Co-Written by Cass Frugé
When dealing with the question of what is to be done, it should be of upmost concern as to the method of change rather than the outcome. From this, we express a desire to break from the tradition of anti-capitalist thought, which spends its time concerning itself with the conditions after revolution, as well as how to familiarize common people into a radical milieu through methods of organization supposedly built to fit the needs of said people. Rather than the course of action being taken in accordance with a group of “revolutionary heroes,” the course of action is determined by the class which will realize its self-emancipation from capital.
In order to describe what we are we must first explain what we’re not. We are not here to propose an alternative, “radical” ideology, we view all ideology with skepticism. We aren’t here to advocate for a new party form or an anti-party form. We are not here to reveal some immoral nature of capitalism as we will not attempt to criticize capital within the confines of its own political consciousness. We do not engage in empty, pseudo-revolutionary rhetoric. We do not cloud our judgment with false hope.
As radicals it is of importance that our relation to other political positions is made clear. The left is a mess, and its alternatives aren’t any better. They are not ultimately failures due to their action or lack of action, rather they are obsolete as a result of their adherence to capitalist political consciousness. Capitalist society portrays politics as a battle of ideas by static, independent agents within a constant environment. In reality it isn’t ideas that act as the signifiers of social power, but the experiences of pseudo-collectives in a fluid environment which they are anything but independent from. The left tends to view the experiences of the working class as nothing more than determinants of their position as working class, not as determinants of the progression of capitalism. While experience is just as independent from oppressive capitalist conditions as the collectives they signify, the contemporary experience of capitalism is precisely what allows us to discover a reality beyond capital, because both experience and the interpretation of experience (the signification of a supposedly static, singular position within political consciousness) are reflections of the material realities which determine both. The left’s continuous use of oppressive experience as a mere signification of the proletariat is what has led to the mystification of the worker, an idealized caricature stuck in an early 20th century factory or even worse, a hut in the third world. This theoretical error is a consequence of the political character that the left represents, a populist movement in favor of fairly managed production. Ironically, it was the attempt to spark revolution through the education of the masses which caused the effective neutering of any anti-capitalist potential that may have once existed within the political left. A legitimately communist anti-capitalism, an anti-capitalism that is antithetical due to its communist aspects, cannot be watered down into a reinforcement of shallow identitarianism. We don’t need to preach a simplified pseudo-communism because we aren’t concerned with liberal political legitimacy.
There is no purpose in masking our identity for the sake of appealing to liberal ideological bounds, as that isn’t a concern. “Leftist” could be attributed to a vast number of political positions, the vast majority of which consist of the progressive/cadre-esque wing of capital (being the recuperated and counterrevolutionary positions among supposed anti-capitalist politics). Leftism, if anything, is a graveyard of social movements and political tendencies, as almost all which can be classified as “leftist” is a result of the failure of old revolutions and philosophy deeply rooted in partaking in blatant liberal morality in supposed opposition to capitalism. Class struggle has no concern over whether or not the consciousness of the movement is compatible with or functions in favor of the capitalist superstructure, as the movement of abolition is in direct contradiction with said institution. Rather than revolutions being the immediate fault of shifting political tides, revolutions are at least meant to liberate life from the prevailing network of capital. This is a purely proletarian cause, not the cause of ideologues. Ideological tendencies mainly become attributed to activity only when the activity of proletarians begins to sink into counter-revolution as we can observe in past experiments in movements of self-management. In a revolutionary situation the participants are more inclined to join a movement because they are conscious subjects wishing to change life and negate their present condition rather than a movement which preoccupies itself with principles instead of escape routes. The revolts of the past which can be highlighted as authentically proletarian were highlighted as such for the explanation that the goals of the movement were interested in the abolition of capitalism and the emancipation of the revolutionary class from their previous conditions, not some utopian goal in which we create new society in the face of already existing economic conditions. The fact that most who may be categorized as “leftist” take an ideological position regarding capitalism is something which should be highlighted, and thus acknowledged in its critique.
The left offers what the left has always offered: alternatives rather than abolition. We may transgress capitalism because it offers us new ways to organize which may act in accordance with supposed natural desire, the left has historically proposed. Why be critical of this mindset? It’s not merely that we are critical of the leftist mindset towards realizing post-capitalism because of the origin of this phenomenon, we are critical because offering an “alternative” ignores the reality that any alternatives are meaningless in a world driven by capital. We cannot simply set up individual societies in our world and expect this experiment to be a working example of humanity after capitalism. We are born in, eat, breathe, sleep, and think capitalism at all times. To think we can create a society in which we have moved past capitalism in a world dominated by capitalism is a regrettably popular position held by many leftists, and proposing of how said situation could look or discussion regarding old movements regarding classification are common among this milieu.
Those who call for action against capitalism often tend to ignore the way capitalism works as an oppressive force. How can this be when those proclaiming themselves “proponents of taking action” be misguided in the way they understand the very thing they oppose? If we are to be frank, every instance in which the power had been held by those supposedly taking action has been a clear demonstration of how deep capitalist realism runs. They call action against those who they perceive as class enemies, those who use their positions as a means of generating capital, those who hold integral positions in the distribution of ideological soup. Where and when will they recognize that these people (and subsequently themselves) are products of how capital further spirals out and down upon the hellish cycle? The general reaction produced by the “woke” is one not far from the immediate delusions of an intoxicated mind jumping to their immediate thoughts and believing them to be grand realizations.
Where are we going with this? People make mistakes in how they understand their lack of freedom and how to overcome it. This is admittedly not a very profound observation on its own merit. It’s not necessarily that they do and that we simply do what we can to separate ourselves from this practice. What’s important here is that certain ways in which we experience daily life cause us to be consumed by the false hope of “emancipation from the capitalist class.” Those in power are an expression of power, the manifestation of power. They are products of a social order generated by capital. Capital has implanted power generation tools deep within all we can perceive. In the spirit of Debord, capitalism is the autonomous movement of the nonliving. This movement of the nonliving is the very thing that produces the manifestations of power. Capital produces its own mind-altering nanotechnology, as capital continues to penetrate the mind this nanotechnology masks itself as another piece in the puzzle.
As we perceive the moving forward of time, the degree of separation we experience with the things we must demand becomes evermore obtuse. Opportunities of accumulating power are generated as a result of the bringing about of capitalist life. Management engages itself according to the will of capital, and this management pushes itself further into producing separation. Separation isn’t limited to the workplace and in consumer life, but permeate throughout all. As capital engages its separation mechanisms, it teases its subjects, causing these subjects to take upon a notion of the things they need being just so close to their grasp. The more something has control, the more it proposes itself as a pathway to emancipation, and even those in control don’t tend to acknowledge this property of power. Separation can manifest in our decisions, practices, arguments, realizations and our material environment. Independent thought is chained to the encompassing influence of ideology, decisions in the fulfilling of survival and desire, ideas, dreams, passions, the simple task of life is in absolute control by capital. The way in which we express the movements of thought and action are justifiable to upbringings, the codes which adjust our behavior to the desires of capital.
Separation works to create moments of falsely perceived independence and autonomy, where decision making and participation in daily life is thought to be atomized rather than towards further inclusion. Our decisions are submission to our separation, where power asserts itself to push us into certain directions in order to be rewarded with the things we are separated from. Actions perceived as resulting from atomized thinking provide us with the release of self-satisfaction in a world plagued by repeating the same hellish cycle and generally depressed masses. Self-satisfaction from this unperceived gratification by the machines of separation cause one to assume supposed “realizations” about our condition, and subsequent visions of grandeur and victory.
We may have specified in our target of criticism ,however, that what’s just been described can be applied to any political consciousness no matter where it may stand on any political spectrum. The problem here is that this false consciousness is present in so-called emancipatory movements. The assumptions of methods, practices, and movements of those wishing to move beyond our immediate surroundings have for many instances of supposed emancipatory action been a justification of the very thing they propose to move past. For too long, these movements have been in the hopes of managing power in a direction of benefit rather than overcoming what allows power to manifest as a result of capital. New dances are choreographed for the world stage, all going along the same tune, conveying the message of “Arbeit Macht Frei” as a signifier of inspiration and freedom.
Proposals of new solutions to supposedly fill the gap of power left by the bloody overcoming of the capitalists is a grand mistake on behalf of those engaging in emancipatory attitudes. As a result of consciousness conducted by capital we expect power to be ever-present, regardless of how power may be produced. The general attitude of politics is that power is a utilitarian force which we may manipulate in whatever direction we understand to produce a general moral good outcome. This good outcome is being able to fulfill the needs of those separate from immediate power generation and how we may utilize capitalism for this end. The reason why this all is a product of separation is because the process of separation alludes at the fact that we may never be able to actually realize life outside capitalism. Regardless of how we manipulate power and the process of capitalism, we aren’t free from the processes of separation. The demands that capital feed upon are fulfilled whenever there is a production of new ways to carry out its demands. Capitalism relies on a change in how we produce sufficient ends to the demands of capital, and the degree at which change and engagement by people increases as capital takes hold and continues in its path of annihilation.
What can we do as an effort to overcome the inability to see past capitalism as the force of utility? Everything may seem a bit daunting, and falling fault to this thing is quite easy to overlook as mere compromise rather than total concession to oppressive power. This conceding all results from the fact that emancipatory politics fails at grappling hold of separation and destroying the production of it. We cannot continue to fulfill the demands of capital as a product of emancipation, otherwise we’re capitulating to the very thing that produces our state of misery.
A problem of emancipatory movements has been a devotion towards the transmogrification of capitalism, as stated earlier. The paradigms and daily functions of capitalism are overlooked in favor of simply understanding how capitalist power has manifested itself and this structure of power creates an imbalance of benefit. It’s easy to overlook these factors, and in hindsight it’s a large factor in the failure of movements. If we are to view capitalism as a weed, the processes of value production and commodification are its roots. Subsequently, ways in which these processes effect greater life are what is most apparently visible to those supposedly wishing to change life, with the observation of power and subservience relating to an observation of a weed’s growth and spread. And just like a weed, the simple act of weed wacking does not eliminate the weed. So long its roots remain intact, the weed remains alive and will inevitably grow back. Because commodification and the production of value as well as the existence of power are accepted truths of the human condition, they are overlooked despite being necessarily oppressive and at the source of capitalism’s survival. Eliminating capitalist life would mean poisoning capitalism or rooting it out of our lives, making of new ways of living and being. As is said in Raoul Vaneigem’s work Revolution of Everyday Life; “The same people who are murdered slowly in the mechanized slaughterhouses of work are also arguing, singing, drinking, dancing, making love, holding the streets, picking up weapons and inventing a new poetry.”
Work fetishism is a core proponent of supposed emancipatory movements, whether this work fetishism masks itself as a sort of vulgar opposition to work or embraces performing the necessary tasks to have capitalism continue. Work fetishism doesn’t exist insofar as embracing an outwardly productivist mindset, it exists as understanding sentience to be one which desires to produce and create. A common claim among leftists is that capitalism is a system which produces misery through an appropriation of this desire. The immediate desire of emancipation is to take the desire away from supporting capitalism and towards supporting collective benefit. The problem here is that this line of thinking is a direct product of general politics. Even if the goal in mind is to get rid of the system of wages and commodity production, the fetishization of work still has the potential to be a factor in one’s line of thinking. Again, this is ignoring how productivism plays an integral role in the workings of class society. Desiring greater degrees of free time still does not transgress work. All of this may still treat the person as a primarily productive subject, which is the very essence of work fetishism. Labor remains the subject of praise by the work fetishist, as the person defined as laborer fights for better conditions rather than escaping their definition as such.
Simply desiring to fight against the productivist attitudes of capitalism is not abolishing work. Work can remain as long as there is an institution or paradigm that propagates the notion that the nature of individuals is geared towards “creation” or “self-fulfilling productivity.” Abolishing work means going beyond that notion of productivity, not proposing a liberation of productivity from capitalism. A very common proposal by communists, even from supposed work abolitionists, is labor vouchers. Although as proposed they do not function as a currency, they still act as measures of productive contribution. If we are to remain under the notion of labor being the source of value, how is it that we can permit the usage of labor vouchers as a measurement of work and therefore an expression of value? The excuse for the usage of these is to mediate between communism and capitalism, simply to allocate resources based upon one’s labor contributions. However, we cannot preserve certain methods of oppression but at lesser oppressive quality than unmasked capitalism. The very point of acting against capitalism is to affirm life, to affirm that we must break from the production of separation, of values, of power, and of ideology. We cannot concede our efforts to preserve a movement, for at that point we might as well admit failure to transgress.
Leftism cannot be analyzed independently of formalism. Politics is ultimately a struggle for power through organization, and as such leftism becomes political through formalism. While this approach arises from a legitimate aspect of Marxist thought that aspect highlights an unfortunate discrepancy in Marx’s theory, although Marx acknowledged that class, and therefore class struggle, formed out of capitalist relations/processes there was little elaboration on how class struggle and conditions accelerated towards revolution. Thus, formalists took the easy way out by focusing on matters of how the proletariat was to take and execute power as if they were independent of conditions. While the left communists pointed out this flaw they still failed to address to lack of information on how material conditions would evolve to provide a basis for communism. Further more, the communist left took up the object of their criticisms themselves by espousing organizational theories which were still independent of material conditions. Marx understood that the bourgeois gained power because they created new methods of production which led them to overthrow the nobility, yet there is no mention of such relations being created by the proletariat. The material conditions and the classes mold each other, formalism fails to elaborate on this by reducing revolution to an organizational, political problem instead of a social one. It also cannot be denied that no revolutionary struggle has ever started out with revolution in mind, organization has always formed according to the material conditions at the time and the nature of the struggle. Organizational theories will always be inaccurate due to the changing conditions of capitalism and therefore anti-capitalist struggle. It is impossible to predict what methods will and won’t work at a particular time within a particular group as we cannot accurately predict how capitalism and class will change. The nature of both has changed significantly since Lenin’s time, the Fordist condition of labor and the Fordist proletariat, a predominantly white, male group, has been replaced by a service oriented economy with a significant minority representation in the first world. The third world seems to have almost completely inherited the Fordist model only composed of a marginalized workforce under conditions reminiscent of the early 1900’s. The introduction of computers and evolution of automation has also contributed greatly to an evolving system of production as we will discuss further in a later chapter. Formalist Marxist ideologies are no longer as useful as they once might have been not only due to their inherent incapability to predict the future but also their assumption of a proletariat with the ability to unite and create change as one force with one universal goal. That mythical notion of class was never the case and it certainly isn’t the case today, there have always been marginalized sections of the proletariat which posses different goals and experience different struggles, women, people of color, third world workers, and other groups face their own struggles in relation to capital. They cannot be united in the way leftism has imagined they could be, that is, united against capitalism despite their differences, because their struggles have outlasted capitalism itself.
Seeing as how our proposals will inevitably be labeled as anarchist, let us make our position clear. Social anarchist tendencies are flawed in primarily their workerism, however, anarchism as an analytical, rather than a political theory is much more interesting. Even Marxists acknowledge that an inequality of resources created the basis for exchange and commodity production. Productive society, a society which primarily seeks to produce a surplus, needs hierarchies in order to function as is evident in capitalism. While Marxism can analyze hierarchies it is only by virtue of their connection to capital when in fact certain hierarchical institutions such as racism and sexism have a history which outlives the dawn of capitalism as Marx defined it. The Marxist conception of history is also flawed due to its reliance on stages, the notion that historical progression can be organized into tidy socioeconomic stages is less competent in regards to unequal development throughout the world. While Marx did accurately analyze much of how capital works and therefore cannot be completely rejected, analyzing society according to systemic hierarchy implies the findings of Marxism and covers a broader range of issues.
Things get a bit messy when we approach the question of revolution from the anarchist stance, as the notion that it is always possible is both correct and incorrect. because class struggle is a necessary reality of capitalism there is always a possibility that revolution will occur, however, there is a difference between class struggle which occurs from a place of change within the system ie. union strikes and other pushes for reform and class struggle which occurs from a place of revolutionary change. Furthermore, there is a variation of threat to the system among occurrences of struggle, it is these variations which are influenced by changes within the structure of capitalism, therefore revolution is not always possible. However, while the narrative of productive stagnation is likely true, it’s difficult to even know what it would look like when it occurs due to the complexity of capitalism and the degree of secrecy which surrounds the business dealings of companies. The information necessary to make that call is often not available, which is why Marxism has traditionally relied on occurrences of struggle rather than economic trends. Leftists in general have been predicting the collapse of capitalism as imminent for decades, and yet even after the advent of the spectacle, sign value, and capitalist realism they’ve still never been able to predict when struggles become prominent much less when revolution will occur. Capitalism has shown itself to possess an uncanny flexibility towards its contradictions. Revolutionary struggles have always acted on the position that revolution is possible, and while these struggles only exist due to structural influence we cannot definitively connect the two, we can’t predict which changes and when struggles become truly revolutionary. because we can never know when revolution is possible we must rely on analysis of the variations of struggle which will be discussed in a later chapter.
To criticize the left is to criticize moralism, the left has arguably become so drenched in it that it is often assumed that those who talk about ethics in the mainstream political sphere are left wing while the right boasts its supposed rationality. It is thus necessary to address this fundamental error in leftist thought, as upon further analysis it shows itself to be a problematic anti-capitalist narrative. Firstly, it’s important that the left acknowledges morality as an idea like any other, and like any idea it is a product of its time, that time being the conditions of capitalism, and to an extent all eras prior to it. A capitalist morality will always seek to encourage adherence to the current social order because it is used primarily to regulate nonconformist behavior, as is the function of morality. This is what makes it a fundamental component of liberal ideology.
According to the moralist left, capitalism is inherently immoral, implying that there is instead some other structure or force which is moral. In a similar fashion to the media frenzy surrounding criminality the left creates a frenzy surrounding the perceived immoralities of capitalism in order to reaffirm the moral superiority of the worker, of “communism”. This becomes illogical quickly, because for them the proletariat is not the revolutionary subject because they are antithetical to capital, they are antithetical to capital because they are morally superior to a decentralized structure. Our morality is fundamentally based on the actions of individuals, to posit any sort of immorality within a society is to also posit that those individuals which practice said immoral acts are also immoral. The problem is that the proletariat, according to moralism, logically is just as much at fault because they too practice the capitalist relation of wage labor. Some might object to this saying that the proletariat have no choice but to sell their labor and consume to which we would reply, are the bourgeois somehow exempt from starvation? The capitalists have to make money just as the proletariat does, they just have the advantage of being a direct slave to capital instead of a direct slave to a boss. The moral narrative implies that it is primarily the fault of everybody that they are suffering under capitalism, however, in order to appeal to the proletariat the left has to modify this. This is the origin of a politics which blames the rich, even the super rich, of the faults of an entire socioeconomic system. The paradox this then implies is that there is somehow an alternative capitalism where the rich are either gone or no longer misbehave. You get the picture here. Not only can the proletariat not be morally superior as a collective to a collection of relations practiced by every individual, including themselves, but they forget that morality as we know it today emerged out of capitalism. It is not a reliably emancipatory motivation because morality is by nature conservative. As demonstrated, not only is morality unreliable but its use as justification is bound to devolve into scapegoating, the one percent narrative for example. Is it possible for the richest people to be less ethical? Of course. Is capitalism as a whole slightly contradictory to certain widely held morals? Yes, but that isn’t a helpful narrative. When taken to its logical conclusion moralism becomes nothing more than the kind of vacant politics that proliferate left right and center precisely because they don’t challenge anything.
It is necessary to conclude that even the notion that greed is wrong, that it is immoral that poor people exist, etc. implies that the ethical burden of anti-capitalism relies on the actions of individuals. When the left claims that capitalism is an immoral system what are they really implying? That those who benefit from capitalism are immoral? That those who support capitalism are immoral? How can a structure bear the responsibility of morality without implicating those who practice it? It can’t, which is why moralistic anti-capitalism results in nothing more than the judgment of individuals. It is capitalism which we should be critical of not the rich. Morality, being formed as a justification of capitalism by those who benefit from it more or less, is often reduced to a reliance on micro-relations for this reason. When the left professes themselves as a moral compass they’re right, just like the neoliberals and other right wingers are moral compasses. Whether they are morally right or wrong is unimportant, because no matter who you believe is or isn’t, no potential for change exists. All political moral positions imply the superiority of individual rather than structural burden.
The conditions of the proletariat as they stand are evermore confused. Revolutionary activity is almost always present in one form or another, with the communist movement taking precedent in almost all spaces of the world. However, the theoretical movement has been infested with individuals who take a strictly political stance on this movement or have origin in counterrevolutionary appropriation of struggle. The program of leftism has had its negative theoretical influence on the movement to abolish present conditions, and we need not an ideological platform for class struggle. It’s come to a point where individuals see it fit to deny the international character of Communism, to deny the revolutionary character of Communism, or to deny communism as a movement centered around the affirmation of life itself. Given everything, how may we be able to eclipse the predominant economic machine and rid of our current conditions of social organization? To clarify, we do not take the position that we will simply wait until the revolution happens, we also recognize that revolution should not take on a persona of simply establishing strongholds of revolutionary activity and then waiting for said stronghold to expand influence, as this failure was characterized in the wave of activity throughout the 19th century and earlier half of the 20th century. A program regarding the outlook of an anti-capitalism should be formulated according to contemporary conditions of class struggle. We don’t take the position that past theory no longer applies, rather that we should be critical of certain attitudes or principles held in old programs. As well as this, we should recognize that the revolutions of the past are events which we may spend our time analyzing but not something which we can take from in terms of practice.
Communization is one of the most misunderstood and confusing tendencies within contemporary Marxist theory. Many texts are, in our opinion, unnecessarily abstract the concept, making it incredibly vague and seemingly academic. This was not done for the mere sake of esoteric narcissism on the part of commmunization theorists (although it wouldn’t surprise us if certain chic “intellectuals” did so for the sake of masking a certain anarchism), it was done because communization is for all intents and purposes still a work in progress. It’s also a theory that has its reaches in many areas, such as gender and racial issues. As a whole, however, it is agreed upon that communization sees class struggle and the overall movement nature of communism to be one that evolves over time through an anti-work or anti-productivist tendency. This tendency can be seen in all manners of worker struggles, and it’s identified as both an antithetical element of more obvious capitalist societies to less obvious ones such as those established by the leftists in the 20th century revolutions. This struggle creates an environment which allows the workers to band together, organize, but most importantly relate to each other in a way that stands outside of and hostile to relations which serve to reproduce capital. It is a relation that extends an individual or group’s societal position outside that of being fellow wage laborers. Communization rejects the notion of communism being defined by stages. The abolition of class does not necessitate a separate society with its own separate struggle to overcome. This does not mean, however, that communization rejects the dictatorship of the proletariat, this is a common misconception. Communization does not reject that proletariat state, it merely rejects the necessity of that state to form a society separate and specifically precursory to communism. It only exists, as Marx theorized, to transform the society into a communist one before dissolving.
Communization isn’t merely a process of revolutionary transformation. To simply state the prior is insufficient in describing what constitutes communist revolution and the transformation of life in general. We take the position that a revolutions cannot be classified as communist unless they are in an active effort to transform life and its subsequent relations from that of capitalism to communism. We reject posing revolutions in terms of organization, rather we pose that revolution can be defined in terms of its content alone. We don’t posit that revolution is simply the exchange power into the hands of the proletariat away from the bourgeoisie in pursuit of a transitional regime, rather revolution is the transformation of power, in that revolution is the act of self-abolition. Revolution is creating relations to negate class and realizing that our condition as proletarians is to be abolished rather than fetishized in the face of the bourgeois powers. If the bourgeois powers no longer function as a directing order of society and now the working class is the main organ of political power, the real content of capitalism has not been done away with. The economic reality of capitalism, being the constant commodification of our lives, still prevails. How can we consider this establishment revolutionary when all it has done is establish a sort of new capitalism?A dictatorship by the proletariat does not only undermine capitalism’s superstructure with ignorance to the nature of the base. The realization of transformation is an active attack on the base (mode of production), thus action in a revolutionary situation is to act in direct opposition to capitalist economic relations.
The concentration on organization within “revolutionary” theory has become the primary bastardization of Marx and the hallmark of leftism. We will not examine organization as if it exists independently of structural conditions and class conflict. The left’s focus on formalism makes apparent their strictly political existence. For leftism, revolution is just a matter of sparking revolt by organizing the proletariat into “revolutionary groups”, as if their status as revolutionary existed independently of material conditions. While some tendencies such as Leninism and Left Communism (both Italian and Dutch/German) acknowledge that proper organizing can not bring about revolution they continue to make the similar mistake of ascribing revolutionary status according to political organization. This approach ignores the actual transformation of social relations within the proletariat and experience. Over emphasis on organizational methods does not take into account the fact that the ways in which the proletariat will organize themselves not only depend on the material conditions of the time but are as fluid as those conditions. Capitalism progresses as it continues, and with it the particular struggles and consciousness of the proletariat. Why wouldn’t the organization of revolting workers change as well? In fear of becoming eventually inapplicable we would prefer not to posit a concrete method.
Some communization theorists such as Bruno Astarian have criticized Marx for his lack of attention to the phenomenon of timed production and its relationship to capitalism. Communization theorizes that work as opposed to merely labor is determined as production which takes place during specifically timed intervals. Production is encouraged to be as efficient as possible. The measure of value necessarily requires that production be organized into specific intervals. While Marx isn’t criticized for misrepresenting this, communization has attempted to fill in the gaps left by this lack of analysis. Marx has also been criticized for some of his descriptions of communism, specifically, ignoring the abolition of work as social conditions under communism would make work irrelevant. There is no reason to produce absurdly more than necessary in a society without a market, why would such an approach to production be necessary? This is why communization theory has such an emphasis on anti-work. The social approach to production will be very different under communism than it is today. Communism contains a transformation of productive social relations where work is abolished in favor of community collaboration. While we cannot envision exactly what communism would look like, we can definitively say that communism will primarily be determined by this process.
Communization is an attempt to concentrate on the transformation of social relations within a revolutionary abolition of the distinction between social and productive practices. With this in mind, the tendency has analyzed race and gender relations under capitalism. Such writings focus on the anti-capitalist cultural tendencies which arose within the inner city as well as the development of gender relations throughout capitalism as theorized by Endnotes(citation) for instance. While communization attempted to make up for Marx’s faults in regards to how the proletariat was to evolve with revolutionary conditions through its theory of anti-work, it only revealed that anti-work struggles served as a means through which revolutionary tendencies manifested themselves. It has provided little analysis on how struggles become anti-work and why, because unfortunately for communization not every class based struggle escalates into becoming a rejection of work and an even smaller portion of struggles become situations in which communization can occur. Communization theory implies both a correct and incorrect notion of communism as theorized by Marx, on the one hand struggle develops communism alongside capitalism, it is the abolition of the present state of things, however, by theorizing “communization”, the process which transforms capitalist relations into communist ones, as only occurring in a crisis situation in the context of an anti-work struggle it implies that the former notion is not really communism but rather a mysterious reality which is in some unknown way connected to class struggle. Ultimately communism as a movement was not given the elaboration and focus necessary to legitimately distinguish communization theory from leftism as it is still predominantly preoccupied with organizing a society rather than how conditions would evolve to form that society. Such an error leads to an emphasizing of hypothetical situations which do not represent the majority of the everyday struggles and pressures experienced by members of the proletariat, it ends up like leftist theories being fairly inapplicable to class struggle much less to more structural changes in capitalism.
It could be said that we are currently approaching an age of pure appearances before approaching the collapse of capital. Capitalism has proven to be much more adaptable than Marx predicted. The tendency of the rate of profit to fall continues to accelerate the process of values being expressed through appearance alone, not immediately towards the complete collapse of capitalism. Capitalism today maintains its death through appearances, through the spectacle of its demise in slow motion. Will it ever truly die? The historical anti-work tendency as analyzed by the communization current presents a possible opposition to contemporary capitalism. Perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of the communization current is its critique of work. Work, by directing activity toward alienated production alone through a variety of methods, forms the basis for productive society (a society whose sole purpose is to arbitrarily advance productivity). An activity is defined as work if it is productive for the sake of production, not for the sake of the worker. Note that this is not referring to the worker’s desire, a worker may only desire to produce to make money but this definition refers to the structural formation of work. This formation manifests itself to the subject through an alienation from the productive process. (Baudrillard proposed that in order for capitalism to end an opposing order of appearances based on the real was necessary.) The attitudes held by those involved with anti-work action can only be described as a distinct culture which persists across a variety of locations and time periods. While it would be tempting to blame these behaviors on some inherent psychological tendency, yet how can this be claimed when the proletariat is bombarded with cultural messages which present them with a contradiction between social expectations and their condition. This is why anti-work movements, as members of the communization current have implied, often create a micro-culture of their own, an attempt to rationalize the contradictions within capitalist culture. Simply, a culture which emerges out of an anti-capitalist revolt implies that the culture, behavior, or attitude is a result of capitalism. This is communism as a movement which abolishes the present state of things, and it possesses the capacity to be transformed into an order of appearances that challenges the assumption of capitalism’s immanence.
What is a rebellion against an all-encompassing system? Any, any transgression, any deviation from the societal norms (note that this is somewhat relative depending on the environment) is a symptom of contraction. Transgression is transgression precisely because it is a symptom not just of contradictions within the logic of capital but the mortality of productive society. Transgression comes in a plethora of behaviors, ranging from interpersonal manifestation to manifestation within action. Transgression is not always acted out through the subject, sometimes it presents itself as an entirely new structure. Not all transgression is “revolutionary” despite it creating the repetition necessary for the continuation of struggle; as far as we’re concerned the only “revolutionary” actions are the ones taken during the revolution. Transgression has developed into its current expressions over all previous modes of production, struggle is not exclusive to capitalism, it is the process by which production progresses towards ultimate subjectivity, a state in which value is not expressed through alienated means. Class struggle, while consciously motivated by self-preservation implies a deeper structural process through which subjects attempt to preserve themselves through reterritorialization because they have been deterritorialized only to continue this cycle. Class struggle is the process which negates itself by negating the possibilities of struggle, of transgression, until the only escape possible is the one which destroys the system. Processes which make up the structure change as it attempts to recuperate and reintegrate various manifestations of transgression.
Transgression does not arise from some innate human desire for freedom, people are socialized to conform in every society no matter the mode of production and often stay that way, especially with the amount of oversocialization that has arisen in recent decades via the spectacle. Transgression tends to arise from a contradiction between socializing agents and reality. It starts as a misguided attempt at conformity which morphs into revolt. For instance, there is the capitalist myth of self-determination, the bootstraps mentality. While the proletariat is encouraged to become capitalists, when they actually try to do this however, most will find that this is out of their reach. As Max Stirner theorized, there is the ideal self, in this case the successful entrepreneur, which the subject uses as a method of self evaluation is something which the subject is never able to actually live up to, they are not supposed to live up to it because that is how culture keeps people subservient. The subject traps themselves in a cycle of repression which is only broken when they realize that they are molding themselves according to a myth that they will never become. The subject either continues to delude themselves or adopts an antagonistic attitude towards the culture. Our job is to turn that into antagonism towards the system but more on that later. The subject does not unfortunately reject the values and thought processes which they were socialized to believe, that kind of change does not happen overnight, antagonism towards the myth turns into re-socialization with education.
Tendencies of transgression are consequences of the contradictions and progressions of capitalism. An authentically anti-capitalist movement should accelerate these tendencies, class contradictions. Even when our tactics are recuperated, which as history has shown us will certainly occur, in order to create a movement which brings the real into our awareness we must continue to critique the past and push for true anti-capitalist tactics in spite of this. This process expands the anti-capitalist appearance within society, despite much of its recuperation, those who dig deeper into anti-capitalist ideas soon find that even recuperated appearances communicate the lack of systematic immanence. A consciousness of exploitation alone doesn’t incite the proletariat to revolt, their exploitation is already experienced and acknowledged, it’s the reality historical progression, specifically that capitalism could end, which causes revolt. This knowledge must not only be communicated within the movement, as communication alone atomizes the struggle, but this knowledge should be brought into awareness within the wider society. It has to be acknowledged within wider society that the end of capitalism is the fundamental contradiction in which our society bases itself around. Today is an era of perpetual crisis, or rather the spectacle of crisis. In order to preserve itself capital projected a simulation of itself, one in which capitalism appeared to function in the background while we merely simulated its relations. Capitalism appeared immanent as leftism faded out of the public, however now, the simulation of capitalism has become hyperreal due to a furthering of capitalist contradictions. The hyperreality of today is exemplified by a spectacularization of crisis, our consciousness of society is completely disconnected from that which actually forms it, the mode of production. This hyperreality creates absolute immanence through an ignorance of long-term historical tendencies. Crisis as a spectacle is a consequence of time appearing to stand still, we expect progress which is precisely why contemporary consciousness is stuck in a perpetual state of anxiety. Why is the media creating contemporary crisis? Climate change for instance has been documented for several decades now, yet it only became seen as an ecological crisis recently. The “rise of fascism” as portrayed by the media is merely the spectacle of the same reactionary tendencies which have been harming and endangering minorities since the dawn of capitalism.We are stuck at the turning point of history. Now more than ever we need to bring awareness of this reality into political consciousness. This can only be done through a movement which seeks to abolish the present state of things.
We don’t want to raise awareness, that’s not how consciousness works. Consciousness, theory, is spread, it integrates itself into the attitudes and cultural of a group. It is a tool immediately for social connection and the creation of social networks, thought is a social affair. Theory, if it can even still be called theory at the following point, disintegrates into a system of values and through repetition becomes ideology. We propose a position which is critical of everything. A position which seeks to accelerate struggle to the point of implosion. The dawn of communism will consist of the dissidents of the dissidents of revolutionary movements, an implosion of consciousness which rebels against the experience of life itself.
We do not regard Marxism as a merely political program, a philosophy of liberation, this approach has always proven itself to be incompetent. Those who approach Marxism as if it was a program tend to fall into two camps, the first of which aims to bring about change through a change of consciousness. According to this tendency the proletariat would surely overthrow capitalism if only they knew that they were being exploited, unfortunately this relies on a flawed assumption. Many workers already know that they are being exploited, perhaps they are not knowledgeable of the intricacies of Marx’s theories of value but even if this revolutionary enlightenment was to be achieved a good portion would have a similar degree of consciousness anyway as there are just too many workers for everyone to study Marx. Where is the revolution? Unfortunately, the proletariat is not the naive, unaware mass of neanderthals upper class leftists assume they are, the working class is more educated than ever with many of them possessing college degrees in the first world. One would think a decent portion of them would have at least heard of Marx’s theories on the exploitation of the proletariat once or twice during their education. The internet has allowed Marx’s theories to spread, allowing people without advanced degrees to learn about their exploitation. Information is being spread to a wider population more now than ever before, and yet, no uprising has occurred. The alternative camp sees this flaw of the first to which they respond that the proletariat will not take collective action until material conditions get to a certain point in which they are forced to do so. While this is certainly true to an extent this does not account for capital’s amazing flexibility, Baudrillard’s theory of sign-value as a response to the further depletion of value under capitalism. The logical conclusion of this perspective is one in which we either can do nothing but wait or prepare for the coming catastrophe. The former tendency sees Marxism as a method of direct liberation, one in which we can use to directly produce change, the latter views it as the prophecy of our liberation. Both programs debate with each other, one side correctly explains that Marx understood the necessity of action in order for capitalism to be overcome, the other correctly replies that in order for action to be taken capitalism must be in a particular state of collapse or turmoil, but Marxism isn’t a program. We use Marxism as a tool that helps us understand history and societal change, our liberation is up to us. It requires us to go beyond Marx and beyond leftism.
In recent decades, social justice has become a prime example of the recuperation of radical movements. Today, tokenism has reduced issues of women’s, POC, and queer liberation into a symbol of marketability. We are always “better than we were before but not quite there yet”, we are always praising the female, the black, or the gay CEO for making “progress”. But before we get ahead of ourselves, what is social justice and how does it differ from identity politics and social liberation? Identity politics is quite simply, the politics of identity. Which identities are valid, as exemplified by the debate within the transgender community over dysphoria, what constitutes as an identity, the debate over whether or not asexuals and aromantics are LGBTQ, and proper etiquette in regards to identity, such as debates over pronoun usage. While those who criticize “Idpol” bumble on about labels we are not anti-identity politics, just because labels are sometimes used doesn’t mean they aren’t fluid or are a universal requirement within the LGBTQ community. At the same time it’s important to acknowledge that identity politics only make up one section of social liberation, and it is by no means enough to spread awareness about etiquette and representation when the very roots of our society created this oppression in the first place. Social justice, the key word being “justice”, implies that minorities have been wronged somehow, and that our goal is to right that wrong. Not only does this narrative have moralistic connotations, but it because of this it operates on the basis that minorities are each individuals fighting their own struggle against a society which does not recognize their individuality due to stereotypes. While this is true to an extent, the sheer liberalism of it all fails to recognize that the complexity of social oppression greatly exceeds any ethical issues which hinder a fairly atomized subject. Sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia etc. are widespread relational hierarchies which are deeply rooted in the subordination and division of labor. They transcend a subject oriented approach because they are societal, not moral, issues. In other words, overcoming these types of oppression is a matter of liberation, not justice; and in order for us to liberate ourselves from oppression and discrimination we have to liberate ourselves from the system which makes our oppression so convenient, capitalism.
As explained by Endnotes, gender has been defined as a difference of spheres, the mens’ sphere being public and profitable, the womens’ sphere being private and non-waged within the home. Under commodity society, where in order for more goods to be produced than needed for profit’s sake, the maximum amount of efficiency had to be encouraged. The public vs private sphere dichotomy is largely based around productivity and therefore gender, leading socially acceptable behaviors to be designated for the public and private behaviors being designated for the private sphere. Sex has been designated as private, the excitement of it, the thrill of taboo, arises from it being a symbol of everything secret and behind closed doors. Sex is what men do when they get to loosen up once they come home from work, that’s the fun of it. What sexuality do women have when they’re confined to the interpersonal sphere? Women’s sexuality is attempting to escape the objectification of themselves.
How many genders are there? Two, three, four…? The more appropriate question is, does it matter? Gender is not so much a question of validation and appropriate labeling as it is about hierarchy. Why are powerful, dominant women deemed masculine and passive men feminine? To be a man is to be oppressive towards women, to be a woman is to be oppressed by men. While gender has a clear biological basis, this does not mean that it is essentially and exclusively biological. For example, trans women are still attacked and degraded as a cis woman would be by cis men. Trans men are often treated similarly, encountering a peculiar middle ground in the hierarchy in which they are often treated as higher than cis and trans women but lower than cis men due to their biological femaleness. This isn’t to invalidate transgender men as men, but it’s important that both transphobia and sexism operate partially on the assumption of an individual’s biological sex as a somehow deeper core identity. This phenomenon indicates that the gender binary is not really a binary between men and women, certainly not male and female, but a binary of masculinity and femininity both expressed biologically and socially. It’s not that there’s necessarily a systematic oppression of women but an oppression of “femaleness”, “femaleness” is anything associated with the female sex or the gender typically associated with that. Well meaning feminists point out the oversexualization of women as opposed to men in media, pointing out that it’s objectifying and therefore enabling of misogyny, but why is the sexualization of women seen as synonymous with objectification? When we sexualize men is it similarly exploitative? No, because women, and anyone with female characteristics for that matter, is reduced to femaleness, it is the gender itself which signifies oppression. Femaleness is the justification for exploitation imposed upon everyone associated with it, it becomes all they’re seen as. The most sexualized have no sexuality themselves, their sexual function revolves around pleasing men, that is what femaleness is. Femaleness is a natural recourse, exploited, objectified, othered, and those who claim to want to “preserve it” only do so for its supposed utility. While commodity society led to the dichotomy we call gender, a dichotomy which will likely reduce its influence greatly, like all capitalist institutions it must be forcefully abolished. Capital has many tendencies which reinforce it, while it’s true that once a justification no longer has anything to justify it devolves into a withering ritual, the memory of a world which some will undoubtedly find appealing will continue to exist some time after a practice is excluded to the fringes of society.
Going back to the determination of gender according to spheres, how were they associated with sex? Why is it that women are confined to vulgar slavery and men to wage slavery? This presents a problem with a strictly Marxist analysis of gender as it implies that women were still othered to a degree before commodity society. The female body, whether shortly before the rise of commodity society or since the very beginning, was mechanized. After commodity society the female body was of course completely dehumanized and reduced to her mechanic quality, however, this quality has always existed in the nature of reproduction. To put as politely as possible, the mechanic quality of the female body involves something creating an input in which her body produces an output. While reproduction isn’t inherently sexist, the easily exploitative nature of reproduction would lead us to conclude that mother earth isn’t much of a feminist. Exploited it has been, the degree to which reproduction and women’s bodies have been mechanized cannot be ignored. Reproduction is a cultural and economic source of oppression, the burden of childbirth and motherhood have been used as an excuse to tie cis women to men for most of history, and today it’s no better, with single mothers struggling financially more so than single fathers. Reproduction does not necessarily have to be repressive, but it certainly has been treated as such under productive society. Homosexuality (especially in women) has become the most widely known reproductive transgression, repressed for its revolt against the family as a reproductive and therefore misogynistic entity, has become somewhat appropriated by liberal ideology. Liberalism, with its emphasis on easily managed, atomized individualism, has infiltrated the queer community in general (not only homosexuals) with its myth of the true self, the justification for bourgeois individualism. There is a concerning emphasis on whether or not gay people are born gay or transgender people are born their gender within the community internally and externally, in reality whether someone is born a certain way or not this narrative censors the transgressive, anti-capitalist implications of queerness. By focusing on queer validity, the impact of queerness and the structural factors which contributed to the rise of queer struggle are ignored. Unfortunately, the problem of validity has continued to dominate queer movements, until that can be countered queerness will continue to lose its revolutionary quality and assimilate into capitalism. A prime example of a struggle conveniently forgotten by liberal queerness is the near nonexistence of transmasculine experiences within queer discourse. There is a clear parallel between the growing “acceptance” of transmasculine people and the fear of AI, the fear of AI being of course the cis male fear that their perceived subordinates could become equal to them, therefore acquiring the ability to dominate and replace them. The threat that transmasculine people embody in the eyes of cis men is that the ‘subhuman other’, the female, could overthrow them by becoming just like them, thus forcing them to recognize the personhood of women. Transfemme people on the other hand represent the cis male fear that they are the ones being subordinated by other men, but more specifically, they represent cis men’s own suppressed femininity. Non-binary identities such as agender represent the cis male fear of their eventual uselessness, and the uselessness of their gender binary, due to the acceleration of technocapital. Trans men make cis men feel guilty for their violent subordination of women, and in essence all marginalized groups’ enslavement by the system they benefit from. Trans women make cis men feel ashamed as they cannot help recognizing their own vulnerability in relation to a machine greater than they are. Third or agender individuals force cis men to confront the dependence of gender on the system they benefit from and therefore its irrelevance after the system is abolished. These fears are precisely the reasoning behind the continued violent oppression of women, the repression of men, and the continuation of the institution of gender. These transgressions should be embraced and accelerated by transgender people as our very existence threatens cis male identity.
An example of this can be seen by analyzing the growing acceptance of transgender people. To invoke Jean Baudrillard, we are in the age of the simulacra, an evolution of the spectacle which instead of acknowledging the role of history in creating societies by fetishizing this one in comparison to the rest, the simulacra refuses to acknowledge that this aspect of history exists. History in this sense being the fact that societies change through class conflict and that this society too will eventually end. Hyperreality does this by separating the symbols of capital from capital, the historical progressive element, this ends up encompassing our entire consciousness of reality. Gender is included, with gender seemingly estranged from capital it becomes more aesthetically linked rather than role linked. Of course gender is still a hierarchical category as long as capital continues to exist, that just isn’t how it’s presented anymore. The world is still trapped under patriarchy, things stopped significantly progressing for women as soon as we coined the “it’s better than it was” line because it showed just how disconnected we became from gender as a hierarchical category. Misogyny just may get worse from here, it clearly hasn’t gotten much better, it’s only become more complicated as women have entered the workforce. Sexism is still practiced, especially within interpersonal relationships as it usually benefits one of the parties, there shouldn’t be two parties at all. Until gender is abolished the patriarchy will not be. However, a hyperreal perception of gender has led to the greater acceptance of transgender people because cis people can now more easily make sense of gender transition when they see it as a matter of pure aesthetics and secondary gender traits rather than they can a rare matriarch. Unfortunately, the transgender people are not free of gender, transgender women still experience sexism, often to violent degrees due to their physical juxtaposition with their identity, and transgender men often experience sexism due to the same issue. Both are burdened by their feminine traits as all oppressed groups are. A counter aestheticism which embodies radical transgression is necessary to create. The essence of queerness is to challenge the capitalist social structures and hierarchies that confine all individuals despite perceptions of non-existence, queerness exists. It must be faced by everybody at some point in life because people have shown themselves to be far too complex to fit into normative social hierarchies.
Misogyny did not originally cause a division of labor, it was used to justify exploitation through the division of labor during the advent of commodity society. This allowed men to get away with not paying women for the labor they performed at home. The very term woman, implying some sort of secondary characteristic of man, was largely used as a placeholder to designate unpaid laborers from paid ones, as the Logic of Gender by Endnotes explains (pg. 56 – 90). The gender binary is the subordination of females to males, gender designates the terms of slavery, a slavery that continues to this day even in the “liberated” first world. Misogyny is merely the justification for this, but if we abolished misogyny would we also liberate women? Does the concept of femininity not have submissive connotations? To be feminine is to be soft, quiet, appealing; it’s to become an object to be gawked at. Does being masculine not imply confidence and strength? The words we use to describe gender are important here, strength is associated with dominance, what is dominance without submission? Masculinity and femininity are opposed to each other in that they are described and treated as opposites in reference to their binary, hierarchical nature. If gender was not based around hierarchy it would be highly unlikely that there would be two gendered adjectives for it at all, no matter how much it is insisted as a spectrum. The oppressive institution of sexism cannot be estranged from gender, gender identity, or gender expression. That being said, gender identity and expression will never not be tinged with misogynistic connotations until gender a hierarchical, binary capitalist institution is abolished. Queerness, though it does undermine this institution to an extent, is still far from exempt from this, straight cisgendered people are of course, not innocent either. This is not to say that the use of masculine and feminine as adjectives to help describe the gender experiences of for example, non-binary people, should necessarily be abolished. It is rather an invitation to become aware of how misogynistsic conceptions of gender may influence how we as non-binary people view the binary’s influence on our identities. By specifying femininity and masculinity in alternative ways as well as broadening the scope through which we define and experience gender we can create a model for a post gendered world, in the capitalist, hierarchical sense of the word gender.
Although leftists have pushed for better conditions for minority groups with the best intentions, the left’s unfortunate preoccupation with identitarianism has led to a higher moral standing being attributed to marginalized individuals. This results in a notion of these identities as immune to criticism, but even marginalized identities have problematic aspects and those groups still enforce the oppression they themselves are subjected to in their own ways. It’s irresponsible to assume that these identities are static and above critical analysis, marginalization is an evolving component of productive society, we can expect new identities and groups to emerge as different aspects of the human and material condition attempt to transgress capital.
The internet quickly becoming more than a tool to more efficiently designate everyday separations between free time and work, it is turning into a separate sphere itself. Young people live in a state of relative insecurity compared to previous generations, this requires a greater amount of time and energy dedicated to staying organized, so much so that the digital landscape has become treated like a quasi-society. “Online time” is replacing free time as work takes up an increasingly larger portion of daily life, people are forced to take on multiple jobs in fields where that was previously unnecessary, teachers for example. We are not only disconnected from experience through the consumption of media, experience itself is diminishing as a societal norm, experience outside of work that is. In order to maintain the separation between productive activity and the preparation for production (work and free time) free time has to be integrated in a decentralized manner into daily life. This is where internet time comes in. It’s a conversion of free time into a more integratable period, one that is not necessarily determined according to time limits. The rapidly increasing use of smartphones and the internet is an attempt to balance these changing demands as well as continue to neutralize lived experience through neutralization by image reception.
Marx’s analysis of automation has both been reflected accurately and inaccurately by the advent of cyberspace. While computer networking systems transform many office workers into the conscious operators of a productive process operating relatively independently of them, acknowledging the internet exclusively as a productive tool doesn’t do it justice. The internet has no doubt become a center for both productivity, commodification, and communal distribution systems; it presents both unique problems and opportunities for the communist movement. Most importantly the internet has a tendency to integrate itself into the physical world. The internet creates a distinction between realities, information is its matter, and the widespread sharing of that information due to both the demand for it and the degree of accessibility to it is a reflection of a reality that could exist in the physical world, making it seem more real than real. The same applies to the reflection of physical social networks through cyber ones, the reactions of others and the spread of information transforms into a visual representation of the nature of social interactions.
Online spaces offer environments which profit from communal relations, this is the principle contradiction of contemporary capitalism. Cyberspace has a way of taking the market tendency to supply anything that there is a demand for but turning it into a gift based distribution system. Information is shared as a gift economy would share goods both on the more traditional person to person or person to group of people, but this group can vary greatly in size, when it gets to a certain size in the giver’s mind it becomes one with the entirety of cyberspace. One can give to the world, and not only the cyber world but the cyber world which transmits into the physical one. The lines between cyberspace and the physical world are blurred, the internet is becoming a larger and larger influence on separate networks such as national television, political consciousness, and event consciousness (all relating to each other as a primitive hyperreality, a hyperreality which the internet has deterritorialized from). This internet gift economy has created an expectation of itself within those who participate in it, those who make up the network, and this population is growing. The internet is meshing with the physical world, it’s integrating itself into both objects and people, the computer has ceased to be a separate tool and is now an integral part of the physical world. The smartphone is a prime example of this, a computer carried around at almost all times by everyone might as well be an arm or leg, the internet is that much of a necessity. It’s only a matter of time before that reality becomes physically represented. We are quickly becoming one with the internet, the reality and cyberreality are becoming one in the same. While the bourgeois profit from the communal network which defines online spaces, such spaces are cybereality, and therefore crop up somewhere else whenever they’re destroyed or restricted because they are the matter of the internet. It is this communal aspect which distinguished the internet from television, a decentralized gift economy of information. The more the internet integrates itself into the physical world the more it will come into conflict with capital due to its preservation and expansion of itself, there are always new demands for free internet space. The internet is not the platform in which online spaces come to be, online spaces are the internet, the free flow of information is what defines the internet, the internet itself is a communal reality which is exploited by the bourgeois despite being in constant conflict with them. The bourgeois are always trying to commodify and therefore kill areas of the internet but the internet continues to replicate itself. While some may argue that cyberspace is a structural phenomenon, it is created by and for capitalism so is the proletariat. The proletariat is made up of people well the wired is made up of people as well.
We can’t predict how these developments will impact the communist movement, that is not our purpose nor is our purpose to direct struggles in relation to technological development. However, the advent of the internet is changing our perception of reality itself for better or worse, the conflict between the internet and those who own it will likely become a major grounds for class struggle. The internet has become a structural reality, a necessary cog in the capitalist machine, it can’t be resisted. While the contradiction exists the internet provides a medium for change that we have never seen before, not just due to its capabilities of spreading consciousness and connecting people on a global scale, but it in and of itself offers an example of a different system. As the internet integrates itself further into the physical world will the line between sharing files and sharing food be blurred? The internet is fostering a scale of communal relations never before seen in the developed world and the vast majority of the participants don’t even know it. The bourgeois will certainly resist this, they already are, from things as petty as upper middle class campaigns to limit screen time to stricter copyright laws, this will become one of the greatest class conflicts of the century. Cyberspace introduces a new frontier of struggle, it is this struggle that must be accelerated for better or for worse, cyberreality will become the dominant mode of consciousness anyway.
We are by no means suggesting that the internet will necessarily liberate us or even provide a capacity to, because while the internet (and cyberspace in general) provides a stronghold of sorts it also accelerates new methods of control. The practices of data harvesting and individual tracking constitute a utility of the internet that corporations and governments are all to happy to exploit. While those on the internet seem to have an extraordinary knack for avoiding punishment, those in power will continue to push for greater control over this space. The rules have changed for better or worse, and it will influence the development of proletariat struggle. It is of the upmost importance that communists educate themselves on these changing conditions, particularly, the transgressive tendencies which attempt to accelerate struggles which arise as a result of a changing society. Can the internet resist and overcome efforts to neutralize it? We can’t be sure but we can certainly be ready.
Marginalization and Communism as a Fluid System
While communism obviously manifests itself as the antagonist of capital, not much is understood of how the practice of communism is in itself manifested through communism as a movement. Communism is the lowest level of organization and requires the lowest amount of energy of any structure. That’s why people often turn to communal relations in times of scarcity, because in that environment it’s the easiest way to survive. It is crude, informal, flexible, and because of this allows a relatively significant amount of autonomy for those who practice it. Communism is so easy to practice because it doesn’t require too much hierarchical, organizational effort in order to defer people to production. In other words, communism does not require work, in fact its strength lies in the fact that instead of bothering with creating institutions which define productivity the community sustains itself on the informal contributions of its members. What an individual under communism does with their time is made into a communal contribution through an agreement between them and the other individuals involved. Communism operates much like a gift economy, and it is not oriented towards productivity as it doesn’t need to create the largest amount of surplus possible. The stratification that would necessitate that surplus does not exist as communism is classless. This brings us to communism’s second strength, contrary to what some communists believe, it has strength in numbers. The more people contribute the less they have to produce, rendering productivity increasingly unnecessary. Once a mode of production becomes the norm individuals are socialized into that practice, therefore, retaining tight social bonds on a large scale is unnecessary under large-scale communism. Communism is not collectivist, on the contrary, it is the most healthy form of egoism. Individuals are supported by the group in order to provide them with the time and resources necessary for them to live their lives as they please. They take from the group’s resources what they need and contribute what they can.
The problem is that while it’s useful to identify the basic characteristics of communism, we still live under capitalism, and therefore are so influenced by capitalist consciousness that we can’t really predict how exactly communism will function. Knowing that it is so convenient however brings us to conclusions as to how it may begin to gain prevalence. As those in poverty are pushed into further misery due to financial insecurity, greater income inequality, wage stagnation, and higher prices of living communal relations will become increasingly necessary for survival. These practices along with/responsive to struggle will create large-scale, strong communities which operate on an alternative to capitalism. Marginalized groups must create the strength in numbers necessary to overthrow capitalism. Radicals should support and provide for each other, we must prioritize the autonomy and well being of our members. Communism as a structural tendency manifests itself in the informal, the intimate, and the marginalized spaces. It is not only our likely future but our strength.
So called “radicals” have regurgitated narratives that capital has long outgrown, it’s time we tacked the current challenges faced by the communist movement. Capitalism is not about to radically change, it’s already changing. It’s not just a matter of being ready for a coming catastrophe as the collapse is a process which has always shadowed capital, collapse is embraced by capital. Capital reproduces itself through continuous crisis, the crisis of financial capitalism, the crisis of automation, the crisis of the precarious working class, the crisis of climate change, the crisis of migrants, the crisis of corporate imperialism. These catastrophes never resolve themselves, they’re only subsumed, as real as they may be they lay the groundwork for the acceleration of capital. The reactions against its violations only server to be recuperated and subsumed into normalized, bourgeois consciousness. Within every anti-capitalist revolt there lies a misguided, transgressive element. Like a plague, it is unaware of its destructive nature, it only knows replication for its own sake. It manifests itself in frenzies, movements that go too far, protests that get too violent, parties where people get too drunk. In this manner transgression mimics, and is an extension capital as those who transgress unwittingly do. If we imagine the domination of capital visually we’re best imagining it as a sphere in which everything on the inside is within capitalist consciousness, a sphere of influence. There only appears to be an outside to this sphere but it doesn’t really exist as no phenomenon or idea is without capital’s influence. Those who attempt to escape to the outside create lines extending from the sphere, as they are not completely free from influence they expand the sphere into uneven territories from all angles. Eventually, the sphere becomes more line based than a sphere by itself, as it increasingly relies on the lines as its structure it has entered the state of pure consciousness, a state in which capital exists as an idea of reality. Capital is the consciousness of reality and all ideas, but it doesn’t stop attempting to continue, it then turns on itself entering the process of implosion. The transgressive tendency will no longer be transgressive once there is little to transgress, it will instead be senselessly destructive in its attempt to expand. Whether or not we are at the dawn of realism or if we are merely in a perpetual state of acceleration is unclear and unimportant. We must embrace and replicate the senselessly destructive element which exists both in transgression and implosion, today there is nothing more we can do.
The future does not consist of a state of affairs waiting to be implemented but of a fractured world without a past. A reality without a past, only the future of every step in every direction leading further away from what gave birth to it.