Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The most average length suicide note in history (fragment); leaderless leninism;

One in a series of old texts that I am retrieving and collecting together, and sometimes reworking. Often this renewed effort exposes deeper, unworkable, internal contradictions. Sobeit!

The dead father became stronger than the living one had been - for events took the course we so often see them follow in human affairs to this day. What had up to then been prevented by his actual existence was thenceforward prohibited by the sons themselves, in accordance with the psychological procedure so familiar to us in psycho-analyses under the name of ‘deferred obedience’. 
Freud, Totem and Taboo
The totemic image itself does not command, nor does it decide, nor direct. There is no power intrinsic to the totem. And so it is, that within the revolutionary organisation, it is the membership, the brother soldiers, who, in conforming to the rules of its rigid reproductive circuits, project their own habituated expectations onto the organisation's totem, and then interpret this projection to be externally issued orders. 

Every member of the revolutionary organisation seeks to make his behaviour conform to, through anticipation of, its hard programming: he asks himself, what is expected of me. And even the leadership itself conforms to its own preconceptions concerning what the leadership ought to do – it thus only makes the decisions which it interprets it must make. 

In the end, the band of brothers, that is the historic-formal party, is capable only of reproducing a projected approximation of historically given ‘effectiveness’ in decision making – and by such means, every specific example of effective revolutionary organisation defines itself through entering into competition for ownership of scarce resources with similar others. 

It is strange this divergent, competitive, orientation towards a shared heritage. Revolutionary organisations tend to share the same objective, and declare allegiance to the same ‘tradition’... and yet their rivalry is a derivative of something else in the organisation, namely the specificity of each organisations internal apparatus. It is this apparatus to which the member belongs and to no other (even if the other is structurally identical).

If the historic-formal party is a decision making body, its decisions are made only in accordance with an irrational logic, which is not geared towards decision making at all but to the reproduction of the entirety of the organisational apparatus. It therefore follows that the final limit on the executive function is that nobody may cause the organisation to decide against the organisation. 
At the Battle of Borodino Napoleon did not fire a shot nor kill anyone. All that was done by the soldiers. 
Tolstoy War and Peace 
Tolstoy indicates that Napoleon was in no position to decide against what was to occur at Borodino, and he was not prepared to interrogate how it had to be. His order to continue, could only be issued in accordance with the already established objective structuring of the revolutionary wars – there was no chance for him to remain ‘Napoleon’ and also choose against it. The fact of Borodino had already been written as a structural precondition of his giving the order for its actualisation. 

Leninism, which is bonapartism, which is the historic-formal party, is not a command structure. It is not a ‘topdown’ orchestrated reproduction of the leader function as a directing interest, an interest which thereby directs its cardres and organised masses for its own purposes. It is not the direct manifestation of the glory of the leader.

In fact, there is no direct relation of the masses to the person of Lenin. There is only the ongoing reproduction of a Lenin function which facilitates the organisation’s overall continuation. It is in the character of formalised relations to set aside a place within its circuits for a projected image of authority where the membership’s excesses of energy are directed. The membership invests the totemic symbols of the organisation with the same love that an infant invests its parents. But the totem is not there. It is defined by displacement, by its symbolic function. 
A prosecutor said he and his two co-defendants had "murdered, tortured and terrorised" their own people. But Nuon Chea, Pol Pot's deputy, also known as Brother Number Two, said he had worked to "serve the interests of the nation" by protecting it from colonialism and invaders.
BBC News 22/11/2011
And by reason of his displacement, the projected father leader may subsequently be replaced by anything, or even by nothing, and still perform the same totemic function for the organisation – the white walled, iconless churches of Puritans are an example of totemic abstraction. 

The only condition required for the worship of vacancy is the membership’s continued readiness to accept the spirit of a dead ancestor, a relic, a picture, a flag, a set of rules, a sacred text (or a combination of any of these) as the name of their father - that thing which brought them together as a community in the first place. The absence of the icon becomes, under certain conditions, a means of the iconic.  
Alfred Hitchcock: ... the main thing I've learned over the years is that the MacGuffin is nothing. I'm convinced of this, but I find it very difficult to prove it to others. My best MacGuffin, and by that I mean the emptiest, the most non-existent, and the most absurd, is the one we used on North by North West. 
What Hitchcock calls the MacGuffin, describes a totemic pretext, a trigger mechanism, by which an object elicits intense conditioned responses within a group, as if the object itself were also a member of the family. 

The fetish object (MacGuffin) is made possible by acute regulated sensitisation, and works through an intensified, one-way vertical relation to an over-investment of affect. It is an unreciprocable relation which supersedes even the horizontal relation of mutual solidarity felt between all those who are similarly sensitised to that particular icon.

Even when aiming for a condition of ‘leaderlessness’, the formal organisation still multiplies displaced heads which somehow manage to issue correctives, directives and judgements. The more heads that are cut off, the more responsive an organisation's membership becomes to unattributable commands. Perpetual head-chopping induces an ever more fervent search for the objective authorisation of acts. 

Therefore, even the acephalus revolutionary organisation does not free itself from its own sensitisation to the fetish. 

As an alternative to the downward spiral of leaderless leninism, I would make the suggestion to those who would diverge only partially from the party-form (substituting unions, federations, networks, assemblies and other structures) that another step is required, i.e. a complete and final disinvestment from formal structures of decision-making. 

In place of structure there might be initiated attempts at de-structuring. This would take the form of negative interventions aimed at relaxing the hold within organisations of those determining factors of formalisation which have thus far caused the proletariat to consistently seek to achieve political consciousness as a means of gaining power over itself.