Why to be Socialist, Communist, Anarchist, Leftist...? Why not Conservative, Reactionary, Fascist, Liberal or even ambiguous?
Because, while that could pay off in a selfish sense, it does not pay in the social, political and historical sense of what's to be of Humankind. And I'm not really interested in having lots of money and golden toilets: crap is crap after all and my prole toilet works fine enough.
Principles of Right and Left
Let's be frank, behind all pretext, the real ideology of the Right is homo hominis lupus (man is men's wolf), meaning that we are our own predators or, in other words: the so-called Social-Darwinism, which has nothing to do with Darwin actually but is rather a manipulation or misinterpretation of the principle of survival of the fittest (again not a Darwinian concept but a conservative ideological invention by reactionary ideologist H. Spencer, who was actually Lamarckist, not Darwinian).
For the Right, justice, cooperation, solidarity, social pact, human rights... are not workable social principles but if anything something to include in the propaganda: pretexts for criminal wars, lies for the electoral discourses, a flowery garden to cover the graves and secret dungeons.
For them, oppressing, exploiting and abusing others is the normal thing to do, one just has to be smart about how he or she does it in order to keep doing it for longer. Crime (legal or not, ethical crime) is perfectly acceptable for them, they just use cover ups in order to remain at large and keep their prey, you, oblivious to their intentions.
For them this brutal competition is natural: survival of the fittest, they say in their rare moments of, still apologetic, sincerity.
In contrast the Left demands and attempts to organize a society in which cooperation (instead of competition) and solidarity (instead of predation) are the main rules. There are also biological basis to that, probably much more solid than for Social-Darwinism.
Certainly humans are social animals, empathic, communicative and most often (there seems to be a minority of exceptions, which we can well consider pathologic) solidary, generous, altruistic.
But regardless, both concepts or ideologies could well be and have probably been in dynamic equilibrium through much of human history and even prehistory: intra-species predators (cannibals, vampires or just your usual capitalists) are surely only viable if there is a cooperative majority in fact.
However that is not possible anymore because Right's ideology of exploitation is dramatically endangering our survival as species (and of much of life as we know it). And there is no survival of the fittest when all the species is dead, nor there will be people to scam and exploit when all are extinct.
Inviability of the Right-wing ideology in the 21st century
Exploitation has many facets but essentially we can divide it in the three following aspects:
- Class exploitation: when exploiters prey on producers and other workers
- Patriarchal exploitation: probably a more primitive form in which (some) adult men prey on women and children
- Ecological exploitation: exploitation of non-human elements of reality, such as animals, plants or Earth in general. While this is absolutely natural, our species has such power and has expanded it so much that Earth can hardly support our thoughtless exploitation anymore and we are bringing the planet to a crisis that has very few precedents, all them known as mass extinctions.
A mass extinction is probably, maybe depending on the fine print, a type of crisis that Humankind cannot survive. And the Right-wing ideology of hyper-competition and general exploitation is precisely what has brought us to this historical and evolutionary cul-de-sac.
And there is no exit within that ideology: eco-fascism is an illusory oxymoron, space colonization is not likely to be a realistic option in many centuries and eco-friendly capitalism is nothing but marketing (propaganda).
So we need an alternative and that alternative already exists at least in seed form: it is the ideology of the Left: solidarity, cooperation, total democracy (people's power) and, very specially, respect, not just among us humans but for the environment as well (and very critically at this juncture).
Even being so many, we can probably manage to live quite well (all, not just some) on these principles, which are principles of justice that we all can easily understand at emotional (instinctive) level (if you do not, visit your psychiatrist, seriously). But the sooner we implement these and make real a sustainable, democratic and solidary Humankind, the softer the landing will be.
So that is why I am a commie after all... not just for morals or ideals... not just for a deep sense of raging justice... That also, true, but very specially because there is no option for the actual survival of our species once we throw Spencer to the trash bin.
You said: "the real ideology of the Right is homo hominis lupus (man is men's wolf), meaning that we are our own predators". I've heard that analogy before, by someone said to be "Red". Is this from Marx or Lenin or someone like that, this idea of the "Man Wolf"? If you could point me to the source for this, I would be grateful. Thanks for your time.ReplyDelete
No, sorry, I do not know where I could get that idea from other than my own analysis. Surely I have all kind of influences but, sincerely, it seems to me as an independent conclusion of my own thought.Delete
I would say it's a very natural conclusion in any case: the Right is or has a very strong anti-Humanist tendency, be it individualist or group-based (surely just variants of the same selfish leit motiv).
I would say that for us in the Left, the people with Right-wing ideas seem totally motivated by their own selfishness and their projection of that perception onto everyone else (the thief believes are all like himself, you know). Therefore for us the Right is essentially "evil", so to say: a most serious cancer of Humankind.
Did not Baudrillard try to extend Marx's critique of exchange value to use value and wind up criticizing Marx as a productionist?ReplyDelete
I don't know enough about Baudrillard. Generally speaking I find post-modernists quite empty. But of course they were intelligent people so they might have some interesting points. Also he is classified within post-strutcturalism, where some people I do admire (Deleuze & Guattari) also fall in. Maybe you can tell me more.Delete
I would say that Marx had very good points for his time and that in many aspects they stand as valid or quasi-valid even today. However he must be "updated" in several aspects: a critical one is expanding the idea of work-value not just to human work (which is still crucial) but o Nature's and maybe also to machines (especially as they become more intelligent, more human-like). Marx' "materialism" is actually "social-realism": he is not materialist like empiricists would be but he always refers to society as the measure of all things. This is true to some extent, particularly in economy and politics, but not scientific enough when we're discussing things like value, work, etc. And it also impedes the access to an ecologically enriched viewpoint.
Dialectics may have been vanguard 150 years ago but today it's again not scientific enough: we would need to incorporate Chaos Theory, which can be somewhat likened to dialectics or rather "multilectics" in order to better understand socio-historical processes the way Marx tried to. For what I could find the one that better approached this, from an intuitive viewpoint, was Bakunin, who did not consider himself "anarchist" but "revolutionary socialist". However he did use the notion of "anarchy" as that moment of chaos in which everything is possible, what fits well with how the Theory of Chaos (vide "butterfly effect" and such) approaches social stability and change (or that of any complex system).
In brief: we would need a serious "upgrade" of Marxism, without renouncing to the many truths or near-truths that exist in that school. Something more in agreement with our modern scientific knowledge but that is not just a mere destructive criticism of Marx and others but an improved tool for social advance.