“Left-Coms” and “Ultras” Are Reactionary
Their debased and debilitating position must be rejected.
By rigidly adhering to an inflexible view of Marxism and a very narrow definition of socialism, blindly following selective and literal interpretations of 19th century texts, today’s “left communists” and “ultra-leftists” safeguard themselves from having to engage in or support actual socialist struggles in the real world today.
They are exactly the same as pro-lifers: technically of course it is true that abortions are not nice, and that wage labor isn’t communism. But what they fail to factor into their shallow and short-sighted idealistic analysis are a myriad of real life material conditions and situations which not only complicate, but render their positions repugnant, such as those faced by pregnant women in the context of patriarchy, and those faced by socialist transitional states in the context of global capital.
Marxism itself is neither fixed or unchanging, but malleable and constantly adapting to circumstance, the exact opposite of dogmatic. But the doctrinaire, single minded, and un-nuanced fundamentalism of leftcoms and ultras is unable to see the unavoidability of certain contradictions in revolutionary procedure, denouncing entire liberation struggles for minor trespasses against dogma. Further, their unremitting myopia and constitutional short-sightedness refuses to recognise due historical revolutionary process, and the temporal duration that social change requires, unaware that their demand for instant-satisfaction is entirely shaped by consumerism.
According to them, unless abstract value production and wage labor is immediately and completely abolished, it isn’t real socialism. Thus no real socialism has ever existed (for more than 3 hours), nor will it ever exist in a world dominated by the logic of capital — so just sit back, enjoy the theoretical circle jerk, and feel good about how smart we are. Also, geopolitics can be ignored, international diplomacy if of zero consequence, and the fate of human lives are unimportant, if ideological purity is retained.
For instance, leftcoms and ultras maintain that 1 billion Chinese people should have remained in abject poverty, living on less than $2 a day, the entire nation weak and vulnerable, in order to satisfy their criteria of “true socialism”. They claim that Zhou EnLai and Deng XiaoPing’s market reforms and economic development plan which included trading with the capitalist West betrayed the legacies of Lenin and Mao. But it simply isn’t true:
Capitalism is a bane compared with socialism. Capitalism is a boon compared with medievalism, small production, and the evils of bureaucracy which spring from the dispersal of the small producers. Inasmuch as we are as yet unable to pass directly from small production to socialism, some capitalism is inevitable as the elemental product of small production and exchange; so that we must utilise capitalism (particularly by directing it into the channels of state capitalism) as the intermediary link between small production and socialism, as a means, a path, and a method of increasing the productive forces.
– Vladimir Lenin, “The Tax in Kind”, 1921
”We want to do business.” Quite right, business will be done. We are against no one except the domestic and foreign reactionaries who hinder us from doing business. … When we have beaten the internal and external reactionaries by uniting all domestic and international forces, we shall be able to do business with all foreign countries on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
– Mao ZeDong, “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”, 1949
Historical necessity and objective conditions do not hinder these petulant infants from castigating the concrete actions of socialists fighting for and building real change, for using impure methods, for not doing things exactly according to ways ordained by 19th century thinkers. To them, the global neoliberal economic order does not need to be contended with, and 1 billion people living on less than $2/day merely 30 years ago can be disregarded — if a society currently has wage-labor, regardless of its organisational structure or the direction of its political trajectory, it is the enemy.
Criticality is important. We must be constantly vigilant, and hold our fellow leftists to a high standard of conduct, especially those at the helm of nations. But to hate and castigate them as “traitors” on spurious, left-fundamentalist grounds, informed by imperialist propaganda, and with not just a little hint of racist double-standards, is at best reactionary, and at worst the anti-communist work of actual CIA implants.
With all “real leftist movements” being failures, the only successful ones being “revisionist”, “fake”, and “social imperialist” (lol), there is nothing left for “real leftists” to do. So on one hand they lapse into daydreams of a total world revolution which will miraculously rise up and swiftly smash capitalism once and for all, as realistic as Jesus arriving on a fleet of UFOs on Judgement Day, and on the other withdraw into a pathetic fatalism, nihilism, and misanthropy (with none of the wonderful imagination and good humour of Posadists). This is why some leftcoms are attracted to the most regressive forms of primitivism (as opposed to progressive strands), in which 95% of humanity must be purged in order for pure communism to be possible.
Ultras react to the myriad dire problems facing humanity today by forsaking objective material conditions, retreating into idealism, revelling in infantile fantasy, and indulging in retrograde magical thinking, besides solipsistic one-upmanship, collecting leftist nerd-credit online, and smug self-satisfaction. They look down on and hate communists participating in and supporting real life struggles, because we disturb them from the comfort and safety of their narcissistic ivory towers. They have no real arguments besides repeating the same-old dogmas, endlessly beating the dead horse, so routinely hide behind disingenuous irony.
After causing much confusion and disorientation in the Western left for 100 years, we should all beware of these reactionary tendencies in ourselves. We must resist the petty navel gazing, closed mindedness, and ornery degeneracy of “left communism” and “ultra leftism”, a self-absorbed left-fundamentalism rivalling those of liberal identity reductionists, and a total detachment from reality akin to that of the Christian right.
With radical and ultimate revolutionary goals firmly in our sights, we must support every progressive movement, every push for incremental reform, every battle for bettering the conditions for the poor, and every method which displaces capitalist imperialist hegemony, while keeping much more radical revolutionary goals firmly in our sights, moving the world toward more equality, readying the material conditions for collective socialisation, and eventually, global communisation.