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.

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