Over the last few years I’ve noticed something very disturbing taking place. The level of debate in the Marxist community has steadily gotten worse. It seems like every day debate seems further and further from people’s interactions. There has been a tremendous erosion of communication between people and groups. In the last few years I’ve seen the well go from poisoned, to an undrinkable irradiated mess. Ideas are so completely lost from discourse now, they evade the map.
Meme culture has come to completely dominate and replace debate. No one discusses ideas anymore, they make memes from one side or another. We were once the epitome of investigation and analysis. Now we’re reduced to one-liner posts, or a picture of a former communist leader with a quote attached to it. People don’t discuss ideas they attack each other for not agreeing with them. Both sides accuse each other of being prejudiced in some way merely because they disagree.
We were the ones who dove into ideas and devoured them. Now that is impossible.
With each passing year I see it getting increasingly malicious. I see people taking other people’s statements out of context, purposely to attack them. Marxist groups and individuals attack each other personally rather than struggling over ideas. This organization talks about how reactionary this other organization is. Do they struggle through a disagreement over line? No, they denounce each other, they straw man each other.
No one even tries to struggle over ideas anymore. A soon as someone posts something, the resulting comments are petty dismissals, denunciations of positions the person does and doesn’t hold. “LOL that guy is so reactionary,” is now considered to be a legitimate response to someone posting an idea. We have all seen this time and time again. Whenever a topic is actually discussed, the two people talking end up blocking each other on Facebook. Why do you think they are four or five Communism101 Facebook pages? Because, no one can stand to discuss an idea with anyone else. It’s always, “agree with me or you’re banned.”
Everyone maliciously attacks everyone personally. No group out there can honestly build anything up. They can only tear other people down. They can only wreck other people’s work. People go out on social media and try to win a popularity contest. They don’t exchange ideas, they just try to see who can claim to be the most oppressed, or who can claim to represent the most number of oppressed people.
Twitter is the worst for this. At 140 characters a post no one can actually forward an idea. They can only snipe at each other. It’s all about who can rally the most people to their side. It has nothing to do with correct versus incorrect ideas, it’s a popularity contest. There are people who exist solely on Twitter where it’s not even possible to discuss ideas. People can only put out short, catchy and witty statements, not ideas. Having a blog and a Twitter account is one thing, but being a Twitter only person is another.
The stagnation of theory has led us to this problem. There are no new ideas being discussed anymore. Everyone merely says “free X from Y because they’re oppressed!” How many ideas are being presented to accomplish this? None. We’ve been reduced to liberal cries for justice, railing against oppression without any theory behind the phenomena, or how to resolve it. Everyone just screams “liberation” and “revolution” as buzzwords with no substance or theory behind it. How is this scientific? This is straight up liberalism.
The only time we see an idea expressed is when it’s one that has been done to death. Every time there is a mass shooting in the U.S. Marxists come out in support of gun ownership. Marx said the workers needed to be armed against the capitalist class. Now paste the quote in the post and put it out on social media. Yea, we’ve said it a million times. This doesn’t need to be discussed anymore. This idea was settled before any of us were even born. We repeat the same thing over and over again because nothing new is being produced.
Anytime someone steps out of these ideological “safe spaces” where no one is going to disagree, everyone just starts attacking each other. As soon as someone puts out something differing from someone else, everyone rallies around to denounce it, not honestly respond to it or discuss it. We have all seen this with our own eyes. We know it to be true.
I expect that this is the manner in which people are going to respond to this blog post.
Revolution is made by boldly striking out with ideas, not popularity contests and attacking each other. There is no wellspring of ideas to dive into anymore. There is only a toxic geyser.
10 thoughts on “The Undrinkable Well of Marxist Discourse”
Ain’t this the truth, these so called ‘Marxists’ and ‘Communists’ in the first world are nothing but petty Neoliberals and Social Democrats, 70% of them barely knows what Communism actually is, its sad.
Everytime I form an argument why Marx’s, Stalins or even Mao’s ideas are outdated for today’s big globalist societies instead of arguments I only get petty insults.
Surely these ideas might work in a third world country but these people cannot even argue for that.
These hipsters are so clingy to the internet but they have never even been to a protest in their lives. I’ve been to a protest myself against racist police brutality. They’d rather have coping mechanisms rather than actual revolution.
Whatever argument you form, it doesn’t matter what your position is to them, they’ll just respond to you with ridiculous meme-based insults or reaction images they get from tumblr. They don’t know how to communicate apart from that. That’s the problem with these people.
Discourse in general (not just Marxism) is getting worse. Too many bourgie liberals playing with their tablets, smartphones and whatnot that they got from their bourgie parents who probably exploited off children from Latin America, Asia and Africa.
These people need to get out of the house at least. At least leaving the house would at least provide SOME revolutionary potential instead of just spamming memes here and there.
Reblogged this on There Are So Many Things Wrong With This and commented:
I suspect this phenomenon may extend even beyond Marxist discourse.
Quite, but that is the whole point. A certain grouping (who I shall refrain from naming) are not interested in changing the material basis of society. Their rhetoric is simply a bludgeon to use in the acquisition and grasping of control over others. They crush dissenters by use of shaming language and exile to the outgroup. They have always done so.
An Alberta geyser. ;)
I think this is where a lot of the normalizing of mental illness (AKA trans insanity) comes from. Take the Stefonknee thing. A 50 year old man who thinks hes a 6 year old girl is obviously mentally ill, but is not getting the help they actually need because Marxists think saying that is “offensive”. 98% of the masses don’t give a shit about identity politics bullshit like that.
Two thoughts. 1) I think you’re talking about “discourse on social media” as much as–if not more than–“Marxist discourse”. Everything you’re mentioning here is Facebook and Twitter. Are you talking about communication at any actual meetings or conferences? Have you attended any presentations by authors? I think social media is fundamentally a liberal hyper-individualist medium, built to cater to anonymity over community. People achieve “success” on it through the gratification of large numbers of people quickly processing and “liking” clever snippet–honking at bumper stickers essentially.
2) You seem to be analyzing this from the standpoint of a community of Marxists conversing with one another. For my personal standpoint, this is not how I approach these things. I try, rather, to use social media to spread marxist perspective and critique of contemporary political events for the consumption of ordinary, non-politically aware everyday working people among my social contacts. My goal isn’t really to impress these self appointed “Marxist gatekeepers of social media”, but to spread info about who we are and what we stand for to people who otherwise would simply have no clue whatsoever. I find this to be a really essential and overlooked task, and I think we’d really benefit if people actually took that mission seriously. We’re up against SO much misinformation, slander, etc, that we’re simply not relevant to people: They don’t see us as an alternative. I find a huge overlooked purpose for social media to be to advance a position that seems noble, sympathetic, and concrete for working people to actually wrap their heads around. For this purpose, I completely agree that all these factional battles, and “inner references”, pictures lavishing praise on Kim #3, etc. serve absolutely no useful purpose whatsoever. I do, however find it useful to communicate to a bunch of non-Marxist people who typically receive basic impressions of what’s going on through MSNBC of Fox News, information about what our position on gun rights is, and WHY. Of course this isn’t “new” to us–but it IS to the vast majority of working people in our society who know next to nothing about us, except for the years of rehashed propaganda demonizing us. So, for example, if you don’t like it when you see this kind of content from me, you should consider that I’m not presenting info for you as my audience, nor to any of these sanctimonious cliquish kids we dislike, who are using online persona as some sort of “marxist authority figure” as a form of self gratification.
I TOTALLY agree with you that there is NO strategy in any of this social media content, and I’ve seen absolutely none of it in any of these figures I think you’re talking about. There is NO strategic analysis: What are we saying? Who are we talking to, and why? What steps are we taking to spread our vision so that it can build support within our actual societies? It’s very depressing for me to admit, but all I see is children at play–marginal personalities jerking off. I find this to be a product of the virtual environment to at least a degree, because it attracts the niche audiences to obsess over their pet fantasy worlds–dissipating the power of their social unity through appealing to their selfish individualism. I don’t know what the answer to this is in social media. But it is a big problem because EVERYONE is drawn into it no matter what their particular areas of interest are… and after this seduction, everyone is neatly defanged and placed into this little private box of his own fantasy, where he passively detaches from the real world around him. I think we maybe need to call for more discipline and selflessness among comrades. Of course the only way to do that is through example, so it’s not an easy thing to ask for. I remember I was discussing a point with this very popular and “successful” FB personality a while back. Lets call him “Marxist Kid”. In my attempt to appeal to him, I used the words “our Marxist principles”, by which I meant something very noncontroversial: the basic moral drive for justice for the exploited and downtrodden that motivates us to be active in this sort of politics. He acted as though I were referencing the most absurd and contrived “unauthorized” concept imaginable. You know to whom the idea of “our fundamental principles” as Marxists HAS GOT to be clearly identifiable, and entirely sympathetic? The working masses. It’s as if Marxist Kid and the hordes of bourgeois brats, self-promoters, and all manner of other marginal and dubious self-identified comrades like him that crowd social media have no conception that they’re actually supposed to be there trying to accomplish something: Trying to FURTHER the class consciousness, political radicalization, and sympathetic understanding of our just and moral political goals among THE WORKING PEOPLE. Bottom line, we have to give working people confidence: Confidence in US as capable, reliable people; confidence in our fundamental and unwavering commitment TO THEM; and confidence in the steadfastness of our vision (what we’re trying to accomplish). When we ignore any of this, we’re simply playing games just like all the rest. Look at self identified “Marxists” on social media. Do any of these people give you confidence??? Absolutely the opposite. And this has GOT to change.
Again, good points overall. J
Hey Jason, BTW, on what medium do you do this conversing over ideas that you want to see more of? Here on this blog? You don’t seem to comment on your YouTube pages. FB seems a little sparse in this area as well. Where is one to catch you carrying on conversations on issues, strategy, etc, with other people? Thanks.
Marxists absolutely need to create an avenue for working people to engage in their political movement. These people don’t even create an avenue for Marxists to engage with each other. ALL of this has to be ORGANIZED. It’s not just somebody gets a bright idea, “hey, let’s try that!” It’s STRATEGY and ORGANIZATION. It’s full-time work for smart, capable people.
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