Ideological madness

22 August, 2020

Anti-mask and QAnon signs are displayed at a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Stuttgart, Germany, on May 9. Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

Surely, there has not been a moment in this century that has been as ideologically exuberant as the present one. Nevertheless, it is far from being a happy phase full of new ideas, social experimentation and creativity unleashed by the great social majority. On the contrary, we are in a period in which the progression of the crisis has heightened the imperialist tensions between all national capitals, fed the revolt of the petty bourgeoisie and aggravated the internal fractures in the ruling classes. So the discourse has become rougher and the stories more and more delusional. And yet there is system in such madness. When a delusion grows in a society until it gains legitimacy, it always has an underlying materiality. The material of which delusions are made of are class interests and their projection into the international orientations of national capital. But in order to understand them we must first place each one of them in their own starting place.

This article’s topic was chosen by the readers of our Telegram news channel(@Communia) .

The identitarian frenzy in the Anglo-Saxon world

Photo published by Kamala Harris about her childhood to prove her racial “authenticity”.

It’s an election year in the United States. In a country where the concept of nation does not come from the bourgeois universalist matrix of the French revolution, the logic of the battle for segments of the vote and the exacerbation of all kinds of identities become entangled. Any situation turns into an identity category and politicians compete to represent segments of the voting pool in their genealogy or even in the afflictions of their body in a sort of tournament that can only produce third hard embarrassment. Kamala Harris wears the medals of being the first Asian-American woman (her mother was Indian) and first black American woman to run for vice president. And to top it off, there is a debate in the press about whether having a Jamaican father can be considered being African-American or just black. Such a baroque approach to racist theory did not develop even in the racial institutes of Nazi Germany. But there is always room for one more twist: Tammy Duckworth, another Democratic leader who was running for office, boasted of being the first Asian-American woman in congress to also be the first woman with a double amputation to win a seat.

It is difficult to preserve mental health when individuals themselves scrutinize their own genealogies and genetic maps in order to gain public merit, but keeping the slightest intellectual honesty or simple decency is absolutely impossible. It is not only that they understand race – whatever the term race may mean to those who claim it – as something conferring extra legitimacy to the one who is the right one and detracting value from the one who is the wrong one. That has always been the final argument of all racists in the world. The fact is that the Anglo-Saxon left today does not accept any thought or opinion that is not based on racism. It is significant, for example, that the universities and the self-styled socialist movements linked to the Democratic party censor academics who were leaders of anti-segregation mobilizations for suggesting that the left should think less in terms of race and more in terms of class.

But it is also interesting to see how, since the United States is still the hegemonic power, we are beginning to see how this discourse is beginning to permeate certain sectors that seek to be recognized by Anglo-Saxon media or, directly, seek an alliance with foreign imperialist interests. A recent example: the Brazilian left is seeking support from the British and American left with which it shares academic networks. The approach is a collection of essentialist labels and assorted nonsense… because these approaches guarantee its recognition as a voice of its own in the Anglo press. As an example, this raving interview in The Guardian in which a Brazilian intellectual defines the Amazon as the world”s vagina because that”s where people come from. Although the vaginal reference might seem more or less forced in order to insert feminist essentialismm, the idea that the Amazon is the origin of Humanity is an ad-hoc delusion to introduce as an alternative truth the tribal mythology adopted by the Brazilian indigenous nationalism in spite of any historical factuality.

The anti-communist ravings of a brutish right wing

To continue with Brazil and the United States, although in another dimension of ideological derangement, just yesterday Bloomberg warned against Bolsonaro’s supposed inner leftist. The rationale… that he will extend Covid’s emergency payments until the end of the year and which, already according to electoral logic, promised a miserable social package that does not even remotely compensate for the direct attacks on wages, pensions and working conditions of the last two years. When Bloomgberg, the financial oracle founded by the later Democratic mayor of New York, pursues Bolsonaro’s alleged leftism and brings his hands to his head by remembering the oh-so radical Lula who earned him millions, it is that the old and primal American anti-communism of the cold war is commonplace in certain international circles. What was once an imperialist ideology for war is now a kind of resentment that unites them emotionally in the face of the petty bourgeoisie in revolt. The fact that this particular revolt is taking on an ultra-right-wing form is the least of their worries, they are all subversive and communist. Pure madness.

Another example. The fall of Steve Bannon indicted for fraud. Today Welt, the old conservative German newspaper, published a small report in which they couldn’t find anything better than to explain to us in detail why Bannon, in reality, is a leninist. These are not eccentricities, last week the New York Times’ political-academic debate podcast was dedicated to explaining that revolutionaries in general and Lenin and Trumpists in particular are nothing more than resentful elites.

And if we go further to the fringes, to the decay of the petty-bourgeois revolt, the moral and intellectual picture is even more appalling. In Germany, the intelligence and counter-insurgency services are warning, lander after lander, of a true conspiratorial epidemic. In the United States, the followers of Qanon, a conspiracy theory increasingly close to becoming a specifically Trumpist religious movement, already contest positions and nominations in the Republican party. The discourse, parallel to that of the notorious Protocols of anti-Semitism and increasingly close to it, has already had an influence and murderous ramifications.

Neo-Stalinist reactionary delusion

Offices of the German Stalinist newspaper Neues Deutschland in Berlin.

All this inevitably produces a mirrored echo. And since in the end all these historical reinterpretations are the way to crush universal history according to Anglo-Saxon identitarianism – including the toppling of statues and the review of canonization– and therefore serve the interests of the bloc that is being formed around the United States and Great Britain, it is inevitable that stalinism will resurface as an expression of marginal nationalism. Especially if Russia is willing to douse them with tips.

And since this in turn confirms the comfortable and ultra-reactionary identification between stalinism and communism dear to the most brutal right-wing, there is no shortage of reports detailing how, for instance, the old GDR stalinist newspaper wins over the anarchists in Berlin whom it persecuted and imprisoned 30 years ago. Strangely enough, the repressive link is not even mentioned in the report.

Where does it all end? In a double anti-communist pirouette, from the official Spanish news agency to the last newspaper they all take for granted that the main protagonist of the 80th anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination is… Ramon Mercader, who else would it be? It’s not going to be Trotsky or Natalia Sedova!

The imperialist and anti-working class tension of the new state ideologies

Angela Merkel receives Louise Neubauer and Greta Thunberg at the chancellery.

Ideology is always totalitarian. It occupies the whole field so as not to let us face reality even for a moment. And what we’ve told you so far are its strong flavors. But in the end, what comes through most are its light versions. Things like the successes of children’s literature, the classical ground of conservatism and lukewarm reformism, or state ideologies.

And here Europe is still the vanguard of global capitalism. There is no place like the EU for that. More so now that the European powers require new ideological brands to confront the US and China and assert themselves in the global panorama of imperialism. It is no coincidence that the European academy is resurrecting universalist Modernity against identitarianist Postmodernity, even reviving academic marxism. And, of course, it keeps propping up the feminism and ecologism that it elevated to state ideologies during the last years.

On the way to a new slaughter, with a rampant crisis and with the banks threatening a financial crisis, the Bank of Spain, puts the focus on the gender wage gap in the banking sector of course. Let’s remember that the gender gap is not the difference in salary for performing the same job, something that is legally forbidden. Nor is it about monitoring workload distribution so that jobs paid the same are really equal. No. This is about comparing what men as a whole earn with what women as a whole earn in the company. That is to say, this is about making the number of women equal to the number of men in management positions, as the Minister of Labor wanted when she was a member of Unidas-Podemos. Undoubtedly the place to put the focus of the regulator in a crisis while labor’s income -both male and female- keeps plummeting.

And in the same vein, just this week, Merkel brought Greta Thunberg out of hibernation. Very ritualistic, all of it. Greta, for whom years never pass, repeats for the hundredth time that we must go faster in order to implement the Green Deal and Merkel nods worriedly and contritely to the gesture that presidents save for papal sermons. Why this vintage liturgy? To set the transfer of income from labor to green capital as a priority in the midst of the crisis, obviously. But also to arm themselves ideologically to defend imperialist interests. Once again, the Amazon is the excuse to undermine – or even denounce – the agreements with Mercosur, for example.

Of course, the European powers are not the only ones trying to create bloc ideologies tailored to the commercial and economic warfare we face. But compared to the Anglo-Saxon academy they are the height of sophistication. The US published a report this week “showing” that the Chinese Communist Party covered up the initial outbreak of the covid and allowed the virus to spread around the world. It is certainly not impressive in its subtlety. But neither can one ask too much when the best that American intellectuals can come up with to endow the state to which they owe an ideology is to recover Burke or Hamilton.

Materiality under the ideological clouds

Underneath all this ideological unhinged charivari -and what is to come- there is a materiality that can be summed up in two terms: incompetence and incapacity. Incompetence both of the bourgeoisie and its theorists to imagine a progressive future, and of the petty bourgeoisie to find a way of articulating its interests capable of dragging the rest of the social whole, that is, to organize and create what they themselves call a people.

Incompetence that reflects therefore the incapacity of the system to generate real development. This week, Bloomberg presented its Misery Index, which does not measure global misery itself, but the seriousness of the contradictions in the accumulation of the different national capitals in dispute. The result pointed to an accumulation that is increasingly difficult, more problematic, and full of contradictions in all countries, starting with the great powers. Nothing else could be expected. The only thing to be fought for is to make the main contradiction-that which pits capital and therefore the bourgeoisie in all its forms against the proletariat-more clear and present, and, among other things, more important, to get rid of all the ideological miasmas with which the decadence of the system is suffocating us.


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