Democracy vs. The Putin-Nazis

CJ Hopkins

Back in January 2018, I wrote this piece about The War on Dissent, which, in case you haven’t noticed, is going gangbusters.

As predicted, the global capitalist ruling classes have been using every weapon in their arsenal to marginalize, stigmatize, delegitimize, and otherwise eliminate any and all forms of dissent from neoliberal ideology, and in particular from their new official narrative … “Democracy versus The Putin-Nazis.”

For over two years, the corporate media have been pounding out an endless series of variations on this major theme, namely, that “democracy is under attack” by a conspiracy of Russians and neo-Nazis that magically materialized out of the ether during the Summer of 2016.

The intelligence agencies, political elites, academia, celebrities, social media personalities, and other organs of the culture industry have been systematically reifying this official narrative through constant repetition.

The Western masses have been inundated with innumerable articles, editorials, television news and talk show segments, books, social media posts, and various other forms of messaging whipping up hysteria over “Russians” and “fascists.” At this point, it is no longer just propaganda. It has become the new “truth.” It has become “reality.”

Becoming “reality” is, of course, the ultimate goal of every ideology. An ideology is just a system of ideas, and is thus fair game for critique and dissent. “Reality” is not fair game for dissent. It is not up for debate or challenge, not by “serious,” “legitimate” people. “Reality” is simply “the way it is.” It is axiomatic.

It is apothegmatic. It’s not a belief or an interpretation. It is not subject to change or revision. It is the immortal, immutable Word of God … or whatever deity or deity-like concept the ruling classes and the masses they rule accept as the Final Arbiter of Truth.

In our case, this would be Science, or Reason, rather than some supernatural being, but in terms of ideology there isn’t much difference. Every system of belief, regardless of its nature, ultimately depends on political power and power relations to enforce its beliefs, which is to say, to make them “real.”

OK, whenever I write about “reality” and “truth,” I get a few rather angry responses from folks who appear to think I’m denying the existence of objective reality. I’m not … for example, this chair I’m sitting on is absolutely part of objective reality, a physical object that actually exists. The screen you’re probably reading these words on is also part of objective reality.

I am not saying there is no reality. What I’m saying is, “reality” is a concept, a concept invented and developed by people … a concept that serves a variety of purposes, some philosophical, some political. It’s the political purposes I’m interested in.

Think of “reality” as an ideological tool…a tool in the hands of those with the power to designate what is “real” and what isn’t. Doctors, teachers, politicians, police, scientists, priests, pundits, experts, parents — these are the enforcers of “reality.” The powerless do not get to decide what is “real.” Ask someone suffering from schizophrenia. Or … I’m sorry, is it bipolar disorder? Or oppositional defiant disorder? I can’t keep all these new disorders psychiatrists keep “discovering” straight.

Or ask a Palestinian living in Gaza. Or the mother of a Black kid the cops shot for no reason. Ask Julian Assange. Ask the families of all those “enemy combatants” Obama droned. Ask the “conspiracy theorists” on Twitter digitally screaming at anyone who will listen about what is and isn’t “the truth.”

Each of them will give you their version of “reality,” and you and I may agree with some of them, and some of their beliefs may be supported with facts, but that will not make what they believe “reality.”

Power is what makes “reality” “reality.” Not facts. Not evidence. Not knowledge. Power.

Those in power, or aligned with those in power, or parroting the narratives of those in power, understand this (whether consciously or not). Those without power mostly do not, and thus we continue to “speak truth to power,” as if those in power gave a shit. They don’t. The powerful are not arguing with us. They are not attempting to win a debate about what is and isn’t “true,” or what did or didn’t “really” happen. They are declaring what did or didn’t happen. They are telling us what is and is not “reality,” and demonstrating what happens to those who disagree.

The “Democracy versus The Putin-Nazis” narrative is our new “reality,” whether we like it or not. It does not matter one iota that there is zero evidence to support this narrative, other than the claims of intelligence agencies, politicians, the corporate media, and other servants of the ruling classes. The Russians are “attacking democracy” because the ruling classes tell us they are.

“Fascism is on the march again” because the ruling classes say it is. Anyone who disagrees is a “Putin-sympathizer,” a “Putin-apologist,” or “linked to Russia,” or “favored by Russia,” or an “anti-Semite,” or a “fascist apologist.”

Question the official narrative about the Gratuitously Baby Gassing Monster of Syria and you’re an Assad apologist, a Russian bot network, or a plagiarizing Red-Brown infiltrator. Criticize the corporate media for disseminating cheap McCarthyite smears, and you’re a Tulsi-stanning Hindu Nazi-apologist. God help you if you should appear on FOX, in which case you are a Nazi-legitimizer!

A cursory check of the Internet today revealed that “far-right Facebook groups are spreading hate to millions in Europe” by means of some sort of hypnogenic content that just looking at it turns you into a Nazi. Our democracy-loving friends at The Atlantic Council are disappointed by Trump’s refusal to sign the “Christchurch Call,” a multilateral statement encouraging corporations to censor the Internet … and fascism is fashionable in Italy again!

This post-Orwellian, neo-McCarthyite mass hysteria is not going to stop … not until the global capitalist ruling classes have suppressed the current “populist” insurgency and restored “normality” throughout the Western world. Until then, it’s going to be pretty much non-stop “Democracy versus the Putin-Nazis.”

So, unless you’re enjoying our new “reality,” or are willing to conform to it for some other reason, prepare to be smeared as “a Russia-loving, Putin-apologizing conspiracy theorist,” or a “fascism-enabling, Trump-loving Nazi,” or some other type of insidiously Slavic, white supremacist, mass-murder enthusiast.

Things are only going to get uglier as the American election season ramps up. I mean, come on … you don’t really believe that the global capitalist ruling classes are going to let Trump serve a second term, do you?

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Nose N Bottom
Nose N Bottom
May 29, 2019 2:21 AM

Who the f-in cares. Global thermonuclear war. Hope it goes off over my head. Think God has had enough. On their knees the warpigs crawling, begging mercy for their sins, satan laughing spreads his wings.

May 27, 2019 6:19 PM

I follow the money.
If it suits “the ruling classes” to let Trump have another 13 terms of office, they will see that it happens.

May 27, 2019 6:20 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Their main obstacle is that I don’t think he ever wanted, or expected, to be president.
He may resist…

May 27, 2019 7:06 PM
Reply to  wardropper

wardopper. The look on his face when he won was priceless. Oh siht I’ve realy fucked up now, again.
Goodby billionaire lifestyle, welcome to a world of hurt.
Now he has his feet under the desk…… maybe this aint so bad.

May 27, 2019 5:08 PM

“speak truth to power,” as if those in power gave a shit.

True. Therefore, speak truth to powerless. They do care.

But then, they probably already know what truth is through experience…

Perhaps best is to have a conversation with yourself if you want to know what truth is, but are in the ‘lucky’ position that you are considered to consume the ‘truth’ from power.

kevin morris
kevin morris
May 27, 2019 4:31 PM

Well, whilst you might be right, it clearly isn’t working very well since Vladimir Putin is one of the most popular leaders in the world and that is amongst people of vastly differing class and political belief

Robert J.
Robert J.
May 27, 2019 3:54 PM

Unfortunate and unusual that my favourite CJ should go and pick up some Haaretz stuff (behind a paywall, so I couldn’t even read what the flagship of Israeli Democracy was blabbering about) to describe a situation which, as always and with everything in Italy, is much, much more complex than can be expedited in a couple of words.

May 27, 2019 7:22 AM

Wasn’t Putin diagnosed with bipolar syndrome by some Clinton-adoring psychiatrist in Truro, MA…….who went on to say that that was the explanation for his being Hitler and Stalin rolled into one?

May 27, 2019 6:23 PM
Reply to  TuttiFrutti

He’s probably even the sanest politician we know of.
He can certainly answer questions convincingly.
That has to be a plus.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
May 27, 2019 4:32 AM

“Spacetime is doomed. There is no such thing as spacetime fundamentally in the actual underlying description of the laws of physics. That’s very startling, because what physics is supposed to be about is describing things as they happen in space and time. So if there’s no spacetime, it’s not clear what physics is about.”

Nima Arkhani-Hamed

I copied that quote from a Donald Hoffman talk I watched on YouTube (might be this one). As I understand it, growing numbers of physicists see reality as informational, i.e., as not fundamentally objective, and there are many experiments whose results are best explained by that supposition. In other words, objective reality ain’t what it used to be. If our reality is indeed information based (rather than ‘matter’ based), then consciousness itself becomes foundational as a logical extension of information; it takes consciousness to interpret otherwise meaningless data as information. Information is not information unless it has meaning; ergo, information requires consciousness.

I think it was Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom who opened this can of worms just after the turn of the millennium by arguing that we inhabit a virtual reality. Again, I understand that growing numbers of physicists are warming to the virtual-reality model. For physics – which describes the foundations of our reality – to be about objects and an objective universe, it must indeed be “startling” to suddenly have no basis – spacetime – with which to fundamentally define objects. Not that this gives the cynical and darkly manipulative Powers That Be carte blanche … far from it. I feel it frees us, at least in potential, to more effectively confront and undo their wiles. They need to control the narrative. The better informed we are, at all levels, the more effectively we can reject their mendacity and establish truer, more consensual narratives that serve compassionate and healthy social relations.

May 27, 2019 7:43 PM
Reply to  Toby Russell

Spacetime seems benign: but it is the cause of all our imaginary illusion.

The existence of an objective, mind-independent, external container reality seems incontrovertible …the basis of Method, posivitism, and science fact. But is a cosmogony without consciousness: a deadground from which consciousness must miraculously emerge. Cue: Chalmer’s ‘hard problem’ of consciousness.

Spacetime is causal of all partition and parturition: extensive occasions of birth and death. What Whitehead called the “false spatialisation of time” literally brings Being into Being. The “misplaced concrete” ideation of Being qua Being – as fixed, permanent, absolutised, time-independent, essential – is the root of all exceptionalism, indispensibility, dominion, instrumental agency, private property rights …all born of spatio-temporalised ‘objectivity’.

The absolutisation of Being is the foundational and essential premise of the Ontotheoligical Tradition – culminating in the Enlightenment …which is the concretisation of objectivity as scientific materialism and analytical logical posivitism …the basis of a humanism without humanity. Every humanism based on scientific individuation must be a “failed God” – as Derrida noted in his commentary on Sarte.

Rational objectivity perhaps reached its zenith with Descartes: who epitomised it as a concursus Dei …a divine concurrence with the mind of God. But the exceptionalised, absolutised mind casts a long and dark shadow …Otherising everything else to be converted, enlightened, civilised. Cue multi-genocide and wars of conquest. Cue the ‘responsibility-to-protect’ blood mineral interventionism.

If you have an objectively pure superior conception: you automatically create a subjectively impure base inferiority. Man’s – and it is a patriarchal projection – higher objective nature is co-extensive and concurrent with ‘his’ (or displaced as ‘hers’) subordinate nature. This is variously manifest as our contingent animalism, bestiality, and Idian psycho-sexual drives …the basal instinctual and primitive – that which needs to be rationalised, objectified, contained, controlled, and ultimately transcended with trans-humanism. Everything is in objective rationalities projected Shadow.

If spacetime is doomed: so is Being qua Being. If spacetime is the foundationalism: and Being is the essentialism – what next? Prigogine and Stengers showed the time is ‘internal’ and ontogenetic: a “construction in which we all participate” …which frees us from automatist mechanisation. Whitehead et al moved from permanent Being to a processual ontology of Becoming …which is close to Zen. We are time: and time is intentional (prehentional) …a co-evolutionary nexus of uniqueness and creativity. If we can collapse spacetime: we can collapse the conceptual …the epistemological, ontological, metaphysical duality whose spatio-temporalised absolutisation is humanities own curse. If we can collapse the misconceptual spacialisation of time: the ontological distance between everything – including you and I – becomes zero.

How soon is now? Roll on the end of spacetime.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
May 28, 2019 7:11 AM
Reply to  BigB

On acid about 30 years ago, it hit me that distance was an illusion. It was also suddenly clear that I am not my body. Over the last few years, I have been exposed to various frameworks and other experiences that help me really feel how these ‘counter-intuitive’ truths are so.

Yes, without spacetime, separation is impossible. There is no more foundational concept in materialism, so its disappearance will send out a mighty wave. But my goodness the resistance to this difficult truth is profound. Hence, one of the more pertinent and useful components of Donald Hoffman’s talks is how unwarranted our instinctive trust of our five senses is, and not just human sense perceptions, but other critters too. It’s these little observations, backed up with sound science, I like to reference. They entice waverers into a yet more open-minded state. The more people we have really opening up to how wrong modernity’s paradigm is, the better the chances are that we pull something amazing out of the fire of its demise.

May 28, 2019 8:05 PM
Reply to  Toby Russell

Whoah, there buddy! Back up: run that by me again – does Hoffman really say we cannot trust our senses? What can we trust then?

The basic epistemology of Yogacara Zen is that six senses and their relational sense fields constitute the ‘All’ …Sabba. That is the five senses, and their constitutive ‘sense-mind’ (manovijnana) – which I have previously referred to as ‘pre-ontological’ – are all that there is. It is the everyday waking consciousness that is ‘really real’ (parinispanna) – not some ‘pure’ higher consciousness.

Because the senses can be unreliable – as can the ontological mind: there has to be an intellectual appreciation of reality. The two reinforce each other to constitute ‘perfect wisdom’ (pramana; prajnaparamita) …but with the rational, ontological mind subjacent to the sense-mind – as previously mentioned. That way the pre-ontological sense-mind and the ontological conceptual mind – psycho-linguistically mediated – are integrated in experiential/conceptual holism …which is an embodied realism.

This is the basis of a radical embodied cognitive epistemology. The one that is being confirmed by cognitive neuroscience. There is a consensus among cognitive scientists for the ‘soft’ version of embodiment: Zen is the radical ‘hard’ version: the one that only followers of Varela and Maturana affirm. As you probably know, Varela was a student of Chogyam Trungpa …the crazy, drunk, Tibetan master. A crazy, drunk philanderer maybe – but his lineage was sound.

The root axiom of Buddhist phenomenology is that consciousness is always consciousness of something: be it a sight, sound, or taste. Consciousness cannot arise without its external sense-object. Object and subjective sense faculty are ‘interdependent co-arising’ (pratitya samutpada). Subject and object are complete in consciousness: nondual. As with subject/object: so with self/other.

The thing to watch is Cartesian trained scientists trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole …trying to make sense of nonduality by forcing it into the Cartesian paradigm. Then you get Anil Seth talking of “hallucinated” consciousness; Bruce Hood admitting the self is imaginary – but socially necessary (a version of the ‘vital lie’); or Thomas Metzinger talking of a “hallucinated will” …or even a virtual soul. The language they employ is misleading, to say the least.

The thing with studying consciousness through its illusions – phantom limb pain, whole body illusions, optical and auditory illusions, rubber hands; etc – is that you get an illusory view of consciousness as ‘hallucinated’. Apart from the odd historic trip: we are not hallucinating – we are real. Ordinary waking consciousness is our only reality. Inasmuch as one can relate words to it: it has to be considered “really real”: otherwise we make a mockery of language and extend the conceptual to fool ourselves.

We have to have a self-referential datum point to return to. The whole of the mess we are in can be related to the fact that our conceptions of reality are becoming more and more dissociative. We’ve got some pretty weird ideas already: without adding ‘hallucinated’ wills and consciousness. We have to have a reality we can fully embody: we’ve been suffering from ‘disembodied’ Cartesian consciousness for too long. We need to come home, to fully embody our day to day lives. That way we can cut out the materialist contagion: to live self-fulfilled, self-sovereign in the living reality …the embodied, fully experiential life continuum.

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
May 29, 2019 6:31 AM
Reply to  BigB

I wasn’t quoting, but paraphrasing for the sake of brevity. Hoffman’s position on this point is a rebuttal of the notion, which is I think fairly orthodox, that evolutionary fitness correlates tightly with fully accurate perceptions of the world. The data he shows and the model he proposes demonstrate that good enough perceptions of the world are ‘fitter’ than 100% accurate perceptions, and he makes a very compelling argument. As you point out, our sense perceptions can be unreliable. We also know we cannot see the full light spectrum, hear all noises, detect all changes in temperature, etc. But “trust” is a strong word. Our senses are obviously good enough for the job of being human, generally speaking. And good enough is far more useful than totally accurate.

As for consciousness experiencing in other reality frames where there are no five/six/seven (I think there’s one school that says there are nine) ‘biological’ senses; of course it can. We do not need a ‘physical’ ‘world’ for ‘mind’ to experience. We need information. What I remember of Varela and Maturano is “World and mind arise together.” Well, that begs the question: Are world and mind each ‘made of’ something different? My own answer to that is, No. World is simply the experienced, and mind the experiencer. I don’t think there are any preset constraints on how the information that describes both ‘sides’ of that equation must be set up, whether as physical biology or as ‘pure’ consciousness, or other things we cannot imagine. For me, every experience is real and valid, even if a gross misinterpretation of whatever information. I do not care about the reality or otherwise of the infamous Real except to the extent that my communication with others is helpful to the growth, health etc. of as many other souls as I can manage.

So I stay with simple, logically derived assertions that seem amply justified by experiments such as the various double-slit ones, and by my own experience. It seems to me that we are at the very foothills of how the details of this pan out. I try not to have any beliefs about anything that goes beyond what I can be sure of from my own direct experience and how I am developing as a person, an entity, a Whatever I Am. That’s where my focus is.

May 29, 2019 10:42 AM
Reply to  Toby Russell

So it becomes a moot point: as we both agree the bigger hurdles are avoiding neoliberalised ‘Apocalypse Now’. Previously, I suggested a grand coalition of the disenfranchised – which is nearly all of us – to defeat neoliberal statism (which is effectively a singular world system – despite the surface tensions). Then we can settle the finer points: such as David Ray Griffin’s ‘God of the process’ …which is also a strong case; but an unnecessary embellishment of the simplicity of process.

Perception is optimised for speed of processing: which is coming to the consensus that our reality is a ‘Predictive Process’ …to counteract any lag in sequential or even distributed processing. If we lag behind the world: we are dead …if, and when, the leopard moves and our senses relay the event in lagged real-time.

But let’s not sell this short: that is my point. I’ve just been for a walk looking at roses and rhododendrons in full bloom. Even the sow thistle growing from a wall is magnificent! And the birdsong was no less joyous for the notes I maybe cannot hear. Our senses are perfectly capable of re-sacralising the experiential: when coupled with an appreciative conceptual belief system.

When I think about it: if we cling to the idea that our present waking consciousness is somehow deficient …spacetime has yet to collapse fully. This is a Cartesian hangover …a metaphysical supposed extra-conscious reality. After all, how do we experience the extra-conscious …if not through ordinary day to day consciousness?

Only through the moment by moment, day by day, overlooked and ‘ordinary’ living experiential can we redeem ourselves. Once we enter the realm of grace: epitomised in ‘Burnt Norton’ …we will have plenty of time to debate the finer points of consciousness. “Only through time time is conquered”…

Love is itself unmoving,
Only the cause and end of movement,
Timeless, and undesiring
Except in the aspect of time
Caught in the form of limitation
Between un-being and being.


[BTW: have you got a good reference for Hofmann, and his take on consciousness?]

Toby Russell
Toby Russell
May 29, 2019 4:26 PM
Reply to  BigB

“Perception is optimised for speed of processing”

This entire model most probably points to procedural programming, or an iterative fractal (output is input, looping) that evolves. In terms of what of the output is rendered to a perceiving consciousness, that would be only the minimum, so as to save computational cycles. If I look at someone, their brain and other internals do not need to be rendered, for example, so would not be. A metaphorical joke to illustrate this is: If a tree falls in forest where no consciousness is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Answer: There is no forest. That’s how it works in the VR systems we know. You need a player. Consciousness is the player.

I’m not sure how moot all this is. Of course I don’t know for sure, but I think the coming together of the oppressed in open-minded skepticism will be mightily assisted, at least potentially, by the visible and comprehensible collapse of materialism. How it shakes out after that is anyone’s guess, but one possible outcome, after much horrible turbulence no doubt, is a recognition that value and wealth revolve around things like love; contribution to the whole; as you do unto Other, so you do unto Self; etc. So in my reluctance to prescribe, I feel simply scattering seeds that have the potential to soften people’s resistance to consciousness as fundamental (rather than ‘matter’) is a good way to go. It’s up to you how you do your part, as it’s up to all of us. Logic would suggest that there are as many types of positive contributions to the process we both would dearly love to see initiated as there are people rolling up their sleeves to get stuck in. Trial and error will sort the wheat from the chaff.

Long time since I read Burnt Norton, like maybe 35 years! Thanks for the reminder. I shall look into the Quartets again.

As for Hofmann, I just check out his YouTube output. He’s a maths bod and I don’t do anything close to high-level maths. So his layman’s stuff is enough for me. Maybe start with this one and see how it grabs you:

May 26, 2019 10:54 PM

Although it is highly likely that the results of the european parliament election will not translate directly into individual national elections, while we applaud the good kicking centrists have copped in the europarliament, those of us who barrack for a world where every human gets a go, need to be very wary. We must try to remedy the causes of the kicking that humanists have also copped. Maybe not as badly as the neoliberals, but it does seem likely that the neolibs ‘war on the left’ has drained humanism and aided the rightists.

Of course we shouldn’t be surprised about any of that since accommodating the right during times of revulsion at the center is a standard operating practice of the greedies. We have to factor a new reality, that the right have just gained a big increase in resources and some credibility.

Over here some form of renewal is desperately required because lets face facts, most of us expressing disgust at the dearth of decent socialist principles among just about every current viable political movement are of a certain age, younger citizens in the main may agree with many humanist values but they see the labels attached to those values as being well past their use by date.

I will still be spouting the worth of common ownership, free medical care, meaningful employment for all and a destruction of the wealth gap when I finally kark it but I really don’t care what label the world at large hangs off of types who want to bring that into our societies.

For too many who have lived under corrupt and hypocritical faux-humanist governments that used the socialist label, it is simply impossible to sell them or their offspring on any movement which has socialist, marxist, or marxist-leninist, attached to it.
I can feel the stirrings of anger before I even commit this spiel to Off_G, but lets try to avoid debates centered on the solidarity or lack thereof of those people proposing ideas and consider the ideas themselves.

The reason why many of us are reluctant to shed the 19th and 20th century labels is largely for the same reason the CP asked Marx to knock out a manifesto in the first place.
That there has to be a set of ineluctable rules for implementing the changes we desire or else careerists and megalomaniacs in the movement will stray off the reservation even quicker than they already do.

We badly need a contemporary manifesto or whatever you want to call it, one that stands on the shoulders of the tenets of socialism but which steers clear of the terminology of yesteryear and sets principles for the way we live now e.g. it must consider climate, tech and whatever else looms large among those closer to the beginning of their lives than the end.

And no I don’t have ‘a little something I prepared earlier’ and yes it would be good to consider any other attempts made in this area . Tho I do point out that if it something truly new and substantive which has already been done, the fact that this isn’t widely known indicates it was a failure.

Reading the mainstream media (hoick spit) we have to accept that many of the aims of the neolib propagandists have been successful and we need to develop different strategies while we train and assist younger humanists and hand over to them.

Obviously discretion is an important part of this, since we live in a world where the facebook posts of alleged squeaky wheels are fed into the ravenous maw of greedies’ “security”.

Incidentally this isn’t the launch of a Ure Kismet plan for world domination; I don’t propose this as anything more than a tool that those of us who are active in our communities can develop as way to engage with members of the community.
Let’s face it when some citizen who is struggling to come to grips with tech asks us why we are repairing his her PC or phone for free when the shop up the road quoted hundreds for the same job, replying with “Because I’m a socialist” might make us feel better for a moment, but it does nothing to alter the iniquity of the situation which this person finds him/herself in.
Engaging in a discussion about how wrong and difficult some things have become for citizens whose income rarely increases may actually provoke contemplation.

May 27, 2019 12:16 AM
Reply to  UreKismet

Well put and you’re right of the need to focus on the ideas themselves.

…”corrupt and hypocritical faux-humanist governments” as you say, is why the voters have given the establishment another kick-in regarding Brexit. Those hurting the most from the 40 year war on a proper welfare state safety net realise that the EU is just another business club and they’re not f*cking in it to paraphrase George Carlin.

I thought the original Communist Manifesto was pretty good, I remember 25 years ago Penguin publishers introduced their Mini Modern classics series and Mark’s work went straight to the top of its sales for several months with the Communist Manifesto, outselling all other authors on their list.

May 27, 2019 4:41 AM
Reply to  UreKismet

Ure Kismet; TTIC:

“Workers of the world, unite”: and do what exactly?

There’s the first premise of a New Humanist Manifesto – post-work. The CM was the product of a byegone epoch of industrialisation that has run its course – and left its desolate legacy of a despoiled planet. It turns out the indigenous – pre-capitalist, pre-industrialised, pre-financialised – forms of community, extended familial, matrilineal, natural living had it about right. Modernity was shackled with the curse of dominion over, economistic exploitation, scientism, technologism, ecologism, and psychologism. How do we embody a positive atavism?

I’ve had my own project – toward a Universal Humanism – that I have modeled on Guattari’s “Three Ecologies” …of mind, environment, and economy. Like Guattari: these are, in fact, a trialectic of integrated, inter-operable faculties. After Naess: they are in fact metonymic – differing descriptions of the same root cognition – the eco-logic mind (as opposed to the capitalistic ego-logic). Get that right and the rest – the post-capitalist oikos of economy and ecology – become normative. E F Schumacher already wrote that manifesto: and Naess contributed toward a new outline ecosophy. “Small is beautiful” – economics as if people mattered is now over forty years old.


So, herein lies the cultural/natural aporia: we have the manifesto, solutions abound from a normative eco-logical, ecosophical perception of reality …but this has literally no appeal to the ego-logic mind – as conditioned by modernity. A simpler, more basic, post-industrial, community orientated landscape …human scale and biocentic (life-focussed) is a niche conscious lifestyle ..with no mass appeal. Almost everyone drawn to it is already engaged and embodying it …to the best of their abilities.

In fact, this – more spiritual – eco-logic lifestyle predates capitalist coercive forms of mind and living (dying) by millennia. It is exactly what has been endocolonised, displaced, eradicated, and in extremis – genocided …as the imperially parasiticised psychic host of capitalism and now, neoliberalism. The eco-logic and the ego-logic stand in ontological confrontation: each contain the seeds of demise of the other.

The non-mass-appeal (limited to the industrialised ‘advanced’ economic nations) of small human scale eco-logical living …entails the most dangerous contradiction of the cultural/natural aporia. Running industrialisation into the ground risks so many potential cascading failures – fascism, Armageddon, economic or environmental collapse being the main catgories …that potential post-Apacalyptic landscapes may be uninhabitable. (See Chris Hedges talk of Camden for an already extant neoliberal post-Apocalypse).

The eco-logic, ecosophic, environmental movement has failed to capture the ego-logic imagination. Mainly because the ego-logic imagination is displaced elsewhere, in negentropic dreams of materialistic prosperity that are negated by reality and the laws of physics. Those dreams are manifesting an already extant future Apocalypse that will nihilate any form of desire-dreaming displacia.

So we have the manifesto, we have the solutions – essentially the transversal of capitalist globalised superstructures into horizontal networked ‘rhizomatic’ communities of equals …what we don’t have is a communicable vehicle to convert the colonised ego-logic mind of modernity. It can only be seen as a regression to a mind inculcated by ‘progression’. The scientific eco-logical cognition that this ‘progess’ must consequentially lead to the increasing potentiality of some form of collapse – with Armageddon being the ‘ultimate failure’ – is totally inadmissable to the socio-political ego-logic imaginary …and its controlled forums of public political discourse. It will be alright: human ingenuity will save us. No it won’t.

Only a seismic shift in consciousness, caused by near-catastrophe, can change this. All the information confirming we are heading for such a catastrophe – of which the magnitude cannot be controlled – is available for those whoever want to find it. All the self-deceptive ways of avoiding such information – all predicated on the incontrovertibly axiomatic “no infinite growth on a finite planet” – have been found and extrapolated into imaginary, but logically and mathematically elegant, formulas to avoid the inevitable. The eco-logic and the ego-logic are ‘incommensurably’ different [Kuhn] – there are no grounds for the dialogical.

There is nothing lost in my appraisal. It has always been this way. It is the difference of the Samsaric and the Nirvanic. Nirvana is not some distant Shangri-La; hidden in a Tibetan Eden. It is the basic realisation of applied common-sense. The thing is: you do actually have to develop a critical consciousness: you cannot just accept on blind-faith that the culture we received as children is an accurate representation of reality. It is not. It is becoming more and more imaginary: to the point where polity is front running so-called ‘reality’. ‘Reality’ that is in fact imaginary (vikalpa – taking the unreal for the real) and disassociative from Nirvanic actualisation. Magga – the ‘Path’ – is in fact a set of premises actualisable as the perfect community – the Sangha of Society. Organised religion has nothing to do with it. It is basic common sense: a common sense it appears we were collectively conditioned without.

One we could regain with rapidity (consciousness is not limited by time) any time we want. As soon as we leave the Samsaric socio-political imaginary behind. Trust me, we will not lose anything …except that which already never existed. The solution is all about, within our senses …if and when we return to them.

“And the Meak shall inherit …”

May 28, 2019 1:22 AM
Reply to  BigB

You may be correct BigB, but how would 90% of the planet ever know? You appear to have deliberately set out your discussion of this manifesto by swallowing a thesaurus first. My days of wading through that sort of stuff ended more n 50 years ago at uni when dingbats used to call their pseudo intellectual tossage marxist dialectic, the less understandable the better as far as they were concerned.
Now I’m not saying that is you BigB but what I am saying is if we want to get fellow humans onside we have to talk to them all in an easily comprehensible language. Otherwise we are pissing in the wind and sledging those smart enough to have pulled on a pair of gumboots.

I get that you rightly see the lives on indigenous people as being more worthwhile and fulfilling for them than the ‘civilised’ alternative, but merely turning the clock back is not an option. I worked with/for indigenous people for a good part of my working life, seeing my role as using my knowledge of the tools of bureaucracy as a means to assist them in implementing their decisions whatever they may have been. Anyway one thing I heard from elders time and time again was “We do not want to be a museum.” They wanted the best bits without the associated destructive parts. Of course they understood this wasn’t going to be easy, but there was no choice as the last few years of my working life the kids were just as much into Diablo or Crash Bandicoot as whitefella kids in town. Tech is everywhere we have to work within that.

For me the primary reason socialism failed was that it corresponded to a period of great centralisation of power, creating crazy decision-making at a distance.
The first thing for me would be returning political power to communities, because that IMO, is how indigenous societies became so resilient.

May 28, 2019 10:08 AM
Reply to  UreKismet

However I say it, the point is there are no open lines of communication. It is all predicated on the maxims “no infinite growth on a finite planet” and “everything is connected to everything else”. Yet all governments have the foundational fallacy of perpetual growth and individualism. Telling your average corporate captured consciousness that these things are fallacies is less than fruitless: it actually causes antagonism and entrenchment. It is a counter productive strategy. If there was a simple set of maxims that were universally comprehensible: wouldn’t we all be enjoying the simpler life? Obviously not. There are a great majority of people who actually get the narrative – but simply do not care.

Did you read any of the Schumacher quotes? It could not be put more simply or more elegantly. And the response, 40 years later? We are 40 years closer to the destruction of habitats, including the life commons that support our own. And apart from the neoliberal Greens, and an astroturf ‘climate emergency’ – backed by some of the most ruthless capitalists on the planet – where is the mainstream political message? Where is the eco-socialist emergence?

There is one humanity separated by two minds: which I have chosen to classify as eco-logic or ego-logic. The crazy thing that no one accounts for is that even the poor among the latter category want to be the rich. This false consciousness is the biggest socio-cultural driver to extinction. If you could explain this fallacy of human consciousness I would be most grateful, because I cannot get my head round it. The idea that everyone can be conspicuous consumers on a finite world is a logically flawed and absolutely transparent poorly constructed fantasy. One that is dominant in socio-political culture.

Technology is part of the problem, not the solution. It is an enabler of crazy, crazy, irrational dreaming. For one thing we are already struggling to produce the rare earth minerals required. The other thing is that those minerals are blood minerals, mined by children at gunpoint …especially in the DRC …but elsewhere as well.

Ellul called it ‘technique’: I call it ‘techno-theology’. People literally believe that things will only get better due to ‘technology’. It is the major theme of desiring-dream displacia. Which, translated, means utterly stupid fantasy. With unicorns and pixie dust.

All the while we are invested and entangled in this fantasy: the reality of a humanist future recedes …as it becomes simpler and simpler. No one wants to return to neo-feudal agrarian subsistence: yet that is what we are narrowing our options to. In other words, a hard sell becomes ever more impossible …before it becomes a counterproductive – we might as well carry on as we are.

I hope you have better luck than me, but – intellectually or anti-intellectually – the message is not getting out that we are destroying the planet and consuming the future. When it does get out – as a propaganddic astroturf behavioural change message – the accompanying belief is that technology will save us. This is utter fantasy too. The proposed technologies will hasten our demise as we attempt to industrialise them. Entailing more destruction, green imperialism, and child exploitation …for what?

E F Schumacher laid out a vision of simplicity: we chose complexity. Please let me know how you get on. The message of simplicity is simplicity. The message of Zen is common sense. Neither are applicable to modernity. That can change, but I am left wondering – just how bad does it have to get before we realise that we are the problem? The solution turns on that realisation. The solution is simplicity: the realisation not so…

May 28, 2019 10:26 AM
Reply to  UreKismet

You have to remember Kismet some people “get” Marxism, some try to confuse with technobabble (Trotskyists) and some are just shite at Marxism and think that literally every group bar white men is oppressed and the way to defeat that oppression is to vote labour (the people who advocate that -the likes of the SWP, PBP, momentum etc- are controlled opposition)

May 26, 2019 8:26 PM

Facts don’t matter any more, feelings do. Though only those in power and the privileged minorities and identity groups they choose to patronise are allowed to have “feelings” which cannot be hurt and must be deferred to. White people, particularly white working class people, are not allowed to have “feelings”, or if they do, they don’t matter.

Feelings Uber Alles. The Feelings and Received Wisdom of the ruling elite are paramount. “It is undeniable” that Putin meddled in the US elections, countless other elections, and the Brexit vote. Because they say so. Like “it is undeniable” that Assad gasses his own people for the fun of it, that Putin murdered Skripal because they are evil cartoon villains, and that’s what evil cartoon villains do. Like “it is undeniable” that Corbyn is anti semitic, which is rampant in the Labour Party. Because they say so.

Martin Usher
Martin Usher
May 26, 2019 5:06 PM

A big part of the problem is that we seem to have completely screwed up the education of our offspring, the Millennials. They seem to have a very peculiar idea of the past, how people lived and thought, the political and national forces at work, even things as simple as fashion and music. This wouldn’t matter if it was just a misapplication of style or fashion but as it also includes their perception of people and politics it paves the way for them to be led around by their noses. Its as if the entire 1984 thing came to pass but with the vision of post-WW2 British austerity turned into a romanticized graphic novel.

Obviously I’m generalizing because its a big generation that must include knowledgeable people. But its still painful to find the Twittermob blathering on about “Hitler” without having any real understanding of who Nazis were, where they came from and what they believed. Our attitude to Russia is pure Cold War and even that denies the cultural and political history of these peoples, how Russia was alternately our ally and our rival depending on the flow of European geopolitics. What I find particularly annoying is that the mob is being whipped up by people who should know better; its not as if inciting mobs for political purposes is a new idea but they should have enough education to realize that it invariably “all ends in tears”. (But I suppose provided they come out on top what do they care? There’s always a scapegoat handy.)

George Cornell
George Cornell
May 26, 2019 7:58 PM
Reply to  Martin Usher

Al Capp the perceptive cartoonist behind L’il Abner and friends, lampooned the scapegoating need consuming the overly aggressive. He invented the Shmoo, a creature there just to be kicked and to absorb the forces behind the erstwhile two minute hate, now mushrooming into 24/7 hate. Hate needs expression and who are we to deny righteous hate and fury? It would be like denying food or air or telly.

May 26, 2019 3:19 PM

It’s at moments such as this that I like to calm myself by eating a tin of custard.
It’s very soothing, custard.
I recommend trying it.

May 27, 2019 2:13 AM
Reply to  crank

a tin? are you a survivalist? i prefer my custard from a carton. my missus prefers to make it, like someone from a 1950s cookery show