Dienstag, Juni 29, 2010

Ghosts, Idiots (Useful and Real), and Vampire Ideologies...

Apparently, according to today's FAZ, there was a political conference in Berlin over the last several days.

The topic of the conference?

The Future of Communism.

Ye gods.

This is the Ghost of the Past, the Ideology that will not die despite having multiple stakes driven through its collectivist heart.

The Vampire Ideology.

It's not much of an article, but here are the highlights:

The new radical left is working hard to create a new basis for their ideology, combining Plato, Descartes, Heidegger, St. Paul, Marx and Lenin, all with the goal of liberating the concept of communism from its thoroughly discredited state. They've kidnapped Warlam Schalamow as the newly politically correct victim of the old system because his Kolyma works didn't try to discredit Stalinism; millions of dead are not worth speaking about; state communism as it was practiced was an accident of history and is only worth discussing because it damaged the concept of the communist utopia and put Marxism in bad grace.

Who can think this way?

Alain Badiou for one; Frank Ruda, Jan Völker, Cecile Winter, Slavoj Žižek, Bülent Somay. Those without links don't appear in Wikipedia.

They're all somnabulent post-materialist "thinkers" who, oddly enough, are either committed to the ideals of the communist revolution, believe that all life must be politicized, or who see themselves as critics of the supremacy of democracy.

Badiou talked about the need to question the very nature of democracy as it is becoming the major ideology. Ruda and Völker presented a philosophical manifesto, inspred from Descartes, which called for the courage and belief to support subjective judgements, as thought itself has been destroyed. Cecile Winters, Maoist, said that only communists could eliminate the State, but to do so required a new movement, one that creates "unrest that makes everything clear", and who sees the need for fifteen or more cultural revolutions to achieve utopia. Somay, apparently a hard-core Leninist, talked about the need to resurrect the working class, means of production and revolution. Žižek was apparently the highlight of the conference: he presented a marathon of anecdotes, jumps from one idea to another, no thesis, just a rambling discussion of terror and violence. Žižek is the pop star of the modern left, a showman who wants to bring new authoritarian "truth projects" to indoctrinate the young: his attempt, for instance, to resurrect Lenin is completely ahistorical, but talks about how the Revolution can succeed with brutality and class destruction.

The journalist, Regina Mönch, who wrote this up, points out in the article that the conference screened Alaxander Dovschenschkos classic work "Earth" from 1930, an aesthetic work about the destruction of the evil kulaks and the victory of the farmers, while ignoring the 10 mn killed by Stalin in the Ukraine.

The ghost of the title of this post is that of communism, in its purest and most devastating form, dedicated simply to the revolution and the destruction of the past in the name of utopia.

The idiots are both the useful idiots and the real idiots: the useful idiots are the hangers-on, the sycophants in the press and culture, who desperately want to believe in the utopia and hence are willfully, deliberately and malevolently blind.

The vampire ideology? An ideology that will not die, regardless of how many times it is shown to be wrong.

The irony of this all: it was Karl Marx who said the history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

The collapse of the Soviets and Eastern European communist regimes was the tragedy: this is farce.

The danger, however, is real: given the problems inherent to capitalism, there is the danger that a new communism is reborn that once again promises utopia in exchange for obedience.  We see this is the increasing criticisms - largely incorrect, but reported as if they were correct - that markets do not function, that capitalism always leads to collapse and ruin.

Beware of the beginnings. This vampire may have a stake through its heart, but as all good film-goers know, if the stake is removed, the vampire comes back to life.

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