The only future is communist

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
(I thought politics MUST be worth a thread of its own.)

The Economist last week carried a post-US election article which said that the reason that the Democrats lost was not fear, not the rise of bigotry, but in effect the 'vision thing'. They simply do not have one.

While Bush and the Republicans have been able to sound confident about America (the fact that such confidence is totally unwarranted given that the US' imminent induction into the PRC), the Democrats have associated themselves with a carping and negative agenda. They won't be like the Republicans... err, that's it....

Their problem highlights a broader malaise within what is still called, unsatisfactorily for a number of reasons, the left.

The neo-cons in the US and the Thatcherites and Blairites in the UK have managed to colonize (the language and concept of) the future. The role of branding, hype and the other strategies Kapital employs to libidinize itself cannot of course be underestimated here. The SF Kapital/ gleamprog project finds it easy to make kapital's most banal products sexy.

Challenging this requires a position that is as ruthlessly erotic as that of its enemy. Socialism the concept and 'socialism' the word are irretrievably tainted by association with the dreariest, most compromised and delibidinizing Statist bureaucracy.

It seems to me, however, that communism - precisely because it is so off the map, so unthinkable - does not have these jaded and jading connotations to anything like the same degree. Communism, after all, is associated with a constructivist aesthetic: as inhumanly glamorous as anything Kapital has come up with.

For example, the Chinese pro-market anti-capitalist communism needs to be seen as more than a cynical gambit. It is clear, or ought to be, that Kapitalism is not working at any level - social, libidinal, psychic - except that of the symbolic structure itself, the big Other. Only it thinks that Kapital is efficient, only it thinks that Kapitalist parliamentarianism delivers freedom. The Chinese model is not simply a way of 'converting' the post-Maoist state into yet another haven for the Kapital-Thing to spread its idiot-mechanical virus through. It is, in principle at least, a genuinely new vision --- not the Third Way, the arrival of which, as Zizek rightly observes, was a sign that THERE WAS NO second way --- but precisely a reassertion of the second way, a challenge to the fake universality of Kapital.

Of course, it is only when communism is decoupled from the State, only when there is a genuine global proletariat, a radical autonomous bottom-up or bottom-bottom collectivity, that communism can be realised. And globalization provides exactly the conditions necessary for the production of such a proletariat.
 

satanmcnugget

Well-known member
yeah, some activist friends of mine were going to lynch me (or so i thought) when i said that we i wasnt necessarily opposed to globalization...i clarified that it was the type of globalization that concerned me...i stole that from Negri and Hardt's "Empire," of course :)
 

k-punk

Spectres of Mark
Yes, H and N's positive story about globalization is surely one of the things about Empire to unequivocally support.
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
well, you have to define what you mean by 'globalisation'- marx's version is very different from the IMF's.

i have a probelm with using 'communism' over socialism, in that they are different theoretically and communism (as opposed to anarcho-syndicalism, for example) generally leads to/ allows totalitarianism.
 

noel emits

a wonderful wooden reason
*snigger* "bottom-bottom collectivity" - is this the ruthless eroticism of which you speak?

it might just catch on!
 

grimly fiendish

Well-known member
noble sentiments.

but there's one big problem with communism, or indeed extended community of any kind (ie the "global proletariat"): people.

on the whole - at least here in the affluent west - we're a bunch of f***ing imbeciles: too venal, stupid and short-sighted ever to embrace anything other than the pathetic personal pursuit of status, sex and cash (not necessarily in that order).

and yes, i include myself in that ;)
 

Tobias

Member
Yes, k-Punk, you're right.
To me the problem with it seems to be a problem of organisation. I think that the left in a certain way should be glad that a communist party of real significance has ceased to exist, because this form of organisation historically led to forms of totalitarism. But what now? To me this is the problem of a concept like Negri/Hardts Multitude. Multitude is nice but kind of vague. (Although N/H always insist that they're not cleverer than the people, so it's up to us to think about something new and better!)

And to satanmcnugget:
I know these conversations with activist friends. Had them too. Their problem often is to come to terms with the fact that the decline of the nation state isn't a necessarily bad thing. And they have their point: most of the fights for more social justice the unions faught were fought within the framework of the nation state. And you most of the institutions that keep global capitalism from completely running amok are national institutions. But nevertheless: national borders are part of a system of control.
 

fldsfslmn

excremental futurism
Somewhat off-topic:

In the 1910s and 1920s, a lot of artists and intellectuals -- whose backgrounds, lifestyles, and opinions would be ordinarily associated with the left -- went right. Quite right, in some cases. Many of these ideological forays were little more than flirtations, and certainly any sympathy for the right among artists (we're talking Artists here) was eradicated by the time Spain went off ...

But what did these artists see in Fascism? How could poets who fought a running battle against censors find any value in the right?

I don't really know the answer, but I'm seeing the same sort of thing happening today. Artists and intellectuals (a fair sort of social barometer on their own, but we may extend this grouping to include any socially conscious person) are pissed off. Really fucking pissed off. Why are we letting the Reality TV/Atkins Diet/Jesus Our Lord/Hillary Duff continuum run the show? The answer is that democracy is a happy match between humanity and flushing the planet down the toilet. Where I live, I've been through four elections this year: municipal, provincial, federal, and the big one next door. I've had just about enough of democracy. (Even though the Liberals and the NDP made some solid gains in Monday's provincial election, the federal Liberals are looking a bit rough around the edges. Of course there are still lots of sane people in Canada who will still vote against the Conservatives in the next federal election, but Conservative supporters tend to -- well, you know -- breed faster.)

It seems like the only way for the pissed-off left to effectively deal with the right's stranglehold of the masses is to fight fire with fire. Fight right with right in order for tolerant, earth-conscious ideals to prosper. I want to live in a good, tolerant, sustainable world, but it seems that patiently saying "look, you're fucking everything up" over and over and over and over again and waiting for the next election to see if it worked isn't going to get any easier as the masses only get stupider. Areas with strong liberal concentrations need to start using POWER. If it means I have to throw on a brown shirt and teach some suburban teenagers how to sort recycling at gunpoint I'll be pretty compelled.
 

satanmcnugget

Well-known member
communism (as opposed to anarcho-syndicalism, for example) generally leads to/ allows totalitarianism.

wow...provocative...id have to respectfully disagree...i think thge history of anarcho-syndicalism (admittedly brief) is fraught with bureaucracy and that cld be seen as the first step towards totalitarianism...during the Spanish Civil War/Revolution, the CNT were incredibly authoritarian and bureaucratic and came into conflict many times with the FAI

depends on what you mean by communism, too...Stalinism/Leninism/Maoism/Trotskyism vs. more libertarian/autonomist currents

Mark K-Punk...yeah, H and N's take on globalization is about the only thing i liked about Empire...(and the occasionally poetic language)
 

matt b

Indexing all opinion
satanmcnugget said:
wow...provocative...id have to respectfully disagree...i think thge history of anarcho-syndicalism (admittedly brief) is fraught with bureaucracy and that cld be seen as the first step towards totalitarianism...during the Spanish Civil War/Revolution, the CNT were incredibly authoritarian and bureaucratic and came into conflict many times with the FAI

depends on what you mean by communism, too...Stalinism/Leninism/Maoism/Trotskyism vs. more libertarian/autonomist currents

the issue of centralised control within the CNT arose because of the role of 'communists' (read: stalinists), but i'd agree there were/are a number of problems with anarcho-syndicalism (its not really my bag to be honest, but is much more libertarian than communism).

in reaction to defining communism, i'd link it to the work of marx and those who put it into practice- therefore to some extent it is (or at very least runs a strong risk of being) authoritarian. i much prefer bukunin's/kropotkin's/rocker's/ward's perspectives, which are clearly not communist and sit in the altruistic anarchist school where people come together without bureaucratic control
 

satanmcnugget

Well-known member
im probably splitting hairs here, but communist theory/practice existed long before Marx...it has mostly been associated with Marxism of one sort or another since the USSR thang, but hey.......i mean, Kropotkin and Rocker certainly had no issues with being called "communists," as long as it was understood that they were libertarian-communists (ie. anarchists)...the lines are not so clearly drawn

but, um, ignore me because im not sure what any of this means besides me splitting hairs ;)
 

cozen

Active member
HEY mark k-punk, have you read the interview w. richard rorty called "against bosses, against oligarchies...", you can find it <a href="http://www.prickly-paradigm.com/catalog.html">here</a> it has some things said that you might find interesting.
 
"Of course, it is only when communism is decoupled from the State, only when there is a genuine global proletariat, a radical autonomous bottom-up or bottom-bottom collectivity, that communism can be realised. And globalization provides exactly the conditions necessary for the production of such a proletariat"

My understanding of communism vs. socialism is that they are different stages of the organized proletariats' goal of liberating itself from wage slavery, private property, capitalist oppression, etc.

So this quote makes sense to me if it's meaning to say 'when communism is decoupled from the SOCIALIST State'. Nawhutahmean?

I don't mean to start a hair splitting semantic debate. But recognize that, on the whole, I, for the most part have agreement about theories on this subject from the likes of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, etc.....I also think that every organization I've come across who call themselves "Communist" or "Socialist" are not practicing what they preach, and are not properly putting the theories into practice. So, hooray for dead dogma!!!
 
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