21 December 2007

"Swamp fever" - aka "small group psychosis"

By demanding a choice between 'thought' and 'action,' the various groups and individuals infected with swamp fever are promoting a false dichotomy. Clearly, the material unfolding of the class struggle leads the proletariat to self-consciousness, and therefore to a unity of theory and practice, something swamp inhabitants rail against precisely because they don't operate from a proletarian perspective.

- Stewart Home rips a new hole in the "activist lifestyle", in the midst of a fascinating diatribe against Green Anarchist primitivism.

13 December 2007

Even Hugo knows about the serious business

Chavez stressed that, "Only the conscious peoples, in organization and in motion can make history, therefore the consciousness of our peoples, of our nations, is essential."

This is precisely why North American imperialism attacks and bombards us using their "cultural artillery"- to placate and divide the peoples, Chavez argued.

"Through offices, analysts and millions of dollars, the United States carries out a media war against our peoples and governments. With different intensities and variants but in exactly the same format," he explained.

The Venezuelan people and government have been subjected to a fierce media war for the past 10 years which was intensified in the last few months, with a dirty psychological war appealing to peoples fears, aimed neutralising the Venezuelan people, Chavez said.


11 December 2007

The biggest meme of the modern era

At this juncture in history, the meme pushed hardest by the industries that shape the global noosphere is the meme of polyarchy. At its simplest, this is the idea that fragmentation and paralysis are actually the preferred state of human society. Any attempt at systemic organisation or solidarity spreading beyond the village, clique or family is evil, anti-human, inefficient, doomed to failure or some combination of the above. You can see this all over not only popular discourse but intellectual narrative - from all those stories where people who want to organise or build large-scale collective action are villains, dupes or egomaniacs, to lazy use of non-concepts such as "mob rule" or "majority dictatorship", to its repackaging in a more learned form in the works of Foucault and other post-modernists.

When, in the 1940s, Joseph Schumpeter argued that ordinary citizens should limit their participation in a democracy to electing its leaders, he was effectively arguing for polyarchy.... According to Schumpeter, massive political participation is regarded as undesirable and even dangerous. Schumpeter thought that the electoral masses are incapable of political participation other than voting for their leaders. Most political issues are so remote from the daily lives of ordinary people, that they can not make sound judgements about opinions, policies and ideologies.

In Preface to Democratic Theory (1956) Dahl argues that an increase in citizen political involvement may not always be beneficial for polyarchy. An increase in the political participation of members of "lower" socioeconomic classes, for example, could reduce the support for the basic norms of polyarchy, because members of those classes are more pre-disposed to be authoritarian-minded (by which we, of course, mean in favour of actual majority rule - DlaP).

According to William I. Robinson, democracy is a contested concept. He argues that when U.S. policymakers use the term democracy, they mean polyarchy - a system in which a small group rules and mass participation in decision-making is confined to leadership choice in elections carefully managed by competing elites. Polyarchy then may be thought of as "low intensity democracy" or "consensual domination". In contrast to polyarchy, Robinson posits "popular democracy", which refers to a dispersal throughout society of political power that can be used to change unjust social and economic structures.

What polyarchy actually represents is a "hollowing-out" of democratic government in particular and all human society in general. Interestingly, it is the form of "democracy" most aggressively pushed by the actual state apparatuses, most particularly against actually democratic movements that they don't approve of. They want a "harmless", laissez-faire form of democracy that will not have either the power or the will to challenge the truly undemocratic, hypercentralised and anti-human interests of corporate capitalism. You see the contradiction here - when a political or social entity promotes centralisation and concentrated power it's evil, but somehow they don't notice that that's the natural direction of growth of capitalism. (People threw a fit about Hugo Chávez having more than 12 years in power, but how long as Bill Gates been in control of an entity with more power than Venezuela?)

"Polyarchy" is simply the system of organisation natural to capitalism - hundreds of different and competing systems of power, all dictatorial within their own little fields, but engaging in anarchic and destructive competition with each other. Democracy, as we would understand it, is certainly dictatorship - seen from their point of view, since they recognize the authority of only the government which deflects and makes harmless actual democracy, and actively attempts to fragment and atomise human consciousness.

While some push polyarchy cynically as a stick to beat democratic reformists with in places like Venezuela, others (typically members of the ideological priesthood) seem to really believe in it, and think that fragmentation and dispersal, can destroy the centralised capitalist-state system of this world, rather than it being just what that system wants its enemies to do. That's right, workers and ordinary people worldwide will simply walk out of the corporate machine and join your organic yoghurt-knitting commune en masse. Right.

Against this religious belief that somehow if we're good enough - "good" defined as adherence to the religious maxims dictated by our enemies - our enemies will simply be swept aside by good fairies, Chaos Marxism counterposes the idea that to defeat an enemy you must be symmetrical to it. We must counterpose democratic centralism to dictatorial or bureaucratic centralism. (Sadly, the term "democratic centralism" is often used to mean "idiot sect leaders playing toy-Stalin" - but I think we have to reclaim it.) I do like the way in which Ma'at Magick takes on the dialectical conclusion that it is possible for a real collective consciousness to exist without destruction of, and even contributing to the growth of, individual consciousness.

We have to take this particular demon or egregore and thoughtform on. It is so deeply embedded in the consciousness of those of us who grew up in the consumerist-corporate noosphere that we don't even notice it's there most of the time - but we certainly see its effects when it encourages us to splinter our movements, pride our private ego over the effectiveness of our collective thoughtforms, and distrust actually effective leaders. Conversely, it's in small splinter-groups that you get the really nasty dictatorial behaviour.

07 December 2007

The great "reds under the altars" scare of 1930

Nor do I think that Bolshevism ever gained any foothold in the Lodges, though I believe it tried; as witness the application to my own fraternity. The average occultist is not interested in politics, his concern is with things invisible. Moreover, the occult fraternities are too uncoordinated and scattered to be formidable political weapons even if they were imbued with Bolshevism.

Dion Fortune lays it on the line on page 223 of Psychic Self-Defence (orig. publ. 1930 - new edition Weiser Books, 1997). Well, we'll fix that.

Seriously: I must recommend everyone out there read the above book, for the small morsels of occult good sense, the hair raising True Stories of Astral Derring Do, and the general high levels of what the young people call LULZ. I love the bit where she suggests that the downfall of Greek civilisation was due to all the buggery that went on (and then goes on to quote approvingly from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley - obviously she didn't know what the "eleventh degree" was all about). I also love all the tales which have clearly been recycled since as eps of Buffy or Supernatural, or the ones which really look like they should be.

The author's style, while stuffily Georgian in places, is also refreshing in a very "no bullshit" kind of way. It reads like a sex-ed manual from a private girl's school of the period in places, in the sense of "Now stop all that silly gossip and innuendo, here are the basic physical facts so you know how not to get yourself into trouble." You get the feeling that, while she jumps to what appear to modern eyes, even modern occultist eyes, to be insane conclusions in places, she was really on the side of good and wanted to save people from fucking up their shit. Classic quote: The three main dangers of modern occultism are immorality, drugs, and the bamboozling of silly women. Very little has changed, although of course silly men are equally ripe to get bamboozled up.

I also love the bit where she speculates about the possibilities of inducing orgasm via telepathy. Where do I sign up for that programme? If all the above doesn't convince you, then let me remind you this is the book which did its part (along with a fuckload of cocaine) in driving David Bowie crazy in 1976. What more reason do you need? As I say, it's lulzy, but you'll chuckle rather than sneer if you have one shred of deceny in your astral body - and there is some serious good advice which has passed the test of time in there, along with some tall tales which you'll end up repeating endlessly to impress the gullible.

In other news: experiment in the next 48 hours with an honest-to-Karl Chaos Marxist Initiation Ritual. Published if it's not a disaster.

24 November 2007

My magickal motto

Sen stelsigno, sen sorto

(It is traditional for magickal mottos to be in Latin. As a Chaos Marxist, mine is in the Latin of democracy.)

22 November 2007

A rephrasing of the political part of the model

In the modern era, in the countries rich in capital and information, the biggest and most effective weapon in the armoury of social reaction is persuading the oppressed to culturally identify with their oppressors, and to experience other oppressed groups as culturally alien, incomprehensible and threatening. This is most effectively done through mass media which encourages the masses to experience the world around them from the point of view of the ruling classes - or, more precisely, from the point of view of the cultural-professional middle classes who work for the ruling classes (analagous to how the priest in the middle ages worked in the interests of the local lord, while of course having their own identity and interests).

This ideological effect is strongest among white-collar (communication/linguistic) workers, who generally come from a social and educational background very similar to those of the media priesthood. Case in point: the press releases from the striking writers in the United States emphasise that the writers are "middle class", that is, they are pledging allegiance to mainstream America - as communication workers, they know that that's necessary to win support from those who see the world entirely through the prism of the TV screen.

When media commentators talk about the underclass, they are not necessarily talking about an objective economic differentiation (since in many cases the physical-labour workers are better off financially than those in call centres and the like). They are talking about the gap between those fluent in the language, verbal and symbolic, of the oppressor classes, and those who aren't. The camera doesn't go into the homes of those workers who don't speak the dominant verbal or symbolic language because their experiences need to be interpreted for them to make sense to our rulers. So they are kind of left to fend for themselves, like Orwell's proles, except when they riot more than the police are prepared for.

The aim is twofold: (a) to build unity between the workers in language and information, and the workers in physical production and services; (b) to learn the skills of the media priesthood to create our own "worker's symbolic universe" or "proletarian noosphere", independent from bourgeois culture (but not rejecting it - instead, building something better on its foundation). A united and successful workers movement often causes splits in the media priesthood which encourages some defections, but that's a bit of a hard road to success for anywhere outside France or Venezuela right now.

16 November 2007

Magic, mysticism, marxism

The goal of the traditional Magus is to learn how to effectively manipulate this world of illusion in accordance with will.

The goal of the traditional Mystic is to dissolve the individual ego and will and attain cosmic consciousness, in order to see through the world of illusion.

The Chaos Marxist practice is:
a) to learn to distinguish objective reality (matter, physical energy, political economy, brute force and social practices) from subjective reality (the social myths which grow up around objective reality);
b) to recognize the consciousness or personality of both herself and others as "interpellated" (derived from the biological individual's attempts to fit in with the prevailing social practices, rather than essential to the individual) and therefore as subjective rather than objective reality;
c) to re-organise the individual consciousness to something which is more capable of being able to provoke change in objective reality, as a vanguard of a liberatory "current" of the oppressed and exploited. By recognizing that our "self" was constructed to fit in with capitalism, not to challenge it, we challenge ourselves to surpass the imposed boundaries of the self. In other traditions, I believe they call this "ego loss".

Marx declared that the proletariat were the revolutionary class, not only on the basis of their objective role in the economy, but on the supposition that this objective role led to an objective "class consciousness" that would make them capable of overthrowing the system. But Gramsci pointed out that this "good sense" was overlaid with "common sense" which develops to keep individual working people docile, obedient, and in all other ways able to survive in actually-existing capitalism. I have argued on this blog that the technologies of promoting "common sense" have leapt ahead since Gramsci's day, with the powers of mass-media marketing and psychology. We need to make that quantum leap ourselves, or keep talking to ourselves forever.

This side of the revolution, the successful revolutionary will have to learn to simulate a personality which operates on the basis of "common sense" in order to survive, while also developing a personality which operates on the basis of "good sense" in order to be effective in the struggle. "Good sense" will get you fired - "common sense" will ensure that you never actually change anything - so best to be able to pick "horses for courses". This seems to require the mystic insight that consciousness and personality is performative rather than essential (thank you Judith Butler).

You are not real. You are what you do. Lose your ego - your image of "yourself" and where "you" fit into your social setting, and your obsession with defending it - and you can become one with a current or force which can actually shape material reality. To put it in magickal terms, we are "helping create a solid egregore [conceptual entity with a will of its own] embodying the will to revolution of the most advanced section of the working masses, and subordinating the individual ego to this task". But remember that even after ego loss, there is much chopping of wood, carrying of water and posting on blogs, and you will need to recreate a kind of "pretend ego" to make this possible. Anyone who's ever been a stage performer will understand what I mean by this. Being a tool of the vanguard of the class does not mean that the demands of holding down a job, having friends, looking after your physical needs and communicating with people who're not part of your crusade will go away. Forget this, and you my friend are lost in the Abyss and need to be saved.

(Note that this is similar but different to the traditional Mystic concept of "unity with the universal will", since of course as materialists we don't believe in abstract concepts like "universal will". Also, where traditional mystics see the world as an undifferentiated unity, Marxism sees the world as a self-contradictory unity, which is why something happens rather than nothing.)

Those political or magickal groups which attempt to "insulate" their cadre from the Real World of Horrible Jobs, rather than preaching a deep involvement in them, are not only make sure their cadre will never become real leaders/Magi, but ensuring that they will just get wrapped up with another false personality, another, smaller world with the same (perhaps even nastier) games as the real world. Kill sectarianism with fire. An effective Chaos Marxist must be willing to ditch even their most cherished personality if it becomes counterproductive - and this includes the personality of "member of the revolutionary party / Magickal Order that will save the world". You may have to destroy everything you love in order to do what is necessary.

So: the Chaos Marxist has to learn the ways of (political and cultural) Magick, while also applying the tools of Mysticism to make the Magick effective. On the external side, effective political/cultural memetics, based on evoking a radical mass movement and requiring a minimum of physical resources; on the internal side, merciless criticism of the mental processes which make doing the external side of things more difficult than it should be. To be concrete: for me, the external side of things comprises International Socialist politics combined with viral marketing and Situationism, while on the internal side I'm seeing what Maat Magick coupled with a healthy SubGenius/Discordian sense of the totally ridiculous can accomplish. (An essential insight of Crowley's was that nothing banishes demons more effectively than laughter.) This is only my personal Work - I would be most interested to see what other people can accomplish, slotting their own preferred ammunition into the theoretical firearm I am creating.

Chaos Marxism is a practice meant to give an intellectual framework to the processes needed to become a revolutionary Magus - but we should never mistake the map for the territory, or forget that many of the great leaders of history got there by trial and error without the benefit of "system". In a sense, this is just a way of explaining to my people - over-educated young Westerners in the internet age - what is necessary. And, like every healthy form of Magick, it self-destructs on completion - in other words, all these mental processes by which we learn to be leaders of the class struggle will hopefully self-destruct if we ever get into a classless society. (Am I saying that the first thing the revolutionary party should do after the revolution is dissolve itself? Maybe if it doesn't self-destruct it did something wrong.)

Organic shamans of the working class

President Bush has achieved his dismal world standing despite spending $1.6 billion of hard-pressed Americans' tax money on black magic and brainwashing between 2003 and 2006.

- Paul Craig Roberts. Oh, sorry, that should read "public relations", not "black magic and brainwashing" above. Or should it?

Capitalism head-fixing technology smashes all previous forms of family and social life, and incorporates and commodifies any new social movements which do not base themselves on a clearly defined anti-capitalist political praxis. As Buddhism and the teachings of Thelema (properly understood) make clear, the individual is an illusion, something which is a result of the world we live in, not a cause.

The novelty in the current epoch of history is that the egregore of capitalism (generalised commodity production and wage labour) now dominates the majority of all human experience, and its sphere of domination inexorably expands in the absence of successful class struggle. You are what you are - I am sorry to say - because of how your personality evolved to enable you to survive under capitalism. (And if it failed to do so, I'm glad to see that they allow you to read my blog in the mental hospital or prison.)

This way of thinking bears some relationship to Althusser's concept of the individual being "interpellated" in capitalist social structures through the "Ideological State Apparatuses" of academia, media, etc. But I reject Althusser's essentially Stalinist and anti-humanist approach. All social structures are traceable back to human biological imperatives which in some cases predate our acquisition of consciousness, and the whole purpose of Chaos Marxist work is to create harmony between our essential animal nature and a technological civilisation which could enable us to transcend, rather than repress, that nature. The idea is that human individuality will become possible for the first time after capitalism. Also, he killed his wife.

Lies and delusion are the common currency of the modern era, since our rulers have decided they can no longer afford to buy our compliance with real money. Superstition, fanatical religion, fanatical religion disguised as politics, mind-control cults and cargo cults flourish in an era of social defeat. There is an "arms race" going on in current culture between the brainwashing / black magic skills of the ruling class and their ideological apparatus, and the objective despair, alienation and anger at the grassroots of society.

The bone-level anger and hatred, evoked in working people by the grimness of life as disposable labour in 21st century capitalism, expresses itself in a continuous "slow motion" riot. Working people take it out on themselves and occasionally random members of the bourgeoisie, in the shape of violence, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and property damage. Our rulers attempt to channel this continually welling hatred into mindless patriotism, hatred of religious, political or ethnic outsiders, and compulsion to buy whatever commodities will engender the illusion of being a valued part of a community for about ten minutes - like Fox News, or those reality TV shows where you get a vote which will affect collectively-experienced reality more significantly than a vote in a general election. (For the niche market who think they're too cool for Pop Idol or whatever, they've got you with the games which give you the illusion of being part of the Chosen Elite.)

Simply put: in internet-consumer culture, games and similar commodities substitute for unbearable reality. Chaos Marxism plays games as well, but as training for reality.

The task for organic intellectuals / cultural-political magi / revolutionary witches / whateverthehell can't just be coming up with the ideology needed for our side to win. We need to come up with an entire culture, and by extension, an entire identity - or at least a framework in which new and better identities of opposition can grow. If we don't do that, people have no choice but to continue to believe that they are who the TV, the teacher, the boss and the priest tell them they are. We don't just need our own academy - we need our own entertainment, we need our own mythology, until the day we break through and can just be human.

The catch is, though: how can we do this without turning into a self-absorbed sect or even a mind control cult? The basic answer is "vanguardism, not elitism" - the difference being that you can only be a vanguard if (a) you are actually, demonstrably out in front, (b) you've got a large number of people following you. If your particular Order or League or Party or whatever isn't an organic part of a mass movement and playing a leading role, don't you think it should be? The second part of the answer is: you have to have the right kind of boundaries between yourself and the mass movement, once you're in there. No boundaries and you might as well not exist. Firm, steel-hard boundaries and you'll be incapable of actually leading - your comrades will distrust you at best and hate you at worst. An actual revolutionary vanguard can't afford to have secrets or hidden agendas. To lead you have to learn as well as teach.

13 November 2007

Sectarianism - kill it with fire

One of the chief banes of occultism is the addiction to paper credentials, authorisations, charters and the like, which it is felt lend some sort of spiritual weight, exaltation or glamour to the recipient organisation. However, the proof of the pudding is surely in the eating, and the yardstick for assessing any group can only be its creativity and vitality. Another bane is that of harking back to a supposed sort of Golden Era, in this case an imaginary homogeneous O.T.O. in Crowley's time. Now, anyone who has taken so much as a cursory glance at the history of occult orders must feel almost sea-sick from the flux and flow exhibited. Like minor political groupings, there is a succession of schisms and regroupings, alliances and splinterings.

- Michael Staley. This blog was founded on the presumption that there was a commonality of both methods and aims between post-1904 occultism and Leninist politics, but it seems that there's a commonality of pathologies as well. I mean, you'd expect it from occultists, who are generally idealists and elitists and can be forgiven for wanting to keep their intellectual bloodline pure, but why do Marxists act like this most of the time as well?

Is this kind of small-group psychosis something inherent in the nature of all small groups, or just in small groups who want to change the world? You don't hear about this happening in badminton clubs.

08 November 2007

Petty-bourgeois occultism redux

From the "Occultism of Small Businessmen" files comes this quote from Harry Palmer, Grand High Wizard of a $cientology knockoff called Avatar:

If you introduce a powerful technology, like Avatar, into a lower social stratum, you are going to create revolution and wind up with blood on your hands.

Assuming that Chaos Marxism will ever become a "powerful technology" which can produce reproducible effects in individual, class and cultural consciousness, I should bloody well hope so. Seriously. I am not interested in producing a new elite, I am interested in becoming part of a vanguard.

Turn back, Sarah... before it's too late

Check out this intriguing article on the mystic resonances of David Bowie. While no-one can dispute that Bowie is cool - and, almost uniquely, still cool after 40 years - I would like to champion the case of another English musician who has deliberately used radical changes of image and disturbing lyrics about entities from an abnormal plane of existence to create an extremely unique form of cultural activism and a reasonably significant cult - namely Mr. Gary A. J. Webb. I would say that the difference between the two can be summed up that one was given powerful, culture-changing visions by heavy indulgence in magick and cocaine, while the other is an atheist who reads a lot of sci-fi and is a (self-diagnosed) Aspie.

05 November 2007

More on 90s nostalgia

The founder of the Maat current and Don Webb of the Temple of Set, writing in the 90's, agree on one thing, as do many other occultists: that the collapse of European Stalinism is a huge breakthrough for "the good guys" and proves that the people doing the good magick are beginning to make a breakthrough.

Oh, how naive that all looks in retrospect. The 90s were the era of smug, false hope among the Western middle classes, convinced that since the people who determined the ideology of their own culture had triumphed in that nasty squabble for bragging rights known as the Cold War, so"bad history" was over and now nothing stood between them and millennial utopian fantasies. As I said previously, the ideology of The Matrix was the high point of this current - before it went to hell in the dot.com crash and the WTC disaster.

As the Socialist International found out in 1914, this is what you get for identifying with "your own" corporate and political bosses. This kind of extremely basic buying into someone else's reality is still to this day endemic among bad-ass magickians who think they're questioning everything. Only Marxism continuously reminds you that your boss and your media and your government never, ever have your interests at heart.

04 November 2007

Method of science, aim of politics AND religion

"Marxism" is the combination of the theory of dialectical materialism and the practice of revolutionary socialism. "Common sense" of modern society - including the crude and warped caricature of Marxism known as Stalinism - sees the material world and the world of ideas as distinct and independent. This is one of the reasons why hypocrisy and lies are such a defining feature of modern ruling classes. Some subsets of the infosphere, on the other hand, assert that material nature is subservient to the idealist, narrative or spiritual realms. Out of this comes all manner of religions, from Scientology to neoconservativism.

Marxism, on the other hand, see concrete and abstract realities as a dynamic, ever-changing unity, with the material world as the first and last but not the only reality. The Marxist method works on a dynamic of concrete->abstract->concrete - precisely the same, I am interested to note, as the Maat current, despite their founder's rather glib dismissal of "Marx-Leninism".

Marxism used to be often described as "scientific socialism". This phrase has fallen into disuse, corrupted by its application to the dull, mechanical materialism (backed with messianic phraseology) of Stalinism. Stalinism, as we all know (*cough*Lysenko*cough*) was pretty fuckin' far from scientific. Modern descendents of Stalinism, like the Cuban government, betray this heritage when they talk about "moral education" about the joys of working hard and living frugally as the key to inoculating their populations from the images of material abundance promised by Western propaganda. I dunno about you, but I'm sufficiently old-fashioned that I still like Marx's original vision that socialism would mean a higher material quality of life for the vast majority.

I also want to reclaim what the greenies sneeringly refer to as the "Promethean" myth at the heart of Marxism - the idea that the aim is "man's power over nature" - or, to put it in a more hippy-friendly idiom, the sovereignty of consciousness over mechanical matter and social egregores. Knowledge is power - to be able to control what's real you need a damn firm grasp of what is real and what is the "common sense" of your personal and social reality-tunnel. That's the basis of the scientific method. Most modern Western occultists seem to have given up the search for "what is real" and confined themselves to looking for a new and more fun religion. Well, to hell with that.

Chaos Marxism calls for a firm commitment to what both Marx and Crowley would have recognized as science - dismissal of all myths, firm concentration on what forms of belief and systems of knowledge enable you to measurably and predictably cause changes in material and objective reality. Everything has to begin and end in the $2.99 material world (what the Maatians call "Level 10"), and if you're not doing that, you're not doing real magick, you're just astrally wanking. The reality-tunnels of middle-class Westerners who can afford to patronise occult bookstores are not the measure of success, but the thousands of millions of people living in poverty and oppression on this planet, and the ecological sustainability of human civilisation itself. (I do note that since the ecological question came up in pressing fashion, the hard core "there is no significant objective reality" crowd seem to have shut up a bit. Nothing is designed to ensure your belief in gravity more than falling out of a plane.)

I do note, in passing, that the CM aphorism that "nothing is more fatal to magickal success than a magical (i.e. idealist) worldview" is shared by Don Webb of the Temple of Set (we thought of it independently, honest!) And here's a good article giving solipsism a slapping, from a guy who's written a book on Pop Culture Magick that I really have to buy.

01 November 2007

A new aphorism

Che Guevara said "if you are a revolutionary, make a revolution." Similarly: if you are a Renaissance man, start a Renaissance.

31 October 2007

A challenge or game for Hallowe'en

A prize and the Chaos Marxism Seal of Heroic Soviet Approval to anyone who can write a functional magickal working which entirely uses internet memes as its mythological or symbolic system. You know, the Lesser Chargin Ritual of tha Lazor, or something about whether you can has cheezburger or not. (NOTES: By "functional" I mean "is actually designed to do something rather than just give lulz to the practitioner". Prize will be without value.)

As many of you will have gathered by now, I am fascinated by emergent mythologies or symbolic systems. Things like 4chan memes "just growed"; other things like the Faction Paradox shared universe were started by one major creative mind and others joined in later. These are becoming increasingly important as all the pre-media symbolic systems break down. Some people look at you funny when you say that things like NaNoWriMo or Talk Like A Pirate Day are the emergent symbolic systems of, even more importantly than a community, a class and a global class at that. But anyone who's really serious about doing magick in the 21st century has to understand this. (NOTE OF CAUTION: People who hang around on the internet are not the primary interest of Chaos Marxism, but they are a pretty good "petri dish", since they embody facets of the concrete global society "speeded up".)

29 October 2007

Ia Sathanas. YHBT.

Famous lefthandpather Don Webb says in one of his books that one path to personal power might be blowing out inhibitions by, say, wearing a swastika armband to a synagogue garage sale, or light pastels to a Goth night. In other words, in-real-life trolling. The many references I've made to Encyclopedia Dramatica recently bring on a new and disturbing significance. Are the ED crowd or - even worse - serious hard core trolls like the GNAA (Google it) the Illuminated Ones of the Intarwebz era?!?

In other news - finally picking up on a clue that greengalloway gave me ages ago, I plunked down valuable financial energy on Maat Magick. Wish me luck.

EDIT: And the two combine. I quote from the abovementioned work, page 87:

You may well ask, "If you've seen that existence is illusion, why care what happens in it and to id? Why do Magick, why publish, why speak, if existence is simultaneously illusory and perfect?"
The short answer is "for the sport" or "for aesthetic enjoyment." The long answer begins with the precept that there is no virtue in suffering.

I'm not sure whether I'm thrilled or terrified by the idea that the central secret of consciousness is "I did it for the lulz". (Link to the ED article on this topic removed since it contains a picture, possibly not photoshopped, of horrid cruelty to a cat. Cats are serious business.)

27 October 2007

Chaos Marxist Aphorisms

Today, this blog has existed for 13 months. (You know, I forgot all about the first anniversary. Never mind - the 13th lunaversary probably has more mystic resonance, or similar.)

In any case: let's attempt to sum up what we've learned so far. The Chaos Marxist Aphorisms (I stole the idea from Guitar Craft) are the 127 (number subject to change) sentences I've picked out of the past 13 month's entries which might give the newbie an idea of where I'm going - or even form the outline for the Big Book of Cultural Witchcraft. Note that in their current form they only make a very vague form of coherent unity. I welcome suggestions for refinement or expansion.

(NOTE: these aphorisms are not all original, though they are all appropriate. I have stolen from Lawrence Miles, V. I. Lenin, Terry Pratchett, Bobby Sands, Andrew Eldritch, Tony Cliff, the Redskins, Slavoj Zizek, Robert Fripp, and perhaps some others that I can't remember.)



  1. YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. If you want to be something else, do something else.

  1. Belief follows action.

  2. You are NOT a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake. Nor are you the Chosen One.

  3. Just because a friendly voice is muttering in your head that You Are The Chosen One does not mean it’s telling the truth.

  1. Nothing is more fatal to magickal success than a magical worldview.

  2. Politics, magick, psychology, advertising, propaganda are ALL THE SAME THING – attempts to describe and alter consciousness.

  1. The only true witch or Magus is she who realises that there are no cosmic forces.

  2. To be a witch or Magus, you’ve got to learn three things – what’s real, what’s not real, and what’s the difference.

  1. There are no mistakes except one – the failure to learn from a mistake.

  1. Destroy your own icons and enabling narratives. They will keep you safe and neutered. Most people would rather destroy life, limb or property than do this.

  2. The world doesn’t owe you jack, no matter how brilliant or unique you are.

  3. History will prove you right.

  4. There is no Big Other. Once you have figured this out you have grasped the central point of all revolutionary politics and magick.


  1. Marxist revolutionary politics seek the coming to consciousness of the vast majority of people in the world – the goal of magick, the tools of politics.

  2. In this sense, the Leninist cadre party is – ideally - a magical order of adepts.

  3. The central goal of Chaos Marxism is to integrate chaos magick and dialectical materialism.

  4. You may have a wrong idea of what being a Marxist is about from the idiots who try to sell you badly-xeroxed newspapers. Being a “revolutionary” is, in most cases, a mass-produced consumer product, just like any other lifestyle. People can talk all kinds of revolution and yet still be completely harmless.

  5. The way you can tell a revolutionary from a political lifestyler is – are they trying to figure out how to engage the masses? Or are they just interested in recruiting to their cult?

  1. For both the Leninist party and the disciplined magickal order, by making yourself available to it you are also used by it. If this offends your notion of yourself as a Beautiful and Unique Snowflake, then you are in the wrong game.


  1. Chances are, the "tribe" you cling to is a mass-produced consumer product.

  2. If you're entirely hung up on your own "lifestyle", so determined to surround yourself with a fortress of The Right Kind of Stuff that you're incapable of thinking beyond your own self-image, then you're part of the problem.

  1. Consumer culture is the opium of the 21st century masses.

  1. "I am the Chosen One" is the opium of 21st century niche markets.

  1. A lifestyle or a subculture is neither politics nor magick. It is a religion.

  2. People will believe any insanity if it allows them to belong to a real or imagined community.

  3. The logic of the “in-crowd” or the “enlightened few” is precisely what we are trying to destroy.

  4. Civilisation isn't about sealing yourself off from the rest of the world and your responsibility to it, and you don't get bonus marks just for being a nice or politically correct person.

  5. The only antidote to mass-produced identities is an Identity of Opposition which is combined with a practice of effective opposition.

  1. The proletariat” is not a mass-produced consumer product. It is more like a kind of industrial waste. No-one wants to be a wage-slave. But in wage-slavery there is the potential of power.

  2. The Real World of Horrible Jobs is everything that the Corporate Egregore sees as “chthonic” or even the Qlippoth. It’s the dirty underside which you’re not even supposed to look at. Here lies power, for those brave enough to grab it - but only collectively, not individually.


  1. The idea that “ideas shape the world” could only have been invented by people who earn a good living from creating ideas.

  2. If you believe in ideas as the highest good, you will find yourself incapable of effectively fighting actual material evildoing.

  3. Middle-class intellectuals fall harder for propaganda than anyone else – because their entire lives are based on propaganda.

  4. You can stay in your ivory tower and change your own reality infinitely. Until, of course, you need to go to work or deal with anyone but your immediate friends. That's the point where nasty reality cuts in. And nasty reality cuts in more and more the less money and internet access you have.

  1. Blind materialism always has a dirty idealist secret in the background – and vice versa.

  2. Dialectical materialism is the process of seeing which futures are possible, based on the contradictions of the present, and what kind of pressure on what kind of points right now will bring about which future.

  1. There are not two words with a bridge between. There is only one world.

  1. Meaning is material.

  1. Ideas are material.

  2. Ideas become real forces when they seize the masses.

  1. Chaos Marxism is interested in practicality above all.

  2. Your power lies in how much external reality you influence, not in how doctrinally pure you are.

  3. Where is the money and the surplus labour going? Who pays and who benefits? Those are the questions you have to ask in every situation

  1. There is no place for democracy and collective reality-tunnel-formation except in a materialist thought-system.


  1. The "individuality" you are so proud of is also a mass-produced consumer product.

  2. Once you accept that reality is individual rather than collective, you will never be a threat to the system.

  3. The more I looked at the mystics and the psychonauts, the more I realised that for them "Question everything” meant "Question everything except the idea that individual consciousness is a thing unto itself which can be worked on in isolation".

  4. If you start saying that people are not individuals - that they are created by their upbringing and the role they play in real, nasty, going-to-work-in-traffic society - then you open the door to the idea that only a social revolution can actually solve the real problems with humanity.

  5. Everyone has their own part to play, no matter who or where they are.

  1. No-one will ever be sane and healthy until we are all sane and healthy.

  2. If the subconscious, unseen and cultural levels of the world are the ocean, then magick is all about being able to dive, swim, and get back on dry land safely. Eventually, we should be able to become psychic and cultural surf-lifesavers – a role that will be integral to a new society.


  1. Technology will not solve your problems for you.

  1. The Apocalypse will not solve your problems for you. Global civilization will not collapse in a friendly manner so as to leave you and your buddies unscathed.

  2. Since you are what you do, you will have to DO to BE. There is no substitute for doing.

  3. There is no place to run, and no place to hide. So you will have to fight.

  4. Socialism doesn’t fall from the sky. Nothing does, except rain, snow, meteorites, and airplane toilet droppings.

  5. Any course of action which can be summed up in the words “Wait and see” is the wrong one.

  6. As far as religion or magick goes, ANYTHING works if you do it enough. It might not work as advertised, though.

  7. Success breeds daring and failure breeds passivity.

  8. The proper stance for a revolutionary is: pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. To know which is the winning side, and still join the other.

  9. To use Situationist jargon, détournement which remains on the symbolic can always be recuperated. The only thing which really can dissolve all magic spells whatsoever is the self-activity of the masses.

  10. A Marxist might call a picket line or a militant demonstration "an altered state of consciousness", since it takes place in an area not acknowledged to exist by the dominant paradigm of reality.

  11. This side of the revolution, the revolutionaries are a minority.

  1. Success comes to the strong. The struggle is hard and the struggle’s long.


  1. Religion, like any other painkiller or hallucinogenic, can be used for good or evil purposes. It can encourage you to lie around and stare at the ceiling, or kill your family, or it might take the edge off enough to allow you to accomplish something in the real world.

  2. The way cults operate is just a boiled down and spiced-up version of the way in which all authoritarian society operates.

  1. Some of the nastiest religions preach atheism and rationalism.

  1. Judge every school of politics or magick, every religion or subculture, as to whether it enhances and promotes conscious, rational thought and ability to shape the world, or the opposite.

  1. Most people do not base their actions on rational thought related to material reality. They base their action on stories which they partly pick up from their culture and partly make up themselves.

  1. People who base their lives in images and narratives expect those images or narratives to be “morally true” – or “truthy” - not physically true or even logical.

  2. Even if I know on an intellectual level that X is bullshit, if I act like it's real it becomes real for me at least.

  1. People will happily swallow lies if it enables them to maintain the narratives that they live by.

  2. Addictions, whether to chemicals or to abusive personal relationships or whatever - are a natural reaction to the World-As-Is.

  1. Basing your life on images and narratives rather than the hard facts of material existence is much, much, much easier. And it will virtually ensure that you don't ever change anything.


  1. To put it in magical jargon, we start with the memes and thoughtforms which arise spontaneously from anti-corporate activity, transmute them magically to give them the best chance of survival and replication, and then release them back into the infosphere of the activity where they were born.

  2. Metaphorical, narrative language can help people understand real although intangible forces better than intellectual jargon.

  3. An effective political or advertising slogan has all the same characteristics of a meditative mantra.

  1. The most effective advertising does not say "Brand X has qualities Y and Z"; instead, it presents a meme which associates X with Y and Z and leaves it up to the recipients to connect the dots. All the most virally infective memes require that the readers/viewers/listeners do some work to make some sense of what they are given – they are “pull” rather than “push” marketing.

  2. Make your memes open-ended in possible meaning.

  1. If you’re not being misunderstood, you haven’t been properly understood.

  1. If you’re not being attacked, you won’t be supported.

  1. Leave it noncommercial for as long as possible.

  1. If you don’t have a party, a mystic order or a scene, you have to start one.

  2. A meme will spread if it fills a niche in the materially existing noosphere.

  3. A successful memetic operation will work backwards in time - in other words, pick a possible future, and attempt to make it a real present.

  1. Invoke often.


  1. The rationality you were taught to survive in this world is often diametrically opposed to the rationality you will need to change it. Drugs or religion may create the “altered state” necessary to build an alternative rationality. Or they may screw you up.

  2. Engaging in hostile banter is not politics or magick. It’s a kind of sado-masochism.

  1. Keep your recreational activities separate from your work, or one will begin to substitute for the other and both will suffer.

  1. If you're not hated by a large group of people when you die, you didn't do it right.

  2. Seek out mystical enlightenment, then subject it to the most merciless skeptical examination.

  3. Arguments over what is ‘good’ rest on arguments about reality, even if they seem not too. ‘Ought’ does rely on arguments about what ‘is’.


  1. The Devil (however defined) owns this world. It's his. You can either sell your soul, fight the power, or be irrelevant.

  2. Propaganda and consumer culture fills the gap left by the decline of traditional forms of religion in modern society.

  3. Capitalism destroyed all the old myths, but then had to create new myths to continually expand consumption and win our consent to the system.

  4. An egregore is a magickal term for an ideological construct with a will of its own. We can see corporate capitalism in these terms.

  5. It's no accident that psychology was born at the same time as mass consumer society and universal suffrage.

  6. Corporate Psychology wants to make us functional, not to make us well.

  7. The corporate egregore creates the needs it survives by supplying – including the need for meaning.

  8. Our culture promotes isolation, alienation and paranoia as not only an ideal, but the highest ideal.

  9. The “Green Zone” in Baghdad is the most effective microcosm of the World-As-Is.

  10. Less bread means more circuses – the less food and shiny consumer items there are to hand out, the more lies and spectacles must be provided.

  11. Corporate politics and management are memetics combined with brute force. Memetics are generally cheaper and have less unpleasant side effects than brute force, but need to be continually updated to remain effective.

  12. Corporate (or Black, or brute-force) Memetics works through a barrage of constant mutually reinforcing impressions.

  13. When corporate capitalism had succeeded in fulfilling the basic physical needs of its workforce, it then had to create new needs and desires in order to perpetuate itself.

  14. The corporate egregore will stop existing the instant that the masses stop believing in it. That will only happen once the alternative begins to make sense to them. Your work is judged on how successful you are at making an alternative to the World As Is a real thing to real numbers of people.

  15. Diversion of consciousness into impractical reality tunnels is one of the prime means by which the Corporate Egregore maintains its power.

  16. Sometimes in the World-As-Is, you’ve got to shake the hand that feeds you. There is no virtue in starving. If you have a job, then you are at a point in the belly of the beast where it is possible to wound it – with help.

  17. There is change in the World-As-Is, once you accept that the World-As-Is exists.


  1. The struggle has to be carried on on three levels at once: industrial, political and ideological. Don't confuse these.

  2. The map is not the territory - that symbols are only useful in so far as they serve the actual purpose on the ground. Ideology is an imaginary solution to a real problem – an attempt to “live in the map”.

  1. If you try to live in the metaphor you constructed, rather than using it as a guide to action, you will at best create just another religion, and at worst, create an internet subculture that people will laugh at.

  2. The most powerful magic of all is what causes change on the level of the subconscious mind; on the level of Industry; on the level of the reality which doesn't go away when we stop believing in it.


  1. The main indication that the future will be different from the present is that the present is different from the past.

  1. Believing that there is change, that the future will be more than the present with faster cars and smellier air, is in fact a revolutionary act in itself.

  2. Will the corporations collectivise humanity? Or will humanity collectivise the corporates?

  3. Revolutions are not predictable. People don't wear nice colour coded symbols in a real revolution. They get drunk and smash shit up and in all other ways go over the top.

  4. We adopt a reality-view that maximises our effectiveness in causing change-in-accordance-with-will in the real, physical, material world.

  1. The revolutionary organisation must organise counter-hegemonic cultural movements.

  2. We are not initiators of the New Culture - we can only hope to be its midwives.

  3. Culture-from-below is always free, and often illegal – mainly because it subverts the intellectual property laws. The new world will have different definitions of property and reward.

  1. Revolutionary commercial culture is ideally a kind of virus in the system, but sustained on the same logic as the system itself – the ideas contradict the commodity format.

  1. Don't blame the media - become the media. Turn readers into writers, consumers into producers, buyers into sellers.

  2. Propaganda and agitation are transitory, art is eternal – but they can have the same effect.

  3. There is no future for small, independent capitalism. The only way to defeat the corporates is to go through them.

  4. To defeat an enemy you must become symmetrical to it - then we need some kind of "egregore" (or cultural metaphor for struggle) equally strong on our side.

  5. We will make sure the Ghost Point never happens. The 21st century is where it all starts – or stops.

24 October 2007

"Me? The Chosen One? I didn't even graduate fucking high school."

Sometimes I wonder whether, ever since at least January, I haven't been reposting exactly the same information on here, in different words. Or perhaps it's like a sculpture, and every time I rephrase I'm chipping away a little bit of marble that doesn't look like Michaelangelo's David. In any case, listen up and listen good:

Most people do not base their actions on rational thought related to material reality. They base their action on stories which they partly pick up from their culture and partly make up themselves. Depending on whether the culture is in a death spiral or not, these stories might actually be helpful or might actually systematically break down consciousness. In whatever case, basing your life on images and narratives rather than the hard facts of material existence is much, much, much easier. And will virtually ensure that you don't ever change anything. This is fine if nothing needs to be changed - perhaps problematic if the planet or human civilisation is at risk, and if you give a shit about human civilisation and/or life on earth, which I assume most of you do.

(Palestinian accent:) "Zis side of ze revolution, ze revolutionaries are a minority."

One of the most common media narratives is actually the one which scoops up the people who don't fall for the mainstream ones. It's the one embodied in virtually every popular fantasy or speculative-fiction work today. What it says is: YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. There is something special about you and you alone which means that you are destined to eventually find Your People who will help you in your noble quest, and who will probably be your cabinet ministers once you've conquered Earth or whatever. Let the friendly trolls at ED comment further:

The purpose of the Harry Potter books is to create the illusion that losers succeed in the end and that the outcasts and misfits are the real winners of society, similar to internet favourites like Donnie Darko. Their massive success is instrumental in preserving the status quo in western society: while basement-dwelling goths and mousy teenage girls read the Harry Potter books, jocks and teen-queens alike get laid and start real careers.

In other words, the myth is designed to stop you working, and introduce you to a lifetime of masturbating to your own coolness, and never learning the skills which might bring you success - either on the terms of the Prince of This World, or any better terms which you might think up for yourself. Never forget that - The Devil (however defined) owns this world. It's his. You can either sell your soul, fight the power, or be irrelevant. The choice is yours, but happiness is guaranteed no matter which way.

For those who want to fight the power - as the commies have been telling you since 1848, the world will change only at the point where a huge majority of people decide that it needs changing. Just because you're a "brilliant" outsider doesn't mean the system owes you jack, or the masses will ever realise your brilliance - until, of course, you give the system something it wants in return, or you learn to package your brilliance in such a way that people who work in supermarkets and don't spent 16 hours a day on teh intarwebz will find it useful. Also: the world will not just magically collapse, somehow leaving you and your buddies unscathed so you can turn your clique into an independent anarcho-syndicalist commune.

Of course, the flipside of this is: because you are not guaranteed a noble destiny, if you haven't met a noble destiny it doesn't mean you suck. You have absolute and horrible free will. You are guaranteed neither success nor failure. Use this power wisely. Learn to see social and material reality, not pictures in your head derived from pictures from TV or from books, and learn to work in accordance with it.

As far as magick goes: it consists in not only learning what is underneath the Veil of Illusion, subjecting your perceptions to the most merciless objective scepticism, but also firmly conditioning yourself and your buddies never to forget it no matter how deep the swamp of the Real World of Horrible Jobs gets. Then, you must be be able to talk about it with sufficient conviction and eloquence that the ordinary people you meet are jolted into seeing it for themselves. Remember the logic of the Transitional Programme - the idea is to describe something that is close enough to consensus reality that it doesn't get rejected straight off, but which points the way towards enlightenment.

On a lighter note, again courtesy of ED - take a look at those Iraqi resistance music vids that I mentioned below.

13 October 2007

I have good news and bad news

... in the form of updates on the matters I discussed here.

The good news is that the first hard-copy-printed Chaos Marxist article hits the presses this week.

The bad news is that the practical experiment - the attempt to apply CM principles to a political campaign - didn't work, or rather didn't work well enough. On one hand, it's said that a failed initiation makes chances of future success even smaller. On the other hand, it's also said that a revolutionary is distinguished not by never making mistakes, but always learning from those mistakes. At least I'm not dead in a remote village in Bolivia.

11 October 2007

"True... from a certain point of view."

People who pose as "modernist" or "Enlightenment" giggle and guffaw at "pre-rational" ways of understanding the world. How, they ask, could Amazon tribes, or even the cultured citizens of the Roman Republic, believe that their stories about gods and superheroes and monsters were actually true?

Perhaps there are several values of "true". I remember arguing with a serious Christian (back in my Wiccan-missionary phase, which I cringe to remember), who said to me something like: "Do you think I'm stupid? I don't believe snakes can talk. But I believe the Genesis narrative is morally true."

Perhaps we can generalise that the mythic-life of a culture is seen by its participants as "true on a moral level". What happens in the stories which hold a culture together doesn't have to actually make sense by the physical laws of the universe or the social laws of behaviour, as long as it makes moral or narrative or symbolic sense. Even if we believe the Gods are real on some level, we don't expect them to behave by human rules.

To give this a concrete modern context: it is generally recognized that the whole "War on Terror" / Iraq occupation is not being fought on the rules of ordinary human reality. Previous wars had to be fought that way because if you lost, the enemy would actually occupy your country, steal all your food and sexually abuse your loved ones. But the worst that will happen to "the West" is a humilation and a loss of global bragging rights. In terms that Mad Larry would understand, it is a war for cultural and historical space.

Orwell had it right: when the State can wage war without fear to its own survival, it is under no obligation to actually pursue the war in a rational way. All it has to do is keep fighting, because the war is not about survival, but about being right, and in that case the goal is not to occupy territory or seize resources (although these are both part of a complete breakfast), but to generate the correct images. The images which will ensure that citizens of the "free West" continue to believe (on a "moral level") that their States (and the corporates behind them) are essentially benevolent and all-powerful, and that the only alternative is a blasphemous darkness and irrationality. As for those outside the state, as Caligula put it - "Oderint dum metuant", let them hate us as long as they fear us.

It does not seem too great an assumption that ordinary people see what they see on TV and hear in their cultural sphere as morally, not literally or physically true. They expect to hear from their TV news not hard facts, but stories which resonate with the ideas they have in their own heads about how the world operates - and they will not think to question narratives which have what Stephen Colbert calls "truthiness". The most important of these narratives is: "Our governments and bosses are the good guys, and I can ignore the horrible bits of life if I can feel I am on the right side in the great struggle for Truth, Justice and the (Insert my country here) Way." (Because if people didn't willingly believe that, in the absence of a credible alternative myth-for-life, life for many would be without obvious hope altogether.)

Accordingly - after 9/11, what you heard was "we had to do something" - not because it would bring 3000 New Yorkers back from the grave or prevent more deaths, but to restore the image that bad things like that didn't happen to the enlightened, prosperous good guys. See here for an analysis of what this meant in America (and to a lesser degree elsewhere) - a McCarthyist witchhunt of people who actually wanted to explain why people might restort to terrorism. People who wanted the war to make physical, concrete sense were indeed traitors - traitors to the essential myths of our society. How dare you hold the Gods of our Tribe to your laws of pathetic human reality, you reality-based community unbelievers?

The purpose of the War on Terror is exactly the same as the purpose of the Cold War - to cow all foreign and domestic opposition to capitalist imperialism, and provide an ideological justification for imperialism abroad and clawbacks on political and social liberties at home. It is being won to the extent that the official media-godforms (the enlightened West brings salvation to lesser countries with laser-guided bombs, and you can either cheerlead for it or be crushed as an Islamofascist or a "Crazy") continue to grab hold of the popular imagination.

But the point is that these myths are not based on stupid physical or social reality, but on the moral truths which bind our allegiance to the State and the corporations for which it stands. And as such, they have to be fought on that level. The corporate egregore [life-form created by belief] will stop existing the instant that the masses stop believing in it. Only a win for our side on the ideological/cultural field - a succesful "alternative life-myth" which seizes the masses - will make the elected politicians cut off funding, or encourage the troops to mutiny. (The Iraqi resistance understand this when they try to create their own media weapons.)

The movement against war - which is the movement against corporate imperialism - has to create our own myths, godforms, stories and icons. These will have to be based in messy physical everyday reality - only when you have a truckload of lawyers, guns and wage-slave labour can you just decide what you want to be true and make it so. Which will mean training ourselves to be able to tell what actually is real, what's not real, and what's the difference - which, in many cases, will mean throwing out the cherished myths which make up our membership of the Tribe of the Free, Enlightened West.