Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Why does nihilist communism give so much consideration to the affliction of Leninism?

1. Why should we pay attention to the tendencies of a now obsolete bourgeois faction of social managers when the ascendency of the bourgeoisie itself has been reversed by the automated subject?
It’s not worth getting involved, it’s not worth arguing it. But if somehow we were to be drawn into involvement, and if we did have to argue it out, then we would have to defend ourselves as best we could, and we’d need something beyond our natural revulsion at authoritarianism with which to respond to the attacks.

2. What is the level of threat posed by the Leninists?
There are two answers here, and which is applicable depends on circumstance. When in power, and power here refers to everything from state government to the running of protection rackets within national liberation movements, Leninism is lethal - it will always find a reason to destroy its rivals. In practice, the logic of Leninism tends towards establishing its monopoly on terror over the ‘insurgent’ population that it purportedly represents. However, minus guns and the repressive apparatuses of the state, Leninists are a different proposition. In their pre-power form, the harm they are able to inflict is severely limited. They will infiltrate and disrupt weakly defended or incoherent oppositionist organisations, and they may denounce and inform on rivals, sometimes they will monomaniacally push the agenda of foreign states, but they only become truly dangerous in a context of open class struggle where they are committed to the line of statism (that is revolutionary reformism) against autonomous activity. They are certainly prepared to take advantage of any tolerance shown to them whilst not reciprocating. In answer to your question, as a sort of broad guide, the threat posed by Leninists to those opposing the state is worse than that of petit capitalists, not as bad as the police, and about the same as fascists or religious fundamentalists.

3. But aren’t there any good Leninists?
Firstly, although we have succumbed to it, we should feel uneasy about assigning general attributes to a personalised group. It is like talking of ‘diabetics’ when referring to those suffering from diabetes, the emphasis is reductive and located in the wrong place. Agency should be attributed to the ideology rather than to those feebly caught in its surface tension. When we talk about Leninists, really we are referring to Leninism (which has the accumulated force of history behind it); what is in dispute is not so much the type of individuals involved as the effect of the Leninist heuristic on their capacity to act as human beings. 

4. Isn’t comparing Leninism with an affliction even more reductive and prejudicial than listing the traits of Leninist personality types?
We should examine both! Let’s not imagine that Leninism somehow fully possesses the values that it agitates for, or that its programme articulates ‘Leninist’ ideas. That would already assume it has achieved the identity of subject and object in history. The critique of Leninism should begin from the assumption that it is an ideology of the managerial faction of the bourgeois class and that as such is a miscellany of banal conventionalities and realist ex post-facto rationalisations. In practice, Leninism is a chronic instrumentalising-type affliction that affects the subject’s capacity for self-reflexive orientation within its environment. The myth of the historic Party, a myth embraced by supporters and opponents, is that it is the author of its own activities, that it is a maker of history. In reality, the Party lags behind productive relations and is reduced to projecting just another set of post-jacobin ideals onto the entirety of social relations. Its programme extends the inherited logic of the labour process into its reduction of communism to useful work. Leninism cannot escape the Nineteenth Century fetishism of work as morally necessary for all - and as such remains a tightly constrained phenomenon of its times: the ideal of the labour republic appears as a political project exactly at the juncture capital supersedes workerism through the expulsion of living labour from the productive apparatus. 

5. To return to the comments on a sort of automated heuristic operational within Leninist versions of subjectivity…
Procedurally, Leninism is driven by a simple confirmation bias common to all millenarian consciousness  - external signs both confirm the initial prophecies and justify the measures taken to implement them. The corollary of this bias is that any non-deniable failures and errors are projected onto ‘enemies’ and punished on the grounds of ‘sabotage’. The trap is sprung by the idea that the revolutionary subject will possess both awareness of the necessity for change and the capacity to implement it. This is a common enough formulation amongst revolutionaries emphasising praxis and ‘participation’ (revolutionary self-theory for example) but non-Leninists also assume an ‘other’ component within subjectivity by which the revolutionary subject is recognised as a force exceeding the revolutionaries’ own ideas and activities - for the ‘libertarian’ communist, the subject is not ‘us’ but others. What separates the Leninists from the rest is their identification of the ideal of the revolutionary subject with their own organisational structures. From this presumption, the Leninist party assumes it has the capacity, and the historical authority, to resolve social contradictions - in other words, Leninism is structurally resistant to reality-testing, and is fated always to spiral into a sequence of affirmational interventions increasingly at odds with its circumstance (the precise definition of psychosis). 

6. Should we return to the question of whether personality type is relevant?
Again, there are two basic categories when considering those involved in repressive liberationist ideologies: the organisers and the organised. Of the latter, there are any number of reasons to unwittingly join Leninist projects; these are the foot-soldiers, and placard wavers, who will chant mind-numbing banalities for their own subjugation as if these articulated the precise requirements of their freedom. For the personality type we may categorise as the ‘organised’, the standard syndrome of disciplinary industrialised socialisation applies: deference to bureaucratic process; abstraction of motivational principle; internalisation of the estrangement of means from ends; displacement of personal life-trauma into an ideological framing; regimentation of relations and behaviours; elevation of self-sacrifice as a moral indicator; hard work as evidence for a project’s worth; submission to the rudimentary imperative of espirit de corps and the closed ranks of the in-group; cult of personality; narcissism of small difference; sectarianism; deferral of self interest; exteriorisation of theoretical difficulties onto perceived ‘enemies’; identification with the interest of the leadership function. The organised members of Leninist organisations are afflicted with the same weaknesses as the rest of humanity, but their fault lies in having developed this to an explicit ideal which is actively sought out and adhered to. Anyone utilising Leninist iconography or symbolism affirmatively shines an interrogators’ desk-lamp into their own corner of hell. 

7. What of the category described as ‘organiser’?
It is difficult to imagine any individual rising through the Leninist hierarchy who is not a sociopath. There is nothing more to be said on the matter. However, a general observation can be made on why the broad adjective ‘Leninist’ should become a designated noun for a particular form of consciousness. There is a basic category error present in the thinking of all those who self-identify with a historical individual; the use of the adjective/noun amalgam ‘marxism’ as a brand-name for communism is extremely problematic in that it continually self-corrects its practical/theoretical resources on the basis of in-group/out-group prejudices around allegiance to the authority of the father-brand. And whilst this constriction of available material for conscious reflection resembles the effects of genetic drift on island populations, it also instigates a degenerative spiral of deferral to the inherited authority of a single Mosaic-like lineage. What level of self-denying wretchedness would cause an individual to fetishistically self-identify, beyond a vague reference, as a ‘marxist’? We should note here that the regressive tendency within ‘marxist’ organisations to the idealisation of personalised authority -  the cult of the father imago finds its negative corollary in Lenin’s famously puritanical phrase, ‘greasy from many lips’.

8. How do Leninists organise, what pressure are they able to bring to bear to persuade others of their arguments.
i. The art of Leninist persuasion is grounded in the exploitation of a prepared ground, or the basic predispositions, of those who have developed politicised consciousness. The framework of argumentation is built from a perpetually bifurcating set of either/or imperatives which itself is framed within a pragmatic consensus around the necessary separation of the desired end from the means that must be deployed to achieve it. The combination of conventional NIneteenth Century gambits derived from consequentialist ethics, and the decomposition of such strategies into the permanent deferrals of realpolitik where the presentation of stark and incompatible alternatives has the degrading effect of producing a subjective psychological predisposition that we might term Emergency-realism. And by emergency-realism, we may understand the pressure brought to bear on members for their consent to decisions already made on the grounds that any delay of ratification will seriously compromise the Party, the Revolution, the Future, the work of world history itself. Leninism did not invent catastrophism as a means for political galvanisation, but it was the first to electrify it. The persuader/organiser seeks to persuade/organise the rank and file according to a well-established procedure: if you are serious about wanting to change the world, you have to consider it from a grown up and realistic perspective; grown-up thinking around social transformation inevitably involves acknowledging, and even embracing, the forces that are integral to transformation; social forces are violently coercive, and may be controlled only by disciplined consciousness; social revolution is nothing but good people doing bad things for a great purpose. Dirty hands is the cost of every effective policing operation. 

ii. Only those responsive to persuasion and organisation may be persuaded and organised. A shared perspective on revolutionary agency is the basic channel for the redundancy between ‘the transmitter’ leadership position and ‘the receiver’ position of the cadre. Ironically, those most vulnerable to the specifically Leninist orchestration of repressive consciousness, those most  suggestible to the dictatorship of the apparat, are also independent thinkers. Just as heroin addicts, seeking to block out their sensitivities, are often the most sensitive of souls, so the free-roaming contemplative tends to take up residence, resolving unbearable contradictions, in the exoskeleton of disciplinarian activism. We tend to look for objective resolution of those difficulties which we sense subjectively (… remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done). The individual’s introjection of Leninist principles is just another means for suppressing, diverting, obliterating pre-existing existential trauma. And those most able to change their minds (and what is it to change one’s mind in response to persuasion?), those most able to adjust and adjust again and again to instruction, information, command, are also those most able to go along with outlandish ideological distortions. It is well documented that the authoritarian personality (by which we identify a willingness to be directed by authority) responds to the most powerful and most recent command, and vacillates eternally politically between ‘left’ and ‘right’. The internalised discipline of a previous ideological allegiance is easily transferred, according to a mode of serial monogamy, to the requirements of the next.

iii. The apparat institutionalises the subject’s almost irresistible desire to displace agency and responsibility via bureaucratic systems of dispersible and deflection, which in turn result in established defences such as ‘superior orders’, collective responsibility, ‘deniability’ and so on. Leninism introduces historical necessity and class struggle, as professed principle and rational motive, into the place otherwise taken by referents such as nation or god - but the subjective component, the faith, the patriotism, the pride, the willingness to take risks are all ideological constants and perfectly transferable between ideologies. The standard corporate rationalisation proceeds: whilst specific individuals do make decisions, they are only expressing their conditions and are driven by their circumstance; therefore, ‘bourgeois’ morality does not apply and the individuals cannot be considered accountable (unless they have ‘betrayed’ the party whereupon they are subjected to summary liquidation). The perpetual shifting of responsibility for crimes utilised as a strategy for committing further crimes, is one of the defining characteristics of totalitarian formations. However, the purpose of the ‘defence of superior orders’, its derivatives and equivalents is not to shield the guilty but to defend, by misdirectional nitpicking, the integrity and continuity of the corporate structure itself. 

9. How might this apparatus of persuasion work?
It begins from the insistence that because the Whites/Fascists/Imperialists/Capitalists as an indefatigable enemy, will stop at nothing that it is necessary for all to submit to revolutionary discipline. It is because the gains of the revolution are in danger that it is necessary to execute the anarchists. It is necessary to temporarily suspend some of the gains of the revolution because saboteurs and wreckers are operating within the workers’ councils. It is necessary for the Party to take command because of the underdeveloped class consciousness of the workers

10. What social forces are involved in producing Leninism as an expression of the counter-revolution that takes the form of the revolution?
As the question implies, the convolutions of Leninism (its perversity) indicates the confluence of multiple strands of history. Leninism is the name of the revolutionary state, or rather the perfection of the state’s incorporation of the concept of revolution. It is, if not in its brute utterances, then in its formation, a highly complex organism that supposes the historical trajectory of an arms race between power and powerlessness. It is a strategy of the ruling class to mirror, capture and turn to its own advantage, the language and ideals of its own overthrow. The management of social revolution is both the technique and goal of the bourgeoisie. But just as a predator, at the climax of the kill, may itself fall prey to a greater predator… so the instrumentalising logic of the bourgeoisie is caught in the act by a greater instrumentalisation. The tendency to rationalisation of production for the social good, as espoused by late-jacobins like the Bolshevik party, is compelled to take one step further to rationalisation: production rationalised for production’s sake (production stripped of the fetter of use). The totalitarian logic of 20th century automation inevitably leads to the expulsion of human beings from society which is later conceived as the unending and frictionless flowing together of immanent forces of production - societies and cities expelling populations and replacing them with automata is a characteristic of mass society. The mess of humanity is supplanted by perfected representations of humanity. The equation of liberated social forces with human emancipation is the peculiar contribution of marxism to history… marxism is the theory, and Leninism its agent, of the bourgeoisie’s own sublation by the productive forces it has unleashed. This is what Buchner meant, in referring to revolution’s positive feedback: like Saturn, it devours its own children. 

11. But what are the actual procedures of the bourgeoisie’s self-negation, and its turn to Leninism as the crisis form of technocratic governance?
The nature of the bourgeoisie’s historic defeat of the aristocracy is derived from its management of representations. The rise of the bourgeoisie corresponds to the appearance of representation as a form of social mediation. And representation, as an organisational principle, only occurs in relation to the simplification of social relations resulting from a step-change in the accumulated mass of production forces. This so-called step-change produces a societal responsiveness to, and self-recognition within, a system of universalising abstraction by which all things (and all collections of things) may be ‘represented’ as units within a command-structure combining economy and social interactions. The shift into representation itself emerges from the accumulation of all historical modes of power as these coalesce in their representation, or strategic deployment, by a single power. Representation is, on the abacus of powers, the greatest order resulting from the combination of all possible lesser orders. In achieving an escape from the self-limited perspectivism of narrative, depiction, portrayal, and all forms of ‘local’ power, representation returns to the material world as a whirling abstraction. As it touches ground it sucks all things into its maelstrom and throws them into an unprecedented order of relating whereby each thing experiences both itself and the other as an abstract value. This transformation from thingness into abstracted materiality, from the immediate to the mediated, from the placed to universality, from stories to accounting, from animism to monotheism, from fiefdoms to the state, from humans to workers, from stations to classes, also correlates with the transfer of power, as marxists theorise it, from direct forms of repression to indirect forms of exploitation. The liberation of human relations from the real concrete into the abstract concrete indicates the transformation of domination from revealed repression to concealed exploitation. Representation is the outcome of the tendency within systems of accumulation to produce real abstractions - that is, abstractions that may return to the world and control it. In contradistinction to state ideology, the movement into abstraction does not indicate increasing sophistication or progressive complexity but the opposite: the reduction of all things to their willingness to be represented. Abstraction elaborates, which is itself a representation of complexity, but the domain in which such complexity unfolds is of a single form. The movement of accumulated productive forces into a system of abstracted equivalence (accounting) and its return to the world of things as a set of commands utilising the language of representation supposes the earlier violent simplifying of human relations and its environment (the collapse of bio-diversity is the result of the failure of representation to account for the needs of multiple species). The later form of exploitation supposes an earlier mode of repression by which populations are conditioned to respond to a constrained set of command signs. Representation as a system of mediated relations through abstracted signs is not possible without an earlier stage of violent simplification flowing from the accumulation of privately expropriated wealth. In short, representation is the conditioned responsiveness of a post-repressive environment to the commands contained within the values abstracted from it. 

12. How does the apparatus of abstract commands appear as the politics of Leninism?
This concerns the question of reproduction, and reproduction only appears as a question at that historical juncture where the expansion of the labour market in line with the elaboration of the productive apparatus becomes an object for state intervention. Of course, there had been factory villages and industrial towns but the state’s population-wide rationalisation of the organs of social reproduction took social planning to another level. Before 1914, the reserve of workers and productive forces expanded more or less in tandem, but this expansion necessarily occurred in a contingent and haphazard arrangement. By the second decade of the C20th, the accumulation of productive forces gave rise to the possibility of the state’s strategic manufacture of labour power as a commodity - at this point the state became a monopoly producer of human beings and began to apply industrial principles of mass production to populations.  Added to the defence of territory, and national capital, the state took on the new role of generating (or reproducing) workers as a specific and uniform type (workers raised as workers). Leninism became one of the several competing strategies for producing workers via state intervention which the bourgeoisie were experimenting with from 1914 onwards. The specific function of the Leninist iteration was to produce a ‘for-itself’ workforce, a historically adjusted and self-identifying proletariat whose second nature was fanatical devotion to use-value. The Leninist ‘republic of labour’ is the state’s dream of frictionless work, of work minus class warfare, and of the boundless proliferation of material wealth. 

13. What is the philosophical background to Leninism?
The distinction between mere opinion and true knowledge is historically hard-programmed into Western consciousness. Leninism utilises its inheritance of the distinction as a means to separate its historically determined representation of the working class and the false consciousness of actual workers. Whilst Plato was the first to formally separate opinion from knowledge, it was Rousseau who applied the categories politically. His distinction of ‘general will’ from ‘will of all’ would become the ideological basis for every strategic pretext deployed by the modern state. The Bolshevik government was the first in modern history to exploit the space between Rousseau’s ‘general will’ and ‘will of all’ but the proliferation of mass-media representation soon transformed it from a trope of avant-gardism into a common enough establishment manoeuvre for justifying any measure taken. The distinction between the interest of the representation (as an autonomous function with its own set of interests) and the interest of the thing represented became a standard of C20th statecraft. It is this distinction that specifically articulates the strategic use of the representation of victories not yet achieved to secure credit on further expansion of the state’s reach, a mode of fictitious capital which Debord later identified as the ‘concentrated spectacle’. The Bolshevik’s problem, which they attempted to resolve by utilising the identity mechanism of representation,  appeared as a divergence between the ‘will of the people’ and the ‘people’s will’, or more specifically as the divergence of the workers councils from the Bolsheviks’ representation of the working class. The difficulty of sovereignty as this was expressed in the antagonism between the institution of the councils and within the institutional nexus of the state and the general populace, could only be resolved repressively and yet had to be rationalised as a movement that was both revolutionary and recuperative. How could the suppression of the organs of the working class be presented as a revolutionary strategy? Part of the answer, as examined above, lay in the utilisation of the process of representation, and thus of the abstraction of values from the bodies they are made to represent. Philosophers do not prescribe but may only contemplate what is already at work in the world, and so Rousseau barely theorised the question of sovereignty but by separating the abstract value located in ‘the general will’ (what would later be wielded as the ‘people’s will’ in summary trials) from that of the aggregate of opinion identified as ‘the will of all’ (that is the distinction established between unified momentum of class interest and the divergent collection of private opinion), he established the basis for justifying the measures taken by every national liberationist movement to suppress the population it represents. Terror is utilised against the people by The People’s representatives on the grounds that people cannot recognise themselves historically. The village has to be destroyed to save The Village. Certainly, only the representatives of The People are able to identify and express The People’s Will, all other identifications and expressions become subversive distractions (opinion and not knowledge) by which people become untethered from The People. By definition, Leninism is the state’s direct suppression of the workers’ councils in the name of representing the workers’ councils and according to its slogan, ‘all power to the workers’ councils.’

14. But aren’t we all on the same side? Don’t we have a common enemy?
The idea, all differences are minor, is persuasive. The sentiment, there is always more uniting than dividing ‘us’, is compelling. The proposal that controversies should be settled ‘after the revolution’ seems cogent. Under conditions of retreat, and there are no other conditions, splinters and factions seem like indulgence in an unaffordable luxury, a waste of meagre resources, when a greater threat is looming ever closer. But let’s be clear here, Leninism is a system of inherited commands based on the authority of already written texts and the lineage of their authors, every engagement with Leninism in the present must also engage a history which it only disavows in its fetishism of the non-continuity between Lenin and Stalin. In order to work in common cause with Leninists today, the history of Leninism has to be forgotten, and given that Leninism is precisely the continuation of its history undisavowed into the present, common cause with Leninists supposes a willed capacity to not know Leninism, and to forget precisely what it is. The function of anti-fascism for example is to instigate the willed forgetting of Leninist history in order to make common cause against a supposed greater enemy (the function of anti-fascism has become that of forgetting the function of anti-fascism which is the capture of anarchists by Leninism). Leninists don’t even recognise anarchism, they have no idea what it is… at best they consider it a pre-Leninist disposition waiting for the right leadership. Leninists assume that anarchists are ‘Bakuninists’ and are dependent upon a similar set of deferential relations as Marxists. For this reason, Leninists will always invoke either Bakunin’s anti-semitism or Goldman’s Zionism as proof of underlying traits within anarchism. In practice, there is no common ground and no common enemy. What divides ‘anarchism’ from ‘Leninism’ is a fundamental incompatibility and not a surface level misunderstanding. Whilst there is something (not much perhaps these days) to be recommended in anarchism (a consistency and logic of opposition to all existing forms) there is nothing emancipatory in Leninism whatsoever. Leninism is merely the bourgeoisie’s formal sublation of revolutionary tendencies within the state-capitalist mechanism of representation - historically, it is almost indistinguishable from fascism. 

15. Doesn’t this position of blaming Leninists merely replicate conventional defence mechanisms of exteriorisation?
Leninism, like fascism, is a designation for a set of more or less comprehensible political traits generated by productive forces… neither Leninism nor fascism are wholly contained within defined Leninist or fascist organisations but are generally distributed (or recuperated/expropriated by all modern political tendencies). Both Leninism and fascism are subsets of the nexus between the repressive apparatus of the greater modern state and the ideology (or the desire) of mass populations for and of the ‘authoritarian.’ We may talk of ‘Leninism’ as if it were reducible to a specific tendency of Marxism but really we are applying a placeholder term to a general love of the authoritarian and the political identification of many with their representations. For this reason, we must also acknowledge that anarchism constantly decays into Leninism and thus into bourgeois politics, particularly as it seeks to establish a pragmatic or movement building approach. It is in this inevitable decadence that it comes to deny its own character. The only revolutionary significance of the specific tradition of Leninism is as a reminder of what happens when anarchism fails. Luckily, all anarchist organisations are failures and, having no equivalent patriarchal authority or founder-figure to Marx, it will perpetually renew in line with its rediscovery amongst new adherents. Where Marxism is a system of memorising universalising commands, anarchism is a therapeutic technique or procedure for forgetting and disavowal of what went before. The self-separation of anarchists from each other defines the principle of anarchism itself. And the basic principle of anarchism can be learnt in a few minutes (there is nothing more to it than its basic principle). Anarchists are never more anarchist than in the moment of their first encountering the idea, which occurs as a movement away from other anarchists. But anarchism is also the history of anarchists attempting to escape their basic principle. Very often, they are actually more, not less, tolerant of Leninism (that is they identify more strongly with a tradition of repressive state power and militarised mass murder) than they are of ‘nihilist communism’ - and the reason for this is that both anarchists and Leninists share a similar ‘what is to be done’ realist aesthetic which is always about to subsume the emancipatory within the interest of the egalitarian. There is a tendency within anarchism, as with all things belonging to the world, towards becoming mediated by representation. By identifying this tendency, we also make out the fundamental incompatibility between anarchism and Leninism at the level of social process and why there can be no common cause except where the libertarian has been captured by the authoritarian in the name of equality. Anarchism in operation is defined by its anticipation and prevention of the tendency towards abstraction in social organisations, a tendency which is instituted wherever representation mediates communal relations. Classically, anarchism has attempted to ward off representation (the domination of relations by an abstracting apparatus) through ad hoc procedures of delegation. The separation between delegation and representation will not be discussed here but as a working definition: delegates are selected from the group by the group to effect relations with other groups, whilst a representative is extracted from a group according to the formal requirement of governing structures to mediate relations between groups. Clearly, delegation tends always to the formal and thus also perpetually slips into representation (and sometimes, in moments of dislocation, representation will discover in itself vestigial traits of delegation). And more complicatedly, delegation may also be represented, a representative may appear as a delegate, as a tyrant may appear as a revolutionary. In other words, representation has the capacity to both represent its own critique, and other methods of relating, and other forms of power, and thus subsumes the alternatives to representation within the mechanism of representation (as an example, art has attempted to attack art but in the process has only produced more art).  Even so, the distinction between the set of relations that produce representation and those that are expressed in delegation is real and decisive at the level of shared undertakings. It becomes truly significant when considering, for example, how workers’ councils were to integrate within wider social relations. Similarly, anarchism has also extended its interest in warding off state-forms by studying other systems (such as ‘potlatch’ and reverse domination hierarchy) that have successfully prevented the unstable accumulation of quantities of material wealth from calcifying into abstract command structures by which the state form emerges from internal relations. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Why is nihilist communism opposed to anti-fascism?

Nihilist communism is not opposed to anything. Opposition assumes the capacity for force, which is absolutely absent from nihilist communism, as it is from all formations of the ultra-left. The absence of capacity is the defining characteristic of the ultraleft. Therefore, nihilist communism Is incapable of opposing anti-fascism but it does desire to escape its categories. In this sense, nihilist communism seeks to resist becoming implicated in all moral crusades and identifies anti-fascism as one of the most pernicious. As it already rejects involvement in state power, class domination and the abstraction of existence by capitalist expropriation, it argues that the question of anti-fascism may only appear as a step back into a compromise with existing conditions. 

Nihilist communism, after Wilhelm Reich, asks itself what in this world is not fascist? Certainly, it assumes that anti-fascism is always, if not already operationally fascistic, then on the cusp, as it seeks unconsciously for the perfect rationalisation for justifying its own fascistic measures. To be sure, fascism typically includes a leftist moment, soldier socialism, barrack room egalitarianism, and that is absent from actually existing, or environmentalised, fascism which is characterised by the process of ultra-instrumentalisation, a surplus mobilisation, of all existent functions. 

Historical fascism asked a question, and set out its problematic, at the point of emergence of the workers' movement's sudden inarticulacy. Actually existing fascism sets no such questions. But, what fascism really is is of less concern here than what anti-fascism is. Even so, it is appropriate to reset our own question: what in the world is not fascist? The ultra-nationalist Russian separatists fighting against the Ukraine are 'anti-fascist; the bombing of Iraq in 2003 was anti-fascist; the mass rape of German women in 1945 was anti-fascist;  the carpet bombing of Dresden was anti-fascist; the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan were anti-fascist. We might then ask ourselves, what in the world of mechanised horror is not anti-fascist?

Anti-fascism becomes operative as one more register of political activity, it too is designed to bury the bad news of its own mobilisation, it too wishes to be judged on its enemies and not on its complicities. As the state has its 'terrorists' as a figleaf pretext, so the left has its 'far right'. Anti-fascism demands acceptance of its exceptionality. It proposes that of all the social formations constrained by forces hidden to themselves, formations befogged by their delusions of subjective agency, of all these only anti-fascism is excepted - it alone secures the right to award itself its motivation. And, in a global context where so many programmes of extermination are implemented at so many levels of existence, against so many populations and so many sets of relations, and against so many species, it is plain bizarre that anti-fascists are so sensitised to marginal street manifestations of 'the far right'. 

The partial application of the designation 'fascist' is itself irrational to a degree that it is almost unexaminable - so many atrocities fail to register with, never mind mobilise, an 'anti-fascist' response that for integrity's sake we must further conclude that the sole political purpose of anti-fascism is to misdirect attention from any atrocity that is not directly attributable to 'fascists'.  Inevitably, as is the way of things, good people fight for bad causes, and those caught in the convolutions of anti-fascist ideology are amongst the best of us, and are no doubt motivated by the sincerest of available personal motives. Even so, even at its best, antifascism is constrained as a palliative, symptomatic, treatment for a pathology it is structured not to comprehend. It is impelled to manifest as yet another iteration of policing by populist appeal.

But nihilist communism is a form of anti-politics, it has already taken into consideration the futility of confronting, never mind arguing with, liberal and leftist ideological sacred cows. It serves no purpose to oppose anti-fascism politically, and thereby further populate the discursive field with yet more bifurcating specialisations. A hundred years of fascism is proof enough of the inadequacy of anti-fascism to its object. And no critique of anti-fascism will ever defuse the revenger's thrill in recognising the bad other; when the blood is up, and the hunt is on, nothing will prevent the inevitable outcome. Anti-fascism is the crusades, the last crusade, the one crusade without troubling ambiguity and tortuous self-questioning. The anti-fascist gives himself up, without reserve, to the last great true enthusiasm. Then, we must avoid the field of conflict and let the forces gathered there play out eternally. We must skulk in the undergrowth like little brown jobs, dunnocks perhaps, until the field itself collapses beneath a meteor or plague. 

But, as we 'give it up' and let it go, we should also take a last 'backward half look, over the shoulder' at an iconic, or at least for us 'telling', moment and consider what moves it when the obvious has been filtered out. A photograph circulated in the mass media captures the moment when a conventionally beautiful young woman (sometimes designated as 'brown', sometimes as 'Asian') under the supervision of a police officer casts a disdainful glance at a 'fascist' protester. Undoubtedly, even taking into consideration the police presence, the woman's intervention was courageous and selfless but that is of less concern here than the specifics of the anti-fascist use of the photograph, and what it tells of the image-repertoire constraining it.  

The woman's conventional beauty becomes a synonym of moral courage. She is apparently relatively tall and this also proves her right to exist. In contrast, the man she looks down upon is small, we are told he is 'runty', it is observed that he is poorly dressed and that he cannot grow a proper moustache, and as is usual in such images it is ironically observed that here stands an example of 'the master race'. In short, the woman is well made and conforms to bourgeois ideals of moral health, and the man conforms to bourgeois representations of the degeneracy of the undeserving poor. In the iconodulic representation of their confrontation, we begin to make out the movement of class hatred... anti-fascism is deployed here as a weapon of actually existing fascism to secure the rational ordering of its own ideological power. Under its gaze, the man appears badly made, he is typical of the good for nothing scum emerging from growing surplus populations, and therefore as a 'type', we are required to judge him as morally repugnent.  
 Anti-fascism operates as the exceptional framing through which we are asked to suspend our social explanation of dysfunction, and the manufacture of criminality; we are asked to abandon our comprehension of the processes by which irredeemable bastards, life's embodiment of unremitting failings, are formed. Instead, it is required that we adopt the state's gaze and judge this particular end-result as the cause of itself. Of all the socially conditioned ideological formations in the world, the fascist is the only one held responsible for its own existence. The figure of the fascist becomes the pretext for the left's suspension of its account of deprivation and the exertion of its right to expropriate punitive power. From the anti-fascist standpoint, there is is nothing to be said of 'fascists', the only available response is to drop bombs on them. In other contexts, type-profiling is repudiated as 'body shaming' and 'normalisation' but anti-fascism is an assumption of extraordinary powers...  over the bad other, it awards itself the right to use all available fascistic measures. Where fascists are registered as a 'type', a set of fixed and identifiable, categorised traits, then it seems only logical within the frame of its policing discourse that they should be liquidated as a type. All means of dehumanisation are legitimate under the exigent pressure of the state of exception.      
To be sure, the man in the photograph, like a lot of us, is relatively ill-made and physically articulates the impoverishment of his circumstances. It must be assumed that his failure in life is the reason he has attended a fascist demonstration. Damage and suffering, unprocessable loss and humiliation, the compulsion to repeat a return to types and orderings, all the character traits of Reich's 'little man' and of critical theory's 'authoritarian personality', are present in him. They are the traits that collectively act as the sine qua non of subjective fascism, this is what industrialisation and the trauma of industrialised war does to people. We learn without surprise for example that those voting Le Pen in the French presendential elections, once voted communist... and we also learn, again without surprise, that the leftist candidate Mélenchon is 'capturing' votes from Le Pen. The 'little men' thrown up by industrial democracy are ever-responsive to the most recent stimuli of ideology - as raw material for leftism and fascism they are qualitatively interchangeable. Nobody with a living soul will shed a tear for a punched fascist, or a fascist looked down upon with disdain, or a stabbed fascist or a summarily executed fascist but the question set by nihilist communism remains: what is it that constitutes subjective anti-fascism as an instrument of actually existing fascism? 

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Why does nihilist communism not speak the language of identity politics

Ideology is compliance with the totality as realised through an intolerance for its symptoms. Adaptation to the 'inexorable necessity' of the life-world's productive relations, and subjectively adjusting to the rules of survival on general terms as 'that's the way things are', inevitably triggers, via existing channels of specialisation, a compensatory instinct for reforming the life-world's details. The 'second nature' of the domesticated life-world no longer signifies as an object to consciousness but functions as its structure... 'changing the world' is a question subsumed by the difficulty in preserving a fragile 'complexity' perpetually under attack from all sides. The identity basis of reform assumes both that the generality of relations is beyond critique and that all problematics appear within the domain of institutional specialisations which must be approached through symptomatic treatments (every appropriate response is palliative). 

Adequacy is the capacity of an institution to contain whatever symptoms appear on its horizon within the specialisation of its domain. The problem of crime is contained within the criminal justice system; the problem of an other's weapons is contained militarily; the problems of individuation are contained medically; the problem of social bodies is contained governmentally. And within the general containments are further specialisations; in every sector are generated departmental equivalents to oncology, cardiology, respiratory, orthopaedics. And within every department, further specialisations develop: gastroenterology in the young, diabetic ophthalmology, SaLT for stroke victims. It is amongst proliferating departmental intersections that specified political interest groups appear that are structured as objects for institutional attention. 

The difficulty of transforming designated institutional identities into emancipatory projects is that the content, being reliant on information supplied by a departmentalised gaze (a refraction of a refraction), will always express a bias within its discourse towards reproducing its compartmentalisation and correspondingly will resist any efforts at placing itself within the generality. The compulsive refusal of what it dismisses as 'whataboutery' and its insistence on its own state of exception ensures any identity's proposed solutions to its own problematic will also function as a self-medicating, and symptomatic, treatment in its self-reproduction as the same.

The problematics of bureaucratically defined cohorts based on race, gender, physical and mental ability, age and so on may only appear as a long march of counter-adaptations to existing institutions. The solution to racism appears as anti-racism; the problem of sexism is addressed by anti-sexism... The attenuated flows of information available to identity formations ensures that every 'push back' must appear within the same constraints as that of the original categorising process - identity is always institutionally constrained. On its own terms, those who adopt fixed identity categories as a liberatory identity politics cannot know the 'motive' of what is constraining them. The logic of identity politics represents the force behind 'privilege' as fundamentally separate, alien and thus unknowable. The oppressed conjecture that the oppressor is driven by hatred, when hatred is only a later rationalisation of processive exploitation. 

From the perspective of black liberation, capitalism is constituted as racial hostility; from the perspective of woman's liberation, capitalism is constituted as misogyny. In operation, capitalism realises anti-racism and anti-sexism as much as racism and sexism. It realises religion and atheism, the USA and China, ISIS and Kurdish nationalism; the totality of capitalist relations contains all terms equally. Certainly, without emancipatory struggles, capitalism would have no interest in financing the expansion of the workforce along egalitarian lines, but the tension between concrete repressive instances and abstract equal  ri ghts is precisely the type of antagonistic reified relation that it sustains for exploitation. 
      Nihilist communism does not consider that the march of emancipation is not worth the effort but that its advance has everything to do with the perfected implementation of Enlightenment categories and not much to do with social emancipation from bureaucratic identities. Nihilist communism is not directly opposed to identity politics, it has no forces of oppostion, however it seeks to escape containment within identity's institutionalised conventions. Or, more accurately, if there were such personages as nihilist communists, they may become involved in specific campaigns according to their circumstances and in order to advance their personal interest, but they would not consider this involvement related to nihilist communism. There is an objective and insurmountable  separation between politically reformist campaigns and social revolution... this in itself is not an argument against reformist initiatives but only a recognition of their function.
The contradiction at the heart of capitalised relations is not located in bureaucratically defined identities but in the production of the world itself. The sale of labour power as a factor of production is the only point of convergence between actual human beings and their abstract potential for overthrowing the productive environment. Capitalism is not a citadel to be stormed from outside but will be brought to crisis only through the exacerbation of its own contradictions... and the only contradiction responsive to human intervention is the wage relation - where the commodity form coincides with a potential negating consiousness. The question of the potential for revolutionary agency should never have been set at the level of motivation, which finds its answer in those most oppressed, but should always be directed towards those with the latent capacity to effect it. Of course, under conditions now far beyond the programme of real domination, the question of motivation remains open. Even so, the only point at which an identity politics may make an intervention is by raising the cost of its own reproduction as a factor in production. In practice, this would involve any particularly constituted identity accepting its own subsumption within the universal class containing many other concrete identities but selling only one abstract commodity. 

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why does nihilist communism object to activism?

The modern American attribution of 'nihilism' has almost nothing to do with the Russian nihilist milieu of the 19th Century. American nihilism is a malaise diagnosed in others from symptoms identified as indicative of chronic habituation to environmental stimuli. Russian nihilism is a 'conscious' form of being characterised by its repudiation of all given forms of attachment. American nihilism is reducible to the individual's embrace of conditioned immediacy at the expense of all else, whilst Russian nihilism supposes the rejection of the very concept of conditioning.

This distinction takes us so far and no further. In practice, American nihilism is defined and interpreted by media commentators and does not exist on its own terms. And the Russian nihilists, like good Proto-kleinians, in their attempts to effect a detachment from the bad objects of religion, family, state and class only succeeded in re-attaching themselves to the ideal object of 'material forces'.

Even so, the problematic of attachment is the entry point into the question of activism. Activism is a form of attachment to, or dependence on, the array of environmental cues that will trigger negative or hostile responses to 'bad' objects. If the object does not clearly communicate its bad character, then the activist is not sufficiently stimulated, then the array of negative affects are not triggered, then the metabolic process remains inactive, and so the system's energy is not satisfyingly discharged.

Recognition of the dependence of activism upon what it opposes, and the resultant closed dynamic of protest politics, is itself a basic condition of all communist awareness. Whilst protest politics is reliant for its mobilisation on the collateral energy of 'bad' objects, nihilist communism is impelled to disclose the complicity of 'good' objects in the reproduction of the whole. Therefore, staged denunciations of 'bad' objects may only appear at the expense of the repudiation of the whole.

The environment in which activism is operative is disclosed as constructed of representations. Activism (that is activism's reproduction as a component of existing relations) is not a direct response to an immediately present object but appears within a repertoire of of pre-programmed reactions to images of 'bad' objects. Activism responds to representations because the mode of indirect domination refuses to appear as itself, and passes unchallenged.

Protest is not organised against the conditions of domination but against the products and images of domination. Protesters are bound into the production of a life-world of surface level interlocking co-dependencies and cannot gain sufficient distance to strike at the mechanism that is sustaining them.

The protesters are so overwhelmed by the flood of bad objects that it is inconceivable to them to attack 'good objects'. They reject out of hand the idea of 'negation of the negation', and the possibility of an opposition to the opposition. To them, the war must always be fought now and gains defended in the present before any question of revolutionary transformation may be considered. The activist is horrified by reversal, of 'going backwards'. Even though activists are enmeshed in the symptomatic politics of representations, ciphers, images, they cleave to the discursive panoply of realism: practicality, achievable goals and incremental gains.

Just as others denounce them as extremists and dreamers, utopians and fanatics so they deploy the same terminology (now a convention of repressive consiousness) against those who refuse to be mobilised in their reformist campaigns. For reason of the Faustian bargain that must be agreed upon even before the question of realisation is reached, a bargain that is struck right at the beginning with the 'form' of what may be or may not be done, nihilist communism refuses even the possibility of victory and thus re-formulates the dead term: impossibilism. 

Perhaps, those who are caught up in the moment of their own righteousness think it is condescending to make predictions about the probable consumption of activists by their own 'movement'. And yet, it is also well known that most participants in activism at any given moment will cease to participate not much later on. The activists own reasoning for this is 'burn out' but the milieu's constancy of numbers over time suggests that a maturational process is a decisive factor. The young dominate the milieu and then later come to repudiate themselves and their politics as they were.

Self-disgust is an essential regulatory element of the protest milieu. Attachment to stimulation by 'bad' objects becomes destructive the moment the 'bad' object is replaced by its representations - the moment the bell rings but the meat powder is absent. Activism is cultivated self-stimulation to transports of outrage by representations of offensive objects, it is a condition that can only be maintained by adhering to perverse representations of in-group self-interest. Defending the rights to its ownership of its representations is the entirety of the activist project.

The activist is obliged by membership of the in-group to perpetually lie to themselves: complex rationalisations are generated to explain why atrocities perpetrated by X must bring everyone out onto the street but those committed by Y are to be dismissed as 'whatabouttery' or 'liberalism'. At some point, the lying and adherence to capering irrationality takes its toll on the best individuals and they disengage from all involvements. Just as activism conspires to effect a misdirection from the totality through its conditioned response to pre-determined 'bad' objects, so the totality of the activist figure (including its moments of weakness, turning away, giving up and self-disgust) must be considered in relation to its 'militant' highs.

The indirect form of domination results from the apparent separation between representations and the material production of the world. Domination now appears as a set of relations between representations but revealed power is wholly dependent on the hidden form of material production which, as a mechanism spinning gold from straw, quality from quantity, cannot appear directly or immediately to politicised consciousness. Just as the brain does not appear within the 'mind' emerging from it, so the apparatus of world production may not appear within the domain of representations.

Activism is constrained to respond to fetishes of power and not to power itself. It is objectively situated by forces which it may only represent as 'oppression', 'inequality', 'racism', 'imperialism', 'patriarchy', 'capitalism' which it dutifully re-circulates within the market of controversies. But domination is always otherwise than as it appears; the condition of the fetish is that power is not located in it but mis-represented, or part-represented, by it: 'patriarchy', 'privelege' and 'white supremacy' are attempts to describe certain distribution features as outcome patterns but operationally  the system of production equally supports potential representations of both sexism and anti-sexism, both racism and anti-racism, both imperialism and national liberation.
Subjectively, activism is a form of attachment that is sustained by the given form of belief. The activist fervently believes both in the reality of this injustice and the compensatory measures he or she takes against it. But belief itself, as a mode of attachment, is a relatively immature form of relation to the world... as Borges might have said: belief is a form of incomprehension, perhaps the worst. The credulous will later become incredulous and the believers, unbelievers. The path from illusion to disillusion is costly and triggers in the ex-believer feelings of self-repudiation... the activist's path out of activism involves the rejection of all that activism stands for, even its indisputable truths: something is wrong here; life should be otherwise. 

It is enough to conclude by reiterating nihilist communism's attempt to explore forms of attachment that become available after by-passing the rise and fall life-cycle of the activist. Above all, nihilist communism is a form of pessimistic continuation undertaken subsequent to the rejection of all terms in play - it begins from a decisive rejection of optimistic belief systems. It returns to the gambit of the Russian nihilists, what would it mean to sever attachments to the objects that only appear to believers? 

What would it mean to continue the project of communism even after belief in it has been abandoned as an immature form of attachment? What would it mean to not believe but still continue? If, from the outset, we did not adopt the activist mindset might we then continue with the truths 'something is wrong here; life should be otherwise' as a life-long endeavour,  and thus avoid the concomitant errors of activist self-deception? Is there an adult form of refusing the world?

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Why does nihilist communism identify an 'essential proletariat'?

A hypothesis does not seek its own realisation but only the means to escape the internalised constraints of bad procedures. The decisive move in the formulation of a hypothesis, as with any art, is the formal exclusion of extraneous content. There is much to be said on the 'essential proletariat' but much of that is also extraneous. 

The plausibility of the 'essential proletariat' is less an issue within the text of nihilist communism than is the ongoing attachment to conventional mechanisms for social transformation amongst those refusing the present state of things. Why should those desiring social transformation locate the engine of transformation within the processes of that which they oppose? 

The 'essential proletariat' is hardly a hypothesis at all and is closer in form to a gambit. The purpose of the gambit option is to enforce radically other terms where the same pieces remain in the game.

In hypothosising 'the essential proletariat', nihilist communism places, amongst others, the following extraneous matters into brackets: 1. value and non-value producing labour; 2. the rising organic composition of capital and the progressive expulsion of labour; 3. necessary labour and unnecessary labour; 4. the transition from direct to indirect modes of domination; 5. the real as a threshold between the concrete and abstract; 6. the question of formal and real domination; 7. the tension between the realm of necessity and the realm of freedom; 8. class consciousness; 9. revolutionary consciousness; 10. solidarity; 11. the revolutionary subject; 12. subjective agency in general; 13. the dictatorship of the proletariat; 14. the dignity of labour and the labour republic; 15. Self-managed production; 16. the lower and higher phases of socialisation; 17. 'who's going to do the dirty work?' ...  In other words, nihilist communism seeks to leave out the entirety of the discourse of the marxist professors.

The 'essential proletariat' hypothesis is framed in terms of cessation not transformation. It proposes that there can by no transformation until there is cessation. It evaluates the predominant hypothesis of system immanent transformation as a paradox: those alterations accumulated within an outline are functions of the reproduction of the same, not of change. That which is left behind may not also be carried forward (the major theorem of historical materialism). Marxism's theses on historical accumulation overlay the general propositions of evolution by natural selection, which in turn reflect  bourgeois categories of expanding dominion. 

Just as the bourgeoisie seeks to maintain its hold on power through competitive innovation (the arms race of all terms) so Marxism seeks the objective conservation of fitting historical mutations under changing environmental conditions. However, Marxism has no effective power over environmental processes in order to secure which mutations are conserved and which are not.

With 'the essential proletariat', nihilist communism abandons the 'science' of history, and thus detaches itself from the ideology of realism... it has no interest in expropriating the existing apparatus and bending it to a better purpose where it conjectures that any designated better purpose is already expropriated by the apparatus, being one of its dream-products. That is to say, the 'essential proletariat' is a calculated gambit - a hypothesis made in bad faith.
  Nihilist Communism attempts to discover the most unlikely or outlandish outcome, a species-wide 'human community' given the containment of life-world processes, and thus human consciousness within the iron cage of production pour production. Every other theory of communism relies upon a pre-existing 'real movement' of humanisation which insists that the human species is really something  more, or even something else, than it actually is. Every other theory of social transformation presumes to asset an ideal human substance against historical form: a general will; a general desire; a general activity; a general capacity for world changing consciousness. Nihilist communism seeks to establish a theory of change for the better which also incorporates the sickness, the perversity, the vacillating pusillanimity of human beings. It begins not with their good but with men's capacity for evil. Above all, it strives not to express itself in conformity with that guillotine-happy, misanthropic 'love' of the People which drives so-called revolutionaries. It arrives at the theory of 'essential proletariat' as a structural defence, a sort of failsafe protection, against the traitorous villainy which has thus far constituted the 'revolutionary' activity of the communists.

The argument for the 'essential proletariat' must combine several propositions: 1. The world is literally a produced world; 2. Conscious efforts at redesigning the world end up, by way of unintended consequence, reproducing it as the same; 3. Every agency equally expresses the conditions of which it is a function; 4. Conscious agreement within populations on the precise values of in-group interest is delusory and unsustainable within an environment that generates perpetual differentiation as markets; 5. The question of transformation may only appear where the homeostatic equilibrium of environmental processes is punctuated.

Strategists for state power (and there are no other kind) calculate that any given modern population is always 3 days from 'anarchy' where life-world processes are suspended. In other words, under emergency conditions where the productive process has passed into a sate of interregnum, the subject population becomes radically divorced from what it was when constrained by productive relations. It is only under conditions of radical alienation from its host environment that an entity's exaptations come into play. And it is only through relations established via exaptations that an other environment may be adapted to and moulded into new forms.   

If the world is a produced world, then the cessation of production, rather than its transformation, is the only immediate alternative given that the revolutionising of the means of production is precisely the mechanism by which the same relations of production are maintained. If production of the produced world must be interrupted before any project of emancipation becomes realisable, then it is necessary to identify the most energy efficient and simplest means of effecting the interruption. If interruption of production and not transformation itself is the basis of any project of transformation, then the interruption must not itself behave as a function of reproduction (as for example, aberrant but contained behaviours such as war, capital flight, terrorism, natural disaster, popular unrest, leftist insurgency and so on).

If the employment of labour power is an essential component of production (appearing both as production's general principle and as a function within the realising process), then any interruption of its contribution is translated into an interruption of the apparatus as a whole.

If, for reasons of perpetual divergences in consciousness, and thus for reason of the elimination of the possibility of conscious practical activity, a general strike is out of the question, then the question of an interruption of the labour process is inseperable from the identification of that concrete labour, and those workers, essential to the ongoing production of the world. Or to put it another way, the essential proletariat is not a formation of 'the masses' but is that fleshy component of production which, by implementing a refusal of work, immediately interrupts the entire system.

The 'essential proletariat' is the most capitalised, and most integrated, fraction of the workforce. It is the fraction that is least likely to act against its conditions and yet, because its numbers are so small whilst its capacities for disruption of the 'whole' so great, the 'essential proletariat' gambit still seems a more likely circuit breaker than some potential mass movement.

Given, the higher chance of aberrant outcomes amongst smaller populations, it is to be hoped, as the proletariat is progressively essentialised by accumulating forces of production, that it will eventually be reduced to a single worker, whose work consists of pressing one essential button, and who is as subject to capricious whims as any other bored prince, wearied by the collective fate of unknown millions.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Why does nihilist communism argue that the revolution in two stages

Like good neo-Kantians, we learnt from the cyberneticists that there are no determining forces in the life-world, only conditions of possibility. Whatever appears is not set on its journey by some 'cause' which decides its progress from origin to decay. Everything that is is maintained 'as it is' by the operation of its constraints (that is, the recursive sets of cycling inputs and system leaks which preserve outlines in steady state and dynamic equilibrium.)

The linear model of causation, as this is embraced politically, is a corollary of perfectibility in works. In history, 'progress'; in politics, 'reform'; in evolution, 'ascent'; in consciousness, 'enlightenment'. Such concepts retrieve themselves from available resources, and emerge over and over within patterns that tend to replicate ideals of 'the incremental', 'the improvable', and 'the hygienic'.

Marxism's causal account of history, modelling itself on Darwinism, is that of the self-cleansing form. As a structure emerges within history, it throws off the muck of ages, and becomes cleaner. The more hygienic the form, the greater its capacity for self-forming separation. The promethean narrative of causation is directed towards its escape from causation, and this is only conceivable within the framework of incrementalism, improvability and sanitation as assertion of the self-causing form. The proletariat as subject and object knows to wipe its feet on the threshold of history.

Nihilist communism does not adhere to the model of linear causation. It perceives that every member of the set will 'get up with fleas'. The totalised, net-form, relations that constitute the life-world ensure that all members equally express its relations. No individual, group or class escapes its containment by the life-world. No individual, group or class is sufficiently hygienic that it may look in from outside. No individual, group or class may speak or act against its world in complete confidence that it is not also replicating the values of that world at another velocity.

At this point, there is some recourse to some conception of  'crisis theory' within nihilist communism. If class war is the dynamic force of capitalist relations, and every engagement renews those relations, then 'collapse' rather than strategy would appear to constitute the most likely form of release. It follows that, any potential collapse of a net-form set of relations would depend upon the corruption or depletion of an essential component or resource.

The most unstable factor of production is 'labour'. Not only does labour have 'objective and 'subjective' features, it is component, raw material and end product of the productive apparatus (that is, it appears as several inputs at once). Even so, labour in revolt remains capable only of replicating 'labour' and 'production for need' as the basis of its counter-lifeworld. Nihilist communism proposed that as a factor of  the capitalist relation in crisis 'there will be workers' councils'. And yet, the function of 'workers' councils' defines the concept of crisis management - historically, soviets have succeeded only in maintaining the production of use-values during crisis. When the economy is refinanced and passes out of spasm, the workers' councils fade away in the glare of business as usual.

For reason of the homing instinct in revolutionaries, as they seek unprecendented rationalisations for returning to familiar forms (the revolutionary secret police; the revolutionary state bureaucrats; the revolutionary managers of production), a revolt against the form of the revolution becomes the necessary condition of escape. If the first phase of social revolution is the seizure of the produced world by one of its essential components, then the second phase involves not permitting that component its return to familiar conditions.

Nihilist communism conjectures that the first phase of revolution, if it is implemented by labour, will involve a relatively small number of workers (what it calls, 'the essential proletariat'). As production passes therapeutically into an induced coma, the second phase must then be commenced - this will be undertaken 'consciously' on a 'species' scale (perhaps the only moment in all of history where consciousness, or its absence, will prove decisive one way or the other). The 'species' revolt will be directed against the possibility of a return to production as life-world. The first phase of revolt is conditioned environmentally by productive relations and realises the ideal form of production. The second phase is 'over-conditioned' by multiple crisis forms and thereby wins at least the possibility of selecting its environmental conditions - that is to say, it wins the chance to become its environment.


No revolutionary subject. No veto on containment. All forms equally express their conditions.

Why does nihilist communism give so much consideration to the affliction of Leninism?

1. Why should we pay attention to the tendencies of a now obsolete bourgeois faction of social managers when the ascendency of the bourgeoi...