— Freidrich Nietzsche (via clockocean)
— Freidrich Nietzsche (via clockocean)
Liberalism manifests itself in various ways.
To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism.
To indulge in irresponsible criticism in private instead of actively putting forward one’s suggestions to the organization. To say nothing to people to their faces but to gossip behind their backs, or to say nothing at a meeting but to gossip afterwards. To show no regard at all for the principles of collective life but to follow one’s own inclination. This is a second type.
To let things drift if they do not affect one personally; to say as little as possible while knowing perfectly well what is wrong, to be worldly wise and play safe and seek only to avoid blame. This is a third type.
Not to obey orders but to give pride of place to one’s own opinions. To demand special consideration from the organization but to reject its discipline. This is a fourth type.
To indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly. This is a fifth type.
To hear incorrect views without rebutting them and even to hear counter-revolutionary remarks without reporting them, but instead to take them calmly as if nothing had happened. This is a sixth type.
To be among the masses and fail to conduct propaganda and agitation or speak at meetings or conduct investigations and inquiries among them, and instead to be indifferent to them and show no concern for their well-being, forgetting that one is a Communist and behaving as if one were an ordinary non-Communist. This is a seventh type.
To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant, or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue. This is an eighth type.
To work half-heartedly without a definite plan or direction; to work perfunctorily and muddle along—“So long as one remains a monk, one goes on tolling the bell.” This is a ninth type.
To regard oneself as having rendered great service to the revolution, to pride oneself on being a veteran, to disdain minor assignments while being quite unequal to major tasks, to be slipshod in work and slack in study. This is a tenth type.
To be aware of one’s own mistakes and yet make no attempt to correct them, taking a liberal attitude towards oneself. This is an eleventh type.
We could name more. But these eleven are the principal types. They are all manifestations of liberalism."
— Eleven Types of Liberalism, Mao Tse-Tung
Liberalism remains. Nothing, no matter how canny, or brutal, or ideologically rigorous, has been enough to combat it. When Mao wrote Combat Liberalism, the most terrifying and total assault on the road to Capitalism was ahead, as was its nightmarish collapse. Whatever has become of China today, the target, and its more and less unwitting aide Liberalism, have grown and distorted in the meantime.
Mao’s list of Liberalisms is drawn against existing social relations, with an awareness that it is essentially a hesitation. His list concerns three sets of problems: those of insufficient commitment to revolution, those of insufficient commitment to the party as the agent of that revolution, and the attempts to preserve old relations by inhibiting the new ones flowering in their place. Liberalism, for Mao and for us, is not merely a lack of radicalism against such a serious enemy. If insufficient radicalism were the only problem, we should throw ourselves entirely into our propaganda departments and sloganeering. Liberalism is a cowardly equivocation, one that knows what is to be done but always stops short. It is the fantasy, that if only we hadn’t struggled, we could have tempered our domination. The liberal knows there will be better rations coming, if only we limit our demands to better rations. But it is also the fear of power, and power’s fundamental character, that it is taken, not shared.
If we are to combat capitalism, and imperialism and domination, and the State that ensures them all, the liberalism must also be among our targets. Many of Mao’s prescriptions remain true today, while others are concerned with the production of a historically specific Chinese Communist Party. We cannot be bound by Mao’s prescriptions, but we must build on the awareness within them, that with a new social order comes new liberalisms to combat.
Liberalism today manifests itself in various ways.
To call on abstraction, on principles and doctrines, the mentality that laws and constitutions are supported by well-drawn maxims. To speak of rights as if the police and the rich are subjecting themselves to their own coercions. To deny that abstraction is another rhetorical trick, to press a people into submitting before their own oppression, this is the first type of liberalism.
To be naive toward, to ignore, deny or obfuscate Struggle as the source of advancement. To speak of things like human rights as if they are inscribed by an eternal order and not fought for and enacted, continuously, by the people, this is the second type of liberalism.
The call to engage with the regime, to propose laws to mitigate the attacks of the ruling class. To become reasonable, when reasonable always means to accept the regime. To celebrate compromise and solidarity with a failed liberal politics as necessary to prevent the domination by Capitalists of a purer strain. To tell ghost stories about the coming reactionary power, to use fear and guilt to demand submission to the voting booth, this is the third type of liberalism.
To say that underneath the violence and exploitation remains a possible utopia, that the state has been betrayed or corrupted. To pretend that Capitalism is anything other than its application, that exploitation is only the effect of incomplete project, to say finally that capitalism has not gone far enough, this is the fourth type of liberalism.
The celebration of reactionary symbolism, cheap reverence of nationalist flags and soldiers and police and constitutions, as if violating these is a greater violence than the system itself. The refusal to acknowledge that these are the devices of the enemy, this is the fifth type of liberalism.
To insist on non-violence and traditional modes of protest, to deify the tactics of different struggles until all others are forbidden, to negate struggle because it shows itself as struggle, and to prefer the peace of police brutality, imperialist aggression and mass exploitation to the fight against it, this is the sixth type of liberalism.
To revive universal guilt by claiming that this or that act will make revolutionaries as bad as their oppressors, to see protest or struggle as an act of moral absolution and superiority, this is the seventh type of liberalism.
The notion of the first-world, that oppression in the countries with the wealthiest capitalists is different from oppressions elsewhere. The shock, that “it can happen here”, when it has been happening all along, this is the eighth type of liberalism.
To claim that those who struggle are idealistic, to be ashamed of your political stance and then to immediately confirm the feeling by claiming that childish or idealistic are something to be. To delight at the presence of leftists, that one can finally be the responsible, rightist party. To venerate reactionary ideologies as somehow more serious, this is the ninth type of liberalism.
To complain that they are trying to destroy you and your comrades, to divest and imprison you, to erase you, to take everything from you, to deny that your enemy will act like your enemy. To cry about hypocrisy, accepting the lies of the enemy as a ground to fight over, to demand consistency or fairness when the regime is perfectly consistent in its domination, exploitation and control, this is the tenth type of liberalism.
To talk about crimes and criminals, to call your enemy madmen and monsters and sinners and barbarians, the slurs composed for the millions in captivity and slavery, this is the eleventh type of liberalism.
— — —
We should return for a moment to Mao, and his First Type of Liberal:
“To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism.”
It is still important that criticism and engagement escape the bounds of a traditional social order, but the death of the concepts of kin, of solidarity and affiliation, has been taken up again by Capital’s revolutionary desires. It is the overthrow of social relationships and replacing them with direct exploitation that defines Capitalism. We are not bound to respond in kind, and with our new modes of relating, we should recognize where we have been productive — struggle has produced new kin, and our friends have become our comrades, in perhaps a greater sense than could be said earlier. We must let our kin come to define our struggle, and see in our kin, our comrades. Mao was right that we should not be cowardly with those we love, but it is because kin have no need for cowardice around each other. Their bond is before politics. They can engage each other absolutely, without the homeless, precarious fear that camaraderie will be dissolved by divergent engagements with the struggle. To work against our kinship, our most powerful weapon and the model for our future, is the final type of liberalism.
Daily Show Fail | Weapons of Mass Distraction
Abby Martin never ceases to amaze me.
Liberals are incapable of recognizing the brutal reality of a classed system, or that of imperialism. When they examine attempted genocide by U.S. imperialism, they attempt to reconstruct the narrative to balance the intentions of the actors on either sides, assuming that the people involved were reasonable individuals like themselves. Because they are unable to understand the unbalanced power relation, or the barbarism required to continue a system like imperialism, they end up becoming apologists for some absolutely heinous crimes, like U.S. attempted genocide against Koreans, Native Americans, or Serbians. On top of this they really seem to think they are approaching the situation with a level-headed autonomy that is superior to the emotional extremes exhibited by anyone with relative sympathy to the victims of these situations. True barbarism is this callous detachment. The economic and social comfort required to develop this kind of attitude comes directly on the backs of those nations forced into subservience to the west.
I think I would be more affected as a blogger if I posted for a few weeks about overturning Citizens United and taking the greed out of politics, and posting gifs of Rachel Maddow, and then just slammed all of my new followers with articles about why the DPRK should be allowed to have nukes.
“The bourgeois states apply a form of democracy in accord with their class nature. Liberals talk about democracy in the abstract to mask the class character of bourgeois democracy, but Marxists always insist upon the following question: “Democracy for which class?”. If there is democracy for the exploiters, there can be no real democracy for the exploited.”
- 1999 Declaration of the International Communist Seminar
— Karl Marx on “rights”.
— Fidel Castro (via notquitepolitics)