Middle East: war, pogroms, and the destruction of consciousness

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Middle East: war, pogroms, and the destruction of consciousness
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Middle East: war, pogroms, and the destruction of consciousness. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

the destruction of consciousness

I doubt this is the right place to put this post, although Amos does refer to the "destruction of consciousness" in his article. 

These  last months I have had a dreadful and growing awareness of how despairing and depressing this website has become, to such a point, at least for me, that I have started not to want to visit it anymore. All the non-stop stuff about war, and the ICC's own emotional problems, and you might say "the triumph of decomposition" -  which is also in a way the triumph of the bourgeoisie too because, while they may not want it either, as long  as they've successfully got it and are  unchallenged it means the working class is properly repressed, doesn't it? - contributes for me to an overall gloom and doom and a website  lacking much in the way of revolutionary appeal.  A subjective response of course.  Other visitors, other comrades, may not feel the same. 

And I also wondered whether all the depression and misery (material reality as it truly is?), analysed in depth and given  publicity by the proletariat's own political organization,  doesn't work like a dark propaganda  In favour of the class enemy,  and add unknowingly to the destruction of consciousness itself in some mysterious way.  Not exactly the "revolutionary rupture" referred to elsewhere but more the dissemination of revolutionary depression.  

I have been avoiding having to say this, but feel its my duty to speak.  I have no wish to give offence. 

I understand where Fred is

I understand where Fred is coming from with a lot of the things he has brought up. But what else can we say really? How do we inspire without losing sight of how dire the situation of capitalist decadence really is? Workers would benefit from a more critical frame of mind. Are there ways we could further intervene? Are there workers around willing to talk about the class struggle? Or are they rather focusing on race, nationalism, democracy, etc?

The ICC seems to have reached the consensus that events like the protests this week or two in Europe, Asia/Oceania, Israel or in the United States are embryonic responses from a confusted and disoriented working class. Well what good does that do us communists? How do we intervene effectively in these situations? Can we? Especially without or own boots on the ground?

The bourgeois media, the fourth branch of the capitalist state, informs such a large part of society today. The leftists, representing the more "gentle"--- in the same sense that there are "gentle" techniques in certain martial arts, the point is still to hurt someone--- the more "gentle" leftists have their huffington posts and their guardians and to some extent their CNNs and MSNBCs. How do we wean people off this crap?

Thank you Jamal

Thank you for your sympathetic response Jamal. 

Oh how the bourgeoisie loves  and thrives on all the wars and hate and the bloody awful IS which of course was produced by and belongs to them too.  Can't you hear the undercurrent of excitement about "the clash of civilizations"; Islam versus Christianity (and the Jews);  and our naturally superior Christian and Jewish  values which we'll have to fight for and defend etc. After all we Christians (and Jews)  are the ones who made such a resounding success out of capitalism aren't we, so why shouldn't we be proud of our god given superiority?  

And Obama has been personally threatened, nay challenged, by the mighty IS. They want his head too.  There will be blood.  Twitter can hardly contain itself. David Cameron, British  PM,  has had to return dramatically from his holiday. Dramatic stuff.   The second time he's done that this August and in a publicity blaze again.  Good publicity this! What personal sacrifices he makes for capital.  The media can't get enough.  He's almost bound now to win the election next  year given all the generous  tv coverage  he's getting.

This is the extra  plus that IS is giving him: the threat of IS terror on the streets of England.  It even knocks the Scottish referendum off the headlines, which is another free and very welcome gift for Cameron. 

And then there are respectable petty bourgeois British Muslims who are as scared of IS as much as everyone else. Their  spokesman announced  last night that IS threatens democracy itself. My god! He said that  all the democratic freedoms that we Brits have apparently fought for all our lives - specially against Nazism of course - those democratic freedoms which we have all come to value so much - like freedom of religion, and the freedom to choose our bourgeois exploiters every five years and for gays to  get married  - all these magnificent achievements are actually threatened by the mighty IS, many adherents of which are, despite having been educated and nurtured by the great unassailable British democracy,  British guys themselves!   What irony! Has something somewhere gone horribly wrong you may wonder? Did freedom and democracy let down these young men?  

Well I suppose in a manner of speaking it did. For rather  than giving them sufficient ability and confidence to see that what is wrong with society is in fact the economic system itself, called capitalism, rather than what they have come to mistakenly believe is the cause of the misery like an attachment to the wrong religion, the wrong philosophy  or the wrong brand of exploiters, it has allowed and encouraged them to fall for the dominant ideology and a total alienation of heart and mind. It didn't do this by accident of course but by intent. 

Some young men were interviewed about IS.  Although from different sides, some for some against IS, they all expressed a longing to go and fight the other. To fight for their own brand of nationalism and their own absurd ideological mind set.  It was as if being able to go and fight and even die for a mainly and irrevocably manly nationalistic cause had become their purpose in life.  Making war, fighting and dying, sacrificing yourself, would prove finally you were a man.  Your manhood was inextricably mixed up with your national and religious affiliations neither  of which you'd ever actually chosen merely been  born  into, but which you were called on to defend uncritically to the death if need be. Like a real man. 

Just like all the young men on all sides who could hardly wait to go and die for the various fatherlands on offer  in World War One. Are young men peculiarly susceptible to this scam.  Or are they just natural suckers for organized violence?  

But WW1 led to a revolutionary outcome.  It is difficult at the moment to see the current destruction of consciousness leading to such a satisfactory outcome. But who knows? 


I can identify with your honest statement Fred. It seems to be the lot of the fragmented Marx-conscious that constant focussing on and analysis of  war / money / extortion / criminality / hypocrisy / ruthlessness can be as dispiriting as it is necessary. Every time I research some specific malignant tumour symptomatic of the Capitalist cancer, I find that it is just one of thousands and that they are all bigger and have been there for far longer than even I thought. Nonetheless the diagnosis never contradicts the root cause. The (pen)ultimate mode of production and its relations: it is as you say and your sarcastic resumé of the fabrications, deliberate confusions and ideological falsehoods is right and clear.

I also identify ,Jamal, with your wondering, what else one can realistically say or do. The formulation of the media as fourth branch of the state is no overstatement. The established methods of broadcasting have increased exponentially in my lifetime and are ever more relentless in their stupefaction. I do not have a television or watch online: visits to the radio last about 15 seconds usually before disbelief sets in at such blatant falsehood and the insidious prioritising of 'falserhoods' to distract and mystify.  And yet 'their' message still rapes my eardrums. It's either getting intensely worse or I am getting more allergic to it

The iPhone 6/ Ubuntu palmtop level of technology raises the game too. Self evidently a double edged sword: never has communication been so fast and accessible 'democratised' in its simple sense: potentially mass protest can be organised like lightning but at the same time stockmarkets rise and fall on a tweet and of course oppression can be organised even faster bearing in mind the massive databases of previous interception by intelligence agencies and their hidden networks with military or state (or not if they choose).

But though it seems that broad dissemination, linking, co-ordinating is well possible, across boundaries etc. the sheer volume of exchange and flow drowns the possibility of being heard as something other than 'just another point of view'. 160 years of working class struggle, Marx's radical exposing of the real relationships under Capital, the imposed and arbitrary presumptions underlying and justifying it. This is not 'just another point of view' to be picked out from the food counter like a hot or cold sausage. It is the way things really are damn it - in root opposition to the thousand descriptions of the way things are not.

Sheer numbers in physical presence on the streets, workplaces, is still the surefire method of at least alarming the bourgeoisie into rolling out their weapons of oppression and/or mass deception.

The indications are mainly negative alas but as Fred implies at the end : no-one expects the Petrograd insurrection. One can, however, be as prepared as possible.




In complete agreement

In complete agreement AS. 

160 years of working class struggle, Marx's radical exposing of the real relationships under Capital, the imposed and arbitrary presumptions underlying and justifying it. This is not 'just another point of view' to be picked out from the food counter like a hot or cold sausage. It is the way things really are damn it - in root opposition to the thousand descriptions of the way things are not.

You're so right AS.  Marxism isn't just yet "another point of view", another supermarket commodity, another hot or cold sausage, as you put it,  but is the only  way of looking at the world, analyzing life's struggles,  and finally understanding that there is a way out after all. So what's holding back the rest of the class?    No other philosophy, ideology, science, religion  or political standpoint, has the coherence and clarity of Marxism, or stands the test of time like it does. 

As you say,  Marxism explains the way things really are, how we got here, and how we can get out. The bourgeoisie's own garbled nonsensical explanations of what's happening every day, which they shove nonstop down our throats,  is the equivalent of a medieval cesspool, but without its use. The stench stultifies the senses. The constant repetititive descriptions of "the way things are not" can bring about sense deprivation and brain damage. No wonder consciousness finds itself under threat.