Sunday, 16 April 2017

Why is nihilist communism opposed to anti-fascism?

Nihilist communism is not opposed to anything. Opposition assumes the capacity for force, which is absolutely absent from nihilist communism, as it is from all formations of the ultra-left. The absence of capacity is the defining characteristic of the ultraleft. Therefore, nihilist communism Is incapable of opposing anti-fascism but it does desire to escape its categories. In this sense, nihilist communism seeks to resist becoming implicated in all moral crusades and identifies anti-fascism as one of the most pernicious. As it already rejects involvement in state power, class domination and the abstraction of existence by capitalist expropriation, it argues that the question of anti-fascism may only appear as a step back into a compromise with existing conditions. 

Nihilist communism, after Wilhelm Reich, asks itself what in this world is not fascist? Certainly, it assumes that anti-fascism is always, if not already operationally fascistic, then on the cusp, as it seeks unconsciously for the perfect rationalisation for justifying its own fascistic measures. To be sure, fascism typically includes a leftist moment, soldier socialism, barrack room egalitarianism, and that is absent from actually existing, or environmentalised, fascism which is characterised by the process of ultra-instrumentalisation, a surplus mobilisation, of all existent functions. 

Historical fascism asked a question, and set out its problematic, at the point of emergence of the workers' movement's sudden inarticulacy. Actually existing fascism sets no such questions. But, what fascism really is is of less concern here than what anti-fascism is. Even so, it is appropriate to reset our own question: what in the world is not fascist? The ultra-nationalist Russian separatists fighting against the Ukraine are 'anti-fascist; the bombing of Iraq in 2003 was anti-fascist; the mass rape of German women in 1945 was anti-fascist;  the carpet bombing of Dresden was anti-fascist; the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan were anti-fascist. We might then ask ourselves, what in the world of mechanised horror is not anti-fascist?

Anti-fascism becomes operative as one more register of political activity, it too is designed to bury the bad news of its own mobilisation, it too wishes to be judged on its enemies and not on its complicities. As the state has its 'terrorists' as a figleaf pretext, so the left has its 'far right'. Anti-fascism demands acceptance of its exceptionality. It proposes that of all the social formations constrained by forces hidden to themselves, formations befogged by their delusions of subjective agency, of all these only anti-fascism is excepted - it alone secures the right to award itself its motivation. And, in a global context where so many programmes of extermination are implemented at so many levels of existence, against so many populations and so many sets of relations, and against so many species, it is plain bizarre that anti-fascists are so sensitised to marginal street manifestations of 'the far right'. 

The partial application of the designation 'fascist' is itself irrational to a degree that it is almost unexaminable - so many atrocities fail to register with, never mind mobilise, an 'anti-fascist' response that for integrity's sake we must further conclude that the sole political purpose of anti-fascism is to misdirect attention from any atrocity that is not directly attributable to 'fascists'.  Inevitably, as is the way of things, good people fight for bad causes, and those caught in the convolutions of anti-fascist ideology are amongst the best of us, and are no doubt motivated by the sincerest of available personal motives. Even so, even at its best, antifascism is constrained as a palliative, symptomatic, treatment for a pathology it is structured not to comprehend. It is impelled to manifest as yet another iteration of policing by populist appeal.

But nihilist communism is a form of anti-politics, it has already taken into consideration the futility of confronting, never mind arguing with, liberal and leftist ideological sacred cows. It serves no purpose to oppose anti-fascism politically, and thereby further populate the discursive field with yet more bifurcating specialisations. A hundred years of fascism is proof enough of the inadequacy of anti-fascism to its object. And no critique of anti-fascism will ever defuse the revenger's thrill in recognising the bad other; when the blood is up, and the hunt is on, nothing will prevent the inevitable outcome. Anti-fascism is the crusades, the last crusade, the one crusade without troubling ambiguity and tortuous self-questioning. The anti-fascist gives himself up, without reserve, to the last great true enthusiasm. Then, we must avoid the field of conflict and let the forces gathered there play out eternally. We must skulk in the undergrowth like little brown jobs, dunnocks perhaps, until the field itself collapses beneath a meteor or plague. 

But, as we 'give it up' and let it go, we should also take a last 'backward half look, over the shoulder' at an iconic, or at least for us 'telling', moment and consider what moves it when the obvious has been filtered out. A photograph circulated in the mass media captures the moment when a conventionally beautiful young woman (sometimes designated as 'brown', sometimes as 'Asian') under the supervision of a police officer casts a disdainful glance at a 'fascist' protester. Undoubtedly, even taking into consideration the police presence, the woman's intervention was courageous and selfless but that is of less concern here than the specifics of the anti-fascist use of the photograph, and what it tells of the image-repertoire constraining it.  

The woman's conventional beauty becomes a synonym of moral courage. She is apparently relatively tall and this also proves her right to exist. In contrast, the man she looks down upon is small, we are told he is 'runty', it is observed that he is poorly dressed and that he cannot grow a proper moustache, and as is usual in such images it is ironically observed that here stands an example of 'the master race'. In short, the woman is well made and conforms to bourgeois ideals of moral health, and the man conforms to bourgeois representations of the degeneracy of the undeserving poor. In the iconodulic representation of their confrontation, we begin to make out the movement of class hatred... anti-fascism is deployed here as a weapon of actually existing fascism to secure the rational ordering of its own ideological power. Under its gaze, the man appears badly made, he is typical of the good for nothing scum emerging from growing surplus populations, and therefore as a 'type', we are required to judge him as morally repugnent.  
      
 Anti-fascism operates as the exceptional framing through which we are asked to suspend our social explanation of dysfunction, and the manufacture of criminality; we are asked to abandon our comprehension of the processes by which irredeemable bastards, life's embodiment of unremitting failings, are formed. Instead, it is required that we adopt the state's gaze and judge this particular end-result as the cause of itself. Of all the socially conditioned ideological formations in the world, the fascist is the only one held responsible for its own existence. The figure of the fascist becomes the pretext for the left's suspension of its account of deprivation and the exertion of its right to expropriate punitive power. From the anti-fascist standpoint, there is is nothing to be said of 'fascists', the only available response is to drop bombs on them. In other contexts, type-profiling is repudiated as 'body shaming' and 'normalisation' but anti-fascism is an assumption of extraordinary powers...  over the bad other, it awards itself the right to use all available fascistic measures. Where fascists are registered as a 'type', a set of fixed and identifiable, categorised traits, then it seems only logical within the frame of its policing discourse that they should be liquidated as a type. All means of dehumanisation are legitimate under the exigent pressure of the state of exception.      
     
To be sure, the man in the photograph, like a lot of us, is relatively ill-made and physically articulates the impoverishment of his circumstances. It must be assumed that his failure in life is the reason he has attended a fascist demonstration. Damage and suffering, unprocessable loss and humiliation, the compulsion to repeat a return to types and orderings, all the character traits of Reich's 'little man' and of critical theory's 'authoritarian personality', are present in him. They are the traits that collectively act as the sine qua non of subjective fascism, this is what industrialisation and the trauma of industrialised war does to people. We learn without surprise for example that those voting Le Pen in the French presendential elections, once voted communist... and we also learn, again without surprise, that the leftist candidate Mélenchon is 'capturing' votes from Le Pen. The 'little men' thrown up by industrial democracy are ever-responsive to the most recent stimuli of ideology - as raw material for leftism and fascism they are qualitatively interchangeable. Nobody with a living soul will shed a tear for a punched fascist, or a fascist looked down upon with disdain, or a stabbed fascist or a summarily executed fascist but the question set by nihilist communism remains: what is it that constitutes subjective anti-fascism as an instrument of actually existing fascism? 
    
      














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