Reactionary Communism?

It is often assumed that communism equates liberation for the whole of humanity from the shackles of oppression; this includes Persons of Color, Women, and, of course, Queer people. Yet is this set in stone? When a communist mode of production is realized and class society has disintegrated does this automatically entail equality for oppressed and minority groups? Just the same, is the inverse true: is a classless society which still oppresses Queer people (and others) “communist” even when classes have dissolved?

 
If communism is defined as simply a classless society than it must be agreed upon that bigotry and communism are compatible. To efface such birthmarks more would need to be added to the definition. Yet, as it stands, this is a peculiar contradiction. Mostly for its “against the grain” attitude as communism is traditionally seen as liberation.

 
Facts do, however, stand in the way. Glaringly, the bourgeois mode of production entails contradiction innate to it as a system which generates and exacerbates Racist and Queerphobic and Sexist attitudes; the need for a reserve army of labor, therefore, is one of the essential components which generate many of the secondary contradictions propelling the reactionary beliefs of capitalist society. Accordingly, it is expected that once the underlying foundation for the bastion of reaction has been stifled (and subsequently replaced with a production mode friendly towards non-bourgeois ideology) that these back-ward understandings will die.

 
Yet, it does not happen overnight. Regardless, that is why there exist a socialist stage: to smash reactionary attitudes and assist in the march towards equality. However, what if the revolutionary forces are not friendly towards the oppressed? What if they are Queerphobic? In such a scenario it is likely that Queer liberation would never take place; that even under communism minority groups would still face persecution.

 
This is the importance of forward thinking- to reach beyond one’s self, associate with those suffering under capitalism, and forge a revolutionary paradigm inclusive of all. It is as Mao said, ‘all of us reach communism, or none of us do.’

New Kasama Site

“Walk the revolutionary road with us”

On the 21st of January a new website was launched by comrades at the Kasama Project. The new site is a radical departure from their old format. Incorporating more modern web-layouts as well as integrating a social-networking aspect (which has been described as Facebook for communists) the new site, while not without some significant launch problems, is shaping up to be a powerful new medium.

Logging on early in the morning I found the site had been redesigned from the ground up. In the place of the WordPress blog format was a sleeker re-work; gone were the stilted outlines of conventional blogging and in were a format more akin to that of a newspaper. Easy to navigate and simply to browse, I quickly found my way to the social aspect of the site.

Dubbed Kasama Social, or Kasama Threads, this dynamic of the site was the bit which has been described as “Facebook for Communists”. It is here that participants could make a profile, upload an avatar, and start sharing just as if they were on Facebook proper. Indeed the atmosphere, the looks and aesthetics, are so similar that one might think the Kasama Admins took Facebook and made it better, more radical.

Registering a profile for use on this social site was easy. Taking no more than a few minutes of one’s time I had a shiny new profile in moments. From here it was but moments more where I had uploaded my own in-site blog entry. This feature, called Open Threads, is an open blogging platform. Members can publish entries and comment much in the same way Facebook’s “Notes” feature works. Designed as a source for in-depth discussion Kasama Threads operates as so: members upload blog entries and the most detailed and mature entries win a spot on the “main” website. In addition to this there is also a “Groups” feature which allows members to create discussion groups which will assist the movement in re-conceiving. Finishing off the re-design with an in-built chat feature, the new site has more communicative properties than a smart-phone. One can easily be overwhelmed.

Nevertheless, after I had slated my momentary urge to add a bunch of friends and respond to various comments, I turned my attention towards the actual mechanics of the site proper, namely, the articles.

While the layout is fine enough and the major categories are there (world events, liberation, theory, etc) once one clicks on the tab of interests the loaded screen is simply that of endlessly scrolling articles. It is here that I have my only true compliant. I believe that a more finely tuned search system could be created.

This is what I mean: say you want to find out more about Queer Liberation. Fine enough, simply go to the “Topics” tab, go to “Liberation” and select “Feminism and Sexuality”. At this point the system breaks down. You are taken to a list of articles which have even remotely to do with the topic you selected. There is no break-down or sub-topics. The site demands that you simply scroll until you find an article with a title that might be of interest to what you are looking for.

I maintain that this can be steam pressed into a much more compact, helpful, system. By this I propose that instead of the articles being strewn around haphazardly everything can be sub-divided into sections much like how on the original site ”Reading Clusters” were used to educate newcomers on some basic Kasama theory.

In the same way articles in the old Reading Clusters had simply their title in-fixed with a link to the article itself, I am thinking such can be done for each section’s results. This would require some more administrative responsibilities, admittedly, but in the least I think that if this approach wasn’t adopted than a brief “Recommended Reading List”, composing of relevant Kasama articles, before the endless scrolling would be greatly beneficial to guests and members alike.

Other than this complaint, and the expected host of bugs and technical details which are implied with the launching of any major interactive site, the new Kasama site is a promising accomplishment. More members are needed to truly make it a powerful tool and all the features must work properly, but with some refining and support, the new Kasama experience is one not to be missed.

Glenn to Lenin: My Transformation

Did you know I used to be a fascist? Well, perhaps not fascist exactly but pretty damn close. Yeah, before I became ‘right with the left’ (notice the religious hyperbole) I believed some crazy shit and spewed even crazier shit. Anyway, not everything is set in stone. No, I changed and know everyone else can change as well assuming the person in question opens their mind and thinks independently. Had I never broken away from the radical right I wouldn’t be who I am today nor would I have abandoned my asinine beliefs, sought out knowledge which was than exotic or evolved into the humanist I am today.

Evolution is a fitting term for no other word in the English language can accurately describe my transformation. Indeed, for ‘once upon a time’ I was a Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh loving American ultra- nationalist. Young and naïve I believed every inch of their nonsense. Eventually, I would even take their ideology further and come to believe that they didn’t go far enough in their quest to protect America from the coming communist threat.

I first started watching Glenn Beck when I was stuck in the quagmire of early adolescence. Perhaps 13 was the age when I first I watched Glenn on CNN. In those early days, when he could still perhaps be called a ‘moderate,’ I watched him at first for two reasons: 1) Because I was bored and thought viewing political stories might make the day slightly more interesting and 2) Because back then he made sense.

I continued watching his show in the coming years and began to view it nearly every day. I hung on what he said and fumed when I heard the travesties he reported on. The more and more he talked the more I was sure that the American nation was going to collapse without a strong radical force taking control and purging it of the conspiratorial left- wing infiltrators.

Illegal immigrants taking jobs from hard working Americans, a government soft on terrorism that refused to invade Iran, a president which lacked the spine necessary to build a border fence, and the constant attacks against the undersupplied military were all major concerns of mine. Also high on the list was the stunning accepting atmosphere that the evil progressives held. Something needed to give. I knew that the ideas put forth from Glenn’s line of thinking would prevail if given the chance.

As I continued watching his program and sunk deeper and deeper into his web of fantasy I gradually developed my own chain of extremist thinking; a variant which radicalized Glenn’s thoughts and brought his vision for America into the reality which would overcome the agenda put forth by the liberals and progressives.

My new train of thought was sociopathic… to put it lightly. Among the vast amounts of ultra-reactionary gems were: A massive militarized border wall needed to be built (10 feet high and lined with watchtowers and armed guards) straight across from one side of the southern and northern border, mandatory citizenry background checks for all employees (Private and public sector), a massively increased military budget (one which would be capable of occupying several more nations if need be) with a massively increased standing army (a million or so just wasn’t large enough for me), a suspension of freedom of the press, speech and assembly until the left-wing menace was wiped out, a massive crackdown (i.e. arrests) of all perceived radical Muslim leaders and prohibition of worship in such mosques, and, if need be, a massive nuclear bombing campaign directed at most if Asia and the Middle East.

Since I had lost faith in the republicans to accomplish such things and didn’t know of the existence of any other political parties, I created my own ideal group (all in my head, of course). This new group would be the catalyst, the vessel in which America was restored to its former glory!  Dubbed ‘The American Imperial Party,’ this new power would cast aside all the Marxist ranting riddled in contemporary American culture and impose strict new laws which would never harm corporations or say to a capitalist that they ‘made too much money.’

While such a creation was merely the brainchild of an angsty teenager it is nonetheless important to note that I earnestly believed such dribble with an ironclad will. I grew upset, angry and confused when those around me couldn’t see the injustices raining down from the courts and government. I was incapable of comprehending why others tolerated such leftist talk when it was all lies. The more I resented those around me the more I succumb to the venom of the extreme right.

The change wouldn’t come for a number of years and when it did it was certainly draped in the power of my own odd desire to understand the world. While during such times I resented the revolutionary left, often conflating it with the run-of-the-mill progressives, I would nonetheless be interested in who they were as people.

I remember the first event that displayed my desire to learn, this was also the first noticeable period of time when I sought out knowledge which was in opposition to my own so it is important to note. I was watching Glenn Beck (surprise, surprise!) and he was ranting on about how an educators march for better benefits was actually a far- left orchestration. To prove this he scrolled a long list of organizations involved in the march. Among the vast amounts of groups were many progressive and left- wing groups. Among the list of groups, however, one stood out among all others: Youth for Socialist Action. It showed only briefly but I was instantly taken aback by them and had the impulse to write down their name. Why I wanted to write this group down among all others I didn’t know; perhaps it had to do with the youth aspect since it only seemed naturally about why young people would accept such a barbaric ideology.

Months later I finally had the opportunity to search for the group I had written down. We had just discovered our landlords had a wireless connection (prior to my only access to the world was through the television) so I was able to access the internet via my PlayStation 3. In Google, I typed in the words “Youth for Socialist Action.” I found my group quickly and was immediately repelled and fascinated. The pictures of young socialists testifying why they were against capitalism, the historical quotes from Lenin, Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and others, and the links upon progressive links astounded me. I was disgusted by their animation of a cartoon character holding a sign that said “Capitalism sucks” yet at the same time intrigued by the reality facet; that actual young people organized their social lives around such ideas.

In the coming months, I would occasionally pop in on the site. More just to relive the feelings than anything actual but it was a starting point. The next major event would take place sometime later, perhaps as much as a year later when I was about 17. I was posting on a site for queer teenagers when one of the newbies introduced himself as a socialist. My exact words fail me but I and he quickly took to arguing. Eventually, after a pointless back and forth, he linked me to Revleft and said that they would be able to answer my questions/accusations far better than what he was capable of doing.

I could have ignored the site and never bothered to follow the link… I could have deleted the message and went back to the Satanist forum that had piqued my interest recently, but I didn’t. Maybe it was my sense of ‘honor’ but I told myself, “Fine, I will go on there and read some things, do a bit of posting then go back to that unpatriotic asshole and tell him off knowing that I gave his traitor site a chance.” Oh, how things turned out!

My first moments on the site were awkward. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of members (I had previously only been on very low member forums), topics, and ideology I lost my way quickly and ended up more in the learning forum as my exclusive place of residence. Not even knowing about an introduction forum I gave my intro in the same post I asked questions on. Known back then as Wanderer I asked the typical newcomer queries: What is the difference between socialism and communism, what is socialism, what is [X] tendency and so on. As a ultra-nationalist I defended absurd positions (such as support for the nuclear bombings in the second world war) but never carried on lengthy debates (as I saw my presence there as a strictly learning oriented one) for I was still frustrated by all the leftist concepts that my all mighty Beck never mentioned: the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex (seriously, how many complexes are there?!… I said to myself), planned economies, the intent of Marx and so forth. Oddly enough I was never restricted.

My transformation, however, was not by any means instant. It took months of considerations and learning before I finally decided I was a socialist and it took even longer before I began to defend my positions on other sites. I manually copied down lengthy manifestos and seriously studied leftist topics. I was extremely weary when others used the terms “Imperialist, bourgeois, and proletarian,” and I often felt out of place in such an alien world. However, not all were bad. When I discovered Revleft’s myriad user groups I felt some hope: I saw that leftist had an interest in video games, movies, space exploration, writing, sports- I saw that they were human and not a cult. It was an odd realization for someone who had assumed that every leftist was a hardcore activist that did nothing else but antagonize hard working business men. I felt more secure and at ease.

Revleft served as my learning zone. And difficult learning was for amid all the clashing definitions I routinely had headaches trying to understand how each tendency interacted with on another.  As I learned more I lost sight of my old views. Reading, discovering the leftist perspective to history, and contemplating how the world should be run gradually led to massive change. I had dropped each of my reactionary views and adopted progressive ones. Beliefs which I once held as dogma gradually faded into the background as forgotten lore.

My political transformation signaled a new step when after talking with a comrade I finally decided to join the youth branch of Socialist Action (the aforementioned “Youth for Socialist Action); the oddities of enlisting with the very group which first brought me over to my first legitimate leftist spectacle was not lost on me. Though I do not believe in any superstition it is nonetheless amazing when such events transpire.

Today I am a Pan-Leftist who believes that there is no “right way” to bring about revolution; I am a fierce advocate for the queer struggle, a tireless writer and theorist, a dedicated activist, and a loyal soldier in the fight against capitalism. I triumphed over my time in the far- right, learned the nuances of the left and now am the only thing a decent, well-politicked human can be: A socialist.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: