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.