26 September 2011

FIVE YEARS OF CHAOS MARXISM

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, all you readers and commenters, for making it possible. I'm also pleased to note that we have hewed rather closely to our original intentions, although I no longer am a bigoted anti-postmodernism, and my concerns have shifted more to mysticism than to magick, more to "transpersonal psychology" than "folk parapsychology". Open thread, if anyone wants to mouth off in the comments.

13 September 2011

Once again on the purpose of Chaos Marxism

For the mystics: We all know that the world that we experience is a Black Iron Prison, a malign illusion, the Matrix. We can experience the world where God exists and magic is afoot when we "wake up", that is become properly conscious, cease to rely on preprogrammed scripts and what we "expect" to see, to actually look reality squarely in the face. But survival in the world that it is means that it's much, much easier (and actually more fun) to stay asleep. The purpose of revolutionary ecosocialism is to build a world where it would be easier to stay awake than to fall asleep. But for that to happen the broad majority of people have to "wake up". We don't have time to do this one-by-one. We need to seize the reins of the Frankenstein's Monster that the mass media has become to get to everywhere in the world at once. Liberation has to be as ubiquitous as Coca-Cola.

For the revolutionaries: we're trying to understand about how "coming to consciousness" actually works. Once you realise that most self-described revolutionaries are not conscious, but are instead following a Book of Rules for Living Your Life as restrictive and soul-deadening as any peddled by a church or a self-help guru, you realise why everything that they say they want (to unite with the masses to spread consciousness) never actually happens. Also, actually-existing Marxists and anarchists seem to have a distressing lack of practical compassion towards each other (as opposed to "abstract compassion" to the "working class" or "the oppressed peoples of the earth"), and seem not to be conscious of their own reactionary attitudes when it comes to dealing with their own privilege. Non-dualist spirituality and transpersonal psychology have a lot to teach us here. And no, just participating in the struggle doesn't make you all better psychologically.

03 September 2011

I love it when people agree with us

I've been an admirer of Terry Eagleton's work for ages, but this is... wow.
In the European world bus drivers, florists and dental assistants are not usually expected to hold complex ideas about the origins of the world, the purpose of life, or what it means to live a rich, fulfilled, fully human existence. They are simply expected to get on with their everyday lives and leave these more fundamental questions to scholars and clerics. This is not so in the case of Islam. [...] Antonio Gramsci maintained that all ordinary people were at a certain level philosophers, but this is a lot more obvious in the Islamic world than it is elsewhere. Islamists are also natural-born internationalists. [...] Western societies deal with belief primarily by reducing it to a private affair. It becomes a kind of hobby or personal eccentricity, rather like collecting Javanese parrots or engaging in sado-masochistic pursuits [...] It is not a force for the transformation of reality but a refuge from it, like Madonna's Kabbalah or Tom Cruise's Scientology. [...] The capitalist West's problem is that it can neither kick belief nor get along with it. It can do neither with it nor without it. It needs some show of faith, not least in times of political crisis, to declare to the world what it stands for. In reality, however, capitalism is an inherently faithless system. As long as you roll into work, pay your taxes and refrain from beating up police officers, you can believe more or less what you like. Too much conviction smacks of fanaticism, and is bad for business. [...] Socialists may not agree with the content of Islamic faith, but they are well acquainted by their own history with the idea of millions of ordinary men and women living lives of conviction rather than of pragmatic self-interest. In this, at least, we share a precious tradition with those hounded by the Islamophobes.
Chaos Marxism stands 4-square behind the democratisation of philosophy; of the necessity of faith to break out of the utilitarian/entropic straitjacket of bourgeois ideology; for mystics and dialectical materialists to take each other seriously. Such ideas - as well as ecosocialism, and the understanding of the pivotal role of information workers in the senile capitalist countries (aka "the West") - have to be at the centre of any new International.