Socialist Jesus, Communist Santa, and modern tailism

Alright, I’ll say it. I don’t like it when, every Christmas time, the left tries to claim Jesus and Santa as icons of socialist ideology. I don’t care if that happens to be the seasonal fetish of other communists or socialists, or for any rhetorical merits they might argue for. It’s stupid, it’s a form of cultural and religious tailism, and it only serves to reinforce either the still-hegemonic status of Christianity or the commercialist culture we live in, at least if it all isn’t a pure meme anyway, and I’m going to give my reasons for why you should pack this bullshit in if you’re a leftist and still doing it. Also, I know it’s pretty late for me to talking about this basically a week after Christmas, but the march to the New Year is still part of the holiday season in some unofficial sense, so in my opinion there’s time to explore this subject before 2022.

When it comes to Jesus, the obvious center of the Christian concept of Christmas (which, by its namesake, is meant to literally mean “Christ’s Mass”), there are no shortage of left-wing narratives aiming to cast Jesus as a socialist, or even the first communist. To be honest, a lot of this simply comes from Jesus having smashed up the money-changers in the Temple in Jerusalem, and his attendant proclamation against them, saying “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of theives” (Matthew 21:13). It’s a truly memorable episode from the New Testament, one that echoes through our culture as one of the central defining moments through which we understand the character of Jesus, and admittedly it does make for an epic moment of defiance against the intrusion of market forces, servicable to empire, in the otherwise unadulterated domain of religion. It’s easy enough to come away thinking of the Cleansing of the Temple as an ancient proto-typical anti-capitalist narrative. But, there are problems with framing it in this way.

What is a money-changer? A person whose trade is to exchange one currency for another. Are money-changers capitalists? It’s not obvious that they are. Keeping in mind, of course, that the society that Jesus lived in predated the existence of not only capitalism but also the medieval system we call feudalism. This has important implications for the material conditions relevant to any attempt to elevate the anti-capitalist credentials of Jesus’ Cleansing of the Temple. A capitalist is an individual who controls a given means of production and portions out a fraction of the fruits of the labour generated through it to those willing to sell their labour power for a wage. So what’s a money-changer, then? Just a merchant, ultimately, and specifically one whose services allowed Jews to exchange Roman coins for shekels in order to make payments to the Temple, which did not accept the standard Greek and Roman currency as payments. It is not clear that these merchants followed the model practiced by the bourgeoisie as it would have emerged centuries after Jesus’ time. As for Jesus himself, he is traditionally described as a carpenter, and it’s not clear that he had any employees working under him, so Jesus would have been a self-employed carpenter. In Marxist terms, if we’re going to apply the definitions of the capitalist system onto the narrative of Jesus’ life, this might make him one of the labour aristocracy, which is a privileged sector of the proletariat who benefit from superprofits and have no desire for revolution, sometimes siding with the ruling capitalists to preserve their own advantage. So if we interpret the Cleansing of the Temple solely on the basis of class, Jesus would have been a pre-modern labour aristocrat clashing with merchants of a similar class background. This is hardly the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. On the other hand, in abandoning his carpentry in order to focus on his ministry, since he did not take on a productive job in which he sold his labour power for a wage, by some standard he might well be considered one of the lumpenproletariat, a submerged sector of class society who are either disorganized, “declassed”, and assumed not to be revolutionary. Marx and many successive Marxists also despised the lumpenproleriat, condemning them as degenerates and outcasts, which is sort of unusually moralistic for a thinker who Karl Vorlander noted for his wholesale mockery of morality as a concept. But returning to the subject of Jesus, if he is a lumpenproletarian, and we take the view that lumpenproletarians are still part of the proletariat, then it is only in this sense that, perhaps, Jesus represents the working class, but in a struggle against a mercantile labour aristocracy and not the bourgeoisie.

So what’s the real meaning of the Cleansing of the Temple? It’s not in any way obvious that Jesus has a problem with currency exchange in itself, and instead the problem expressed by Jesus is simply that the money-changers turn the “house of prayer” into a “den of thieves”. It’s easy enough to take from this that Jesus thinks currency exchange is in itself theft, but the only time Jesus seems to talk about money-changers is in the Temple instance. A popular explanation is that Jesus thought they were cheating their customers and overcharging them, though this might actually be a simplistic interpretation. In fact, some argue that the main issue with the Temple was its functioning as a bank, at the centre of a whole local economy in which wealthy property-owners lent money to the poor at the cost of debt, which if unpaid would result in the loss of land. Still, the exact language and statements given by Jesus suggest his main problem was not so much economy itself as much as the intermingling of economy with religion. In other words, Jesus’ problem was specifically with the presence of markets in the Temple, which means his problem was with the merging of economic life and religious life, the latter of which was to remain pure and unadulterated by the influence of economic activity, and in this instance the problem was not with the economic system as a whole, let alone with capitalism.

To further communicate some of the problems with the radical credentials ascribed to Christianity, I’m going to draw a lot from everyone’s favorite quasi-Marxist and quasi-apologic socialist politicial scientist Michael Parenti, or more specifically his 2010 book God and His Demons, which, although probably flawed on its own, draws from Biblical scripture to make its argument against the anti-capitalist or progressive credentials of Christianity. For all the abolitionist credentials ascribed to Christianity, Jesus himself in no way opposed the institution of chattel slavery and in fact affirmed the categories of slave and slave-owner as legitimate via the right of the slave-owners to beat the slave, harshly or gently depending on whether or not the slave knowingly disobeyed their owners (Luke 12:47). The master-slave or master-servant relationship is affirmed throughout Jesus’ parables, such as the parable of the faithful and wise servant described in Matthew 24 and Luke 12. Jesus also seems to accept poverty as something that will always exist, rather than something that can be abolished through socio-economic change, as is shown Mark 14:3-9 where a woman is admonished by others for pouring expensive perfume on Jesus’ head instead of selling it and sharing the profits with the poor, and Jesus defends the woman by saying “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me”. In other words, Jesus is saying that poverty will always exist, and you can always ameliorate it through private charity, but what really matters is that his followers please and serve him because he won’t be around forever. This is not an anti-capitalist message, to say the least. Indeed, in the account of Jesus’ accomplishments given in Matthew 11:5, the poor are not given wealth but instead only “the good news”, while the blind, the “lame”, the lepers, and even the dead all received miraculous reversals of their prior predicaments. The Bible also declares that there is no authority on earth not established by God, and thus that whoever is in charge serves God for your good and rebellion against authority means going against God and paying for it (Romans 13:1-7). This would mean that the authority of capitalism exists by God’s decree, and thus should be obeyed.

And it doesn’t stop with the Jesus. St. Paul supported the institution of chattel slavery by urging slaves to respect their masters in order to defend God’s teaching (1 Timothy 6:1). St. Peter also supported slavery by urging those who reverently feared God to submit to their masters in slavery, even if their masters were harsh, and praised those who endured beatings for doing good as part of their service (1 Peter 2:18-22) . Origen, one of the early church fathers, chastised the poor in Book VI of Contra Celsus by claiming that the majority of them have bad characters and that “not even a stupid person would praise the poor indiscriminately”. Elsewhere, in On Prayer, Origen says that if you are poor and bear your poverty “ignobly”, and conduct yourself in a “more servile and base” way than is becoming of the Saints, you fall away from “heavenly hope”, and counselled that the “daily bread” that Christians are to subsist on consists not in actual physical bread but instead in spiritual or “supersubstantial bread”, thus the rich and the poor alike are to depend solely on the spiritual nourishment of God, and presumably thus not demand the betterment of their own living conditions, since this would mean subsisting yourself or enriching your situation with elevated material conditions by your own hands as opposed to simply relying on the spiritual sustenance of God. Clement of Alexandria referred to the destitute, those who begged for daily bread, and the poor who were dispersed on the streets as the “most blessed” on account of their extreme poverty, want, destitution, and lack of subsistence, thus sacralizing and glorifying the condition of poverty. Clement also opposed the view that God commanded Christians to renounce property, and instead counselled Christians to simply manage property without inordinate affection in service of God. The early Christian text On Riches, attributed to Peter of Alexandria, apparently rebuked the poor for their supposed envy, their concern about the rich, and their ingratitude to the God who “made them free from the cares about which the rich man is concerned”. In other words, the poor are to be grateful what they have. The rich are divided into the “wicked and merciless rich” who abuse their wealth and property and the “merciful and loving rich” who use their wealth and property benevolently and align with the will of God, whereas the poor are not divided in such a way and the author of On Riches declares that he does not “honor the poor by making them equal to the rich” nor “favour them”, and if anything holds that the poor man may leave his poverty only for “another poverty seven times more evil than this”.

Despite prominent popular discussion of Matthew 19:24 as a Christian indictment of the rich and despite The Cleansing of the Temple, in Christianity wealth is not always considered a bad thing, and in fact has been considered a good thing so long as it is managed according to the will of God. The Christian condemnation of the rich and their wealth pertains to the extent to which earthly riches or simply the love thereof impedes devotion to God, or that the management of wealth is unscrupulous, harms the poor, or simply leads the rich man away from God. From this standpoint, as applied to capitalism, capital, as a form of wealth, is not actually inherently against God’s will, only the “wicked” use of it against God is, and a just society is one where both the capitalists and the poor working class all observe their ordained social stations in a manner that comports with God’s will. Class society as divided between bourgeoisie and the proletariat is still to exist, since it too is ordained by God, but each class is to observe God’s will and act humbly, mercifully, and dutifully within their respective terms. Since wealth, thus capital, is only bad insofar as its use does not serve God, the capitalist class would be compelled to reform their ways so as to be more “merciful” in alignment with God, which would suggest no real policy changes other than perhaps a couple of benign reforms agreed upon by a consistently Christian ruling class. In modern terms, Christian teaching is only about as anti-capitalist as Elizabeth Warren is, which is to say not at all.

Some leftists might point to Acts 4:32-35 as a kind of pre-modern expression of religious communism, describing a society ruled by the apostles and inhabited by believers in Jesus who were all one in heart and mind, shared all of their possessions and claimed no private (or seemingly even personal) property, no one was needy, and those who owned land and houses sold them and brought their profits to the apostles who distributed the money to anyone who needed it. In Acts 5, it is further described that those who keep any of their profits from selling houses and property for themselves miraculously fall down and die after being called out by St. Peter, suggesting that God would punish those who retain some personal profit with death. This sounds vaguely like what a communist society might look like, though hard to reconcile with Jesus’ teaching about the inevitable condition of poverty or early church teachings about wealth and property. It could just be a vague utopian commune project devised by the apostles. But what has always bothered me is that, for a religion that supposedly has inscrutable socialist or proto-communist credentials, most of the history of Christianity has not yielded any lasting socialist or communist society under the banner of Christian power. There were Christian efforts at establishing proto-socialist communities in Europe, but they were suppressed by the larger Christian establishment, who invariably upheld the legitimacy of the owning class. Of course, the Catholic Church is well-recognized as an edifice of elite power, but anti-revolutionary sentiment is not limited to the Catholic Church. The German Peasants’ War, in which peasants fought for freedom from restrictions imposed upon them by their lords, divided the Protestant movement in its response, with Thomas Muntzer and some more radical sections of the Protestant movement supporting the peasants while Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, not only opposed the peasants and claimed they were on the side of the Devil but also sided with the nobles and called for the punitive and violent suppression of the peasants. Very little of Christian society has manifested lasting working class power under the banner of the Christian faith, and in fact the rise of capitalism seems to seen Christianity emerge as a religious legitimator of the capitalist order and state power.

The trouble with using the Bible, Jesus, and Christianity to form a religious anti-capitalist narrative, and from there the wider problem with Christian Socialism or Christian Communism, is that it is necessarily selective, and cannot reflect the whole of the Christian vision of a society that is considered just insofar as it aligns with God’s will. A socialist or radical anti-capitalist interpretation of Christianity requires a hyper-fixation on a select handful of verses of the Bible and episodes of Jesus’ purported life that can be interpreted in a sufficiently anti-capitalist light, while leaving out the parts of the Bible that can be interpreted as supportive of a capitalist order or not entirely condemning of the rich, as well as creatively de-spiritualizing the message of Jesus by reducing it to a single economic substance such as debt forgiveness, thus leaving out not only the broader religious/spiritual content of the Biblical message but also the wider history of the early Christian movement and its tendency to chastise the poor while telling them to be content with their lot and defending at least some of the rich. Their concern was not with the material emancipation of the masses from the ruling economic and political order but instead a spiritualized, ethereal, and indeed extramaterial deliverance from the world into the kingdom of God, and attaining it by obeying the will of God, which, as I have shown, includes obedience to the system. Such efforts make sense only so as to attract religious Christians to the message of socialism by hopping on the bandwagon of its hegemonic popularity, instead of challenging the authority of Christianity, presumably off the back of either winning the unity of the working class or votes that might otherwise go to conservatives. In summary, it is a kind of religious tailism.

But before we get to that let’s touch on the other subject of my article: Santa Claus. Jacobin Magazine, with what seems to be a touch of humour, once published an article in 2018 advocating that socialists should embrace Santa Claus on the grounds that he is an egalitarian internationalist who disregards the borders of the nation state and free market norms to give gifts to children. The same magazine, during the same year, also seems to have published a parody article deconstructing Santa Claus as a robber baron who exploits his elven workers and rose to power through violently subjugating of the inhabitants of the North Pole. But in any case, the idea of Santa Claus as some sort of communist icon spreads around annually in certain corners of the online left, and sometimes in conservative circles. But is there reason to go along with it?

Putting aside the predictable discourse about how Santa Claus, if real, would subsist on exploitative practices for his workers, expecting them to constantly produce toys for little in the way of a wage, let’s just go right to the heart of the matter: the Santa Claus we all know is just a corporate mascot. The modern image of Santa Claus derives his name from Saint Nicholas, who is known for his secret gift-giving involving distributing wealth to the poor, but much of the iconography and character of the modern Santa Claus was developed from various precursors in European folkloric traditions (some of which, such as the Dutch Sinterklaas, were based on Saint Nicholas) by several soft drink companies into the holly jolly gift-giving figure of pop culture, often sanitized from a number of harsher equivalents in pre-existing folklore, such as the Joulupukki of Finland. So one of the many faces of capitalism is to be recast as one of its opponents on behalf of the workers of the world. Of course, that’s not even getting into conversation we can have about how the myth of Santa Claus probably encourages rampant consumerism on the part of parents and children, lending to the annual mass support of capitalist markets.

Now, to be fair, there is the argument to be made all of this represents a form of detournement, the art of taking popular icons of the dominant culture and integrating them into a new, radical context, in which the original icons are then subtextually altered so as to gain a new and more subversive meaning. The idea of turning a capitalist icon into a partisan of communism certainly does make sense as an act of detournement, as does the idea of enlisting the most popular religious figure in the Western world as an opponent of capitalism. Except, the idea is not really to subvert the dominant culture. Instead, the idea is to affirm socialism and/or communism not as a radical opposition to the order of society but rather as innate within the cultural DNA of the society we live in, which need only be unlocked in order to awaken the class consciousness of the public. In practice, this means blindly following the popular ideas of Jesus, Christianity, and Santa Claus and what they represent in order to reinterpret them, without challenging them. Contrast with this with the use of the inverted cross by Satanists and other anti-Christian elements that I discussed a few months ago. This represents the subversion of traditional symbolism undertaken as a conscious challenge to its original traditional context, as opposed to embracing the popular context of Christianity so as to claim it as your own. Thus we come to the concept of tailism, as developed in Marxist political theory.

The concept of tailism, as it is understood by Marxists, can be traced to Vladimir Lenin and his 1902 pamphlet What Is To Be Done?, which for Marxism-Leninism can be thought of as a landmark expression of its core ideological goals. In What Is To Be Done?, Lenin talked about the tendency of some socialists who advocated for the practice of “dragging at the tail of the movement”, by which Lenin seems to mean “bowing to spontaneity” and straggling behind the tendencies of popular movements without actually leading and educating the masses, a tendency which is then elevated to a point of principle. This is what Lenin referred to as tailism. Mao Zedong took this concept further in On Coalition Government, in which he defines tailism as the practice of “falling below the level of political consciousness in the masses” instead of leading it forward, thus tailing behind backwards elements within the working class, resulting in some comrades adopting backwards and reactionary attitudes on social issues. In modern circumstances, we can see this tendency especially pronounced in certain social-democratic elements of the left who, like all social-democrats, are captured by the promises of electoral power and, unlike most, come to think that by appealing to facetious narratives of the inherent conservatism of the working class they may yet win power and defeat the conservatives, or even in certain Marxist-Leninists who seem convinced that the bourgeois conservative image of the working class is the true identity of the revolutionary proletariat or that their tailism is actually a means of breaking free from the limits of bourgeois politicial thought.

The way that certain leftist elements attempt anually to frame Jesus or Santa as socialist or communist revolutionaries, and Christianity as nothing more than a political message of debt forgiveness, constitute a form of tailism in one sense. Even if not in the manner of the notable reactionary contingents of the social-democratic or Marxist-Leninist movements, we can look at the frequent attempts to Marxify Jesus and Santa as tailing behind popular consciousness, or perhaps actually falling below the imaginary that has been constructed for the masses by the powerful, without actively and consciously challenging said consciousness or imaginary. In a religious sense, it is thus religious tailism, and in a cultural sense, it is thus cultural tailism, but these are still modes of tailism whether Novara Media or Jacobin like to admit it or not. As such, what might otherwise be an attempt at detournement is guided by the desire to bind revolutionary socialism to the spirit of a popular society that it is in the business of remaking or overturning, and showing the masses for the subjugation that it is.

Too much comfort and abstraction will kill you

I know this post is rather spontaneous, and I don’t plan on writing about the Gods and Radicals stuff for too long, or at least unless something major happens, but it seems that Rhyd Wildermuth’s article about anarchism just yesterday received a response on that very same website written by Christopher Scott Thompson, an anarchist and contributing author. The article, titled “We Are What We Always Were: A Response To “What Happened To Anarchism”“, is a sincere challenge to Wildermuth’s arguments against anarchist anti-fascism and I find that it put some real, heartfelt perspective to what Wildermuth strives to complain about, as well exposing his lies.

But, the article itself is not the main subject of this post, though the perspective it provides is a big part of what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is some reflections and perspective that was inspired by Thompson’s response.

Probably the most important point to consider from the article is about conflict, more specifically Thompson’s response to Rhyd’s points about the tactics used by anti-fascists. In response to Rhyd’s point about how it was ironic that anarchist websites got banned from Patreon and Facebook after Antifa groups “led the call” for far-right groups getting banned, Thompson argued, pretty convincingly, that even their own groups getting censored was, while bad for them, worth the risk to take out the far-right. His point was that a tactic in itself doesn’t become bad just because it can be turned against you, because the same applies for every tactic, in that there is no tactic that isn’t in some ways a double-edged sword. According to Thompson, everyone knew that this would happen, and accepted the risk on the grounds that it was worth taking the hit if it meant preventing harm being done. While I tend to be skeptical of deplatforming and definitely opposed to censorship on principle, when it comes to doxxing fascists who are about to do violence on others and bully others into committing suicide, it almost seems like there’s no reason to oppose that. I mean it’s just as Thompson says, which is more ethical? Is it more ethical to let fascists on 8chan “troll storm” Sophie Labelle into committing suicide because they didn’t like the fact that a trans person was creating comics that offended them, or is it more ethical to stop those fascists from doing that? If Thompson is right, the 8chan fascists seemed to stop harassing Sophie Labelle only after anti-fascists doxxed the people involved. I can’t help but think back to what happened to Near, the emulator developer who was bullied into suicide because they were trans and autistic, and wonder if perhaps the people at KiwiFarms might have backed off if they had the feeling that, perhaps, they would face the consequences of what they were doing? Would Near still be alive?

The perspective that Thompson offers is like a lightning bolt, it thrusts something important, but often forgotten, to the center of consciousness. From the perspective of Thompson, and the active, on-the-ground anti-fascist movement of which he is a part, it’s all about conflict, because theirs is a struggle in a real and visceral sense, one that is violent in nature in response to violence against the marginalized. For liberals, conservatives, vulgar libertarians (as opposed to radical, socialist ones), and apparently for people like Rhyd Wildermuth too, this is all just a conversation of ideas and opinions that can be hashed out intellectually. That’s in stark contrast to the anti-fascists fighting on the streets: for them, this is war.

Struggle, conflict, war, these are things that are lost to people who live in comfort and abstraction. Rhyd Wildermuth lives in the Ardennes, far away from anything happening in the United States that was once his home. Angie, his friend, is a middle class online socialite from London. Her friend, Aimee Terese is the rich daughter of a Lebanese capitalist living all the way in Australia, all the while doing nothing but incoherently rambling about the politics of a land whose people she has no real connection to. There’s all sorts of people who live, if not in comfort, then certainly in isolation from the struggle that persists at the center of the present. But if you live in relative security, comfort, alienation from struggle, it’s easy to think what you do about people who actually live in struggle and conflict, and make it their business to claw their way out rather than try to talk their way out of everything forever. And sometimes, just as is the case for the bourgeoisie, if you have comfort you’ll stoop to anything to protect it, even becoming a grotesque reactionary. I once met a guy who lived in the happiest country in the world and for him everything was about how to win debates and resolve the issues of “wokeness” to make socialism electable. The last time I saw him, he had fully embraced white nationalism. That’s what becomes of these people, because the truth is, if they’re not trying to hold on to their pre-existing biases, they have no skin in the game, and have no respect for those who do have skin in the game. Besides, all they like to do is get offended about everything and then complain about their rivals supposedly being like that. That is weakness.

Here’s something important to take away, consider it a lesson in life: never allow your struggle to be reduced to an intellectual quandary. If you do, then you’ll spend too much time trying to figure out how to solve the quandary, but all that means in practice is creating a set of rationalisations to justify yourself to others in a way that you hope your enemies will be satisfied with. They won’t be satisfied, because they never are, because that was never the point for them. Their real goal has never been to achieve resolution through reason, but instead to dominate you, gaslight you, and create insurmountable obstacles for your goals that can only be overcome on their terms, and while you never win they sit comfortably knowing that their victory is forever assured. Meanwhile the war, if it hasn’t already been ceded through intellectual compromise, is still going on all around you and your friends are dying or being brutalized, and figuring out how to rationalize yourself intellectually has solved nothing.

What has the working class ever gained by arguing that they have the right to equitable and humane living conditions, instead of fighting for those very conditions? What would Stonewall have ever gotten for the LGBT community if not for the riots of 1969? People talk about the American Founding Fathers to use them as a stamp of authority on behalf of their own positions, often for conservative goals, but you would never be able to do that if they didn’t wage revolutionary war against the British crown. Why do trans people have to debate their existence and their rights and endure the suffering of marginalization while their enemies get all the social protection and every benefit of the doubt?

Never forget what Heraclitus said, “war is common, strife is justice, and all things happen according to strife and necessity”. Struggle is real, it animates the transformation of things and of society, because Nature consists of cyclical growth and change, and therefore transformation. Life strives, therefore it fights. Therefore, the world turns. Change, justice, power, emancipation, these grow out of the barrel of a gun or the clash of a blade, or the smash of a brick, or the light of a flame. That’s also the only reason capitalism exists: it won the battle of the brutal transformation of the social order – that is what Marxists call the dialectic of history, and, I assure you, I’m convinced lately that the implications of dialectical transformation contain a grain of brutality to them. It’s also the only reason that losers get to evangelize about the greatness of civilization and progress, because they live off the fat of historic victory, turning that victory into the law of the land, and are eager to avoid losing their place.

Remember the struggle that matters, matters to you, because that knowledge at least might as well be sacred. If you lose it, you lose yourself.

Life Is A Struggle by Gustav Klimt (1903)

It’s time to accept that the Church of Satan is wrong about Satanism

In recent years I have become more and more familiar with the “proto-Satanist” milieu of history, and just this week I have finally gotten my hands on a copy of The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity by Per Faxneld and Jesper Aagaard Petersen, and because of this I am able to reasses my perspective on the roots of Satanism. Over the years, even if I was never a member of the Church of Satan and often opposed them, I generally defended the narrative that Anton LaVey and the Church of Satan were the originators of Satanism as a belief system, and typically disregarded efforts by some Satanists to present forms of Satanism that existed prior to LaVey. To be fair, Herbert Arthur Sloane was a poor candidate for “world’s first Satanist” considering that there is no actual evidence that his Ophite Cultus Sathanas actually existed prior to 1966. However, there seem to be very real examples of Satanic movements and proponents of Satanism that existed for years before the Church of Satan was established. What I’m about to elucidate here, in simple terms, is that the Church of Satan’s claims to be the inventor, let alone sole authority, of Satanism is, in all reality, nothing but a convenient fiction crafted by the Church of Satan.

Central to this inquiry is Stanislaw Przybyszewski, a Polish poet who was, in all probability, the first person to ever call himself a Satanist and to present any kind of Satanic ideology. Born in 1868, Stanislaw was part of the Decadent movement of poetry, which focused on the aesthetic expression of dramatic excess, vice, and decay. He also seems to have been a leftist of some sort, at least judging from the fact that he had faced expulsion for various socialist activities, and given his contempt for authority, the state, and the imposition of bourgeois normativity, he could be seen as some sort of left-wing anarchist, rather unlike the markedly right-wing politics of Anton LaVey (though, as you’ll see, Stanislaw also does not fit the usual anarcho-communist/anarcho-syndicalist mode either). In light of his being a Decadent poet, he can seem rather familiar within the context of the genre of “Romantic Satanism”, a literary movement (not a religious one) in which Satan was employed by various writers as a creative symbol of rebellion against the established order on behalf of freedom, championing the oppressed over the powerful and a new liberation of values over the normative expectations of bourgeois society. On the surface, Stanislaw might be seen as one of its exponents, but unlike the “Romantic Satanists” Stanislaw advanced a whole spiritual ideology around a Satan who was far more than a mere symbol for revolutionary Enlightenment values.

In 1898, 68 years before the Church of Satan was founded, Stanislaw published a book called The Synagogue of Satan, in which he outlined his concept of Satan and Satanism. He begins by telling of two gods – one of them supposed to be “good” but who is actually the antagonist of humanity, the other supposed to be “bad” but who is actually the friend of humanity. The “good” god is quite clearly the God of the Bible, while the “bad” god is quite clearly Satan. Satan, here, is presented as the creator of the material universe, the flesh, nature, and the earth, with all the flaws, passions, struggles, doubts, and suffering it entails. The God of the Bible, by contrast, created pure spiritual beings and an invisible kingdom of spirit, which is ostensibly perfect and free of suffering. In theory, this sounds like the classic formula of “Gnostic” Christianity, in which God is the father of the realm of infinite and pure spirit and while a being imitating God, the Demiurge, who is sometimes identified with Satan, creates the material world and imprisons souls within it, thus causing suffering and evil. But in reality, this formula is inverted from the start. The God of the Bible, the author of a “perfect” spiritual kingdom free of suffering, is the antagonist of mankind and the creation story, because he encourages mankind to blindly submit to his rule and be “poor in spirit”, retard their own maturity, and surrender their individual will, and hated not only earthly beauty but also man-made creation. Satan, the creator of the material universe and thus the same being that authors death, pain, and suffering by it, is actually the real protagonist of creation, because he embodies the curiosity that leads to the uncovering of mysteries and the heroic will to defy authority, and teaches people how to how to stay healthy, become rich, know the future, destroy their enemies through magic and bring loved ones back from the dead. In short, the same being who authors a world of suffering and depravity is also the being who teaches humans how to better their lives and resist tyranny through his arts and teaching. To this end humans are encouraged to engage in proud sinning in the name of Satan-instinct, Satan-nature, Satan-curiosity, and Satan-passion. Satan in this sense is also believed to have incarnated as Samyaza, the leader of a band of angels who fell to earth and taught humans various “forbidden” arts, and was also expressly identified as the light bringer (Lucifer). Curiously, Satan is even referred to as Paraclete, which is a name for the Holy Spirit in Christianity.

So far, it doesn’t seem like this belief system is all that distant from the teachings of the Church of Satan, except that it is possible to interpret it in a somewhat theistic light. Then again, it is my understanding that Stanislaw referred to himself not only as a Satanist but also an atheist, so it is possible that we are not supposed to take his book as an account of literal deities in a literal creation presented as historical fact. In any case, we have a Satan who stands for the temporal physical world in opposition to a permanent spiritual one, carnal fulfillment over spiritual abstinence, knowledge (both worldly and magical) over faith in God, and individual strength and pride over Christian humility and meekness. We also have a Satan who encourages people to sin in the name of nature, insinct, curiosity, and passion, indeed a Satan who symbolizes all of those things. We also have a Satan who is the father of life, reproduction, progression, and eternal return, contrasted with a God who is the negation of life, since all life is evil. And of course Jesus, the “youth from Nazareth”, is his main enemy besides God. I can’t see any meaningful break between this Satan and the Satanic archetype presented by Anton LaVey, as well as similar Satanists in the present, except for maybe Stanislaw imbued this archetype with a certain pessimism not found in the more humanistic iterations of Satanism that emerged from LaVey onwards.

Stanislaw also identifies Satan with numerous pre-Christian gods, which serves to denote various attributes of Satan as well as link his Satanic belief system to pre-Christian religiosity or narratives thereof by presenting these gods as various incarnations of Satan. He says that Satan incarnated as Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic and knowledge, and also by extension Hermes Trismegistos (who may have been based on Thoth), who taught knowledge of magic and the body to his disciples and compiled it in multiple texts. He is said to have incarnated as Hecate, the “terrible” Greek goddess of witchcraft, who shared magical knowledge with her followers. He is said to have incarnated as the Greek god Pan, here portrayed as a god of lust who taught women the art of seduction and men how to increase their sex drive. Pan is further linked to the god Apollo and the goddess Aphrodite, believed to be the god of the bordello and the home hearth, the inventor of philosophy, builder of temples and museums, and the teacher of medicine and mathematics. Satan is even believed to have incarnated as Ahura Mazda, ironically the chief Good God of Zoroastrianism (and thereby equivalent to the God of the Bible), as the god who taught of the secrets of the Haoma plant to Zarathustra (obviously referring to the prophet Zoroaster), which is an obvious indicator of the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche in his thinking, and also that Satan lived in the doctrine of “Mazdaism” as well as its priests and Magi.

Stanislaw also held some very peculiar, and perhaps unique, views on women which stand as another example of the inversion found within his worldview, while giving an insight as to what evil means for him. He brings up the demonization of women by Christians as agents of Satan. Examples include Tertullian calling women “the portal to the devil”, “the destroyer of the tree”, “the first sinner against the divine law” and “the one who persuades those that do not wish to turn to the devil”, and St Hieronymus’ apparent declaration that everything evil comes from women and that they were not even made in the image of God. Stanislaw himself likes to invoke views on women as being inherently treacherous, malicious, and deviant, in line with the view of women as being “the chosen of Satan”, also describing them as “mentally aberrant”, and even going so far as to depict women as taking pleasure in murdering children and rummaging their remains. It’s easy enough to come away thinking of Stanislaw as some sort of misogynist, until you remember that he believed that evil, as represented by Satan, was actually good and therefore being the chosen of Satan is to be taken as a high honour. As such, in a pretty fucked up way, the “evil woman” of Stanislaw’s philosophy is actually a positive figure, who liberates humanity through her rapacious sexuality while at the same time bringing about extreme decadence, which Stanislaw may have seen as just a part of natural evolution, thus women in his view initiate the transformation and progress of life through irrational malevolence and lust. Stanislaw also lionizes the supposed evils of femininity to such an extent that even Satan himself adopts female physical traits: he envisioned Satan as having not only female breasts, no doubt drawing from Eliphas Levi’s depiction of Baphomet, but also a giant penis which has a vulva at the end of it. Thus his Satan, although ostensibly male in that he is referred to with male pronouns and adjectives (such as “he” or “father”), is in fact an androgynous being.

And one thing Stanislaw shares in common with the Church of Satan, and many other Satanic movements, is an apparent belief in elitism and Social Darwinism. Such ideals would normally run very much counter to the overall ideological ethos of anarchism as expressed in most of its manifestations (typically found on the left), which is based on the destruction of all hierarchies that are considered to be unjustifiable and the illegitimacy of vertical hierarchical societies. But Stanislaw seemed to reject the egalitarianism supported by most anarchist and socialist movements, no doubt believing it to be part of the percevied Christian celebration of weakness. He praised the “aristocratic enjoyment of life” found in ancient Roman society, and belittled the underclass of Roman society (who “never tasted the holy joys of Pan”) that had converted to Christianity while living under grotesque socio-economic inequality, and he believed that Satan represented all of the best products of natural selection and condemned Christianity for seeking to “castrate” mankind by elevating “ugliness, sickness, the cripple and the castrated”. This is a classic form of Social Darwinism, seeking to leverage the pre-Christian past as some sort of might makes right paradise (never mind of course that the governments of antiquity, for all their inequalities, did invest in large-scale welfare states, and philosophers like Aristotle believed that public welfare was essential to a functioning democracy). He viewed Satan as a “dark aristocrat”, revealing himself and his mysteries only to a select few individuals, magicians, thus his aristocracy is in some ways a spiritual aristocracy rather than an aristocracy of wealth. True to his socialist convictions and the ethos of the “Romantic Satanists”, Stanislaw is keen to position Satan as the god of the poor and the hungry, thus the lord of the downtrodden (perhaps even their “real” lord, with Jesus as a false saviour). However, he also lists imperial autocrats like Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander of Macedon as being among “Satan’s children”, no doubt a positive appellation owing to their vast military conquests and imperial enterprise. Satan here is not only the god of the poor and the downtrodden, but also the “ambitious”, and therefore the conquerors and the enterpreneurs, just as much as their victims. Certainly a god of contradictions indeed.

It is easy to take all of this and think of Stanislaw as some sort of fascist, due to his Social Darwinist convictions, his praise of elite conquerors, and the self-contradictory populism that results from his thinking. But being that Stanislaw was still an anarchist, he can’t have had much love for the state. Indeed, unlike the Church of Satan’s ostensible commitment to being apolitical (which, in reality, belies the entrenchment of fascism within its ranks), Stanislaw positioned Satan as “the first anarchist”, and linked his own Satanism with what appears to be a form of insurrectionist and nihilist anarchism, a confluence which is communicated by the character Gordon in his book Satan’s Children. In this sense, Stanislaw’s Satan is not only a religious and philosophical concept but also an expressly political one. Furthermore, although Stanislaw’s elitism might seem to make more sense in fascism, ideas about an aristocracy of like-minded individuals can be found in certain forms of individualist anarchism, such as in Toward the Creative Nothing by Renzo Novatore, who declared that anarchism in his view was “the eternal struggle of a small minority of aristocratic outsiders against all societies which follow one another on the stage of history”, an aristocracy that he believed transmitted “satanic outbursts of mad heroism”.

The role of the soul is also an area where there is commonality, as well as difference, between Stanislaw’s doctrine and that of the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan, like Stanislaw, emphasizes carnal life as the true sacred, but they do not have much to say about the soul as an object, except in that LaVey believed that the ego, if sufficiently cultivated, will survive the death of the body (which, ironically, is not all that different from “Abrahamic” doctrines on how properly cultivating the soul in harmony with their teachings will ensure its survival after death). Stanislaw had a similarly mixed take on the soul. On the one hand, as (at least ostensibly) an atheist he denied the reality of the soul, stating that “no professor has seen a soul” and declaring it as only “the backside of matter”. However, he also considered his Satanism to be the belief that “the human spirit” and not God can “work wonders”, he talked about carnal desire as the “will to eternal life”, which is very similar to LaVey’s beliefs about survival after death through fulfillment of the ego, and he espoused a concept which he referred to as “the naked soul”, a “soul” free of all social constraints that is accessed directly by the artist who goes beyond the five senses and normal cognition.

Some dismiss Stanislaw’s claim to being the first Satanist by stating that he is not known to have performed any Satanic rituals or founded a Satanic church. That may be true, but then Jesus, if he existed, or the writers of the Bible, didn’t found a church either and yet they are the origin of Christianity. But beyond that, while it may be true that Stanislaw did not have an official church, he certainly did have a fair few followers. These followers include famous artists such as Wojciech Weiss, a painter who talked about propagating Satanism (as he himself calls it) to the masses after getting inspired by Stanislaw, and Hanns Heinz Ewers, a German writer and actor who met Stanislaw in 1901 and afterwards began holding lectures on “The Religion of Satan” based on his work. This may have also ended up inspiring Fraternitas Saturni, the veteran Luciferian occult organization founded by Eugen Grosche (a.k.a. Gregor A. Gregorius). So, all told, Satanism as a self-defined religious movement was already spreading out and being codified on its own terms by the beginning of the 20th century, well before the Church of Satan was established. It’s just that Anton LaVey was the first person to actually and openly establish a Satanic church. Perhaps it can still be claimed that the Church of Satan established much of the practice of Satanism that exists in the present, but the ideology of Satanism and the phenomenon of Satanism as a self-conscious religious movement is clearly older than Anton LaVey’s efforts.

I imagine that the Church of Satan would not be particularly happy with this fact. And sure enough, they have attempted to disquality Stanislaw as the first Satanist in order to protect their LaVeyan brand. They appear to make a citation which suggests that no form of religious Satanism that exists to this day was created prior to 1966, and when someone points out the existence of Stanislaw Przybyszewski, they respond by insulting their intelligence and claiming, bafflingfly, that the author brings him up in order to say he does not apply. Well, if organized religious Satanism is the criteria, I would say that having a Satanic religious ideology that very closely mirrors your own and in fact inspired a following of people who talk openly about it, calling it Satanism or “The Religion of Satan” would fit that criteria. And if the Church of Satan is to complain that his following was too small, that would be something of an arbitrary argument, not least because, come on, it’s not like Satanism (let alone just the Church of Satan) was ever particularly popular to start with. Of course, the only problem there is that his existence is problematic for the brand that the Church of Satan depends on, that is to say the brand of Anton LaVey as the Black Pope and founder of Satanism, and therefore their institutional legitimacy. Indeed, it’s very funny to see a band of die-hard individualists try to disqualify Satanists who preceded Anton LaVey off the back of the fact that they were just individuals, because Satanism is only legitimate insofar as its identity can be validated as a group (by which, of course, they mean their group in particular).

And I know, sometimes there are awkward, inconvenient facts to deal with. Take me, as a Luciferian, for instance, wanting to talk about Luciferianism as a definite tradition separate from Satanism. Stanislaw talked a lot in his work about Satan in relation to Pan, in fact he seems to have treated Pan as an incarnation of Satan. I have seen it be speculated that Stanislaw’s work may have been read by Carl William Hansen, the first Luciferian. I don’t think there is any proof that Hansen did read any of Stanislaw’s work, and I don’t think that could ever be proven with any real certainty, but I do think that the employment of Pan as a form of Satan, coupled with Stanislaw’s inversion of “Gnostic” dualism, gives credence to the possibility. This, combined with the possibility that Fraternitas Saturni may have been inspired by Stanislaw’s work as well, even though I would say Fraternitas Saturni’s actual doctrine is very different from Stanislaw’s, invites the possibility that the lines between Satanism and Luciferianism are historically very blurred, right into their origins. Both Hansen and Fraternitas Saturni also used upside down pentagrams like Satanists would later do, and modern Luciferians often still do so. There’s also Charles Matthew Pace, an obscure witch who supposedly called himself a Luciferian as early as 1963. He also used the term Luciferian interchangeably with Satanist or “Sethanist”, worshipped a god named Seth-an as the original Lucifer (yet whose name very obviously communicates the name Satan), and called himself a “Master Satanist”. While I think I can still say Luciferianism can exercise a degree of separateness from Satanism in a loose sense, in that it seems to encompass a network of doctrines (perhaps even an ethos) that cannot be equated with baseline Satanism, all of these facts make it difficult to establish said separation in a manner as concrete as I would like, and I have to reckon with that.

And while we’re still on Satanists before LaVey, we might also briefly mention Maria de Naglowska, who, even though her ideology almost certainly didn’t correspond to Stanislaw’s, talked about having her initiates serve Satan before they can serve God, coming to the understanding that they were one and the same. She even used the term “satanic temple” to refer to The Brotherhood of the Golden Arrow, which she briefly ran in Paris during the 1930s.

In summary, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is time to retire the narrative that it is the Church of Satan that is the inventor of Satanism, or at least the sole inventor, because it is simply not true, and that the claim that the Church of Satan did invent Satanism serves only to legitimate the brand of the Church of Satan rather than reflect the truth about Satanism as a movement. Insofar as Satanism as a movement has any legitimacy to it, it is ill-served by the fictions crafted by the Church of Satan, which by now is a dead weight organization for Satanism as a whole.

Witches Sabbath by Cornelis Saftleven (1650); of note is that Stanislaw Przybyszewski believed that these Sabbaths were real and objected to any attempts to describe them as fiction.

I am not a green

I have, on some level, been concerened with environmental issues for my entire life, even during my right-wing phase (in fact one of the problems I had with rightists at this time was their propensity to deny anthropogenic climate change). Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that I’ve been interested in wildlife and nature as a kid, but I have always had some sympathy with environmentalism, though perhaps not in its popular liberal form. Despite this, I have never once bothered to call myself a green, have never voted for the Green Party, and right now I won’t be intending to. I reject, wholeheartedly, such labels as ecosocialism, despite the fact of my longstanding environmentalist sympathies. Why? Because I consider the whole movement of green politics to be a gigantic fraud.

Last year, Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs released a new documentary film called Planet of the Humans, an environmentalist film that sought to criticize solar power, wind power and biomass from a progressive perspective, arguing that such energy sources are not only ineffective in acheiving their aims at providing clean energy, but also that such energy sources themselves are built on the back of the fossil fuel industry, with wind and solar plants requiring far more fossil fuel plants simply to construct than many fossil fuel plants themselves, and as a result have the hands of fossil fuel industrialists and the Koch Brothers behind them. Last week, on April 21st (the day before Earth Day as it happens), the film was made available for free on YouTube for a period of 30 days, and I recommend you watch it while you have the chance. The film goes into incredible detail as to the failures of wind, solar and biomass, the scale of fossil fuel consumption that goes into producing the planets, the many times that users of biomass and solar power end up relying on the same electrical grid as everyone else anyway, because as it turns out these “green” energies are only good for so much, how electric cars themselves actually depend on the same electric power grid that derives from fossil fuels and ultimately require tons of fossil fuels to produce, the many corporate ties to the present environmental movement, the fact that many of its proponents can’t even tell you what they think of biomass energy, and the fact that Earth Day, the “holy day” of the environmental movement, is essentially bought by huge corporations whose business is in destroying the environment and slaughtering animals for biomass and fossil fuels, not to mention that the actual festival is powered predominantly by diesel rather than solar power (which is only good for powering toasters per the admission of the festival organizers).

Predictably, the film was not received well by green liberals, and some on the left. In fact, many environmental activists and so-called climate experts began calling for the movie to be banned not long after its release on YouTube. A Stanford University professor along with several activists (including Bernie Sanders campaign surrogate Josh Fox) tried to get the film removed and succeeded in getting Films for Action, an outlet that has no connection to or relationship with Michael Moore, to briefly remove the film from their library. Extinction Rebellion was outraged by the film, denouncing it as lies and misinformation, supporting the decision to ban it. I can only imagine what Greta Thunberg must be thinking. Much of the criticism is rather hollow, claiming that it misrepresents the green movement and calling the footage dated, and then just leaves it at that. Many of them are simply mad that Planet of the Humans wasn’t another flick about how bad Republicans and fossil fuels are, as though such criticism is in short supply. I want to know how they can look at me with a straight face and tell me that the senseless desolation of the lush American deserts and other landscapes, the grinding of living animals into a pulp for fat (not to mention grinding random foliage into a pulp for biomass fuel), and the pumping of our atmosphere with even more fossil fuels is an acceptable trade off for their impotent “green”energies. Given that Green parties and ecosocialism are wedded to “renewable” energies as the solution despite the fact that they do demonstrably more harm to the planet than good, and the fact that they try to censor people on the left who tell the truth about it, I’d say this sort of thing is the reason why I can’t consider myself a green. It also points to things like the Green New Deal (rapidly embraced by Democrats and some of Labour) being a fraud because it too depends on such damaging energy sources (oh and, btw, are we not going to talk about how the very concept was first propounded by a right-wing warmonger?).

Although for all of that, I do have a problem with Gibbs’ overall message despite this. His analysis on the flaws of green energy are brilliant, packed with an inescapable clarity and visible truth-to-power, but there seems to be no conclusions in sight. And to be honest if we consider that early in the film he remarks about how tools of industrial civilization cannot save us from industrial civilization, the constant talk about population control, and his negative attitude toward growth writ large, albeit wrapped up in a salient point about how infinite growth on a finite planet is suicidal, coupled with the lack of discussion of nuclear power or socialism, it strikes me that, ultimately, Gibbs is not capable of offering systemic solutions, despite a pretty systemic analysis, and so we are left to blame mankind for a problem of systemic development, not individual moral failing. The end result, taken together, leaves us with a void that leaves room for a great deal of misanthropy, which could lead us down the road of things like “deep ecology” which creates ample room for genocidal eco-fascism. I guess he didn’t want to talk about nuclear power because he couldn’t find anything really bad about it other than Chernobyl or Fukushima, and he figures that talking in favour of it would make him sound like a right-winger (a laughable point, considering that the communists of old were happy to make use of nuclear power), although perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about socialism because deep down he is not enough of a leftist to consider it. And I’m quite serious on the point of nuclear power: for all the incidents we’ve had with it, I think that, since fossil fuels are not tenable in the long run, and since “green” energies are anything but, nuclear power is going to be the only way to meaningfully change our means of producing energy . But Gibbs does not discuss this, and for me that is ultimately a problem. I also do wonder what thoughts Gibbs has on things like the Paris Accord, or the fact that China and India are major world polluters who get no blame from modern environmentalists, but then he probably thinks that’s a right-wing talking point too.

All in all, though, his film is illuminating as to the problem with the green movement and if you needed a real shot in the arm to convince yourself not to support the greens (who let’s face it only exist as a drain on left-wing votes), I recommend this film to you. As for the left as a whole, I think it must abandon things like ecosocialism and similar movements, because any political movement that has the word “eco” in it is almost certainly going to involve continuing the use of solar, wind and biomass plants which are killing the planet in much the same way as fossil fuels are (and in fact depend on those very fossil fuels themselves), while at the same time recapturing environmentalism from the greens from a humanistic lens. We are not going to escape Nature, nor destroy Nature, for we in fact our Nature in our very own way, it is because of civilization that we can even appreciate this fact, and it is only through a harmonious civilizational order that we can save the planet and our species from destruction.

The Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in the Mojave Desert, California


Please watch Planet of the Humans here, while it’s still up on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE

Is the left doomed?

I could have written this post sooner, following the increasingly dismal outcome of the Democratic primaries in the US, but I decided to wait until the Labour leadership contest ended, just to see how that plays out. And, sure enough, today is the day when said contest is over, and Keir Starmer has emerged as the victor, with Angela Rayner winning the deputy leadership position. All throughout this cycle I had expected Starmer to win, so it’s no shock either way, though one thing I kept seeing throughout the cycle from his supporters as that the reason they support him isn’t so much to do with his policies but because they want Labour to win. Well, they certainly won that argument today. By a handsome majority too from the seems of it – Starmer won by 56.2% of the vote, while his opponent Rebecca Long-Bailey (favored by the Corbynites) couldn’t even get half of that. Perhaps Starmer will be the man to bring Labour back into electoral relevance, or maybe not so long as the Tories hold on to the formula of economic populism/social democracy plus social conservatism that Labour doesn’t even dream of attaining, but in any case, the British left won’t benefit from it, and to be honest nor would they benefit from Corbynism or Blairism returning. Indeed, I don’t see a bright future for the left as it stands.

Keir Starmer himself is a fairly interesting individual. Similar to Tony Blair before him, he’s one of those social democrats who used to be a radical when he was younger. In 1986, Starmer used to be an editor for a Trotskyist magazine called Socialist Alternatives, and ironically for the man who now leads the Labour Party and calls for “unity” against its “hard left” contingent, he used to be a intractable critic of the Labour Party, openly attacking its leadership (at the time, this would be Neil Kinnock and his deputy Roy Hattersley) for their “neo-Keynesian” (meaning social-democratic) economic programme and supposed dogmatic rigidity. In this capacity, he seems to have been affiliated with the “Pabloite” subset of Trotskyism, that is to say an adherent of the ideas of Michel Palbo, a Trotskyist who expanded on the tactic of entryism within established parties – entryism is when a small radical organization gets its members to covertly join larger organizations (typically more established or mainstream parties) in order to spread their ideology, propagandize its members and undermine its existing leadership; whereas Leon Trotsky advocated this only to the extent that it would be temporary, Michel Pablo believed instead that Trotskyists should basically occupy the more established parties in perpetuity, a tactic known as “deep entryism” (or entryism sui generis). However, beyond this, he doesn’t seem to have been as involved in hard-left activism as Jeremy Corbyn was, and in fact from 1987 onwards he became a barrister and established himself as a credible lawyer and legal advisor. In the years since, he drifted away from his former Marxist roots, like so many other politicians from both the ostensible left and the right, but unlike many of those people he still considers himself to be a socialist, and indeed affirms that position in a series of pledges he made during the leadership campaign, in which he claimed to be making “the moral case for socialism”.

Now, do I believe him when he says he’s a socialist? I’m inclined to say no. I do not believe that he adheres to the basics of socialism anymore, I’ve never seen him call for joint/collective ownership of the means of production for one thing. He has written about how he wants to make a moral case for socialism, but socialism for him seems to just mean some largely undefined moral position against injustice and inequality – socialism for him has less to do with participating in class struggle on behalf of the proletariat and more to do with progressive positions such as opposing the death penatly, Iraq War and austerity, as well as support for a “green new deal”. I’d say he’s a progressive social democrat rather than a socialist, but in that regard, he seems distinct from both the Corbynite and Blairite factions within the Labour party, which means that, contrary to the sound and fury of the Corbynistas, he won’t actually be a return to Blairism, although he will ostensibly represent a softening of the social democratic or “left” direction of the Labour Party. Really, the only reason the Corbynites accuse him of being a Blairite is the fact that he is committed to shoving Corbyn’s faction of Labour out of power. Although, in their defence, for a leftist he sure did manage to gain the support of George Osbourne, which is definitely rather suspicious and, I’d say, indicative of a certain bourgeois class alignment. But in the overall, the main threat Starmer poses to the progressive character of the Labour Party isn’t really a re-assertion of neoliberalism, but instead a softening of the progressive politics through the de-emphasizing of certain pet issues such as Israel-Palestine, as well as his willingness to negotiate with the Conservative Party and his toned down rhetoric about the Tories. Otherwise, he maintains the bulk of the progressive consensus that rests within modern liberalism and the modern left, such as unwavering support for membership of the European Union (he not only defended Labour’s second referendum policy from last year but he was also the only leadership candidate on the ballot who advocated for us to rejoin the EU) and he plans on maintaining support for feminism, LGBT identity politics and environmentalism, all of which are shared by the “hard” left that supported Corbyn. Really, the claim that he’s going to lead Labour away from “the left” is not as believable as it seems on the surface. Given that he’s described as a Zionist and has a Jewish wife and kids who are being raised in the Jewish faith, I’m half-tempted to suspect that the Corbynites secretly hate him for his Jewish background rather than his lack of progressivism. In any case, it doesn’t really matter. Starmer will ultimately continue the degenerative progressivism that resides within the Labour Party, just that this time it will be milder in character than the fearsome ressentiment that dwelled within the Corbynite movement, and the left will fall into decline. But we’ll get into that in more detail in a moment.

For now though, let’s get into his legal career, because that’s also worth going over. He famously appeared in the McLibel documentary in 1997, by which time he served as a legal advisor for Helen Steel and David Morris, two Greenpeace activists who were being sued by McDonald’s for producing a fact sheet criticizing numerous unethical industrial practices on their part, and was frequently called to the bar in various Caribbean nations. Later on in 2002 he would be appointed to the Queen’s Counsel, which is a group of lawyers hired to advise the monarch on legal matters, was named Head of the Crown Prosecution Service in 2008, and was eventually knighted in 2014 for his “services to law and criminal justice”. So on the whole, he seems to have had a long, prestigious and successful career in legal services. However, there is also a deeply disturbing aspect to this history. A year after the famous DJ and philanthropist Jimmy Saville died in 2011, it was revealed that Saville had engaged in the sexual abuse of women and children between 1955 and 2009, and that the authorities failed to prosecute him while he was still alive. In 2009, back when Keir Starmer was head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Jimmy Saville was interviewed under caution by the Surrey Police following a complaint made by a woman who claimed to have witnessed one of his assaults during the 1970s. After receiving case files from the police, the Crown Prosecution Service refused to prosecute Saville and dropped the case entirely, citing “insufficient evidence”. Only a year after his death did we find out that he abused people and what the scale of this abuse was, and that there was to some extent a covering up of this abuse in high places. So, just so we’re clear here, Keir Starmer basically helped cover up the crimes of Jimmy Saville, or at least that’s what the actions of the Crown Prosecution Service, under his leadership, amounted to. Although, to be fair, Starmer apologized for this and stated that he and the police in Surrey and Sussex failed to deal with the allegations properly, and went on to call for changes in the way child abuse cases are investigated. He also refused to prosecute Simon Harwood, a London police officer who beat up a man named Ian Tomlinson to death in 2009.

Now, before I go on about the more general picture of the state of the left, let’s turn to the US Democratic primaries, the original impetus for me writing this post, and I’m afraid the situation is quite grim. At first, despite Elizabeth Warren’s attempt to gaslight Bernie Sanders over fallacious (indeed quite obviously bullshit) accusations of sexism, Pete Buttigieg’s blatant conspiracy to rig the Iowa primaries, and Michael Bloomberg’s brief but hostile and absurdly high rolling campaign, Bernie Sanders looked like the frontrunner for pretty much all of the primaries. In fact he was doing so well that nearly every other candidate still standing dropped out, very suddenly I might add, leaving the race to come down to basically just Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden (Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Michael Bloomberg stuck around for a while after Super Tuesday, but ultimately dropped out and had very little support going for them anyway; Elizabeth Warren lost her home state and Tulsi Gabbard failed to win a single delegate for most of the race). But then Super Tuesday happened, fourteen different primaries happening in the same day, and almost out of nowhere Biden enjoyed a surge in votes and delegates. Yes, Joe Biden, who at the start of the race looked like he was going to fail, suddenly supplanted Bernie as the frontrunner. And as it is the lead looks almost insurmountable. Biden currently leads with 1,217 delegates, while Bernie has 914. Ever since Biden’s surge Bernie has generally fallen behind Biden by about 300 delegates.

And to be honest, it’s hard to tell what happened exactly. It’s easy for me to say that this is the work of an overarching conspiracy by the DNC, who initially seemed to favour Pete Buttigieg but obviously now favour Biden, particularly when you consider that Biden grew just as most of his major rivals dropped out. Not to mention, a lot of the primaries since then have seen unusual delays in releasing the full results, especially in primaries where Bernie might win, which leads me to think there’s shenanigans going on. But the more the primaries drag on, the more I think that it’s impossible to account for Biden’s surge solely through conspiracy. Bernie’s supporters seem to have gravely underestimated the possibility of the average, barely political but Democrat-aligned voter to be swayed by the “look, I like Bernie, but we need to win”, argument, despite the fact that the data shows Bernie to be the most likely to beat Trump in the general contest. Of course, there are some on the left who blame the political correctness and hyper-liberalism of some of Bernie’s supporters, by which they really mean some Twitter or podcast celebrity that the average voter has no knowledge of because most people don’t actually use Twitter, which to me leads gullible people to think that they just showed up to ruin everything on Super Tuesday for no reason. The simple fact is that the Bernie movement looks set for failure, and it’s going to be a rather devastating one, made all the more bitter by the fact until recently it looked like they were going win. Although, strictly speaking, things are not completely hopeless in the sense that there is still time for Bernie to bridge the gap between him and Biden and possibly take the lead again, and a lot of primaries have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the chance of Bernie taking that lead again seem slim and we have no idea if those delayed primaries will be amenable to Bernie victory. So it looks like Biden will probably win the primaries, although I suppose if Trump’s horrendous response to the pandemic is anything to go by it turns out Biden might have a chance of beating Trump after all, but honestly a contest between Biden and Trump would be something of a toss up.

But it’s here, now, that we can begin to discuss the failure of the left in a more abstract sense. I don’t mean to equate the Sanders movement with the Corbyn movement, there are clear differences between them, but there are common points between the two leaders, and between the failures of the movements of the left more broadly. And in this regard, I have a major problem with Bernie’s conduct in the primaries – namely, that it has been wildly inconsistent. When Elizabeth Warren accused him of being a sexist, he and his team straight up called her out as a liar, when Pete Buttigieg tried to claim victory in Iowa, Bernie also claimed victory and just straight up said “because I have more votes”, but when Joe Biden is in danger of winning, he bends the knee before the primaries are even over by. In fact his general conduct regarding Biden has been generally cuckish – he demanded members of his campaign team apologize for calling Biden corrupt (which he actually fucking is!), he’s described Joe Biden as a “friend”, and he openly said that Joe Biden can defeat Trump. No wonder he’s surging ahead! Yeah, sure, he called Biden out on policy, particularly social security, but there’s just no fire in it like there is when he’s dealing with his other opponents. Much debate within the Democratic Party focuses on which candidate can defeat Donald Trump, and Bernie should have been out there saying “I’m the only one who can defeat Trump, everyone else just isn’t good enough”, and he doesn’t seem to be doing that, or if he is, he’s actively contradicting this praxis by declaring Joe Biden capable of defeating Trump. The lesson we should have drawn from Elizabeth Warren’s shitshow campaign is that unity has no place in a competitive primary, but Bernie seems content to do that anyway. But then part of me thinks it doesn’t even matter because it’s not like he isn’t making the right moves in response to the pandemic. He’s been holding live video rallies on YouTube in keeping with social distancing measures, he’s been raising money to go to relief for victims of the pandemic, and he’s been holding roundtables with experts on how to fight the pandemic. All of this is awesome, and I hope it turns thing around for him, but at the same time I wonder if it will really push back against this tide of boomers who are ready to die of COVID-19 just to vote for Joe Biden. And I’m gonna level with you here, if not only the pandemic but also all the credible accusations of rape don’t stop Biden from winning, I can’t say for certain what will.

And then there’s Jeremy Corbyn. What a miserable joke he’s been. No matter how many times he loses, he tries to spin it as though actually he won all along. And he was even weaker than Bernie Sanders has ever been, in that at least Bernie Sanders was actually capable of demonstrating strength of character at times. Corbyn repeatedly failed to address the anti-semitism crisis within the Labour Party and repeatedly dodged the question of whether he is an anti-semite. Every time the question comes up, he only says “anti-semitism has no place in the Labour Party whatsoever”, without ever refuting the accusations levelled towards him. He should have said something along the lines of “now listen here you lying vultures, I am not an anti-semite and here’s why”, he should have actively refuted the claims about anti-semitism in Labour, but instead he lets all of his supporters do it, while at the same time his supporters show themselves to be anti-semites. He repeatedly dodged many other questions as well, such as how he intends to pay for his nationalization programs, and he refused to defend to himself from allegations of being a terrorist sympathizer over his past associations with the IRA and Hezbollah. He crucially was also very weak on the Brexit issue, in that despite his longstanding Euroscepticism he failed to maintain any coherent position on whether or not we should leave the EU – in his past, he consistently advocated that we leave the EU, but since assuming leadership he appeared to waver between compromise and adamant pro-EU sentiment. And even before he became leader, it’s not like he was a positive force within the party, given that, like Keir Starmer, he chose to ignore pedophilia under his watch whenever it cropped up. And, most importantly, despite all of his failures, despite every defeat suffered under his leadership, despite every humiliation he brings to the Labour Party, he will never admit any mistakes, he’ll never concede the reality of defeat, he’ll never change course on anything, and he will only think of himself as a man who’s done nothing but the right thing in all circumstances. Even as he exits the Labour Party, he believes that he’s won the argument just because the Tories gobble up some of his policies.

And the movement that has consolidated around Corbyn is in many ways worse. Besides the already-mentioned anti-anti-semitism, there seems to this shared belief by them that Corbyn is not going away, even as he fades into irrelevance, that he won the argument, that his ideas will live on forever, and that he may as well be Jesus Christ himself. Everything about him was right, everything wrong with him is just propaganda, the only reason he lost was because of media bias (which for some reason didn’t stop him from becoming a major opposition leader in 2017), and if you criticize any of this then you’re a right-wing conservative who wants the Tories to win. That is, without embellishment, what they believe. And while some of them are now bending the knee to Keir Starmer after previously claiming that he would drag the party to the right, most of them remain convinced that the days of the Labour left are over, despite Kier Starmer merely being a soft social democrat, rather than simply a neoliberal. Their entire purpose of being consists of the pursuit of power, that power built of course upon the destruction of any kind of patriotism, common sense, and any form of left politics that doesn’t solely exist as a protest movement. And to be fair, while the pro-Bernie movement isn’t as bad, they seem to be concurring with the Corbynites as to why people didn’t vote Corbyn – namely, “it’s all the media’s fault” and “bigoted white people were afraid of change”. The progressive spell is everywhere in the electoral left, whether in the US or the UK, or in the Corbynites or the Starmerites, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t also be present in Europe too. It is my opinion that the left is destined to lose several major elections, and certainly will not win the US or the UK at least for a decade or two – in the meantime, the right-wing is going to have a lock on power throughout the Western world, and it will survive by morphing into a kind of weird reactionary social democracy in response to the new material conditions brought about by both the pandemic and the general crisis of capitalism.

Now you might be wondering, why aren’t I, an ostensible Marxist, talking about revolution at this point? And the answer to that is very simple: there is no reason to think a revolution will be successful in developed Western countries, and no basis for a revolution to take place even if there were. The simple fact is that the revolutionary tactics of the 20th century did not account for the rapid consolidation of highly advanced, often AI-operated, militatry technology in the hands of bourgeois governments in the 21st century. Just try and do some kind of October Revolution in the United States for instance. Go ahead, try it. You will be crushed and scattered without much trouble. And it’s not like the people calling for revolution are revolutionary material themselves. They lack the ability or the means to set up revolutionary apparatus, they lack the kind of discipline and virtue that a revolutionary would possess, they lack even just the ability to agree with their comrades on the simple nature of what they’re fighting for, and on top of all that all they like to do is make excuses for why the only reason they suck is because of anything but themselves. Of course, even if that weren’t a problem, class consciousness is very minimal, and the working class is a long way away from being inspired to revolution. Not that today’s left is capable of inspiring revolution. They don’t create, and don’t like the thought of creating anything (except for shitty YouTube videos of course), they only like the thought of destroying or reappropriating that which already exists. They talk of scientific socialism, but refuse to base their worldview on anything other than a select handful of socialist thinkers instead of real-world conditions (they elevate theory above praxis). They actively despise the working class of their respective countries, dismiss them as reactionary in accordance with their master Lenin, and to that end they despise any kind of patriotism that they might exhibit. They also have a bad habit of softballing foreign dictatorships, even the ones they might otherwise despise, so long as they can be seen as opponents of US imperialism – I speak, of course, about their weak attitude towards China. Indeed, even as we enter into a crisis entirely of China’s making, they refuse to just blame China, and they refuse to criticize a lot of the vile cultural practices that take place in China, namely the senseless slaughter of wildlife and the devouring of live infant animals, supposedly to cultivate spiritual energy, because doing that would just be imposing our culture on them. They also seem to have this weird slave morality about them, wherein they derive community value from vulnerability rather than strength, and they lean on this stupid idea that the universe runs on a moral arc that bends inevitably towards their idea of progress, and to that effect they obssess with progress as an ideal, even if that progress doesn’t take us anywhere good, and if you criticize that you’re a reactionary. And, on the internet in particular, I find that a lot of the left are simply nostalgic losers who wish that Stalin or Bakunin would come back from the dead and set us right.

There are many times now where, even while I still hold to some kind of socialistic politics that would lead to me being within the left grouping, I will probably be done considering myself a part of the left. This is not to say that my political consciousness won’t be aligned with what I consider to be some form of socialistic politics, but the broader movement to me seems to have degenerated to a point of nigh-irreversible decline, and it seems to be invested in clinging onto to tendencies and values that I simply cannot align myself with on a personal level. And if there are those who complain that you can’t be a socialist while divorced from the contemporary left, who the hell cares? If Slavoj Zizek can get away with it, why can’t I?

Why all Luciferians MUST read Erich Fromm

Some time ago I discovered the work of a philosopher named Erich Fromm, a German Marxist democratic socialist who dealt in humanistic philosophy and psychoanalysis, and the more I read him the more I think of him as being of profound value to the Luciferian outlook insofar as his analysis of mythology and the development of religion, though it can be said to emerge from an Abrahamist background, contains quite a few elements that can be useful to the formation of a Luciferian framework that can be situated in adjacence to Marxist aims but also more generally as something that stands out on its own, whereas in the present it is defined too much in relation to paganism, Satanism and/or Gnosticism, all three of which I find don’t ultimately express Luciferianism authentically and instead most of them define Luciferianism as just another name for their own product, no matter how fraudulent their claim to is (the case of “Gnostic Luciferianism” in particular shall be the subject of another post). I expect some Luciferians will find this proposal to be pretty strange, but I implore them to at least hear me out.

For starters, we can find The Sane Society an interpretation of the Garden of Eden for which a Luciferian reading is easily formulated. Taken from pages 23-24:

Man, who lives in the Garden of Eden, in complete harmony with nature but without awareness of himself, begins his history by the first act of freedom, disobedience to a command. Concomitantly, he becomes aware of himself, of his separateness, of his helplessness; he is expelled from Paradise, and two angels with fiery swords prevent his return.

Man, in Fromm’s conception, is ostensibly a part of nature and yet has transcended it in some way through the emergence of self-awareness, reason and imagination, which fundamentally alters the baseline animal existence that every other animal operates within and thus, in his conception, disrupts the harmony between Man and nature. This level of development, for humans, presents a contradiction that lies at the heart of human dynamism that, in its quest for dialectical resolution, sets humanity apart from the whole of creation. Reason is both a gift and a curse in that it compels Man to realize and cope with the disharmony that rests within himself, and the task of resolving what appears to be the insoluble contradiction of his existence. As Fromm puts it, Man cannot restore harmony with nature, and he must develop his faculties of reason until he becomes the master of nature as well as himself.

Now, the serpent of the Garden of Eden itself is not Lucifer, otherwise the Ophite Gnostic may as well have been Luciferians even though they were still just Gnostic Christians who happened to like the serpent as an archetype, though it does make sense to think of the serpent in Eden as a Luciferian archetype in much the same way that Prometheus could be seen as such (in a way that Fromm goes on to point out later). The serpent gives first humans knowledge of good and evil, despite the warnings of God that they shall “surely die”. The result of this is that the first humans gain self-awareness and are cast out of the Garden of Eden and into the wilderness, where they have lost harmony with God. But it is only because of this explusion, this divorce from Eden, that the beginnings of the ascent of Man take place, that the self-making of his destiny begins, and that means breaking away from the will of God. If God, for Fromm, is to be taken as an analogue for nature, then it presents an interesting way of framing certain other philosophies whose emphasis lies in a return to harmony. I remember once coming across a documentary on the Qabbalah many years ago, wherein a man was interviewed about it and he describes the goal Qabbalistic mysticism as essentially to “return to the Garden of Eden”, and indeed modern Jewish spirituality also seems to predicate itself on the idea of this return to the garden. The return to the Garden of Eden is a return to the original, unperfected state of nature, a return to a kind of primordial harmony that has ostensibly been lost through the attainment of human self-awareness and reason. Such an ideas have their echoes much outside Judaism and indeed Abrahamism more broadly, and can be found in the modern neopaganism with its emphasis on a return to a nature embodied by the multitude of gods and spirits, as well as forms of Eastern spirituality such as Shakti worship (in which such nature takes the form of a Great Goddess), Mahayana Buddhism (with certain schools that emphasize buddha-nature as a pure state to be returned to) and, I hate to say it, Taoism (with its return to the state of the uncarved block). Man, by his nature, deviates from the original template of the divine that he may become consciousness and attain divine destiny himself, in a similar way that the son eventually leaves his mother and father in order to become independent. The Morning Star, therefore, is the archetypal force of Man who walks away from the commands of God the Father (whose archetypal form is found in the mainstream Abrahamic religions as well as ancient pre-Christian religions) and the embrace of the Great Mother (whose archetypal form is found in goddess worship religions and also various forms of mysticism and Eastern spirituality). In any case, we do not unite with God, but place God in our hands and, from there, become the masters and stewards of nature rather than its servants.

Incidentally, the theme of mastery of nature isn’t so out of step with certain other descriptions of Lucifer, such as the Lucifer of Manly P. Hall:

Lucifer represents the individual intellect and will which rebels against the domination of Nature and attempts to maintain itself contrary to natural impulse. Lucifer, in the form of Venus, is the morning star spoken of in Revelation, which is to be given to those who overcome the world.

I’d like to note the reference made to the Book of Revelation because this is a reference to a verse in Revelation in which Jesus actually does call himself the morning star. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus says to John “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.”. This is not the only positive reference to the morning star in the New Testament of the Bible. 2 Peter 1:19 goes as follows:

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Returning to Erich Fromm, we also find in The Dogma of Christ a lengthy elaboration on his conception of the revolutionary character which also holds potential for Luciferian readings and forumlation, drawing not only from the Hebraic myth of the Garden of Eden but also the Greek myth of Prometheus:

The revolutionary character is capable of saying “No”. Or, to put it differently, the revolutionary character is a person capable of disobedience. He is someone for whom disobedience can be a virtue. To explain this, I might begin with a statement that is rather sweeping: Human history began with an act of disobedience that might end with an act of obedience. What do I mean by this? In saying that human history began with an act of disobedience, I refer to Hebrew and Greek mythology. In the story of Adam and Eve, there is a command by God not to eat of the fruit, and man – or rather, to be quite fair, woman – is able to say “No”. She is capable of disobeying and even of persuading man to share in her disobedience. What is the result? In the myth, man is driven out of Paradise – that is to say, man is driven out of pre-individualistic, pre-conscious, pre-historical and, if you wish, pre-human situation, a situation which could be compared to the foetus in the mother’s womb. And he is driven from Paradise, and forced onto the road of history.

In the language of the myth he is not permitted to return. He is, in fact, unable to return. Because once his awareness of himself has been awakened, once he is aware of himself as being separate from man, from nature, man cannot return again to the primordial harmony which existed before his awareness ever began. With this first act of disobedience, man’s history begins, and this first act of disobedience is the first act of freedom.

The Greeks used a different symbol, the symbol of Prometheus. It is Prometheus who steals the fire from the gods and commits a crime, who commits an act of disobedience, and with the act of bringing fire to man, human history – or human civilization- begins.

Within the same work, Fromm goes on:

Both the Hebrews and the Greeks taught that human endeavor and human history began with an act of disobedience.

And why do I say that human history may end with an act of obedience? Here I am unfortunately not speaking mythologically, but very realistically. If an atomic war should destroy, in two or three years’ time, half the human population, and lead to a period of complete barbarization – or if this should happen ten years from now and possibly destroy all life on this earth – this will be due to an act of obedience. That is, the obedience of the men who push the button to the men who give the orders, and the obedience to ideas which make it possible to think in such madness.

Disobedience is a dialectical concept, because, actually, every act of disobedience is an act of obedience, and every act of obedience is an act of disobedience. What do I mean by this? Every act of disobedience, unless it is empty rebelliousness, is obedience to another principle. I am disobedient to the idol because I am obedient to God. I am disobedient to Ceasar because I am obedient to God, or, if you speak in nontheological language, because I am obedient to principles and values, to my conscience. I may be disobedient to the state because I am obedient to the laws of humanity. And, if I am obedient, then I am indeed disobedient to something else. The question is not really one of disobedience or obedience, but one of disobedience or obedience to what and to whom.

Further:

To sum up: By “revolutionary character” I refer not to a behavioural concept, but to a dynamic concept. One is not a “revolutionary” in this characterological sense because he utters revolutionary phrases, nor because he participates in revolution. The revolutionary, in this sense, is the man who has emancipated himself from the ties of blood and soil, from his mother and father, from special loyalties to state, class, race, party, or religion. The revolutionary character is a humanist in the sense that he experiences himself in all of humanity, and that nothing human is alien to him. He loves and respects life. He is a skeptic and a man of faith.

He is a skeptic because he suspects ideologies as covering up undesirable realities. He is a man of faith because he believes in that which potentially exists, although it has not yet been born. He can say “No” and be disobedient precisely because he can say “Yes” and obey those principles which are geniunely his own. He is not half-asleep, but fully awake to the personal and social realities around him. He is independent; what he is he owes to his own effort; he is free and not a servant anymore.

This summary may suggest that what I have been describing is mental health and well-being, rather than the concept of a revolutionary character. Indeed, the description given is that of the sane, alive, mentally healthy person. My assertion is that the sane person in an insane world, the fully developed human being in a crippled world, the fully awake in a half-asleep world – is precisely the revolutionary character. Once all are awake, there need no longer be any prophets or revolutionary characters – there will only be fully developed human beings.

How do we read all of that in a Luciferian manner? If we talk the serpent of Eden and Prometheus as archetypally Luciferian in the sense that, although they are not Lucifer, they inspire self-awareness in Man and lend to disobedience against a divine authority that seeks to obfuscate that self-awareness for the sake of his own power (whether that be Jehovah or Zeus), the revolutionary character has a fundamentally Luciferian impetus in the sense that disobedience in the name of enlightenment is a virtue for him. The Garden of Eden is the mother’s womb, Yahweh and his commands are the father, the serpent takes the role of the enlightening morning star in that he leads Man away from the father and the mother and into independence, and away from primitive, baseline animalism and into humanity. Thus the Luciferian impulse in mythological terms is responsible for the awakening of the human species and the evolutionary refinement of our animal being that enables us to cultivate civilization, and the beginnings of the path to freedom through our freedom from the brute savagery that characterizes the pure state of nature. This enlightenment renders the re-unification of man with God, or primordial Nature, impossible, thus rendering the efforts of many forms of mysticism pointless and delusional and in some sense representing a rejection of the freedom that was evolutionarily won and attained.

With the myth of Prometheus, we see this in the stealing of the fire of Zeus which brings light to humankind and the innovation that precedes the birth of civilization itself. Out of love for mankind, whom he created, he desires that mankind not remain baseline apes and instead develop self-awareness, reason and the power to cultivate civlization, even if it means coming into conflict with the gods themselves. Zeus in Greek myth is in this sense no different from the God of the Old Testament other than he’s much more horny and less brutal. He in the end prefers a mankind that is just an unconscious or half-conscious ape whose highest act of sentience consists merely in worshipping him, and to that end he hides the fire of his self-awareness and civilization from him so that he may not advance beyond the ape state. Or, put another way, so that he cannot escape dependence on the father, Zeus being the “Allfather” of the Greek pantheon (despite never being the creator in any sense).

The Luciferian is disobedient in the dialectical fashion precisely because his disobedience is not rebellion without or against purpose but instead the highest mode of obedience towards the principles of liberty, human flourishing and human power. Disobedience to the Divine Father and the Divine Mother signifies obedience to Mankind and to human civilization. Disobedience to organized/traditional religion, as well as hegemonic ideology, signifies, in most cases at least, obedience to reason and the free-thinking intellect. The refusal to submit to capitalism siginifies not merely obedience to socialism, but in so doing obedience to the value of human life. Disobedence, therefore, is obedience to a greater principle that the thing being disobeyed, and that is a Luciferian principle.

We also see an interesting synthesis of skepticism and faith in Fromm’s revolutionary character: skeptical, because he questions hegemonic our bourgeoining ideologies on the grounds that they sometimes obfuscate problematic realities, but faithful, because he believes, faithfully, in principles larger than both himself and indeed the law of the land, and in human potentially whether manifest or unmanifest. For a Luciferian, this can be the same faith that Prometheus had in his creation, that the serpent of Eden had in Adam and Eve, indeed that Lucifer himself as Eliphas Levi’s angel of science, reason and freedom has in mankind. Incidentally, if we take seriously the belief in that which potentially exists, although it has not yet been born, we can also oppose abortion on precisely the grounds that we are destroying that which has not yet been born.

Finally, we can draw from, some sections of The Art of Loving in which we Fromm declares God to be the object of human identification, and that the dialectical sublation of monotheism leads inexorably to human divinity:

Following the maturing idea of monotheism in its further consequences can lead only to one conclusion: not to mention God’s name at all, not to speak about God. Then God becomes what he potentially is in monotheistic theology, the nameless One, an inexpressible stammer, referring to the unity underlying the phenomenal universe, the ground of all existence; God becomes truth, love, justice. God is I, inasmuch as I am human.

This is the stage that Fromm hypothesized to be the logical endpoint of monotheistic theology, the transition of God from a being to an idea, to code, to a byword for the totality of all things, and, quite tellingly, he identifies this as a stage of development that the majority of humans have not yet developed. They have not yet overcome the stage in which they feel they need a heavenly father to save, reward and punish them. Indeed, we should take note of the fact that Christianity, despite having a theological tradition that does contain something of what Fromm spoke about, at least in the realms of high philosophy, has not lead mankind out of bondage to the Divine Father in the thousand or so years it has held power over the Western world. God has not yet been reduced to a nameless substance, an inexpressible stammer, the abstract symbol of the cosmos and its ground. I have long wondered why that is, and why it seems that Christians seem to want God to remain a father figure, and from there a supernatural commanding being that exerts his will upon the natural universe, and I’m not totally sure as to the impetus for it, but I am inclined to think that the reason for it is because they may sense that, in a certain sense, to bring God to such a level is to abolish the concept of God, to “kill” God as it were. Now, this isn’t really true from a pantheistic perspective, and it is definitely possible to interpret Fromm in a pantheistic light, but just as we have moved away from the idols by taking the divine away from the multiplicity of gods and spirits, as we have rejected polytheism, by moving the divine away from the One God, from the Father of being, we reject monotheism, and we. In that dialectical sense, monotheism does in a weird way create the stepping stones for the abolition of the One God. As Crowley would say, there is no God but Man, and, as Fromm would say, Man is God inasmuch as he is human. By placing God into the image and breast of Man, we have made Man divine as the highest fruit of evolutionary pressure and striving, and that is a goal of Luciferianism.

Speaking of striving, in the same book Fromm also paints a picture of God as precisely a model of human evolutionary striving, rather than a divine being:

The truly religious person, if he follows the essence of the monotheistic idea, does not pray for anything, does not expect anything from God; he does not love God as a child loves his father or his mother; he has acquired the humility of sensing his limitations to the degree of knowing that he knows nothing about God. God to him becomes a symbol in which man, at an earlier stage of his evolution, has expressed the totality of that which man is striving for, the realm of the spiritual world, of love, truth, and justice. He has faith in the principles which ‘God’ represents, he thinks truth, he lives love and justice, and considers all of his life only valuable inasmuch as it gives him the chance to arrive at an ever fuller unfolding of his human powers – as the only reality that matters, as the only object of ‘ultimate concern’; and eventually, he does not speak about God – nor even mention his name.

Think back to what Fromm said in The Dogma of Christ: “Once all are awake, there need no longer be any prophets or revolutionary characters – there will only be fully developed human beings.”. Once we all cultivate self-governance, we let go of kings and masters. Once we all cultivate “God” as the object of personal and evolutionary striving, cultivate God-potential as it were, there is no longer any need for God. Thus through the cultivation of human self-consciousness and power we shall abolish the prophets, the kings and eventually God himself, until there really is no God but Man. This is the goal of the Luciferian revolutionary character. For the Luciferian, the only true monotheism is indeed Crowley’s maxim that there is no God but Man, and, indeed, Fromm’s maxim, “God is I, inasmuch as I am human”.

“Satan as a Serpent Enters Paradise in Search of Eve” by Gustave Dore

Who are the Satanic Reds?

After my two recent posts I sense that, perhaps, there may be some interest in discussion over the group I mentioned called The Satanic Reds, the Satanist organization that also happened to be communist. Just who are they, and just who is Tani Jantsang, the group’s founder?

I suppose we can start with Tani Jantsang first. She appears to have been active in either the Satanic movement or just occultism more generally since the 1960s. She seems to have started out as a big fan of H P Lovecraft during the 1960s, when she intially encountered his writings, and in 1965 she came into contact with a group that was purportedly known as Societas Selectus Satanas, an organization that we know next to nothing about (although at least one person claims that there was actually no Societas Selectus Satanas and in fact what is referred to as such was actually a sect of “Family Tradition” Wicca), of which she believed the fantasy author Lin Carter was a member. As the 60s progressed, Jantsang’s interest in Lovecraft was so intense that it began to intertwine with her spiritual outlook. She started to believe that Lovecraft was connected to an ancient “Black Tradition” of magick that originated in Mongolia and unspecified parts of central Asia, and in 1969 she joined a magical order called Starry Wisdom, which appears to have been inspired by Lovecraft. In future decades she would also go on to become a prolific author of several essays, novels, and poems, many of them themed around the Chthulhu mythos, and she along with a man named Philip Marsh were also the editors of a magazine called Chthulhu Cultus, which ran from 1995 to 2001. In 1974, Tani and Philip formed an organization known as the Kishites, named for the ancient Sumerian (though they claim it to be Babylonian) city of Kish, which seemed to combine the Lovecraftian mythos with Tantric lore and other spiritual systems. In fact, Tani considers the Satanic Reds to be a continuation of the Kishite sect, albeit stripped of any references to Lovecraftian fiction.

cthulhu-cultus-issues-through_1_39243a3e2d391c16fc59adfccda95ad6
A volume of Cthulhu Cultus

Besides her work on Lovecraftian fiction, Tani is also apparently known for being a co-author of 11 historiographical monographs of various incarnations of Left Hand Path spirituality, so she seems to be a seasoned author of both fiction and non-fiction within the realm of Satanism. She is also an enigmatic figure in the movement, relatively obscure nowadays compared to the likes of Peter Gilmore or Michael Aquino (not to mention that very few photos of her exist), and so her life and involvement within Satanism sometimes the subject of rumour, speculation, and even drama. She is sometimes said to have been a Magistra of the Church of Satan in the past, a claim that Tani herself denies. She does seem to have had some correspondence with the Church of Satan, via letters that were sent between her and the Church of Satan between 1992 and 2000. In these letters she was praised by both Anton LaVey and Blanche Barton on various points, such as her pronouncements against the Nazis (or “Aryanists”), various articles of hers that were evidently submitted to the Church of Satan, and some music that she showed them that was apparently composed by her, as well as her correspondence with Anton’s son Xerxes. This is in itself would not be proof of her being a Magistra, but there is a quote of her saying that she was a Magistra going around in old Google forums dating back to 2003. It’s not entirely clear where this quote originates. Her relationship with the Church of Satan appears to have been amicable at first, and she also defended their doctrine of Satan as a dark force in nature against the Temple of Set, but by the time of her last correspondence with Blanche Barton there seems to have been a falling out between her and her organization, supposedly over her increasingly vocal anti-fascist pronouncements against some members of the Church of Satan.

Now, this is very interesting because, in a previous correspondence with Blanche Barton, dated to 1995, Blanche praises Tani for condemning the Nazis in the organization. In fact, Blanche refers to the “Aryanists” (as she calls them) as lacking nobility and purpose and accuses their cosmology and methods of being linked to Christianity (which is silly but at least it seems like she opposed Nazism). Curiously, this is the same year in which Blanche wrote that article for Black Flame in which she gaslighted Satanists who were expressing concern about the presence of fascists in the organization. But by the year 2000, it seems that Tani Jantsang had began calling them out again, in a similar way that she had before only perhaps more vocally, and this time that seems to have pissed off Blanche Barton and others in the Church of Satan. And that gets into some questions. How is it that the Church of Satan, an organization that, as I’ve demonstrated, has had a longstanding association with fascists up to the top of its hierarchy since its early years, would find itself admitting a self-identified communist into their ranks? Perhaps they weren’t lying after all when they said they were an apolitical organization? But then again why would they sideline a member or associate who they previously praised because of her vocal criticism of fascism, after previously praising such criticism?

However, I would be being one-sided if I did not bring up the fact of Tani’s own associations with fascists. I already talked about how she used to be a member of the fascist Order of the Left Hand Path, but she also seems to have known James Madole, the leader of the fascist National Renaissance Party. There is an interview in which Jantsang recounts meeting with Madole, along with a few other Nazis, who shit-talked Anton LaVey and ranted about him being a Jew taking over “the dialobic current”, that presumably was just a noble Aryan pagan warrior cult before he showed up (I tell you, the delusions that these volkisch fascists conjure within themselves never ceases to be entertaining). In addition it is known that Madole, who is noted for his fascination with occultism, was also, like Tani Jantsang, very interested in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, which leads me to believe that it was probably through this that the two initially became acquainted decades ago. And much later in life, despite calling out the Nazism of Church of Satan members, we find an interview she did in 2007 in which she praises Pat Buchanan’s books Where the Right Went Wrong and A Republic, Not An Empire as accurate books that everyone should read and even claimed that they constituted satanic literature, despite the notable handicap of Pat Buchanan and his vision for American society being characterized by conservative Christianity. And can I just say, isn’t it strange that a self-proclaimed Marxist would have such a high opinion of a man who believes that Jewish Marxists are responsible for the decline of Western Civilization? Not to mention, in that same interview, she praises the work of the white nationalist Kevin McDonald for his book The Culture of Critique, which argues that Jews are genetically predisposed towards ethnocentrism and to infiltrate white societies in order to eliminate their white populations and replace them with non-white peoples, and was directly inspired by the “Great Replacement” myth, and she also seems to dabble in Eurabia-style conspiracy theories, and along with that some ideas that sound suspiciously like the talking points of the far-right, when she says this:

Some of the Islamics even admit that they are unarmed invaders that will outbreed the Europeans and simply take over their societies and destroy their culture. These European countries have their own cultures and they are secular and advanced civilizations. I’d hate to see Western Civilization lost. It just might take extreme measures to fix what’s wrong in Europe. Playing the political correctness game has to stop if European culture, language and civilization is to survive this onslaught – and that means in the USA too. I regard the USA as primarily a European-culture nation, Western Civilization, post enlightenment. It should stay that way.

In addition to this, in her article about “Generational Satanism“, she says “I also said, “JEWS are Generational Satanists, and THEY RULE YOU.”. On the other hand, she also gives Jews quite a bit of credit within the remit of her ostensibly materialistic philosophy, in the sense that she holds that Jews are hated by Christians because hold the view that there is no heavenly afterlife. So, with all that in mind, I actually wonder why she would come out against the Nazis if she appears to harbour anti-semitic sympathies herself? Is it truly because of a moral opposition to the ideological program of Nazism (which, as I surely don’t need to tell you, is inseparable from anti-semitism), or is it just because she thinks of the Nazis as obvious bad guys, or because they’re most likely to actually bring her harm should they ever take power in her country? It’s hard for me to say, and I don’t think the answer to this question is going to be a particularly good one, since she appears to promote white nationalist (and blatantly anti-semitic) thinkers and ideas when given the chance. I think that Tani seems to be very confused on the question of Jews and anti-semitism, and, as we’ll see, politics more generally.

Good luck squaring this with one of the pro-FDR articles the Satanic Reds has, Ms Jantsang

Returning to drama, though, there’s also a weird drama that Tani Jantsang has concerning Michael Aquino and the Temple of Set. There was an apparent incident involving Aquino in 1972, when he was still a member of the Church of Satan, in which the Lovecraftian lodges seemed to get into conflict with Aquino over some manuscripts that it is claimed were written by Lin Carter. Jantsang’s critics accuse her of plagiarizing an essay that was originally written by Michael Aquino. There’s also the matter of the Order of the Left Hand Path, and the circumstances surrounding her leaving the order. She recalls that she “started a shitfight” with Bolton, and this was likely motivated by an increased sense of ideological divergence and the apparently dogmatic tendencies of its leader, Kerry Bolton. She accused Bolton of having used the idea of the Dark Doctrines to browbeat people into submission. This split caused the Order of the Left Hand Path to reconstitute into the Ordo Sinistra Vivendi in 1994, and in the process jettisoning the influence of Jantsang’s doctrine and other Eastern influences in favour of a doctrine inspired by the Order of Nine Angles.

Her drama is not entirely limited to Satanist groups, as she seems to have been in some sort of feud with a secretive communist group called Maoist Internationalist Movement, which considered her to be a terroristic anti-communist agitator. Jantsang, in turn, considers MIM to be an FBI COINTELPRO group that also endorses terrorists and attacks other communist organizations (which, to be fair, considering the fact that the CIA started up and supported Maoist groups in the 1960s for the purposes of splintering the communist movement, would not be without precedent). And in general, from what I have noticed of her writings or rather her exchanges on forums and particularly the old group chats she started from the early 2000s, she had the tendency to be highly polemical and defensive to the point of being excessively confrontational and often vulgar towards others, which lends to some sharp dramatic tendencies. This also lends itself to some extreme positions being on her part, such as her apparent opinion that the US should drop nuclear bombs on Afghanistan. I must say, if she is a Marxist, she must be a very confused one. For instance, in the quotation wherein she identifies herself as a Magistra of the Church of Satan, she also identifies herself as a Stalinist, but in another post she describes Stalin as a totalitarian dictator (and in that case she’d be right about that btw).

All of this comes from what little information is out there about Tani Jantsang herself, gleamed from a handful of books on the subject, the Satanic Reds website, and a series of forums often dating back around half a decade. Even from this, there are many who doubt even the most basic details about her, including her very name. Some believe that Tani Jantsang is actually a woman named Tanya Lysenko, or Phyllis Rose, or Phyllis Rosenbaum, but these come from a few old forum posts and I have no way of verifying the authenticity of such claims. So, in many ways, a lot of her life seems to be a mystery.

tanijantsang
One of the only existing photos of Tani Jantsang, possibly from 1977.

But enough about Tani herself, let’s talk about The Satanic Reds as an organization. They were founded by Tani Jantsang and Philip Marsh in 1997, decades after their formation of the Kishites and a couple of years after her involvement with the Order of the Left Hand Path. It’s unknown how many members they have, though Tani Janstang claims that the group has 800 members. This organization bases itself on two identifiable core doctrines – the first is what they call the Dark Tradition or Dark Doctrines and the second is what they call Social Realism. The Dark Doctrines is their way of referring to their overall cosmology and the line of esoteric tradition that they claim to draw from. The basic idea of this is that there’s an ancient tradition of Tantra that constitutes the primordial form of Satanism, which Tani claims is found not only in ancient Tantric Hinduism but also in the Pythagorean tradition, Advaita Vedanta and “Turanian” mysticism. The cosmological doctrine of the Dark Tradition is based on the idea of Sat, Tan, and Asat, with Sat and Tan in particular supposedly forming the primordial basis for the archetype of Satan. Sat is the name of the concept that they define to be the Boundless Darkness, the substance of the All which is then infused into all things and particularly living beings as Atma (the Hindu concept of the soul), and the source of the light, or the Flame as it were. Tan is the name of the force by which this Darkness is infused into all of creation, and in a broader sense the process of Becoming. Satan, in this light, is interpreted the synthesis of these two, the unfolding and its object, and thereby the embodiment of the creative process by which all things come into being in the universe. Asat in this doctrine is their word for Non-Being, which is described as giving rise to Sat or Being (much like Wuji, or the Without Ultimate, gives rise to Taiji, or the Supreme Ultimate, in Taoist cosmology), but they also seem to use it to refer to temporal or temporary phenomenon within the cosmos.

Although I’m not convinced that it is the historical representation of Tantra (or Satanism for that matter) that Tani Jantsang purports it to be, it does seem to derive from Tantric Hinduism in the use of several Hindu concepts possibly connected to Tantra. The connection to Tantra may, however, just be as stretched as the name Tan supposedly being the basis of the word Tantra, in which case this is just a particularly inventive system of religious syncretism. And such a syncretism is not an uninteresting one either, in all fairness. In Sat and Tan we could extrapolate a dynamic of creation associated with some pantheistic belief systems, in which Tan becomes the creative impetus or force which compels the generation of things upon the embryo of the universe. There’s also the invocation of various archetypal links – there’s wrathful Buddhist deities such as Shri Kalachakra and Mahakala, there’s the Tao, there’s Sanat Kumara (who for them refers to the five Kumaras which are the five Tan that make up the five points of the pentagram in their tradition), and there’s the Slavic deity Chernobog (or “Chynerii Bog”), which are all taken to be names of this force of darknesss. They also seem to root themselves in the idea of unity with Nature, or more specifically their own Nature, and in their Nine Postulates (their own take on the Nine Satanic Statements), they stress that humans are of Nature, and that those who try to rebel against their own nature, thereby defying Nature more broadly, spiritually die and become nothing, and I think the emphasis on nature does sound nice if framed from the perspective of the Ziran concept found in Taoism. The term for a person who defies Nature is called a Klippoth, which for them means Nothing, but in one article Tani Janstang also uses the term Setian, as in a follower of Michael Aquino’s doctrine, in a similar way, to refer to someone who, like the Christian, detaches himself from the natural world and views themselves apart from (or indeed threatened) by it, which in my view seems to be an attack on the Setian doctrine of human self-consciousness (and Set, its progenitor) as being outside of and apart from nature and the Satanist therefore as seeking to seperate from nature. Honestly, that’s quite the burn. She also calls them pretas, a Hindu/Buddhist term referring to the “hungry ghosts”.

The major problem, however, is that Tani’s concept of a Dark Tradition is ultimately ahistorical. There is nothing tracing her doctrines of Sat, Tan and Asat, or indeed the Satanic pentagram, to Pythagoras or the Pythagoreans – indeed, we all know that the Satanic pentagram in its modern form can be traced to 19th century occultism, where it was used as a negative symbol asssociated with the forces of subversion and opposition to God. There is also nothing linking her particular philosophy to the original Tantra in the historicist sense, and there is certainly no etymological link between Sat, Tan and Satan. I would perhaps appreciate it if Tani and the Satanic Reds were honest about the fact that this philosophy is their own syncretic invention, and in this sense a modern doctrine, but it seems they’re rather invested in the idea that this is just something that people have always believed in if it weren’t for those pesky Christians (which, given what we’ve already established about her associations with volkisch fascists, sounds like it’s not too different from what they believe about how everyone followed Esoteric Hitlerism or some such until the Jews decided that we shouldn’t), and given her claims to “Turanian” heritage, it almost feels like a massive projection of a sense of ethnic identity. Not to mention, her writings on the Dark Doctrines, much like her comments in general, are difficult to read and make sense of for some reason. There’s a certain disjointedness to her writing style, I often find it difficult to grasp her work, not because of its ostensible profundity but instead because everything feels jumbled and it’s hard to make sense of what she’s saying. It’s like she has some sort of communication problem.

The pentagram is an ancient symbol anyway, so it probably predated Pythagoras or the Pythagoreans

As for Social Realism, this is the name given to the political ideology of the Satanic Reds doctrine. It’s not really given its own definition, it just seems to be a moniker they give to their particular left-wing politics and its synthesis with Satanism. Now, it’s here that we come to one thing that I never really addressed in this post, which is probably the most interesting subject of this matter, is the question of how exactly do you be both a communist and Satanist, given that Satanism at large tends be an anti-egalitarian philosophy that in particular has a habit of embracing Social Darwinism? Whilst I can’t speak for other Satanists who happen to consider themselves communist, the Satanic Reds apparently have their own way of reconciling it, and, to be quite honest, it’s confusing. Even though the Satanic Reds are referred to as communist and their logo can be seen brandishing the hammer and sickle symbol of the Bolshevik movement, their FAQ seems to suggest that they are not in fact strictly socialist, but instead are both capitalists and socialists, or more specifically supporters of Dirigist capitalism, which they maintain is a form of socialism (to which any other Marxist, myself included, would laugh and then tell you to read basic Marxist theory as regards socialism and/or communism). What’s more, they seem to purport that they self-identify as “Reds” (meaning communists) not because of any actual adoption of communist ideology but because Franklin Roosevelt, whose New Deal programs they appear to support, was considered a communist back in his day, and, in their words, “if F. D. Roosevelt was a Red, then so are we!”.

This suggests that they are not in fact communists, or even socialists, but instead New Deal progressives who dress up their ideology in communist garb for nakedly contrarian reasons. In fact, they apply this logic to everything else as well. They embrace the label Red (or communist) on the grounds that liberals, feminists, gay rights advocates, advocates of social and religious tolerance, anti-racists, anti-fascists, and advocates of state planning or regulationist economic reforms, have all been considered communists at one point or another by right-wing reactionaries, and so being a communist to them simply means an expression of support for all of these things (oddly enough without the actual communism to support it). This is ultimately not so much an expression of meaningful communist politics so much as it is getting willfully hung-up on the fact that right-wingers, especially Republicans, have done what they will do even to conservative Democrats: so long as they are running against the GOP, the GOP’s supporters will denounce them as communists. Hell, even Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican President, was demonized as a communist by the John Birch Society over opposition to the military-industrial complex among other issues, but you can bet for certain that the Satanic Reds will never vote Republican just because of that. The overall stance follows from the logic that those who do not adopt Christianity are considered Satanists, so you might as well adopt that identity. Tani herself is an example of this; she claims to be “generational Satanist”, in that she claims her family was Satanists, but in reality they were likely not Satanists and Tani herself describes them as “non-Islamic Turko-Tartars” who she claims practiced a syncretic religion based on Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, Tantric Hinduism (or “Tantric-Vedantic concepts”) and some form of shamanism.

And look, I know it can seem tempting to some left-leaning individuals on the internet to embrace the commie label just because reactionary forces and right-wing idiots deem them to be communists and will call you a communist no matter what you do, but consider the reverse of this phenomenon. For ages, Democrats have had a bad habit of calling their Republican enemies Nazis, and outside of America you will often find people with a left-leaning bent who will call various right-wing politicians fascists or Nazis, regardless of whether or not they are actually fascists or Nazis. Now, if hypothetically a right-winger were to say that he decided to move to the far-right on the grounds that “the left” has decided that everything’s fascist now, would you be willing to believe them or take them seriously? Come on, I’ve seen that Matt Bors comic you guys like to share. Of course you don’t buy it. So why do this for yourselves through the label of communism? Now, I get that it makes a tiny bit of sense if you take it from the lens of Satan being the archetype of opposition to the establishment or whatever, but the way you manifest that within a leftist outlook is through the union of the Satanic archetype and a meaningfully radically outlook. Apparently the anarchists managed to do it since the 19th century, so why can’t these guys?

Put it this way: it’s like being a hardcore Marxist-Leninist who’s otherwise a die-hard Bernie or Corbyn supporter, even though it ultimately doesn’t make much sense.

That being said, however, the Satanic Reds website contains multiple links to various articles written by either Tani Jantsang or other members outlining their postulations about communism, socialism, and even dialectical materialism – the very philosophical basis of Marxism. It may be interesting, therefore, to examine them.

For one thing, they have an article in which they argue for dialectical materialism as the analytical method of their organization, which to me suggests that perhaps they are Marxists. They have an article that harshly criticizes Ayn Rand, pointing out that the ideal man of Rand is a sociopath and was possibly inspired by a serial killer named William Hickman (who abducted and dismembered a 12 year old girl in 1927) on the grounds that his behaviour was a sign that he defied societal convention. This is quite a big deal in the Satanist movement because it strikes against the Randian inspirations that helped shaped the Satanism that began with Anton LaVey. In a similarly epic blow to Satanist orthodoxy, they also have an article featuring essays by Tani Jantsang and Ole Wolf which criticizes the “might makes right” doctrine found in the mainstay of Satanic philosophy introduced by Anton LaVey. They have an article in which Lucifer is interpreted as a champion of proletarian revolution through the lens of communist ideology. They have an article which praises Star Trek for what it sees as exploring the rammifications of a socialistic economy and refuting libertarian economic expectations. They have an article from someone praising the education system of the Soviet Union. They also (rather regrettably) have an essay of selection of quotes from Lavrenty Beria (who, to my mind, was pretty much the worst officer in the USSR who died the death he deserved). They even have annotated versions of On Contradiction and On Practice by Mao Zedong (the originals of which are excellent works on dialectical materialism), however these commentaries appear to consist of minor edits to the original works, do not effectively explicate a synthesis between Mao’s doctrine and theirs beyond basically claiming his concepts in On Contradiction as their own, appending their own names to the original.

It seems obvious to me that we are dealing people who are, at least in some sense, socialists, and they operate within Marxism in particular. Tani herself I think is a Marxist-Leninist of some type (judging by the fact that she once called herself a Stalinist, which is the name of a specific tendency within Marxism-Leninism). In some ways, I find them to be convincing leftists. However, I also find them to be confused. On the one hand, you have all of this material that establishes a credible Marxist ideological current for themselves, but on the other, their Q&A establishes that they might actually be pro-capitalist in the sense of Dirigist or New Deal capitalism. I’d say that they’re being a bit too coy about their political beliefs if you ask me.

The last thing I want to address about their doctrine is their views on the definition of the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path. It seems that they are simultaneously of the Left Hand Path and not of the Left Hand Path, in that they define the Left Hand Path and the Right Hand Path as inseparable parts of each other that, when separated, are reduced to falsity and error. Tani points out that the LHP and the RHP are, in their original Tantric context, defined not by their respective goals (because they had the same goal of attaining unity with God) but by their respective methods, but also suggests that LHP refers to Yin (the passive principle) while RHP refers to Yang (the active principle). This would be a strange idea because it would require us to categorize whether or not the Vamachara methods of transgression as either passive or active, or whether or not transgression itself is passive or active. And under this framework, transgression in the active sense, of all kinds, is RHP, even the Luciferian impulse and even violent revolution against the status quo. By the way, speaking of Lucifer, in this article Tani Jantsang claims that the term Lucifer was never used to refer to Satan until John Milton wrote Paradise Lost, when in reality the identification likely begins with Jerome.

And, that’s pretty much all I want to talk about with regards to the organization. The only other thing I could say about them is that it seems their website hasn’t been updated in several years. In the year 2020, this website still looks like it’s the late 1990s or early 2000s, suggesting that the website has not been updated at all since the group became somewhat popular in the early online Satanist scene of that time.

satanicreds
This old logo is probably the best one you can find

Overall, I find that the Satanic Reds are a group that could have had some promise in its weird mixture of Tantra, Satanism and Marxism, but while there are several promising elements I can’t say that it’s a well-executed synthesis. And it doesn’t look like the movement is still active and today it is largely treated as obscure footnote in the history of Satanism, which is kind of a shame because there was a lot going on in the background of the organization’s history that also ties in with the history of the Church of Satan. As for Tani Jantsang herself, I find her to be a very strange figure. On the one hand, she is commendable in being one of the few Satanists out there to actively try and challenge things like “might makes right” and Ayn Rand style individualism within the remit of Satanism, and there are aspects of her doctrine I find interesting, but on the other hand she also seems to be kind of a kook, she ultimately failed to produce the kind of refined synthesis that would be serviceable and ripe for expanding upon. And, on top of that, despite her commendable opposition to Nazis within the Satanic movement, it also seems that she, for a long time in her life, herself associated with fascists, and appears to have sympathies with white nationalists and the works of white nationalists and anti-semites, and I think that’s simply unacceptable.

I think, in the end, that the kind of thing that Tani Jantsang seeks would be better acheived by doing for Anton LaVey what Karl Marx did for Georg Willhelm Friedrich Hegel. Just as Marx took the foundation of Hegel’s dialectical philosophy and reconstituted it as a doctrine built upon materialism rather than idealism, so too must a Marxist running either within or adjacent to the Left Hand Path continuity take a foundation of something like Anton LaVey or whatnot and reconstitute it into a new philosophy using dialectical materialism. That is what I believe Jantsang would do if she were a more capable intellect, and in some ways it is the primary goal of my studies, wherever that path takes me.

My opinion of Greta Thunberg

I’ll be honest, I go out of my way to ignore discussion of Greta Thunberg wherever possible. I find Greta, her supporters, and her detractors to be tiresome actors in the detestable business of bourgeois political theatre. Greta’s supporters will defend her because she’s a bold voice against our idolent response to man-made climate change, and her detractors scorn her for being a childlike voice of radicalism that threatens to warp the freedom of the individual, but for all of that, Greta herself is a pretty mediorce “radical” in my view, and truth be known I think she’s a disappointment.

Some may be expecting me to bash her for being a preacher on the climate change issue, but to tell the truth I don’t truly hate her over climate change. In theory, at least, it’s nice to get some agitation going on the subject of taking action on climate change. The only things that truly before me about that aspect of her activism is the fact that it’s petit-bourgeois in character. And I don’t mean that in the way right-wingers always whine about champagne socialists (although, to their credit, Aaron Bastani is a real person who embodies this trope), I mean in the sense that it only really amounts to the strategy of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois liberalism. It has nothing to do with any kind of mass movement aimed at tearing down the structures that are responsible for our Earth getting turned into an oven to begin with, and is only going to amount to another call for pallid ethical consumerism. And I never really see much in the way of policy substance, at least in terms of fighting climate change, other than perhaps restoring biospheres that are in danger of being destroyed by human activity, and her spiel is mostly just telling people to do something about climate change because we’ve stolen her childhood or something. Not much. Oh and her movement appears to be largely manufactured by capitalists, so there’s that too. But, despite the impression you might get from me saying all this, my primary issue with Greta Thunberg has nothing to do with climate change. Her activism on climate change is perhaps the most defining thing about her at the moment, yes, but I don’t care.

For me, the real problem is how she relates to having on Asperger’s syndrome, which is within the autistic spectrum. She talks about how it helps her think in black and white (as though that is somehow a good thing in itself), think outside the box and see through lies about climate change. She even claims that she would not have been interested in the climate if not for Aspergers syndrome, which is an absurd sentiment to have considering that there has been large scale and highly prolific public interest in the subject of dealing with climate change since before Greta was even born! What infuriates me about this is the damage that Greta’s stance will do to people like me. Being autistic is by and large an impairment, not a blessing. I know I’ve encountered people, both in and out of the autisitc spectrum, who treat it as just a matter of us being different, and that’s technically true but iut’s true for all the wrong reasons. Our ability to develop essential social skills is greatly hampered, our ability to relate to the world is undermined, our brains do not operate in the way that normal humans do, and more often that not it’s to our disadvantage more than it is to our advantage, and we end up being dependent upon others to a larger extent and for much longer than regular people are. We’re not superhumans, we’re not geniuses  if we were anything like the media keeps saying we are then all of us autistic people would be demigods, or more aptly we would not have the developmental problems that keep our true potential at bay.

Greta’s stance will allow people to think that having autism grants you some sort of above-average intellect, which to me is simple nonsense. They’re propping us up as natural-born geniuses because one of them is agrees with their homogenous brand of liberal politics. I’ve seen one goon from The Independent even trying to claim that Greta is being attacked with particular vitriol because of her Asperger’s, which is such an unfalsifiable premise that I must simply go with my gut and presume it to be a lie, and I never thought that I’d be accusing someone on the autistic spectrum of lying about autism. If I was as prolific as Greta Thunberg and given the time of day to spout my views on politics, they would never treat me the same way and they would not fantasize about autistic people being superhumans, because I despise a great deal of what the liberal elite stands for. And if anyone, say, advocated for there being a cure for autistic disorders, as I would like to see, such people would be slandered and demonized by those ghouls, even though the pro-cure position is, at least in my view, the most compassionate position you can think of. Ah but of course, I should have known by now, compassion is simple bigotry when it impedes the progress of liberal hegemony.

That in a nutshell is my opinion of Greta Thunberg: a thoroughly boring climate change activist who is uninterested in the idea of the mass movement undertaking collective action against capitalism but gets paraded around as the darling of the Earth, who also has this absurd belief that Asperger’s syndrome is her power source in all this and will probably serve as a rallying cry for people who value the fetish of neurological diversity over compassion and deceny. I dislike her, plain and simple.

Though, that being said, I don’t think she’s worthy of some of the nastier stuff I keep hearing her being subjected to, and I find the conservative scaremongering over her views to be ridiculous and absurd, and their memes against her seem to reflect that absurdity. But then I can’t say I trust them to talk about what really matters to me: from what I understand, they’ve been using her Asperger’s syndrome to cast her as mentally ill. What a class act these right-wingers are, aren’t they? And some of the conspiracy theories they’ve been peddling about her are ridiculuous. Many of them seem to believe that Greta is actually a victim of child abuse, and there’s even a Federalist article that claims that her movement is basically a revival of paganism. That kind of tells me all I need to know about how the right wants to approach this.

Other than that, there’s not much for me to say.

Boris Johnson is officially Prime Minister. What now?

I didn’t make any comment on the Conservative Leadership elections until now because up until now it seemed like such a boring affair. I mean, no shit. Of course Boris Johnson was going to win this one. It was inevitable. As soon as I how Boris trailing ahead in the initial results I knew already that he was going to win, so it was pointless to talk about the leadership contest since it seemed so obvious who was going to win. But apparently, not that many people in the commentariat believed this. They seemed to hold on to the hope that some other Tory, one of either the less Eurosceptic or the more outwardly anti-Brexit Tories, would defeat Boris Johnson, and now that he’s one there is still this sense among those liberals of “I can’t believe it”. But whatever their hopes and fears, Boris won, like I knew in advance he would.

Naturally, most of the reaction I’ve seen is very negative. People talk about Boris Johnson as though he’s going to single-handedly destroy the country, the liberals and the left in general are pretty in unanimous agreement on that, and a few people might even be considering moving to Australia perhaps because of that. Other people were noticeably rather excited. My father, for example, is quite happy that Boris is in power; he believes that Boris will be the greatest Prime Minister we’ve ever had, and that he and Trump will remake the world in a positive way, and that somehow this involves bombing Iran. Besides him, the right-wing in general seems to have coalesced in support of Boris, on the grounds that they view him as the most likely out of the Tory leadership candidates to deliver a no deal Brexit. Most interestingly of all, though, is how already some key political actors have responded to Boris’ nomination. The European Union has immediately responded by announcing that they would reject almost any deal that Boris puts forward, and the Scottish National Party also announced that it intends to form a Remain alliance against Boris upon his nomination.

As for me, I personally don’t like Boris Johnson, in fact I already devoted a post to criticizing him for invoking the “spirit of Moses”, and I don’t like almost anything about his politics besides Brexit, but I can’t bring myself to feel anything about him at all. What do you want me to say? The same things that by and large the rest of the left has already said and can be said about him? As if that’s somehow in short supply? What would I be adding? All I have to say is that Boris Johnson will be useful for those of us who want to leave the European Union on two fronts: first, he will most likely lead us out of the European Union, irregardless of whether or not we have a deal, and unlike Theresa May he will not constantly seek the same type of compromise on the issue; second, he might well serve as a catalyst for much greater change, which will be useful for any movement seeking the transformation of the country and the world. I’ve said it before but I believe no-deal Brexit to be inevitable, whether we want or not. If it has to be Boris that ushers it in, that doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

And at that point, I would prefer to move on to my real concern: the possibility of the left advancing post-Brexit agenda aimed at securing the autonomy of Britain under socialism. No Brexiter, on the left or the right, should take the situation lightly, for in fact it is dire. The conversation on Brexit has been completely ceded to the right. There’s too much pressure within Labour for the party to support a second referendum on membership of the European Union, not to mention embracing “freedom of movement”, and it seems to me that the left-leaning Brexiters aren’t even bothering to fight the good fight. Two weeks ago Labour MP Kate Hoey, one of the few remaining voices of Brexit within the party, has announced that she would not be seeking re-election in her seat, effectively surrendering her power, and not long after that Unite leader Len McCluskey, a key trade unionist ally of Corbyn, announced that he would be supporting a second referendum after arguing against it for so long on the grounds of it being divisive. This will be dangerous in the long run because only a socialist argument is capable of pushing back against the inevitable skepticism of any Brexit project.

As it stands, the case for a second referendum presently has, on its side, the very decline of the manufacturing industy, as well as a few other industries, in the UK. Throw into the mix the many warnings that a no deal Brexit will make things worse, and you have room to build a powerful case for staying with or returning to the European Union. Simply dismissing this as just “Project Fear” will not be effectual in combatting this, and instead will serve to make us look delusional in the face of uncomfortable reality. Of course, all this is from the capitalist perspective. A socialist perspective, starting from the premise of the European Union being a giant neoliberal power bloc that exists to preserve the prevailing economic order on a continental scale, has to put forward a case that uncouples the economic decline facing us from Brexit and proposes a way of handling Brexit that emphasizes a self-sufficient framework operating in defiance of market forces with the aim of a state where the means of production and socially rather than privately owned. And I believe it is possible for such a thing to take place, but first the Lexit movement must have the confidence to try and retake the conversation on Brexit, away from the right and away from their liberal/progressive rivals. And it must also have the confidence to move away from ambiguous social democracy that occaisionally employs the rhetoric of classical liberalism and towards a radical socialism from which the idea of a vanguard dedicating to preserving the gains of our path towards sovereignty will emerge.

Now where does Boris enter into all this. To be honest, it’s difficult to say. Although I have the suspicions that he may have a similar affect on the British left that Donald Trump has on American progressives, in that it galvanizes them away from the old guard of centrism within their present movements, in the case of the UK it could just bolster the already existant Remainer progressive movement we have. Not to mention, it’s not as though a progressive can only choose between the Tories and Labour, and the Liberal Democrats know this to be a fact and will exploit it along with their rising numbers. It’s honestly only because of some commitment to social democracy that a good deal of the British left hasn’t abandoned Labour for the Lib Dems at this point, but then why does that same commitment preclude them from support an exit from a union pretty much designed to prevent social democracy from doing what it wants?

Something to remember about Apollo 11

For the past week the world has been busy commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, which took place in July 20th 1969. For what it’s worth, it was by all accounts an event that defined a generation. There are many people alive today who still remember where they were on that day when they saw Neil Armstrong pose on the moon and plant that flag, as well as that timeless shot of the Earth as seen from the moon’s surface, and the landing is remembered as one of the greatest accomplishments of human history.

And I suppose, objectively speaking, it is still a pretty grand acheivement. It helped to change the way we see not only outer space and the vastness that awaits further exploration, but also our own planet due to the fact that we have gotten a close look at it from outside of our atmosphere. But even in that sense, there are things that put the Apollo 11 mssion into perspective that you are often not told about, because for you to be informed of these facts would undermine a particular hegemonic narrative for which the bourgeoisie uses Apollo 11 as a shibboleth by which to sustain the ideological weight of capitalism.

One thing to remember is that, both prior to and after the Apollo 11 project, the Soviet Union was one of the most innovative countries in the world, being responsible for numerous inventions that capitalist society almost never gives them credit for. For example, the biggest irony of the classic canard of “those god damned left-wing milennials arguing against capitalism from their smartphones” is that the Soviet Union helped lead the way in the development of modern mobile phone technologies, with the Altai moblie phone system having been developed in Soviet Russia in 1958. More importantly, the Soviet Union was the first country in the world to send a man into space, that man beign known as Yuri Gagarin. Although the Soviet space program had quite a few fatalities to its name, it was notably industrious in its efforts to explore the cosmos and at any rate preceded NASA by a year or two. It was in fact the direct motivation of the NASA program, a fact that the bourgeoisie themselves cannot deny.

This dynamic of competition is most likely still at play in the present decade given the fact that there is now much talk of a new US mission to land on the moon by the year 2024. This can be contextualized by the fact that China has long-term ambitions for space exploration and in fact China seems to be aiming for their own moon landing, and are making great strides in such a project. It cannot be lost on NASA that, after the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, NASA launched no further lunar missions, while China is presently engaging in several lunar missions, although they haven’t quite landed on the moon yet. NASA never really had the ambition to explore the moon on their own. Without the rivalry of the Soviet Union, the United States would see no profit in advancing civilizational progress in such a way, whereas the Soviet Union was not driven in its ambitions by the mere pursuit of profit or competition. Of course I doubt I can make the same argument of China, which after 40 years of Dengist reform is now thoroughly capitalistic (not to mention borderline fascist), but the point still remains that NASA’s ambitions seems to depend on the activities of foreign rivals in order to sustain itself.

There isn’t much for me to say other than, when I saw a news report about the Apollo 11 landings, I got really annoyed when a reporter framed it as a moment that finally united the American people. He talked about how the 1960s were a turbulent decade, defined by the Vietnam War, the civil rights struggle, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and John F Kennedy, and widespread social division, and how the landings lead to a moment where all of those divisions were swept away in a national symbol of triumph. Well after the Apollo 11 landings, things didn’t exactly get less turbulent or divided. Months after the Apollo 11 landings, there was the Altamont concert that ended in a gay man being murdered by members of the Hell’s Angels. The Vietnam War continued to rage on, as did the movement against. The following year saw the Kent State Massacre, in which four students were gunned down by the national guard for protesting against the US campaign in Cambodia. And if you want to talk about the national divide, that massacre only intensified this divide; there were people who rightly condemned the massacre for the atrocity that it was, and there were those who earnestly believed that either the students deserved to be shot or they shouldn’t have stood in the way of the national guard and in any case condemned them as radicals. That whole idea of the national divide being healed by Apollo 11 is pure myth-making – whatever feeling of unity there was must have been very brief.

All in all, don’t discount the Apollo 11 landing or the NASA space program. It was still important to the history of the US and to human civilization more broadly. But don’t allow yourself to be tricked by those who would use the moon landings as a shibboleth of their own sentimental narratives in the name of capitalist hegemony.

The Earth, as seen from the Moon