KLASSENSTANDPUNKT: The Ideological Decay of Imperialism
The Ideological Decay of Imperialism
The ideological decay of imperialism is expressed in an ever increasing bourgeois ideological degeneration in the most extreme forms of individualism. This has two principal tendencies.
The “Left” Form of
The “left”1 form of bourgeois idealism has its expression in so-called Identity Politics, Cancel-Culture, Decolonization, etc. The problem is that our comrades do not understand the process of this degeneration. This process of degeneration has an origin in the Frankfurt School, but more specifically in Michel Foucault and Discourse Analysis.
From the Enlightenment to Discourse Analysis – A Brief Historical Overview
The basis or fundamental methodology of postmodernism is Discourse Analysis, which was decisively shaped by Michel Foucault. However, this methodology has its origins in the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment philosopher Baruch de Spinoza2 developed three basic rules in his “Theological-Political Treatise” as early as the late 17th century, using the example of the treatise of the Bible, which is very similar to Discourse Analysis in their principles.3 In the same writing, he also establishes the following principles:
“So the universal rule in interpreting Scripture is this: attribute nothing to Scripture as its teaching unless we have understood it as clearly as possible from the history of Scripture.“4
“I have also shown that God’s divinity can’t be proved by miracles. . . . So the divinity of Scripture can only be established by the fact that it teaches true virtue, and this can only be established by Scripture itself. If we couldn’t do that, our acceptance of Scripture as something divine would have to come from a great prejudice. Therefore, the only place to look for knowledge of Scripture is in Scripture.“5
Here an idealistic understanding of written documents (be it also the Bible) is shown, because the text in itself accommodates the doctrine which is drawn from it, detached from the historical reality in which it was created. In addition, it is openly declared that the correctness of the document does not require any practical proof (“miracle”) and the knowledge does not come from practice, but from the written text – that is, the theory – itself.
The basic rules of the handling of texts established by Spinoza were taken up by the concept of “Immanent Critique” put forward by representatives of the “Critical Theory” of the Frankfurt School. One of the most important representatives of the Frankfurt School was Theodor Adorno6, who also devoted himself to “Immanent Critique”. In this concept, the main focus is on criticizing texts and their statements by checking the statements of a text for consistency, or for insufficient justification of theses and the like. What further emerges here is a strong detachment from practice, since it is no longer about proving the correctness of a statement with actual results (i.e. in practice), but the question of argumentation comes to the foreground. This concept has strong overlaps with Deconstructionism7, but is clearly a continuation of Spinoza’s rules of writing treatises.
After Adorno’s death, Jürgen Habermas8 was one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School; together with others, he advanced the so-called “Consensus Theory of Truth.” This concentrates on attacking the criterion of truth. Thus, here too, it is not practice that is declared to be the criterion of truth, but the argument. Whether an assertion is true, is to be worked out by the “best argument”, which also means that just no examination must take place in practice, but, after the “perfect argument” is found, insight is to be exercised by all sides and the agreement takes place. In this way the truth shall have been found. He formulates it like this:
“The idea of truth can only be unfolded with reference to the discursive redemption of claims to validity.“9
In this process, especially with the emergence of imperialism, the increasing degeneration of bourgeois ideology, and its close connection with the Frankfurt School, becomes apparent. This was decisively shaped, and the division of Germany after World War II, directly promoted by Yankee imperialism.10 The corresponding confusion thus caused in the revolutionary movement in this country, by the fact that the Frankfurt School found many adherents among the radical petty-bourgeois intellectuals,11 ultimately serves to preserve, the dying system of, imperialism.
Ideas closely related to, or at least similar to, those developed by the Frankfurt School, especially in its late stages, were then also found in Michel Foucault and his development of so-called Discourse Analysis.12 In its essence, this represents a counterpart to materialist dialectics. Discourse analysis starts from the concept of the so-called “discourse”, therefore it is first necessary to get an overview of this concept, which namely does not have a clear definition and is mostly confused especially in the bourgeois-political public (“Public Discourse”):
“The term ‘discourse’ in the Anglo-Saxon language means a simple conversation, a conversation between different people. In French and Romance languages, ‘discourse’ (‘discorso’) is a common term for a ‘learned speech’, a lecture, a treatise, sermon, lecture and the like. For some years now, the term ‘discourse’ has also appeared in everyday German, usually to refer to a publicly discussed topic (e.g. the discourse on higher education reform), a specific chain of arguments (e.g. ‘the neo-liberal discourse’) or the position/statement of a politician, an association spokesperson (such as ‘the trade union discourse’) etc. in a current debate, sometimes also to speak of organised discussion processes. Nevertheless, ‘discourse’ as a non-scientific term is much more familiar in English and French, and its scientific career is largely based on these understandings of the term. Yet ‘discourse’ is also understood in very different ways in the social sciences and humanities. This applies both to the theoretical conceptualisation with regard to discipline-specific research interests and to the methodological implementation in concrete research projects.“13
Important for the development of Discourse Analysis is the so-called Language Theory of Ferdinand de Saussure (1967), who was formative for the philosophical school of structuralism and post-structuralism. We will not go into these two in more depth here, but in summary and outlined in simple terms, (post)structuralism14 is about using discourse to discover abstract and objective rule structures in language or in the use of signs (“symbolic order”).
“The starting point for the development of structuralism is the reception of the language theory of the Geneva linguist Ferdinand de Saussure in the French social sciences and humanities, mediated by the ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. Saussure developed a scientific concept of language that understands it as a system of signs – the “language” – that underlies concrete speaking and writing, i.e. the practical use of language by individuals. This language system is understood as a historically evolved social institution – comparable to the political system or the law – whose genesis can be traced back to the linguistic interactions within a language community. However, it is an emergent phenomenon that has emerged as a whole from the sum of individual contributions, without being identical with them.“15
For a better understanding and greatly simplified, Discourse Analysis could thus also be called “Language Analysis”, whereby the methodology of Discourse Analysis differs significantly from conventional linguistics. For the concept of Discourse Analysis is based on the fact that language creates (or “constructs”, to use the academic term) reality and interprets it on the basis of its symbolism and signs. This already makes it clear where today’s Political-Correctness-Linguistic-Acrobatics have their roots. But back to the Discourse Analysis. The French intellectual and pillar saint of Postmodernism Michel Foucault already developed this method significantly in his work – even if he claimed the opposite – applied it and helped it to previously undreamed-of prominence, especially with his work “Archaeology of Knowledge”.16 But in order to fully understand the purpose of Discourse Analysis and its background, it is necessary to take a brief look at Foucault’s biography.
The French intellectual was a direct disciple of Louis Althusser17 and in turn influenced well-known representatives of postmodernism, such as Jacques Derrida18. For a time in the 1950s, he was a member of the Communist Party of France (CPF), which was already walking on revisionist paths. Here, however, he was expelled (or left) because of his homosexuality. This event in Foucault’s life has a special significance in shaping Discourse Analysis. As already described, Discourse Analysis assumes that language creates reality; accordingly, it is not important what someone does or represents in practice, but what he says. Thus, Foucault could also claim to be something he was not: namely, a Marxist (even if he later moved away from this).
But the whole degeneration of this individual was most evident in his position on paedophilia. He was of the opinion that children could have consensual sexual relations with adults and, together with other French intellectuals, campaigned for their legalisation.1920 In March of this year, the publicist Guy Sorman came forward and accused Foucault of abusing boys aged eight to ten in Tunisia in 1969.21 22 Even if these accusations have not been conclusively proven, they fit all too well into Foucault’s degenerate world view. This also shapes his oeuvre, with a multitude of writings dealing primarily with the question of sexuality. His four-volume work “Sexuality and Truth” also includes two books entitled “The Use of Lusts” and “The Confessions of the Flesh”. This focus on the question of sexuality is echoed, among other things, in today’s widespread identity politics, which also places a strong focus on this question, but more on that later.23 Incidentally, Foucault destroyed his first book that was to become part of the work, entitled “History of Sexuality”, during an LSD trip to Death Valley in the USA.24 25 Foucault also made longer lecture trips to the USA in the 1970s and 1980s, before his death.26 It is no coincidence that discourse analysis also began to spread from here, i.e. linked to Yankee imperialism from the beginning. The significance of Foucault in today’s academia and bourgeois social sciences are abundantly clear, or as one of those same academics himself put it: “[…] Foucault’s conceptual and methodological suggestions are everywhere to be grasped with one’s hands.“27
After this brief outline of Foucault’s life and above all his (post-)work, we will now delve deeper into his methodology of Discourse Analysis, which was a necessary prerequisite for today’s postmodernism. Since, as already mentioned, this is already a highly intangible and arbitrarily interpreted term, it is necessary not to endlessly explain the differences between the various interpretations of the term and the methodology, but to bring them together on their general commonalities and subsume them accordingly28 so that we do not lose our orientation in an equally academic “discourse”. The intangibility and sponginess of Discourse Analysis also finds its origin already in Foucault, who “[…] famously liked to describe his work as a ‘toolbox’ from which the respective analyst should borrow the instruments useful to her at will.”29 Thus, from the pragmatic point of view alone, there is an extremely eclectic basis.
When reading Foucault’s “Archaeology of Knowledge”, it becomes clear how this work was formative for the creation of Discourse Analysis. What he calls “archaeology” is nothing else, because in the work he describes his procedure for analysing the different discourses, in this context the idealistic nature of this method also becomes apparent. For history is analysed on the basis of ideas. Let us remember that materialism understands consciousness as a reflection of objective reality that exists independently of man, while idealism claims that the world exists as a reflection of consciousness. The latter applies to Foucault’s “archaeology”, which above all tries to trace the history of ideas from which reality is formed or “constructed”, i.e. idealism. Thus, it leads to the investigation of “systems of thought”:
“Again, one can determine a system of thought only starting from a certain set of discourses. But this set is treated in such a way that one seeks to recover, beyond the statements themselves, the intention of the speaking subject, his conscious activity, what he has wanted to say, or even the unconscious play that has come to light against his will in what he has said or in the almost imperceptible fractures of his manifest words; in any case, it is the reconstruction of another discourse, the recovery of the silent, murmuring, inexhaustible speech that animates from within the voice that is heard, the recovery of the small and invisible text that passes through the interstice of the written lines and sometimes overturns them. The analysis of thought is always allegorical in relation to the discourse it uses.“30
Foucault takes the same line with his phrase (or “slogan”) about the “death of the author”. By this he means that every written word, every text, did not originate (independently) from the author himself, but that the thinking and writing of the author himself is already shaped by his own life, by his own accumulation of knowledge, which in turn was written by other (older) authors, who in turn received their knowledge from other authors and developed it based on it. In sum, then, it is said that there is no truth, but only a concatenation of different observations and interpretations, and that our idea of an author with his own thoughts who could mirror the world objectively (or come close to objectivity) is false.
This sentence by Foucault about the “death of the author” is a good introduction to understanding postmodernism. He separates the text from the author, which means it is only important what is said, not who says it. Just as he tried to solve the dilemma of his own miserable individual. The social practice of class struggle is separated from theory. “Language creates reality” means in the beginning there is theory31 not practice, the Marxist epistemology is turned upside down and this is simply pure idealism. With his “archaeology”, Foucault creates a kind of “historical idealism” that is completely opposed to Marxism, even if he tries to put on some Marxist masks.
Before we look at the Postmodernism that emerges from Discourse Analysis, however, let us look at one of the contemporary applications of Discourse Analysis in social science in order to better understand the subjectivism inherent in this method. In the study of history, discourse analysis assumes that history is “doubly mediated”. This refers to mediation, on the one hand, through sources (meaning people present or alive at the time who write about the event or period in question) and, on the other hand, through its representation (meaning history books, etc.), in the form of “sign systems”. This basic assumption leads to the conclusion that history is always “constructed”. In the consistent continuation of this concept, this means that there is no real factual historiography. Here it is visible how this method wants to give itself a dialectical face, because that historiography is shaped by the class that writes history, i.e. rules, is correct, so that the illumination and interpretation of historical events is different, is correct. Or as a truism puts it: history is always written by the victor.32 Nevertheless, there is an objective history33, that does not depend on how the subjective perception of individuals was, that does not depend on their “narratives” (a term that is gaining strong weight in postmodernism). For even though it is consistent with dialectics to examine the inherent contradictoriness of things, this does not mean that there are no overarching truths and (historical or social) laws that exist independently of people’s cognition. It is because they exist and emerge from material facts that it is precisely a materialist dialectic. Discourse Analysis, on the other hand, slips completely into metaphysics. It regards things (or ideas, or ideas and their material basis) as isolated from one another, to such an extent that a historiography that elaborates laws of development becomes completely impossible; it degenerates into a kind of ultra-subjectivism. How this manifests itself in the communication of historical knowledge can be impressively observed today in recent historical documentaries in which, apart from a loose description of historical events, the main focus is on describing different individual fates that occurred in this historical period and were handed down, for example, through diaries, which are sometimes more, sometimes less connected with the formative events of the historical period. Since these individual fates are often portrayed by actors in a very emotional way, one gets the impression that one is watching an episode of “Game of Thrones” or a medieval (or other human epoch) soap opera. What one actually learns about the historical development of human society and how this is connected to the overall development is not really clear in this respect, even if the interest of some viewers is perhaps increased by this form.
Now that we have described discourse analysis in its general, common features as well as its practical significance, we move on to the postmodernism that follows from it.
Postmodernism – an Idealist Philosophy of a Dying System
Postmodernism emerges from the metaphysical method of Discourse Analysis and Foucault’s “death of the author”. Because of the diffuseness and arbitrariness with which Discourse Analysis works, postmodernism itself is fragmented into almost innumerable individual directions, so it is necessary not to get lost in the innumerable individual directions in which every academic makes his or her mark, so it would be impossible to identify any philosophical direction at all and to grasp it in a concentrated way; instead, it is necessary to summarise the commonalities of all these directions and currents and to develop the critique of them. Otherwise, it would be an exercise akin to shadow boxing. Here we refer to postmodernism as part of the rotten philosophy of the dying imperialist system and not to the so-called “postmodernism” as a period of bourgeois historiography, this term is already over 150 years old, postmodernism on the other hand is a relative new creation of bourgeois academics.
Francois Lyotard published his book “The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge” in 1979. In it, Lyotard postulates the “end of the grand narratives” for philosophy, art, culture and the social sciences. His thesis in condensed form was apt:
“Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward meta-narratives.“34
By meta-narratives, Lyotard understands the Enlightenment, idealism and historicism. By idealism, however, Lyotard does not comprehend philosophical idealism as the philosophical counterpart to materialism, but rather “self-consciousness after Hegel”, which leads to an “ideology of wholeness”. In other words: Lyotard flatly rejects universally valid truths (and consequently also Marxism) by rejecting the concept of idealism. The same is true with regard to his understanding of “historicism”. At the same time, Lyotard rejects continuous development or “progress”, specifically any “utopia, freedom and socialism”.35
Instead, postmodernism, as an academic discipline, focuses entirely on language or so-called language games and at the same time rejects all concepts, views and (in general) ideologies that believe they can objectively understand, describe, prove and thus practically change the world in the best possible way by means of empirical methods and theoretical concepts. According to postmodernism, everything in the world is subjective and ultimately a series of different “narratives”, i.e. a concatenation of subjective views.
After this brief overview of the origins and the basic theses of postmodernism, we now come to summarise some of its central aspects. As I said, the aim here is to grasp the different, almost indefinable forms of this idealistic philosophy in their intersection in order to make them comprehensible in this way. Central aspects of postmodernism are:
First. Advocating a radical pluralism that expresses itself in making “dissent” an inviolable sovereignty, since it is “structurally anchored in speech”. This means that different opinions and positions stand “ineffaceable” next to each other, which in turn means that unity on a question is impossible. In addition, not only is the struggle of opinions (contrary to the Marxist principle of unity and struggle: unity – struggle – higher unity; corresponding to struggle as absolute and unity as relative) trivialised, so to speak – i.e. a subjectivist and one-sided focus is placed on the simple opposition or juxtaposition of ideas – but also that these ideas, positions, opinions all have the same right to exist, all are fundamentally equally legitimate. Hence the great emphasis that postmodernism places on communication, everyone should / must tell their “narrative”, but since all opinions are fundamentally equal, this also means that no opinion will ever prevail (proof in practice doesn’t count anyway), which results in the negation of development, although struggle is supposedly being waged, which is anti-dialectical in its essence, since it negates the never-ending development through the struggle of contradictions, as Lyotard has already done.
Secondly. Strong emphasis on emotionality. Which takes the position of a result and a cause at the same time, for the negation of the objective dialectical materialistic consideration of different positions. Postmodernism has thus created a tautology36 that allows it to negate the existence of a higher level of truth on the basis of a person’s feelings. For, because a higher truth does not exist, an opinion can also be rejected or negated on the basis of another person’s feelings. In general negation, that on the basis of practice as a criterion of truth, a higher truth must be recognised. The dog bites its own tail. A person’s feelings are declared to be an argument, who doesn’t know it who has once moved within the “left scene” when the political discussion is suddenly neutered because it becomes uncomfortable for someone.
Thirdly. Ultra-individualism. If the individual and his or her supposed subjective needs and sensitivities are in the foreground, a vulgar “me-me-me mentality” follows. In particular, it is felt impossible to dedicate oneself to a higher cause that is more important than one’s own ego, which also means not exposing oneself to the hardships of struggle that this noble goal requires, e.g. an organization based on democratic centralism in which one only has as much say as one is actually willing to work for (not only in word but also in deed).
These are some of the most important core elements of postmodernism. From the comments already made, it is clear how it opposes dialectical materialism (and its application to history) and evokes a crass idealism that has nothing whatsoever in common with the reflection of material reality. He tries to create a new reality from his idea of the world by focusing especially on language, but language does not create material reality.
Comrade Stalin develops the following in this regard: “Language exists, language has been created precisely in order to serve society as a whole, as a means of intercourse between people, in order to be common to the members of society and constitute the single language of society, serving members of society equally, irrespective of their class status. A language has only to depart from this position of being a language common to the whole people, it has only to give preference and support to some one social group to the detriment of other social groups of the society, and it loses its virtue, ceases to be a means of intercourse between the people of the society, and becomes the jargon of some social group, degenerates and is doomed to disappear.“ Comrade Stalin does not deny that “everything in the world has a class character” when he states: “It is no secret to anyone that the Russian language served Russian capitalism and Russian bourgeois culture before the October Revolution just as well as it now serves the socialist system and socialist culture of Russian society.“ Further: “What object would there be in calling “water,” “earth,” “mountain,” “forest,” “fish,” “man,” “to walk,” “to do,” “to produce,” “to trade,” etc., not water, earth, mountain, etc., but something else? What object would there be in having the modification of words in a language and the combination of words in sentences follow not the existing grammar, but some entirely different grammar? What would the revolution gain from such an upheaval in language? History in general never does anything of any importance without some special necessity for it. What, one asks, can be the necessity for such a linguistic revolution, if it has been demonstrated that the existing language and its structure are fundamentally quite suited to the needs of the new system? The old superstructure can and should be destroyed and replaced by a new one in the course of a few years, in order to give free scope for the development of the productive forces of society; but how can an existing language be destroyed and a new one built in its place in the course of a few years without causing anarchy in social life and without creating the threat of the disintegration of society? Who but a Don Quijote could set himself such a task?“37
Postmodernism in Practice
Since human society in itself, like everything that exists, is moving matter, postmodernism cannot avoid practice. However, from the pure idea, it tries to “construct” reality with the help of language, which means that practice is not the criterion of truth, but merely a sign of whether the idea has already been fully realised. Based on postmodernist thinking, it then follows in practice that the problem is not mainly class struggle, because where there are no “meta-narratives”, classes do not exist as the main form of division in society, but a “new” form of social order is fantasised.
This is expressed in the question of “Empire” and “Multitude” by Antonio Negri38 and Michel Hardt39 – it is important to draw this connection. And let us remember: Foucault originally comes from the revolutionary movement, Negri and Hardt come from the autonomous movement and Negri is often wrongly attributed a connection to the Red Brigades.
Then comes the Tripple-Oppression-Theory. This spread at the beginning of the 90s in the so-called autonomous left in the FRG, it came from the USA in its beginnings in the 70s, spread mainly through the petty-bourgeois feminist movement also in Europe and was also connected with groups that led armed struggle and with revisionism. According to this theory, there are three forms of oppression: race, gender and class. And there is no difference between them, i.e. a woman (any woman) is just as much a revolutionary subject as a proletarian man and therefore these forms of oppression must be fought simultaneously. In the book “Three to One”, this theory is summarised as follows:
“It is not the separateness of oppressions that is essential, but their articulation to each other. None of them is completely reduced to another or completely appropriated by others; they form a coherent reality. The model of a network of domination is not bad as an aid to imagination:
The meshes of the net are wider (metropolis) or tighter (tricont). The threads are older (patriarchy) or newer (capitalism). More stable (in the FRG, for example) or weaker (in Central America, for example). The threads form different knots (racisms are connected to capitalism differently than patriarchy, etc.) and the web is repaired and rewoven by some (capital, state, whites, men) to tie up others (women, blacks, workers) and they tear it as best they can.
The notion of a net-like domination, in which top and bottom are preserved in each thread and knot, but no sole cause, no main contradiction is presupposed anymore, also touches the question of the revolutionary subject.“40
The influence of postmodernism, with its negation of materialist dialectics, is already evident here. Everything is equally important, you don’t have to find out the principal side of a contradiction, but strike hard everywhere at the same time. In the revolutionary movement in the FRG, this theory finds its expression until today in the slogan “unite struggles”. The “equally important” struggles would have to be waged simultaneously and then these “partial struggles” could be linked. But in the end, everyone is individually at the mercy of their oppression. But this takes us in circles and the logical consequence of this theory is intersectionality, which in part leads to an absurd competition to see who is most oppressed due to different “mechanisms of oppression”.
The Triple-Oppression-Theory was followed by people like Judith Butler41 who put the question of “gender” on the agenda. While the Triple-Oppression-Theory still talks about patriarchy, Gender-Theory is no longer about patriarchy, but about sexism, i.e. the question of gender as an idea, not a material reality. The term “sexism” is a substitute for patriarchy. Whoever uses the term sexism negates patriarchal oppression, because it is not about the oppression of women by men, but about the oppression of all forms of “genders”, which again are only “constructs”.42 So they only exist on the basis of the idea created before.
This gender theory then plays a crucial role in what comes with LGBT etc.. It culminates in the identity politics that are so widespread today and are now wildly discussed even in bourgeois circles, which also brings up a whole range of different concepts. This also brings up the questions of decolonisation or post-colonialism or “Black Lives Matter”, which includes much of this thinking. The unintentional founder of postcolonialism studies was Edward Said with his well-known work “Orientalism”. He sees the cause of the oppression of semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries in an ominous “Eurocentrism” that would separate the Orient from the Occident through its “Western science” and exert dominance especially through its language. Accordingly, one would have to “decolonise”. The problem with this decolonisation is that it negates real existing imperialism. For its problem is not to promote the national liberation struggle of the oppressed nations, but above all to change the ideas of the people in the imperialist countries, that is, to impose change on the basis of ideas. In the same breath, the peoples of the oppressed nations are also denied the right to the actual solution to eliminate their exploitation and oppression. This is because they are not allowed to turn to or apply Marxism, since this too is supposedly informed by the Western Enlightenment. Following the postmodern premise of the elimination of “meta-narratives”, the universal applicability of Marxism is negated. This, incidentally, has shown itself to be particularly vivid and indispensable to the liberation struggle in oppressed nations; the victorious revolution in China is the best example of this, but also the liberation struggle of Korea and Vietnam and today’s people’s wars in Peru, India, Turkey and the Philippines put the post-colonialists in their place. For we recall one of the basic theses of Marxism: the problem is not to interpret the world, but to change it. The communists enforce Marxism by changing reality, and people’s war is the most radical form of changing matter. And thoughts are also matter. What the post-colonialists say is that decolonisation is an ideological struggle, a “cultural struggle” in other words. In political practice, this then leads to discussions about who is allowed to say what. Suddenly, the communists and progressive forces in the imperialist countries are no longer allowed to show solidarity with the struggles of the peoples of the oppressed nations, are not allowed to use slogans in their languages because that would allegedly be “cultural appropriation”. At the same time, the concept of “communities” is being advanced, then there is the African community, the Latino community, the Kurdish community, etc., etc. But this concept creates or “constructs” something that does not exist in this way at all, because it ignores the class differences within these alleged communities, but even among Africans, there are bourgeoisie, petty bourgeois, workers, intellectuals, etc. These often do not have very much in common. These often do not have much in common (in addition, there is no such thing as “the Africans”). Among them there are different ideological and political opinions, different class interests, class sentiments, class positions and world views, there are fascists, communists, progressives, etc. among them. There are atheists, Christians, Muslims, agnostics, etc. among them. What is then made the characteristic of the association here is what is actually not supposed to play a role: The origin or the alleged “race”, the skin colour.
The Rollback in the Women’s Movement
The harmful and reactionary influence of postmodernism or identity politics is also leaving its clear mark on the women’s movement. In the emergence of the progressive women’s movement, especially in the 1960s, one of the central points was the negation of the traditional role of women. One should no longer wear a bra, shave one’s legs, accept “female” role models or ideals of beauty. Although this movement was strongly influenced by the petty bourgeoisie, the communist parties also had their influence here. Postmodernism then says that all this, the role of women in society, gender itself, are all constructs. As described above, Gender-Theory emerges, in which the question of an allegedly constructed gender plays an important role.
This leads to a problem in identity politics today, because if there is no biological sex, what defines what a woman is? The answer that identity politics arrives at is: woman is whoever is or looks “female” (or simply claims to be a woman). The struggle of the women’s movement used to be that these differences in appearance should not exist. You can see this in how “flirtatious” the women comrades were in the Cultural Revolution. They had the same cap and the same jacket as the male comrades, a slightly different haircut perhaps and sometimes a skirt, but that was it. And that was a good thing. They then also did the same jobs as the men and were in no way inferior to them.43 This is the Marxist understanding of women’s liberation. Today with identity politics, a woman is defined by whether she moves, dresses and makes up like a woman. A transsexual man who claims to be a woman is celebrated as a woman because he is “feminine” and moves, dresses and makes up like a woman. This has negated the whole struggle for women’s liberation of the last decades, thus plays a backwarded role in the women’s movement. On top of that, one idea of identity politics is that a marginalised minority can take degrading and stigmatising terms and reinterpret them to their liking, “positively occupy” them. This leads to the fact that suddenly there are people in the women’s movement who claim that when women call each other “whore” or “bitch” all the time, instead of slapping pimps and patriarchal pigs on the head, this is part of women’s liberation. This postmodernist position, which emerges from Discourse Analysis and grants language the ability to create reality, is then also expressed in gender language acrobatics with all their asterisks, colons and Internal-I What does this lead to? To a change in the situation of women? To the destruction of patriarchy? Unfortunately not, because that requires the struggle against the imperialist system. What it actually leads to is the eternal academic discussion about which spelling would be the most “inclusive” in order to make women “visible”, but in reality it does not advance the fight against imperialism and patriarchy one step, but instead the women’s movement is further fragmented and those who do not use the proper “gender” become the preferred target of moral apostolic rebukes. If women are to become truly “visible”, then they themselves must ensure this in direct militant action, guided by the ideology of the proletariat.
Finally, to summarize: To realise its idea, postmodernism has given birth to identity politics. Better said, identity politics is the next step in the increasing decay of bourgeois idealism in its “left” manifestation, as an expression of the ideological decay of imperialism, in a long strand of increasing decay. It is idealist because, in the tradition of Discourse Analysis and postmodernism, it puts the idea first and not the actually existing material reality of human society, which is being transformed by the class struggle. Today, when alleged communist groups, organisations and parties adopt aspects of this bourgeois idealism, it is nothing other than revisionism. For they smuggle bourgeois points of view into the ideology of the international proletariat and thereby reject it as a self-contained, harmonious system, all-powerful because it is true.44 True because it is confirmed in practice over and over again.
The “Right” Form of Bourgeois Idealism
Having discussed the “left” form of bourgeois idealism, we now come to the other side of the coin, the “right” form45. This is expressed in a resurgence of religious obscurantism (religiosity is one of the feelings of the masses that we must explicitly respect in order to change them in a long ideological struggle). It is important to emphasise here that we are talking about imperialism as a world system. Because we can see how massive campaigns are being carried out in the oppressed nations in this sense – there is the IS (Islamic State/ISIS, translators note.) especially in Arab countries, Modi in India, especially the evangelicals in Africa and Latin America. All these forces have – despite their obvious differences – one big thing in common: they correspond (more or less and more or less obviously) to the interests of imperialism by dividing the national liberation movement, this is so even though parts of these forces are at a certain moment put in a position by “coincidence and necessity” (mainly by the shortcomings of the communists, who do not correspond to their role and tasks) to be at the head of the national liberation movement and to lead at that moment the anti-imperialist struggle of the masses. Their greatest common denominator is anti-communism or anti-materialism. This circumstance is also concreted here in the FRG in our neighbourhoods, the workers’ neighbourhoods, where all these forces have their effect.
We have to understand this religiosity as obscurantism, i.e. the purpose to keep people deliberately ignorant, often but not always, combined with the belief in an inexplicable higher power, such as a “god”. This obscurantism is not only expressed in religiosity, because fewer and fewer people are members of the large church congregations (in the FRG mainly of Protestant and Catholic origin).46 But at the same time, homeopathy is sold in pharmacies and the health insurance companies in Germany pay for it to a certain extent.47 The manufacturers of the remedies, which demonstrably have no medical effect, receive support not only from the ranks of the Green Party48, but also from the top floor of the Ministry of Health. Jens Spahn, for example, decided not to abolish the coverage of homeopathy by health insurers; he could, but he won’t.49 And as I said, homeopathy means that it is not medicine and it has been proven that it doesn’t work. Nevertheless, this obscurantism is an accepted part of society and even gets support in its propagation by the highest levels of the German government. The so-called “New Age”, the esoterics, compensate – perhaps not in the number of their members or followers, but in their work more than enough – for the loss of paying church members in the political sense.
How religiosity is spread and promoted can also be seen in the USA, where anyone can found a church and then not have to pay taxes. And it goes so far that the negation of the right to abortion is brought forward, more and more and more. Examples of this are among others countries like Poland, the USA and so on. By the Catholic Church above all, but in conspiracy with the Protestant Church and its most radical offshoots, the Evangelicals. For example, the Catholic Church has formed joint hospitals with non-Catholic providers and there, as a “compromise”, the right to abort is then abolished.50 In the Malteser-Diako-Klinikum, Germany’s first ecumenical hospital, a merger between the Malteser Franziskus Hospital and the Diakonissen Hospital in Flensburg, no abortions are performed, according to a report in the “taz”.51
Obscurantism is also spread by the so-called conspiracy theories, which exist in the most diverse forms. UFO myths and so-called “Urban Legends” of all kinds, which are also actively spread and are an accepted part of society, and are currently particularly popular. Exemplary are the UFO myths, which are now no longer presented as mere theories or possibilities in various TV formats, but as cash. The TV series “Ancient Aliens” stands out in particular here; it is now in its 16th season with 193 episodes. In Germany it runs on the channel KabelEinsDoku up and down. It has been produced since 2009, which means that this trash has been broadcast for twelve years. The basic premise, regurgitated in every episode, is that aliens have repeatedly visited Earth in the past and that all ancient cultures were founded or influenced by them. Their anti-materialism is also more than obvious. For like religions, these theories claim that the basic premise of human society lies not in the contradictions of society itself, i.e. class struggle, but that a higher power had to intervene from outside to bring human society to the point it is today. This is just as obscurantism and sometimes comrades make fun of it, but it is the ideology of imperialism and it is also propagated by the highest echelons of Yankee imperialism, as only recently former US president Obama, through some nebulous comments, again triggered a debate about aliens visiting Earth, which was even dealt with in official government document.52 53
This is the “right” form of bourgeois idealism, which, just like its “left-wing” variation, negates any kind of materialism.
The Response of Revisionism and Opportunism
What is the response of the revisionist and opportunist of any kind, if they are not anyway supporters of postmodernism and identity politics? Their answer is to uphold an extremely mechanical materialism. And this has been expressed very clearly in the pandemic, but also before. What did Greta Thunberg, the Jeanne d‘Arc of the climate movement, say: “Listen to the scientists”54? That means forget the class struggle and listen to the scientists, they are supposed to exist detached from the class struggle and their ideas should not have the stamp of a class. But that is not how the world works. And what are we experiencing now in the pandemic? Drosten, Lauterbach and all their names are sitting there dictating how we should live. And what are large sections of the youth doing? Instead of rebelling, they join in. That is “Listen to the scientists”. What is Zero-Covid? Also “Listen to the scientists”, it’s the call “Forget the class struggle and listen to the scientists, they’ll show you the way!” But in human society, their ideas are also linked to the interests of different classes, accordingly we cannot and must not forget the class struggle.
The task, accordingly, is not to uphold “materialism” but DIALECTIC MATERIALISM, as we show in this account of the decomposition of the ideology of imperialism. This misery that imperialism has created for itself, the flags it has raised because it is a dying system, these are flags that do not even have anything to do with enlightenment. But our task is not to raise the flags of enlightenment against it, not to come with Diderot, but with Marxism, today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Principally Maoism with the Universally Valid Contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, i.e. Gonzalo Thought. That is, we must show the strength of Marxist philosophy and its vitality, that it is not a mystery but belongs to the masses. Just as the Chinese comrades have done in many dozens of written examples in which the workers, peasants, soldiers show how they apply dialectical materialism to their reality in order to change it further.55 The classics have armed us accordingly for this and comrades must accordingly master, above all, Chairman Mao’s works “On Practice” and “On Contradiction” like the ABC and this must be passed on to the masses.
Identity politics, conspiracy theories or “listen to the scientists” are expressions of the rot, the decline, the decay of imperialism, they are expressions of its backward ideology and nothing new. The new must replace the old. Accordingly, Marxist philosophy will replace bourgeois philosophy. This is a law, but it requires efforts that have to be made, and what a joy it is to sweep away all the reactionary dirt, the great heap of rubbish, with an all-powerful, because true and ever more true, scientific ideology.
1 Nota bene: Left does not correspond to our understanding of the characteristics of imperialist bourgeois ideology, it is a certain variation, according to a vulgar understanding, attributed to what is colloquially called the “left (scene)”. For the most part, it is something that corresponds to that faction of the imperialist bourgeoisie that is generally based on the state monopolies. For our readers, this section is the much more comprehensive one, because what is dealt with just here unfolds clearly more influence.
2 Baruch de Spinoza, “Treatise on Theology and Politics“, 1670
6 Theodor W. Adorno, formerly Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund (1903 – 1969); German philosopher, sociologist, music philosopher, and composer.
7 Deconstructionism or deconstruction refers to a set of currents in philosophy, hermeneutics, literature and linguistics, coined by Derrida as a term for a procedure of analysis of texts: “What I call deconstruction […] is […] not a method, nor a scientific critique. […] Deconstruction presupposes the transformation of even the concept of the text and of writing.” (Derrida)
8 Jürgen Habermas (born 1929); German philosopher and sociologist, second generation of the Frankfurt School
9 Jürgen Habermas, „Wahrheitstheorien“, 1973; our translation
10 In 1931, the foundation assets of the Institute for Social Research / Instituts für Sozialforschung (IfS) were transferred to the Netherlands, and the headquarters moved to Geneva in 1933. In the further course, the IfS moved first to Paris, then to the USA. Horkheimer rebuilt the Institute for Social Research there at Columbia University in New York. Adorno and Horkheimer returned in 1950 and the IfS was rebuilt with money from the Yankees and the FRG. Cf. Emil Walter-Busch: “Geschichte der Frankfurter Schule. Kritische Theorie und Politik”, 2010
11 Today’s so-called left scene in Germany is fundamentally a student-dominated movement in its entire character, and the ideas of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals have a corresponding effect here.
12 Even though he did not claim the term Discourse Analysis for himself, it is he who produced and clearly shaped the basic features of this methodology.
13 Reiner Keller, “Doing Discourse Research: An Introduction for Social Scientists“, 2011; our translation
14 Post-structuralism is the term used to describe various approaches and methods in the humanities and social sciences, in particular the view that language does not represent reality but constructs it, based on or referring to deconstruction and discourse analysis.
15 Reiner Keller, „Diskursforschung – Eine Einführung für SozialwissenschaftlerInnen“, 2011; our translation
16 see Marianne Pieper: „Especially the reception of Michel Foucaults work made the term “discourse” popular in human and social studies.”, in „Diskursanalysen – kritische Analytik der Gegenwart und wissenspolitische Deutungsmusteranalyse“, in „Foucault: Diskursanalyse der Politik – eine Einführung“, 2006
17 Louis Althusser (1918 – 1990); French philosopher, murdered his wife and couldn’t remember it, teacher of Alain Badiou, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Maurice Godelier, Nicos Poulantzas and others.
18 Jacques Derrida, (1930 – 2004); French philosopher, known as founder and main representative of “deconstruction”
19 theguardian.com, „Calls for legal child sex rebound on luminaries of May 68“, 24 February 2001
20 zeit.de, „Gabriel Matzneff: Es war verboten, zu verbieten“, 22 January 2020
21 see spiegel.de, „Intellektueller wirft Michel Foucault Kindesmissbrauch vor“, 07 April 2021
22 „der Freitag“, 15/2021: „Foucault verbieten?
23 This has its echoes in the revolutionary movement as well, because some comrades keep centring strongly on the question of sexuality.
24 deutschlandfunkkultur.de, „Kalifornischer Roadtrip zum Death Valley: Michel Foucault auf LSD“, 02 June 2019
25 tagesanzeiger.ch, „«Der Himmel ist explodiert, und Sterne regnen auf mich herab»“, 02 June 2019
26 faz.net, „Foucaults Vermächtnis: Fortan wird er die Wahrheit sagen“, 12 February 2009
27 Hans-Herbert Kögler, „Michel Foucault“, 2004
28 According to the Duden: “to subordinate to a generic term, to classify under a category; to group under a subject”. In Marx’s works, categories of human activity and society are described as “under capital” because subsumption (meaning subjugation, domination, subordination) describes a process in which concrete labour is subsumed under the valorisation process of capital.
29 Hans-Herbert Kögler, „Michel Foucault“, 2004
30 Foucault, „Archaeology of Knowledge“, 1969
31 I.e. ultimately God or some other superhuman, supernatural, metaphysical entity, in convergence with the Christian creed “In the beginning was the Word […] and the Word was God. All things came to be through the Word, and without the Word nothing came to be that has come to be.”, Gospel of John
32 see Bertolt Brecht in „Die Verurteilung des Lukullus“, 1938/39: „Yet the victor always writes the history of the vanquished. The racket disfigures the features of the slained. The weaker leaves the world and the lie remains.”
33 On the basis of the materially existing society, i.e. outside of and independent of the consciousness of the individuals at the level of development of the productive forces and the resulting social relations of production, the resulting division of society into classes, because it is not social consciousness that determines social existence, but the other way round. Marx thus settles accounts with Hegel’s idealist dialectic.
34 Jean-François Lyotard, “The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge”, 1979
36 In “logic” a generally valid statement, e.g. “If it rains, it rains”.
37 Stalin, “Marxism and Problems of Linguistics“, 1950
38 Antonio Negri (born 1933); Italian political scientist
39 Michael Hardt (born 1960); U.S.-American literary theorist
40 Klaus Viehmann et all, „Drei zu Eins“, 1993; our translation
41 Judith Butler (born in 1956); U.S.-American philosopher
42 In recent years, the concept of patriarchy has also become widespread again in the petty-bourgeois feminist movement in the FRG, not least because of the struggle of the proletarian vanguard in forming a proletarian feminism as a demarcation from the other currents in the women’s movement. However, in these mostly petty-bourgeois-academic circles, the term was reinterpreted in a postmodernist way, so that supposedly patriarchy now no longer stands only for the oppression of women by men, but generally for the oppression of the different “genders”.
43 see among others Claudie Broyelle, „Die Hälfte des Himmels – Frauenemanzipation und Kindererziehung in China“, 1974
44 see Lenin in: “The Three Sources and Three Components of Marxism“, LW Volume 19: ”The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true. It is comprehensive and harmonious, and provides men with an integral world outlook irreconcilable with any form of superstition, reaction, or defence of bourgeois oppression.”
45 Our comment on “left” also applies accordingly at this point.
46 The abuse scandals that keep piling up, especially in the Catholic Church, and the way it deals with them contribute to this general tendency.
47 In the FRG, numerous health insurance companies subsidise the purchase of homeopathic products. The “German Central Association of Homeopathic Doctors” lists 80 health insurance companies on its website. The DHU, the battleship of the German homeopathy lobby (Deutsche Homöopathie-Union DHU-Arzneimittel GmbH & Co. KG, part of the Schwabe Group, sued among others Stiftung Warentest and had the publication of the book “Die Andere Medizin” (“The Other Medicine”), in which DHU products and other pseudo-medicines are described as ineffective, banned, paid among others for character assassination campaigns against journalists and medical practitioners; cf. sueddeutsche.de, “Schmutzige Methoden der sanften Medizin” (“Dirty methods of soft medicine”), 30 June 2012) provides a list of 65 health insurance companies on its website.
48 The Green health politician Kordula Schulz-Asche described homeopathy as “complementary medicine”, which is “an important addition to orthodox medicine”. See aerzteblatt.de, “Spahn does not want to touch homeopathy at health insurance costs”, 18 September 2019
49 aerzteblatt.de, „Spahn will Homöopathie auf Kassenkosten nicht antasten“, 18. September 2019
50 usatoday.com, „Worried about abortion laws? Catholic hospital mergers also seen as threat to women’s health care“, 27 December 2019
51 see taz.de, „Keine Abtreibungen in Flensburger Klinik: Fusion mit Folgen“, 04 November 2019
52 tagesschau.de, „Was der Senat über UFOs wissen muss“, 25 June 2021
53 swr.de/swr2, „Sogar Obama glaubt an UFOs“, 08 June 2021
54 theguardian.com, „‘Listen to the scientists’: Greta Thunberg urges Congress to take action“, 18 September 2019
55 see among others the writings “One splits into two” and „Philosophy is no Mystery“