Theses on Leftism
About "The Antileftist Marx"
Over the past year, as @BCryptofash, I have developed a theory of antileftist Marxism based on the following theses:
Leftism is the ideological production of progressive capitalism.
The left is the left wing of the bourgeoisie.
In the US, the left = the Democratic Party.
There is no meaningful difference between leftists and Democrats.
The left exists to naturalize the left/right organization of bourgeois democracy.
The left works to conceal the class nature of social antagonisms.
The left has not been co-opted, compromised, or corrupted.
The left is the enforcer of bourgeois class domination.
Leftism defangs Marxism.
Marxism demystifies the left’s habitual idealism, moralism, and utopianism.
Marxism is antileftism.
The left’s conspicuous role as the vanguard of recent bourgeois ideological campaigns surrounding Black Lives Matter, Biden-Harris, 1/6, and COVID-19 has made some of these claims less incendiary than when they first appeared. The notion of an antileftist Marxism remains paradoxical, however, for those accustomed to the idea that Marxism is synonymous with the left. Although a Marxist critique of the left has made sense to followers acquainted with Marx’s frequent polemics against the left-wing moralizers, petty bourgeois democrats, and utopian socialists of his time, “antileftist Marxism” continues to be met more often with bewilderment, even among those intrigued by the possibility that the symbol of leftism in fact provides the resources for its critical demolition. This has led to invitations to clarify this theory in long-form writing, something that I have declined until now.
My hesitation stemmed from the fact that I do not wish to speak unless I have something to say. The form of the tweet was the appropriate vehicle for the initial development of these ideas, but to do them justice in systematic fashion required the concentrated study that I have only just completed. As Marx claims, “To be radical is to grasp things by the root,” and I did not want to waste anyone’s time expounding a critique until it gained a radical grasp of its object. The grip on leftism I have now secured has generated many thousands of words of critical analysis, which I will soon begin releasing in serial form. All part of one larger argument, these writings historicizing the left/right dichotomy, tracing a genealogy of the left, and of course, reading classical Marxism as antileftism will also stand as independent articles. Everywhere you look, there is a fledgling writer starting a Substack full of promises and little follow-through, but as I could not endure the indignity of prematurely debuting a project that goes unfulfilled, I have waited to produce the substance before promoting it.
Although this is supposed to be a medium for “newsletters,” Marxist criticism aspires for a perspective of class society comprehensive enough to withstand the daily onslaught of news and disjointed ephemera that serves the function of bourgeois separation. “Lacking a theory, Marxists are condemned to trail along after daily events . . . after whatever makes news, in a fragmentary and wholly anti-Marxist way,” as György Lukács once argued. The Antileftist Marx instead moves beyond the fragmented spectacle of immediate appearances, devoting itself to scholarship on deeper social forces and tendencies that won’t be irrelevant the day after it’s written. Academia may be a factory of bourgeois discourse, but as Marx himself exemplified, the intellectual process of focused reading, research, and writing need not be abandoned to it. This project indeed seeks to turn such critical practices against the bourgeois ideology emanating from the leftist universities.
I aim to make these writings accessible, but like anyone else, my willingness to work for free has its limits. I will be releasing my initial series on the antileftist Marx over the coming weeks, with many plans for future contributions. If and when you recognize the quality and necessity of this endeavor to rescue Marx from the left, please purchase a subscription, so that I may sustain it.