No Minister

The Zombie Returns

with 3 comments

While the USSR collapsed in 1991 – fittingly on Christmas Day as if in a final tip-of-the-hat to the Christianity against which it had so long fought – and while this followed on from the collapse of all its little Mini-Me’s in Eastern Europe a couple of years earlier, there were still plenty of Marxists around, even if they seemed a little “off” from a traditional Marxist perspective:

Nominal communist regimes still exist, but they are knock-offs, systems determined to survive by being different. There is little Marx in China. Cuba also has gone to market to try to save itself. North Korea has enshrined Asian monarchy rather than European philosophy. But no one has attempted to remake Soviet communism.

Aside from those examples True Marxists (self-proclaimed) have soldiered on in the West, even gaining some traction with movements like Antifa and Burn Loot Murder, discontent with “neo-liberal capitalism” and certainly engaging in struggle sessions in many areas.

As this article, Zombie Marxism, makes clear, there’s a lot going on to once more modernise ancient Marxist ideas. That article looks at the two basic pathways to yet another socialist revolution: practical grassroots organising; and destroying a society’s ideas about itself. That last is mainly about Italian communist Antonio Gramsci:

Writing in the 1920s and ‘30s, after the failure by Italy’s workers to set up a communist state in 1918, Gramsci said the proletariat was consenting to his own enslavement. How so? He buys into the cultural trappings of his bourgeois oppressor—the church, the family, the nation-state, etc.

The communists at the turn of the 20th century had struck similar problems as the industrialised nations of Europe failed to undergo “natural” communist revolutions. Lenin’s answer was a Vanguard Party to lead the clueless workers. But Gramsci saw that outside of Russia that wasn’t working either. Something else was needed, and his key insight was that:

popular beliefs and similar ideas are themselves material forces.’ Gramsci upheld the assertion that a successful revolution would ultimately require the overthrow of the bourgeois state…However, because the capitalist hegemony does not function through state violence alone but that it also mobilizes civil society in order to promote oppressed peoples consent to and participation in the system, a successful revolutionary movement would first have to engage in a long-term effort to undermine that consent.

Screw economics in other words, the focus of Marx and Engels. Gramsci proposed that the things a civil society believes about itself, its culture, buttressed by its institutions, all the things that the oppressed foolishly believed in, would need to be torn down and rebuilt embedded with Marxist theory.

Which is where the German Critical Theorists come into the picture. They had the tools to enable the destruction, starting with the harmless, innocuous world of academic Western literature and then spreading beyond that to other parts of academia and from that into society, even into the ranks of the professional/managerial classes – with the NYT’s “educational 1619 Project, designed to tear down the myth of 1776 and replace it, being the most prominent example. As one modern Marxist, Harmony Goldberg, admiringly said:

Revolutionaries would themselves have to engage in the long-term battle of ideas in order to clarify the need for revolutionary transformation.” All-out ideological war is needed. A crisis can be used to overthrow a society, but the long-term subversion of a culture must come first.

Remember that when you strike idiot Right-Wing politicians who insist that “they don’t do culture wars”.

Aside from the ideas needed to destroy all those things there’s also the practical organising – which is where the likes of Burn Loot Murder come into the picture (and here you were thinking they were about Blacks being brutalised by the Police). The creators of BLM are people like Alicia Garza and Patrice Cullors:

 In 1996 Harmony Goldberg founded the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL). This is the same place where, seven years later, Black Lives Matter founder Alicia Garza, then 22, began her Marxist training [in “community organising”].

In Cullors’s case, the ideological mentor was Eric Mann. He is a former member of the Weather Underground who founded the Labor-Community Strategy Center in LA (which Mann jokingly calls “the University of Caracas Revolutionary Graduate School”).

These bastard organisations may die off, as the murderous Weather Underground did after the early 70’s, but their poison lives on to create new horrors like BLM. Mann had already developed the key insight that in America Gramsci’s cultural attack would work best if it was boiled down to racism, the great fault line in America. The training of Cullors, Garza and others like them would also focus on a group of people not necessarily “working class”:

Early on, Mann settled on Los Angeles bus riders as more easily organizable and indoctrinated than factory workers. They were more destitute, more black, Latino, and Asian, and more female, than the average worker. “At a time when many workplaces have 25 to 50 employees, an overcrowded bus has 43 people sitting and from 25 to 43 people standing,” he wrote. “Ten organizers on ten different buses can reach 1,000 or more people in a single afternoon,” That’s why his Center pioneered the creation of a Bus Riders Union.

Remember this also the next time you read the likes of old time Leftist Chris Trotter sneering about the mindless, lower-class of the “lumpenproletariat“, as he did about the Wellington protestors. By contrast Mann and company see such people as equally valuable for their revolution, perhaps more so than the Working Class that buys into the capitalist dream.

So far it’s been quite successful: Critical Theory has laid waste to academic fields, and the most prominent outcome of BLM has been the Defund the Police movement. The article also points out the MSM has been brought into the picture in just the last few years, with a tenfold increase in the use of CRT terms such as “White Privilege”, “Systemic Racism”, “Racial Privilege and so forth. How helpful!

The thing is that the likes of Lenin, while they may not have been as focused on this stuff as a primary driver of revolution, effectively ended up doing the same thing after the revolution, as a rather surprising modern political figure confirms:

Cambodia’s Year Zero was not new or unique.

As much of a concern as these efforts are in their trashing of our Western civilisation, they’ve also turned out to be almost as much of a disappointment as their forebears in building the new Heaven On Earth, luckily without as much blood being split. For example the Defund The Police movement is rapidly collapsing as frightened Democrats back away from the massive surges in crime that have resulted in cities stupid enough to follow the advice of BLM, and US university enrolments are in long-term decline in areas such as English, Sociology, and History where Critical Theory has dominated.

But like old Communism, even as they fail they can be incredibly damaging. In the article Confessions of a student Marxist, we get some insight into this wasteland, as described a man who spent his teenage years “immersed in Marxist and anarchist circles and literature”, before getting to Cambridge University where he’s thrilled to discover others like himself and it all gets very exciting – for a while:

The college was a bucket of crabs and happiness itself suspect, a mark of privilege, as with the rugby lads who had the audacity to actually enjoy themselves. When there was laughter it was heavy and jarring, filled with irony and bitterness, never light or free. …Though we were aware of our enormous privilege we contrived to see our time at Cambridge as some grim fate foisted upon us.

Unhappiness brings with it power over others. Where compassion is the highest virtue, this power is almost limitless. Misery also provides the motive to wield this power, and mental blindness to one’s own culpability in its exercise. 

Eternally oppressed victims. There can be no uglier oppressors. He writes about seeing clips of people expressing their mental distress of oppression – “They are there in the voice, constantly on the point of breaking, in the incredulous, widening eyes, and in the earnestly furrowed brow” – and that when he sees BLM using the same “therapeutic language”, it makes his skin crawl.

Social theorist Mark Fisher described from first-hand experience the manipulation of this scene as a Vampire Castle which “feeds on the energy and anxieties and vulnerabilities of young students, but most of all it lives by converting the suffering of particular groups — the more marginal, the better — into academic capital. The most lauded figures in the Vampire Castle are those who have spotted a new market in suffering — those who can find a group more oppressed and subjugated than any previously exploited will find themselves promoted through the ranks very quickly.” The Vampire Castle recruits on the promise of community and self-healing. The reality is an ouroboros of emotional manipulation…

Emotional manipulation has become the primary, in some ways the only, driver of our politics: Jacinda Ardern is a leading example, including the fact that she is a wealthy, Middle-Class person:

The emotional manipulation developed in elite institutions has developed a motte-and-bailey style of argument (superbly analysed by Jacob Siegel) which is impossible to push back against without seeming callous. And every institution, public or private, has simply buckled.

the embrace of this movement by the rich, and the profound philosophical break it represents with the old order, suggests it has a logic and a momentum of its own and its potential is without limit. It is a politics of negation and renunciation and there is no end-point. There is always more work to be done.

That part about the rich jumping onboard with the bullshit shows both its danger to Western society as well as it weakness. Critical Theory and all the Gramscian stuff is doing a great job of tearing things down, but when it comes time for building they’re still stuck with Marxism, which only builds vast systems of centralised command and control that degenerate and then collapse.

But in this case, the approach has also produced, not a generation of hardened revolutionaries but a bunch of privileged cry-bullies: emotionally fragile people who, like their theories, can tear down but not build.

Seemingly on the cusp of victory (Defund the Police) they crap out in the face of reality (increased crime), and in the case of even the trained Marxists, it turns out that they love money and owning houses, having bought into the cultural trappings of their bourgeois oppressors.


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Written by Tom Hunter

March 17, 2022 at 6:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. Your last paragraph describes the ‘middle class Marxists’ that Bomber Bradley has been banging on about.

    Lucia Maria

    March 17, 2022 at 10:00 am

    • Yeah. Perhaps Burn Loot Murder is just another capitalist grift. We should make that the taunt when the next such organisation that comes along.

      Tom Hunter

      March 17, 2022 at 10:11 am

  2. Keep the articles coming Tom, always make for an interesting read.

    Very rarely comment (…and more than a little tangential) but came across this sub and had a wee chuckle:

    https://amidwesterndoctor.substack.com/p/who-remembers-freedom-fries?s=r

    Seems your co-blogger (….who I will think of as Milf Romney from now on) is a sucker for PR, as he hasn’t seemed nearly so exorcised on behalf of the Tigran’s or Yemeni’s. The ban hammer for Andre is straight out of the international cat federation’s playbook.

    Dave K

    March 17, 2022 at 4:09 pm


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