As previously explored, as a young radical/misfit I was massively drawn to neo-paganism, particularly to the anarcho-socialistic / "California head-shrinking" variety of the same described by Starhawk. I swallowed whole the line that "monotheism is imperialism in religion", and was attracted to the utopia she offered in her novel The Fifth Sacred Thing of a patchwork "confederacy of tribes" model of a post-capitalist future.
(ETA: Great Goddess on an electric motorbike, they're making a movie of it!)
But over the last few years I have rejected most of that as an essentially idealist, dare we say even "petty-bourgeois" vision of the future. Let's put it this way - Starhawk argues that "if we see the ocean as the womb of the Goddess Mother, we are less likely to fill Her with poisons". But symbolism and reality are distinct in all but the most childish of minds. The Prophet Muhammad put it on the line to the pagan Arabs, who worshipped Goddesses and yet buried the girl babies alive. The Olympian cults of Greece and Rome were hardly those of "respect for the feminine", no matter what Robert Graves might argue - the Athenian attitude to woman was not dissimilar to that of present-day Saudi Arabia. The Catholic faith, that branch of Christianity which happens to have more female objects of veneration, also has what might be considered a quite barbaric doctrine when it comes to fertility and the control thereof.
Polytheism is the theology of tribalism, and even worse, it is the theology of Empire. To understand this we have to understand that an empire is dissimilar to a nation state. The Roman Empire when it was healthy was not an autocratic monolithic state, but a sprawling multinational mess only united by a devotion to the Pax Romana personified in the Imperial cult. Apart from that, all the various ethnicities were allowed whatever insane tribal religions they wanted, as long as human sacrifice or actual rebellion weren't involved, and some of them even got popular in the metropolis. Pretty much the same went for the Holy Roman Empire of the Middle Ages, and the Ottoman Empire in its pomp. And that is precisely the logic of late, "post-modernism / consumerist" capitalism under the Pax Americana. Every minority group has its own "middle class", its own idols and languages respected. Potentially revolutionary groups are co-opted by giving them a piece of the pie, or in other words, employment for a middle class (gay bar owners, people who translate government diktats into indigenous languages, etc).
On the contrary, UNITY is a sweet and beautiful world in both the revolutionary socialist tradition and the mystical traditions of Islam and Buddhism. And Chaos Marxism is all about that. "Unify the forces". "We are the 99%". There is no room for "their truth" and ours to co-exist, because harsh reality in the form of the interlinked crises of accumulated capital / ecological degradation / mass alienation and anger intervenes. The goal is to overthrow the repressive tolerance of Empire into a new unifying way of seeing the world (although not a monolithic one). All great Reforms of history have had that same kind of paradoxical "intolerance".
27 October 2011
Currently rereading one of my favourite books in the world when I was 16 years old, Robert Graves' The White Goddess. The historical argument is of course completely risible, and as for the poetic logic, the guy is basing his argument on close analysis of Old Irish and Welsh texts, two languages which he admits up front he doesn't speak a word of and is relying on dodgy-tastic translations. Still, his essential argument that "poetry" (and all other forms of true art) is the same thing as religio-mystical devotion is still one of the axioms of Chaos Marxism. We just attempt to bring revolutionary socialism and psychology into the mix.
21 October 2011
It's like all the dreams of Chaos Marxism are coming to rampaging life, in city squares across the planet. And just my luck to have been ill in bed all week. Definitely getting down there this afternoon. Socialists thought I was nuts when I was talking about how Project Chanology was the wave of the future, but who's laughing now, oldthinkers? Tell me that, who's laughing now?