06 November 2009


A new aphorism for you:

Any group, religious or political, which puts its internal workings higher in priority than its intervention in the Real World of Horrible Jobs is a sect going-on-cult.


  1. Random, but I found another predecessor: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, champion of the Dalit ("untouchables") in modern India and the revolutionary's answer Gandhi, who has been pretty thoroughly rehabilitated as a bourgeois New Age icon (Dr Ambedkar hated Gandhi for supporting the caste system). Ambedkar's motto was "Educate! Organize! Agitate!", and his essay comparing Buddhism to Marxism is interesting in the light of Chaos Marxism:

    The Buddha or Karl Marx.

    The essay comes across as very critical of Marxism/communism, but given that he was writing not too long after the establishment of the USSR it's understandable. Overall the essay serves more as the beginning of dialogue rather than as a set piece, but given the influence the Dalit Movement has even today in modern India I think it's worth reading...?

  2. Thanks for that. I definitely agree with Dr Ambedkar when he points out that traditionally Marxists have been extremely vague about what a classless society might look like, which leads (I feel) to a fatal confusion about what means might actually bring it about. And certainly that the more brute force you need to impose a social system, the more numbered the days of that social system is. What the good Doc calls "moral disposition", Gramsci called "hegemony".

    Generally, orthodox Marxism fails when it forgets that Marx brought a critique of the bourgeois Enlightenment as well as of established religion - they then reinvent themselves as the left wing of "Western Civilisation", which really means in this time frame the left wing of imperialism, and fall for all manner of nonsense like Islamophobia, or of being cheerleaders for social individualism and liberal "human rights" discourse, which any fule kno is an artifact of the capitalist mode of production. (Note: I am not suggesting any softness on homophobia, being a big queer myself, but I do oppose the idea that the mating habits of white middle-class bohemians is some kind of global model.)

    However, Slavoj Ẑiẑek has also pointed out that Buddhism is hardly the cuddly, "not a real religion" that Westerners like to think of it as - some Zen schools were very much in behind Japanese WW2 militarism, on the basis that imperialist war was a dharma just like any other and the important thing was to get on and do it. So what we are left with is - the words are only a distraction. Content of social movements is what's important, not abstract form.