Happy Bastille Day

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July 14th celebrates the day the Bastille in Paris was stormed, thus leading to a major turning point in the French Revolution. Shortly after, feudalism was abolished.

Bastille day represents something much bigger than the sovereignty of the people, when one looks deeper, though people often want to leave it at that. Reactionaries often point to the French Revolution as the beginning of modernity, with which they give themselves no option but to have an antogonistic relationship, and many of them would prefer some type of monarchy.

Bastille day represents the moment in history when the Divine Right of Kings died in a metaphysical sense. That's something most reactionaries are not willing to admit. Monarchy was dead long before it was actually abolished (or in some countries, made impotent). Sovereignty was always a two-way relationship. When Royalty failed to do what it needed to keep the demos happy, the demos took over.

Bastille day is a good reminder that power is not about what one possesses, but that it is always a relationship. For whatever good or bad came out of the French Revolution, it was an inevitability born out of the impotence of an old power system that no longer believed in itself enough to continue into the next era.

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The Origins of the Right

The Right is nothing if not a reaction to extreme political turbulence. It is what happens when power wishes to resacralize the seat of its vacant sovereignty. The Right would like to go back, but are left ever to go forward into a world which has left room for it only as one pole on the axis of modern antagonism. 

No Kings to Behead

It's hardly surprising that lone gunmen are coming out of the Left. Their usual penchant for violent mobs can only go so far in what is quickly becoming a police-state west. The usual societal tensions that were once freed up and granted full expression in revolution don't have a world stage beyond social media. The days of large gestures are over since we've reconfigured sovereignty to sources which don't act as powerful of symbols; there is no king to behead. It seems that the natural eventuation of the Left would be to create its own symbols; maniacs as heroes fighting the avatars of an idea. I don't suspect that this behavior will be wholly accepted by the Left, but the Left dwindles and dries without martyrs. I

Thoughts On Freedom

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Whether they are selling socks or toad meat, marketers are no strangers to the abstract concepts that humans want most that which cannot be sold. They know that what most humans want is freedom—but especially in America where happiness is mistaken for it.

But what does freedom mean in a world of meaningless words? Or is that just it? Is freedom merely a ‘construct?’ A ‘fabrication?’ A ‘fiction?’ No, in western society today, freedom is the

The Reactionary Nature of Party Lines

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Historically, reactionaries were those who opposed the French Revolution. Today, 'reactionary' is thrown around to describe anyone who doesn't agree with you.

It's human nature to react. It's a basic instinct for survival. The problem arises when dogma is made out of a reaction.  

Some modern movements have acknowledged the reactionary nature of their ideology, such as neoreactionaries (as one would rightly guess). However, reactionary forces don't strictly belong to some traditionalist Right, opposing the spirit of revolution. You see a similar attitude on all fronts.  

For some, fighting racists isn't good enough: they exhibit the same racist attitudes toward the one group whom they feel is oppressing them. Likewise, people who have bad experiences in church growing up become militant secularists. People who get attacked by their ultra-PC peers find comfort by following a few Alt-Right blogs and pretty soon, you hear them incessantly comparing the average IQ's of different races to make some point. Men who are tired of feminists start claiming that it is actually men who are oppressed.

What do they all have in common? They've found a community, and thus, for better or worse, a new party line.  

The best thing to keep these communities thriving is a scapegoat: whether it's men, women, white people, black people, Jews, Rightists, Leftists, gays, heterosexuals or an aristocracy.  

It's easier to find a scapegoat if the party in question can out-victim another group. The biggest victim wins cosmic sympathy and becomes, in this secular age, something akin to an inverted God; some version of Jesus with narrative emphasis on the degree of wounds rather than the level of innocence.  

Most of this provides mere psychological restitution, more than anything. Each party calls the other 'fascist;' an indication that the conversation has ended.  

We know how this ends, usually. The French Revolution's Reign of Terror and The Holocaust had something in common. Both of them saw some kind of solution in wiping out entire bloodlines. 

Our next step forward, as a species, will have to happen without this enormous degree of scapegoating and its coextensive self-proclaimed victimization.

There will have to come a time when patriotism stops meaning arbitrary pride in something someone else did. We'll have to be personally responsible for who we help and harm. When that day comes, will we describe  our position  as 'auto-reactionary?' Perhaps we will reach such a stage of maturity that all wars and revolutions will become internalized.

 

Bataille Contra Marx

 'There are already North Americans who have learned to gurgle the phrase "Bataille contra Marx..."'

-Nick Land, The Thirst For Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism

 

It would certainly be an arduous task to set Bataille up as an alternative to Marx, though one could say, rather, that Bataille swallows Marx up into his theory of general economy (along with all sorts of phenomena usually unaccounted for in economic theory, such as human sacrifice in the Aztec civilization, or wife-bartering among Native Americans).

Bataille's theory of economy, found in his three-part work, The Accursed Share, was deduced on a plane beyond good and evil. It is more of a Nietzschean/Sadean economics than an extension of Marx, though it is certainly that too. 

Not being a moral economics, however, it poses an unprecedented evaluation of redistribution which would have certainly baffled his more conventionally socialist friends and peers. Marx's evaluation of redistribution is almost entirely moral, even when it doesn't set out to be: capital is turned over to the workers and all class hierarchy done away with. 

For Bataille, revolution is simply one way of dealing with surplus. He goes entirely against contemporary scarcity narratives and posits that the flow of life fundamentally produces a far more abundant degree of resources than what could ever be used up, but only intermittently. It is then necessary to lavishly use up what is left or it goes to waste. 

In the case of the Bolshevik revolution, the surplus was the monarchy itself. We deal here with a common historical contingency in which the surplus is maintained by a minority of people who have the most social power. As they have a monopoly on both the means of production and the means of squandering, the revolution acts as the squandering of lives, paradoxically, to free up the share not put to use by the working class. For Bataille, whether or not this worked in the favor of the proletariat is not a matter of concern; he simply describes this situation and re-configures it over and over to different degrees of intensity throughout history. 

The gift has its origins here. The gift comes not only from an acknowledgement of surplus resources, but from the radical affirmation of the reciprocal play of forces which supposes that if something which would otherwise be squandered is given away freely, something might be received in kind. The gift is related, if remotely, to revolution. It is its non-violent counter-part. 

I'm simplifying Bataille here, but who doesn't? His readers can be excused to some degree for offering conclusions since he, by nature, refused to provide any.