Doomsday politics and its affect on struggle
So the world didn’t end and you are still alive. ‘’Our’’ false idols predicted wrong, the coming insurrection didn’t arrive, capitalism didn’t crumble, and Christians didn’t all float up to heaven (damn). Time after time we have seen prophets from religious, to revolutionary backgrounds predict the end of our suffering or for those going to hell, the beginning. Emancipation is promised time after time by these ‘’new’’ theories embodied in apocalyptic events like the rapture and or ‘’end of civilization’’ but they leave us with nothing but empty promises.
From the rapture, apocalypse, comets, asteroids to End Civ and the coming insurrection, these subjects that range from religious, spiritual or social have much in common. They are prophetic in nature and serve similar purposes.
Religions have predicted the end of times, with the promises that if we repent, salvation will be ours and all this coming from a big man in the sky with his child born of a virgin mother. Though this may sound odd to many, what is very real about these prophecies is the affect they have on the poor and disenfranchised.
These doomsday politics of a religious connotation offer salvation, justice, restitution, freedom that sum up to the promise of a better life without actually achieving it. They are illusions and powder to the eyes to the folks at the bottom of the barrel.
We have seen time after time religions and the ruling elites hand in hand, together forcing the working class into submission. This working class, fearing to disobey ‘’their makers’’ are crushed and exploited by capitalism. Under the threat of excommunication from the church comes for most, obedience and loyalty to their tormentors. Time on Earth is seen as necessary evil and our suffering a test in order to cross the gates of heaven.
Doomsday theories for radicals
Needless to say, a rational person would see no substance in any of these illusions offered or prophesized by religions, sects and assorted blowhards. But why is a part of the ultra left and, post-left or extreme left buying into the same set of politics and promises?
An answer to this is complicated but as we have seen from decades of struggle, we are rolling down an uphill battle. Social democratic parties with the promise of social justice have managed to achieve electoral victories without social progress of a noticeable scale. Social movements have been co-opted by these same parties for electoral goals. Capitalism is destroying the earth at a great speed while taking with it the last forms of working class organizations such as unions and community organizations. Under increasing attacks by the state, unions are forced on the defensive, and often these defenses work against values of grassroots organizing. Community organizations face round after round of neoliberal cuts to public sector funding, and the services they offer have become more and more scarce.
The work and effort needed to rebuild unions, community organizations and social movements, under constant attack from the state is astronomical. For some, this may seem to much of a hill to climb. As we lose our last fortresses of self-defense, some of us are in search of the path with less resistance. Others do not fully grasp the severity of the capitalist political program, and hold rallies or direct action as the pinnacle of political action instead of organizing.
Deciding to wait…
From time to time something new with the promise of victory comes to blind us from the long road to rebuilding working class power. Most recently, great words were heard from the ‘’invisible committee’’. “Everyone agrees. It’s about to explode”. Their prophecy- Inevitable and imminent insurrection. The strategy was simple, sabotage to nudge capitalism into full swing insurrection. “All power to the communes!” Its method of organization, the affinity group via squatted free communes fuelled by dumpster is something we have seen far too often, is completely ineffective when the objective is mass organization and radicalization. “The commune is the basic unit of partisan reality. An insurrectional surge may be nothing more than a multiplication of communes, their coming into contact and forming of ties.” Sounds legit right?
Another topic to add to the list of ‘’hot topics’’ is ‘’End Civ’’ (end civilization or end of civilization). It proclaims that this civilization just like all others, is on the verge of collapse. “We don’t have to make outraged demands for the end of the current global system — it seems to be coming apart on its own”. These theories are drawn from the same pencil as other doomsday or religious theories and have become more and more popular in comparison to revolutionary organizing. Why work when you can just wait right?
These politics offer with certainty that the end of capitalism is arriving. These so-called self-fulfilling prophecies reassure the disillusioned radicals that the hard work needed to build and achieve popular support for revolution is done. It lets them know that they just need to wait or riot a little more for full revolution and subsequently, emancipation.
As the affects of doomsday theories render entire segments of the working class into stagnation while they wait patiently to be uplifted from poverty and hell on Earth, the same results can be seen among the ultra-post-extreme-left ghettos.
We as revolutionaries have learned through struggle, that we can’t trust politicians and political parties with their empty promises, let alone religious prophets or radical ones. We should stop reverting to theories that offer the same false hopes.
With fear of sounding like a broken record, we will repeat what needs to be said since we have been on pause for the last 50 years. There is no substitute for hard work and movement building.” Reformists!” is what some may say due to the lack of rock throwing and calls to arms. Hardcore revolutionary identity has alienated us from our very own class. Again, some of our comrades prefer to choose symbols and images of past revolutionaries that are so old and beat up instead of their strategies that these same revolutionaries used for decades in pre-revolutionary conditions to agitate and organize. The working class needs to take control of its institutions and struggle in order to make them democratic and combative. Social movement through direct action and general strikes lead to real counter power. We need to put in the work to organize, and stop reverting to lifestyle cop-outs.
Sleeping well at night is no substitute for progress…