marxists, if we recognize truly, on a theoretical, intellectual and scientific level, the true nature of things, that this is all ideological, a result of underlying class interests, and forces of production, this does not address our beliefs insofar as they are translated socially. As humans, and not gods, we will always have underlying ideological beliefs regarding universality, as social beings, in order to legitimize our very social being. We cannot be beyond ideology. We can know, but we cannot believe ("walk the walk") objective truth (That is, outside of fields of acquiring intellectual knowledge). So I claim that we will always be ideological, the question is whether we are willing to adopt Communism ideologically, and to that I say we must.

On a scientific (and not in this garbage positivist sense) level, ideology should be deduced, ideology should have no place, we should try to understand the world around us as objectively as we can. But this has no real, practical social expression, and it never has, from Greek philosophers to the Renaissance astronomers. We must possess the mind of a Marxist and possess the spirit of a Communist. Spirit in the sense of our ideas in relation to our social being, our social interest. It is hard, because we do not have the political or independent class based space we need for our own language.

It's for all of these reasons that I hold DNZ in such high regard. He's not just some madman who spouts a bunch of dribble. He has not ideologically understood himself, but he walks the walk, he sees a new legitimacy. There are real, perhaps even frightening, legitimate phemonea at hand, that has deep philosophical significance that supports DNZ's mode of thinking. Of all forms of thought, the most well correlated with reality and significant is DNZ's (and others, Q, and so forth).
Again, it is important to differentiate objective analysis with ideology. Both are important. The latter implies a social correlation, a social interest manifested through ideas. The question is which ideas.
Allende did broaden the scope of radical politics for Chile, when he held power. His inability to retain state power does not signify otherwise.

New developments do not render our understanding of the proletariat obsolete, nor does it change capitalist social relations. It merely forces us to re-approach our understanding of the proletariat within a modern context. The service sector and unemployment have indeed existed for a long time, not in the manner by which they exist today. Periodic unemployment has created new conditions that many proletarians live in, and distinguishes them as the precariat. The proletariat is not a homogeneous entity in that they are of identical social conditions, but they do possess uniform interests.

For the record, I don't know what the hell you're talking about when you say "unify with whom?". What I mean is, in developed countries, the unification of different offshoots of the proletariat who make up the majority of the populace. The petite bourgeoisie is a reactionary class. Syriza and Die Linke lay the foundations for a new Communist political discourse, they are not an ends, but a beginning. Their platform may not overtly be "the overthrow of the bourgeois state" but such a political programme can only exist when the proletariat possesses political independence as a class and has the bourgeois state at gunpoint - you should remember Lenin's April thesis was made only after the time was opportune.
Allendes failure is a result of his inability to use the mechanisms of the state to repress the bourgeois class.

It's not just unemployement, it's this periodic instability and lack of secuirity. It's called the precariat.

The parties do not have to mention it in their programme that they want to do this. Bourgeois liberal parties don't speak of protecting the bourgeois dictatorship, they don't speak of serving capital. This is precisely part of what I was talking about, how users assume Communism to be some sort of utilitarian policy or platform a party would adopt.
Leftist, it is not something which can be summarized, or that I currently have the energy to summarize. I suppose one would have to be a Communist ideologue to understand what I am talking of. I think that a lot of architecture, art and so on in some former Communist states conveys this well. A christian-esque notion of justice, universal justice without this relativist nonsense, in which our cause is the cause the true cause that pervades in all corners of the Earth without compromise. A kind of radical egalitarianism in an affirmative, positive sense.
FSL, with regard to Allende his inability to possess complete control of the state, because he was committed to operate within the confines of the legalist-democratic framework (his reluctance in the utilization of terror, counter intelligence, and so on), as well as his inability to encourage, organize or develop something akin to a Communist militia, almost like what we see in Venezuela were all factors that led to his demise. The point I'm getting at, is that his rule widened the spectrum of radical politics in that it set new standards, gave space for proletarian consciousness to develop (as we see in times in western democracies in which labor has the upper hand). It did not develop, but the necessary space was there. And of course it's all more complicated than this, but i'm just generalizing. I'm not speaking of crises, I'm speaking of an existing condition by which the proletariat today lives in which distinguishes it from the previous conditions held by the proletariat. These are things which are important to take into account in any meaningful understanding of modern capitalism, we cannot simply abide by an identical archetype of capitalism cosmetically as understood by Marxists in their according periods (from Marx to the second international). If you remember, Lenin recognized this, which is why he adjusted a Marxist analysis to the capitalism that had developed when he wrote Imperialism, the Highest stage of Capitalism. Of course developments do not render Marxism obsolete or outdated, but "Marxists". We simply need to realize that Marx's understanding of capitalism is applicable to modern capitalism, but that a reapplication is necessary. As for Syriza and Die Linke, I don't think that realistically it would make any sense to compare them to the centre-left bourgeois parties. They are clearly in their programme opposed to the immediate interests of capital in one way or another (Whether they are in the greater scheme of things espousing apocalyptic rhetoric is another thing), with regard to austerity measures, and so on. Again, I am not saying they are an ends, but they are a beginning. Remember that the Bolsheviks were a radical offspring of a much larger, more developed and sophisticated movement, but could only ever hold any relevance because of the movement from which they derived. I think it's clear that Syriza and Die Linke, regardless of whether they are reluctant in openly hurting liberal sensitivities (remember that they have on numerous occasions come under attack by freudian slips and so on), they're still giving out a big fuck you to them, albeit in a well-mannered fashion.