Losing My Religion
The Leninist parties of old asked unquestioning obedience from their followers, forcing their members and, after gaining power, their subjects, to conform to their every twist and turn in order to attain their political goals. Just read The Little Red Book for an illustration of this.
When the prospect for world revolution faded, these goals were watered down to the military goal of defeating the enemy. When the Cold War ended, the enemy had to be defeated not by military, but by economic means. Which really meant shaking the hand of the devil - capitalism - in a relentless commitment to rise to the top of this wicked system.
The attempt to organize a successful drive to social change instead turned into a quasi-religious worship of power qua power. This drive persisted and now rules in the form of a constellation of supremely evil and ruthless authoritarian parties oppressing over a billion people in China alone.
This heart is increasingly sceptical of the possiblity of a politics that is both revolutionary and democratic, both radical and liberal. Once the need for a radical, thoroughgoing transformation of society has been established, its fire cannot be kept out of "undesired" areas. This is why revolutions spring out of control and are said to eat their children. (Slightly-related hot take: this is what the generation of "Social Justice Warriors" now coming of age in the United States will find out some time over the next decade.)
It is exactly the same principle that makes spiritual paths so all-encompassing, bringing everything in the practitioner's psyche to light, causing turmoil that requires careful and skillful guidance in order NOT to bring about the demise of the practitioner. Perhaps the Trotskyists, then, have got it right, after all, that the crisis of the Russian revolutionary process was really one of leadership.
The project of Chaos Marxism has not been able to offer anything substantial in the way of a resolution of this dilemma, the choice between a radical reconstruction of the World-As-Is while retaining respect for what might be called everyday human needs and basic human decency. Since our inception, we have only been able to appeal to caution in the face of radical Radicalism (if you know what I mean), deferring the nasty work to spiritual and religious traditions. Note that this counts as a valuable achievement in its own right.
Of course, people have been telling me of this impossibility ever since I got involved in politics, but I can say with equal parts honesty and shame that I have never realized the true meaning of this. "Maybe" this radical politics, then, was just an ego project, an intellectualization of a personal and social maladaptibility. Maybe the Christian do-gooders are right after all, and power in all its forms is wicked, which means this world is wicked, which means it must be rejected or at the very least thoroughly left alone.
I struggle with the idea of accepting what seems to be a fundamentally conservative insight - that only God (i.e., an unfathomable instance that really controls everything behind the scenes, and which is neither human nor a human creation) controls the to and fro of worldly affairs. And that a radical politics amounts to idolatry (i.e., the most radical departure possible from the turn to God, and therefore to be completely and absolutely rejected).
But as a lapsed teenage convert to radical-leftism, my only slightly less immature 20-something-year-old self sees few other options.