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.

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