work in progress in social theory and cultural sociology

reactionary anti-capitalism

07.28.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve always found the ease with which some who would count themselves towards the radical left take to Schmitt’s “critique of democracy” or Heidegger’s “critique of technology”. Johannes Thumfart highlights a very worrying example in die tageszeitung – English version at signandsight. Thumfart sums up the anonymous (and at least in France and Germany celebrated) pamphlet “The Coming Insurrection” as follows:

The pamphlet contains an explicit call for political acts of violence to ‘liberate territory from police occupation’. Democracy is the declared enemy. The post-war era is tersely summed up as ‘sixty years of pacification, sixty years of democratic anaesthesia’ and anyone who insists on ‘the democratic character of decision making’ is a ‘fanatic of process’. The bit about ‘bourgeois parliaments’ engaging in nothing but pointless ‘palaver’ immediately calls to mind the Weimar Republic when extremists on the left and right described the Reichstag as a ‘schwatzbude’ or chattering-shop. The authors summon up Carl Schmitt, the “crown jurist” of the Third Reich, and his ideas on the “state of emergency”, “partisans” and the concept of the political. Another influence is the philosopher whose ideas served the Nazis so well, Martin Heidegger. Heidegger’s resentment of technology and modernity exert a particularly strong influence on the book. This emerges in the idea of Vernutzung, of “using up” resources, as well as in complaints about the supposed lack of human intimacy in our high-tech world.

chilling stuff

When flicking through the pamphlet one thing becomes clear: anti-consumerism and a lamentation about alienation and loss of community/intimacy cannot and must not be the starting point of a critique of capitalism. The outcome is a form “reactionary socialism” which Marx warned against in the Communist Manifesto, a “socialism” whose

last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture; patriarchal relations in agriculture

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