Leftism Should Stop Punching Itself

The problem with modern left-wing politics is that they are defeatist. Being defeatist isn’t just a matter of not thinking you will win; in fact, I would say that most defeatists are convinced that they will eventually win. Defeatism, especially in terms of left politics, is an assumption that one’s real desires cannot be achieved. It is a reformulation of desires in a way that substitutes inadequate tokens for the real objects of desire and puts those desires off forever. Social democracy is a defeatist idea. Eurocommunism is a defeatist idea. They take it as read that essential parts of socialist & communist ideology, as conceived of in the war years and the Soviet period, are unachievable and therefore not worth striving for. Left defeatism treats the success of capitalism as being a result of capitalism’s innate correctness and therefore determines to subordinate its wants to those of capital.

The primary weapon wielded against the left is the prospect of chaos overtaking society. This is not the chaos of the left, however. This chaos is like an allergic reaction. A peanut is introduced to the system, something that doesn’t harm the system as a whole, but the system misunderstands and reacts by distressing the body, possibly to the point of strangling it. The damage from an allergic reaction is not caused by the peanut, the so-called foreign agent, the damage is caused by an overreaction of the body itself. At the same time, I want to stress that this is a metaphor and society is not an organism as such. People do not choose their allergic responses but they do choose their political actions. I likened rightist response to an allergic reaction not to suggest that this response is natural or intrinsic, I did so just to highlight that the damage and chaos may be related to the introduction of the new material but it isn’t actually caused by the new material.

I bring this up because left defeatism is directly related to the trigger for that chaos, and defeatism’s central premise is that society can be convinced that the left will not lead to chaos. This premise is bogus. The right causes the chaos because of what it knows the left must do. They are resisting the expropriation of their wealth. When the wealth of the wealthy is threatened, they are likely to react violently. The fundamental problem with left defeatism on a functional level is that the left must expropriate from the wealthy. If it doesn’t, it no longer performs the basic deeds that people expect from the left. It effectively stops being left-wing.

Why does the left have to expropriate? In brief, it is because primary value always equals 1 whole. This might be easier to understand by equating “primary value” with “priority for society”. If we view priority as a substance to be distributed, those with higher priority get more and vice versa. It should be clear that nothing increases or decreases the “total amount” of priority in a society. With that understood, we can see that if something has high priority, something else has low priority. One of the illusions of capitalism is that primary value can be extended. This is one of the roads that defeatism travels on: leftists feel that they can’t defeat capitalist forces and so decide to buy into this lie, hoping that enough value can be created such that everyone can get as much as they desire. Labor relations show that this is a lie. We know that we produce enough that the idea of poverty wages is not justifiable by the constraints of production. We know that improved conditions enable more production. Our current situation persists not because “the numbers don’t work” but because they mask the real operation of primary value. My point here is that the poor and underserved cannot be helped unless primary value is redistributed. Leftism fundamentally cannot avoid expropriation if it wants to totally reform society.

What is the solution for the left? My suggestion is the embrace of functional terror. The “terror” in question is the process of expropriation. This was the spark of left revolutionary terrors: the reaction to expropriation by the wealthy/right led to the repression of those resisted expropriation. Left defeatism’s principal argument is that we must reject concepts like revolutionary terror and dictatorship of the proletariat, but that is because it ahistorically locates the cause of that chaos in a left desire for vengeance; it treats the chaos as something for the left only to stop.

To embrace functional terror is not to love violence but to be prepared for it. It acknowledges that expropriation may be “terrifying” but that it must happen, and also that the purpose of terror is not to enact punishment but to reorder society. Rather than pretend at being harmless, we should point out that the wealthy cause this chaos all the time in their violent opposition to, for instance, poor workers who want a raise that may make their disgustingly wealthy employer just a little less wealthy. The idea that this position should be respected to the point that leftists blame themselves for the push-back they experience is frankly insulting. Left defeatism is a fucking dead end. Realize what has to be done, don’t run from it.

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