Additional comment on the Holocaust discussion: the ideological part

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Fri Nov 7 00:47:04 MST 2003


Hi Aaron,

> Though not a Jewish plot wasn't German Bolshevism staffed by a
> substantial proportion of Jewish comrades.  or are the conspiracies of
> Aryan fucks getting just getting the best of me?

Well I prefer not to use terms like "Aryan fucks" because then I buy into a
false and fake terminology which I utterly reject. Actually, the band
Blondie was playing in Amsterdam tonite and I was went to the Paradiso, I
loved and admired that band when I was younger (Deborah Harry of course
isn't true blonde at all, it was a bit of alternative humour), but I felt
terrible and had too much on my mind, and left again, a bit stupid really.
The world political situation makes me angry, frustrated and worried, and it
gets in the way of even relaxing and getting your yaya's out, enjoying life,
it obstructs the tranquility which love provides, and I am just mucking
around and not achieving my tasks, disappointed, not bitter, but
disappointed. So I have to rip out of that.

Of course some of the bolsheviks were Jews, but the fact that they were Jews
was largely irrelevant, apart from prejudices that some people have, and
some Jewish socialists wanted their own organisations. Whereas people are
entitled to their identity, socialism is not founded on identity politics,
and therefore also ghettoisation, the parcellisation of human beings as a
general policy is not something we favour, at best it is a first step
through which people can resolve aspects of their identity which were
previously denied in the imperialist epoch (sort of, "leave me alone to do
my thing"), which is preconditional for their acceptance of other cultures.
We are basically interested in what human beings have in common, how they
could co-operate, and how, through mutual understanding and solidarity, we
can make a better world, on the basis of communication and interactions
which are based on honesty, clarity, truth, integrity and the
acknowledgement of all other human beings as human beings, i.e. morally
consistent behaviour which provides the basis for a secure and predictable
basis for the means of material and cultural survival, so that we can get on
with more interesting and important human concerns.

Unfortunately, competitive class society being what it is, and the fact that
our lives are interfered with by people who don't know their ass from their
elbow about human problems, we have to devote our talents often to trying to
resolve very basic problems of human existence. Ideally, I would prefer to
have nothing to do with these problems nor with Marx, and devote myself to
aesthetics and logic, but such a position is laughable, and if I were to do
it, I would just feel a moral ass, and I often feel like a moral ass anyhow,
and try to assert some damage control and avoid getting demoralised.

Unfortunately, whereas the competitive market society based on class
conflict and exploitation certainly develops tremendous human potentials, it
simultaneously constantly negates them with haggling, negotiations,
huckstering, bargaining, exploitation, unequal exchange and mismanagement of
resources, with violence and oppression so that the human species in reality
develops in an extremely unequal way, and you more or less have to negotiate
yourself into an existence that is halfway human, because being human as
such carries a price tag, humanity becomes a commercial object. The
processes of monetary exchange can of course be sexualised as well. It is
important to stay level-headed about this, but at the same time we must
resist the reduction and conflation of the social to the individual.

It is not for nothing that socialist rhetoric includes the word "struggle"
because life becomes a struggle for many people in the world we live in. I
could demonstrate this statistically in great detail, because the
inequalities that exist in the world in terms of human development have
reached an absurd level, and the elites who think that they can just rule
the roost, and that it has no consequences for themselves, are equally
absurd. I have posted that stuff about "partial birth abortion" to show the
absurdity of the priorities and values of the elites who prattle about
eternity and a "culture which emphasises life" and complete refuse to face
reality, and permit of the possibility of a realistic, honest and objective
analysis of world problems.

The American elites see it as their holy mission to safeguard human
civilisation and create a "culture of life", but their own modes of sexual
organisation are an anarchistic, selfish chaos driven by greed, decadence
and self-interest, which is the reality behind the TV image, so that
American women themselves end up saying that the most priceless, exquisite
human experience of creating new human life has to take second place to
their job and other worries that they have, that their partners are
unreliable, and quite simply that raising children has to take second place
to other concerns. And then these people want to pontificate about how human
life should be for everybody, and use the United Nations as a handmaiden to
their ends ! It is ridiculous. Obviously, no genuine objectivity about world
problems can result from that, only secret deals and scheming. I do not deny
that Americans have great strengths and competencies, which I respect and
admire, but a nation which cannot recognise its own limitations and
specificity in an objective way, based on solid evidence rather than sexual
banter or chistian mythology, is a mortal danger for the rest of us.

Problem is, human beings in modern society are constantly caught up in
zero-sum games, but this is not just the result of individual deficiencies,
it is the result of the very structure of the society we live in, and if
people prattle about ""uncertainty" then this is socially mainly an
historical outcome, and a result of a specific mode of social organisation,
which makes it impossible to reconcile the social and the individual in a
satisfactory way, and indeed even turns the solutions of that problem into a
mystery. All the capacities exist for creating a lot of certainty and a lot
of security for people about the basics of human life, but the way things
are, these basics are continually contested, corrupted, eroded, negated and
denied. And then we get holy ideologies justifying this, in terms of the
"eternal human predicament" and so on, abstracting from historical and
empirical facts which demonstrate human changeability. If there is a problem
in the world today, it is a massive misallocation of resources, and faced
with that massive problem, people just retreat and say well I will just try
to build a bit of rational organisation in my own backyard if I can. But as
Alvater said, capitalism combines partial rationality with overall
irrationality in the economic sense, ans the retreat into your own backyard,
isolationism, just ends up making things worse. Hence Marx's original idea
that you have to organise local organisations and international (global)
organisations at the same time, and if you do not do it, you will get a
distorted idea of what it really happening.

Of course, massive growth of the world population and global interaction do
create additional complexities, but these complexities actually are vastly
exaggerated, because in reality the basic problems of life that most people
face are very similar, and a lot of the diversity that seems to be there is
just a product of individual imaginations and alienations which make things
look more complex than they really are, and an inability to assert clear
human values and priorities and implement those. So the complexities are to
a great extent manufactured, simply because insufficient institutional and
organisational means exist which acknowledge and structure human cooperation
and the pooling of knowledge, rather, the emphasis is on plundering other
people, shortchanging them, and protecting oneself from the appropriations
of others. This is basically the decline of capitalist civilisation, whose
own culture, institutions and organisational provides no adquate means of
its own to resolve the conflicts, it can at best contain them, only partial
attempts can succeed.

A basic theorem of decision-making theory is, that decisions must be made at
the appropriate level, but the very political and business structures we
have, create a totally warped view of decision-making and people end up
accusing each other of not living up to their responsibilities, rather than
consider what form of organisation is necessary to arrive at decisions, and
at what level of human experience a decision should be made. The whole
discussion about this gets drowned in sexual banter, sectional interests and
postmodernist verbiage.

Markets do provide partial efficiency in allocating resources, but overall
inefficiency in a human sense, which creates the absolute necessity for
markets to be combined with social planning, the rule of law and the
absolute necessity for democratic political participation - and the pursuit
of identity politics, in an individualistic, postmodernist, relativistic
way, ultimately means death for the human species. We do not resolve that by
bombing Babylon. In fact, Ernest Mandel ended up formulating it that way:
socialism or death, and it wasn't just that he was getting old (idiots
always try to reduce social problems to individual problems, rather than
show what individuals can do to help solve social problems). We think that
socialism is necessary for human survival, and not simply because it is a
nice idea, and thus, any genuine socialist operates from a sense of serious
responsibility, even though this responsibility is corrupted, distracted and
fudged by the hagglers, pimps and hucksterers who just want to advantage and
enrich themselves, and justify that with odes to humanity and "culture",
oblivious to the very society they live in, and which allows that
self-enrichment to happen at the expense of others, whom we may not even
know.

The right to national self-determination for example may, in specific
situations, be a way for people to emancipate themselves in a positive
sense. Identity politics is rooted in various forms of alienation through
which people do not feel that they can be themselves and live with veracity
and truth, and then they try to assert that identity nevertheless, the way
they are different or unique or special. As such, that is of course
perfectly good and legitimate, but in the context of modern society nothing
guarantees that this striving to be really free and live life as you really
are, with what you really believe in, and not how somebody else says your
are or must be, is accompanied by a really realistic understanding of the
causes of unfreedom and oppression, and what you may often get is a pattern
of senseless differentiation between people, that makes things worse, not
better, in the sense of alienating people more from each other. The
selfdetermination of one nation may be at the expense of the death of
another.

Historically, the Jews were persecuted as a people in brutal, barbaric ways,
simply because every ethnic group has its strengths and vulnerabilities, the
Jews had them, and other ethnic groups seize on those vulnerabilities; and
for their part, the Jew were also enormously gifted intellectuals in many
cases and experts in financial management, and so they could also
bourgeoisify and establish a good life and even a very powerful life for
themselves as well, when the Christian mythologists allowed them to do so
rather than persecute Jews. Persecution gave rise to the ideology of
Zionism, but this combines the legitimate and valid search of a "place of
your own" with the mystification of human victimisation, and of course,
unless you live in cloud cuckoo land, this Zionist striving does not take
place in outer space, but in a specific society, a specific world, which
shapes up the Zionist ideology with all sorts of themes which have nothing
to do with the human quest for emancipation, for social justice, for freedom
and social equality, but with self-serving material interests hidden my
moral discourses, and in the end this means the total corruption of any
positive ideals that Zionist ideology might have contained, so that any
sensible Jew interested in better relationships with other people has got to
be a post-Zionist or anti-Zionist, realising that we cannot turn back to
clock of history but simultaneously rejecting ideological justifications for
bad political and social institutions and a paranoid defensiveness which is
exploited as a vulnerability for commercial purposes.

Personally, I think it was perfectly legitimate for many Holocaust survivors
to emigrate to Palestine and seek to make a new life there, after all, if
you have been barbarically persecuted you have to do something, but it is
important how you do it, and the Jewish settlement of Palestine was already
happening before the second world war, and the specific way in which
settlement occurred from then on was highly dubious, to put it mildly,
precisely because of the mystification of human interests and pragmatic
interventions, which leads to the fanatical idea, that it is morally
justified to create some "Lebensraum" for yourself at the expense of other
people's lives, rather than in co-operation with them, and, more cynically,
that the clash of human interests in a capitalist, class society make such
cooperation impossible anyhow.

And that just culminates in the same moral position as fascism, i.e.
improving your own position through emphasising and exploiting the
vulnerabilities of others, rather than pooling diverse strengths to build a
better world through co-operation. The pettybourgeois utopia turns into a
horrible nightmare, and the nightmare is mystified in religious and
superstitious terms, resulting in infantile controversies about
justification and blaming. Fascisation is the result of a phase of
capitalist decay and extreme social contradictions, which create a
dishonest, lying culture in which human strengths are made out to be human
weaknesses, and human weaknesses are made out to be human strengths, without
any objective assessment of that being available anymore and the very means
of attaining it are denied. Socialists know very well what the basis of that
is: the structure of competition and class-exploitation which results from
the private appropriation of property through commercial motives, which
triumph over social responsibility and public morality, and negate the
latter, the ultimate irreconcilability of the private and public spheres, of
the individual and social, which much as though it is hidden and denied,
suddenly violently asserts itself and surprises or shocks everybody.

The great advantage of Marx was that he sought to break through the false
counterpositions and polarities in which the problem of Jewish emancipation
was posed, i.e. he used his Jewishness not to emphasise the uniqueness of
being a Jew, but rather to shed light on what the real human problems were,
in universalistic terms, and what the highest aspirations of human beings
can be. He does not approach a culture on the basis of saying "how can I
exploit them, or utilise their weaknesses to my advantage" but fearlessly on
the basis of what are they good at, and how can this help the project for
allround human emancipation. That is to say, Marx worked from the positive
strengths of what Jews can contribute to world culture and to humanity, from
their social intelligence, rather than from Jewish particularism, jeremiads
and mystifying ideologies of victimisation. He just ridicules recipes for
Jewish emancipation which say that Jewish people must emancipate themselves
basically through finding the conditions for differentiating themselves. He
did not say "everybody must get stoned" as in Bob Dylan's humorous song
about feeling cornered, but Marx says "let's get to work and understand the
real obstacles which exist to human co-operation, building on what people
have in common, and on what their strengths are, and based on a realistic
analysis of what the social conflicts are really about, what they really
mean and portend."

It is this intellectual approach that is important. Marx never claimed to
have all of the answers to all of the questions, rather he issues the
challenge of using your critical intellect to reframe problems in a way that
they can be solved. The most worrying thing to me is, that proliferation of
absurd ideas in the world about how to solve human problems, the denial of
the social and behavioural sciences in the sense of thoroughly objective and
practical investigation of social questions, disciplined by solid
quantitative and categorical inquiry, the rejection of systematic theorising
and the substitution of postmodernist garbage, sexual verbiage, spiritual
mystique, unreflected pragmatism and cellphones for rigorous, rational and
level-headed thinking, and the perversion of science to serve private
commercial motives. This is an adaptation to the irrational aspect of
capitalist economic life, and accentuates it, and by comparison the
degeneration of social democracy is a rather mild problem.

Personally, I do not feel it is intellectually satisfactory simply to
contend with social criticism, if you have some integrity, you must generate
solutions also, and help to work out the principles of socialist culture,
founded on social responsibility and planning, the correct use of market
institutions, and effective democratic participation, without conceding to
panics, victimisation, mystification and demoralisation. It is terribly
difficult sometimes personally, particularly when vulgar egoistic minds seek
to rape your life and steal from it what they can, spy and miscontrue the
intentions of others, project their own lies onto others, and it takes all
your inner resources to keep you going at times, it would be easier to give
up and die, it becomes difficult to love life, enjoy it, to live within your
limits and be happy.

Basically, the search for positive solutions to get out of the mess must
start with the specification of goals, priorities and aims, in a realistic
way. And here there is a big problem, because the bolsheviks and their heirs
never paid much attention to theorising socialist institutions in a
realistic way prior to achieving political power. Of course, you cannot
foresee all problems, but you can specify the values and logic of the
institutions and organisational forms which you require and desire, and you
can acquire technical competence. And in this respect, the CPSU and the PRC
just were woefully inadequate and could not go beyond social democratic
visions, they started off with a makeshift solution and then proceeded to
rationalise it.
If there were obstructions to achieving the leadership's goals, they
physically wiped people out, and the scale on which that occurred is not
morally acceptable to anybody today.

We can say that their achievements were in many ways impressive, bearing in
mind that the Russian and Chinese republics were constantly faced with
imperialist aggression and threats, but of course anybody can be impressive
on the basis of forced labour by others and primitive ideas about ecology
which narrow things down to economistic concerns, but rather than get into a
justificatory dispute, our aim should be to learn "how to do it better",
i.e. develop socialist economics, socialist justice, socialist culture,
socialist stewardship for the physical world, based on the most advanced
scientific and moral thinking about these questions, and not on intellectual
backwardness or the adulation of cherished traditions. People will continue
to say we are idealists until the problems get so big that they will say to
us "what should we do ?". I have had that happen to me already, but I am
extremely uspicious about human motives, because the morality of commercial
society is so rotten. Come to that, you get more sense and honesty from a
sex worker than some postmodernist wanker.

Let the middleclass jerks say what they like about how socialism is out of
date and how socialists live in the past, this is just sexual banter aimed
at self-enrichment and the search for individual fullfilment, the real
problem is that these people cannot deal with the problems of competition,
markets, property forms, culture, and class conflict other than at an
individual level, and they prove it everyday by the idiocy they write, by
being parasitic on the socialists for ideas to fortify their private
property, and by escapism and raping other people's lives. The bourgeois
classes are faced with a massive political crisis, with political
disaffection, with reduced political participation, which erodes their
legitimacy, and therefore they are compelled to parasitize ideas from
creative, independent thinkers, because they have no ideas of their own,
they thought money-making was important and the highest value and
accumulating private property and private enterprise based on some
pseudo-christian morality as the only way to the good life. But in reality,
it turns out this is only a coping strategy, a crisis-management strategy, a
conservative attempt to stabilise a rotting social order and contain the
scope of problems, on the basis that this is the best and only thing we can
hope to achieve. But we know that it just puts a plaster on gangrene, and
must lead to extreme violence when conflicts extend beyond the bounds of any
rational or democratic discourse. Iraq gives us a taste of that, it shows us
what that means, the brutal effects of imperialism and empire building.

But the real challenge is to work out positive alternatives on the basis of
technical competence, free from stupid ideological prejudices, and assert
them. And if they try to make it impossible to live our lives with
integrity, then we must find other ways. In the Czech republic, faced with
bureaucratic repression, scholars simply taught courses in people's houses
at one stage, and the strength they had was in their numbers, there's more
of us than there's of them. If people seek to impose a way of organising on
us that denies our humanity, then we have to change our style of organising,
that is all. The religious Marxists just want to ape what Lenin said and
did, but this is just idiocy as well, the only real authorities on ways of
organising there are, are living authorities, and if anything was
characteristic of Lenin, it was great behavioural flexibility. He had
discovered the principles of the best managers alive today in the early
years of the century, through practical activity subordinated to his goal. I
think you can be inspired by the historical examples of the past, how people
solved problems, in this sense history is a rich treasure house of ideas,
but this idea of mimicking the bolsheviks is just something for infantile
communists and ultimately conservative.

Jurriaan






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