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August 24, 2021

Why Don’t We Do Our Own ‘Long March?’ [Joe Mannix]

This question is a common thread in our comments section here, from many corners. We all seem to understand what the Long March (or the Gramscian March, if you prefer) is, how it works, what it has done and where it has led us. The evidence of its success is manifest in our institutions, not a single one of which has survived and all of which have been subsumed by the neo-socialist ideology that shoots through them. The Long March was entirely successful and the war is now over. They won. In response to this, many wonder why we don’t try the same, to take those institutions back through equivalent subversion.

The answer to this, I think, is that it can’t work. I suspect that a lot of people viscerally – if not intellectually – understand that. By my reckoning (for whatever that’s worth, which ain’t much), there are two key reasons that a Long March of our own can’t work. One is time, and another is root philosophy. The time is easier to understand, and we’ll start there.

The Long March took around 50-70 years to pull off. It would probably take at least 20 to make serious gains against it, if that. (As an aside, conservatives have spent 20 years already just trying to subvert our home turf: the Republican Party. Starting with the “Tea Party” movement and culminating with Trumpism (or America First Nationalism), conservatives have been trying to apply pressure to and reform the Republican Party – which should be fertile ground – to no avail. If anything, actual conservatives – be they fiscal, regulatory, social or any other stripe – have less influence and power in the Republican Party today than they did 20 years ago.) The time is the killer. I’m no better at reading tea leaves than the next guy, but I don’t think we have 20 years to make a down payment on the future. At our current rate, we’ll be through the first round of slaughter and slave camps by then and into the initial regrouping post-purge. By the time 50-70 years pass – assuming we can be as effective as they were, and I don’t think we can – we’ll be in or through round two of the purges and consolidation. We don’t have the time for a Long March of our own, even if it could work. We’ve waited too long, and we’ve ceded too much ground.

Even if I’m wrong about timing, though, there is still a fundamental philosophical problem with pulling off a Long March of our own. Institutional subversion pairs nicely with Postmodernsim. More than that, though, liberal institutions like those found in the West are particularly vulnerable to the approach. They pair against each other as an ideal environment for this approach to work.

Let’s start with the institutions themselves and our traditional Western social and political philosophy. Regardless of all the claptrap from the Left, we are remarkably flexible, tolerant, open, honest and consistent. We are non-violent more often than we are violent in that we’d rather work out our issues through talking and disobedience than through open physical conflict (at least domestically – in terms of foreign affairs, it’s spottier and historically we have both tried to avoid war and entered into war enthusiastically). We are, in short, a juicy target for subversion if the right angle can be found.

The Postmodernist/Critical Theory crowd found that angle: justice and fairness. We are fundamentally just and fair. This gave them the wedge they needed, and why they put everything into fairness and justice terms. “It’s wrong that women are discriminated against in the workplace,” they said. “Fair enough, you’re right, all men are created equal,” we said. And so on. And with each turn of the crank, they increased their influence and position of power within our institutions. They did so at the beginning by pointing out actual inconsistencies between our liberal philosophy and our legal practice. They weren’t always wrong, and they weren’t always lying – and they used that as their wedge at the beginning. From there, they went insane. Each success allowed them to gain power, until long after there stopped being any legitimacy.

That’s how incrementalism works. You need to gain a foothold with something legitimate – like, for example, “Jim Crow laws are wrong.” If successful, you can keep pushing on more and more fronts until you end up at absurdities like “white people eating Thai food is cultural fetishism that reflects systemic white supremacy and racism.” And the more you push, and the more footholds you gain, the more of your people – or people just coincidentally aligned with you – will surround you. You will gain greater institutional control. You can then use that institutional control to turn out the next generation of operators, who will be even more radical than you.

So why won’t this work for our side? Simply, it won’t work for our side because the core concept requires that your opponents have standards. Without a standard for you to pursue, the approach won’t be effective. It requires at least one legitimate inconsistency in practice that conflicts with consistency of philosophy. That inconsistency is the wedge. Without that wedge, the approach is dead in the water. Our opponent has no such inconsistencies to exploit, which is why I think that a Long March of our own is a non-starter.

Most of you probably don’t believe me because the Left is inconsistent as hell. This is only superficially true. Take, for example, the obvious one. The Left is all about how racism is fundamentally wrong (and they’re right about that), yet they also hate and despise – to the point of savagery – white people and Asians. They claim to abhor bigotry on the basis of skin color, yet they are bigoted against whites and Asians. This is an inconsistency, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. And the reason why it isn’t is their philosophy.

Their objection isn’t to racial hatred or bigotry as such, their objection is to power structures they do not control. This is the core thesis of Postmodern philosophy. Simply (overly simply), Postmodern philosophy has as its root premises essentially:
1. There are infinite ways to interpret the world.
2. There is no way to differentiate superiority between those infinite interpretations.
3. All interpretations are in conflict through the interaction of various competing power hierarchies.

This is, of course, not entirely absurd. The first premise is true. The second certainly isn’t (after all – most of those infinite interpretations aren’t survivable and death is a final, if crude, arbiter) and the third is an expression of cynical evil. But when you take them together and on their own terms, it makes its defense against its own methods airtight.

The Postmodernists have agreed that various flavors of socialism are the ideal construction. This is unsurprising, as the Postmodernists all started life as disaffected Marxists. They are, of course, right that socialism is the best way. After all, they all agree on it and they are very smart and well-educated. And given this, they are impervious to their own methods.

Why are the impervious? It’s because of that third premise: that everything is a power struggle between competing dominance hierarchies. Anything is acceptable if it involves disrupting one power structure in favor of another – theirs. The reason why their positions that both “racism is bad” and “white people inherently posses inborn evil” aren’t in conflict internally is because both are functions of competing power under their system. Since disrupting power is good, and having power is bad (unless you’re them), this is fully justified. This is not a wedge. Indeed, there are no wedges.

(As an aside, if this sounds distantly familiar, it should. This is classical class-warfare Marxism in a new context. Instead of the relatively strict and inflexible “bourgeoisie” and “proletariat” economic classes, you now have the general and flexible “powerful” and “dis-empowered” – or, to put it in Critical Theory terms, the “oppressor” and the “oppressed” – and that can be applied gratuitously everywhere. This is what makes Postmodernism as a philosophy astoundingly powerful, and much more powerful than Marxism.)

Without the wedge to use as a starting point, the Long March cannot proceed, let alone succeed. If you call out their inconsistencies, they don’t care. They aren’t really inconsistencies. You’re just fighting to maintain your ill-begotten structural power that you don’t deserve. They will continue to fight you anyway because the terms under which they operate – unlike us – everything reduces to competing power dynamics. There are no absolute moral positions. We have those absolute moral positions: murder is wrong, racial hatred is bad, families are paramount, etc. They have none. Their only position amounts to:

Everything is power and the only way forward is to disrupt power and everything else is subordinated to that root concept. Your way is wrong because it isn’t my way and there is no way you can you prove your way is right because there are infinite interpretations of reality and yours is no better than any other. The arc of history proves that you’re wrong and I’m right and therefore anything I do is justified and proper and nothing whatsoever that you do is justified or proper.

In short, the problem is one of absolutes. We have them. They don’t. (well, they have one: the absolute of power – but this cannot be used as a wedge or an inconsistency, because it is necessarily flexible and justifies any means at any time) Their own methods cannot work on them. They are immune to them. They will laugh and shrug off any attempt to execute a Long March, disregard the premise, and then drag you off to a gulag anyway.

A Long March is the wrong approach to dealing with the massive institutional problems now that they’ve been subverted so completely. They can’t be subverted back to morality or propriety or honesty or fairness. Even if it could work in theory – and I don’t think it can – we don’t have the time. So what can we do?

Opt out and demand changes – massive, fundamental, regressive changes – before permitting ourselves to participate. There are a couple of ways to do this. Many are violent – open war, for example. Those are also high-risk and extremely destructive. It may come to that, but I don’t advocate for it. A better approach, I think, is massive, simultaneous direct action against them. A strike. A massive, long, general strike. No truckers trucking. No miners mining. No programmers programming. No stockers stocking. No assemblers assembling. No engineers engineering. Gridlock, crashing production, collapsing tax revenues, electrical power outages, gas delivery failures, transportation failure – and clog what’s left with massive, unstoppable peaceful demonstrations that grind everything left standing to a halt - with the oppression and arrest and all the rest that will come with it - as a necessary cost.

Subversion will fail. Reconquest is necessary, and that requires monumental action directly targeted at the people in charge, to scare them, starve them, and impoverish them into retreat. That might be the toehold that allows for the subversion or outright retaking of their institutions – under constant threat of retaliation that destroys their world. It might destroy ours, too, but it’s all I’ve got.

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posted by Open Blogger at 11:04 AM

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