Clear and frozen danger (Why we need to reclaim our stone-making names before the state better learns to turn them outwards like Perseus)

The old bourgeoisie was at least consistent. It was glad of its privileges, it wanted to expand them and looked to the future. The present one looks down; it sees the multitude approaching behind its back, in the same way as it had done. It does not want that and withdraws and solidarises with power... The majority of governments have speculated on this sad progression of fear that, in the long run, becomes moral death. They have thought that the dead can be better manipulated than the living. They have shown two medusa heads to the terrified bourgeoisie, in order to fill them with fear of the people: in the long run, these two heads, terrorism and communism, have turned them into stone.

- Michelet, 1846

Different now, of course, is the utter decoupling of that pairing, terrorism and communism, and the fact that the raising of communism by the mainstream media now, the occasional shrieking calls about the "socialization of wealth" under Obama, serves not to frighten the bourgeoisie but only to convince them that true communism is dead and gone: sure, we may pseudo-nationalize a bit and green our infrastructure, but don't worry, you can still make a killing. Against this, we need to make Communism as deadly serious, impossible to imagine, and unincorporable into this economic order as it once was. Only then does it gain the chance of being a medusa head shared collectively, halting this long trainwreck of the new century, an idea that moves differently, bound to everyday practices of want and discontent and moving from them to an air heavy with the threat of no more deferral of what is all of ours. An older idea we need again: perhaps how we speak is not our choice, just the coming into air the underground logic of history.

The tides shifting pull beneath the stone raft.


Benjamin said...

On yr final comment I thought of Gramsci's historicisation of different forms of historical time, and his argument that the sublatern needs to believe in a providential conception of history, needs to think history as being on his or her side. Communist providence v. capitalist providence

ECW said...

Exactly. I think that the history of Communist projects in the 20th century has led us to abandon that powerful Leninist dialectical knot: history is on our side, and historical necessity compels us to intervene in the course of that history to force it in the right direction.