The Nihilistic Nature of Post Modern Marxism
The Marxist “common language” originally believed by classical Marxists (and Marx himself) claimed that ideology, theory, in short, human value judgments were the end product of a particular economic structure. Marx wrote: “All classes bear the seeds of their own destruction…” To pursue the logic of such archaic 19th Century mechanistic determinism to its logical conclusion, contemporary Marxists soon deduced, wasn’t enough to sustain and consolidate power, because one was forced to deny human action any free will.
It was Gramsci and the Frankfurt School who recognized this failing and moved away from what they described as “classical Marxism.” Contemporary Marxists, after Gramsci, no longer consider history as predetermined by “the class struggle.” This change of heart was not only the result of the failure of classical Marxism wherever it was imposed, but the reality that in free market economies the workers didn’t fall deeper into poverty, but most often prospered.
The phony Marxist dialectic, as argument, is still used of course, marginally speaking, when it suits, for naive converts and students, but has had to share its ideological space with postmodern "nihilist" theory, as defined by Lyotard in The Post Modern Condition/A Report on Knowledge (1979) "as incredulity towards metanarratives,"…what he means by metanarrative is something like a unified, complete, universal, and epistemically certain story about everything that is. Postmodernists reject metanarratives because they reject the concept of truth that metanarratives presuppose.
Postmodern philosophers, in general, argue that truth is always contingent on historical and social context rather than being absolute and universal and that truth is always partial and “at issue” rather than being complete and certain. On the other hand, classical Marxism was a metanarrative in every sense. So, here began Marxism’s departure from any underlying notion of its methodology and ideals, where truth itself was now considered a means to an end, not as a rational assessment or critique but an “illogical” logical weapon for cultural mass destruction.
It’s difficult these days to justify the label “Marxist” for people whose ideas are contrary to the most cherished metanarrative dogmas of Marx himself. It is a revealing insight into the extent to which Marxism has become the opiate of the left, that many intelligent people can happily describe themselves in this way, that so many communists (activists and theorists alike) feel it necessary to so describe themselves. The reality of course being, that they are no longer Marxists, that it is no longer their guiding principle but part of an arsenal of often opposing philosophical ideologies with one purpose: to destroy Western Civilization and install a totalitarian dictatorship, by any means necessary. One may then be tempted to ask what becomes of Utopia and the pure communist state, the GOAL of Marxism if the methodology for its attainment is no longer the guiding principle?
No one has ever done more to subvert classical Marxist theory than the rickety old man of the Italian Communist Party, Antonio Gramsci. For those who have neither the time or inclination to wade through the ill-formed profusion of notes, essays, and articles that make-up Gramsci’s theoretical studies, Carl Blogg’s book Gramsci’s Marxism published by Pluto Press will provide a helpful introduction.
One of the most important issues raised in this book is that of "ideological consciousness." What makes one set of values triumph over another? How are elites formed? Although Gramsci does not attempt to fully answer such questions, it was nevertheless enough for the issue to be raised at all by a Marxist for the asinine Marxist theory of "false consciousness" to be devastatingly compromised. Gramsci argued that political action had to take into account the "complexity of human relations." In short, he was prepared to admit and did admit, that people are confronted with different potential courses of action that are essentially "history forming" in the same sense that however slightly, human action on an individual level can affect consciousness. This was a long way from classical Marxism. As Blogg noted:
" Gramsci was convinced, after witnessing the failure of the Second International, that Socialist revolution would not come mechanically from the breakdown of the capitalist economy, but would have to be built…Gramsci argued that such a realization necessitated a new reconstituted philosophical foundation for Marxism which would restore the subjective dimension to socialist politics and place human actors at the center of the evolutionary stage…"
Clearly, with the rise of the Frankfurt School, the metamorphosis of Marxism into something, I would say, beyond Marxism and even more destructive and nihilistic was put into practice, something that has elementally much more in common with fascism and Nazism. With the introduction of postmodernism, the left had freed itself from the metanarrative of dialectical materialism and its concomitant class struggle.Postmodern Marxism, because of the utter failure of classical Marxism, has dispensed with the idea of the working class altogether. Whilst still claiming a sentimental attachment, found fresh new fields of "victims" to "liberate;" (for what?) and set in opposition to Western Civilization and each other: male against female, culture against culture, children against their parents and so on…as a consequence, the regressive postmodern left have today embraced identitarianism, (cultural separatism i.e. racism) advocate for the destruction of free speech, the family, a free press, gender disintegration, the undermining of science itself and rational thinking.
It is interesting to see how the Marxist faith has gone beyond the stage of mere philosophy to become a reality that can have various possible philosophical foundations applied to it. It is difficult to see what remains of Marxist class determinism if the revolution is simply the action of certain people of like mind seizing power from those of "bourgeois" opinions, especially when we consider that those Marxists who wish to seize power are themselves bourgeois, along with much of their support base.
Gramsci recognized two essential fields of revolutionary activity the “organic” and “conjunctural.” The organic aspect of the revolutionary struggle is theoretical, the long-term transformation of people’s minds from a state of thinking which is distorted by the ideological hegemony of the bourgeoisie, to a state of thinking which in accordance is an alternative, in this case, communist hegemony (totalitarianism) of norms and values. It follows then, that the organic struggle must be more than half won before there is hope of victory - for control of the state. Gramsci called this struggle “the war of position,” a war of words, primarily, whose goal, again, is not what is true, but merely an argument, an opinion or propaganda to advance the ultimate grab for power
In this war, the Marxist dialectic can be used, along with its opposite or anything that advances the struggle, including postmodern irrationality, which is not only employed by the LBGTQ+ Marxist clique but third wave feminists. For example, In Race, Class and Gender, by Dr. Paula S. Rotherberg, a contemporary postmodern Marxist9 (?) third wave feminist, writes: "Objectivity found through rational thought is a masculine concept that we challenge…" (p.14) This is a textbook for gender study courses in many universities across Canada, Australia and the United States, which indicates just how far Marxists have traveled from their old ideological base.
The Gramscian understanding of history is this: there is nothing inevitable in history; on the contrary, all that is theoretically possible is possible, given the will to succeed, and a realization that a victory over the minds of people, has to proceed political victory. In other words, anything goes, if it brings you closer to power. But what are its goals after it attains absolute power? Having dispensed with metanarratives they have also by necessity dispensed with the ideological objective of Marxism itself, Utopia, which, according to Marxist metanarrative logic, can only be achieved through "class struggle" and the notion of human progress from lower to higher stages, based on the application of "dialectical materialism" as an underlying methodology. But for the postmodernist Marxist, all of this is now gone.
Today, it is all a matter of power politics, the goal of which, for the regressive left, is absolute control i.e. totalitarianism But for what? With Utopia no longer their carrot-on-a-stick option, what is their end game? What “ideal” serves as a guide to their actions? They don’t have one. The reality is that Marxism today is just another form of postmodern nihilism and a very deadly one.
Eugene Donnini ( From Expose)