"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Mar 20, 2011

Maoist Douchebag Lets Slip the Gig

A few days ago Broadsnark posted a fair if too brief take down of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, which was further discussed by Justin at Americana.

And while it's amusing that Che's visage has become a marketable commodity, the reality of the man's life, failures, beliefs and import illustrates the fundamental problem with the democratic centralist (Leninist, Stalinist) approach to remaking society.

It doesn't work.

"Che," as a revolutionary, has no use value whatsoever. He means nothing. He failed. He's the "the clapper" of revolution, an ultimately untimely gimmick introduced at the moment of its obsolescence.

Armed with the mystical dialectic and an urge to murder, he managed to botch everything he touched. Not only have Bolshevism and bureaucratic socialism proven to be revolutionary dead ends, but the arc of events  - oh vaunted Clio - have demonstrated the ineluctable truth of Che Guevara's uselessness as an exemplar and model for action. Rejected by the people he traveled across a continent to save from themselves, Che died the exact death he deserved, the one he earned - in and at the hands of an enemy as implacable as time. An enemy which knew its time as Che never did, and never could. Che, so fond of firing squads and tribunal "justice," died as he lived, producing in the end a corpse which served the needs of his killers in the same way that the corpses he produced, in the name of "revolution," served his own needs.

But don't let pissy "Maoist" douchebags in on the score. For Maoist douchebags who preach revolution from the beachside cabana, probably merited off of daddy's college contributions, Che is "one of the most successful and inspiring revolutionaries of the last century."

Murdering failures are inspiring to Maoist douchebags.

And in case that's not very clear to you, read on:

"Lemme make something clear: we like firing squads. We are down with internment camps. We think working class and oppressed people have every right to shoot their class enemies in the neck and leave them in a ditch."

You get that, kind readers? Some self appointed revolutionist* thinks he belongs to the revolutionary vanguard and its cool and neat and hip to intern people in camps or line 'em up for the firing squad.

For Maoist douchebags with a fondness for murder, I guess Che Guevara would inspire. I guess reading about his many failings and his own original douchebaggery is offensive, or something.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, right?

Still, I wonder why they can't get anyone to sign up for their revolution. The masses must be contracted and contradicted in their consciousnesses, n'est ce pas? Yeah, that's it...



* probably a trustafarian, this one...

19 comments:

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Trustafarian: for sure. I see them as a slightly more aggro version of the techno-libertarian who likes the idea of profit-via-privatization and free weed, doesn't care about more because busy hacking and/or gaming when not working as a code-writer or code-debugger.

The trust fund caste members I've known have a distinct sense of superiority in all aspects, including the right to decide who should live and who should die, and the further right to hasten the deaths of the unworthies.

Can't remember hearing a trustafarian talk about the needs or wants of anyone but other trustafarians.

Cüneyt said...

http://the-crows-eye.blogspot.com/2011/03/notably-quoted.html

We like to scoff at past attempts to cure diseases that still afflict us, don't we?

Jack Crow said...

I'm not scoffing, cuneyt. I'm deadly serious.

Do I have a problem with industrial bureaucratic murder, flounced up by a trust fund "Maoist"?

You betcha.

Do I have a problem with violence against oppressors? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. It's fairly easy for me to make a distinction so obvious - setting up punitive tribunals after winning a war is not the same as fighting against one's oppressors in an active or revolutionary uprising.

The difference between Lucy Parsons and Che Guevara ought to be available to anyone who cares to look. I don't know if you care to look, so I'll spell it out:

Lucy Parsons never killed anyone. She did not celebrate murder. She did not plan it. She did not make a political program about it. Even after her husband was executed on trumped up charges, she engaged the people on their own terms, as an equal. She never set up a revolutionary tribunal, or a state, in order to punish her enemies. She uttered the words quoted below at a union rally - and she never abandoned her rejection of state or punitive violence. She was not proposing to create a new hierarchy which punished ideological opponents. She was proposing a class war.

It's a sentiment one can understand, and quote, whether or not* a body agrees with it. Lucy Parsons does in fact imagine a war to the death. As conflict. You don't have to endorse it to the see the difference which separates a violent struggle between oppressors and oppressed from some trust fund baby's "revolutionary" call to produce internment camps and firing squads.

One describes an open conflict. The other imagines punishment after victory.

You can see the difference, right?

* - Pacifism only works if the oppressors tolerate it, or lack the resources or ability to manage a crackdown and its consequences.

Cüneyt said...

You produce a sophisticated response in short order. I'm not surprised.

I can see the difference. And to sound like a glib knowitall who can predict the future and claim knowledge of the human soul, I would add that I can see the difference in intent and in outset. Once you open the door to violence, you bring about authority.

But to answer your question directly, I do see a great, great difference in terror following victory and the initiation of conflict. But I also see the evolution of one to another.

And a war to the death is impossible unless you have superior military force... If you do not, you will always have a battle for minds. That's where the trouble begins. Even anarchists shot their traitors.

Jack Crow said...

I guess where we disagree is the following assertion, cuneyt:

"Once you open the door to violence, you bring about authority."

I don't think it's necessarily that sequential or determined. I'm going to break all the rules of anonymity, argument and formality, and use a very personal example:

I once stabbed a man in his heart. It was an extraordinary act of violence. I had reason and cause sufficient to avoid conviction and incarceration - no small feat given my poverty - but the act itself was so jarring and life altering that I have never been the same since. I almost killed him. Had I not called the emergency services number and got him medical attention, my act of violence would have killed him. I put the knife deep enough into his chest to permanently damage his heart. It was, without medical intervention, a fatal wound.

Granted, the violence was not political, but it was not without motivation, either. It was not random. He had just tried to do serious harm to my then girlfriend, had attacked other persons in my flat, and struck me with a blunt object forcibly enough in the face to leave a permanent scare and a lifelong problem with headaches.

He was one seriously hopped up man, fueled by overdose levels of cocaine, a fifth of whiskey, a case of beer and unreal gods know what else. He had all the power in the situation, and had been using it wantonly and indiscriminately. He'd torn a sink from the wall and the toilet bowl form its bolted moorings. He was intoxicated with his own abandon.

After attempting to speak him down, and away from both my girlfriend and her guests, he became enraged, striking her violently, and overpowering two of the other people in our apartment. Grabbing a lamp, he bashed me about the head and face, physically driving me clear across two rooms, into the kitchen.

There, in as much panic as deliberation, I grabbed the knife, took another blow to the head, and lunged out at him. Even at the moment I'd grabbed it, I intended him no harm. Thinking back, I cannot even clearly remember gripping it. I only recall pulling it out, with any clarity.

And the blood. The incredible amounts of blood. It pumps out from that sort of wound...

Jack Crow said...

(continuing)

...Realizing how badly I'd harmed him, I dropped the weapon, called the ambulance, resigned myself to arrest and tried to stem his bleeding all in one nearly fluid motion.

He was no longer enraged. A slack visage of stupor passed over his face, and he kept looking from his chest (the sopping blood soaked shirt!) to me and back again, making little "o" shapes with his mouth every few seconds.

The several of us took turns bearing down on his wound, placing pressure, giving him water, etc. There was no - literally none - violence left in the room. It was done. Over. We were all in shock, I believe. I know I was.

I was certain I'd just killed a man, in fact.

What I felt was not victory, or celebration, or satisfaction. It was profound, crippling sadness and regret (which I could not shake). I would still take it all back, even though I know my actions were not only just but necessary.

I did not get the kill high some people report feeling after doing demonstrable and lethal harm to another human being. I hated myself. Hated the memories which would not leave me. Hated the act, and the hand with which I'd committed it.

I never wanted to feel that sort of all encompassing power again. I still don't.

After doing that extraordinary violence to another person, I did not set myself as hero, an authority or as even a petty little prince of the moment. I could have. We were all criminals. That's what we did in our flat - crime. We were thieves, dealers, prostitutes and grifters.

With that sort of violence to my name, I would have had cache if I wanted it. I could have commanded fear and respect.

I'm not reporting this, by and by, to celebrate my noble restraint or saintly nature. I lack nobility. I reject all sanctity and consolation. It's just an illustration. An anecdote, perhaps, which might refute a too general, too deterministic claim.

Committing this terrible violence did not fill me with a feeling of power. It wasn't an opportunity to make a name and a push for control.

I ran. I ran as far as I could afford. Clearing the hurdle of court (the grand jury accepted the argument of self-defense, and I no longer got the joy of living on the county's incarceration dime), I took a path which led me as far from authority and the feeling of power as possible, spanning forays into monasticism, intoxication, self-annihilating meditation, revolutionary organization and eventually anonymous quietism.

I have never been able to reconcile the domination of another person so totally with violence, and the kind of person I choose to be.

I could never, doing that sort of violence, and knowing the naked abnegation of responsibility and self it represents, willingly establish myself as a power over others.

It has informed my every failure, economically and personally. Finding myself again and again competent enough to gain promotion into management (and always needing the extra money), I have inevitably sabotaged each position and my family's prospects by betraying that authority and undermining the companies for which I have worked.

Opening the path to violence, and even conceding its defensive necessity, has not led at least one person to power.

It's led me, instead, to a lifetime of rejecting it, and any and all forms I can identify, however poorly and belatedly.

Jack Crow said...

You know - it's always the people who have no intimate knowledge of or connection to the exercise of actual power, law, violence and control who imagine that they'll be the ones to tame and master those monsters.

This isn't addressed to you, Cuneyt. I'm just thinking of the cavalier disregard for suffering and consequences displayed by Guevara and the Maoist jerk quoted in the original above. Charles is right, it's those protected from their own consequences - the insulated, affluent and coddled - who most likely arrogate to themselves "the right to decide who should live and who should die, and the further right to hasten the deaths of the unworthies."

Charles F. Oxtrot said...

it's always the people who have no intimate knowledge of or connection to the exercise of actual power, law, violence and control who imagine that they'll be the ones to tame and master those monsters.

Precisely.

Cuneyt's comments strike me as clever solipsism, a kind which reveals the naivete you describe.

They read to me like this: "I won't suggest violence because it always leads somewhere bad. I'm going to work for change from within."

Meanwhile, in practice, that avenue looks like status quo maintenance.

Therefore it's an apology for the status quo ante.

Therefore it's either highly naive because it fails to appreciate what humans are made of (we're all violent, every one of us)... or it is a conscious desire to let the violent rule over the "pacifist" by suggesting more become "pacifist" which enables continuation of control.

Unless playing at sarcasm, Cuneyt's statements seem to misunderstand human nature, and seem to ignore the proper role of violence.

Study wolves to learn how one uses violence productively.

Cüneyt said...

Ugh. Blogger ate my post.

Bullet points:
Crow is more careful than Oxtrot, so I answer Jack first.

I wouldn't interpret your life, but I see your renunciation of authority as expression of authority. Blocked force with force. Anyway, I don't know how it really happened; admit my ignorance.

Charles, where did I say I judged violence as wrong because it brings authority? Shortage of value statements; only praised Crow for sophistication and otherwise stuck to facts or proposed facts.

To make clear: pacifists support the armies that won the last war. History of humanity one (among many forces) of power and violence.

Not naive about ability to tame and master monstrosity of violence and war. In fact, that lack of naivete motivated first statement. There is connection between the ability to do violence in order to take control and capacity to do violence in order to maintain or expand.

No defensive weapon: individually, Crow protected self, others by using violence. His choice was different and exceptional. Structurally, a defender may be a dominator rather easily. "An attack on any is an attack on all" is an anarchist slogan and a NATO practice. Organization brings power, cooperation can become centralization... Right does not exist except on our insistence, so...

Conclusion: very well to talk about my perceived naivete, but I would add that I want another naivete exposed/questioned. Is it naive to think that one can create a violent movement that is capable of challenging power without taking it, that can break organized forces without breaking the individual? Through what means do we intend to shut down the engine of death and destruction once we achieve our aims? Individually, this is possible. Structurally, I have my doubts.

But pacifism is no answer. That means we merely allow the engines that already run to maintain their operations.

Personally, I hope Crow's right.

JTG said...

Indeed, Che was really more of a thug than even the Castro brothers were/are. But I guess he looks better on a t-shirt.

And while I am aware that revolutions aren't pretty, if rich-kid trustafarian Maoists like this end up leading one, the majority of the "class enemies" lined up in front a ditch will very likely be other leftists and/or working-class people (while most of the real capitalists will have already fled to the Caymans and Dubai).

JTG said...

On the other hand, these twits are also just a bunch of Internet tough guys who wouldn't have the guts to lead a real revolution, much less start one.

Jack Crow said...

I really have to think about how this discussion has evolved. More later.

Jack Crow said...

Heh. The pissy Maoist douchebag thinks there's a moral and revolutionary unity connecting the anarchist anti-state Lucy Parsons, and the statist, firing squad loving filthy sexist homophobe, Ernesto.

Charles F. Oxtrot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles F. Oxtrot said...

Cuneyt, if you think my style of discussion is unpalatable because it fails to resemble the dissociated theory-harangue of Professional Leftists, that would explain why you dislike my internet persona.

I have no patience for the theorists who would prefer to split hairs that have been split many times already.

If violence is an integral part of human existence, it is silly solipsism to query whether using violence now will lead to constant use of violence later.

All situations have their own dynamics, Cuneyt. Nothing is a mirror of a past event. Nothing.

Sorry to have made you almost think. Next time maybe you'll skip the almost part, and go all the way there.

Cüneyt said...

Almost made me think? Well then, sorry, Charles, to have almost made you read. I never said that your post needed to resemble the blah-blah-blah. I said you needed to not put words in my mouth. I never justified institutional reform, or pacifism, or Professional Leftism. You've said I spout all of them. And if nothing is a mirror of a past event, then why blame Che for centralist murder? After all, maybe it'll work this time? Christ, without historical analogue you can make almost no political theory or system of thought possible.

Mr. Crow: I'm a Maoist now? I'm a Maoist for asking where murderers like Guevara come from? I posit no unity between individuals. Individual virtue or stance or label don't save us.

I'm extremely disheartened. I have apparently completely failed to convey my point.

Jack Crow said...

Cuneyt - huh? Who called you a Maoist?

Cüneyt said...

I'm sorry for my confusion, Jack. When reading the people you called Maoists, I saw nothing about Parsons and, since I was the only person bringing up a possible connection between initiation of class war and dictatorships that may coopt/follow class war, I thought maybe you were including me in your comment at 7:26 AM. Did said Maoists post something else?

Anyway, I shouldn't have jumped the gun.

Cüneyt said...

http://angrymarxists.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/pseudo-anarchists-as-liberal-counterrevolutionaries/#comments

Oh, yuck. I sure hope they made their own connection and didn't get the idea from me. I hate to think I could have emboldened some state capitalist poser.